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Exeter 58

The antiques series takes a trip to Devon. Paul Martin visits the summer house of Agatha Christie to get under the skin of one of the biggest-selling novelists of all time.


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And the bells are already ringing to welcome the people of Devon.

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Just look how many people have turned up here today in the sunshine. Happy faces.

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Somewhere in all these bags and boxes there's a real treasure. It's our experts' job to find it.

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And here is one of our experts, Caroline Hawley, looking fabulous. Good luck, Caroline.

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And here's an old Flog It favourite, Mr Mark Stacey!

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-Paul, how are you?

-What have you found so far?

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Oh, a good little find.

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-Are you all ready to go inside?

-Yes!

-Come on, then. Let's get them in.

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The tables are set, the lights are on and the Flog It team are smiling.

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Here's Mark with some subtle ceramics.

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What a lovely pair! And the vases, of course!

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Debbie, I've got to ask.

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-Yes?

-Do you need medical assistance? What on earth did you see in them?

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-What did you see in them?

-I thought they were beautiful!

-Really?

-And decorative.

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-Really?

-Yeah.

-Beautiful?

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When you see a lovely pair of early Worcester vases, all hand-painted and delicate,

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you can say beautiful, but these? They're early 'orrific!

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-Oh, 'orrific!

-Having said that, I adore them.

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-And I would love to take them home. I think they're so over the top.

-They are a bit OTT.

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-Where did you get them from?

-I got them from an antiques fair.

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-Yes.

-At Westpoint, just outside of Exeter.

-Quite recently or...?

-At the beginning of the year.

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-So you haven't had them long.

-No.

-What attracted you to them?

-I liked the detail on them.

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-I thought the cream would go with my kitchen.

-I've never, ever seen anything like them before.

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-They're Victorian.

-Right.

-So they've got a bit of age.

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Underneath, I've had a sneaky look and it's marked Brownfield.

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And it's got a registration lozenge on it,

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-which you can date to the day and the month of the design.

-Oh, right.

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It's also got some figures which says five over 81,

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which means May, 1881.

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-Wow!

-That's when the pottery vases were actually made. Not necessarily when they were decorated, but fired.

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-To have all these split beans and peas on it, they are just delightfully wacky.

-They are.

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-But you only bought them this year.

-Yes.

-And I have a hideous feeling you paid quite a lot.

-I did.

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-What did you pay?

-240...for the pair.

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For the pair?

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-£240. That's quite a lot, isn't it?

-It was, yeah.

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My gut feeling, really, if you put them into auction, is

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-you'd want to put the estimate really at £200 to £300.

-Right.

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Would you be happy to do that? Put a 200 reserve on?

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-That would be lovely.

-OK? You never know.

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-Somebody else might have bad taste, too.

-Yes!

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They say art is subjective and auctions are unpredictable,

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so who knows what will happen?

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It's such a beautiful day, we're using the cathedral close and grounds

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and Caroline has found herself some classic collectables.

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So, Janus, thank you for bringing along this fabulous collection. How did you come by them?

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Well, these are my toys.

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My father bought them for me in the early to mid-'50s.

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And I did play with them.

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Of course, as I got a bit older, I stopped.

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-Ever since then, they've been up in the loft in boxes.

-You don't play with them?

-Not any more.

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-Now these are Dinky Toys.

-They are.

-The company came into being in 1933.

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Originally they were called Modelled Miniatures. The name Dinky Toys came in in 1934.

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They're made by the Meccano Company.

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As a collection, and the best way of selling them is as a collection,

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I think we would put an estimate of £150 to £250

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on the collection.

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There will be a lot of interest in them, so they will get away,

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-but if we put a fixed reserve of £150, are you happy with that?

-Sounds very good to me.

-Brilliant.

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Hopefully, you'll be driving off with a decent amount at the sale.

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-I shall look forward to that!

-Thanks for bringing them.

-Not at all.

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Down on the Devon coastline, our auction comes from the vibrant city of Plymouth.

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But let's head straight to our auction house, where it's all hustle and bustle and flexing of muscle.

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Anthony Eldred is the auctioneer today with all the local knowledge.

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And the commission here is 15% plus VAT.

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Boys and their toys. We're going to put some to the test. Dinky Toys belonging to Jan.

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-These were yours.

-They certainly were.

-But you were taught to play with them carefully.

-Definitely.

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-30% of the value is in that box!

-Unreal, isn't it?

-Unreal.

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There's people that collect all sorts of things out there.

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Let's put this to the test.

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Next is lot 299. This is a quantity this time of military vehicles.

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Dinkys. And I'm bid £90. At 90.

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At £90. 100. And 10. 120.

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130. 140. 150. 160. At 160 at the back.

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At 160 at the very back.

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170. 180. Take five if you like.

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At 180. 185. 190.

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And five. 200. And 10.

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220. At 220 in the very back.

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They're fighting this one out. This is a little battle going on.

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Finished at £220?

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Bang! That hammer's gone down.

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They're great. Do you regret this now?

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No, no. They just take up room.

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For many collectables, it's all about good condition, so treat old toys with kid gloves.

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Now for those vases.

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Now something hideously fabulous. Can you guess what I'm talking about?

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Yes, the comments from Mark Stacey. Debbie and Lisa, good to see you.

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We've got those pea pod pots. Did you think that was a good description from our expert?

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-Yes, eventually.

-Eventually!

-I absolutely loved them.

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-They're large, aren't they?

-Very. You get a lot for your money.

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You do. Mind you, having said that, we're not giving these away. It's a fixed estimate. Not below £200.

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-Absolutely. That's quite wise.

-Or they're going home with you.

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Ah. Ah!

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-You didn't think of that, did you?

-No, especially on the train.

-Yeah!

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-You're best friends. What do you think of these? Is it something you could live with?

-No. Horrible.

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-You're not going to buy them?

-Oh, no!

-Let's put them under the hammer and see what they do.

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-I think they're fabulous.

-Two similar Brownfield pea pod vases.

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£130 bid for them. At 130. Not enough. At 130.

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At £130. 40 if you want them.

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-At £130.

-I don't think they're going to sell.

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At 130. Nobody in the room?

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-At £130.

-Oh, dear.

-I can't sell.

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-How are we going to get them home?!

-I don't know.

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At £130. Quite sure? All finished at 130?

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-They can't quite be sold.

-Oh, I can't believe it.

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They're going back on the train.

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It's a good job you came along. You can carry one each.

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-We've had a fabulous time.

-Have you? It's been good.

-Yeah.

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Taxi for Debbie and Lisa.

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'The finale on today's show comes in a small but perfectly formed package

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'that we've seen before on Flog It -

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'the vinaigrette, not for oil or vinegar,

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'but for smelling salts that could be sniffed to disguise the pong of Victorian England.

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'We've seen them go for big bucks on the show.'

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-£290!

-Very nice.

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'But will Jean's beautiful gemstone piece beat them all?'

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Now, tell me the history of it. Where did you get it from?

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It belonged to an elderly lady that I used to help

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and one day, she asked me if I would like it.

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-And it's so long ago now, perhaps 30, 40 years...

-Wow!

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It's been in my china cabinet ever since until this morning.

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We've heard the word "vinaigrette" quite a lot on Flog It

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and I'm sure if you've watched it, they can range in value immensely.

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-If they're silver, they can be 100, 150, sometimes 200 or more.

-Yes.

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-This is a very, very unusual example. I've never seen one like it.

-It's extraordinary.

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I think it's charming because without even touching it, just looking at it,

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-you know this is a quality little object.

-Right.

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The use of the agates that they've cut and polished and shaped into this sort of geometric form

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and when we open it up,

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we see that we've got a pierced grille, obviously, which has been chased as well

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and you see a void inside for putting your little sponge with your favourite scent.

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-I was sorry there was no sponge. Nearly always there's a sponge.

-Yes, but they do perish.

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-We thought it was enamelled.

-I did.

-You would, wouldn't you?

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-I did think it was enamelled.

-No, I think these are Scottish agates.

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You often see them in brooches and jewellery,

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little slithers of them that have been polished and set into silver.

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-This is not marked, but I'm almost sure it's silver.

-What age is it?

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I would have thought that's going to be late Victorian, so 1890, 1900, that sort of date.

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-Yes.

-And very, very collectable.

-Incredible, isn't it?

-Very collectable.

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I just picked it up. Juliette, my niece, said, would I like to come and I said, "Yes, rather!"

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I thought, "What shall I bring?"

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She thought it was a Flog It regular.

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-You've never seen one like this on Flog It.

-Probably not.

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Anyone who collects an object of virtue,

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-anybody who collects that type of thing would love to add this to their collection.

-Yes.

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I think certainly I would put £600 to £800 on it.

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-What?

-And put the reserve at a fixed reserve of 500.

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It wouldn't surprise me if, on the day, two or three people really want it and it went for a bit more.

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It's such a charming object.

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I'm absolutely amazed. I never dreamt it was anything like that.

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I thought it might have been about 100.

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-You do surprise me.

-You don't need some smelling salts, do you?

-No.

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-You're OK?

-There's nothing in there to smell, is there?

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Unfortunately.

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Going under the hammer now, we're selling that gorgeous, Victorian, hardstone vinaigrette.

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This is real quality. Juliette and Joan are here with your daughters. We have the whole generation.

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They're over there somewhere if we can give them a wave.

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Hello.

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We just said earlier what a stunning family you all make! Good genes in your family. This is lovely.

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Why are you selling it?

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I didn't think it was worth very much. I've seen them on the programme and I thought perhaps £70, £100.

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-There are so many different collectors for these.

-Yes.

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Small objects of virtue always have a wide appeal.

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An item of virtue and we're going to put it under the hammer and see what happens.

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This is where it gets exciting. Stay tuned. It could just fly.

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Next is Lot 112.

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It's a silver-mounted, hardstone vinaigrette. Scottish one.

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And I'm bid £500 for it. At 500. 10 if you want it?

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-At 500. And 10.

-We're in. Somebody's on the phone.

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-Can you see those two phone lines?

-Yes.

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550. 560. 570. At 570 now.

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Any more in the room at 570?

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Finished in the room at 570. 580.

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590.

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600. And 20.

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-640...

-Someone's very, very keen on it on the gentleman's phone.

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680. 700.

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At £700.

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And 20. At 720.

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-740.

-Oh!

-At £740.

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760. 780.

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At 780.

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-800.

-Oh, wonderful.

-Brilliant.

-820.

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-Brilliant.

-At 820.

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-840. 860.

-Wow!

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At 860. 880.

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900.

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At 900. And 50.

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-1,000.

-Yes! We've got it.

-£1,000.

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-And 50.

-It's going up.

-1,100.

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At 1,100.

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At £1,100.

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The bidding's in the corner at £1,100.

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-Quite sure then?

-£1,100!

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That is what it's all about and the hammer's just gone down.

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Well done, you two. Wow, what a surprise!

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-That's amazing.

-Happy with that? You must be, mustn't you?

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-I'm very happy because it's going to the Children's Hospice South West.

-Brilliant.

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Thank you for bringing that in. You put a smile on all our faces.

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I hope you've enjoyed today's show. Sadly, we've run out of time in Plymouth.

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Do come along and join us at one of our valuation days, but from Devon, it's goodbye from all of us.

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The beautiful Devon landscape is the setting for this episode of Flog it! Paul Martin visits the summer house of Agatha Christie to get under the skin of one of the biggest-selling novelists of all time, and Exeter Cathedral plays host to the valuation day. Caroline Hawley and Mark Stacey put their skills to the test at auction, and we reveal which item makes its owner a small fortune.