Antiques series. Paul Martin and the Flog It! team are in the West Midlands, parked up at the Coventry Transport Museum.
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Coventry may be known for the 11th century exploits of Lady Godiva...
who, according to legend, rode through the city streets naked on horseback.
But it was a different type of horsepower
that put Coventry on the map in the 20th century.
I hope you enjoy the ride - welcome to Flog It!
From the Triumph to the Jaguar,
the Alvis to the Rover,
Coventry raced ahead with motor production at the start of the 20th century
and by the 1950s, it was a world leader.
And so, fittingly, we're here at the Coventry Transport Museum.
We can learn about the origins of vehicles
from the earliest motorcycle through to the fastest car on the planet.
Of course, all the local classic car enthusiasts have turned up for us today.
Look at that! A big thank you for that lot over there.
Today's show is not just about cars, it's about antiques and collectables
and we have hundreds of people queueing up here in the rain,
laden with bags and boxes full of them,
all here to ask our experts a few questions about their items.
But they have one question in common, which is...
ALL: What's it worth?
And when they've found out, they're going to Flog It!
We already have a queue of traffic
wanting to get a valuation from one of our experts,
which includes today Charlie Ross, a Formula 1 auctioneer,
classic car enthusiast and always a safe pair of hands.
I've seen her, I've been close to her, yes.
I think for the purposes of history, we should A,
not drop them on the floor and B, sell them.
And Claire Rawle, who is actually a closet train spotter.
-I've found a violin, unless you've got a machinegun in there?
-No, it isn't!
-Have you got a Rolls-Royce at home?
-Wouldn't want not to.
-I've had enough of this, shall we go inside?
Well, we're all set up and ready to go
here inside the Motorsports Gallery.
Actually, I should say revved up and raring to go.
I'm surrounded by classic cars and hundreds of people.
Over there, there's a Jaguar 2003 Grand Prix car,
which can reach speeds of up to 200mph.
Charlie Ross certainly has to go at some speed to catch up with that,
but he just might do it today.
He's over there now, talking to two ladies who look quite similar.
-Veronica and Madeline?
Not quite identical - one of you must be older?
-I'm ten minutes older, yes.
-Ten minutes older!
-I'm very proud of the ten minutes.
-May I say, you don't look it.
-And you obviously get on extremely well?
-Oh, we do.
-Very, very well.
-Now, what have you brought along?
Well, I know what you've brought along here.
Well, my mother died last month
and this is something that she was given when she was 21,
that was in 1939.
She told us before she died to each choose one or two things we particularly liked
and this was one of the things that we chose.
We always thought it was an inkwell,
that's what my mother thought she'd been given.
-Do you know how old it is?
-All we know she was given it in 1939.
-Do you think it was made in 1939?
-We've no idea, but it looks...
-I think it's older.
It looks more like an antique that was bought.
Yes, this is high quality. It's bronze.
-It IS bronze? Oh, right.
-And it's ormolu coated.
Ormolu, from the French, which was a crushed gold, if you like,
-and the original process was made with mercury.
And if you were an ormolu-er, if there is such a word,
you didn't live very long because of the mercury fumes.
I think we've got a good clue to the date of this
by the application of these very stylised
Art Nouveau mouldings on the outside.
Now I think that date's this to the late 19th century, so 1880-1890.
-That is earlier than we thought.
You've got classical figureheads here,
you've got a winged putti on the top there
-and I'm imagining the top comes off?
-It does indeed.
And there was a glass insert, but it got broken when someone cleaned it.
If there was a glass insert, then I think you've made up my mind for me.
I was torn slightly between it being an inkwell,
because, by golly, it's a big inkwell!
Yes! Someone who does a lot of writing, yes!
Or alternatively, you quite often see something like that
as an ornament, a pair of ornaments either side of a clock.
-Now, I think this is French.
This is French, without a shadow of a doubt.
-This, indeed, would have been a very expensive thing in its day.
And probably would have been really quite expensive,
-even in, when was it?
-1939, the beginning of the war.
Before I brought this morning and I opened it, there was a key inside
-with 21 on it, which she'd obviously kept from her 21st birthday.
It makes you want to start writing with a fountain pen again, doesn't it?
-It does, actually.
-It's an age of elegance that's gone.
It is an age of elegance. I'm going to put you both on the spot.
-What do you think it's worth?
-Oh, my heavens.
-You're not allowed to...
-I might have said 150, at the very most.
Maybe 150-200, depending if two people want it.
-Very good valuers, girls. You're very good valuers.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there.
I think I would like to see it make 150-200.
-My safe saleroom estimate would probably be 100-150.
Under no circumstances would I let this sell for less than £100.
-Not even £95.
Fixed reserve, £100.
If it doesn't sell for £100, there's something wrong.
-So, £100, and away we go.
-Lovely, thank you very much.
-That's very interesting.
Charlie's confident the inkwell will make at least £100.
Stay tuned to see if His Nibs is right.
And for Claire Rawle's first valuation,
and item which is at home in the car world.
-Good morning, Elizabeth.
And you have brought a wonderful, wonderful automobilia item along.
But before we talk about him,
I couldn't help but noticing a rather wonderful MBE.
-Now, tell me a bit about that.
Well, I'm a school crossing patrol for Warwickshire
and I've done it for 17 years
and last March, Prince Charles gave it to me.
Oh, well done. That's a real achievement.
I'm so glad you're wearing it, because you've been rewarded -
for 17 years you've stood out in all weathers,
in the teeth of motorists hurtling down a hill towards you.
Right, we better turn our attention to this rather fine fellow here.
He is a fine fellow, isn't he?
He's beautiful. And very apt.
Here we are, Coventry Motor Museum, car mascot.
He's from a Singer Bantam,
he's chrome, over possibly a nickel base,
a base metal, anyway,
and then mounted on this rather nice wooden stand,
so he's making a very decorative ornament, isn't he?
-He sure is.
And he will date from the late 1930s.
-You can tell he's earlier because of the work on him,
the wonderful detail in his feathers and his wings.
Later castings lose quite a lot of that
because they have been replicated over the years,
but he is a genuine early one.
From this period, a lot of cars had mascots on their bonnets,
which denoted their make. Of course, the best-known
-is probably the Spirit of Ecstasy on a Rolls-Royce.
It was all part of the finish to the motor car.
Now, he's very collectable
and I think he will appeal to not just automobilia collectors
but to anyone who likes a decorative ornament.
I would estimate him between 100 and 150.
-That's all right.
-And I think, perhaps, pitch the reserve
just below the lower estimate.
I'd say about £90.
-Is that all right with you?
-That's good, is it?
-Yeah. You've amazed me!
-Good. Oh, good.
-That's quite all right.
-Thank you very much.
Our valuation day is packed to the gills
with people waiting to see an expert - and here's one now.
Charlie Ross has spotted a 200-year-old mahogany box
in perfect condition. But what's inside it?
You know, I saw you coming through the door over there with this
and I almost ran towards it because it's my sort of thing.
But every time I see one of these, you open it up
and there's nothing inside because the contents have been broken
Look at that!
Do know when this was made?
I think it was made a bit earlier.
-I think this is of the Sheraton period.
I think we can go back to 1800 for this box.
This in about 1800 would have been bought by a very well-to-do family.
-This wouldn't have been any old Tom, Dick and Harry owning this.
It would have held six different sorts of drink, really.
And of course, a lock - very important in those days,
not that you'd have people coming into the house, but the servants.
-The old servant could just turn the key, have a quick nip.
It's a real Upstairs Downstairs.
Fantastic lot. It's made of mahogany.
-Fine quality mahogany.
It is strung here with boxwood...
..and beautifully strung.
I'm going to pull one of these out
and examine it carefully,
because here is the key.
What is the damage?
The gilt decoration, for that still to be intact
after 200-plus years
is quite remarkable.
Beautiful blown decanters,
-Have you pulled all of them out?
-Yes, I've inspected all of them.
-No damage at all.
So have you inherited this?
-No, I bought it a few weeks ago.
-You bought it?
-Crumbs, you must have gone into a jolly nice shop to buy that.
-No. Charity shop.
-A charity shop?
-Charity shop, yes.
Go on, tell me what you paid for it.
-Well, I'll give you 20 quid for it.
I think a come-and-get-me saleroom estimate
-is probably 200-300.
Which is a super return on your £15.
-Yes, I'm happy with that.
-We'll put a fixed reserve at 200,
so we will not sell it for a penny less.
-I think we'll be up at the top estimate there.
-And £15 well spent.
This French inkwell has a crushed gold coating
and Charlie is convinced it is worth at least £100,
but anything can happen at an auction.
Our lovely lollipop lady is hoping
her car mascot has got a new bonnet to sit on.
And from a charity shop to an auction house.
This beautiful box and decanter is sure to be a winner.
Just 20 miles down the A46,
our auction today is in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The market town attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year
to see the birthplace of Shakespeare
and perhaps take a boat ride down the River Avon.
And this is where we're putting all our items under the hammer today,
so let's make our way across town to Bigwood auctioneers.
Right, that bronze inkwell, the Victorian one
in the style of a Regency design belonging to the twins.
-Veronica and Madeline.
-I see, I got them mixed up.
Identical twins, you see! It's easy to do, isn't it?
-Do you live close by each other still?
-Round the corner.
So you've never really been apart, have you?
No, we went to university together. We've done everything together.
-I think that so special, don't you?
-We get on well.
-Quite rare, identical twins.
-We married friends.
-Did you as well?
-Yes, my husband introduced Madeline to her husband.
-So this was Mum's, wasn't it?
-Yes, it was.
-It was Mum's.
-She died in February.
-I'm sorry to hear that. It's a nice thing.
Well, let's find out what the bidders think, shall we?
-It's got that Regency look.
-Oh, it's there!
Very attractively decorated, this,
and who's got, say, £100 for it?
-It's a good thing, isn't it?
-It's a nice thing.
-Good weight, good shape, lovely style.
Got to tempt you somehow. 60, then?
60 I'm bid. 60, the bid's there at 60 and five, do I hear?
-At 60, and five.
Not going to make it, is it?
Am I going to let the twins down?
We've got a fixed reserve at £100.
£75, is it 80, and five?
£80, are we finished?
We're all done at £80. Are we sure?
-Do you know something?
A fixed reserve of £100. It's worth every penny of that.
-I'm so pleased it didn't sell at £100.
-I don't mind.
We've had such fun, to be honest.
-Hang onto it.
-Mum wants you to hang onto that.
Perhaps that's what's meant to be.
Everyone has agreed the inkwell should sell for at least £100 -
perhaps just not today, though.
Next up, MBE Elizabeth.
-You drive a car, obviously.
-Now, how do you fancy
on your car a 19...what is it, 36 Singer car mascot?
-Have you thought about that?
-I don't think it would go very well with my Punto!
Hey, fingers crossed, here we go, we're going under the hammer now.
-Let's find out if there's any car enthusiasts here.
Lot 355 in your catalogue.
It's in the form of a bantam cast with outstretched wings.
It's got the registration number on it
and who's going to give me, I don't know, £80 to get me going?
70 I'm bid, £80, £80, £90,
-100 is it?
90 at the front of the room, I'm going to sell it at 90,
the bid's here at £90.
Is it 100 now?
-At £90, I'll take five if it helps you.
At £90, are we done?
-£90, it's gone!
It looked really pretty up there on that picture.
It did, didn't it?
-He did us proud.
-He did, didn't he? Aw, bless Mum.
There are hundreds of car mascot collectors in the country
so they often sell well at auction.
A great result for Elizabeth.
We've got a cracking lot going under the hammer right now,
possibly my favourite of the day
and Charlie, our expert, beat me to it, the devil!
You were straight in there, weren't you?
It's that gorgeous mahogany decanter box
and Andrew, I've got to say, quality, quality, quality,
and what a good find as well. Why do you want to sell this?
-I bought it to sell.
-You bought it to sell.
-It would be nice to keep it.
-Be nice to keep it?
-For the three kids.
-OK, and you brought one of them along with you today?
-What's her name?
Charlie, we had one like this sold recently,
2007 on the show for around £400.
This is just as good, so hopefully it's up there with that.
It's rare to have all the bottles
-and all the stoppers.
-Yes, and the gilding's really good.
Stoppers don't rattle as well.
Glasses are wrong, but we can excuse that. Very, very good quality.
We're putting it to the test now here in this packed salesroom.
Good luck, both of you. This is it.
Who'll give me a couple of hundred for it, decanter box?
150, 150 I'm bid.
160, 170, sir,
180, 190, 200,
210? 200 by the table,
at 200, 210, 220, 230,
230, 240, 250, 260,
270, 280, 290?
280, still by the table, at £280.
290 on the phone,
-Good, phone's cut in out.
-320. 340, 360.
-The interest has gone out of the room.
-It's now on the phone lines.
360 on that telephone, at 360, are you sure you're finished?
380's come back. 380, 400.
400, 420? 400 it is, on that phone at £400.
Are we all finished? Are we sure?
We've matched it. £400. There you go.
What was I saying?
You can never predict what's going to happen in an auction.
-That's a massive great big profit on £15.
Yeah, good for you. Pleasure to meet you.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - quality always sells.
-Well, there you are, that concludes
our first visit to the auction room today and what a nice lot to end on.
Back at the valuation day,
hundreds of people are still queueing to be seen by our experts.
Well, hello, June and Phil, it's lovely to see you and thank you
for coming along today and bringing this magnificent fellow with you.
So, tell me, why have you brought him to us?
He came out of the garage of a relative who passed away
this time last year.
-Basically, we don't like him very much.
-Oh, poor fellow.
So, you don't want to sit and look at him any longer?
-No, and I don't want to see him looking at me.
-Oh, right, right.
I must admit, I can't say I've ever seen one quite like this before.
-Of course, what it's depicting is your samurai warrior.
On his charger, his horse.
Of course, they were ponies really, not like the sort of chargers we had here.
All the bone is worked in panels - as you can see, obviously,
there's lines between it - over a base
which could be anything from wood.
-He is quite heavy, I guess.
And then these pieces are all engraved
and then inked over to give them...
So, they're sort of carved and inked to give it the colour
and depth and, of course, it's outlining his wonderful armour
because being a samurai, he is a warrior, he is the top, top soldier
and they were absolute experts in the martial arts.
I don't know if you've noticed down here but there is actually a mark.
-A signature. Well, it could be a signature.
I have noticed it but I couldn't decipher it.
Well, that makes two of us.
But the thing is, it's nice to have a mark on it.
Now, the other item, which I have to say I prefer,
is a brush pot holder and earlier.
Whereas this is 20th century,
-this will date from the late 19th century.
And it's elephant's tusk. You do have to be careful selling it.
As long as it is pre-1947 and worked ivory, then it's OK, legally, to sell it.
-This is all right. It complies.
Now, because they are such different types of items,
I would suggest that they were sold as separate lots...
-OK. That would be fine.
-..with separate prices cos I think whoever buys the brush pot
is not necessarily going to buy the samurai and vice versa.
Now, with him, he's a bit of an unknown quantity.
-I think we're looking at 3-400.
I would suggest putting a reserve of just under 300 at 280.
The brush pot, I think, about 100 to 150.
And again, if we perhaps pitch the reserve at just under
the lower estimate at £90 and again perhaps use a bit of discretion.
-So, hopefully they will do very well.
-Somebody will like it.
Absolutely. Oh, yeah, there is somebody for everything.
-Don't need to worry.
-Thank you very much.
Thank you for bringing them. We look forward to selling them.
From a symbol of war to one of peace, and of local importance.
Well, this brings back lots of memories for me -
filming in Coventry Cathedral about six years ago.
I'm a big fan of John Piper.
I know it's not Piper but it's John Hutton and he's very collectable as well.
I went first of all to the cathedral 50 years ago when it opened,
and it meant such a lot to me and changed my life so much that
when they offered these for sale,
I was happy to buy one to support the...
-Can I take a look?
-..work of the cathedral.
This is one of the angels from the west screen, isn't it?
I mean, when you go in there and your eyes just gravitate to heaven.
You look upwards and there it is. It's huge.
It's glass there so that in your mind's eye you link
-the new and the old.
-Of course you do.
Because it is one building and you join them in your head.
That's the clever thing about John Hutton.
He was born in New Zealand in 1907.
He sadly passed away in the late '70s. But he is collectable.
His work is sought after.
I'm going to be cautious to start with,
and I'm going to put £2-400 on that, if that's all right with you.
-Is that OK?
-I'm quite happy for the market to find a level.
So, let's see what the market does on the day.
I've always thought Charlie was a child at heart
and this just proves it.
Well, this is just the object I was hoping to see today.
-Coming here to the motor museum in Coventry.
What's the story behind it?
-It's Ed and Trish, isn't is? Is it yours. Trish?
-No, it's not mine.
No, it's mine.
-I was given it by two uncles as a birthday present...
..before the war.
-Before the war?
I was trying to work out whether it was just pre-war or just post-war. That answers the question.
-British made, which I like.
And this is Tri-ang, which later bought out Hornby and Meccano.
One huge, great conglomerate. And I'm dying to see if it works.
It is a bit like starting a lawnmower, isn't it?
-It is, isn't it?
-Tell you what, you hold it and I'll pull it.
Absolutely magnificent. Silky smooth riding.
It's like speedway, isn't it? Brilliant.
-So, you're happy to sell it?
-What do you think it is worth?
-I haven't a clue. That's why I brought it down here.
-Take a fiver?
-A bit more than that.
-I think it is worth £50-100.
I would like to see it go to the sort of top end of that,
to be honest. But I think if we put it into auction,
it'll be well advertised, toy collectors will love it.
A reserve of £50 so that we don't take any less.
-Are you happy with that?
-What are we going to do with it, Trish?
-I think we'll go to London and see a show.
-See a show.
You'd probably much rather see a show than have this sitting in a cupboard, wouldn't you?
-Thank you very much indeed for bringing it along.
-It's a pleasure.
That bike wouldn't be out of place in Model World.
This room is full of toys from a bygone era.
These mini cars are not the only Minis in the museum.
So, that's it. It's time to say goodbye to Coventry
as we drive over to the auction room in Stratford-upon-Avon
and here's a quick reminder of what we're taking with us.
He is a master of martial arts but will he win the fight at auction?
And how much can a little brush pot bring in?
A John Hutton angel, etched with incredible precision.
And a toy bike in this condition
could ride away with the top end of the estimate.
Back to the auction room now, but whose lot will steal the show today?
First, manufactured in the 1930s,
the Tri-ang Gyro Cycle belonging to Ed and Trish.
-We had fun working it, didn't we?
-I bet. Do you know what I say?
-"On your bike, Charlie, on your bike."
-Even when it went backwards.
Right, let's find out what the bidders think, shall we?
It's going under the hammer. This is it, look.
And I can open the bidding at £50.
Straight off at 50 and five do I hear? At 50 and five.
And 60. And five? 60 with me on the book at 60. Is it five now?
At £60. It's going to be sold at £60.
Last chance and done. £60.
And he's put the hammer down, straight in and straight out. £60.
Yeah. Well, well, well. One bid on the book.
And that's it. Not a lot of competition but it went.
Have you got anything like that from the age of three?
No. All my old Dinky toys, I played with, smashed into each other.
-All the paint's off.
-Threw the boxes.
-Great thing about this, it was in its original box.
Like me, I haven't got anything...
Nor has he now.
Well, so far, so good.
It's my turn to be the expert now and coming up for you,
we have that angel in flight. It's the engraving by John Hutton.
It belongs to Martin and, hopefully,
-a lot of local interest as we said back at the valuation.
And a limited edition like this, what is it, eight of 25?
-It is pretty rare.
-So, fingers crossed. Good luck, Martin.
Here we go.
295 is the John Hutton etching on glass.
I've been looking forward to this moment cos this is lovely, isn't it?
Framed. I can open the bidding straight off with this at £200.
On the book at 200. Is it 220 now? 220, 240, 260, 280, 300, sir.
320, 340, 360. 380?
Come on, let's get that top end.
380, 400. 420? 400 with me and a commission bid at 400. 420?
-420, 440. 460?
-There's a phone bid. Look up there.
460. I'm going to go 500. 520?
-I'm clear. With you at 520.
-That's more like it.
..on that telephone at 520.
Do I hear 540 now? At £520 on the telephone. Last chance.
It's going to be sold.
Brilliant. The hammer's gone down. Worth every penny as well.
-You won't miss it cos you can still see...
That would look marvellous on someone's windowsill.
The first lot going under the hammer will be the ivory brush pot
followed by the samurai figure. Unfortunately we don't have June.
-Where is she?
-June's in the Canary Islands, in the sun.
But you're supposed to be with her, aren't you? Or did you flip a coin?
No, I'm decorating the lounge.
-That's a good deal from June's point of view.
-I like this.
-This is a good thing.
-Yes, it's a nice thing, isn't it?
And the little brush holders, these brush pots
are very, very collectable - the Japanese ones and the Chinese ones.
-It's a healthy market at the moment, it's boiling.
Let's find out what they think of it in Stratford-upon-Avon, shall we?
Here we go. Good luck.
I've got multiple bids on this and I'm going to start it at £160.
On the book at 160. Is it 170 now? Got a phone bid, I know. 170 here.
Going to go 180. 190. That clears me 190. 200?
200, 220. 240?
240, 260. 280...?
260 down here. At 260. By the door at 260. Are we all finished?
Finished at 260.
-Brilliant. I'm really pleased.
-Get on the phone and tell her.
-I will indeed.
And here's the second lot, the figure.
So, who's going to start me off with a couple of hundred for it?
One down, one to go. This is it.
Very handsome figure. 200, 220 over there.
240, sir? 240. 260, 280.
300, is it? 280.
It's going to be sold at 280. Do you want three? 300.
-Phone line, look, up there now.
340, 360. 380?
380, 400. 420?
420, 440. 440. 460?
-They like it.
500, 520, 540.
A lot of interest in the room.
No? 560 in the room, it is. At 560.
560 - in the room, Philip.
Is there any further advance on 560?
Well, I think we'll call that a success, don't you?
-I'm very pleased.
-Well done, Claire.
-Yeah, well done.
-Very, very pleased.
-You've got to get on the phone and tell her now.
I will indeed now. Yes. Thank you. Thank you very, very much.
-And don't spend it all on paint.
Well, there you are - another day in another saleroom for Flog It!
I hope you've enjoyed the show.
I know all of our owners have gone home happy.
Some got what they want, some didn't. But that's auctions for you.
If you've never been to a saleroom before, get down to your local one.
It's great fun. Or, better still, come to one of our valuation days and a Flog It! auction.
Log on to bbc.co.uk/flogit,
follow the links or check the details in your local press.
But until then, from Stratford-upon-Avon, it's goodbye.
Paul Martin and the Flog It! team are in the West Midlands, parked up at the Coventry Transport Museum.
Paul is joined by experts Charlie Ross and Claire Rawle as they pick out their favourite antiques to take to auction.