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If this motion meant this house would fight for liberal democracy,
it would say so!
Thousands of orators have entered these gates to discuss the hot,
controversial issues of the day,
none more so than the threats of war -
Vietnam, Ireland, Iraq and, of course, Afghanistan -
all controversial issues.
This is definitely the place to get people talking today.
I'm sure we're going to have one or two debates over what's it worth.
Welcome to "Flog It!"
Today's programme comes from Oxford Union.
These debating rooms provided a mecca for discussion,
right in the heart of the city centre.
The Oxford Union has never shied away from talking about conflict.
I'm speaking as a black man from America, which is a racist society.
And over the years, the question of war
has proved a controversial topic, time and time again.
Well, tonight, Mr President, we are debating about war.
The infamous King and Country debate shook Britain to its core,
but more of that later.
The union played a crucial role during World War I.
Not only did it send men off to the front line,
but it also stayed open throughout those years.
Political issues were the hot topic of the day, hardly surprising
given the political activity throughout the world.
And back then, it would have been packed to the rafters
with an enthusiastic crowd.
There would have been no lighting or heating,
but things haven't really changed that much today.
It's still packed - we've got the enthusiastic crowd -
it is lights, camera, action.
The power is, thankfully, back on.
So, let's see what Oxford has to offer.
Our experts are currently on a recce.
What are you doing?
I'm just catching up with what you're up to. Look.
I don't want you anywhere near me.
First up, it's our silver-tongued "Flog It!" sweetheart, Mark Stacey.
-Oh, you drank it all?
Who's that? Is that your family album?
And he's being stalked by our very own secret agent, Will Axon.
Start at the back, work me way up!
Coming up in today's show,
we'll get transported back to the fields of the Somme.
Quite evocative, isn't it?
You were told to mount your bayonets
and then you knew it was going to get dirty, didn't you?
And propaganda posters whip up a fever in the auction room.
80, 300, and I end at 310.
Well, it's all go. We've got an army of experts
and an arsenal of antiques to value.
The perfect ingredients for a battle.
Let's get started with Mark Stacey.
He's first to find a real gem and he's right down there,
in the thick of it.
-Cynthia, time is on us.
You've brought this interesting little collection in.
Now, is there any story to it?
I was shopping one day and I saw this
and I thought it would make a nice birthday present for my husband.
-And in those days, he used to wear a waistcoat.
-Oh, of course.
And I thought it would look very nice, you know, in his waistcoat.
And was the vesta case attached to it?
No, I added that and I also added the gold sovereign, yes.
And it's Queen Victoria,
a nice early shield back sovereign.
Quite unusual to find a 9ct gold vesta case.
I had never seen one before, or since.
I mean, they're normally silver,
of course. Sometimes gilded.
There can be all sorts of decoration.
-This is a fairly plain example.
The pocket watch is a half hunter.
I mean, you can see it.
-And he used it and enjoyed it?
I mean, in days gone by, every gentleman would have a pocket watch.
-You know, and dress very smartly and elegantly.
But people don't wear, men don't wear waistcoats any more, so...
Well, to be honest with you, I don't even wear a watch any more.
And especially when they put on weight, they can't do the buttons up.
-I hope you're not looking...
But my son doesn't want it, and they're expecting their first baby
and I thought, "Why not flog it and give him the money?"
-That's a lovely idea, isn't it?
-So, I'm grandmother for the first time.
It comes down to the gold, really, doesn't it,
on something like this, unfortunately these days.
We ought to put the estimate around £900 to £1,200.
-Something like that.
And we have to fix a reserve, of course.
-The reserve is normally the low-end estimate, £900.
Let's put it in at that, let's put it in at £900 to £1,200.
-Yes, that's fine.
-And we'll put a fixed reserve of £900.
-I'd like a fixed reserve.
-That's absolutely fine.
Of course, it might be that when we come to the auction,
there's been a spike in the gold price and it'll make even more.
From one dapper gentleman to another, who does still adhere
to traditional dress, and it looks like Will has discovered
a fascinating relic from a French battlefield.
Well, here we are, Les, in the Goodman Library and just across
the courtyard over there is the Oxford Union debating chamber,
which opened in 1879,
three years after your bayonet was made.
That's amazing, actually.
-You surprised me.
-Tell me, are you a military man?
Not at all, no.
So, what drew you to a bayonet?
Well, I go to auctions and I look around for things of interest
or collectables, and if I can pick it up reasonable, I have a go.
-That's a... I've just had it about a year.
The first thing that caught my eye was the condition.
-It really is tip-top, isn't it?
And especially when you've got this leather mount here,
-that would be strapped onto the belt...
..so you could carry it. I'm sure a lot of those have perished.
I mean, you don't often see them with the bayonet.
-No, that would be missing normally.
-Well, the bayonet is French, you probably know yourself.
We'll have a look in a moment.
If I just drag it out here, we can clearly see there on the blade
that we've got the Saint-Etienne mark there, 1876 is the date.
That basically translates as, "Made in the armoury of Saint-Etienne,"
at that date, 1876.
And again here, you can just see there the little armourer's marks.
That's the armourer's mark, is it? Ah, yes.
Just to identify who actually made the blade.
Nice tight fit there, isn't it?
And of course here you've got where you would mount it onto
the end of your rifle. I mean, quite evocative, isn't it?
You were told to mount your bayonets
-and then you knew it was going to get dirty, didn't you?
-How much did you pay for it?
-About £45, I think it was, with commission.
-Round about that figure.
Quite a good deal, I think, especially with this leather mount.
-With the engraved dates, as well.
-And the engraving, yes, exactly.
Well, listen, I think you might be able to turn a small profit on that.
-What about putting it in at, say, £40 to £60?
Bit of a gamble on the bottom figure, I know.
-OK, what about, say, £50?
-That sounds better.
-Then if we say £50 to £80.
-Say that, yes. I'd be happy with that.
-£50 to £80, and let's fix the reserve at £50.
-Fixed reserve, good.
-I'm sure we'll get it away for you.
And before I do go, can I just say how dapper you're looking, Les?
I mean, I love this waistcoat.
Tell me more about that, where did you get that from?
Would you like to make me an offer?
Oh, I don't know if I've got a big enough wedge in my pocket,
-but that's quite something, isn't it?
Now, the build-up to World War I
coincided with Oxford Union's heyday.
Talented students, like future Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, were
drawn to this debating hall to talk about unfolding political events.
And just look what I've discovered in the archives.
What I have in my hands is a ledger of all the members
of the union from 1891 to 1948,
which spans the years of the Great War.
Now, many of the members that were here during that time would
have gone off to fight on the front line.
It's quite a poignant document, really, and as I look
down the list, you can see who was killed or wounded in action.
And there's a chap here,
died of his wounds, 28th of August, 1915,
a chap called Lister.
And there's another one here,
killed in action, April 1918,
coming towards the end of the war.
And it just goes on and on and on.
But it's marvellous, really, that documents like this exist.
It does give us a window into the past
and it's an invaluable piece of social history.
A priceless piece of social history to the union.
We see a lot of commemorative pieces on "Flog It!" and Mark Stacey has
found a king-sized example,
brought in by pottery connoisseur, Claude.
Now, it doesn't take much to work out what you've brought in, does it?
-No. No, it's quite easy to see.
-It's a loving cup...
-It is indeed.
Now, the interesting thing with the coronationware of Edward VIII
is that because he was never crowned,
people automatically assume
that any items with him on are very rare.
In fact, it's the other way around.
Because all the potters were already geared up, it was a shock to them to
have to then produce a load of wares
to commemorate, actually, George VI.
-But we've got something special here, haven't we?
Because this is a great piece of Doulton potting history.
-I mean, we've really got pomp and circumstance here.
It's all over it, isn't it?
-All the flags and the royal emblems are there, aren't they?
I love the handles,
with all the different parts of the Commonwealth, the Empire.
Canada, Australia, India,
South Africa, New Zealand.
But it's a great, great piece.
Underneath, of course, we've got everything you need to know.
Doulton are very good at marking their wares.
It's a limited edition of 2,000
and this is marked at 826.
Where did you get it from?
I actually bought it in one of the Commonwealth countries,
I bought it in New Zealand.
Not at the time?
No, no, I'm not quite that old. Nearly.
-I bought it in 1998.
-Gosh, what did you pay for it?
£400... The equivalent of £400 pounds sterling.
And you shipped it all the way back from...?
-I hand-carried it via Los Angeles, home.
-And it survived.
Well, what's it worth today, do you think?
-You're going to tell me.
-No, Claude, look. A man of your knowledge...
Well, it's worth a minimum of £600.
Gosh, I'm glad I'm sitting down.
You know, there have been some that have sold over the last year
or so, and they've been making between sort of £600 and £1,000.
I think, sensibly, Claude,
we should put an estimate of £600 to £800 on it.
-Yeah, that's right.
-Would you be happy with that?
We'll have to put a reserve, of course.
-Fixed at £550, yeah.
-I think let's put a fixed reserve of £550.
-Would you miss it?
I bought it to sell, didn't I?
You're just putting it out there.
Well, listen, I really look forward to seeing you at the auction.
I've actually looked at it more since we've been sat here
and studied it than I have before.
Our experts have been working flat out here at the Oxford Union.
You've just seen the items, you've heard what they've had to say,
you've probably got your own opinions,
but right now, we're going across to the auction room to put them
to the test, and here's a quick recap of what we're taking with us.
Will it be Cynthia's antique pocket watch that appeals
to the debonair gentlemen in the saleroom?
Or will the bidders be seduced by the history
behind Leslie's French bayonet?
And speaking of history,
we also have Claude's commemorative loving cup.
Will he get the high price he thinks it merits?
Minimum of £600.
Gosh, I'm glad I'm sitting down.
Our auction today comes from Newbury, near Reading.
The site of a former RAF base, this place has military connections
dating back to the English Civil War.
Cruise missiles were situated here during the Cold War,
which sparked huge protests.
Here's hoping today's auction is a little bit less contentious.
5, 8, 5, 9.
Our auctioneer is a familiar face,
our very own Thomas Plant.
70 it is.
Our first item needs no introduction to antique fans,
but Thomas feels Royal Doulton is currently not in vogue,
so he's lowered the reserve to £300.
How long have you had this loving cup?
I bought it in New Zealand in 1998.
You get around! And so does the Royal Doulton.
Oh, it does, it travels all over the world.
-And how much did you pay for it?
Yeah, but I should have sold it long ago.
Royal Doulton is in the doldrums, I'm afraid.
There's no doubt about it,
the collectors aren't there like they used to be.
I used to do a bit of antique fairs years ago,
so it's all stuff that's left over.
There you go, you've got to do something with your time,
-You have when you're retired.
-We need £300 to sell this.
-I'd like a bit more for it than that.
Well, let's find out what it's worth,
let's hand things over to Thomas Plant on the rostrum.
Lot 560, the Royal Doulton Pottery
commemorative loving cup,
limited edition for Edward VIII.
I can start the bidding with me here,
straight in at £250.
At £250 against you all.
Is there any advance at £250?
£260, do we have?
At £250 is the bid I have.
It's not going to sell.
No, it doesn't look like it's going to sell.
£250. Doesn't sell.
-He was calling for £250.
-Well, there we go another day, another auction.
We can pop it in somewhere else.
-You took that well, with a smile on your face.
-But I knew...
And you're right, Mark, Doulton is not what it was.
Not at the moment, but it'll come around again, Paul.
We've been in this business,
-everything comes round again eventually, doesn't it?
Take it on the chin and reinvest the money
and hopefully you'll be back in profit.
I'll find something else to bring.
I'm sure you will and you've got a good eye.
You win some, you lose some.
Will Leslie's bayonet make a late charge in the saleroom?
He's certainly made an impression on me.
Well, I must say, I'm admiring Leslie's waistcoat.
I think we could do with one like that.
Well, I said on the valuation day,
he made me feel somewhat underdressed.
-Are you a keen waistcoat wearer?
-I've got several, yes.
-The last few years, livens things up a bit.
We're admiring your French bayonet.
It's a very nice thing, isn't it?
-It's in good condition.
-It is, yes.
And it's nice and complete, with the leather belt strap and so on.
Yeah, it's a good 'un.
You bought this about a year ago
-and you paid £40 for it.
OK, well, we're going to put it to the test.
We'll test your eye out. I'm sure you're going to make a profit.
Here we are, this is the bayonet, the French bayonet,
carved and engraved Saint-Etienne, 1876.
See if there's some militaria buyers.
Start me off here at £35.
At £35, and £40, £45. And £50,
I have. At £50 it is for the bayonet.
Any advance at £50?
At £50, you never know, you could run somebody through.
At £50, they don't...
At £50 it is.
That's all right. You probably wiped your face
-once commissions are off at the end.
Well, we had some fun, didn't we, with that?
Yeah, exactly, and you can't put a price on that.
Well, the boys' items have hardly set the auction room alight.
Will Cynthia's pocket watch be a bit more incendiary?
-This is a real cracker, I do like this.
I'd like to see the top end of the estimate for this.
Why have you decided to sell this, is it something that's in a drawer?
Because my son doesn't want it
and my daughter-in-law's just produced my first grandchild
and I thought I would buy some premium bonds for his...
-What's his name?
-Isn't he lovely?
-Oh, isn't he lovely.
-His name's Archie.
-Look, good luck with this.
Fingers crossed. Mark, you're looking worried.
I am, I never know with these sort of things.
I mean, it is a lovely lot, isn't it?
It's got the nice Albert chain, as well.
It's an auction, anything can happen.
Let's find out what Thomas thinks.
Next lot is a 9ct gold open-face pocket watch,
vesta and chain.
There we are, with the little sovereign on it.
Really nice looking lot.
Start me here at £700.
720. 750. 780.
920, at 920 I am.
At 920 it's in the room. Is there any advance at 920?
At 920, 950.
Oh, that's better, isn't it?
Go on. 1,100 sir.
-You've very, very sure?
There's another bid by the door.
1,050. I have £1,050 against you all.
Well, I think that's a very good result.
-Very good result.
-And a wonderful start for little Archie.
Archie's certainly been a lucky boy.
Photography is a way of capturing the most important events
which occur in our lives.
Each photograph is a little snapshot of history.
And in the 1950s, one man singlehandedly captured
the rise of an entire counter-cultural movement,
a movement we know today simply as rock'n'roll.
I went to London to find out more.
MUSIC: "Shakin' All Over" by The Guess Who
I'm a huge music fan and I'm fascinated by how
powerfully music can express the mood of a nation.
# When you move in right up close to me... #
Cheers, thank you.
Post-war Britain was dominated by jazz singers
and family-friendly acts,
such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
But within a decade, a rock'n'roll revolution had taken place.
One man, Harry Hammond, was there,
in the right place at the right time
to witness this musical watershed.
Before the times of paparazzi and press packs,
it was Hammond who captured the birth of rock'n'roll.
# Quivers down the backbone
# I've got the shivers down the thigh bone... #
These quite remarkable behind-the-scenes pictures
chart an era of great musical and social change.
For two decades, Harry Hammond was Britain's leading musical
photographer, and from the start, he appeared to have
a knack for putting the rich and the famous at their ease.
According to Hammond expert, Alwyn Turner,
his success lay in his wartime experiences.
During the war, he served in the RAF as a reconnaissance photographer,
so he was flying over enemy lines, hanging out the side of a plane,
taking photographs of German and Italian positions in North Africa.
And I think, because of the length of his experience
and the intensity of that experience,
really, he was never going to be fazed by anybody who came
over from America with star attitudes.
I mean, when he photographed Frank Sinatra,
there's nothing Sinatra can do to intimidate him
after he's had that kind of background.
But being a freelance photographer in post-war Britain wasn't easy.
Rationing was still in place and cameras were hard to come by,
but Harry made the best of the situation,
reclaiming vintage cameras
and making the bold move away from the studio
to on-location sessions.
Kate Bailey is currently curating an exhibition
for the Victoria and Albert Museum, of Hammond's most iconic images.
So once Hammond worked his way out of the studio set-up,
he was able to go out on location, meet the jazz musicians,
backstage, concert venues, in the street, and sell them
-the images, the photographs that he took of them.
And he was based in Denmark Street,
which was the centre for music publishing,
and he was there at the right time.
So the NME set up in 1952 and he became their photographer
and then for the next ten years, he was photographing all
the jazz musicians and the first of the British rock'n'rollers.
Harry became a familiar face front of stage.
This put him in a unique position.
He was able to capture the emerging American acts as they began
to roll in from across the Atlantic.
MUSIC: "Big Stuff" by Billie Holiday
This lovely image of Billie Holiday
is really quite extraordinary.
She came over to the Albert Hall in 1954,
she performed to a crowd of 6,000 people and sadly,
within four or five years of this photo, she had died.
But you can't see that in this image.
You wouldn't know it, would you?
You see a confident performer, she looks beautiful,
there's no cracks and she loved the London crowd.
I mean, the composition's beautiful, the lighting's beautiful.
Everything is so perfect about the shot,
capturing that one moment in time.
On the stage, so it's not about them all being posed.
It's not staged, is it?
It's capturing them doing what they do best.
This is a fantastic image of Winifred Atwell
playing her famous honky-tonk piano.
She's a really significant black artist,
she was the first female black artist to get a number one.
-She sold 20 million records.
Harry really captures her energy
and her enthusiasm and her happiness,
which everyone said, when she performed, it was just incredible.
Getting down there and jamming and having fun.
Yeah, and just sharing this London, with the whole melting pot
of different music and different styles and all coming together
and enabling the sort of development of a very clear British rock'n'roll.
MUSIC: "All Shook Up"
# Bless my soul, what's wrong with me?
# I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree. #
It was clear Harry wasn't just capturing great artists.
# I'm in love, yeah, I'm all shook up... #
He was documenting the changing attitudes to black music in Britain.
This was what rock'n'roll, at its heart, was.
A pulsating version of African-American blues,
and it was met with a chorus of disapproval.
# And who do you thank when you have good luck?
# I'm in love, yeah, I'm all shook up... #
But TV was paying attention,
and Harry was asked to take photographs for the BBC's
first foray into rock'n'roll programming.
# The Six-Five Special's steamin' down the line... #
The Six-Five Special shimmied onto our TV screens in 1957
and it became the template for the iconic music shows that we
know today, Top Of The Pops and Jukebox Jury.
This was a show that could make or break a musician
and filling the audience was a scary new youth faction called teenagers.
And waiting in the wings to take the photographs?
Of course, Harry Hammond.
We've had a lot of letters from people asking us
the difference between rock'n'roll dancing and jive dancing, so we've
got a couple of rock'n'roll dance experts to come along, Mr Billy Ross
and Lesley, and they're going to show us how to do the rock'n'roll.
The Youthquake had arrived
and Teddy Boys appeared on every street corner.
In stark contrast, rock'n'roll was dismissed as a passing fad
by a fearful adult population but not Hammond.
He photographed everybody and virtually nobody else did.
I mean, he would talk about going to concerts where
he was the only photographer there.
Rock'n'roll was seen in Britain by the establishment very much
as a black music at a time when the Empire was starting to crumble.
The first African colonies were becoming independent.
It was the first real start of the wave of immigration
from the West Indies. Race was a big issue in Britain at the time.
Dangerous music was coming over from America that caused riots
and trouble in the streets.
# Nine, ten, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock rock
# We're gonna rock.... #
The first rock'n'roll riot was at
the Trocadero at the Elephant And Castle,
this was followed by similar demonstrations all over the country.
Again, the nation was up in arms.
The title music came up and that was it. Nobody wanted to see the film.
They just wanted to dance. We just got into the aisles and that was it.
There was pushing and shoving, next thing you know the seats are up
in the air, trying to clear the way, trying to make a dancehall out of it.
# We're gonna rock, rock, rock till broad day light... #
That's how we felt.
We had nothing else to do and we just went for the music,
it was just what we wanted at the right time.
It wasn't just the youth causing trouble in the streets.
Some of the celebrities themselves were questionable role models
and Hammond was often at close quarters.
# You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
# Too much love drives a man insane... #
On Jerry Lee Lewis' tour of 1958,
which was the big scandal-ridden tour where it was discovered that
he was married to his underaged second cousin.
Harry Hammond photographed him on that tour
and they're extraordinary photographs.
I mean, he catches some of the power of Jerry Lee Lewis backstage.
But he looks a very dangerous kind of figure that, you know,
this is not somebody you'd want to meet down a dark alley.
# Hold me, baby
# Well, I want to love you like a lover should... #
From the distance of 50 years,
it's hard to imagine just how revolutionary rock'n'roll was.
This is what Hammond's photographs give us, rock'n'roll in the raw
before it was sanitised and accepted into mainstream culture.
I think because Harry was pretty much the only person taking photographs
in Britain at that stage of rock'n'roll,
his work effectively defines an era in a way that,
it's very rare for a photographer to be able to do that, where he shapes
our visual image of what the 1950s was like in British music.
No-one could've predicted how important rock'n'roll would
become but one thing is for sure, Harry Hammond was in the right place
at the right time to capture the seismic cultural shift.
So the next time you hear some rock'n'roll, put on your
blue suede shoes, rattle some pots and pans and rock until you drop.
Welcome back to our valuation day venue, the Oxford Union.
There's still a great buzz in the room,
plenty more antiques to find to take off to auction.
So from the best seat in the house, the President's chair,
to the hot seat in the house, let's catch up with Mark Stacey
and see what he's up to.
I adore your elephant. I love it. Where does it come from?
It's my daughter's actually.
Her husband, who's a glazier, was given it as part payment for some work.
-I love it.
It's basically a silver model of an elephant,
though is it African or Indian, do you think?
-Ah, it's the ears, isn't it?
-It's an African, isn't it?
-The big ears are Indian, no, Indian...
-I think it's Indian because
I think the ears are slightly smaller than in an African.
-They look sort of in-between.
-It's an Afro-Indian.
-There we are, we'll call it that.
-We'll settle for that.
I mean, it's great fun, it's not terribly old,
-it's not an antique item.
It has got some marks on here which are continental marks,
it's marked 925 so we know it's sterling standard silver
-and basically I think the inner body is made of another material...
-..and then the silver body has been put over the top...
-And there's a little bit of damage, isn't there?
On the trunk.
-And she wants to sell it now, does she?
Now, were you on strict instructions about how you're going to sell it?
She wants to sell it but she wants to get as much as she can, obviously.
-We all want to get as much as we can...
I think this will attract an awful lot of interest.
-It's very realistically modelled, isn't it?
These type of models don't come on the market very often
and they're great interior design pieces.
In terms of value, this is quite a difficult one
-because when you pick it up, it's very heavy.
So the temptation is to think that the whole thing is absolutely
solid silver whereas actually what it is
is a sheet of silver over a composite body.
So it's quite deceiving when you weigh it.
I think, I'm hoping that somebody will fall in love
and will want to restore it and keep it,
-rather than tear it apart and sell it...
-..as scrap silver which would be a terrible shame.
I think we're looking at £600 - £800 with a £600 fixed reserve.
-Do you think your daughter would be happy with that?
-I think so, yes.
Wonderful. I would hope on the day that two people see what
-I see in it and it might charge ahead to £1,000 or something.
You know, we might get a herd of bidders. Shall I stop all the puns?
I think so.
Normally on this show, the antiques come to us
in all kinds of bags and boxes.
Well, today I've gravitated towards the boxes and they're special ones.
Here they are, there's two of them. They're despatch boxes
and they're modelled on the ones you'll find in the House of Commons.
They were given to the house here during the Second World War
and they're still used today.
Lovely piece of history.
One of the most iconic images of World War II
is the Keep Calm and Carry On
The poster was rediscovered in 2,000 in mint condition
and reissued worldwide.
Why I am telling you this?
Well, just look at what Will Axon has come across.
Well, we've scoured the building to find somewhere
big enough to be able to display your posters you brought in
and we've ended up here in the snooker room
and I think they look rather splendid,
even though we've had to use the cues to weigh them down
because they've been rolled up for some time, haven't they?
Tell me about them. Where are they from?
These are posters produced in 1944,
that went up on the London Underground
and they came into the family
because my stepfather was an architect who built lots of churches
and buildings after the war that had been flattened
and he was actually the surveyor of St Paul's Cathedral
and I think he must've been given them as a souvenir of his time
in the Blitz and they've been rolled up since 1944.
-The series is called The Proud City.
And I was brought up with stories about my mother living through
the Blitz and I think they convey the feeling of London at that time.
Buildings flattened but, "Come on, we can rise above all this.
"We're not going to be done down by the Germans.
"Londoners can survive."
And one of the things my mother always talked about in London
during the Blitz was the flower, the rosebay willowherb.
And we've got some of that in a couple of the posters, haven't we?
Coming up out of ground that had been completely burnt,
-it was also called fireweed.
-And wherever you'd had a fire...
-..it will seed itself and grow.
You've hit the nail on the head, I think, in that they really do,
sort of, convey that sort of slightly menacing feel
in one or two of them. I mean, this one here of the Chelsea Power House,
-I mean, it's quite a spooky scene, isn't it?
-It's quite scary.
And even the lamppost there that's been sort of knocked off its axis,
a wonderful little detail but really conveys that, like I say,
-slightly menacing feel.
St Paul's, again next to that, the new view of St Paul's
because that isn't a view we had before the Blitz, was it?
No, St Paul's was completely surrounded by high buildings.
You never got a panoramic view of it.
Obviously I am going to have to draw attention to their condition
because they're in quite poor condition.
There are some quite serious tears, there's one or two losses,
there's various folds and the poster collectors are a fussy lot.
They like them to be pristine.
It's understandable how they've got in this condition,
especially if someone hasn't acquired them
with an idea of putting them away
as an investment or having the forethought to think,
"Well, one day these might be worth something." I mean,
we all know the story about the Keep Calm And Carry On poster,
You know, exactly the same except, you know, we just had the fortune
that that was put away somewhere safely and it didn't get quite as
badly damaged as some of these have been.
Now the artist, it's Spradbery
and he was an artist sort of late 19th century into the 20th century.
He actually was a war artist as well.
Served in the First World War but as a pacifist was in the
Medical Corps and he used his time also as the official war artist.
Value wise, a single one in very good condition can make between
-£100, £150 but that's in mint condition.
I think we're going to have to probably put that kind of value
on all six because of the condition.
Let's say £100 - £150
and I would suggest putting a reserve at the 100 figure.
How do you feel about that?
I think that would be all right because I'd much rather
they were owned by somebody or an archive or a library
that really values them and wants to look at them.
Here's hoping there's some World War II enthusiasts in the auction room.
And speaking of World War II, it was the threat of this conflict
which triggered the most infamous Oxford Union debate of all time.
Now, Oxford Union has witnessed many exciting debates over the decades
but none more so than the one that took place
on the 9th of February in 1933.
The motion was,
"This house will in no circumstances fight for King and Country."
And the shocking thing was the motion was carried 275 votes to 153.
It was the build-up to the Second World War
and the result caused a national outcry in the press.
Churchill labelled it squalid and shameless and some say
it even misled Hitler into thinking the British youth would not fight.
This debate was so powerful
that it was syndicated around the world in the press.
It was even restaged for television in 1965 through
the prism of escalating conflict in Vietnam.
It has been said that this motion is offensive.
That this motion is a disgrace to the society.
An antiwar feeling persisted at the union right through the 1960s
and Senator Robert Kennedy was invited to address the union here
but he wasn't greeted with a warm welcome.
Instead, 70 protesters formed an archway just here wielding
anti-Vietnam placards, the power of the protester.
The Kennedy debate wasn't filmed but someone who came to our
valuation day was actually in the chamber to hear Kennedy speak,
It must have been the highlight of all debates here back then.
-Was it a packed house?
-They were hanging from the rafters.
A very large number of ladies here and one of something like adulation
-because he was probably a very...
-He was a very good-looking man.
He was a very powerful man as well at the time,
influential and he was in the presidential stakes.
Was he a good public speaker?
I was very impressed by the fluency of it
-and the comprehensiveness of it. It really was quite persuasive.
Well, we've got two very fluent experts down there
doing their valuations so enjoy the rest of the day, won't you?
-They're good speakers.
-Thank you very much, yes.
Someone else who likes talking is Mark Stacey.
He's still working hard and has come across a military style pair
of cufflinks modelled as a kukri, a traditional Gurkha knife and shield.
Thank you for bringing in such an exotic pair of cufflinks.
-Good, I'm pleased you like them.
-Now, where on earth did you find these?
They've been in my possession for about 40 years, I think.
My mother gave me them and, in all honesty, I've never worn them
and they've been in my sock drawer for that time.
Oh, how sad. Well, they're lovely. They're 22 carat gold, of course.
One of the highest carats of gold.
-Persian, I think.
-And they're dated on the back, 1900.
And they're modelled as this sort of dagger and shield.
Very exotic pair. I wear cufflinks.
The difficulty with them is this chain mechanism because it's
much easier just to thread the more modern adjustable ones in.
-So they've been in your sock drawer, never worn.
And I'm not sure they'll be loved again, actually. I suspect
what might happen, sadly, whoever buys them will melt them down
-and make them into something more profitable.
-That would be sad.
I'm rather hoping that if they're listed correctly for the auction
that somebody maybe with a Gurkha background or...
Might be interested in them.
I think there actually will be in fairness
because there are specialist shops as well in big cities,
particularly London, that specialise in gentlemen's attire and of course,
-classic unusual cufflinks like this often end up in Bond Street.
You know, for a nice rich client. Have you thought about the value?
I've looked up on the internet what the scrap value is
so I've got a rough idea.
Oh, dear. So I can't get away with a low estimate then?
No, you're quite wise to do that actually.
-Today we're probably looking at around £300 or so.
-Is that what you were thinking?
-Yeah, I was thinking 250 - 270.
-That sort of figure.
-I like you even more now, Tony.
If we could put an estimate of 250 - 350 on them I think there
will be interest other than just the intrinsic value of the gold.
So if we put a reserve of 250 on it
-because you don't want to give them away.
I think there will be quite a lot of interest in them.
-But I mean if you did get a good price,
-would you try and get something else or?
-My passion is pots.
-I readily admit to it.
-Ah, you're a pot-oholic.
-I'm a pot-oholic.
Why not turn the money into something that you can love
-and look at and it gives you pleasure?
And it's too big to put in your sock drawer.
Well, there you are.
Our experts have now made their final choices of items
to take off to auction.
For us, it's time to say goodbye to this wonderful,
atmospheric place, the Oxford Union,
as we head over to Newbury to the auction room for the very last time.
Stay tuned, there could be one or two big surprises
and here's a quick recap of what's going under the hammer.
Will it be Zena's unusual elephant which entices the bidders?
Or will the social history of Jaime's propaganda posters
fire their imagination?
Come on, we can rise above all this. Londoners can survive.
And don't forget those Gurkha cufflinks for those
who like militaria.
Any advance at 50?
'Thomas Plant's got his gavel in his hand
'and he's raring to get under way.
'First to be put to the test is Zena's quirky elephant.'
-Who have you brought along with you today?
-This is David, my husband.
-David, pleased to meet you.
-Thank you, Paul.
-Do you like the elephant?
Yes, very nice, actually.
-Why have you decided to sell this?
-Well, it's not mine.
-It's our daughter's.
And it's just sitting there collecting dust
-and now she wants to sell it.
-Well, I'll tell you what,
-Mark raced towards that when you saw that...
-It was straight out
-the starting blocks and...
-It was, well...
-A lot of silver.
-A lot of silver.
-Great deal of silver.
Very nicely modelled.
Anything can happen in an auction, that's why they're such great fun.
-Ready for this?
-Let's put it to the test.
What's it worth? We can find out right now.
Next lot is lot number 60 and this is the
impressive modern silver elephant.
I can start straight in at £600 anywhere.
At £600 I have.
At £600, is there any advance at 600?
At £600 is my maiden bid...
There's a phone line, look, there's a phone line. Could be a trunk call.
£600 and I sell then. Maiden bid against you all.
-Ooh, it's gone.
-Blink and you'll miss that but it's gone.
Any plans how you're going to spend...put it in the bank,
-pay the bills?
-We'll go to Ourgate.
-Have you been there?
-No, what is that?
-Bottom of the garden.
Come on, Mark. Keep up. They say elephants aren't speedy.
Well, that auction certainly was. We're staying with Mark
now for our next lot, those military style cufflinks.
I'm not wearing any today and nor's Tony.
Well, Tony's selling his, let's face it.
-You don't normally wear cufflinks, do you?
-I think Mark does,
-have you got some on, Mark?
-I haven't got any on today,
unfortunately. I cheated today, I've got a button shirt.
-Your hands behind your...
I think it's something all guys should own. I've got a few pairs.
Oh, I've got lots of pairs, Paul, but you're right, I think
-it's something lovely to own. 22 carat gold.
So remind us how did you come by these?
I think I must've owned them for about 40 years which coincides with
-when I started my banking career.
-There's a lot of guys here.
And here we go, it's going under the hammer right now.
Next lot is a pair of Middle Eastern 22 carat gold cufflinks.
There we are, with the kukri and the shield.
Start the bidding with me here, straight in at 240.
240 I have.
240 against you all.
At 240, is there any advance on 240?
Is there any advance?
At 240, all done then?
240 didn't quite make it.
That's surprising. I thought it would make 250.
That surprised me as well, I was hoping...
Really has surprised me.
Well, the scrap value was about 280 actually
so I'm quite pleased we didn't sell it too fast.
That's right on the cusp because if someone was bidding 230,
he was calling for 240 plus commission.
-Plus VAT, it makes it £280, that is the scrap value.
-And you know what they're worth.
-Stick to your guns,
maybe wear them.
Re-enter them in another sale in maybe six months...
Yeah, maybe in a specialist jewellery sale.
What a shame.
Now, last lot of the day will be those World War II posters.
Whom in the auction room will be swayed by a piece of propaganda?
Thomas has lined the saleroom with them.
-Six World War II campaign posters.
-They look great, don't they?
They do look great. What I want to know is why are you selling them?
I actually want to put some money
into a charity I founded in central Africa.
We are renovating Africa's oldest ship and she's going to be a clinic.
-And she's going to steam round Lake Malawi...
-And that'll save lives.
-It will save thousands of lives.
And hopefully you'll be out there on the maiden voyage, will you?
-I jolly well hope so, I'm going to buy a new hat.
Hopefully we're going to get top money
and it's going under the hammer right now.
This is it. Good luck.
World War II, The Proud City.
There we are, from the London Passenger Transport poster series,
you can see them displayed around the room here.
Spradbery, 1944, some with some damages
but my, have we got interest!
160, 170, 180,
Well, there is a lot of them, isn't there? There's six.
280, 300 and I end at 310.
At £310 is my bid.
At £310 I have.
-Against you all at 310.
-Come on, come on.
At 320 will buy it. At 310 I have.
Last chance then at 310.
Are you thinking about it, sir?
At £310 against you all.
-Jaime, the hammer's gone down. Yes!
-At £310, what a great result.
-That surprised us all, didn't it?
-It did, mainly because of the condition they were in.
But they've got real potential,
-they're sort of museum pieces really.
-War propaganda, that's what it was all about back then.
-You know, your country needs you.
What a wonderful way to end today's show.
We've had one or two great surprises but I think this one tops the lot.
Anyway, well done to our experts,
it's not easy valuing antiques, it's not an exact science.
Well done to Thomas Plant on the rostrum,
our very own "Flog It!" favourite auctioneer.
See you next time.