Paul Martin, Philip Serrell and Elizabeth Talbot visit Wellington College, where Elizabeth finds a hand painted French casket and Philip sniffs out a silver snuff box.
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Welcome to Wellington College in Berkshire,
built 150 years ago as a tribute to the Duke of Wellington.
Today it's one of Britain's most prestigious public schools,
so let's hope we find some quality items. Welcome to "Flog It!"!
What treasures will we find at Wellington College today?
With a queue this size, there should be plenty to choose from,
and spearheading the team are two of our most experienced experts...
..Elizabeth Talbot, who I think of as one of the jewels
in "Flog It!"'s crown...
-You're on half-term.
..and that's the bit which made me go, "Ooh!"
..and Philip Serrell, who always brings a polished charm of his own.
I didn't clean that one. That's the only one I cleaned.
Just whisper that to me. Go on. Whisper it again.
I should look at someone else's. THEY LAUGH
-You know what? She's right.
We've got a wonderful turn-out, even if it is slightly rainy.
We won't let the weather dampen our spirits. We'll have a great day,
and somebody is going to go home with a lot of money.
It might even be this lady with her teddy. Thank you very much.
You've all come to ask our experts that all-important question...
-ALL: What's it worth?
-If you're happy with the answer,
-what are you going to do?
-ALL: Flog it!
It's time to get the doors open and get the show on the road.
Come on, everybody! Let's go in.
'Coming up, people often bring in amazing discoveries of their own.'
-Did you know what they were?
-Hadn't got the faintest.
And the normally confident Elizabeth gets cold feet.
Hopefully we can find all those bidders,
but it might not be the time, that's all.
-I'm covering all options today.
-Cover all the bases!
'Whilst everyone is settling into their seats,
'I get the chance to see what interesting things
'people have brought in today.'
Look at that! Ahh!
Woof, woof, woof!
How cute is that? Surely he's not for sale, is he?
You're parting with him?
I don't know if I want to, but it's one of those things.
-You've got to downsize eventually.
-My little boy would love this.
He talks about dogs all day long. He would.
-Oh, that's really cute.
-I love him.
-This looks like 1960s.
Yeah, it could be. I'm... I'm old.
Philip is first at the table with Amy, a young art enthusiast.
-Amy, how old are you?
Now, antiques and collecting is the preserve of elderly people.
Why are you here?
Because I love anything to do with old things,
old photographs, so I go to charity shops a lot.
So what drives you - to buy or find something you really like,
-and enjoy, or to make some money?
-It's a bit of both.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to buy something
unless I thought it was going to be worth something,
but mainly if it looks nice, and I like it, then, that's the main thing.
So, Amy, you trawled into a car-boot or a charity shop,
saw these. If you'll pardon the pun, what floated your boat for you?
Well, because I enjoy painting myself,
I appreciate it, the work that went into them.
They're not amazing, but they just jumped out at me.
because they looked old, and I just thought, "Yeah."
"Be quite nice at home, maybe." But I've got too many things as it is.
But it was the detail in them, really.
Well, for me, this is going to be a process of elimination.
They're a pair of watercolours,
and they're clearly continental, possibly Austrian or German
-Yeah, I thought they might be Dutch.
Yeah. And just down here we've got "H"... Is it "Woelke"?
Now, I'm really flying blind here a bit.
He's not an artist I know or recognise.
I don't think they're of great quality,
-but I think they're fun.
What I want the auction room to do is to do a little bit of research,
-see if they can find anything out about our friend Woelke.
But there's one thing here that, from looking at these,
sort of becomes apparent to you in the background.
Um, it doesn't look like they've been finished.
I'll tell you what I think. If you've got an oil painting,
it won't fade. Its colour won't alter.
But if you've got a watercolour, particularly skies,
you can have a lovely vibrant blue cloud when it's painted,
but over the years it fades.
-Direct sunlight and ultraviolet light will do that.
And I think these skies here have faded quite dramatically.
-And by and large, a watercolour that's got a faded sky
is a real, real no-no.
-I think that they're worth £15 to £20 apiece.
So I'd put an auction estimate on them
-of probably £30 to £50.
-Now, what did you pay for them?
-I paid £10 each.
You paid £20 for the pair?
Here's the deal, right? If they go and sell, sell well,
-you've proved that you've got a really good eye.
-I have, yeah.
And if they don't sell, it's back to the drawing board for you, isn't it?
It is, yeah.
We'll have to wait for the auction to see if Amy recoups her money
on her purchases.
My choice next, which is rather surreal.
Patch... I can call you Patch, can't I?
-It's a rather unusual name. How did you come by it?
-A mixture of...
-A long story, is it?
-Far too long to tell here.
-But it's a name you've given yourself?
It's a cool name, anyway, and what wonderful cool tiles!
-They really are, aren't they? Salvador Dali.
It doesn't get more surreal than this, does it, really?
I've got to admit, no, and I had no idea what I was getting hold of
-when I found them.
-How did you come by these six tiles,
with original box, I've got to say?
Yes. I was offered a caravan that was going to be scrapped,
went round, collected it. They were in there.
I said to the people, "Do you want them back?" "No."
-"We're not worried. Take them."
-Did you know what they were?
Hadn't got the faintest. It wasn't till I turned over
-and saw the "Dali"...
-Just turn this over.
You can see. "Tiles by Dali, 1954."
And look how clean they are!
I don't think they've ever seen the outside of the box.
Wonderful, aren't they? Have you got a favourite?
I would say this one. I don't know why. I just like it.
Well, judging by the way I've set them out,
you can tell my favourite's the one in the middle.
It's a vague idea.
For me, that sums up Dali, that whole Spanish kind of thing.
I think I have seen that in a print or something,
-so, yeah, it is nice.
-But all these tiles are signed, aren't they?
-There's one there.
-It's trying to find them.
Yeah. I can never find the one on this tile particularly.
-Oh, I think it's here.
It seems to blend into it.
Have you any idea what they're worth?
-We looked on our Art Sales Index guide...
..for a similar set that have sold recently,
and guess how much they went for.
-Ooh! That would be nice.
-Isn't that good news?
-What do you do for a living?
-So if we going to £400,
-that's an awful lot of money, and that will come in handy.
Can we pitch these at £300 to £400, with a fixed reserve at 300?
-I'll go for that.
-And hopefully we'll get that top end.
And I think they'd look fabulous put together,
inset in some marine ply with a piece of glass over the top,
so you can enjoy them and put coffee cups down on them.
I think they'd make an excellent table.
Rather than use them as coasters, cos they'll get chipped.
I'm sure the bidders will be excited about these.
-Hopefully there'll be some interior designers there.
-See you at the auction.
Let's hope that Patch comes away with the top end of the estimate.
Elizabeth's picked out a small collection of pottery
that has travelled from the Southwest.
Chris, what a lovely collection! There must be a story behind this.
-Yes. They actually belonged to a friend of my mother's.
And she had no family, and she suddenly phoned me up one day
-and said, would I look after things when she died.
She didn't want the council coming along with a skip
and clearing all her life away.
So when it came to the time of arranging her funeral and everything,
-I was there for her.
But I've got a house full of her things as well as my own.
-So these are some of the items...
-Just some of them, yes.
Do you know anything about this little collection?
Did she have a story to tell about these?
-And was that in this part of the country that she lived?
-She lived near Bournemouth way.
-Bournemouth. Right. OK.
I don't know if you know, but this is known generically as Devon Ware.
Several potters in Devon, including Watcombe,
which I notice you have a few of here -
some of them are marked on the bottom -
produced things like this, and they were cheap and cheerful little souvenirs
for people who went on holiday to that part of the world, came back
and had something to show for it. It's very basic earthenware,
which is then slip-decorated with a heavy, thick slip,
mainly cream, and then using this very limited palette
of the browns, the greens and the blues.
The little brown-roofed house is a common image,
and then the little scrolls and blobs
and flowing-leaf type pattern. And what's rather nice is,
they're not just a souvenir from Devon,
but there's nice little sentiments and some Victorian sayings
and little common-sense phrases which we no longer know these days,
but if you read them, that's a nice thing to say.
In terms of the market generally,
the interest in Torquay Ware has faded a little bit
in the modern taste for de-cluttering space.
The good news is, that seems to have turned a corner
in the last six to eight months,
and we seem to have people who are looking to collect objects again
-and have displays, and make nice little groupings of them.
But being sensible about this,
and the fact that none of it is hugely valuable individually,
we group it together at auction, and I think that, sensibly,
you'd be looking at round about £20, £25 worth,
-maybe 30 on a really good day.
-Does that disappoint you?
I knew they were for bringing home from the seaside from holidays,
so I didn't presume they would be a lot of money at all.
It's a good group, but it won't be borne out by a lot of money.
But if we offer at £20 to £30, would you like a reserve on,
or do you just want to let the market take it...
-I think we'll take it as it comes.
-I think that's probably sensible.
-Oh, I think so, yes.
-And we might be pleasantly surprised!
That would be nice. THEY LAUGH
-Thank you for bringing them in.
Not a very high value, but let's hope Elizabeth is right,
and it's back in fashion. Before we go to the auction,
let's take another look at what we're taking with us.
Will Amy make a little money on the two watercolours
that she picked up for £10 each,
even though we don't recognise the artist?
But most people will have heard of the artist
who designed Patch's tiles.
It's the famous Spanish Surrealist, Salvador Dali.
Closer to home with our next item,
a collection of pottery from Devon.
For today's sale we've travelled to Wokingham,
to the Martin & Pole saleroom, where they charge a seller's commission
of 15 percent plus VAT.
Auctioneer Garth Lewis will be on the rostrum.
Well, this is what I like to see - a room packed full of bidders!
The auction has just started. Hundreds of people are in here.
I'm going to catch up with our owners,
because I know they're really nervous.
It's OK for you at home - you can put your feet up and enjoy this,
but we're going to have a few tense moments.
This is going to be a roller-coaster ride.
First up, it's Amy's two little watercolours.
We have the items. Unfortunately we don't have Amy,
-but we do have Amy's mum. Hello, Sally!
-Thank you for standing in for Amy.
-What do you think of the paintings?
She's got a good eye, hasn't she? Why has she decided to sell them
-after such a short time?
-She just thought it might be the right time.
It was lovely to talk to her on the valuation day,
because we had a chat about what she'd got,
and I think she's got a bit of a future ahead of her in this.
-She'd like to think so.
Here we go.
A pair of small mid-20th-century watercolour drawings,
depicting ships of the Hanseatic League
in Lubeck Harbour. May I say £30 to start, please?
20, if you will. I don't mind, if you want them.
We'll go ten. We'll have to move on if nobody wants them at £10 only.
I think Amy might be taking these home.
-On my left, ten.
-We're in at 10.
£18. Are you all done at 18? I'll have to move on at £18,
if there's no further.
There's no getting away, they are good watercolours.
They've got to go home, but give Amy our best.
-I will indeed.
-Hopefully put them back on the wall and enjoy them.
Sadly they didn't quite make it.
It's always easier to sell with a known artist,
so the Salvador Dali tiles should have a good chance.
OK. My turn to be the expert now.
This is where things could get slightly surreal
and go completely wrong. I'm talking about the Dali tiles,
and I've just been joined by Patch. The auctioneer absolutely loved them
so there's lots of enthusiasm. Hard thing to put a value on,
but he agreed with the price, so fingers crossed.
-Just hoping now.
-Just hoping, cos it's all down to that lot,
isn't it, really? But thank goodness they were boxed,
and they were in good condition, cos condition always counts.
-This is it, Patch.
-Here's an interesting lot -
six of these Spanish wall tiles,
in surreal designs, after Salvador Dali.
I don't want to waste your time. May I say 200 to start, please?
-150 if you like. I don't mind.
-We're in. We're in.
60 now. 160. 70.
200. 220. 220 on the right.
-He's got a commission bid, hasn't he?
220 on the right. It's against you, sir. 240 if you like. 240.
240. Are you all done? I can sell at 240 if you're done.
-We're not selling.
-Sorry about that.
-That is life, isn't it?
I do think the value's right, though.
Some, as we said earlier, had sold recently,
and they fetched around £400 and something.
You know what they're worth. Save them for another day.
I'll just hang on to them, and hope later on for a better price.
-Yeah. Keep them in good condition.
-Oh, yes, definitely.
Oh, dear! The day has not started as well as we would normally expect.
Let's hope we can do a better job with the Watcombe pottery.
Going under the hammer now we've got a bit of Devon Motto Ware,
something for you West Country collectors.
I like this traditional Watcombe pottery.
-Chris, this is your first auction, isn't it?
-OK, tell us, how's it going so far?
-Oh, it's really good fun, yeah.
-Are you thinking of buying anything?
I've got so much stuff already. I've got to get rid of it.
Are you coming back here to sell?
I thought I'd come and see what it was like.
Test the water. Test the water! Is it a good time to sell, generally?
Generally, absolutely brilliant time,
but Devon Ware is not everybody's taste.
It does kind of skirt around the edge of the market.
If you love country pottery, it's the kind of thing to have.
OK. It's time to go. It's time for them to go under the hammer now.
This is it.
This small collection of Watcombe pottery,
the Devon Motto Ware, as detailed. May I say £20?
20 anywhere? 15 if you like. If nobody wants it I'll go ten.
-Oh, we have a bidder.
-We've got a bidder.
I can sell for ten. No, I can't. 12 now.
12. 15. £15 with the lady. With my original bidder at £15.
£15. Didn't get the top end, but we got the lower end. Is that OK?
-Yes, that's fine.
-At least it wasn't a complete failure
-on your first day out in an auction room!
Has that wet your whistle for another occasion?
It encourages me to come again. I've got so many collections from Dorothy,
costume jewellery, and she's got a selection of pen knives.
Well, good luck with those, and thank you for coming in,
and if you've got anything like that, we would love to see it.
That's better, and it will help Christine with her de-cluttering.
Time to take a break from the auction,
enjoy the fresh air, and look at a surprising revival
of a traditional farming product.
"Hanged up in houses", it "doth very well attemper the air,
cool and make fresh the place, to the delight and comfort
of such as are therein." Now, that's a quote
from the famous English 16th-century herbalist, John Gerard,
and he's talking about scented herbs,
and more than likely this stuff - lavender.
We've all seen it. You've probably got some growing in your garden.
But have you seen it on a scale such as this?
This is truly magnificent! The aroma is so overwhelming,
I feel like I'm in heaven, and you could be forgiven for thinking
that we've gone to the South of France to film this.
But we haven't. We are in deepest Somerset.
And take a look at that.
Indigenous to the mountain regions of the Mediterranean,
lavender has been in documented use as a herb for over 2,500 years,
used by the Egyptians for mummification and cosmetics,
and the Romans used the oil for bathing, cooking,
and scenting the air.
And we've probably got the Romans to thank
for the modern-day word "lavender".
It comes from the Latin verb "lavare",
meaning "to wash", or "lavandula", meaning "livid" or "blue-ish".
And the Romans recognised the antiseptic and healing qualities
of lavender, so consequently over the centuries,
lavender has become one of our most popular and versatile herbs.
And it's said that, during the time of the Great Plague,
if you tied bundles of this stuff to your wrists,
it would ward off any disease.
Also, if you hung a little bit above a doorway
or poked it through a keyhole or the little escutcheons of a door,
it would ward off all the ghosts, all witches,
and, of course, putting it underneath your pillow gives you a good night's sleep.
Another 16th-century herbalist, William Turner,
wrote in his groundbreaking book A New Herball,
"I judge that the flowers of lavender,
quilted in a cap and daily worn,
are good for all diseases of the head that come of a cold cause,
and they comfort the brain very well."
Whilst some claims were more fantasy than fact,
there's no doubt that lavender does have
some amazing medicinal and relaxation properties.
I've come to Somerset Lavender in the village of Faulkland.
It's a small family farm run by husband-and-wife team
Judith and Francis Green.
Judith and Francis, hello! Oh, you lucky things!
-This is fabulous!
This is your office.
I've never seen so much lavender in one place.
How many plants do you think you've got?
35,000 in this five-acre field.
Wow! That's a lot of plants, isn't it?
What type are they?
This is Folgate, an English angustifolia.
We grow it mainly for the essential oil that we distil
-here on the farm.
-So it's just the one type here?
We've got a few others as well. There's some Maillette, Rosea,
but they're all English lavenders.
How do you know when this is ready to cut?
I know it smells right now, and it looks perfect,
-but is it right for cutting for oil?
-Not yet, no.
We still need the flowers to come out.
Let me pick one. Let's have a look. What are you looking at there?
Well, at the moment this has still got a long way to go,
but what we tend to say is, "one flower open,
one flower over and one flower yet to come".
-OK. That's the maxim, is it? That's the golden rule?
How long will it take you to cut all this lavender?
-About five weeks.
-And how many of you will do that?
Just myself. We've got this purpose-built lavender harvester
-that we went to France and bought.
-Is it like a little gizmo
-that goes over the top?
-Yes, and gathers it,
and squeezes the plant together and cuts it off,
and then it's been pruned all the way round. It's perfect.
-And the soil's good for lavender here?
-It is here, yeah.
-You don't need to water it that much?
-No. We don't water at all.
-It's very good!
It really is quite self-sustaining.
How long have you been lavender farmers?
This is our fifth season that we've been open as a lavender farm.
What were you farming prior to this? I gather you were a farmer.
-I was a dairy farmer.
-A dairy farmer?
-Milking 70 Channel Island cows, yeah.
Gosh! What made you go for lavender in the first place?
Many farmers diversify now, and stop dairy farming
and go into, say, growing asparagus. Why did you choose lavender?
Well, we spent a long time wondering what to do,
and everything we thought of, either we crossed off
because somebody else nearby was already doing that,
and then we hit on the idea of lavender,
and we realised how versatile lavender is.
There's so many different things you can do with it.
The key to that versatility is the oil.
80 percent of the crop grown here
is for the production of lavender oil,
and, like, everything on this farm,
the extraction is done by Francis and Judith.
Once the lavender has been cut and dried a little,
it's packed into large containers, or stills.
It takes approximately 100 lavender bundles to fill one still.
The distilling process is an ancient one.
Steam works its way through the flowers,
releasing the essential oil and capturing it as it goes.
Finally, as the moisture condenses, the oil is collected.
This is nice. We're surrounded by products of lavender,
and it's quite diverse - lots of soap, and even food.
But really it's the oils. This is your oil, which I'm interested in.
-This is what we distil on the farm.
-This is incredible. Can I have a dip in there?
-Yes! Go ahead.
-That's our pure...
-..English lavender oil.
-Gosh, that's concentrated, isn't it?
-And that's how you leave it, is it?
-Yeah. We don't add anything to it,
-or take anything away.
-So, how many lavender plants would it take
to get just a little bottle of oil that size?
For a tiny bottle like this, it takes about five plants.
So is it five of these, that you get in the garden centre?
-Oh, no. Much bigger than that.
-What - that?
-At least that.
-Five of those? That's a lot of lavender, isn't it?
Last year was just the best year we've had for many years,
-because it was sunshine...
-So in respect of that,
was the oil a lot stronger, more scented,
or did you just get more oil per bundle of lavender?
We had more oil per bundle of lavender,
-and it had a nice perfume to it.
-The quality, yes.
Gosh, it's like wine, isn't it? I mean, you know...
It is slightly different every year, and I think that's a good thing,
because you know it is what nature's given us this year.
-It makes it interesting, doesn't it?
Did you nip over to France and ask farmers over there?
Yeah, but not being able to speak very good French...
-We didn't get very far, did we?
-It was more looking and learning.
Did you learn much, though? Traditional techniques?
Yeah. We watched them harvest it, and knowing the height to cut it
was a key point to our venture, I think.
How does English lavender vary to French lavender?
It's very different,
because the English lavender is in a whole other group of plants.
French lavenders, all the intermedias, are much bigger.
They are, and a slightly different colour, and more fluffy.
They're hybrids, and they've been bred to produce lots and lots of oil
-and they do that very well.
-They don't smell as much, though.
-They don't smell at all, in fact.
-Not so nice,
and we thought, we'll do the best we can
and really go for the top quality.
Well, long may it continue, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my day here.
I really have. Thank you very much!
Back at Wellington College, Elizabeth's attention has been drawn
by a sparkling brooch belonging to Sue.
They say diamonds are a girl's best friend, and I do like your brooch.
-Thank you very much.
-What is the story behind it?
It belonged to my grandmother. She's wearing it in the photo here.
-Ah, so she is!
-It passed down from my mother to me.
-And do you wear it?
-No, I don't. It stays locked away in a box,
because I lose things, and it's too nice to lose.
So it's a bit of a responsibility to wear it...
-..and worry about losing it.
It's a shame, because it should be out and about and seen.
That's what it was created for.
Was your grandmother the first owner of it?
I have absolutely no idea. It could have belonged to somebody before her.
I don't know how old it is.
Your grandmother was wearing it when? 1950?
-The photograph was taken in 1950.
-I think it's earlier than that.
It probably dates from any time in the decade prior to that.
It's very stylish, in the late-'40s, '50s design patterns.
It's unlikely to be much earlier than that.
They're collet-set diamonds with collars around them,
in a very sinuous pattern
reminiscent of the Art Nouveau period,
but a little bit more restricted, not quite as sinuous.
It has a collet-set ruby in the middle,
and at the bottom it would have had hanging down a little pendant,
one little stone or something,
but not to detract from what's left there, which is a stunning brooch.
Have you had it valued before?
Yes. Mid-'70s, I had it valued for insurance purposes,
and they valued it at about £500.
Right. Insurance is higher than sale value, obviously,
replacement value, and prices and markets do fluctuate
quite dramatically, but it's a good time to be selling jewellery.
People are buying it with great enthusiasm,
partly because people enjoy wearing it,
and they collect it and they see it as investment,
a nice way of investing their money where they can see it.
So it is a good time, at the moment, for that.
In terms of value for open market now,
I think it should achieve somewhere between £600 and £800
So it's almost saleable just above where you were insuring it for 30, 40 years ago.
But given the wearability of it and the size of the diamonds,
and the composition of it, if it made more, I wouldn't be surprised,
because I think it has a very commercial take on it.
It's beautifully made, good quality, not too big.
Quite ageless, really, timeless.
It's quite elegant. Ageless, as you say.
You're wearing the perfect top for it. It would look stunning.
-If you're comfortable at £600 to £800...
And we'll place a reserve of £600 on it to protect it,
and we will see how the auction takes it.
-Thank you for bringing it.
How lovely to see the brooch being worn in Sue's family photo!
-What have I got next, then?
-We've got Richard and Margaret.
Well, it looks like lights, cameras, action,
and it is a well organised event.
It can only be possible with a floor manager. Hi, Phil.
This is Louise, our floor manager! How's it going today?
-We've had a really busy day.
-About 400 people have come in.
-It's been brilliant.
-What's the hardest thing about the job?
Making sure we get to film all our items at the right time.
-Two tables working simultaneously.
-Making sure we coordinate them,
they're busy at all times, having lunch breaks when they should,
-so, yeah, it's quite busy today.
-Ruling with an iron rod, aren't you?
I certainly am. You should be moving. Get to work!
OK. Thank you.
Well, I've been given my orders.
Meanwhile, Philip is keeping busy at the valuation tables.
-And is Lee looking after Harry, or is Harry looking after Lee?
-Lee is looking after me.
-Do you need looking after?
I didn't think you did. Does he need looking after?
-No, not really.
-Looking after, or keeping an eye on?
-Keeping an eye on.
-I thought so.
-What do you reckon this is, Harry?
A box. Spot-on. There's three words I'm going to use to describe this.
You got the last one right. What's the first word?
-It's to do with the colour.
Well done. I don't expect you to know the last one,
-but I'll ask Dad.
-A silver snuff box.
Absolutely right. And this criss-cross decoration on here,
that's called engine-turning. You can see where this has been...
The first thing we've got to ascertain is that it is silver,
so we're looking for a thing called a hallmark.
And there it is. We've got a little lion there.
-That tells us that it's silver.
Then there's that letter of the alphabet there. Can you see it?
-And that tells us that this was assayed in 1894.
And then, can you see those initials there on the right-hand side?
-Do you know what they are?
-It's a G and U, and that stands for a man called George Unite.
Right. And that in there, Harry, is snuff.
-Do you know what you do with snuff?
You get a pinch of it like that, and you put it in there like that,
and I'm not going to do this, and you go like that,
and you sniff it. Oh, that's still strong!
How long's this stuff been in here?
That snuff's been in there a good 25 years.
-Have you ever tried it?
-Yes, when I was around Harry's age,
-around ten. I wish I hadn't.
-Yeah. It wasn't very nice.
-Sneezed for a fortnight?
-So it's clearly not good for you,
but it's a form of ground-up tobacco.
Now, I've told you all I know. What do you know about it?
I know, obviously, it was my granddad's.
-I remember him using it.
-It was your granddad's, and you want to sell it?
We're down on our luck with funds at the moment.
I haven't worked for six weeks. Broke my collarbone
-in a charity football game.
You've put me on the spot now. I sort of don't want you to sell this.
-But you want to sell it, and you need to sell it,
and I understand that. You can do one of two things.
You can either put an estimate on it of £80 to £120,
and that way, I think you're guaranteed a sale.
-Or you can be a bit more bullish,
and I don't think you should sell it for less than 100 quid.
-No. No, not at all.
-I really, really don't.
-Because it's going to go on, isn't it?
-So let's put an estimate of 120 to 180 on it.
Fixed reserve's £100, and I really hope you don't sell it.
I really do. On the way home, I hope you get a winning lottery ticket.
-That would be nice.
-And I really hope you don't sell it.
-OK. Thank you.
-And I don't often say that.
Short-term, I think selling it's the right thing for you to do.
-What do you reckon?
-He should sell it.
Out of the mouths of babes!
-Come on, Harry. Shake my hand.
Well done, matey.
I do hope the collectors notice Lee's silver snuff box,
either in the saleroom or on the internet.
Elizabeth has made a real find. It's a lovely casket,
with a bit of age to it.
Richard, you've brought a very fine and generous casket here.
What do you know of it?
Not an awful lot, except it belonged to my grandmother,
and has been handed down to my mother,
and that's now handed down to my family.
So you've obviously grown up with it and lived with it around...
-For a few years.
But the problem now is, it's just been in a cupboard for the last few.
It's not the sort of thing that I would want to leave out
so somebody might have an accident with it.
You're custodian of it now, which is a lot of responsibility.
-Do you actually like it yourself?
-Yeah. I think it's quite pretty.
Have you done any research on it as an object?
I've tried to look it up on the internet,
and I found this E Collet chap on the internet,
but I couldn't find an example of that particular pot.
Well, it's a French porcelain casket.
It's big enough to be called a casket,
and the French have a long history of making boxes in ceramics,
whether that was snuff or patch boxes that were quite tiny,
right through to sort of big jewel caskets,
which were possibly even bigger than that.
These days, it's quite common to find smaller examples,
less so such sizeable pieces.
In terms of date, I would put it in the late 19th century,
but it is actually harking back to the 18th century,
and it's very much the Bombay shape
that was very popular in the 18th century,
and it's decorated in the rococo style with scrolls, etc,
centred by this beautiful scene in the middle.
You mentioned Collet. He was a professional artist,
and had a calibre over and above many artists
who would just have sat there painting flowers on things,
and in the same way that an artist who's professional
and is painting a canvas would want to record his work,
he was of a calibre that he would put his signature on the front.
It's debatable whether he would also have done the floral panels.
They could have had two people working on this.
These are slightly harsher in their execution
-than this lovely, soft...
-It's almost blurred.
Yes. He's got a wonderful way of using enamels on the surface.
I didn't appreciate that. I thought one name would be one person.
No. You'll find, again harking back to the fine-art world
of painting on canvas, it's not unusual for the big-name artist
to paint what he specialised in, and he had a studio of people
who would do the background or the other brushstrokes.
So you've got two artists' hands there at least.
And the mounts and the trim, they're a base metal
which is then gilded, so it's a kind of ormolu finish
which complements this nice rich casket.
But interestingly as well, if you open up the lid,
there's no expense spared, either. There's a lovely interior
with a floral pattern inside.
What would somebody have used it for originally?
-What was the purpose?
-You could have stored in there whatever you chose,
and there's a good chance, given its condition,
it's never had anything in it. It was just appreciated
as quite a flamboyant thing to be able to possess
and enjoy for what it is. So, in your research,
-have you come up with an idea of what you think it's worth?
I did make some enquiries, and it was indicated to me to be £500 to £800.
Mm-hm. In certain situations, that would be not far off the mark.
I'd be happier to look in the region of £400 to £600, that sort of level.
If it had been an 18th-century one, I'd have said no problem.
-Not quite old enough, then!
-It's not quite old enough.
I ought to keep it for another hundred years.
I'd like to meet you in 100 years' time and see what we can make of it.
I think 400 to 600 is probably a more realistic chance
-of it making a good sale, if you're happy at that.
Would you like a reserve on it? I should think the answer will be yes.
I think so. It would be silly to let it go for nothing.
I think the auctioneer would look after it anyway,
but if we put £400 on it, would you be happy with a bit of discretion?
-That would be fine.
-Hopefully we'll be proved to be very pessimistic
and modest on our expectations on it.
-Thank you for your comments on it.
-Thank you for bringing it in.
That's a quality item, in good condition,
so there really is nothing to stop it doing well.
Right! So we're off to auction, and this is what we're taking with us.
Elizabeth hopes Sue's brooch will dazzle the bidders.
Lee could do with a bit of good news,
so let's hope his silver snuff box does the business.
And finally, Richard's French porcelain casket,
which just screams quality.
Back to the saleroom now in Wokingham,
where auctioneer Garth Lewis will be doing his very best
on behalf of our owners.
And he's starting with Sue's beautiful family heirloom.
-A very exciting moment!
-Yes, I hope so.
£600 to £800 is riding on this. Had a chat to the auctioneer.
-The quality and the age of it will make it sell.
-And it is quality, isn't it?
It's a ladies' item, and there aren't that many ladies
in the saleroom. I think this is a dealer's lot.
We ladies rely upon you gentlemen buying them for us.
Of course you do. How silly of me!
It's going under the hammer right now.
Little Edwardian Belle Epoque openwork diamond-encrusted brooch.
Very pretty it is, too. Don't want to waste your time.
May I start at £500?
Four is bid. Thank you. I have four.
-Oh, wrong direction.
-Do I have 20 now?
-He looks quite determined, though.
And 20. 540.
-Is there any further? £540.
-Pass the lot, I'm afraid, at 540.
-No. Didn't sell.
-Ooh, dear. Ever so sorry about that!
-It's all right. It's OK.
Just wasn't your day, was it? I totally agree with the valuation.
The auctioneer agreed with it. But nobody was here today
that really wanted it. It was as simple as that.
You could put it in this saleroom in a month's time,
five people would want it, and it would shoot through the roof.
That's the unpredictability of auction rooms. Ever so sorry!
That's a shame, but there will be another day
for a brooch as lovely as that. We need a better outcome
for our next item.
Hopefully this lot is a real pinch at £120 to £180.
It's that silver snuff box. It belongs to Lee.
We've got Philip, our expert, here, and the price of metal has shot up,
so it's all in your favour. Good luck.
-It's a family heirloom going under the hammer.
-Thanks very much.
This is it.
Little silver snuff box with overall engine-turn decoration
and a monogram. Good maker. George Unite, the maker.
There is some rubbing to the case.
-May I start at £60?
-Bit of quality, this.
-Oh, come on. That's mean.
-60 is bid, thank you.
On the left now, 60. Five. 70. Five.
80. Five. 90. Five.
It's going in the right direction, Lee.
£100 here on the left. If you're all done at 100...
And ten. New place. 110. Just in time. 110.
-If you're all done now...
-Yes! We did it.
We had a fixed reserve of £100, and we just did it. Well done, Lee.
-Well done, Philip.
-Pleased with that.
-I think it went in the room to a bidder.
-Just over there.
Let's hope that means Lee's luck has turned.
Finally, Elizabeth's choice, the hand-painted French casket.
Gosh, I really do like this, Richard!
We're talking about this little Sevres trinket box.
A lot of money - £400, £500, maybe. I think this is such quality.
Why are you selling it? It's a keeper!
Yes, but it's been in a cupboard for nearly 20 years.
It should be on display, shouldn't it, Elizabeth?
It should be, but it's a big piece.
But I just have to err on caution here.
It is a bit of a fish out of water at this sale.
But quality does sell, and if you've got a good website,
and people can find it, there should be no excuse.
Hopefully we can find those bidders. But it might not be the time.
-I'm covering all options today!
-Cover all the bases.
I would be keeping this, but he's selling it,
and hopefully it'll go for top money. Let's find out right now.
This very impressive Sevres trinket box,
beautifully painted, floral sprays overall,
-and interest here on the book. It starts with me at 360.
Against you. 360 is bid. 380. 400.
-I was worrying over nothing!
I was worrying over nothing!
-See? Quality always sells!
If you're done... At £580, then.
-Oh, well done!
-580! You were starting to bottle it.
Thank you so much for bringing that in.
There is commission to pay. It's 15 percent.
What do you think you'll put that money towards?
Oh, my wife wants to go away for a weekend.
-Lovely. Where you going to take her?
-No idea yet.
-Let her choose.
12 now. 12?
That's it. It's all over. The auction is still going on,
but I tell you what - it has been a bit of a mixed day.
At least our owners have gone home happy.
Some things are meant to be kept.
If you've got any antiques you want to sell, though,
bring them to one of our valuation days,
and hopefully we'll send you home with a small fortune.
Pick up details on our BBC website of up-and-coming dates and venues.
Just log on to bbc.co.uk/flog it Follow the links.
All the information will be there, plus a lot more
about what is going on behind the scenes.
If you don't have a computer, check the details in your local press,
because we would love to see you, and you could be in a saleroom
just like this one, flogging your goods.
So, until the next time, it's goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Presenter Paul Martin and experts Philip Serrell and Elizabeth Talbot visit Wellington College, Berkshire, where Elizabeth is entranced by an exquisite hand painted French casket and Philip sniffs out a silver snuff box, while Paul enjoys a visit to an English lavender farm.