Antiques series. Paul Martin presents from the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. The items uncovered include a book of autographs with a local connection.
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Today we're in the northeast,
and on this side of the River Tyne is the town of Gateshead.
And as I cross over the river, that's the city of Newcastle,
the location for our valuation day.
Welcome to 'Flog It!'.
This imposing warehouse building that you can see over my shoulder
has a strong connection to our valuation day venue.
From 1902 onwards,
it was used to store all the foreign produce brought to the Tyne by ship
before being taken on to Blandford House,
the site of our valuation day.
This monumental Victorian building dating back to 1899 was once
a distribution centre for the surrounding cooperative shops,
but now it's a science and local history museum
and the site of our valuation day.
Well, let's hope this building's history has as the centre
of trade bodes well for us later on in the auction rooms today.
But right now, let's take a closer look at what the 'Flog It!'
crowd have brought along to the Discovery Museum,
here in the centre of Newcastle.
And our queue is growing.
We've got people enjoying the sunshine out here,
keen to get the lowdown on their items,
and already we've had to move lots of people inside.
There's a real feeling of anticipation in the air.
This fantastic crowd here today have come from across the Tyne and Wear,
all laden with antiques and collectables,
all hoping they're one of the lucky ones
to go through to the auction later on.
And I know two people who can't wait to get their hands on the items.
Having travelled across the United Kingdom to be with us,
we have out 'Flog It!' antique experts Anita Manning...
Tell me what you like about it.
It's all the animals and all the detail around the edges.
..and Adam Partridge.
-What have you got with you?
-I've got some coconuts.
-Would you sell them?
Hundreds of people are making their way to the Great Hall,
once the canteen for the cooperative workers,
on the top floor of this impressive conversion.
Our experts, both on and off screen, are here to value the
wonderfully diverse range of objects that are arriving here in Newcastle.
In today's show, Adam meets two friends
who can't wait to swap their carvings for a holiday in Benidorm.
And Anita discovers a childhood love story
behind an autographed book of famous signatures.
First up, it's Adam Partridge, who's raring to go.
And here he is to tell us more about those interesting carvings
he spotted in the queue earlier.
-Welcome to 'Flog It!'.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Friends for years?
-We have been, yeah.
-And how did you become friends?
-Met through work.
-And how do you enjoy yourselves?
-We like to go out as often as we can.
-Go to car boots.
-Car boots, yeah.
-Go on holiday as well?
-Where do you go?
Benidorm. We went to Barcelona.
-Anyway, down to the items you brought.
-Who owns what?
-And those are yours?
Let's start with the coconuts.
-How did you come to own them?
-They were originally my grandfather's,
but I've had them about 38 years.
Did grandfather travel? Was he a seaman?
No. I don't honestly know anything about them.
Often they're Burmese or from that part of the world,
and often they have been brought back by a family member who
is a seaman. Do they live out on display at home?
Well...they have been in a display cabinet,
but I've moved house a few times, they're very fragile...
-That one's quite badly damaged.
Unfortunately they're too prone to damage, so...
-Is that why you brought them in?
-Are they hidden in a box?
-And where is the box hidden?
-On top of the wardrobe.
-On top of the wardrobe!
-You know, they're no good to me.
-It's wardrobes again.
-If somebody else would appreciate them.
Yeah, well, I think they will.
Take the lid off that one and you can see inside the coconut shell,
and they're nicely carved, aren't they?
Very well carved, yes.
And then mounted on this little turned mahogany bases with covers.
I think they're very nice. I think they're about 100 years old.
-I would think so.
-Not worth a great deal, though...
-It doesn't matter.
-..because of the damage.
I'd put 30-50 estimate because that's an encouraging price,
and hopefully they will go on and make a little bit more.
Brilliant. That's fine by me.
So, your coconuts...
And, Sheila, you brought this Chinese puzzle ball here,
ivory one, circa 1900,
so perfectly fine in terms of the law,
which is obviously pre-1947.
How did you come to own this object here?
Well, it was given to my boyfriend in a box of Chinese ornaments,
and when I was rummaging through it I found this and thought,
"Oh, this looks interesting." So straightaway I took it out of there
-and put it straight in the cabinet.
-You said, "I'm having that."
-Yes, I'm having that.
-So it's your now.
You do see them quite often. In fact, most sales you'll see one.
-But quality of carving isn't bad at all.
-It's not top notch but it's definitely not rubbish,
you know, tourist ware.
I always marvel at how they got the ball inside another ball,
inside another ball.
-It's very intricate.
-That's what I found intriguing.
-I think there's several balls inside there.
And it's slightly wonky, you see,
and that's where it's been broken off and re-glued.
But it's a nice thing, isn't it? Are you going to miss it?
Well, I just brought it as a last minute thing.
I didn't think it was worth anything.
-What about your boyfriend?
OK, your boyfriend got it from a lady he does work for,
-but it's yours.
-OK, that sounds fair.
-Yes, it sounds fair to me.
-I've now took it off him.
-Well, I'd put a reserve of 50 on that.
-Is that all right?
-Estimate 50-80. Might make 100.
-So we're going to go off to auction with these now.
We're going to take them off from you
and we're going to put these in at £30-£50, no reserve.
-Trust in the auctioneer.
We're going to put a 50 reserve on that one,
-just in case your boyfriend goes mad...
-He'll not know.
and an estimate of £50-£80.
He's not going to know...
-till it comes out on telly in four months' time.
So, between them, we might get 150 quid, you never know.
That would be fine. That would be all right.
-Thanks for coming.
-BOTH: Thank you.
Isn't it incredible how these amazing items have
found their way from the other side of the world to Newcastle?
The great thing about a 'Flog It!'
valuation day is you never know what you're going to find.
Somewhere amongst this massive crowd there's a little treasure
and, hopefully, we can make some history of our very own,
right here, right now, on 'Flog It!'.
Let's hand things over to Anita Manning. Could this be the item?
Joan, I love to see a big chunk of gold sitting on the table.
It's what people want to buy today.
Can you give me a wee bit of background about it?
Where you got it? Who it belonged to? Where it came from?
Well, it was my grandfather's and he wore it to work every day,
as I can remember as a small child.
And he died in the early '50s and left it to my mother,
-who is still alive, but she gave me it about 40 years ago.
Many people, or many girls, wore them as neck chains.
-Did you do that?
-Yes, I did.
-In the 1970s.
Might have been even the '60s actually.
But I only wore it a couple of times. Far too heavy for an evening.
Well, you know what it is.
It's called an Albert and it's so called
because it was a piece of jewellery that was worn by Prince Albert,
Queen Victoria's husband.
It was worn as a watch chain
and your watch would be attached to this chain.
You would slip your watch in your little waistcoat pocket
and the curb link of this chain
would be visible on the waistcoat,
and it looked very smart and very elegant.
This particular chain is a double Albert,
where we have two little clips here.
It's missing a T-bar, but I'm not too worried about that.
Now, this chain is 9-carat gold.
We know that it's 9-carat gold
-because it's marked .375 on every single link.
That means that there are 375 parts per thousand of pure gold.
They would add other metals, just to make it more durable.
So, we've got that very nice 9-carat double Albert
and we have a sovereign there,
and this would have been worn as a fob of your Albert,
and that would have hung on the outside of the waistcoat as well.
It's an earlier sovereign. It's very well worn,
and this will take away its value as a sovereign,
but it's 22-carat gold
and people will take that into consideration when they buy that.
The other thing that you have here is an Elgin pocket watch,
-and was this also your grandfather's?
I can see that it's ticking away.
Your second hand here is moving around the dial.
-This watch is a gold plated watch.
There is no quality in the plate.
Having said that,
I feel that we would want to put it into auction as one lot...
and I would like to put it in with an estimate of about £400-£600
on the Albert, sovereign and watch - put them in as one lot.
-Would you be happy to sell it within that estimate?
It's a reasonable amount of money. What would you do with it?
Well, we're going to Prague in August to see my eldest daughter
and her partner, so put it towards that.
-A bit of shopping in Prague?
While everybody's working hard in here
I'm going to go down to the basement
to take a look at the intriguing collection
that you have to make an appointment to see.
I'm descending into the basement to meet up with Dan Gordon,
the curator of the Hancock collection,
one of the oldest and most extensive collections of taxidermy.
It's quite incredible being surrounded
by such an array of creatures, many of which are now extinct.
Dan, what's the importance of this collection?
Well, this collection, um, we have records for over a million objects.
We've got bones and shells,
we've got insects and historical material
-as well as modern material, so...
-And things that are extinct.
Indeed, yes. We're lucky...
What have you picked out to show me?
This is probably the most valuable piece in the collection.
Is that because it's extinct?
It is, yes.
This is a great auk.
This one is doubly important
because it's actually a juvenile bird.
And do you know what? This is almost unique.
I think there's one other juvenile bird in the entire world,
so, it's just such a precious record of what this animal was like
when it was young and when it was growing.
You know, in the future, because there's so many extinctions
these days, taxidermy is really going to be a record,
-..of life that no longer exists.
So, really, preserving the animals like this was the way
that they kept a record of it.
The piece next to it looks typically Victorian.
Yes, this is a piece by John Hancock.
The namesake of the Hancock collection.
John was a Newcastle man. He was a natural...
-He was an ornithologist, wasn't he?
-He was. Yes, he was an ornithologist
and I think that that informed his taxidermy.
He really understood how the birds moved,
how their bodies were made up and you can really see that.
It's been fascinating talking to Dan about how the animals here
have been vital in documenting world species.
Let's head back up into the light now for our next valuation.
Sally, these are a fine collection of trophies you've got here.
-How did you come by them?
-They were my grandfather's.
He was in the Sudan in the 1920s
and he was working for the Sudan Plantation Company.
Oh, OK. In what capacity? Do you know what he was doing out there?
I don't actually... I think
it was all geographical surveys, really, is what they were doing.
And he was a polo player, and so...
These are polo trophies.
I see. And what was his name?
-And did you know him?
-No, I never met him.
He went from the Sudan to South Africa
-and died in South Africa in the late '50s.
Well, at first sight,
it just looks a few bits of silver on a table, doesn't it?
But I think they tell a story. Everything we see tells a story
and these, I think, tell a story of Sudan in the 1920s.
You can imagine these British gents out there working in geography
and geology, but still maintaining their British customs
and playing polo, all in their whites I'm sure,
-having a spiffing time.
Pith helmets, exactly.
They still had their little piece of England wherever
they were around the world.
These are British silver with Birmingham hallmarks on them all.
-So they've been made in England
and then obviously shipped out for that specific event.
So we've got a range of trophies here.
This one was 1919, 1922, 1923/4 and 1930.
These must have been quite popular cos they did them two years running,
unless they had a special deal from the silversmiths at the time.
-So where do they live at home?
Why have you suddenly decided to bring them in to sell?
They live in a box under the stairs.
Right. So they're not out on display.
They're not out on display, no.
Well, I think they have some interest
and I think the group lot would make probably £200-plus.
-But in order to get that,
I'd suggest an estimate spanning that, so 150-250 as a guide price.
I would put the reserve at 150. They'll make more.
What would you do with the money? Anything in particular?
I can't think of anything off the top of my head?
-Yes, I have a daughter.
-Don't give her anything.
Well, she needs a flute stand so she might get a flute stand.
That's about a tenner, isn't it?
Eddie, welcome to "Flog It!", and you've brought along for us
today a nice little mixed-media work by Emmanuel Levy.
Tell me, where did you get it?
-I picked it up as payment for a job I did.
-What kind of job was it?
It was just a clearance job. I helped someone move house.
Do you do that as a living? What do you do for a living?
Fundamentally I collect scrap really, but that means
I do a lot of clearance jobs, I help people when they move house.
This came out as a part payment,
as part of a job that I helped someone out with.
-Did you choose it yourself?
-Yeah, I did, yeah.
ANITA LAUGHS I'm quite persuasive!
Do you like art? Do you like pictures?
Yeah, I collect art. I do enjoy it.
-What drew you to this picture?
-Just about everything.
I like the composition. I like all the people.
-I like the thought that it has a bit of history behind it.
Emmanuel Levy was a Manchester artist.
He lived 1900 to, I think, '96.
So he lived for a long, long time.
He studied at Manchester College Of Art,
where he subsequently taught,
and he was also an art critic for the Manchester Evening News.
So he was an artist of some stature.
Now, Eddie, this little work, and it's a crayon work, mixed media,
it's maybe been added to afterwards. It was done in Paris in 1930.
Now, that was a magnet for artists from all over the world,
and he quite possibly went over there just to be part of the scene.
I like the style.
And it might possibly have been a sketch that he did
when he was on the Metro.
Tell me why you like it.
Well, I know that he was very famous for portraits
at the time, and I think this looks to me like it's almost like
a study, isn't it, and no doubt a good one because he's framed it.
But, yeah, it looks to me like some sort of study of the people.
-I find it really interesting.
-He's very good with the figures here.
-And I think that it is charming because of that.
But I would be tempted to keep my estimate fairly modest.
If we put it at £100-£150,
would you be happy to sell it within that estimate?
I would be happy to put it to auction with that estimate, I think.
-Would you like a reserve price on it?
-Yeah, cos I do like it, so...
-Did you pluck it off the wall to bring along here?
There's a space!
So I would like a reserve of sorts.
Shall we put £100 with a little bit of discretion?
-Yeah, that sounds fantastic.
So, £100-£150, reserve £100, with a little bit of discretion.
-And let's hope that it flies away.
What would you do with the money? Will you buy more art?
-It's my brother's wedding this year.
-He's getting married.
So I've got to put something aside for... Possibly a painting for him.
I hope he doesn't like this, though!
-Oh, well, it's going to auction anyway.
Before we head off to auction, I'm going to explore a local landmark.
The Angel Of The North, created by artist and sculptor
Antony Gormley, is a striking piece of public art.
It is absolutely awesome.
But its existence has been met with some considerable controversy.
The issue for us is what it's always been, is what do the people want,
and all the evidence that we have
is that people don't want this statue.
15 years ago, when the 20m long, 208 tonne Angel
made its journey from a steel manufacturer in Hartlepool
to its home in Gateshead, the area was ravaged by unemployment.
An end to the shipbuilding industry and the huge decline in mining
had left a chasm of despair in the community.
So, for many people at the time, art was very much at the bottom
of their agenda,
and it's during this poor economic climate that Antony Gormley's
bold sculpture, based on his own body form,
costing nearly £1 million, arose.
I still think you could spend the money somewhere better than
what that is, like.
I know they won't, and they haven't. But I still think you could.
Oh, it was going to be 300 to start with.
And that wasn't a bargain either.
I think they could spend that money on better stuff than that, like.
Mick Henry, head of Gateshead Council,
was around in the early days of the Angel.
What sort of attitudes existed within the council about
-the Angel Of The North back in the '90s?
-There was a sense of risk.
The Angel was being seen as something very, very controversial,
so, "Can we do this? Should we do this?"
And I remember the then leader of the council
actually called himself a Philistine, an arts Philistine.
But he was from a mining heritage.
But he knew that we needed to do something for the future
So everybody in the council was on board with this, eventually.
But many people were not won over, and one local councillor,
Jonathan Wallace, who opposed the Angel at the time,
felt that the money should have been spent on community art projects.
We are particularly saying nowadays, when money is even tighter,
would you spend such a huge sum of money on one single piece of art?
Or would you want to get more art out into the community so that
individual groups and community groups are actually more involved?
-doing community project, and if you look
at the history of Gateshead, it wasn't one thing or the other.
We were very, very active in community projects
as well as community art.
People always think money should be spent on something else,
and you have to explain that it comes from different purses,
that we would not have had the money to do other things
if we hadn't done the Angel.
It came from private funding, some Arts Council funding,
and we just wouldn't have got it for other things.
For its creator, Antony Gormley, the Angel is about many things.
But poignantly, beneath this spot where we stand right now,
coal miners worked for two centuries.
And the area's renowned for its shipbuilding.
So this sculpture marks the region's industrial heritage, making the
transition between the industrial age and the age of information.
It certainly has an incredibly strong presence.
Some have described it as magical, and even spiritual.
Anthony Gormley said he created an angel
because no-one has ever seen one, and we need to keep imagining them.
He felt this spot called out for a feature which would link Earth
and sky. In some way the pose
is quite like the Crucifixion, symbolic, perhaps,
of a modern-day saviour for a disenfranchised generation.
In an area that has suffered mass unemployment,
and all that goes with that, the Angel does seem to have
raised morale, and given many people a sense of pride in Gateshead.
And after all the early outrage,
one symbolic act by Newcastle United fans marked the turning point,
the moment when the people of Gateshead and Tyneside
accepted Antony Gormley's sculpture as their own.
Making it the people's art, as it was always intended.
NEWSREADER: It was six in the morning.
Wives and children joined in the carnival atmosphere,
but it lasted just 20 minutes.
The police had been called,
and as the long arm of the law closed in, the shirt was removed.
But even the officers got a kick out of it.
It's a tribute to Alan Shearer,
but it's also really done some good for the Angel.
I think a lot more people now will like the Angel,
now it's had a Newcastle shirt on.
For me, I think it just represents home.
You know, when you've been away on holiday or away
somewhere down south, and then you're coming back,
it's one of the first things you see on the motorway.
I actually first saw it from the train a couple of years ago
on the way past.
And knowing we were coming up here, I said to my husband,
"Let's actually going see it up close and personal."
I love it. I just love it. I think it's beautiful.
I suppose there's just something about it,
the fact that it's this big, rusty, metal, beautiful object.
For me, I sort of like associate it with the mining heritage,
and stuff like that, of the north-east.
They've regenerated Gateshead in all kinds of ways,
and that was about, do we keep on looking... You know, celebrate it,
but do we keep harking on to ship building and mining,
which is part of my heritage? Or do we actually try to create a new one?
And that's what we've been trying to do. The Angel symbolises that.
Even Jonathan Wallace,
who stood by his opposition in the early days, seems to have had
a change of heart, and now can't imagine Gateshead without it.
It would be like Paris selling off the Eiffel Tower,
and getting rid of it, or New York getting rid of the Statue Of Liberty.
It's a symbol for that city, and this is now a symbol for our area.
And despite all the controversy, despite the fact that
I was involved in fighting it, if you were to take it away now,
I would probably be there at the front,
in front of the bulldozer, saying, "Over my dead body."
Already we are halfway through the day and it's time to remind
ourselves of what we're about to take off to auction.
Will Sheila and Linda's 19th century carvings
- one ivory and the other two coconut -
appeal to someone with an eye for the ornate?
Time's ticking on for Joan's Elgin watch.
But given it's 9-carat gold plating,
it's sure to find its way into someone's pocket.
Emmanuel Levy's pastel sketch of the Paris Metro is sure to
draw in collectors of the Northern or Manchester school.
And will Sally's grandfather's very personal polo trophies
dating back to the first half of the 20th century
find a new home in the 21st century?
Today, our auction's in East Bolden,
once known for its thriving coal industry.
In a region that once unearthed so many riches,
I'm feeling optimistic about today's auction.
Well, it's all calm and peaceful on the outside,
but inside the Bolden Auction Galleries there's an electrifying
atmosphere and the sale hasn't even started yet
and the room is already full of bidders.
This lot are here to buy, fingers crossed, our lots.
Time to catch up with our first sellers.
I hope we get the top end of the estimate.
I'm talking about the pastel which is going under the hammer now
of the Metro, the underground in Paris,
by Emmanuel Levy, a Manchester artist.
Fingers crossed there's a few phone lines booked from Manchester.
Because the Northern School love their stuff. They really do.
-In fact, I like this. And I reckon you like this.
-I really like it!
So please, please, please, give me
a really good explanation of why you want to sell this and not keep it.
I don't know. I've got loads of pieces of art in my house,
and it was one of a selection, to be honest.
-It could have a bit of potential this, couldn't it?
Yeah, it's a lovely little picture, and the subject is charming.
You're looking at around £120, aren't you? £130 or £140?
-We want as much as possible.
-Of course you do!
We all want as much as possible.
Let's find out what the bidders think of it.
-That's what you've come for, isn't it?
The Emmanuel Levy, the pastel, the French underground.
And I'm bid £50 to start it. At 50, at 55.
60, five, 70, five, 80, five, 90, five,
100, 10, 110 bid.
At £110. Anybody else?
No? At 120, we're back downstairs.
At £120, the internet's quiet. At £120. All told, at 120.
-The hammer's has gone down, 120.
-You're happy with that?
Yeah, I'm happy with that. It looks like someone nice has got it.
You've got plenty more you can enjoy,
and hopefully you'll get a lot more.
I gather with your job you do house clearances,
-and these things come along?
-Yeah, every now and again
something comes up.
Keeping the auction rooms busy, that's what he's doing, isn't he?!
Well, our next lot has lived under the stairs,
but not for much longer.
It's a collection of silver polo trophy cups
dating from the early 1900s.
Sally, it's great to see you again. A unique item.
We've not seen anything like this on the show before,
connected with polo, so hopefully there's a great market out there
cos it's a rich man's sport.
Sally, these are your...?
-And you've passed me this picture before.
-There he is.
-Gosh, look at that. What a fine man.
Lovely to see, isn't it? This is the man that owned those trophies.
-Where did he play?
-In the Sudan.
-Where he won the trophies?
-Oh, how nice.
There's a bit of sentimental attachment there.
Are you sad to let go of these?
A little bit, but they sit in the cupboard, so...
-Under the stairs.
-Under the stairs.
-What's the point of that?
Give them to a collector, and hopefully there's some here today,
and they're going under the hammer...right now.
The little bowl and the pedestal cup as well,
the 60th Rifles polo cup,
I'm bid 220.
230. 230. 240.
At 260 it's with me.
You're all out. Anybody on the net?
£260, ladies and gentlemen.
-That's not bad - top end.
And they're gone. Hammer's gone down.
-That's not bad.
-Yeah, that's not a bad result, is it?
It's better than being in a cupboard under the stairs doing nothing.
Well, that was a great way to kick off the auction.
Let's hope things stay buoyant for our next seller.
Going under the hammer right now, we have Joan's booty of gold.
And I must say, if you were wearing all of this,
you'd be dragging it along the road. There's such a lot of gold here.
Double Albert chain, there's a lot of weight there,
the gold watch, the pendant, the coin.
Whose was this? Not yours, obviously, was it?
No, it was my grandfather's.
He must have been a big guy to wear all of that!
-A man of substance.
-He wore it every day.
-Why are you selling these?
-For the money.
Hey, do you know? That's a fair answer, isn't it?
That's a really good answer.
I've had it a long time.
I think it will not go to melt because it's too good,
but obviously we're looking at melt value as a bottom line.
We've got 4-6.
You've got to take the weight consideration in.
It won't just get your weight value. It will be sold as an item,
and hopefully we will reach our reserve price.
Yeah, as we always say.
9-carat watch chain and the Elgin pocket watch, the plated one.
We've got 56.2g.
I'm bid 300 to start with.
380. 400. 420.
At 440. 460.
460, yes or no, anybody?
All told at £440.
-Well, it's gone. £440.
-It was good.
-It's within estimate - we're happy.
-You're happy as well.
-Thank you very much. Thank you, Anita.
Oh, I'm so pleased it did well.
Spot on there, Anita, with that valuation.
And Joan's got what she wanted - some cash.
At 220. 230 now.
Coming up, a collection entrenched with history.
I've just been joined by Sheila and Linda and our expert Adam,
and we've got a bit of carving going under the hammer.
-A bit of Chinese carving by you, Sheila.
-That's right, yes.
-Linda, you've got the carved coconuts.
-You are really good friends.
-That's why we did the valuation together.
You're holding each other's hand through this
because this could be a rollercoaster ride.
Do you know what? I think we're going to sell both of these items.
I think we're going to be all right. I think we're going to be all right.
-You're up first, aren't you?
-Yes, I am.
-This is it.
We've got the little carved concentric ball entwined with
the dragons on the little pedestal base
and I bid 20 to start it.
At 55. 60...5.
Anybody else left?
Just over the top end.
-At £100. 110.
-Yes, 110, 110.
He nods and shakes his head at the back of the room.
Fabulous. You're happy.
Right, let's see what we can do for you. Here we go.
Here's the next lot.
The carved 19th century coconuts and stands, with the bases as well.
We're off again. I have two commissioned bids.
I've got it started at 130.
At 140. 150.
190. We're in the room, on the left, at 190.
But it's a pair, Linda. There's a premium on the pair.
£190. Are we all done, ladies and gentlemen?
Well, I think you came out on top, Linda.
190. Hey, two happy bunnies here...
and good friends, so you're obviously going to celebrate
-together, aren't you?
-BOTH: Yes. That's marvellous.
I really like those coconuts. I'm pleased they made over £100.
It's a great price.
Thank you. We've really enjoyed everything.
-Thanks for coming.
-Good, fun items.
With the holiday coffer brimming and everything else sold,
we've had a good first visit to the auction house.
Our first lots done and dusted under the hammer, and some happy owners.
Now before we return to the Discovery Museum
to find some more antiques,
I'm going to take you down the river, where the men and women
of Tyneside have been crossing this stretch of water for many centuries.
Like Paris and London, this cityscape is divided by a river,
and for as long as people have lived beside the Tyne they've
needed to cross it.
I'm on the Shields ferry, which runs every half an hour and carries
around 400,000 passengers each year, from South Shields,
the side I started, over there, across the river to North Shields.
There are records of passenger boat crossings
on this very stretch of river dating back to 1377,
and of horses being transported across here during the 15th century.
Over 500 years later, the people of Tyneside are still making
the trip across this stretch of water.
During the 20th century, these ferries would have been packed
with workers who had to get backwards and forwards.
Nowadays, the ferry is mainly used for tourism and leisure.
As you can see, it is pretty much empty.
But back in the day, it would have been jam-packed.
The ferry could never handle
the growing demands of industrialisation,
so during the 19th and 20th centuries,
numerous bridges began to dot the Tyne,
becoming the fastest and most popular way of crossing the river.
It would be impossible to go into detail about all of Tyneside's
fascinating and innovative crossing points on today's show
so I'm going to pick a couple of notable bridges,
one from the last century
and one from the beginning of the 21st century.
Between the two world wars,
the British economy was in dire straits
and the building of the Tyne Bridge was to be a big morale booster,
providing hundreds of jobs at a time of mass unemployment.
The aim was to reduced congestion.
It took three years to build
and the men risked their lives in its construction.
It's incredible that not more than one man lost his life.
This iconic structure, the Tyne Bridge, is a defining
mark on the landscape here and the locals absolutely love it.
When it was opened by King George V back in 1928,
his speech was all about new beginnings
and more prosperous times.
The Queen and I thank you for your loyal and dutiful address.
It is a great pleasure to us
to visit Gateshead on the occasion of opening the new bridge.
It is a worthy testimony which enables the Tyneside town
to take their full and honourable share
in the industrial development of Great Britain.
I pray that with God's blessing, more prosperous times may soon return.
The bridge was overrun with people when it opened.
20,000 children were given the day off school
and everyone was out in force to celebrate their new bridge.
The building of the Tyne Bridge regenerated the area
and helped industry.
The year 2000 saw another iconic bridge grace the skyline.
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge,
often called the winking or blinking eye,
due to its shape and tilting method.
It was lifted into place in one piece by one of the world's
largest floating cranes.
The new bridge once again revived a part of the Tyne that had
become run down, giving it a fresh and new 20th-century feel.
I'm on my way to visit the team who operate the Millennium Bridge
and I've been told the whole thing tilts upwards
around noon every day, and who knows?
They might let me push a few buttons.
-Hi, guys. Hello. Am I just in time?
-You are just in time.
-What time do you normally tilt the bridge?
That's for the visitors.
OK. So how long does it actually take from the closed position
-to get it open?
-It takes approximately four and a half minutes.
-That's not long at all, is it?
-It isn't, no, for the size of it.
So how does it actually work?
It works on hydraulic rams.
There are three hydraulic rams this side and three on the other side
-and basically, the hydraulic pushes it on the axle and it tilts.
I expect all the locals have got used to this operation now,
but when it first opened, I bet there were thousands of people...
Yes, they were all over the place, to be honest, but now, people know,
12 o'clock comes and they know when to cross and when not to cross.
-We get people from all over the world coming still.
-Just to view this?
-Again, it is the only tilting bridge in the world.
-That's cutting-edge architecture, isn't it?
-It is. Without a doubt.
-Do you know, it actually marries in with the old bridges quite well.
You've got a bit of the ancient and a bit of the modern.
You've got the new with the old. It fits in perfectly.
-Are you proud of this?
-Very. Very. Absolutely brilliant.
Well, I make it about time to open the bridge now,
so what exactly do you do?
-Is it push a button?
-Yes. We push a button.
-Can I push it?
-You can push it.
-Where is it?
This is possibly the most important button I've ever pushed in my life.
Here we go.
And here it goes.
Just look how smoothly and gracefully the bridge tilts.
It's not surprising that it won the prestigious Stirling architectural award in 2002.
The bridge is lifted regularly
so passers-by can enjoy the spectacle,
but it still performs the important function of enabling boats to pass up and down the river.
The Millennium Bridge crucially connects Gateshead
on one side to Newcastle in an area where there is now
an internationally acclaimed cultural centre.
Architect Richard Rogers' Sage building
is a state-of-the-art concert hall.
The Baltic art centre exhibits contemporary art
and the cutting-edge design of the Millennium Bridge provides
a modern link to this bold new area.
Well, it's clearly a hit with all the local people on Tyneside
and with people from further afield.
Who could fail to be impressed with this marvellous structure?
Adding a new dimension to an already iconic skyline.
Welcome back to the valuation day,
here at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle,
originally built in 1899 for the Co-operative Wholesale Society.
Just looking at this space, it really is a wonderful example
of Victorian architecture at its very best,
with these wonderful floating steel arches spanning this room.
Beautifully decorated with ornamentation.
This is exactly what you'd find in a railway station of the same period.
British craftsmanship and Great British engineering.
Next up in this fine room,
Anita spotted an impressive autograph collection
from all around the world and very close to home.
Welcome to 'Flog It!' and it's really lovely to have you along.
You've brought in an autograph book. Now, whose book is it?
It's my book but both of our autographs.
-There is a few autographs from me.
-So both of you were autograph collectors?
-Is that what brought you together?
-In a way.
It's always fascinating to see the characters
that are in people's autograph books.
The most interesting autographs for collectors are the ones that
have been got by the folk themselves, maybe at the stage door or on an encounter,
not the ones that were sent out by the agency, because often these
were signed by the secretary or the cleaner or something like that.
-But what you've got here are ones that you've collected.
Now, I see that we have Stan Laurel
-and it's at the Grand Hotel, Tynemouth and that's in 1952.
And we have another piece of paper here with Stan Laurel
and Oliver Hardy. What's happening there?
Well, we were both there separately but we were only 12 years old.
And we didn't know each other then.
And Robert had got these two and I got the one
because he's cleverer than me.
I love the idea of you two being autograph hunters as kids
and then coming together and getting married and so on and so forth.
I think that's lovely.
So, we have a wee collection here and we have Frank Bruno.
-Who collected that one?
-I think, to be honest, it was my son.
Right, OK. And we've got Richard Nixon here.
Tell me the occasion this was got.
Well, I was on holiday in Switzerland
and I was at the top of Mount Pilatus and I was in a restaurant there
and in he came so I went to get the autograph and I might tell you,
-he wasn't very pleased.
-What did you say to him?
I just said, "May I have your autograph, Mr Nixon?"
-And he just sort of looked at me and glowered.
He wasn't very happy but he signed it.
-Were you both movie guys, you know, when you were kids?
-And of course, Laurel and Hardy.
-I just loved them, yes.
But of course, was it Laurel who came from Tyneside?
-Stan Laurel, yes.
-Stan Laurel came from Tyneside?
-He did, he did.
-There is actually a statue of him there in North Shields.
-They were so good, weren't they?
-They were funny.
So, these things are all part of your history together
-and your history as children.
Why do you want to get rid of them now?
Well, the family aren't really interested in them and we're getting on.
Are you getting on? I wouldn't believe that.
-You're very kind.
So we decided to sell them and we thought
-we would give the money to charity.
So pass them on and let some other collector have the pleasure.
Let some other collector enjoy then, yes.
There are a lot of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy fans, as well.
Of course. Especially in this area.
It's very difficult sometimes to give an accurate
estimate of this type of thing but I would say if it would be in
the region of a couple of hundred pounds - would that sort of...?
That's very good.
So if we estimate it, say £200 to £250,
would you like me to put a reserve on them?
Yes, I think so, please. Yes.
We'll put a reserve, maybe 180, with a little bit of discretion.
-Would you be happy with that?
-That's fine, yes.
Well, I hope we get lots of money for your charity.
-And thank you so much for coming along.
Thanks very much.
A lovely local story behind that item
-and here's another piece with a north-eastern history.
This is a most unusual-looking item.
I think I've worked out what it is, but first of all,
can you tell me what you know about it, where you got it from?
-I bought it from an antique fair several years ago.
It's a Durham Light Infantry menu carousel.
This is the Durham Light Infantry...
It's the bugle emblem from the Durham Light Infantry.
So it's a menu carousel, meaning something that would have sat on an
officers' table with the cards in there, indicating what the menu was.
-So have you ever been to a regimental dinner?
What's your background?
-I come from engineering that my father was in the Durham Light Infantry during the war.
So you picked this up with that sort of,
-"Oh, Father was in the Durham Light Infantry."
"There's a piece of Durham Light Infantry."
And what have you done with it since?
-Tried to put it on the dining room table...
The wife didn't exactly like that.
Did you suggest to her that she could do a menu for you every day of the week in there?
-That would have gone down well, wouldn't it?
-I wouldn't be here now.
-And we just haven't got anywhere to display it.
-Where does it live?
-In the wardrobe.
-Oh, no. Everybody is in the wardrobe.
-In the wardrobe.
Goodness me. Well to me, it looks as if it is between the two wars.
-The style of it says to me '20s, '30s.
-It is very nicely made.
Beautiful quality. Not a nail in there, is there?
I think it's all dowel pegged. And mahogany.
-It's mahogany, is it?
-Yes, all these mahogany panels.
-But lovely quality thing and it's a good spinner, isn't it?
-It is a very good spinner.
I wondered what sort of thing it has seen in the past.
I'd love to know what a regimental dinner was like.
Well, my father used to go to them, obviously.
But I've never been to one and the regiment was disbanded in 1968.
-1968, the regiment was disbanded, OK.
-Well before then, obviously.
You're selling it because you've run out of space
and your wife won't allow it the table.
-You didn't want to put your foot down?
-No! Goodness, no! No, no.
Will she be quite pleased when you tell her that
-you put it on to 'Flog it!'?
-If it goes, she will be.
Now, interesting item. I don't think that the value is huge.
-Firstly, what did you pay for it?
-Between £30 and £40.
-It's not a great value.
-Well, that's a relief.
But I think it's interesting of course
because it's local interest, Durham Light Infantry.
Because I can't recall having seen one before.
-So, what is it going to fetch?
-About the same, possibly.
-30 to 50 quid?
-That's what I thought when I saw it.
I don't think it's going to be much more than that.
-Do you want a reserve on it?
-Bit of leeway or leave it fixed 30?
-Leeway is fine.
£30, bit of discretion. And let's give it a whirl at the auction.
I'm looking forward to seeing how it sells.
Also, all this talk of food makes you wonder
what's for lunch so I'm going to have to go, David. Thanks for coming.
-Jenny, welcome to 'Flog it!'.
I am absolutely delighted
to see these two wee chookie birdies sitting on the table.
They are a pair of little posy holders.
Tell me where you got them.
I found them in a car-boot sale.
A car-boot sale, wow!
How much did you pay for them?
I can't remember whether they were £1 or £1.20 each.
What drew you to them?
Well, they were unusual, and they're supposed to be a vase,
but I don't they're much use as a vase.
But if you hold them,
it really is like you're holding
a bird in your hand.
So, they arrived in your hands in the car-boot sale
-Yes, yes. And they had to come home.
-And you couldn't resist them.
Now, they are Royal Copenhagen.
Did you notice that,
and did you know that Royal Copenhagen was a quality factory?
I knew that it said Copenhagen on them,
but I didn't know that it was Royal Copenhagen, until I got them home.
-I suppose that's...
-But that's not why I bought them.
-You bought them because you liked them.
-Yes, because they're lovely.
Royal Copenhagen have been making fine porcelain
since the middle of the 1700s,
so they have been going for a long time.
These particular little birds were designed by Nils Thorsson
and he was one of the artistic directors in Copenhagen.
These little birds come from the 1960s.
And, for me, they speak so typically of the 1960s,
with this simple stylised design
and these rather muted colours.
So beautifully designed, and Royal Copenhagen has been renowned for
the quality of its design work.
What kind of birds do they put you in mind of?
I think they're supposed to be doves,
but I suspect in this region,
somebody has brought them back as pigeons,
because we were, very much, pigeon-fancying country.
Ah, so someone has looked at that and thought,
"These are nice colourful pigeons, I'll take them home,
-"to remind me of my own."
Let's have a wee look at stamp here.
We see the symbol for Royal Copenhagen there.
And we have the word Columbine here,
this was the range of wares.
How long have you had them, Jenny?
Probably about 15 years now.
As long as that? Why are you thinking of selling them now?
Myself and my husband have different ideas about what's decorative,
and he doesn't like them, so they're in a box.
-And it's a waste, really. It's a waste.
I would put an estimate of 100 to 150 on this pair.
Would you be happy to sell them within that estimate?
I think I would, with difficulty.
Although, to me, they're worth more than that.
But, yes, yes. Some things have got to go.
-Shall we put a reserve price on them.
-That seems OK.
We'll put £100 firm reserve on them.
If they make more than that they will fly away -
and we hope that's what happens.
If they don't make that, they'll fly back to their mum.
Well, Charlie, I'm in suspense. All you going to...
Are you going to reveal what you've brought?
Well, I've got a nice table I fetched.
-Are you going to have a look at it?
-Nice, isn't it?
-Isn't that lovely quality?
Now, tell me where you got it from.
-Well, I got it from the second-hand shop.
-How long ago?
It's be six months ago. I went in the door and there it was, so...
-I says, "I'll have that." I didn't know how much it was.
-And he says, "Give us 40 quid for it."
-That's all it was.
-Where's this shop?
-What time does it shut?
It'll be shutting now.
-Oh. Well, I think that's a great buy.
-I think so. It's lovely.
It's not of any great age but it's lovely quality. Mahogany.
Flame mahogany with the segments here with a box wood line
and more mahogany banding.
-Really nice quality.
-I like the legs of this.
-Lovely that, isn't it?
-Look at those.
-And the quality under here.
-Yes. Everything's brilliant.
You've got a US patent number under there as well.
Yes, US patent.
And what I also like is the detail round the base.
Look at the way that's finished.
Oh, look, the banding and everything.
-It's a very nice quality table.
-It's lovely, yeah.
-And with the...
-The legs like...
-The four feet as well. And a drawer.
-Drawer. There's a plaque in...
-There you go, the plaque.
-Earl Spencer, first lord of the admiralty.
It's got a bit of a naval feel to it. And that's the makers, is it?
-Chapman And Co.
-They were established in 1847?
-It was, yeah.
-But I don't know if they're still going.
-I don't know, I'm not sure.
This one's more like 1974 than 1847, but, you know...
It's...probably 30-40 years old.
It's just...it looks like it's quality, that's all.
Beautiful quality. Would have been very expensive in its day.
-It's brilliant, that.
Auction estimate, I think it's obviously
worth more than what you paid. I think that was a real bargain.
You should double your money and a bit more.
-I'm going to suggest an estimate of £100-£150.
-Yeah, that's lovely.
-Is that all right?
-Is that in line with what you thought?
Yeah, I was thinking about 150.
Yeah. I think it should make 150-ish so, hopefully, we're both right.
But in case there are people there that don't like it
we should put in reserve on it.
-Everybody likes it in here.
-Lovely lass saying, "That's lovely, that."
-There'd be nothing worse
than it making 40 quid and then you saying to me afterwards, "You..."
-So let's put a reserve on it.
-100 quid, yeah.
-Bit of leeway, discretion?
-Just a little bit.
£100 reserve, discretion 10%
-but I think it'll make a bit more.
-Keep an eye out for those bargains, Jim.
You've got a good eye.
-I will do.
-If you had two good eyes you'd be unstoppable.
Well, there you are. As you've just seen, our experts have just made
their final choice of items to take off to the auction rooms.
So sadly, we have to say goodbye to the Discovery Museum -
our host venue for today.
We've had a brilliant time here, and we've learned a great deal
and that's what's important.
But right now, let's put those valuations to the test,
and here's a quick recap of all the items
that are going under the hammer.
Heather and Robert's impressive signature collection
is sure to appeal to an autograph hunter out there.
It's an unusual item with a lovely Art Deco character,
so David's menu carousel should be to someone's taste.
It might be a modern reproduction,
but Charles' mahogany table should still make good money.
Last but not least - will this be the day
Jenny's cherished porcelain birds fly the coop?
We're back in Boldon for our last visit to the auction.
Now, this is pigeon-fancier country,
and Jenny's hoping her birds will be well-loved.
Why are you selling these little birds?
-Just for the day.
-Just to enjoy the moment.
Her husband wants her to get rid of them as well.
-He doesn't like them.
-You've got too much stuff.
I think they're great spill vases - something I'd like to own.
Right, I think we've got work to do, don't you?
Let's put them under the hammer. Let's test this value.
The pair of Copenhagen Columbine flower vases.
Plenty of bids.
-Jenny, plenty of bids.
-I'll start straight in at £100.
10, anybody else, now?
130. The bid is upstairs at 130.
140, anybody? At £130, last chance?
All done at 130.
-They're gone. They've flown the nest.
Oh, dear! Oh, no. We've got a tear in our eye.
At least Jenny's birds have found a new coop,
and right now, David's item is giving the bidders
food for thought.
We've got a mahogany octagonal menu holder
from the Durham Light Infantry, belonging to David.
Any military connections in the family?
My father served in the 7th Battalion DLI during the war.
-How did come by this then?
-I got it at an antiques fair.
-Can you tell us how much you paid for it?
-£30 or £40?
Well, hopefully we'll get a bit more than that.
Well, it's local, isn't it?
Relatively local, and military interest.
So I think this should be the best place to get the right money for it.
-Properly cabinet-maker made, I think.
-I think so.
-Good luck, with that.
-Thank you very much.
We'll find out what it does right now.
The Durham Light Infantry mahogany table carousel - the menu carousel.
And I've got commissioned bids.
We start at £35.
At 35. 40, anybody?
40 right by the door.
Anybody else? 45.
-I hope this goes to a collector.
Somebody with connections to the Durham Light Infantry.
The internet is quiet. All done?
Hammer's gone down. £50. We're very happy.
Very happy, indeed.
Thank you for bringing that in. That's a one-off.
-You won't see another, will you?
-I doubt it, no!
Brilliant. Thank you.
Well, David's made his money back.
Now, it isn't old but it's a beautiful piece.
Charles, thank you for bringing that in. I know it's reproduction
but the quality is there. And it looks jolly good.
And it's the right size to fit any house.
If you live in a small flat, a little cottage
or a new-build, it will look great.
I think so. It's a handy little table.
And whilst we try not to put reproductions on the programme
I think this was a sufficient quality and design
to be worth coming on.
-And, you know, in 100 years that'll be an antique, won't it?
Anyway, it's going under the hammer right now.
We have the Earl Spencer occasional table.
A little empire-style one.
-I have two commission bids. We are straight in at 140.
160. 170...170. 180.
190. 200. 210.
230, the bid is upstairs to the left.
-That's what it's all about, you see?
That is a useful piece of kit that will become very practical.
-I think it was quite...quite a bargain.
-Well, there you go.
-Not long ago?
-Went in here. I seen it...bang.
-I'm going to have that.
Even good reproduction has quality.
Our next sellers have delivered us a legendary line-up.
Well, they say the pen is mightier than the sword,
and we're about to find out.
I'm joined by Heather and Robert
and we have a book of autographs with some classic ones in there!
Laurel and Hardy we've seen before on the show.
Great to see you both again. Big smiles.
We've been waiting for this event. Why are you selling this?
Well, the family aren't interested,
and were getting on, so we thought we'd sell them
and give it to a charity.
OK. We've seen Stan and Ollie's autographs on the show before
and they've realised around £150-£200.
So fingers crossed we'll get the top end here.
Well, I'm hoping that we are.
Both of these guys were avid autograph hunters.
So let's hope they do well.
The collection of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy signatures.
I have one, two, three, four bids.
-Wow, that's good, isn't it?
At £300, the maiden bid's going to get it?
At £300. Is anybody in the room?
For the first and the last time...
-You were right. Spot on with the top end of the estimate.
You said 280, didn't you?
There were lots of autographs in this.
-You can split it up.
-I'm sure that helps.
A dealer would have bought that, split them up and sold some off,
got some money back and may be kept two or three for himself.
-Good for you.
-Thank you for bringing it on.
Thank you. Thanks very much.
-Well done, I'm so happy!
A wonderful outcome for Heather and Robert's charity.
Well, that's it. The hammer has gone down on our last lot,
and it's all over. We've had a fabulous time here.
All credit to our experts, because we have sold everything today,
and it's not easy putting a value on an antique, as you know.
So, from this extraordinary part of the country -
rich in heritage - it's time to say goodbye from the north-east.
So, until the next time, with plenty more surprises on 'Flog it!'...
Paul Martin presents from the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he is joined by experts Anita Manning and Adam Partridge. Together the team pick out a selection of interesting antiques to be sold at a local auction, including a book of autographs with a local connection.
Paul also finds out about the history of some of the wonderful crossings over the River Tyne, dating back to the 14th century, and discovers what the people of Tyneside make of Antony Gormley's Angel of the North 15 years on.