Antiques series. Paul Martin presents from Longleat in Wiltshire, home to the 7th Marquess of Bath, where he is joined by experts Claire Rawle and Michael Baggott.
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I'm here in the heart of London, where later on in the programme,
I'll be showing you
some of the hidden work by one of our greatest architects,
Sir Christopher Wren.
But right now, it's time for me to catch up with the rest
of the team at our valuation day, so I better get my skates on.
Welcome to Flog It!
Today's valuations come from Longleat, in Wiltshire.
A 16th century Renaissance palace, Longleat House
was built by Sir John Thynn, a political player in the Tudor court.
A well read man, he started a book collection at Longleat,
which has been growing ever since.
Nearly five centuries later,
it is one of the largest private book collections in Europe,
with over 40,000 volumes catalogued within seven libraries.
But today, it is
the volumes arriving outside the house that we're interested in.
And here, on the beautiful east side of the house, bathed in the morning
sunshine, the crowds are already gathering in their numbers.
Somebody here is going to go home with a small fortune today,
so don't go away.
It is up to our experts to find that hidden gem
and take it off to auction.
And it is a responsibility our two experts,
Michael Baggott and Claire Rawle,
enjoy immensely, as they get to meet all the local characters.
My family might have used these planes here.
-We don't know.
-Oh, that is marvellous.
-We don't know.
I'll get Paul to come and have a look at that.
That is right up his street.
And he's not wrong. Thank you, Michael,
I'll have a look at that tool box later on in the show.
There are certainly plenty of treasures to go around.
-Oh, you've got quite a selection.
-A Longines and an Omega.
-But I've got a gold one here but no name on it.
I like this one, sort of like a jumbo watch.
Which reminds me, we can't keep our Flog It! fans waiting.
It is time to get cracking with those valuations.
And on this glorious day,
where better to set up than in the gardens here at Longleat?
Whilst our crews get their cameras ready,
here is what is coming up on today's show.
Barbara is shocked to discover the value of her Beatles signatures.
-As much as that?
-This is, of course, if they are all genuine.
But when the autographs are sent to the auctioneer's experts,
the jury is out.
I wouldn't like to say no,
but equally, I wouldn't like to say yes.
So are they are or aren't they genuine?
Well, find out when the bids come in later on in the show.
Well, everybody is now safely seated,
so it is lights, camera, action.
This is where the action is taking place today, outside, right here.
So let's now catch up with our experts
and join up with Michael Baggott.
He has spotted a real gem.
So, Wendy, I absolutely love your rat. Is it something you've bought?
-No, my twin sister bought it many years ago.
-At a car-boot sale.
-You're joking! At a car boot?
And she only paid a couple pound for it at the most.
-So, did your sister give it to you?
Well, she had about five at the end,
and they all come to me.
-Did she know what she had bought?
-So, she knew it was a netsuke?
-Something like that she told me they were.
This is not the best netsuke in the world, but it is a very nice one.
-And it is Japanese.
And for people that don't know what netsukes are, they're the
toggle that you would use to secure an inro or a sagemono.
And sagemono just means various hanging things.
Now, it is basically...
When the Japanese wore Japanese dress and not Western suits,
you had no pockets.
So everything that you needed as a gentleman or a lady was
suspended from the obi, from the band.
And this little toggle would slip through
-and stop anything falling on the floor.
Netsukes are carved in different materials.
The best ones tend to be carved ivory.
That isn't necessarily so, but wood,
a nice little exotic hardwood like this, is easier to carve.
What wood is that?
That is going to be something like a tropical rosewood.
-And if we look, we can see the two little holes in the base.
And that is where the cord for the inro or the purse or
pouch would have passed through.
And what is really nice is we've got that little signature there,
-that two-character signature of the artist who carved it.
And the detail is quite nice. It is not very fine.
The very fine ones of these, you will have the hairs of the rat
picked out and it will almost come alive in your hand.
But this is a lovely, middle-range example of a netsuke.
In terms of date, we are looking towards the end of the 19th century.
So we are 1880 to 1900.
Any ideas of what it might be worth now?
-No, none at all.
-Let's say £30 to £50.
-And let's say a fixed reserve of £30.
So it is very much entry-level.
The only problem with these is that in the last ten or 15 years,
-there has been massive modern copies.
And they have sort of flooded the market
and people are a little bit wary about them.
-But that's right as rain. You now, that is 120 years old.
-Oh, my God.
-If it's a day.
-So, if this one does well,
you'll have to find out the other three.
I'll have to find the others out again, yeah.
-Thanks very much for bringing this in.
-Thank you. Thank you very much.
Now, I wonder what Wendy's other netsukes are like,
originally a functional piece of wood, as Michael said,
to hold in place items hanging from the sash of a kimono.
By the late 18th century, these exquisite animals were being
carved up by artists Masanao and Tomotada.
Now, highly sought after, a world record was broken in 2010
when this 18th-century ivory netsuke made
£265,000 at auction.
So, dig them out, Wendy, you never know what you've got.
Hi, Marin. Now then, you've brought along two whips -
a hunting crop and a switch whip. What is the history behind them?
Well, that was my father's hunting whip.
And I don't know really where he acquired it from.
The crop was given to me by an elderly gentleman.
My father was captured at Dunkirk during the war,
in a German prison of war camp.
And a fellow officer's father came to see my mother, I suppose
to discuss the prisoner of war situation, sending passes and so on.
And I was about 18 months or two years old,
and I picked all my mother's carefully grown green tomatoes...
-..which she was cultivating and presented them
to this elderly gentleman.
And thereafter, he remembered every birthday and Christmas until he died.
-That was one of the presents that he gave to me.
-So it probably came from his family, then.
-It might have done, yes.
-I don't know where he got it from at all.
-Your dad was a prisoner of war.
-He came back all right?
-He did. He certainly did.
I met him for the first time when I was about five and a half.
-He'd seen me as a baby...
-..before he was captured.
Now, with the hunting crop,
obviously, it's a fairly standard design.
We can see on the bands here, they are silver,
and it dates from the Edwardian era, it's about 1906.
-This part, the T-piece, is used for closing gates.
-This is actually made of antler.
-Oh, is it?
-It is always made of antler.
And then it is just crisscross carved, very traditionally,
cos it gives you a surface to grip with.
And then a leather band here and a leather-plaited thong.
And as you see, it has lasted for years.
-And as long as it is cared for, it will go on for more years.
This is Victorian, so a little bit earlier.
And then very much used as a switch stick.
And very often ladies, when they road side-saddle, they used this
in the hand on the side where your legs weren't.
You'd switch on the shoulder of the horse, cos this,
in its day, would have been... You know,
if you were a lady, you would've ridden side-saddle.
-Not many road astride at that time.
-No, I suppose they didn't.
I don't think it's hallmarked anywhere.
We've searched and searched.
But these lovely little silver mounts here,
very typically Victorian with the scrolling foliage.
And it has got a little name at the top. And this is so pretty here.
Little mother of pearl, little handle.
And it is engraved with a thistle. Are you responsible for the damage?
But I think that just got damaged in the loft,
-where they've been sitting.
It's not good for either of them,
so I think the time has come to flog 'em!
-As they say.
I think... I'm tempted to say... You could either sell them together,
-cos they go to the same sort of buyer.
-I think they should, yes.
So, if you're going to do that, I'd suggest an estimate of 80 to 120.
-How does that sound?
-I would put £80 on them as a reserve, perhaps with a bit of discretion.
We'll look forward to seeing you at the auction.
And I shall look forward to being there.
Now, on what is possibly the hottest day of the year,
lots of people are taking advantage of a bit of shade underneath
the lime trees, and it is also where I can catch up with Nick and Moira
and that marvellous tool chest.
So, tell me a little bit about this. I guess you're the man to do that.
-These were yours, were they?
-No, these were my father's.
And I am led to believe that he'd done his apprenticeship in a small
village just outside of Warminster
and a lot of the tools were used and some of the joinery work was
actually in Longleat at the moment,
so there is a connection between these tools and Longleat.
-Right. So what trade did you take up?
-I'm a carpenter.
-You are a carpenter as well? You followed Dad in his footsteps?
-You must have used some of these planes.
I tried using the big one at the bottom, what they call a triplane.
I find it far easier to get the router out
and run it down or go down to the DIY shop.
-To be married to a carpenter is pretty handy.
-Your house must be in tiptop condition.
-Best of everything?
Everyone else's house is.
Just look at the fruit wood, look at what you are using there.
Some of those planes are beautifully made.
-I would say some of these date back a good 150 years.
What catches my eye are this sort of thing.
You know, the little side rebate planes where you can actually
put a groove on the side of the wood.
-And there is lots of varieties of moulding plane there.
-One like that.
Yeah. And I mean, that's lovely, isn't it?
-Look how beautiful that is. Look how beautiful that is.
Have you any idea what sort of value all of these planes are?
I don't know.
£150, £200 perhaps.
I'd say you are about spot on.
If I had to put a value on this, I'd have said £100 to £200.
You are looking at about £6-£8 per moulding plane.
Again, the same sort of money with the big jack planes.
The box itself, the tool chest,
well, that's worth a good £60 to £80 as well.
A fixed reserve at 100. Hopefully, we'll get that top end.
-And I'll see you both in the auction room?
-Yes, thank you.
-We'll see you there.
-BOTH: Thank you.
Well, I'm really glad Michael spotted that item in the queue,
exactly what I'd like to get my hands on.
And back in the main area,
another person capitalising on an early queue discovery
is Claire Rawle.
-I feel really quite honoured today,
cos you've come a long way here, haven't you?
Well, I have, I've come from London.
-But it was just nice to get some fresh air...
-..and be out of London for a couple of days.
-You're making it a holiday?
-You're staying here?
-Just for a couple of nights, yes.
-Excellent, well done. Anyway, to business.
So, we have a selection of wristwatches
and pocket watches, all from sort of different eras as well.
So what can you tell me about them?
I can't really tell you an awful lot.
I know that the larger one was my grandfather's.
In fact, I think both of the pocket watches were.
I don't know how old they are.
And I'd be really quite interested cos recently my uncle died.
-So I've really got no-one to ask.
-So, were the wristwatches your uncle's, then?
-Yes, they were.
-This one is Victorian, the large, the sort of jumbo sized watch.
And then you've got the more standard.
Again, both open-faced pocket watches.
Then of course, you move into wristwatches,
because wristwatches only really turned into wristwatches
at the beginning of the 20th century.
This is a nine-carat-cased one,
and this is the earliest of the wristwatches.
And as you can see,
it looks a little bit like a pocket watch still,
because it has got this very clear open face
and it is quite a thick case.
And the earlier ones did tend to look still a little
bit like the pocket or the fob watches that you saw at the time.
The two at the end here are much more recent.
We've got two very good makes - Longines and Omega.
And the two of those could date from
maybe sort of the '70s, into the '80s.
-Oh, that recent?
Oh, I didn't realise they were that recent.
Yeah, but modern collectibles and still desirable
because people always like retro styles.
These are much more collectible, whereas those are more practical.
So you've got quite a mixture of ages and styles.
So, you've obviously decided...
You've dumped them out of a drawer somewhere, haven't you?
-You decided the time has come.
-That's exactly it.
And also I'm going to be moving flats in London
-in the next couple of months.
And I really wanted the money to go to buy something nice,
-to remind me of my uncle, who was my favourite uncle.
-Oh, that's great.
That's much better, isn't it, than having watches just sitting,
hidden away. As a group, we're looking at £300 to £400.
And quite a lot of that value is actually in the two more
It's not always age that defines value,
-it's whether something can be worn and used.
-So if you are happy with that...
-I am, very much so.
Well, I'll look forward to seeing you at the auction.
And I really hope that they sell well and you will be able to
then buy something great
-to remember your uncle by.
-Something really nice, yes.
In a quiet corner of Wiltshire, just outside of Trowbridge,
is one of the oldest river swimming clubs in the country -
the Farleigh & District Club on the River Frome.
-Great day for this.
-Absolutely, you got the right day.
Giving me a guided tour is Rob Fryer,
club chairman and river swimming devotee.
This is brilliant, absolutely brilliant!
And there is a lot of people here.
If you weren't privy to this little swimming club being here,
you wouldn't know it existed, would you?
No. For a long time, it was a bit of a secret. But it's got out now.
And I see you've got some facilities.
You've got some port-a-loos and some... Well, a little changing hut.
-Our pavilion, I'll have you know.
-It's nothing like a pavilion.
I tell you what, I was expecting a bush to change behind,
so it is better than nothing. How long has that been there?
It goes back to the 1930s, when the club started.
-So it is a bit of our original property.
I guess that's what it's all about - getting back to basics.
-That's the kind of show we are, really, we are pretty basic.
It was back in 1930 that local landowners, the Greenhill brothers,
invited some casual swimmers to start a club on their land.
Soon, changing huts were built and diving boards erected.
There was camping nearby, too, and even a club flag.
So the 1930s were a bit of a heyday for this club.
That is when it was started.
-What happened during the Second World War?
-The Second World War...
Cos the first thing is, you weren't allowed to visit the...
-The coast, no.
-You couldn't go to the coast.
-So you had to come here if you wanted to swim, or some other place.
And, of course, a lot of our guys signed up.
And 12 of them never came back.
It's easy to imagine,
those young men leaping carefree from the boards.
It's much harder to imagine them as infantry men under fire,
or killed, serving in the Home Guard, like James Burkett,
or lost in action, like Ted Hamilton, a Swordfish pilot.
So, in 1947, the club erected a memorial spring diving board
dedicated to their fellow members who had lost their lives.
Sadly, this diving board, along with the three-tier board,
had to be dismantled back in the 1990s,
thanks to modern health and safety regulations.
Fortunately, the story doesn't end
with these forlorn reminders of times past.
Alongside these diving boards, the club put up a plaque naming
the 12 members who were killed in action.
Now, at some stage, we don't know the date, the plaque disappeared,
assumed missing forever. That was until recently
a blackened piece of metal was found in the river.
And it scrubbed up rather nicely.
It is now in pride of place on the side of an ancient stone barn,
just a few yards upstream, at Stowford Manor Farm.
Rob then organised a re-dedication service,
as he felt the memory of the men deserved a ceremony.
It is wonderful that your members have strong ties with
the club's history, with what happened in the past,
but also what is happening today.
And what was it like being at that service?
I have to say, it was very emotional.
Because we were wearing our club T-shirts
and we felt we were representing our 12 dead members.
And 12 living members had to each read
one of the names of the deceased.
And we finished the service up
and we dedicated it with our club song -
With Me Farleigh.
It's clear to see Rob's passion for the club and for wild swimming, but
to fully understand and embrace it, I think I need to plunge in myself.
-Not too bad.
-Not too bad, he's says! Not too bad? It's freezing!
I think we can go in...
It is cold!
Actually, do you know what?
If you keep moving, it is really refreshing.
This is wonderful.
The water is very dark and it feels very cold,
even through my wetsuit, but once you get used to it, there is
a wonderful feeling of connecting somehow with nature.
It really does feel like you are escaping the real world, doesn't it?
Well, yeah. What it is, is it's you're...
You're escaping from materialism, and this is the real world.
Mm. This is how nature intended it.
People say, why do I like wild swimming?
Well, I actually learnt to swim in a river, the River Cherwell,
and I just wonder why people want to swim in concrete pools.
It was after the war when new municipal swimming pools sprang
up across the country that clubs such as this went into decline.
By the early 1990s, Farleigh & District
was one of the few river swimming clubs remaining.
there has been a resurgence of interest in swimming
in the great outdoors of late,
thanks in part to a clean-up of Britain's waterways
and a number of recent publications about wild swimming.
The club now attracts people from far and wide,
and membership has soared.
But is the locals who make the most of the river.
It's just like a piece of heaven here.
You just feel wonderful. Your skin and your hair feels lovely.
It's really nice to come, you know, among the fresh air and water
And it is a lovely place to relax and just unwind and lose yourself.
You know, when you go swimming in a pool,
it sort of becomes part of your weekly exercise,
which in turn, becomes part of that sort of day-to-day,
getting down with a life routine.
Whereas here, swimming in the river, embracing nature,
sort of framed by foliage
and water rushes with a canopy of trees carving over like that,
well, you just get rid of all those urban constraints
and enjoy life, live it to the maximum.
And just embrace everything. I feel invigorated.
I'm freezing cold, but I tell you what, I feel fantastic!
Please check out a local river swimming club near you.
As long as it is run properly, it is going to be safe.
And I tell you what, you're going to have so much fun.
So, back in the water to keep warm.
Well, right now, it's time for us to take our first trip to
Devizes' Auction Rooms, to put those valuations to the test.
You've heard what our experts have had to say, well,
it's now time for the bidders to decide exactly what it's worth.
And here's a quick recap of what we're taking with us.
There's Wendy's wooden netsuke
that's round 120 years old and bought for only a couple of pounds.
There's the whip and the riding crop.
Marin has decided she wants to flog 'em!
So, let's hope they trot off with a new owner.
Hopefully, the bidders will appreciate this tall chest
as much as I do.
And Jean came all the way from London for her valuation,
so let's hope she gets a good result.
We've headed just a few miles northeast to the market town
of Devizes in the heart of Wiltshire,
where today's auction is happening.
It's already filling out with browsers and bidders.
And wielding the all-important gavel is auctioneer Alan Aldridge.
Well, it looks like the bidders are taking to their seats.
The auction is just about to start. Whatever you do, don't go away.
This could get very, very exciting. But do remember, if you are
thinking of selling something or buying on auction, there is
commission to pay. Here, it is 18%.
That includes the VAT and all the other little, hidden extra costs.
But factor that sum into your cost, won't you, because it does add up.
Right, let's get on with the sale.
And in this crowded saleroom,
let's hope our first diminutive lot wasn't hard to spot.
Going under the hammer right now
we have a little netsuke belonging to Wendy.
-It was a car boot find and it's been kept in a...
Some of these can be worth, as we know, an awful lot of money.
It's a lovely 19th-century rat.
-I think it is just amusing and it will find a home today.
OK, we're going to find out if this rat can run up a drainpipe
right now, it's going under the hammer.
A netsuke in the form of a rat. Give me £35 for him.
25 to start me.
Ten to get me away.
Ten I've got. I've got ten. I've got 15.
At £15. At 15. Is there 20? At 15, is there 20?
At £25. What about 28?
At £28. At 28. At 28...
£28, and that hammer has gone down. That is a sold sound.
He used a bit of discretion.
You know, it was a car boot find and it was a gift, so cost you nothing.
-It'll buy my grandchildren some ice cream on holiday.
Well, I couldn't think of a better way of spending your money, Wendy!
I've just been joined by Marin. And I think these are quality.
Fingers crossed we sell them, 80 to 120.
I don't think it is a lot of money. Are you happy to sell them now?
-Oh, yes. Yes. I hope they'll whip up a bit of enthusiasm.
-We hope so. Anyway, we are in the right area.
And they're lovely, actually.
-I mean, it isn't a high price, is it, for the two of them?
-Not at all.
It is absolutely nothing. Let's find out what the bidders think.
To a nice bid, please.
Let's have £100 for them.
50, start me.
-That's a big drop, wasn't it?
-40, get me away.
40, I've got.
40, I've got. 50? At £50. Is there 60?
At 50. It's not quite enough. I need a little bit more.
-At £50. Is there 60?
I'll take five if anyone would like it.
-Didn't sell it.
We were in the right area, I just don't know why
-that hasn't gone.
-It should have done.
Auctions are so unpredictable.
The next lot is the one I valued.
-Michael, it's great to see you again.
Michael brought in those wonderful carpentry tools in that
lovely box, which really belong at Longleat, don't they?
That is definitely true.
Every time I think of these lovely, old, artisan tools,
I think of things made with precision and love and discipline.
Anyway, let's find out what the bidders think,
it's going under the hammer right now. This is it.
A very nice carpenter's pine box,
containing 13 tri-moulding planes, etc.
Start me at £150 for it.
100 to get me away? 50. 40. 30.
30 I've got. 30, I've got 40.
45. 50. 55?
-We're selling, aren't we?
What about 98?
Go on, then, at 98.
Is there 100 anywhere else?
Sold. £98. Well done, you.
-And well done, Alan, on the rostrum as well.
-Yeah, very good.
-Happy with that?
-Yes, I think so.
Those little tiny moulding planes will be on display
-on a shelf somewhere.
-I think so.
Hopefully, in a craftsman's workshop.
Or a nice olde-worlde pub.
Great idea, Michael.
Now, let's hope we can raise some funds with our next item
so Jean can buy something special to remind her of her favourite uncle.
We're looking at £300 to £400.
You could say time's up. It is for Jean because...
Hey, you're selling the watches.
But this is Jean's first ever visit, Claire, to an auction room.
-It's really exciting.
-It is, isn't it?
-I'm loving it, yeah.
-And it's noisy, it's really loud in here.
There is a cracking atmosphere and things are flying out the door.
We'll find out what the bidders think.
Here it is, going under the hammer.
Very interesting little lot of watches. Five items in total.
And should be somewhere around about £350, £400.
350, start me?
Three to get me away.
150 I've got. 150 I've got.
325. At 300.
Is there any more?
-Yes! The hammer's gone down.
-Well done, yeah.
-Claire was spot on.
-She certainly was.
-Happy with that?
And now you can say, on your first visit to the saleroom,
you had a great day out on Flog It! and you sold something.
-Oh, I certainly can. It's been fabulous.
And you're going home with a bit of money.
Aren't you right. That's fabulous, thank you very much.
At £30 on my left.
Well, that's our first visit to the auction room done and dusted.
Now, in this series, we're taking a look at famous people
throughout history who were born in the places where we visit.
So today, I'm going to be finding out about one of our greatest
architects, who was born just a few miles down the road.
I'm, of course, talking about Sir Christopher Wren.
Behind me is one of the most famous buildings to dominate
the London skyline - St Paul's Cathedral.
Its dome has been a symbol of our capital city for centuries,
it's even survived the Blitz.
And below it, some of the country's greatest events have taken place.
But what about the man who designed it?
Well, believe it or not, Sir Christopher Wren isn't only
just responsible for this spectacular building,
his name is all over this city.
And today, I'm here to explore some of his hidden treasures.
Wren was born just a few miles from today's valuation day
location in Wiltshire in 1632.
But it is here, in London, that his legacy would be most prominent.
He designed and redesigned some of our greatest buildings,
including Hampton Court Palace,
the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
But he had no formal training as an architect.
Back then, architecture was basically a rich man's hobby,
a series of mathematical calculations the educated
would use to create their visions.
Now, whilst Wren had designed a few buildings elsewhere,
it was an event that took place in the city of London that would
secure his name in history.
The Great Fire of London in 1666
destroyed over two thirds of the city.
That was over 13,000 homes and buildings.
Officially, the death toll was just six people.
But without any real knowledge of who lived where,
it was more likely to be hundreds or even thousands.
Wren was a favourite architect of King Charles II
and the obvious choice to lead a rebuilding programme.
Within two weeks of the disaster, he had surveyed the damage
and was already drawing up plans to rebuild the city.
He was soon involved in scores of other new projects across London.
Including this, the first of my hidden gems - the monument
to the fire itself, the event that led to the most prolific period
in his life.
Now, it stands 202 feet away from where the fire first started
and it rises 202 feet into the sky,
exactly the same height as it is the distance.
Now, that tells us
that Wren really cares about the finer points of detail.
And there's also a tube station named after it.
The fire the monument commemorates was so devastating
because housing regulations weren't really enforced back then.
Cramped, wooden, thatched-roofed houses stood side-by-side
and were engulfed when the fire took hold.
The fire that started here in Pudding Lane made people
realise just how dangerous the buildings in London were.
And Wren became part of the team that reformed
the standard of buildings -
out went the thatched roofs, in came slate,
out went the clapperboard wooden buildings, in came brick and stone
to make London a much safer place.
But Wren's work had other surprising consequences.
The rise in new housing led to a rapid growth in industry -
furniture makers, potters
and metal workers were all in high demand, replacing what was lost.
He realised that it wasn't just homes that needed rebuilding,
Wren is reputed to have built a pub on this site.
Legend has it that upstairs he built an office from which
he could observe the work at nearby St Paul's.
And downstairs, the workers who were rebuilding the city could
enjoy a sup of ale when their work was done.
It is a claim to fame this pub is making the most of,
and who can blame them?
Wren was building a community, not just grand facades and ornate,
He realised that people needed more than that.
Including places to worship.
Over 87 churches were destroyed during the fire
and Wren constructed over 50 new ones.
And this is one of his creations - St Mary Le Bow
in the heart of the city.
And it's where the phrase "Born within the sound of Bow bells"
actually originates from.
And I've arranged to meet the rector, George Bush, to find
out about the tower that Wren built.
It's an incredible work of architecture and engineering,
that tower. The west face of the church is quite austere,
-but when you look up and see the tower, wow!
It is likely that Sir Christopher Wren,
who was working here from 1671 to 1680,
it's likely that he was very involved in the design
and building of the tower,
possibly rather less so in the facade of the church.
You can see that, it is quite noticeable.
-I mean, that is on a par with St Paul's, that tower.
It is his second most ambitious project.
-And it is the second most expensive project.
Why is this church so important to the city?
The medieval church on this site had a tower,
and in that tower, was a bell,
Bow bell, and that rang out at nine o'clock every evening
to indicate to the apprentices
and everybody else in the city that the working day was over.
And the sound of that bell was picked up at all the gates,
and then the city settled down for the night.
So, if you were born under the sound of that bell,
-you were a true Londoner.
-If you could hear that bell...
..that meant that you were Londoner.
To be born was an even greater blessing,
to be born within that sound.
Resonating throughout our history, that's incredible.
I didn't know it was from this church.
You think it is in Bow, in East London, but this is Mary Le Bow.
Cos this was right at the centre of the city, in the middle
of Cheapside, which was the main trading street in the city.
That's where the hub of the city was.
Absolutely, the centre of the city.
-And obviously, the bells still ring out today.
-Yes, and a new tower.
In Wren's tower, we now have 12 bells,
which are wrung very regularly for services and celebrations.
So thanks to Sir Christopher Wren's enduring architecture,
Londoners can still live and work within the sound of Bow bells.
His legacy stretches far and wide over this great city.
And if you ever visit London, you'll probably be closer to
a building designed by our most famous architect than you think.
Welcome back to Longleat, where the sun is still shining bright
and people are beating a path to the valuation tables here,
in the beautiful gardens.
-Having a good time everyone?
Hey, look, fingers crossed, it could be you or you going home
later on in the programme with lots of money!
They could have that hidden gem.
But right now, let's catch up with Claire,
who has indeed found a hidden jewel.
Hello, Sue and Debbie. It is lovely to see you. You look glorious!
Well, you've brought along something so pretty today.
-It really is glorious.
-Yes, we love it.
-So, shall we have a look at it?
-So, if we look in here...
And there it is, a little piece of treasure.
That is so, so pretty.
So, obviously, it is an amethyst and seed pearl set in nine carat with
a chain, but what can you tell me about it?
It belonged to my husband's aunt.
And when we were tidying up the house, we found it. I've loved it.
-I've worn it a couple of times.
-And only yesterday you found the actual box.
I've kept it out of the box
and I suddenly found the box to put it in.
-Just sort of sitting around in a drawer somewhere?
And I love the combination of the sort of amethyst with
-the little seed pearls.
-Very, very Victorian.
And as I say, it is set in nine carat gold
and a nine carat chain in there.
And at the back of it, if we just have a little look at it.
Then you've got the brooch. It has got a brooch pin.
Yes, I've worn it as a brooch.
Yes. It is a brooch or a pendant. So, they're very often...
You know, this is a good multipurpose jewel, then.
It is the sort of thing that could be worn.
But also there are collectors of jewellery that actually
just like it displayed in boxes.
-I mean, it is just so beautiful.
-It is dainty with not being too big.
But on the other hand, it's not so dainty that, you know,
you feel it's lost when you wear it.
Right, though, I understand you've got the link, haven't you, at home?
-Yes, a link which goes just to the chain.
Cos it needs something that means that it can hang on the chain.
So it's quite important to get that bit with it before we auction.
-I found it on the carpet this morning.
-On the carpet?
Right, OK. Just glad it didn't go up the Hoover, I guess.
Good, so we'll get the link with it so it can hang on its chain.
Now, I think it will actually sell very well.
I think you're going to be looking close to £300 for it.
-Really, I'd say an estimate of three to 350 on that, very easily.
-And I'd put a reserve,
just perhaps pitch it under the 300, perhaps at 280.
I really wouldn't like to see it go for any less than that.
-No, I think the same actually.
-Are you happy with that?
I shall very much look forward to seeing you at the auction then.
Now, while the valuations continue apace,
why don't we take a few minutes to do some exploring inside?
Longleat House opened to the public in 1949.
But before that, you could often look at stately homes
During the 18th century, it was common for butlers
or housekeepers to show visitors around the house.
Now, on one occasion, the Second Marquis was here,
in the Green Library, looking at some books, as you do.
He heard voices close by coming towards the library.
He didn't want to be sociable, so he hid in a gap,
a void in the bookcase.
He squeezed in there and hid in there.
He didn't want to see anybody.
Now, in big old houses like this,
it was quite common for spaces like that because walls got
moved around and room sizes got altered, creating these voids.
However, on this occasion,
the couple that were in here gravitated towards this
side of the library,
noticed there was just a little, tiny gap in the bookcase like that.
He hadn't pushed it too... And they pushed it open, they were curious.
And they looked inside, and there he was, the Second Marquis.
That must have been so embarrassing for all parties concerned.
Well, I expect the Second Marquis was particularly red-faced.
What a great family legend.
And now, back outside in the gardens, there are some more
rosy cheeks, but that is thanks to all this sunshine we are enjoying.
Barbara, thank you for bringing in this unassuming looking album.
It doesn't look great at the start of it. But if we open it up...
-Well, that gives it away, doesn't it?
So, this is your autograph album?
Well, yes, I collected various autographs over the years.
As I was an Army wife and we moved around a lot,
I put them into an album to keep them safe.
So, are these autographs that you yourself got or were
they given to you?
The Beatles and the Cliff Richard one were given to me
-by my very first boyfriend...
-..many years ago.
-He had a member of the family who worked for the BBC.
So he was enamoured of me
and so he thought I would quite like the autographs.
-To prove his love.
And we've obviously got,
from the Beatles here, we've got
Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison.
And then on a separate one, which usually it's on a separate one.
-"Love to Barbara, from John Lennon."
I am not an expert by any means in autographs.
And the one thing I think we've come to realise over
the years on Flog It! is that sometimes these
signatures are acquired genuinely,
somebody passes a book or a piece of paper into a dressing room,
but it is not actually that person who signed it.
-So I think what we have to do is give these to the auctioneer.
And he will call in a specialist who will be familiar
with the genuine signatures and how they're done.
Your story is promising.
Because, you know, it's a BBC connection.
You could see someone taking a quiet moment
and just getting the signatures from them
rather than in the humdrum of a concert or something like that.
-So, there's hope.
Of course, we have got a dedication there.
-They are always better when they are just the name.
-Yes, of course.
Because then they can be for any person.
I think the other autographs, and with them Cliff Richard,
is collectible. But he's been going for a long, long time.
He has done an awful lot of autographs.
And we have got The Shadows. And of course Cilla Black.
These, I think, are a matter of fives, tens, 15s of pounds.
But they add to the history, because it is your album that you
collected and it shows the continuity.
Beatles signatures, any idea of the value?
Not a clue.
I think we'd be cautious and say £800 to £1,200,
-and put a reserve of 800.
-As much as that?
That might be on the low side on the day.
-But 800 to 1,200 certainly.
-This is, of course, if they are all genuine.
-Yes, of course.
And of course, there is...
You can sort of have a middle ground that two might be right
and one might be signed by somebody else.
There's a whole degree of grey in between.
But we will leave that to the auctioneer.
But as four genuine Beatles signatures, 800 to 1,200,
-no problem at all.
-Fixed reserve of 800.
But, I mean, this is your...
your life and your autographs,
why have you decided to part with it now?
Well, I've had them for... What, it must be nearly 50-odd years now.
They don't do anything, they are just stuck in a drawer.
I've got the memories.
You've got the memories, you don't need the notes of paper any more.
No. And I think, obviously, gradually,
they start to deteriorate a little bit.
No, I think we are all right.
Pencil is best for autographs as long as you don't rub it.
-Thank you so much for bringing them in.
-Hopefully, we'll have a favourable result on the day.
The big question is, are those Beatles signatures genuine?
Keep watching to find out.
Now, from the glamour of the pop world to the charm of a bygone era,
when people still used calling cards.
Well, hi, Sandy.
You've brought along this silver salver or card tray, take your pick.
Salver, I'm not sure exactly what it is.
Yeah, well, I'd call it a card tray.
I expect salvers to be that much bigger.
-So tell me a bit about it, where has it come from?
Well, I don't actually know very much about it at all.
My mother used to go to this little antique shop round the corner
-many, many years ago and buy things.
And this is one of the items that she just put away.
She never showed it or displayed it.
And I actually have not displayed it, as you can tell.
I've not cleaned it.
So you're not overly enamoured with it either, then?
-I'm afraid not.
Obviously, she'd bought it and then she decided that she'd keep it
-for the future, but she never did anything with it.
So you've inherited it and kept it in the cupboard ever since.
-Well, it is a nice thing. I like it because it is quite plain.
It is very much made in the Georgian style
and it's very clearly marked on the back. So if we just turn it
over, it has got a Birmingham assay mark and it dates from 1939.
And look, you've got a silver mark, the year mark and the maker's mark.
And it is all nicely...
-Obviously, it hasn't been over polished over the years.
So it is very well marked indeed. It is a very nice, plain item.
You do base the value a bit on weight. And we have weighed it.
And it's nine troy ounces.
I don't know what that means.
It's not hugely heavy, but it is a good chunky piece.
So, based on its weight and its style, I'm thinking at auction
-you're looking at about between £70 and £100.
-I don't know if that sounds about right to you.
-I don't mind.
-I'll go with whatever you say.
And I think a reserve of £70, a fixed reserve of 70,
-if you are happy with that.
-I'm quite happy.
-And it should do fine.
-Have you got any idea what you might buy in its place?
-Just probably put it in the holiday fund.
Well, thanks for bringing it along, it's a lovely thing.
-As I say, it should sell very, very well.
-I'll see you at the auction, then.
-Thank you very much.
It really is hotting up here in the formal gardens,
and Ray and Michael have both sensibly got their sun hats on.
Ray, thank you for bringing in these two mysterious-looking pots.
Where did you get them from?
I was on a study tour in around about 2005 in China,
in a place called Kuning, up in the mountains.
And I came across them in a museum,
which was rationalizing its collection.
These caught my eye, so I bought them.
-So you bought them from the museum?!
It all bodes well, doesn't it?
If we look at them, they're in the form...
I think they're trying to be archaic vessels.
And in this case, we've got these little lion masks, we've got
all this detail of the piercing of the dragons chasing
the flaming pearl, trying to achieve immortality.
The lion is well done.
And the little toads are well done.
But it starts to fall down a bit round the collar.
And you've got this ostensibly old piece of soapstone.
But when you look at the insides,
-that looks like it has been done by a Black & Decker.
The Chinese, it has to be said, are the greatest culture
in the world for producing, let us say, copies of earlier things.
And I think what you've got here are two pieces
that are purporting to be 19th century.
But when you look in detail, that collar could be stamped
out of a sheet by a machine with some regularity.
And when you start to see concretions and discolorations,
but then you see bright bits of solder,
then the alarm bells ring.
It is at this point, because I don't want to crush you, Ray,
I'm going to ask you what you paid for them.
Uh... £5 each.
Thank goodness for that. Thank goodness for that. That's great.
-That's fine, it doesn't matter.
I don't think that these are tremendously old.
I think they're, at best,
-1930s or '40s.
They're still Chinese and they're still decorative,
so they have a value. If we say £50 to £100 for them,
and put a reserve at £40, that is still showing you sort
-of a four-fold return on your investment.
And they may go on from there. I mean, we might be surprised.
But I think if you are offered any more of them,
-I think just stick at £5.
And maybe don't go up to six.
Well, my instinct was right.
But lovely to see them. Thanks so much for bringing them along.
-Thank you for telling me the story.
Well, what a marvellous day we have had here at Longleat House,
our magnificent venue for today.
Everybody has thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
But right now, it's time to put our last set of valuations to the test.
We have some unfinished business to do in the auction room, so here
is a quick recap of all the items that are going under the hammer.
We've got that sparkly amethyst and seed pearl necklace,
which can also be worn as a brooch.
And here is a tongue twister, it is Sandy's silver salver,
or card tray, which is much easier to say.
Ray's not worried these pots haven't a great age -
bought for just £5 each, I'm not surprised.
And to end it all, it's the exciting autograph album.
Michael's estimate is conditional on the autographs being genuine,
but are they? Well, we'll have to wait and see.
The auction is still going strong in Devizes with plenty
of flurries, nods and winks to keep Alan, our auctioneer, very busy.
And next under his hammer is that really good-looking
piece of adaptable jewellery.
I take it Debbie cannot be with us today.
-No, Debbie is doing a personal training course today.
-She's very upset about not coming to see this.
-Does she want to become a personal trainer, then?
Oh, good luck to her. A lot of money here.
We are looking at £300 to £400?
-Lovely thing, don't you think?
-Oh, I do, yes.
And as you say, lovely quality. It should, I think, sell easily.
And you know what we say, quality always sells.
Let's find out what the bidders think, here we go. This is it.
Edwardian amethyst and seed pearl
brooch-pendant with a 20-inch chain,
up around 400 quid.
Who has the 400?
Three to start me.
250 to get me away.
250 I've got. 250, I've got 275.
-It took a long time to get in, didn't it?
350. At 320.
Not going to dwell on it.
-Well done, Alan, good auctioneering.
-You best get on the phone.
-I will do. Thank you very much indeed.
And I hope Debbie is happy with that result, too.
Ray, we're just about to sell your incense burners,
brought all the way back from China, on a trip in 2005.
-That must have been a wonderful trip.
-First time you've ever been?
-That was, yeah.
-You've been back since?
-Oh, you love it then.
-Exactly. That is exactly what they are.
Let's find out what the bidders think, shall we?
Hopefully, we can get them away.
Oriental incense burners, both decorated with Chinese themes.
Somebody start me at £40 for them.
20, get me away.
Ten, I've got. 20.
£40 at the very back.
45 anywhere else? At £40.
At £40, is there five?
At £40. All going...
-Just. There were go.
At 45 for timing...
Well, the extra fiver helps. £45.
-You were right.
Well, it pays for my Charity Shield tickets for tomorrow.
Well, that's a great return on £10 and a fun way to spend it!
Going under the hammer right now
we've got a 20th-century silver salver.
It is not a lot of money, it belongs to Sandy.
-In fact, this was your mother's, wasn't it?
It's good quality English silver.
-Is this valued on the scrap?
-It is a bit, I'm afraid.
It is a bit with this.
-We want the top-end of the estimate, whatever happens, don't we?
-That would be nice.
-Shall we find out what the bidders think?
-It is going under the hammer now. This is it. Look, that's your lot.
Hallmarked silver salver, somewhere around about £75.
60 I've got. 60 I've got. 60 I've got. 65. At 60.
70. At £70, is there five anywhere else? At £70.
Gosh, that was... I tell you what, hammer action or what?!
-So, it's gone. Happy?
-Yes, very happy.
It never has to be polished by you
and you don't have to put it back in the attic.
Thank goodness for that.
Well, it is certainly a nice little sum to go into Sandy's holiday fund.
Now, I couldn't wait to find out
if those Beatles autographs were genuine, so on the preview day,
just before the auction, I caught up with auctioneer Alan.
-Have you done your research?
What we do, we have a couple of chaps who we use for advice.
-We sent them to those chaps.
-They came back as no.
Now, we use three fellows.
Two definitely said no,
wouldn't like to say no,
-but equally, wouldn't like to say yes.
Lennon, definitely wrong.
But maybe the others.
But only a very small maybe.
So, you've revised the estimate, the new figure is now what?
-150 to 250.
-OK. Reserve at?
-With a set reserve, 150.
Because there are still some good names in there.
There are some good other names, but also,
if somebody makes up their mind that they are the Beatles,
-they could still make £500, £600, £700.
But by putting the secretarial, it is up to the buyer to decide.
So, you are calling them secretarial, meaning someone
backstage was passed these,
they signed them, passed them back out the door.
-Looks like The Beatles signed them, but they didn't.
-That is exactly what it is.
-So the onus is on the buyer, yeah.
Well, good luck. Good luck with that.
Let's hope that we do get some high notes there.
Well, although the auction house think Barbara's Beatles
signatures are probably not genuine, which is a real shame,
at the end of the day, it's still down to the bidders to decide.
What went through your mind when Alan rang you up and said,
"Look, you know, in our opinion,
"those autographs aren't signed by The Beatles?"
Well, it was disappointing, I don't mind admitting.
-But, you know, you have to accept these things in life.
But we still have a renewed valuation of £150 to £250 because
of the other artists involved, and there are some good names there.
I think so, yeah.
Hopefully, we can get the top end of the revised estimate.
-I'll keep my fingers crossed.
-Ready for this?
-Let's do business!
It's going under the hammer now.
All the others in there are all proper autographs,
but we think The Beatles ones are secretarial.
But at the end of the day, you have got to make up your mind.
I've got a few bids on my book.
And I will come in at...£300.
That's more of a yes, isn't it?
320. At 300. 320.
320. 340. 360.
420. 440. 460.
This is good. Whatever comes of this, this is very good so far.
Against you all, with me at 560...
-That is a good result.
-That is a very, very good result,
considering that revised estimate.
-You know, it blew that out of the water.
And as Michael said, you know, it is more of a yes or erring
on the side of caution that one of those autographs might be right.
-Because one alone is worth £500.
-I know there are roller-coasters
at Longleat, I didn't expect one today at auction.
-Well, you must be pleased with that.
-Oh, I'm absolutely thrilled.
-You know, was prepared to... OK, if I was lucky to get 150.
Which would have paid for my piano to be tuned.
Now I can pay for that
and put some money aside towards my trip to Australia.
-Fantastic! Well, enjoy it, won't you?
What a brilliant result. You never can tell what's going to happen.
Well, there you are. What can I say? Job done!
It's all over for our owners, and they've gone home happy.
That's the main thing. And one or two big surprises.
I hope you enjoyed today's show.
If you've got anything you want to sell,
we would love to see you.
Bring it along to one of our valuation days.
Details of up-and-coming dates
and venues you can find on our BBC website.
Or check the details in your local press.
Dust them, down them, bring them in.
But until then, from Devizes, in Wiltshire, it's cheerio.
Paul Martin presents from Longleat in Wiltshire, home to the 7th Marquess of Bath, and there is a wide variety of antiques and collectibles put before experts Claire Rawle and Michael Baggott at the valuation tables, including a stunning amethyst and pearl brooch. But it's an autograph album with a set of Beatles signatures that has the experts guessing. Are they genuine or not? All is revealed at the auction.
Paul also takes a trip to London to unearth the hidden architectural gems of one of Wiltshire's most famous sons, Sir Christopher Wren, and he pulls on his wetsuit and dives into the River Frome to discover the joys of wild swimming with one of the oldest river-swimming clubs in the country.