Antiques series. Mark Stacey explains the appeal of a piece of 20th century commemorative china, while Philip Serrell and Charlie Ross investigate collectable cars.
Browse content similar to In Living Memory. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Welcome to the show that helps you to get in the know
when it comes to buying and selling antiques and collectables.
-Price-wise, any idea?
-Not really, no.
-Good gracious, I never knew that.
We have got well over ten years of "Flog It!" behind us,
that is literally hundreds of shows
with thousands of your items sold in auction.
So if there is something you need to know,
you will more than likely find it right here, on Trade Secrets.
The 20th century has seen great changes both socially and
culturally that have occurred within our lifetime or that
of our parents. Or grandparents.
And we see many objects that turn up at our valuation days
that reflect those changing times.
So in today's show, we're taking a close look at objects that
were made within living memory.
Coming up, our experts take us on a trip down memory lane.
We have got Beatles - Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
I actually got them signed.
Thomas reveals a hidden passion.
Thomas is a Barbie doll.
You are, though. Come on, let's face it.
I thought it was fabulous. It really was a really good thing.
Charlie and Philip fulfil a boyhood dream.
Arriving at the Aston Martin works
in an Aston Martin being driven by a James Bond look-alike.
And we reveal the secrets of the modern collectables market.
-Thank you. Gosh!
It's funny how an item can evoke memories - the place where
you got it, the person who gave it to you, the moment in time.
And all of those things can make an item made in living memory
Collectors' items are bought
on memory, they are bought on feeling.
If you remember having the Corgi James Bond as a boy, then
that brings back memories, which is why you want to have it now.
I think that does encourage people to bid a little bit more,
pay something for an item which is reminiscent of their own
Yes! What a result!
I remember as a child,
queuing up with great excitement for the first Star Wars film.
And some of those early figures, particularly the rarer ones,
in mint condition with their original boxes,
are starting to make serious money.
A good 20th century collectable will reflect the age
that it was made in,
whether that's the '20s, '30s, the '50s, the '60s or the '80s.
So go for things within their own period,
which you personally have fallen in love with.
And at our valuation days, we see many seemingly ordinary
objects that evoke nostalgia for these eras.
I think it is either a picnic box or a gramophone.
I'm going to open it up and have a look.
It's a gramophone. Tell me all about it.
Well, it was my gran's, she used to play it when I was a young lad.
The favourite one of hers was Davy Crockett by Max Bygraves.
# Davy, Davy Crockett
# King of the wild frontier. #
-I remember it.
People are quite fascinated by old record players, even those ones
from the 1950s, like this one, are fascinating bits
of kit, really.
But people then have to be that old to remember playing
music on one of these things as a child.
Even me, I say, can remember winding up a gramophone
and playing records.
It's quite good quality.
I haven't been able to see here
a maker's name. Have you any idea?
No idea whatsoever.
I don't think it's an HMV
because I think HMV had their names on the playing head as well.
Look for rarity. Most are made by HMV or Columbia or whatever.
Try and find a name that you haven't heard of. Look it up.
Think, "Well, there were many of these made,"
therefore, by definition, providing it is of a reasonable quality,
it will make more money than a standard object.
There is a needle case on the corner there.
-The winder has lost its handle, I think.
-But it is in good condition.
There is a little bit of rusting around the catch,
but the chrome here is in super order.
Condition is very important because it needs to look nice.
If you're going to have it sitting on a table in your drawing
room, you don't want to have bits hanging off it.
If this record player hadn't been working,
to restore it would cost more than it was worth in the first place.
# One, two, three o'clock... #
I would rather think we'd let it take its course, really,
in the sale room.
Don't put a reserve on it and let's say goodbye to it,
and we'll be excited once it gets above a tenner.
-If it makes a tenner.
-Oh, it will make more than that.
This is the portable gramophone.
And I have got competing bids here to £50.
50, straight in, top-end, yes!
-They are going up, aren't they?
-Yeah. You see, it is a big hit.
£55. I'm going to sell in the room then at 55.
60, new bidder. 65.
It seemed the bidders knew something Charlie didn't.
90. 90 in the centre, then.
Any advance on £90?
The hammer has gone down. £90.
I'd say that's twice what it would've done a year ago.
Twice your valuation.
I was very surprised at the time.
But looking back, I think it came with six records.
And I have a cunning suspicion that there might have been
a bit of rare vinyl in there that added to the price.
That great result proves music can really stir emotions.
But for Philip Serrell, one item in particular takes him
on a memory merry-go-round.
Now, I'm not exactly going to tell you how old I am, but I am
of a certain age.
And I am of that certain age when in the 1960s and you went on holiday,
you went to seasides. And seasides would have fairgrounds.
And fairgrounds had rides.
And rides had these lovely painted boards in front of them.
Now, I think this is probably earlier than '60s.
I think this might be '30s or '40s,
but it is just a cool thing. I love this.
I bought this this year from an antique shop,
and I think it cost me 60 quid or something.
And I bought it for two reasons.
One, it sort of does remind me of those childhood holidays.
And two, I just think it is a bit of fun.
And it is something that...
Well, it just appeals to my sense of humour, really.
# Barbara Ann Ba-Ba-Ba, Ba-Ba-Barbara Ann. #
But perhaps the things that most take us back are toys,
and there is a huge collector's market for these.
What a toy name to conjure with.
And Barbie, well, you know, the most iconic doll
of, I'd say, the post-war era, isn't it?
If you are a collector of dolls
or of toys,
I think you want the best of the best.
This Barbie was the best
of the best. It was tremendous.
Tell me, how did you come by this almost mint Barbie?
It was a present to me in 1963 from my auntie,
whose next-door neighbour brought it back from Canada.
Nobody else had one that I knew of so that is why it is still in the box.
I've never seen the like of this Barbie, with its three wigs.
I thought it was fabulous. It really was a really good thing.
Of course, early Barbie, early Cindy,
those are the best to collect.
-It would have had a cellophane cover to it.
-Which is gone, unfortunately.
-But I would suggest we put it in at £80 to £120.
We fixed the reserve at 80.
And I wouldn't be surprised if it made £150.
-I really wouldn't.
It's the stuff of childhood, and apparently of Thomas's dreams, too.
Thomas is a Barbie doll. You are, though. Come on, let's face it.
You specialise in lots of things like this, don't you?
We have a sale room which sells toys,
so I see lots of things coming up in the Barbie doll world, etc.
So I am a little bit excited.
But I don't want to come over like I'm excited about selling dolls.
At £30. At five.
60. Five. 70. Five.
80. Five if you like. At 80 here.
At £80, you all sure, now then?
Lady's bid at £80. You all done?
-On estimate, well done.
At least somebody will appreciate it.
-Yeah, I'm pleased.
I was disappointed at the £80.
And maybe this Barbie should have been in a proper doll sale.
And I think maybe it could have made more money.
Of course, today, with online bidding,
wherever dolls are sold, they will be found by the serious collectors.
Dolls are ever popular. There is something for everyone.
-£580, who could have predicted that?
The doll world is massive.
If you want to collect baby dolls, big dolls, Barbies...
It's up to you, really.
You need to find your niche, and then from that niche,
you pick the best of the best.
You've brought three very pretty young ladies along with you.
If you want to start collecting antique dolls,
the ones that you are most likely to come across
are the porcelain-headed variety, produced in the 19th century.
You brought a little friend here.
She has got a bisque porcelain head, which is
typical of dolls made from the late 19th and early 20th century.
So she is 100 years old.
What are our experts' tips for budding collectors of dolls?
Look at the quality of the head.
The rarity of the mould that the head is made from.
If it is a rarer number, the better.
If you look at the back of the necks of the doll,
it will usually tell you all you want to know.
So we have got Heubach Koppelsdorf and then a number
and "made in Germany" underneath.
The best tip for collecting dolls -
go for the one with the weirdest expression.
This is a most disturbing object you have put in front of me.
I think she is quite scary.
-I think she is scary as well.
-With a trembly tongue.
I couldn't sleep at night if they were in my house.
The other thing to look at is the eyes.
These eyes are weighted so when you lay them down, they go to sleep.
When you bring them up, their eyes come up.
This really will scare you. The eyes open and she comes alive.
The colours of the eyes as well.
It is always good to have blue-eyed dolls.
People always love blue-eyed girls.
-She has lovely blue eyes, just like yourself.
-Thank you very much.
Condition is all-important.
If the head has a crack on it, a chip or any damage,
to be honest, I'd leave it alone.
I'm afraid eyelashes have gone.
Also, costumes as well. It's the clothes.
Are they in the original clothes? Has the hair been cut?
Cos the hair does get cut by beastly children snipping away.
It is museum quality. The condition is very, very good.
And I would say they are the original clothes as well.
So if this is the area of collecting for you,
which makers' names should you look out for?
You could be buying German dolls made by Simon & Halbig,
Then you could collect French dolls by Jumeau
and earlier dolls in France, which are just super, super quality,
made in the late 19th century, early part of the 20th century.
You can pick up a good quality doll for around £150,
but values vary.
The highest price so far recorded was for almost four million pounds.
But if you are thinking of entering this field,
Thomas has a few words of warning.
The doll market is the worst market in the world.
Cos after a view, their limbs, head, hair, everywhere,
and the doll collectors will come in,
they'll pick up a porcelain-headed doll and, if it's really good,
they might get a little pencil out and draw a line down the doll
so it looks like a hairline crack so the next person viewing it...
thinks it's broken!
It's not just nostalgia for our childhood that makes us
spend our money, we are all touched by the momentous,
historical events we have lived through.
So items connected to these memories can have just as much appeal.
If items are associated with a particular event,
it may mean that they will have more significance.
But on the other hand,
it may mean that they are produced in greater quantities.
And because of that, will be less rare and less valuable.
For example, a royal wedding.
Every newspaper - "Special, souvenir issue"
for the wedding of Charles and Diana,
William and Kate or whoever.
As soon as it becomes an object to be collected, you might as well burn
it, it will never be worth anything, because everybody thinks,
"Oh! I'll keep that."
And there's no point.
But it is not all about the value,
some people like commemorative items.
I like this one particularly because it is for Halley's Comet,
which last appeared in 1986.
So certainly within my living memory.
And I know how exciting it was then, waiting for it to appear.
Wedgwood, of course, capturing the market,
got a designer called Richard Guyatt to produce a commemorative mug.
This is exactly the same shape as you would have found a royal
wedding mug, but what the designer has done is produced it
in this almost sort of '30s graphics,
with this sort of writing.
And it says, "Return to Earth every 76 years - 1986."
And then he has put the next time it is due to appear -
so 2062, 2138, 2214.
And underneath, they have got,
"To mark the return of Halley's Comet," and you have got the trajectory
of the comet as it goes through the solar system.
I'm also quite a fan of Star Trek, so this sort of thing appeals to me.
They only made 2,000 of these, so it is a limited edition. This is 610.
And actually, it comes with the original label that says
that as well.
But I just like it for its design element.
I think this could be quite a collectable item in the future.
BIG BAND MUSIC
It is almost impossible to predict what will become a collectable,
but items that an older generation hung onto,
which once seemed insignificant, can now be highly sought after.
An amazing collection of the risque sort of theatre land
from the 1920s right through to the 1950s.
Obviously, they are not yours. Whose were they?
-Well, they were Val's uncle's, actually.
He died some 20 years ago and Val was the next living relative.
And when we cleared the house out, we looked in the attic
and we found these.
-A sordid past.
-A sordid past.
Magazines, generally, are
an auctioneer's nightmare.
They tend to come in vast numbers and,
generally, worth almost nothing.
The earliest one that we have is 1927 - the Folies Bergere.
Now, if we have a look at this one here,
this one is particularly interesting because of one person.
There she is. Josephine Baker.
She was one of the first ever black strip dancers or naked
dancers at the Folies Bergere.
She was very well known
and has gone down in history as one of the best ever.
And whenever we get something at auction that is
revolutionary in its time, a little bit risque,
they are really sought after today, because they are a collectors' item.
-When it was done, nobody thought it would have any relevance,
nobody thought it would be a collectors' item in the future.
In the same way, actually, as
the front page of the Times newspaper,
when the Titanic sunk.
At the time when that was printed,
nobody thought it would be of any value.
Today, it is worth thousands of pounds.
Valuing this sort of thing is very, very difficult.
-I mean, we have got hundreds, haven't we?
Some of them are worth less than a pound.
That has got to be worth something like £30, £40 on its own.
So if we put an estimate of £100 to £150 on them...
Now, I do hope that somebody with a real passion for theatre
history will go for these.
There is some interest here.
And we start the bidding at...
Commission bid at £140.
50, will you? Commission bid at 140.
It's with me on the book. Are you all done?
Do you want to take a second look? No?
It's on the book then and we are selling at £140.
-Yes, hammer's gone down! That was great, good valuation.
-Yes, lovely, that's great.
Whenever anything reminds people of when times, in their own mind,
are better, it is bound to create these lovely,
warm feelings of nostalgia, and that is where the collectors'
market comes from for this sort of thing.
Now, our parents and our grandparents have marvellous
tales to tell about their youth, and some of the things they have owned
speak volumes, as David Fletcher knows.
Now, my grandmother, like so many people of her generation
and background, had quite conservative taste, really.
My grandmother was born in 1900, so she was a Victorian.
So what made her buy this? It's glamorous,
it's a bit glitzy, it's quite sexy, I suppose, and it
speaks of its period.
I would've said this would have been bought in about 1934, 1935.
Well, my theory is that my grandmother, who was a great
filmgoer, had been to see one of Busby Berkeley's films,
42nd Street perhaps,
and had been so impressed by the glamour of that,
by the way it took us all away from that really rather depressing
period of time, the 1930s, with all the economic problems that
people were struggling with at that time.
And she thought, "Well, I'll pop into my local china shop
"tomorrow and see if I can find something that reminds me
"of that film."
'Luxurious settings, spectacular dance routines, set to the rhythm
'of inspiring music in scenes never before attempted on stage or screen.'
This is one of a pair.
It is by a very minor German factory,
but it speaks of its period.
And I remember this when I was a young boy,
sitting on the mantelpiece in my grandmother's house,
with the other one at the other end of the mantelpiece.
And in that sense, I grew up with this, really.
I'm not really sure that I actually like this, although I am
interested in the Art Deco period, the 1930s and cinema of the 1930s.
So in that sense, it has a value to me.
It doesn't have a great financial value.
But it and its pair are two items I would never sell.
But if you do want to sell, auctioning an item
at a relevant moment in history can make all the difference.
And James couldn't believe what turned up at a valuation day
There are certain things in history that everybody wants to
get their hands on. I think the World Cup is one.
But I think very close behind that is an Olympic torch.
The Olympic year, what a time to sell it.
And to get a London Olympic torch, you could not find a better time.
This was, obviously, for the London Olympics of 1948.
There were 20 of them made and each person would have
kept their individual torch as a souvenir of their leg.
The 1948 London Olympics were known as The Austerity Games.
The event was crucial
in lifting spirits during the post-war gloom.
What is it doing here, in the centre of Coventry?
My father used to run, but I'm sure he'd have told me
-if he'd been a stage bearer in the Olympics.
We kept a pub and it probably came into his possession
from someone coming into the pub and perhaps selling it some time ago.
So do you think somebody paid off their bar bill with this,
swapped it for a pint of beer or paid off their slate?
-It could have been something like that.
And with the Olympics still in everybody's mind, I thought
it was an appropriate time to perhaps sell it.
The Olympic torch was fairly easy to value
because if you look online and you look at the records, and there were
Olympic torches from 1948 selling at £1,500 to £2,000, complete.
but this one had the burner missing.
I think that should have contained an inner section.
-It must've had a burner or something.
-Must have done.
Generally, a piece lacking, an integral,
an important part of it will make a huge difference to the value.
But I think it is a great time to sell it.
We should put an auction estimate of 600 to £1,000.
That's not bad for something that looks like a toilet plunger, is it?
Not at all. It certainly isn't.
It may have looked like a plunger to James,
but the auctioneer had high hopes for it.
We have already got some fan lines booked.
We have got quite a bit of interest in it.
And I am confident that we are going to well exceed the estimate.
Let's hope we can break a record with this one.
Have you purposely saved it for this year?
Did you think about selling it last year?
-No, last year I thought about making a table lamp out of it.
-I'm glad I didn't.
The Games of the 14th Olympiad, commission bids on the book,
and I am going to start it at 1,050.
-That's our top end, isn't it?
1,100 there. 1,150 I've got. 1,200?
1,200. That clears my commission bids at 1,200. Do I hear 1,250?
There's a couple people on the phone now. It is out of the room.
-It is backwards and forwards to the phone.
Let's go in hundreds. 15 now.
-I don't believe it.
-32 on this phone.
-I just love these moments.
At 3,200. Is there any further advance?
It's going to be sold, £3,200.
-Yes! Hammer has gone down.
I thought it might make the 1,500, but it did brilliantly.
That certainly was an iconic and symbolic item.
And the sale was certainly something to behold.
And there is a lesson for us all there -
selling something at exactly the right time can pay dividends.
Now you may not have an Olympic torch hidden away at home,
but it is worth considering looking for items that are related to a big
event or an anniversary that is coming up soon.
If you are interested in modern collectables, keep
this check list in mind.
Everyday objects can have hidden value
if they strike a chord with the bidders.
The most collectable toys are those with their packaging
and accessories intact.
And keep in mind that commemorative pieces aren't always collectable.
Look for the rarer items that mark historic events.
We see many toy cars and much motoring memorabilia
at our valuation days.
But love it or hate it, what is it that makes these things
so collectable and potentially so valuable?
"Flog It!" regulars Charlie Ross
and Philip Serrell are lovers of antiques and collectables,
but they also have another shared passion - classic cars.
And I am not talking about the toy variety.
So they went to Aston Martin to explore OUR love affair with
a British legend that every big boy dreams of being part of.
Well, Charlie, here we are.
Arriving at the Aston Martin works in an Aston Martin being
-driven by a James Bond look-alike.
I'm so looking forward... What got you into Astons, Charlie?
I'll tell you what, when I left school, my first day of work,
my boss said, "I've got to pick up something. Come with me."
Went downstairs, what car did he have? An Aston Martin DB4.
Oh, heaven, heaven, heaven!
And we picked up his other car, so I had to drive the DB4 back home.
For me, it all started in the 1960s, waiting to see Goldfinger.
-And I just fell in love with it.
I fell in love with her as well, but that is another story, Charlie.
-Who have we got to see?
-Kingsley is the man.
# He's the man The man with... #
-Good to meet you.
-Philip, Kingsley, how are you?
-Very well, thank you.
So, clearly, there are no new Astons here, these are all...
In this particular area, everything here is what we class as heritage.
-This is the second-hand department, is it?
-No, no, no!
Some of these are better than new.
This is where non-current cars are serviced, repaired, rebuilt,
whatever. Whatever is needed.
Kingsley, can you tell us about the history of Aston Martin?
This company was originally formed as Bamford
and Martin back on the 13th of January, 1913.
But of course, the big significant point for Aston Martin really was
when David Brown bought the company in 1948.
So, if you look at a '60s Aston, it has got DB, which is David Brown.
And that's really... He has left us with that legacy, hasn't he?
Absolutely, that has carried on through the company
all the way through the years.
For me, Astons have always been an iconic shape.
With one exception.
And in the '70s, they became for a short while very angular,
-Oh, yes, the Lagonda.
-And is that...?
-You've got one.
It looks like it should have been out of Thunderbird or something.
I think you have to go back to understand why we did that.
This is when Concorde went into service.
And you think about how Concorde looked.
And the company really needed to make a new, bold statement.
It needed to go out into the world.
So in 1976, at the Earls Court Motor Show,
the car was shown for the first time.
And over 600 of these have been built since then.
Really, I suppose I became aware of Astons in a way with
James Bond, so it is all in... That is where the living memory thing is.
Bond and Aston, they sit side-by-side, don't they?
They do, and always will do.
-The Silver Birch.
-The Silver Birch with black trim, yes, absolutely.
Yeah, no, it's very much a sign of a DB5, that is.
-Now, Charlie, if one of these came into "Flog It!"...
..what would you tell them it is worth?
-Because you sell these, don't you?
-I do sell these.
I have sold one or two, and we got a million for a DB5
in Pebble Beach, California - £600,000, £700,000.
It's unbelievable the way they have gone up in the last few years.
# Live and let die
# Live and let die
# Live and let die. #
Well, gentlemen, this is our heritage showroom.
This is where we have all of our heritage cars for sale
and we also hold events here as well.
-What about this?
-Ah, well, this is a DB6.
This is a DB6, but it is a very special one,
-because it was owned by Paul McCartney.
The added provenance here would add a huge amount to the
value of that car, knowing who owned it.
-You can always make condition but you can't make history.
Something very different over there.
-Radford Estate. It is a DB6 Shooting Brake.
There were 20 DB Shooting Brakes that were made,
19 of which are left.
The first car that was built was built for Sir David Brown.
I am told he went into the Felton workshops there and said,
"I would like to take my dogs round the estate,
"I don't want to put them in the back,
"do you think you could devise an estate car for me?"
They put the dogs on the bench, measured their tails
and everything else And went away and sorted it all out.
And once one car is built, it sets a trend
and the owner wanted another one and another one and so it went on.
It's not, may I say, a thing of beauty.
Ah, but it is like a person with character - they take a
while to get to know, but once you know them, it endures for longer.
These characterful cars command astronomical prices.
But there is an area of collecting more accessible automobilia.
And even Aston Martin is in on the act.
And the thing is, Charlie, if you can't afford the real thing,
-this is the area of collecting to get into.
And this tells me a lovely story, you know.
When I was a kid, in about 1960 something,
my dad bought me a Scalextric set.
And I loved it and I loved it and I loved it.
But I've always wanted one of these.
And about five years ago, I found one of these in a box.
It cost me 300 quid.
But the thing is, for everybody at home,
if you can get one of these, get it in a box.
-So what is your toy, Charlie?
-Ah, my favourite.
-How about that? Now look at that.
-That has got everything.
-This has got the whole lot. It's got a wonderful ejector seat.
We have got machine guns at the front here,
which come in and out like that.
We have got that wonderful iconic device that would shoot outside
and shred your tyre
when someone was trying to move alongside you.
We've got the gun shield in case anybody is shooting at you.
The thing is, if you put that into auction,
you'd estimate it between, I don't know, 50 and 150.
But if you've got a collection of these and this is the only
one you haven't got, it's worth £1,000, isn't it?
-But look at all the others.
-There is so much stuff here.
Car badges, there is a gold stick pin with a diamond in it.
There's something for everybody's pocket, isn't there?
-That's the key thing.
-You don't have to have Aston Martin.
There's car badges of every car that has ever been made.
And the less number that were made, the rarer.
-And probably the more valuable.
Dig around in your boot fair, look for these things.
# He loves gold! #
The chrome is going a bit here.
Yeah, well, I wonder where we can take that for restoration.
-We are probably in the right place.
-I would think.
-We could take this back to Kingsley.
Still to come, we reveal the benefits of having rock solid
This letter here. I mean, if I look at it, it's rather...
Handwritten by Lucie Rie.
It's not often you get a chance to buy a piece like that
with that letter of provenance.
James discovers a thriller of a tale about the King of Pop.
-It was him?
-It was Michael Jackson!
And this was a photograph I got from Michael as well.
And we discover the secrets of making riches
from 20th century buys.
We've got a northern artist in a northern sale room
with northern collectors. You can't fail, really.
What a great investment!
As well as having wonderful stories,
antiques bought within living memory may often come
with solid provenance,
and this can make all the difference to their desirability.
All provenance is, it's something's passport.
It tells you where it has been all of its life.
Collectors, you know, want to make sure,
if they are paying a lot of money for something, that there is proof,
whether it is photographic or written evidence.
But you can't go from word-of-mouth,
somebody saying, "Oh, I bought it from such-and-such gallery."
You need a little more tangible evidence than that.
Because provenance can make such a potential difference to the
value of an item, it is always a good idea to keep a record
of where family possessions came from, assuming you know.
Talk to relatives, rummage around in boxes of old paperwork
looking for invoices, bills of sale and receipts.
And also photographs.
And if you find anything, keep it in a safe place.
In 2011, we'll discover just what a difference having this
kind of provenance can make.
Simon, you have brought in this really striking studio
pottery bowl for us to look at today. And I see also a letter.
Tell me, how does that pertain to the bowl?
Well, the letter is from the artist, who is Lucie Rie,
who wrote it to my late aunt following a visit that my aunt
had made to the V&A, and had seen a bowl that was very similar to this.
-Written to Lucie and asked her if it was for sale.
The letter says, "The bowl is not for sale,
"but I can make you another one."
-And this is her reply, and that is the bowl that she made.
Here on the base, we can see a nice studio pottery marked for Lucie Rie.
Lucie Rie really is one of the main names in the studio pottery.
And what is most noted about Lucie's pieces
is this very sort of flared rim standing on this almost tiny
little foot. Bowls of hers can get up to this sort of size, you know.
And if you are talking a bowl that sort of size,
you are talking many thousands of pounds.
I'm growing to like it more and more.
Are you? There we go. Well, it is quite an important piece, actually,
in the sort of whole history of British studio pottery.
I mean, she is one of the sort of Premier League names.
And this letter here, I mean, if I look at it, it's rather...
Handwritten by Lucie Rie.
"The exhibition is not for sale,
"I could make a similar one for you, it will never be the same.
"Should you consider it, do ring me and come and see me."
Well, that is typical of Lucie Rie.
She was well known for taking guests into her studio.
It is also dated 1982, I see.
It really just almost topped it off beautifully, really.
It shows Lucie Rie's involvement in the piece. And it's lovely.
It just gives a real insight into the person behind the object,
which again, the collectors like
to get under the skin of designers and makers.
Unfortunately, what they are not looking for is damage,
and there is a rather nasty hairline crack.
The mantra is with porcelain, ceramics - condition,
And I think when I put the estimate on the piece, I have to say,
at 100, 150, and I was probably being a bit mean with hindsight.
But auctioneer Claire Rawle knew because of the letter
the pot was destined to create fireworks in the sale room.
She has an appeal worldwide and she is now very expensive
and very collected.
Well, let's find out what the bidders think
cos this is a name to go for.
And it's going under the hammer right now.
And I have to start straight in at £200.
At 200, do I see 220 anywhere?
250 with me.
280 on the telephone. At 280.
Do I see 300? At 280.
-There's two telephone bidders, that is what we wanted.
Fighting this out.
-See, the purists know exactly what to go for.
Imagine if it were perfect.
No. 420 on the first telephone here.
At 420, you all sure? At 420...
Yes, £420. Simon,
top, top money. Put it there.
The letter. The letter did it.
You know, a good price really,
certainly bearing in mind it wasn't a massive piece and it was damaged.
But I think whoever bought it would have been chuffed
because it is not often you get a chance to buy
a piece like that with that letter of provenance.
The bowl, had it been on its own without the letter,
would have sold perhaps for about 100, because people expect...
She was quite prolific and people expect to find
items in perfect order.
So having that letter with it, I think, for a collector,
that really boosted the interest and the price.
We prefer it on "Flog It!" when art is marked or signed.
And the signature of a good artist can be valuable in its own right,
particularly if the person in question is a household name.
A typical scene showing sort of the industrial northern landscape.
LS Lowry, June 22, 1953.
How did you come by this?
We found this in a box of books about the Manchester Ship Canal.
We found it inside one of the books.
Where, in an auction room, in a junk shop?
-It was in a car-boot sale.
-How long ago?
-About three years ago.
-And how much did you pay for it?
We only paid... It was certainly less than five pounds
for the whole box of books, and this was just something inside.
His signature isn't that rare.
Later in life, when the he was producing limited edition prints,
he was signing things all day long.
And I think he even got to a stage where he charged you
a few quid just for a signature.
So the signature isn't rare.
On the side of a limited edition print,
his signature would make it work between five and £1,500.
I think you could put this into auction with
a value of £80 to £120.
-That would be superb, wouldn't it?
-That's very good.
Signature. It's 50. Yes, we're off.
60. 70. Are you 80? 90.
Perhaps even 100?
Yes, 100 on bid there.
And ten. And 20 now.
And 30. 140.
Are you 90? 190 then I am selling.
For £190... Thank you.
Not bad for a five-pound purchase.
But signatures can be easily faked,
so provenance in this field will always stand you in good stead.
This is a real thriller. Sorry to start on that, I couldn't resist it.
-I was going to say, "Is it bad?" I don't know.
-It's a great thing to have on "Flog It!".
-Thank you so much.
It is a powerful image. It is great to see it signed.
The thing that was so good about that was it was huge!
It was... You could not miss who that autograph was from.
You look at that and it has got a Michael Jackson image on a Michael
Jackson poster with a great big, wonderful Michael Jackson signature.
What's the story?
Well, my wife and I moved down, after 30 years in the army,
we moved down south to Hampshire.
We befriended a Portuguese couple who lived across the road.
They approached me one day, saying, "David, I won't see you for two weeks,
"cos we have some VIPs coming here and I've signed this secrecy document
-"not to say who it is."
-That was him?
-It was Michael Jackson!
I didn't know at the time, but Tony'd had a word with him and said,
"David and Jenny, they love your music
"and they've been unable to see you."
He says, "Look, Tony, I'm going to sign this for David and Jenny."
And this was a photograph I got from Michael, as well.
That was taken with Tony's family.
Provenance is so important with autographs.
It's very easy to get conned on autographs.
So, any time when you've got somebody who can say,
"This is who he was with, this is why he was there,
"this is the photograph of him being there,
"and this is the provenance of where it came from." Brilliant!
Can't get any better than that.
Now, a Michael Jackson signed poster, it's got a great image.
It's a fantastic size.
And, in a way, one of the things that makes it genuine
-is the fact that it's been signed and personalised to you.
-But, that is against it in terms of value.
-Of course it is.
Because not everyone wants a Michael Jackson signature
with David written on the front.
It's something that I think is worth £300 to £500.
-Let's give it a chance. I'm sure it should do well.
MUSIC: "Bad" by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was an important figure,
so his autograph is really quite important
and probably a good one to get
if you're an autograph collector
of the entertainment industry.
What can we say? Michael Jackson, iconic figure of the 20th century.
Will you start me at £200?
I'll take 10. 290.
With you, sir, at £300.
That's a very good price. With your name on it.
All done at 300? 300.
-Anita's done really well.
It's most valuable when he's most well known,
when he's most in the media.
And, of course, when he passed away,
that's when he was most in the media.
I reckon that was probably worth more THEN than it is now.
But if you want to make a profit from selling signatures,
there's one rock'n'roll band that will always make you money,
IF the autographs are right.
He's collecting Mecca.
We've got Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
And so our first question is - how do you know that they're real?
Because I actually got them signed.
I was there with my autograph book as they turned up to a pop concert.
Number 971 now. The two 1960s autograph albums,
-including John Lennon.
-The Beatles' autographs should sell that alone.
At 840. 860 on the other telephone.
860 is bid, on the other telephone, against you on the internet. At £860.
At £860. It's going to be sold.
All done at 860.
-That's just lovely.
Pretty good result? But James thinks it could've been even better.
Three Beatles without John Lennon, what are they worth? £1,000?
You add John Lennon, it doubles it.
If it's on a rare photograph that isn't part of a press release,
then you can double it and treble it again.
Because you've got the image, you've got the look as well as the signatures.
If the signatures were on the front, brilliant,
if it was on the back of the photograph, it doesn't make any difference at all.
So, what are the dos and don'ts of collecting autographs?
Do find an area that fascinates you
and do buy the very best that you can.
Do try to find out the provenance of the autographs
because this is the thing which will authenticate it.
And do beware of fakes and facsimiles.
Another 20th century collectable worth looking out for is technology.
In our lifetimes, we've seen huge advances in this field
and with such a glut of gadgets on the market,
collectors are always looking out for that little added extra.
-Does this set up belong to you?
-No, it doesn't.
It belonged to my late brother.
He was a very keen photographer.
Do you know what date he bought it?
Yes. He bought it in 1951.
OK. And do you know how much he paid for it, as well?
He paid £125 for it.
How do you know that?
Unfortunately, I haven't got the receipt with me, this morning.
That's how I was aware how much it cost, how much he paid for it
and when he bought it.
He's obviously decided to pay that little bit extra for a good name.
The Leica name is one that is well collected.
'Leica are particular collected
'because they were pioneers'
in camera design.
It was 1913, I think, that the first prototype came out.
And the idea was, quite simply,
to make a small, lightweight, compact camera
for taking landscape photographs.
What it was reacting against were those big Victorian plate cameras
where you had to lug 100 things with you,
you had to put a towel over your head, you've got a phosphorus flash.
What they wanted - small, compact, affordable and good quality.
That's why they're important in the history of cameras.
-Date-wise, you say he bought it in 1951.
-So he would have probably bought it new.
-I would think so. Yes.
Because I've had a look at the serial number which is how you date the cameras, the Leicas.
-And it's dating at 1950.
-Oh, so it was new!
-Ties in nicely, doesn't it?
So, the fact that one owner, fresh to market,
that's two boxes ticked as far as a collector is concerned.
The more important bits here are going to be the camera itself,
the lens that's already with it,
and then you've got the spare lens and the original box,
which is a nice touch, and again, that does add value.
If I said to you, can we put it in sale at £200-300...
-would you be happy with that?
-Yes, I would.
That would be very nice.
Fortunately, Dorothy found the receipt
and added it to the lot.
-You've got the original receipt.
That's always a nice touch when you're selling things.
-Just adds a bit of provenance to something and people like that.
I can start the bidding here at 120 on the book, with a bid at 120.
Is it 130 now? 130. 140. 140. 150.
150. 160. 170. 180. 190. 200.
210. 200 on my left. At 200.
I'm going to sell it at £200. Is there any further advance?
It's going to be sold. Are you done?
Yes. We got it away. £200.
-Dorothy, Dorothy, you're not saying anything.
I'm very happy. Thank you very much.
-Got me worried then.
-I'm very happy.
When it comes to cameras, like I've said, Leica really is the top name.
I mean, you're talking Premier League, there.
And the collectors will pay a lot of money for the right camera.
And when I say "the right camera",
I'm talking pre-war for a start, before mass production,
say prototypes or short production runs of a certain model.
I think the Leica Lexus, a very small number made.
At auction, you're talking half a million pounds.
I mean, that is big money for a camera.
If you want to invest in something produced during YOUR lifetime,
very modern items can be surprisingly valuable.
And as Philip discovered in a valuation day in Stockport,
the right place, time and subject matter
can create magic in the sale room.
Tell me, what do you know about these, then?
-What's the artist's name?
-Well, it's Trevor Grimshaw.
-He's a local artist. Lived in this area, lived in Hythe.
He lived in Hythe, which is probably about seven or eight miles from here.
Until I went to that valuation day, I've got to hold my hand up,
Grimshaw was not a man that I'd heard of.
Philip phoned me from the valuation day, and he said,
"I've got two drawings here by a fellow called Trevor Grimshaw.
"Tell me all about him."
Well, Trevor Grimshaw is one of the leading artists
of the Northern area, I suppose.
He was a Stockport-based artist, born in 1947,
and he was an extremely talented draughtsman -
very accurate, fine pencil drawing.
He was very fond of the industrial landscape
as all the Northern school were inspired by Lowry, et cetera.
But these ones were the best I've ever seen.
Did you buy them in a gallery?
No, we went to his house and we bought them at his house.
I had a bit of a connection with Trevor
as I had some insurance business with his family.
So, you were an insurance agent to Mr Grimshaw.
What period of time was this?
This was in...dating from the late '70s to 2000 and something.
But, we decided, one Christmas, we'd buy something a bit different.
So, we thought, let's get each other a picture.
The thing that I liked about the two, was that you had the one
with the train and the other one with the landscape,
and I think, for me, it was a little bit out of period,
because the train looked very much like it was Art Deco
and I think this chap painted in the 1980s, 1990s.
I mean, these are trying to be what? '30s? '20s or '30s?
They're depicting Northern scenes,
how they were, with the chimneys and the smoke.
-You know, and the canals.
-So, Stacia, what did you pay for this one?
For this one, it was £150 and this one was 100.
I would put an estimate on this one of 800-£1,200.
This one I think is a little bit less.
And we should perhaps put 600 to 900 on it.
But I wouldn't be surprised if these went and made £2,000, £2,500.
Northern artists are massively, massively sought after.
And you are going to just the right place to sell these.
We've got a Northern artist in a Northern sale room with Northern collectors.
And if you tick those three boxes, you can't fail, really.
Adam was also pretty confident these were going to fly.
I've sold loads of Grimshaws,
but those were probably the best I've seen
and the biggest I've seen, so I'm really excited about them.
-And how are we on the value?
-Just right, just where you want them.
Enough to promote them, to entice people to bid on them.
That's it, "I've got a chance. At 800, I've got a chance."
Everybody's queuing up to bid £800 for them
and no-one's going to get them anywhere near.
They're going to be four figures each, without a doubt.
950 here, I'll take £1,000 in the room.
At 950, take 1,000, and 50.
1,150, 1,250, 1,300 in the room now.
1,300, I'll take 50.
1,350. 1,400. 50.
-Pity you didn't buy a few more.
£3,800 for the first one, is there 3,900?
£3,800, are you all done on the first one now?
Thank you very much.
£3,800. Let's see what the second one does.
-What a great investment.
-27, the next one.
It's the next Trevor Grimshaw industrial landscape with canal.
You've got 600. I've got 800 to start. I'll take 20. 820.
840, 860, 880, 900,
and 20, 960, 980, 1,050, 1,150, 1,250.
In the room, 1,250. 1,300, 50, 1,400, 50.
1,500, 50, 1,600? 1,550.
At 1,550, 1,600, and 50.
2,700 this time, at 2,700.
-Try not to be disappointed.
-That's not a bad guess, is it?
2,800, we are back on. 2,800, it's not over, 2,900, 3,000.
It's still going.
2,900 this time.
At £2,900, are you done?
Thank you very much.
-I never expected that.
That's what we call a great "Flog It!" surprise.
-I think we paid 250.
-Is that what you paid?
-For the two?
-For the two, yes.
I was surprised that they made quite that much.
I did think that they might make a couple of thousand each,
based on similar ones that we've had.
But there was lots of buyers for these and they were all private collectors.
They're a passionate bunch and they all want to own the best possible works.
People like to be reminded of home.
So, if you come from the North and you buy Northern art,
you might not necessarily live there,
but it's an area of collectability
that just reminds you where you come from.
He seems to get missed a lot by people.
Quite often we get people come in,
having bought his at charity shops and car-boot sales,
he's one of the major ones, that I suppose
if you're out there bargain hunting, you might just have a chance.
Look for very fine quality draughtsmanship
and for trains and for gloominess and for Northern industrial
and his signature's quite often hard to make out. Have a punt.
There's an area that you might make a few pounds.
So, here's a few things to remember
if you're interested in collectables made in living memory.
Provenance is key.
It can make the difference between pounds and pence if you're selling.
If you're into gadgets, look for those manufactured
before mass production made them commonplace.
And even if you've never heard of them,
an artist whose work perfectly captures a time and a place
could prove a fantastic investment.
There's nothing quite like childhood
to evoke all sorts of wonderful memories, especially a toy as iconic
as the one Caroline showed Catherine Southon
at a valuation day in Chippenham back in 2005.
Caroline, this is what I like to see. Toys in their original boxes.
Now, you and I are probably
a little too young to remember Muffin the Mule on TV.
But certainly he was an important character for children
of the 1950s and early '60s on BBC One.
How did Muffin the Mule come into your family?
He's either my mum's or my dad's. They both had one,
-so we've got another one up in the attic somewhere.
-Something like this,
they're probably not as popular as they once were
about ten years ago when the toy market was a bit stronger.
I think you should still ask about £60-80 at auction.
I don't think my parents were very fond of Muffin the Mule,
but we had to downsize and clear out the attic,
so I think they were just keen to make some space
and see it go to a good home.
Caroline had outgrown childhood playthings,
and her parents wanted to help her raise some money
to invest in grown-up toys.
I started rowing in 1997, I went to college here in Oxford
and my friend who rowed persuaded me to go along
and do a couple of training sessions.
I think we had three outings and then we raced, and we won the race
and I just fell in love with the sport from that moment on.
But rowing is an expensive hobby
so off to the market Muffin trotted.
We've had one on the show before and we sold it for £90.
So, fingers crossed we can get a little bit more today.
It should do. What worries me slightly,
I don't know if there's that many toy buyers here.
There doesn't seem to be a lot of them.
There's not many toys, I think it's about the only toy here.
It might be a little bit lost, that's the only thing that worries me,
but it would've been nice if it had been displayed with all the strings showing.
Hanging up somewhere near the rostrum!
Anyway, let's hope someone's picked it out of the catalogue. Here we go.
This is it.
And 531, Moko Muffin the Mule
in his original box, articulating joints.
-And apparently, it's just coming back onto the television.
I didn't know that.
Absolutely fantastic and I have got commission bids,
so it makes life ever so easy. I'll start the bidding at £90.
-Oh, that's excellent.
-At £90, at 90, I'll take five.
At £90, at 90.
Five anywhere else?
At £90, then. It's going to a good home. At 90, all done.
Yes! 90 quid! What are you going to do with the 90 quid?
-I'm saving towards a sculling boat.
-It's a start.
-It's all contributing.
I did want to use the money from the show to buy a sculling boat,
but they're very expensive. Probably a couple of thousand pounds
and so, the £90 that we got from Muffin the Mule didn't go that far.
So with the money I made, I bought these blades. They were £395.
The £90 from "Flog It!" probably bought me this much.
It's always a pleasure to hear
that "Flog It!" was able to help out - albeit in a small way.
If you've got any unloved toys you want to sell
or any other antiques or collectables for that matter, you know where to come.
Well, that's it for today's show, so go on, go out there, have fun,
buy some antiques and join us again soon for more Trade Secrets.
Presenter Paul Martin and the Flog It! team offer some trade secrets on what makes a good modern collectable. Mark Stacey explains the appeal of a piece of 20th century commemorative china, while Philip Serrell and Charlie Ross investigate collectable cars - the real McCoy, as opposed to the toy variety.