This episode of the antiques series comes from Longleat in Wiltshire, home to a safari park and Longleat House. Paul Martin is joined by Michael Baggott and Claire Rawle.
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I'm on the roof of one of the most extraordinary buildings in the country.
Below me, kings and queens have been wined and dined,
from Queen Elizabeth I, during the Tudor period,
right up to our present queen, Queen Elizabeth II.
But today, for one day only,
this magnificent house becomes our backdrop for a valuation day.
So I am going to hoist the flag for our visitors.
Where are we?
Well, I can tell you where we are -
today we are at Longleat House in Wiltshire!
Welcome to Flog It!
It was back in 1947 that Henry Thynne, the sixth Marquess of Bath,
faced with increasing pressure of taxation,
decided to open Longleat to the public on a fee-paying basis.
This unprecedented idea was a gamble.
The car-owning population was still small,
petrol was rationed,
and the country was suffering from austerity.
But the house opened in 1949
and counted more than 100,000 visitors in its first year,
each paying half a crown to tread where kings once stayed.
Today it's the people of Wiltshire and the surrounding counties
who are going to be treated like royalty.
Isn't that right?
Of course, it is.
And over there, doing what they do best,
are our experts ready to wait hand and foot on our visitors,
because, this great big crowd of wonderful people
want to know the answer to the all-important question, which is...
-What's it worth?
And on this gloriously hot day, ready to greet our visitors
and hoping to coax out the crown jewels, is Michael Baggott.
What do you do to keep your biscuits, if you've got no lid?
And the lady of the house today is the ever-charming Claire Rawle.
That's just the job! Parasol.
I tell you what... Could I borrow? Do you think?
I think, with a frilly edge, Claire, it's far more you than me.
Oh, I don't know, Michael.
So it's time to make our way from the magnificent south front
round to the beautiful topiary gardens,
where the valuations will be taking place.
And we've got a rather special show for you today.
When Nick brings in this mysterious item, Claire's intrigued.
my grandfather came across this teapot in the Himalayas
wrapped in paper in the snow.
So he actually just found it, wrapped up in the snow?
And this teapot leads to a momentous discovery!
30,000 for this alone?
We could be rocking and rolling.
Will we break our Flog It! record for the highest value item
ever sold at auction?
You'll just have to wait and see!
Later on in the programme,
I'll be exploring inside Longleat House
to discover some of its fascinating history.
But right now, here in the formal garden,
the valuations are already under way.
Let's catch up with our expert Michael Baggott,
and take a closer look at what he's found.
Sue, thank you so much for coming along today
-because you've made my day.
-You've brought this little chap here.
This golden little chap.
Where did it come from?
It came from my father-in-law,
who literally dug it up on the edge of Salisbury Plain,
about 40, 45 years ago.
He was ploughing, and it literally turned up.
So he wasn't out with a metal detector?
-They hadn't been invented, had they, then?
-Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
How do you find something as small and delicate as that?
Because he was called Hawk-eye!
Do you know what it is, actually?
Well, not really. I just know that it's a very early coin.
Or an earlier coin.
You've got a beautiful half guinea in gold.
Oh, a half guinea?
On the front we've got the royal coat of arms, quartered,
and we've got the motto and, of course, the date 1774.
On the obverse side we've got King George III.
Well, we could see that.
Coins come down to rarity.
The rarity of how many were minted at a particular time,
and small variations.
The main thing is condition.
The only defect we've got, at the very bottom there -
that slight knock to the edge.
It's probably where the ploughshare
shifted it out of the soil.
In all other respects, the condition is absolutely wonderful.
And we grade coins in different finenesses,
and this is very fine to extremely fine.
I mean, obviously, the past couple of years
everybody has been talking about the price of gold going up and bullion.
-This is beyond bullion.
I think, for a normal example you'd be thinking £180-£200.
But I think this is so fine in terms of condition,
let's put £250-£300 on it.
We've got to do that,
because we've got to protect your interests, as well.
-So we'll put a reserve of £250 on it.
But, obviously, it was discovered years ago
and it's been in the family... Why sell it now?
Because it's stuck in a drawer, nobody sees it.
If a collector had it, they might at least put it on show.
I hate to break it to you, Sue,
but most coin collectors have cabinets.
-Which have thin drawers.
-It's going from a deep drawer into the thin drawer.
as long as somebody would appreciate it, then that's fine.
Thank you so much for bringing it in, you made my day.
Gosh, wouldn't it be great to dig up
something like that in your own back garden!
Over on Claire's table,
is another lucky discovery twinkling in the sunshine.
-Well, hello, Ian. Nice to meet you.
Now, I'm not, I have to admit, the greatest fan of glass.
But I do like cranberry glass - this rich red colour.
Tell me a bit about its history.
I bought it about three years ago from a charity shop.
And I bought it because, one, it was quite cheap - about £2 -
and, secondly, the metal collar I felt
meant that two art forms had been used in it.
Yeah, because it's quite tricky, isn't it, really -
applying metal to a glass body.
This piece of cranberry glass,
would probably have been made in Bohemia
at the turn of the 19th, 20th century.
Being red, it has gold added to it.
That's how you get the red colour in glass,
which always makes it more expensive.
And then, curiously,
you've got this wavy thing...
Although it looks like pewter, it's actually silver.
It's hallmarked. It's got a modern Sheffield hallmark.
I think it's from about 1989.
So, I guess somebody else looked at the vase and thought
that's a pretty little vase, however, we'll embellish it
with some silver
and don't seem to have damaged the vase, at all.
Glass isn't selling hugely well at auction at the moment,
but it's so pretty, it is cranberry,
and, obviously, you've the silver addition on the neck.
So, I think you'll see a bit of a profit on your hands.
It would be difficult not to, really, wouldn't it?
So, my feeling is...
£40, £50 - that sort of region.
I don't have that grabs you.
-That grabs me well.
-Reserve of £35.
We'll see what happens at auction. Thanks very much.
Thank you very much.
It really is a scorcher today.
The sunhats and parasols are out in force,
and there's a real family atmosphere.
Chris, Sally, thank you for bringing me boxes.
They're full of promise.
Now, I'll take a wild stab in the dark -
it's either fish servers or fruit knives.
Let's have a look.
Should be two tiers...
So, we've got a set of silver and
- although it's not very PC - ivory-handled fruit knives.
Often these sets are electroplate and ivory.
-You've got ivory and solid silver.
Which is a bit odd, really.
Because if you put solid silver next fruit acid,
-it doesn't like it at all.
-It reacts quite badly.
If we look at just a couple of pieces.
We've got the full set of hallmarks.
Everyone will know that the lion passant is sterling silver.
-Date letter in the centre, which is for 1859.
And the last mark is Queen Victoria's head.
And the monarch's head as a punch is the duty mark.
At this time, there was a duty payable on all wrought silver,
and that's simply the receipt mark
to say that it has been paid.
-Oh, right, OK.
Better if they were fish servers.
Because people still use those today.
Fruit services, hardly ever used.
Put it this way, when was the last time you went to a dinner party
and had a knife and fork to eat your fruit?
That everyone's experience.
Any idea of the value?
Well, I think we'll be sensible and say £150-£250 for set.
-But a fixed reserve of 150.
But I think, on the day, we can just hope for a couple of very refined Wiltshire folk.
I'm sure there's some out there!
I'm sure there are!
-Thanks very much.
-BOTH: Thank you.
Well, there you are, our first three items.
Our experts have been working flat out.
I've already got my favourite, you've probably got yours,
but right now it's down to the bidders.
Let them decide exactly what it's worth.
And he's a good recap of all the items
we're taking to auction with us.
Sue's father-in-law, was hawk-eyed
to spot this coin as he was ploughing that field.
And Michael was very pleased to spot it in the Flog It! queue.
This wee cranberry glass, with its silver collar,
should find a home at auction,
but will the silver fruit cutlery?
It's attractive, but rather out-of-date in today's world.
Only 20 miles from Longleat, is the historic market town of Devizes.
Originally, a medieval town, Devizes prospered in Georgian times
when many of its finest buildings were erected.
And on its outskirts is our auction house,
Henry Aldridge and Son, a family run business,
now operated by a father and son team - Alan and Andrew.
Well, this is the moment I've been waiting for - auction time!
Don't go away, anything could happen.
This is where it gets exciting.
The sale is just about to start,
but remember if you are selling
or buying in a saleroom, there's commission to pay.
Here, it's 18% - that includes all the other costs, and the VAT.
Let's get on with the sale.
Alan is already in full swing up on the rostrum,
and our first item to go under the hammer is the fruit cutlery set.
Will it sell?
They're ready to go, as a presentation set.
They are quality, but it's something that nobody really wants to own.
Long gone are those days of the formal dining room
where they belong.
-Fish knives, very popular.
£1,000 a set now.
The fruit knives have always been the ugly sister of those sets.
Good luck! That's all I can say, good luck.
They're going under the hammer at right now.
12 place setting, Martin Hall. Nice bit of silver in these.
We can't weigh it, but there is a nice bit of silver.
Couple of hundred pound.
Couple of hundred?
150? One, start me.
One I've got.
One I got, one I got, 110.
At 100, is there 10?
Got 120. Is there 30?
At £120, not quite enough.
Is there 130 anywhere? Quick!
I mean, I do remember, 10 years ago,
getting £300, £400 a set at auction.
So we took that into account, but I think just the wrong day.
Yes, tough thing to sell. I thought they would struggle.
-But I had my fingers crossed for you.
-So did I!
What a shame for Sally and Chris,
but maybe on another day they might do a bit better.
Going under the hammer now, we've got some cranberry glass.
A little bit of Bohemia.
-In fact, Ian, you paid £2 for this, didn't you?
We're going to turn that into, hopefully, £30-£40.
Why are you selling it now?
Because I've had it, I don't collect glass, I just found it so attractive.
-And you bought it because was a bargain, really.
-Yes, as well.
-Let's face it, it was, wasn't it?
-It's nice. It's very pretty.
With a rather unusual silver collar around it.
-Good for you for spotting that,
because it's a little bit of detail that will help get this one away.
-And it's not too big.
Some of them can be just too pretentious and showy.
But this one is quite nice. So let's find out what the bidders think.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Cranberry glass vase.
Nice bit of silver.
At £20, I've got.
25. 30, then?
36. At £34, am I done?
Done. Hammer's gone down. You were spot on, really.
Yeah, that was good.
A confident valuation.
-Happy with that?
On a £2 investment, I think it's brilliant.
I wish we could all do that every day of the week.
Five. 30. 35. At £30.
Going under the hammer right now,
possibly with one of the oldest things in the entire sale.
The George III half guinea, belonging to Sue.
I absolutely love the story. I think it's lovely.
-Obviously, valued for over melt.
-I did that deliberately.
Because everybody's got their scrap hat on, at the moment
when it comes to gold and this is such a lovely coin
and it is in very fine condition.
I think it is. I think it's superb.
One of the best I've seen, apart from the little edge.
-And I could live with that.
-I could. It's not on the face.
We'll find out what the bidders think.
It's going under the hammer right now.
This is the gold George III half guinea.
I can come straight in at 160.
At 160. I've got 170.
At 250, is there 60?
The nice thing is we put it in over-scrap.
It's a coin collector's piece
and someone's appreciated that here today.
-Yes, it certainly won't go to melt. Stunning.
-We'd no idea what it was.
And that's the beauty of Flog It! -
you get to find out all about your items,
and enjoy spending the proceeds from the auction too.
And coming up, don't miss out on the spectacular events
that unfold at auction
when we come back later on in the show.
This is a dream, really.
And that's all to come!
But first it's time to head back to our valuation day venue.
All going and done.
Longleat House is widely regarded as one of the best examples
of Elizabethan architecture in the country.
So, before I joined up with our experts to look for more antiques,
I decided to take a closer look to find out
why the house is so exceptional
and to discover some of its hidden secrets.
'To understand how extraordinary a building like Longleat is,
'you really need to travel back in time, back to when it was built.
'It was in 1541 that Sir John Thynne,
'Steward to the Duke of Somerset,
'purchased the former priory at Longleat.'
During Medieval times, and indeed the Tudor period,
the landed gentry and nobility lived in castles
and fortified manor houses built around a courtyard.
The focus was definitely inwards, the priority was defence.
England was such a feudal society
and the remit was fortified architecture.
But all that was about to change.
'In 1558 Elizabeth I came to the throne.
'The new queen's religious and economic policies brought
'both relative peace and prosperity to the country.'
Queen Elizabeth I travelled around her kingdom a great deal.
It was vital to show her presence,
and ambitious members of her court were eager to accommodate her,
and this sparked off a building frenzy known as "prodigy houses" -
huge great mansions designed to enhance your reputation.
It was a symbol of power and family permanence.
Longleat was the first house in the country to be built opening
outwards, the outside house.
It was saying, "Look at me, I'm here to show off and impress."
And as architecture goes, that's a supreme statement of confidence.
'But Longleat is also exceptional because Sir John was at the
'forefront of a design revolution known as the Italian Renaissance.
'Sir John created one of the first classical Renaissance palaces
'in England, a dominant feature of which are the windows.'
Back in the 1500s glass was hugely expensive.
In fact, if you moved house, you took your windows with you.
And an architectural delight like this,
with more windows than walls, was a statement of extreme wealth.
'And in the Great Hall you can still see many original 16th century
'features, including the elaborate wooden screen under
'the minstrels' gallery.
'And the bold hammer beam roof.
'And to find out more about Sir John Thynne,
'the driving force behind this Elizabethan wonder,
'I've arranged to meet up with Dr Kate Harris,
'curator of Longleat's historic collections,
'in the temperature-controlled archives.'
Kate, can you tell me a little bit about Sir John the builder?
I suppose the most remarkable thing about him is the height to
which he rose, the good luck of going to service with Protector Somerset.
And Somerset, of course, was the most important patron of architecture
at that period and had four or five really major projects on the go.
Wow, so he's bringing all these elements here to Longleat.
That's what the locals hated, that he brought a building style,
a classical Renaissance building style, to his own house.
They regarded it as a style that is befitting of a prince, no less,
and completely not suitable for an upstart from Shropshire.
And are these the floor plans for Longleat?
These are plans of 1800.
-You can see just how complicated an interior was at this stage.
And the roofscape would have been that much more
complicated as well because you've got a whole range of buildings
within the court that you can look down on.
Gosh, it's a maze when you look down on it!
In the early 20th century they were still
worrying their heads about how to sweep the chimneys.
They had to have a diagram...
so that they could be sure which flue connected to which hearth.
-They were cleaning the right one!
-So they're all numbered.
-With a key.
-This dates from about 1912, 1915.
-Oh, I see.
So number 71 there would be the Red Library, so you look there
and you think, "Right, I've got my roof plan, that's the one."
It would be a good day to go up and look at the roof for yourself.
I will do, I will do.
'And what better way to get there
'than up the original 16th century stairs?
'Stairs that Elizabeth I might have used.'
Well, no wonder the chimney sweeps were confused! Just look at that!
Without a roof plan,
you wouldn't know what room you were standing above.
'This extraordinary late 16th century roofscape is
'punctuated by a forest of chimneys and banqueting houses.
'The Elizabethans liked to use roofs for recreation,
'and banqueting houses provided a small,
'secluded space containing a fireplace and chairs for relaxing.'
Now put to other uses,
this one actually now contains the bell tower.
But originally this was where you came after dinner,
maybe to take some spices, have a glass of wine, have an intimate
conversation, and, of course, take in these stunning views.
But unfortunately, a little later on,
these banqueting houses gained a rather dubious reputation as
a place of maybe too much privacy, if you know what I mean, wink-wink.
'And privacy was something of an issue.
'Downstairs, the layout of the main reception rooms
'is pretty much the same as it was in the Elizabethan period.
'One opulent room leads directly into another,
'so the most important and richly decorated spaces had to be used
'as a thoroughfare by all family, guests
'and household servants alike.
'This was also true of the most significant room in the house,
'the long gallery.
'An architectural feature that made its appearance
'in grand houses of the Elizabethan era,
'the long gallery soon became the centre of family life.'
Used for entertaining and taking exercise on cold and wet days,
the long gallery was also used for displaying art, and quite
fittingly, the art on display here today brings us full circle.
These beautiful, fragile tapestries are as old as the house.
Dating back to the 16th century, in their day, items like these
were priced more highly and valued more highly than paintings.
And today they are one of the most priceless
and precious artefacts in this magnificent house.
Elizabethan houses like this one were built to enhance
and carry your family's reputation forward for future generations,
and considering all, I think
that upstart John Thynne did a rather splendid job, don't you?
'Back in the formal gardens,
'the good people of Wiltshire are still arriving.
'Now, when you bring an item along to a Flog It valuation day,
'you never know where it might lead,
'and that's certainly true of Nick, who brought in this teapot.
'And here's the beginning of his extraordinary story.'
Well, hello, Nick. It's good to see you on this wonderfully sunny,
hot day with your glorious teapot, which I just love.
What's the history of this one?
Well, my grandfather on my mother's side was
a captain in the Indian Army,
and in approximately 1904 he was seconded
to an expedition into Tibet with a guy called Colonel Younghusband.
And apparently it was quite a big affair,
and during the course of that expedition, my grandfather came
-across this teapot in the Himalayas wrapped in paper in the snow.
And, er, it was then inherited by my mother,
and when my mother died, I inherited it.
So that's the story that I got from my mother.
OK, so he actually just found it wrapped up in the snow?
-Wow, OK. It's so obviously Tibetan.
It has a slightly primitive look to it, doesn't it?
Yes, I fear there's a few dents, but, erm...
I'm not really surprised!
But as to its original age, I have absolutely no idea at all,
and its value, I have no idea.
Yeah, well, obviously he found it in
the very early days of the 20th century.
It's going to date from the latter part of the 19th century,
-so it probably wasn't that old when he found it.
From my understanding,
because I think these were actually in fairly ordinary daily use,
I mean, it wasn't just sitting on the side waiting for high days
and holidays when the family came round. I think they were used daily.
Oh, my understanding would be the same.
It's brass and silver, not quite so highly burnished at the moment.
And you very often find with Tibetan items,
they've got this rather crude sort of brass embellishment on them.
Makes them look very primitive but I think actually is charming.
I think the story behind it is actually amazing,
and within that, I'm sure there's a lot more history involved.
You've obviously decided that it's time for it to find a new home.
I think so. I have the story, I have the memories,
and that's perfectly OK for me, really.
You know, no-one can take away the story and you've got other
things that relate to that journey as well, haven't you?
I think it will sell fine at auction.
My feeling is probably 80-120, that sort of, you know,
good old auctioneer's estimate. Does that feel OK with you?
Yes, I would think so, yes.
-Yeah, I think a reserve, perhaps, of £80 with discretion on it.
But it's a fascinating story and I'm sure there's an awful lot
more behind that, but I shall look forward to seeing you at the auction
-and watching it fly away.
-Thank you very much indeed.
'A rather humble estimate by Claire, but her instincts about there
'being more to the story and history of the piece are correct.
'Photographs taken during the 1903 British Expedition to Tibet
'undertaken by Nick's grandfather
'and led by Colonel Francis Younghusband are thought to
'have depicted Mount Everest to westerners for the very first time.
'However, this expedition was effectively a temporary invasion
'by British forces, possibly to counter feared Russian influence.
'And around 3,000 Tibetans are thought to have been killed.
'In terms of associated items, this area requires specialist knowledge.
'But objects connected with the exploration of Tibet, and especially
'this controversial expedition, are very collectable,
'as we'll see later on in the programme.
'But first, while some of our visitors
'are enjoying a bit of shade,
'Dee is putting her best foot forward in the topiary gardens.'
Dee, thank you for bringing this wonderful large snuff box.
Erm, before I tell you anything about it, what do you know?
It's my partner's and apparently it belonged to his great aunt.
It's a very unusual thing for a great aunt to own!
Was she a snuff box collector, or...?
No, I think it was part of a family of three, and that's the largest one.
-Three, all shoes?
It's certainly one of the largest ones I've seen.
-We've basically got a mahogany, solid mahogany body.
-It is mahogany.
-That's been carved as a lady's shoe.
And then all of this very meticulous detail,
all the seams, the buttoning, the decoration,
-that's all done with little brass pins, and they're nailed in.
It's a sort of pique work, which is gold inlaid in tortoiseshell.
Same technique, small pins to form a decorative effect.
So do you think this would have been a table snuff box?
This is a table snuff box,
unless you've got a giant pocket to put it in.
And you would have it on your table and gentlemen would partake of snuff
at a particular point during the evening.
But we've got a label there, that's interesting.
Stuck on, so it's not period with it, but someone's written,
-"Henry John Perkins, Fox White City Exhibition Circa 1875."
Had I seen this without that date,
I would have thought it's more likely to be 1840-1850.
But we'll just call it a Victorian snuff box.
Any idea of what the value might be?
We have no idea.
Because the small ones always make £100-£150,
and this is such a big example, it's the biggest one I've seen,
let's say £300-£500 and put a fixed reserve of £300 on it.
Yeah, that'd be good.
And then hopefully we'll see towards the top end.
So if we do particularly well,
any plans for what you'll do with the money?
-We're going on holiday later this year.
So we'd use the money to spoil the children...
-Oh, that's brilliant.
-..and be completely frivolous.
-Thank you so much for bringing it in.
Well, there you are, our experts have just made their final
choices of items to take off to the sale room,
so it's time to say farewell to our magnificent host location,
Longleat House in Wiltshire,
but right now we've got some unfinished business to do
in the auction room, and here's a quick recap of all the items
that are going under the hammer.
'We are all on tenterhooks with this teapot.
'We've seen how the story starts, but where does it end?
'Certainly not with an estimate of £80-120, I can tell you.'
'And last but definitely not least, this huge snuff box.
'Let's hope we can raise lots of money for Dee's kids to
'spend on their holiday.
'It's a full house in the sale room at Devizes,
'and with the atmosphere building, it's time to see
'if the mahogany snuff shoe walks out with a new owner.'
Dee, good luck with the snuff shoe. Absolutely love this.
I wish I did this valuation.
And £300-£400 is nothing to be sniffed at!
Why are you selling it now?
It just sits in the house. It's not doing any good.
Didn't it inspire you to go out and buy more snuffboxes
and start a little collection?
Because, really, they look great on a shelf or display cabinet.
-It's not my thing.
-Not your thing?
Let's see if we can get you to the top end of that estimate.
Here we go.
Very unusual table mull,
in the form of a boot. Lovely thing.
Somewhere around about £400? 400, three start me, two get me going.
Two I've got, and ten? 220. 230...
It's a good start. It's a good start.
250, 260. 270, 280.
3, 310, 320.
Yes, job done, hammer's gone down.
-That was a good valuation.
-That's great, thank you.
Thank you for bringing it in, as well.
A great result for Dee.
Now, on the preview day at the auction, I caught up with Alan to
have a rather revealing chat about the lot we've all been waiting for.
I think the most intriguing item to turn up at our valuation day
had to be this Tibetan teapot, brought along by Nick,
who had a few other things and some other items at home,
part of a larger collection that he's since decided to sell.
He's brought them along to the auction room.
I know, Alan, you've done some research.
You've had these for a couple of weeks now.
And it turns out they're part of
-a very significant and important collection.
Talk me through what we've got.
How many lots, and what sort of money's on them?
-OK, starting with the photographs, we've put them into three lots.
Because we could have made them an archive.
It would have made it probably quite an expensive archive.
So, putting them into three lots...
Gives a chance for other people...
Yes. For two or three people to invest in them.
Wonderful items of social history.
They're extremely rare. What do you expect to get or the photographs?
60-odd photos. Something in the region of £2,000-£3,000 per lot.
That's a lot of money, isn't it?
-Were you happy with the teapots at £80?
I tested the teapots. It has a very high silver content.
-So we upped the reserve slightly... To?
OK, let's look at this little figure. Isn't she stunning?
She is absolutely stunning. We tested for silver.
It's a very low-grade silver, if it is silver.
But it's still an important artefact.
There's a hole to test beneath.
So we had to just leave it as "silvered".
But, in terms of her quality, it's absolutely stunning.
-How much do you expect this to fetch?
-She could be a surprise.
We've put a very conservative estimate.
I think she's about £800-£1,200. That's come and buy me with bows on.
Do you have a favourite?
This little fellow here. I think this is so beautifully made.
Condition is superb.
The jewels, turquoise, rock crystals,
and I think one of the fun things, on the back,
and that all the little skulls wrapped round his shoulders.
-What a jolly little fellow!
-Wow! What do you expect that to do?
-Has there been a lot of interest? Interest from China?
China, the rest of the world, United States, Canada, Britain.
Conservatively, we put in 12,000-13,000.
-12,000-13,000 alone on this one?
And he is... I think that's a come-and-buy,
I hope it's a come-and-buy.
I can see it doubling, potentially trebling, that figure.
-30,000 for this alone?
Which puts these at around 20 as well.
So, really, really, we could be looking at...
-We could be rocking and rolling!
-We could be rocking and rolling.
The teapot has turned into, what, £80,000 on a good day?
And I expect you've done a lot of marketing as well.
We've done a fair bit, Paul.
It's been in Tibetan newspapers, Boston Times,
Australian newspapers, Indian newspapers, Himalayan newspapers.
-You name it.
-The list goes on.
-It's been there.
You're a good auctioneer. That's what you have to do.
We really want to make Nick as much money as possible.
That's what we're here to do, isn't it?
It just goes to show, with pricing antiques,
it's not just about the item.
History and provenance can be incredibly important
in determining value.
And, as the big moment approached, I had a chat with Nick
to gauge his feelings on all of these exciting developments.
-Nick, it's good to see you again.
-And you, Paul.
Boy, that Tibetan teapot has certainly caused a stir!
Were you aware how significant this collection was?
No, in a word. I remember these things
all the way through my life, really, childhood and so on.
My wife was saying to me, "Perhaps you should sort of sell them."
So, she saw the advert for "Flog It!" at Longleat.
If I hadn't brought along the teapot,
none of these items would have seen the light of day, I don't think.
It's wonderful, documented social history.
It's an expedition that hardly anybody knew about.
At the preview day yesterday,
there were experts from all over the country.
And every museum you could imagine.
I think these are going to go for a lot of money.
Hopefully, it's going to be a day in your life to remember.
With the tension mounting in the saleroom,
Nick's first lot is about to go under the hammer.
I'm getting excited. I hope you are,
because I think the numbers will add up right now.
Please don't go away. We valued the teapot at Longleat,
which led to the rest of the collection being brought along.
Yeah, that's right, because I spotted the teapot,
and then I understood that Nick had other items,
so I advised him strongly to get them looked at and get some proper
advice on them, because they're so specialised, lovely, lovely, things.
And Alan has done a lot of research.
He's contacted people in Nepal, China, all over the world, some
of the greatest institutions are going to be on the phone and online.
So fingers crossed.
First lot, start me
somewhere around about £4,000 for this first group of photographs.
-£4,000? Three, start me, two, get me away.
2,000, I'm in. 2,100, 2,200, 2,300,
2,400. 2,500, 2,600.
They're having to wait for the confirmation on the phone.
3,500 with me.
3,600 anywhere else in the room?
3,650, 3,700. 3,800, back with you.
£3,800. It's taking its time,
because the bidders are making their minds up, bidding on the phone.
I'm going to be good to you. 3,950.
4,050 with you, Brian.
Is there 4,100 anywhere else?
Yes, first lot done, at 4,050.
That's very good!
OK, here's the second group of photos.
1,500 I've got. 17?
2,300, 2,400, at 2,700, is there anybody else?
-Not bad for 36 photographs!
'Not bad at all, Nick, and after the single group shot made £250,
'just on its own, the last batch of pictures didn't disappoint.'
£3,000! That's fantastic.
Well, that adds up to £10,000 for the photographs alone.
This is the first of the figures. Here we go.
1,200, straight in.
-That's good value for money.
You can wake me up in a minute!
Wow, we're making history here. You are a big part of this. Thank you.
Well, all I can say is thanks to you guys, really.
I think we're all bit shocked. And Claire's feeling emotional.
It hasn't finished. It really hasn't finished.
We're going to have some more.
The next Tibetan deity went for £1,600,
and the gilt with epousee panel raised a very healthy £1,800.
But now, what about that very special item
that started this incredible story?
This is our teapot.
This was actually where we came in.
This was the beginning of the journey, yes.
Interesting little thing.
I think, probably, £1,200?
1,200, straight in. At 12, I've got.
Is there 14 anywhere else?
14. 15, 16.
19 is back.
Am I all done at £1,900?
-That was good for a teapot!
That's brilliant, that's amazing. Well above estimate.
Slightly, slightly yes!
And I think we're all very happy about that.
OK. Now, this is the big one.
I know that the auction house has been waiting for this,
Alan, in particular. He really rates this.
The deity, Mahakala.
Let's say somewhere around about 25,000?
-25,000, straight in.
-Ho-ho-ho! Big bucks!
At 25 I've got, 26.
26? 27, 28.
-What's going through your mind right now?
Feels like a dream, really.
Are you totting this up, thinking,
"Gosh, I've got so much money, what am I going to do with it?!"
HE MOUTHS INAUDIBLY
63, 64, 65.
At 65 here.
For the first time.
For the second time.
That is the most expensive item we have ever sold on "Flog It!"
-in 12 years, yes.
You must be so happy!
-Well, it's incredible.
-You must be. Come on, come on. Talk to me.
It is fantastic, yes. Fantastic.
You are taking this very calmly. You should be jumping up and down, now.
Well, my wife will actually do the jumping up and down bit,
but it's actually surreal.
I bet it is.
Because I honestly thought,
we might make a couple of hundred pounds from the teapot, you know?
And yeah, the bits and pieces... A few hundred. If I was lucky.
-It just goes to show you the significance of this collection.
And Nick isn't the only one pleased with this sale.
Fantastic sale, very, very pleased with it.
The Tibetan things went absolutely beautifully.
The photos and the teapot stayed in the United Kingdom.
One lot went to Europe.
The other lot went to Hong Kong where, hopefully,
it will find its way back to Tibet, where it belongs.
200 I've got, 220. 240, 260.
280, 300. At £300, all going!
We've certainly ended on a real high, here. £118,300.
I know you've got commission to pay on that,
but it's still an awful lot of money. That's a "Flog It!" best.
-That's just made my year, it really has. It really has.
What can I say? Sadly, we've run out of time
here in Devizes, but see you next time, and hopefully,
there's going to be many more big surprises. Stay with us.
This edition of Flog It! comes from Longleat in Wiltshire, home to the world-famous safari park and 16th century Longleat House.
In this rather special show, Paul Martin is joined by experts Michael Baggott and Claire Rawle. Whilst picking out a selection of interesting antiques and collectables to be sold at a local auction, Claire spots an unusual Tibetan teapot. This leads to the momentous discovery of other of Tibetan artefacts belonging to the same owner, a collection of controversial historical significance which all ends up going under the hammer.
With worldwide interest in these objects, will the Flog It! record for the highest value item sold at auction be broken when the sale goes on to raise thousands of pounds?
Paul also gets the chance to explore Longleat House, learning more about its controversial creator and wonderful Elizabethan architecture.