Antiques series. Paul Martin presents from Sheffield with experts Thomas Plant and James Lewis. Items of interest include a set of watercolours and a Victorian automaton.
Browse content similar to Sheffield 6. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Today we're in South Yorkshire,
and we're on a mission
to find all those unwanted antiques and collectables
and give them a new home.
This is Sheffield. Welcome to "Flog It!".
For hundreds of years, the factories of Sheffield
have produced steel goods in vast quantities
and of the highest quality.
It's this industry that helped create Sheffield's wealth
and impressive architecture.
It also put it on the world map as the first city of steel.
Our venue today is the magnificent Cutlers' Hall,
home to the Cutlers' Company
who've helped maintain Sheffield's reputation
for producing the finest steel products in the world.
And today it's our job to find the finest antiques here
in all of these bags and boxes
that the people of Sheffield have brought along.
We'll tell you what it's worth, and if you're happy with the valuation,
-what are you going to do?
-ALL: Flog it!
Let's get cracking!
Hoping to find something precious are our very own treasures.
There's a diamond in the rough - Thomas Plant.
It's Walker and Hall. It is Sheffield.
-A bit of Sheffield... Silver Sheffield plate, isn't it?
And a polished gem - James Lewis.
Well done, brilliant find.
-So how old do you think the bag will be?
-The bag's 1950s. Post-war.
We've got a great crowd today gathered from all over Yorkshire.
Can you guess which of these items will top the charts
in the saleroom?
Could it be these diamond earrings that sparkle?
Or will we be raising a glass to this happy chappie?
Or will this set of knives have the edge?
We'll be finding out very soon.
Cutlers' Hall has been here since 1638.
It's been rebuilt twice as the company's and the city's fortunes
have changed over the years.
The space that we're in today is known as the main hall.
It's the grandest room in the building -
it's entertained kings, queens and other dignitaries over the years.
Everyone's steeling themselves for an exciting day ahead,
and Thomas Plant is about to kick-start the proceedings.
-Are you a Sheffield girl?
-Yes, born and bred in Sheffield.
-Born and bred. And these are scenes of industrial Sheffield.
Do you remember the city like this?
Well, parts of it. Yes. But not all on it.
Is this why you have these pictures?
Tell me about them.
Well, the pictures were drawn and painted by a friend of mine
and he used to have 'em on wall and I always liked them,
because it'd remind me of old Sheffield. I love old Sheffield.
So I gave him some money what he wanted for them.
-And that were 1978.
You're saying that your friend was Mr North?
-Yes, Frank North.
-Frank North. And he painted these?
Do you know these areas now?
This is Corporation Street and Nursery Street.
And this picture here is the other side of Corporation Street,
on the left-hand side coming from West Moor.
Were these all steelworks?
They were all steelworks,
that was a steelworks, then it became a brewery.
Then after that they pulled them all down and made flats.
They're all modern ones now.
-They evoke a real sort of post-war Britain, don't they?
What's interesting - this genre of picture, of industry,
isn't normally seen.
-This chap, Mr North, obviously had a good eye.
And he had something about him,
to get up in the morning - or whenever he did this - to think,
"Do you know what, I'm going to paint my industrial heritage."
Why are you bringing them in?
Well, I've got a bigger family
and they'd cause arguments if they were left
to one certain person in the family,
so I thought, well, I'll sell them,
and the money, if I get anything, they can share between them.
-I don't think we're looking at a king's ransom.
There won't be much to share, I have to... You know.
I'm just building you up here.
As pictures themselves,
he was very good, but he obviously wasn't trained.
But as they're local, they deserve a decent estimate of £80-£100.
-And I'd sell them as a pair.
Would you be happy with that?
Well, I would. At first I thought individually.
You know, that I'd sell them.
But it's up to you what to do.
In my opinion, it's always good to keep them together as a pair.
Have a discretionary reserve,
-and we look forward to seeing you at the auction.
Next up, James has got an item that should feel right at home
here in Cutlers' Hall.
Now then, Naina. Before we go any further - Naina.
Now, other than tenner, Naina, it's not Sheffield.
-Where does Naina come from?
-So you're Russian.
No, my mum had a thing on Russian ballets, so I copped for it.
-I could have been Olga.
-So I hit lucky.
OK, so the first thing to say is there is
-no more appropriate place to be looking at these than here.
Cutlers' Hall. Let's have a look.
We have a pair - volume one and two - and there,
the engraved frontispiece, is Cutlers' Hall.
-Yeah. Where we are.
Now, two volumes bound in green cloth and gilt with a vellum spine.
-Without question, these would have been
a limited edition of books.
-These are not cheap to produce.
Now, how did you come to have them in the family?
My gran got them, but I don't know where she got them from,
but they were in the wardrobe originally.
Why would your grandmother want a pair of books on Cutlers' Hall?
Because they were surgical instrument makers.
They were George Turton & Sons surgical instrument makers.
-Ah, so they're in here.
-They're in the book.
So that was your grandmother's...
That was my grandfather's father who owned the business.
-What sort of period?
-Up to the '30s.
-Exactly this period.
-So, let's have a look.
There we go. Turton, right.
So, "list of officers". Here we are.
Turton, Turton. Joseph Turton, 1846-1851.
So these are relations to you.
-Yes, they're all in relation to my grandparents.
When they were new,
they were presented to the Sheffield Club by Fred...
Must have been the Sheffield Cutlers.
I wonder if it's the Sheffield Cutlers or a different club?
-Because you have a county club, don't you, in each area?
-With a building in the centre of Sheffield...
-With a library.
..where all the gentlemen would retire.
I was flicking through these earlier and it
-has lists of portraits and busts that are in this building.
I mean, wonderful, wonderful history of this building.
And given in 1906,
which probably accounts for why the condition is a bit shabby.
-All right, very shabby.
-But they've lived in your home where?
They've been up on the bookshelf for about five years,
-but the cat's taken to going up on top of the bookshelf.
So I thought, before they were used as a clawing post,
-it was probably better to get them down.
-Yeah, good move, good move.
So, pair of books, vellum bound, limited edition,
that have seen better days.
But if they don't make the right money here in Sheffield
they won't make it anywhere.
I think we should put an auction estimate of £200-£300 on them
and a reserve. How do you feel about reserves?
-Do you want a reserve on them?
-What were you thinking?
Do you want to give them a little bit of discretion?
-£10 under but that's all.
-Is that all?
-OK, so normal auctioneer's discretion is 10%.
So instead of having a 200 with 10% discretion, let's put 190 firm.
-If they don't make that...
-They go home.
Go home, and protect them from the cats. All right?
Thomas has spotted something amongst the crowd
and this time, he's taking a more laid-back approach to his valuation.
Janet, here we are in the queue
and you've brought along something quite interesting.
Now, these are knife boxes.
I normally open them and they've been converted to letterboxes.
-Will I find a knife box, or will I find a letterbox?
-A knife box.
-A knife box?
-This is a Georgian box.
Lovely shaped front with a good bit of cross-banding.
It's a good-looking mahogany box.
And we open it up - look at these wonderful knives.
Tell me, how did you come about this?
Did you buy this all as one?
Yes, my husband bought it a number of years ago,
and I think it was just a chance find
and fell in love with it.
There's a few things which are missing in here.
You've got...five spoons.
Is it meant to be six?
-Don't know? It was always like that?
-Can I...? I want to pick out a spoon.
We've got an old English pattern spoon
in solid silver
and this is George II, 1740s.
I've got the maker's mark there for Ebenezer Coker.
-I know that one.
-So these are Georgian, which match the knife box.
Now, these up here are not Georgian. I can tell you that immediately.
-No, these are Victorian.
And these will all be knives.
-Yeah, they are.
-Because of "knife box".
This has got almost what we call a pistol handle.
-I knew that bit!
-They've got a mark, here.
Looks like TS. TS...
I mean, that could stand for Thomas Shaw,
it could stand for Thomas Sansom,
he was a flatware maker.
But, obviously, the blades are steel
-and these would have a skin of silver over them.
And a plaster - or gypsum, as we call it - inside,
to give it that weight.
They are fantastic. Then here you've got...
What are these?
You've got fish - definitely Victorian, then.
Georgians didn't have fish knives.
And then we've got lunch, have we?
And maybe fruit down here, if they're small.
Why are you selling these?
Because we've moved to a much smaller house.
It's a cottage, which is incongruous with this sort of thing.
Yeah. I have to say, I do believe this knife box
has been slightly played with.
Yes, it started life as a knife box,
it probably was converted to a letterbox,
and has been converted back to a knife box.
If you want my honest opinion, this here is a later addition.
-Oh, is it?
-Yeah, and I would have thought that this,
the actual fitting here,
would probably be later. It's far too fresh...
to be 1800.
It's a good mixed lot.
You've got the very lovely pistol handles.
The knife set is great.
The spoons are all much earlier.
One has to think, does one say -
OK, what we'll do - we'll sell the spoons as a lot,
sell the knives as a lot, and sell the box as a lot.
But I think...
As it's a piece, as you bought it as a piece,
-one should keep it as a piece.
And dividing up every single bit and thinking what is this worth...?
The knives are lovely.
I mean, a set of 12 of each is fantastic.
I would say maybe £300. I mean, they're really good, fun things.
And the box, of course, the Georgian box - £200.
-So we're already at £700.
So I would suggest you enter this in for auction
at around about £700-£900.
-Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I think it's all there, really.
I think at 700, with reserve,
with discretion on that,
means you won't sell it below 600.
I think that's really fair.
Yeah, I'd rather have it kept together,
because that's the thing - when you open the lid, the "Oh, wow!"
-It is, "Oh, wow," isn't it?
Our next items may not say Sheffield,
but they certainly add a touch of glamour.
Erica, they say diamonds are a girl's best friend.
They are stunning!
Are they things you've worn out to balls and state occasions...?
I have worn them to balls... not all that often.
-The first thing to say - we've got platinum mounts.
-And a diamond cluster ear pendant.
So they're very pretty, very fashionable,
-and diamonds never, never go out of fashion.
The cuts of the stone are brilliant cut.
And brilliant-cut diamonds really started to come into use
around 1920, 1925.
Before then it was...
These are new brilliant cut.
Before then it was brilliant cut,
before then it was old cut, rose cut...
So you can actually date the time the stones were cut
by the type of cut they have.
What's the history behind these?
They were given to me by a friend about 20 years ago
and I've never really worn them, particularly.
They were given to her by her husband,
and she had them a long, long time,
and I thought if I sell them,
I will always want to give quite a lot to Combat Stress,
because her husband was a great army person.
Brilliant cause. Brilliant.
Well, the pressure's on to raise a bit of money, isn't it?
Yes, please! THEY LAUGH
OK. When you're talking about diamonds
you value them on clarity of the stone
and colour of stone,
and size of the stone.
So, they're a good colour,
they're nice and clear.
The stones are what we call .2 size stones,
but they add up to a carat each earring.
For a pair like that, auction estimate,
I would say 400-600.
And I think 400 should be a firm reserve,
-if you're happy with that.
-How do you feel?
This would be... a sort of firm reserve?
-Do you want something higher?
Perhaps 500. What do you think?
-Do you think that's a good idea?
If you put 500, we could put 500-700 as an estimate.
But what I'd say is,
give the auctioneer that little bit of discretion, if it's high.
So, if he's got a bid of 460 or 480, he can let it go.
-Because otherwise, for the sake of £20,
-it'll be a shame not to sell them.
-So it had better be 400.
-Are you sure?
-400 firm then.
400-600 as an estimate.
We'll take them along to the sale,
I'm sure they'll do well,
they're jolly pretty.
And now for a piece of local interest.
This is Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United,
and the oldest football ground in the world.
So if I told you the first ever football club came from Sheffield
you might think it was Sheffield United.
Well, I'm afraid you'd be wrong.
The answer is actually Sheffield Football Club, or FC,
as they are known.
Most of you would probably not have heard of them but they have
the honour of, back in 1857, starting football.
Now, that is a big statement - starting the game we know
and love today, a game of massive global appeal.
Some kind of game called football has been around in Britain
for a lot longer than the 1800s.
Since the Middle Ages the most common variety,
still played in many parts of England, involved a mob of
hundreds of people running around an area that could cover several miles.
There weren't really any rules,
just a ball being moved somehow between two vague goals.
There was kicking, fighting and even the occasional stabbing.
It was so riotous that many monarchs passed laws to ban it.
Queen Elizabeth I proclaimed,
"No football play to be used or suffered
"within the city of London."
Over the following centuries the game slowly fell into decline,
and by the start of the 1800s it was almost dead.
The sport's revival came about thanks to the great public schools
like Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Charterhouse.
Sport, especially football,
was a way of creating order and discipline amongst the young men.
Unfortunately, every school played by their own set of rules
that they considered to be the game of football.
Now, all that was about to change.
In 1857, the members of Sheffield Cricket Club put together
a team to keep the cricketers fit during the winter months
and they called it Sheffield Football Club.
The only problem was they didn't have any rules to play by.
Two of their members,
Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest,
went away and wrote their own set of rules.
The biggest change was cutting out rugby-style tackling
or ball carrying.
They also introduced free kicks for foul play and kick-offs
from the centre spot.
The Sheffield Rules, as they became known,
soon took off, and by 1862 15 other clubs sprung up and they
were playing by those rules as well around the South Yorkshire area.
This was the birth of modern football.
Quickly, more and more teams sprung up all over the country,
playing each other by a common set of rules.
By the 1900s, football had become an international phenomenon,
played in front of vast crowds with players and clubs
becoming household names.
Today, stadiums like this have become commonplace,
but what became of Sheffield FC, the club that started it all?
Well, the answer lies right here, six miles south of the city
just across the border in Derbyshire.
I'm here to meet with Richard Tims,
the current chairman of Sheffield FC.
12 years ago,
he bought the club and saved them from becoming just folklore.
Richard, you bought the club back in 2001.
What was it like then?
Well, in 2001 we didn't have a ground -
we played at Don Valley Stadium.
Luckily we moved here in about that year.
We just had one team, really, and a bag of balls and a kit.
What had happened to Sheffield FC?
Well, before 2001, we played football for nearly 150 years
but remaining to our amateur principles,
and the professional game taking over somewhat left us behind.
Not having our own ground left us even further behind,
so, you know, we've stumbled and stuttered along, really,
-for that period of time until we moved here.
-Why did you buy it?
It's the oldest football team in the world,
it's a great asset to the city and it's a challenge as well.
And if you pop inside I'll show you some of our archive
and where we are now.
'As well as finally giving the club a home ground,
'Richard has managed to build up a collection of memorabilia
'that reflects its proud history.'
Talk me through some of these trophies.
Well, some of these trophies we've acquired recently
as we started to market the club.
And the more media we've done, things have come to us.
Never having our own ground meant we had no archive.
No trophy room, so to speak.
-And now you've got one.
So all of this has literally come to you because of the PR the club
has generated over the years, being the oldest football club
-in the world.
It's been in people's cupboards and drawers all over the world.
This piece here - through some of the media we did,
I was contacted by a woman in South Africa.
-Can I have a look?
-So this has come all the way from South Africa.
Inscribed Sheffield Football Club,
so she knew exactly who it was going to belong to.
Gosh, isn't that lovely?
And that's solid silver, made in Sheffield,
and was part of an end-of-season prize.
It's a nice Victorian piece.
It's done in the George II style
and it's a very classical looking, wonderful urn shape.
You know, that's worth a lot of money within itself,
but priceless to this club.
You can't put a value on that, can you?
-That's your social history.
And we have some other interesting pieces.
Is that an early programme or a set of rules?
This is a copy of the original Sheffield Rules,
-which were written in...
Yeah. This was actually the first printed version.
It basically mapped out the development of the beautiful game.
Have you got the original? That's a copy, isn't it?
The original, unfortunately, got sold because we had to raise some money.
-How much did it sell for?
-It went for a world record price,
-just short of £1 million.
-That's a lot of money, isn't it?
It's double the previous record for a piece of football memorabilia.
Hell of a lot of money. What did you do with most of that?
We used it to pay off our land that we now own, eight acres of land,
so it really did put down our roots.
That's going to generate more income,
and obviously you've had all the stands built.
I must say, the pitch is in fantastic condition.
So you can see it's money well spent, can't you?
Yeah, we like to think so.
Talk me through some of the rules. What have we got here?
OK, I mean, number one rule is,
as it is today, really - "kick off from middle.
-"Must be a place kick."
-The centre spot?
It's exactly the same thing.
So, "no player must be held or pulled over",
which again differs from rugby, which was developed around the same time.
"A ball in touch is dead", which obviously generates a throw-in.
So, you know, some of them...
There was no off-side here, that didn't come up till a bit later on.
-So again, unique piece of memorabilia.
So this football club is more than a football club -
-it's a part of social history on a global scale.
So what does the future hold for the young guys
that are playing for the club now?
Well, we've done more in the last ten years than the previous 150 -
our own ground, we've got a successful ladies' side,
community team. 27 teams that play under our banner.
So the future is bright for Sheffield FC.
And protecting the heritage.
It's down to you, really - local boy made good.
You've done something great for the city and it's been
-a pleasure to meet you as well.
What an amazing piece of social history and culture!
It's like one lost valuable antique that's been forgotten about
and covered in dust.
Thanks to Richard and all the people here at Sheffield FC,
it's been found, cleaned and polished
and given a new lease of life,
and I think it's got a bright future.
Back in the main hall there are still
plenty of valuables for our experts to look at,
but right now it's time for us to head off
to the auction room to put our valuations to the test.
And just to jog your memories, here's a quick recap.
Will these diamond earrings have enough carats to tempt
some big bids at the saleroom?
We couldn't wish for a better place than Sheffield
to sell these local watercolours.
Let's hope they create a scene in the saleroom.
These books are a real part of today's venue and bound
to appeal to local collectors.
And the cutlery box certainly wowed Thomas,
but will it have the same effect on the bidders?
From Cutlers' Hall, we're heading just two miles south
across the city centre to Sheffield Auction Gallery.
The sale is already under way, and auctioneer
Robert Lee is keeping proceedings ticking along at a cracking pace.
Going under the hammer now we have some 20th-century British School.
A bit of fine art belonging to Elsie.
-Two watercolours. And you love the old Sheffield.
So do I. And these watercolours represent that.
-They've been on the wall?
Yes, they were in my dinette for about 34 years.
They are old Sheffield,
with the chimneys and the steam and smoke coming out.
-It's very emotive.
They're evocative images,
and hopefully they're going to find a new home right here.
-Good luck both of you, OK?
-Here they go, under the hammer.
F North, British School, 20th century,
a Sheffield industrial scene.
Signed lower right. There's another similar.
For us to start them - £60.
65, I need.
A bit of Sheffield history.
75. I'm out. But I'm out too soon.
150, with the gentleman standing.
Anybody else for 160?
Top left at £150, so far.
Have we done, at £150?
One last look around.
Hammer's going to drop.
Hammer's gone down. £150.
-You're happy, aren't you?
And the money will go towards helping looking after the family.
-So they're OK.
I've got family to sort out.
-It's a good amount of money.
Well, that was a great start.
Next to book their place in the saleroom are those
Cutlers' Hall books.
I've just been joined by Naina and Fred in the nick of time,
because going under the hammer right now are two books
of the contents of Cutlers' Hall, our valuation day venue.
-Why are you selling these?
-They're not doing anything.
They're stuck at home.
They've been in the bottom of the wardrobe
and then they've been on the bookcase, so...
I wonder if these will end up back at Cutlers' Hall, in their archives.
-It would be nice.
-It would be nice, wouldn't it, James?
Well, what better place to sell them than Sheffield?
If they don't make good money here
they're not going to make it anywhere.
-They won't do it anywhere.
Well, let's find out. Let's put it to the test. Here we go, this is it.
Robert Eadon Leader, The History Of The Company Of The Cutlers
in Hallamshire In The County Of York, first edition, 1905.
Good, local books. Must start them at £120.
130. It needs to be to move on.
With me at 120.
130, 140, 150,
-There's a bid on the book. Look, Fred, see,
he's looking down on the commission bids.
Somebody in the room.
I need £200 elsewhere.
190, gentleman on the second row so far.
Needs to be 200 to move on.
-He's going to sell at 190, isn't he?
Anybody else at 200?
190 on the second row.
All done, are we? At 190, with the gentleman, hammer's going to drop.
-Sell it, flog it.
That's what it's all about, that's the name of the game.
They weren't in the best of conditions either, were they?
They were battered a bit.
They were, so that is a really great result, well done.
I really should take a leaf from James's book.
His valuation was spot on.
We've got some 9-carat gold diamond earrings
belonging to Erica now, and hopefully for not much longer.
Because all the proceeds are going to charity.
They are, indeed. Yes.
We are looking at four, five, six hundred, maybe, James?
Hopefully, because it's such a good cause, isn't it?
They're going under the hammer. Let's hope they dazzle. This is it.
Pair of diamond flower cluster earrings,
graduated brilliant cut stones
and unpierced screw fittings, stamped 9-carat gold.
Forced to start them at £300.
I need to progress.
With me at £300 bid.
I'm out. Who's on 420?
Got to be 420 to move on.
They're going to sell.
With the lady at £400. Any advance?
All done at £400.
Hammer's going to drop.
They've gone at the lower end,
but at least the money is going to a fabulous cause.
Well, that's it, yes.
-Are you disappointed?
I would've liked them to go at the higher price.
-For the sake of the charity, really.
-Sure. Every penny counts.
It does, indeed, yes.
Do you know, that's auctions for you.
They are so unpredictable. It happens on the day.
Maybe another day they might have fetched 500 or 600,
but that's what we got today.
They have gone and every penny will go towards that charity.
And, finally, let's hope we can find a fitting home
for our last lot of the morning.
Going under the hammer right now, a proper antique,
a Georgian mahogany knife box. And it's complete.
-Janet and Geoff, it's great to see you.
-I can imagine this looked stunning in your house.
-Well, it did.
But we've moved to a cottage.
I can understand why you want to sell it.
There's a lot of quality there. Love the pistol-handled knives!
And a nice weight, a nice balance, as well.
And it's craftsmanship at its best.
-The whole lot is beautiful.
We've got £700-£900 - a bit of discretion. Good luck on that.
George III rosewood banded and lime inlaid knife box,
including old English hallmarked silver spoons.
Bidding is to commence at £520.
550, I'm after.
520 with me, so far. Must be 550 to move on.
650. I'm out.
Who's on 680?
Gentleman on my left standing at £650.
-We can sell now, can't we?
-In the room at £700.
-We've sold it.
-Yeah, you've sold it.
New bid at 700 on my left.
720. I've got it. 750, sir?
New bid at 750.
780, 800 now. 820 I'm after.
800 in the room.
So far at £800. Gentleman on my left.
Anybody else for 820. It's going to sell.
On the left, at £800?
Hammer's gone down. £800.
That's mid estimate. I'm happy. Are you happy with that?
-It is quality.
-Going somewhere it needs to be.
75, 80, 85...
We're surrounded here in Sheffield by great craftsmanship.
It's a tradition our country is proud of.
In 1851, the Great Exhibition was set up
to promote these skills worldwide,
so I went down to London to find out exactly what effect
they had on the nation.
There are few buildings in London that celebrate the achievements
of the Victorian age
quite like the Victoria and Albert Museum.
But this imposing building is only here thanks
to an exhibition that barely lasted six months,
but drew in the crowds from every corner of the empire.
The Great Exhibition of 1851 was set up as an international trade fair
to showcase everything Great Britain, its colonies,
and dozens of other countries
had to offer in the fields of art, science, design and manufacturing.
It was the first of its kind on such a grand scale.
But the idea nearly didn't even get off the ground.
At the time of its planning, the government wasn't at all keen
on a Great Exhibition and certainly didn't want to finance one.
It was Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband,
who took on the challenge.
He proposed that the whole project
should be self financing and he gathered advisers and engineers
at the top of their profession,
including the railway pioneer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Late July, 1850, the plans for the festival had been approved
and Hyde Park was chosen as the venue.
But despite holding a competition
to design a grand building for the exhibition,
none of the proposals could be built in time.
With less than a year to go before the doors opened,
it was down to a last-minute sketch
by a Victorian garden designer Joseph Paxton which saved the day.
Paxton was renowned for his glasshouses,
and his idea was based on the simple structure of glass and iron,
repeated indefinitely, to create a much bigger building.
His original design was sketched on a sheet of blotting paper
and remarkably, that piece of paper
is right here behind this little door.
Take a look.
Isn't that just fabulous?
It gives you an indication of how inspirational
and off-the-cuff this idea was.
With the ink from the quill, look,
being soaked up by the blotting paper,
it's really messy and untidy, but this simple sketch
was transferred into a series of engineering drawings within a week,
and the building would be easy to erect.
It would allow beautiful light to come flooding in,
and create an iconic venue for the largest cultural exhibition
Britain had ever seen.
Just nine months after Joseph Paxton had sketched his design,
Hyde Park was transformed.
As this computer simulation shows, 19 acres were covered
by the giant glasshouse.
And to give you an idea of the massive scale of the whole building,
look at this - it was large enough to build around and over
mature protected elm trees growing in Hyde Park.
It was a veritable crystal palace,
six times the size of St Paul's Cathedral,
and packed with amazing artefacts.
Historian Suzanne Fagence Cooper has studied in detail
the spectacle that awaited the public when the doors opened
on 1 May, 1851.
When you walked into the Crystal Palace it would have just been
the most extraordinary thing.
It was made of iron and glass,
you had banners coming down from each side,
you had things all around you that you had never seen before.
Trees seeming to grow up in the middle of it.
And what would you choose to see first?
Would you go to the Indian court,
would you go and see the howdah, the cloth of gold
that was perched on top of an elephant?
Or you might then go around the corner, out the back,
and there was a special space dedicated to working steam engines,
so you could see the newest industrial technology
to make Britain the centrepiece of world technology.
And that was why the exhibition was happening in London.
There was this sense that London was the beating heart of a new world.
The variety of objects on display was vast -
from hand-carved statues to huge industrial machinery.
And typical of the Victorians,
every item and exhibit was recorded in detail in illustrated catalogues,
and they're kept here, in the National Art Library at the V&A.
Now, this is absolutely fascinating.
In here, the official catalogue,
are details and descriptions of all the key exhibits.
And it ranges from - look at this - knife-cleaning machines,
we've got the first mangle,
there's a railway signal post,
there's an early gas meter,
chandeliers and candelabra.
Everything is in here, beautifully documented and illustrated.
But what sets the Great Exhibition apart
wasn't just that it was the largest of its kind,
it was designed to draw in people from every social class
and show them the modern world.
The audience for the Great Exhibition is very diverse.
If you wanted to go to the exhibition many times,
you could buy one of the season tickets -
that was a couple of guineas.
But if you couldn't afford that,
you could still go and see all these things.
You could still have access to the Great Exhibition
through the one shilling tickets.
And you get this sense that people are travelling
into the Crystal Palace, into London,
from all across Britain and across the world.
And this is a moment at which
people do encounter diverse cultures,
and have their eyes opened, I think,
to the wonders of the whole of the world.
The Great Exhibition was a phenomenal success.
Six million people came to see the vision
that Prince Albert had championed.
And the legacy continued long after the doors closed
on the 15 October, 1851.
The giant glasshouse, which had become an architectural marvel,
was taken apart and rebuilt in south London
where it was named the Crystal Palace.
It continued to be used for events and attracted tourists
up until 1936 when, sadly, it was destroyed by fire.
But the spirit of the Great Exhibition was to live on.
It was so successful, it brought in far more revenue
than Prince Albert could have ever dreamt of.
Not only was the project self-financing,
but with the extra money, they were able to buy a large plot of land
in the South Kensington area of London
to build a number of art and science institutes.
The Victoria and Albert Museum being one of them,
which first opened its doors to the general public in 1857
to showcase art and design.
And 150 years later, it is still being enjoyed by millions of people.
There's still lots of people arriving at Cutlers' Hall
all laden with antiques for our experts to study and value.
And James has spotted one that certainly stands out from the crowd.
What an amazing thing.
I mean, you can't miss you walking in with this.
So, what's he doing here?
How have you come to have him?
It was a friend of mine.
She's recently bought a house and, er...
She found him in the cellar. He was just sat there in the cellar, so...
Because you were here today, I suggested I should bring him along
-and here he is.
Well, he's clearly an advertising figure,
an automaton advertising figure that is 1890 to 1910.
He would have been in the window...
It could've been a bar, it could've been a pub,
more likely, though, someone selling retail spirits and beers.
And you can see a tube here, coming from his right hand.
So that tube would no doubt have gone into the bottle.
I'm sure he would have had probably a little bit of turning glass
to symbolise alcohol pouring out
into the cup, and then, actually, the cup has a tube, as well.
He might've actually poured real liquid into there.
And then the cup goes up...
and goes back down again.
His eyes move, his lips move, his arms move...
I think his legs could be angled at different positions.
He is carved out of wood and he is covered in gesso,
and that gesso has been painted to symbolise skin and flesh.
We look at the face here
and he's almost like a fairground attraction, isn't he?
But the eyes are set with real glass eyes.
I mean, it's a fantastic quality thing.
And done up, in good order...
It's worth a lot of money done up, but...
..my major concern is the condition.
I mean, he's not in the best of states, really.
What's going on with the head?
Yeah. That's not healthy.
If this was in really fantastic condition...
I think it would be worth £2,000.
But it's the amount of work you're going to have to put into it.
I think if we put a high estimate on, it's going to put people off.
Now, the estimate I'm going to give you, I'll be disappointed
if it only makes this.
But...it's there to shout out to everybody,
"I'm here to be sold, I don't have a reserve,
"I'm fresh to the market, come and buy me."
And I think we should put £100 to £150 on him,
-is that all right?
-But I think he's going to make
-between £300 and £500. Fingers crossed.
If the right person sees him - and I hope they will,
because he has real potential to be a great object.
Thank you so much for bringing him.
That little spot up there is the minstrels' gallery,
normally occupied by musicians entertaining the crowd below.
Today, it's Thomas Plant up there,
ready to perform his valuation of another set of antiques
with a local connection.
So here we are in Cutlers' Hall,
and on the shield there, the arms are three crossed daggers.
But we've got penknives here.
Five of them, three are from Sheffield.
-Tell me, Paul, how did you come by these?
-Car boot finds.
In a box, locked, key was jammed.
The guy couldn't open it, so I went,
"You're all right, I'll open it when I get home,"
and basically they were in some tissue paper.
-Were you disappointed?
-I don't think you should be.
Penknives came into sort of being
because we had little knives on our desk
to sharpen and to cut our quill. Pen...knife.
And so we had these quill blades.
These are not anything to do with pens.
These are 20th-century penknives with multi-tools.
So this one here has the wooden handle
with the steel blade
and also the shears for cutting.
And this is your real good gardener's knife.
Good solid steel, well made.
We've got the Sheffield make there, "Sheffield Made," it says,
-so we can definitely say this one's a Sheffield one.
I would say this is 1940s.
This one I would say probably 1930s.
A multipurpose tool - file,
you've got a little screwdriver bit,
and a blade and also these curves in here
-for taking off wire, you know, the rubber round a wire.
Could be that.
Then you've got the fruit knives, which one would carry with you,
-just for day to day.
What did you spend on this box, this magical lucky dip box?
I actually paid £15 for the box.
-Really? Not knowing these were in there.
Quick rattle, heard something, weight-wise...
thought, "Something in there."
I believe that we will get between £50 and £80.
You've got two here which are really good.
Just lovely, especially this gardening one,
and this other multi-tool, this slightly earlier one from the '30s
is also very nice.
With regards to reserve, we'll sort of let them go,
see what they make.
They make what they make,
-cos you've got your box still.
-I've got the box.
-We won't have a reserve, let's see what they make.
Next up on James's table is a box
whose contents aren't such a mystery.
Tell me about these.
Why have we got a whole collection of official Westminster documents
in an even more official-looking box?
My mum, when she were young,
wanted to go to Australia.
And she knew quite a lot of MPs
through past history of war and everything else,
and she contacted them and told them she wanted to go to Australia,
and they sent letters giving her
and offering her help and support to do so.
But you're still here, so did she come back or did she never go?
-She never went!
I'm told a few years later she met my dad,
and they decided to stop here, and then later on,
when I was nine years of age, they went to go to Australia again
but she'd lost her parents, so...
-I think that put an end to it, really.
-She must have been an incredible character.
-Yeah, she was.
I've got a photo of her here
-when she was...
-On a motorbike!
How long ago was it that she wanted to go?
Well, before I was even born, and I was born in 1960.
So we're talking about 50, 60 years ago, the first time.
-So for a lady at that time...
-It was a big thing.
..to decide to go to Australia on her own,
that's a real adventure. Gosh.
All the letters here are saying that she's of great character,
they've known her a long time.
Here we've got another one, House of Commons,
Stan Crowther, MP. And obviously she had contact
in the government offices as well,
because here we've got a wonderful leather-bound box.
Davies & Hunt, Office for Patents,
Serle St, Lincoln's Inn.
And a green leather tooled gilt.
With a bit of polish, that would be stunning.
You know, the thing is,
although we've got great history in the letters,
those are all very personal,
but the main value is in the little box.
And it's not going to be hugely valuable,
but it's just a nice thing for somebody to have.
I think together we've got the story of an amazing woman
with a real spirit of adventure.
Some documentation about her, the photograph,
and the lovely box with the very official gilt embossing.
It's not going to be life-changing.
It's only a little estimate of maybe £30 to £50,
-something like that.
-That'd be lovely, yes.
Let's put £30 on it as a reserve, because it would be a shame
-to sell it for less than that.
-Thank you very much.
-And somebody, I'm sure, will pick up all these things.
-Take care of it.
Yeah. And they'll probably research your mum as well
-and have a bit of fun.
-Lovely. Thank you.
James is warmed up and ready to tackle his next valuation.
Christina, when I was seven, my mum and dad,
for my birthday party, decided that...
-You know the little kids' goody bags?
They would give each child a little Wade Whimsie
instead of sweets and lollies.
I'd never been so unpopular as a child!
Everybody wanted chocolates in their goody bags to take home
and my parents made me look like a real dork
by giving everybody a Wade Whimsie.
But I kept my Wade Whimsie and now it's worth £2.50.
But the chocolate would have been eaten.
The chocolate would have been eaten, exactly.
But these are by the same factory.
But when we talk about Wade we talk about little animals,
little funny models for Disney, Tom And Jerry, that sort of thing.
What's the history behind these?
They've been in the display cabinet for quite a long time,
-but just over two years ago my mother and I moved into a bungalow.
-So we had two large houses and went into one small house.
And I have two sons and their wives and my sons don't really like
my clutter, as they put it, and so this was a good opportunity,
because I wanted to know a little more about them,
because there's quite a few things about them that I've been
-interested in, in as much as one says Wade and the other doesn't.
-And the lines - I don't know why they have a line down them.
Let's start with the line.
-If you look here, you've got a line down this side.
Now, on top-quality pottery you would have
-a worker who would remove that line.
-Well, I would have thought that's...
-That's the mould line.
-..a bit obvious. Yes.
It's put into the mould in two halves.
Where the two halves of the mould separate, they leave the line.
-That's why it's exactly on the halfway line.
Wade started around 1868, 1869, something like that.
These are about 1890 and they come under the Art Pottery category
rather than Art Deco or Art Nouveau,
-hand-decorated with slip clay and moulded leaves.
But I think these are lovely and I think they've survived in
fairly good condition because you haven't put them in the bowls,
scrubbed them with a brush, and they've survived.
And you say they've been in cabinets and in cupboards and I think
-that has also helped them.
But let's just have a look at this yellow.
I'm going to look very silly if this doesn't work.
It'd be even worse if the picture comes off.
Rubbing away. "Oh, no, we've lost the flower!"
Now, I'm hoping that with a bit of a rub
these will come up nice and bright.
-Well, it's certainly an improvement, isn't it?
Look at the colours coming through here.
Why will they have different markings underneath?
One's Wade, one is just a stamp.
-In an Art Pottery world, nothing was consistent.
You're not looking at something like Wedgwood or Worcester
or Royal Crown Derby - there's a big factory.
So here you can see the Wade, it's impressed,
but it's actually impressed in quite a haphazard manner.
So I think each letter has been impressed individually
by the person at the end of the line.
-There's a little squiggle.
Little squiggle, I can't even read what that is.
But I think they're great.
I've never seen a pair of Wade vases like them,
so value - 60 to 100.
How do you feel about that?
Well, I had no idea and there's no point
hoping for a big number because then you're disappointed.
Well, you know, we sit at these tables and we're often called
experts, and one thing I would say to you - there is no such thing.
We can't be an expert in everything and sometimes we just have to
go like that and like that.
Even on the computers here we haven't found anything like them,
so you never know, we might get a surprise.
-Good, fingers crossed.
-But I love them.
Thank you so much for bringing them.
Thank you very much for taking the time.
Well, there you are. You've just seen our experts' final choices.
They've been waxing lyrical all day,
but right now it's time to put those last valuations to the test
as we say goodbye to our magnificent host location, Cutlers' Hall.
We're going over to the saleroom,
and here's a quick recap of all the items we're taking with us.
Michael's drinking man might be a little worse for wear,
but let's hope he'll be the toast of the saleroom.
Can Paul's pocket knives prove to be a cut above their valuation
in the auction room?
James had to go with his instincts pricing these vases, but who knows?
They could be worth a lot more.
And the Westminster letter and box got James's vote,
but will they fetch a price to write home about?
Back in the saleroom the auction is underway and Robert is
putting in a fine performance.
First up are Christina's vases.
She's selling them to make room for a very special person.
-Mum's moved in and mums are precious, aren't they?
-Yes, she is.
-You're looking after Mum.
-How old is she?
-Oh, wow. Wow.
So a lot of things are going to make room, you know,
for Mum's things, and they're lovely examples of Art Pottery.
-Sort of, you know, end of the 19th century.
-Yeah, 1880, 1890.
-Classic of that time.
-We'll find a buyer for those.
They should do. I mean, they really should.
Well, let's hope that the bidders find a lot of interest in these.
-Let's hope there's two!
-Yeah, let's hope there's four.
You know how it works, don't you?
And they all bid each other up and you go away with the top end.
Here we are, we're putting it to the test now.
Pair of these Wade pottery vases. Very nice pair.
Bit of interest in these.
Got to start 55, 60, £65 so far on commission.
-A few bids.
Anybody else for £70 for them?
With me at £75 on commission.
Must be 80 elsewhere.
Anybody else for 85? With me at 75, they're going to go at £75.
One last look - have we finished?
Hammer's gone down, £75.
-They've gone, though.
-You made some space.
-Someone's going to enjoy them as well.
-Yes, I think they will.
And you can look after your mum and treasure your mum, can't you?
-Yes, I will.
-Cos that's what it's all about.
Well, we couldn't have a Sheffield valuation day
without a collection of pocket knives, belonging to Paul,
who's just joined me in this saleroom.
Wonderful little collection.
Why have you decided to sell these?
Basically car boot find.
With the proceeds of the sale, are you reinvesting in cash flow
-for more car boots?
-No, they're for lures for...
..Florida. We're going to Florida next year.
-You're going fishing?
-I'm going sea fishing.
Good luck. Hopefully we'll find a buyer here,
because everybody needs a pocket knife. Here we go.
Single blade folding pruning knife with secateurs.
The blade stamped.
Other examples, you've got five of these.
Quality crafted, Sheffield-made.
£20 is your opening bid. 22, I'll take, elsewhere.
Must be 22 to move on. 22, 25, 28.
£30 I'm after elsewhere. £28 on the second row only.
Way under estimate. £30. 35, sir.
-£40. 45. 50.
-That's better, isn't it?
45 only. Got to be £50, surely, to move on.
That's not bad, Paul.
In the steel city, 45 only?
£50 new bid. 55. 60.
65. Getting nearer the price.
65. 70 now, sir.
65 on the second row only. Anybody want £70?
Now we're down here at 65.
Bid now or lose 'em. All done at £65.
Hammer's gone down. Good auctioneering.
He worked that from a bid of 35
-right up to 65. Every penny was a bonus.
-That's one lure.
-That's one lure, yeah!
-Don't lose it!
-No, I won't!
Well, for a collection Paul found in a box he bought without opening,
that is a great result.
Can our next box of historic items do just as well?
Going under the hammer right now
we have some official Westminster documents.
No, don't worry, we're not going to talk about the economy
and the Budget - we're talking about a little piece of Tara's history.
-Now, documents belonging to your mother.
Box from your father. So you've put them together.
-I think this is a nice little package.
-It's a great lot.
The box is super. It's got that embossed,
gilded, official coat of arms on the front.
For me that's the key bit of the lot.
-I like that.
-But the inside has the story there.
So together... It's not life-changing, it's low value,
-Tells a little story.
What do you think? Top end, £50?
I think...no. I think it should make sort of 35, 40, probably.
-OK. Well, look, good luck.
-you go away happy on your first day in a saleroom.
-I'm sure I will.
Victorian patents box with gilt,
decorated Morocco leather covering,
containing a small assortment of ephemera including
postcards and correspondence from the Houses of Parliament.
Forced to start the bidding at 20,
22, 25, 28, £30.
35, it needs to be elsewhere.
With me so far at £30.
Must be 40.
£35 bid. Top left.
Anybody else with 40?
We're moving on, it's going to go at £35. Have we finished?
With a gentleman... there's your answer.
Bang on. Yeah, £35, it's gone. You're happy, James is happy.
-That was lovely.
-Thank you for bringing it in
and telling us all about the story, as well,
because as James said, that was the fascinating part.
Our final lot might be in danger of losing his head, but let's hope
the bidders don't lose their bottle.
It's my favourite thing of the entire sale.
-I thought it belonged to Michael, but it's not yours, is it?
-It's yours! What's your name?
Jane. So what's he doing with it?
Well, he was coming to "Flog It!" and took a picture of it,
and he turned up with it on the day - I didn't know he was bringing it
down to you, but he turned up.
-Right. And this was in your cellar?
Hence the condition, and I love it, as found!
James has put about £150 on it. But it's going under the hammer
right now and I think we could add a 0 to this, don't you?
I think in perfect condition it's £2,000.
An early 20th-century electronically operated automaton
advertising figure, possibly by Roullet & Decamps,
must start the bidding at £200.
210 I'm after.
210. 220. 230.
240 I'm after.
240, 250, sir, 260 I'm after.
250 in the room, 260, 270 now.
280 I'm after. 290 I'm after.
300. 290 in the room. 300, 320, sir.
340, please. 320 in the room. 340 bid.
360, sir. 380 I'm after. 400, sir.
380 on the internet.
400 I'm after.
£380 bid on the internet.
Good, the phone's kicked in now.
I thought this was worth about £800 to £1,200, do you know?
-Yes, I did.
460 I'm after.
440 on the phone.
That's what I love about it.
-Thing is, put that estimate on...
-And you encourage people.
I need 500. 480 on the phones.
Got to be 500. 500 bid.
520 now, 520 bid.
550 I'm after. 520 on John's phone.
550 it needs to be. 550 I'm bid, 580 I'm after.
No. 550 on the internet.
The internet holds it. 580 bid.
600 I need.
580 with Liz's phone now.
Got to be 600 elsewhere.
£580 on the phone with the lady.
Anybody else at 600?
Got to be 600 to move on.
It's going to sell - shout at me if I've missed you. Are we done?
-Great, isn't it?
-That's lovely. That is great.
-That's something for nothing!
-Found in the cellar, yeah!
-Oh, that's brilliant. Absolutely great.
-Well, he was lovely. He put a smile on my face.
-Mick told us about the day
when he went down to Cutlers' Hall
and he says everybody stopped when he wheeled him in.
He says it were a great day. He loved it.
Don't know what they thought I was wheeling in!
-He loved it.
-Thank you so much for...
-No, thank you!
-..letting him take it out of your house!
I didn't know he'd taken it, did I?
-But you're pleased now!
-Of course I am, yeah!
Well done, and thank you so much for bringing that in.
After all that excitement, I think we need to put our feet up
and have a jolly good rest. I hope you enjoyed the show.
Enjoy the rest of the day at home as well.
Join us next time for many more surprises, but until then,
from Sheffield, it's goodbye from all of us.
Paul Martin presents from Sheffield, where experts Thomas Plant and James Lewis have their work cut out for them with hundreds of people bringing their items along to be inspected and valued. Thomas is interested in a set of watercolours of industrial Sheffield, and James finds a Victorian automaton.
Paul explores the story of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the biggest event of its kind in the world. He also has the chance to get on the pitch of Sheffield FC, the world's oldest football club.