Antiques programme. Paul Martin is joined by experts Elizabeth Talbot and Philip Serrell at historic Wellington College in Berkshire.
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Welcome to Wellington College, built 150 years ago as a tribute to the Duke of Wellington.
It's now one of our most prestigious public schools, so let's hope we find some quality items on Flog It!
Among the college's former pupils are Pop Idol singer Will Young,
TV presenter Peter Snow and the late racing driver, Formula One hero James Hunt.
Later on, we'll meet one Old Boy who has written a history of the college
and can tell us what it's like to be a pupil here.
They're pretty crazy places. By and large, I think I enjoyed school, looking back.
But, for now, these classrooms are host to hundreds of people
who have come to have their antiques valued.
CRACK OF THUNDER
It's incredible what you can find in a queue at a Flog It valuation day.
Let's hope there's many more treasures in these bags and boxes.
We've got a wonderful turnout.
We won't let the weather dampen our spirits. We'll have a great day.
Somebody is going to go home with a lot of money. It might be this lady with your teddy.
'Today's experts are led by the highly experienced duo, Philip Serrell and Elizabeth Talbot.'
Good morning. How are you?
'Elizabeth is wasting no time meeting our owners.'
-We don't need the sunshades today.
-No, not really.
'Phil's among the crowd, too,
'already earning the respect he deserves.'
-"1855" on the bottom.
-That was the year I was born(!)
At that point, it would be nice if someone could disagree with me.
'This pair run salerooms, giving them an insight on current values.'
You've come to ask our experts that all-important question, which is...?
-ALL: What's it worth?
-If you're happy with the answer, what will you do?
-ALL: Flog it!
It's time to get the show on the road. Come on, everybody!
'We hold valuation days up and down the country all year round
'and we like nothing better than a crowd armed with bags and boxes full of treasures.
'What will we find today? Well, all sorts of things
'from precious paintings to treasured toys and shiny silver.'
I'm not a great lover of silver,
but I just think that is really beautiful.
'And there's always something new to learn, especially from our team of behind-the-scenes experts.'
'All that and the excitement
'of two visits to the auction coming up on today's show.
'But first we've got to find the treasures to take to the saleroom.
And it looks like Philip's having a fun time putting
a price on Penny's Dinky toy.
-Penny, how are you, my love?
-I'm fine, thank you.
-Bit old for this sort of thing, aren't you?
-I am, yes.
How'd you come by this, my love?
This was donated to one of my charity shops. And we didn't want to sell it,
and not get enough for it.
I always think that when someone brings you a toy
that's never ever been played with,
-there's sort of like a sad story behind it.
You know, let's just look at the nuts and bolts of this first.
It's a Dinky toy and if you look just there, it's model number 955.
And it's nice that you've got the original box with it.
If I knew my lorries, I could tell you...
I think that's either a Bedford or a Commer.
And I would guess that this would date,
and it is a guess,
the lorry would date round about 1960,
perhaps give or take three or four years either way.
And it's great, cos you've got this extending ladder
and there up it comes.
But the thing about this...
Let's just turn it over and have a look.
Just there, we've got, look, "Dinky Supertoys, Fire Engine,
"Made In England, Meccano."
-So, Meccano owned Dinky toys.
But you look at that, this has just never, ever, ever been played with,
-No, it hasn't.
There isn't a scratch or a mark on it.
Which is great from a collector's point of view.
But I always think, you know, it's such a sad story, isn't it?
Was it bought as a present for someone
who perhaps had an illness or, you know,
perhaps they just didn't even like it as a toy,
-they put it in the cupboard and it never came out again.
But the net result is that you've got a toy now
that's quite collectable.
-I think that this toy is worth £60-£90 like that.
-Take that away, and I think it's worth less.
I think you need to put a reserve on it of £50,
but such is the demand for these things in their entirety,
-you can buy brand-new fake boxes...
-..to match up to your toy.
But I just think that's such a lovely thing.
You must get lots of toys brought into your shops.
We do get a lot of toys donated,
but not often this old and not often in this good condition.
Has anybody ever brought anything really, really valuable?
We did once find a letter from Florence Nightingale,
-which was sold at auction.
-In a book. £900.
Hold on, I'm going to have a look in here...
let's hope it amuses the bidders when it comes up for sale.
Elizabeth is getting under way.
'She's found a farmyard full of ducks, bunnies, hedgehogs and more, all Beatrix Potter characters.'
My goodness, Julia, what a collection!
-There must be a story behind these.
I think Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck
were either my mum's or my nan's.
I really liked them, so my mum said I could have it.
Then my nan bought me them for my birthday and Christmas.
Do you have a favourite amongst them?
I like Hunca Munca just because I like the story.
I've got all the books as well.
I like the story of Hunca Munca in the dolls' house and the ham.
-You're a Beatrix Potter fan?
I don't know how much you know about the factories
that produced these figures,
but in 1933, the factory of Beswick was established in Longton.
By 1948, they had started to produce these little figures illustrating famous characters by Beatrix Potter.
By 1950, two years after starting the manufacture, they had become an instant collectable hit.
I don't think they've ever not been collectable or sought after or very, very popular.
In 1989, the factory then became under the Royal Albert name.
Yes. There's some from each.
Some from each? And for collectors, whether they're the earlier gold Beswick marks,
the later brown-backed stamps or the Royal Albert, to some people that's very important,
although it's not proven except with a certain few numbers of figures
-that it makes a huge amount of actual value to the figures...
They're timeless, ageless. They interest lots of generations.
And they're small enough to be collected in quantity
as you've proved!
The most expensive figure ever to be sold at auction was called Duchess.
-I think she individually made £2,000 at auction.
But obviously, being more realistic,
-I can't promise you that sort of figure.
-Do you have any idea as to what sort of value they have?
-I haven't, no.
I know that when you bought them,
they were about £10 and £20, so, you know...
Realistically at auction, one should look at an average of £10 each.
Some are worth slightly less and some are a bit more,
but to keep them as a collection and offer them with an estimate of £150
to £200, are you happy with that?
That would be lovely.
If we place a reserve on it of £150, they've got the safety net.
And if they're not in the right auction, you can try again
-That'd be lovely.
-Is that OK?
-Yes, that's fine.
-Thank you for bringing them in.
As those Beatrix Potter figures hop, waddle and scamper to auction,
Phil is ready -
it's a painting belonging to Jim and Diana.
Do you love it?
Um... It isn't really my cup of tea,
but I can see it's attractive
in its own way.
So that's a "no" really, isn't it?
And, Jim, what about you?
No, I'm not a picture person.
We've got two "uh-uh" here, haven't we?
Diana, this has come through your family?
It belonged to my father and before that, to his sister, my aunt,
and then he left it to us.
And we've been displaying it ever since
in his memory, sort of thing, because he liked it,
but I've never been that keen.
I love it. I really do love it.
Peggy Somerville was an East Anglian girl
and she was born in 1918, I think it was, and died in 1975.
She was a real child prodigy
because she learnt to paint at the
same time that she learnt to walk.
-Yeah. She really was something special.
And I think this is brilliant because I've had some wet days
in Pembroke and some wet, grey days
and that really is a wet, grey day.
-I can just see this is St Brides Bay here.
It might want a little bit of a very, very light clean,
but, for me, the real joy of this is that it's totally original.
It's signed down here "Peggy Somerville" just under this mount.
I just think it's lovely.
-And you want to sell it?
You don't know who Peggy Somerville is.
-We have looked her up on the internet.
-That's so unfair of you!
I'm supposed to be telling you all this stuff!
We know nothing about her(!)
-You know nothing about her. Good.
-Please tell me.
I think that you've got to pitch this just right
in terms of your estimate.
It's a little bit like the old 19 and 11 pence, you know,
or 99p for younger viewers.
You've got to pitch it at a price that's appealing
and I think you should estimate this at £500 to £800.
OK? I think you should put a reserve on it of £500.
-Are you happy with that?
-Let's hope, come the auction day,
a ray of sunshine is coming out of here.
-Thank you very much.
'Let's cross the room to Elizabeth
'and to a piece I know is over 120 years old.
'And the collectors are just going to love it.'
I saw this pot in the queue, Adrian,
and I immediately thought it was a charming piece of Royal Doulton.
-It's very nice.
-What can you tell me about it?
I've had it since a teenager.
At school, I used to go to visit the old people for social education.
When the old lady died,
-she left it to me.
-Did she really?
-I've had it since 1985.
-So she appreciated your visits so much?
-Yes, she was a very dear friend.
-But you're considering parting with it now?
It's just sat on the shelf not doing anything. Nobody's looking at it.
The first thing that caught my eye was that it says round the outside,
"Colman's Mustard." And as somebody who represents East Anglia here
and who works not far from Norwich,
-Colman's Mustard sprang out as a name that I know very well because it's produced in Norwich.
What I do know from the locality that I'm in,
-anything to do with Colman's Mustard as an area of collectability is very popular.
So that combined with this lovely piece of Doulton Lambeth stoneware
which is all the better for being small.
-You see some very large, decorative items.
-You do, yes.
But I think the pattern
and the quality of the decoration and the shape
goes together so beautifully.
It's a charming piece.
On the underside, we have a nice Doulton Lambeth mark
-and the date, 1886.
Which sort of sets it to its year.
-124, we'd worked out was about the date?
So it's wearing extremely well.
It is incised into the stoneware body
and the crispness of that is just lovely.
It's very evocative of the late 19th century love of the classical,
but also the Art Nouveau influence of the foliage, et cetera.
It would originally have been made as a little advertising piece.
It may well have been in a restaurant or a shop where Colman's Mustard was selling.
I think that all those little features mean that to a collector
of either Doulton or of advertising ware or indeed of Colman's items,
it's a lovely example.
It's beautiful, yes.
-I'm not selling it back to you?
-I'm thinking about it. It's very nice.
-I hope somebody enjoys it.
-I think they will. Having said all that,
I haven't been able to find any precedent that suggests
that it's going to be worth a fortune for you.
But I think that realistically,
it should fetch between £30 and £50.
-Does that sit comfortably with you?
-Yes, fine. Absolutely.
Would you like a reserve on it?
-So if we put £30 on it as a safety net?
That would be very nice.
Thank you for bringing it in. It's a lovely item.
-We'll take it to the auction and see how we do.
-Thank you, Elizabeth.
Garden art is a fascinating subject
and I've come to Hungerford to find out more about it.
Collections can range from the historically elegant
to the truly bizarre, and since they can do well at auction,
it's worth doing your homework.
Going back to classical times,
the ancient Greeks and Romans graced their beautiful gardens
with statues of the gods.
But back here, in England,
gardening and garden ornamentation got off to a much later start.
Possibly because we spend so much time indoors,
because the weather is so bad,
but also to appreciate and admire a good garden,
you've got to have big enough windows
to actually see what you're looking at.
These pieces didn't really come to the fore until the 16th century,
in Tudor times.
Before that, large houses had to be fortified
and of course arrow slits don't give you much of a view.
Over the next 100 years or so,
fashionable British gardens changed from being purely functional plots,
where you would just grow your vegetables and herbs,
to these wonderful, formal, elegant gardens with perfect symmetry
all around it, influenced by the magnificent gardens
of let's say the Palace of Versailles in France
and the Vatican in Rome.
Classical statues and decorated urns made of lead
or hand-carved in stone
became a must-have in the gardens of the wealthy.
Many of these were collected in Italy and France by the well-to-do,
completing their education on the Grand Tour of Europe.
Midway through the 18th century,
a more naturalistic landscape style of gardening took over,
especially on all of the big estates,
with works by designers such as Capability Brown
sweeping away the formality of those earlier years.
And by 1760, Arcadia, in the shape of shepherds and shepherdesses,
was in and classical gods were out.
By the Victorian times,
the Industrial Revolution was well under way,
which meant the expansion of the middle classes
and they had aspirations.
They wanted to and did own their own gardens,
albeit a lot more modest,
which meant the established Georgian landscape gardens
were sometimes superseded and upstaged by public parks
and smaller flower gardens, which were back in fashion.
This new breed of gardeners
were eager for the mass-produced garden pieces
that were now being made in factories.
So, garden art began to be accessible to many more people.
As it is today.
I've come to Hungerford, to this centre, to meet Travis Nettleton,
a specialist in garden art, to get a few tips.
-Have you made any mistakes?
-I've made loads.
I have. I have. I've raced into an auction, running late,
saw a pair of cast-iron urns on the screen,
so I immediately put my hand up and kept putting my hand up
until I got them, and it wasn't really until I went to collect them
that I realised I'd made the fatal error of not looking at the size.
I was expecting them to be up to about here.
Yeah, I was going to say...
Standard urn-on-a-plinth size, and they turned out to be much smaller.
Is that them? You're joking?
-They were in the photograph on the television.
-How funny is that!
-So that is certainly one of my mistakes.
Fashion in garden design has changed dramatically over the centuries.
Do you find that there's something really hot
that people want at the moment or is it across the board?
It's really down to the individual and down to the garden itself.
In a contemporary garden or a minimalist garden,
you'd want something modern,
or if you still want the English country garden look,
maybe an 18th-century Portland stone sundial.
-That's very nice, isn't it?
For the 18th-century pieces, you're paying maybe 4,000 for that sundial.
Yes, absolutely. It's a beautiful thing.
-It's a timeless piece, as well.
-Absol... Good gag!
Looking at these classical statues and garden art in general,
it's very much on a par with the antiques trade, you do have to be
-careful of forgeries.
-You have to know what you're buying.
Cos quite often there are a lot of forgeries on the market.
I've got a very good example here of...
This looks like a Coalbrookdale, fern with the blackberry bench.
In fact, this is a fake that has come in from China.
You can tell, because the castings are not... It's not very crisp.
No, it's not that defined, is it?
No and Coalbrookdale were renowned for their fine casting.
And that behind you obviously is the real McCoy.
This one is nasturtium pattern, Coalbrookdale, original, about 1860s.
What would that set you back?
A bench like this will set you back £3,500.
A bench like this, £400-£500.
If it was original, £1,500-£2,000.
There really is something for everybody, isn't there?
There really is. Any tips for the future? Where's it going?
I would say, if you are looking to invest seriously
in, sort of, garden statuary and garden art,
I would always pick something that's either signed
or something that's solid stone and something with some provenance
and a bit of history. That way, you will always do well.
It's the same old thing, isn't it? Quality always sells.
-Come on, let's get a cup of tea.
Look at this, I've just met up with Teddy,
the little man I met in the queue today!
-I hope you're having a great day.
We have now found our first items to take off to auction,
so here's a quick reminder to jog your memories
of all the wonderful treasures we've found.
Penny's pristine Dinky fire engine got Philip hot under the collar.
We have those 17 Beatrix Potter figures chosen by Elizabeth
and valued at £150 to £200.
Phil loves this painting of the Pembrokeshire coast by Peggy Somerville.
And lastly is Adrian's Royal Doulton mustard pot.
Where do our antiques go? They end up at the local auction room.
Today, we're at Martin & Pole in Wokingham.
Our auctioneer is Garth Lewis
and he's ready to get started,
so let's make some money for our owners. First up, the mustard pot.
Adrian, you certainly brought your mustard pot to the right place.
Not only that, to the right expert. Ta-da!
-I cut the mustard.
-Have you seen this particular...?
-I haven't. But I thought it was a charming little piece.
Hopefully, this is going all the way back to Norwich.
I was going to try and say it with a sort of East Anglian accent.
-Norwich. But I won't. Here we go.
A little Doulton Lambeth pot,
nicely decorated with Colman's Mustard.
There it is. I have interest here. It starts with me at £30.
Is there any advance on 30?
2 in the doorway. 5 here. 38. 40.
42. Takes me out at 42.
50. 5. 60...
£70. Are you all done at 70?
-Well done. £70.
-Superb. I'm pleased with that.
-I bet you are!
You're flying the flag for home.
-I sometimes feel like that when we're selling Troika and think, "Phew!" Well done.
'I knew that would be hot stuff.
'Let's see if we can up the ante with Jim and Diana's Peggy Somerville painting.'
We've got a £500 fixed reserve, so thank goodness for that. It won't be given away for nothing.
It's difficult to be objective when I actually love this picture.
-You put a price on it and think, "Have I got carried away cos I like it?"
As long as it puts a smile on your face, you think, "Yes, I want to invest in that."
Why have you decided to sell it?
It isn't a painting we're very fond of and we just got carried away really with the idea of Flog It!
-You had to bring something along!
-Did you give the auctioneer some discretion on the reserve?
-He phoned up the day before yesterday.
-We've got a bit of discretion on the £500.
This is it. It's going under the hammer.
Margaret Scott Somerville, the artist,
better known to most as Peggy Somerville.
Typical of her work, a view of the Pembrokeshire coast.
Oil on canvas which is in turn mounted.
I'd like to have seen a phone bid on the line there.
He might have some commission bids. Let's see.
300 to start for it? 300 may I say?
200 if you like? I don't mind.
At £200 for it, please?
Is there no interest? I'll have to pass the lot.
If you're all done, we'll move on. £200?
I'm pleased about that for you.
I think to have sold it for one bid on the reserve,
I'd have been disappointed about that because I think it's worth all of what we said.
And if it made the top end of the estimate, that would be fantastic, but you may have been disappointed.
-At least it goes home.
-In that gap on the wall.
You said literally before the auctioneer started
to introduce the lot,
you brought something along to Flog It! and that's the first thing you thought of
-and you regretted it, didn't you?
-It's got a happy ending. It's going home.
-Back on the wall.
-You've given it a day out on TV. Enjoy it, won't you?
'Well, there's a reason for everything and today just wasn't the day to sell that painting.
'Now we're herding together Julia's collection of Beatrix Potter animals.'
We've had a few sticky moments, but this could brighten up the saleroom.
It's a large collection of Beatrix Potter figures belonging to Julia.
We have our expert, Elizabeth, but, unfortunately, Julia cannot be with us right now.
-Hopefully, we'll get that top end of the estimate.
-There is a lot here.
They're a bit of a cliche, these figures. They're not rarities,
but there are lots of collectors. They're international collectables, so I hope people pick up on them.
Fingers crossed, we sell them. Here goes.
-It's gone totally silent.
-It has. The tension is rising.
You could hear a pin drop. That's so unusual for an auction room.
-Normally, it's an intense sort of pressure cooker.
-Lot number 249
is a collection of 17 Beatrix Potter characters.
Mostly Royal Albert.
There are some Beswick ones.
I have interest here on the book.
It starts with me at 75, 80...
-There are several bidders, though.
-We've got some bidding.
90, thank you. And 5. 100.
-And 10. 20. 30.
-That's a reassuring sign.
60. 70. 180.
-Takes me out. 180. 190.
200. 220. 240...
-They like them.
£280 in the centre. At 280 if you're done...?
-We can report back positively.
-300 on the telephone.
It's on the telephone against you in the room, if you're all done...?
£300 on the telephone, sold!
That's what we like to hear on Flog It, when that hammer goes down.
-I'm pleased with that.
-I bet you are! There was a lot of lot there.
Yeah, and they were all in good condition, so, yes, I'm pleased.
£300 for 17 china animals.
That works out at about £17.50 each.
Later, we'll see more collectable creatures and they'll do even better than this lot.
Now, let's see if that Dinky toy truck turns the bidders' heads
in the saleroom.
Right, next up, one of my favourites lots,
not just of the programme, but of the whole entire sale.
It's a Dinky toy. It's a little fire engine and it belongs to Penny.
Thank you so much for bringing this in.
Philip, our expert, beat me to this, but it's boxed,
the condition is fabulous, I've got to say, well looked after.
-And I would love to own this,
because I know my little boy would love this little fire engine.
-Why are you selling it?
-I'm actually area manager for a charity
and it's one of a number of items that were being donated
to our shop and we weren't sure of the value, so...
-You brought this along to the show.
-And all the money's going back to the charity?
-It is, yes.
-That's nice, isn't it?
-That's what we like to hear,
cos we get lots of letters where people buy things in a charity shop,
bring them along to Flog It! and sell it and then go spend the money on a pair of shoes and, really,
-the charity doesn't seem to benefit, so hopefully this is a bit of payback.
-Good luck, Penny.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Scale model of a fire engine. Number 955.
In good, original condition with the box.
-It's a gem.
-Try 50 to start, please.
40 if you like. No interest at 40.
I'll go 30, then.
-Right, we're in.
-Keep your hand up.
32, 35, 38, 40, 40.
42, new place. Five.
Against, you, sir.
£50, it's on the aisle,
-55 if you like?
It's here at 55, if you're all done?
-60, new play... 60.
Against you, sir. 65.
75, then, are you all done at 75?
-Look, that was pretty good. That was pretty good.
-I'm happy with that.
-Are you happy?
-Yeah. Thank you very much.
-Thank you for bringing such a lovely little thing in.
A great result and I'm so glad the money is going to a good cause.
One of our owners is going home with £400, £500, £600, £700 and more!
Keep watching to find out who.
We're filming our valuation day in an absolutely fabulous building that's full of history,
so I've decided to take a closer look.
Today, Wellington College is a top-notch public school,
but its very existence is down to one of our greatest generals - the Duke of Wellington.
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, was a hugely successful general
and twice British Prime Minister.
He defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815
and became not just a national hero, but the most famous man in Europe.
During the Duke's lifetime, monuments sprang up across Britain
like this huge bronze statue of the great man astride his horse, Copenhagen,
but the biggest tribute was completed in 1859.
Seven years after his death, Wellington College was opened as a charitable school
for the orphans of army officers.
It's 19th century Baroque style was designed by John Shaw
who was influenced by the work of Sir Christopher Wren.
Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1856
and Prince Albert was elected President of the Governors.
The first 76 boys arrived on the 20th of January in 1859.
49 of them were army orphans, paying fees between £10 and £20 a year.
The remaining 27 were sons of serving officers and civilians.
Since then, the school has gone from strength to strength. Today, it's a thoroughly modern public school.
-I'm here to meet former pupil Patrick Mileham.
-How do you do?
-You've written a history of the college.
-Yes, it came out, a grand illustrated history, two years ago,
-covering 150 years.
What age did you come here? How long ago was that?
I came here about 52 years ago at the age of 13.
Really? Lots of happy memories?
Yes and no. Like all schools, there are ups and downs.
They're pretty crazy places, but, by and large, I think I enjoyed school, looking back.
Can you paint a picture of how the school would have been in its very early days?
Well, when it was opened by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert back in 1859,
it had sprung up within three years on a particularly awful piece of land.
So all of this was barren, was it?
It was barren, sand, heath, gorse, the back of beyond.
This must have looked like a beacon of hope. It's striking architecture.
It was built to dominate because it was built in a heroic style.
It must have been pretty grim to start off with,
just rising up as it does starkly from the wilderness.
And for the first boys, it must have been quite a shock to stumble across this building
and realise you were here for six months for your first term.
They were taught by mainly clergymen in the traditional Victorian education system.
But they had their fun too and they pretty quickly took to sports.
Rugby was established very early.
presided over by Charles Kingsley of Muscular Christianity.
-A lot of early pupils would have gone into the army after their education?
-That is true.
They were sons of soldiers and naturally, a lot of them went into the same profession.
-Probably about 50% at the most.
Surely, you must have special memories of the college.
One's got loads of memories. When I was writing the book,
I asked people to write in with "defining moments" of their time at Wellington.
-Things that have left a lasting impression?
My own defining moment was taking part in a cross-country race
and I did rather well in that race.
Up until then, I didn't think I was very good at anything.
Suddenly, I discovered that perhaps I was.
Has this shaped your life in any way?
-Would Wellington be proud of what you've done since leaving here?
-I would hope so.
The unique thing about Wellington College
is what the headmaster at the time called "the big match" mentality.
-Big on games, big on joining the public service,
whether it was the armed forces or whatever.
So it was a college.
It wasn't just a school where individuals went in and got educated.
You worked as teams and competing against each other,
then you went out into the world to compete with the world and do whatever you had to do.
And there are reminders of that ethos built into the very fabric of the college.
This courtyard is at the centre of the old college.
Through there is the main gate. That's where Queen Victoria would arrive by horse-drawn carriage.
You could imagine the sense of urgency and importance as she comes through that arch.
Up there is the college motto, "sons of heroes", very appropriate.
Brave fathers gave their lives at the Crimean War and Indian Mutiny.
Up there is Wellington's motto, "fortune favours the brave".
There he is, the Iron Duke, looking down on us.
150 years ago, the college stood out in open countryside.
Today, that landscape has matured. It's now surrounded by 400 acres of lush parkland.
Much here has changed,
but the college philosophy of duty, courage and the spirit of public service is thriving
as a living memorial to one of our greatest heroes.
And it's over to Philip Serrell,
who's turning on the charm as he makes some new friends.
-How long have you had these?
-You're not old enough.
-Were they something you collected?
No, I had a friend whose father was a toy importer.
He used to go to Leipzig Fairs and he brought that little one back.
When I had my first car, he gave it to me for good luck.
-What was your first car?
-It was a Triumph Herald.
-They were the very first car in the world.
-If you read the Bible, it says, "Moses came down the hill in his Triumph(!)"
-So this little bear here...
-He was your St Christopher who looked after you.
He's produced by the Schuco factory and he is called a little Piccolo Bear.
I know not why he is called a Piccolo Bear, but he is a Piccolo Bear.
-This little chap here is really interesting because he's got a surprise, hasn't he?
-He's called a Janus Bear. Do you know why that is?
-The clue is there.
-Two faces, yeah.
If we look at the monkey here, you can see there's a little telltale hole there
which may have held that little metal button we always look for
that's the Steiff factory.
A lot of these early Schuco bears, they weren't just bears.
They were containers for various other things,
whether it be little glass vials or whatever.
-But they're collectable.
Their value has come down a little bit over the last 12 to 18 months, but they are very collectable.
-You've had these for 50 years?
They've served a life with you.
I know, but it's time to pass them on, so someone else can enjoy them.
-That one has been sitting on a big plant by his tail.
-What about Janus?
-He just sat in a pot.
-Did you think these were worth anything?
Go on, say yes. You did really.
Yes, I hope. I hoped somebody else would collect them.
-What do you think they might be worth?
-I don't know.
I really don't know.
I think you've got to put a sensible 80 to 120 estimate on them,
-the old auctioneer's friend.
-But it's sensible.
-I'm going to make you put a £80 reserve on them.
I don't think you should lose these lifelong friends for less than £80.
And I think if you have a really good day,
they could make between £50 and £75 each.
-That would be wonderful.
We'll offer them as one lot, estimate 80 to 120, and we'll make sure that's a fixed reserve
because otherwise, he's back in the car, he's back in the pot and he's back on the plant again!
-Are you happy with that?
-Yes, I am.
We're making friends everywhere we turn today.
Here's Elizabeth Talbot and she's just met Mandy.
-I understand that you work at the school here.
-What do you do?
-I'm a housekeeping manager.
I look after all the matrons and a lot of the cleaning staff. Three of us do it.
-It's a big task.
-You're very happy?
-Yes, it's a lovely place to work.
-From one wonderful setting to a historical setting
on the little box you brought here.
What can you tell me about it?
Well, when my mother died about 23 years ago,
I was clearing out her glass cabinet
and I put a lot of the stuff to charity and car boot,
but this was unusual.
I don't particularly like it, but I thought I would keep this back.
It's been in my loft and I thought,
"Oh, Flog It! is coming, I'll bring it along
"to see what actually it is used for."
It's good that you have saved it because 20 or 30 years ago,
this type of box would have been discarded and thought of
as being a little bit passe in terms of taste.
But 20 years later, there are collectors of these little boxes,
so you did the right thing not to discard it at that stage.
It's a late 19th century, possibly early 20th century box.
It's intended to be a little jewellery box or trinket box.
But it was made and sold originally to tourists.
It's a little tourist piece,
a souvenir, in this case of a visit to Paris.
Intrinsically, the components are not very expensive.
-It's a very base metal frame.
And the outside of the frame is gilded. It's just stamped metal.
This encases thick, bevelled glass sides
and the top of it is transfer-printed with a picture
which is possibly hand-tinted with watercolour to fill in the gaps.
It's not all hand-painted. It's transferred, then coloured.
The inside is fitted with this lovely little, padded silk cushion base which has got buttons in it,
so it's like a little buttoned, cushioned base there.
It's showing its age. It's beginning to fade and wear, but that is also very nice
-because it shows that it's the age that it is.
It wasn't intended to be an expensive item.
They never have become extremely valuable, but people will pay money for them, which is a good thing.
-You're looking to sell it now?
-Yes, I am.
-Any idea what it might fetch?
-It should do 20 to 25.
-It might do 40.
-Do you require a reserve on it?
-No, just let it...
-I think that's very sensible.
-Thank you for bringing it in and thank you for the wonderful setting.
-It's lovely. Thank you.
Yes, thanks very much, Wellington College. Our experts and owners have really enjoyed the rare chance
to see inside this splendid venue.
Philip has found something of equal beauty - Maureen's tea service.
Do you know what, Maureen?
We see loads and loads and loads of things on a Flog It! valuation day.
And I'm not a great lover of silver,
but I just think that is really beautiful.
It's really, really lovely.
-Why do you want to sell these?
-I don't like cleaning them.
-You don't like cleaning them?
-So you haven't cleaned them?
-Last night? So you cleaned them last night to bring them today?
Erm...when did you last clean them?
-Some months ago. They were a bit black last night.
-Months or years?
-Might have been.
Years ago. That's good. I'm being deadly serious.
When we talk about patina,
-people always refer to patina as like furniture has got patina.
But paintings can have patina and silver's got patina.
And very often you can see a piece of silver
that someone's got wire wool on and some acid or lemon juice.
That's the worst thing, all the little creases.
They do that and it just destroys...
This has got patina.
And that's got a lovely, warm glow to it.
So these... Did you buy these?
No, they've been in the family for a long time.
What have you got? A tea set?
-I thought perhaps a teapot and a coffee pot.
-Hot water jug.
-Because of the spout.
A coffee pot spout comes from there.
-A hot water jug spout comes from there.
And this decoration here, when it's got that swirly bit on the side, that's called "writhen".
I just think this is so beautiful. It's wonderfully well engraved.
It's almost sort of French in style, but of course, it's not.
And we've got a series of hallmarks on the bottom here. Let's just have a look.
We've got the lion passant and then we've got Victoria's head.
So that gives us a clue that it was made in the reign of Queen Victoria.
We've then got a crown
and that crown tells us that this was assayed at the Sheffield Assay Office.
Then we've got a date code letter which is a V and that's for 1878.
So this was assayed in 1878.
What were you hoping to get for it?
Really? That much?
I think you'll get £300 to £400 for 'em.
-Is that good?
-Very good, yeah.
-And I think we'll put a fixed reserve on it at £250.
I think it's absolutely lovely. I would love to own it.
-Just one last little thing - it's very small, isn't it?
In this business we like to give things names.
And it's so small because it's a bachelor's tea set,
so you would have retired to your rooms and it really would have been tea for one.
But I absolutely love it.
-I really love it and I don't like silver!
-So there you go.
There are so many interesting things coming out the woodwork here.
We've had a marvellous time at Wellington College, but sadly, we have to leave.
I hope we come back in a few years' time, but right now, we'll put the rest of the valuations to the test.
You've probably made your minds up about what the items are worth, but let's see what the bidders think.
Here's what we're taking.
We have Philip's new friends, three cuddly toys, belonging to Pam.
Elizabeth has picked the trinket box, brought in by Mandy.
A silver tea service, spotted by Philip.
All of those items are in the catalogue at Martin & Pole Auctioneers in Wokingham,
photographed, described and ready to sell.
Our auctioneer is Garth Lewis and on the preview day,
I asked him what he made of Maureen's tea service.
-I bet when you saw this lot, it put a smile on your face.
-My heart leapt, I love this lot.
-If there was one I could take home with me, it would be that.
-It does it for you?
-It's absolutely lovely.
It's quality, quality, quality. It belongs to Maureen.
She's selling them because she's fed up with cleaning them.
Well, I can understand that, but what a joy to bring it back to its gleaming, pristine beauty!
And I have taken it upon myself to up the estimate.
OK, let me talk about that. Philip put £300 to £400 on this.
But it was a considerable amount of time ago and silver is at an all-time high.
The scrap value, the melt value has gone up a lot.
You've accordingly adjusted this.
-Yes, we have. The estimate is now 550 to 700.
Without wishing to suggest it would ever be just melted down, but the maths support that sort of a figure.
And I think on the back of it,
the vendor has wisely increased the reserve a tad.
We like to look after all our vendors. We try to get them the most amount of money possible.
-If all else fails, I'll buy 'em myself.
-Good luck, anyway. I'm sure they'll fly out the room.
Our next lot is that trio of stuffed toys.
Fingers crossed, Pam. Your turn has arrived.
-Is this your first auction?
-It's the first one I've left things at.
-You've bought before?
-I have been to auctions, yes.
I think you're going to be all right. We've got quality here.
Schuco and Steiff, it doesn't get much better when you talk about metal toys.
What I want to know and probably you do as well, is...
-The little panda was the lucky charm in the car.
-So how do you drive now?
-What's the lucky charm now?
-I don't have one now. They're too precious to take in the car.
-They never let us down. I'm not trying to big it up, but they don't let us down.
-The auctioneer is on the rostrum, about to knock this one out. Good luck.
Sweet little lot. A little Steiff monkey, miniature little monkey,
a Schuco Janus bear and a Schuco Piccolo panda.
Interest starts with me here at £65 against you.
Is there any advance on 65?
70, thank you. And 5 here.
80. And 5. 90.
Takes me out. At £90.
100. And 10.
-On my right, I'm selling...
-Bidders out now.
-140, that's not bad.
-That's not bad.
-Straight in, £140.
-Are you pleased with that?
-It's a good day to sell.
-I'm very pleased.
'A fair reward for Pam, parting from those characters after more than 50 years in their company.
'Next we have the trinket box brought in by Mandy.'
Good luck, Mandy. This is a dangerous game - no reserve.
The trinket box has only got a value of £25 to £40, so it doesn't really matter.
-If it was up there at the £300 mark...
-I'd advise a reserve then.
-It's a cracking little thing, a useful little box. Good luck.
-Here we go.
This pretty little French, gilt metal and glass-panelled trinket box.
Picture of the Trocadero in Paris to the top.
£20 may I say?
15 if you like? 15 is bid with the lady. 18, sir.
Thank you. 18. Against you... 20.
22. 25. 28.
-They're right near us.
35 with the lady, my original bidder at 35. If you're all done...?
38, back in. 40.
-40 it is.
-No, he's out.
£40, hammer's gone down. Mandy, it's gone. Top end of the estimate.
-That was lovely. Thank you.
'Well done, Elizabeth - a precise valuation.
'One more sale to go, the one we've been waiting for.
'It's the silver tea service valued by Philip and belonging to Maureen.'
It's been a long time since the valuation day and you've benefited from that as well
because Philip put a value of £300 to £400 on this silver.
The scrap value, the melt has gone up
in the last three and a half months.
-You've almost doubled your money.
There is a new revised estimate of £550 to £700 now.
I had a chat to the auctioneer. Yes, you know what he said. He absolutely loved it.
He said if no-one's bidding on them, he's buying them, so they're definitely sold.
I think it's important to say that whilst the melt price has gone up,
I think this is of such good quality that this won't get melted.
It's the underlying... It's the belt and braces for every other price.
-It's what people base the price on.
-It'd be nice to think somebody will appreciate them.
-Oh, they will.
-It's lovely quality. You needn't worry.
-This will grace someone's home or collection.
-Here we go.
Let's find out what this lot think.
It's gone quiet again because it's our turn.
Delightful Victorian silver tea service,
embossed and spiral fluted bodies, ivory handles.
I can start the bidding here at £450 against you.
Straight in, straight in.
520. 550. 580.
600. And 20. 650.
680. Takes me out. £680.
Here we are.
Is there any further at 680?
700, new place. 720.
£750. There we are, on the aisle at 750, if you're done...?
Spot on the top end of that new estimate!
-It was worth the wait.
-It was worth the wait.
-In every sense.
It's a dangerous game because if you think, "I've got some silver, I'll hang on to it for three more years,
"hopefully, it'll go up and up and up," it might level out and then drop.
Great time to be selling, though.
That's it. It's all over. We found out today exactly what it's worth.
We've put those valuations to the test and we've sent quite a few people home very happy.
Some things flew out, some things struggled. That's life in the auction room!
Join me soon in another one somewhere else in the UK, but for now, from Wokingham, it's bye-bye.
Paul Martin is joined by experts Elizabeth Talbot and Philip Serrell at historic Wellington College in Berkshire.
Hundreds of members of the public turn up to have their unwanted antiques valued. Elizabeth finds a collection of 17 Beatrix Potter animals, while Philip likes the look of a silver tea set which ends up surprising everyone at the auction.
Paul looks into the history of the college, which was built as a tribute to one of Britain's greatest generals.