Reproductions Flog It: Trade Secrets


Reproductions

Antiques series. This episode is dedicated to the decision to restore or not to restore. Paul Martin visits Gwydir Castle in Wales to hear about a restoration project.


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Transcript


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You've been coming to our Flog It! valuation days

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for well over a decade now, and you haven't disappointed.

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And with around 950 shows under our belt

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and thousands of your antiques and collectibles valued,

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you've certainly put our experts through their paces.

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What's in there, then?

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I brought it along for someone to tell ME what it was.

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I have seen these in books before, but never in real life.

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-Commission bid is £500.

-What?!

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HE GASPS

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And now, we want to share some of the knowledge we've

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learned from the items you've shown us.

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Welcome to Trade Secrets.

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There are all sorts of ways in which the novice antique

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buyer can be tripped up. Knowing when to spot something

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that's been restored or when it's a fake is a vital tool.

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So in today's show, we're going to be looking at

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when restoration is a good idea and how not to be taken in by the fakes.

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We'll be looking at collectibles that cause controversy.

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Fake or real? That's the question for Anita.

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I just got a feeling that it wasn't right.

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You could turn a £60 replica into a £600 antique.

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We find out how to avoid being taken in.

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If you spend £120 on something like this, you've lost your money.

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And we see when reproductions can still be the real deal.

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£550.

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Thanks, Mum!

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-Aw!

-You didn't think it was worth that, did you?

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They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

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and that's certainly the case of makers of all fine things.

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They attract copycats.

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But when is a copy a fake, made to deceive,

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and when is it an homage to a master of their art?

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Very often, you can use the word reproduction,

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or you can use the word fake. The fake is an intention to deceive

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someone into thinking that it IS original.

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If something is particularly rare, it could well be a fake.

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If something is in wonderful condition, it could be a fake.

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Caution, I think, is important. Don't act with your heart

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if you're going to regret it with your head later, particularly

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if it's involving laying out quite a lot of money initially.

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It's exciting when a reproduction or fake crosses our tables.

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It adds intrigue, sparks debate and, let's face it -

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our experts love a bit of detective work.

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And these skills can be very useful

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when it comes to antique wood furniture.

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You can often find recent pieces purporting to be much older.

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I've seen many and Philip Serrell came across a perfect

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example in 2005.

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In my eyes, the joint stool was a reproduction

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because it was intended to be a copy of the original.

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-Where did this come from?

-It came from my mother-in-law's house.

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We were quite surprised to find there because she wasn't

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the kind of lady who liked anything that looked old.

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How old do you think this is?

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Well, that's what I was dubious about because it looks...

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-How old do you think it should be?

-I think it should be 1600-something.

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-So this is a 17th-century stool, yeah?

-Yeah.

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What type of stool do we call it?

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-A joint stool?

-A joint stool. And what's it made of?

-Oak?

-Oak.

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Do you want to stand here and have my job?

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If this has been around for the thick end of 300 years,

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wouldn't there be some wear here? More wear?

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'You can't fake age.'

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You don't get to look like this if you're only 20.

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And if you look at a stool that's perhaps only 100 years old,

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you can see that it's not 200 or 300 years old

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because it hasn't been around for long enough.

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People would've sat on this and perhaps put feet on here.

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There'd be more wear here.

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Can you just see that this dark pattern here,

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it almost suddenly stops there, like it's been painted on.

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-Yeah.

-So this is oak, it's almost a joint stool,

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-but I think it's 19th-century, rather than 17th-century.

-Right.

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In terms of value, if this was 17th century, I think it would

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have been £600-900.

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-So I'm afraid we're going to have to take a nought off.

-Oh, well.

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I think we need to put £60-90 and we'll reserve it for you at £50.

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That will ensure that it will sell.

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-And I actually think that represents cracking value for money.

-Yeah.

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-So let's keep our fingers crossed.

-OK.

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So, Philip confirmed Helen's suspicions,

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but did the bidders agree with our expert's estimate?

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40, I have. 45 with me. And 50, sir.

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50. I'll go five and 60 is with you.

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60 and it's there. At £60. Five anywhere else?

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We all done at £60?

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-BANGS GAVEL

-Yeah, hammer's gone down. 60 quid. Spot-on.

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Ooh! That was touch and go for a second, starting at 30 quid.

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Philip was right on the mark.

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If you're going to go and buy from a dealer or an auction room

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a piece of 17th-century furniture,

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first thing you should do is make sure that the receipt

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that you get says 17th century,

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not 17th-century style, or 17th-century manner,

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but it says 17th century.

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And if your catalogue description or the label in the shop doesn't

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say "this is 17th century", circa 16-whatever, take a step back.

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And don't be afraid to ask.

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Because if you don't, you could come unstuck.

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A report that was published in September 2013 alleges that

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a significant amount of antiques that are bought in the UK are fakes.

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Whether that's true or not, it does pay to be on your guard.

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If you're thinking of splashing out some cash on some antiques,

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make sure what you're buying is authentic.

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If the price is too good to be true, it usually is.

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A fascinating period in history is the settling of the American West.

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And inextricably linked with that is the Colt 45 revolver.

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The primary US military sign-on until 1892.

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It's known as the gun that won the West.

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At a valuation day in Glasgow, James Lewis was sure

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he was looking at two famous pieces of Americana.

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The Colt revolver is the archetypal symbol of the American West.

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What are they doing here in the centre of Glasgow?

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Well, I used to collect them many years ago, about 20 years ago,

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but I just decided I've got too many now and want to get rid of some.

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I love the Wild West and I love Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp

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and all that, so for me, there was an interesting history there.

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This one is the Colt Army pattern, this one, the Colt Navy pattern.

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Both of them 1850s, 1870s or so in date.

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Classic six-shot cylinder and both of them have ivory slab-sided grips.

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And here, the wonderful verse - "Be not afraid of any man,

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"No matter what his size,

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"Call on me in your need

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"And I will equalise."

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The verse that was on that handle is one that is very, very famous.

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The Equaliser for the Colt was the one that made them almost iconic.

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The wonderful early colour on this one

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indicates it's never been changed. On this one...

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..I don't know.

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'When it came to those two pieces,'

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the ivory isn't actually the biggest telltale sign because, especially

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with a weapon, you can damage the grips and they can be replaced.

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So the fact that they were paler colour

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just indicated that they could have been replaced.

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But, again, they could quite simply have been put away.

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Values? Do you have anything in mind?

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-Obviously, you know a lot about them.

-Um...

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-I know what they cost me.

-That's a good starting place.

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-What did they cost?

-So, well...

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-I think this one was about 600-something.

-OK.

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-This one, I think, was about 400-something.

-Yeah.

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-Are you happy to put a 600 and a 400 reserve on them?

-Yes.

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And put 4-5 on that. And 6-8 on that. Gives us a fighting chance.

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Right.

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But an Anita Manning's saleroom, research suggested

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there might be more to one of the guns than first appeared.

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When these two guns came in to auction,

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we look at them very carefully. The first one, everything seemed fine.

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When I looked at the second one...

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..I just got a feeling that it wasn't right.

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The handle was too fresh.

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The surface of the barrel just wasn't consistent with it

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being 150 years old. Guns can be a difficult area.

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You have firearms laws which you must comply with.

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So, we looked at that gun more carefully.

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-In the 1960s, they started making replicas in Italy.

-Right, OK.

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Now, these weren't made to be fakes.

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They were meant to be replicas of the item.

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But the marks, the Italian serial marks could quite easily

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-be taken off...

-And then re-stamped.

-..and fake marks put on.

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So you could turn a £60 replica into a £600 antique.

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'So, to be on the safe side,

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'the second gun was withdrawn from the sale.'

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I'm still not 100% sure that it was as wrong as it was said.

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But with guns, you have to be so careful.

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And I agree 100% with what Anita did by withdrawing it

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because if you have an element of doubt, then you must withdraw it.

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We have one in the sale. We're looking at £400-500.

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-Are you happy with that?

-Yes, reasonably happy.

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-Hopefully, we'll get the top end.

-Good.

-That's what we want.

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Here we go.

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-Start at...£300.

-Oh, I thought it was going to be more.

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300 with me. 320.

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350.

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380.

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400.

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420. 450.

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480.

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500.

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The bid's with me. The bid's on the books at £500.

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520, fresh bidder. 550 on the books.

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580. I'm out.

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It's on the floor. At £580.

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Could've belonged to Wild Bill Hickok!

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LAUGHTER

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Or Jesse James!

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580. Any advance on 580?

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All done at 580. 580.

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-Sold. £580. We're happy. You're happy, aren't you?

-Yes, of course.

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Smiles all round.

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Do you know, I sell about 2,000 lots a week.

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Between us, we try and get most things right.

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But have we ever been fooled by a fake? Yeah, of course.

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It happens to the best of us, James!

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High-value items are often copied.

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Most copies aren't done to deceive but to fill a legitimate market.

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And these turn up at our valuation days in all shapes and sizes,

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as Mark Stacey discovered.

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It was my first Flog It! I had no idea what to expect.

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But I wasn't expecting such a large clock coming in, with its pedestal.

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It was a reproduction, but it had high visual appeal.

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This is a very decorative clock and pedestal you've brought in with you.

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-How did you come by this?

-We bought it from a shop.

-When was that?

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-About 42-3 years ago.

-You know, of course, it's a reproduction.

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It's modelled in the style of Louis XVI, French, 18th century.

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But probably made around the time you bought it.

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'Probably one of the biggest reproduced areas is'

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Louis XV, XVI, even XIV, because they're very, very opulent pieces.

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And the originals cost many hundreds of thousands.

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So the style has been reproduced through generations.

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Even though it's a reproduction, we still have to look at the fact

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that the item is very decadent and should sell quite well at auction.

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-Oh, good.

-And do you like French-type furniture?

-Oh, yes!

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-You like the rather flouncy nature of it?

-That's right, yes.

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-Cos it is rather flouncy, this, isn't it?

-Yes.

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The original style of this, we refer to now as rococo. Typically French.

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Over the top. There's shells, there's scrolls, leaf scrollage,

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and probably would've been in tortoise shell.

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-Why are you thinking of selling it now?

-We've moved to a smaller place.

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We had it in the hall and it tends to keep you awake,

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-so we switched the chimes off.

-We shouldn't really do this,

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but wind it on a bit till two and we can have a quick listen.

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CLOCK CHIMES

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Well, a very pretty chime there.

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I've got a clock at home that keeps chiming

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and I turn the wretched thing off cos it wakes me up at night as well.

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But it's still a very decorative-looking clock.

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We'd be looking at an estimate of something like £400-600.

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-Yes.

-Is that something you'd be interested in doing?

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-Yes, I would, yes.

-And hope it makes a striking success at the sale!

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If you're a modest collector

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and you can't afford £200,000 for a Louis XVI clock,

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to pick one up for £300-400, £500-600, is in your budget.

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And it was a very visual clock, very decorative.

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What shall we say to start me, ladies and gentlemen?

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I have two commissions. I start the bidding at £300.

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-What does that mean?

-The bid's left.

-Straight in.

-Oh!

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At 350. Do you have 360?

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At £350 with me.

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That was so short and sweet, but it was over with very quickly.

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Yeah, but it's good.

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-It's gone.

-It's sold. I'm quite pleased with that, actually.

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It's a difficult thing to sell, a reproduction. It's not

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-everybody's cup of tea.

-No, no.

-And we got it over the reserve,

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-which was nice as well.

-That's right. I'm pleased.

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When we talk about something like the Louis XVI period,

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you are talking about manufacturers that were

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producing for the King of France, so the quality is outstanding.

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The reproductions obviously are not going to be like that.

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You can get good reproductions.

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But they will never be like the originals

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and you cannot fake 200 years of age.

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Now, we've all heard of the violin maker Antonio Stradivari

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whose incredible craftsmanship in Cremona, Italy,

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in the 17th and 18th centuries, brought him wealth and fame.

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Since then, hundreds of violin makers have striven to

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emulate his work.

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Some more successfully than others.

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Fortunately, Flog It!'s musical expert, Adam Partridge,

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knows the difference.

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-Well, it belonged to my mother.

-Right.

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It was bought for her when she was about 11, 12 years old.

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OK. Did she play, then?

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-I'm not sure. I've never heard her play it.

-Really?

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-So you've never heard this violin played?

-No.

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Now, I think this is...

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Well, we've got a label inside it, first of all,

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and the label reads Carlo Storioni, registered Cremonensis Faciet, about

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1912, which basically means Carlo Storioni made this in Cremona,

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which is in Italy, of course, in 1912.

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And I'm not sure that's exactly the truth.

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I'm automatically suspicious any time

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I come across any violin with a label

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until I've had a good look at it and assessed whether I think it's

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actually by the label or not, cos there's so much jiggery-pokery

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going on in the violin trade over the centuries.

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Storioni was a family of violin makers dating

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back from the 18th century and they were Cremonese violin makers

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and it's generally accepted that the Cremonese or Cremona-based

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violin makers... It's the home of violin making.

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And they were the best violins.

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So lots of violins pretend to be from Cremona.

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We've sold a few of these Storioni violins that have in fact

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been German.

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There was an eminent maker by the name of Lorenzo Storioni,

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who died in 1799.

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So I think what they're trying to imply with this

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Carlo Storioni that we had here was that perhaps

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he was some connection with the great master, one of the great

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makers of the 18th century, where in fact, there's no connection at all.

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They're almost good enough to be taken as Italian and sometimes

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people think they are Italian and they make quite a good price.

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But I think this is a German example.

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'If my name's Thomas Muller, something typically German,'

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it doesn't sound that glamorous, but if it says Carlo Storioni, you think

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your violin's made by one of the Italian masters, whereas in reality,

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it's just a really decent-quality German workshop violin.

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We've got the table here, the front, which is made from pine.

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Very good condition.

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No cracks, which of course is vital, cos that affects the sound quality.

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And on the back, we have a two-piece back, down the middle there,

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which is made from maple.

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The date we know because that's correct,

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the date of the label, there's nothing wrong with that.

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Have you got any idea what an instrument like this might be worth?

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-None whatsoever.

-None whatsoever? Not even a guess?

-Not even a guess.

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Normally, we'd expect this sort of violin to realise £200-400

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at auction.

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And a reserve of £200. So it doesn't go for less than that.

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I'm convinced it's worth that. And it'll find its value in the sale.

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-What do you think of that?

-Well, it's beyond my expectations.

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-Is it beyond...? I thought you were disappointed for a minute.

-No! No!

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Georgina was a lovely lady and she was visibly moved, I think,

0:19:070:19:11

by the valuation and the hammer price, and that's a real joy.

0:19:110:19:15

That's what makes the job worthwhile.

0:19:150:19:18

120. 140. 160.

0:19:180:19:21

180. 200.

0:19:210:19:24

220.

0:19:250:19:27

240.

0:19:270:19:28

260.

0:19:290:19:31

260. 280.

0:19:310:19:34

300. 320.

0:19:340:19:37

Yeah, this is good.

0:19:370:19:39

340. 360.

0:19:390:19:41

380. 400.

0:19:420:19:45

420. 450.

0:19:460:19:49

480. 500.

0:19:500:19:52

550.

0:19:530:19:54

At 550, are we all done? On Tom's phone at £550.

0:19:540:20:00

Bang - yes! 550 quid.

0:20:000:20:03

-Thanks, Mum!

-Thanks, Mum!

-You didn't think it was worth that, did you?

0:20:030:20:07

No, I didn't think we'd get anywhere near that.

0:20:070:20:09

A wonderful result for Georgina.

0:20:090:20:12

So here are a few things to bear in mind.

0:20:120:20:15

If the Wild West appeals,

0:20:160:20:18

my first suggestion wouldn't be firearms.

0:20:180:20:21

Not only are there strict licensing laws,

0:20:210:20:24

but the fakes on the market can be difficult to spot.

0:20:240:20:28

And, as we've seen in the past,

0:20:280:20:29

there are plenty other fascinating pieces of Americana to collect.

0:20:290:20:33

Reproductions are worth considering -

0:20:350:20:37

they're a good way of owning something in the style

0:20:370:20:39

of a piece that would normally be out of your price bracket.

0:20:390:20:42

And if it's a well-made quality reproduction,

0:20:440:20:46

it can still make a pretty penny at auction,

0:20:460:20:49

as Georgina discovered.

0:20:490:20:51

A clever forger or faker will always manage to convince someone

0:20:540:20:58

that he's looking at the real McCoy.

0:20:580:21:00

So we asked the "Flog It!" team for some sage words of advice

0:21:000:21:05

on how to avoid being taken in.

0:21:050:21:07

These two items are both Staffordshire flatback figures.

0:21:090:21:13

They look fairly similar at first glance.

0:21:130:21:16

One is real and one is a fake.

0:21:160:21:19

But can you tell the which one?

0:21:190:21:22

This one is the fake.

0:21:230:21:25

It has actually been deliberately made to look old.

0:21:250:21:29

If you look closely at this, you'll see it's crazed all over

0:21:290:21:34

and that's done to make it look old,

0:21:340:21:38

so it's got far more crazing than the original piece.

0:21:380:21:41

This original one can be top hundreds, I would say,

0:21:410:21:47

whereas this can be bought in the UK now for £10 or less.

0:21:470:21:54

Is this really a milk jug

0:21:540:21:57

or might it have been something else?

0:21:570:22:00

It is, in fact, a christening mug that has been converted.

0:22:000:22:05

And it's been converted by the addition of this spout.

0:22:050:22:10

What's particularly worrying is that the spout is not hallmarked,

0:22:100:22:15

which means it's an illegal conversion

0:22:150:22:18

and as an illegal conversion, we can't sell it.

0:22:180:22:21

It's as simple as that. So it's valueless.

0:22:210:22:25

If you spent £120 on something like this,

0:22:250:22:28

you've lost your money.

0:22:280:22:29

I think this is a lovely painting, actually,

0:22:290:22:32

and it's signed LS Lowry, the signature looks good,

0:22:320:22:35

the subject looks quite good, too.

0:22:350:22:37

It's very much in his style, with thick layers of paint, etc.

0:22:370:22:41

But I'm not convinced it's a genuine one, I'm afraid.

0:22:410:22:46

One of the things with Lowry

0:22:460:22:47

is you'll never really, fully know 100%,

0:22:470:22:50

whether it's absolutely genuine

0:22:500:22:52

unless you've got a cast-iron provenance

0:22:520:22:54

linking it to Lowry himself.

0:22:540:22:57

So, at the moment, it's "Style of LS Lowry", £500-£700,

0:22:570:23:02

but if it was the real thing, and we could prove it,

0:23:020:23:05

I'd have thought it would be £30,000-£50,000.

0:23:050:23:08

This is, ostensibly, a little Georgian dessertspoon

0:23:100:23:13

that dates to London 1790

0:23:130:23:15

by the partnership of George Smith.

0:23:150:23:17

And I bought it at an auction because I felt

0:23:170:23:19

there was something just slightly...awry with the hallmark.

0:23:190:23:23

When it came, I was delighted to find out

0:23:230:23:25

that it's not actually a genuine Georgian spoon, but it's a fake.

0:23:250:23:29

But it's not a modern fake.

0:23:290:23:31

It was made by famous forgers at the late Victorian period

0:23:310:23:35

Lyon and Twinam.

0:23:350:23:36

Consequently, this,

0:23:360:23:38

as a Victorian forgery of a Georgian spoon,

0:23:380:23:42

is actually rarer than the Georgian spoon itself.

0:23:420:23:45

I wouldn't legally be able to sell this.

0:23:450:23:48

I can own it, that's fine.

0:23:480:23:50

But if I wanted to sell it,

0:23:500:23:52

I'd have to submit it to the Goldsmith's Hall,

0:23:520:23:54

to the Antique Plate Committee.

0:23:540:23:56

They'd consider it,

0:23:560:23:57

they'd come to the conclusion that it's an 1890s forgery

0:23:570:24:02

and they'd erase the marks here

0:24:020:24:03

and either offer me the value of the silver on the day

0:24:030:24:07

or return it to me, hallmarked, with modern marks.

0:24:070:24:09

The sad thing is then, of course, you've lost the history of it.

0:24:090:24:13

100 years ago, Kilburn in North Yorkshire

0:24:160:24:19

was home to a man whose work regular Flog It! viewers will recognise.

0:24:190:24:23

Thank you so much for coming in. You have made my day.

0:24:230:24:27

It's a Robert "Mouseman" Thompson, little joint stool.

0:24:270:24:32

Original pieces by Robert Thompson, the Mouseman,

0:24:320:24:35

can command huge prices in the saleroom.

0:24:350:24:37

But perhaps less well-known is the work of his apprentices,

0:24:370:24:41

the so-called Yorkshire Critters.

0:24:410:24:44

Flog It! expert Caroline Hawley

0:24:490:24:51

had the pleasure of returning to her home county to find out more.

0:24:510:24:55

The Yorkshire Critters are a bunch of craftsmen

0:24:570:25:00

who make solid oak pieces of furniture

0:25:000:25:03

all with their own individual critters on them.

0:25:030:25:05

There's the Lizardman, the Rabbitman,

0:25:050:25:09

the Gnomeman, the Wrenman, to name but a few.

0:25:090:25:12

But they all hark back to the originator,

0:25:120:25:15

which was Robert "Mouseman" Thompson,

0:25:150:25:17

based in Kilburn.

0:25:170:25:18

And I'm here today to see some of his furniture.

0:25:180:25:21

I'm so thrilled to see it, as a Yorkshire lass, born and bred -

0:25:210:25:25

there isn't a Yorkshireman worth his salt

0:25:250:25:27

that hasn't heard of Mouseman.

0:25:270:25:29

Robert "Mouseman" Thompson was born in 1876

0:25:320:25:35

and dedicated his life to the art of making English oak furniture.

0:25:350:25:40

Using traditional tools,

0:25:410:25:43

he made furniture in the style of the 17th century.

0:25:430:25:47

And it's his great-grandson, Ian Thompson-Cartwright,

0:25:470:25:50

who's showing Caroline around today.

0:25:500:25:54

This is where it all starts, with the raw material.

0:25:540:25:56

Yes, it is.

0:25:560:25:57

Those are our oak logs that have been purchased in the British Isles and...

0:25:570:26:03

-You call that a log?

-That is a log, yes.

0:26:030:26:05

That particular one is about 300 years old.

0:26:050:26:08

I'm going to take you to the workshop so we can see what happens next

0:26:080:26:12

after we get our hands on the tree.

0:26:120:26:15

-Thank you.

-Come on.

0:26:150:26:17

What we see here, Caroline,

0:26:270:26:29

it's one of our Thompson traits, or Mouseman traits -

0:26:290:26:32

it's the adzed surface on the tops of the tables.

0:26:320:26:35

We create this with one of the oldest carpenters' tools in existence.

0:26:350:26:39

It's called the adze.

0:26:390:26:40

It's like an axe blade, but the blade is the other way on.

0:26:400:26:43

What you get is a lot of undulations -

0:26:430:26:45

it's almost like beaten copper or a honeycomb effect.

0:26:450:26:49

After he's adzed it by hand, he'll then have to scrape it by hand

0:26:490:26:54

and then, of course, it has to be sanded by hand.

0:26:540:26:56

So very, very labour-intensive.

0:26:560:26:58

How long would it take Dave to do a table this size?

0:26:580:27:02

There would be about four hours in total, half a day,

0:27:020:27:05

to adze and sand and scrape the top.

0:27:050:27:07

So, Ian, how do you spot a genuine piece of Mouseman?

0:27:110:27:15

-Are there signs that I can look for?

-Yes, there are.

0:27:150:27:17

We've been using certain designs for over 100 years.

0:27:170:27:23

One of them is the octagonal leg -

0:27:230:27:25

that shape has been used for literally over 100 years here.

0:27:250:27:29

It was one of Great-Grandfather's early designs.

0:27:290:27:32

It's timeless, really, isn't it? The methods you use and...

0:27:330:27:37

It's very arts and craft.

0:27:370:27:38

The most obvious way to tell any of our pieces of furniture

0:27:560:27:59

is by the mouse trademark.

0:27:590:28:01

Great-Grandfather was working on a piece of furniture

0:28:010:28:03

with a fellow craftsmen

0:28:030:28:05

and the fellow craftsman happened to mention he thought they were both as poor as church mice.

0:28:050:28:09

He thought how alike he was -

0:28:090:28:10

the church mouse is working away with its chisel-like teeth

0:28:100:28:13

and no-one knows what it's up to.

0:28:130:28:15

And here was he, working away on the edge of the Hambleton hills,

0:28:150:28:18

and really not making a song and dance about it.

0:28:180:28:21

So, consequently,

0:28:210:28:22

the mouse has appeared on every piece of furniture ever since then.

0:28:220:28:25

Adam is actually creating a mouse on the inside of a fruit bowl, here,

0:28:250:28:31

and he's busy carving the ear at the moment.

0:28:310:28:34

I thought Caroline would maybe like to put

0:28:340:28:36

the indentation into the earlobe, there.

0:28:360:28:41

Really?! Once it's been taken out, you can't put it back in!

0:28:410:28:45

Oh, gosh - something's coming off! Oh, no!

0:28:450:28:49

-This one's going to have big ears!

-Yes, very big ears!

0:28:510:28:54

-We have an ear.

-Oh, wow - thank you!

-No problem.

0:28:550:28:58

-Adam will show you how we put the tail in as well.

-Sure.

0:28:580:29:01

One of the beauties of Mouseman things, to me,

0:29:010:29:04

is that every mouse is unique.

0:29:040:29:06

It's the same as asking 25 people to sign a signature -

0:29:080:29:11

everybody's is going to be slightly different.

0:29:110:29:13

The same with a mouse -

0:29:130:29:15

it's their own interpretation of a mouse.

0:29:150:29:18

So we can tell who's carved what by the style and shape of the mouse.

0:29:180:29:22

Can you recognise your own mice, Adam, after you've done them?

0:29:220:29:25

-Yeah, very easily.

-Can you?

0:29:250:29:27

As you can see, we've got a rather nice fireplace,

0:29:400:29:43

which was Great-Grandfather's,

0:29:430:29:44

but this particular mantelpiece he carved himself.

0:29:440:29:48

Interesting to note the mice on here,

0:29:480:29:50

which have got front legs with raised heads - very early mice.

0:29:500:29:54

These are from the early '20s, because they were streamlined -

0:29:540:29:57

we lost the legs in the later '20s.

0:29:570:29:59

So it's a good way of dating early pieces of furniture.

0:29:590:30:02

And the patternation on this oak is just gorgeous.

0:30:020:30:06

Everybody that wants to come in wants to rub it.

0:30:060:30:09

I've been thinking about the Yorkshire Critters,

0:30:090:30:11

who actually imitate your great-grandfather's work -

0:30:110:30:15

do you ever have people that deliberately, out-and-out,

0:30:150:30:18

try and fake or imitate, copy?

0:30:180:30:21

We have in the past.

0:30:210:30:22

We had a case not too long ago where we had 250 cow stools

0:30:220:30:28

that were made in China, brought back into the UK

0:30:280:30:32

and then were distributed quite quickly

0:30:320:30:34

and ended up being offered for sale on the internet

0:30:340:30:39

-and through auction houses the length and breadth of the UK.

-Gosh.

0:30:390:30:43

We've got an example here that I'd like to show you -

0:30:430:30:45

this is the genuine item.

0:30:450:30:47

-Yeah.

-This is a milking stool, our cow stool, with three legs.

0:30:470:30:51

We never make a milking stool with a jointed top.

0:30:510:30:54

-It's out of one solid piece.

-Yes.

0:30:540:30:56

-And obviously, the mouse is carved out of the sold as well.

-Hm.

0:30:560:30:59

But the ones that were coming in from China

0:30:590:31:01

were made out of three and four pieces

0:31:010:31:04

and the mice weren't carved by hand.

0:31:040:31:06

They were actually carved on a CNC router.

0:31:060:31:09

So without knowing what the original is like,

0:31:090:31:12

seeing and handling the original,

0:31:120:31:15

I'd presume the machine-made copy, at first glance,

0:31:150:31:19

to an untrained eye, would have looked roughly all right.

0:31:190:31:22

Well, I mean, we're in a fortunate position,

0:31:220:31:24

because we can verify our own work.

0:31:240:31:26

People can always send images in to us here at Kilburn

0:31:260:31:30

and we'll verify the authenticity of the piece.

0:31:300:31:34

Ian, thank you so much for today. I have enjoyed myself enormously

0:31:340:31:40

and I really have learned an awful lot about Mouseman.

0:31:400:31:44

I could stop here all night.

0:31:440:31:45

The prices are really fascinating -

0:31:480:31:51

it's just dependant on what type of critter

0:31:510:31:54

is on your piece of furniture.

0:31:540:31:56

There was a Mouseman dresser that made 3,500,

0:31:560:32:00

but a dresser in the very same style, almost identical,

0:32:000:32:05

but with a rabbit on, made £1,400.

0:32:050:32:08

That's a huge difference in price,

0:32:080:32:10

but it all harks back to the originator,

0:32:100:32:13

Robert "Mousey" Thompson -

0:32:130:32:15

that is the one to look for

0:32:150:32:16

if you want the best and the most expensive.

0:32:160:32:19

But they're all fascinating - wonderful field to collect.

0:32:190:32:23

Still to come, we see what happens when an antique has been restored.

0:32:300:32:34

I've got a bit of bad news for you.

0:32:350:32:37

And we find out how to become restoration savvy.

0:32:370:32:41

The best way of learning the lesson

0:32:410:32:44

is to buy a piece that you think is perfect

0:32:440:32:46

and you subsequently discover it's restored,

0:32:460:32:48

cos you'll never forget that one.

0:32:480:32:50

And discover what the bidders make of a recently restored heirloom.

0:32:500:32:54

You're on the phone, you're out...

0:32:540:32:56

The hammer's gone down - yes!

0:32:560:32:57

Your husband had a good eye, didn't he?

0:32:570:32:59

At our valuation days,

0:33:040:33:05

the restoration we see is usually so good,

0:33:050:33:08

you can barely spot it.

0:33:080:33:09

Back in 2010, I took a trip to the foothills of Snowdonia

0:33:110:33:15

to find out about a monumental restoration job everybody can see

0:33:150:33:20

at Gwydir Castle -

0:33:200:33:22

one of the finest Tudor houses in Wales.

0:33:220:33:24

A house like this just echoes of the past.

0:33:280:33:31

The walls permeate history.

0:33:310:33:33

You can't help yourself - you want to touch them and soak it all up.

0:33:330:33:36

It was once a fortified house.

0:33:360:33:38

The castle was the ancestral home of the powerful Wynn baronets,

0:33:380:33:42

a significant family in North Wales

0:33:420:33:44

throughout the Tudor and Stewart period.

0:33:440:33:47

Today, as you can see, the house has evolved over the centuries,

0:33:470:33:50

but inside, it's full of character and charm and atmosphere -

0:33:500:33:53

all the perfect ingredients for a fairy tale.

0:33:530:33:56

This modern-day fairy tale started in 1994,

0:33:580:34:01

when a young couple - Judy Corbett and Peter Welford -

0:34:010:34:05

followed their dreams.

0:34:050:34:06

Throwing caution to the wind, they bought Gwydir

0:34:060:34:08

with the money they raised

0:34:080:34:10

from the sale of an inherited cottage and a bank loan.

0:34:100:34:13

It was totally dilapidated at the time -

0:34:130:34:15

a crumbling ruin with a wild, overgrown garden.

0:34:150:34:18

With the help of the Welsh Historic Monuments Agency,

0:34:190:34:22

they started what will probably end up being their lifetime's work -

0:34:220:34:26

its restoration.

0:34:260:34:28

I'm going inside to catch up with Judy to find out all about it.

0:34:300:34:33

What was it like when you first came here?

0:34:350:34:37

Um...it was pretty derelict, yeah - roofless in parts,

0:34:370:34:41

horses and chickens living in here.

0:34:410:34:43

-Really? In this particular room?

-Yes.

0:34:430:34:45

Yes, it was really quite bad.

0:34:450:34:48

Obviously, no plumbing or wiring to speak of.

0:34:480:34:50

I had a walk around the grounds before I came in

0:34:500:34:53

and they're beautifully landscaped now.

0:34:530:34:55

Lots of formal plantings, lots of clipped yew and box -

0:34:550:34:58

gradually, it's all coming back together.

0:34:580:34:59

There's one particular tale I know you haven't mentioned yet

0:35:030:35:05

and that's how you managed to do a bit of detective work

0:35:050:35:08

on your dining room.

0:35:080:35:10

Yes. A neighbour turned up with a sale catalogue...

0:35:100:35:13

-Of the contents of this castle.

-The contents of the castle from 1921.

0:35:130:35:19

Basically, to cut a very long story short,

0:35:190:35:22

it transpired that William Randolph Hearst,

0:35:220:35:24

whom you'll know as Citizen Kane, in the famous film,

0:35:240:35:27

had bought two rooms of the sale here in 1921.

0:35:270:35:31

The rooms had been destined for San Simeon in California,

0:35:310:35:34

the castle he was building for himself here.

0:35:340:35:36

We started doing some detective work and, gradually,

0:35:360:35:39

traced the room to the Metropolitan Museum in New York

0:35:390:35:43

and that is where we found it.

0:35:430:35:45

Was it on display, or was it just in storage?

0:35:450:35:47

It was actually still in its packing crates from 1921.

0:35:470:35:51

-They'd never done anything with it?

-Never done anything with it.

0:35:510:35:54

Were they pleased to sell it back to you?

0:35:540:35:56

Well, it took us two years to negotiate with them.

0:35:560:35:59

We went over to New York to see the room, in fact,

0:35:590:36:01

and went to this extraordinary house in the Bronx.

0:36:010:36:04

-This whole new world was opening up for you.

-Yes.

0:36:040:36:06

There, in the middle of it, was our panelled room,

0:36:060:36:09

and they literally gave us a hammer and chisel, and said,

0:36:090:36:12

"Go ahead and open the crates."

0:36:120:36:14

And the most astonishing thing was,

0:36:140:36:15

when we started opening the crates and saw this amazing room,

0:36:150:36:19

it still smells of Gwydir, after all those years, 75 years.

0:36:190:36:23

Only you know what that smell is, really.

0:36:230:36:25

It moved us enormously, just to have that piece of..

0:36:250:36:28

-Did you have a tear in your eye?

-I did, I'm afraid.

0:36:280:36:30

Can I have a look, do you mind?

0:36:300:36:31

Yes. Here is...

0:36:310:36:33

Of course, all the furniture, all the contents were sold.

0:36:330:36:36

-All the contents went.

-Why was there a big house sale?

0:36:360:36:39

Hard to say - 1921, just after the war.

0:36:390:36:42

Money was tight, no heir -

0:36:420:36:45

same old story, it was happening all over Britain.

0:36:450:36:47

-Was that the start, really, of the decline?

-Yes.

0:36:470:36:50

I mean, in Sir John Wynn's day, the estate was huge -

0:36:500:36:53

the deer park alone was 36,000 acres.

0:36:530:36:56

It was a massive estate.

0:36:560:36:57

So this is lot 88, the remarkably fine 17th-century panelling.

0:36:590:37:04

How much did it sell for back then?

0:37:040:37:06

Ah, well, quite a lot of money, actually.

0:37:060:37:08

Something like 1,000 guineas, which is a lot of money.

0:37:080:37:11

But it attracted a lot of attention.

0:37:110:37:13

Was it a puzzle, putting it back together?

0:37:130:37:15

Or was it all carefully marked, joint-to-joint?

0:37:150:37:17

Unfortunately not -

0:37:170:37:18

that's why it made our job that much more difficult.

0:37:180:37:21

It was very hard because they came in great big sheets of panelling and...

0:37:210:37:25

There are very loose markings on the back,

0:37:250:37:27

but we were really working from just the sale catalogue,

0:37:270:37:30

these sepia photographs.

0:37:300:37:32

Whilst we were working on the room, we hardly left the place for two years.

0:37:320:37:35

It was that intense, really,

0:37:350:37:36

just making sure everything went back together again.

0:37:360:37:39

You really live and breathe this.

0:37:390:37:40

Yes! We're very passionate about it and love it very much.

0:37:400:37:44

Gosh, here we are.

0:38:050:38:07

Wow. I love the carvings, I love the trailing ivy with the grapes.

0:38:070:38:11

Yeah, they're very intricate and very elaborate.

0:38:110:38:15

When was that carved? When was this made?

0:38:150:38:17

Well, the panelling was made for this space

0:38:170:38:19

in about 1640 for Sir Richard Wynn

0:38:190:38:21

and then it's been embellished and played with a bit over the centuries,

0:38:210:38:25

but really, yeah, 1640.

0:38:250:38:26

Was the leather panelling part of the package out the crate as well?

0:38:260:38:30

Yes, everything came back except the moveable furniture,

0:38:300:38:33

so even the window shutters came back.

0:38:330:38:36

And this leather frieze up here is actually quite important.

0:38:360:38:40

When it came back from America, it was completely black.

0:38:400:38:42

We took advice from the V&A

0:38:420:38:44

and they said the best thing to clean it with is spit.

0:38:440:38:47

So we spent six months, I'm afraid...

0:38:470:38:49

And a lot of spit later, it now shines.

0:38:490:38:53

But we both ended up with very bad sore throats at the end.

0:38:530:38:55

What a wonderful tale.

0:38:550:38:57

It's a great detective story, isn't it?

0:38:570:38:59

Another little piece is that,

0:38:590:39:01

if William Randolph Hearst hadn't bought this room,

0:39:010:39:03

it would have burned in a fire the following year,

0:39:030:39:05

so we're very grateful to him, also.

0:39:050:39:08

To restore or not to restore?

0:39:120:39:14

That's the quandary that presents itself

0:39:140:39:16

to lovers of all antiques and collectables.

0:39:160:39:19

Damage can detract from an item's appeal,

0:39:190:39:22

yet it's true to say collectors prefer authenticity.

0:39:220:39:26

Now, clearly, there are arguments for and against,

0:39:260:39:30

so if you haven't quite yet made your mind up, maybe we can help.

0:39:300:39:33

If you have a teapot, and the spout's broken,

0:39:390:39:41

I wouldn't necessarily have the spout restored,

0:39:410:39:44

just so you can sell the teapot,

0:39:440:39:46

because you might find there is an imbalance

0:39:460:39:48

between outlay and suitable income.

0:39:480:39:50

Restoration is always acceptable.

0:39:500:39:55

But, you have to mention

0:39:550:39:57

that it's been done.

0:39:570:39:59

The best way of learning the lesson is to buy a piece

0:39:590:40:03

that you think is perfect and subsequently discover is restored.

0:40:030:40:07

Cos you'll never forget that one.

0:40:070:40:08

We see all types of restored items on Flog It!.

0:40:100:40:13

For some, the restoration comes as an unwelcome surprise.

0:40:130:40:17

In other cases,

0:40:170:40:18

the objects have been lovingly restored by the people we meet.

0:40:180:40:22

Claire Rawle had the pleasure of the latter at a valuation

0:40:220:40:25

day in Hertfordshire.

0:40:250:40:28

My husband bought it, we reckon, about 20 years ago, not quite sure,

0:40:280:40:31

for scrap at an antique fair for £15.

0:40:310:40:36

And then he took it to a local watchmaker man and he said,

0:40:360:40:40

"It's worth repairing,"

0:40:400:40:41

so we spent about £350, which seemed a lot of money then.

0:40:410:40:46

So we'd be interested in knowing a bit more about it.

0:40:460:40:49

Right. It's a lovely thing.

0:40:490:40:51

This watch had been very, very sympathetically done.

0:40:510:40:54

Basically, the restorer had restored the movement and made it work,

0:40:540:40:58

which is what you expect them to do,

0:40:580:41:00

but hadn't gone in for polishing and cleaning

0:41:000:41:02

and tidying up of the dial and the hands, which spoils it completely.

0:41:020:41:07

If you open it up, nice set of hallmarks inside,

0:41:070:41:10

which gave you the date - 1838.

0:41:100:41:13

The thing I really love is when you get into the back and you

0:41:130:41:16

open this last cover, and there we have just the back of the movement.

0:41:160:41:21

Beautifully made, quite understated, but you've got

0:41:210:41:24

this nice engraved cog here, which covers the escapement inside.

0:41:240:41:29

Most people that buy watches, don't expect them to be working.

0:41:290:41:33

They'll either do it themselves or they get it done professionally.

0:41:330:41:36

There are very few people that will ask, "Does it work?"

0:41:360:41:39

The one thing they will ask is whether it ticks,

0:41:390:41:42

because that means that the mainspring is still working.

0:41:420:41:44

So, as long as that still goes, it's got more value.

0:41:440:41:48

I think anybody who knows anything about chronometers would

0:41:480:41:50

look at that and think, "That's really nice."

0:41:500:41:53

£500-£600.

0:41:530:41:55

-Oh, really?

-Yeah, I think so.

0:41:550:41:58

The more I look at it, the more I think it'll do very well.

0:41:580:42:02

I think if you put a £500 reserve on it, fix it...

0:42:020:42:06

-Right. Right.

-Is that OK?

-Yes, that's fine.

0:42:060:42:09

Estimate £500-£600, and, yeah, I think it should go well.

0:42:090:42:14

It was lovely that it was in working order.

0:42:140:42:17

I think it probably put a little bit on but not a tremendous amount.

0:42:170:42:20

It was a good watch anyway.

0:42:200:42:21

This is where it gets interesting.

0:42:210:42:24

This is the beauty of an auction - anything can happen!

0:42:240:42:26

-Could have a big surprise.

-Hopefully.

0:42:260:42:28

There we are - lot 216.

0:42:280:42:30

We ought to be close to 500 for this one.

0:42:300:42:32

300 bid. Thank you, sir.

0:42:320:42:34

300 I'm bid. 400, he says. 400 I am bid.

0:42:340:42:37

500 we're bid for it.

0:42:370:42:39

At 500.

0:42:390:42:40

You're going well. Are you going to finish?

0:42:400:42:42

At 500, then, I'm going to have to sell it.

0:42:420:42:45

£500...

0:42:450:42:47

-Thank you very much.

-I'm happy with that £500.

0:42:470:42:50

Yes, it's wonderful. From £15 it's not bad.

0:42:500:42:52

Yes. And you got the money back from the repairs,

0:42:520:42:55

and you've had all these years of enjoyment and use.

0:42:550:42:58

Absolutely.

0:42:580:42:59

I think you need to be very careful

0:42:590:43:01

if you're thinking of restoring a pocket watch.

0:43:010:43:03

An awful lot of them, actually, are not worth restoring because

0:43:030:43:07

the cost of restoring is totally going to outweigh its value.

0:43:070:43:11

Where you've got a nice one, then, yes,

0:43:110:43:13

you want to think about having it restored.

0:43:130:43:15

Less called-on for pocket watches,

0:43:170:43:19

an area where restoration is more commonly seen,

0:43:190:43:22

is with Royal Worcester china, which was established in 1751.

0:43:220:43:27

Because of the pottery's vast output,

0:43:280:43:30

and the popularity with collectors of this fragile porcelain,

0:43:300:43:33

restored pieces often crop up.

0:43:330:43:35

Some even have replacement parts.

0:43:360:43:39

The trick is,

0:43:390:43:41

as our own Worcester-born boy Philip Serrell knows, is spotting it.

0:43:410:43:45

I just wanted to know if it was genuine, actually.

0:43:450:43:48

Why do you want to know if it's genuine?

0:43:480:43:50

We bought it from a national exhibition centre,

0:43:500:43:53

and I liked it because of the roses - I'm a roses person,

0:43:530:43:57

a pink person, and really fell in love with it.

0:43:570:44:00

And after I'd bought it I just wondered if it was genuine.

0:44:000:44:03

This is shape number 1286, and it's called a crown top potpourri.

0:44:030:44:07

And it's got this dot system that started in 1891,

0:44:070:44:11

and there are 16 dots there.

0:44:110:44:13

So we can date this quite precisely to 1907.

0:44:130:44:16

It just strikes me as being a little bit odd.

0:44:160:44:19

Can you see this is like an ivory

0:44:190:44:22

and what we call shot silk decoration in those intervals there?

0:44:220:44:25

-Yes.

-And yet there it's totally different.

0:44:250:44:28

I have thought that myself...

0:44:280:44:30

And I just wonder whether it may have been that this

0:44:300:44:34

cover has been a replacement at some point in time.

0:44:340:44:38

-Yes.

-I think Pat was spot-on, really,

0:44:380:44:42

and it goes back to this thing about trusting your eyes.

0:44:420:44:44

If you look at that, you can see that the rim around the bottom

0:44:440:44:48

of the top didn't quite match the rim around the base.

0:44:480:44:52

That should tell you that, perhaps, something doesn't quite marry up.

0:44:520:44:55

So I think she was spot-on with her instincts that top

0:44:550:44:57

and bottom didn't quite match.

0:44:570:44:59

How much did you pay for it?

0:44:590:45:01

We think about 180.

0:45:010:45:03

I think it will show you a profit on that,

0:45:030:45:05

providing there's no restoration and everything's A-OK on that.

0:45:050:45:09

My estimate for it would probably be £200-£400.

0:45:090:45:11

I'd put a reserve on it of £200, on the basis that it's not restored.

0:45:110:45:16

It looks very crisp around here - it looks OK,

0:45:160:45:18

but it's difficult in these lights.

0:45:180:45:20

If you're buying a perfect piece for a perfect price, that's fine.

0:45:200:45:23

If you're buying a restored piece for a restored price, that's fine.

0:45:230:45:27

What you don't want to be doing is buying a restored piece

0:45:270:45:30

for a perfect price.

0:45:300:45:31

And restoration can be that good that a dealer or an auctioneer

0:45:310:45:36

just might not spot it.

0:45:360:45:38

As you can imagine,

0:45:380:45:40

we were all intrigued to see what the sale room made of Pat's vase.

0:45:400:45:44

I've been all over this, top to toe, it's absolutely sound.

0:45:440:45:48

There is not a problem at all.

0:45:480:45:50

Is the cover right for the pot?

0:45:500:45:51

That's where we fall down.

0:45:510:45:53

It is, what we've termed in the catalogue, an associated cover.

0:45:530:45:56

It has a marginal effect on the price, but not phenomenal,

0:45:560:46:00

because, at the end of the day, these things are rare.

0:46:000:46:03

These are very expensive and also, for anyone out there,

0:46:030:46:06

if you've got a smashed pot and got the cover,

0:46:060:46:08

don't sling it out, because people are desperate to buy the covers -

0:46:080:46:11

these are often the first thing that gets broken.

0:46:110:46:14

-We're going to sell, no problem.

-Going to sell it?

0:46:140:46:16

Oh, yeah. It's just that cover that's just going to hold it back.

0:46:160:46:19

But did the Royal Worcester collectors agree?

0:46:190:46:22

-I open at £450.

-Yes!

0:46:220:46:25

£450 on a maiden bid clears everybody else.

0:46:250:46:28

I've got 450 on my right.

0:46:280:46:29

Do I hear 460 in the room?

0:46:290:46:31

It's on a commission bid then - opening and closing at £450.

0:46:320:46:36

All sure? All done?

0:46:360:46:38

Hammer's gone down. Short and sweet - £450.

0:46:390:46:42

Great result - top end of Philip's estimate.

0:46:430:46:46

Although the lid wasn't a perfect match,

0:46:470:46:50

the fragile nature of Royal Worcester means associated covers

0:46:500:46:54

are more accepted by collectors.

0:46:540:46:56

However, if you want to avoid a restored piece,

0:46:560:46:59

Philip has a top tip.

0:46:590:47:01

If you go to an antique fair or you go to an auction room

0:47:010:47:05

and you see people picking up pieces of porcelain and biting it,

0:47:050:47:10

they're checking for restoration.

0:47:100:47:11

Now, if a pot has been restored and you bite into it,

0:47:110:47:14

it's just like biting into soap

0:47:140:47:16

and you almost feel like it's going to come away in your mouth.

0:47:160:47:20

If you bite onto a piece that's not been restored,

0:47:200:47:23

it's like biting on a piece of glass, it's really quite hard.

0:47:230:47:25

That's a way of looking for restoration.

0:47:250:47:28

But of course, in the world of ceramics, other big

0:47:280:47:31

names like Moorcroft also have a low threshold for bumps and scrapes.

0:47:310:47:36

The joy of Moorcroft is it's fairly easy to restore,

0:47:370:47:40

because a lot of the ground colours are very plain.

0:47:400:47:44

So you can get a big chunk out and it's just blue.

0:47:440:47:47

So to restore a lot of Moorcroft is very easy.

0:47:470:47:51

And the financial benefits are really good.

0:47:510:47:55

Easily-disguised restoration,

0:47:550:47:57

though, can come as a bit of a shock,

0:47:570:48:00

as Jim and Betty found out in 2010, with their Moorcroft trinket dish.

0:48:000:48:05

Thank you so much for bringing this little trinket dish along.

0:48:050:48:08

Now, you must know a little bit about it if you watch Flog It!.

0:48:080:48:12

I think it might be 1930s.

0:48:120:48:15

Absolutely spot-on. And do you know the name of the pattern?

0:48:150:48:18

-Not really. Is it Mushroom...?

-Nearly! No, Mushroom is Claremont.

0:48:200:48:24

This is Hazeldene.

0:48:240:48:26

It's very similar.

0:48:260:48:28

If we turn it over, there we've got the "made in England",

0:48:280:48:31

which tells you it's made after 1925.

0:48:310:48:34

"Potter to HM The Queen."

0:48:340:48:36

So that would have been Queen Mary.

0:48:360:48:39

And the W Moorcroft facsimile signature there.

0:48:390:48:42

So, a little dish that is very sought-after at auction.

0:48:420:48:46

I love this Hazeldene pattern,

0:48:460:48:48

especially with the sunset-red ground to it.

0:48:480:48:50

I've got a bit of bad news for you.

0:48:560:48:58

It's been restored at some stage.

0:48:590:49:02

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it has been done.

0:49:040:49:08

It looks like a 15 or 20-year-old restoration -

0:49:080:49:10

it's starting to show through.

0:49:100:49:12

When restoration's done when it's brand-new,

0:49:120:49:14

it's very difficult to tell.

0:49:140:49:16

The restoration fades and it doesn't last,

0:49:160:49:19

so you might think you've restored something

0:49:190:49:21

and spent £100 restoring it for ever, it's not the case.

0:49:210:49:26

The restoration will come back and it will change in time,

0:49:260:49:30

so you'll have to do it again.

0:49:300:49:32

-Is it a family piece?

-No.

-Where'd you find that?

0:49:320:49:35

-Well, where did we pick that up, Jim?

-At a boot sale.

0:49:350:49:39

-How much did you pay for it?

-£2.

0:49:390:49:42

Well, for £2, you know, it's still a great buy at £2.

0:49:420:49:47

If it had been perfect, I think your £2 would have transformed into £200.

0:49:470:49:54

With the restoration, you've still made a really good investment,

0:49:550:49:59

cos I still think it's going to make 60-100.

0:49:590:50:02

-Brilliant, eh?

-That's still all right, isn't it?

0:50:020:50:05

-That's more than I thought initially, you know.

-Great.

0:50:050:50:07

Just thought it was just a wee dish.

0:50:070:50:09

Well, it is a wee dish, but it's a great wee dish.

0:50:090:50:13

If you've got a rare piece of Moorcroft,

0:50:130:50:15

and you can't afford 5,000 for the perfect one, you can

0:50:150:50:19

sell it for 2,000 and get one that's damaged.

0:50:190:50:22

But because Moorcroft is so easy to restore, it will look fabulous.

0:50:220:50:27

And the potential to make restored Moorcroft look as good as new

0:50:270:50:31

might explain what unfolded in the sale room.

0:50:310:50:34

The very nice Moorcroft flambe-designed pin tray.

0:50:360:50:40

And I've two very close bids...

0:50:400:50:42

I'm going to start it at £210.

0:50:430:50:45

210. 210. 210.

0:50:450:50:48

210.

0:50:480:50:49

220.

0:50:490:50:50

240.

0:50:510:50:54

260.

0:50:540:50:55

280.

0:50:550:50:57

300. 320.

0:50:570:50:59

20 against you.

0:51:000:51:01

340.

0:51:060:51:08

360.

0:51:090:51:10

-360!

-380.

0:51:100:51:12

400.

0:51:140:51:15

420.

0:51:170:51:19

440.

0:51:190:51:21

440.

0:51:240:51:26

Anyone else want in...?

0:51:260:51:27

£440!

0:51:270:51:29

At £440!

0:51:300:51:33

Who'd have believed that!

0:51:330:51:35

£440!

0:51:350:51:37

We keep saying it's a rollercoaster ride of emotions

0:51:370:51:40

here in the auction room - you just don't know what's going to happen.

0:51:400:51:44

We keep saying it's not an exact science.

0:51:440:51:46

Damaged - yes, it was it.

0:51:460:51:47

But did the bidders on the phone care? Clearly not!

0:51:490:51:52

When two people really want something,

0:51:520:51:54

you can't predict the result.

0:51:540:51:58

Now, in 2012, an elderly woman in Spain took the art world by storm,

0:51:580:52:03

when she popped into her local church

0:52:030:52:05

and tried to restore a century-old fresco.

0:52:050:52:08

That was an obvious case of what not to do!

0:52:090:52:12

But botch job aside,

0:52:120:52:13

even professional restoration of artwork can be controversial.

0:52:130:52:17

In Brian and Maria's case, the jury's still out.

0:52:180:52:21

-It was passed to my father from his uncle.

-Right.

0:52:230:52:27

So it's been in the family quite a few years.

0:52:270:52:29

Father passed away in October.

0:52:290:52:31

Before that, it was always his wish to take the family abroad.

0:52:310:52:36

So it's passing the legacy down to try and use this as our leverage to,

0:52:360:52:40

-hopefully, get abroad.

-Oh, that's a lovely thing to do.

0:52:400:52:43

I'm sure he'd have approved of that.

0:52:430:52:46

-Yeah.

-Up until recently, you couldn't see much of the picture,

0:52:460:52:49

and we had it restored round Christmas time,

0:52:490:52:53

so you can actually see the detail.

0:52:530:52:55

I mean, you can virtually see the people at the front of the boat.

0:52:550:52:58

My first thought was,

0:52:580:52:59

"If they have so recently spent good money having it restored,

0:52:590:53:03

"is there a hope they can reclaim that,

0:53:030:53:07

"over and above the value of the picture?"

0:53:070:53:09

And sometimes, people are caught out by believing that every time they

0:53:090:53:14

spend on restoration or conservation, it will automatically

0:53:140:53:17

add value to the hammer price in the case of the auction.

0:53:170:53:22

That isn't always the case.

0:53:220:53:24

I would say, as a general rule, I would advise against that.

0:53:240:53:27

If you're going to sell something, what people like to see is

0:53:270:53:30

something that looks like it's been hanging on a fireplace for 20 years.

0:53:300:53:34

-OK.

-I'll start off on a negative but that would be the general advice.

0:53:340:53:38

Having said that, it does, as you say,

0:53:380:53:40

reveal what a strong image that is, and walking towards it,

0:53:400:53:44

it really stands out as being a lovely composition.

0:53:440:53:48

It was a good image, lots of interest,

0:53:480:53:53

well placed on the canvas, so it was a lovely painting in its own right.

0:53:530:54:00

The signature is not an easy one to read.

0:54:000:54:02

You don't know anything about the artist?

0:54:020:54:04

-Nothing at all.

-No. Nothing.

0:54:040:54:06

I think it's by one of the Grebe family,

0:54:060:54:09

and certainly, stylistically, it looks very much

0:54:090:54:12

late 19th-century Dutch school - it is very much of that ilk.

0:54:120:54:15

Standing where I'm standing now, I can see the restoration.

0:54:150:54:19

I can see the patch here and I'm not meaning to be too negative,

0:54:190:54:23

but just realistic.

0:54:230:54:25

It was quite a textured finish to the artwork,

0:54:250:54:28

but the restoration interrupted that - it looked thicker

0:54:280:54:32

and it looked wrong and it had a sort of sheen to it,

0:54:320:54:35

which was different to the rest of the painting.

0:54:350:54:37

I think we have to be realistic.

0:54:370:54:39

I think we've got to look at it as being 200-400, 300-500.

0:54:390:54:43

It may well be that I'm being too pessimistic about it,

0:54:430:54:46

but if you're happy to bracket it in that region, and I think then you've

0:54:460:54:50

got your holiday almost booked and everything else is a bonus.

0:54:500:54:55

-Yeah, sure.

-Does that make sense?

0:54:550:54:56

-Yes.

-Yes. Yes.

0:54:560:54:58

Having already spent £300 on restoration,

0:54:580:55:02

they needed the painting to make at least the top of that estimate.

0:55:020:55:06

So did Brian and Maria get the holiday they wanted?

0:55:060:55:09

320 on the net.

0:55:090:55:11

340.

0:55:110:55:12

360? I've got 340 on the net.

0:55:120:55:14

340 in the UK. At 340.

0:55:140:55:16

360 in Holland.

0:55:160:55:17

380.

0:55:170:55:18

At 380...

0:55:180:55:20

Could be going back to Holland.

0:55:200:55:21

£400 bid.

0:55:210:55:23

At 400. 420 now.

0:55:230:55:26

Net has it at £400.

0:55:260:55:28

We'll go to the telephones next, then.

0:55:280:55:29

420. 440. 460.

0:55:290:55:32

460 anyone? 460.

0:55:320:55:34

480. 500.

0:55:340:55:36

£500 anyone? 500 on the telephone. 550 on the net.

0:55:360:55:41

Incredible - there's a battle between

0:55:410:55:43

the telephone and the internet.

0:55:430:55:45

Six on the telephones. 600 bid.

0:55:450:55:47

600. 650 now.

0:55:470:55:49

650. 700 now, may I say?

0:55:490:55:51

£700 surely? 700 on the phone.

0:55:510:55:53

Hear that?! £700!

0:55:530:55:55

800 now do I see?

0:55:550:55:57

Who's coming in first at 800?

0:55:570:55:58

I have 750 - commission bid has it.

0:55:580:56:01

800 on the telephones.

0:56:010:56:02

At 800 bid. 850 now?

0:56:020:56:04

-Telephone bid coming in...?

-Wow!

0:56:040:56:07

No! At 850 on the net.

0:56:070:56:08

1,000 now do I see?

0:56:080:56:10

950 bid.

0:56:100:56:12

He's working this very well.

0:56:120:56:13

Yes, it's brilliant.

0:56:130:56:15

1,000 on the telephone. Any more bids now? 1,100.

0:56:150:56:18

12?

0:56:180:56:20

Do I see 1,200? I do. 1,300 now?

0:56:200:56:22

It's not unlucky, you know.

0:56:220:56:24

-Someone's going home with a lot of money!

-Yes.

0:56:240:56:26

Don't bid.

0:56:260:56:27

1,300 bid. Thank you.

0:56:270:56:29

1,400 now?

0:56:290:56:31

Do I see 1,400? 15 now surely? 15?

0:56:310:56:34

1,500 may I say now?

0:56:340:56:36

You know you need it.

0:56:360:56:37

At 1,400 then.

0:56:390:56:40

At £1,400, we're on the phone.

0:56:400:56:42

You're out on the net, out in the room.

0:56:420:56:44

-Last call then.

-£1,400!

-Selling at £1,400...

0:56:440:56:47

The hammer's gone down.

0:56:470:56:49

Your husband had a good eye, didn't he?!

0:56:490:56:51

He liked that. He saw the value in that.

0:56:510:56:53

He did like it, yeah.

0:56:530:56:55

That is marvellous - your first auction, £1,400.

0:56:550:56:58

I was so excited when there was so much interest about that

0:56:590:57:02

painting, because I did like that painting -

0:57:020:57:04

it was a very strong, dynamic picture.

0:57:040:57:06

I was delighted. It obviously went

0:57:080:57:10

to a good home and I'm really pleased.

0:57:100:57:12

Well, that result was due, in no small part,

0:57:120:57:15

to some excellent marketing by the auction room.

0:57:150:57:18

The painting by the Grebe even attracted bidders

0:57:180:57:20

from its homeland, the Netherlands.

0:57:200:57:23

The question is, would Brian and Maria's painting have fetched

0:57:230:57:26

even more money if it hadn't been restored?

0:57:260:57:30

Well, we'll never know.

0:57:300:57:33

Now, here are a few things to consider

0:57:330:57:35

if you are thinking about restoration.

0:57:350:57:38

The decision on whether to restore, often comes down to taste.

0:57:400:57:44

If you're keeping a piece,

0:57:440:57:45

it needs to be aesthetically pleasing to you.

0:57:450:57:48

And sometimes, that means conservation is necessary.

0:57:480:57:51

But bear in mind, restoration is not a cheap job.

0:57:520:57:55

It's an investment in its own right.

0:57:550:57:58

And if you're planning to sell, think carefully,

0:57:590:58:02

cos that outlay may not necessarily be returned at the auction.

0:58:020:58:06

Fortunately, the Grebe painting hit the market at the right time,

0:58:080:58:11

and attracted international interest.

0:58:110:58:13

Which meant Brian and Maria got that long-planned holiday.

0:58:150:58:18

They took the whole family to Ibiza, and had a fantastic time.

0:58:200:58:23

And that's what I call a result.

0:58:230:58:26

Well, that's it for today's show.

0:58:270:58:29

I hope you've enjoyed it, so get out there,

0:58:290:58:31

get buying and have some fun with antiques.

0:58:310:58:34

Join us again soon for more trade secrets.

0:58:340:58:37

This episode is dedicated to the decision to either restore or not to restore. Presenter Paul Martin visits Gwydir Castle in Wales to hear about a restoration project on a huge scale, and the Flog It! experts explain how not to get taken for a ride by the fakers.


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