Paul Martin, Kate Bateman and Michael Baggott visit Dulwich College in south London, where Michael finds an unusual candlestick and Kate has a big surprise in the saleroom.
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This magnificent building is Dulwich College in south London,
and the architect was Charles Barry Jr.
His father designed the Houses of Parliament but it's what's on the
inside that interests me, because today, it's our valuation day.
Welcome to "Flog It!".
This magnificent school was founded in 1619 by Edward Alleyn,
one of the most famous actors of the day.
Originally, it was to educate just 12 pupils -
poor scholars, as they were known -
but despite Dulwich College's humble beginnings, it's now grown to
be one of the most successful independent schools in the country.
And I'll tell you what else keeps on growing,
is this magnificent queue here.
Hundreds of people have turned up to get their items
valued by our experts. They want to know what it's worth.
It's our job to tell them, so let's get on with the show.
This London crowd can't wait to put our "Flog It!" experts
through their paces, and who knows what treasures lie in all those
bags and boxes, just waiting to be unearthed?
Heading up the experts today is the lovely Kate Bateman.
That's quite cool, isn't it?
-They're rather nice.
-They're pretty, aren't they?
And the distinguished Michael Baggott.
A thing you might be thinking of parting with?
I think that might be a no.
But coming up on today's show, Michael gets philosophical...
-Well, it's got the peach of immortality in it.
-Yeah, I know.
Maybe the buyer thinks he's going to live forever. I don't know.
..Kate's lost for words...
-What do you think it's worth?
-Erm, I thought about 200-400.
..and as always, the tension of the auction.
The crowds are pouring in, the heat is rising
and first up on Michael's table are Christina and her beautiful brooch.
-Christina, thank you for bringing along this...
-Yes, you're welcome.
-..very intriguing little brooch.
-Is it really?
Can you tell me where did you get it from?
It was my wedding present in 1965.
I come from Italy, you see, so that was...from Italy.
And a friend of the family, she give it to me
and she said it belonged to her grandmother.
That's all I know.
Oh, that's marvellous, so it's come all the way
-from Rome to Dulwich...
..to be on "Flog It!".
-It's actually, it's come further than that, you know?
-Do you know where it was made?
-This is in fact a Chinese brooch.
-Oh, my goodness.
And there are certain factors.
Chinese jewellery is heavily influenced with filigree work...
-..and all of this, this ground, the little flowers and scrolls,
it's all very fine lines of wire that have worked
and soldered together to form these decorative motifs.
Amazingly difficult, technically demanding,
and you can imagine the time it takes to do something like this.
-But if you didn't know,
because there are no marks on it, apart from
-a little silver mark...
-No, the silver, yeah, that's right.
If you didn't know it was Chinese from that,
you can bet you know it's Chinese from what's in the middle of it.
-And that is a little immortal peach.
-So the gods would eat these peaches and become immortal.
Oh, it's got a lot of history.
And that, I think, is earlier than the brooch.
I think the brooch is about 1890-1900,
-but this little carving, which is out of amethyst...
..I think is probably late 18th, early 19th century.
-It isn't of marvellous quality...
..but it's, you know, a rare little precious item on its own.
-I mean, fantastic journey, to have something
-from China to Italy to...
-I know, and I thought she just give me
something like she wanted to get rid of it!
Well, you might be forgiven for thinking it's costume jewellery,
-at a glance...
-..but it's got all of this history tied up with it...
..and all of this craftsmanship.
-The sad thing is, it's not dramatically valuable.
That, I think, just as a pretty brooch, is worth £30-£50
-of anybody's money.
And I think, because of its sentimental attachments to you...
-..as a wedding gift,
-I think we've got to put a reserve of £30 on it.
But who knows, two people might see as much in it as I do
and, you know, it might go on from there.
-But you're happy to sell it?
-Yeah, quite happy.
And why NOW have you decided to part with it?
Don't know, I just look at it, it's always in the...
inside the jewellery box, I never do anything with it.
-That's the sad thing with brooches today.
-I know, I know.
Erm, but I think something of that craftsmanship might just
-prompt someone to feel, "I'll buy it and wear it."
-Well, you never know.
Even if it's just to go to
-the supermarket on a Saturday.
But it's a lovely thing and we'll just see on the day.
-Lovely, I look forward to it.
Well, let's hope Christina's brooch catches the eye of someone
who will wear it with pride.
Now, over on Kate's table, Karen has brought in an unusual bronze figure.
You've brought this fantastic figurine in for me.
What can you tell me about it?
-That it belonged, or belongs to my mother...
..and she's had it since the late 1920s,
and it came from a gentleman that used to be a doctor,
and my mum used to go and visit him with her mother,
and he knew that she liked it, he used to let her play with it,
-and then he gave it to her.
-And it's always sat,
as I've been a kid, it's sat on the side, indoors.
-Just on a shelf somewhere?
-Just on a shelf somewhere.
We were always told not to touch it, it's very heavy.
-It's an interesting thing. I mean, do you like it?
-Erm...yes and no.
-Yeah, it's a funny thing.
-It's...I don't know...
There's something about it, but I'm not quite sure that I...
-I'd give it house room, myself.
Well, do you know who made it, first of all?
I know it's Bergmann but only because of the programme,
-and having seen...
-Ah-ha! We've popularised Franz Bergmann!
-Excellent. Well, it is exactly that,
chap called Franz Bergmann, and on the bottom, you've got the mark,
-the B inside a little urn, which is the mark for Franz Bergmann.
Erm, he did various things,
he's known for his slightly risque, sort of, naughty erotic ladies,
so bronze, very Art Nouveau, Art Deco kind of ladies.
This is not one of those ones.
He did a series of, sort of, North African, Arab type scenes
and this is one of those. It's somebody like a Berber tribesman,
or somebody like that, a North African.
Basically, with his camel gun
-or something like that.
-Yeah, like a rifle, isn't it?
-his dirk or his curved sword behind him.
-And traditional dress.
It's quite fun. I mean, it's not going to be everyone's taste.
-You don't particularly like it. Your mum obviously liked it.
-And was drawn to it as a child.
-She's probably got memories, yeah.
-How old do you think it is?
-Oh, about 1920s.
About the same time as the naughty figurines,
but a completely different thing,
and he was a sculptor, you can tell that in the really...
-There's a lot of detail in it, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's very well done.
I mean, that's why he's very collectable, because he is the best.
-Basically, condition-wise, I'm going to have a moan at this point.
And say, you know, obviously,
he's got a bit of a wonky barrel of his gun.
And also, you can see it's a cold-painted bronze,
-so effectively, it was a cast bronze...
..that then they let cool, they painted and all of these chips
and this wear is where the original paint over the top
-has chipped back to the bronze underneath.
That's why it's so heavy, as well, because it is a bronze,
-and it's a very dense thing.
-It's solid, right.
So do you have any idea price-wise what you think it is worth?
I thought about 200-400.
That's fairly, that's fairly...
That's fairly good.
I think the condition might be a bit of an issue for this one.
-Yeah? No, that's fair enough.
This can be straightened out but there's always a chance
-it's going to break if somebody does it.
You've got to be fairly gutsy to try to undo it,
-and I think that's what's going to affect the buying of this.
-Erm...I would have said maybe the lower end of your estimate.
-So maybe 200-300 is doable in this condition.
-Reserve, though, I would put a reserve of 150.
-Just to protect it.
-So that if it doesn't make it,
-we'll make it a firm reserve at 150.
Hopefully, between 200 and 300.
Yeah, that would be good.
It's time for a bit of art,
and I found a curious painting brought in by Pat.
Pat, I don't know who Clifford Frost was,
but I think he had a jolly good sense of humour.
-I think so as well.
-Yes, I do.
He sums up the very Englishness about the, sort of, 1930s and 1940s,
of early British 20th-century modern. Don't you think so?
Yes, I do, yeah.
It's sort of three guys in the pub, with their pints,
looking at the marrow, saying...
"Hmm...mine's bigger than yours." That kind of thing.
-All gardeners, probably.
-Sorry? All gardeners, yes.
And look at this chap, looking down, going...
-I think it's fabulous,
It's just such a shame there's no relative works that have sold.
I can't find any form on the artist, I don't know any information, so...
I really think he's a very, very competent amateur...
-..which does devalue it slightly.
Where did the painting come from?
It belonged to my father, actually,
and he was a collector, actually, of the 1930s, '40s paintings, and...
I don't know where he got it from before that.
When you talk about early 20th-century modern,
you look at artists with humour, British School.
You're looking at people like Stanley Spencer and...
-you know, from the guy from Cookham.
-And you see, he paints people in his local pub, in his village.
And there's a sense of humour with a sense of religion.
I think what you've got here is a sense of humour with
a sense of gardening, but still with real people down your local pub.
-It's brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
-Any idea of value, though?
-Maybe about £20.
Ha! Oh, I think it's worth an awful lot more than that.
There's nothing on the back, absolutely nothing on the back.
I think it's one of those classic 80-120s,
-and see what happens.
But if we put a reserve on at £60,
-we know we're going to sell it.
-Yup, right, OK.
It could struggle, and get away at the bottom end,
or it could surprise us all and get away at the top end
-and do 120-160 or 180.
-That would be nice, yeah.
Well, I'm up for it if you are.
Yes, definitely, yeah, I'd be very happy.
Now, I've found something really special
and I want to take it somewhere quiet to have a closer look.
Come with me, Annette.
We've left the hustle and bustle of the valuation in the next room.
I've brought Annette into the library because...
You brought in a book to show me,
so I thought I'd show you several thousand.
-But I bet there's not a book like that in here.
So tell me all about this autograph album.
-I saw Paul McCartney quite often, as I lived close by...
-..and I was a big Beatle fan and still am.
-Can I have a look?
Oh, look at this, this is lovely.
Oh, look, there's Jane Asher.
-She was engaged to Paul McCartney, wasn't she?
-She was, yes.
-So you've got all The Beatles.
-All on separate pages, though.
But it's the photographs, did you take all these photographs?
I did take all the photographs.
-So you actually got behind the scenes.
Lots of hanging around, lots and lots of hours' worth
-of just waiting and waiting.
-Yes, it was, yes, but he was worth it.
-But what a reward, what a reward!
-Not just Paul McCartney
-but John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo.
-And the wives.
-You're a good photographer, as well.
I mean, you've captured the image, a moment back in time in the 1960s,
-which is, it's just so evocative, isn't it?
-It's so rock and roll, it really is.
Is this something you're thinking of selling?
-I couldn't twist your arm, could I?
-No, you couldn't.
Look, Ringo Starr, the drummer.
This, this is priceless.
This is a wonderful piece of Beatles memorabilia and in ten years
of doing "Flog It!", we've seen a lot of Beatles memorabilia.
Lots of autographs but nothing as comprehensive as this.
And those four autographs on one sheet of paper, you're going
to fetch around two grand for, with provenance, £3,000,
but what you've got here...
What do you think this is worth?
If I said to you around £4,000-£5,000,
would you be really happy?
-I would be very happy.
-Yeah, well, that's what it would be.
-Make sure you get this insured, won't you?
-Whatever you do, don't lose it.
-I know, I won't.
-It's not just that, it's all your memories.
-It's so old, as well.
I'm ever so pleased you're not selling it. Do you have kids?
-I do, yeah.
-So that's going to be their inheritance.
Well, thank you very much for bringing that in today.
Thank you very much.
That was such a treat.
I'm so pleased Annette is hanging onto that book
for her kids to enjoy.
Back in the hall,
and Michael's honed in on some silver that Josephine's brought in.
Always delighted to see a bit of silver on "Flog It!".
-These are wonderful.
It's a christening bowl and spoon, so... Are they yours, or...?
-Yes, yes, they're mine, yeah.
-When were they given to you?
Erm...when I was christened.
-It's indiscreet of me to ask, isn't it? I know...
So you were given them for your christening, so it's
strange that they don't have more of a sentimental attachment to you.
Well, it's just that my daughter and son are not terribly keen.
So I just thought I would come and see what it was worth,
and see if I could sell it.
Very sensible. Well, what we've got, it's unusual,
because they were obviously bought second-hand for you,
and what we've got is we've got an earlier spoon with a later bowl.
-So if we look at the spoon, first,
this might have been from a three-piece christening set,
-so it's usual to get the spoon, knife and fork.
And because it's a very elaborate pattern,
normally the hallmarks would be struck
towards the top of the stem, but that would damage the design,
so what we've done in this case
-is marked it on the edge of the back of the bowl.
And if I huff on it, and I only do that to reduce the glare
when I look at the marks, we can see that it was made in London in 1878.
And there's a maker's mark
that's always good to see on a spoon, "GA" -
George Adams for Chawner & Company.
And they're one of the best silversmiths producing
-flatware in the 19th century.
-Oh, I see.
This is somewhat later, and from a different assay office,
-and that's got the mark of Atkin Brothers...
-..and that was made in Sheffield in 1901.
-Oh, I see.
-So Victorian and just, JUST Victorian, early Edwardian.
Really, they're two separate items.
We'll put them in together but they don't relate to one another.
-That spoon is worth £15-£25.
-Probably in its silver weight alone, actually, these days.
The bowl is the more commercial thing,
and I think the two together would be £100-£150 at auction.
-And I think we have a little bit of discretion,
just a little bit on the reserve,
and, say, put a reserve of £90. Would that be OK?
Erm...well, I'd like, really, to put it a bit higher
because they do take commission as well,
-So you'd like it at the 100, would you?
Oh, yes, I wouldn't like it to go for less than 100.
Right, no, I hear what you're saying.
-Well, we'll put 100 fixed on it.
And we'll hope that somebody else is looking,
well, two people are looking for christening gifts at the auction.
-And we won't know, we might do very much better than that.
-So you're happy to do that?
-Yes, I am.
-That's marvellous, we'll put them into the auction
and hope for a marvellous result.
-OK, thank you.
Some level-headed thinking there from Josephine,
and I think she made a good call with that reserve.
This isn't going to be a silent film,
and, yes, today we are filming in glorious colour and high-definition.
I'm also proud to say that I've been part of the British film industry.
For a couple of years after leaving college,
I worked at Pinewood Studios in the prop and set department,
so I know what goes on, all the hard work behind the scenes.
That's why I'm pleased to say that this creative work,
produced by the major production companies and the independent
filmmaker, is appreciated by the British Film Institute.
But firstly, I should explain what it does and why I'm here.
In 1933, the British Film Institute was launched,
followed two years later by an archive that would save films,
and years later, television programmes,
as an important part of our cultural heritage.
A large hi-tech cinema was built on London's Southbank,
to show films for 1951's Festival of Britain,
and when the temporary cinema was demolished,
a new one was built in 1957, under Waterloo Bridge.
It was visited over the years by famous names
like director John Ford, and actor Sir Laurence Olivier.
In 2007, a revamped BFI Southbank building threw open its doors,
revealing a state-of-the-art treasure house of cinema.
And because of all the famous connections in the film world,
it's inevitable that other media memorabilia is going to
end up here, being archived at the BFI.
Things like this, what I've got in front of me -
promotional packages, scripts, film posters.
You name it, they've got it.
This is a nice selection.
Look, The 39 Steps, that's one of my mother's favourite films,
and I've actually watched that in black and white with her.
Here is a promotional package from one of Alfred Hitchcock's
silent movies, and all this stuff, in general,
is what people would have just thrown away.
Over 1,000 films a year are screened here.
It's also the location of the BFI's London Film Festival.
Now, there are a team of projectionists that work here,
and they're skilled in using real film reels, as well as
the newer digital technology - projectionists like Russ here.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-What are you up to?
-You lacing up a projector?
-Yes, yeah, just running a film, 1930s.
All of these films are shot in 35mm?
Most of the stuff we run is 35,
-sometimes we get the larger 70mm.
And also we get a 16mm sometimes,
which is a rarity, but it's more the arthouse kind of...
-Is it always as noisy as this?
-Yeah, sometimes noisier.
Sometimes you have two projectors going, maybe more,
and it can actually be louder than that.
-So it's a noisy job, but you get used to it.
-Yeah, I bet you do.
Are some of the films dangerous?
Yes, we do run seasons with nitrate, and certain things like that.
Nitrate is a flammable substance that the light itself
of the projector can make it catch fire and burn the building down,
-so we have to be very cautious.
-Are they kept here?
No, they're kept in Berkhamsted,
where the BFI has an external, sort of, vault that looks after them
and has them in chilled temperatures
and a better environment for films in general.
-I'll let you get back to work.
thank you, nice to meet you.
We've seen how the films are shown, but to find out how films
are selected, I'm meeting up with Simon McCallum, one of the curators.
Simon, what's your role here?
What my role is is Mediatheque Curator,
one of which we've got here at BFI Southbank,
and we look after nearly a million films
and TV programmes in the archive, so a big aim for us is to get
more of those accessible to, sort of, a wider variety of audiences.
-How do you go about choosing what goes on the archive?
It's a very complex process, because the curators will
work together with their individual specialisms to decide what
the particular gaps might be in our collections, for instance.
We actively acquire new material, as well,
so it's not just caring for, sort of, past films and TV programmes.
So we'll actively acquire all new British feature films,
-for instance, so...
-That's absolutely marvellous.
-Now, you've got a few clips to show me, haven't you?
-Yeah, we have.
The first one's actually one of
the earliest British films in the archive,
and it's a film of Blackfriars Bridge in 1896.
So this is only...only, sort of, a year or so after the...
after, sort of, cinema really came about.
What we're seeing here is people making their way to work.
So you can see the advertising on the...on the side of the trams.
Look at the people looking into the camera, thinking,
"What's that chap doing?"
One of the things I find interesting is that people are...
It's a novelty for them to be seeing this big clunky movie camera.
Even today, if you think...
They still stop and stare when we're filming.
-Exactly, people see a film crew, things like that.
-That's our heritage captured.
And it's so much more...visual and...
Yeah, you're there, aren't you?
Yeah, indeed, it's really important for social history to see
what people were wearing and actually coming to life like that.
-Yes, yeah. What's next?
-The next clip,
we're heading into the heroic age of polar exploration, so we've got
one of our major new restorations called The Great White Silence.
Now, this was footage shot by Herbert Ponting
-of the British Antarctic Expedition in 1910 to 1913...
..led, of course, by Captain Scott, who came to a tragic end.
And the footage was finally, sort of,
edited together into a feature film in the '20s,
and, sort of, with added lovely tinting and tonings.
So what we're seeing here is the, sort of, before shots,
before the tinting was recreated.
There we go.
So the colour's actually been restored from the original notes
left by Ponting, so it's sort of been recreated as per his...
you know, his instructions.
God, look at this, it's fascinating.
It's been a huge boost for us
to be able to get this film back out there to people,
cos this is such an iconic part of
-British heritage, British history.
-It's incredible, incredible.
Lots of penguins. They're very popular.
And finally, you've got a bit of comedy to show us.
Yes, we've got some light relief now.
-It's one of my favourite titles in the...
-What is it?
..the whole archive, actually. It's called Daisy Doodad's Dial,
Starring and written and directed by a lady, Florence Turner,
who was a Hollywood star and came over to Britain in the 1910s,
and it's basically a girning competition.
-Obviously, dial is slang for the face, so, as we will see...
She was really quite a pioneer, Florence Turner, as well,
because she went on to work with Buster Keaton back in Hollywood,
-too. She was quite a big star.
-Those are big stars.
-You can learn so much from these archives, so much.
-You really can,
and it's still funny 100 years later, something like that.
Well, can I say, thank you very much
-for my own private viewing.
-Oh, my pleasure.
Well, what a privilege to see those pieces of British cinema.
It just goes to show imagination
and creativity have always been strong, it's just technology
and what it allows us to do that's constantly changing,
pushing those creative boundaries.
For me, British film has always been close to my heart and it's
been a real treat to see what the British Film Institute has to offer.
We've got our first four items.
Now we're taking them off to the sale.
Our items are going under the hammer
at Greenwich Auctions in South East London.
Right, it's auction time. I'm getting excited - I hope you are.
The saleroom is already filling up with eager bidders.
I met up with auctioneer Robert Dodd on the preview day
'and asked him what he thought about Josephine's bowl and spoon.'
Josephine's family silver.
Now, she's selling this because her son and her daughter
don't really want it.
Erm, we've got £100-£150 on the two, as one lot.
Well, I spoke to the lady again,
and I said I'm going to split them up,
-only because they are two completely different eras.
-Also, I've got people who are collectors of spoons...
-..who I don't think would pay £100 for that spoon.
And I've also got people who collect Edwardian silver,
or whatever it might be,
erm, and I think it gives the vendor more of a chance
of it hitting that reserve and hopefully going over,
by just simply separating them.
-And so, I'm confident in these two.
So am I. I'm confident about that one.
-I think you've done the right thing.
Well, we'll find out in a bit what the bidders think.
Auctioneer Robert has tweaked the estimates on our items,
to give them the best chance of selling.
Gone! Selling for £100.
And now it's our first item...
Going under the hammer right now, we've got a Chinese brooch,
Canton period, it belongs to Christina
and it was a wedding present.
-Long time ago.
-That's what I read in my notes!
Fingers crossed we get the top end, and a little more.
Well, I know brooches are out of fashion
-but it's just so much work.
-You never know, might be lucky day.
We might be lucky, yeah. Fingers crossed, here we go. Let's find out.
Lot 355, late Victorian Chinese filigree brooch,
and the bid's with me, straight away at £40.
-Christina, we're straight in.
-Looking for 42 on this,
I've got 40 on it.
Looking for 42, 45, 48.
50. 5, I need.
55. 60, with me.
It's the quality of it, it's just... Screams it.
Looking for 70 on the brooch,
I've got 65, are we all done?
£70, there, right now.
-They like it.
-Oh, yeah, that's good.
Are we all done? Last time on this brooch.
Selling at £70...
-Oh, good, I'm pleased.
-Yes, £70, that's good, isn't it?
-Thank you very much.
-It was worth every penny of that.
-Lovely, thank you.
-It's got the peach of immortality in it.
Maybe the buyer thinks he's going to live forever. I don't know.
-Thanks for coming in.
-Thoroughly enjoyed meeting you.
-Nice to meet you.
What a great result for Christina.
Let's see if Josephine's silver items could do as well.
Next up, we've got some silver - a christening bowl and the spoon.
They came in as one lot,
and they belonged to Josephine, who's right next to me.
Look, the auctioneer has split the lot, so the christening bowl
-is coming out first and then the spoon afterwards.
Hopefully, going to get all the money in the first lot.
-Yes, hope so.
-We've got £100 reserve.
-This is it.
Lot 310 is the early 20th-century hallmarked silver bowl.
And the bid's with me at £100, on this.
-Straight in, we've gotten our reserve.
And I'll take that bid at 100, looking for 110. Are we all done?
Last time, on this silver pot.
-I hate to say it, but it's down to the scrap, I'm afraid.
-It is, that one is, isn't it?
-OK, and now the spoon.
Lot 311, Victorian hallmarked silver Art-Nouveau-style tablespoon
with a fine relief. Lovely little lot. Bid's with me at £12.
Looking for 15, 18, 20 with me.
Looking for 22. Are we all done?
Selling at £20...
£120. Got to be happy with that.
-OK, yes, that's fine.
Silver of the 20th century, now, it lacks a bit of excitement
-cos we can value it almost so precisely.
So, well, you know, the reserve was its price, and it's met that.
-Got a little bit more for the spoon, that's the upside.
-Yes, yes, yeah.
-OK, that's fine.
And now for my favourite lot of the entire day,
it has to be Pat's oil painting -
the three gentlemen with the big marrow.
-The auctioneer gave me a wink on it and he said he liked it.
-And he said somebody in America was interested.
So hopefully we get the top end and a bit more. This is it.
Lot 200. Absolutely stunning oil painting, this.
He's selling things really well for us, though. Bless him, he's good.
Typical 1930s, three guys in a pub talking about a marrow.
I'm not being funny, where you going to get another one?
That's true, isn't it?
And the bid's with me at £60 on this.
Looking for 65. I've got 60.
-5, 70 here.
-Good, it's a bid in the room.
5, I need. 80, here. 85.
90, here. 95, 100.
And 10. 120, here.
130, 140, here. Looking for 150.
150, 160, here.
Looking for 170.
Are we all done? Last time.
On the three guys and a marrow. At £160...
-So, 160, yes, that's a good result.
-That's good, isn't it?
Yeah, and I think someone's got themselves a lovely piece of art.
190, 200, 210, 220, 230...
Karen's up next with her tribesman figurine.
Karen, good luck with this.
We've seen many Franz Bergmann bronzes on the show,
as you know, and they never let us down.
-It's quality. OK, here we go, good luck.
Lot 280, painted bronze sculpture of Middle Eastern warrior,
attributed to Franz Bergmann,
and it's got to start with a bid with me of £120.
Looking for 130, 140, here.
Looking for 150 on this cold-painted bronze.
Looking for 160.
160... 170 at the back of the room, looking for 180.
180 on the phone, 190 at the back of the room. Looking for 200.
There's somebody in the room,
-so that's always good, that they've seen it as well.
210 at the back of the room, looking for 220.
£210, 220, I need.
Are we all done? £220 on the second phone.
£230 at the back of the room, looking for 240. £240...
-See, it doesn't let us down.
-It is Bergmann, you know.
270 at the back of the room, looking for 280.
280, I need.
280 on... 290 at the back of the room, looking for 300.
£300, I want.
£300 on the phone. 310...
-We're getting a bit more now, look.
320, 330 at the back of the room.
Looking for 340.
340, 350, I need.
350, I've got. Looking for 360.
£360, 360 on the telephone,
looking for 370, are we all done?
At £360 on the telephone...
-Doesn't that hammer go down with a lot of force? Crack!
It's just like a carpenter's mallet, isn't it?
-Really pleased with that.
-Look, that's a really good result,
-top end and a bit more.
-Thank you very much.
Things are sailing along nicely at the auction, and we'll be back
later on in the programme with more items to go under the hammer,
but first, I want to tell you about a dilemma
of astronomical proportions.
Life at sea in the 15th and 16th centuries was extremely dangerous.
Sailors had started exploring the high seas,
in search of new worlds, but had no accurate way
of knowing their longitude - their position east or west.
Maps were useless without being sure of your location,
and ships often hit rocks, causing thousands of deaths.
But when King Charles II realised how serious the problem was,
he decided something must be done.
And by 1674, he was convinced the solution lay in astronomy,
so he set up the Royal Observatory in Greenwich to try
and solve the longitude problem, and he made John Flamsteed
the first Astronomer Royal.
The first building here was completed in 1675.
Flamsteed moved in the following year
and started recording star positions, hoping navigators
at sea could use this information to work out their longitude.
But despite all of Flamsteed's hard work to find
an astronomical solution, more awful tragedies at sea
put pressure on the government to find a quicker answer.
They appointed a panel of experts called the Longitude Board,
who offered a £20,000 prize reward to anybody who could solve
the problem of longitude at sea within half a degree.
The prize attracted a lot of interest,
and people throughout the world tried to crack it.
Many thought the answer lay in a device that told you how far
you were from a set point in terms of time.
This is because the earth rotates at 360 degrees every 24 hours,
so an hour of time is equal to 15 degrees difference in longitude.
So if you knew what the time was at your original home port,
you could work out your position,
but no clock existed that could keep accurate time at sea.
The treacherous conditions affected
the workings of all clocks in existence.
It was actually a carpenter who finally solved the problem.
John Harrison dedicated his life to designing a timepiece
that could withstand the rocking motions of a ship,
and the constant changes in temperature without losing any time.
And after decades of research, finally, in 1772, one of Harrison's
timepieces was successfully trialled and approved by the Board.
Now, that clock that finally nailed it, and you could say is
possibly the greatest timepiece ever to be designed, is right here.
That's it there, look.
Harrison's masterpiece solved the longitude problem,
and his invention saved countless lives.
Important astronomical work continued here at Greenwich,
with each Astronomer Royal studying the sky at night,
using telescopes along a meridian - a north-south line -
and by comparing thousands of other observations
along the same meridian, they pieced together
essential information for navigators,
astronomers and cartographers.
Every time a better telescope was developed,
it was placed on a new meridian line.
Essentially, a meridian line can be wherever you choose,
so there's a number of old meridian lines here.
Now, up until the mid-19th century,
towns and cities around the world kept local time.
Now, the discrepancy in time didn't really matter
until the advent of the railways.
Once the rail network system linked all these places together,
trying to write a timetable that made any sense
was virtually impossible.
So in 1884, an international conference was set up, where
delegates discussed which of the half a dozen or so meridians
currently being used could be recommended to their governments,
and eventually, Greenwich was picked
for its widespread use of data being produced here.
So not only am I standing on the east and western hemispheres
right now, I'm also at the very start of time.
So this is what the meridian line looks like at night.
It's projected via a laser into the capital's night sky,
and you can see it as far as ten miles away on a clear night.
And there's something else here that can be seen from afar,
and it's that, the big red time ball.
It was used to help sailors along the River Thames
during the 19th century, because they could see it.
And every day, that big red ball would rise up the mast
and then at 1pm, it would drop down.
So the navigators aboard the ships could calibrate their chronometers
before setting out to sea.
It was first used in 1833, and it still drops every day.
The sailors would have seen something like this.
But of course, I couldn't visit the Royal Observatory without showing
you its most impressive telescope, and it is a bit of a whopper.
It's a refracting telescope, and it uses a lens rather than
a mirror to focus and gather light from the object being observed.
It's the largest refracting telescope
in the United Kingdom, and it's the seventh largest in the world.
The 28-inch lens weighs 200lbs,
and it was so complicated to produce,
there were only two glassmakers in the world capable of making it.
The telescope itself took eight years to make,
and it was finally completed in 1893.
The telescope was used for research into double star systems -
that's stars that share a common centre of gravity -
but nowadays, this remarkable piece of technology is
used as an educational tool for visitors.
By the late-19th century,
light pollution from the city and vibration from trains
started to affect the good work being done here at the observatory.
Plans were afoot to relocate in the early part of the 20th century,
and again in the 1930s,
but that was interrupted because of the Second World War.
The last observation to be done here was made in 1954.
Further astronomical work continued to flourish
at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex,
but today, the Royal Observatory is open to the public
and it's a fascinating insight into early science,
and I hope my little visit today has inspired you
to come and take a look for yourself at this remarkable place.
We're at Dulwich College in London, and our valuation day is bustling.
Kate's with Sue, who wants to find out more about her childhood toy.
-Sue, welcome to "Flog It!".
You've brought a really pretty doll in. Now, what do you know about her?
Well, she was given to me in the 1950s, when I was a child,
-by the wife of one of my father's Army pals.
Her name was Audrey Smith, and she worked at Chad Valley
-in Wellington, Shropshire, in the 1930s.
With hindsight, I think she probably dates from the 1930s
rather than the '50s, and she was so beautiful I couldn't play with her.
-I just displayed her and looked at her.
And the name I chose for her was Caroline,
because it was the nicest name I could think of.
Oh, well, she's lovely, and she is, as you say, Chad Valley.
-And when we take her shoe off,
-she has the little Chad Valley label on the bottom.
-She does, yes.
She's really pretty, I can see why you liked her.
She's got, basically, the Norah-Wellings-type face,
so this felt, hand-painted over the top of felt face,
and then she's got this really lovely little dress, little flowers.
She looks a bit wartime-bride, doesn't she, I suppose?
She looks a bit more, you know, I can see why 1950s,
-but I think she is dating a bit earlier, as you say.
-And you've got her original box.
-I have, yes.
And she's velvet or velveteen body,
and then other composite parts, so calico and things.
-And rather sweet little dress.
Yeah, she's an interesting thing. And it's brilliant to have it from
-somebody that worked at the factory.
Chad Valley basically started out as printers in the 19th century,
so they produced all kinds of printed matter,
publishing things, middle of the 19th century,
and then, basically, these...
They started producing soft toys in the First World War,
because there was a ban on soft toys,
who were mainly made in Germany and the Continent,
-coming into Britain.
-Right, right, OK.
So, that sparked off their turning to the soft toy market.
And they did a great job, I mean,
-they had artists like Norah Wellings and people producing them.
-You loved her.
-I did, I thought she was very special and I still do,
but she's been up in the loft for 50 years and she has been chewed.
-I don't know whether you can see she's been nibbled.
-Some little mice.
Well, she's obviously had this fantastic bright pink dress
but it is a little, sort of,
-foxed, I suppose, and a bit faded.
-It's faded, yes, yes.
-But overall, condition's really good.
-I mean, considering how old she is.
-For the age, yes.
There are lots of collectors and her face is pretty good. Her hair...
She's got little mohair bits of hair, here.
-That is falling out a little bit.
-But generally, she's pretty good. So in terms of value...
I was thinking maybe, sort of, £50-£100, something like that.
Is that the sort of figure you'll be happy with?
I think 100 is probably a better... a better bet. Can we...?
-Can we go for 100?
-Well, 100's always better than 50.
-OK, well, you want it a bit higher.
Well, if we put a slightly higher estimate,
-Yes, yes, I think so.
And maybe a fixed reserve just below, so 80 fixed reserve.
Yes, I think that's absolutely fine, yes.
-And you'd be happy to let it go at that, if it went.
-I would, yes.
OK, sweet Caroline. We hope she sells well at auction,
-I'm sure she'll do well.
-Yes, thank you. Thank you very much.
I hope we can find Caroline a new owner
who will admire her as much as Sue did.
Now, what on earth has Michael got on his table?
Ian, thank you for coming, well, struggling in today with this
massive heavy beast of a candlestick.
Can you tell me, where did you get it from?
What it is, basically, is 20 years ago, my flatmate died
and he actually was left...
He was left, and I thought it was out of character of the house,
so I've decided to get rid of it.
Well, if you're going to have something in an Orientalist taste,
I mean, this is bells and whistles, isn't it?
We've got this wonderful Indonesian detailing.
We've got these dragon mouths with the scrolls coming out,
forming the three tripod feet.
But if you move up, we've got this lovely formal knop, and this vase
with these petals coming out, and possibly a lotus flower.
It's not everybody's taste but if you like the design of this,
it's got everything going for it.
What century would you say it was?
These aren't marked in any way so we have to go by the patination,
and certainly, the colour around these knops,
and the detailing here,
make me think that it's mid to late 19th century, so 1850 up to 1900.
Erm, there's been a little bit of work, but we can forgive that.
The one thing we can't forgive
is we haven't got another one to go with it,
because there's nothing sadder than a single candlestick, so...
They are sometimes quite difficult things to sell.
-Any idea what the value might be?
-I haven't a clue.
I think, had we had a pair of them...
£150-£250, £200-£300, with no difficulty at all.
But of course, a single one, I think we're in the region of 50...
Let's be generous and say £50-£100.
-But I would certainly set the reserve
with a little bit of discretion, at, say, 40 fixed.
And I think that's sensible, and I think, if we proceed
along those lines, it's an attractive purchase to somebody.
So... But why now have you decided to part with it?
I need to get some money to get married.
Oh, that's marvellous.
-Oh, it's going to good cause, then.
-It's going to a good cause.
Well, let's hope it does really well on the day for you, in that case.
-Thank you very much indeed.
That's a lovely way to spend the proceeds.
I hope Ian gets a great result to go towards his special day.
What a fabulous turnout we have here today.
I think that's because it's half term, it's the school holidays,
but hang on a minute, what are you two doing back at school?
-Are you brother and sister?
-What's your name?
Right, well, I guess you're obviously into antiques, are you?
We're just here with my grandmother, over there.
-You're here with Grandma, she's into the antiques, isn't she?
-But this is quite a fine school, isn't it?
-You going to come here one day?
It's all go here, both in front of and behind the cameras.
Kate's up next with Alan, who's come along with something a bit fishy.
-You have brought a table lighter in.
-What you know about it?
-It's a Dunhill.
Because it says Dunhill on the front.
Yeah, exactly that, and it's called an aquarium lighter.
-For obvious reasons.
-Yeah, cos it's a fish lighter.
Yup, OK, so where did you get it?
Belgium or Amsterdam in the middle of the '70s.
Mid-'70s, so you just saw it at an antiques fair or a store?
Yeah, on the old flea market things, I think they call them.
-OK, and do you collect lighters, or do you just...?
-No, no, no, no, no.
-No, it just caught my eye.
-You just liked it?
-Didn't come to a lot.
-And so since you've had it,
have you just had it on the table,
-or you've used it?
-No, no, just on a shelf.
Right, well, it's a fairly collectable lighter as lighters go.
-It is 1950s and it's probably by a chap who worked for Dunhill
called Ben Shillingford, and the reason we know this is
-because he pioneered this use of what they call Lucite.
-Which is like the American version of our Bakelite.
But Lucite - probably cos it's clear, it's lucid -
so it's a clear plastic, basically,
-an early sort of plastic polymer.
And what he did was, these are single panels,
-so you've got front, back and the two sides.
Erm, and you've got this fantastic, looking at it, aquarium scene,
-and he's basically carved it from the back.
-And then painted.
-Effective, isn't it?
-Now, it's quite fun,
it's not going to be everyone's type of thing.
-I mean, have you done any research on it yourself?
-I've seen them on the internet.
Right, and I've seen them going for
-9 to 15, up to 1,600 quid.
-For this type of lighter?
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
There are collectors out there. Obviously Dunhill is
a very good maker of luxury goods, as well,
starting from the 1900s onwards.
Erm... I'm not sure,
I think that might be a bit punchy for auction.
-I was thinking 600-800
but it sounds like you might be a bit gutted with that.
-Oh, without a doubt, yeah.
-Well, how if we compromise,
if we put a slightly higher estimate, maybe 800-1,000?
Well, that sounds a lot better, yeah.
-Which will be inviting for potential buyers.
-But put a reserve that's fixed at £800.
-Would you be OK with that?
-Yeah, that sounds OK.
-I think it will...it will find its own level.
-It'll make at least 800 or it won't sell.
So let's have fingers crossed, firm reserve at 800,
-That sounds all right.
-Brilliant, well, we'll give it a go.
-Thanks for bringing it in.
I bet that'll be snapped up by someone at the auction,
and we've just got time for one more item,
and it's right up Michael's street - a glass vase brought in by Jean.
Jean, where did you get this darling little vase from?
Now, I'm going to say, "How much did you pay for it?"
but I'm going to brace myself.
Well, they originally were going to charge me 50p.
-Originally, but then they decided to charge me 25p.
Was that under duress or did they just...?
No, no, they just changed their mind.
-Oh, sometimes you wish you had a time machine, Jean.
I wish I could build one. Did you...?
Did you buy it because you liked it or...?
-Something told me that it was something special.
Almost looked Chinese-y decorations, but I didn't think it was Chinese.
-So you just had a feeling about it?
-Mmm, it just felt right.
I think that you've actually bought, to my eyes,
a really beautiful little glass vase.
And if we look at it more carefully,
sadly, not marked or inscribed in any way,
but you could say that this glass was marked all over,
-in the way that it's executed.
We've got this beautiful, almost satin...glass ground,
which has then been dipped in white glass,
and then the whole thing has been carved back on a wheel.
And you've just got to take just enough off, just enough,
cos that's a very smooth, even surface.
That's a phenomenal bit of work.
Now, it could have been made in France
by a firm such as Emile Galle, or Daum,
but if this vase spoke, it would speak with my native accent.
-IN WEST MIDLANDS ACCENT:
-It would say, "Hello, Jean."
-Because this is actually from Stourbridge...
..which is just outside, on the outskirts of Birmingham,
and it was a major centre for glass working.
This is almost certainly from the workshop of Thomas Webb,
who specialised in this immaculate quality cameo glass.
The design we've got, actually, is... When you first said you
thought it was a bit Chinese,
-it's actually inspired by Chinese design...
-..and they're called the Three Friends,
and you've got cherry blossom, prunus and bamboo.
-And they're all together emblematic of long life.
I think in terms of date, we're possibly as early as 1880,
possibly as late as 1890, 1895.
And it's survived in miraculously good condition.
Well, has your 25p been a good investment?
I'd like to know.
I think we should be sensible
and put an estimate of £600-£800 on it.
-And put a fixed reserve of £600.
-Webb's cameo glass is extremely collectable.
But can I ask you now, after living with it for 30 years,
why have you decided to sell?
I took early retirement in January,
and I've got a house full of things that I've got to start sorting out.
It's a small step towards it.
-It's a small step in terms of size...
..but a big step financially, I hope.
-That'd be lovely.
-So let's hope for lot of bidders at the sale,
and that it really does well.
-Thank you so much.
And now for my favourite part of the show -
let's head straight to the auction and see what the bidders think,
and this is what we're taking.
And that pretty doll that belongs to Sue is about to go under the hammer.
Well, we have the doll. Unfortunately, we don't have
the owner, Sue, but we do have Sue's husband, Steve,
who's right next to me.
So, you're obviously not a doll fan,
-otherwise this would be staying in the house, wouldn't it?
-Well, yeah, quite possibly, yes, yes.
-OK, happy with the valuation?
-Oh, absolutely, yeah, yeah.
-Spot on, I think. Spot on.
-Well, I hope so.
I mean, there might be collectors here today,
-you just can't tell, so...
-We're going to find out right now.
Lot 141 is the vintage Chad Valley textile doll
-with original clothing...
..and it's got to start
with a bid with me of £72.
Looking for 75 on the Chad Valley doll,
it's worth more than that, 5, 8, with me. Looking for 80.
-I'm looking for £80...
-We're struggling a bit, aren't we?
Oh, I don't know.
Last time, at £78...
-No, no, thank goodness we put a reserve on.
-You protected it.
-You did the right thing.
-It can go into another sale another day, so, yeah.
Well, that's a real shame for Sue,
but let's hope for better luck next time.
It just goes to show, you never know what's going to happen at auction.
Let's see how Ian gets on with an unusual candlestick.
Well, all the money for this lot is going towards Ian's wedding,
and he's right next to me.
He's really excited, excited about the wedding,
-but probably nervous about this auction.
Yes, yeah, yeah, we've got that sort of carved single metal
candlestick going under the hammer, £50-£100.
It's got all the flavours of the Orient.
It's got so much detail to it.
-It has, and that whole period is in vogue right now.
That whole look, so hopefully, Ian,
you've hit that market at the right time.
It's a chance, all you need is two people interested.
He knows the score. Well, let's find out what the bidders think.
It's now down to them, here we go...
Oriental cast-metal bronzed and gilt effect candleholder.
Great lot, this. Bid's with me straight away at £45.
45, 48, £50. 55, £60.
75, 80, with me.
-Looking for 85. 90, with me.
-This is very, very good. They love it.
Looking for 110 on this. Are we all done?
Last time, at £100...
-Yes. A nice £100.
-That'll be good.
-Got to be happy with that.
-What's the good lady called?
And how long have you know her?
About a year-and-a-half, but we were friends for six months before,
and then she went back to Florida and we're just together again.
-Aw, love is in the air. Have a great day, won't you?
-And well done, Michael.
Let's watch Jean's piece of cameo glass.
Will it find the right buyer here?
It's Jean's turn next.
Let's talk about that cameo glass vase at £600-800.
Had a chat to the auctioneer yesterday,
he said he agrees with the value
but possibly at the lower end, not at the top end.
Right, that's fine, but, I mean,
it is that great name Thomas Webb - a great name in English glass.
Yeah, and the great thing is,
-it only cost 25p, didn't it?
-This is true.
So let's do some recycling, shall we? Right now, here we go...
And the cameo glass bud vase
with a white raised plant and foliage relief,
attributed to Thomas Webb, dated around 1880s,
and it's got a start with a bid with me of £150 on this vase.
-Ooh, that's low, isn't it?
-Looking for 160, 70 with me.
Looking for 180.
-No commission bids, then.
190 with me.
200, 210 here. Looking for 220.
Are we all done? Last time, at £210...
-No. I'm ever so sorry about that.
-Oh, it doesn't matter.
-I'm glad to take it home.
-Can you hear that?
It's Thomas Webb collectors that didn't know
it was coming up for sale, screaming at their television screens.
There are specialist sales for glass in the Stourbridge area.
And if you want to sell it -
if you decide now that you love it, you keep it - but if you
want to sell it, take it to one of those specialist sales.
It's £600 to £800 - I know I say this a lot - all day long.
Yeah, good, sound advice there.
And now it's our final item in today's sale.
It's the Dunhill lighter, the aquarium lighter, belonging to Alan.
We've got a valuation of £800 to £1,000.
We're going to find out what the bidders think right now.
It's lot 510, it's the early to mid-20th-century
Dunhill aquarium table lighter,
and it's got to start with a bid with me of £550 on this lighter.
Looking for 600.
50 with me, 700. 750.
800, I'm out.
820 on the telephone.
850 in the room.
880 I want.
-880 I have.
-Ooh, there's a phone bidder, Alan.
-Come on, 900.
910 I want.
910, and 20 in the room.
930, 940 in the room.
-950 I want.
-It's moving, isn't it?
It's moving, yep.
950 on the telephone, 960 in the room.
Looking for 970.
970 I've got.
-980 in the room.
-Let's get that magic £1,000.
-It's done it.
1,030 I've got - have I?
Looking for 1,050.
I love it when a plan comes together.
-Good lighter, isn't it, eh?
1,110 I want.
-He doesn't look like he's stopping either,
he's just going for it.
1,190, 1,200. And ten.
1,300, and ten I need.
This is a great result, 13.
1,320, 1,330, 1,340.
1,370, 1,380, 1,390.
1,400, and ten I need.
-Alan, that's very good, isn't it?
1,500, and ten.
1,510, looking for 1,520.
Are we all done? Last time, on the telephone at £1,510.
Alan, that is tops! Tops, tops, tops!
I remember saying to you when I saw that at the valuation day,
-1,200 quid, didn't I?
Wow. Wow, Kate, isn't that a fabulous result?
-Six to eight, you said, Kate.
-What was I?
-Six to eight.
Well, that's good - you've got to start somewhere.
I like to keep expectations low and build the suspense.
Exactly, exactly. What a lovely result. I hope you enjoyed that.
We certainly have.
Sadly, we've run out of time here today,
but do join us again for many more surprises.
So, from Greenwich, until the next time, it's goodbye.
Presenter Paul Martin and experts Kate Bateman and Michael Baggott visit the impressive Dulwich College in south London, where Michael finds an unusual oriental candlestick and Kate has a big surprise in the saleroom.
A few miles away, Paul explores the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and tells the remarkable story of how one of the timekeepers there saved countless lives.