Antiques series. The Flog It! team offer tips and advice about what to look out for when it comes to antiques and collectables made in the UK.
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It's been well over a decade since we first opened our doors to
a Flog It! valuation day, and during that time,
we've travelled the length and the breadth of the British Isles,
valuing and selling your unwanted antiques and collectibles.
-This is the nicest thing I've seen all day.
And we've all learned a great deal about the items that have
passed through our hands and now,
I want to share some of that information with you.
So stand by to hear our experts' trade secrets.
For a small country,
Britain has historically punched well above its weight
and for centuries, our history and culture has influenced nations
and people all across the globe.
And today, our antiques are highly sought after worldwide.
So today, we're celebrating the very best of British.
We've got a programme that's brimming with patriotic punch...
Telephone bidder at £1,250.
Yes! £1,250! That is a Flog It! moment!
Very much the best of British.
..peppered with good old fashioned mystery...
A jug usually has a handle, but it also has a spout.
..and overflowing with great British humour.
Oh, no! I've made a walnut whip!
I dare say from watching Flog It!, you're quite familiar with
some of the famous makers and masters of the antiques world.
Names like Wedgewood, Whitefriars, Clarice Cliff...
We see a lot of their work
on the show and it often sells for a small fortune.
But what about the lesser known designers
and makers whose work deserves more attention,
whose work is somewhat under the radar?
If you look for artefacts which smack strongly of a region's history...
So, for example, I work in East Anglia at the moment, so what
would come to mind would be Lowestoft porcelain or Mendlesham chairs.
If you can afford or are looking to buy a nice silver teaspoon,
you might get one for £10 at auction.
But if there's a Hester Bateman one in the same sale,
it'll cost you £15 or £16, but go for that one instead.
So do go for the names, if you possibly can.
Look at people around now, current artists,
that are making really distinctive things.
Not just in silver or pottery,
but in creation of any kind of sculpture or painting.
Now, if you thought that valuable pottery on these islands
came solely from Staffordshire, think again!
In 2003, the late great David Barby came across an unsung gem
from 'cross the Irish Sea.
This is one of the most exciting things that's been brought in today.
-Have you always treasured it? Has it always been on display?
-I've used the tray.
-On the dressing table?
-No, no, no.
I used to put the turkey on it every Christmas
because it was the biggest plate I had.
I'm sure the manufacturers that produced this exquisite
service did not expect it to be used as a turkey platter!
Thomas Plant is also a fan of this kind of fine porcelain.
The story was the lady would put her turkey on the
tray at Christmas time.
I'm surprised it stayed in one piece!
Now, it was produced in County Fermanagh, which is
Northern Ireland, by a company called Belleek.
I can tell exactly what period this was made by the mark.
Now, the mark at the bottom here, as you can see, has a small dog.
Underneath, the inscription, County Fermanagh, Ireland.
Now, that will tell me two things.
First of all, 1891,
when the McKinley Tariff Act came in and it stated everything that
was imported into America had to have the place of origin.
-That was followed through all over Europe.
And 1891 also, they changed it from just putting Belleek
underneath to putting County Fermanagh.
Normally, the decoration is a pink colour.
But I like this delicate blue.
Belleek is so fragile, it's so thin.
It's some of the thinnest porcelain we make in the British Isles.
We have this lid here, which has a crack, breakage,
and part of the shell missing, but you only have three plates.
-Is the fourth one missing? Is that broken?
The thing about Belleek, it's so very, very thin.
When it does damage, it damages very quickly, very easily.
Perfect pieces are so rare.
-I would put a value of between £800-1,200.
-I would put the reserve at £700.
I shall be keeping everything crossed,
we're going to get that top figure.
So, off they went to auction, with high hopes.
But could that damage bring the price crashing down?
Lot number 180 is the Belleek Neptune tea service.
There we go, in pearlescent glazes. Wonderful little lot, this.
What shall we say? Who's going to start me at... Straight in at £400.
450 now. 500. 550.
600. 650. 700. 750.
800. 850. 900. At 900, bid. 1,000, bid.
1,100 now. 1,100. 1,100, bid.
1,150. 1,200 now.
1,200, bid. Any more now? We're going then.
Telephone bidder at £1,250.
Yes! £1,250! That is a Flog It! moment! That's your first auction.
-How exciting was that?
-Oh, yes! Look!
What a fantastic result!
Belleek is one of those names that isn't widely known,
but pieces of porcelain can turn a fantastic profit, even if
they're not in tip-top condition.
This is one of these instances where damage doesn't matter
To find perfect pieces is extremely rare.
To find a perfect tea set is almost unheard of.
So, a collector, a dealer, would be happy to buy items with damage
and to pay the premium, just to be able to have them.
Of course, the British talent for creating beautifully unique
pieces is by no means confined to porcelain and pottery.
And James had the good fortune to come across something quite
exceptional in Worcester.
-What a fantastic object. Do you know what it is?
-Not really, no.
OK, it's a pewter charger and if we turn it over, we have a mark.
In block capitals, it says, Tudric.
Tudric always has a mark.
Simply because Tudric was the trade name of Liberty Pewter, so if it
doesn't say Tudric on it, it's not Tudric, it's just Liberty Pewter.
And then underneath, we have a four digit number - 0116.
And that's the design number of this piece.
Now, the earlier the design number,
the more sought after it is, generally.
And this is a really early design.
It's going to be 1903, 1905, that sort of period.
Now, there are two main designers that we think about
when we're looking at Tudric pewter of this period.
The first one is Archibald Knox.
And when we're looking at this, it just doesn't look, to me,
like an Archibald Knox design.
So then we have to look at other designers it could be
and one of those is a chap called Charles Voysey.
Voysey was one of the great Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau designers.
If you go to an architect school, they'll all know about Voysey.
If you go to furniture makers. They'll know about Voysey.
One of these characters that spreads across all the boundaries.
It's been rubbed, it's been battered, it's been dented,
-it's been dropped, so it's seen better days.
-It's been polished. You should never polish pewter.
That just shows you how long it takes for pewter to go back
to that colour again.
This has been polished probably 40 years ago
and the patternation still hasn't come back.
Pewter collectors like to see it a nice dull grey colour,
so in terms of Liberty Pewter, not polishing it is so important.
It can reduce the value by 70-80%.
Value, been trying to avoid this subject... £150-250.
-It is a bit of a stab in the dark.
And if it turns out to be by one of the important designers, it will make a lot more than that.
Would polishing the pewter rub away any potential profit?
Lots of interest in this. I can go straight in at £450.
-It's a Voysey. £450, straight in.
At 450. At 480. 500.
Oh, I feel faint.
520. 550. 580 now?
-580, I have on the phone. At 580.
580, I have then. Selling, if you're all done...
Crack! We love it! I knew this one would fly.
What's not to love about a result like that?
Voysey may not be a household name in Britain, but it certainly
helped push the charger to dizzying heights in the saleroom.
It wasn't a major shock to see it doing that sort of money.
Liberty and Tudric are names that you cannot better.
Clarice Cliff is a regular guest on Flog It!
But in 2007, a lesser known female designer from the Potteries
stole the limelight.
-Do you know what it is?
-Charlotte Rhead, yes.
Now, Charlotte Rhead, I find her very, very interesting.
The Rheads were a family who lived in North Staffordshire
and they had been associated with pottery since the 18th century.
I find the story of Charlotte Rhead very interesting.
She came from a family of potters.
She was born with clay running through her veins!
And I love the idea of that.
Now, she was born in 1885 and by the time it came to 1930, when she
was at her best, she was one of the leading ceramicists of that period.
-But if we just look at the back stamp,
it's always nice to see that beautiful signature.
When you think of the ceramicists who were working at that time,
and there was a lot of marvellous things coming out of Britain,
you think of people like Clarice Cliff and these wonderful,
loud, jazzy, magical patterns, Charlotte Rhead was a little
more restrained, a little more traditional...
Not all that traditional - she was an innovator in her own right,
but a little more traditional than Clarice Cliff
and sometimes I think she's sort of put on the backburner
because of that, but there is a wonderful subtlety about her work.
I would like to estimate in the region of £50-80.
-And we could perhaps put a reserve of £45 to protect it.
One thing that had occurred to me, Molly,
a jug usually has a handle...but it also has a spout.
-True! We never thought of that!
-It was a jug cos it had a handle.
It wasn't a vase because it didn't have two handles.
But it didn't have a spout and it only occurred to me
just at the very end of the valuation.
It brought a smile to my face. I thought, "What's this all about?"
The thing is, if it had been a mistake,
she would not have signed it.
So her signature is there and she has regarded
that as a complete item, so maybe she has a sense of humour!
Would the funny jug make serious money?
Or would that missing spout pour cold water on Anita's estimate?
Will Axon was the man with the gavel on this one.
And 400 is the Charlotte Rhead jug there for you.
Where do you start me on that? £50 only for it. Thank you, straight in.
At £50, I'm bid.
Straight in at £50. That's the way to buy it. 60. 70. 80. 90.
100. At £100. And ten, seated.
At 110, seated. Bid at 110 now.
Steals it at 110. All done, then. Are you sure? I shall sell it.
Hammer's up. Have you at 110.
Yes! You can't go wrong with that. That's what people want now.
A respectable return for the jug.
It goes to show that less famous British designers can
hold their own at auction.
She may not be one of the names that most people have heard of.
They've probably heard more of Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper
and the such like,
but in years to come, Charlotte Rhead will be a name that's
still bandied about, so if you do see some about,
certainly worth having a go at.
In 2011, we found a great example of British
design at its sparkling best.
Charlie, for one, was blown away.
Absolutely wonderful, Pauline.
-Presumably, you know what you've got here, do you?
-To a degree.
-To a degree. You know it's a tea service.
-And you know what it's made of?
This is made by Robert Hennell IV, 1874 in date.
Robert Hennell is one of the great, great names in English silversmiths.
We have this rather swirly gadrooning decoration on here,
the bobbin decoration.
But I have to say, the oval Queen Anne style teapot rather
flies in the face of the decoration.
Although Victorian in its date, stylistically looks Georgian.
That wonderful teapot shape, you would think was George III.
So perhaps it was influenced by his father,
who was producing silver earlier,
but it did have a certain gadroon decoration to it,
which perhaps was a mixture of the Georgian more simplistic period,
then with a little bit of fancy Victoriana applied to it.
Now, I'm going to turn one of these pieces upside down.
And what we have are all the elements that we would
expect to find.
We have the lion passant - that simply tells you it's silver,
the leopard's head - that tells you it was made in...
-I was going to say London.
-London is correct.
And we've got a T letter date, which I have checked to 1874.
And here we've got the magic initials, RH, Robert Hennell.
Very much the best of British. Certainly, any silversmith...
The eyebrows will be raised when you say Hennell.
And there's a premium attached to that.
And in addition to that, that mark, he put on to pieces that were
-specifically made to order for someone.
So this was made for somebody pretty special.
-Was it made for your family?
The other thing that's going to tell you here...
this engraving must have been put in at the same time as it was made.
-Do you see?
There's a gap in the floral engraving here to make
way for the lettering.
I'm going to be sensible and say £500-800.
But I think we'll probably end up at 800. And possibly a bit more.
Because it's not every day you can go to a saleroom and come
back with a bit of Robert Hennell, so I think it's sensational.
Well, the tea set was sensational!
But would Robert Hennell's name bring the auction to the boil?
The Victorian three-piece silver tea service, Robert Hennell,
nice little lot. We go straight in, £400.
400. Take 20 now. 400. 420.
At 420. 440. 460. 480. 500. 520.
540. 560. 580. 600.
At 600. 620. 640.
650. 660. At 660. You're in? 680. 700.
720. At £720 now.
It's going in the room. 720.
All done. At £720. Nobody else?
# I like a nice cup of tea in the morning
# To start the day, you see. #
Well, that tea service certainly wasn't meant for your average
builder's brew. And what a treat, as Charlie said, to see
something of such quality on the show.
We may not be familiar with the name Robert Hennell,
as with other silversmiths,
but his work is a great example of the very best of British.
And if you want to get your own hands on a piece of British
design, here are our do's and don'ts.
Watch out for items by less well known British artists and designers.
You may find they're relatively affordable now,
with potential for a hefty return in the future.
Resist the temptation to clean or repair items before auction
because you could easily do more harm than good.
And as we found with the wonderful Tudric charger, when it comes
to pewter, it's particularly important to steer clear of polish.
There is a proud history of cabinet making in Britain.
Its most illustrious exponent was of course Thomas Chippendale who
practised his trade in St Martin's Lane, London,
in the 18th century.
There are thought to be around 600 very viable
examples of his work in the world today
and because of their rarity and the extremely high
quality of the workmanship, they are of course hugely valuable.
You can see examples of Chippendale's work in several
of England's stately homes, including Harewood House in Leeds.
Nearby Temple Newsam House also has a number of his pieces,
including this desk.
I caught up with in-house furniture expert Ian Fraser to learn more.
-How do you do?
I couldn't come here to Temple Newsam without speaking to you
-and seeing this magnificent desk.
-It's great, isn't it?
It really is the holy grail. How did it arrive here?
Well, Harewood House, when it was a private house, they sold it.
I guess perhaps the Lordship needed the money,
but it came up for auction in 1963 and it was acquired for
Leeds City Art Galleries for display at Temple Newsam House.
It's got that country house, lived-in look.
-It's lost a lot of the colour on the marquetry.
-It has, inevitably.
It's lost greens and reds, but I don't mind that.
-Do you know what year this was made in?
-I think it was 1772, I think.
-Have you worked on this at all?
-I have done some remedial works, yes.
Lifting veneers, putting them back down.
It was interesting because we were able to see
some of the original colours when we turned the veneers over.
And do the drawers slide as beautifully as they did when they were made?
Yes. You're welcome to try it if you like.
-Pull one out for me, let's have a look.
-We can try.
-Yes, they do...
-Let's have a look at the dovetail.
I'll just take it out completely
and you can see the quality of the dovetail joint.
-It's just outstanding quality.
-Cut with a fine tenon saw.
-You're from Canada.
So, what do you think about Chippendale?
-Does he make the grade over there?
The name of Thomas Chippendale is synonymous
with fine craftsmanship and design.
It is incredible.
Chippendale was not a man to guard his trade secrets jealously.
Quite the opposite, in fact. In 1754 he published a book of his furniture
designs entitled The Gentleman And Cabinet Maker's Director.
The book was instantly popular
and led to many faithful reproductions of his work.
He was undoubtedly the master cabinet-maker of the age,
but who, you may ask, are the unsung heroes of the period?
Well, when I recently visited Syon house in Middlesex, I found
what can justifiably be described as a hidden gem.
There are some names in English
cabinet-making that we are quite familiar with - Bullock,
Gillow, Chippendale, but have you heard of a chap called William Vile?
He's one of the best kept secrets of English cabinet-making during
the 1700s, and this cabinet is made by his hand.
He set up a workshop on the corner of St Martin's Lane
in Long Acre, right next to a chap called Thomas Chippendale.
They were rivals, but you cannot set their work apart.
There's no denying the quality of craftsmanship.
You'd think that would be by Chippendale, but it's by Vile.
Now, he went into partnership with a chap called John Cobb,
another exceptional cabinet-maker, towards the end of his career,
and it's at that particular stage, in the 1760s, for a few years,
that they worked for none other than King George III -
they were the royal cabinet-makers.
Sadly, I think William Vile's works been overshadowed
by Thomas Chippendale, but I think this piece is exceptional.
It's got architectural proportion and detail,
it's got everything going for it.
And the price, well, this is so rare it's worth well over £1 million.
Now, if I say to you British pottery, what springs to mind?
Probably Staffordshire and the Potteries,
the epicentre of the industry in this country for over 300 years.
But there's a lot more to the best of British pottery than
the factories of Stoke-on-Trent.
# We'll keep a welcome in the hillside... #
And pottery enthusiasts Catherine Southon and Mark Stacey
were keen to prove that very point when they visited Ewenny Pottery
in Wales, which has been run by the Jenkins family for generations.
Catherine, I'm so excited, I'm going to meet Alun,
who's going to show me the pottery side of things.
Well, I believe that they've got a historic collection here,
-and I really need to know a bit more about the history.
-Oh, you do.
Come on, let's get in there.
Catherine caught up with Caitlin Jenkins,
the latest in the long line of potters.
I'd love to go right back in history to where it all started.
Well, the earliest record of a pottery being here is 1427,
and this kind of thing would have been made then.
So how did the Industrial Revolution affect the potteries?
Well, first of all, in the mid-1800s, there was
an increase in the potteries, but that quickly declined
because other materials took hold, tinware in particular.
Later on, in the 1880s, the Arts and Crafts movement took hold,
and there was one particular designer called Horace Elliot,
and he designed pots for the potters to make.
And what about this piece? Is this by him?
Yes, we think this is a Horace Elliot.
-Because it sort of screams that design.
And these are highly desirable, aren't they?
-Yes, very collectable now.
Did he sign his pieces?
Yes, he did sign them and he also used a fleur-de-lis.
So that's what we look out for - we look out for the name...
-And the fleur-de-lis.
That's where we are going to make some money!
-This is a curious piece, Caitlin. What is this?
-That's a wassail bowl.
My family have been making them for 200 years,
and they're a communal bowl that they filled with mulled beer
and cake and passed round when people came in.
They are actually to celebrate the harvest, celebrate fertility.
And I should think that if you found something like this,
one of the older ones, they are highly desirable, really collectable.
-Yes. I think one recently fetched £6,000.
Yeah, I can see that.
So you signing all these pieces and dating them, Caitlin Jenkins,
that's going to be the collectable of the future.
-That's what we look out for.
-This is the beginning of the process.
-That's right, yes.
-What I'm doing first is centring the clay on the wheel.
How long have you been doing this?
Well, I started as a child, through playing with the clay,
but I've actually been working in the family business since 1969.
I'm the seventh generation of the Jenkinses.
Caitlin, my daughter, now is with me, she is the eighth.
There's some fantastic footage, isn't there, of your father working.
-Does that bring back any memories?
We all learnt, really, how to use clay by playing with it.
How many pots can you throw in the day, Alun?
These jugs, I would want to make about 60 to 70 in a day.
60 or 70?
-This is just the sort of basic. This is not glazing them and firing?
No, this is just the first stage.
And each one of them, even though they look the same,
there will be a difference, because it's handmade.
It's all handmade, and the glazes the use are just splashed on,
-so you'll never get two the same.
-Which is the charm of it all.
-That's right, yes.
-What's left to do?
-I'll let this pot stand for about 24 hours.
-And you just gently...
-Yes, just ease the clay. There we are.
Alun, you make it look so easy.
-Can Catherine and I have a go, do you think?
-Well, yes, of course.
Right, come on, Catherine, let's get on with it.
-If you rest your arms...
-Rest my arms...
And keep on adding water.
-Has yours gone as well, Catherine?
-No, mine's looking good already.
-Keep on adding water.
-Keep on adding water.
-Oh, Mark, yours is really good!
-Shush! Don't spoil it.
Yours is brilliant!
Now this is looking good.
I'm going to stop it! Oh, no...
Make sure it doesn't go right to the bottom...
Oh, no, it's gone again!
I think this is wonderful! I think this is a masterpiece.
Oh, I started off so well.
-I think I've got a new career here. Are you jealous?
-I am! But mine's...
mine's going to be an orchid.
-Yes, it's going to be an orchid vase.
-Do you take apprentices?
-Well, we're a bit choosy!
Thank you very much, Alun!
Well, Mark and Catherine's efforts may not have made the grade,
but genuine Ewenny pottery is collectable.
Horace Elliot pieces are so rare that they can make
thousands of pounds, and finding any older pieces in pristine
condition is so unusual they can therefore be very profitable.
On Flog It! in 2003, a pottery dog from Ewenny dated 1901,
sold for £600 despite being damaged.
Are we all done at £600?
So although it's not as famous as other pottery,
Ewenny is definitely one to watch.
Still to come on our tour of Britain's finest antiques -
£1,400 we're selling if you're all through.
We'll take that!
A slice of history makes a king's ransom.
I explore an important chapter in the story of the cuppa.
This is fabulous.
And our experts prove that British eccentricity is alive and kicking.
I think I'd rather sell my house than sell my cupboard.
There's one thing that people who are not from the UK
think they know about, and that is the British character.
Fair play, the stiff upper lip, a sense of irony and, of course,
the love of queueing.
But what is the British character?
And how is that encapsulated in the antiques
and the collectables that we Brits so love?
Well, here are our experts musing on which collectables
sum up our national character and pull in a profit at auction.
The British love their gardening, don't they?
So anything to do with gardening - gardening antiques, benches,
planters, that sort of thing - they always sell well.
Flags, medals, commemorative.
Nostalgia - we are good nostalgia in this country.
We like things that remind us of where we come from
and our childhood.
And of course anything to do with our royal family.
We've always been very inclusive, I like to think, and very welcoming.
And because of that I think we've got a richer society for it.
And a richer society, I think, produces richer results.
We Brits all love a good yarn, and in 2005 Charlie found
an item with a fascinating story that was quite literally behind it.
I think of all the things I've done on Flog It! over the years,
this is my favourite.
It's got everything.
-Do you know who this is?
-No, I don't.
-Well, I didn't.
I hadn't got a clue who he was.
I thought the artist looked familiar, the style of it.
It's very well painted and it's got some really fascinating
writing on the back. What have you deemed from it?
I just got the name of the artist, who I thought it was,
which was George Morland.
Who was a famous alcoholic, but a very, very good painter.
I thought I could tell this was by Morland when I saw the picture.
I was rather praying it was by him.
But the great thing was, when you turned it over there was this
wonderful writing on the back which told you everything about it.
How often can you find that with a picture? It's very rare.
It starts here.
"This is the portrait of the late Mr Thomas Moore,
"who established the booking office and tavern about the year
"of 1760 called the Green Man and Still, Oxford Street, London."
-Isn't that fantastic?
-And it goes on to say...
that George Morland stayed there,
and when it came for the time to leave, the landlord said,
"If you can't pay, paint a picture of me and the missus and we'll let you go."
Pub memorabilia is quite collectable nowadays,
but no way could this be called pub memorabilia.
This was, is, a work of art.
It's a painting by a great artist done through force of circumstances.
Now, this artist has made pictures, you know, 10,000, 20,000 -
a serious artist.
-But this is more of a sketch, really.
-It's got some damage.
But as much of the value is attributable to
the history of it as the painting itself.
We'll estimate it at 300 to 500, but it's the sort of thing,
given the history, that might be a bit of a flyer.
You never know.
Charlie loved it,
but would the painting's incredible back story really help it take off?
Watch this, here we go.
The attributed to George Morland study.
300 quid. 300 I'm bid. 300. 320.
350. 380. 400.
420. 450. 480. 500.
The painting got off to a flying start,
but no-one was quite prepared for what happened next.
1,050. At 1,050. 1,100.
-We're getting there, aren't we?
1,150 down here.
At £1,500. I sell here at £1,500...
-That's three times the top estimate.
They DID like it!
What an amazing painting!
It's fair to say that the British love of drink has rarely
produced such a tragic yet fascinating story.
There's no doubt that the information that came with
the picture helped hugely with the sale of it.
Now it's an emotive topic, but fox hunting has been
part of British life for centuries, and whatever you may think of it,
over the years it has generated its fair share of collectables.
You've brought along a real political hot potato today.
-Is that why you want to get rid of them?
No. That isn't the main reason, although I'm not keen on fox hunting.
Are these yours or did you inherit them?
I inherited them from my mum.
-And did your mum buy them new?
-Yeah. Yeah, she did.
-Was she a hunting fan?
-No, I think she was just a Beswick fan.
If Beswick produced one horse, they must have produced hundreds.
And the thing that makes one horse different from another,
is the different colourways.
So you can have a variation on a theme.
I'm sure they didn't do one, but if they did a pink horse,
I'm sure that'd be worth a fortune.
-I can immediately see a few problems.
This little girl on a pony has clearly lost her head,
and it's been glued back on at some time.
And our foxy friend here has been too close to the hounds cos
he's lost his tail.
And that's been glued back on at one point in time.
-And also his leg as well.
So we've got bits of damage.
I think we can put an auction estimate on of £500-£800.
-And we'll reserve them at probably £400/£450.
-450 with some discretion on it.
There are ardent Beswick collectors out there, and if they haven't got
something that they need to complete their collection and it comes
up at auction, they just stand there and they bid and they bid.
And then they bid again.
Isn't that great?
Move onto lot 398, is 11 Beswick hunting figures.
A lot of interest in this lot.
Bids allow us to start right away at £600.
That's good. We'll take that.
620. 640. 660.
680. 700. 750. 800.
800 there. 850. 900.
£1,400 - we're selling if you're all through...
-We'll take that - £1,400.
You've got to be so pleased with that.
Yeah, I am. That's brilliant.
That is the definition of a runaway success.
But would an auction room be swept away in the same way today?
In this business, any price that goes like that,
will sure as hell go like that.
What you want is a nice steady increase in prices.
You don't want things going like that.
The Beswick market, perhaps, when we filmed this piece,
it was through the roof.
I don't think that little hunting group would make as much
today as it did then.
Our valuation day at London Zoo in 2012,
saw all manner of interesting lots come trotting our way.
Including a foxy piece of British silver for Will.
Carrie and Chloe, welcome to Flog It! In this great location.
Is this something that you've had, or...?
It's my dad's.
-We've nicked it from his house today.
-I hope he knows about it.
He's given us permission.
OK. Tell me, do you know what it is?
When they used to go out hunting for foxes,
they used to stop and have their drinks.
Yeah, you're dead right. They call them stirrup cups.
People who hunted,
certainly those in the red blazers on the horses,
would often have accessories - flasks, sandwich boxes,
even their boots, everything would be made to a very high standard.
Because they well wealthy, they were able to buy very good made pieces.
Typically, a stirrup cup doesn't have a base or a handle,
so people think, "What's the good of that?"
You're going to put your sherry in it and it's going to spill.
But if I cunningly turn it over...
-Look at that - it's great, isn't it?
-Nice piece of design.
So the two ears and the nose form a tripod base.
Cheers! And down it goes. Down the sherry and off they go.
I've had a look at it - while these were
made from sort of 1770 onwards, this is a more modern example.
This is from the 1970s. Yeah? So, if we have a look at the hallmarks,
cos even though it's not antique, all silver should carry
the hallmarks, and we can see here, we've got the Sheffield Assay mark.
We've still got the sterling lion mark.
And then we've got the date letter here for 1972.
So you say your dad bought it - where did he get it from?
-A fair, or...?
-Yeah, I think so, yeah.
-Quite a while ago.
-What did he pay for it?
He says about 100, or something.
OK, so he's done all right, 100, or something...
He can't really remember cos it was a while ago.
It was a while ago, was it?
-Cos I think 200-300 is a spot-on estimate for this.
-What do you think, Chloe?
-It's a lot of money, isn't it?
The stirrup cup was quirkily British,
but could it race ahead of the pack at auction?
The stirrup cup with the foxes head.
There we go. £150 to start.
-150 I'm bid. 160.
200 there. 210.
Looks like a commission bidder.
250. 260. 270.
300. 320. 340.
Shaking his head. 340 here.
Anybody else want to come in?
Good thing. 340. 360.
-Show me the fox!
-360. Anybody else?
I'm happy with that.
That's a very good result, isn't it?
So neither its hunting connections
nor it's age held our little fox back.
I know the piece wasn't antique, so people will probably be shouting
at the telly, "You can't have that on Flog It! It's not an antique!"
But listen, it's an antique of the future.
It may have been made in the '70s, but the quality was still there.
In 2012, the unflappable Thomas stumbled across what many of us
would consider a national treasure.
Let's show the people...
This is a big flag, isn't it?
-What's the story behind this?
Well, it belonged to my father.
When he died, we found it all in his belongings.
-And your father, was he in the scouts? Was he in the military?
He helped in the fire brigade in the war, in the Second World War.
I think that this may have come from his granny that
-lived in the local village.
-People sometimes call it the Union Jack,
-but the right name is the Union Flag, isn't it?
-That's right, yes.
-And we are holding it the right way, aren't we?
-We are, yeah.
Because of the thick white band at the top, where you've got your toggle.
He's a little bit moth eaten here,
but I think somebody can forgive that.
I think it's probably almost like a coronation flag,
for maybe a village, village church or even a scout group.
And, of course, we've recently seen a lot of these around the country.
The Union Flag has now become part of our psyche again.
I thoroughly believe with Cool Britannia, with the Olympics,
all the celebrations with the Golden and Diamond Jubilees,
that Britain has regained the flag.
So, why did you bring it along?
Well, it's been tucked in a box in that attic,
and I thought it wasn't very good being up there,
so I thought the world needs to see it, don't they?
Well, they do need to see it. Have you got any idea of value?
-No idea whatsoever.
-And do you mind about the value,
or do you just want it to go to a good home?
I'd like it to be displayed somehow - I don't know how,
rather than in the attic.
I think I'd put around £50-£80 on it.
Not a huge mount of money, but I think we'd reserve it roundabout 30.
-How does that grab you?
-Can we not reserve it at 40?
Well, we can do it at 40.
Listen to you! £40, we'll do that at 40.
The only reason, I was just going on try
and give it the best chance possible.
But that's fine - we'll do it at £40.
-It's got a good chance cos it is quite a big flag.
-Yeah, it is.
And the colours are so strong.
So Thomas needed a room full of patriotic bidders,
or the flag would be left fluttering at half-mast.
There you are - the Union Jack.
Fine flag, that one.
150 or 60 or 70? I've got it - 80 I'm bid now.
90. Are you going to be the £100, sir?
£100 we're bid for it. Thank you very much.
Oh, my lord.
130 I'm bid now.
Madam, keep going? No?
OK then. I sell at £130.
£130 - sold.
Yes, we did put the great back in Britain!
What a triumph and an example of how collectors will snap up items
that are emblematic of Britain.
I was surprised - it raced away at £130.
And Isobel pushed me on reserve as well.
No, she didn't want 30, she wanted a £40 reserve - it didn't matter.
As we saw earlier,
there's a fine tradition of cabinet making in this country,
so we're always pleased
when a bit of quality British furniture comes our way.
Ian and Joanna, I've got to tell you, I think it's absolutely lovely.
This has got everything going for it, in my eyes.
It's a lovely piece of 18th century, oak, rustic, country furniture.
The cabinet's made of oak, oak's indigenous to our shores,
so that's why it sells well,
cos it's going to sit beautifully in someone's little cottage.
Now this is dentil moulding along here.
It's got a lovely colour here -
we can see these lovely medullary rays here of the oak.
Brass escutcheon there.
Open it up and let's see what we can find in here.
Look at those lovely old shelves. Really quite primitive.
And if you think about it, someone's taken some trouble to do that.
Because you're not going to see these shelves,
so the easiest thing to do is make them straight-fronted.
But someone's just take the trouble to give them that shape.
I think it's lovely. I really do think it's lovely.
The most important thing about any piece of furniture is the colour.
And the colour is patina.
It looks like a bit of chewed toffee,
it's the lines on its hands, it's the wrinkles on its face.
All patination is, is 100 years of muck and grime that's been polished.
And this has just been a functional cupboard.
And you rub your hands over it, and the grease off your hands
goes into the timber and gives it that lovely glow.
It's just absolutely glorious.
There are a few faults with it.
If we just...
have a look just here.
Can you see there? We're missing a bit of the moulding.
And if we look along just here, this moulding is also replaced.
I think, in auction, you could put an estimate on it of £300-£500.
And I'm sure it'll sell.
I mean, there are oak collectors who would really want to own this.
Owner Joanna couldn't make it to the auction,
but her husband Ian joined me and Philip,
who was still smitten by the wonderful patination.
You were saying you're selling it cos you can't get it in the house.
I'd rather sell my house than that cupboard.
-It's just lovely.
-Here we go.
Wonderful colour to that.
I have several bids on this -
I have got started at £380.
380 is with me.
400, sir. I'm out. 420.
450. 480. 500.
At 520 and selling at 520.
-Yeah, very good.
-It's was good, wasn't it?
-Yeah. Yes, so you were right.
Well, it's my business.
The oak cabinet really did conjure up images of the British
And its great selling price is proof of the pulling power of patination.
You can't replicate 200 years of patina.
You can't make it tomorrow.
It's something that's occurred over the whole of its lifetime.
It's its passport, and you can't forge that.
I hope our trip through the best of British has evoked
a little of the national character for you.
If you'd like to continue on our voyage of discovery
through the world of antiques, here are some pointers on how to
appeal to some of British of individuals - the avid collector.
Items of quality that are only 30 or 40 years old,
can still make money at auction.
Always be aware that markets fluctuate,
so be prepared for prices to go down as well as up.
This is especially true of items made from precious metal,
because their value is affected
by the ever-changing price of gold and silver.
A portrait's profitability or obviously
dependant on the artist who painted it,
but the sitter can also put the price up.
So if you come across a work you like,
do your research on both painter and subject.
And remember, that antique furniture should wear its age with pride.
Patina is of primary importance to collectors,
so don't ever be tempted to sand or varnish a piece of history away.
Sports and sporting memorabilia will always have a special
place in the British heart.
Adam, for one, is a fan.
I'm quite interested in sports memorabilia, specifically
cricket and boxing - I quite enjoy playing or fighting, I suppose.
And this is one of my pieces here - it's a
signed boxing glove from one of my favourites from childhood,
Nigel Benn, known as the Dark Destroyer.
We come across a lot of these things in charity auctions,
sporting auctions, things like that.
Quite a lot of them are signed.
They're fairly limited in value -
I think I paid about £50 for this.
I don't suppose it's worth a great deal more.
But if you're going to be collecting sports memorabilia,
make sure you pick those major names of their period,
and Nigel Benn was the fighter of his decade.
So that's why it's a good thing to own.
I've got a few others- Frank Bruno, Naseem Hamed, etc cetera.
I've got about eight or ten.
I also go boxing myself,
and I go training down at a gym in Stoke-On-Trent,
with all the big boys, who generally, give me a good beating.
What better way to get over a stressful day than to have a
scrap at the end of the day?
Great, for me.
It is truly inspiring to see the work of
so many great British designers and craftsmen on the show today.
I was on the trail of another great British innovator
when I visited Moseley Old Hall in Staffordshire in 2010.
The hall itself is famous as the hiding place of Charles II
after the Battle Of Worcester in 1651.
In the 20th century, it was bought by a man called William Wiggin.
The Wiggin family later sold the property
to the National Trust for just £1.
However, Moseley Old Hall isn't the only legacy William has left us.
His family were the first to introduce
and make stainless steel items in the world.
I'm here with Nigel Wiggin, the grandson of William,
and I've got to say, your grandfather was quite a chap.
Yes, he did his contribution.
But he was basically an industrialist,
developing stainless steel tableware.
William's father and his eldest son, both called James,
started J&J Wiggan, a blacksmith business in 1853.
They made mostly belt buckles
and stirrups for the horse-drawn community,
but after the First World War,
William decided to diversify and move the company forward.
He'd heard about Staybrite Steel.
It was a complete new material that didn't rust.
He bought some Staybrite from Sheffield,
and we started making bathroom fittings.
It got us a very good hold in the marketplace.
The real start of tableware...
-Teapots, I guess!
Everyone wants a cup of tea, don't they?
Yes. And the person who realised that was my grandmother.
1928 was their silver wedding - this is William and Nelly,
and they were given a lot of silverware.
And my grandmother suggested to my grandfather that he
might like to give her a hand with the cleaning.
And the response to that was, "No."
And as a result of that, they came up with the amazing idea,
"Why don't you make some silverware out of Staybrite?"
And that started the world's stainless steel tableware industry.
Nobody else thought of it.
The toast rack was the every first thing we made.
And you've got that here, haven't you?
-We've got it here.
-Which one is it?
It's this one here,
which is, as far as we are aware,
the world's very first item of stainless steel tableware.
She said, "You must make a teapot."
And it's this one here.
That is 1930.
The aspect about that was that we couldn't make a teapot.
It's such a difficult metal to work with,
and my grandmother came up with an idea,
which is based on this shape here.
And the answer is, you bend it round like that and there's your spout.
It needs a disc in the bottom, needs a handle on, but that is how...
A single piece of metal.
A single piece of metal and that is how...
Do you know what they say which is totally right?
Behind every good man, there's a good woman.
-She was obviously the brains.
-She was on the ball.
The company grew from strength to strength
until the Second World War started,
when the factory was turned over to ammunition production.
But then, when the war was over, in the 1950s,
the Old Hall brand took off again.
1955, we took on board a student from the Royal College Of Art,
called Robert Welsh.
Now he was studying to be a silversmith.
But his thesis, in fact, was for designing stainless steel.
And he contacted us for some help.
When he got his degree, we asked him
if he'd like to be our consultant designer.
-And he started designing for you.
-And he started designing...
Is this his work?
This is so recognisable as different to the Wiggin designs.
It's so obvious!
This is '64.
I've got to say, this is fabulous.
Well, it is the most collectable item of all.
I think, when we closed down in 1984, we' made about 1,500 of these,
-so there aren't many around.
-That's a collectable then?
That is, undoubtedly, collectable.
Old Hall was the wedding present of the '60s.
I think that's an accolade - the wedding present of the '60s.
It meant every couple had one.
You can't go wrong there. What was the demise? What happened?
Cheap imported stainless steel tableware.
Nothing like Old Hall in terms of quality,
but about a third of the price.
We started having to shrink and shrink,
so we had to close the works in 1984.
Which is a sad day for you.
The worst day of my life, Paul, there's no doubt.
You still out buying this stuff?
It's popping up at car boots, it's popping up at charity shops.
If that popped up at a collectors fair, what would you pay for that?
They pop up so infrequently - £250.
Nigel, thank you so much for sharing your life story with me
and a great family you belong to as well.
British craftsmanship's world-renowned,
and it finds its way to the four corners of the globe,
as Will Axon discovered when he met up with Martina at a valuation
day in Portsmouth back in 2012.
Martina, I can tell from your accent that you're not from these
parts originally, are you?
You're right, Well, I'm originally from Germany,
but have lived in the UK since 1984.
What are you going to do with the money?
Are you going to visit the family?
No. We've actually just bought a 1988 Chevrolet Camaro.
It does need some work doing...
-A bit of TLC.
-A lot of TLC.
-So the money's going towards that?
It's going to help.
And this, of course, is English - we can tell by the hallmarks.
We've got Sheffield, 1910.
Where's this come from?
-I actually inherited this from my godparents.
Who lived in Duisburg in Germany
and were avid collectors of anything British.
English silver is far superior to the continental.
It was always something that I admired.
I see inside some old paint splashes. Where have they come from?
I'm guilty there - it's actually been used to store brushes.
I'm a bit embarrassed to say I did use it as a paint cleaning holder.
Listen, I think, at auction,
you should be looking at around the £200 mark.
So Martina sped off to auction,
hopeful that selling the British-made family silver
would put a little extra va-va-voom into her car restoration project.
Lot 460 is a two-handed silver loving cup.
Start me at 150.
-150 I have.
-We're in - 150.
£150. 160. 170.
180. 190. 200.
190 in the middle here.
Is there 200?
At £190 we are selling.
At £190, and if you're all done...
Very last time...
Just £190 - it's gone.
After the auction, motor-mad Martina threw out her restoration plans
and bought a new car instead!
And this, even has a name.
The first time we saw the Dragon Wagon was on eBay,
so we made a ridiculous offer and the lady called us half an hour
later to say, "If you come with the cash, you could have it."
It is a head-turner.
It catches your eye
and it's quite amazing how many comments you actually get
when you park it up on the drive.
It does boost your ego, obviously, as well.
But the main thing is, we have met so many nice people, such a
variety of people, who are interested in the same things that we are.
It's not just a car.
It's always a pleasure to learn that
Flog It! has helped somebody indulge their passion.
Well, that's it for today's show, but do remember
if you have any antiques you want to sell, you know where to find us.
Join me again soon for more trade secrets.
The Flog It! team offer tips and advice about what to look out for when it comes to antiques and collectables made in the UK. Experts Mark Stacey and Catherine Southon get their hands dirty in a family-run pottery in Wales, and presenter Paul Martin learns about some unusual British design classics.