Antiques series. Paul Martin celebrates bargain hunters who turn up hidden gems at car boot fairs and jumble sales, including a dirty old table that was a wise investment.
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It's been well over ten years
since you first started coming to our Flog It valuation days
and since then we've seen,
valued and sold thousands of your unwanted antiques and collectables.
-I don't believe that!
-That'll do me, that'll do me lovely.
Really, as much as that? Wow!
And I've discovered there's always more to
find about the world of fine art and antiques which we all love.
So, if you want to know more, you've come to the right place.
Welcome to Trade Secrets.
We love hearing about your bargain hunting skills on Flog It,
and judging by your stories of miraculous car boot finds
and fantastic jumble sale discoveries,
there are still plenty more hidden gems
waiting to be picked up, all over the British Isles.
So, today, we're celebrating all you lucky ones
with a nose for a bargain.
James, I bought it at a car boot sale ten years ago,
and £10, believe it or not.
For the bottle at 420, all finished.
£420, that is a sold sound!
-£5. I thought I've got to buy it...
-How much? £5.
Crumbs, you must have gone into a jolly nice shop to buy that.
-No, charity shop.
-Go on, tell me what you paid for it.
£400, there you go.
-And how much did you pay for this?
-I'm glad I didn't chuck it now!
-I bet you are.
So, coming up, are there tricks of trade
to hunting out a bargain or is it simply down to luck?
I picked them up at auction because there were some frames I wanted,
I didn't want those.
I knew that they would do very, very well.
We discover bagging a bargain can literally be a lottery.
We won it at a raffle, took it home and hung it on the wall
and didn't really think a great deal more about it.
-Didn't realise how important it was?
Nick Hall reveals the secrets of spotting a bargain in
the contemporary art world.
What you really need to do is to go to the places where the young,
the fresh, the new art is emerging from.
I know just the perfect place to go
and find exactly what we're looking for.
And a pile of unwanted railway posters make sparks in the saleroom.
-Joan, give us a hug!
-Thank you very much, it's been wonderful.
Don't spend it all at once!
You bring along so many great finds to our valuation days,
the team can only look on in envy when you reveal
how and when you picked them up and exactly how much you paid for them.
But you really don't have to be an expert to
pick up a great deal.
You might just spot something out of your eye.
Go with your gut feeling and just go, there's something about that,
I'm just going to buy it.
Because there's nothing worse than, after the event, going, "I wish I'd
"bought it when I saw it."
Buy what you like, buy something distinctive.
If it doesn't turn out to be a bargain, and is only worth more or
less what you paid for it, it doesn't really matter cos you still like it.
A bargain is something that you really, really want
and you can buy it for less money than you're prepared to pay for it.
A lot of people don't realise they've bought a bargain.
It's only when they turn up at our valuation days that they
learn just how valuable their items might be.
Lynn knew nothing about this painting - except that she liked it.
So she bought it - for just £2!
Well, Lynn, it's a matter of fact that
when it comes down to art at auction it's all about the artist's name.
And you've got a piece here that you've
brought in by James Humbert Craig.
Tell me, how have you come by this, and do you know the artist?
I don't know it at all, I got it at a jumble sale, about seven years
ago, and my daughter looked it up on the internet for me.
-She said he's an Irish landscape artist.
-You're right, yes.
Born in the 1870s, died in 1944.
Born in Belfast,
an Irishman who was very passionate about his sort of Irish roots,
shall we say, and really wanted to bring out the beauty
and nature of the Irish landscape.
In the history of Irish art he has quite an important role to play,
which is always going to help as far as price goes because the more
relevant someone is to the history, the more important their work is.
I don't think this is one of his finished pieces.
It's on what we call an artist's board rather than on a finished,
stretched canvas. But he's signed it there for us, and dated it, 1912.
I see it's got a little bit of damage here. Was that there when you bought it?
That was like that when I bought it, yes.
OK, cos I suspect if you've bought it for £2,
the person who sold it to you probably didn't realise what
it was and it probably wasn't looked after terribly well
and maybe that's when it got this scuff.
Sometimes, dealers who buy this sort of work,
they like to find it in original condition,
so if there is a bit of damage,
it almost tells them that it hasn't been through the trade,
it hasn't been touched up, it hasn't been over-cleaned.
What do you like about it, is it just the colours, the scene?
Just the scene, it just caught me eye, and I thought, that is really nice.
It's as though I was actually looking at that area.
Well, his work does sell for thousands of pounds.
He's a well-known artist, his finished canvases
and his big pieces sell for many thousands.
But I think I'm going to come in quite conservative.
I'm suggesting putting it in at an estimate of £100-£200.
-Yeah, how do you feel about that?
It is, it's all right, isn't it?
Find one of those a day and you're laughing, you can give up the day job!
I said to Lynn that I was putting it in conservatively
because she only paid £2 for it.
So she was going to make whatever happens.
James Humbert Craig has certainly got the phone lines booked
here today, that's for sure. Lynn, it's caused quite a stir.
We have a lot of interest in this, one, two, three commission bids.
-Three, we've got.
-Three phone bids.
So, I'm going to start with the highest cleared bid of £380.
-Is there £400 in the room?
At £380, commission bid, is there 400? Is there four?
400 to the telephone. Commission bids are all out now.
At £400 on the telephone. Is there 20?
Someone in the room now.
'And the bids just kept coming.'
470, 500, 520, 550.
520 on the net, is there a 550?
-That's what you said, didn't you?
At £570, then, on the internet, at £570 and selling.
-Lynn, you're in the money.
-£570 for the very last time...
-Thank you very much!
Do you know, it was worth selling, actually, wasn't it, for £570?
-Not bad for a £2 investment.
'She was chuffed,'
and especially as I think the rest of her family had taken the mick
out of her, "What have you bought that old bit of rubbish for?"
Well, the last laugh was with you, Lynn.
If you pick up something you like,
don't be disheartened if it's not valuable right now.
Times, tastes and markets all change,
so it could be well worth holding on to, as John and Sam discovered.
We don't need any introduction here, do we?
-This is good old Clarice Cliff.
It wouldn't be a Flog It without Clarice Cliff. But, tell me...
Well, we picked these up in a bazaar, a jumble sale, in a church hall.
-Yes, many years ago.
-And what did you pay for them?
-Nothing at all.
-Do you remember this, Sam?
-Yeah, I remember it really well.
I was seven at the time.
I was with my mum on the day, I was sat on the stage,
waiting for my mum,
and then my mum finished, and she spotted it.
I picked it up and showed her the big plate, I remember,
and then my mum liked it, she spoke to the woman
and the woman said, "Take it."
I packed it up in a bag, she gave me it, and that was it, job done.
I wasn't surprised at all that they got these from a jumble sale
for nothing, because, at the time, they simply weren't in vogue
and nobody wanted them.
These are very typical of her range in the 1930s.
We've got a very common pattern here, the crocus pattern,
but on quite a nice shaped dish.
We've then got the wind chime pattern, I think, isn't it?
Something like that.
And then we've got these two really bizarre patterned ones,
which I love, these bright oranges and bright geometric designs.
The market for Clarice Cliff is always unpredictable.
It's still very buoyant for rare and unusual items, shapes, patterns.
I don't think any of them are particularly rare patterns.
-If we estimated them, say, at £150-£250
to give the auctioneer that oomph, as it were...
-Would you be happy with that?
-I'm very happy with that.
Numerous commission bids here, I'm going to start straight in at £260.
270, takes me out at 270. £270, 280, 290.
360. At 360 on the one telephone, at 360.
-Telephone bid has just come in.
-370, 380 back in.
-380 back in on the phones. 390, Julian?
-At £390 on the telephone, at £390. Are you sure, this time?
At £390 on the telephone, at 390. Are we all done, then, at 390?
-I love that wallop!
-I don't know what they see in it!
-And you got it all for nothing!
-I never thought I'd get that far.
If you want to make a tidy profit like Sam,
then Mark has a few pointers about the Clarice Cliff patterns
and designs to look out for.
The tennis pattern, the carpet pattern,
the Gibraltar pattern, these are unusual patterns
and you often find them on unusual shapes,
the very Art Deco shapes, and the sort of conical shaped pieces.
That's the thing to look out for. Shapes are really key.
The best of bargains can come from the most unlikely places.
And chance can play a part,
as the item that belonged to Carol and Ian goes to prove.
It's a very rare item. Tell me a bit about it.
Well, we won it almost 15 years ago now at a raffle,
took it home and hung it on the wall
and didn't really think a great deal more about it until probably...
four years ago or so, and we did a bit of research on it.
Right, OK, so you didn't know who it was by at the time you won it?
We knew it was Eduardo Paolozzi...
-..but didn't really realise the significance of it.
-Didn't realise how important it was?
'Paolozzi, I think, is a very important modern artist
'and sculptor, so I was astonished to hear they'd won it in a raffle.'
You don't normally win things like that in raffles.
TV sets, boxes of chocolates, bunches of flowers,
but a Paolozzi bronze?! Wow, lucky people!
So I was amazed to hear that, and I was thrilled for them, too.
This is a representation of the famous piece of sculpture
that stands in the forecourt of the British Library.
You knew at the time it was by Paolozzi, but how did you know that?
It came with this letter of authenticity with it.
OK, I'll just quickly read this.
This, obviously, is on his own notepaper with a printed heading.
"This is to authorise that the bronze plaque Newton After Blake
"can be raffled for the Brenchley & Matfield Tennis Club."
"This was executed by me,
"and a copy cast by Livingstone Art Founders in 1995."
He then goes on to say that the original version of the sculpture
is being installed in front of the new British Library.
And it's signed by Paolozzi himself, which is fantastic.
'Provenance on an item like this is vitally important.
'These things are very rare,'
and, it must be said, they're relatively easily faked.
So this was a copper-bottom provenance,
and that was very exciting, too.
My view is that this is worth somewhere between £2,000 and £3,000.
Can I ask how much the raffle ticket cost?
£1 each. But you were very generous, you bought more than one ticket!
-We bought five!
So it actually cost you a fiver, not just a pound!
I've got bids, got interest, and I've got to start at £1,500.
At £1,500, the bid's on the books.
At £1,500, £1,500, the bid's with me.
1,600, 1,700, 1,800, 1,900, 2,000.
2,1... At £2,100, the bid's with me.
At £2,100... 2,2 or not?
At £2,100, done?
Yes! He's sold it for £2,100!
Got to be happy with that?
It fell within estimate, so, in all honesty,
I was quite chuffed, really.
That's one raffle I'd wished I'd bought a ticket for!
But even when you're buying at auction,
a bargain can still land in your lap.
Flog It regular Claire Rawle proved that point
when she inadvertently bought a real treasure.
This little Japanese carved wooden Tiger,
I never actually set out to buy.
Many, many years ago, when I first started in this business,
I bought a box of mixed items.
I bought the box, it probably had a toy in it or something that I wanted,
and when I got home and I rummaged about, there it was,
lurking in the bottom of the box. Cost me a fiver.
And, I was very early days of my career then,
so I didn't know an awful lot about it,
except it's incredibly tactile, it's the most gorgeous thing.
It looks quite fierce, cos it's snarling,
but it's got rather a round-y nose, which is very typical Japanese.
He dates from the late 19th-century.
Always thought he might have been intended as a netsuke,
but there are no holes in him,
so I'm guessing he's just a little carved wooden ornament.
And if you turn him upside down, like so many Oriental works of art,
he's got the most beautiful detail.
All his little pads, his little claws, and he is actually signed,
he's got character marks, which I really ought to get looked at.
Probably says something like "Made in Hong Kong,"
but with any luck it might say that it's carved by one of the exceptionally gifted
Japanese carvers. That would be nice.
And one day I'll get it checked out.
But, in a way, I just like him as he is.
I don't know that I want to know too much more about him. I think he's gorgeous,
and I think today we're probably looking at an auction price
of 100 to 150, so it wasn't bad for a fiver, really.
A nice little bonus for Claire!
But nothing compared to the windfall that awaited Stephen,
who picked up two paintings as part of a job lot.
They're vibrant, they're impressionistic,
and they're very much of the moment, I think.
-So, how did you come by them?
-I picked them up at auction.
-How long ago was that then?
-About eight years.
Cos there were some frames - some Art Deco frames - I wanted.
-I didn't want those.
-You didn't like them.
-No. They went in the garage.
Have they been in the garage for the last eight years?
One's been on the wall in the house cos the wife likes it.
The other's been on top of the wardrobe.
I do like them. I particularly like this one.
The more I look at that, the more it does grow on me.
Here's the artist's name. Look, Danila Vassilief.
This one's dated 1934.
-And that one's dated...
He was a Russian artist.
He moved to Australia after the Russian revolution,
became an Australian citizen, but he toured around the world.
He went to the Caribbean, he came to England for a little
while during the 1930s and he painted here.
I've looked at recent sales...
of oils like this,
and they have sold for anything from £200-£300 right up to £11,236.
That's a fair price.
Yeah. The question is, how much did you pay for these in auction?
Er..£4, plus the...so £4.60.
Is that all?
My advice is let the auctioneer decide - Philip Serrell -
-it's his sale. He knows his market.
-Yes, I'm quite happy with that.
So what did Philip think?
Well, he valued the larger of the two at £200-£300
and the smaller at £100-£150.
He knew they were something special.
There are areas of collectability that are strong,
and the strong areas at the moment are New Zealand, Australia.
And this man had a big Australian following
because his work came from there.
But they were set to exceed everyone's expectations.
A little birdie told me your wife is quite happy to get rid of these.
She'd like me to clear out a little bit, yes.
I have got a rather excessive amount of pictures...probably 300.
-If they didn't sell... 300? You're a bit of a magpie.
My rainy day money, my retirement fund.
Here we go. This is it. Good luck, Stephen.
This painting that I am offering you, it is
the larger one of the two.
It is the landscape with the figures. With me at 320.
-That's a big profit.
-350, 360, 370...
But it hasn't stopped yet.
'For a £4.60 investment, Stephen was going to get a serious return.'
-Internet bidding. Can you see that?
550, 580, 600...
Bid's with me. 520, 650, 680, 700...
£720 for the first, for the larger one.
'And Stephen's wife Anne can't believe it.'
At 800, 820...
At £880, here's the bid.
The bid's with me on the machine.
Australian art is big business.
You are a little rascal, aren't you? At £900. 950...
James, don't stop now.
-This is very, very good.
-At £1,050 on the machine.
Is there any more?
Just that one more.
Everybody's starting to fidget. They can feel the tension.
that hammer is going down.
Done. Thank you.
£1,050, that is a very good start for the large one.
Right, here's the second.
I've got a 500 bid on the book.
At £500 for the next one.
At £500, at 520...
550, 580, is it?
At £550, 580, 600...
Bid is with me at £600.
At £600 only.
20 on the net, is it?
650 in the room.
You're very mean.
Is there £800 anywhere?
There is the bid.
twice... Done at 780.
Yes! The hammer's gone down. £780 for the smaller one.
That is, for you, a grand total of £1,830. What a wonderful moment.
And we've just been joined by the wife, so what do you think?
I... I'm stumped. I just can't believe it.
I knew that they would do very, very well
because of that Australia connection. Because of the internet,
you just know that they're going to make the money that they should.
But from a personal point of view, would they hang in my house? No...
Well, I absolutely love it
when we can help you turn a healthy profit, and what a profit it was.
It just goes to show, there are bargains to be had out there,
even in the auction rooms where Stephen picked those paintings up
for just a few pounds.
If you think lady luck is on your side
and you'd like to bag yourself a bargain,
what should you bear in mind?
Don't always look in the obvious places
to find that special something.
Expect the unexpected and keep an open mind.
Hang on to things.
Some things may not seem like a bargain now,
but things can quickly change when it comes to the antiques market.
And buy what appeals.
If you like it, the chances are someone else will too.
Regular Flog It auctioneer Nick Hall likes all kinds of antiques and
collectables, but he's especially passionate about paintings.
His sale room is a veritable gallery of pictures for sale,
and he wants no more than to share his passion with us,
and some tips on how to spot a good investment.
Now I've been involved in antiques for over 20 years now,
but art, paintings, has always been my first love.
Some of the contemporary stuff really does switch me on.
Now this is by an artist called Theodor Major.
Theodor Major is a very important part of 20th century northern art.
This, when it comes up for auction,
I've put an estimate of around about £25,000 on it.
The artist on this one is Harold Riley.
Now Harold Riley is still a very active artist.
In fact, he is well-known internationally.
Now we've been quite cautious on this.
We've put a pre-sale estimate of £4,000-£6,000 on it,
but it's going to blow that away.
If you're lucky, you might find something
that's slipped through a general auction
for a fraction of its value - highly unlikely.
What you really need to do is go to the places where the young,
the fresh, the new art is emerging from.
Being from glorious Cheshire,
we're just a stone's throw away from the vibrant city of Manchester,
and I know just the place to go and find exactly what we're looking for.
Manchester School of Art is one of the oldest, highly regarded,
pioneering art schools in the country.
During its 175 year history, the school has had many exceptional and
inspirational graduates, including the world renowned LS Lowry.
So what better place to find out more about contemporary art,
how to spot a bargain, and discover the next big thing in the art world?
-Great to meet you.
What a wonderful space you've got here.
I'm here to meet head of painting Ian Hartshorne.
So someone looking to start collecting up and coming art,
where should they look and what should they be looking for?
One of the best opportunities to find what you're looking for,
what collectors might be looking for, is in our annual degree show,
which takes place at the beginning of June each year.
The graduates culminate their studies after three years,
have an exhibition, which is open to the public.
Last year, we had over 3,000 people visit the studios...
and students did really well in terms of selling their work.
And also, buying work at a degree exhibition is really interesting
because it's actually the cheapest the work is ever going to be.
An exhibition in the sense that a gallery would put on a sale
with items for produced especially for sale in the gallery.
That's just a sideline to showing the students' work, I guess.
Yeah. If the students sell anything, it's an unexpected bonus, I suppose.
But you do teach them
a little bit about the commercial aspect of being out there
in the cold, hard world post course.
Yeah. It's... It's a reality that we have to face.
It's a difficult...life.
It's difficult for students to develop that
kind of life for themselves, but it is possible.
A number of students do do it and do it successfully.
JAZZ MUSIC PLAYS
So, Ian, with the auction buyer of art, they're established art
and they've got a confidence
because they know the track record of the artist's work.
They know the prices are consistent and are high.
What confidence would a buyer have coming to, say, an exhibition here
with the artist whose work we're looking at?
What could give buyers, or collectors,
confidence is talking to those students and finding out to
what extent the students are really serious about what they're doing.
If those students have taken part in any extra exhibitions, if
they have been included in prizes or awards or competitions, residences.
Those kinds of thing.
So it's showing a track record of their success and intent,
if you like?
It's an indication of how committed they are to their professional
There's some fascinating work going on behind us here.
-Can we meet some of the students?
Naomi is making some really great work.
Exotic in flavour. Fairly large scale.
She's painting these images of palm houses and glass houses.
-Can we interrupt you for a second?
Loving the work you're working on currently now.
I'd really like to get your slant on what it is you're trying to
portray and produce.
They are images taken from exotic landscapes and hot houses
and palm houses. It's not a still life.
It's meant to evoke an atmosphere of heat and the sounds of the tropics.
So much to see, isn't there? Gosh, this is interesting.
-I really like this.
-This is Camilla. Can we say hi to Nick for a second?
Hi, Camilla. Nice to meet you.
Sorry to disturb you but just interested to know what it is that
drives you, what's your inspiration for these wonderful works?
Inspiration-wise, I started off looking at a lot
of the old masters so I started from there.
I was also looking at old photos from Victorian times
and sort of recreating them.
Ian, what in your opinion makes a good painting good?
A good painting is good throughout different points in history.
Some of the paintings that were initially thought to be
good are not referred to any more.
-Or talked about very much.
-So tastes change.
Tastes change. Fashion changes.
And the market changes which also partly determines what a good
-What would you look for in a painting?
If I can keep returning to look at it,
it's like an itch that I want to scratch.
If it does that to me I know it is a good piece of work.
What are your thoughts on people buying just
because, commercially, it will bring a return?
I suppose if you're a buyer you want to buy the cheapest
and sell at the highest. That's a commercial decision.
I would like to think if anybody bought something from me
or one of my students they were buying it because they loved it
but I think there are two different things at work here.
One is the art world which is about art
and one is the art market which is about money.
And the students that I work with
and art schools like this are really about the art world.
There is a fine line between the two worlds
and the two ideals of buying, heart or purse strings, isn't it?
I would always go with the heart.
As an auctioneer, I've got to say purse strings.
Still to come, we reveal the art of the true bargain hunter.
You're a self-confessed, get ready for this, Michael, moocher.
-That's a new one to me.
-Mooching about at the car boot sales and jumbles.
-It's paid off.
We discover there are still treasures to be found
if you know what to look for.
It's not going to make £300.
-You think it might by the sound of it.
-I definitely think it might.
Carl had done his homework. He knew it was rare.
And one valuation day discovery proves to be worth a great
deal more than David Barby first thought.
On a good day it could do a couple of thousand pounds.
Joan, we're going to be in the money. I think you are.
It seems perfectly clear to me
that you have got to keep your eyes peeled at all times
if you want to pick up a bargain for just a few pounds.
But there's more to bargain hunting than just luck.
There's a lot you can do to increase your chances of finding
something special for very little.
In car boot sales or fairs, get up very, very early in the morning.
Because everything that can be bought cheaply is probably
bought before most people get up.
-Where on earth did you get it from?
-From a car boot sale.
-For 50p or something?
-At £110, we're away.
-Do your homework.
If you want to spot a bargain you need to know more than
the person that's selling the object.
Where did you get it from?
I bought it from a table top for 20 pence.
-And of course, train your eye.
-Can I ask how much you paid for it?
£4. I can't believe it.
-Just have a rummage. Get down there, get under the tables.
Get in through the boxes and have a really good rummage.
If you think that something looks like it's really well made
and it's a nice piece and perhaps got a name to it,
then it's got to be worth researching.
Have you ever found anything like that in a charity shop for 40p?
All done at 1,800.
Yes! Well done.
You know, the joy of finding a bargain or hunting
generally for antiques is you never know where they're going to crop up.
For some, rummaging for bargains is an obsession.
And for Flog It viewer Derek, it paid off.
Michael was blown away by his incredible find.
-Parcels and packaging.
-A bit of tissue.
It was a wonderful 18th century silver gilt snuff box
and it's very rare and something I would struggle to find
in the normal course of business going around lots of auction houses.
So to have it brought in on Flog It was quite extraordinary.
-Are you a box collector, Derek?
-No, I'm not a box collector at all.
It's things I like and I see it and buy it.
I got it from a jumble sale so it didn't cost enough.
-Let me stop you there. Where did you get it from?
-From a jumble sale.
Where was this jumble sale?
I can't remember where the sale is
because I go to loads of jumble sales.
Crikey, we have people coming in saying
they bought this in a jumble sale.
What they don't tell you is they have been going to jumble sales
for ten years and getting up at 6:00 in the morning.
I always have a look under the table
because you never know what's under the table. And I see a box under the table.
And I see all these little bits of brass items in the box.
I mooched through the box and I found this little box in there.
You haven't got time to think really
because there's all the people around you.
I thought that's nice so I got up and said, "How much is that?"
She said 10p and I said, "I'll have that then."
And I paid my 10p and went off looking for other things.
I think I might have broken the sound barrier getting
the 10p out of my pocket and into her hand.
That's because you know what you're doing. You know what you're doing.
-Was this a long time ago?
-Couple of years ago, yeah.
That's not a long time ago, Derek.
It shows it's worthwhile persevering with jumble sales and car boots.
If we open it up we would hope to find marks in the cover,
in the base but it's German, unmarked and dates to about 1760.
You can tell something is silver if it isn't hallmarked
by giving it to me and asking me if it's silver or not.
No, it's the feel of the metal, the weight,
the colour and with a box like that it's evident it is a wonderful thing.
If we look underneath there's no marks but there's a little
bit of white showing through and we can see it's silver.
Return on 10 pence. What do we reckon?
-I wouldn't have said 20, 30 quid personally.
-Give you 40 now.
-I expect you would!
-Thank you very much.
-Let's put £300-500 on it.
-A fixed reserve of £300.
If it didn't look so nice I probably would have taken
it down the car boot and sold it for a few quid.
-It was meant to be.
-It was. Thank you very much.
-You're a confessed, get ready for this, Michael. Moocher.
-That's a new one on me.
-Mooching about at the car boot sales.
-It's paid off.
-It has. And you do it every Saturday? Mooch about.
-How many jumbles did you do this weekend?
-Saturday went to three.
-My Saturday is jumble sale day.
-And is your house full of...
-I was going to.
-You're allowed to. You're allowed to.
I was going to say tat. Let's put your mooching to the test.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Who will start me at £400? £400? Try 300?
300 we have, and 20. At £300 and selling, is there 20?
At £300 and to the telephone, is there any more? Last time at £300.
-Good return on 10 pence.
-That's fantastic. That's fantastic.
-I'm happy with that.
-You've got to be over the moon with that.
Fancy mooching about for boxes yourself?
Michael has some sound advice.
If you find silver boxes attractive and want to collect them,
start with something fairly easily available.
Something like vesta cases.
The first bit of silver I ever bought was a vesta case. It was £20.
They are still £20, £30, £40 for simple ones.
And then you can go on from there to collect snuff boxes.
But start off small.
Small items can easily be overlooked
but if you do your homework you could find a real little gem
as David Fletcher heard when he met seasoned bargain hunter Carl.
-No, I bought it at a table top sale.
-Let me tell you a bit about him.
And then you can tell me what you paid for him.
He's Royal Doulton, as you know. because he's marked Royal Doulton.
And it also says, which is good, Flambe.
Which refers to the type of glaze.
-I suspect it was made at some stage, probably in the 1920s.
-I think so.
And I'll be honest I've never seen,
although I've seen quite a few of these,
a mouse sitting on a cube like this.
Tell me what you paid for it now.
They were asking £3 but as with most of the things I buy
I knock the price slightly and I paid £2.
You must be an antique dealer's nightmare.
That's a little bit mean and cheeky too
and he knew what he was buying which I think made it slightly more
ironic really because he could have paid £20 for it
and still have known that there was a jolly good profit in it for him.
Let's talk money and I'll tell you what I think it's going to make.
You're going to make a profit.
But I don't want you telling me you want £300 for it.
It's not going to make £300.
-You think it might by the sounds of it.
-I definitely think it might.
I'm here to be proved wrong.
Carl had done his homework. He knew it was rare.
He didn't jolly well tell me.
No, good for him but it was much rarer than I thought.
I had a chat with the auctioneer and he says it could fly away.
I think it probably might. I hope it does.
I might be a little bit embarrassed but...
Even if it's within estimate it's still a great bargain.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
It's going under the hammer right now. Here we go.
480 then is the Royal Doulton Flambe figure of the mouse.
Bids there start at 220, 240, 260, 280, 300.
-With me at 320, looking for 340.
-340, I've got 360.
-Two phone lines.
400 and 20.
And 20. Selling now at £500.
Done with it at 500. And 20. 540.
At 540, are we sure we're done at 540?
At 540 left handed. All done at 540, going to sell at 540.
Well done, you. Well done, you.
I hope you feel guilty for knocking them down that extra pound.
I might not have made anything. You don't know until you sell it.
The mouse sold so well because it was rare.
As simple as that.
I was caught out a bit but, you know, what a nice way to be caught out.
If you're looking for a bargain, Doulton could be a good bet
as there is so much of it out there.
You brought in a nice piece of Doulton there.
Made for Dewar's Whiskey.
Very stunning piece of Royal Doulton.
Your wife told me you keep this under the bed.
The history of Royal Doulton goes back almost two centuries.
Over the years the factory produced everything from stoneware
jardinieres to flamboyant figurines.
Miniatures to biscuit barrels.
That's quite nice. Do you want to sell that?
-I bought it from a car boot sale.
Selling in the doorway at £1,100.
One of the things Doulton is best known for is its figurines.
If you're buying Doulton figures,
the earlier ones nearly always do better than the later ones
but the key is making sure you're looking for figures that were
produced in limited production ranges.
I would recommend you look for the pre-war Art Deco figures.
Still very popular, and hold strong prices in the sale room.
We had one recently that made in excess of £3,000.
But what else is worth collecting?
They also made character jugs.
Thousands of different character jugs.
Some people call them Toby jugs.
Tell me, where did you get it?
I pick up all my bits at boot sales and charity shops.
-How much did you pay for him?
-That's a bargain.
Your bid, sir.
And another unusual area of Doulton which I see not that often...
They produced suffragette figures in stoneware rather than bone china.
Quite rare, quite collectible. So, there's my tip.
Jump on the Doulton suffragette figures.
It's hard to go wrong when hunting for Doulton,
as all true pieces are marked.
If we look under the pot, we'll see the Doulton back stamp.
Some are also signed by the artists,
and there are specific names to keep in mind when buying.
You've got the artist's monogram.
-ED for Edward Dunn.
-That's right, yeah.
The important thing about it is that it's designed by Noke,
who was a very prolific designer in the 1920s.
Yes! Hammer's down. £420.
If I was going for Doulton, I'd be going for the stonewares,
which were made end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century.
Stonewares decorated by famous artists
like Mark Marshall, George Tinworth,
Hannah and Florence Barlow,
and those major decorators of the period.
Of course, anybody in the know about Doulton would recognise these
patinas immediately as being one of the Barlow clans'.
-In this case...
Who specialised in these nice slipware birds.
£720? All done? Finished.
It's a no sale.
-I've got to take the damn thing home.
-And it's quite big.
But with such a variety of things to collect, and values ranging
from tens of pounds up into the thousands, when it comes to
spotting a Doulton bargain, you need to be one step ahead of the game.
If you're looking to collect Doulton, do your homework.
Get to know your artists, get to know your decorators,
get to know when particular designs were made, recognise the
difference between something made in 1890 and something made in 1930.
And at any one time,
Doulton is not all doing really well or all doing really badly.
There are different trends within all those items that they made.
Look for good examples of each category,
depending on what appeals to you. Be wary of restoration.
Doulton is renowned for being very cleverly restored.
Monitor the market. There are opportunities to buy reasonably.
At the moment,
Royal Doulton ladies are somewhat depressed in their value at auction,
so if you're wanting to build up a collection, now is the time to buy.
They will pick up again, I'm sure, in the future
and then you'll have done quite well, I'm sure, in future years.
Doulton is one of the most recognisable names,
but there are other maker's marks that also signify a potential
bargain, and Christina came across a fine example in Exmouth.
Chris, you brought this lighter in today.
Tell me where you got it from.
I actually bought it in a jumble sale over 30 years ago. I paid 50p for it.
You bought it from a jumble sale for 50p?
Took it home, cleaned it up and then realised it was 9 carat gold.
-Did you recognise the name at the time, Dunhill?
-I did, yeah.
I was very surprised. I couldn't believe it.
I wish I had been at that jumble sale. It had that magic name.
Dunhill were the very first people to start producing lighters.
They produced automobilia accessories.
It was a driving accessory, so that you could light your cigarette
with one hand and drive with the other. Not very safe.
There was a pin broken on it.
I sent it away to Dunhill Cigarette Manufacturers in London
and they refurbished it fully and sent it back to me with no charge.
Oh, gosh, that was very generous, wasn't it?
Also, they offered me £100 to buy it for their museum.
-How long ago was that?
-That must have been about 30 years ago.
Well, they've obviously done a very good job of refurbishing it.
You haven't used it, because we've got this very clean...
It's never been used.
So often you find with lighters, that they were used,
they've been dented, dropped and trodden on,
and I think, really, to maintain their value, or have any value,
they need to be in excellent condition, which, of course,
the one that we saw was in mint condition.
On the bottom, nice 9 carat gold hallmark there, which is also
hallmarked for Dunhill, so we know the case was also made by Dunhill.
From the hallmark, it's actually dated 1929,
so it's from the late '20s.
Value-wise, we might be looking somewhere in the region
of maybe £250-350.
-I was thinking more a 300 reserve.
-300 reserve, OK.
So we'll say 300-400, with a reserve of 300.
I hope that's not just a little bit too high.
It might just be, but lets keep our fingers crossed.
Dunhill. The George V 9 carat gold petrol operated cigarette lighter.
200, thank you. At £200...
-Come on, come on.
240. 60... 280... 300.
-Where's 20? At £300.
-It's sold on the reserve.
We're done, then. Selling at £300...
We did it. That's not a bad return on 50 pence. Put it there.
-Pleased with that.
-Good spotting, sir.
-That was a bit tight, wasn't it?
Dunhill really are the name that most collectors want.
There are others, like Ronson, Zippo lighters, of course,
but Dunhill were really the first pioneers
when it came to lighters, so all the collectors want that magic name.
So, a famous name can certainly add to an item's potential value,
but not all the signs are so obvious.
As Caroline Hawley knows, part of the art of sniffing out a bargain
is to look beyond your first impressions.
I bought this in a little antique shop in France.
One of my favourite shops.
And right at the back of the shop I found this
completely covered in dust, dirty, and I fell in love with it.
I asked the price and he said I could have it for 40 euros.
I bought it immediately,
took it home and started cleaning it.
As I cleaned it, all this beautiful inlay came to light.
And now I have it at home and love it.
It looks, to all intents and purposes,
like an ordinary table, with a drawer in the front.
It's ormolu mounted.
Ormolu means "or", which is "gold" in French,
"moulu" - "ground",
and it would be ground gold mixed with mercury into a paste,
applied to metal mounts, and then the metal mounts were heated
and the mercury vaporised, leaving the gold on the metal,
and then it was applied to the furniture.
So this is ormolu mounted and it's actually known as a coiffeuse,
which is a hair dressing table.
"Coiffure" meaning "hair dressing".
Open it up and there's a mirror inside,
and the compartments for putting your various accoutrements.
And it dates, I'd say, from about 1890, 1900.
And I think this was such a bargain, because today, I think,
in its restored condition, it is probably worth £400-500.
A slice of luck for Caroline and a lesson for all of us.
Despite the competition for bargains,
it's still possible to unearth them.
Seek and ye shall find.
Like Flog It viewer John, who met David Fletcher in 2011.
Absolutely stunning. How did you come by it?
My wife bought it at a jumble sale about six months ago
-and she paid 50p.
She liked the design and she brought it home.
We looked through what we bought during that day
and I looked at the back and saw the Liberty
and I thought, "God, this looks different."
Do you go to many jumble sales?
We have been to quite a few jumble sales in our time, yeah.
-And have you made many finds like this?
This was the golden one, this one.
What's the difference between a jumble sale and a car boot sale?
-Cos most people...
-A jumble sale is rock bottom prices, really.
Rock bottom prices, OK.
Yeah, it's the ones I can afford to go to and buy stuff.
When I heard that he'd paid 50 pence for it, I was green with envy.
It was just staggering that these things still turn up
for such little money. It's just quite remarkable.
It's a butter dish, with a glass lining.
The mark tells us so much about it.
As you rightly say, it was made for Liberty & Co.
Liberty & Co were at the forefront of the Art Nouveau style
in Britain in the late 19th, early 20th century.
Liberty & Co gave the brand name Tudric to their pewter wares.
The Art Nouveau style is characterised
by very highly stylised natural forms.
So, you'll get flower heads, leaves,
'stems, tendrils, all those things all mixed up in this wonderful way.'
-Do you like it?
-I like the design. Yeah, I do.
I reckon it'll make between £200-300.
-Oh! I can't believe it.
-I really do. I think it's fantastic.
-Between £200 and £300.
Dear, oh, dear.
-What's that? A 40,000% profit?
-That'd do me, that'd do me lovely.
As it was John's wife who found the dish,
she came along to the auction to see what price it would fetch.
-Pleased to meet you, Ruth.
-How do you do?
-Was this your butter dish?
-I bought it.
-You bought it? So, who's going to get all the money?
I'll give her the money.
-How much did you pay for it, can you remember?
-And we're hoping for, what, £200-£300?
-He can't believe it!
We have the Liberty & Co Art Nouveau, tudric, rectangular dish,
with the Knox-style decoration.
Factory marks - 0316,
to the base. Again, conflicting bids. 240
and 50 is bid. 250 is where we're in.
-Straight in, aren't we?
-I'll take 60.
At £250 only. 260 is bid on the internet now.
270, on commission.
At 270. 280, is it, on the net?
280 is an internet bidder.
At 280, the internet has it. At 280. Is there 90? Commission's out now.
At 280. 290, on the phone.
290, on the phone. 300. 320, on the phone, if you like?
I was about to say, it would be nice to see 300.
At £320. 320, 340,
is it, on the internet? 340. 360, is it?
At 340, on the internet. 360, on the phone, if you like?
-They're definitely picking up on this.
340, I'm bid.
350? Yes? No?
340, it is, on the internet. Trying to get you one more on the phone.
340, it is. Once, twice...340.
-Big smiles all round!
Oh, I'm pleased you witnessed that! You couldn't miss out there.
I just wish I'd bought it for 50 pence.
Inspired to sniff out a bargain yourself?
Here are a few things to consider...
Get to the boot sales and jumbles before anyone else.
The early bird really DOES catch the worm!
And rummage! Get on your knees under the table and turn out those boxes.
A little gem might well be hidden.
Look for names and marks.
They might just be the sign of something special.
And, most importantly of all, do your research. A bit of knowledge
can pay dividends.
Well done, you!
But, remember, it's not all about making money.
I suppose that, whether you consider something a bargain
depends on how much you really want it.
If you've not had much luck at a car boot sale,
then console yourself with the thought that,
if you bought something you love, it doesn't really matter
how much you paid for it.
It's one thing picking up a bargain for a handful of loose change,
but when something unexpectedly lands on your lap,
you know your luck's definitely in.
That is certainly true of the case of Ken, who met up with David Barby
and set his heart all a-flutter at a valuation day
I find it extraordinary that we have come on a programme
called Flog It! I think it should be renamed Attic Treasures.
-Cos these have come out of your attic.
-How long have they been stuck up there?
-Over 30 years, I think.
Since the '70s, anyway.
'I honestly didn't think the posters were worth anything.'
But we were getting new insulation put in the loft of the house
and we found them again. They were brought out and Joan, me wife,
thought they might be just... worth taking to Flog It!
She was obviously interested in going to Flog It!
Have you tried to sell these before or give them away?
I once offered them to a model railway club,
-but they said, "They're just worthless..."
"..but we'll take them off your hands.
"We might use one or two." But I thought, "No, I'll not bother."
It's only probably recently that these are now appreciated
for what they are -
railwayana art - which is very popular at the moment.
-And these all date from the 1950s and the '60s, I'd imagine?
How did you acquire them?
It was a friend that has asked me to be the executor under his will...
-..and he meticulously
left all his possessions to different people
and I got the leftovers, as you call it.
'He'd worked on the railway'
and I'm assuming that's how he'd got the posters.
They'd obviously been used, they'd obviously been on the wall somewhere
on his station, advertising these trips,
'and he must have just collected them,
'because, from what we could make out, they're just bits of paper that,
'after they were done, they were just thrown away. So, I suppose,'
in one sense, they were lucky they survived so long.
These are very evocative of period and the excitement
of travel by train in England
-that has gone.
-Yeah. But the one,
the one that is absolutely knockout, really, is this one here.
If you wanted a winter holiday, you would go to Southport.
This is the best and you've got, probably, about, what, 25 others?
Now, I'm going to suggest that we leave it up to the auctioneer
-to put these posters into various groups.
-Whatever he thinks.
I think we can look favourably to getting -
I'll not get you too excited - but probably about £600-£800.
Oh, blimey! Yeah, well... I'd be more than happy with that!
I hope it's going to make more!
So do I!
When David Barby said maybe up to £600 and odd,
we were quite surprised. Then, when the auctioneer started
looking at them, he thought
maybe one or two of them might be quite a bit valuable.
We've just been joined by Ken and he's brought his wife along. Hello!
-What's your name?
-What do you think of all the posters?
-The auctioneer's done us proud. They're all displayed.
He's decided to sell them individually.
I had a chat to him before the sale. He is rather excited.
On a good day, could do a couple of thousand pounds.
And there's a few stars. There's a few stars.
-Joan, we're going to be in the money.
-Yeah, I hope so!
We come on to the first of the railway posters now.
I have 80, on commission.
-85, on the phone. 90.
-It's a good start.
95, 100. With me, now.
Any advance? And selling...
No further bid...
£100. That's the first one down. That's a good start. Great start.
-We've got how many?
The West Highland Line...
With so many separate posters to sell,
the money started totting up,
smashing through David's estimate.
Well, I was stunned.
I even offered to buy me wife fish and chips on the way home!
Oh, you'll get that fish and chips now.
(I can't believe this.)
"Bristol - romantic centre for a delightful holiday."
I've never seen anything like this on Flog It! I really haven't.
'Last was David's favourite. Did the bidders share his enthusiasm?'
The Southport one, an earlier one. This is rather attractive.
2,3 on the phone.
-2,4 on the internet.
-2,4 on the internet. 2,500 I'll take.
£2,600 on the internet now and selling...
£8,000 for all the posters put together. Fantastic!
-I feel like applauding!
-Joan, give us a hug! Oh!
-Thank you very much. You've been wonderful.
Don't spend it all at once, will you?!
£8,000 - incredible!
It allowed Ken to buy something that was a necessity
for a private passion.
The funny thing was that, on the day of the auction,
when we were driving to Kendal, the clutch went on me car.
We barely managed to get there and back home again.
So, I bought myself an old car, a little estate, which I could use
for fishing. It gets me out of the house, fishing.
It's just being out in the fresh air and it's just peaceful
and, in a place like this, it's just nice to be out.
Those railway posters will always be a Flog It highlight for me.
It's great to know that Ken put the proceeds of the sale
to such relaxing use. Well, that's it for today's show.
I hope you've enjoyed watching.
So, please, go out there and have some fun.
Start buying antiques and we'll be back soon with more Trade Secrets.
Paul Martin celebrates all the lucky bargain hunters who turn up hidden gems at car boot fairs and jumble sales.
Auctioneer and art lover Nick Hall visits Manchester School of Art to sniff out collectable artists of the future, and Caroline Hawley reveals how a dirty old table, found in the back of a junk shop, turned out to be a canny investment.