The antiques series descends upon the Fleet Air Arm Museum, situated on HMS Heron in Somerset. Paul Martin is joined by antiques experts Thomas Plant and Charlie Ross.
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Today, we're surrounding ourselves with naval aviation history.
World War II's most enduring campaign was fought at sea,
because of the huge developments in engineering and design.
It was the first time planes were deployed from carriers
on such a scale.
But it tragically resulted in the loss of over 60,000 lives.
It's 70 years since the Battle of the Atlantic
and the generation who fought in that war
will always be remembered for their bravery.
We're at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset,
where naval aviation history is brought to life.
Welcome to Flog It!
Here, at the Fleet Air Arm Museum,
there's a wealth of naval aviation history, stretching over 100 years.
What you see on display is only a fraction of the collection,
which is housed in giant hangars.
Aircraft are stored on site,
so that they can be brought out for the constantly changing exhibitions.
Every aeroplane or helicopter you see will have a story to tell.
These military aircraft, designed to launch from ships,
have all seen action over the course of the past century.
Well, let's hope there's lots of action here, today,
when this lot step inside with their antiques and collectables.
And we've our very own commanding officers of the antiques world
navigating their way through today's valuations.
Always one to steer a clear course, Charlie Ross.
Not often you find a refugee in the queue!
And a man not so in command of his antiques knowledge right now,
You see, I don't know the actual structure of vulcanite...
-I thought you were the expert!
-It's a gas mask.
-Oh! Look at that.
Our "Flog It!" crowd have descended upon the Fleet Air Arm Museum
from across the county today,
to get their antiques and collectables valued by our experts,
who will be working hard, both on screen and off
to offer up their expertise.
Coming up in today's show, we've two items from our aviation history
and with the help of the museum,
we discover some ground-breaking new information about one of them.
Well, now that our "Flog It!" fleet is in position,
let us go down there and catch up with our experts
and see what we can find to take off to auction.
It's over to local West Country boy, Thomas Plant,
who is sat beneath the first British-built Concorde.
-So, it's Chris?
-It is, yes.
-And you're fellow Bristolians.
We're like the Three Musketeers from Bristol.
So, why have you come to Yeovil from Bristol?
Because we thought it was the ideal place to come
with these particular items.
-We're looking at these aeroplane timepieces.
Tell me, how did you come by them?
My father, during all his career,
worked at Filton in the aircraft industry,
mainly on the engine side, but, during the war,
he was able to purchase these from the company,
because when the aeroplanes were brought in, they were refurbished,
bits and pieces were taken out.
But your father used them as a clock beside his bed,
-because they lit up in the night.
-The luminous hands.
Yes. So, he used it as his bedside clock.
What was your father's involvement within Filton?
-Was he a repairer, an engineer?
-He was a toolmaker.
Did you follow him into the business?
I worked there during all my career.
-Not within Filton, the last ten years within Filton.
So you never saw this being built in Filton? The wings were built there.
I was responsible for building wings on the A400M military aircraft.
But your father, he was a protected occupation.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
How did he feel about that, did he ever talk about that?
He didn't talk a lot about it,
-because he worked on a lot of secret stuff.
-During the war.
So, these could have come off a secret plane?
I wouldn't think so!
We could romanticise!
One is slightly earlier than the other,
-the bigger one is earlier.
-It will be earlier.
The design is very similar with the luminous hands,
this one is made by the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths company.
-It's made by the same company.
-Yes, they both have AM
-on the back, don't they?
-And the George VI crown.
-So, the King's crown on there.
So, they're all fully marked up and the provenance
is second to none, coming straight from your father.
Did they keep good time?
They used to and one of them does still work.
-I don't think they're broken...
-They're still ticking.
They haven't been used for such a long time.
-He did wind them up, just now.
Are you going to be sad to let these go?
Erm, not really, no. They're no sentimental value.
Erm, as I said, I thought it was a very interesting place to bring it.
We have two daughters with no interest in it, whatsoever.
I think, if we put these in together
as two aircraft war issue timepieces,
I would suggest an estimate of 120 to 180 on them.
-Is that all right?
-Yeah, that's fine.
Put a discretionary reserve on it at 120,
so we'll see you at the auction, yeah?
-Thank you very much.
-OK, thank you.
Two quirky little clocks from our aviation history there.
Now, is it time for tea at Charlie's table?
I bet you've never used this!
No, I haven't. It's been in a cardboard box for about 30 years.
-In a cardboard box for 30 years?
-In the attic.
-Was it a present?
-It was my father's.
When Father died, we cleared the house out,
put it in a box, forgot all about it!
What made you remember you had it? Flog It!?
No, we cleared out some boxes the other day and I said,
-"Well, I'm going to get rid of that!"
You don't want it, do you? You don't use it.
-Do you know what it is?
-No, I don't.
-It's a bit of a mystery, this one, for me.
-Because of the spout.
I looked at it and I thought, "Is this a teapot?"
-Certainly not a teapot.
-Is it a coffee pot?
Not a coffee pot.
-And I wondered whether it was a hot water jug.
-Or a chocolate pot.
Or a chocolate pot. Could well be a chocolate pot.
Chocolate pot isn't a bad suggestion,
because I think with the spout at the bottom, you see,
if you had hot chocolate,
the only gubbins you'd have would be the skim on the top,
so you'd not actually pour the skim if the spout started at the bottom.
So, I think a chocolate pot isn't a bad idea.
It's a very, very pleasing shape.
-It's made of silver, did you know that?
-I was hoping, yeah.
I saw the marking on it.
It's got a Britannia mark on it.
Do you know how old it is?
-No, I don't.
-Is that right?
-So, it's over 100 years old.
Is that right?
Because the lid is a separate piece of silver,
it should have a hallmark on it itself.
So, if we lift up the lid...
-and cast our eyes around it.
-Have we got one?
-There we go.
-Can you see that?
-We've got a mark there.
Sometimes a lid goes missing or becomes damaged
and somebody puts another lid on it
and that would detract from the value.
There are a couple of intriguing features, I love the handle.
-I think it's a fruitwood,
it's probably apple or pear, something like that.
-It could be cherry, couldn't it?
-Yeah, it could be cherrywood, yeah.
The monogram puzzles me, here.
We seem to have got a C, have we?
And an M, and a W, I can't tell you in what order they are.
-It would be very difficult...
And take huge amount of time to try and research something like that.
Do you think it's a regiment or not?
No, I don't think it's regimental, I think that's a family crest.
-Without a doubt.
The thing that, sort of, threw me, other than what it might be
and we think probably chocolate, is the weight of it.
-When I picked it up, I thought, "Hello!
"We've got some value here!"
-This is a serious gauged bit of silver
and then I turned it upside down...
Lead. Lots and lots of lead.
That must have been put in when they were made, surely?
I think it was probably put in when it was made.
I mean, it helps keep it upright and makes it much more secure.
Big question, what's it worth?
I don't know, you tell me!
-I think it's worth between £100 and £150.
Happy enough with that?
I'd have been happier if you told me it was one million!
I can buy some chocolate now, won't I?
This has to be my favourite exhibit in the whole museum,
the Sopwith Pup, a First World War biplane
and for many people, it's considered the most perfect plane ever.
Now, it's a piece of sculpture, it's PRICELESS,
absolutely priceless, but we have to remember,
it's not all about the aircraft here,
it's also about the brave men who took many risks
flying these aircraft for their country.
World War I was the first war fought from the air
and only four years ago, its last veteran, Henry Allingham,
the oldest ever survivor of the Royal Naval Air Force, died.
He was 113 years old.
And it was only after his death that Henry's grandsons
found his medals at the bottom of his toolbox
and here they are, look, two medals from the First World War,
shown in the condition that Henry had left them,
very much the attitude of a lot of soldiers
who fought during the First World War.
I think he wanted to bury them away,
so he could bury his memories away as well.
And like most of his contemporaries,
Henry had kept quiet about the horrific experiences of the war,
only speaking out towards the end of his long life.
I pay homage to those men.
Can't help it.
And the Fleet Air Museum feels it is important to honour
the sentiments of Henry, and many of his generation,
who were the first to fight a war from the air.
It's a wonderful tribute to such a brave man.
On "Flog It!" we're fortunate enough to come across pieces
relating to World War I relatively often.
But it's very rare that we discover
an item dating back to the 17th century English Civil War.
-So, Michael, where are you from?
-Sherborne, that's not very far away, is it?
About five miles.
And we've got this sort of leatherette folder,
this sort of Italian folio folder, which is probably 1930s.
But there's something else inside -
do you want to tell me what's inside here?
A document, or a letter, from
Thomas Fairfax, of the taking of Sherborne Castle.
Real local interest - and there it is!
It's a Thomas Fairfax letter, to the Honourable William Lenthall Esq.,
Speaker of the House of Commons,
concerning the taking of Sherborne Castle, with 16 pieces of ordnance,
one mortar piece, 344 common soldiers.
this is quite interesting. Dated August 19th, 1645.
-This is the English Civil War.
400 years ago. So,
the only time we've had blood spilt in our country
-in this type of civil war...
-Type of civil war.
Sir Thomas Fairfax - was he a royalist?
-I don't know.
-No, I don't know.
-Do you know?
-I don't know which side he was on.
-Roundhead or a Cavalier?! Ha-ha!
So, where did you find it?
Well, it was my uncle's. Years and years ago,
he gave it to me when he had to move into the almshouses in Sherborne.
-So, he had it...?
-He had it, just with a lot of other bits and pieces
and things and that, that I had off of him.
-All I know, I've had it about 50 years.
You've had it about 50 years - it IS in remarkable condition.
If we just flip it over, you've got the list of prisoners
of war taken at Sherborne Castle on the 15th August, 1645.
Seven pages. Very interesting.
It's obviously - it is a Parliamentarian letter.
-I don't know how rare it is.
-I would have thought,
it's a bit like these commemorative pamphlets you get
now, or these information documents - this probably would have been
quite widely produced.
But you've kept it in good condition.
What do you think it's worth?
I just haven't got a clue.
It's one of those things where I don't know the value.
I find it fascinating, it's quirky, I love the history behind it,
and I like the local interest.
As it's old, it has a value, and I would say, well...
it's got to be tried at £100.
-Yes, yeah, fine.
-Put it at 80-100.
-Reserve it at 50...
-..and I think we should have a good result at the auction house.
Yeah, that's fine.
To answer your question, Thomas,
Sir Thomas Fairfax was a Roundhead, that's a Parliamentarian,
who fought against the Cavaliers, and they were the Royalists,
during the English Civil War.
Well, there you are, that's our third item found.
We can now cross to the auction room for the first time today
and put those valuations to the test. Here's a quick recap,
just to jog your memory of what we're taking with us.
Time for a new home for Chris and Linda's
World War II aircraft clocks.
You don't need to be a chocoholic to appreciate Bernard's silver pot.
Hopefully, it'll be going to a lover of neoclassical design.
And will Michael's unusual Parliamentarian letter
written by Sir Thomas Fairfax appeal to a local historian?
Today, our auctioneers are in the small Somerset town of Bridgwater.
It was here that over 6,000 evacuees arrived during World War II.
Many had travelled from the East End of London,
and arriving in Bridgwater must have been quite a shock.
Fast forward 70 years, and it's time for us to head over
to Tamlyns, where Claire Rawle, our auctioneer for today,
has taken her position on the rostrum.
And right now, it's time to catch up with our first seller.
Michael, this is fascinating. It's the oldest thing in the sale today.
1645 - Sir Thomas Fairfax, a Parliamentarian letter.
-Hard thing to value.
-Really hard thing to value.
-Yeah - brave one.
-It might not sell,
but we've put a little amount of money on it,
-and you're getting a lot for your money, I think.
It's up for sale, and YOU could buy it,
and it's going under the hammer right now.
The Sir Thomas Fairfax letter.
There we are.
Concerning the taking of Sherborne!
Lot 292. And this one, we start away at £42.
At 42, do I see five anywhere? Bids at 42?
At 42, now, five? At 42?
45 on the internet, 48 here.
At 48, now 50 out there.
We've got interest on the internet, look.
-Yep, somebody's seen it.
-At £50, internet bid at 50.
At £50, five. At 55. 60.
At £60. Now five.
At 65. At 70...
It's going, isn't it? It's going.
At 75. 80. Now five?
£80 it is at the moment. At £80 - on the internet at £80.
Now five? At £80 still. Are you all done at £80?
-Done and dusted!
-Are you happy?
-Yeah, it's fine, yeah.
Michael's letter went to a private buyer.
Now, let's hope a silver collector
warms to Bernard's lovely chocolate pot.
Fingers crossed, Bernard. Your silver chocolate pot's
just about to go under the hammer.
As Charlie said at the valuation, difficult to weigh, this one,
-because there's so much lead in the base of it.
Nevertheless, it looks quality - I do like this.
I think this would have been part of a five- or six-piece set...
-..in a boxed set. Quality.
-Good luck, Bernard.
This is it - this is what we've been waiting for.
Lot 92, the chocolate pot.
Showing to you there. Early-type design, lot 92.
And this one I start away at £65. At 65 - do I see 70 anywhere?
70. Five. 80. Five. 90. Five.
100. In the room now at 100.
-110. 120. 130...
-Better than being in the attic!
-160 bid's up here.
At £160 - are you all done? It's going to sell for 160...
Yes! That one's gone.
-That's all right.
Considering the damage and the fact that it was late.
Not particularly popular - what is someone going to do with it?
I don't know - look for the rest of the set?
Go up in to Bernard's attic!
Having the whole set would have made it very sweet indeed,
but it did go above estimate.
Time's up for those World War II aeroplane clocks.
Will this next lot fly away? Two aircraft timepieces -
hopefully they will. Chris and Linda, it's great to see you.
-Now, I know you worked at Filton.
-So you've got a passion for aircraft.
And it was wonderful to see aircraft memorabilia
coming into our valuation day.
-We were all excited about that, weren't we?
We don't know where these dials are from - it could be from...
It could be from a Hurricane, or from a Spitfire, we don't know.
Hopefully there's somebody out there that does, and they're here
right now to buy it. It's going under the hammer, this is it.
152, the World War II period - and they ARE period -
nice aircraft timepieces,
and these I'm going to start away at £85.
AT 85. Do I see 90 anywhere? Bid's with me at 85.
At £85. Now 90.
At 90. 95. 100.
110. 120 in the room.
At 120. Got a room bid at 120. So, 130 out there?
-130 I have. 140 in the room.
At £140. 150. 160.
At 160. One seven... 170.
180. At 180. At £180...
£200. At £200.
220 out there? At £200 - are you all done then?
They're going to sell at £200...
-Just goes to show,
history...to do with aviation...
Your dad would be pleased as well, wouldn't he? He would be, yeah.
I love the fact that Chris's dad used these old clocks
on each side of his bed.
I hope today's buyer finds an equally original place
for these wonderful World War II items.
Don't forget, if you want to sell anything at auction,
you'll need to pay commission, and here, it's 15% plus VAT.
That concludes our first visit to the saleroom today -
so far, so good.
Before I return to Yeovilton to join up with our experts
to find more items to put under the hammer,
I'm going to take you behind the scenes of the museum
on a little guided tour.
This is Cobham Hall, the museum's reserve store,
where all the new arrivals are brought.
And as you can see, there's quite a lot of them.
They're here with numerous miscellaneous aircraft parts,
items that currently aren't in exhibition.
But everything you see here is meticulously itemised and logged.
What interests me are the incredible human stories
that lie behind these aircraft,
and how a new way of working is helping to rediscover them.
Now, this Harrier Jump Jet may not look like history,
but in the ever-changing world of military aviation,
it already is - it was decommissioned in 2010.
Now, if you look inside that cockpit, I've been told
there's lots of grains of sand from the pilot's boot.
And it's these little visual marks that evoke the human stories
that are involved in and around these aircraft that's so important.
Looking at it today, I really hope it will be preserved
as it is now for future generations to see.
It's so evocative looking at an item that exudes its history.
I've arranged to meet up with Dave Morris,
Curator of Aircraft here at the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
He is globally pioneering a whole new way of restoring aircraft.
What IS your approach to, let's say, conservation, or restoration?
That's a really interesting one,
because we're trying to look carefully at what those words mean -
-conservation, restoration, preservation...
If you're lucky enough to be given Constable's Haywain
or Botticelli's Venus or a Chippendale table...
-You leave it well alone.
-You wouldn't necessarily
-just race for the paint pot, I hope.
But a lot of 20th century mechanical objects have suffered in that way.
Let's take the Harrier Jump Jet - we've ended up here.
That looks to me like it's in pretty much original condition
-and you haven't touched that yet.
-It is exactly why
we selected that, when it became available.
It's straight from, erm,
its last theatre of war operation in Afghanistan,
and exactly how we would want to now look at keeping an object -
-straight from use.
-Is this a new way of thinking,
or has this policy been in place for quite a few years?
The more detailed work that we're getting into, where we're actually
carefully looking at our objects and in some instances
un-painting them - quite literally taking paint layers back,
millimetre by millimetre,
to expose original finishes and history from beneath -
that's quite new, and it's something
we've been involved with now since the year 2000.
What was the first plane you worked on in that way?
The first project that we took in that direction
was the World War II Chance Vought Corsair fighter,
which again has been in the collection for many years,
had obviously been repainted during the 1960s,
but the more we investigated it, the more we started to believe
that beneath that 1960s paint,
it looked like it had a lot, if not all,
of its original 1944 paintwork intact.
And that's what you're looking for, that real human DNA,
the people that actually built that in the first place and gave it
-its first paint job...
-You can paint it as many times as you like,
but it's only original once.
Talking to Dave and stepping into his world
makes me think of a forensic scientist.
And in many ways, that's exactly what he is.
I know in a moment, you're going to show me
something you're currently working on. But first, tell me about this,
because this is early naval aviation history, isn't it -
the Seaplane Lighter...?
Absolutely - this dates back to World War I.
It is a purpose-built vessel for carrying a sea plane.
So, basically, it's an iron-hulled barge, isn't it,
that you put a seaplane on and towed?
It is, but more significant than that,
it was the first time that the Admiralty had actually
ordered from a company a vessel to carry an airplane at sea.
-In other words - an aircraft carrier.
-So, you have to consider this to be...
..the start point of where the modern aircraft carrier begins.
Unbelievable! How many of these have survived?
We have the only one known to exist, as a complete Seaplane Lighter.
-Where did you find it?
somebody who was a ships historian and enthusiast in that part
of the River Thames, where it was operating as a flat-top Thames barge,
identified it, recognised it, they wrote us a letter and said,
"We think we've seen a World War I Seaplane Lighter
"still being used on the Thames."
And that was recently?
1996 was when they pointed it out.
-So it was still afloat in 1996?
-Still being used, still afloat.
And we were lucky to get it released from the company
and bring it in to storage here.
If we hadn't been tipped off and hadn't acted on it,
-it would have literally been cut up for scrap.
How lucky, how lucky! And here we are standing on it.
The Seaplane Lighter has been painstakingly restored
over the past 17 years
to reveal as much of its original identity as possible.
The aeroplane that Dave is currently restoring
is the only remaining one of its kind.
And during World War II, it might have changed history for ever.
The French commissioned a fleet of the American-made
Grumman Martlets, but with the Nazi occupation of Paris,
there was a very real threat
that the aeroplanes would end up in German hands.
Miraculously, word got out in time,
and the contract was transferred to the British.
Today, Dave is working in a way that will reveal
as much of the aeroplane's story as possible.
You've brought me to this section of wing -
what are you going to show me?
Here is a good example of the type of thing we're discovering.
People often say, "So, what is the point, what are you finding,
"why do you do this?"
And again, it's tracking back through the object's history.
You'll see lots of different layers and different colours here,
where we now have understood through research which colour
relates to what date of the aircraft.
The Americans used this aeroplane extensively during World War II.
And colour footage does exist of their fleets.
Sadly, nothing has been found of the British using the Grumman Martlet,
making Dave's work even more important.
And then things like this green scrape here.
-There's quite a definite...
-It goes right along, doesn't it?
There's quite a lot of speed attached to that scrape there.
And it's dark green. We've had that chemically analysed,
and it matches identically the green on the upper surface of the wing.
So, what caused that, then, two wings colliding?
It can only be that it's run across the wing tip
of another Grumman Martlet -
one of the other aircraft on the squadron.
A landing accident or a taxiing accident, maybe on a carrier
or an airfield - we don't know.
But now we can start tracking that further
because we know that the lighter colour dates from April 1941 -
and of course, the green stripe is below that,
-so it has to pre-date April '41.
That puts it on one of two squadrons, so we can now start looking
at those squadron records, and seeing if we can fine-tune
-Good detective work!
That's exciting, isn't it?
We're beginning literally to get under the skin of the object.
Scrape some off - I see you've got a little scalpel in your hand.
-A tiny blade...
-You find an edge that starts to go...
So you're taking the dark blue off now.
Yes, we're getting rid of the dark blue,
and the silver coat, which is immediately beneath the dark blue...
I was going to have a go, to say I've done something, but I don't
-want to take off the cream, so...
-Oh, look, there's a bit, look.
-Find an edge, and see how you...
-Shall I just keep scraping?
-Just keep going with the blue.
Just keep going with the blue. That's fine.
'You have to admire Dave's commitment,
'given that he's already spent seven years working on this aircraft,
'and it's not finished yet.
'But when it IS done, this aeroplane
'really will have been brought back to life.'
I'm part of a generation who has known men who flew planes like this,
risking their lives during World War II. And sadly,
as that generation leaves us, it's more important then ever now
to remember their history, and their contribution,
so the next generation can understand - and learn.
Welcome back to the main exhibition hall,
where hundreds of "Flog It!" fans are waiting
to get their antiques and collectibles valued.
As you can see, we're filming inside the Fleet Air Arm Museum,
but if you follow me, look... you can see,
it's actually situated on a working military naval aviation base.
There's helicopters and jets taking off all the time,
coming and going. There's 4,500 personnel stationed here.
It's the largest in the country, and it's quite an exciting environment,
so let's now catch up with our experts back inside.
First up, it's Charlie Ross, who has his work cut out
getting through this next item.
Muriel, how perfectly charming!
Did you start with a bracelet and then add these yourself, or...?
Yes, I did buy the bracelet, and then...that was about
1957, I think. And then I started adding charms from then on.
Presumably each one tells a tale?
The foreign ones do, because it's all the different countries that
-Well, I can have a guess here.
-You've been to Paris...
-Yes, there's the Eiffel Tower.
-The Eiffel Tower.
-And a cuckoo clock.
-Erm, yes, erm...
-Do you know what I like best here...?
-There's an edelweiss from Switzerland.
Look at this. Look at this, Muriel!
A working mincer!
Yes, I can't remember where that one came from!
It's really a fantastic collection - do you know how many there are?
-I think there's 30.
-I had a count when you weren't looking!
-32 of them.
They went right out of fashion and I think people used to just
-melt them down because of the value of the gold.
-But although gold value has gone up, people DO collect them now.
And if you really want to collect gold charms and you haven't got one,
-..you've got no duplications here at all,
-have you, I don't think?
-No, I don't think there is, no.
-They're all nine-carat gold...
-..so they're a lower... of the grade of gold.
-But what about value?
-I thought maybe it was worth 150-200,
-but I don't know.
-We can multiply your 150 by four.
-How about that?!
Might be able to go on another holiday, then, mightn't I?!
-No, don't, because you'll start buying more gold charms!
-Well, obviously you want to sell it...
-given your valuation, you're quite pleased to see it...?
Yes. I didn't come with the purpose of selling it in the first place,
-because we brought other things, but...
But the price has tickled you, hasn't it?
-Well, I think it might have, yes.
-Well, I think 700-900, I really do.
-My goodness me!
-And I'm going to put a reserve of 700 with discretion on it.
So if we get bid 650 and not more,
-we would sell it...
-..and I think we're very happy at 700-900.
-Well, yes, so am I, then!
-So are you! That makes two of us!
And it looks like Charlie's not the only one with magpie tendencies.
Thomas has homed in on an unusual necklace
he spotted in the queue earlier.
Thank you for bringing in this fantastic piece of
late 19th century vulcanite jewellery.
Tell me, is it something you've had for some time?
It belonged to my mother.
She had a collection of Victorian and Edwardian costumes.
I don't know who gave it to her, or whether she purchased it.
But when my mum had this collection,
she would take them around to various village halls and things,
to raise money.
-It went to the local hospital.
And there were a group of us who wore the costumes,
and this was one of the necklaces that I used to wear.
-And was it against a black costume?
-Yes, a black...
-It's mourning jewellery.
-A black-beaded costume.
So, vulcanite is... it's like an early plastic.
Goodyear was the man who sort of invented it.
-And it's a mixture of sulphur and Indian rubber.
it makes this sort of resin which then gets moulded.
I don't know what the grapes represent, the grape and vine...
And the interesting thing about this is that this is
the poorer relation to jet.
So, Whitby Jet, which took that high polish,
and was very dark and very popular in the 19th century -
-but extremely expensive.
This was its, sort of, simulant, so to speak.
It's quite dull, actually, isn't it, really?
-It hasn't got that lovely shine.
-I think it would have had that shine.
All things of rubber, they do deteriorate over time.
But it's a super, big, bold piece, isn't it?
-Yes, it is lovely.
-When you're thinking of Victorian jewellery,
-that's what you want.
-Do you like it?
-Yes, I do.
-I do like it.
-Why is it here on this table with me,
-about to sell it?
-It's just in a box...
and I wanted to come to Flog It!
-This has got collectors for.
-Certainly people who collect early plastics or composites.
I think it's worth...
..typical auctioneer's estimate,
-100-120. That's what
-would like to put -
that's what I THINK it's worth. With regards to a reserve,
I think one should put a sensible reserve of about
-£80 on it - to fix it at 80.
If it doesn't sell for 80,
I think you'd be pleased to keep it, wouldn't you?
Yes. Yes, that would be fine.
And in case you're wondering,
Charles Goodyear, who invented vulcanite,
ended up having a whole brand of tyres named in his honour.
And Goodyear tyres are still going strong today.
What's so fantastic about this venue
is that there are gems everywhere you look.
And while Charlie and Thomas were in full flow with their valuations,
I took the opportunity to explore.
Now, isn't this fascinating? Do you know what it's called?
Well, if you don't, I can tell you - it's the Supermarine Walrus.
It first came into service in 1935, and it was built in Southampton.
And depending on which way you look at it,
it can either be a flying boat or an amphibious biplane.
It was designed to take off and land at sea.
Its roles were to rescue people and for reconnaissance.
And I love the way the wings fold back as a space-saving device.
And incidentally, for it to get back on board the ship,
it had to be hoisted up by crane.
And to take off, it would be launched by catapult.
One of the little design features I absolutely love about it
is, its back wheel also acts...
as an underwater rudder - how clever is that?!
Designed in 1935.
How quickly our aviation history moved
during the first half of the 20th century!
Take a look at our next item.
Caroline, I've been sitting here amongst aeroplanes all day
waiting to have something that's related to the planes -
and you've satisfied my need here,
-with this album, which you've brought from home?
Has it been in pride of place?
No, it's hidden away on the book shelves.
I'm intrigued by the photographs inside this album.
Have you got a connection with the RAF at all?
-Not at all, no.
-So how did you come by the album?
-We lived in Windsor...
..and my next-door neighbour, he was in the Royal Flying Corps.
I think it was a gift to my small son,
when he was mad on aeroplanes.
Does he know you've brought it along here today?
-He does, yes.
-Is he happy with that?
-There's no real relation, is there,
between Germany and the donor of the item?
My son thought that a lot of these old flyers and soldiers
-brought back souvenirs.
-There is a photograph here which intrigues me,
which is of an aeroplane
that has seen better days and has crashed -
-the remains of a Fokker triplane.
-That's a really interesting photograph. It would be interesting to know the history.
Completely crumpled! And here's a wonderful... Much, much later.
We're into the 1930s here, with the Schneider Trophy
that held the world speed record.
380 mph - that's a heck of a speed in the 1930s, isn't it?
I think these are a wonderful record of planes
and for someone that's as keen now as your son was then
would love to have it. Value?
I don't think that the album is worth more than perhaps £30 to £50.
I don't know if you're happy to sell it for that sort of figure?
-Yes, it's going to charity.
-It's going to charity, is it?
-Help The Heroes.
That's wonderful and very apposite really
that the proceeds of something like this goes to Help The Heroes.
-So we need to get more than £30 then, £50, £100!
-I think £30-£50's the right estimate.
Thank you very much for bringing them. I wish I knew more about aeroplanes and could tell you.
Perhaps we might find the curator later on and get him to fill us in.
And fill us in he did!
But before I catch up with auctioneer Claire Rawle about this intriguing album,
it's time to say goodbye to the Fleet Air Arm Museum
and the naval base here in Yeovilton,
before we head off to the auction room for the last time.
Here's a quick reminder of what we're taking with us.
All that glitters is gold, but will Muriel's bracelet charm the buyers?
A late 19th-century mourning necklace,
but is it a good year for selling vulcanite?
And will the collectors home in on the photo album
of early 20th-century aeroplanes?
Time to catch up with Claire
about the item that's got everyone talking.
-Now, this is quite exciting.
-I love this.
-I do as well,
one of my favourite items of the day. It belongs to Caroline,
and it's an album of First World War aircraft.
Now, the museum curator back at the airbase, Graham,
had a flick through this
and got quite excited about one particular photograph.
Now, there is a wreckage of a Fokker triplane with a date on it
and if you look up there, "23rd April, 1918".
It was shot down at an airfield around the Somme,
-which is where this was taken.
-Yeah, so we're thinking...?
We're thinking, we're putting two and two together
-and coming up with five.
-That's certainly Red Baron territory.
Could be, couldn't it? Which was shot down,
I think, on the 21st April 1918.
-The dates coincide, don't they?
-I think it probably is.
-I think so as well.
-He knows his stuff as well, the curator,
let's face it, he's going to know that.
When I saw this, I thought anyway it was going to make good money.
Some brilliant images in here, they're all genuine of their age.
They're all genuine 1918, when they were taken, they're not copies.
Then, as soon as this came to light, you think, OK, it's... It should do.
-It's really nice.
-OK, big question we all want to know,
especially the viewers at home -
-has there been a lot of interest?
-Yeah, there has.
-We have got quite a bit of interest,
so we'll keep that surprise for later.
That photograph is the wreckage of the Red Baron,
the WWI German fighter pilot
whose name came from his aristocratic background
and distinctive red Fokker biplane.
He was revered by both sides
and is probably the most widely known fighter pilot of all time.
Well, it's auction time and I really hope our first item,
so laden with personal history, makes its money today.
Going under the hammer right now, Muriel's charm bracelet.
It's nine-carat gold and there's a lot of gold there.
We're looking at £700-£900.
Lots of memories for you, visual links of your trips abroad.
-They've all got memories, really.
-Why have you decided to sell now?
-I haven't worn it for about 40 years.
-And it's very uncomfortable.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Lot 22. That's a bit of gold, showing to you here.
This is the charm bracelet set with all those lovely charms, lot 22.
I have to start this one away. I have got four... £550. At 550, six?
50, seven at the back of the room. At £700 at the back of the room.
At 700, now 50 anywhere? At 50 here. At 750. DO you want to go 800?
800, I have. 820, I'll take.
Three at the same at 850, at 820, the bid's here.
At £820, the bid's in the room then, you all done at £820?
Mid-estimate, well done. Good value.
-It's gone, yes!
-It's gone! It's gone!
We're saying our goodbyes,
-but you've still got those memories.
-Yes, I have!
And Catherine also has many memories of happy days spent modelling,
associated with her striking vulcanite necklace.
It's like an early Bakelite, it's like a Victorian plastic, vulcanite.
It's very light. It looks heavy, but it's not at all.
-It's lovely to wear.
-Are you going to miss this now?
Not really, because it's been in the cupboard for ages.
I think we should get on and sell some antiques right now!
-Are you ready for this, Catherine?
-This is what we've come for! Let's get on with it.
42, this is rather fun. The Victorian vulcanite necklace.
And I'm sure you've all had a good look at this.
This one I have to start straight in at £90 and I'm looking for 100.
120 at the back. 120, 130, 140, 150.
150 bid's here. At £150, do I see £160?
£160 on the internet.
At 170, now 180. He's still hovering.
180, net bid this time at £180.
180. Are you all sure?
-Selling then, at £180.
-Yes! Hammer's gone down! £180. What a great result!
And I've learnt something there.
I never knew anything about vulcanite before.
No, well, I'm glad you pounced on it.
Caroline's giving the proceeds of her son's photo album to charity.
Let's hope that new information about the Red Baron
pushes it through the roof.
It's chocks away, as they say on the airfield,
which brings us nicely to Caroline's lot,
that wonderful photograph album of early aviation history.
The triplanes. Love it to bits.
I know it's your son's album, isn't it?
The good news is that Graham Mottram, the director of the museum that we filmed at,
believes that's the image of the Red Baron's plane
that was shot down outside the hangar in ruins.
It's a real history.
Let's hope this flies away. It's going under the hammer right now.
302 is a lovely collection of photographs
of the German aeroplanes.
And we did have some information given to us,
the rather wrecked-looking German Fokker triplane
was the one that the Red Baron was shot down in.
-So, there you go.
-It was his plane.
There's a bit of controversy as to who shot him down.
We've had a lot of interest in this one
-and I have to start straight in at £160.
-Wow, straight in!
Can I see 170 anywhere? At 160, now 170.
At 170, 180, 190, 200?
At 200 with me, £200?
At 200. Now, 220 anywhere?
-At 200, are you all done?
-It's going to my bidder at £200.
-It's gone, brilliant!
-Yes, that made all the difference.
-I hope it's gone to the museum.
It was the dates, three days after the Red Baron was shot down.
I hadn't picked up on those. They were actually within the photograph?
Yes, they were.
It's always good when you find out new information about an item,
especially when it boosts its value.
So, fantastic news for Caroline's charity.
We've had a great time here in Somerset,
surrounded by vintage and modern aircraft,
and of course, wonderful antiques and some happy owners.
That's what it's all about.
Join us again next time, but until then, it's goodbye from Flog It!
Flog It! comes from the sharp end, as Paul Martin and antiques experts Thomas Plant and Charlie Ross descend upon the Fleet Air Arm Museum, situated on the navy's largest aviation base, HMS Heron in Somerset.
Members of the public bring their antiques and collectibles along to Europe's largest naval aviation museum, where the Flog It! experts share their knowledge of what everything is worth.
A surprise discovery by the museum director pushes the value up on one item.
Paul goes behind the scenes at the museum where he meets curator Dave Morris, whose pioneering way of working is bringing exhibits to life in a way never previously imagined.