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Today, we're in rural Essex,
just outside of Britain's oldest recorded town, Colchester.
It predates the Roman invasion.
But it's its modern-day inhabitants and their antiques
who will be the stars of today's show.
Welcome to "Flog It!"
The county of Essex is home to over 1.5 million people,
and, although largely agricultural,
it forms a major part of the London commuter belt.
Today's programme's taking place in
one of the most impressive buildings in the area, Layer Marney Tower.
And later on in the programme I'll be meeting the family who live here.
But, right now, all of these people, hundreds of them,
who have turned up at our valuation day have items of their own
with histories that need investigating,
and I know just the people to do it - our experts.
'The knowledgeable Elizabeth Talbot.'
It's always the colour, isn't it?
Look at this, matches your eyes, Philip.
'And the ever-charming Philip Serrell.'
It's probably Edwardian.
Bloke brought me a potato once to "Flog It!"
And he said, "Has that got any age?" I said, "No, I don't think so. Why?"
He said, "I thought it was King Edward's."
'So, without further ado, let's put our experts to work.
'And, as everybody takes their seats,
'here's a taste of what's coming up.'
'Philip gets a visit from the police.'
How do you know all this about this?
Well, I was a serving police officer for 32 years.
-HE CLEARS HIS THROAT
It's at this point that I think I should caution you.
'And Elizabeth comes across this mystery object.'
We have an intriguing object here.
'Stay with us to find out what it is.
'The house is known for its fabulous gardens.
'Luckily, we have the perfect weather today
'to make full use of them.'
Construction started on this magnificent building in 1518
and since then it's welcomed many guests, including Henry VIII.
But today sees a first in its long list of achievements -
a "Flog It!" valuation day.
And, judging by the sound of this crowd,
our experts really do have their work cut out.
So let's catch up with them right now.
'First up, that heritage police badge.'
-How are you, Bob?
-I'm very well, Philip, thank you.
-Nice to see you in the flesh.
-There's enough of it, isn't there?
-I didn't say that, you did!
-It's a lovely day, isn't it?
-Have you come far?
-About 22 miles, that's all.
Tell me about the Essex Constabulary.
Where's that come from, then?
Well, years ago, and I mean many years ago,
these badges were put on houses in the community
-where police officers lived.
So that it gave people who lived in the community
an idea where to find a bobby if they wanted one.
So, this, in rural Essex, this would have been up on an ordinary house...
-Yes, that's right.
-..and you knew the local bobby lived in there.
How do you know all this about this?
Well, I was a serving police officer for 32 years.
-HE CLEARS HIS THROAT
When they were taken away from police houses,
when most of the policemen moved into police-owned accommodation,
these were taken down
-as the houses were vacated and they were put in store.
And one day there was a fire, which destroyed the store.
Wouldn't destroy these.
It didn't destroy them, but, of course, it burnt the paint off.
And they were just scrapped.
-So, you got this out of a skip or something?
-So you've actually saved an object, haven't you?
-I have, really, yes.
-And restored it.
-And so the paint is new.
-Yes, it is.
-Were these the original colours?
So you, basically, something with a bit of history,
bit of local history...
Yeah, because it's made at Maldon Ironworks.
-Now tell me... How do we know that?
-Because it says so on the back.
Oh, blimey O'Reilly. There we are, look, Maldon Ironworks.
That's lovely, isn't it?
From looking at this,
I would think this is very much 20th-century, in a way, isn't it?
-Early 20th century.
-Yeah, sort of, 1910, 1920, that sort of era.
But by the '50s, when I joined the service,
they were virtually all gone.
In my eyes, this is going to appeal to two people.
It's going to appeal to someone who collects Essex memorabilia
and it's going to appeal to someone who collects police memorabilia.
I think it's going to make between £80 and £120.
-The auctioneer's friend.
-Yeah, the standard price!
Whilst I think it's going to make £80 to £120,
I would put a reserve on it of £50 and I'd estimate it at 60 to 90.
-And I'll be quite philosophical and I'd say,
"Well, OK, fine. I've enjoyed it, I've owned it",
and it's a great story with you
and if it makes 50 quid, OK, it would be nice to get a bit more,
-but it's... We can move on.
-That's what I would do.
But what would you be happy with?
-Well, I'll be guided by you.
-So if we put 50...
£50 fixed reserve. 60 to 90 estimate.
As I say, I hope it should make 80 to 120, but I love it.
'Well, I'm glad to see the police have finally caught up with Philip.'
Phil The Fence!
Elizabeth has found a splash of colour in the rose garden.
David and June, you've brought some colourful
and actually very recognisable glass to us today.
What can you tell me about your pieces?
Well, these pieces come from my late cousin's house. He died in April.
We brought them home.
So, we really can't tell you too much about the history -
where were they were bought, or who bought them?
But did you bring them back from the home because you particularly
liked them yourselves or it was part of your inheritance from his estate?
Yes, we did talk about, the family, about who would like the vases.
This large one, the banjo one, really needs somewhere to display it.
It's a big piece, isn't it?
No-one of the family or beneficiaries really found anywhere to put it.
I mean, when it was in Stephen's house,
he had a window on the landing with a deep shelf.
And the sun shone through that and it's just an ideal place to put it.
But we can't, so we decided that perhaps we'll sell it.
-Can't do it justice in the same way.
Fair enough. Well, just to tell you a little bit about it -
Whitefriars is a name familiar to many people.
We see it on "Flog It!" fairly often.
They were designed by Geoffrey Baxter, as you say,
and he launched his what's called the Textured Range in 1967.
And he was experimental.
He used to have a go with different things to make the moulds,
from which he then took the glass formations.
Things like bark and metal and wire and such.
So it's quite a clever combination of concept and artistic eye, really.
The larger of the vases on the table is known as the banjo vase.
This one was made in different sizes,
to my knowledge this is the largest
and one of the rarest sizes on the market.
The other kingfisher-blue piece is a volcano vase.
And the little sunburst one is in a colour called tangerine.
So, obviously, as you appreciate, condition is everything and
I must point out a couple of things which you are probably well aware of
and that is that the banjo vase does have an internal crack.
The vase is made of very thick moulded glass
and, inside one of the elements, there is a crack that is visible.
In terms of the sunburst vase, there is a little dent,
it looks like it's had an impact or fallen over or something
and just grazed the front of it.
It is important to point that out,
because, for a collector, they will rate it from the condition it's in.
So I would advise that be sensible with all of the facts
that we've talked about, that the auction should be approached with
an estimate of £200 to £300 for the three pieces together.
That we place a reserve of £200 on them, leave that as a firm reserve,
so you know where you stand in terms of the safety-net element.
If the market has changed, significantly,
in the direction between now and the auction,
then hopefully that will be borne out on the day.
-We'll watch with interest.
-Thank you very much indeed.
'Perhaps not for the collectors,
'but what a bargain for the design enthusiasts.'
Layer Marney Tower isn't just an important, historic building,
it's also a family home.
And two of the current members of the family are right here,
right now. Nick, good to see you, and his daughter, Alice. Hi.
-Now, Nick, you grew up here and your parents bought this house.
That must have been quite incredible at such a young age.
Well, I was actually born here in the bedroom that we live in,
sleep in, whatever now.
So it's all I've ever known and I think that probably takes away
-some of the glamour, because you just get used to it.
What made your parents buy this building?
-Were they after an historic building to do up?
-No, they weren't.
They were married in the church next door in 1957.
And my father was out in South Yemen, what used to be called Aden,
posted out of there with the Army.
And my mother wrote to him and said, "Layer Marney's come up for sale."
-"We've got to buy it."
-No, she didn't. She just said, "It's come up for sale,"
just because by the by and, "your daughter Victoria's well,"
and this and that. And he wrote back and said, "Buy it."
She bought it...against everybody's advice.
Well, Alice, I notice you're wearing a "Flog It!" T-shirt.
-You're helping out with us today.
-What was it like growing up here for you?
-It was fantastic.
-It's the perfect, perfect place to grow up.
-Play hide and seek.
Play hide and seek! Hide and seek, sardines.
The second floor, you have to limit it by floor,
because otherwise you'll just never find people.
And the second floor is easily the best floor to sort of play in.
What about all your school friends? Did they all want to come and have sleepovers?
-And explore and get lost...
-Really great parties!
-Poor, old dad.
Thank you for taking time for talking.
-Cos I know we've got work to do!
Shall we get on with it? Come on.
'Over to Phil, who is taking us from wild parties
'to afternoon tea parties.'
Kay, where's this been?
-Wrapped up in the bottom of a wardrobe.
Well, I don't think I want to be polishing it
and also I haven't got anywhere really to display it.
I can see you don't want to be polishing it!
-Look at this! It's blooming green, look!
-It is, isn't it?
"To Dad and Mother on their silver wedding, 21st of November, 1923."
Whose Dad and Mother?
My father's. My grandparents.
-So this is your grandparents' tea set?
And you want to flog it?
-Why is that?
-Well, it's just lying there, gathering dust.
And, you know, I've got five bright grandchildren, so...
So they're all going to have a share of a tea set?
Well, yes, that's right. There's only three pieces there.
I think it's interesting the way that times have changed, you know.
Because this, in my eyes, this has gone through a variety
of different sort of lives in its 80 or 100 years.
-This is Indian. We've got this chap here with a gun.
I would think he's either lion or tiger shooting or elephant shooting.
Yeah, afraid so.
-I mean, all that.. And that was all glorified, wasn't it?
-Very much so.
-It was a sport.
-It was a sport. And it's horrid, really, to think about.
-But, nonetheless, it's there.
And we can't change history.
Then, these things come out,
because the price of silver has rocketed. Absolutely rocketed.
So I believe.
-And this is worth more now than it was perhaps five years ago.
-A lot more. More than double.
And that's simply because of the price of scrap silver.
I'm not suggesting that these would necessarily be scrapped,
-but it's the base price.
I don't like the chap shooting the animals, but I quite like...
-It almost reminds me of a Noah's Ark...
..or, you know, Dr Dolittle and the animals.
It's lovely, cos you've got the elephants, you've got tigers,
we've got a lion appearing somewhere, haven't we?
-Not sure what he's doing there.
-No, I know.
It's made round about, I would say, somewhere between 1915 and 1925.
-Something like that.
Well, in fact, that's a silly thing to say,
-cos it's got 1920 on it...
-Yes, that's when it was presented.
So, it's probably made in the ten years before that.
So, your family, were they out in India?
My grandfather went out with the military
before the First World War. Met my grandmother out there,
returned with her to England, then fought in the First World War.
-Survived, he was in the Royal Horse Artillery...
..went back out again with the family.
-So, this would have been a present out there.
-That really adds to its history, doesn't it?
-Yes, it does.
-It's not going to be worth a huge sum of money.
-I think an auction estimate on that needs to be about £200-£300.
-And I think you should put a reserve on it of about 180.
Just chip it under the bottom estimate
and I think that'll do all right.
-And do you know? Despite what it is, I quite like it.
-It's fun, I love the animals.
-I'm beginning to like it bit more.
No, we've got to sell it now, though!
I think it does have a certain charm.
There you are, you've just seen them.
Our experts have made a cracking start.
We found our first items to go under the hammer.
This is where we up the tempo,
we're now going to put those valuations to the test.
Here's a quick recap of what we're taking off to auction.
Bob the bobby saved this plaque from the skip
and I think it might generate a good deal of local interest.
The Whitefriars Glass vases might not be in tip-top condition,
but they still look spectacular.
Kay's Indian tea set is really attractive.
Someone is bound to fall in love with it at the auction.
For today's sale, we've travelled south to the town of Rayleigh
and the auction house.
The man in charge today is Mark Stacey, who is sharing the rostrum
with his brother, Paul.
The room is full of potential bidders
and our first lot is from the boys in blue.
This is the Essex Constabulary and it is, really,
because I've just been joined by Bob, who was a policeman.
-Indeed I was, for 32 years.
-And I bet you thoroughly enjoyed that. Yeah?
-And do you have lots of police memorabilia?
Especially your own. It's something you've accumulated over the years.
Well, you brought in a rather lovely plaque for Philip to value.
-Totally agree with the valuation, as well.
We've seen this kind of thing on the show before, haven't we?
Well, it should...
It's a big area of collecting and it should do quite well.
I'm hopeful. It's a little bit fresh, but fingers crossed.
Let's find out what the bidders think. Here we go. This is it.
Coming now to lot 580.
The large, cast-iron sign for the Essex Constabulary. There we are.
-Interest I have, straight in, commission bid's at £55.
55 is bid. 60 now. At £60 with me. Any advances at 60?
65, 70, 75 and 80.
-85 on the telephone, the bid's on the telephone.
-Local interest, this is what it's all about.
-Are we all done now?
Last opportunity, the hammer's up and selling.
On the telephone at £85.
Yes, that's what it's all about.
We can recycle anything you find and well done, Bob.
-And I think... It's because of the history behind it, really.
Remember that fabulous silver tea set? Well, it's up next.
Kay, any regrets about putting the family silver under the hammer?
-Just a few, but I've put them aside.
But it's something you don't really use now, isn't it?
Definitely not, I'm afraid.
It used to be on display, but I haven't got room, really.
-I think the thing with this is I just love the subject.
-I think that's what going to sell it, really.
-It's rather unusual.
And this isn't going for scrap, it's definitely not going to scrap.
-Someone's going to enjoy this.
-I'd be bothered if it is.
No, you'll be absolutely fine.
-Someone's going to enjoy it.
-I hope so.
Fingers crossed we get that top end of the estimate.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
Lot 95, we have a three-piece, Indian, white metal tea set,
nice tea set. Two commission bids, I have.
-Oh, look at that.
-£170, bid's at 170.
170 is bid. 180 anywhere?
Are we all done at £170?
It's a fair warning. 180, thank you, sir.
190 against you, 200, 210,
210 is my bid still. At 210.
The commission's against you. You finished? One more?
At £210, my bid, last chance then, please, at £210.
Hammer's going down.
-Yeah, that's good. I'm pleased with that.
-So am I.
-That's pleased, hasn't it?
There's a slight tear, isn't there?
Don't worry about it. As you've said, you've got plenty of things
-Lots of lovely memories.
-Thank you for bringing that in, Kay.
-Not at all.
-Lovely to meet you, as well.
-Thank you very much.
It's always sad to say goodbye, but I'm sure it's going to a good home.
Going under the hammer right now,
we've got some British 20th-century modern
and when I mention the word "Whitefriars", you automatically
think of Geoffrey Baxter, the iconic 1960s and '70s designer.
I've just been joined by our two owners here,
where we have three wonderful examples
of Baxter's designs, don't we?
-Which is your favourite?
-I think the banjo.
The big banjo vase and the little starburst and there's a volcano.
I think we've got the lot here. And this is what Baxter's so familiar
with when you look at his work - all the sort of twigs and leaves
and everything that's put into the mould.
It says it all, really. It's heavy, moulded glass.
He was very clever.
But I like the fact the three together, actually,
sort of, show the benefits of all of them.
If you get one on its own, it's dramatic,
-but three together...
-The kingfisher blue, some tangerines. Not a lot of money here.
200 to 300, I'd like to see double that for this.
Well, I'd like to, but there's a little bit of damage
on a couple, which will...
You know, collectors are very particular.
So, I think that's why we've kept it reasonable.
-Hopefully, it still...
-Good luck, let's find out what it's worth.
They're going under the hammer right now. This is it.
Lot 775, we come to the large Whitefriars banjo glass vase
and two other Whitefriars vases there. Lot 775.
Commission bid, must start the bidding to clear the book at £300.
-Straight in at the top end.
-310 anywhere? 310.
320, 330, 340,
390, 400. Be there in a minute.
410, 420, 430,
440, 450, I'm out.
Far back at £450.
460's on the internet.
470, if you'd like, sir?
480, against you.
At 490, back of the room at £490.
500 coming on the phone.
500, telephone bid. Are you out, sir?
You're finished. £500, telephone bid. Any advances?
Last chance then, please, I'm selling at £500.
Hammer's going down.
Satisfying result. I thought it was worth double that. Good result.
Very pleased with that.
-You're going to be happy with that.
-There is commission to pay.
Here, it's 20%, that includes all the VAT, all the other hidden costs.
So, enjoy that money.
Well, I'm pleased with that - what a fantastic result.
Well, that's our first visit to the auction room done and dusted.
We will be coming back here later on in the programme.
As you know, today's valuation day
is taking place at Layer Marney Tower.
But I've been to another stately home just a few miles down the road,
to investigate its own fascinating history.
This is Hylands House just outside Chelmsford.
And it's a great example of how buildings like this
don't have to become relics or museums.
This place has stayed relevant for each generation
ever since it was built.
English judge Sir John Comyns
built the house as a family home in 1730.
The original design was a red-brick building,
which was very much the style of the time.
Now, the majority of grand mansion houses like this one have remained
in the same family for generations, spanning 300 or 400 years.
They've become a symbol of power and family permanence. Not this one.
It was only in the Comyns family for three generations
and then it was bought and sold on the open market,
like any other modern house today.
You can see it bears no resemblance to the original build
and there's a good reason for this.
In 1797, the new owner, a Danish merchant,
engaged the services of Humphry Repton,
a pupil of Capability Brown,
to redesign the building and the grounds,
and what stands today is very much Repton's work.
White walls and classical columns were now in vogue
and it's a style that the settlers took with them to America.
Now, does it remind you of anywhere?
MUSIC: The American National Anthem
Yes, that's right - the White House.
You're not the only person to think so,
because a number of film and TV directors have used Hylands
to replicate the presidential home.
But the real story of the building lies inside,
so let's go and take a look around.
Through the years, various owners have called Hylands home,
and they've enjoyed its grandeur.
It has also played an important part
in the lives of many ordinary people,
who stayed here in much less pleasant circumstances.
Now, this room was originally the library.
Today, it's used as the boardroom, where meetings take place.
But between the years of 1914 and 1918, it was known as Ward B.
Like many other great stately homes, they were taken over and adapted
to be used as military hospitals, to take care of wounded soldiers
during the First World War.
And it's believed that 1,500 servicemen were treated here.
After World War I, the house returned to being a private home.
But just a few years later,
Hylands would once again play a vital role on behalf of the country.
I've arranged to meet Kerry Lowen, estate manager of the house,
to talk about this period of its history.
Kerry, why was Hylands so important during the Second World War?
It was chosen by the SAS to be its headquarters -
the newly-founded SAS - in 1944.
And from here, they planned all their exploits overseas.
So, why did they choose this place?
It was already marked down by the MOD for the Navy
and not being that close to the sea...
-No, we're quite landlocked, aren't we?
-We are, very.
And the SAS were looking for a headquarters.
We believe that Lieutenant-Colonel Paddy Blair Mayne knew the owner,
-the last owner, Christine Hanbury...
-..so, they came here.
-There was the correlation.
-Yes, I believe so.
-And the house was the right size...
-And the infrastructure, the road system...
-Plenty of space.
-It was perfect.
-There was a lot of land,
they could actually parachute down to it, couldn't they?
Yeah! I guess they could. Fortunately, they didn't.
They did a lot of other things, but not quite that.
And I'd imagine there some wonderful stories.
I know there's a story you wanted to tell me about this staircase.
Yes, about the jeep.
There were two American officers who were visiting,
and Paddy, he had a bet with them
that he could get their jeep up this grand staircase.
-It's quite narrow, isn't it, when you look at it?
And I must admit, when I heard the story, I didn't believe it myself.
But actually I've seen a Willys Jeep,
and actually, you could get it up there.
-And he managed...
-Only to that first landing, though...
Yes, he managed to drive it through the entrance hall
and up to this first landing.
-Got it stuck, to great cheers of hilarity.
Undeterred, he marched over to the stables,
which is where the other guys were sleeping,
because the house was only used for officers and sergeants,
marched them back over here, eight of them,
and got them to carry it from there up to the grand staircase landing.
-I bet they were laughing their heads off all the way.
-They were. And woke Mrs Hanbury up in the process...
-She caught them?
..and she caught them, scolded them severely and sent them to bed.
-That is a great story.
Well, you mentioned Mrs Hanbury, the owner of the house.
How did she get on with the SAS, the troops that were stationed here?
I think she kept a very close eye on them, and the house itself,
but actually, I think they got really well,
because we know that she got invited on more than...
a couple of times a week to join the officers in the officers' mess,
-which was actually the library.
Having lost her own son,
I think she did keep a, sort of, mothering, watchful eye over them,
and when they left, and waiting for them all to come back.
When Christine Hanbury died in the 1960s,
Chelmsford Council took over the property.
They opened the grounds to the public almost immediately
and, in the 1980s, started restoration work on the house.
Eventually, the fabric of the building was repaired and restored
and, soon afterwards, work began on bringing the interior back to life.
Now, you have to remember that this was a house that was bought and sold
so many times it didn't have the wealth of content
that other great historic houses have.
So, the curators here have worked extremely hard to find objects
that may have once belonged here -
like this beautifully-figured walnut longcase clock.
It was made by Edward Hudson of Chelmsford, a local maker,
circa 1745. It has two dials.
The outer dial, which is in brass, the chaptering has Roman numerals.
The subsidiary dial has been silvered, that's the second hand.
The beautiful thing about this second hand
is, every time it moves, a little figure up there
swings backwards and forwards.
It's the image of the Grim Reaper,
reminding us that time is passing by.
I think that's quite wonderful.
a glorious piece of history that has stood the test of time.
Welcome back to our valuation day here at Layer Marney Tower,
just outside of Colchester.
It's now time to join up with our experts
to see what else we can take off to auction.
So, it's over to Elizabeth Talbot.
It's not unusual to have collections of cigarette cards
brought to Flog It!, but every collection is unique and individual.
So, Maurice, tell me about yours.
Well, this was collected by my father and my grandfather,
-between the wars, mainly.
-And I've inherited them.
And they've just been in the wardrobe for the last 20 or 30 years,
and nobody really looks at them,
so I decided to sort them out and file them up like this.
So, this is just one book of obviously a much larger collection.
-How many would you...?
-I reckon there's 1,000 in the collection.
-There's two catalogues like this and a lot of loose ones.
-There's a lot of cards.
-There are a lot of cards, yes.
And some albums, as well, with them stuck in, as well.
It's fascinating, because there are quite an array
of different cigarette manufacturers represented in the collection.
For some smokers, they had one brand that they favoured
and they stuck to that,
and that's all that you would find in a collection of cards,
but this one has everything from the Lambert & Butler,
right through to Gallahers and all the others.
Some rarer, some more common factories,
and some of them are not marked at all,
so it's quite a cross section.
Some of them date from the 19th century -
so, from, actually, Victorian times...
Victorian times, that's right.
People don't always recognise that they date from that early.
But right through until the '20s and '30s.
-Have you got any favourites amongst the...?
Those, those early ones.
-These football ones, Gallaher ones.
-Oh, the football ones?
I really like those ones.
-And these rare Crowfoot Cigarettes and those ones there.
-With the animals on?
-Yeah, lovely animals, they are.
So, you've done all the hard work,
you've laid them out, so people can see nicely what there is,
-and now it's time to sell them.
-Now it's time to sell them, yeah.
Cigarette cards, they're not infrequently seen at auction,
but each collection can attract bidders for different reasons,
and all it takes is for one collector to be desperately
chasing a card that they haven't got in their collection
and another person to be chasing the collection for a different reason,
because they want this set, that set -
and you've got that competition,
which can make it do magical things on the day.
So, it's quite difficult to be accurate.
I would recommend an estimate of £100-150 for the collection...
Yeah, I'm happy with that.
..and that that we put a £100 reserve on it,
we put it firm and fixed, so if it doesn't make £100, which,
gosh, it should do - but if it doesn't, I would put them
back in the wardrobe and keep them for the future,
because, you know, it's an insult not to sell them for at least £100.
-OK, I'm happy with that.
-That all right?
And then we'll just sit back and see what happens.
Well, that's one to watch at the auction.
And now over to our resident fashion guru,
Mr Philip Serrell.
-Peter, how are you doing?
-I'm doing fine, thanks.
-It's a warm day, isn't it?
You've got very appropriate clothing on.
My daughter'll be killing me now, cos she told me not to wear it!
Yeah, well, there are shirts, and that is a shirt.
Did you ever have a part in Hawaii Five-O?
This is my "No, Dad" shirt.
"No, Dad, don't wear it."
-So, you brought these along.
-I think they're lovely.
This is salt-glazed,
and it's very much in the shape of a 17th-century German bellarmine,
but probably English. Stoneware.
-And this is a lovely cobalt blue.
And this, sort of, shrinkage on here is, when it's fired,
the glaze just shrinks and you get almost, like, this mottled effect.
And I think they're absolutely lovely,
but condition is just everything with these.
-And the condition just ain't good, is it?
-Why's that, then?
Well, because it was in the bottom of a swimming pool,
-laying like that, and a digger caught it.
About 20 foot down in the ground.
Did you see these the minute the digger caught them, or...?
That one I did, yeah.
It glanced off the top and just caught it,
and then, obviously, we got down into the bottom and started...
-Having a good dig around.
-By hand, and then...
-Did you find any more?
-No. They were the only two in there.
We dug the rest of the pool, and that was the only two there.
-And when was this?
-25 years ago, easily.
There was supposed to have been a brewery there.
-Whether there was or not...
-That's a lovely story.
-Yeah, it's great.
-Let's leave it at that.
Let's not look into this too deeply, let's just leave it at that.
I think they're cool things, actually.
What I really like about that is you've got a loop handle there,
-so someone has got a strap of clay...
..they've put it on there
-and they've just pushed that down like that...
-..And then it's gone down there, and then it's just...
It's just thumbed. And it's salt glazed,
because the salt gets chucked in to the kiln at a certain temperature,
and it gives it that, sort of, mottled, brown finish,
and I just think they're lovely.
-They're just a bit of fun.
-OK? They are just a bit of fun.
I mean, do you just want to see the back of them or...?
Yeah, I mean, they've been hanging about for yonks
and my wife's now fed up with polishing them and cleaning them
-Wives have a habit of doing that, don't they?
-Yeah, they do.
-I'm under instructions.
-It's a tough life, innit?
-It is a tough life.
I think that I would put probably a 30-50 estimate on them.
Oh! As much as that?
And I'd reserve them at 20 quid and keep everything I've got crossed -
everything I've got crossed.
And she was hoping to retire!
Yeah, well, she can...
but not on the strength of these.
And I think you should wear that shirt to the auction,
because that will provide a suitable distraction to the bidders,
and they're not going to see that damage.
-I'm sure I can find a better one!
Oh, all right. OK.
I love it when people find things like that.
Can anybody tell me what this is?
I'm sure Elizabeth can.
Sue, I'm intrigued by what you've brought in today.
-To a certain extent it's self-explanatory on the top.
It says here...
And then, when we open this charming little box,
which is a work of art in itself, we have...
..an intriguing object here...
..and a little bit more information on the lid.
It's the model of...
-So, in a way, it's all there for us.
-But I have to say, I know nothing about disc dischargers. Do you?
-Nothing, at all.
-How have you come to have it today?
It was my father's, and I inherited it form him.
Right, So, did he work for Marconi?
-No, he worked for Bryant and May's matches.
-And the only thing I can think of is, cos it looks like a lighter...
..somebody gave it to him, because it was something to do with...
-Smoking ephemera and everything.
-Yes, that's right.
-Well, OK, it is indeed a little cigarette lighter.
-A little novelty cigarette lighter.
Marconi - the firm Marconi, which was a very important
-engineering and telegraphic communications company...
..established its roots in Britain in 1897, and G Marconi,
who established the firm,
opened up a brand-new factory in Chelmsford, in Hall Street, in 1898.
In 1912, what happened was they had a very major conference in London
and they had a very grand dinner at the Savoy Hotel.
-There were about 400 guests, I gather.
200 or so of those, which were the gentlemen,
received, in honour of that occasion, a table lighter.
-In this presentation box.
-The ladies received a perfume bottle.
I don't know what the perfume bottles looked like,
but I'm sure they were very nice.
For anyone who collects cigarette lighters,
-this is an amazing piece to add to a collection.
It's on this lovely little marble base,
and then the integral parts of it are all hallmarked silver.
-No expense spared.
And some beautifully-turned early Bakelite pieces,
just to add the handles and the little fitments.
Now, I have actually seen these sell for anything between £200...
..to as much as £500.
Oh! How fantastic!
What isn't clear is quite why, on one day, someone's only prepared
to pay 200 and, on another day, there's a competition to make £500.
But that is kind of the ballpark area we'd be looking at.
So, I think we should enter it for auction
somewhere between £200-400 - nice, wide girth on that one.
-With a reserve of £200.
OK, we'll put £200 firm on it,
-and put it out there and see what reaction we get.
Any ideas what you might invest or spend the money on?
Yes, I think I'll go out, take my friends out for a really nice meal.
Good slap-up meal. Oh, well, good for you.
-Well, they had a lovely meal when this was presented...
..so when you sell it you can have a lovely meal.
Nice full circle, happy end to the story.
-Fingers crossed, we'll achieve that for you, then.
An interesting item there from a famous local name.
Well, what a fabulous day we have had here at Layer Marney Tower
and we found some items worthy of such a historic setting.
It's certainly done us proud.
But right now, it's time to say goodbye
to this magnificent location,
as we head over to auction for the very last time today.
And fingers crossed for one or two surprises.
And here's a quick recap of what we're taking with us.
There's always collectors for cigarette cards,
so Maurice's collection will do well.
I liked Peter's stoneware jugs,
and the story of how he found them was first class.
Elizabeth has unravelled the mystery of the Marconi lighter for us,
and valued it between £200-400.
We're heading back to Rayleigh in Essex,
where our sale is taking place.
Let's find out what auctioneer Mark Stacey makes of Sue's lighter.
There should be local interest with this little lot,
our little Marconi lighter, belonging to Sue.
This was her father's, and I don't really think they've used it.
I really don't It doesn't look like it, does it?
-No, not really.
-Cos it's still in its presentation box,
and it looks immaculate.
How many of these do you think are knocking around?
We'll, we've sold two over the last five years.
-So, not that many.
-So, not that many.
Obviously, being local, as well,
but we do know that only 200 were ever given out.
-We've got £200-400 on this.
-Do you think you'll get double that?
Not double, no.
I think the box is a little bit tired, the actual article itself -
-it's not in pristine condition.
So, down the middle. £300.
-That's not a lot of money, is it?
Not really, for what it is,
but I think that's the way the market will be,
and hopefully, we'll maybe get a little bit more.
Well, I'm hoping for a lot more than £300.
-Well, me too, but I think that's what we'd make.
Well, we'll find out who's right later,
but first we have a bit of nostalgia up for grabs.
I've just been joined by our next owner, Maurice,
and our expert Elizabeth.
Going under the hammer right now
we've got a collection of cigarette cards.
All of these are loose, thank goodness,
they're all in the sleeves.
-And that's why we're looking at around £100-150.
-Yes. And there's lots of them.
-Lots of them.
Right, let's find out what the bidders think.
Here we go.
Moving on, lot 590,
large collection of cigarette cards including Wills, Players.
Two albums, and there's two boxes there, as well.
I have two commission bids and I must start the bidding at £80.
Bids at £80, 95 anywhere?
At £80, bid. 85, thank you, sir.
90's on the internet.
Against you, 95. At £95, now.
It's in the room at 95.
Come on, come on.
100 on the internet against you, sir.
110 is bid. 110 now.
In the room against you on the internet. One more?
Are you all finished, then, at £110?
It's in the room, and I shall sell at £110.
Hammer's going down.
-They've gone. Gone within estimate.
-Yes, I'm happy with that.
If they'd been stuck down - £20.
He says. They sell them much lower than that.
-Yes, definitely. So, well done.
-Thanks a lot.
-Thank you for bringing them in.
-Yeah, thanks for that.
Another happy customer.
Do you remember Peter and his fantastic Hawaiian shirt?
Well, here he is again.
A wonderful little lot going under the hammer right now -
two 19th-Century stoneware flagons, belonging to Peter
-and his wife Tiggy, who we didn't meet at the valuation day.
Thank you for turning up today.
-I feel we will get that top bid.
-I hope so, they're lovely things.
-I like the salt glaze one.
-Lovely texture to the body.
Right, let's find out what the bidders think.
They're going under the hammer right now. This is it.
Lot 745, we come now to small stoneware flagons, as catalogued.
Where we going to be with this lot? 10 to start us, 10.
A cheap lot for £10. 10 bid, thank you, sir.
Are we all done at 10?
12, 14, 16.
And 16, and 18, now.
£18. Are we all done? Fair warning, I'm selling at 18.
Hammer's going down.
-Well, he sold. He sold at 18.
-I can retire on that.
-But I tell you what, though,
you've had the pleasure of finding them, cleaning them
and owning them, and I think that's where the value is, really.
-You saved them, that's the thing.
-Yeah. They're back in circulation.
Back in circulation - nice thought.
Going under the hammer right now, my favourite lot in the entire sale.
It's that Marconi disc discharger lighter.
A little novelty thing, it is fantastic. Made in 1912.
Sue, I don't know why you're selling it. I think you should keep this.
I know it's too late now, but you've obviously had your fun with it.
-Yes. Yes, yes.
-Lots of memories, as well?
I just wish I knew exactly what it was and what it did.
How it was used, yes. It's a bit of a mystery, isn't it?
Shall we find out what they think?
Yes, come on, then. It's over to Mark Stacey. Here we go.
Lot 111, we come now to the silver Marconi disc discharger,
as catalogued. There we are. Unusual little lot, there.
Two commission bids I have,
I must start the bidding, to clear the book, at £240.
-The bid's at 240.
260, 270, 280.
310, I am out. At £310. Bid's on my left at 310.
320 on the internet.
Against you. 330, the internet's running.
Two bidders on the internet.
340, now. At £340.
-Coming back in, sir? One more?
350. 360 against you.
-Sue, this is fabulous.
At 370. 380.
390. 390, in the room at 390.
400 on the internet. At 400. You finished, sir?
At £400. Another internet bidder. 410. Moving up.
Oh, this is turning out to be valuable, isn't it?!
430 bid. At £430. All on the internet, at 430.
One more internet bidder, 440.
-This is the power of the internet, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
And something that can be posted in bubble wrap.
At £460, now. 470.
Have we all finished on the internet, now? Fair warning. 480.
One more, round it up.
500, thank you.
550 is bid.
Have you finished?
At £550. Last chance, then, please, internet bidders.
Selling, then, at £550.
Are we all done?
That's why I love auctions. Well done, Sue. Well done, Elizabeth.
-£550 - a lot more than we all thought.
Wow. Wow. It's the Marconi interest, isn't it? I mean, it really is.
And, of course, there was the local connection,
-but that went on the internet.
-Yeah, two bidders in the internet, yeah.
-I can't believe it.
I know there's commission to pay, here, It's 20%,
that's inclusive of VAT,
-but it's still a lot of money, isn't it?
-It really is.
-Have we made you day?
-You have, indeed.
-Ahh. And I hope we've made your day, as well!
Please join us again for many more Flog Its to come,
and, hopefully, many more surprises.
But, from Essex, it's goodbye from all of us.