Antiques programme. Paul Martin and experts Anita Manning and Will Axon are at Wells Cathedral in Somerset. A pair of paintings by an amateur prove a big hit in the saleroom.
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Today, we're in the ancient city of Wells in Somerset, first granted a royal charter by King John in 1201.
It's officially been a city since 1205, and what a wonderful location for us
to unearth some unwanted antiques.
Welcome to "Flog It!".
At the heart of this ancient, unspoilt market town is the cathedral,
our magnificent valuation day venue, and later on in the programme,
I'll be taking you on a whistle-stop tour and I can't wait.
But first, well, I can't wait to see what's in all of these bags and boxes.
As you can see, the locals have turned out in force today.
We've brought them into the cloisters where it's lovely and warm because it's biting cold outside.
But somebody today could be going home with a lot of money and it could be you
because you've got a big smile on your face.
We'll look inside there later.
It's our job to find the best antiques, put them into auction and hopefully make a small fortune.
'Two people always eager to get going are our lead experts, Anita Manning and Will Axon,
'both highly experienced valuers and auctioneers.
'They are guaranteed to root out interesting objects.'
Look at that. They are a bit big for me, I reckon. That's wonderful.
You see, Scotland invented football. Did you know that?
'Well, before we get the ball rolling, here's what's coming up...
'Will discovers that beauty is in the eye of the beholder...'
-I mean, I don't really like it, so...
That's where we disagree. I like it, you don't. That's antiques!
Everyone's got different opinions.
'..Anita spots the best in show...'
-These dogs are a pair of, I think, they are fox-haired terriers?
'..and there's a shocker in the sale room.'
There was something there, wasn't there?
I think it's time we got everybody to the tables. Let's get on with the show.
What a fabulous turnout. Everybody is seated inside. We've got our work cut out today.
Let's get on with the valuations, and it looks like Will Axon is our first expert at the blue tablecloth.
Let's take a closer look at what he's spotted.
'And it's two fierce looking bronze dragons brought along by Brian and Ann.'
-Well, I hope they've got the Addams Family theme tune playing over this bit...
..because when I look at these, I'm thinking dark, Gothic dining room, high-backed chairs
and perhaps, sort of, a couple of ghostly figures at the table.
-But are these something that are on your dining table at home?
-I'm not trying to insinuate that you are anything like the Addams Family, of course.
-But are these on your dining table at home?
-They were there for about a year.
-And then, Ann, you weren't keen on them, were you?
-I don't like them.
-So it was Brian who bought them, was it?
-It was indeed.
-Where did you get them from, Brian?
-A very small antique fair about 20 years ago.
-I suppose, for want of a better word, it's a winged dragon, isn't it?
-That's right, yeah. That's true.
With a fairly decent size catch in its jaws.
-A good weight to them would suggest that perhaps they are made of bronze.
-I don't know, did you buy them as bronze at the time?
-I bought them as bronze, yes. Hopefully, you know.
I think that's right.
I mean, you've got a bit of obvious areas here where the patination for the bronze has worn away.
You do get that sometimes when bronze is over-cleaned or just handled.
Just holding this one now, as I am, I'm having a bit of a brainwave.
-I'm wondering whether these were actually chamber sticks.
Because what I'm thinking is, if they were originally designed as a pair,
-you'd expect them to be opposing pairs.
So his tail is scrolled to the right, you would expect this tail to be scrolled to the left
so they would sort of mirror each other.
But having, sort of, naturally lifted them up like that, it kind of lends itself, the design,
-to perhaps being carried about as a chamber stick.
-Oh, yeah, yeah.
I'm not sure I'd like to go to sleep with this fellow on my bedside table though,
-maybe when you woke up, he'd soon get you out of bed. So you bought them, right, OK.
You bought them as bronze, they are. You bought them having a bit of age, I think they are late 19th century.
-So what do we need to make to get your money back, the money you spent 20 years ago?
-It was about £50.
-About £50, 20 years ago. Well, the market's gone up, down, up, down since then.
How do you feel if we sort of estimate them at £50 to £80? Are you happy with that?
-That'd be fine, yeah. Be lovely.
-Happy with that. You don't mind what I value them at, do you?
-No, I don't mind.
-You just want them out of the house. So let's put them at £50.
-I'll fix the reserve at £50.
-Cos you forked out for them, it's not like you inherited them
-and they stand you in at nothing.
£50 fixed reserve and I think, at that, they've got to be worth it.
And, Ann, what have you got your eye on to spend the £50 on?
I'd like a nice piece of Deco or a little piece of Clarice Cliff.
-Ah, you notice the LITTLE piece of Clarice Cliff. How about a big bit of Clarice Cliff?!
I don't know if we'll be able to get that far,
-but let's hope we get some money into the Art Deco/Clarice Cliff fund for you.
'Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too, Ann, and we'll find out later how you get on.
'Next, something's caught my eye.'
John, this is a fascinating book.
It's leather bound, it's a little volume that, let's say,
a site foreman would have used in the construction industry.
-How did you come by it?
-It'll be one of my grandfathers.
-Was he in the building industry?
Not as I know of. I've never checked what he actually did, but it's just come down through the family.
It's just been in the family a long time. Incidentally, it's that size, and you know why it's that size,
because it has been used by a site foreman or a carpenter...
-..to go in the top pocket.
-That's it, yes.
-In the jacket, hasn't it?
-What I love is the title. I love my wood, I'm a wood worker.
-I know that.
-We've seen you on the programme.
-And you brought this in for me?
OK, this is Measuring Made Easy To The Meanest Capacity.
-So basically this book is designed to save you money.
And it's absolutely fascinating.
-I didn't think books like this existed. It's even got the prices of timber, as well, hasn't it?
Sawyers selling wood in London, for instance, selling oak by the length, a 50 foot length.
Ash, a 50 foot length.
This is really quite a nice little comprehensive guide to actually buying wood
in its cut and felled form.
-It looks like, here, the date it was printed. It was published in 1850.
And the condition is excellent, apart from the spine and obviously a little bit of use.
So why are you selling this?
Well, I've got a daughter and two granddaughters and they won't want it
so it's surplus to requirements.
-They're not going to take up carpentry, are they?
-Somebody else might enjoy it.
We're going to find a very small market for this, the minority market, the woodworkers
and the tree lovers.
-But I think it might have a value of around £40 to £60.
-Yeah, it could do.
-Are you happy with that?
-I'd be happy with that, yes.
-Can we put it into auction with a reserve of £20?
-We can, yes.
-That would be nice.
-And see what happens.
'I love old books like that and I really hope that it measures up in the sale room.
'Meanwhile, Will is valuing Pearl's Victorian silver.'
As auctioneers, anything silver, anything jewellery,
what we like to see is a fitted case. It's a sign of quality.
And in the case, first I thought there could be a necklace, a diamond set, pearl or something,
but opening it up we see there's a really nice-quality
Victorian silver fork and spoon.
Is this something that you've gone out and bought or is this an inheritance?
-It's more of an inheritance.
-It's come down through the family.
If I flip this spoon over quickly,
we can see that there are actually some initials.
I've had a close look.
They're invariably hard to read. They try and make them as swirly and as curly as they can,
but I think there's an "H" in there somewhere.
Would that sort of tie in with the family history?
-My name is Hodges, Pearl Hodges.
It's got to be an "H," then.
And I'm almost certain that this would have been given as a christening gift.
So that solves that mystery a bit. That's nice.
I'm going to flip the spoon back over in its case
and I'm just going to point out the hallmarks to you, there.
We have the standard set of Victorian hallmarks.
We've got Victoria's head here.
We've got the date letter there of "G."
And I see on the other one we've got a date letter of "F."
So they're a year apart.
I think it's 1881, 1882, but that doesn't detract from them.
That doesn't mean they're a sort of matched set, you know.
One might have been made in December, the other in January.
Then the leopard's head,
so they're from the London Assay Office.
Then we've got the lion here,
that's telling us that it's silver.
And then I think we've got the maker's mark here. "RM" over "EH."
So I think it's Martin Hall and Company, I think they traded as.
And the pieces themselves - I think they're beautifully decorated.
Are they something that you like, or have you brought them because you don't like them?
No, I like them, but it's just not been used, sat in the drawer.
The fact that they haven't been used
contributes to the fact that they are in pristine condition.
This sort of lovely, foliate etching and chasing, here,
of these sort of ferns...
Beautiful, and not worn at all,
because they haven't been over-cleaned.
-They've been in this case.
-I haven't cleaned them.
What's nice about these is that they are genuine.
This is as they were made at the time.
And, like I say, the fitted case just adds something to it.
-Silver dealers, jewellery dealers - they love a fitted case.
I'm going to give you a valuation now. I hope you haven't booked a round-the-world cruise...
-..on the back of this. Not yet!
-But I see these as a sort of £40-£60 lot. I don't know how you feel about that.
-You're happy with that?
-So what do you feel about having no reserve on these?
-I don't mind. I just want them to be sold.
-You just want them gone?
Pearl, thanks for bringing them in.
Lovely name, by the way, I had to say. Beautiful name
And a lovely piece you brought in and I look forward to selling them for you.
'Will and I aren't the only ones busy valuing. Anita's got a table full.'
Welcome to "Flog It!"
-and thank you very much for bringing along this little collection of objects.
-Can you tell me, where did you get them?
-Well, some of the vesta cases came from my father.
How he got hold of them, I don't know.
The two items here were...
My ex-wife's aunt died, they were going to throw them in the skip
and I said no way were they going in the skip.
The others I seem to have acquired over the years, but don't ask me where they came from, I've no idea.
-So you developed the collecting habit?
But recently they've just been stuck in the drawer and I feel that's a waste.
-If somebody, a collector likes them, wants them, yeah.
-You're happy to pass them on?
-I'm happy to pass them on.
-Now is the time, Norman.
-Let's have a look at the collection.
We have a mixture here of silver vesta cases.
-And vesta cases are little boxes where we keep our matches.
-We have silver ones, we have white metal ones.
If we look at this one here, this is a fairly standard vesta box.
We open it up, we can see our silver hallmark...
..the hinge is good, it's in good condition, although it does need a wee bit of er...
-TLC. And we have this edge here, which we use for striking the match.
My favourite is this one here.
There were manufactured, in Victorian times,
-novelty vesta boxes.
They didn't necessarily need to be fine silver ones
and this is an example of this
where we have Gladstone here.
People will be interested in him even although he's not silver.
These two items here are matchbox holders
-and they are silver, and this one here is oriental silver.
-So quite a nice collection here. I feel we should put these as one lot.
Now, the silver buyers love that, when they see lots of items together in one lot
because they feel that they might get them for a job lot price.
We hope that they won't go for that, we know that they won't, we will protect them with a reserve price.
I think we want to be putting them in maybe...
..50 to 80, 60 to 80.
Now, I know that sounds cheap for a quantity of items,
but we've got to take into consideration
that some of them are base metal and there are some of them which are tired and not in good condition.
We do have ones which, with a wee clean, would look well.
I think, maybe, if we put them in £60 to £80,
-with a reserve of £60 firm.
-How do you feel about that?
-Yes, that would be fine. Yes.
-I personally think that they will go further than that.
-Right, yes. Yes, that sounds...
-And the reserve will protect them.
-That's right, yes.
-Shall we go for it?
Let's flog it!
'It's no secret I'm an animal lover
'and like many people I try to encourage wildlife in my garden,
'but with over 60 million people in the UK,
'there's increasing pressure for space.'
In fact, here in the West Country in the last 20 years
there's been the biggest population growth in the UK.
So, what does that all mean? Well, it means more roads, more traffic,
more traffic accidents, more pollution, more housing estates.
And all this is taking away the natural habitat of the animal.
The result, wildlife is in trouble.
'This wildlife rescue centre helps 4,000 injured and orphaned wild animals annually.
'It's the only one in the south-west that's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year round.
'With a small team of staff and volunteers, founder Pauline Kidner
'is the driving force behind the whole operation.'
I bet you never have a moment to yourself, do you?
Not at this time of year, no, definitely.
-It's pretty full-on, is it, 24/7?
-Yeah, it is. Once we get the badger cubs in
we know that it's the start and it's going to be followed by
all sorts of birds and animals right the way through to the autumn now.
-Sleepless nights for you? Are you up every few hours at the moment?
-With these we have been, yes,
because they came in really tiny. The smallest of these was only 55 grams
-when they came in two weeks ago.
-Tiny, isn't it?
Very, very tiny. So, yeah, it is every two to three hours.
How old is that little badger cub?
This little one's three weeks old now.
How did you come by these, cos that's unusual? You don't see them
-out of the ground till they're three months old.
They came from North Wales. They've had some floods up there. We think the sett got flooded.
And Mum moved them out and put them into a steel drum
and some people discovered them there crying.
They did the right thing. They left them to see if Mum came back. Unfortunately she didn't.
-There's three of them?
-There's three siblings, two girls and a boy.
-You've given them names?
Yes. The two girls are Lavender and Saffron
and the little boy here is Nutmeg.
-So named after spices, then?
We try and do themes each year!
-You're going to miss him, aren't you?
-Yeah! You do, but it's funny.
-People say, "How can you bear to let them go?" The whole idea is to get them back to the wild...
-So the best time is to take them to their release sites and know you've done the job right.
-I bet there's a tear in your eye...
-There is, yeah, yeah.
-They literally have taken over your whole house.
-Yeah, but it's an unusual kitchen.
It is, isn't it? And an unusual bathroom as well.
-Having a bath and then you've got to share it with the otter!
-Can we have a tour and see what else you've got on-site?
'You need dedication and a passion for wildlife to work here.
'It's estimated that one million animals are killed or injured on British roads each year,
so places like this are vital and they aren't cheap to run.
It costs £1,000 a day.
And this is the hospital room, so where animals would come
to be assessed in the first instance
and then sorted out as to which pen they need to go to.
This is lovely, actually. This is a lovely long-tailed tit
and we actually had quite a few of those in last year
when we had the hot weather. They're so pretty.
-Do their nests fall apart in the hot weather?
-That's the only thing I can think of.
They actually make a fantastic nest. It consists of about 3,000 feathers
and then they strand it all together with cobweb strands.
I think in the dry weather perhaps that's what made them fall apart.
-A lot of nests dry out, don't they?
-They do, yeah.
-They break up and fall apart.
-Cor, you're tiny!
-What's in there?
-Underneath all the paper is a hedgehog.
-And we've had about 100 of these in.
-What's his story?
Well, this one actually was just found out in the garden
and we're always worried when they're underweight at this time of year.
-And, of course, that's...
-Is it safe to pick him up?
It is, but that shows you how they've got
the one muscle that they pull right up so that they can disappear inside.
-So a little defence mechanism.
-And then out he comes.
-He looks about the right weight?
Yes, he is. He's put weight on since he's come in
and he's had a good check-up. To be quite honest,
when there's a query we like things to come in,
as we can always check them and then put them back.
But it's always the thing to remember,
nocturnal animal out during the day, there's a problem and vice versa.
That's always the first that you should flag up.
-If it's out at the wrong time of day...
-There's a problem. Pick him up. Rescue.
-What else is in here?
-Bats. We've got one actually over here.
We're actually very lucky in Somerset that we have every single one of the 16 species in Somerset.
People don't realise just how tiny they are.
Don't say nasty things to me.
Look at the fantastic little feet that they hang up by there.
This is the inner ear - the tragus - that you can see there, which is sticking up,
and the long ears that you know can pump and then come up
really, really high when it's ready to move.
Long-eared ones have got the largest eyes, cos they use their eyes
as part of their hunting. Most of the others rely totally on echolocation.
Yeah. Beautiful as well.
Absolutely beautiful. Look at that!
Now, you said you have permanent residents here, don't you?
You've got some foxes. These are here for good?
Yeah, they are. These are resident ones.
Other people have reared them as pets and we just keep them here.
It's a nice big pen for them. There's five in here with plenty of room.
-They look really healthy. Look at their coats.
-They've got their winter coats. They're fabulous.
-If you want to just go in and say hello.
We'll just stand at a distance so that we don't frighten them.
-Come on, Paul, see whether they'll take from you.
-Hi, Marie. Hello.
-Now, stand back.
-I like their little log cabins.
-Oh, it's very posh.
-This is all Marie's efforts.
-Come on, Bazzy.
Doesn't quite trust me yet.
There you go.
Oh, she's trying to bury it, look. "I'll have that later."
-She doesn't want the others to have it.
So fascinating. I think there's too many of us around
-and we're spooking them. Pauline, thank you.
-That's all right.
I'll let you carry on feeding the foxes, because obviously they know you as well.
-Great. Thanks very much. Hope you've enjoyed...
-Oh, I did. I've absolutely loved it.
-..being at Secret World. Thank you.
Well, what a marvellous day I have had here. It's really put a smile on my face
being so close to nature and it just makes you realise
how important British wildlife is.
We've got our first four items. Now we're taking them off to the sale.
And this is where we are putting our valuations to the test,
Tamlyn & Son in the heart of Bridgwater.
Now, I know our owners are inside right now feeling really nervous.
It's OK for you at home - you can sit back, relax, have a cup of tea and put your feet up
and enjoy the action, but for that lot, it's a roller-coaster ride, so let's get on with the action.
'We're in safe hands with auctioneer Claire Rawle.
'Remember, though, when you are buying or selling at auction, you have to pay commission
'and here it's 16% plus VAT.
'So, let's kick things off with the bronze dragons.'
Good luck, that's all I can say. Hopefully we'll light the sale room up.
We've got some continental chamber sticks in the form of mythical beasts. A nice little lot.
-Yes, I like these.
-A really nice lot. Why are you selling them?
-I don't like them.
-What, too scary?
-Yeah. Just not my thing.
You know, if they are your thing, they're flavour of the month right now, that's for sure.
Yeah, well, we were saying on valuation day, weren't we, on a darkly candlelit dining room
with some oak furniture, they'd look the business. A bit Addams Family, I know where you're coming from.
-Yes, but a nice prop.
-They are nice quality as well. They are crisply done.
-We'll keep our fingers crossed anyway.
-Fingers crossed. Let's see what this lot thinks, it's packed.
Someone is going to go home with them, surely? This is it.
A nice pair of decorative, late 19th-century,
bronze, dragon chamber sticks.
Nice attractive items, these,
they are showing to you at the back of the room,
lot 250 and these I have to start straight in at £135.
Just like that. Flavour of the month.
Do I see 140 anywhere?
At £135, are you all done, then? It goes to my bidder at 135.
That did light up the sale room. You have to be pleased with that.
-I like it when that happens.
They must have had commission bidders on the book
and they came in at the highest price and sold.
-Well done, you two.
-Well, thank you both very much.
'Well that's a fair old amount. I wonder if they WILL buy any Clarice Cliff. John's book is next.
'Fingers crossed it also does well.'
Remember that little, leather-bound volume I found at the valuation day at Wells Cathedral,
sort of mid-1800s and it said "to the meanest capacity"?
Well, we're just about to put it to the test and I've been joined by John, its owner
and hopefully for not much longer.
-Do you think I valued this to the meanest capacity?
-Yes, I should think that was about right.
It think it's better to be that way, than be too optimistic
as if we said it might do £80 or £100 and it struggles, then we're all a bit deflated, aren't we?
-But I'd love it to do that, that's for sure.
-It would be nice.
-It would be, wouldn't it?
-Right, here we go. Are you ready for this?
-Let's test the market. Let's find out what it's worth.
Lot 310 is this little book,
the Practical Measurer, Or Measuring Made Easy.
There we are, nice, little, early book this, lot 310.
£12 to start it. At £12, do I see 15 anywhere?
The bid is with me at 12 for the Measures etc.
At 12 now. 15? 15, 18, 20.
There's a bid left on the auctioneer's book.
Do I see two anywhere? The bid's at 20. £20, it's going to be, then.
Are you all done? Selling at £20.
Well, it's gone. We had a £20 reserve, it's gone right on it.
-You're happy with that, aren't you?
-Yes. Thank you very much.
-I think we got our figures right.
And going under the hammer right now, a silver spoon and a fork, London touchmarks.
There is no reserve, Pearl, but I think this will fly away.
Silver's red-hot and I know Will knows what he's doing as well.
-You haven't got me on a knife edge with this one.
Oh, very good. Yeah, we agreed, didn't we? No reserve. You wanted to sell it.
Let it make what it makes. Silver's selling well
and it's a nice, tidy lot, isn't it? In its fitted case. Sweet lot.
All the trade are here. Let's find out what they're going to pay for it. Here we go.
This Victorian dessert spoon and fork,
little silver ones, in their fitted case.
And I start them straight in at £65. At 65. Do I see 70 anywhere?
-Pearl, we're in!
-At £65. At 65.
It's going to go to my bidder then. Are you all done in the room?
-Straight in, straight out. Hammer's gone down.
-Thank you very much.
-Price of silver is rocketing. Pearl, well done.
What a good result.
So far so good. Next up, I've just been joined by Norman
and we have a collection of around 14 mainly vesta cases.
You must be a bit of a collector, then, surely?
Well, when my dad died I found some in his things and the rest just appeared.
-They gravitate towards you, that's what happens.
-I don't know where they came from.
-Hey, look, not a lot of money for 14 items, £50-£60.
-They're not all silver.
-No, some of them are though.
-Not all silver and some not in the best of conditions.
-But we have some interesting ones there.
-So this is a good trade lot then.
-A really good trade lot.
Let's find out what they think, they're here today with a packed room. It's very exciting.
Let's do it, shall we? Here we go.
Lot 145, little mixed lot here,
various vesta cases, matchbox holders and a nail buffer.
Nice little mixed lot -
oh, and this one I have to start straight in at £210.
Something pretty in there.
£210, it is. At 210, do I see 220 anywhere?
-I thought it was a lot of lot.
At 210, it looks like it's going to my bidder, then, are you all done?
-I don't believe it!
-Straight in at £210.
A wee bit conservative.
-Come and buy me.
-Well, it was, wasn't it, really?
But there was something there that somebody wanted, one of those items.
-It could have been that matchbox holder that was Chinese silver.
-So we had one or two interesting ones there.
-Yeah. Well done.
-Thank you for bringing that in...
-..and not throwing it away.
Putting it in the right place at the right time. If you've got anything like that, we'd love to see it.
Bring it along to one of our valuation days.
You too could have a surprise in an auction room just like this.
Log on to the BBC website at bbc.co.uk/flogit.
Follow the links, all the information will be there
and hopefully it will be near a town not far away from you.
'So that's it for our first visit to the sale room
'so let's head back to the city of Wells for that tour I promised you earlier.'
They say size doesn't matter and if you're talking about the city of Wells, it couldn't be more right.
Wells is the smallest city in England - however, architecturally and aesthetically,
it packs a real punch and according to the locals, it's the best kept secret in Somerset.
So come with me and I'll show you why.
One of the first unusual features you might spot here are two water-filled gullies
that run down both sides of the High Street.
They look like drains but they aren't. However, they are a clue to how the city got its name.
Because of these - the wells.
Three pools that are the source of the water that actually runs down the High Street out there.
Now, it may look tranquil on the surface but believe me, there is a lot of pressure there
because around 40 gallons of water, on average, are produced every second.
Now, if you work that out that's around four million gallons of water per day, which is quite incredible.
If you look closely enough, you can actually see the bubbles coming up from the bottom.
You can see how much pressure is down there.
As well as being an important water source for the local community, natural springs like these
have always been the focus of spiritual interests since, well, pre-history really.
Stone-age flints and Roman pottery have been found all over this area
but the earliest recorded example of a religious building to be found here, well, that's a Roman mausoleum
and it's thought that that settlement was quite small.
It wasn't until a Saxon king, Ine of Wessex,
founded a minster church here back in 704 that the town really took off.
Today the wells are in the grounds of the Bishop's Palace.
It's a magnificent palace set in 14 acres of gardens that's been home to the bishops
of Bath and Wells for 800 years.
It dates from the early 13th century
and it's the most perfect and complete surviving example of its type.
There have been over 50 bishops of Bath and Wells over the years
but I think there's one that has made more of an impact on the city than most.
Back in the 15th century, Bishop Beckington was responsible for several important buildings
and here is just one example.
It's known as the Bishop's Eye and it really is the gateway to the Bishop's Palace.
But I think Beckington's greatest contribution to the people of Wells
has to be providing them with fresh water.
He devised a mechanism, back in 1451, to get water from the wells, which is over in that direction,
to the centre of the market place, which is just down here.
Moving on from the market place,
this is the quaintly named Penniless Porch.
It's where the beggars used to congregate.
The city of Wells is a conservation miracle.
Its historic heart has been preserved almost intact since the Middle Ages
and there are no finer examples than this.
Vicars' Close. In 1348, Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury
founded a college so that the Vicars Choral,
the cathedral choir, could all live together.
Now, initially, they lodged out there amongst the townsfolk where they could succumb to temptation,
so in order to keep them in line, so they couldn't get up to any mischief, he built this place.
Now, it's a street that comprises of 42 small, little houses, one up and one downs,
and also, a communal hall where they could all eat in.
Now, interestingly enough, this is now the only totally complete medieval street in England
and more fascinating than that, it's the oldest continuously inhabited medieval street in Europe.
Now, that takes some beating, doesn't it?
And for me, well, I've never been in such a place where there is such a sense of connection to the past
where time has just, literally, stood still.
And it has, it really has, it's remarkable.
Not a lot has changed. Little front gardens have been added.
Not a lot - as you can see, there's not a lot of space there.
And also the chimney stacks have been raised somewhat.
Now, that's to take away the smoke from the winter fires so that it wouldn't ruin the choir's voices.
Isn't that fascinating?
I just love this.
Another addition was the Chain Gate.
This beautiful, high-level walkway allowed the clergy to enter
the cathedral from the Vicars' Close without getting their feet or robes wet.
It also prevented them bumping into the less savoury residents of Wells.
And finally, the jewel in the crown of these ancient streets and magnificent buildings
has to be Wells Cathedral itself.
Just look at it there. It is so inspiring.
It is an architectural delight that ticks all the boxes
and it's the first English cathedral of its kind to be designed in the Gothic style back in 1180.
And the magnificent west front that we're looking at now, circa 1230,
boasts the largest gallery of medieval sculpture you will find anywhere else in the world.
And looking at it here, with the sun shining down on that soft stone,
those yellow ochres just grinning through in this sunlight
really, really beckons you in. It is so inviting.
And from the bottom here
in the lower orders, you've got in these niches
lots of biblical themes,
rising up to kings and bishops, then through to an order of angels,
and then you see the 12 apostles,
and then right at the very top, Jesus Christ.
That is just incredible, isn't it? It really is.
You could just stand here for hours
admiring such wonderful architecture.
Inside is no less spectacular.
The scissor arches are unique,
taking master mason William Joy ten years to build.
They were a medieval engineering solution
to a very real problem of sinking tower foundations.
And there is the famous Wells Clock,
which has what is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism
in Britain and probably the world.
It's still in original condition and it still works.
The mechanism was made in about 1390
and the clock face
is the oldest surviving original of its kind anywhere.
You'll also find the tombs of those influential bishops,
Beckington and Ralph,
who made such an indelible mark on the city.
Well, I think you'll have to agree with me, this is a truly remarkable city,
extremely rich in medieval architecture, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here
and I hope it's inspired you to come and look for yourself because it just is a great day out.
What a marvellous day we're having at Wells Cathedral. The sun is starting to beam through
these wonderful stained glass windows, creating a kaleidoscope of colour,
but I had to come to this viewing gallery to look at that scissor arch.
Look at the beautiful perspective of the cathedral, looking right down the nave.
Our experts are working flat out down there.
Well, Sharon, thanks for coming along today
and bringing what I think is actually the oldest thing I've seen today.
-Oh. Very good.
-Without taking into account the marvellous building we are in at the moment.
But I know what it is, do you have any ideas?
Well, I've looked up on the internet and I know it might be Whieldon ware.
-It might be tortoiseshell ware.
-But I don't know anything about the date or...
-Right. No problem.
Without attributing it directly to Thomas Whieldon, it is certainly what we would call Whieldon type.
-Thomas Whieldon, his life basically spanned the 18th century.
He was born around 1720 and went on through the 18th century.
Now, he was well known for experimenting with glazes
and the magic word, tortoiseshell,
which is spot on for describing what we have here.
-This is what we would call a tortoiseshell glaze.
I'm going to flip it over, because people might say,
I've never seen a tortoiseshell with splashes of green, blue and yellow,
but if I flip it over and we look at the back, I mean, that's great, isn't it?
That sort of naive, tortoiseshell, experimental glaze
really shines out on the back, which is a shame actually,
because the back can be more interesting than the front.
But I'll spin it back over and have a look at the front,
because we've got this, as you say, nice sort of tortoiseshell glaze
and the plate itself has this rather nice,
I suppose it's almost a sort of basket weave moulding, isn't it?
-It's almost a basket weave moulding edge
and then this sort of scalloped rim.
-I want you to tell me now how you have come by it and why you have brought it along today.
I've got a tea rooms, and I set it up 23 years ago
and I was looking for some old china to put on a shelf around the top.
I know the sort of thing, yes.
-And my husband's grandmother, who was 104, she had a pile of plates and she said, take these.
-And this was one of them, but it was actually covered in mud.
And water scale, because she used to keep plants on it in the conservatory.
I think the plants might be why the glaze has flaked slightly.
There is a bit of crazing on the glaze and water doesn't necessarily mix...
-It was in a terrible state.
You've done really well to get it up to this condition.
I would say, I'm going to avoid the 80 to 120 estimate,
I'm going to come in a little bit under that, if that's OK with you.
I'm going to say sort of 50 to 80.
-How do you feel about that?
-Yes, that's fine.
-Is that OK?
Now we come to the point of reserve. Would you be happy
-to just see where it ends up?
-Yes, I'm happy with that.
-I don't really like it, so...
-That's where we disagree. I like it, you don't.
But hey, that's antiques.
Cherie, I'm always interested to see pictures on "Flog It!"
and I particularly like this little pair of dog portraits.
Could you tell me, where did you get them?
Well, they were bequeathed to my husband by a very dear friend
about 30-odd years ago and we have always enjoyed looking at them
and when they were in his cottage, we always admired them
and they looked really superb in his little olde worlde Dorchester cottage.
We've really enjoyed having them, looking at them,
and a lot of people have said how well they have been painted.
So, they've been part of your life for a considerable amount of years.
Tell me, why do you want to sell them?
We have a modern house and it's decorated in the modern style
and these pictures just don't fit any more
and they have been in my secretaire drawer for about five years now.
-It's time to pass them on.
They are both signed and we can see the signature in the corner here.
-It's J A Wheeler.
Now, I am not familiar with that artist's work,
but I see that you have a document here with details of him.
Can you tell me a bit about the artist?
Well, as far as I know, he was born in Cheltenham
and he came to live in Bath
and I think he painted most of his work in Bath after the Army,
he was in the Army first of all, and then he went on from there.
He's a self-taught artist, I believe.
These dogs are a pair of, I think they are fox-haired terriers.
-That's right, yes.
-They are very realistic.
-They are very, very detailed and they are very well executed.
If they were coming to me, without research and just looking at them,
I would probably estimate them 150 to 250.
-Would you be happy to put them in at that price, 150 to 250?
I should think so.
-Will we put a reserve on them?
-Oh, yes, please. Yes.
-We'll put the reserve at the bottom estimate.
-But they are well worth that and they may well fly.
Will you be sad to let these go?
Yes, we will, but it's going for a good cause.
My grandson or daughter is due in a few days
and we have a 20-month-old grandson,
so this will go towards their university fees.
-Oh, that's wonderful. You're a wonderful granny.
-Oh, thank you!
'What a lovely lady, and I'm sure those dogs will find a new home.
'Time for one more valuation, Roger's collection of shot and powder flasks.'
OK, Roger, you've brought in this nice collection here.
-You are aware of what they were used for, aren't you?
-I mean, we've got powder flasks and we've got shot flasks.
Powder ones usually in the copper. You would calibrate how much powder was going to go into your musket,
into your black powder musket. And with the shot, once you'd put your powder away you would have
to come out with your shot bag and put the shot in there as well.
Damp it down, load up, take aim and fire
and fingers crossed, the bullet goes that way and not that way!
-Tell me, how have you come by this? Are these things that you were buying?
-It was one of my uncles, he was a builder and he dabbled in antiques.
All different, nothing specific, just different things,
but when he died, it passed to one of my brothers.
-And when my brother died...
-Passed it on to you.
Yes. And they've been in the cupboard ever since. You know, as usual.
-The old story. We hear it all the time. Some are going to be worth more than others.
I think these nicely embossed leather ones here, for example this one here,
this is a bit up my street, coming from the racing part of the world.
We've got what looks like a huntsman here, blowing his horn,
and perhaps leaping over some sort of ditch or dyke,
and down here at the bottom, which is what interested me, we've got the Hawksley & Co mark for the makers.
-Now they are a good firm of makers,
they are sort of at the top end of the makers for this type of thing
so that's going to help that one along.
-This one has got the James Dixon mark on the bottom.
Again, that's nice, and it's got sort of dead game,
typical sort of country house still life, that sort of thing,
because these were military as well as, shall we say, people who were huntsmen.
-Who were shooting, or black powder shot sportsmen.
So I've been looking at these and what sort of price they've been making recently
and you know, the market for these has narrowed somewhat, shall we say.
-They're not such wide appeal.
I'm thinking £20, £30 apiece, and I'm just thinking out loud here, but what do you think?
Shall we keep them as one lot, or split them down the middle
and put the leather ones together and the copper ones together?
-I'd be happy splitting them, really.
-Yes, I think so.
There is one train of thought - keep them together and there's a lot there for your money.
-Or split them up, then you give people the option.
Do they want to go for just the one or do they want to go for both?
Let's live dangerously and split them so we've got four copper ones,
four leather ones. We'll split the reserve, £100 fixed on each.
-How does that sound?
-£100 reserve on each.
So we'll be looking at 100, 150 as an estimate, fixed at 100.
I think they should do a little bit more than that,
-but let's price them sensibly. All right?
-Let's shake on it.
-Well done, Roger.
This is Eve, one of our production co-ordinators. Hi, Eve.
-Love the hair colour today.
-Thank you very much.
Cheryl, Dave, welcome to "Flog It!".
And thank you so much for bringing in this interesting lot of pharmaceutical items.
Do you collect this type of thing?
Yeah, I do. I'm very interesting in it.
I'm a pharmacy technician, so it's part of my profession.
It's beginning to take over the house a bit.
Are you fed up with it, Dave?
Not entirely, but it is getting there.
Why do you want to sell them?
I've got a daughter who was a pharmacy student. She's 21 this year.
She wants a designer handbag.
She did say she didn't want me to sell my things,
but I want to get her a nice designer handbag.
We're hoping to get the handle at least.
Oh, that's wonderful. Now, we'll look at the bottles first of all.
They are Victorian, and these two are of particular interest
because they are Bristol blue and people love that colour.
And another added element
is that we do have the names of the ingredients on the bottles,
and people like that.
This item, which is a piece of treen, we can see that this
would have been the container for yet another medicine bottle.
I find this box quite interesting.
"Glycerine cocaine pastilles."
That's a bit scary.
But we must remember that cocaine was used
for medicinal purposes in the 19th century.
And a little set of weights for a pharmacist to weigh out the measurements of the ingredients.
Is that the same sort of age as...?
These are all Victorian. A little later here.
And your box, a little later.
But they make a marvellous group.
Can we look at this, which I love to pieces?
It's a little leather case.
The name on the front, "R J Church," the name of the pharmacist.
And if we look inside, we see this group of bottles in the fitted case.
Now, this would have obviously been carried by the pharmacist or a doctor
-when they were going to their patients.
-How old, do you think?
I would say that that's probably the late 19th, early 20th century.
Tell me, where did you get these bottles, Cheryl?
-I get them off the internet, mostly.
-Do you help your wife in the search, Dave?
Yeah, I do most of the searching on the net and we go to the odd antiques or collectors' fair.
-You've been pulled in!
-I've been coerced, yeah!
I would put it into two lots first of all.
I would put this as a group,
your bottles, your weights and this pastille box
in one lot and I would put your little case as a separate lot.
I would put in an auction estimate of 100-200. Keep it wide.
-With perhaps a reserve of £80 on it.
Again, I'm being very conservative.
On your little bottle group,
I would say an estimate of 80-120, with a reserve of perhaps 65.
-Would you be happy to put it through at that?
And let's hope you can get more than just the handle
-for your daughter's designer bag.
-Get the clasp as well!
Let's hope we have a good result at auction.
Here's what's going under the hammer...
So we're back in Bridgwater with auctioneer Claire Rawle
and the hustle and bustle of the sale room.
Gosh, it is full, isn't it? That's a good sign.
Hopefully they are all here to buy and put their hands up to bid on our lots. Fingers crossed.
Whatever you do, don't go away, this could get really exciting.
So let's crack on with the sale
and keen to sell her Whieldon plate is Sharon.
-The Whieldon tortoiseshell plate.
-It's 18th century, it's a nice lot, but I know you've added now a reserve, haven't you?
Our Will likes no reserves.
-Well, yes, I always try to twist a few arms.
-You do, don't you?
I think you're right in doing that. You've got to protect it. If you love it, protect it.
-Sharon was all with me to let it go no reserve.
-Yes. My husband, he's the sensible one.
-We're the gamblers, he's the banker.
-Hopefully we'll get that top end.
Let's find out what the bidders think,
because at the end of the day, it is all down to them.
-We can speculate and pontificate, but...
-The proof is in the selling.
-And the pudding. This is it.
Lot 430 is this late 18th, early 19th-century Whieldon type plate,
and it's being shown to you at the back of the room
in the cabinet there and I have to start this one away at £40. At 40.
I have 40, do I see 42 anywhere?
The bid is with me at 40. At 40 for the plate.
At 40 it is then. Are you all done? Selling to my bidder at £40.
It's gone on that reserve. You did the right thing.
-You did the right thing, yeah, exactly.
Good luck with the tea room. That's all I can say. Great place.
Hoping the bidders' diagnosis will be favourable, it's the assorted pharmaceutical items.
Cheryl and David, it's great to see you again.
Hopefully now we can make some chemistry in the auction room.
Well, we should be with the lot we've got,
the pharmaceutical items. We've got two lots.
We split it up. So we've got the group.
There's quite a bit going on, but the first lot coming up is the little suitcase,
the leather one, which has a lot of contents, doesn't it?
It's a wee beauty. It's absolutely lovely. Most unusual.
Let's hope the bidders find this and fall in love with it as well.
This is the first one to go under the hammer. Here we go.
This late 19th, early 20th century fitted leather case
with the pharmacy bottles.
And I've got 55 here. At 55. Do I see 60 anywhere?
60. Five. 70. Five.
80 at the back of the room.
At £80. Now five anywhere?
At £80 it's going to be, then. Are you all sure and done?
Selling, then, at £80.
It's gone. Hammer's gone down.
-80. Yeah, yeah.
We're looking at a reserve of £65 for this lot,
but we would like a little bit more.
A set of pharmaceutical weights and there's some chemist bottles.
And I start straight in at £90. At 90.
-We've done it.
-Do I see five anywhere?
At £90 now. Five.
At £90, then. It's going to go to my bidder by the look of it at £90.
Wow! That's good, isn't it? That's very, very good.
They liked the bottles
-better than the little suitcase.
-It's the blue glass ones.
-Yeah. And I gather all the money is going towards a designer handbag, am I right?
-For your daughter?
-Oh, what a lovely present.
Now, depending on where you shop, that could be the handle or half a bag or a quarter...
But a big chunk towards it nonetheless.
Going under the hammer right now, or should I say in the firing line,
it is Roger with four powder flasks and four shot flasks,
-split into two lots, valued by Will.
But since the valuation date, Roger has been keeping us on our toes
-because you have changed the value twice.
-You rang the auctioneer and said, "I want a bit more money."
-So you put it up to what?
-140. And then you called her again in the last few days and you dropped it.
Were you put under pressure to do that or did you have a re-think?
No, I looked on the internet and compared the prices and then just...
But listen, they are yours at the end of the day and you can decide what to do with them
and it gets me out of a stink because if they don't sell, it's your fault!
-Can't be fairer than that, can we?
Let's see if we hit the target. Here we go, this is it.
Moving on to lot 175, the first of the powder flasks.
These are the copper ones, some by Dixon & Sons.
There are four altogether in the lot, 175,
and I have to start away at...£100.
Do I see 110 anywhere?
110, 120, 130.
We've sold them.
At 130, do I see 140 anywhere?
At £130 then, the bid is in the room. All done at 130.
You were right, Roger. If you'd left it at 140 you'd have got 140,
because they went on your new reserve.
And now the next lot, the shot flasks.
-You've been tampering with the reserves here as well. You did the same thing?
-Went up to 140.
-Back down again.
-Back down, 130.
-And I'm going to stick my neck out and predict a 130 hammer price here.
19th-century leather shot flasks. There we are.
There's one by Dixon & Sons in there,
there's four altogether in the lot, 220,
and start away, I've got £90.
At £90, do I see 100 anywhere?
See if we can get the same bidder going in the doorway.
Now 100. At £90, do I see 100?
-Are you all sure in the room at 90?
No, they have to stay with me, I'm afraid.
We got rid of half.
The leather ones obviously weren't for him, but we didn't even get to the 100 that I said.
So, you're in the clear, I can't even blame you. So, 50%.
'That's auctions for you!
'But Roger still sold half the collection for £130
'and keeps the rest.
'Next up, Cherie's dog paintings. She couldn't make it,
'but before the sale, she called the auction room
'and raised the reserve from £150 to £200.'
I think these are a lovely pair of oils. The artist has form, and this is his subject,
he's good on hunting, he's good on dogs, horses and so on. I like these, I think they'll do very well.
It's a shame Cherie can't be here, but she is actually on holiday in Peru,
-so she's enjoying herself.
But we won't be ringing her up, will we, to tell her that they've gone?
She'll be trekking somewhere and won't have a signal!
Look, good luck anyway, this is it.
355, John Arnold Wheeler, the pair of terrier portraits.
Nice little portraits these.
In the back cabinet there, so lot 355,
and I have to start these straight in at £300.
Nice. That's what I like to hear.
-No messing about.
-The dog lovers are here.
520, 550, I'll take 580.
580. Got to go 600. 620? 620.
-Highest price of the day.
-Looking for 650.
650 on the back telephone. 680.
The Jack Russell lovers are here in force, or at least on the telephone.
800. 800 on the back telephone.
At £800, now 50 anywhere?
-And there's another phone.
-850 here. 900?
900 with Kate. At 900. Now 950?
-He's back again.
At 950 it is then. Are you all sure and done? At 950.
I am very happy with that.
I think we should get on the phone. That is an amazing result.
That's top money for that artist. I tell you what, somebody paid a lot of money for that.
-He was a Bath artist, so we're selling it in the right area.
The great thing is, all that money is going towards her grandchildren's university fees
-so she's already building up a pot fund for that.
-Isn't that wonderful?
Thinking ahead for the future for the rest of the family.
Because it would have been their inheritance, so they're being looked after.
-It's a good thing to do.
-Yes, and it's a wonderful result.
-£950. That is incredible!
It's all over for our owners, in fact, the auction has just stopped, just like that.
There's a buzz in the room. Some of the lucky bidders
are now collecting their lots and going home very happy.
And I think all our owners have gone home happy,
especially Cherie with the two portraits of the Jack Russells, selling for a whopping £950.
I hope you are enjoying this moment, Cherie, and I hope everybody else has enjoyed today's show.
Join me again soon for many more surprises, but until then, from Bridgwater, it's goodbye.
Paul Martin and the Flog It! team visit the beautiful city of Wells. The medieval splendour of Wells Cathedral is the valuation-day venue, where experts Anita Manning and Will Axon cast their experienced eye over an array of antiques and collectibles. Anita discovers a pair of paintings by an amateur artist that prove a big hit in the saleroom, while Will targets an interesting collection of shot and powder flasks. Presenter Paul also takes a journey around the historic centre of this ancient city, which according to the locals is the best-kept secret in Somerset.