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Today we're in West Hertfordshire
and I'm 108 feet up in the air on top of the Bridgewater Monument,
which was built in 1832 as a tribute to Francis Egerton,
the man who was also known as the Canal Duke
for his pioneering work on the UK's inland waterways.
Now, they say from up here you can actually see seven counties at once.
I'm not sure about that today.
One thing I am sure about, though, you can see Ashridge House,
which was the Canal Duke's home during the 18th century.
And today, for one day only, it's home to our valuation tables.
Welcome to Flog It!
Ashridge House is a real seat of innovation and change.
During it's 700-year history this site has been a monastery,
a royal residence and a war hospital.
And it's not just the Canal Duke who achieve great feats here.
Edward I held parliament here in 1291.
But today it's inspiring and exciting antiques
we are looking for, and this lot cannot wait to get inside
so the fun can begin.
Someone in this queue today has got something that's worth
a great deal of money. It's our experts' job to find it.
Now, if our experts pick on one or two of your treasures and you're
happy with the valuations, what are you going to do?
ALL: Flog It!
And on the lookout for us today are a double act
destined for great things.
We've got pioneering Thomas Plant,
and roaming roving Claire Rawle.
Now let's catch up with Claire who's made a scientific discovery.
Well, hello, Florence. Hello.
Nice to meet you, and you've brought a really attractive polished
mahogany box here, haven't you? Yes. When it opens out - hey, presto.
A rather magnificent-looking microscope in there
with a huge collection of objectives.
So, quite a superior item. Nicely made.
Has a very specialised market, though, microscopes,
they can be a bit tricky to sell. Yes.
So sometimes the value isn't huge.
But you've also brought in a couple of rather nice boxes here of slides
to go with it. Botanical subjects, mainly, aren't they? Yes.
They've got all their little cards and things there.
Nice sort of late 19th century ones. So...
Quite an unusual object. You've lugged this quite a long way.
It's very heavy. Tell me a bit about it. Where did it come from?
Well, my husband bought it about 54 years ago,
and he bought it off a very old gentleman then
who was quite happy to sell it to him because he knew he was interested
in it and he'd look after it. Yeah.
So my husband bought it
and he's had many, many years of happiness on it.
So he used it? Yeah, he did use it. Oh, right.
Yes, he used to go past puddles, do a few puddles. Yeah?
Pick a little jar up... Take it home and look at it?
And then he'd come home and then he'd drop the water on the slide
and look through it, and say to me, "Come and have a look at this,"
and he was so thrilled. Oh, that's nice, cos very often
these things are bought and people don't really know
what to do with them. So the fact that it was used.
But it's fascinating, and lovely to be able to look at
all the sort of little creepy crawlies and things...
It was, once you looked through it and see these things moving,
it was wonderful. Gives you a different perspective
on what's going on in a puddle, doesn't it, really? Oh, yes.
And obviously it's a 19th century scope and 19th century slides,
so obviously he was using a collectable item then, really. Yes.
It already had age when he bought it.
Yes, a very elderly gentleman who had it.
It is more than just a student's instrument,
I mean, this is quite a specialised instrument. Yes.
With all these different objectives in here you can look at
a whole range of things.
It's a nice item, and I think especially
because you've got the slides with it,
because there are really keen collectors purely for the slides.
Really? Especially if they've got little insects and bugs in them,
cos some of them they're not even sure they're in existence now,
so it's a sort of historical interest. Yes.
So, I guess we have to talk money. I think an estimate of 3-500. Yes.
Nice broad estimate there. Yeah. Does that sound good to you?
I'm quite happy, yes. Would you be happy with a ?300 reserve on that?
Yes. Happy with that? Yeah. Sure? Just about.
Well, the thing is not to overcook it. No. Keep it sensible.
Make sure it's a price you're happy with. Yes.
And then hopefully you get them all there
and they get really excited and they spend a lot of money on it. Good.
So, what are you going to put it towards? Central heating.
Central heating? Yes, it's packed up. Oh, no!
So you really want to get on with that. Yeah. Yes, yeah.
Well, I shall look forward to seeing you at the auction. Thank you.
And we shall do our very best to get you a radiator or two fixed.
Yes, that's what it'll buy.
That was a well-preserved example of 19th century science.
Let's hope it entices the botanists in the sale room
so we can get Florence's heating fixed.
So, here we are, this palatial mansion, huge,
would've had many fireplaces.
The tiles backing those fireplaces...
would have no relationship to these ones here.
These would be in far more modest accommodation.
However, there's an interesting relation between the two.
How did you come by them?
Demolishing the fireplace that they were inserted inside.
And where was that? Two fireplaces. In the last house I had. Oh, really?
Built about 1860. Yeah. These would be 1860s, 1870s, absolutely.
The reason why I say there's a sort of relationship between
the two things is that the house
we see behind us is medieval,
it has 19th century additions to it.
These hark back to that medieval period.
They hark back to that romantic time.
They're by Minton, but more importantly these designs
are by a person by John Moyr Smith.
John Moyr Smith was a designer from that late 19th century period
when it was terribly fashionable to look upon the allegorical stories
of the past and design scenes around them.
And here we have the seasons.
So we have summer here with Celadon and Amelia,
and this is a representation of a poem from the 18th century.
I don't think Amelia was in love with Celadon,
but Celadon got swept away in a storm, hence the lightning.
But that's rather fun, isn't it?
And then we've got autumn - Comes Jovial On.
I don't know the story behind this one, but he is here with his scythe
here, and he's sort of reaping the rewards of his harvest.
Winter - looks like a Scottish gentleman in his tartan here
and almost like a Tam o'Shanter hat. Yes, and the ginger hair.
The Snow Storm. I think that's a rather attractive one.
And then we've got spring with the ploughing of the land
and the planting. Doesn't look like he's putting much effort in
cos ploughing takes a bit more effort than that
to drag that plough down.
You don't just hold it one hand and the oxen in the other.
This is the problem with Victorians,
they had this romantic view of things.
And here's one typically romantic.
Well, luckily for you there are tile collectors out there.
So, I would value them at 120... Yes. ..to ?180. Yes.
I'd put a reserve at ?100. Yeah.
I don't think there's any point giving them away. Oh, no. No.
I'd rather keep them and use them. Too nice to leave in the cupboard.
Absolutely. Well, see you at the auction. OK. Thanks a lot.
We're back at the Tring Market Auctions,
and like all auction houses sellers have to pay commission.
Here it's 15% plus VAT on the hammer price.
Introducing Kenneth, a man for all seasons.
That's exactly what's going under the hammer right now.
Four Minton tiles, the four seasons. Quality, quality, quality.
Great ceramics. Why are you selling these?
They've just been lying in my cupboard for over 20 years.
I never found a use for them.
I mean, they make good kettle stands and things like that.
Good coasters and... A coaster on the dining table.
We've seen these sets before sell on "Flog It!"
and we've seen them separately as well.
Thank goodness you've got all four.
They sell well and they make great coasters.
They do, and these are Minton John Moyr Smith,
great Arts and Crafts designer.
So if you love Arts and Crafts, you'll love these.
They're going under the hammer right now.
Number four - 104, now.
We have some Art Nouveau Minton's pottery tiles.
They're in jolly good order. Yeah, I love these.
80 for them? 70 for them? 70. Five. 80. Five. 90.
Are you going to be the five?
100, thank you. ?100.
Come on, that's a good opener.
Lady over there. There you go.
130. 40? 140.
150? 150. 160.
At 150, then, they're going. ?150. Thank you.
That's quite good.
Gosh, that lady moved in, bidding, bidding, bidding,
made sure she had them, didn't put her paddle down and walked out.
Literally, did you see that? Just here for the tiles.
If someone pushed her she'd've kept going.
She was that determined and that's the beauty of auctions.
That's a good result. Yes. That's a very good result.
Well, it's the microscope up next
and I think there will be a real enthusiasm for this.
Remember, Tring has strong zoological connections,
so fingers crossed for a botanic bidding battle.
Good luck, Florence. Thank you.
I have been waiting for this moment ever since the valuation day
cos I saw this and I said to you,
"Oh, I like that, I like that," and I know you spotted it as well. Yeah.
You did the valuation. I just think the cases of slides
that go with this are so well documented.
It's a lovely piece of history here, and I had a chat to Steven,
the auctioneer, yesterday. He's happy with the valuation.
He knows it's going to sell at what you said,
but he's upped it a little bit. Oh, right, excellent.
So we're now looking at ?500-?700. Yeah, it's a nice lot.
The slides are so decorative, apart from anything else.
They're beautifully presented.
I hadn't seen it for 20 years because it was put in the cupboard,
and then I opened it a couple of days before I came to
"Flog It!" and when I looked at it I thought, "Wow!" You know,
so it even surprised me after 20 years.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Let's find out if there's any interest online or on the phones.
Right, now lot number 106.
There we are, a very fine microscope
and also the two boxes of prepared slides with it.
500 I'm bid for it now.
520, I have it. And 50, 80, 600.
And 20 and 50 and 80.
700 we're bid. 720 and 50 and 80.
800 we're bid. 820, 850, 880.
This is very good. ?900. ?900.
At ?900 and we're bid for it.
920, 950. And there's more to come.
?1,050. ?1,100 we're bid. And 50.
1,200. And 50. 1,300. And 50.
1,400. And 50. 1,500. And 50.
This is what it's all about. This is a proper auction.
I'm going to get you a chair in a minute.
No, but 1,800 in the room.
1,850. New bidder.
Fresh legs. 1,900.
And 50. 2,000. And 50.
2,100. And 50.
2,200. And 50.
2,300. And 50.
Slightly underestimated this item.
2,400. Yeah. It was.
Yeah, it was, wasn't it?
2,500, sir. 2,500. And 50 now.
At 2,500 I'm selling. 550.
I can't believe it. Gosh.
2,800. And 50. 2,900.
This is incredible.
3,100. 3,200. 3,300.
3,400. 3,500. 3,600. No?
At 3,600 in the room.
I'm selling, then. It's going down at ?3,600.
Thank you, sir.
That's a sold sound, isn't it?
Everybody is giving you a round of applause in the auction room.
It exceeded all our expectations. It did, it really did.
That is a great result. Oh, look, enjoy it, won't you?
Well done, Claire. And thank you, Claire. Oh, thank you.
It's been an absolute pleasure. I'm so pleased for you.
Thank you very much.
Wow! We had two bidders going head-to-head, neither one wanting
to lose the microscope
which sold for over six times its reserve price.
Let's see what they had to say about the final outcome.
I feel I've paid a lot of money for them, but that's auctions for you.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,
but I was obviously prepared to pay that amount.
I'd calculated how much I wanted to pay, got a bit carried away
and probably bid more than I intended to.
Obviously I was disappointed, but the other bidder looked as if
he was fairly determined and was going to carry on bidding.
They're a good collection of quality microscope slides.
Unusual to have such a good collection all in one go.
I will probably save and collect some of them
and trade a few of them, as well.
What a wonderful way to end the show.
We've had such a marvellous time here in Tring,
and I know you have, haven't you? We've made your year, haven't we?
You certainly have.
If you've got something like that we want to see it, but until then
join us for many more surprises. Well done, you, Florence.
Thank you very much, Paul.