Antiques programme. Paul Martin and the team visit Aberdeenshire in Scotland. Experts Anita Manning and Adam Partridge search for unwanted antiques at Crathes Castle.
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We have the most stunning fairytale castle as our backdrop today.
We've also got a great crowd, although this one isn't saying much,
and the cameras are rolling. All we need now are the antiques.
ALL: Welcome to "Flog It!".
We're in Aberdeenshire today in the grounds of beautiful Crathes Castle.
With its romantic appearance, 16-century gargoyles
and pepper-pot turrets, it could have been plucked straight out of a fairy story.
And I can assure you everybody here in this queue, including the dogs,
is looking forward to a fairytale ending.
This is where their journey starts today, the valuation day,
and they're all hoping they'll get picked
to go through to the auction, where we make them a small fortune
and hopefully their dreams come true.
Already working their magic are our lead experts,
Anita Manning, who's on home turf...
Oh, it's so exciting when you pull these things out, all the treasures!
-Is that a tenner?
This is quite a nice thing, and it'll sell well just now.
..and the cheeky Adam Partridge.
-What have we got with us today?
-Probably all rubbish.
OK. Next, please.
Both experienced valuers and auctioneers,
they'll certainly leave no stone unturned,
and when it comes to making bold predictions,
these two are no shrinking violets.
It's good. I'm very glad to hear that, son.
Anita doesn't mince her words.
I'm going to come straight to the point here.
You could double your money on this.
Adam takes a risk.
You've got a whole six setting, and it's all complete?
As far as I can see. Maybe you as an expert can see it, but I can't.
And not wanting to be left out, I cannot contain myself.
This is the surprise we could all be waiting for.
Whatever you do, keep watching. This is going to get exciting.
So, with all that to come, it's time we got valuing,
and Anita's already found her first item.
Let's take a closer look.
Murray, Irene, welcome to "Flog It!",
and you've brought along this beautiful pot!
Murray, tell me where it came from.
It came from my mother.
She gave it to us about 20 years ago.
Mother was born about 20 miles from here.
She worked as a domestic servant in the big houses in Aboyne,
so we're assuming it was either given to her as a gift
or perhaps a wedding present. We're not just quite sure.
So, tell me, Irene, do you have this on display at home?
We have had it on display at home,
not all the time, because there's children...
Well, there was younger children, then grandchildren came along,
so sometimes it's had to be packed away.
-I think it's a lovely piece.
-It is, and it's from Worcester,
the best of the factories. In fact it dates from about 1820.
If we look at the base, we see the marks for Flight and Barr,
Now, these were the precursors of the Worcester that we know,
and they started making Worcester in 1840,
so this was before that, so it's a good old age.
-That's earlier than we thought.
-Nearly 200 years old.
If we look at the piece in itself,
we see this hand-painted scene here.
-It's a Highland landscape.
Now, it's not signed, but it's beautifully done,
and if we turn round, we have a painting of an exotic bird,
and that's quite beautiful, and it's very beautifully done.
What I like most, I suppose,
are these enchanting, understated butterflies
on the lid, and I think that they are absolutely exquisite.
The piece together is quite beautiful.
-Why do you want to sell it?
-It's just, how do we keep it now?
Rooms are smaller, not the same places to display it any more.
Yes. I think that, in auction,
we should be thinking in the region of £300.
It is an early piece. Would you be happy to pass it on at that price?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
-You're sounding a wee bit not very sure, Murray.
I think we'd like to put a reserve on it.
-Oh, of course we would put a reserve to protect it.
Er, we would put it in with an estimate of three to five.
-300 to 500,
and a reserve of 300 or just below 300.
-How do you feel about that?
-Yes, we would go for that.
You would go for it. Shall we put the reserve at 280?
-Are you happy at that? Are YOU happy at that?
-Yes. No, I'm fine.
Well, it really does have everything going for it.
Thank you so much for bringing it in,
-and I'll see you at the auction.
-It's a great pleasure.
What a lovely piece to start with!
And like Anita says, it has everything going for it.
Hopefully it'll fire up the saleroom.
Time to rock over to Adam's table now, and he's chatting to Ann.
Thank you so much. You've brought along a delightful rocking cradle.
Can you tell me how you came to own it, and what do you know about it?
Well, it was about 30 years ago, and we came to Aberdeen,
and we'd just bought an old fisherman's cottage on the coast.
-And I was looking out for furniture
that would go with it, and I saw this cot,
-and it fell in love with it.
-I can see why.
It's a very charming object. So you've bought it at auction?
-The one where it's going back.
-Milne's, is it?
-So it's going home, in a way, 30 years later.
-Did you use it ever, for a baby?
-I didn't use it for a baby, no,
-but I used it to house my plants.
-Well, it's a good use for it.
A lot of people might rock their plants to sleep in that.
And I think it might also appeal to teddy-bear and doll collectors.
You can imagine that in a doll shop, in the window.
What else do you know about it? Made from oak, of course.
It's solid oak, and they told me it had come from Norway.
-I was surprised to hear that.
-I was very surprised,
but I had a friend who was an antique dealer,
and she put an offer in for it for me,
because she knew somebody else was interested,
so they decided to exchange articles.
Right. I think it's early 20th century, sort of 1900s...
-..or soon after that.
I wasn't sure about the Norwegian part of it.
-It looked English to me.
-We'll see what happens.
-Do you have it on display?
It has been down my stairs, housing the hoover.
Housing the hoover! That's quite a posh hoover container.
So, I can see why you want it to go to auction,
and you heard we were here, and I'm delighted you've come along.
Do you remember what it cost you 30 years ago?
I think I paid about £200, which was a lot of money in those days.
-A lot of money, yes.
-But I wanted it.
Sometimes when you want something you have to pay a bit extra for it.
I'm a bit concerned that it won't quite make that nowadays.
I'm not really interested. All I would like
is whoever has it likes it and wants it.
There's too much emphasis placed on the value sometimes.
-Well, I think so.
-I would suggest putting an estimate lower than that.
-I would suggest £100 to £200.
-I think that's very reasonable.
-And shall we put a reserve on it?
-Of, say, 100?
100, and if it doesn't make 100, we'll have to get it back to you!
-But I'm hoping it will,
-and a little bit more too.
-That would be lovely.
-We'll do our best, and thank you for coming along today.
I agree - it's a great find,
and deserves to be more than a hoover holder!
We've got a great crowd, but not everyone here today
is a stranger to the castle.
In fact, Crathes has been attracting people far and wide for years.
Well, Ursula, we've left the great crowd of people on the main lawn
because you wanted to show me this space,
because you know this area really well. How long have you worked here?
For 20 years, and I retired five years ago.
And were you doing tours and guides, things like that?
I was guiding, and I was doing my bit for Scotland
-by guiding German tourists.
And I know you've brought to show me, because you watch "Flog It!",
and you're fascinated at some of the early postcard albums
that have been collected by families,
and all of these are the same as what we seen on the show,
but they're of German towns, been collected
-throughout the First World War.
I would imagine there's a market for these in Germany,
just as there is for the English postcards.
-I think so.
-And what you're looking at here
is an album that possibly could be worth £400 to £500.
-Well, I wouldn't want to sell it.
-No, I don't think so.
I feel I'm the keeper of these books,
and it's like selling your granny, isn't it?
Of course it is, and you can't do that.
But this one is very particular to your family, isn't it?
Let's just look at some of the photographs. They're family photos.
There's a photograph at the back, isn't there, of you.
-Let's have a look at you.
-Here I am.
-People change with age!
-You still look beautiful.
You know that. You do! You really do.
-This ageing business is no good.
-No, I know it's not.
You've got a fabulous collection. If you ever wanted to sell this one,
-£300 to £500 any day of the week.
But this you should never sell. It's only got a value to your family,
and it's absolutely priceless, so cherish it.
It's very difficult to decide who should inherit it.
A lot of youngsters in the family, but who is worthy?
-Hmm! Well, only you can decide that.
-Thank you for talking to me today.
Wasn't Ursula wonderful?
Let's get back to the main valuation action.
Anita found a real treasure in the queue earlier.
Let's take a closer look.
Sheila, welcome to "Flog It!", and thank you so much
for bringing this wonderful bracelet along to us today.
Tell me, where did you get it?
It was a Christmas gift from my husband
about 20 years ago. Unfortunately I haven't ever worn it.
-Never worn it?
-No, never worn it.
He bought it from the auctioneers that you're doing the sale from.
-But it's just a bit bulky for me.
-That's right. It is chunky,
and I think something chunky like that needs a big woman.
Well, that's how I feel, yes.
Women like us need something more delicate.
-You've never worn it?
-Do you know how much he paid for it?
-Well, I asked him that question,
and he said that he felt that it was either £50,
but definitely no more than 100.
He said he couldn't have afforded more than 100 at the time.
Well, he's made a very, very good investment.
Let's have a look at the actual item now.
The main part of the bracelet has this lovely fancy link,
but it is a hollow link, and if we look here,
we can see where it's been a little bit bashed
and a little bit damaged, obviously not done by you,
who has never worn this precious jewel!
I'm 99.9% that it is gold,
and it may be a higher carat than nine carat,
but we wouldn't test it. The auctioneer won't test it,
but the buyers will have to make up their own mind.
-Best thing about this are these four gold coins,
and if we look at this one, we have two sovereigns,
and this one is for 1889,
and we see the head of Queen Victoria.
And if we look at the back, we see the typical back of a sovereign,
which shows St George slaying the dragon.
Our other sovereign here is slightly earlier.
and we see a slightly younger queen here.
Now, the other two coins are Austrian,
and these are Austrian LODs,
and they are of high-carat gold as well.
So all in all, a very desirable item in today's market.
We'll sell it as one item,
but what could happen is that, after it's been bought,
the coins can be separated and the bracelet just worn as a bracelet,
so we have many good elements here.
I would put it into auction with a conservative estimate
of £800 to £1,200.
Would you be happy to put it into auction at that price?
Yes. I would like to put a reserve on it, though.
We certainly could do that. That would protect it.
What reserve would you like to put on it?
I'd like to put a reserve of 1,000, but I don't know if that's...
If you could bring it down a little bit,
say 900, I think we've got a good chance at that,
-and put it in at 900 to 1,200.
-Yeah. That sounds good.
Well, I look forward to the auction,
-because gold is fiercely competed for in today's market.
So, we've found our first three items,
and two of them are going back to the same saleroom they were purchased in!
Before we head off to auction, it's the Monart glass bowl
Adam just discovered in the queue.
Welcome to "Flog It!".
It's a beautiful sunny day here. How are you doing?
-BOTH: Fine, thank you.
-Thanks for coming along.
-I'm Adam. What's your name?
-And your relationship?
Thank you for bringing along this lovely bowl,
which is glistening in the sun today.
Can you tell us anything about it? Where it came from?
What you know about it? Who's going to start?
It belonged to our parents.
-They received it as a wedding present.
-When were they married?
-Gosh, 60 years ago now.
-And do you remember this from childhood?
Yes. It used to sit on the table in the window.
With the fruit in it.
-Who does it belong to now?
Jointly? So it's not something you can really cut in half
or have a month for you, a month for you?
OK. So you've decided to put it on the market, have you?
-Then split the money afterwards, I suppose.
OK. Do you like it?
I do, yeah.
It certainly looks its best today.
It's a lovely sunny day here in Aberdeen.
A lot of people will recognise this as a Monart bowl, so, again,
Scottish glassware. Founded by a Spanish chap called Ysart,
and they called it the Moncrieff Glassworks,
and the combination of Moncrieff and Ysart made the word "Monart".
And it's that lovely pale-blue colour that's so often
associated with the Queen Mother.
It's got these little gold flecks in it.
So you've got the traditional Scottish shapes with
a bit of Spanish flair that's added to it.
Any idea what it might be worth?
Not really, no.
We see quite a bit of Monart through the salerooms.
It's a good place to sell it. It's a regional collector's item.
Perthshire was the factory, which isn't miles away, really.
They had relatives in Perth.
I wonder if any of them worked in the factory.
-I don't know.
-I don't think so.
Sometimes they've still got the paper label on the bottom.
-We noticed it was missing.
-It had been regularly washed.
Not a slovenly household!
People don't think of it at the time.
How often do you buy something now and think, "I'll keep that label on it."
-First thing to come off is the label.
-Bought to be used.
Exactly. Bought to be used.
But clearly treasured, because it's in lovely condition.
So, down to the value,
it's not a hugely valuable example of Monart.
It's a relatively standard model, if you will.
Lovely thing, but value-wise, about 50 to 80 estimate.
-Hopefully it'll make towards 100.
I doubt it'll make much more.
You never know, you might be lucky. We should put a reserve on it,
just in case no-one turns up, which would be horrible.
-We wouldn't want it going for 20 quid, would we?
Definitely not. I love the way you answer simultaneously as well.
-We're thinking the same.
-Yes, synchronised sisters.
I think we put a reserve of 50,
estimate of 50 to 80,
we'll stand at the auction, fingers crossed it makes three figures,
so you'll end up with a decent amount each
and you can do with it what you wish.
I shan't ask what you're going to do with the money
-because it's not a huge amount.
But it's been really nice to see something of regional significance.
Now, we've all heard of the Arts and Crafts movement,
which flourished in the latter part of the 19th century
and early part of the 20th century,
and some of you will be familiar with the great names of the time -
William Morris, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, CR Ashbee,
Archibald Knox - but there were other lesser-known artists
that were producing the most stunning work.
One of them is James Cromar Watt,
and here, right in the heart of Aberdeen,
in their art gallery,
it contains the largest single collection of his work.
It's well worth a look, so come with me.
Born in Aberdeen in 1862, James Cromar Watt
trained as an architect.
His earliest drawings were studies of Scottish religious buildings,
like King's College Chapel at Aberdeen University.
He achieved great acclaims and won awards
from both the Royal Institute of British Architects
and the Architectural School of the Royal Academy,
so this enabled him to take study trips around Europe,
Egypt and the Far East.
His sketchbooks from those trips
begin to illustrate a change in direction for Watt,
from architectural work to a deepening love of decorative detail.
And from decorative detail and motifs,
he became increasingly fascinated with crafts,
of which he would have seen a great deal of whilst on his travels.
He was largely self taught and tried to master several different genres.
Two techniques, though, especially fascinated him.
The first was gold granulation.
This is a very delicate procedure of fusing minute, miniscule
little gold granules together on a surface, to create a texture.
I've been allowed to come behind the scenes in the art gallery here
to show you some of his test pieces,
which were done, originally, on card.
I've got my white gloves on to point things out.
It all starts, really, right here.
The whole thing required a deftness of touch
and a sureness as well.
Somebody with a lot of confidence.
Watts used dental equipment and, in particular,
a small gas blowpipe.
You can see his architectural background breaking through here,
with this wonderful sense of symmetry and proportion.
The pendant itself shows how he really mastered the technique,
and it also shows the second technique he mastered - enamelling.
If you look at the central circle there,
there's a combination of the two things -
you've got wonderful little enamelled motifs there,
bordered and decorated with gold granulation
in the form of stylised leaf work.
From the tiny samples here, he went on to produce
the finished item, and the museum have kindly got some out the store
for me to show you. Just take a look at this.
Look at that!
Wonderful piece of enamelling.
The process of enamelling involves taking some powdered glass
the colour of your choice, and fusing it at high temperature
onto metal, but in this case it as fused onto foil,
which creates this wonderful sort of crumpled texture.
This is the technique he used most
and he had great success with it.
Watt used the technique to its full advantage
in many of his necklaces and pendants,
achieving a variety of shades from the palest white
through to deep ruby-reds to brilliant, vibrant sapphires.
He became a real master of his craft.
But I'm keen to find out more about the man,
and to see what other works he produced.
Kate Gillespie, the curator of decorative art here,
has agreed to talk to me.
-Thank you for letting me go behind the scenes.
He's clearly a talented artist. Why wasn't he as well known as some of his contemporaries?
We believe he actually enjoyed working by himself.
He was well acquainted with some other Arts and Crafts artists,
but he enjoyed finding a unique type of art that he pursued.
What about the direction from, let's say, from architect to artist?
Really, the change in direction comes from his trips abroad.
Rather than looking at the buildings as a whole, he looked at details - cornicing and foliage
on columns, et cetera. And you see more and more preoccupation with this detail.
-I think that's where he gets this interest in the decorative.
I've just seen some lovely jewellery and I was aware of his plaques. Talk me through some of these.
Well, this first piece is actually his earliest piece that we have, from 1898.
It actually depicts his mother. It may have been part of a pair with a plaque of his father,
but we don't have that. Next, we have a mythological piece.
We don't know who the sitter is, but he was very interested in Renaissance sources.
-This is a new acquisition from the States.
-A private collection?
We do know it was exhibited in the Aberdeen Art Gallery about 1900,
-so it's come home, which is nice.
-That's been away for a few years.
-He obviously framed them himself.
-And the last one?
It's the latest piece, we think from about 1902.
This is his most technically accomplished piece. He's really refined his technique.
It's a portrait of a young girl, which may have been one of the grandchildren of his friend.
-A lot of history there.
-It's nice that it's come back here. Why is it here in the first place?
When Watt died in an accident in 1940, prior to that he'd arranged for a lot of his private collection
to be bequeathed to Aberdeen Art Gallery. So that came to us.
Since then, curators have made a real attempt to buy items by him when they come up.
Is this the same technique as I've just seen? It doesn't look like it.
Parts of it are the same, but here in the face is a technique called grisaille,
where the enamel is finely layered with a graduation in tone,
so you get this light and dark. Greys and whites are used to build up this depth.
-The result is a really photographic depiction.
-Yes, there's a lot of chromatic hue.
-But you've almost got that sort of... It's like a negative.
It's very nice. Was he at the peak of his career when he died?
Erm, no. He actually undertook some secret service in the war
and when he returned from war he stopped working altogether.
We don't know if his eyesight had deteriorated or if he just decided he didn't want to continue making,
but from that period he stopped. We know that he didn't marry, he didn't have any children,
but he had a close circle of friends and he enjoyed hosting parties.
-They remember him fondly.
-This is a great part of Aberdeen's heritage that we've got here.
He's really an unsung hero. There's not a lot known about him,
-but his work is exquisite.
-It's opened my eyes. Thank you very much.
You're very welcome.
Before we head off to auction, here's a quick recap of what we're taking with us and why.
Anita started with something grand -
an early-19th-century Worcester pot,
but will the estimate of £300 to £500 be a little lofty?
Ann would like to get back the £200 she paid for the cradle
30 years ago, but ultimately would like to see it go to a good home.
And always one to spot a bit of bling,
Anita put £900 to £1,200 estimate on Sheila's gold bracelet.
Estimated at £50 to £80,
Adam thought the Monart glass bowl was smashing
and a great item to find because of its regional significance.
And this is where we're selling all our items today -
John Milne Auctioneers in the heart of Aberdeen,
and as the sale day arrives, my sense of anticipation gets higher.
Anything could happen. It's an auction.
Our auctioneer today is Graham Lumsden,
and with a packed saleroom like this,
he'll have to keep his eye on the ball when the bidding starts.
So let's crack on with our first lot - that fabulous Worcester pot.
Irene and Murray, thank you for coming in today.
We're just about to sell the ornamental tableware,
and you're selling this because you can't find the right place for it.
-Nice piece of Worcester!
-It's absolutely beautiful.
It's early, it's exquisite, hand-painted.
-It's got everything going for it.
And hopefully the price as well.
-We should be getting around £300 to £400.
Fingers crossed, on a good day.
-It's not going to be a sad goodbye, is it?
Where's it been lately? Come on. Be honest.
Just in a box at the moment.
Best thing to do, then, isn't it? Put it under the hammer and sell it.
Let's find out what the bidders think. Here we go.
It's ornamental tableware. It's Flight, Barr and Barr.
Worcester two-handled gilt table centre with cover.
And for this one, £400. Table centre and cover for £400.
I can start at the door, 180. 190.
-200. 210. 220. 240. 260.
-Here we go.
-It's got going.
It's now at the door at £280.
Any advance on £280? The bid is at the door. £280.
It's going to be sold. All finished at £280?
Hammer's gone down.
-Spot on there!
-And a few nervous moments there!
-£280. OK? Happy with that?
-Just spot on the fixed price.
-Yeah. Right on that reserve there.
One down, two more to go. It's Ann's oak cradle next.
Why are you selling this now, Ann?
Because it's been in my underground for a long time,
and I think somebody would enjoy it,
and it needs a lovely old house or a...
-Or a shop, in a shop-front.
-For dolls, as well.
Exactly. Stick teddy bears in there, or dried flowers. Anything, really.
In fact, if I was allowed to buy it, I would have snapped that one up.
Anyway, good luck. It's going under the hammer now.
Let's see if we can rock the saleroom.
This Norwegian oak cradle.
And for the cradle, open the bidding with me at 100.
110. 120. 130. 140.
At 160. 160 for the cradle.
Any advance now? £160, the cradle. The bid's to my right now at 160.
It's going to be sold for £160. All finished now at 160?
Straight in and straight out, really.
-You've got to be pleased with that.
-I am pleased.
-Pretty much what we thought.
-I've got a lot more furniture, too.
-See you next time we're up here.
Absolutely! THEY LAUGH
That's a good result for Ann. I'm really pleased.
Next up are sisters Janice and Lynn with their Monart bowl.
-You've been left this Monart vase.
-Now it can be divided up and split up.
There are plenty of collectors of Monart around and I'm sure there'll be a few here today,
-so I'm quite confident for a market value, hopefully a bit more.
-Yeah, fingers crossed.
Let's find out what it's worth.
Monart glass bowl. Blue, decorative Monart glass bowl.
£80? Monart glass bowl for 80? 60?
I'm bid 40.
Any advance now on £40, the Monart glass bowl at £40?
I've got one... 42. 45. 48. 50.
The lady's further back at £50.
Any advance now on £50?
It's going to be sold for £50. All finished now at 50?
-Late legs. Just.
-Do you want to go to 55?
60. At 60 back on my right.
Any advance now on £60? The bid's back on my right at 60.
Gosh, that was hard, wasn't it? That was hard work.
Thank goodness for Graham! He worked them. We got £60.
-Are you happy with that?
-Thanks for bringing it.
-That's lunch out, really, isn't it? I think, really.
Adam was bang-on.
Sheila's next, with her weighty gold bracelet and four sovereign coins.
Let's hope we get the top end of this estimate,
as it's being sold as an item and not for melt value.
I know you got this - how long ago, as a present?
-20 years ago.
-20 years ago, and it cost around 100?
£100, he reckons, yeah.
-It's a good investment, isn't it?
-Yeah. Hopefully, yeah.
Hopefully we'll get £1,000 for this.
Who knows? Until the hammer falls,
we don't know how much exactly.
-But it certainly deserves the lower estimate.
For the gold bracelet with coins, this one, £1,000.
£900. Gold bracelet with coins for 900.
-800. I can open the bidding with me for £800.
-A good start.
-With me at £800.
At £800. 820. 840.
860. At 860 with me.
-It's going to be sold for 860.
-This one down there, look.
At 880. I am going to sell for 880.
It is in the seat at 800. I am going to sell at £880.
All finished now at £880? It's in the seat at 880.
-HE BANGS HAMMER
-That's OK, isn't it? It's OK.
He's used a little bit of discretion,
but I think £20 discretion on that amount is fine.
Good old Graham! He got it away, and that's the main thing.
So far, so good! All three lots sold, and everyone goes home happy.
But before we head back to the historic grandeur of Crathes
and the valuation day, I took a look at an industry
that had an important influence on Aberdeen's historic past.
Take a look at this.
As an island nation, the United Kingdom has such a rich and wonderful maritime history.
Of course, that covers a whole host of subjects,
from fishing to exploration, navigation, the Navy and trade.
But all of these things have one thing in common, and that's ships.
And to build one, you've got to be in the right place,
you've got to have the right skills, the equipment,
and the experienced workforce. Now, here in Aberdeen,
in this harbour, shipbuilding has been a traditional industry
for the last 400 years, and during that time,
they've built some of the most important ships in our history.
Of course, there were a number of places in the UK
that had shipyards. But, for its size, Aberdeen stood out.
And why is that? Well, there were a number of reasons,
but, like most places that have a maritime heritage,
the city's fortunes are directly linked,
and of course, over the last 800 years
this harbour has played a key role
in not just the development and prosperity of Aberdeen
but the whole northeast of Scotland.
But the real success of the shipbuilding in the area
is really down to the skills and the entrepreneurial vision
of the Aberdonian shipwrights.
There were several well known shipbuilding companies in Aberdeen,
and collectively they built a wide range of vessels,
including clipper ships, coasters, drifters,
steamships and fishing vessels.
For 200 years, between the 18th and 20th century,
they built several thousand, but arguably,
Aberdeen's inventive shipbuilding heyday was the 19th century.
In the 1830s, a shipyard called Alexander Hall & Company
pioneered the revolutionary Aberdeen Bow, and here it is.
You see, speed was of the essence on the trade routes,
especially if you were competing against steamships,
and the Aberdeen Bow had a sleeker, more efficient bow
than any of its contemporaries. It made it faster,
and it improved sailing performances.
And this is one of the original shipwright's working models,
which is absolutely incredible. It's a wonderful survivor.
The shipyard's also credited for testing models in a tank of water
for the very first time, so they could keep improving on the design,
honing its efficiency.
The first vessel with the new bow was the schooner Scottish Maid,
built by the Hall shipyard in 1839.
The ship proved successful. It was swift and reliable,
and inevitably led to many shipbuilders around the globe
adopting the design, better known nowadays as the clipper ship.
Picking up your cargo and delivering it as quickly as possible
was essential, not only because it was more efficient,
it saved time and money, but also the commodities you were importing,
things like tea, were a lot fresher, so when they reached the open market
they would command a higher price.
Now, we are a nation of tea-lovers, so you can imagine,
when the Americans started to do the journey from China to London
in a third of the time, in their own faster, slender ships,
the British merchants were horrified,
so enter the age of the tea clipper. And it was here in Aberdeen
that the first-ever true tea clipper was built, in 1850 -
one of the most famous vessels to be built here, the Thermopylae.
Her maiden voyage sailed to Melbourne in just 60 days,
via Shanghai and Fuzhou, breaking records along the journey.
And a Melbourne newspaper reported on 13th of January 1869,
"It seemed almost impossible... that a voyage to the antipodes
"could be accomplished by a sailing ship in 59 days."
"She is in every respect a fine specimen of naval architecture,
a model of symmetry and beauty.
"Her sweeping lines and exquisite proportions,
"her graceful outline and general compactness,
"convey an idea of perfection."
The Thermopylae was such a huge success,
so much so that a year later, the most famous tea clipper in the world
was constructed to compete and race against her -
the Cutty Sark. However, the Thermopylae remained unbeaten,
and still the fastest tea clipper ever.
But it's not just merchant ships that were built here in Aberdeen.
There's one very famous one I must show you -
well, famous if you're Japanese, that is.
Thomas Glover, or the Scottish Samurai,
was an Aberdeen man who was ambitious.
He's not that well known in this country,
but in Japan he is very famous,
and to give you an indication of how popular he is,
his former home in Nagasaki is now open as a museum,
and it attracts around two million visitors a year.
Thomas Glover was a merchant and a businessman.
He was so successful he became friends with the Emperor,
and was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.
Now, here's the interesting bit. He also built warships
for the Japanese Navy, and this is a beautiful scale model
of the first-ever warship, the Jho Sho Maru.
It's absolutely beautiful.
It was constructed in 1869, and for ten years it was the flagship
of the Imperial Japanese Navy,
built by Alexander Hall & Company,
weighing in at an incredible 130 tons.
All of the hull has been armour plated,
and it's four and a half inches thick.
It's constructed with a round stern and a ram bow,
which would cut right through anything,
also enhancing the vessel's speed at sea.
Now, back in 1869, it cost £42,000 to build this ship.
Today, that would work out at around £2 million,
which is a lot of money...
..but a lot of vessel.
I've only scratched the surface of Aberdeen's shipbuilding heritage,
highlighting just a couple of ships like the Jho Sho Maru and the Thermopylae,
but all sorts of ships were built here in the 20th century,
and during World War II, the harbour was an important naval base.
Aberdeen's rich shipbuilding history sadly ended in 1989,
but the harbour continues to be at the core of the city's finances,
and as you can see behind me today, there's a hive of activity going on.
It's one of Britain's busiest ports, and one of Europe's most modern.
According to the Guinness Book Of Records,
this harbour is the oldest business in Britain.
It's a true success story, and it's wonderful to see
that it continues to adapt with the changing times.
We've moored up back at the valuation day,
and everybody's got the wind in their sails.
But it's Adam who's spotted something first.
It's very nice to see you. What's your name?
-Virginie. That's not an Aberdeen name!
-It's a French name.
-A very pretty name.
-Are you French yourself?
-No, I'm Dutch.
-And what brought you to Aberdeen?
-What do you think? Oil!
And you've brought along this very pretty little Shelley tea service.
How long have you had this and when did you get it?
About ten years ago I bought it in some sort of fair.
-I can't even remember.
-And what attracted you to it?
The colours. The black and white colours.
-It's a very pretty set, isn't it?
-I even made an embroidery about it...
-..because I like it.
-So you do embroidery as well?
-I do, I do. Still do, yeah.
Excellent. Well, generally speaking, we don't get great prices
for tea sets nowadays, because people don't use them so much.
-Do you still use a cup and saucer?
-Well, not every day,
-but I do it when I have guests.
-Quite right, too.
So, this is by the famous firm of Shelley,
which means it's more desirable than most other tea services nowadays,
and Shelley, very fine bone china.
They have the highest percentage of bone in the makeup of their china
-than all the others.
-So it's always got a really good...
-Clink to it.
..clink to it. Exactly. And the number on the bottom there...
-What's that? 11343?
-What was it again?
-11343, that's right.
-Which is the Vincent shape,
and this was introduced in July 1924, so it helps us date it exactly.
OK. I didn't know that.
Well, I'm glad I managed to tell you something, anyway.
Why have you decided to bring it along today to sell?
Well, because I have a very dear friend who recently died,
and I thought it might be nice to do it for some sort of charity.
-That's a lovely gesture.
-If I get a good amount for it,
-we can do it for the charity.
-So you don't use this any more?
I do use it for when I have guests, but I have got other things as well.
Other tea sets. You've probably chosen the best one to sell.
-Well, I think so, yeah.
-We've got a representative selection here,
but how much of this do you actually have?
I've got five more cups and saucers, and five more of these, of course.
So you've got a whole six setting, and it's all complete?
-It's still complete.
-No chips or cracks?
As far as I can see. Maybe you as an expert can see it, but I can't.
We'll value it on the basis that it's all there,
in perfect condition.
Do you remember what it cost when you purchased it ten years ago?
-I think I paid £100 for it.
-OK. We know why you're selling it.
Valuation-wise, you don't want to get less than you paid for it.
Well, that's true. Hopefully a little bit more.
I suggest we put an estimate of £100 to £150 on it.
-That's good. Oh, that's good.
-And put a reserve of 100,
so that it doesn't go for less,
-and hopefully it'll make a little bit more.
Wow, excellent! We've covered everything.
-Thank you very much.
-It's a pleasure. Nice to meet you.
It's such a great turn-out here today.
Let's get back to the valuing, and Anita has spotted some more gold.
Let's listen in as she tells Willie what it's worth.
Willie, welcome to "Flog It!".
It's lovely to be up in Aberdeenshire,
and this is a big, cracking coin.
Tell me, where did you get it?
I bought it ten years ago in Newcastle.
-So, are you a coin collector, Willie?
-What drew you to it?
-It just caught my eye,
and the date. I thought it was worth it at the time.
-How much did you pay for it at that time?
You paid 500. And that was retail price?
-Yeah, ten years ago.
-And you thought this might be a good investment?
Do you know something, Willie? You were absolutely right.
This is a gold £5 piece.
In 1887, it was worth £5 -
in today's market, much, much more.
If we look at the coin, we can see the date on it here,
and we'll talk about the date, because the date is significant,
but we see St George and the dragon on the back of the coin,
and the date, 1887.
Now, this was the year of Victoria's jubilee,
and the coin collectors will be aware of that,
and it will make it more desirable in the market.
And on the front of the coin we have Victoria's head.
We have many gold coins. We have half-sovereigns,
sovereigns, and we have these £5 pieces.
This type of coin is greatly sought-after by collectors.
Condition is an important issue,
and the condition of this one I would say is perfect.
You tell me why you think this is a good time to sell.
Well, the price of gold now, what I paid for it then,
what I could possibly get for it now, it's perfect timing.
And this is the right time to sell.
I'm going to come straight to the point here.
You paid 500.
I would put an estimate on of 800 to 1,200.
You could double your money on this,
and that's in a period of ten years,
-and I think that that is a pretty good investment.
So, it was bought as an investment.
-You've waited until the market has turned up.
Would you be happy to put it into auction at 800 to 1,200?
We'll put a firm reserve on it, Willie.
We'll give the auctioneer no discretion on that.
-We'll put £800 on it,
and we will hope that in the next two weeks,
that gold creeps up a little bit more.
-Let's flog it.
-Let's flog it, Willie.
Absolutely, and it won't be long until we do.
Adam has come up trumps first when he spotted Maureen with her two whist markers.
-Are you a card player?
-Not really. Just the odd game now and again.
-Because these are antique scoring indicators for the game of whist. Ever played whist?
-I have, yes.
-I played a bit with my grandmother, but I've forgotten all about it. It's all aces and trumps.
These are circa 1900. I had a collection recently in my auction room.
-You don't see them very often.
-How did they work?
-I'm not sure. They're for indicating scores.
I don't understand the game enough to be able to explain,
but I do know that they are scoring indicators for card games. And they're made from rosewood.
These are little ivory tabs with little coloured inlays which are in the Japanese style.
A lot of Japanese ivory is called Shibayama style when it has coloured inlays of mother of pearl.
-How did you come to own them?
-I found them in a display cabinet when I was clearing my mother's house.
-And you thought, "What are these?"
-And you brought them back to your house?
-Where do they live now?
On a window sill where they can be seen. They're quite attractive.
-And no one's ever told you what they are?
-People ask, but I can't help!
-Well, now you know, but it's too late - you're selling them!
They're turn of the century and there isn't much more to say,
-but value-wise. Have you got any idea?
-Not really. Haven't a clue.
-They're typically about £40-£50 each.
So I would put £50-£80 estimate on the two. We've got a little bit of inlay missing out of that one.
-I would suggest £50-£80 as a guide price to get people interested. And a reserve of £50.
So they don't go for less. They're certainly worth that.
Hopefully, they'll make about £100, £120, something like that.
-If they didn't make the reserve, I'd keep them.
-You can use them as a mystery object to test all your friends.
-Test my guests.
-Test your guests.
Pass them round and say, "Guess what these are for." Or you could work out how they work
-and if you do find out, do give me a ring!
-I'll let you know!
-Thanks for coming. If they made £100, is there something you'd do with it?
-Maybe add it to the next holiday fund.
-That's better than nothing.
Absolutely. Right now it's our last valuation,
and I've found something a bit special.
-You're holding a real treasure in your hand here.
-Where did you get this from?
-I bought it about 20 years ago
at the equivalent of a car-boot sale in Aberdeen.
It was just on one of the stalls there.
-How much did you pay for that?
£2?! Gosh! And what have you done with it ever since -
-stood it up in a cabinet?
-Yes, it's been in a china cabinet.
Good. You've looked after it. That's very delicate.
-Can I have a look?
-Yes, by all means.
-You know what it is, don't you?
-It's an arm-rest.
-Normally made in pairs,
so that bit of ivory would have been split down the middle,
and modelled and tooled on both sides.
This is a lovely example of what ivory should look like.
Can you see this swirling grain? Not straight lines.
Almost like bits of marble. Carved as well,
but plainly understated, and it's had a lot of wear.
It's starting to flatten. It's had some rub.
But this side... Wow! When you turn it over,
it's a joy to behold. It really is.
It's telling a story. I don't know what,
but there's musicians playing, people carrying things,
and all of this is cut from the solid.
You see how they've got in behind the tree,
-so you can see right through it?
Oh! It could be Cantonese. I'm not sure.
But it's definitely for the export market,
and I would say sort of Victorian period, around about 1860s.
Oh, I see! As old as that? I didn't realise it was quite as old.
Yeah, and it's a very curious market right now,
because a lot of wealthy people in mainland China are buying back their heritage,
and they'll find this on the internet if you want to sell it.
There is a little bit of damage. It's only there.
-The head of an animal.
-Looks like a dog, doesn't it?
Have you any idea what this might be worth?
I did show it to someone else, and they thought 200 to 250, maybe.
So, you're about to turn...
-My £2 into...
-..profit, yes, hopefully.
Well, how about we double that 200?
I think a sensible guide would be £500 to £800.
Oh, well, that's tremendous.
-I really do.
-Well, that would make me very happy.
Do you want to put a reserve on this?
Probably. Maybe... What, 300, 400?
OK. Let's put a reserve of £400 on.
This is the surprise we could all be waiting for.
Whatever you do, keep watching. This is going to get exciting.
-Thank you so much, James.
-Thank you very much.
It certainly is, but I should point out that the sale of ivory
after 1947 is banned in this country,
and I'm sure you'll agree, it's always best on the animal itself.
What makes this 19th-century arm-rest stand out
and give it its value is the pure skill of the craftsman.
Before we head off to the saleroom, here's a recap of what we're taking to the auction and why.
Adam only saw a sample of Virginie's Shelley tea set,
so we took a gamble, valuing it at £100 to £150.
With gold doing well, Anita thought Willie's jubilee coin
was a sound investment. He paid £500 for it,
but she predicted it could double this.
Those two rosewood and ivory whist markers,
which Adam valued at £50 to £80.
And finally, the sort of object we all dream of finding,
especially with a £2 price tag!
I can guarantee you, you really don't want to miss this one
going under the hammer.
So, we're back at John Milne Auctioneers in Aberdeen
with auctioneer Graham Lumsden. The place is still packed,
which can only be a good thing for Virginie and her tea service.
I have Adam next to me, who did the valuation.
-We're looking at £100 to £150.
-On the valuation day,
you just brought one sample in, and you've delivered the rest.
But there was no poor condition with it, was there?
No. A bit brown inside, and there was a little crack there.
-A little one.
-A rather large one!
-Adam's just gone bright red.
-We will see.
It's not Adam's fault if it doesn't sell,
but I think we're right on the money with this.
You were attracted by the colours, and hopefully the bidders will be.
It's going under the hammer right now.
The Shelley tea set. There we go, as seen.
And for the Shelley tea set, £120.
Shelley tea set for 120. £100.
-80. I'm bid 80.
-We're in at 80.
-Any advance now on £80?
-The Shelley tea set at £80.
There's one bid on my left at 80. Any advance now on £80?
The Shelley tea set. All finished now at £80, the Shelley tea set?
All finished at 80? 80 it is. Not sold.
It didn't sell. He was looking for a bid of 100. He had 80.
-That's the beauty of having a fixed reserve.
-I'll just take it home again.
-You don't mind, Virginie.
I don't mind at all. No. I don't mind at all.
-Sorry about that.
-It was nice to meet you.
Shelley, for the first time, has let us down.
-Must have been the crack.
-Must have been the little crack!
A bit of brown inside. THEY LAUGH
Condition is so important,
and I'm sure Adam would have revised his valuation
had he looked at the whole service, especially if he'd seen a crack.
This next lot was bought ten years ago for £500.
Let's find out what it's worth ten years later.
It's Willie's gold coin. It's the £5 jubilee coin.
-£5 should be worth something like £1,000, shouldn't it, Anita?
-What do you think?
-Well, the date of it is important.
This was the first year that they made coins for circulation,
and there were 54,000 of these made.
I bet quite a few have been lost over the years.
Because they were used, but this one is in good condition,
and I think it was a very canny investment!
Well done, Willie! Why are you selling now, ten years later?
-The price of gold is...
-You've been watching the markets?
-And you have to check them virtually weekly now,
because they do fluctuate.
It has gone up a wee bitty since the valuation, so...
I like the way you said that. Can you say that again? A wee bitty?
It has gone up a wee bitty since the valuation.
Let's find out what this lot think. It's going under the hammer now.
This £5 gold jubilee coin, 1887.
And for this jubilee coin,
-We're in at seven.
-750 with me.
Any advance now on £750?
-800 at the door.
It's outside the door at £800. 850.
900. It's outside the door at £900, the coin.
-Come on, come on, come on. We got a phone line. Look.
The £5 gold piece, at £900. It'll be sold for £900.
-All finished at nine?
-Hammer's going down.
Not quite £1,000, but we made £900. Are you happy with that?
-Yes, I'm happy.
-It was a good investment.
Well, Willie did a good job at keeping his emotions in check,
but doubling your money has to be good by anybody's standards.
If you play your cards right, you could own this next lot. Maureen, I like this, so does Adam.
-I'm sure someone will snap them up.
-It's those whist markers.
Even the auctioneer, I had a chat to him, and he thoroughly loved them.
He said, "This is the kind of thing I'd like to sell every day."
-There's one little bit of damage.
-One of the butterflies, wasn't it?
Yeah, the mother of pearl was missing. Nevertheless, quality.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
We have the pair of rosewood coloured inlay whist markers.
-We're going the wrong way!
The whist markers at £60. One bid at £60.
-It's on my right. 65. 70.
-There we go.
-Now we've changed direction. We're going back up.
Now at £85. Any advance on £85 for the whist markers? At 85.
-That's OK for those.
Going to be sold for £85.
-That's gone down. That was a good result.
-I'm happy. Are you?
-Yes, I am, yes.
-That was a good result.
We had a slight condition issue, but they're lovely things.
And you're smiling.
It's my turn to be the expert. I've just been joined by James,
and we're going to sell that lovely Chinese carved ivory arm-rest.
Beautiful undercuts and figuring on that.
Quality, quality. Had a chat to the auctioneer yesterday.
He agreed with the valuation. It should sell at the £400 reserve,
but will it do five, six, seven? We don't know.
If it had its other pair, you might do £1,500, £2,000,
but the Chinese market is red hot right now,
and they're buying all their artefacts back.
Let's see if they're here, shall we? Here we go.
This is an ivory Eastern hand-cut arm-rest,
or wrist-rest. Can we start the bidding at £500?
-I'm bid £450 to start it.
-Look, we're straight in, anyway.
470. 480. 490. 500.
-Commission bids everywhere.
At 520. 540. 560. 580. 600.
The porter's bidding on behalf of somebody.
680. 700. 720.
-Oh, this is great!
780. 800. 820.
-At 880 outside the door.
-James, this is...
-Good, isn't it?
-900. 920. 940.
-James, you're in the money!
-Aren't I just?
At 1,100 in the room. Any advance, now, at £1,100?
It's on my left in the room at £1,100.
-Are you shaking?
1,150. 1,200. At £1,200. Again on my left at £1,200.
Going to be sold for £1,200. Any advance on 1,200?
Wow! What a powerful market the Chinese market is!
-Fabulous! And how much did you pay for it? Remind us. Rub it in.
£2. It is all out there. You've just got to get up early and go looking,
and if it's not there on the first day it'll be there on the next day.
James, thank you so much for bringing that in.
We've all learned something here. I hope you have at home.
Join us again for more surprises, but from Aberdeen, it's goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Paul Martin and the team visit Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The romantic setting of Crathes Castle is where experts Anita Manning and Adam Partridge search for those unwanted antiques. But it's presenter Paul who discovers the best item - a 19th-century oriental armrest bought in a market 20 years ago for just £2!
Paul also takes a nostalgic look at an industry that's had an important influence on Aberdeen's historic past - shipbuilding.