Antiques series. This episode comes from the historic Blackpool Tower Circus. Paul Martin is joined by experts Anita Manning and David Fletcher.
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Today we're by the seaside in a sun-lit Blackpool,
where I'll be looking out for antiques and local arts and crafts.
From the small... to the not so small.
And later on in the programme, I'll be having a go at painting one.
Now, can you guess which one? Well, here's a quick clue.
It won't be that one. Welcome to "Flog It!"
Blackpool Tower is probably the best known of all the town's attractions.
Rising 518ft and 9 inches into the air.
And it's a true product of the county, having been designed
and built by people from all over Lancashire.
Our valuation day takes place in the base of the structure,
in the Tower Circus.
Hundred of people have turned up,
laden with unwanted antiques and collectibles.
And they cannot wait to get through the door to see our experts.
And hopefully, one or two of their items will get spotted and go
through to auction later on, if they're happy with their valuation.
And if you are happy, what are you going to do?
ALL: Flog it!
And looking out for a masterpiece or two are today's experts.
We've got Anita Manning. And David Fletcher.
-How are you?
-Great. What a great queue.
-Amazing, isn't it?
-Have you found any goodies?
I've seen all sorts of things. How about you?
I've found some lovely things,
-but I'm not telling you about them just now.
With a busy day ahead, it's time to stop clowning around
and get everyone inside and unpacked for today's valuations.
Later on in the show we'll find out which of these more that
doubles its estimate at auction.
This silver tea service...
Or this unassuming tray.
All will be revealed later on in the programme.
But first, let's go straight to the Circus Ring where Anita is
dolled up for her first item.
-Ladies, welcome to "Flog It!" You're mum and daughter.
-Whose dolls are these?
-Where did you get them from?
-From an antiques fair about 30 years ago.
-Do you collect dolls, Jean?
-How many do you have?
-Near enough 50, 60.
Gail, what do you think about your mum collecting all these dolls?
-She's mad! Is she a mad collector?
What sort of period do your dolls come from?
From when they were babies. And they're going up to 50 now. So...
-Right, so, did your mum take your dolls from you?
-Yes, she did.
-They'd rather play out.
Well, it's nice to think that you have kept dolls.
These ones are baby dolls, and they're probably from the 1940s.
Early '50s. I remember having this type of doll myself.
What I like about them is that we've got a little bit of music.
-Music, yes. I went for that.
-And we get a little tune.
DOLL PLAYS TUNE
What is the tune?
I don't know what the one is. I can't get it. One plays Rock-A-Bye Baby.
These are obviously lullabies to send our babies to sleep.
On this little doll here, she's fallen down like Humpty Dumpty
and broken her crown. She has been repaired at some point.
This one we have some condition issues. Her face is a bit crackly.
And she's lost her thumb.
But this little girl here has a little teddy bear,
and he's quite sweet. Where did you get him?
It was my daughter's.
She worked in a care home, and one of the ladies gave it to her.
It's quite an interesting little creature.
It's from Germany, where the best teddy bears were made.
-And this little one was pre-war.
So there's a good bit of age.
And the little teddy bear comes in the shape of a wee purse.
And that's quite sweet.
There's no factory name there, but we do know that he is German.
And he's quite an interesting wee creature.
Coming to auction, I would put these as a group.
Because we have condition issues with the baby dolls.
And the little teddy bear is probably
the item which is going to sell this group.
Did you pay a lot of money for these at the time?
No, not really.
-£20 I think. Something like that.
What I'd like to do is to put quite a modest estimate on this
-I would like to put an estimate of 80-120.
-Is that fine with you?
Um, yeah. Maybe a little more than that, if I can.
Would you like me to go 100-150?
-You would prefer that? OK. 100-150. The reserve, £100.
-With auctioneer's discretion.
-We might get a surprise, especially with that wee guy in tow.
Right now we're heading outside to see David Fletcher,
who is enjoying the sunshine on the seafront.
-Norman and Marie, hello and welcome.
This is an iconic piece of design by an iconic designer.
And it's very fitting we should be in front of the Blackpool Tower,
which is another piece of iconic design.
It always surprises me a bit that people like your good selves
bring items like this along to sell
when they are in such good condition, they are lovely to
look at, and who knows, they might have a bit of investment potential.
Why have you brought it along?
Well, we have got a small collection of Clarice Cliff pieces.
But the colours are yellows, oranges, reds, the pieces we have got.
-And this does not really fit in with those.
-That's very interesting.
You've obviously got a good eye.
So this sort of comes outside your core collection then?
Let's hope you will be selling this and perhaps buying something
-that more closely fits the rest of your collection.
-Are you a lover of Clarice Cliff?
-Yes. I really like Clarice Cliff.
I think there is a lot of delicate and intricate designs of hers.
It's good really, isn't it, cos if you didn't like the stuff
and your wife had filled the house with it...
-..it would be a recipe for an argument.
If only I could fill the house with it.
It dates from the 1930s. It's so typically 1930s.
In fact, my eye was caught earlier on today by this
building in front of the Blackpool Tower behind us,
which I understand, Norman, you were saying was a Woolworth's building.
I'm sure it was. We used to come here with my parents.
We stayed in a caravan in Cleveleys. And we used to come into Blackpool.
-I'm sure it was a Woolworth's building years ago.
That is the architectural equivalent of this.
I would describe that building is being Art Deco.
Strictly speaking we should call it modernist. This is Art Deco.
And the two belong together.
Just like the building behind us, this is very pared down,
simplistic, predominance of geometric shapes, of course,
which characterises Clarice Cliff's work.
Bright colours and boldly potted. It will be marked.
And indeed, it says as we'd expect - "Bizarre by Clarice Cliff."
You don't happen to know the name of this design, do you?
-I haven't been able to find it.
I hope that the auctioneers will do a bit of homework
and they should be able to find this design for us.
So, as I said, made in 1930-ish by Clarice Cliff.
An iconic piece, really. And you are selling it.
Do you have particularly high expectations for it?
-I don't think so, no.
-OK, I'm going to suggest an estimate of £60-£100.
-Is that OK?
I'm not overly surprised because it was a piece that was given
to me by someone I didn't know very well, just because I collected it.
-OK, so it doesn't stand you in at anything, as they say?
-Good. In that sense, it's not sensitive.
-I suggest a reserve at the bottom estimate, ie £60.
-OK. I'll see you at the sale.
-OK, thank you.
-I look forward to that.
I'm here, standing on what is known as The Silver Landing.
And you're probably thinking, why is it called that?
Well, if I step aside all be revealed.
Take a look at that, the most beautiful scale
model of Blackpool Tower.
Presented to its founder, Sir John Bickerstaffe, in 1898,
from some very grateful shareholders,
in recognition of him turning the tower into a profitable
company within four years of opening.
It is made of sterling silver. It's hallmarked.
It's 4ft 6 inches high and it weighs 700 ounces in silver.
And it's a replica model of how the tower looked
when it first opened in 1894.
If you look at the front here, the doors to the left
are the pavilion doors, opening to the first ballroom.
Here's the doors in the middle open to the tower.
And here on the right-hand side, the doors going to building which
was the aquarium and menagerie, which is since long gone.
You're probably thinking right now, now what can that be worth?
Well, in today's money,
the scrap value alone in silver is worth just over £12,000.
But because of its connection to this iconic building, its
craftsmanship and its provenance, it's worth considerably more.
So let's now catch up with our experts who are doing
some of their own following downstairs in the Circus.
'And Anita has found a classic timepiece.'
-Carol, Eric, welcome to "Flog It!"
It's lovely to have you along.
Especially in this most fantastic and wonderful circus ring.
-Do you come from Blackpool?
-I do, yes.
-And what about you, Eric?
-I originate from Yorkshire.
-All right. How did you two get together?
We met when I was 16 and Eric was 17.
We started going out together
and went out together for a couple of years.
Then unfortunately, we parted company because we fell out.
Whose fault was it?
-So, what happened?
-We parted company.
50 years later, we met again after our husbands and wives had died.
About five or six years ago.
-And then you felt in love with her all over again.
-All over again.
-Right, let's get back to antiques.
-This is a watch of some style.
Tell me, where did you get it?
It was a present originally, from my first wife.
I used to wear it originally, but as time goes on, I've got
a little older and I get a little bit frightened of wearing things.
Right, I can understand that. How long have you had it?
-In the region of 15 years.
-About 15 years.
This is a Rolex, which is really the Rolls-Royce of watches.
And this is a Rolex Oyster.
The Rolex Company was founded in about 1905-1906 by a German.
But the company existed in London.
By 1908-1909, it was one of the most famous watch companies in the world.
Renowned for the precision of these wonderful machines.
And the Rolex Oyster, which first came out in 1926,
was the first waterproof watch.
This is a later Rolex Oyster, but still a wonderful piece.
I love these watches. This one is stainless steel.
And we also have the original box, and that is good,
with the Rolex logo and this little crown here.
And we have the box to put the box in.
OK. I think this will do well at auction.
It's in beautiful condition, it's been well kept.
I tend to be a wee bit conservative in my estimates
but I would like to put it in may be £500-£700.
-Would you be happy to put it forward with that estimate?
-Would you like us to put a reserve on it, Eric?
-Yes, please, yes.
We will put it at the lower estimate with a wee bit of discretion.
-Would you be happy with that?
Let's hope that this Rolls-Royce of watches just rolls away
and makes a terrific price. I'm sure it will.
-Thank you, Eric, for bringing it in.
-Thank you so much.
After a busy morning here in the Circus,
it's time for our first visit to the auction room.
This is where we put our experts' valuations to the test.
Have they been clowning around? We are just about to find out.
Here is a quick recap of what is going under the hammer.
There is the well-loved dolls and that teddy bear.
Clarice Cliff makes a return to the auction.
And there's the classic wristwatch, along with its original packaging.
We've just moved a few miles down the coast line to
Lytham-St Annes - home for today's auction.
Jonathan Cook is the man with the gavel,
and it looks like he's preparing for a busy sale.
So let's hope that the items we are selling, that aren't wanted by the
present owners, find a new home and make a lot of money along the way.
So, without further ado, let's get on with our first item.
Jean and Gail, it's good to see you. Joining in the fun now.
What are we selling? We've got two dolls and a teddy bear.
-Why have you decided to sell now?
-I don't know.
It's just because you were coming into Blackpool.
We thought we'd have a try.
Come along, bring along something for an Anita to look at.
Join in the fun. We've got a reserve of £100.
We have the two dolls - the condition isn't pristine.
But we've got a sweet little teddy bear purse,
-and that's quite an unusual wee thing.
As a group, I think we'll pull through,
-hopefully to the bottom estimate.
It's all down to this lot now, the bidders in the room.
Two similar composition baby lullaby dolls. Musical movements.
-On the net at £80. 85.
-They've gone, haven't they?
-Any advance on 85?
And 10. 20. 30. 40. 50. 60. 70.
It's just gone straight to 190!
At £300 on Internet. Any advance in the room?
-I can't believe it!
£300. Are we all sure at 300? On the net at 300.
-Hammer's gone down.
-£300. You did all right, didn't you?
-You're not buying any more, are you?
-You made a good investment.
-Exactly. At the right time.
-You made a good investment.
-That's what it's all about.
The dolls and the teddy have found a new home.
Next up, it's our old favourite, a bit of Clarice Cliff.
Norman and Marie, good to see you. Why only selling the Clarice bowl?
I've got a small collection of Clarice,
but this particular piece does not fit in with the colour scheme.
-OK, good luck with that. I think this is sensibly priced.
-I hope so.
Do you know, Paul, I was thinking just now, 70 or 80 years ago
the stuff must have looked a revolutionary, mustn't it?
That was so avant-garde in its time.
Simple, bright colours, geometric designs.
Let's see if we can get the top end of the estimate, or more.
-Let's put it to the test.
Clarice Cliff bowl. The abstract range. Circa 1934.
42, 44, £46 straightaway.
48. 50. At £55. 60.
Well we've sold it, haven't we? Let's see if we can get £100.
90. Five. At 100 on the net.
-110 on the net.
120. At £120. Any advance in the room at 120? 130.
At £130. Are we short at 130?
On the internet then add £130. Are we all finished at 130?
No further interest, £130.
-I'm very happy with that.
-That's a great result.
I tell you something else.
-I know you were bidding earlier, weren't you?
So you've filled in a registration card, you got a paddle...
-Spent your money already!
-It's nearly paid for.
-What did you buy?
-An amethyst and gold pendant. A pendant and brooch.
And you nearly paid for it with this sale?
-There you go. It doesn't get much better than that.
You sold something today, you bought something today.
That's what auctioneers love to see.
Time is up now for that classic wristwatch.
Eric and Carol, why are you selling this?
I don't wear it that much, to be honest with you.
It's been in the safe most of the time.
-So I just thought it was time to go.
-But you've got another watch?
-I've got another one.
-Look, good luck.
The thing is, with its original box, it's much more sellable, isn't it?
The box is very important. It shows the design features of that time.
-And the collectors of vintage items will love that.
I've got high hopes on this one.
I think this could do the top end, perhaps a little bit more.
-Let's hope so.
-It's a good thing. OK, fingers crossed, everyone.
Let's put it to the test. Here we go.
Rolex Oyster gents' stainless steel vintage wristwatch.
Circa 1960. Oyster strap. Lots of interest there.
Classic date for Rolex.
320. 340. At £340. Any advance on 360?
380. At £400 for 20. 440.
-There is someone in the room bidding now.
-60. 80. 500.
At £500. Any advance on 500?
550. At 550 in the room. Gent's bid at 550.
Any advance on 550? 600 on the net. At £600 on the internet.
-We've sold it, haven't we?
-Are we all sure at £600?
-Any further interest? £600...
Hammer's gone down. £600. We are happy with that.
-Very happy with that.
And the box really did help. It really did.
Are we all done at 90?
At most auction rooms there are loads of paintings for sale.
Some range from £20 for unknown artists,
right up to millions of pounds by masters of the medium.
While we were here filming in the area, I decided to try
my hand at the art of watercolour and have a listen with a master.
See if you think if I've got what it takes.
This is Towneley Hall near Burnley.
For over 500 years it was home to the Towneley family.
But for the last century it has been owned by the local
authorities, who now use it as a museum and art gallery.
I'm here to meet local artist Jeff Butterworth,
whose talent with watercolours has made him one of
the country's most prolific painters.
-Good to see you.
-Pleased to meet you.
-The weather is on our side, isn't it?
-Should we get going?
Yes, follow me.
How long have you been painting? All your life?
More or less. I did start in 1980.
I joined the British Watercolour Society.
The first exhibition I did, I won the competition.
-That's quite an accolade, isn't it?
-Yes. And then...
-You won it again...
-To top it all, I won it three times.
-Yeah, I won it actually three times.
-That's quite an impressive CV.
You are a well established watercolour artist.
You've exhibited all over the place. How would you describe your style?
As a realist.
OK, so it's photographic representation, typically.
-It is, yeah.
Why are we meeting up here today? What's special about this place?
Well, I've been coming here since...
Well, the first time I came here, I was five.
-Really? Lots of childhood memories.
And now I'm artist in residence at Towneley Hall.
Gosh, that's nice, isn't it? It has come full circle for you.
It has, yeah. It's been quite a good time, really.
-I mean, that is a beautiful looking shot there, isn't it?
Is that something that we hope to capture today?
Well, if I take a photograph of the view now,
it has got a good composition.
The path is leading right towards the hall.
-Well, I'm up for going inside.
You've got your camera with you.
We'll take a photograph of it and then we can work off the result.
-There we go.
-Happy with that one?
The art of watercolour evolved around the 18th century
when artists would use watercolours to create an initial
snapshot before committing to an oil painting,
much like Jeff uses his camera to capture the landscape today.
Right, where do we start? We've got our image, we've printed it out.
Yeah, we've got our image.
So now we've got to do an outline drawing of the buildings
and the path and the trees.
-So that's the first step.
OK. Can I do my own interpretation of this or am I copying your style?
No, you interpret it however you think fits.
Watercolour paintings are still hugely popular
and the collection here at Towneley includes
work by some of the best-known practitioners of the art,
including this one by the world-renowned Joseph Turner.
I think I've got something I can work with now,
-I'm quite happy with that.
-So, shall we start paint?
-What do you start with,
the sky and work downwards or dark to light or light to dark?
-I always work from top to bottom.
But more importantly, from background to foreground.
So there is anything that is lighter than the dark background,
-we use a masking fluid.
So you paint over it with the other colours,
but then rub that paint off so it leaves the blank paper to paint on.
-That's it, yeah.
-You've got a wonderful assortment
of brushes here -
sort of flat brushes, fine brushes, mixing brushes.
Yeah, that one is for you.
I've got a nice selection here, I've some sable brushes.
-That's the best hair to use, is it?
-Yeah, it is.
It is a very expensive brush, but a very good quality.
-Well, we need to some colours.
So, are we going for blues with some whites that we have to mix
in order to get that?
In watercolour, there is no white, it's the paper.
So if there's any areas that are pure white,
then it's areas that we are not going to touch.
Do you know, I didn't know that.
-Can I watch you for a little while?
See what you tackle to start with and how you do it,
-and I'll try and copy.
-I'll start with the sky.
-And we'll take it from there.
What we want to do first of all is to wet the paper,
ready to accept a colour on it.
-So it is harder to paint detail on dry paper, then?
I've learned something there.
You want to carefully work around the building.
Notice, there is not much colour on it at the moment.
Now I'm going to put some of the masking fluid on.
-Because you have come to a tree.
-I see, yes, as if the sky is sort of coming through the branches.
Well, while you finish off that,
I can at least make a start on the sky now.
Yeah. This is about done now, so I'll leave this to dry.
-It's a lovely brush to work with.
-Flat bushes are really nice.
-They cover the paper...
-For a broad area like that.
-Right, are you going to do some masking fluid?
-Yeah. Can I?
-I've never used that before.
-Yeah, I'll show you how to do it.
Just a quick dip in.
-And then a few dabs?
And paint on where it's dry, don't go onto the watercolour.
It's a gentle process. What is the most difficult thing to paint?
-Do you think so?
You've not much scope, really, to be loose with architecture
-if you are trying to get the thing right.
We'll work our way across and do the background trees
and then work on the building, work on this section.
-I'm finding it really relaxing. But it is something you can't rush.
I understand that now from watching you.
Although you are working at quite a good pace.
Have you a critical eye at this stage?
I'm working out the technicalities of it, building the thing up.
Cos all of a sudden, I'm sort of working with three different
shades of green here and making them merge.
And seeing what happens and just letting the paper
and the water dictate what's happening.
The thing that makes watercolours more difficult than oils or
acrylics is the paint is much more liquid and it wants to move.
With thicker materials, it stays where you put it.
But with this kind of painting, you have to learn to work with
the materials and adapt your technique accordingly.
A good tip for doing foliage is to get an old brush,
something like this, get a little bit of colour on it and then just...
-It'll make things like that, you see?
But you need to do it on a dry background so you can build it
up like that.
That's a nice look, isn't it?
-I'm kind of happy with that in my own way.
-Yeah, it looks...
-Shall we move on to the buildings?
I've already started with the roof.
And at the top is grey,
-which we've already used a little bit on the trees.
So, basically it is the same as we've done already.
-We start at the top of the building and work down.
You've painted all over the country, Jeff, landscapes everywhere,
in different lights and in different conditions.
It must change dramatically for you.
Yeah, I find that there are differences in the light.
Southern England has perhaps a mellower feel to the landscape
and the light.
The further north you go, the more harsh the colours can be.
Basically, you still work with the same palette.
Should I carry on with this building here
or do I do the tree first?
-Which comes first?
-Finish off each section before you move on.
-Even the window detail?
-Yeah, do it all.
Bear in mind that it's not all red. There is some green.
I know, and there's a bit of brown, isn't there?
It's quite tricky, really.
I can see why you work from a colour photograph now.
Yeah, although I have done quite a few black-and-white ones.
A few hours in and I'm finding this really relaxing.
It takes a lot of concentration, but when you are in the flow, it is
really easy to let your mind wander as the picture comes together.
Although I think I need a lot more practice before I reach
-Well, Jeff, three hours is up.
-I've rushed ahead.
I know I finished mine.
I'm happy with it, but when I look at mine compared to yours,
this looks typical of a schoolboy compared to a professional.
But I have learned a lot today in my three hours.
-And I've learned that there is a lot of control in your work.
There really is. Thank you so much for giving me a lesson here today.
-Shall I sign this?
Who knows, maybe the gallery will hang it on the wall for week.
Put a price on it, yeah.
-I'll sign it with watercolour, shall I, rather than pencil?
There you are. I enjoyed that. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
Now, this is Jeff's finished piece.
It is easy to see why his work is held in such high regard.
We are back in Blackpool for today's next lot of valuations.
And David Fletcher is taking in the view along with his next object.
This is the first time I've done a valuation for "Flog It!", or
anyone else for that matter, nearly 400 feet above sea level,
at the top of the Blackpool Tower,
in this instance. Anyway, here we are, Martin.
-Now, you brought with you a silver three-piece tea set.
We know it's silver, don't we, because...
-The markings on the side.
-It's hallmarked, exactly.
You have three hallmarks - the lion passant,
the lion standing on all four,
we have a crown mark which tells us it was assayed in Sheffield
and we have a date letter, which tells us it was assayed in 1901.
-In other words, it is just Victorian.
It helps that we can call it Victorian
because it adds a bit to the value.
I mean, if you look at it, you would think it was Georgian,
-with this gadrooned and fluted body.
The Victorians loved rehashing styles of earlier periods,
historicism to give it its grand name.
And this is an example of that.
-Now, are you going to tell me you don't use this?
It's been in the roof space for at least 20 years.
Before that, it was owned by my mum and dad,
and they kept it in the front room, on a pewter tray.
And as far as I can recall, they never used it either.
-So it was just displayed, even in those days.
-What is it worth?
-Well, I would've thought something around £200.
Well, there is one very easy way of finding out.
And this may seem like an oversimplification,
but it is basically true.
A silver tea set like this will sell for more or less its melt value,
perhaps just a little bit more, for the reasons we have discussed -
-people simply don't use them.
So armed with my silver scales, I am being careful not to drop
this down over the edge... And that comes up 14.
And if we grab this one and this and weigh them both together,
we've got another 12 ounces.
So, we are talking about 26 ounces in all.
Now, I think on that evidence,
we should value the three-piece tea set at between £250 and £350.
-So, a little bit more than you thought.
I think we should put a reserve on it of some sort.
-And I would suggest 250.
-250 is fine.
Now, if silver goes down between now and the time of the sale,
-we'll have to have a little rethink.
-I'd be happy with that.
-What will you spend the money on?
-My wife likes holidays, so I think it will be towards a holiday.
That's a good way of spending the money.
And I think it is probably true,
if you had sold this silver tea set a year ago, or a year and a half
ago, you would have been able to afford much less of a good holiday.
-So I hope it is a cracking holiday.
-Yes, thank you.
All right? Thank you very much.
From the dizzy heights of the tower, we are going back down to Anita
in the circus.
thank you so much for bringing me this marvellous piece of Mouseman.
Can you tell me, where did you get it?
It's been in the family for as long as I can remember.
My mother's brother, my uncle,
had a lot of furniture with the Mouseman,
and I remember being impressed because my mother was so impressed
when we used to visit for a weekend or whatever.
-Were you just a wee boy at the time?
-Well, I love it.
I love the simplicity of the furniture. And of course,
who would not be charmed by these wonderful little mice?
Robert Mouseman Thompson
started his workshop in about 1919 in North Yorkshire.
He made furniture for churches and interiors, big furniture,
smaller pieces and so on.
And he had a number of craftsmen working for him.
Now, let's look at this wee chap.
I think it's smashing that the handles are formed by the mice.
I would date this probably to post 1930s.
Pre-1930s we used to see the little front legs of the mice.
But they found that these were breaking off,
so they tucked them underneath the body.
What we've got are long, elongated mice, not little fat chaps.
So I would date it around about the 1930s.
-Would that fit in with your memories of it?
-I would think so.
My mother was always impressed by this and, unfortunately,
this is the only piece of furniture we had.
But I've always kept it as a memento of those days.
My cousins all had furniture as well because of their father's influence.
So they got the big bits.
Have you used this tray at all?
Hardly. It's amongst the other trays.
Why do you want to sell it now?
Well, we were curious to know what the likes of yourself would
think of it and we were amazed how quickly you sort of responded to say,
"We'll have you on the show."
Well, I love it.
There are some condition issues with the marks here.
I think we've had a hot teapot put on that.
And to have it on display or to use it,
we'd really want to get that cleaned up.
If that was coming to me, I would put it probably between £60 and
£80, but I would hope that it would get a little more than that.
It's not uncommon, you know, there's plenty of it about.
That's very good, because it's not a large piece, really, is it?
It's not a large piece.
-Would you be happy to put it to sale at that price?
I mean, it has no real sentimental value, it was just something
that was nice to look back on from when I was young.
Yeah. Let's put it to sale. It will be bought by an enthusiast.
60 to 80. We'll put a reserve price on it at the lower estimate, £60.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Yes, oh, yes. Thank you.
Thanks for bringing it along. It has given me pleasure to look at it.
Earlier on, we saw that magnificent silver model of Blackpool Tower.
Now whilst it's impressive, the real thing that you see behind me there
was a genuine triumph for Victorian enterprise and engineering.
It was the brainchild of John Bickerstaff, a local man
and pillar of the community who was once mayor of the town.
He took his family on holiday to Paris
and fell in love with the Eiffel Tower,
designed by Gustav Eiffel, and he thought,
"I want one of those, this is just what Blackpool needs."
He was told it would cost £290,000.
Now, that is 40 million quid in today's money.
But how would he get such a huge amount?
Well, that's where his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in.
He went cap in hand to the cotton baron for the Northwest
and raised the cash.
It took three years to build using 2,500 tonnes of steel
and five million bricks. There's 563 steps to the top of that tower.
Thankfully, there is a lift as well.
And it is illuminated by 10,000 light bulbs.
And still, after 100 years later, it is
recognised as one of the country's main tourist attractions.
How about that? That is part of our heritage.
Enough of that, let's now go back inside
and catch up with our experts and see what they're up to.
In fact, David Fletcher is right at the top of the tower.
The view from here is fantastic.
You can see across to Bochum Bay
and beyond that to the Lake District.
And I must say, the view looking down here isn't bad either.
That's very cheeky, David.
-I was referring, of course, to the silver.
-Oh, of course.
Because you have brought along three really nice bits of silver.
-Thank you very much.
-Let's start with the box.
This, I suppose, is for trinkets,
a little dressing table box with an engine-turned lid.
It was assayed in Birmingham in the 1920s by AD,
who specialised in high quality, luxury items like this.
A pair of vases, which I take to be for rosebuds possibly.
And this really nice little silver card case.
Why are you selling them?
Well, my mum actually inherited these and they have
been in a cabinet that we also inherited from my Great Aunt Mary.
And she had lots of beautiful things, but we know very,
very little about these.
There's other things we've kept that we love of hers,
that we would never part with, but because we don't really know
much about these, my mum is prepared to sort of sell them, really.
They don't have any sentimental value.
They do in away because obviously they were Aunt Mary's.
But you don't really know quite enough about them.
No, but I am really intrigued with that, this,
if you could tell me more about that.
Well, it's a card case.
It might have been used for visiting cards,
and might possibly have been use for dance cards.
What I love about these things is they are shaped
to fit a hip pocket.
It just goes to show that extra little bit of quality,
doesn't it, that extra little bit of forethought that
went into the manufacturing of that.
I'm wondering... Because I know that she used to come to the ballroom.
I wonder if she used that for dancing,
-whether it was connected to that maybe.
-Who can say?
But it is a lovely thought. Unfortunately, it isn't engraved
so we've got nothing really to go on that would substantiate that.
-Let's use our imaginations and say, "Why not?"
-I'd like to think that.
-That'd be fantastic, wouldn't it?
And really, I think the vases set this little group off, really.
-I would be inclined to sell them in one lot.
-Yeah, would you?
-Rather than separately?
-I think so.
I think then each individual item will help to sell the other.
-And I would reckon 150, 250 as an estimate.
-Really? That much?
-Is that OK?
-Yeah, that's lovely.
And I would suggest a reserve of £150.
The one thing that worries me a bit -
if you ever come dancing in the Blackpool Tower ballroom again,
you're going to need a card case, so what are you going to do?
I don't think I'm going to need that.
But having said that, I've always wanted to dance in the ballroom.
-There is a tea dance going on at the moment.
-Come on, then, David.
-All right, I'll tread on your toes.
Well, it certainly has been a busy day here
at the Tower Circus in Blackpool. Everybody has had a valuation,
and the lucky ones have been chosen to go through to the auction room
for the last time.
While we make our way down the coastline to the sale-room,
here's a quick recap of what's coming with us.
There's that tea set that has been liberated from the loft.
Let's hope the bidders get carried away with the Mouseman tray.
And there is this collection of silver that would shine at auction.
We are back at Lytham-St Annes, and like all auction houses,
sellers here have to pay commission.
Here it's 15% of the hammer price.
And remember that additional charges may also apply.
Going under the hammer right now, we've got a silver three-piece
tea set which has been hiding away in the loft for the last 20 years.
It's now been rescued and liberated. I've been joined by Martin.
Hello, good to see you again. Who have you brought along with you?
-I've brought my wife Carol.
Why are you flogging the silver?
Because it has just been in the loft. We don't use it.
-It is a good time to sell.
-Silver prices have held up since we met.
Tea sets are tea sets, aren't they, and I hate to say this,
but I think this will end up in the pot. If it doesn't,
at least the melt value puts a bottom in the price, really.
-We can rely on that.
-It is a safe bet.
We know it won't sell for less than melt.
Yeah, OK. Here we go. Let's put it to the test. This is it.
Walker & Hall three-piece tea service.
Bids at 160. 170. 180. 90. 200.
220. 240. 260.
280. 300. 320. 340.
At £340. Any advance in the room at 340?
At 340 then, on commission at 340.
The hammer has gone down. Hopefully that's not going for scrap.
-Not that that price.
-No. That's above melt price.
That'll be bought as a present, perhaps, for someone.
Whoever buys that will have to pay 15% plus VAT on top of that
So it's definitely not going to melt. Thanks for bringing that in.
Good to see that silver is still selling well.
And we've got more of it now.
-Carol, I know you're selling the family silver.
-Have you got permission from Mum?
-Yeah, I have. She's over here.
I know she is, isn't she? It is a little mixed lot.
We've got two spill vases, one little box, and a card case.
-Spill vases are nice. The card case is good too.
But I think the best item in that lot is the box.
You can put jewellery in it.
It's useful. Fingers crossed we're right on the money with this.
Silver, it's a good time to sell. Scrap value is high.
-Oh, they're not going to be...
-No! I doubt it.
-Don't say that.
-I doubt it, I doubt it.
-I don't want to sell them now.
But it's always a good baseline to value things on.
It just puts the bottom in the market.
Decorative silver. A rectangular trinket box.
Bids of £160.
-Simple as that.
160. 170. 180.
At £200. Any advance on 200?
On commission at £200. Are we all finished at 200?
-That's it, the hammer has gone down.
-It's not bad, is it?
-That's very good.
Where's Mum? Is she over there? Is she smiling? Yes, she is.
-Look after her, won't you.
-Go and take her out for some supper or something.
-I will do, definitely. We are going to do something nice.
Another good result. And now for one that's got me really excited.
My favourite lot we're serving up. Can you guess what it is?
Yes, you can. It's that tray.
The Mouseman tray belonging to Linda and David.
Brilliant thing. And you know what, you've not over-polished this.
It's nice and dry.
And that's how you should buy items of treen furniture.
I'd like to see the estimate doubled on this.
That's my personal gut feeling.
In my heart, I want it to double that estimate.
Because it's so good. And I've not seen a tray before.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Robert Thompson Mouseman oak-mouse-handled tea tray.
Circa 1950s. Lots of interest, lots of bids.
Lots identical nearly. £180. 190.
At 190 on commission.
Any advance on £190?
On commission at 190. All finished in the room. 200 on the net.
-I don't believe it! We were offered 20 quid.
Stick a nought on it.
At £200. Are we all finished? No further interest.
Hammer is going down. What a useful piece of kit.
-Everybody needs a tray.
-Thank you very much. Thank you.
It's a pleasure looking at things like that.
-I was a wee bit conservative, do you think, Paul?
-No! Come on!
I know what you're like. It's the 'come and buy me's.
It's better to pitch lower, isn't it,
because you encourage more people in.
Pitch it at £200, which is what it is worth,
-and you put 20 people off.
There you go, that's auctions for you.
There is a psyche involved, you see.
Well, that's it. Another day in another auction room.
Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
If you have got anything you want to sell, we would love to see you.
Bring it along to one of our valuation days.
Details you can pick up on the BBC website,
or check the details in your local press.
Come on, dust those antiques down and we will flog them.
Bye-bye for now.
This episode comes from the historic Blackpool Tower Circus. Paul Martin is joined by experts Anita Manning and David Fletcher who are on the hunt for interesting antiques and collectables that will hopefully sell at auction.
Anita calls time on a classic wristwatch and David serves up a silver tea service. But will an unassuming wooden tray steal the show?
Plus, Paul swaps antiques for a paintbrush when he tries his hand at watercolour painting at one of Lancashire's most historic mansions.