Antiques series. Paul Martin presents from Sheffield with experts Thomas Plant and James Lewis. Items of interest include a tortoiseshell locket and a Georgian tankard.
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Today's show comes from the city renowned for producing
the world's finest steel and finest cutlery for over 800 years.
Of course, we're in Sheffield.
Welcome to "Flog It!"
Our "Flog It!" faithful have assembled
at the Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield.
Originally built in 1638.
This building has been home to the Cutlers' Company,
the guild that has looked after
the city's world-renowned industry ever since.
The first hall on this site,
which has been replaced by the current building,
cost the princely sum of £86, three shillings and ten pence.
Let's hope today we can find antiques and collectables
that are worth considerably more than that.
We got hundreds of people here, laden with bags and boxes,
ready to see our experts.
And steeling themselves to sift through the treasures today
is the sparkling Anita Manning and the ever-youthful Thomas Plant,
both working their magic with the crowd.
They're all eager to go in. There isn't a minute to waste.
So, without further ado, let's open the doors and look at some antiques.
Ready, everyone? Come on, then.
Our teams have their work cut out for them,
with over 500 antiques to be inspected and valued.
Which of today's items going off to auction
will prove to be a cut above the rest?
Will it be this Victorian tortoiseshell locket,
complete with gold chain?
Or will this silver tankard have its owners raising a toast
in the sale room? Don't go away.
All will be revealed later on in the show.
This trio of grand chandeliers dates to the 1950s.
The originals were damaged during the Sheffield Blitz
of the Second World War
but they're casting such a fabulous light on the crowd below.
It's such an exciting atmosphere.
And up in the minstrels' gallery,
Thomas Plant is ready to shed some light on our first item.
Fantastic chandeliers here in Cutlers' Hall.
And this is a tasty little lighthouse we've got.
Paul, tell me how you acquired it?
Car boot find. Addicted to car boots.
Tell me, Paul, are you in the boot before it comes out?
-Light, the little torch.
Never go in the boots.
-I don't agree with that, you know.
-Just as they're getting it out, maybe.
So what was the story behind this?
Early morning, three weeks ago, Keepmoat Stadium,
which is Doncaster Rovers' stadium.
They have a gigantic car boot every week, and basically,
a lady just got it out, just the quirkiness of it.
So it's a lighthouse, but what actually is it?
I said it's a tasty little light.
-Well, if I lift off the cap, we can see...
-..the actual wick and where it would have been fired.
And so I'm sort of wanting to give you
a little bit of my thoughts behind it.
-It's in aluminium.
-OK, we've got a bit of oak round here.
You know, maybe a bit of stained beech.
-And again, another bit of aluminium.
Now, whether this lighthouse
was made by a happy amateur or it was made
for somebody like the Trinity House organisation...
-..who look after our lighthouses.
-Established by Henry VIII.
-And this is, you know, a magnificent lighthouse.
But it's something which... it would have been after dinner,
the ladies would have adjourned,
the gentlemen would have sat round a big mahogany dining table
and passed round this to light one's cigars with.
If you were involved in that sort of organisation.
And that's what I think it is. But it is 1920s.
-It can't be any earlier, can it?
-Cos of the aluminium.
Someone introduced aluminium.
Aluminium or aluminium.
Aluminium was really introduced in the first part of the 20th century.
-You know, we sort of built airships
out of it and other things.
It was a new metal and so it would have been quite expensive.
-And this would have been quite an expensive little thing
and it's actually been made particularly well.
I love the brickwork here and the little windows are great.
-The windows are great.
-Yeah. So have you got an eye for things?
It's got to be unusual. It can't be your everyday,
20 cabinet people, sort of thing.
It's got to be something like that, just bizarre.
And can I ask and be cheeky?
-What did you pay for it?
-Well, the lady...
-Was it pounds?
-It is pounds.
-It was pounds.
-It wasn't pence.
-It wasn't pence.
Was it one figure pounds or was it two figure pounds?
It started at two figure pounds and I got it down to a one figure pound.
Are you a hard negotiator?
I try my best, yeah. Basically, she wanted £12 for it.
How much did you pay?
I actually paid eight in the end, yes.
Even though I thought it were worth 12, but the principle.
-Well done, you.
-Try my best, yeah.
What's this going to make on auction?
It's not going to make massive, massive amounts of money.
-But I think we can put it in at £30 to £50.
-Yes, very, very.
Shows you a small profit.
-Brilliant profit, yeah.
-It's a quirky item.
-I like it.
-Hopefully somebody else does.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
That's a great little item to have found
in the early hours of a car-boot sale.
I'm sure it will light up the saleroom.
Meanwhile, Anita is about to sail into her first valuation.
Sue, when this item came on the table,
the first thing that struck me was how lovely and shiny that top part was.
-Were you up all last night polishing?
No, not last night but I do like to keep my silver nice and clean.
I do like polishing silver.
-You do like polishing silver?
-I like silver.
Well, we are in Sheffield - the home of silver and silver plate.
-Well, let's look at it as a whole.
-And it's quite an exciting piece, Sue.
-Let's look at the base first of all.
It gives us the mark for Macintyre
and we have this early green signature
for William Moorcroft.
Now, this little biscuit barrel
dates from the time when James Macintyre
and William Moorcroft collaborated
and that was between, I think, about 1897 and 1912.
So we can be very specific about that date.
And we can see when we look at this object as a forerunner
of what we know as traditional Moorcroft,
where we had the pipelining,
we had these lovely blue colours and gilt.
So we're looking at the forerunner of Moorcroft...
-When he started up with his own studio.
So it's quite exciting.
one of the most obvious things,
and it was a wee bit of a disappointment,
-I must say...
We could see that it has been damaged,
and we can see the crack here,
which runs right along the body and back up again,
but we see that it has been repaired by these rivets.
Rivets, I know. It's always been like that, Anita.
It's always been like that?
This was repaired a long, long time ago.
-Quite soon after it was made.
Now certainly before 1912 because there was no superglue.
And this is how it would have been repaired, by riveting...
-..the two broken pieces together.
And, to me, I don't find it ugly or terrible.
I think it's just part of the history of it.
It's part of the history.
-It's been riveted together.
And I come from the Clyde and that has a great tradition of riveting.
-So I don't mind a bit of riveting myself.
-But what it does do is affect the price.
Yes. Well, I didn't know how much it was worth anyway.
If this had been in perfect condition,
we would have been £400, £500.
Oh, would we?
But with the damage, it takes away so much of the value.
-It would render it to probably under £100.
But I think that it's worthwhile putting it on the market.
-Now, are you happy with us to put it forward with a price of, say,
You're very definite about that, Sue.
Fine. I've got to be because it means a lot
and I don't think my family will appreciate it.
Well, let's put it to sale.
-Estimate, 80 to 120.
-Oh, that's a good one. I've heard that before, Anita.
-Was that one of mine?
-One of several.
So, 80 to 120, but I think
we should bring the reserve to perhaps about £60.
And I'm hoping that that might fly.
Well, I'm with you there, Anita.
I do as well.
Thank you, Sue, for bringing it along.
Thank you very much. It's been lovely.
With people still arriving at our valuation day,
there's a real buzz around the floor of the hall and above it.
Well, it's a fantastic atmosphere at Cutlers' Hall, Sheffield today.
The "Flog It!" team are out.
I mean, we've got loads of people from Sheffield and we've also got
something which measures that atmospheric pressure.
First of all, EGB - is that a relation?
-I don't think so.
-I don't think so.
-Let's open it up.
Fantastic pocket or travelling barometer.
Tell me about it.
How did you come about it?
My father bought it a long time ago and when he died, I got it.
So your father, was he somebody interested in scientific instruments
or was he a traveller?
Did he like the weather?
He was interested in antiques and anything interesting.
He was a chemist and he was just fascinated
-with anything that took his fancy, really.
-Why have you kept this?
I don't know. It's just one of those things that was kept.
-And you know it's for measuring atmospheric pressure.
And have you had it out of the box?
-And there's some information in the bottom.
I think we'll have a look at that.
But if I just do this, if I just blow on here.
-Does it move?
-It moves, yeah.
So that's obviously the aneroid barometer in there working,
so that's quite good fun and it's in this fantastic gilt metal case.
We see a lot of these pocket barometers.
This one, however, is a bit special.
The reason why - it's a good size.
A lot of these pocket barometers are half this size.
-And they're sort of happy amateur ones.
This weather watch, as it's been described, is a real tool.
We have the altitude marker, which as you move it,
it moves the pressure on here as well.
I think we might have to look in here for a bit more instructions.
And, of course, we've not even mentioned who it's made by, have we?
-I think if we open this, we've got here Negretti and Zambra,
established in 1850.
I think it was Henry Negretti and Joseph Zambra,
were the two gentlemen who established
this business in the 1850s.
Mainly doing photographic and scientific instruments.
They were patronised by Prince Albert
so they are the premier makers of these types of instrument.
So whenever you see anything with the name Negretti and Zambra on,
it is just brilliant.
So why did you bring it today?
I was interested in coming to "Flog It!"
and we've had it sitting there for some time,
so I thought it was the nearest one that I could come to,
so that's why I've come today.
Is it something you've thought about selling cos it just sits there?
Obviously, if one was to say, Negretti and Zambra, £50 to £80,
it'd be disappointing.
-It is not worth £50 to £80.
I can tell you that.
My estimate would be £200 to £300, fix it at £200, the reserve.
I think I would like a little bit more on the fixed reserve, please.
Oh, you'd like a little bit more?
250? If you really wanted to do that, let's do it.
-250 to 350 with a fixed reserve at 250.
-Yeah, that's better. Shall we do that?
-Yes, that's fine.
I mean, it's not one I've seen before so it could do rather well.
OK, thank you very much.
Are you going to be there at the auction?
No, unfortunately we're away on holiday.
Well, I hope it's somewhere good.
-Well, there you are.
What could be nicer?
Brenda, a fascinating little group here.
Tell me where you got them, first of all.
I got them from my father,
who got them from his father, who got them from
his father. So it's my great-grandfather's originally.
Can you tell me anything about them?
Not a lot. No, in fact, originally,
when I was told that there were medals,
I assumed they were war medals and they're not.
They're not, they're not, they're not.
Now, let's have a look at this one first of all
because this is quite interesting.
This one was a medal or a jewel
which was worn by someone who belonged
to the Ancient Order of Buffaloes,
or the Buffs, as they were known.
Now this was a freemasonry group and this order is, in the main,
associated with stage hands and theatre people.
Now, tell me, do you know if your great-grandpa
-was involved in the theatre?
-No, I don't.
So, we can't put any of the pieces together?
-No, no, I'm sorry.
-Now, we also know
that this is made of nine-carat gold.
Now, I'd like to have a wee look at the script on the back.
"This order of merit
"was conferred upon Frank Pasley, CP,
"as a mark of appreciation
"for his service in the cause of Buffaloism."
And it's dated 1930.
And that name, Pasley, is that a family name?
-Yes. That was my maiden name.
-That's your maiden name?
And our other one is a little silver-gilt one
so it's not all such high value.
-But I think it would be interesting
-to sell both of these as a group together.
Value on it, the estimate that I would suggest
to you would be 150 to 200.
-Would you be happy with that?
We'll put a reserve of them,
-perhaps 130 and I'm sure they'll do very well.
Medals for theatre - that is a "Flog It!" first,
and now for a piece of local interest.
Here in the city centre is the spectacular Millennium Gallery.
Inside is a fascinating collection of exhibits,
created very much for the workers of Sheffield.
This is just a small part of the Ruskin collection
on permanent display here in the museum.
John Ruskin, the man who started this collection,
was one of the greatest figures in the Victorian era.
He was a critic, he was a writer,
he was an artist and a social reformer
and he left a lasting impression on the city of Sheffield.
He was the only child of a wealthy sherry importer
and from a young age, he accompanied his father
on business trips around Britain and continental Europe.
And they would visit rich clients
who lived in rather large country houses. And from a young age,
the young Ruskin got a taste and a passion for landscapes, fine art,
particularly works celebrating nature.
Ruskin came to fame in 1843 at the tender age of 24,
when his first book was published -
Modern Painters, celebrating and defending the works of artists
such as Turner.
Turner was far from the great artist we know today back then.
He was little-known and his work, his style,
was condemned by the British press and the art world.
In their opinion, traditional artists, the old masters such as Constable,
they were the ones that produced real art.
Nowadays, the book is regarded as a classic.
Back then, it was an instant success
and it established Turner as England's greatest landscape painter
and Ruskin as a powerful voice to be reckoned with in the art world.
Ruskin's passion for art wasn't just about celebrating famous painters.
He believed art lay in the beauty of the natural world around him,
from the smallest pebble to the largest tree,
to the mightiest of landscapes.
And he encouraged people to go out and paint it,
to draw what they saw, and it didn't matter if it was any good or not
because being in contact with these wonderful natural objects
means you're enriching your lives.
And I can understand what he's getting at.
Look at the example here.
A collection of shells and some coral.
Look at the shapes, look at the forms as well.
Nature gets this so right, it's not contrived.
This is what Ruskin was going on about.
What really set Ruskin apart from his contemporaries
was that he believed art should be enjoyed by everyone.
It shouldn't just be something to adorn the walls of the wealthy.
In 1875, Ruskin made this idea a reality.
He bought a small cottage in Walkley, just outside of Sheffield,
on a hillside location and set up the city's first museum.
Ruskin wanted it to inspire and educate Sheffield's craftsmen,
who were losing their skills to mass production and machinery.
At the least, he hoped it would bring some beauty
to the lives of people working and living in terrible conditions.
He deliberately chose a hillside location out of the city
so that people would have to walk out of the smog and pollution
out to the countryside to appreciate nature.
Admission was free and opening times were 9am until 9pm,
to allow factory workers time to make the journey.
The museum may have been small but it was a huge success.
The collection was an eclectic mix
that reflected Ruskin's wide range of interest,
which included Renaissance art, Gothic architecture,
engravings and illustrations
of flowers and birds, like these ones here.
He even added a collection of coins, geology and a library.
The gallery drew visitors from all over the country
but as the number of exhibits grew,
it had to be moved to bigger premises.
In 2001, Ruskin's legacy to Sheffield
was given a new permanent home right here in the centre.
It's not in the countryside, as Ruskin had intended, but then
Sheffield is not the smoggy city it was 150 years ago.
This is just a small part of what Ruskin left behind.
The rest is in storage.
'I've got the chance to look at it with curator Louise Pullen.
'It seems Ruskin made some very
'personal contributions to the collection.'
Are these by Ruskin?
Yes, they are. This is one of his quite famous works,
for a peacock feather.
This is an enlargement of each individual filament here.
He wanted to show the beauty of detail of the different colours.
He was a very talented artist?
Indeed, very much.
'One of Ruskin's passions was geology
'and he managed to amass quite a collection.'
All of these drawers are full?
Yes, very much so. We have about 2,000 minerals
-that Ruskin collected the majority of.
-Can I open them?
-Yes, of course.
-Look at that!
Here they are. Also, this was a museum,
not just that people could get hands-on but it was also
-a place of education?
He really wanted people to be able to come out from the smoky city and
find something of beauty to improve themselves
by being enlightened, in a way, by things he found beautiful.
He hoped very much that people would go and start sketching,
start drawing, start being aware of what was out there.
And Ruskin's ideas did bear fruit,
particularly in the case
of Sheffield knife grinder Benjamin Creswick.
The curator of the museum noticed him drawing in the corner,
saw a great talent and introduced him to Ruskin,
who was so impressed with him that he sat for a portrait,
a beautiful bust portrait was produced.
-This is an example?
-This is an example of it.
A man of many talents?
Indeed. From a knife grinder,
he ended up as model master at Birmingham School of Art.
That's what it's all about, isn't it?
Finding the talent out there, nurturing it,
-championing it and giving it a fresh start.
Louise, thank you so much for talking to me.
This is a real joy.
Ruskin is one of my heroes and I can literally spend days in here.
The story of John Ruskin's involvement with Sheffield
played a big part in his life.
The collection is a testament to John Ruskin himself.
It's wide-ranging, it's ahead of its time.
But more importantly, it's a celebration of beauty in many,
many forms and the great thing is,
the collection is still growing and it's inspiring people today.
Well, it's fascinating to see such a fabulous array of antiques
turning up at our valuation tables.
Everyone has a unique story and there's more to come,
but right now we've reached our halfway point in the show.
It's time to put those first valuations
to the test in the auction room,
and here's a quick recap of all
the items that are going under the hammer.
The early birds may get the worm
but Paul managed to bag this light in the early hours in the sale.
Will it spark the bidders in the sale room?
Susan's biscuit barrel may have seen better days
but I'm sure it will make for a riveting auction.
Brenda's Buffalo medals are a real family heirloom.
Can they cause a stampede at the auction?
And this barometer is bound
to create a great atmosphere in the sale room
but can it also fetch a stratospheric price?
We don't have to go far to find out.
Our items will be put under the hammer
just across town at the Sheffield Auction Galleries.
This is it. The sale has just got underway.
Remember, if you're buying or selling at auction,
there is a commission to pay.
Here it is 15% plus VAT, whether you're buying or selling.
Auctioneer Rob Lea has just started the auction
so let's catch up with our owners and get on with our first lot.
First up is that table item,
machined from a chunk of aluminium into a lighthouse.
I love this. It belongs to Paul.
It was a car boot find?
-Do you do many car boots?
-I love going around them. We do the odd one. I love...
-Four o'clock on a Sunday morning.
-Four o'clock on a Sunday morning!
You see, you've got to get up early.
It is out there but you've got to get up early.
-Would you do it?
-No, not at four in the morning.
But I'll tell you something,
this is one of my favourite things in the sale.
1920s or '30s.
Oak and alloy table lighter,
formed as a lighthouse with a detachable glazed lamp
enclosing the lighter mechanism.
Getting rare, this lighthouse material.
£30 for it.
£12 is your start price.
15, I'm after.
Quirky, great item.
20. I'm out.
But I'm out too soon. Who's on 22?
-22, new bid.
25. 28. 30. 35.
Someone in the room is very keen.
£30 bid at the front.
35, new bid.
40 with the lady on the front.
Must be 45 elsewhere?
It's got to be 45.
New bidder, £50.
45, gentleman standing.
Anybody else at 50?
It's going to go. 50, new bid.
The gentleman standing at £55.
Have we done? Hammer is going to drop.
Brilliant, well, we've doubled the lower end
and that's what it's all about. That's a nice thing.
-Good for you.
-A good profit.
-Couple of bottles of rioja.
I'll get back out there on Sunday and see what happens.
And next up, not quite in perfect condition is our second lot.
Oh, crumbs, guess what's coming up next?
Yes, it's that broken biscuit barrel.
-Don't say that.
-Well, it's cracked and it's got studs in it as well,
Rivets! Who put those in?
I don't know. It's old, it's always been in it.
Do you know? It is great because it is Moorcroft - Macintyre Moorcroft, I love it.
But the damage will let it down a bit, won't it?
-A lot. Unfortunately.
Circa 1908, William Moorcroft,
from Macintyre and Co, the pottery biscuit barrel.
Very nicely decorated.
I must start it at £55.
A good start.
70. I'm out.
Who's in with 75?
75. 80, Sir?
85, 90, 95.
Well done, Anita.
£90 bid so far.
Anybody else with 95?
A lovely piece.
Top of the shop at £90?
Are we all finished? The hammer is going to drop.
All done, are we?
There you are, the hammer has gone done.
There is such a long pause between the auctioneer saying,
"the hammer is going down," and it actually going down,
but it went eventually after 30 seconds.
That's a cracker.
Going with me at 95.
Brenda, good luck. We've got the two medallion pendants
going under the hammer. One silver and one gold.
I think the price is spot on.
Yes, I'm hoping for a good price on these
because we've got a lot of gold in it and it's a
marvellous medal with this great Buffalo head on the top.
-I like it.
-And it's unusual, isn't it?
Right, let's put this to the test. Here we go. Good luck, Brenda.
Nine-carat gold Buffaloes medallion pendant.
We've got a silver medallion pendant - philanthropy.
Two good medals.
Commission starts this...hold on. 140, 150, 160, 170, 180.
In green. 190. 200, sir.
210. 220 and I am out.
The gentleman in green holds it at £220.
230, I'm after.
Got to be 230 elsewhere.
They're going to go. On my left at £220, are we done?
Thank you, sir.
Oh, that's good. £220. Happy?
-Were you getting worried slightly?
No, not really.
We put a reserve on it at 130 so I was quite happy when they came in
at that, the rest is a big bonus.
Nearly £100 more. Well done.
Well done, Anita.
And finally, hoping to add
to the exciting atmosphere in our sale room,
it's that beautiful barometer.
It's just a shame that Barbara
is on holiday and missing all the auction action.
I think this is real quality.
Negretti and Zambra, the best London maker.
They did great scientific instruments and this is one of them.
This is for your proper ballooner.
Let's gauge what it does right here, right now. This is it.
A late Victorian compensated aneroid barometer by Negretti and Zambra
of London. A great name.
Another plus point, we've got the original leather-covered case.
I must start it at £200.
210, I'm after.
210? It needs to be to move on.
210, 220, 230, 240, 250.
I'm out. But I'm out too soon.
260, it needs to be.
-It's only just started, hopefully.
-260, 270, 280, 290, 300.
-This is more like it, Thomas.
-It's much more like it.
-Two serious phone bidders having a battle.
Old school, yes!
320 with Liz's phone.
Anybody else at 340?
Shout out if we have missed you.
Anybody else wants to bid? It's going to go at £320.
Have we done?
-Hammer's gone down.
-That was good.
When Barbara and Gareth get back from their holiday,
they'll have a cheque in the post
-and they will be over the moon with that result.
£50 bid on the internet.
Anybody else for 55? Sold!
Well, there you are - our first three lots under the hammer.
You certainly need nerves of steel in an auction room.
Thank goodness this is the city of steel. There's plenty of it about.
Now, there's one group of people in the city
who kept the wheels of industry turning
through our country's darkest hour.
While we're here in the area filming,
I went off to find out more about them.
Sheffield has always been known for its high quality cutlery and silver
and when the Industrial Revolution came along in the 1700s,
it also became famous for mass production.
By the end of the 19th century, mills and factories in the region
were using massive steam-driven machines like this one
to produce more steel than any other city on the planet.
This was a heavy industry of massive machinery and punishing work.
Working in the mills was tough. At times, dangerous business.
It was seen as a man's world, but all that changed in 1939.
With the outbreak of World War II,
it became necessary for companies to step up production
to meet the demands of modern warfare.
They switched from making knives and forks to aeroplane parts
and from sewing machines to machine guns and other items of weaponry
like this massive great big Grand Slam bomb.
It weighs ten tons and was made by Vickers-Armstrongs.
Whatever the military wanted,
it could be made right here in Sheffield.
However, as war dragged on,
more and more men were called upon to fight overseas
and with very few men left here to do the heavy industry work,
factories struggled to keep running.
It was then that the women of South Yorkshire were called upon.
Although they weren't officially conscripted, single women,
those without young children and any whose jobs weren't deemed vital
to the war effort, had to register at the labour exchanges.
Suddenly, women from all backgrounds found themselves in the tough world
of the steel foundries.
I'm here to meet Kathleen Roberts and Kit Sollitt,
two of the women who were made to work
in the steel mills during the war.
You were both told then just to turn up for work at the factory.
It must have been quite daunting to start with?
It was either that or the Army or the Land Army.
Even though I was married, I was sort of called up
and I couldn't pick and choose where I wanted to go.
Were you frightened on your first day at work?
All the muck,
the stench, the smoke, the fire.
A frightening environment.
I used to think, I'll never be able to stick this out.
What did the men think at the time?
Were there still men working there?
-They didn't think a lot of us, did they?
-Middle aged men didn't.
The young men did!
I expect the language was quite shocking in the factory as well?
You weren't used to that sort of environment, were you?
You learned words you never knew existed!
Yes. Very naughty.
What were you actually doing?
We had coils of steel and we had to roll them
till they were more or less like ribbon.
We never knew what they were meant for.
-They never told you?
We asked every week when we got our orders for the week,
"And what is this for?" And we'd be told...
-Mind your own business!
-We never ever knew.
-I was in the steel foundry.
You had to push all this stuff into a barrel,
wheel it right down the foundry, under Bessemer that would be going.
Used to have to put a damp sack over my head to run direct under it
because if someone was working at the bottom of the foundry,
you were expected to take this mixture down to him.
At the end of the first day, I said to this chap,
"I'll never stick this."
He says, "Oh, you will,
"you'll get used to it. You'll have muscles like me."
-I hoped not.
-No, thanks, you said!
Even so, women like Kathleen and Kit
did stick it out in the factories for years
but the work wasn't just strenuous, it was also dangerous.
We didn't have health and safety regulations in those days
-and people lost fingers, they lost hands.
-Some really nasty accidents.
-Did you ever get injured?
I did hurt my back pretty bad one day.
I was taken to hospital and as a result,
they put me in a plaster cast
-and I still have back trouble to this day.
It was jolly hard work and never got a thanks.
Nobody ever thanked us when we left work.
But what an achievement though!
Without the women, these factories would not have run.
But they couldn't have done, no. No.
However, when the war ended in 1945,
and the men came back to work and took up their jobs in the factories,
the efforts of the thousands of women like Kathleen and Kit
were soon forgotten.
That was until three years ago when Kathleen brought the story
to the attention of the local newspaper.
Finally, after 70 years,
the women of Sheffield who helped keep the steel industry rolling,
were given the recognition they deserved.
We were all in a sort of a dream.
We just couldn't believe that it was happening.
It's marvellous. It's marvellous. It's taken a long time, hasn't it?
Yes. Because Kit's 93.
You're what? You're 93?
-Yes, I am.
-..on the 12th of January.
Wow! Well, you don't look it.
We've no walking sticks.
We're still knocking around.
Thank you so much for talking to me today, because, you know,
you both are heroes to this city.
You really are.
You really are. And I think it's fabulous as well.
-We've had a long life and we're still here.
Today, the mills of South Yorkshire are still the envy of the world,
producing vast quantities of the finest steel, machinery and cutlery.
You name it, they can make it
and I think it's safe to say their continued success is down
in no small part to the women of Sheffield,
ladies like Kathleen and Kit,
who helped keep the factories running throughout the war years,
and it's brilliant that their achievements
have now been recognised and given a place in history.
Back at Cutlers' Hall in the centre of Sheffield,
there are still plenty of antiques to be valued.
And while our dedicated team of experts
pore over each and every one,
I took the chance to look over an item
that is a real part of this building's history.
Now, I expect you're wondering what a hawksbill turtle is doing
on the wall here at the Cutlers' Hall
and its association with Sheffield steel.
Well, I can tell you, it goes back as far as 1773,
when a merchant presented a turtle to the Cutlers
imported live via the Liverpool docks.
They didn't know what to do with it, so they killed it,
cooked it and ate it as turtle soup and thus began a tradition
of eating turtle soup at every annual meeting
right up until 1912 and hawksbill turtles
have been harvested for their shells as far back as Roman times.
It's a very valuable material
that can be used in all sorts of products.
The Cutlers here used the turtle shell
for the handles of knives and forks and of razors.
Now, there's 13 sections on the shell.
You can see them here, look. One, two, three, four, and so on.
These can be peeled off into separate layers, thin layers,
so they almost look translucent
or they can be put back together under heat,
fused to create a thicker section.
This makes the shell look a lot darker.
It can also be carved.
It can be tooled and fashioned.
It can also be inlaid with precious metals,
like brasses and pieces of silver.
But, thank goodness, this trade was banned by CITES in 1973.
Today, we use a modern plastic.
It looks just as good and you wouldn't know the difference.
So it means a happier life for these fellows.
We do see a lot of antique tortoiseshell items on "Flog It!",
because those made before the ban can still be sold.
And Anita has a particularly fine piece on her table.
Georgina, I love jewellery
and it's a delight to have that lovely tortoiseshell locket
along at "Flog It!" today.
Can you tell a little bit about it and where you got it?
Well, an aunt gave to me ten years ago at my ruby wedding
and she acquired it, I think, from a friend, many years ago.
-Have you worn it?
-A few times.
-You've enjoyed it?
-So why pass it on?
Is it not something that you would wear regularly?
Well, I don't have any daughters.
I have a lovely daughter-in-law,
but I don't think she's one to wear tortoiseshell.
Well, let's have a look at it.
Think about the date and time that it was made.
It is a traditional piece of Victorian jewellery,
made maybe 1860, 1870.
So it has a good age and it is encrusted with this gold decoration.
-It is gold, is it?
-I would say that it is.
We often had gold and tortoiseshell combined
and it is a nice combination.
There's a decoration called pique d'or
where the gold is inlaid into the tortoiseshell.
But this is... It's like overlaid, but it's very sweet.
If we open it up, did you keep photographs in here?
That's my aunt's husband who's in it
and he died quite a few years earlier.
Right. But I still think it's a good thing to pass it on
to someone who will enjoy it.
We have another Victorian piece here in the chain.
This has been part of a Victorian guard chain,
which is the long 60-inch chains that ladies wore round their neck
and they kept maybe little watches or little pencils on it.
And very often, these were split and if there were three daughters,
might be split into three parts of 20 inches each,
so this has been split and the catch here is not original.
-That's been put on at a later date.
-Oh, has it?
So it's quite a nice wee Victorian lot.
I'm not sure tortoiseshell is as popular as it was
maybe five, ten years ago,
but it's still a nice collectable for a person
who wants to collect Victorian stuff.
Price on it, you're maybe 100-150.
-In that region.
Would you like to go ahead and sell it within that estimate?
Yes, yes. That would be fine, yes.
You're not going to miss it?
I don't know. I feel a bit guilty,
cos it was Auntie Connie's,
but I need to get my engagement ring repaired,
so it would go towards that.
I think that's... That's a very good thing.
-Yes. I can't wear my ring, and you know, you think, well,
I could probably get the cash up to it, but this would be a way of...
Of helping it along.
-Yeah. Good idea.
Well, let's put it to auction and let's hope
that there are lots of Victorian jewellery collectors at the sale.
-Thank you very much for bringing it along.
What I love about our valuation day is that it also gives me a chance
to get amongst the "Flog It!" crowd
and see what treasures they've brought in.
Meg, have you got the time on you?
I'm looking there. It's quarter to 12.
-I fell for that one!
-I see you're holding that, you're clutching that.
Is that quite precious to you? It's a bit of Staffordshire pearlware.
It is, it is and I would love to say that it's from my family,
-but it's not.
-How did you come by it?
-I found it in a charity shop.
-How long ago?
-About two... About 18 months, two years ago.
-Do you mind me asking how much you paid for it?
Well, that was a very good buy, wasn't it?
Were you just attracted to it because visually
-it's a pretty object?
And it's just something very...
-I love old things.
-Yeah, so do I.
I used to collect early Staffs as well.
-You know all the flat back figures?
Designed to go on a mantelpiece against the wall.
-Do you know it's pearlware, do you?
-Yes, it's pearlware,
because you can see there's a blue tinge to the glaze.
-Can you see that?
-Oh, right. Yes.
-There's a slight blue-ness.
-Yes, I can now.
-Yeah? I would say this is circa 1810, 1820.
I like the two characters leaning against these faux-marble columns.
Can you see they're faux marble?
Like the columns here in the building.
Painted to look like real marble.
Can you see there, there's some damage?
-There would have been a cartouche there, or a scroll.
Just acting as a pediment, architecturally quite strong.
Cos this whole shape resembles the facade of a building
and this was a powerful message back in the 1800s.
People everywhere went to church
and this is no different to other fashions of the time
like needlework samplers and tapestry samplers,
all with messages of religion.
I think this is brilliant, I really do.
And I think we'd put a value of £80 to £120 on this.
Can I tell you,
if this was in good condition, and all the other elements were there,
the other cherubs and the cartouche at the top, the scrollwork,
this would realise in the region of £400-500.
-Yeah, it's quite rare.
-I'm quite happy with 80 to 130.
I know you are. I bet you are. Now, are you sure you want to sell it?
-Why do you want to sell it?
Erm, because my eldest granddaughter, Fern,
-she's at uni.
and so she's off to Vietnam.
Is she? Well, hopefully,
what I'm holding is Fern's spending money in Vietnam.
Good luck to her. Good luck to you
-and I can't wait to see you in the auction room.
Having come down from his lofty heights on the balcony,
Thomas has dug up a very unusual item.
So, Carol, it is amazing
what is unearthed at these "Flog It!" valuation days.
This might shock a few people.
It certainly did in the past.
Tell me, what do you know about this?
Not very much at all, really.
I acquired it recently in the last two weeks.
Have you done some research?
I thought it was something medical but I couldn't research it,
cos I didn't know what it was.
Well, it was one of these extraordinary things,
these electric shock machines.
The Victorians were obsessed by sort of shocking one's body
into doing certain things.
You know, nervous disposition, deviancies of some kind, hair loss,
you know, you've got some combs here,
to sort of rub over your hair to make your hair grow back.
This one was obviously to go over parts of the body, I'm sure.
I think there is a slight theory that this treatment
had some form of effect,
but I just don't know how much and I think at a home sort of level,
you've got to be pretty crazy to sort of find the socket,
plug yourself in, and end up rubbing yourself down with this.
I mean, you know, just imagine you got carried away
-and the glass broke.
-It would be awful.
I mean, that's really quite a rare Bakelite plug in there, isn't it?
And a Bakelite handle.
I don't think it's ever been used.
-No, I don't. No.
-You see, you've got from weak to strong, high-frequency,
but I would imagine there'd be the odd collector out there
who might be interested in this.
-What do you think this wood is?
-This is going to be beech wood.
-Yeah. It's nothing special.
-The date of this object, I would say, 1940s, 1950s.
-I don't think it's pre-war.
It looks in too good condition.
From a value point of view, as it's in such nice condition,
it's got to be worth 30 to 50.
-What do you think?
-I thought about 25 to 40.
You should be doing my job.
No reserve on this. It's got to go.
Otherwise it goes in the bin.
-It certainly will.
-Let's hope we're shocked at the result.
OK, that's enough of the puns, Thomas.
Anita, please restore some decorum to the proceedings.
Pat, this is a wonderful item.
It was made in 1763
and it was made by one of London's most prestigious silversmiths,
-So it's a marvellous item.
Tell me where did you get it?
Well, it belonged to my partner, who unfortunately,
died earlier this year.
He, I think, was given it by an uncle of his,
who lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Ellis, when he was about two,
went to the United States with his mother and father
and unfortunately for the family,
mother and father lost all of their money during the Wall Street crash.
And Ellis, with his younger brother now, were shipped back to Liverpool,
to grandmother, and I think his uncle gave this to Ellis
at that time and said to him, "If you ever need money, sell it."
What a wonderful story!
Well, he died at 95 and he didn't sell it.
And he hadn't needed to sell it.
And he didn't... Well, I think it probably did at some stage,
but he didn't sell it.
Yeah. It's quite an impressive looking little guy.
It didn't start off life, however, in the 1760s like that.
-At that time, it was a plain drinking tankard,
with no decoration,
probably a slightly flattened lid
and none of this embossed work on it.
-It would be simple.
In the Victorian era,
where we had the industrialisation
and wealth that was brought by industrialisation,
people wanted ornate decoration.
The ornate decoration... It was as if it showed their wealth
and this has been elaborately worked on.
-If we look along here, we see it's flowers, it's leaves,
all sorts of busy decoration on the body.
And when we turn it round, we see that it has become a pouring vessel.
I think Ellis knew that it had been altered
and that the spout had been put on later,
but I don't know whether he knew that it was embossed later.
I mean, it's an intriguing item and it shows us how antiques can change
with the style of the period that they live through.
-The purists don't like it,
but I think that it's all part of the hurly and burly of life,
so we have the addition of this embossed work,
we have this pouring spout here
and I kind of think that this lid has been pushed up a little bit.
So, tell me what are your thoughts?
Did you like this item?
I think I would've preferred it in its original state
and had I not seen the advertisements for "Flog It!"
I would have completely forgotten about it
and I saw that, and I thought
I would bring it along and that's what I've done.
But it's an interesting story, how it came back here, and also,
an interesting story about what had happened
during the course of its nearly 300-year-old life.
As it is, in today's market, I would put an estimate of £300-500 on it.
-Would you feel satisfied to let it go forward at that price?
Yes, if somebody wants it.
It's better that somebody has it who wants it,
rather than it's in the back of my cupboard.
Well, I think it's wonderful and I loved the story,
and that's what "Flog It!" is all about.
So we'll put it to auction, 300-500.
We'll put a reserve of £300 if you wish.
-OK, thank you.
Well, that's it, our experts' final choices. You've just seen them.
And what a day we've had here.
Sadly, it's time to say goodbye to our magnificent host location,
Cutlers' Hall, as we head over to the sale room
for the last time today,
and here's a quick recap of all the items we're taking with us.
Will Georgina's tortoiseshell run at the auction
and fetch enough to get her ring repaired?
I don't think many people want to try a bit of electro therapy,
but let's hope this set sparks some interest in the sale room!
And Margaret's Staffordshire ornament has seen better days
but I'm sure it could be meeting a new owner.
And this silver tankard may have undergone plenty of face-lifts,
but I'm sure the collectors will see the beauty
that lies just below the surface.
We're back in the auction room for the last time
and Robert Lea is in full flow.
He's fast approaching our lots.
First up is the exquisite tortoiseshell locket.
Georgina, you're a woman of style.
-You look stunning.
And so is your item that we're putting under the hammer,
this Victorian tortoiseshell locket.
I think it's beautiful. Why don't you want it?
I always thought it was a bit like plastic.
And the aunt that left it to me left me quite a few other items
which are more sort of like costume jewellery, which I actually prefer.
Well, I love it. I love jewellery
and I love tortoiseshell and it really is just a cracking piece.
Nice big piece.
-It will suit today's market.
-Yeah. Anyway, look, good luck with that.
-Thank you very much.
-Good luck. We're going to put that to the test.
-Here we go.
19th-century oval tortoiseshell locket
with a pique-style inlaid detail.
It's a beauty, isn't it?
Must start the bidding at 85, 90.
Five. 100. 110 I'm after.
-110, 120, 130.
I'm out. 130.
Gentleman in the room. 140, 150 now.
160 I'm after. 150 in the room.
-160, 170, sir.
-This is good.
Look at this. And there's a telephone come in.
180 on the internet, 190 I'm after.
180 bid on the internet.
-190 will do.
-This is excellent.
This is real quality.
190, new bid. In the room.
200. 210, sir?
220 I'm after. 210, room bid.
220, 230, sir?
240 I'm after, 230 in the room.
240, 250, sir?
260 I'm after, 250 in the room.
-It's got to be 260 now. 260, 270, sir.
280, please. 270 the room.
280, 290. 300 I'm after.
320. 340 I'm after.
320 in the room. 340, 360.
380 I'm after. 360 in the room. 380.
-380 on the internet.
-It can't be!
£400. 380 with the internet.
Anyone? £400 for it. It's going to sell at 380. One last look.
All done, are we, at £380?
-Great result. £380.
-That was a nice wee surprise!
-That was really good.
You must be over the moon with that.
-Yes, I am.
-That was real quality.
-Yes, that's marvellous.
-And quite a few people saw that.
-They really did.
-We had the internet,
we had the phone and we had a lot of competition in the room.
Now I'll be able to get my engagement ring repaired.
I've actually taken it into the jewellers,
so it's going to be nearly £100 to get it repaired.
Well, that will sort that out and then you can wear it again.
Well done. Great result!
Georgina gets to wear her engagement ring
and hopefully that locket will adorn its new owner.
But I'm not so sure our next lot will see much use.
Carol, let's hope we don't get arrested right now.
We're about to give the bidders a bit of high voltage.
Yes, it's the electrotherapy treatment machine.
No reserve, it's here to go.
-Have you had a few laughs with that at home?
Well, I was only given it recently by a family member.
So no-one's seen it, actually.
-You haven't plugged it in?
You could have had a few practical jokes with this one.
Obviously, it doesn't appeal to you and you just thought,
-bring it on to "Flog It!" and sell it.
OK. Cracking little thing, really.
-Well, they're quite weird, aren't they?
You know, we don't really do it now.
-Not with this!
1950s Tesla violet ray electrotherapy device
with assorted glass wands in a fitted wooden case.
I've got commissions. £28, 30.
45 I need elsewhere.
£45, it needs to be to move on.
Anybody else fancy it? It's going.
-For the electrotherapy device.
Give yourself a shock! With me at 40.
All done, are we? At £40.
That's good, £40. That's cracking. That's really good.
I'm happy with that, yeah.
That's going to end up in a bygone museum somewhere, I would imagine.
-It was perfect.
-Or on a dinner party table.
Could you imagine that? At a dinner party...
-Put your finger in that!
Well done. Thanks for bringing that in,
because it gave us all a big laugh at the valuation.
Prepare to meet my valuation.
Yes. Guess what's coming up.
Meg, good to see you again and here is Andrea, Meg's daughter.
-We've got 80-120.
I'm hoping for that top end of 180, maybe £200.
-I like this. I like it a lot.
Fingers crossed somebody else falls in love with it as well.
-Cos you love it.
-I love it and you love it.
-If all three of us love it,
that means that lot out there in this packed saleroom
are also going to love it. That's what it's all about, isn't it?
-Let's put it to the test. Here we go!
Early 19th-century Staffordshire pearlware
moralising mantelpiece ornament.
A bit of damage on it, but it hasn't detracted.
Commission bidders. They're willing to start the bidding at £420.
I'll take elsewhere, 420.
440, 460, 480.
600. 620. £600 bid on commission.
620, I'll accept elsewhere.
£600 bid on commission.
Anybody else for 620?
It's going to sell. One last look around.
Bid now or lose it. With me at £600, all done, are we?
Hammer's going to drop.
Ooh, I'm shaking for you.
-I'm speechless for once!
What do you think of that? If you knew that was worth £600,
-would you have kept it?
No. You wouldn't have treasured it.
-You'd have still sold it?
-Think of the money. Think of the money.
I think we'll have a bit of a party as well now.
-Yes, we will.
-Wow! What a surprise.
I told you there was going to be a surprise, didn't I?
That's what the show is all about.
I'm speechless as well.
-Meg, enjoy that money, won't you?
22, £20 with the internet.
Ten apiece so far.
And going under the hammer right now,
we've got a George III silver tankard,
later converted by the Victorians to a jug with a pouring spout
belonging to Pat. Nevertheless, despite that,
we've still got a value of £300-£500.
-There's a lot of silver there.
-There is a lot of silver.
-So fingers crossed.
-Well, I'm hoping that it will do its £300.
It certainly deserves that.
If it had been left alone, it would have made a lot more
and the purists would have liked it as it was.
Sure. This is it. Here we go.
George III hallmarked silver tankard, by John Swift, London,
1763, later converted to a jug by the Victorians.
Lots of interest on it.
Lots of interest. It's not going to melt, then.
At 420. 440. 460. 480.
500. 520. 550. 580, sir.
-This is what auctions are all about.
580 on the phone. 600.
-620. 650. 680. 700.
That phone bidder is desperate for this. Look.
920. 950. 980.
980 bid so far.
1,000 I need elsewhere.
980 on the phone.
One last look around.
Are we done?
Hammer's gone down. £980.
What a cracking result! Just shy of £1,000, Pat.
You've got to be over the moon with that.
I'd be hopping up and down right now.
Well, it just shows you, we really didn't know at that point.
£300, brought to auction and the market decided.
What a way to end the show here in Sheffield.
With Pat over the moon.
it just goes to show there are always surprises in an auction room.
See you next time.
Paul Martin presents from Sheffield, where he is joined by antiques experts Thomas Plant and James Lewis as they search for interesting and valuable items to take to auction. Among their finds are a tortoiseshell locket, a Georgian tankard and an electrotherapy kit.
Paul meets two Sheffield women who were recently awarded honours for keeping the steel mills running during the Second World War, and he also tells the fascinating story of Victorian art critic John Ruskin's influence on the city.