Antiques series. Over 800 people come along to the Flog It! valuation day in Coventry Transport Museum. Paul Martin is joined by experts Clare Rawle and Charlie Ross.
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All the world's a stage, according to Shakespeare.
So, it's no surprise that here, in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon,
there's not one, there's not two, but there are three theatres.
The perfect place to set the drama for a "Flog It!" auction.
Welcome to the county of Warwickshire.
Stratford-upon-Avon has always attracted the finest
calibre of actors.
Sir Ian McKellen
and David Tennant have all come here to tread the boards.
But will today's auction attract any star items?
The plot begins 20 miles down the road in the city
of Coventry, where we are holding our valuation day.
And hoping not to break a leg are the hundreds who've turned up
here today in the pouring rain,
but we're not going to let that dampen our spirits, are we? No.
We're all singing in the rain today, outside Coventry's Transport Museum.
But before we get inside and get the show on the road, let's meet those experts whose job it is
to put a value on all of these items.
Charlie Ross and Claire Rawle, both alike in dignity...
And what's your name?
-Oh, crikey. Bumped my head.
Oh, my goodness. Oh, I say. Yes... Oh...!
..with a passion for elegant items...
-You have come in costume.
..and they're not at all luvvies.
A kiss under the umbrella is the way I like it.
Our experts have found their items
so it's time to open the doors to this fantastic museum.
Five, four, three, two, one.
-Are you ready to go inside? Yes!
And just like the people of Coventry, the lead acts on
today's show are full of character.
A cigarette lighter masquerading as a small aircraft.
A silver saw that's a bit too small to cut wood.
And some classic British birds. But can you guess which one
steals the show today?
For Charlie's first item, he wanted to find something of real
And didn't he do well?
Judith, look what we've got here. What is that? Tell everybody.
Well, this is the Coventry Hippodrome,
which stood on the site we are on now, which is now the car museum.
-Yeah. So, I'm probably sitting in the stalls, aren't I?
Watching a show. When was it pulled down?
I think sometime in the late '80s.
I came here for years from when I was very tiny.
We used to come to the pantomimes and then the birthday shows.
Hence getting all these signatures, and we'll come onto the autographs.
You've got some fantastic autographs, which is great.
-And you collected those yourself?
A friend of my grandmother's collected them.
-He ran the theatre.
A couple of them I got myself that are in these programmes.
-But the majority were got for me.
-What shows do you remember?
-Hundreds, I suppose.
-When they did it on ice.
-Oklahoma! on ice?
-But Oklahoma's a hot state.
-Yeah, but they did it on ice.
I've noticed, before we have a look at the others, "Best wishes,
-One of my favourites.
-He was a funny man, wasn't he?
-They're very good.
-Very, very good.
If we could just turn to the album here.
There are just countless signatures here.
She had a figure. Billy Cotton And His Band. Was he, "Wakey, wakey"?
-That's the one.
-That was the one.
Who's that devilishly good-looking chap?
Oh, he was one of my favourites.
That's Guy Mitchell and he was an American. I think it was
-Singing The Blues he used to be famous for.
-Singing The Blues.
-"Best wishes, Tommy Steele."
-He was a performer, wasn't he?
-He was indeed.
-A lot of screaming that night.
-Was there? Were you a screamer?
It's about the shows.
And it's about the people, and it's about the building.
-And about you and your life. Do they say, "To Judith"?
-Most of them.
-So, why are you selling them?
Well, I've had it a long time and I just keep moving
it around the bookcase, and I thought somebody might be interested in it.
There'll be no shortage of people interested in buying these.
They are probably worth £5 or £10, a lot of those,
rather than 50 or 60.
Some people are... If you happened to have Winston Churchill's
signature, we are into a different league.
But they won't go down in value.
They're a good investment for somebody.
Do you have an idea of what you want to get for them?
-It has been valued at around £100.
-Has it? Yes.
I don't think that's untoward, that valuation. What do you think?
Is 60 to 100... You're wanting a little bit more, aren't you?
They are yours and I don't want to give them away.
I'm going to put £80 with auctioneer's discretion on them. OK?
-80 to 120. Reserve 80.
So, if we manage to get our £80, or better still £100,
-have you got something you'll spend this money on?
I would like a pair of binoculars.
I've got a fabulous view from my window
-and I want to watch the buzzards and the birds.
Well, we need to get you the best possible pair, don't we?
-Oh, yes, thank you.
-Let the bidding commence.
People have been collecting signatures for hundreds of years
and it found huge popularity in the 1980s and '90s.
Collectors will sign their life away for the right autograph
and that means they will pay big bucks at auction, as we've seen.
This collection in 2007 shocked us all
when it was valued at £100-£150, and it sold for...
At £600 and I sell then at £600. Thank you.
Let's hope Judith's goes the same way.
Now to another impressive collection.
Robert, this is a very interesting collection of button hooks
and skirt clamps, but I gather this is just the tip of a very,
-very big iceberg.
-Very much so, Claire.
The collection started with my late mother,
who died some seven years ago.
Everywhere she went, she popped into an antique shop
and looked for button hooks.
When she finished collecting button hooks and got as many as
she could, she then went to go on to skirt clamps and even glove stretchers.
-We ended up with a collection...
-Oh, my goodness.
-..that looks like that.
Wow. That is vast. Look at all those button hooks.
I don't think I've ever seen such a big collection.
And these wonderful skirt clamps at the front.
They're interesting things because they were designed at a time
where ladies wore long dresses.
Of course, the problem with a long dress is that as you wander
out in the dirt, the hem gets rather filthy.
They were made to hang from a ribbon at the waist...
-Or a cord.
-Or a cord. So, suspenders.
You'd put this bit round the material and push this down.
I'm worried about damaging it.
Of course, it would hold the skirt up out of the dirt.
The whole idea was they were done in all sorts of different designs
-and curiously a sort of large insect crawling up your skirt.
Does give you the heebie-jeebies, wouldn't it?
But it's beautifully moulded.
The collection of button hooks, just picked a few out on the table.
Ladies had shoes that fastened with buttons
and gloves that fastened with buttons,
so you had different hooks to do them up, to pull the little button through the buttonhole.
I understand that it could take a lady up to half an hour in the
morning to button her boots up
because there were 20 buttons on each boot.
What I've done is picked out a few which are good
examples of the different types of handles. This is unusual.
It's nine-carat gold. You don't find many gold ones.
-That's the only one in the collection.
The collection must run to nearly 1,000.
That's the only one which is gold.
In all the years I've been selling items like this,
I've never seen a gold one before,
and that's really nice. That's lovely.
-If we open this up, we discover there are a few more inside.
Little sort of chamois foot.
So, even more in there and, finally, to go with it,
a pair of gloves stretchers.
Another item which complements the whole of the collection.
Very nice indeed.
So, now that you've inherited this vast collection,
you're thinking, perhaps, of just trying a few bits as a tester.
The trouble is it's just too big a collection. We do need to sell it.
I'm here to find out how these go on the market,
and I guess we're going to have to split it up into saleable lots.
Very much so. You couldn't put a vast quantity like that
on the market all in one go.
You'd totally flood the market. We need to discuss values.
I think it would be sensible to sell these in two lots.
I think the suitcase and the button hooks in front,
-this should be one lot.
-And this should be the second lot.
I think with the first lot, you've got a
nice, interesting collection here.
I think a good estimate would be 100 to 120. Does that sound good?
-Sounds fine to me.
And a firm reserve of £100, because I think you're testing the water.
I think they should do well.
-This group, I think an estimate of 80 to 120.
-That sounds good.
With a firm reserve of £80.
There are very good collectors for this out there.
And I think it'll be an interesting exercise for you to sell these.
And armed with all this and inspired by the sale of these, you can
go home and start sorting through the thousands of others you've got.
I think you'll have great fun doing it. I think
it will actually mount up to quite a bit of money at the end of the day.
Talking of money, we all had one as a child but did yours
survive into adulthood? Here's one that lived through many a battle.
Now, Judy. You know the first thing I do when I see a money box?
-Pick it up and shake it. And there's no money in it at all.
-How did you get the money out of it?
-Stuck a knife in there.
-Stuck a knife in there.
Can you tell me about it?
My gran had it and then my dad had it, and he passed it to me.
That's all I know about it.
It's historically, absolutely fascinating.
Because this is a model of a tank, used in the First World War,
with a certain amount of success.
It was terrifying if you were in a trench
and one of these came over the trenches towards you,
because there was absolutely nothing you could do about it.
I've been discussing with some other colleagues where it is made.
They assure me, people who are far better at porcelain
and pottery than I am, that this is a Continental-made object.
This was not made in England. This glazing is simply not English.
-They even think it could well be German.
So, we have an extraordinary situation here
of something that's made in Europe, quite obviously
for export to England, because it's got English writing on it.
In the '20s, so soon after the war.
And I love the inscription on it, "Bank, bank, bank...
"In the tank, tank, tank." The other thing is.
Although you cunningly said you managed to get the money out using
a knife, there is a bit of damage round here where the money goes in.
Do people in the family remember it?
-My dad used to use it when he was a boy himself.
-Like I said,
the knife in to get the money out.
It's very interesting to know how it started its life with what
member of the family, and I still can't get to the bottom of it
being a European model on English tank, made for export to England.
Well, I dare say if you put pound coins in it
and filled it up, you could get up to about 100 quid's worth of value,
-provided you had about £80 inside it.
-I think it's probably worth £20-£40.
-You want a bit more, don't you?
-Oh, of course. Always want a bit more.
I'm happy at 30 to 50.
I think once you start going over 50 with that damage,
we might be struggling. But who knows?
With its rarity, we might get a bit of a surprise. OK?
I might put a reserve on it.
You can put a reserve of £30 on it with my blessing.
-And we won't sell it for a penny less.
Because it's not worth a penny less.
An interesting slice of military history
and the Transport Museum has a few standout pieces all of its own.
I'm in a bicycle section right now
and I've never seen anything like this before.
It's called a parabike. It's built by BSA, a wonderful British company.
It folds up and you threw that out of an aircraft.
We're talking Second World War.
It had its own parachute. The parachute would open up,
the bike would hit the ground.
The paratrooper would jump out of the plane, pull his own parachute.
Once he landed, they could assemble the bike,
get on it and get out of there. It was a wonderful mode of transport.
And talking of transport, it's time I made my way over to
Stratford-upon-Avon to the auction room and here are the three gems
we're taking with us.
Making its debut at auction is the Coventry Hippodrome
autograph album and programme, a real piece of local history.
And also the unusual collection, which has been split into two lots.
Will they get the bidders in a frenzy?
Or do you think it will be the tank that will blow us all away?
There's no time for rehearsals at Bigwood auction house in Stratford.
The gavel has already started to go down
and our first "Flog It!" item is up next.
Will we see Judith's autograph album smash the estimate?
-Why are you selling this?
-I've had it since I was seven.
Lots of memories.
Yes, and then I'm getting older now so I'm sort of de-cluttering.
OK, OK, it's the start of the de-cluttering.
Well, let's find out,
it's going under the hammer right now. Look, this is it.
Signatures include Billy Cotton, Margaret Lockwood, Dicky Valentine
and there's a couple of Coventry Theatre programmes as well,
-so a bit of local interest...
-There's a lot of local interest there, Judith.
A bid at 100, is it 110?
-At 100, 110. 110, 120.
-Well, it's gone, hasn't it?
130, 140, 150? 140. 140 it is, and it's going to be sold.
At 150, 150.
160, would you go?
At 150. All done at 150, the bid's there at 150. 160, would you like?
-At 150, last chance...
-Bang, the hammer's gone down, that's a good "sold" sound.
-Big smiles there.
That's the start of the de-cluttering.
There is commission to pay
and when you put something into auction and the auctioneer sells it,
you have to pay commission. It varies from sale room to sale room
and also you get the cheque in the post about three weeks later. OK?
-A bit of spending money.
Auctions can be fun and can be a good way to raise a bit of cash,
so if you have never been to a sale room before,
get down to your local auction room
and get a touch of the "Flog It!" experience first-hand.
Well, in the firing line right now, joining the "Flog It!" ranks,
we have Julie, with your wonderful Great War money box, the tank.
Which I absolutely love, it's a boy's toy.
No wonder Charlie picked it.
Interestingly enough, piggy banks, why are they called piggy banks?
Traditionally, they were made of clay, obviously,
and the clay was orange, it was pig orange,
so that's why they're called piggy banks.
And some piggy banks aren't worth that much money.
The contents inside sometimes are worth more then the vessel itself.
But I think that this is worth more
-than whatever you could stick inside it.
-Yeah, I agree.
Let's find out what the bidders think, shall we?
-Here we go.
-Bank in the tank, there we go. £30 for it? £30?
£25 to get me going? 25, 25, 30, is it?
25, 30. 35, if you like. 35, 40.
40, 45? 45, 50? 45 by the bed.
At 45, going at 45.
-£45 but that's OK.
-That's OK, £45.
It's a good thing and it's a rare thing and an unusual one, as well.
Good investment, I think.
Yes, especially if you fill it up.
Well worth raiding that piggy bank!
Next, the unusual collection that's been split into two lots.
Good luck with all of this, Robert.
-I know this was Mum's collection, wasn't it?
-It was indeed, yes.
And quite a mixed lot as well. You had the pleasure of sorting through this, Claire,
there's sort of glove stretchers,
button hooks, you name it, the whole thing's there.
The problem once you get into thousands is, do you display it?
Yes, for sure. You take over the house, don't you?
-And then, eventually, you go into a museum.
That's what it's about. It's going under the hammer now, good luck.
Let's send you home with some money.
Five, which is the Samuel Jacob silver shoehorn,
boot hook combination from 1895
and a pair of silver glove stretchers,
Charles Horner et cetera.
I've got an opening bid on my book at £80 on the book.
At £80, at £80, at 85. I've got 90.
95? 90 with me on the book at 90.
At 90 and 5 is it?
Going to be sold here on the book at 90. 5 would you like to go?
-£90 and we're done. Commission bid 90.
-£90. That was quick, wasn't it?
-Short and sweet, blink and you'll miss that.
Now, here is our next little group.
Let's see if we can add to this £90.
There's a little attache case to take them home in, there we go.
100... 110 I'm bid, 110, 120 now.
At £110, an opening bid of 110.
-Good, there's interest in the room.
-We're surrounded by bidders...
-150, 160, 160, 170?
160, gentleman in the centre of the room.
At £160, are we finished and done at £160?
-£160, that's very, very good.
-That's nice. It's been a really good test, this has.
-Ready for the next.
-For the next...
-The next clearout.
Going to send them out over a period of time.
Yes, don't flood the market, otherwise it'll decrease the value.
-It's a pleasure to meet you.
-Thank you, I've really enjoyed coming out.
-Thank you very much.
It's all about supply and demand in the antiques trade,
as it is with any other market,
so big collections like Robert's should be sold over time
so that supply doesn't outstrip demand.
-I've got 35, 35. 40? 40.
-But enough about business models.
Before we go back to our valuation day at the Coventry Transport Museum,
I took a trip to a London museum
to speak the the people behind a very large collection.
Museums are sometimes stuck
with the image of a dusty and exclusive institution,
but the Victoria And Albert Museum
set out to be different from the very beginning,
with over four and a half million items in its collection.
It take nearly 700 members of full- and part-time staff
to keep this national treasure running.
And with millions of visitors a year, the V&A is buzzing with life.
This place has world-class exhibits
and I have been visiting for years,
gathering inspiration and learning.
But today, I haven't come to look at the artefacts
that attract all the visitors.
I'm going to look at the people themselves,
the curators, the staff and the artists in residence.
They're just as important as all the artefacts here
because they give the museum a buzz of vitality and a heartbeat.
The V&A was set up to make 2,000 years of art available
to all of us to see.
The pieces would provide inspiration
for British manufacturers, designers and the working man.
And 100 years later, it's still doing what it set out to do.
Now, I have to say, artists are spoiled for choice here
because there's every different period of art history
exhibited in these galleries as a visual reference,
giving inspiration and I've just seen,
which I really like to see, look, young artists.
There's one there, there's another one down there,
just sketching away and there's a chap here and that,
I have to say, hello, that looks absolutely fabulous.
What inspires you to sketch this bust?
I would not be inspired without the sense of history,
of being near to something crafted by someone many years ago,
100, 200 difficult years ago.
Without the free entry to museums such as this,
-people would not have the inspiration of art.
-Yes, it wouldn't be accessible.
-How long have you been drawing?
-Too many years now, but you can never get enough practice.
That's fabulous. Good luck.
See what I mean? It's just fresh, it's great, it's creative
and that's what this place is all about.
Everywhere you turn, you can see the impact people have on the museum.
One notable influence was the celebrated artist
William Morris, whose legacy lives on in the fabulous tearoom
which he was commissioned to design.
And it's not just decorative art
but also practical pieces that visitors can get hands-on with.
It's been mounted in such a way that it spins around.
They even supply a mirror,
look, on the end of a little shaft there so you can look underneath
and this is absolutely a fabulous way of learning about something.
There's only so much you can take from a reference book.
But if you can come to places like this, take the drawer out
and look at methods of construction.
Also, there are little tickets to tell you what to look out for
and it really is a great learning tool,
being able to touch something physically. It tells a story.
But if you're more of a bookworm,
your inspiration might come from the enormous national art library
which holds over 950,000 books.
People have been coming here to read and research for decades
about everything from the Great Exhibition of 1851,
which was the inspiration for the V&A itself,
to a huge range of references from countries far and wide.
But of course, the history of decorative arts
lives and breathes in the museum.
This 18th century music room
was once part of the city residence of the Dukes of Norfolk
but when the house was being demolished,
the V&A carefully dismantled and reconstructed the room here,
in the British Gallery.
And the experts overseeing this kind of impressive project
are curators like Sue Smith.
Why is this exhibit so important to the V&A?
I think we decided to put this room into the galleries
because it allows visitors to stand in the 18th century.
In this, you are surrounded by fine wood carving and fine panelling
and you have a real sense of what the visitors
who came to the opening party felt in 1756.
When, as part of a group who usually work on a new gallery project,
we worked together to decide what should go on display
and this room was a piece that we wanted to put on display
from the very first and it took us all of six years to do it.
It is marvellous, isn't it?
How important is it, do you think, to have a history of design
that's accessible to the public?
I think it's enormously important.
I think people need to be rooted in understanding the history
in order to appreciate what's going on around them,
what's happening to our cities,
what's happening to our architecture,
and I think, when you see the number of students, designers
and practitioners who really know what's in this museum,
really love it and really study it, it's quite impressive.
To show how diverse a place the museum is to work in,
we leave Sarah, our curator, surrounded by the 18th century
and move to the 21st century and a designer at work.
For the creatively minded,
the V&A is currently running an Artist In Residence scheme.
It's been doing so since 2008.
Today, we have a calligrapher, a sound artist and Louisa,
who's working away in her studio right there
as the resident ceramicist and for any artist,
it must be absolutely marvellous working here
because you've got all of this resource
right at your fingertips, you don't have to go anywhere.
Now in 2012, huge numbers of visitors to the museum
are in the field of art and design,
so it seems the ambitions of Prince Albert
and the Royal Commission over 150 years ago
have been realised.
Admission is still without charge,
an original intention from the Board of Trustees,
making the treasures inside accessible to people
from all walks of life
and it's not just about the incredible artefacts on display.
The things here inspire modern designers and in turn,
their items are proudly put on display
for future generations to appreciate.
Back at our valuation day at the Transport Museum,
we're still going full throttle.
This is what it's all about, hundreds of people having a good time.
-You are happy, aren't you?
And amongst the huge crowds that have joined us today,
there are some real characters.
Ada watches "Flog It!" every day
and I'm going to tell you know, she's 102 years old.
Can I give you a kiss?
We also find some young antique enthusiasts.
Amy, how old are you?
-Four, oh, big four, look at that.
-Do you like antiques?
And people bring with them fascinating stories to tell.
All these professional footballers that play today know you
because you badger them, don't you? You write letters to them...
I never badger people, I write politely and if they agree
I go and see them and if not, I say, "Thank you very much."
And you take this football?
I take my football to all the famous goalkeepers that I've ever watched
and played with them and respected as international goalkeepers.
As an ex-amateur, to meet all these famous professionals,
to me everyday was a highlight, every time I met one.
It's a thrill to be here, to meet new people
and just to show the pride of my life.
If you put that into a specialist sale room,
a sports memorabilia auction,
that would realise somewhere in the region of £1,000 plus
with all those signatures on there.
But I know, it's precious to you.
Let's catch up with our experts now and see what they're up to
and it looks like Claire has spotted a real gem.
Well, Emma, this is a rather fun item.
A desk ornament but with a twist which we'll find out in a moment,
so tell me, first of all, how did you come by it?
-I picked this bargain up at a local car boot.
Bargain, you say, so what did it cost you?
-OK, that's not too bad. So, what attracted you to it?
I like it because it was shiny. CLAIRE LAUGHS
No, it caught my attention. I'm not really interested in aeroplanes
but I just liked it, I thought it was something very unusual.
-Yeah, it's really quite fun, isn't it?
So, you've obviously got a good eye.
Here we have a lovely model of a jet aeroplane, dating from the 1950s,
chrome, and on the face of it, just a very nice desk ornament.
But when you look a bit more closely to the base,
there's a very, very distinctive name underneath there
and the very tall lettering of Dunhill.
And Dunhill to most people means one thing - lighters.
Cigarette lighters, cigar lighters.
So, you have it sitting in your table
and when you want to light your cigar or cigarette,
press its nose and...
It pops. So, it's nice that the flint is still working anyway.
And then, you just sort of push it down to put it away again.
-Did you know it was a lighter when you bought it?
-Oh, you did.
-Yes, they showed me it was a lighter.
There are lots of people that collect Dunhill lighters
and they made all sorts from jet planes to animals,
wonderful sort of plastic aquariums as well.
So, there really is a wide range for people to collect
and they are really quite popular.
It's in very good order, it's a great novelty item,
make a great present for somebody
and it's going to appeal to collectors of lighters
and probably aeronautica as well.
-Now, have you been to an auction before?
-I went to an auction.
-I've only been to one before.
I was a young child, my dad took me along
and all I remember from this auction was a hen...
You take the lid off and put the eggs in it.
Hen on a nest, yes, yeah.
And that's all that's stuck in my mind from this auction.
-Ever tempted to go and, you know, go to another one?
Yes, yeah, so I think an estimate of 70-100. Does that sound all right?
Yeah, that's really good, yeah.
And I think a reserve of £70, just to protect it on the day,
perhaps with a bit of discretion,
so if the auctioneer gets within 10% of the reserve, they can let it...
-Is that good for you?
-Yeah, that's fine.
So, being attracted to sort of silvery things
is probably a good thing,
so get out there to some more and see what else you can find.
I might go out and treat myself to a few new clothes,
but I'll be going to a car-boot sales, too.
Yeah, good thing, so it could start a whole new interest for you.
-Yes, it could, yes.
Oh, no, that's more competition at the car-boot sales!
You had better get up early.
Next, it's back to Charlie, who knows a good thing
when he sees it, even if he doesn't know what it is.
I'm not quite sure what we've got here, Cathy, tell me.
Well, when it was given to me for my daughter as a Christening gift,
I thought it might have been a cake knife
because she was only six months old.
I don't think you'd have a serrated edge.
Well, that's what I thought afterwards.
So, this was a Christening present for your daughter,
-did she ever have it?
-No, I've always looked after it.
Is she happy then for you to sell it?
Does she know you've brought it along today?
Yes, I mentioned it to her last night and I checked with her again today.
I've been sitting here staring at it.
First of all, the thing that strikes me, is its wonderful quality.
It's the Goldsmiths And Silversmiths Company
which was started in the late 19th century
and then later in the 20th century amalgamated with Garrards.
You're talking about the best possible makers here.
Do you know what it's made of?
No, only that it's got some squiggly bits on the back.
It's got some squiggly bits on the back! Can't wait to see the squiggly bits on the back.
The handle is ivory and I'm anxious to see what date it is
because it needs to be pre-1947 for us to be allowed to sell it.
-Looking at the case, to me it looks early 20th century.
I'd say it's between 1900 and 1910.
-We have...cracking news.
And it's a very good gauge of silver.
It's high quality, it's made in London
and the date is 1901.
I don't think it's a cake knife.
-To me, it looks perhaps like a presentation to a surgeon.
Something like that.
It's very similar to the sort of gruesome instruments
they used in the early 19th century.
You know, if you were a surgeon aboard HMS Victory or whatever,
you'd have you surgeon's tools with you and, frankly,
when someone was shot in the leg and you needed to saw the leg off,
you sawed the leg off, just like that.
I think it's of huge interest
to a collector, so why are you selling it?
Well, because like so many other people, it's in the box,
it's never been out. It's never ever been on show, and you just think,
-"Well, maybe somebody else will like that that."
-Somebody will like that.
I think a surgeon might buy that. Remind him of...
-..more horrendous days.
They're a bit more sophisticated nowadays.
-You've got everything that needs to be there.
Hallmarked silver, fabulous case, great maker,
Victorian or thereabouts, value.
-Not a clue but it's sounding good so far. THEY LAUGH
I like that answer, I like that answer.
-Have I bigged this up a bit too much?
-I think you might have.
I think it's worth between £100 and £200.
-You look pleasantly surprised with that.
Well, I'm going to estimate this at £100-£150, which you're happy with,
-at a fixed reserve of £80 as an absolute bottom line.
If that doesn't make £80,
then I don't think you should be selling it.
-And I hope it's not used for cutting someone's leg off.
-So do I!
Oh, Charlie, be nice!
The car-boot sales in Coventry must be cracking,
because Claire's found another bird of flight bought for a song.
Hello, Dorothy, well,
you've flown in with some fine friends here today.
Were they bought, a family member from you or...?
Yeah, well, my late husband, he bought them
actually from a car-boot sale.
-Oh, really? Right.
-Over 20 years ago.
And they've been on the wall ever since.
They're a good bargain buy, were they, at the car boot?
I think he paid...
..about £20, possibly.
Oh, right. Yeah, because they've always been scarce.
Mind you, at that time, that was very good because 20 years ago,
Beswick would have been making really quite a lot of money.
So, you've decided to have a change?
Well, I've redecorated, got rid of a lot of old furniture
and these don't quite go with what I've put in their place.
They all look to be in very nice condition.
-They obviously haven't fallen off at any time.
-They've never fallen off.
Taken a nasty dive onto the floor.
-Well, we have to talk a bit more about them,
so obviously, they're seagulls,
they're made to hang on wall
in a sort of trio, like this.
Then, if we look at the back,
we'll see it's marked with a factory name,
and we've got "Beswick" on there.
Very well known factory indeed,
also we have an impressed mark which is very typical,
in fact some of the earlier Beswick was just impressed,
you didn't very often have factory marks.
But this is the post-war mark that they used.
Well, they did a huge, huge range of animals
and of course a lot of their porcelain is hand-painted,
it's hand finished, so you do get a variety of differences
in the shading and the detail on them.
They have been very, very popular
and there are some animals that make tremendous money.
But they're not quite as popular as they used to be.
Like a lot of china things, not so many people have ornaments,
rather like yourself, they're changing their interiors,
they're living with different things,
not quite so much clutter as perhaps people like I have.
And so their popularity's waned a bit.
The good thing is that the scarcer items are still popular with collectors
so there are certain animals that are always going to be more popular
and the flying gulls, you don't see quite so many of.
And also, to find them in good condition is quite rare
because they have all sorts of little bits sticking out
that are just begging to be chipped off.
I think, at the moment,
probably a sensible auction estimate would be about £70-130.
Bit of a broad estimate because, I think,
if you were going to put a reserve on them,
I'd pitch the reserve at the 70, 65-70,
I don't know how that sounds to you.
-That's all right.
-They have to go.
Because I think, with the auctioneer,
perhaps have a bit of discretion, as well, on the day.
-If that's OK, we'll put them in at 65, 70-130 estimate.
And then, all being well, they'll fly out of the sale room
-to their new home.
Good to see Claire's got the bird sayings down pat.
-That's a feather in her cap.
Well, I must say, this museum has absolutely everything.
Right now, I'm surrounded by Triumphs.
Look, there's Triumph Stag up there,
there's a Triumph Herald down there cut in half
so you can see how it works.
In fact, today has been a total triumph.
I thoroughly enjoyed it here, but sadly,
it's time to say goodbye as we head over to the auction room
in Stratford-upon-Avon for the very last time,
and here are the three gems that we're taking with us.
The Dunhill lighter, giving the practical a personality.
Whether it's a cake knife or a surgical saw,
it's solid silver and that's a winner.
They say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,
but how many are three on the wall worth?
Well, we'll find out momentarily.
Welcome back to our second visit to the auction room
here in Stratford-upon-Avon. Will our items sink or swim?
We're just about to find out.
Let's make our way over there.
Christopher Ironmonger is still working hard on the rostrum
selling around 100 lots per hour. That's one every 1.6 minutes.
Tough going, and it's a "Flog It!" lot next.
Hi, Emma, it's good to see you again.
The Dunhill lighter, the chrome MiG fighter jet,
that would look good on any boy's desk, wouldn't it? What a thing!
-And you picked this up where, remind us all?
-At a car boot.
-How much did you pay for it?
Oh, I don't like you, I'm getting annoyed. That was so cheap.
I know, it was a bargain.
Did you realise it was such a bargain at the time
or did you not know, it just took your eye and thought,
-"I'll have that"?
-Yeah, I didn't know what I was buying.
I just bought it because I liked the look of it.
Great name, though, I mean associated with quality throughout.
Alfred Dunhill, a genius who really pushed the company
when he inherited it. And somebody told me you're going to spend
all the proceeds of the sale on...
What do girls normally spend their money on?
-Shoes. Is that right?
-I might buy a few pairs of shoes.
-Well done, you.
-Yeah, good find.
-Let's put it to the test.
And again, I've got a multiplicity of bids. I can start at £100.
Straight on at 100, on the book at £100. Is it 110 in the room?
At £100, it will be sold. With me, on the commission at 100
if there's no advance.
Are you done?
Well, that was short and sweet, wasn't it?
If only we had someone in the room to push that
because he said there were commission bids
and he was going to start at 100 so obviously a lot of people left £100.
They would have been prepared to go a bit further with that.
Anyway, look, it's 100 quid.
-It's a lot more than what you paid for it.
Back to the car boots, invest a bit more money and save half for shoes.
You can leave a commission bid with the auction house
so you don't have to attend in person
and that technique just won somebody a Dunhill lighter.
Will the seagulls go the same way?
We are just about to sell the three graduated seagulls.
This is where I get letters
because I call it "Bezzick" figures and not "Bezzwick."
I don't know what you say, what do you say?
-I call it "Bezzwick".
-What do you say, Claire?
-I say "Bezzick" as well, yes.
Firmly, a strong believer in "Bezzick". Sorry to upset anyone.
Now, originally Claire put a valuation of £70-130
with a reserve at 70, that was right, wasn't it?
-Somewhere around there.
And I know that you've been in contact with Christopher,
-you've been on the phone, and put the reserve up.
Because you didn't want to let them go for that kind of figure.
No, I've had them such a long time and I wouldn't want them
-to go for less than...
So, it's now at £90. So, we need £90.
It's got to be fixed at £90, not a penny less.
Let's put it to the test.
Let's find out what the bidders think. Here we go, this is it.
And now we come onto 251. I'm bid 60 on the book. At 60, 70.
70, 80, is it? At £70 only at 70. 80...
-There's a chap, look, bidding down the front.
-5 is it?
-90 at the front of the room here at 90. 95...
-He wants those.
£90, 95, new place. 100, 110. 120, 130, 140?
130, it's with the lady now. £130, the lady's bid at 130.
-£130, that was good, wasn't it?
That was very, very good.
-Can you see how it's really hotted up towards the end, there?
And you could say, they flew away.
So, the last lot of the day.
What do you think the mystery saw will go for?
Now, a little surprise for you.
The auctioneer's represented this beautifully in the catalogue,
great big photograph, and he's upped the value from £100-150
to around £250, maybe £300, so...
-Charlie, this could get exciting.
Yeah, I'm hoping to be proved well wrong here,
-I hope it makes hundreds of pounds.
-You never know, do you?
You just don't know. Anything can happen in an auction.
Well, good luck, it's going under the hammer right now. This is it.
Catalogue now, the Goldsmith and Silversmith Company,
Edwardian presentation silver and ivory-handled saw.
Very nice little item, London, 1901 and I can open the bidding
straight off at 250 on the book.
Straight in there at the new reserve.
260, 280, 300, 320, 340, clear's me, 340 with you.
At 340 in the doorway. 360 anywhere else? At 340 it's going to be sold.
A slice of that, please, Mr Auctioneer!
THEY LAUGH Yeah, fine.
And there's a bit of money to go and play with, treat yourself.
-It's going to the grandchildren.
-How many have you got?
-I've got two.
-And is this one of them here? Hello.
-Yes, it is.
-This is Hadley.
Hadley, well, there you go.
Super gran. That's what they're all about, aren't they? Super gran.
Cathy is keeping it in the family.
And so the curtain closes on another "Flog It!" auction.
Our experts, Claire and Charlie,
were on the money with their valuations.
But, at the end of the day, it's down to that lot.
The sea of faces, the bidders, that's where it counts,
that's where we determine exactly what it's worth.
See you next time for more antiques and auctions on "Flog It!"
Over 800 people come along to the Flog It! valuation day in Coventry Transport Museum.
Paul Martin is joined by experts Clare Rawle and Charlie Ross as they pick out their favourite antiques to take to auction. Paul also takes time out to visit London's Victoria and Albert Museum.