Antiques series. Flog It! comes from the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Sifting through the antiques and collectibles are experts James Lewis and Christina Trevanion.
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The wide open skies and the flat landscapes of East Anglia are perfect locations for airfields...
So from the giants of the sky at Duxford's Imperial War Museum
to one of the oldest salerooms in the country, they're all here. Welcome to "Flog It!"!
Duxford displays some of the finest examples of historic aircraft in the country,
including the iconic Spitfire, legendary Lancaster...
..and the fastest ever - Concorde.
All that and it's a working airfield,
regularly hosting spectacular air shows.
And it's no wonder the crowd are so excited because today's valuations are taking place
right in the heart of the museum.
Everyone has come laden with bags and boxes full of antiques, collectables and curios,
-all wanting to know the answer to that very important question which is...
-What's it worth?
Stay tuned and you'll find out.
'Answering the question is our elite force, expert Christina Trevanion and auctioneer James Lewis.'
-That is a candlestick.
-I realise that.
'Christina gets to grips with some eccentric items.'
-Where did that come from?
-A car boot.
'Not everyone is content with James's valuations.'
'And coming up in today's show, Christina has a moment of madness.'
You've got this locket where you'd have a photograph.
-In my case, my dog.
-Or your baby.
-Oh, yeah, my baby!
'Appropriately, for horse-racing country, the bets are on.'
Good. We'll hold it to you. Let's have a gentlemen's bet, shall we?
-OK, I say 1,800. Here we go.
'But which of these items gallops into first place at auction?
-What's your name?
My mum has a collection of women's magazines like this with knitting patterns in a great big box, OK?
And that's the kind of thing my mum would knit me in the '70s.
That, and probably that sort of orange colour as well!
'While we're reminiscing, here's another vintage model.'
Lesley, they say time flies.
Well, it certainly does.
-This is my late husband's watch.
It's amazing it survived because my Fred was a motorcycle racer
and he did grass track, he did speedway,
and then we did road-racing together.
We've done 17 Isle of Man TT races. He was the driver.
-And I was the sidecar passenger.
And we've been off the bike, slid down the road, crashed into barriers.
-My goodness! And he was wearing this watch?
-He's been wearing the watch all the time.
What a life it's had! That's phenomenal. It's done 17 TT...
-What have you got there?
-That was us in the Isle of Man
at a place called Braddan Bridge.
-That's me hanging out the side.
A complete idiot! You can't see him wearing the watch, but he always had his watch on.
-Look at you in the skin-tight leathers!
-Young and fit and stupid, yes.
-What year was this?
About 1970, '71, something like that.
So it's had such an exciting life. If only it could talk!
-I wish it could write a book.
-It would save me doing it.
-We had a great time.
-Thank you so much for bringing that in.
Longines is synonymous with quality.
This particular model was introduced in the 1930s.
-I think this is slightly later than that. I think it's probably end of the '30s, early '40s.
It is wonderful. I love the fact that it's got the gold dial.
It's got what looks to be the original bevelled glass
and it's got an 18-carat gold case to it.
We know all that because it's stamped with its original serial number on the back
and it's just heaven to a Longines collector.
-Value-wise, they do have a ceiling that we can't really cross.
Otherwise, it would be a waste of time.
But I think at auction, we would be looking somewhere in the region of £300 to £500.
I wouldn't like it to go for less than four.
I don't want you to regret selling it as it's had so many wonderful memories attached to it.
I think for that very reason, and in Fred's memory...
-Let's say 400 to 600.
-The wheeler-dealer part comes in, yes.
Let's hope he's watching us on the auction day
-and getting people to put their cards up in the air.
'Lesley certainly was a thrill-seeker in her day.
'And talking of thrill-seekers, while we're here at Duxford,
'I slipped away to see some artefacts from the courageous World War II pilot Douglas Bader
'who famously continued flying after losing both legs in a flying accident during the 1930s.
'Martin Boswell, the curator of uniforms, is going to tell me more.'
-I know you've got something rather iconic to show me and I'd like to start with this one
-because during the Second World War some very famous RAF personnel were based here.
-That's absolutely true.
-This one intrigues me.
-We've all heard of Douglas Bader, the pilot with the tin legs.
This belonged to him.
This was actually commissioned by him in 1939
and worn throughout his Royal Air Force service, excluding the period when he was a POW in Colditz.
-You can trace his career through this...?
-Very much so.
If you look at the medal ribbons and the rank here, this is a veritable map of this man's personal career.
We have the Distinguished Service Order awarded to him during the Second World War
and the Distinguished Flying Cross, he was awarded two of those, indicating personal courage.
And we've got Douglas Bader's service cap as well.
-Who does this one belong to?
-This one belonged to Grumpy Unwin.
I don't know that name.
Grumpy Unwin famously was one of the very first Spitfire pilots stationed here at Duxford.
He joined the Royal Air Force in 1929 as an apprentice
and by the end of the Battle of Britain had got his first Distinguished Flying Medal.
He was called Grumpy allegedly because Flight-Lieutenant Lane, his officer commanding,
mentioned to the pilots under his command that they were about to go and cover the retreat at Dunkirk.
There were not enough aircraft to go round and Sergeant Unwin was told to remain at Duxford.
-He was rather deflated.
-So he was quite deflated.
Lane is famous for saying, "You can cheer up, Grumpy."
That nickname went with him for the rest of his days.
-A lovely story and two very iconic uniforms.
'And from a hero of the skies to our hero of the tables.'
-My friend over there, she thinks you're wonderful.
-Oh, that's kind.
John, a dealer once told me that a bloke has a walking stick,
a gentleman has a cane,
so tell me, is this a walking stick or a cane?
-It's a cane.
-Do you know very much about it? Is it a family thing?
No, I used to run a drop-in centre for the mentally ill
and we used to have jumble sales to raise cash and this came in a bundle of walking sticks.
I fell in love with it and I said to the chairman, "How much?" He said, "Give me a fiver and it's yours."
-And how long ago was that?
-20 years ago.
It was a fair amount of money 20 years ago, I guess.
Do you know anything about what it is?
No, I was told it was ivory, but I don't think it is.
No, it's not ivory. If you have a look down at this end,
in fact, all the way through, you see lots of little black flecks.
-It's a blood vessel running all the way through. It's a bone.
-I see, yeah.
Now, I think this is from a narwhal.
-Do you know much about narwhals?
-Yeah, the unicorn of the sea.
If you can imagine this great whale swimming around in the sea with that on their nose...
It's a funny old thing. I always wanted to see a narwhal.
-Here, on the end, we have what would have been four sections. We've got one missing.
We have three little, navette-shaped sections of tortoiseshell.
-That's what it is?
-Yeah. The other thing so impressive about this
is the different types of turning down its shaft.
We've got a little draught turning at the end,
then a long, spirally fluted section,
another draught turning here,
and then almost like a hobnail...
then this wonderful pommel on the end.
So you're really seeing so many different skills of the craftsman in there.
With current legislation, whaling for narwhal, I'm sure, is actually illegal, thank goodness!
-But this is about 200 years old.
It was in the time when whaling was something that went on and was accepted. Today, it's not.
But it's a really interesting thing.
When it comes to this, I think it will do very well at auction. Any ideas what your £5 is worth?
-None at all.
-Well, I think it's worth 100 times that.
I think it's worth £500.
-It's a great thing.
-I could always give some of the money to my son who's handicapped.
It's always nice to know where the money ends up. Fantastic.
'Any gentleman would be proud of John's cane and the money is going to a good cause.
'Lesley's watch has done a few laps, but will it break the speed barrier in the saleroom?
'And speaking of salerooms, I've travelled to historic Newmarket, home to the famous racecourse,
'but today, we're dealing in antiques, not horses.
'Before we head into the saleroom, I've sniffed out something fantastic in the grounds.'
I expect you're wondering why there's a classical rotunda here with a fox as a centre piece.
Well, I can tell you. This was originally at their site in London
where Tattersalls made a name for auctioneering hunting horses and hounds.
There we have it - the Fox in the Middle.
I have a good feeling about today. We're in a cracking auction room.
We've got some wonderful lots, all the ingredients of a superb sale.
The sun is shining, I've got a smile on my face and hopefully the bidders have too.
Let's hope we push some of those estimates through the roof here at Tattersalls in Newmarket.
Let's go inside and catch up with our owners. They're really nervous. And hopefully get things under way.
'Will Axon is our auctioneer today, but before the sale,
'he's got some doubts about the origin of the gentleman's cane.'
James has called it a narwhal tusk. I'm not so sure about that.
A narwhal tusk, it's similar to an elephant, is just an extension of an incisor tooth.
They're incisors that project from the top left-hand side of the jaw and they always spiral to the left.
-And this doesn't spiral to the left.
-It spirals to the right. That should have set the alarm bells ringing.
-And it spirals the whole length of the...
-From start to finish. You don't get this alternating pattern.
-You would never re-work that.
-Narwhal tusks are generally left as they are.
-And also these flecks, it's bone.
The marine ivory has more of that elephant ivory look about it.
Hopefully, it will walk out the saleroom at £1,200. That's my gut feeling.
Good. We'll hold it to you. Let's have a gentlemen's bet, shall we?
'While the debate rages about its origin,
'everyone's agreed it should do well.
A bit of quality now going under the hammer - a gent's Longines, 18-carat gold watch.
It belongs to Lesley. It was your late husband's. I know you're quite attached to this.
We've got a value of £400 to £600. It is a great name in the watch-making world.
Someone told me, if this sells, the money is going towards piano lessons.
-I'm a singer and I'm learning the piano.
-You'll be a good piano player.
-So I can...
-If you can sing well, you'll be a good piano player.
-My left hand doesn't know what my right hand's doing at the moment.
-That is the tricky bit.
-Sometimes it helps!
Here we go.
The 18-carat gold-cased, Longines gentleman's automatic wrist watch.
Always popular, these. Where do you start me?
I'm bid 320, 350, I'm bid 380 with me.
400 in the gods. At 400 now.
In the gods at 400 now. 20 where?
At £400 I'm bid. I shall sell it.
-In the gods at £400...
-We've got £400 straight away.
420 bid here. At 420. Are you sure?
It's 420 on the phone. No? Shakes the head.
At 420. All done on the telephone? At 420. Are you all done then?
At 420. All done then at 420...
You pushed me on that estimate and I was a bit reluctant
-as to whether it would sell, so I'm really pleased.
-I didn't mind.
-That's what it's worth to me which is what it's all about.
-So that's fine.
'That will pay for more than a few piano lessons. Are you in a gambling mood?'
Going under the hammer now is John's walking cane. Sadly, John cannot be with us. His car's broken down.
I had a chat to Will at the auction preview. He said it's not narwhal. It is in fact whalebone.
What he told me was that narwhal naturally curls and twists to the left.
-This has been fashioned and carved and it twists to the right.
-But that's hand-carved.
-It's nothing to do with the natural turning of the narwhal tusk.
The original tusk would have been sectioned and four sections made from one, then that's hand-carved.
The fact that it turns the other way is totally irrelevant to the turning of a narwhal tusk.
-He thinks it's a whale backbone.
-I won't argue because we don't know.
This is really good, a difference of opinion, one expert against another.
-But I have a feeling this should be £1,000 to £2,000.
-I'd like to see it do two grand. Let's find out what happens.
-I say 1,800. Here we go.
The 19th century, spiral-carved, whalebone walking stick.
A heap of bids on this, ladies and gentlemen.
We'll start where? £300 I'm bid. At 300, 400, 500.
600, 700, 800, 900 I'm bid with me. 1,000.
1,100. 12. 13.
1,500. My bidder still at 1,500.
Join me again, at 1,500.
-Yes? At 1,700, my bidder.
At 1,700. 1,800. And 50.
I'll come to you. At 1,850. It's my bidder.
1,900? Bid. At 1,900.
Shout at me now. 1,900 I'm bid.
With Roddy. I'm out by 50. At 1,900.
2,000 bid, fresh blood. At £2,000. I'm bid at 2,000.
You can't lose it now. At £2,000. Shake it the other way, Roddy.
-It's £2,000 in the room.
-Will is fabulous. He's like lightning.
-2,100, thank you. At 2,100.
-Teasing and tempting the bidders.
Shakes the head at 2,100. Steals it at 2,100.
You've been with it all this way. All done then...
Smack! John, where are you?
That was fabulous, absolutely fabulous.
-Well spotted, James. I was very jealous when I saw you walking around with that.
'I can't wait to come back, but first, we're travelling back in time to a golden age of style.'
As you'd expect from a house that's nearly 400 years old,
the interiors at Audley End are the result of many years of rebuilding and remodelling,
reflecting the styles and the tastes of succeeding generations.
At one end of the Great Hall, you've got this heavy, carved oak screen.
It's wonderfully fanciful. It's typical Jacobean fantasy.
And at the other end, you've got a stone screen,
reflecting a 17th century style
of the classical arches of the Baroque period.
But tucked away in this enormous house are a suite of rooms that are pure 18th century.
This room is pure theatre. I feel like I'm on stage here.
Originally, these Corinthian columns here, these fluted columns, were closer together,
but Lady Griffin had them moved apart because she couldn't get on and off there in her ball gown.
That's why they're that far apart.
There is the most wonderful barrelled ceiling in there. Beautifully decorated.
It's absolutely stunning, as is the whole room. This is a perfect cube.
Architecturally, it's been broken up with the most wonderful gilded framing all around the room,
depicting Greek mythology.
A visit here not only gives you a masterclass in miniature on the genius of Robert Adam,
but it also gives you a unique glimpse into the rarefied lifestyles of the aristocracy
in Georgian society and how their tastes and fashions have changed.
It's well worth a visit. It's a fun day out and you can gather a lot of inspiration.
We're back at our valuation day at Duxford
Christina's in her element.
Thank you so much for bringing these in today. I love jewellery, so tell me about them.
-Where have they come from?
-From my mother and her mother.
-That's probably my favourite piece.
-Is it? And do you think that was Mum's maybe?
-She was quite stylish.
-Yes, she was. It may have been. I don't really know how old they are.
I don't know any history, except that they are family pieces.
-We don't wear them.
-I don't go anywhere to wear something like that.
-You could wear that to the supermarket.
-Not where I live!
OK, so you've got quite a good spread of ages here.
And they're quite representative of very different periods.
Starting with this one over here, which is split seed pearls, set in gold.
-Date-wise, this is probably late Victorian, maybe 1880, 1890.
-Oh, right, OK.
-Unfortunately, if we turn it over, it's not marked.
-Somebody at some point has acid-tested it, which involves scratching the metal.
And putting acid onto the gold so it turns a different colour depending on what carat it is.
-But it is a destructive test and it takes off the patina of the gold.
-Is there another way to test it?
Sadly not. Not that I'm aware of.
To be perfectly honest, this sort of era and this sort of colour,
I would expect this to be 15 carat and I wouldn't have to test it.
-Any experienced jeweller should be able to tell that.
Moving on to these two pieces, this is nice. A bit mass-produced.
-Very much Art Nouveau. You see these wonderful sinuous lines.
Set with amethyst coloured stones. I'm not sure if they're genuine.
And again you've got some pearls. This would have been a fairly standard, nine-carat-gold,
readily-available pendant in the early 20th century.
-Not as much care and attention as has gone into that.
Exactly. And then we move on to this beauty,
which I love. Absolutely beautiful.
A very Belle Epoque, French influence.
Almost transitional Art Deco.
The use of platinum here, which was a new substance at that time.
We've got this wonderful what we call guilloche enamel, on the back here.
And then set with some little rose-cut diamonds in a little floral design there.
And if we turn it over,
again beautifully enamelled on the back.
-We have got some slight damage, just there.
-But you've this little locket,
-where you'd either have a piece of your loved one's hair or a photo, which would be put in now.
-In my case, my dog.
-Or your baby.
-Oh, yes, my baby!
I should remember that!
-So I would suggest that we sell them in two lots.
And I think, at auction, we're probably looking somewhere in the region of maybe £150 for this one.
-I think I'll hedge my bets, but something similar for these two, the main value in this one.
-So I think, again, £150-£200.
-I'm quite surprised, actually.
I don't know why. It just seems like old junk you've had in the cupboard forever. That's what I think of it.
-Have you got any more old junk?
-There was another piece I couldn't find.
-It'll turn up.
-Thanks for bringing them in and we'll keep our fingers crossed for the auction.
'There are so many people here today and I'm hoping to dig out a real treasure. Eureka!'
We're surrounded by metal and flying machines,
yet in front of us we have the most beautiful piece of tactile wood.
Do you know much about this at all?
Yes, yes. Myself, I'm a wood specialist.
-I've worked with wood for over 30 years. I did a PhD in wood.
-You can tell me a few things, then!
-Why do you want to sell this?
-It was given to me by a work colleague 30 years ago
-when I was doing that PhD research.
-He must have thought highly of you.
-Yes, he actually told me he found it in the garden shed when they moved into his house.
-He didn't realise its value! Have you done much research on this?
-Yes. I didn't think it was valuable.
-You know it's Norwegian.
-I do, yes.
-And it's made of birch, burr wood.
-It's a burr, yeah.
-And that it's a Norwegian ale bowl.
-A drinking vessel, really.
You can have smaller versions which are cups to drink from.
-This is a bowl, but it's made from one great big lump of burr.
This is highly desirable because a burr is a freak of nature or an accident that happened to the tree.
During its life, a 200-year-old tree, a mature tree, a branch would be struck by lightning.
And the branch end would gnarl over. It would have all this fungus on it and gradually that would get harder.
And this burr would grow out in a stunted growth. Here's the burr.
And that's the trunk of the tree coming down there.
So that would be sawn off like that and then hollowed out,
fashioned out from one great, big lump of burr. So all of this is made in one piece.
Always had two handles because of the weight of the liquid. You couldn't pick it up with one
it would break. So you even the weight with two handles.
To buy one of those burrs today would cost around £150,
-if you can find one large enough.
-I'd say this is in the first quarter of the 19th century.
It's beautiful. It's got its original paint, not been repainted.
Wonderful detail, incredibly tactile and a lovely piece of folk art.
I'd like to see that do, in auction, around £800.
-That's my gut feeling because I'm really passionate about this.
-We need two collectors
to bid each other for that particular piece.
-In order to get £800, we need to pitch it at, let's say, £500-£800.
-If that's OK.
-Yeah? And we'll put a discretion on the reserve of 10%.
-OK. What reserve are we having?
-Well, I think we'll go for a 10% discretion on £500.
-If that's all right.
-So it could go for 10% less than £500.
-And if it doesn't go, I'll take it home and love it some more.
-Thank you for bringing that in.
-It's made my day.
-I'm having a fabulous time here.
Aircraft all around me and my passion in front of me. Bits of wood. Isn't that lovely?
What a marvellous day we've had here at Duxford. Everybody's thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you want to take part in "Flog It!", you have to attend a valuation day.
Details of up and coming dates and venues are on our BBC website.
If you don't have a computer, check your local press. Come on - dust down those unwanted antiques.
But right now it's time to say farewell to this magnificent venue as we head off to auction.
Here's what we're taking with us.
Christina's eyes lit up with these glittering jewels.
I was pretty excited by this exquisite Norwegian drinking bowl.
There's no time to waste. Will is on the rostrum, waiting to start.
Going under the hammer right now are some wonderful pendants in two lots. They belong to Cathy,
but we don't have Sarah with us. Where is she? At school, I bet?
-No, she's at work.
-Is she? I thought she was at school.
-I'm older than I look, obviously!
-That's a compliment.
-Lovely things. Why have you decided to sell these?
They've been in a box for as long as I can remember. We'll invest in something we WILL wear.
-Good luck, anyway.
-Here we go.
The Edwardian 9-carat gold Art Nouveau pendant together with the enamelled piece also.
Nice little lot here for you.
Interest accordingly. 120. 130. 140.
At 140 bid. 150, will you?
At £140. Looking round. At £140.
Are you bidding? At £140. 50. See you now. Right in the gods.
-Do you want 160?
-We've done it. We're looking at £150-£200.
190. It's quite hard to see you.
Gentleman's bid at the back is 190. At £190, right in the gods.
Selling this time at £190.
-Well, that was good. I was happy.
OK, describe the next one.
-It's much more of a traditional form. Quite Victorian. Yellow gold, seed pearls.
Hope we have traditional ladies in!
The Edwardian seed pearl set, yellow metal, flower head pendant.
Nicely presented, isn't it? A good-looking lot.
I have bids at 120. 140. 160. 180.
-I'm bid 180 here with me.
-£180. 200. 220. 240.
-Here we go.
-In the room at 240.
260? Bidding? No. At 240 I have.
260? No, thank you, anyway. At 260.
280. Fresh blood. 300?
Shakes the head at 300. Right in the gods at 300.
-Are you sure?
-You had your fingers crossed.
£300. Now that's more like it. That's the auction reaction we want.
-Are you OK?
-Yes! I'm all right.
I'm with you on that one. That was a surprise for me as well.
-Ah, that's good.
-Grand total of.
-Now you can go shopping!
-I can, can't I? WE can!
-Yes, exactly. A joint decision.
-That's it, yes.
-Thank you very much.
From tears to fears. I'm up next with Carol's Norwegian kasa.
-This is the moment of truth.
-Your kasa. We're looking at £500 as a reserve, which you wanted.
An early-19th century Norwegian kasa there.
Typical one, horse-head handles.
Rather nice lot. Where do you start me? Interest here. 300. 350.
400. 450. 500 I'm bid here.
-At 500 bid now.
-On the reserve.
Are you bidding? 550. 600. No?
Still my bidder. At £600 with me.
Last chance. All done at 600?
-I think you're happy as well.
I'm rather relieved as well.
Thank you for bringing that in. It's so tactile and special.
'Great result for a great item.'
So until the next time with many, many more surprises,
it's goodbye from Newmarket.
Based at a former military airfield in Cambridgeshire, and surrounded by aeronautical history, Flog It! comes from the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
Sifting through the antiques and collectibles looking for items to take to auction are experts James Lewis and Christina Trevanion. They're not disappointed! James finds an enormous Chinese ceramic foot bath which has most recently been used as a child's paddling pool and Christina falls in love with three beautiful pendants.
Paul visits local stately home, Audley End, to see an exquisite suite of Robert Adam's rooms, which give an insight into fine dining for the 18th-century aristocracy.