Antiques series. The Flog It! team tells everything you need to know about picking up bargain antiques and collectables in Trade Secrets.
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It's been well over ten years
since you first started coming to our Flog It valuation days
and since then we've seen,
valued and sold thousands of your unwanted antiques and collectables.
Jennifer, have you raided the silver box at home?
What can you tell me about it?
-She is very ugly.
-She is phenomenally ugly.
And I've discovered there's always more to
find about the world of fine art and antiques which we all love.
So, if you want to know more, you've come to the right place.
Welcome to Trade Secrets.
I've learned over the years that you have to keep your eyes peeled at all times.
There are incredible treasures just waiting to be discovered
for as little as a few pounds in jumble sales or car boot fairs.
So, today, we're celebrating all you lucky ones
with a nose for a bargain.
Still to come, we reveal the art of the true bargain hunter.
You're a self-confessed, get ready for this, Michael, moocher.
-That's a new one to me.
-Mooching about at the car boot sales and jumbles.
-It's paid off.
We discover there are still treasures to be found
if you know what to look for.
It's not going to make £300.
-You think it might by the sound of it.
-I definitely think it might.
Carl had done his homework. He knew it was rare.
And one valuation day discovery proves to be worth a great
deal more than David Barby first thought.
On a good day it could do a couple of thousand pounds.
Joan, we're going to be in the money. I think you are.
It seems perfectly clear to me
that you have got to keep your eyes peeled at all times
if you want to pick up a bargain for just a few pounds.
But there's more to bargain hunting than just luck.
There's a lot you can do to increase your chances of finding
something special for very little.
In car boot sales or fairs, get up very, very early in the morning.
Because everything that can be bought cheaply is probably
bought before most people get up.
-Where on earth did you get it from?
-From a car boot sale.
-For 50p or something?
-At £110, we're away.
-Do your homework.
If you want to spot a bargain you need to know more than
the person that's selling the object.
Where did you get it from?
I bought it from a table top for 20 pence.
-And of course, train your eye.
-Can I ask how much you paid for it?
£4. I can't believe it.
-Just have a rummage. Get down there, get under the tables.
Get in through the boxes and have a really good rummage.
If you think that something looks like it's really well made
and it's a nice piece and perhaps got a name to it,
then it's got to be worth researching.
Have you ever found anything like that in a charity shop for 40p?
All done at 1,800.
Yes! Well done.
You know, the joy of finding a bargain or hunting
generally for antiques is you never know where they're going to crop up.
For some, rummaging for bargains is an obsession.
And for Flog It viewer Derek, it paid off.
Michael was blown away by his incredible find.
-Parcels and packaging.
-A bit of tissue.
It was a wonderful 18th century silver gilt snuff box
and it's very rare and something I would struggle to find
in the normal course of business going around lots of auction houses.
So to have it brought in on Flog It was quite extraordinary.
-Are you a box collector, Derek?
-No, I'm not a box collector at all.
It's things I like and I see it and buy it.
I got it from a jumble sale so it didn't cost enough.
-Let me stop you there. Where did you get it from?
-From a jumble sale.
Where was this jumble sale?
I can't remember where the sale is
because I go to loads of jumble sales.
Crikey, we have people coming in saying
they bought this in a jumble sale.
What they don't tell you is they have been going to jumble sales
for ten years and getting up at 6:00 in the morning.
I always have a look under the table
because you never know what's under the table. And I see a box under the table.
And I see all these little bits of brass items in the box.
I mooched through the box and I found this little box in there.
You haven't got time to think really
because there's all the people around you.
I thought that's nice so I got up and said, "How much is that?"
She said 10p and I said, "I'll have that then."
And I paid my 10p and went off looking for other things.
I think I might have broken the sound barrier getting
the 10p out of my pocket and into her hand.
That's because you know what you're doing. You know what you're doing.
-Was this a long time ago?
-Couple of years ago, yeah.
That's not a long time ago, Derek.
It shows it's worthwhile persevering with jumble sales and car boots.
If we open it up we would hope to find marks in the cover,
in the base but it's German, unmarked and dates to about 1760.
You can tell something is silver if it isn't hallmarked
by giving it to me and asking me if it's silver or not.
No, it's the feel of the metal, the weight,
the colour and with a box like that it's evident it is a wonderful thing.
If we look underneath there's no marks but there's a little
bit of white showing through and we can see it's silver.
Return on 10 pence. What do we reckon?
-I wouldn't have said 20, 30 quid personally.
-Give you 40 now.
-I expect you would!
-Thank you very much.
-Let's put £300-500 on it.
-A fixed reserve of £300.
If it didn't look so nice I probably would have taken
it down the car boot and sold it for a few quid.
-It was meant to be.
-It was. Thank you very much.
-You're a confessed, get ready for this, Michael. Moocher.
-That's a new one on me.
-Mooching about at the car boot sales.
-It's paid off.
-It has. And you do it every Saturday? Mooch about.
-How many jumbles did you do this weekend?
-Saturday went to three.
-My Saturday is jumble sale day.
-And is your house full of...
-I was going to.
-You're allowed to. You're allowed to.
I was going to say tat. Let's put your mooching to the test.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Who will start me at £400? £400? Try 300?
300 we have, and 20. At £300 and selling, is there 20?
At £300 and to the telephone, is there any more? Last time at £300.
-Good return on 10 pence.
-That's fantastic. That's fantastic.
-I'm happy with that.
-You've got to be over the moon with that.
Fancy mooching about for boxes yourself?
Michael has some sound advice.
If you find silver boxes attractive and want to collect them,
start with something fairly easily available.
Something like vesta cases.
The first bit of silver I ever bought was a vesta case. It was £20.
They are still £20, £30, £40 for simple ones.
And then you can go on from there to collect snuff boxes.
But start off small.
Small items can easily be overlooked
but if you do your homework you could find a real little gem
as David Fletcher heard when he met seasoned bargain hunter Carl.
-No, I bought it at a table top sale.
-Let me tell you a bit about him.
And then you can tell me what you paid for him.
He's Royal Doulton, as you know. because he's marked Royal Doulton.
And it also says, which is good, Flambe.
Which refers to the type of glaze.
-I suspect it was made at some stage, probably in the 1920s.
-I think so.
And I'll be honest I've never seen,
although I've seen quite a few of these,
a mouse sitting on a cube like this.
Tell me what you paid for it now.
They were asking £3 but as with most of the things I buy
I knock the price slightly and I paid £2.
You must be an antique dealer's nightmare.
That's a little bit mean and cheeky too
and he knew what he was buying which I think made it slightly more
ironic really because he could have paid £20 for it
and still have known that there was a jolly good profit in it for him.
Let's talk money and I'll tell you what I think it's going to make.
You're going to make a profit.
But I don't want you telling me you want £300 for it.
It's not going to make £300.
-You think it might by the sounds of it.
-I definitely think it might.
I'm here to be proved wrong.
Carl had done his homework. He knew it was rare.
He didn't jolly well tell me.
No, good for him, but it was much rarer than I thought.
I had a chat with the auctioneer and he says it could fly away.
I think it probably might. I hope it does.
I might be a little bit embarrassed but...
Even if it's within estimate it's still a great bargain.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
It's going under the hammer right now. Here we go.
480 then is the Royal Doulton Flambe figure of the mouse.
Bids there start at 220, 240, 260, 280, 300.
-With me at 320, looking for 340.
-340, I've got 360.
-Two phone lines.
400 and 20.
And 20. Selling now at £500.
Done with it at 500. And 20. 540.
At 540, are we sure we're done at 540?
At 540 left handed. All done at 540, going to sell at 540.
Well done, you. Well done, you.
I hope you feel guilty for knocking them down that extra pound.
I might not have made anything. You don't know until you sell it.
The mouse sold so well because it was rare.
As simple as that.
I was caught out a bit but, you know, what a nice way to be caught out.
If you're looking for a bargain, Doulton could be a good bet
as there is so much of it out there.
You brought in a nice piece of Doulton there.
Made for Dewar's Whiskey.
Very stunning piece of Royal Doulton.
Your wife told me you keep this under the bed.
The history of Royal Doulton goes back almost two centuries.
Over the years the factory produced everything from stoneware
jardinieres to flamboyant figurines.
Miniatures to biscuit barrels.
That's quite nice. Do you want to sell that?
-I bought it from a car boot sale.
Selling in the doorway at £1,100.
One of the things Doulton is best known for is its figurines.
If you're buying Doulton figures,
the earlier ones nearly always do better than the later ones
but the key is making sure you're looking for figures that were
produced in limited production ranges.
I would recommend you look for the pre-war Art Deco figures.
Still very popular, and hold strong prices in the sale room.
We had one recently that made in excess of £3,000.
But what else is worth collecting?
They also made character jugs.
Thousands of different character jugs.
Some people call them toby jugs.
Tell me, where did you get it?
I pick up all my bits at boot sales and charity shops.
-How much did you pay for him?
-That's a bargain.
Your bid, sir.
And another unusual area of Doulton which I see not that often...
They produced suffragette figures in stoneware rather than bone china.
Quite rare, quite collectible. So, there's my tip.
Jump on the Doulton suffragette figures.
It's hard to go wrong when hunting for Doulton,
as all true pieces are marked.
If we look under the pot, we will see the Doulton back stamp.
Some are also signed by the artists,
and there are specific names to keep in mind when buying.
You've got the artist's monogram.
-ED for Edward Dunn.
-That's right, yeah.
The important thing about it is that it was designed by Noke,
who was a very prolific designer in the 1920s.
Yes! Hammer's down. £420.
If I was going for Doulton, I'd be going for the stonewares,
which were made end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century.
Stonewares decorated by famous artists
like Mark Marshall, George Tinworth,
Hannah and Florence Barlow,
and those major decorators of the period.
Of course, anybody in the know about Doulton would recognise these
patinas immediately as being one of the Barlow clans'.
-In this case...
Who specialised in these nice slipware birds.
£720? All done? Finished.
It's a no sale.
-I've got to take the damn thing home.
-And it's quite big.
But with such a variety of things to collect and values ranging
from tens of pounds up into the thousands, when it comes to
spotting a Doulton bargain, you need to be one step ahead of the game.
If you're looking to collect Doulton, do your homework.
Get to know your artists, get to know your decorators,
get to know when particular designs were made, recognise the
difference between something made in 1890 and something made in 1930.
And at any one time,
Doulton is not all doing really well or all doing really badly.
There are different trends within all those items that they made.
Look for good examples of each category,
depending on what appeals to you. Be wary of restoration.
Doulton is renowned for being very cleverly restored.
Monitor the market. There are opportunities to buy reasonably.
At the moment,
Royal Doulton ladies are somewhat depressed in their value at auction,
so if you're wanting to build up a collection, now is the time to buy.
They will pick up again, I'm sure, in the future
and then you'll have done quite well, I'm sure, in future years.
Doulton is one of the most recognisable names,
but there are other makers' marks that also signify a potential
bargain, and Christina came across a fine example in Exmouth.
Chris, you brought this lighter in today.
Tell me where you got it from.
I actually bought it in a jumble sale over 30 years ago. I paid 50p for it.
You bought it from a jumble sale for 50p?
Took it home, cleaned it up and then realised it was nine carat gold.
-Did you recognise the name at the time, Dunhill?
-I did, yes.
I was very surprised. I couldn't believe it.
I wish I had been at that jumble sale. It had that magic name.
Dunhill were the very first people to start producing lighters.
They produced automobilia accessories.
It was a driving accessory, so that you could light your cigarette
with one hand and drive with the other. Not very safe.
There was a pin broken on it.
I sent it away to Dunhill Cigarette Manufacturers in London
and they refurbished it fully and sent it back to me with no charge.
Oh, gosh, that was very generous, wasn't it?
Also, they offered me £100 to buy it for their museum.
-How long ago was that?
-It's got to have been about 30 years ago.
Well, they've obviously done a very good job of refurbishing it.
You haven't used it, because we've got this very clean...
It's never been used.
So often you find with lighters that they were used,
they've been dented, dropped and trodden on,
and I think, really, to maintain their value, or have any value,
they need to be in excellent condition, which, of course,
the one that we saw was in mint condition.
On the bottom, nice nine carat gold hallmark there, which is also
hallmarked for Dunhill, so we know the case was also made by Dunhill.
From the hallmark, actually, it's dated 1929,
so it's from the late '20s.
Value-wise, we might be looking somewhere in the region
and a firm reserve of 250. How would you feel about that?
-I was thinking more a 300 reserve.
-300 reserve, OK.
So we'll say 300-400, with a reserve of 300.
I hope that's not just a little bit too high.
It might just be, but let's keep our fingers crossed.
Dunhill. The George V nine carat gold
petrol-operated cigarette lighter.
200, thank you. At £200...
-Come on, come on.
240. 60... 280... 300.
-Where's 20? At £300.
-It's sold on the reserve.
All done, then. Selling at £300...
We did it. That's not a bad return on 50 pence. Put it there.
-Pleased with that.
-Good spotting, sir.
-That was a bit tight, wasn't it?
That's auctions for you!
Dunhill really are the name that most collectors want.
There are others, like Ronson, Zippo lighters, of course,
but Dunhill were really the first pioneers
when it came to lighters, so all the collectors want that magic name.
So, a famous name can certainly add to an item's potential value,
but not all the signs are so obvious.
As Caroline Hawley knows, part of the art of sniffing out a bargain
is to look beyond your first impressions.
I bought this in a little antique shop in France.
One of my favourite shops.
And right at the back of the shop I found this
completely covered in dust, dirty, and I fell in love with it.
I asked the price and he said I could have it for 40 euros.
I bought it immediately,
took it home and started cleaning it.
As I cleaned it, all this beautiful inlay came to light.
And now I have it at home and love it.
It looks, to all intents and purposes,
like an ordinary table, with a drawer in the front.
It's ormolu mounted.
Ormolu means "or", which is "gold" in French,
"moulu" - "ground",
and it would be ground gold mixed with mercury into a paste,
applied to metal mounts, and then the metal mounts were heated
and the mercury vaporised, leaving the gold on the metal,
and then it was applied to the furniture.
So this is ormolu mounted and it's actually known as a coiffeuse,
which is a hairdressing table.
"Coiffure" meaning "hairdressing".
Open it up and there's a mirror inside
and the compartments for putting your various accoutrements.
And it dates, I would say, from about 1890, 1900.
And I think this was such a bargain, because today, I think,
in its restored condition, it is probably worth £400-500.
A slice of luck for Caroline and a lesson for all of us.
Despite the competition for bargains,
it's still possible to unearth them.
Seek and ye shall find.
..a quick look at it. It was a bit dirty and whatnot. £5.
I thought, "I've got to buy it." I like things that are pretty.
I bought it at a car boot sale ten years ago.
£10, believe it or not.
-The bottle at £420. All finished.
-£420! That is a sold sound!
-And how much did you pay for this?
-I'm glad I didn't chuck it now!
-I bet you are!
-Crumbs, you must have gone into a jolly nice shop to buy that.
-Go on, tell me what you paid for it.
£400. There you go!
Inspired to sniff out a bargain yourself?
Here are a few things to consider.
Get to the boot sales and jumbles before anyone else.
The early bird really DOES catch the worm!
And rummage! Get on your knees under the table and turn out those boxes.
A little gem might well be hidden.
Look for names and marks.
They might just be the sign of something special.
And, most importantly of all, do your research. A bit of knowledge
can pay dividends.
Well done, you!
But, remember, it's not all about making money.
I suppose that, whether you consider something a bargain
depends on how much you really want it.
If you've not had much luck at a car boot sale,
then console yourself with the thought that,
if you bought something you love, it doesn't really matter
how much you paid for it.
It's one thing picking up a bargain for a handful of loose change,
but when something unexpectedly lands on your lap,
you know your luck's definitely in.
That is certainly true of the case of Ken, who met up with David Barby
and set his heart all a-flutter at a valuation day
I find it extraordinary that we have come on a programme
called Flog It. I think it should be renamed Attic Treasures.
-Because these have come out of your attic.
-How long have they been stuck up there?
-Over 30 years, I think.
Since the '70s, anyway.
'I honestly didn't think the posters were worth anything.'
But we were getting new insulation put in the loft of the house
and we found them again. They were brought out and Joan, me wife,
thought they might be just... worth taking to Flog It.
She was obviously interested in going to Flog It.
Have you tried to sell these before or give them away?
I once offered them to a model railway club,
-and they said, "They're just worthless..."
"..but we'll take them off your hands.
"We might use one or two." But I thought, "No, I'll not bother."
It's only probably recently that these are now appreciated
for what they are -
railwayana art - which is very popular at the moment.
-And these all date from the 1950s and the '60s, I'd imagine?
How did you acquire them?
It was a friend that had asked me to be the executor under his will...
-..and he'd meticulously
left all his possessions to different people
and I got the leftovers, as you call it.
'He'd worked on the railway'
and I'm assuming that's how he'd got the posters.
They'd obviously been used, they'd obviously been on the wall somewhere
of a station, advertising these trips,
'and he must have just collected them,
'because, from what we could make out, they're just bits of paper that,
'after they were done, they were just thrown away. So, I suppose,'
in one sense, they were lucky they survived so long.
These are very evocative of period and the excitement
of travel by train in England
-that has gone.
-Yeah. But the one,
the one that is absolutely knockout, really, is this one here.
If you wanted a winter holiday, you would go to Southport.
This is the best and you've got, probably, about, what, 25 others?
Now, I'm going to suggest that we leave it up to the auctioneer
-to put these posters into various groups.
-Whatever he thinks.
I think we can look favourably to getting -
I'll not get you too excited - but probably about £600-£800.
Oh, blimey! Yeah, well... I'd be more than happy with that!
I hope it's going to make more!
So do I!
When David Barby said maybe up to £600 and odd,
we were quite surprised. Then, when the auctioneer started
looking at them, he thought
maybe one or two of them might be quite a bit valuable.
We've just been joined by Kenneth. He's brought his wife along. Hello!
-What's your name?
-What do you think of all the posters?
-The auctioneer's done us proud. They're all displayed.
He's decided to sell them individually.
I had a chat to him before the sale. He is rather excited.
On a good day, could do a couple of thousand pounds.
And there's a few stars. There's a few stars.
-Joan, we're going to be in the money.
-Yeah, I hope so!
We come on to the first of the railway posters now.
I have 80, on commission.
-85, on the phone. 90.
-It's a good start.
95, 100. With me, now.
Any advance? And selling...
No further bid...
£100. That's the first one down. That's a good start. Great start.
-We've got how many?
The West Highland Line...
With so many separate posters to sell,
the money started totting up,
smashing through David's estimate.
Well, I was stunned.
I even offered to buy me wife fish and chips on the way home!
Oh, you'll get that fish and chips now.
(I can't believe this.)
"Bristol - romantic centre for a delightful holiday."
I've never seen anything like this on Flog It. I really haven't.
'Last was David's favourite. Did the bidders share his enthusiasm?'
The Southport one, an earlier one. This is rather attractive.
2,3 on the phone.
-2,4 on the internet.
-2,4 on the internet. 2,500 I'll take.
£2,600 on the internet now and selling...
£8,000 for all the posters put together. Fantastic!
-I feel like applauding!
-Joan, give us a hug! Oh!
-Thank you very much. You've been wonderful.
Don't spend it all at once, will you?!
£8,000 - incredible!
It allowed Ken to buy something that was a necessity
for a private passion.
The funny thing was that, on the day of the auction,
when we were driving to Kendal, the clutch went on me car.
We barely managed to get there and back home again.
So, I bought myself an old car, a little estate, which I could use
for fishing. It gets me out of the house, fishing.
It's just being out in the fresh air and it's just peaceful
and, in a place like this, it's just nice to be out.
Those railway posters will always be a Flog It highlight for me.
It's great to know that Ken put the proceeds of the sale
to such relaxing use. Well, that's it for today's show.
I hope you've enjoyed watching.
So, please, go out there and have some fun.
Start buying antiques and we'll be back soon with more Trade Secrets.
The Flog It! team tells everything you need to know about picking up bargain antiques and collectables in Trade Secrets.