Antiques programme. Experts Anita Manning and Adam Partridge join Paul Martin to sift through antiques and collectibles at Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire.
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The most spectacular setting, and a fabulous crowd.
Today, we're in Aberdeenshire, and this...
ALL: ..is Flog It!
Today's show comes from the magnificent Crathes Castle, near Banchory.
It's a 16th Century tower house with fairy-tale turrets,
a world-famous garden and connections to Robert the Bruce.
Now, if that's whetted your appetite, stay tuned,
because later on in the programme,
I'll be taking a closer look inside and outside the castle.
But right now, we have a fabulous crowd of people,
all eager to ask our experts that all-important question, which is...
-ALL: What's it worth?
-Stay tuned, and you'll find out!
So, let's meet our team of experts. And first up, it's Adam Partridge,
and he's not afraid to tell how it is.
-Yeah, they can go back in the bag.
-Back in the bag!
They call me Mr Sledgehammer cos I'm so subtle, yeah.
-Is it valuable?
I'm trying to hide my disappointment.
He's being nosey! He's nosey!
And Adam's joined by the brilliant Anita Manning.
As one of Scotland's first lady auctioneers,
she certainly knows her stuff, but shouldn't someone tell her to stop having so much fun
and concentrate on antiques?
-Is the lipstick on straight?
'Coming up on today's show, our experts pick their favourite items,
'but cannot see eye to eye with their owners...'
-I absolutely love Wemmys. Do you like it?
They're quite fun, aren't they? They're quite nicely carved. Do you like them?
Erm, not especially, no!
-I think it's charming. Do you like it?
Well, everyone has different tastes.
'..I get to grips with life in a medieval castle...'
The defender of the castle would have the upper hand,
and he'd thrust into you!
'..and, as always, tension and surprises in the auction.'
Come on, come on, someone come in.
We've a great turnout here, and our crowd have brought along
dozens of bags and boxes brimming to the top with antiques and heirlooms.
So what are we waiting for? Let's get on with our first valuation.
Adam's at the table with local lady Elizabeth,
who's brought in some collectibles which hail from much further afield.
And you've brought along some rather curious-looking figures, here.
What can you tell me about them yourself?
Well, they belonged to my Uncle Jack,
and I believe he got them from a friend who worked out in Hong Kong.
-Ah! Well, that's...
-A police chief, or something.
-I'm not exactly sure what he did,
but that's where they came from, anyway.
OK, well, that makes sense, yes.
So you've identified them for us, of course.
These are early tourist carving souvenirs, if you will.
They're quite fun, aren't they? They're quite nicely carved.
-Do you like them?
-Erm, not especially, no!
-So that's why you're selling them!
-Do you have them on display at home?
-They are actually on display, yes.
And how long have you had them?
15... 10, 15 years.
Quite a while.
So, we've got this sort of elder here
with the youngster clinging on there.
They're quite fun, aren't they?
-They are fun, and they're very well made, too.
They're intricately carved.
-You can see the teeth are showing, he's lost an eye, hasn't he?
And the second one, the lady here.
I particularly like the eyes of that.
It looks like he's had a real shock.
Eye sockets bulging out of his head there.
She's got a certain expression on her face.
Yes, yes. She looks like she's looking down her nose at you, or something.
I get looked at like that quite often, actually, myself.
-So you don't really like them so you've brought them to sell them?
Well, that's good. They're not actually going to make a great deal of money.
They've both got a few condition issues.
He's had a bit of a break which has been a re-glue,
but actually done pretty well,
and she's lost a bit off the top there. But I think they'll make £30-£40 for the pair,
-something like that. Happy to let them go?
And do you want a reserve on them or do you want to let them
-go for the highest... For whatever they make?
-What price would you be disappointed if they didn't make?
-Let's put £20 on them.
If they don't make £20, they can go back home with you.
-And you can tell the story of Uncle Jack and your Flog It! figure that didn't quite sell.
-Hopefully, they will. Thanks for coming along to the show today.
Well, Adam certainly has a way with words
but we'll have to wait until the auction to find out if his valuing is up to scratch.
Now, over to the other side of the grounds.
I found something you'd have to be a real dummy not to love.
Linda, thank you very much for coming along to our valuation day
and to all of you because without you, we wouldn't have a show.
Tell you what, what a location. Look at that, it's beautiful.
-It really is. I guess you're all familiar with the castle, you're all local?
-Where do you live, Linda?
-Just in central Banchory.
Oh, just down the road, then. So you didn't have far to carry this?
-Not too far.
-Just a little bit of a struggle.
It's a lovely mannequin. How long have you had this?
Probably about a year. A year now.
-And how much did you pay for this?
-From our local charity shop.
-Well, I think you've done rather well.
This evokes the Edwardian era for me, but these mannequins and tailors' dummies
have been used through the Georgian period. You see them in shop windows
and they are made of quality.
This is made of wood. Covered in a fabric.
Sadly, the fabric is a little bit... worse for wear.
It's stained and it's a bit dirty but I'll tell you what,
what a lot of people do with these
is they have these recovered in a bright velvet or...
could be a light blue like this, or bright red,
and, all of a sudden, you've got a contemporary look. It's really nice to actually...
if you're a lady, to have your necklaces on it just draped,
maybe half a dozen in the bedroom. You could stick a hat on there with a feather,
and, all of a sudden, you become a decorator and you're playing.
You're just playing with something.
And I think that's half the fun with something like this.
There's not a lot of history to it.
I notice there is a maker's name just stamped on there.
It's "Harris and something".
I think it's "Harris and Hall, Birmingham." Made in Birmingham.
-Have you noticed the stand's made of an oak?
-I knew that, yes.
That's so typical of the Edwardian period as well.
This lovely white French oak. It's quality, it really is.
So I think your £25, if we put this into auction,
should realise... How about double your money, £50?
-Would you be happy?
-Really? Yes. Yes.
We should put this into auction with an estimate,
a guide price of £40 to £60.
-Fixed reserve at £40.
-OK, yes, I'm happy with that.
It's got the look.
-It's very tactile, I thought.
-Yeah, it is, isn't it?
-I want to give it a cuddle.
-Go on, then, say goodbye and give it a cuddle. I'll see you in the auction room.
-OK, thank you.
Whilst they say their goodbyes,
let's see what's going on back at the valuation tables.
Anita has sniffed out some ceramics with a great local interest.
Irene, welcome to Flog It! And I'm delighted to see Scottish pottery
on our Aberdeen show and especially delighted to see Wemyss.
I absolutely love Wemyss. Can you tell me, where did you get it?
They belonged to an aunt of mine.
I don't know whether she might possibly have had them when they were new.
I mean, what... What are the dates?
The date, 1892 to 1930s.
Well, I suppose, maybe, I don't know.
-Did you inherit these?
Did you like them?
-Do you have them on display?
-Where are they?
-In the cupboard.
-In a cupboard, I know.
Well, everyone has different tastes
and I must say that Wemyss is a collectable pottery
so people will like it.
It was the factory of Robert Heron and Sons in Fife.
It was named after the Wemyss Castle
because the occupants of the Wemyss Castle
loved this type of ware.
And they used a lot of it in their household,
-the wonderful basins.
-Toilet sets and so on.
If we look underneath, we can see the back stamp for Wemyss.
And we can also see an impressed stamp on it.
Where's that? I don't think I noticed that.
This one here is not in good condition.
And we can see a great deal of damage in the inside
and somebody has stuck it together, not terribly well.
I don't know what's happened. It was like that.
It was like that? Yes.
What people love about Wemyss
is the quality of the hand-painted decoration.
If we look at the wonderful application of paint
on this little pot
and it's decorated with cherries,
it's almost mouth-watering
and, to me, this is still a little work of art.
And someone will continue to enjoy it
despite the fact that there is damage.
And it may be that whoever buys it
may want to have it restored in a more professional way.
Now, what I would do, Irene, is to...
sell these items in two lots.
I would put these vases together.
And I would put them in with an estimate of 80 to 120,
with a reserve of...£70?
This is a little lot and we'll put it in 60 to 80
with a reserve of £50. I'm sure they'll go higher than that,
but these are the right estimates to put them in at.
-Tell me, Irene,
do you like these a wee bit better now that I've been very enthusiastic about them?
Well, put them into auction
and I'll look forward to seeing you there.
'Back to the tables, and Linda's brought a great goblet collection.'
-Good afternoon, Linda.
-How are you doing?
-Fine, thank you.
-You've brought an impressive selection of goblets.
How long have you had them?
I've had them about 30 years.
I bought them from a jeweller's who was doing a house clearance.
They just looked quite pretty.
In the '80s, I thought they could sit on the dining table nicely.
Yes. Have you ever used them?
-The gilt ones we have.
-What did you drink out of them?
-Liqueur, very good.
-Creme de menthe?
-Maybe a Drambuie. THEY LAUGH
They're very nice in their case and they're quite easy to do.
We see lots of these around. They're both hallmarked silver.
These ones, to a lot of people look like they're gold.
Solid gold! But they're not, they're silver.
They've got a layer of gold. We call that silver gilt.
Or gold plated on a silver body. They've both got their hallmarks.
These are Birmingham for 1910.
We've got the retailers, Wilson & Sharp of Edinburgh.
They've stayed in Scotland for 100 years.
These ones are a London mark for 1912, but also a Scottish retailer.
If I slip that back, you've got the retailer.
Stewart, "By appointment to the Queen" and Glasgow!
-Very posh! When was the last time you used them?
-Oh, 20 years ago!
-Why are you selling them?
-They lie in a cupboard and do nothing.
-RAIN FALLS HEAVILY
-I'm going to quickly value them.
The rain is tumbling!
This set of 12, I'd like to say £200 to £300 estimate.
And the set of six, about half of that - £100, £150 estimate.
-How does that sound?
-That sounds good.
ANYTHING sounds good in our current condition!
Let's put a reserve on them. We'll sell them separately.
So we'll put £200 bottom limit on that, and £100 on those.
-Is that acceptable to you?
-Yes. I would be delighted.
Any plans on what you might do?
They might make 300, 400, even a bit more,
once we get to the final hammer price.
-A weekend away.
-Anywhere in particular?
Brilliant! I like a lady who's very decisive!
Thank you for coming to Flog It!
-We'll speak in more detail at the auction.
-It's a pleasure.
'It seems like it's a good time to escape the rain.'
Isn't that absolutely breathtaking? What a backdrop!
The Scottish countryside has inspired many a writer.
None so much as author James Leslie Mitchell.
You may know him by his pen name, Lewis Grassic Gibbon -
a central figure in 20th-century Scottish renaissance,
best known for his fictional work
paying homage to his north-eastern Scottish roots.
He went on to be one of the most celebrated Scottish writers of all time.
Gibbon was born in 1901.
He lived in the tiny village of Arbuthnott
in the Howe of the Mearns, Aberdeenshire,
during his formative years.
was to be profoundly influential on his writing.
He came from a long line of farmers,
and was fiercely proud of his peasant up-bringing.
He lived in this small cottage from the age of seven to 16.
Life in this small rural community
shaped the way he thought and the way he believed,
and it's all reflected in his novels.
He drew on the people, sights, sounds, smells that he encountered
while growing up here as a young lad.
Gibbon attended the local school.
It was here that his potential was recognised.
A head teacher called Alexander Gray nurtured the boy's talent
after being amazed by the 13-year-old's essays.
"In front of Arbuthnott school stretches a sea of green,
"intersected here and there with small square fields
"or a winding road disappearing in the waving masses of foliage."
However, despite his early talent,
it would be some years before the young man put it to good use.
The following years proved troublesome for Gibbon.
He spent time as a journalist, then he was in the army and the RAF.
It really didn't suit his character.
It wasn't until 1929,
at the age of 28, he realised his dream and started writing full time.
And, boy! Was it worth the wait?
He produced a wealth of novels, the most celebrated of all, Sunset Song.
In 2005, the public voted it the best Scottish book of all time.
It caused a sensation when it was first published in 1932.
Gibbon went on to write two more novels
to create the trilogy he named A Scots Quair,
"quair" meaning book.
The novels follow the life of heroine Chris Guthrie
and her experiences of the Great War and growing communism of the 1920s.
What was ground-breaking was the author's attitude towards women.
Gibbon disagreed with the traditional role of women.
He didn't think they were inferior.
In fact, he chose as a main character a strong female.
So when Sunset Song was published,
critics believed it was written by a woman,
it so accurately described their concerns.
It is also critically acclaimed
for the skilful recreation of the rhythm of Scots
without using spelling, dialect or Scottish vocabulary.
"Below and around where Chris Guthrie lay,
"the June moors whispered and rustled and shook their cloaks.
"In the east against the cobalt blue of the sky
"lay the shimmer of the North Sea that was by Bervie.
"Maybe the wind would veer there in an hour or so
"and you'd feel the change in the life and strum of the thing,
"bringing a streaming coolness out of the sea."
Many places near Arbuthnott feature in the novels.
Sometimes Gibbon changed the name and sometimes he kept them for real.
Behind me is spectacular Dunnottar Castle, a 14th-century keep.
I understand why he chose this to feature in Sunset Song.
It is absolutely awe-inspiring.
Look at that!
You can't help but feel creative when you look at that!
"The air was blind with the splash of the incoming tide,
"above you the rock rose sheer at the path wound downward sheer;
"and high up, crowning the rock were the ruins of the castle walls,
"splashed with sunlight."
As Gibbon was fiercely proud about HIS roots
are the villagers in Arbuthnott about their author, immensely proud.
At this little centre,
there's a fitting tribute to the man and his work.
It contains lots of personal items -
pens, papers, books, a writing slope.
It's a fitting testament to the man they loved and admired.
Gibbon was very much a young man in a hurry.
He wrote everything from short story collections
to books on history and biographies.
The author produced 17 novels -
some in his pen name and some in his real name -
in under seven years!
Lewis Grassic Gibbon passed away in 1935.
He died of peritonitis at the very young age of 34.
His final resting place is quite fitting.
It's here in the churchyard at Arbuthnott.
He wrote about this church. He loved it.
It begs the question, doesn't it?
If his life hadn't have ended so tragically early,
what other great works would he have given us?
And now a quick reminder of what's going off to auction.
Adam's put an estimate of £30 to £40 on these fun figurines
but will their damage be their downfall in the sale room?
Linda's hoping to make a profit on the £25 she spent on that
quality tailor's dummy,
which I valued at £40 to £60.
And Anita's decided to split her items into two lots.
She's valued these vases at £80 to £120
and the second vase and jam pot at £60 to £80.
Finally, Adam's braved the elements to give Linda's goblets a value
of £200 to £300 for the gilt set of 12 and £100 to £150
for the silver collection.
And this is where all the action's taking place today.
John Mill auctioneers in the heart of Aberdeen.
I'm going to go inside and catch up with our owners.
They're feeling nervous. Fingers crossed, it's a packed saleroom.
Well, our luck is in because it is packed and we're just in time
because auctioneer Graham Lumsden is about to kick off proceedings.
Our first lot under the hammer are those Far Eastern figures.
Just been joined by Elizabeth with her two figures.
I think these are resin. We had a look and a chat to the auctioneer earlier.
He said they're definitely resin. Nevertheless,
£30 to £40 we could turn into £100.
-Why are you selling them?
-I just don't like them.
You know, they're not really my cup of tea.
No, but somebody will like them and we're going to find them right now.
Here we go.
Lot 70, two carved Chinese figures.
They're in fact resin, they're not actually carved wood.
They're in fact resin. For the pair, £50.
£50 the pair.
40? I'm bid 40.
Any advance on £40, the pair of Chinese figures, 45? 50.
At £50 on my left.
Any advance on £50?
The bid is outside the room at 50. They're going to be sold for £50.
All finished at 50?
-Well, that was short and sweet but we got the top end, £50.
For something you didn't like and didn't want.
-Yes, it's a bonus.
-Yes, it is.
-Thank you for bringing it in.
-I think there was damage too, wasn't there?
-One of the eyes was missing.
-That was all right.
'What a great start. Now it's Linda and that mannequin.'
Linda, I hardly recognised you! Wow! Whoo! Go get them, girl.
We are just about to sell the mannequin
and you're just in time because it's been frantic here.
It really has. It's a packed saleroom, things are flying out.
I think this mannequin will sell.
-This is it. Let us find out what the bidders think.
80, at £80, the mannequin. 60.
£40, the mannequin.
I'm bid 40, beside me.
Any advance on £40, the mannequin? One bid at £40.
It's going to be sold at £40. £40, the mannequin. One bid at 40. 45.
55. At 55 at the door.
Any advance on £55 at the door for the mannequin?
-£55, the hammer has gone down.
-That wasn't too bad, was it?
-I was about right.
£55. We got nearly the top end. Enjoy the money.
I think that's lunch out for you for turning up
at the valuation day and today.
-And it's an enjoyable day.
'Linda got more than double the £25 she paid so I'm chuffed with that.
Without further ado, let's get cracking.
I love my country pottery. Why are you selling these?
Well, I don't particularly like them.
Gosh. Why not? What's wrong with them?
They haven't seen the light of day for at least 20 years.
Really? They've just been stuck in a box in a cupboard somewhere.
Oh, that's a shame.
Irene is doing the right thing. If they are tucked in a cupboard,
sell them and let someone else enjoy them.
We've got two lots. We've split them into two lots.
The little preserve jar, which has a lot of damage,
we're selling that with the taller vase.
Plus we have a pair of vases to follow, with 80 to 120 on those.
-Is that OK?
-Thank you for bringing them in and hopefully,
we'll send you home happy.
-That would be nice.
-It would be nice, wouldn't it?
-Here we go, let's find out.
115 is the next lot. Two pieces of Wemyss.
As we have it, the jam pot has had some extensive repair. £60.
Wemyss ware for 60. 40. I'm bid 40.
Right, we're in. We've got someone down the front on 40.
42, 45, 48.
50. At 50 on my right. The lady has bid on the Wemyss at 50.
We have it at 50. Any advance on £50?
-We're just short, aren't we?
-60. 65. 70. At 70 in the room.
Any advance on £70? The bid's in the room at £70.
-I'll finish now at 70.
-We've done it. Mid-estimate.
Thank goodness for that. That was slow to start with. Right.
Here's the next lot. We're looking at 80-120.
Again, we're back to the Wemyss Ware.
It's the two Wemyss vases. Good order. £100.
A pair of Wemyss vases. 100, 80.
I'm bid 60, 70. At 70.
Any advance on 70? 80. 90. 100. 110.
On 110 on my right. 120, 130.
-This is more like it.
-140. At 140.
145. 150. At 150 on my left. Any advance on 150?
The Wemyss vases are going to be sold for 150.
They're going to go at 150.
That's a good result. That's a great result. £150.
-Are you happy, Irene?
-Yes. Very good.
£150. That's great, isn't it?
They were in perfect condition.
That was the pair to go for.
That was the pair to go for. We got 70 for the other lot and 150.
-That's not bad. £220.
'I'm so pleased Irene can put that money towards something
'she'll really love.'
Now let's see what the bidders make
of Linda's miniature goblet collection.
Lots of little miniature goblets.
-Were they for drinking Drambuie in?
-Yes. Why not?
-Tiny little shots, though. Mini ones!
-Bit small for my friends.
-They prefer larger glasses.
-Yeah. Anyway, we've got lots here.
Two lots coming up. First lot is a set of 12. Second lot, a set of six.
-200 to 300 and 100 to 200, respectively.
-Let's find out what our bidders think.
Here's the first. We're looking at £200 to £300, a set of 12.
Lot 145, a set of 12 London silver gilt miniature goblets
in a fitted case.
12 silver gilt goblets for £200. 150?
I'm bid 150. 160.
170. 180. 190.
-This is good.
-It's not over yet.
-280. 290. 300.
330. 340. 350.
-360. 360 in the room.
It's in the centre at 360. Going to be sold at £360...
-Well, that's fabulous!
-That was good.
First lot £360.
-Technically, we should get half this cos there's six.
You never know!
A set of six Birmingham silver miniature goblets in a fitted case.
90? I'm bid 90. Any advance now? 100 at the door.
£100. Any advance now at £100? 105.
15. 120. Five. 130.
Five. 140. Five.
At 175 outside the door now.
Any advance on £175? The bid is on my left at 175...
We'll settle for that. Nearly half.
-We got our sums right!
-They weren't silver gilt.
-No. You've got to be really happy.
-They weren't as shiny.
Well, it was a smaller set.
It didn't look so expensive.
-Enjoy the money.
-Good result. They snapped them up.
-Well spotted at the valuation day.
-They like their goblets in Aberdeen!
Crathes is one of the most magnificent
and best-preserved 16th Century castles in Scotland.
It was home to the Burnett family for a staggering 14 generations.
You can definitely say they left their mark on the landscape.
The castle was completed in 1596 but the story starts a lot earlier,
back in 1308.
Then, this whole area was part of a forest
rich in boar and deer, ripe for hunting.
Robert the Bruce would come to visit here and recuperate
from the rigours of battle.
He loved it so much he made this area part of the Royal Forest.
One of the King's great supporters was a local man
called Alexander de Burnard.
Robert repaid Alexander's loyalty by giving him the lands
and the post of King's forester.
Alexander built a small island fort on the nearby Loch of Leys.
The family moved there and stayed there for the next 250 years,
where their name changed from Burnard to Burnett.
They weren't the most ambitious of families
but they were respected for their sophistication and mild manner.
Eventually their fortunes grew and they were able to move
away from the marshy island of Leys to build the home of their dreams.
Work on Crathes started in 1553.
Unfortunately, construction was held up because of the troubled period
during the time of Mary, Queen of Scots.
It took another 40-odd years for the building to be completed.
'It was certainly worth the wait.
'Small, round towers with conical roofs sit beside overhanging
'turrets, giving it a romantic, chateau-like appearance.
'This exquisite stone decoration around the eaves
'and where the turrets protrude, each side of the building is different
'and it looks more like a fairy-tale castle than a medieval fortress.'
But appearances can be deceiving.
The castle's design incorporates many cunning defence strategies.
First of all, the walls at ground level are much thicker
than they are at roof height, making this building very, very solid.
Almost like a buttress on the side of a medieval cathedral.
If you managed to burn down this heavy, studded oak door,
look what you encountered.
A huge great big iron yett.
In the heat of the moment, in battle,
you'd be coming in here charging with your axe above your head,
or a sword above your head to deliver a blow, but you couldn't.
It would be knocking these low ceilings.
The defender of the castle would have the upper hand
and he'd thrust into you.
Also, supposing you did charge the tower and you came running
up here, this spiral staircase goes in a clockwise direction.
Most soldiers would have been right-handed.
You couldn't hold your sword or axe in this hand because
the spiral staircase is turning clockwise,
so you'd have to hold it in this hand to try and attack the defender,
leaving your torso open.
The man above definitely had the upper hand
because he could thrust down into you.
The 11th step, the riser, is much higher than the rest of them.
That's designed to trip you up as you were running upstairs.
I don't call that cunning, I call that sly.
But Crathes is most famous for its gardens.
No-one is sure exactly how old they are.
Some of the trees have been dated back to the early 1700s.
It's a passion that the family have continued in more recent years.
The garden would have supplied the castle with fresh fruit,
herbs and vegetables,
but over the years it's moved away from a traditional kitchen garden to more of an arts and crafts style.
There are eight little, individual displays each with their own theme.
As you see them now is how they were created
by the 13th Baronet of Leys, Sir James Burnett and his wife, Sybil,
who started to create these compartmentalised displays
back in the 1920s when it was all the rage.
For me, the iconic June borders are the most exciting part of the gardens.
So called because of the time of year they were best viewed.
Lady Burnett first laid out the beds in the 1930s.
She took much inspiration from landscape architect Gertrude Jekyll,
and had a real flair for design and colour co-ordination.
Although the Burnett family have a very close relationship
with this magnificent castle,
is has been in the safe hands of the National Trust since the 1950s.
Today, it still remains a home steeped in the dedication
and love that all those generations of Burnetts have lavished on it.
I hope my visit has inspired you to take a look for yourself.
It is open to the public at certain times of the year.
It's a wonderful day out.
Now we've caught up on the history of our stunning venue,
let's get back to our valuation day here at Crathes Castle.
We've already unearthed some real treasures
so let's see what else this eager crowd have in store for us.
-Thank you for coming. I'm Adam, I'm the expert for today.
You've bought along a fascinating early microscope, haven't you?
It's pretty old.
I think it's early 19th century, probably as early as 1800s.
-Do you agree with that?
-Probably round about that. That makes sense.
You seem to be a chap who knows a little bit about this already.
Can you tell me a little bit about it?
-I know about the physics, not so much about the history.
But the physics is that here you have a concave mirror,
which helps the daylight to reflect up to here, to your specimen.
On there, you'd have a tiny insect, or maybe an aquatic organism.
So there's a few lenses here - different power.
-And you have to put your eye very close to that.
-Cos it's a very small lens,
a fat, small lens, with a very short focal length.
-So you have to get really quite close to the organism.
And you put your eye close to it.
It's not convenient or comfortable.
No, but it's very portable.
Very portable - it's how they did it in those days.
I've only ever seen one of these before
and I always understood it was an aquatic microscope,
so it's interesting that you've said aquatic organisms.
-For viewing pond life.
-Right, right. Amoeba, and that sort of thing.
Yes. And it's beautifully made in brass, and in this shagreen case.
This is what? Is this shark skin?
-Shark skin, yes, amazing.
-Which is valuable in its own right.
-It's very hard.
Very durable. And it would need to be,
because it would have been something you carried around with you
and used as and when needed.
How did you come to own it?
I was given it when I was about seven, I think,
by a friend of my mother's.
She probably had it in her attic for a long time.
And I was young and interested in physics and science.
I played with it for a while.
-You must have played with it very carefully.
-I had fun for a while.
Then it gets put away in a cupboard for a long time.
As these things often do. And did you pursue science as a career?
-I did. I became a scientist. I did physics at Cambridge.
-Downing College, Cambridge.
-Oh, yes, excellent.
So, why have we now, here in Aberdeenshire, and you've brought this in to sell.
What's the reason behind that?
Well, it's been appreciating for a long time and I thought,
"Well, there's no point in dying and then it's still appreciating."
It's nice to know what it's worth.
I think the most famous of these were made by the big firm Dollonds,
just slightly before this,
at the end of the 18th century in the George III period.
-And this... It's a shame it's an unnamed example.
-That's the thing...
-No company name.
-There's no name at all.
And that's the thing that's going to slightly limit its value
to the collector who's a little bit fickle.
If it had a name on it, it would be worth twice as much, if not a bit more.
Have you got any ideas as to what you think it might be worth?
Well, I thought maybe £400.
-Yeah, well I think that's fairly accurate, actually.
-What I would suggest is an estimate of 250 to 350.
And at what price would you be not willing to sell would be the question?
-You mean a reserve price?
-200, I think would be very realistic.
Very good. Thanks for bringing it. Certainly the most fascinating object of the day.
The rarest and earliest thing I've seen all day.
So I'm delighted to have seen it.
-It's been nice to talk to you. Thanks for coming.
Well, that microscope certainly wowed Adam,
but what about the bidders?
Well, we'll find out in a moment.
Now Anita has spotted a quirky carving that Jennifer can't wait to sell.
Jenifer, this is a fascinating little piece of social history.
It's a little carved panel.
Can you tell me, where did you get it?
It was found in the house, left in the house when we moved in,
and that's really all we know.
-How long ago was that?
-46 years ago.
46 years ago.
And did you ever hang it on the wall or put it on display?
-Did you ever wonder who did it?
-Yes. Oh, yes, definitely.
-Do you like it?
-Is that why you want to sell it?
-OK, let's have a look at it.
Although it's perhaps not to everyone's taste,
we see a carved figure here.
And we have a little panel which says, "Home from the front."
And we have the artist's name here,
"GSW Watt, 1918."
This little panel depicts a soldier returning home from war.
And we see... I don't know if that's perhaps a foot missing.
-Perhaps shot off in the war.
So it's, I suppose, rather sad in that way.
The carving, a rather naive carving.
It's not someone who has done fine work.
And it had occurred to me that this is perhaps something that he may have done...
..after coming back from the war, perhaps injured,
perhaps not able to work, and this is how he spent his time.
So there could be a little story behind that, if we knew.
-If we knew.
-If we knew.
If we look at the back, and I find the back of it quite fascinating,
we have the depiction of two... What would you call them - scallywags?
-"Thrummie Cap and Goony John."
And these, perhaps, were characters from his own village or town.
And they're quite nicely carved,
but, again, they have that naive quality,
which has its own charm and its own followers.
-I don't think it's going to get a lot of money.
-No. Oh, no.
And I feel that we should estimate it conservatively.
-If we maybe put it in £20 to £30, would you be happy enough with that?
-Oh, yes, yes.
Do you want to put a reserve on it?
-I'm sure it will do more than that, but £15 will just protect it.
OK, that's wonderful. Thank you again for bringing it in.
-I think it's charming.
Well, each to their own, I suppose.
Adam is with Maureen on his table.
This is a wonderful collection of coins and medallions.
-Can you tell me, did you collect these yourself?
-No, I didn't. My father did.
-Your father did.
It was a great pastime of people, collecting commemorative medallions.
These are quite interesting.
They tell you what they are, which is always handy for us valuers.
This is the limited edition
of 5000 of these 26 sterling silver proof medals,
and they record the achievements of Her Majesty's 25-year reign.
So they go from 1952 all the way up to 1977.
Looking at them before we started filming,
reminding you of the famous things that happened in those periods,
such as the invention of the hovercraft, 1955.
And it's quite a good reminder of all these events.
So I suppose he may have bought them yearly, do you think, annually?
I don't know if they were monthly or weekly or annually.
They often came in instalments and they would have cost a few pounds each at the time.
Over here, we've got the sovereigns of Europe,
the kings and queens of all the European states.
Again, a limited edition of 5000, with the central medallion there.
And then we've got these ones that look like gold but they're not.
They're gold plated. They're 22-carat gold on a silver core.
So you've got 12 of those, which all look like important coats of arms,
royal family coats of arms and things like that.
And what are your reasons for wanting to sell them?
Lack of space, really, because my mum died last year as well,
so I've got more family mementoes.
-OK, so they're not particularly sentimental.
-These aren't, no.
Any idea what you think they're worth these days?
-I haven't got a clue.
-Let's have a guess, Maureen.
-For the lot, or each?
-For the lot.
I think that's conservative. That's probably what they were worth five years ago.
-But these things have got a lot more desirable nowadays,
thanks in some part to silver values generally going up,
and there's more interest in these commemorative medallions with coin collectors.
So I think we can be a bit more bullish with the price
and up it to £400 to £600.
That's fine, yes.
-And I think they'll probably make towards £600.
Once the bidding's all done, once they've all fought it out.
I think we should put a reserve of 400.
-Because I think they're probably worth that anyway.
-And we don't want them undersold.
What would you do with that decent sum of money?
I'd probably divide it between my two sons and three grandchildren.
Excellent. That's nice to hear. And what about some for yourself?
Yes, possibly a handbag.
-And give them the last bit! You've got to treat yourself.
-See what's left.
-Thanks for coming to Flog It!
Next up is Fiona.
-Can you tell me, where did you get it?
-It actually belonged to an aunt
of mine who died in January and she left it to me.
Right. Do you like it?
I wasn't sure about it.
I've got another one she gave me I like better.
But my husband's always thought this was more expensive than the other one.
-And he likes this one.
-He likes this one?
-It would have been one of a pair at one time. Do you have the other one?
OK. Let's have a look at it.
It's Oriental and Oriental wares are highly sought after today.
People want to buy Chinese items and I'm finding that Oriental items
are going higher than expected.
This vase here is what we call famille rose because of this rather
lovely pink colour, which is in the pattern and design of the vase.
It's from probably 1890, 1900, 1910.
So it's not an early one, not an early one.
I would like to look at the bottom here to see if we have any marks.
There are no marks on the bottom.
And this leads me to believe that it is export-ware and that means
porcelain, pottery which was made for the export market.
In Victorian times, there was a great love of all things exotic
and Oriental and we imported large quantities of Chinese
porcelain into Britain.
I know in the west of Scotland, down in Glasgow,
we had many sea-faring folk because it was a port
and very often captains would bring across this type of thing.
Was your aunt in any way involved with sea-faring men?
I think the only person I could recall would have been her brother
who lived in Canada and he travelled around a lot but whether it was him
-that brought this back, I'm not sure.
I like this little vase here. The painting is of some quality,
not the highest quality but of some quality and there's lots of content there.
At the front, we have these figures in an interior. They are obviously...
It's a situation of entertainment or whatever.
We have smaller figures here, outside of the house.
We have rather pretty butterflies, flowers
and so on so there's lots of movement, lots of decoration
on the vase and it's an extremely pretty one.
-Value... What sort of value do you...
-You've no idea.
-No idea at all.
Do you think it's something like 50 to a million?
-I hardly think so!
-If it is, my dog's tail's been wagging against
it in the hall, so I'd be really worried if that was the case!
OK. This is for the export market but it's a pretty one and value on it,
I would say 100 to 150, 80 to 120.
-Would you be happy to sell it in that region?
-Yes, I would.
Yeah. Well, let's put it in at 100 to 150 but I think
we should put a reserve on it, of perhaps £80.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Yes, I would.
So I think that this should do quite well and it might do very well,
because you never know.
The Chinese market is so strong and things are taking fliers
-in the sale rooms.
Wise words from Anita there. Fiona may not like that vase
but I've got a feeling it will find a new home,
where somebody will really love it.
If you've got any unwanted antiques and collectables, we would love
to see you. Bring them along to one of our valuation days.
Your journey starts right now. Details of up and coming dates
and venues you can find on our website, just log on to
bbc.co.uk/flogit. Follow the links. All the information will be there.
I would love to see you.
If you don't have a computer, check the details in your local press.
But before we get to the sale room, let's have another look at what we're taking with us.
Brian's had his super little microscope for many years.
Will it make Adam's estimate of £250 to £350?
At £20 to £30, I think this carved panel's a real bargain.
But will the bidders love it as much as Anita does?
And finally, Maureen's coin collection
is a great piece of history,
but was Adam right to put a rather confident £400 to £600 on it?
Anita thinks the Chinese vase will fly out the door and has given it
an estimate of £100 to £150.
'We're back at the auction house in Aberdeen and the sale is in full swing.
'The lots have been flying out of the door.'
For our next lot, all the money is going towards a holiday
and I don't blame Fiona because the weather hasn't been
that good here in Aberdeen, has it?
-It hasn't, no.
-Where do you fancy going?
-Anywhere warm, I don't mind.
-Anywhere warm! They want to get away from Aberdeen.
-Glasgow's very warm!
It's always Mediterranean climate there!
OK, how about Cornwall then?
-No, seriously. Where do you fancy going?
-Ooh, very, very nice. Yes. Well, let's get you there.
We're just about to sell a famille rose vase,
well hopefully we're going to sell it.
What do you think? £150?
Well, I would hope for the top estimate always.
There are Chinese buyers in the room. The Chinese market
is very strong just now
-so even a late vase like this should do reasonably well.
335, a Chinese vase, a Canton vase.
And for the Chinese vase, this one, 150.
120. Canton vase for £120.
I'm bid 60.
5, 70, 5, 78, 80...
85, 90, 95, 100...
and 10, 120, 130...
140, 150, 160, 170, 180, 190...
At 210 near me. Any advance on £210? The bid is near me at 210.
All finished now at 210.
£210, the hammer's gone down. Yes!
That Chinese market is so strong at the moment.
-I think that's Italy, don't you?
-I think so!
Next up, it's that fascinating old microscope.
I love this, and I know our expert Adam fell in love with it.
It belongs to Brian. It's the aquatic microscope. It's real quality.
-A proper scientific instrument, shagreen case.
-What a nice thing.
-Quite a rarity, too.
-For looking at pond life!
-In a shagreen case. Early Georgian.
-Or fleas, or ants. Whatever.
Every schoolboy's dream. Let's find out what happens. Here we go.
Lot 288, the aquatic microscope. I have this one at £300.
Aquatic microscope at £300.
-Should be bids at this level.
Any advance? £150. The aquatic microscope at 150.
170. 180. 190.
200. Outside the door at £200.
It's outside the door at 240. Any advance on £240?
It's going to be sold for 240. I'm going to finish at £240.
-Are you happy with that?
-I think we were about right.
-A lovely thing.
-I was hopeful for more, but I always am.
-I'm that kind of chap!
-He's an optimist.
'What an intriguing object.
'Perhaps it will go on to encourage a youngster's interest in science,
'just like it did for Brian all those years ago.'
'Now it's that naive wooden picture that Anita picked out.'
All the proceeds of this lot will go to charity.
It's a carved wooden panel and we're looking for the top end of the £20 to £30.
Jennifer. It's good to see you again.
-Jennifer's had this in the house for 46 years and you quite liked this.
I know you don't like it, Jennifer, but it's a lovely piece of naive craft work.
-It is, yes.
-And every little penny helps for charity.
-It's going to Help For Heroes.
-A wonderful cause. It's going under the hammer right now.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
A picture. Home From The Front, by Watt. £40.
Small, carved picture for 40.
-Come on. Someone come in.
£20 the bid. One bid at 20. 22. 25. 28. 30.
32. 35. 38.
48. At 50.
This is good, this is good.
Any advance of £50? 55. At 55, standing on my right.
All finished at £55.
-The bid is on my right.
-That's a great result. £55.
The hammer's going down. Yes! Jennifer, that's great.
For a moment, everyone had their hands in their pockets.
No hands were going up in the air.
Well, that's great, isn't it? Thank you so much for bringing that in.
-As I said, every little penny helps.
-Yes, it does.
'What a great result for something that Jennifer found
'when she moved house.
'There's just time for one final lot
'and I can't wait to see how that coin collection gets on.'
Going under the hammer right now. Maureen's three sets of coins.
They could go at the top end, I have a feeling.
400 to 600, Adam put on them. Why are you selling them now?
-Don't really want them any more. Don't look at them. They're stored away.
-Sit in a drawer?
-Stored away in a cupboard.
-Good time to sell precious metals.
It's an all-time high, silver.
Because the silver value is quite high, it'll push up the value of the coins.
But these will probably go to collectors,
cos they're collectors' editions, limited series, that sort of stuff.
I think they're going to sell pretty well.
Maureen just said to me, "As long as I don't have to take them home again."
-It's not a lot to carry, is it? You could have brought in a chest of drawers.
I think these will sell. I think Adam's spot on here.
-Let's go for it.
-Let's find out what list this lot think. It's down to the bidders now. Here we go.
Lot 40. A coin collection.
Souvenirs of Europe. Ten coins.
Queen Elizabeth's reign. Six coins.
I think they're going to make a mint, Paul!
He had to say that, didn't he?
-That's where we want to end up.
Coins for 500. £400?
Come on, you lot.
A bid, 350. Any advance? At 350. 360.
-We're in. Here we go.
In the seat at £400. 420.
440. 460. 480.
560. 580. 600.
At 820. 840.
1,000. And 50.
1,100 on my left.
-Any advance on £1,100.
They're going to be sold for £1,100. I'll finish at 1,100.
Yes! £1,100. Well over the top end of the estimate. I'm ever so happy.
Very, very strong. What are you going to put the money towards?
I've just spent most of it on a holiday, but I'll go on another one!
There's always time for another one. Adam, well done.
What a wonderful way to end the show. I hope you enjoyed it.
You can never predict what's going to happen in a saleroom.
See you next time.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Experts Anita Manning and Adam Partridge join Paul Martin to sift through a wealth of antiques and collectibles at the historic Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire.
Anita homes in on some Wemyss pottery with a local interest, while Adam finds a fascinating old microscope that inspired its young owner to pursue a career in science.
Paul also takes time out to find out more about the castle itself and discovers why it owes much of its history to Robert the Bruce.