Antiques series. This episode comes from the Discovery Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of inventions, nautical history and taxidermy.
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Today we're in Newcastle Upon Tyne,
one of the country's most innovative centres.
And this ship I'm standing on, The Turbinia,
was built just down the road in Wallsend.
At the time of its launch,
it was the first ever steam turbine-powered vessel
and it was the fastest ship in the world.
And today, we're in the first science museum
built outside of London,
and there are many more firsts here.
Welcome to "Flog It!".
The Discovery Museum houses extensive exhibits
relating to the area's industrial heritage,
its shipbuilding and coal-mining industries
as well as exhibitions about its inventors.
Joseph Swan invented the light bulb
and William Armstrong's work on hydraulics
led to the first hydraulic-powered crane
and the mechanisms that power London's Tower Bridge
and the Swing Bridge here in Newcastle.
It's fantastic to be in a city with so much drive
and some wonderful characters up there.
-Are you having a good time?
Do you know? It wouldn't be Newcastle
without the Geordie accent.
And I've been told that Geordie Ridley's Blaydon Races
based on the old horse racing sport is the unofficial
national anthem in these parts.
And this bell was used by the town crier to start the races.
So, how about a rendition of Geordie's rhyme. Ready?
-Here we go.
ALL: # Oh, me lads
# Ye shud av seen us gannin'
# Passin' the folks along the road just as they were stannin'
# All the lads and lasses there all wi' smilin' faces
# Gannin' along the Scotswood Road
# To see the Blaydon Races. #
Well done. Give yourselves a round of applause.
Just like Geordie Ridley's song
the word has reached far and wide that "Flog It!" is in town,
and people are arriving from across Tyneside and beyond
to get their antiques and collectables valued.
And to give them the very best knowledge
in the world of antiques will be our team of experts.
Adam Partridge is having a good delve.
-But it's a proper box, look.
-Ah, yes. Come on.
Let me get my sticker out straightaway anyway.
And with so much to choose from it looks like Nick Davies
has already gone a bit dotty.
-I like the tea towel.
-Yes, I bet you do.
Isn't that lovely? Look at that.
Beautiful. Made in Newcastle?
I tell you what, we'll have a look at that later on
but you're missing your place in the queue right now.
That's typical. I'm being nosy and holding everybody up.
Right, let's take a look at what's coming up in today's show.
Nick Davies gets seduced by the glamour of Hollywood.
Mae West, Come Up And See Me Sometime.
-Hollywood glamour at its best.
And emotions run high
when Adam Partridge discovers a moving letter from World War I.
I mean, I have no connection with the family at all
and I feel like crying.
Everyone here is moving through this fantastic central space
which is based on a shopping mall, except,
here, you shop for knowledge and a taste of history.
And as our queue moves upstairs to the museum's Great Hall,
Nick is already getting with the programme.
So, Magenta, what brings you to "Flog It!" today?
Well, I found this theatre programme amongst my late father's belongings.
-He was in the RAF during the Second World War.
And it was amongst all the photos and bits and bobs.
How long ago was that?
-About 20 years.
-About 20 years ago.
Can you tell me a bit about what he did
during the war and how he came by it?
Can you remember or have you been told about?
Well, he was the machine gunner on an aircraft. Um...
Unfortunately, they kept quiet about their wartime exploits...
-..but I did get the story
about when their plane was shot down over France.
-And when he landed in his parachute he broke his ankle...
-..and he was rescued by the French Resistance
who hid him in a hollowed out tree.
-Yeah, so he never got captured.
He never got captured and they smuggled him back
-across the Channel and back here.
-Yes, indeed. Yes.
-That's so amazing.
-I just wish I had more information.
-I really regret it now.
-It's a shame, isn't it?
As the generations tick by, these stories are just so good. So good.
And yeah, they do get lost.
Well, as we can see, that image, who else? Mae West.
Come Up And See Me Sometime. Hollywood glamour at its best.
-And we've got a lovely blue ink autograph here
and it's to Jeff Coats.
-And that's your dad?
-That was your dad?
And I think... There we are, "Best wishes. Mae West."
And it's a Chicago Stagecoach.
So he was over in the States at this time, was he?
Apparently so, yes. We don't know many details
but obviously having a bit of rest and recuperation then and...
-What a way to go.
-What a way to go.
Fantastic. I mean, I love Hollywood. I love all about it.
I mean, James Stewart, my hero. Absolute idol of mine.
And I've sold various autographs through the history of my work,
But there's little nuances with autographs.
First of all, it's got a personal signature so...
-..it's a bit of a downer really...
..because it's obviously dedicated to your father
but from your point of view and his, wow, brilliant.
I bet he showed all his mates when he went back home. "Look at this!"
-Um, from a collector's point of view it's a little bit of a downer.
However, the other thing, you're on a great image
and you could frame it and it would look really nice.
-And have you had a good look through the programme?
-Let's have a little look in here on the front page.
Because she's playing Catharine Was Great,
or Catherine The Great, I assume.
-And it looks like it was written by her as well.
-Who would believe it?
-So it was written by her,
starring her in a very strong feminine role.
We've got it dated 1945 in there.
I think it's towards the end of her career where she was...
I think so, yeah. The movie days were perhaps over
and she was just winding down a bit.
That's right. Hanging on to past glories maybe.
-But hey, I would have loved to have met her anyway so...
Your dad was a very lucky man.
I mean, a lovely thing. And we've also got...
It really comes down to supply and demand but obviously,
Mae West, it's going back in time a bit further,
and the further back in time as well that obviously helps as well.
-But it's a really good example of her signature.
I would have thought at auction she's probably worth
-around about £80-£120, somewhere in that region.
Yeah? Good. Well, that's good. That's what we like to hear.
probably put a reserve on it around about 70.
-Think your dad would've been pleased with that?
-Yes, I think so.
Bless her for doing it. Thank you very much for coming.
-It's a really good thing to see.
Adam Partridge is upstairs in the Great Hall,
the space once used as the canteen
for the cooperative workers
who were based here between 1899 and 1986.
Let's see what's being served up right now.
Graham, thanks for coming along to "Flog it!"
And it's always nice to see things of local interest.
-You've got two volumes here of the History Of Newcastle.
Where did you get them from?
From an antiquarian book shop.
-How long ago did you...?
-About 15 years ago.
So, not that long ago. Do you have a collection of antiquarian books?
-All local history or...?
-Most of it. Most of it.
-And you're starting to sell this off?
So you've got the two volumes here.
A well-known book by Brand, isn't it?
But obviously when we're looking at a book
the main page we want to see is this title page here.
History And Antiquities Of The Town And County
Of The Town Of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
This is by John Brand, master of arts of London,
-and that is 1789.
-That makes it the first edition, I think.
First edition, leather bound, with all the maps intact and everything.
Everything's in it.
I'm just going to see...
Let's show a sample of one of the foldout maps.
There's a nice example of one.
How recognisable is that nowadays?
Other than the cathedral, nothing.
-Other than the cathedral?
-But that's a rather nice engraving isn't it?
Black and white engraving. A good view of Newcastle.
And both volumes are full of these
and explanatory texts of the history of this fine city.
I'm guessing that you paid quite a lot for them
from a local book-seller.
But you've enjoyed them, you wanted them,
you've had the pleasure of owning them
and now it's time to move them on.
Let's be realistic. What's your aspirations...
What do you think they're worth now at auction?
I think probably around about the 300.
Yeah, I think we should do that.
At what price would you rather have them back if you think,
well, if they don't make...? Would it be 300? Slightly less, 250?
-Shall we fix the reserve at 250?
-I think that's sensible.
And we can put an estimate then of 250-350.
Two people get stuck in an auction,
you might end up drawing a bit more on them.
Um, they are lovely things to own
and what better place to sell them than the local auction?
Absolutely, and it's really lovely to have those wonderful,
original version books on this fitting location.
While everybody's working hard in here
I'm going to go down to the basement
to take a look at the intriguing collection
that you have to make an appointment to see.
I'm descending into the basement to meet up with Dan Gordon,
the curator of the Hancock collection,
one of the oldest and most extensive collections of taxidermy.
It's quite incredible being surrounded
by such an array of creatures, many of which are now extinct.
Dan, what's the importance of this collection?
Well, this collection, um, we have records for over a million objects.
We've got bones and shells,
we've got insects and historical material
-as well as modern material, so...
-And things that are extinct.
Indeed, yes. We're lucky...
What have you picked out to show me?
This is probably the most valuable piece in the collection.
Is that because it's extinct?
It is, yes.
This is a great auk.
This one is doubly important
because it's actually a juvenile bird.
And do you know what? This is almost unique.
I think there's one other juvenile bird in the entire world,
so, it's just such a precious record of what this animal was like
when it was young and when it was growing.
And that's the virtue of having animals stuffed like this,
-taxidermy, isn't it?
You know, in the future, because there's so many extinctions
these days, taxidermy is really going to be a record,
-..of life that no longer exists.
The naturalists didn't have cameras
and they didn't have nature films, so, really, preserving the animals
like this was the way that they kept a record of it.
The piece next to it looks typically Victorian.
Yes, this is a piece by John Hancock.
-The namesake of the Hancock collection really.
-And it really represents...
-Really the great master himself.
I mean, this represents the zenith of the taxidermist's art, really.
John was a Newcastle man. He was a natural...
-He was an ornithologist, wasn't he?
-He was. Yes, he was an ornithologist
and I think that that informed his taxidermy.
He really understood how the birds moved, how their bodies were made up
and you can really see that.
It's been fascinating talking to Dan about how the animals here
have been vital in documenting world species.
Let's head back up into the light now for our next valuation
with Nick Davies.
What brings you here today?
Well, I actually...
Um, I'd forgotten about this and I found it in the loft
with a item I actually was going to bring along to be valued so...
So you bought something else and this was the last minute...
Yes, I thought that was probably better than the other thing I had.
OK. So, how come it ended up in your loft?
How come a weapon has ended up in your loft?
SHE LAUGHS Well, I've inherited it really.
It was originally from my grandmother's house
-where she kept it in a sideboard...
-..and I used to play with it
-and used to pretend to shoot my cousins with it.
-Had fun with it really.
-So it's come all the way down the family.
You've had a gun in your loft...
-For how many years?
-Oh, could be about ten years really.
-About ten years.
-And you decided to bring it down and see what it's worth.
It's a really nice example of what it is.
It's about 1790-1800 and it's a flintlock pistol.
It's got a disguised trigger in the base,
so when you pull that flint there the trigger will come out.
And also a nice little bit of stiff leaf engraving
right on the end of the barrel which is a really sweet detail.
There's a bit missing on the base there,
probably a brass plaque I would've thought,
maybe with the initials engraved of the owner
and a really nice chequered walnut grip there which is...
..quite interesting to hold.
So it's a really good example of what it is.
And it's made by a company called Jover,
J-O-V-E-R, in London.
-So you're a local Geordie lass?
-With a London gun?
-We don't know how it's got up here, do we?
Could have come up with a "wa-hey" man?
"Highwere" man or highway man?
"Haway" man. THEY LAUGH
I think it's come via Birmingham cos it looks like it's got
Birmingham proof marks. But the Birmingham Gun Quarter
was obviously very prolific at this time period.
So, what do you think it's worth?
-I haven't really a clue.
I would have thought at auction you're probably in the region
-of around about £150-£200.
Um, I'd probably reserve it a little bit less than that,
around about the 120 mark.
It possibly would have been one of a pair originally
in a nice walnut fitting.
Have you got another one hidden in your sock drawer?
-Not that I know of.
-Are you sure?
-I haven't found one.
You haven't found another one. So we'll put it to auction.
Any idea what you're going to do with the money?
Um, well, my daughter and I
usually go on an annual trip down to London to see a show, so...
-Excellent, a nice weekend in London.
-Probably a little bit of shopping I suspect.
-That would go along nicely.
-We'll see you at the auction and see how we get on with the gun.
We are now halfway through our valuation day which means it's
time to put those valuations to the test in the auction room.
Fingers crossed we're not too adrift
and hopefully our items will just sail out, pardon the pun.
Here's a quick recap of what's going under the hammer.
Will Mae West's autograph be the star attraction
after all these years?
18th-century leather-bound first edition,
these History Of Newcastle books
are sure to get the local historians excited today.
And also from the same period,
Christine's walnut travel pistol.
We're in East Boldon just outside of Newcastle Upon Tyne
and a stone's throw from the North Sea.
It's auction time.
On the rostrum today is auctioneer Charles Hodges.
Whatever you do, don't go away.
I've got a good feeling about today's sale.
There's a real buzz in the room.
Now, remember, if you're buying or selling at auction
there is commission to pay.
Here, it's 17.5% plus VAT
so factor that in, won't you?
Because those costs can add up.
So, do your sums and let's get on with the sale.
Our first seller has got a name
that lives up to the iconic autograph she's selling today.
I'm joined by Magenta Moon.
And now, we are selling a theatre programme
signed by Mae West in 1945 which obviously your dad went to see.
-He must have been a big fan towards the tail end of the War...
..when he was in the RAF. Hard thing to value, Nick.
Yeah, um, autographs, they're always difficult.
Tend to do better in specialist sales
but there's a few other autographs in this sale so hopefully...
-..we'll draw some people in.
-Right, ready for this?
-Let's put it to the test.
Here we go. Let's hand things over to Charles on the rostrum.
Got a theatre programme autograph by Mae West.
Chi...Chicago Stagebill, 1945.
And I've opened bids of £30 to start me.
45. 50. 55.
60. 65. 70. 75.
-In the room, downstairs at £75.
-We're on that reserve, aren't we?
At £75 for the last time.
-This is good, isn't it?
-100 to the left.
Anybody else left?
At £100 and all done?
At £100. And we're away at 100.
-Well, it's gone and I'm happy with that.
-So am I.
-£100. Thank you so much for coming in.
-Well done, Nick.
-Yeah, it was good. Good result.
A lovely item there from one of the silver screen's most glamorous
and enduring stars Mae West.
From Hollywood to Newcastle,
these 18th-century leather-bound book are pure quality.
Belonging to Graham Hill who's with me right now.
I'm excited about this. You were looking there then.
You were lost in thought, weren't you?
Yeah, I was looking at the other lots.
-You're nervous, aren't you?
-We're a couple away.
Now, I know you paid big money for these, didn't you?
First editions, little bit tatty on the covers
but you can forgive that, can't you?
Because everything is intact, maps, pictures, pull-outs,
nothing rebound. A nice, genuine, honest set.
-Yeah, and we're talking around, what, 17...?
OK, 1784. Proper antique, that's what I say.
Look, time is up. I'm getting a cue now. This is it.
Your lot is coming up right now, so, good luck.
I'm bid 140 to start them.
140. 150. 160.
170. 180. 190. 200.
220. 240. 260.
At 260, front row. 280.
300. 320. 340.
380, front row. You're out, sir.
-380, it's the top estimate.
At £380 for the first and the last.
At £380. And we're away at 380.
£380, definitely local interest there.
-You just knew they'd sell in the room.
Good valuation, Adam.
Thank you very much.
And now it's time to sell Christine's antique pistol
which we know is perfectly legal to sell
as it's no longer recognised as a firearm.
-It's a nice thing, actually, isn't it?
-Did you not want to keep it after rediscovering it?
I mean, it's pointless just keeping it in the loft
so hopefully somebody would be, you know,
interested in having it.
-It's in really good condition, this one.
Been kept in the loft. Hasn't seen the light of day apart from...
-It's been out of harm's way, hasn't it?
-It has, yeah, yeah.
Are you confident with the top end?
-I think we're in with a good shout. I really do.
Purely because of the condition?
Yeah, because of the condition. It's nice with the hidden trigger
-It's a nice little twist to it.
So, hopefully, hopefully...
Auction, you never know.
Good for you for looking after it. Right, let's put this to the test.
Here we go.
A flint and box-lock travel pistol.
Jover Of London.
I have one, two, three commissions bids.
-I start at 240.
-There we go.
At 240. 250.
In the room at 270.
-Hanging onto that.
At 290, it's in the room.
It's against you on the internet. It's 320.
At 340, it's online.
At £340. The room is quiet.
-We'll take that. That's bull's-eye,
-isn't it? £340.
-A nice little surprise.
-Condition. You see, condition always counts, doesn't it?
-It really does.
-Well done, you.
And well done to Nick too for spotting that one.
Well, that was fast and furious.
That concludes our first visit to the sale today.
We're coming back here later on but it's wonderful to be surrounded
by fine art and antiques and looking at the beautiful craftsmanship.
While we were in the area filming I thought I'd check out
a local artist who has left an incredible legacy
both nationally and internationally.
His name is Thomas Bewick and he lived just west of Newcastle.
This is the view that Thomas Bewick grew up with.
He was born here at Cherryburn in August 1753.
And for me, seeing this place for the first time in my life,
it's utterly captivating.
I am so in love with it.
So it's hardly surprising that Bewick's early years
were so influential.
Wood engraver and naturalist Thomas Bewick
revolutionised print art in Georgian England,
and some would say he was Northumberland's greatest artist.
His parents, as well as Cherryburn itself and all of its farm animals,
were hugely important to Bewick.
He was the eldest of eight children.
He helped out with the livestock, he often assisted the milkmaids
and by the age of 13 he even had his own flock of sheep.
And it was here by the fire that Thomas Bewick
did some of his first illustrations.
With no paper, he used bits of charcoal to draw on the hearth.
Clearly, from early on, Bewick the artist was trying to get out.
He was constantly in trouble as a young boy,
playing truant from school.
Instead of attending,
he'd go roaming around his beloved Northumberland countryside.
Because of his lack of interest in school
he was sent to be tutored by the local vicar.
Fortunately, his father recognised a passion,
an interest in drawing, so he sent the young 14 year old
on a seven-year engraving apprenticeship to Newcastle.
It was the end of his childhood.
And leaving Cherryburn was incredibly hard for Bewick,
who wrote in his memoirs,
"I can only say my heart was like to break,
"and as we passed away, I inwardly bade farewell to the whinny wilds,
"the Mickley Bank and to the Stob-Cross Hill,
"to the water banks, the woods and to particular trees."
During his apprenticeship,
Bewick showed great aptitude towards wood engraving.
But on the weekends he would think nothing of walking the 11 miles
home back here to Cherryburn.
Thomas' beloved home is now looked after by the National Trust.
I've arranged to meet up with Shona Branigan
who teaches wood block printing to members of the public here,
and she's also going to talk me through Thomas Bewick's
way of working.
Right, well, what he did was he actually worked on boxwood
which is this kind of wood.
-Yeah, a dense grain, isn't it?
-Very hard work.
It takes a few hundred years to actually grow to this width.
That's also why I suppose most of his images were really, really small because...
A tiny piece of wood. It doesn't get much bigger.
-It doesn't get a lot bigger at all.
-Now, the tools used
look like metal engraver's tools used to engrave sheets of copper.
Yes, they're exactly the same that are used.
He made his own tools when he was an apprentice,
and yes, they are exactly the same.
-They all have slightly different shaved edges...
..which will give you different marks,
-either thin marks or slightly...
-Do little jobs, yes.
It's an incredibly absorbing thing to actually spend your time doing
cos your whole world kind of comes down to this little piece here.
Yeah. And I've noticed with these blocks, look,
that you're working from the sort of dark-to-light technique,
-is that right?
-That's exactly it, yeah.
So you cover the block dark and then you start to gauge away...
-..producing the white line?
That's right. You actually...
Yeah, this is one of Bewick's original wood engravings.
Everything that's removed from here will print white
because the ink sits on the surface of the block.
-And he's done different things to sort of show distance.
You can get different relief by sanding the block down
in totally one place, can you?
In different parts, he's lowered the surface from the rest of it...
-I can see that. Yes.
-..which means that it'll hold less ink
in the printing press. And then when the print...
If you see this particular print from this block,
that section there is lowered and it's got a grey tone to it.
-It has, hasn't it? Which is a little bit lighter.
-Yeah, that's right.
Shona, I take it there was no printing equipment here at the house
-during Bewick's lifetime.
When the house was taken over as a museum in the late 1980s
-all of the printing equipment was donated...
..by a printer, which is great though because it means that
having the printing facility here we can actually print Bewick blocks
and have prints to sell to the public.
He would love the fact that his work's still being printed
and sold to people.
And also to print other people's wood engravings as well
and keep the craft alive.
Bewick's visits back to Cherryburn
became less frequent when his father died.
Poignantly, it was at this point that he began his own work,
Quadrupeds, a book that deals with 260 mammals from around the world.
It reached a wide audience and it gave him
some celebrity within his own lifetime.
The Quadrupeds book was Bewick's first personal work
and he pursued with a real passion.
This was the Age Of The Enlightenment, or
The March Of Intellect, as Bewick called it.
And he was very much part of intellectual and philosophical
discussions of the day.
There was a growing interest in the natural world,
fuelled by the voyages of the great explorers of the time.
Bewick worked closely with these men, who would bring back animals
for him to draw, such as monkeys and a platypus,
often preserved in the ships run.
Bewick relied on taxidermy to make many of his illustrations.
And what's also remarkable about Bewick's work is,
he made information about the natural world available
to the wider population.
Up until Bewick's time, having access to the beautifully-printed
illustrations was very much the preserve of the upper classes.
So, when all 1,600 copies of the first edition
sold out within a month,
Bewick was instrumental in getting them on library shelves
and starting a wider circulation.
This would have pleased Bewick greatly,
not just because his book was an outright success,
but because he was a very affable chap with no airs and graces.
His background had put him in contact with people
from all walks of life and he was so happy to share his illustrations.
And every engraver that has come along since has stopped
and looked at his work in awe.
Welcome back to the valuation day here at the Discovery Museum,
Newcastle's science and local history museum
where there's a great atmosphere.
Adam Partridge is down there somewhere
and I've just been told by one of our researchers
that he's spotted a real gem,
so let's go down and join him.
-Well, hello, Liz, how are you?
-Fine, thank you, Adam. And you?
I'm really pleased to see you at "Flog It!" today
because this is a great example of real history of your distant family.
Yes. Who were actually related to my husband
through his aunt who married into that family.
-So, they're quite distant relatives
and as far as we know, there's no-one alive today
connected with any of this.
-So, there is your reason for selling?
Well, we've had a bit of a look through already
and it appears to be the tale, mainly, of two Richards.
It is, yeah.
We've got World War I here.
Richard Smithson, who was killed in action, was he not?
-He was, in France.
And this letter here is just so poignant.
I mean, if you imagine... This is Smithson.
-Do you think that's his wife or his mother?
-Mother I believe. Yes.
Well, all the mothers out there, grandmothers, wives watching...
..imagine getting a letter like this.
26th July, 1918. "Dear Mrs Smithson.
"I must write and offer you my deepest sympathy
"in the death in action of your son Gunner RA Smithson.
"His comrades were able to bring his body down to a little cemetery
"beside a farm, away from the battle area in a beautiful valley
"covered with vines.
"After the service, a comrade sounded the last post
"and a cross made by a friend was erected.
"Many French soldiers and those of another Allied nation
"stood round and paid their last respects to a brave man.
"He was killed instantaneously and painlessly
"on Sunday morning, 21st July.
"And at 7:15 PM that day, as the sun was setting over the hills,
"I conducted the last service in sure and certain hope
"of a glorious resurrection.
"May the good father comfort you and yours in your bereavement."
-And that's from the chaplain.
I mean, I have no connection with the family at all
-and I feel like crying now. How does it make you feel?
It has emotional effects on you because it's so poignant,
-not just from the First World War.
It's still happening today.
There he is. There's the brave man who died for our country,
-for freedom and honour.
-Yeah. A young man.
-And then we move on to...
-..another Richard Smithson.
And this is World War II.
And we believe Richard was named after his uncle.
-And did he come back safely?
And he's earned this group of medals
here from the Second World War. These are relatively common medals.
-Obviously, to have five of them...
It kind of doesn't feel appropriate to talk about value now
but I suppose it is a show called "Flog It!"
which is about selling your stuff.
Therefore, we're going to have to throw an estimate at them.
I would suggest £50-£100.
-Seems nothing, doesn't it?
-I know, but...
I think that's about the right level.
And I have a feeling that, because they're being sold locally...
..then they'll make the right price anyway,
but I think a reserve probably would be appropriate because it's not...
..the difference between the money, it's just it feels
they should... Whatever happens they should be worth £50.
-So, that's put that as a reserve. Thanks for bringing them.
And I feel that you've done the right thing really,
because now, if they went to a local museum,
or a local school, or a collector or something like that,
people are going to really enjoy looking at that as we have today.
-I hope so. I hope so.
-And learn a lot too.
However many times we see First and Second World War memorabilia
on the show, it never ceases to move me.
The incredible stories we hear.
We really have taken over every square foot
of this historic venue today,
and now, away from the main hall, let's catch up with Nick.
Let's take a closer look at what he's spotted.
-So, Lillian, welcome to "Flog It!".
-Come far today?
-Not far, just the other side of the river.
Just the other side of the river. And you've brought with us,
-I believe your father's pocket watch, is that right?
It was given to me by my father. It was handed down.
And where did he get it from? Do you know?
-I believe his father, but I don't know anything past that.
-My dad was a train driver...
-..so, you know,
I didn't know whether he would've used it
when he was at work or whether he just kept it.
-I know it was special to him because he bought the chain for it.
There hadn't been one.
Right, so it was special from his dad really, coming down the line,
which these things often do.
I mean, it's a nice example of what it is.
It's a gold-plated
crown wind pocket watch.
It's probably going to be around 1910-1915, possibly even 1920.
They were producing up to that late.
Made by Waltham,
who were a great American company based in Massachusetts.
They were fairly mass produced.
They shipped a lot of movements over to this country
and they were putting cases
in the Jewellery Quarter in Hockley
Um, the nice thing about it,
even though it's a gold-plated one,
it's nice, clean dials.
And dials are really everything with this.
Once you start getting cracks through them it's very expensive
and probably really not worth repairing.
But it seems to be running.
I've set it to time as well and it seems to be running quite nicely.
-The chain, however, is gold.
OK? So this is nine carat, what we call rose gold,
and it's the alloys they mix with the gold
so you get a nice coppery tinge to it.
And the fob is also gold.
It's hanging off the edge.
The swirl fob has got two stones on it which is typical.
You've got bloodstone on the one side which is this green stone
with the red flecks in it, the bloodstone.
And the other side, it's just a plain brown stone which is called
cornelian or carnelian, from wherever you come from.
There's always disputes about scone and "scon"
and carnelian and cornelian.
But really nice example. Any idea on value at all?
I haven't. I've never even thought about, you know,
whether I would value it or sell it or do anything with it.
Yeah, I mean, most of your value is in the chain
and the fob rather than the watch, ironically.
The watch itself is probably worth about £20 or £30.
They're not uncommon.
You see a lot of them.
The chain, however, being gold,
it's probably worth a couple of hundred, £250. £250, I would say.
-Maybe even get 300 on a good day.
-And with your little fob as well.
When I see this, a lot of people have left jewellery that they don't like,
often sell it and buy a piece that they like that they'll wear.
-Yes, that's a good idea.
-It's a very good idea.
Thank you for bringing it down. I'll see you at the auction.
-Fingers crossed, I think we'll be all right.
So, as time ticks on on Lillian's watch
it's time for us to travel upstairs for our final valuation today.
Well, Charlie, I'm in suspense. All you going to...
Are you going to reveal what you've brought?
Well, I've got a nice table I fetched.
-Are you going to have a look at it?
-Nice, isn't it?
-Isn't that lovely quality?
Now, tell me where you got it from.
-Well, I got it from the second-hand shop.
-How long ago?
At least six months ago. I went in the door and there it was, so...
-I says, "I'll have that." I didn't know how much it was.
-And he says, "Give us 40 quid for it."
-That's all it was.
-Where's this shop?
-What time does it shut?
It'll be shutting now.
-Oh. Well, I think that's a great buy.
-I think so. It's lovely.
It's not of any great age but it's lovely quality. Mahogany.
Flame mahogany with the segments here with a box wood line
and more mahogany banding.
-Really nice quality.
-I like the legs of this.
-Lovely that, isn't it?
-Look at those.
-And the quality under here.
-Yes. Everything's brilliant.
You've got a US patent number under there as well.
Yes, US patent.
And what I also like is the detail round the base.
Look at the way that's finished.
Oh, look, the banding and everything.
-It's a very nice quality table.
-It's lovely, yeah.
-And with the...
-The legs like...
-The four feet as well. And a drawer.
-Drawer. There's a plaque in...
-There you go, the plaque.
-Earl Spencer, first lord of the admiralty.
It's got a bit of a naval feel to it. And that's the makers, is it?
-Chapman And Co.
-They were established in 1847?
-It was, yeah.
-But I don't know if they're still going.
-I don't know, I'm not sure.
This one's more like 1974 than 1847, but, you know...
It's...probably 30-40 years old.
It's just...it looks like it's quality, that's all.
Beautiful quality. Would have been very expensive in its day.
-It's brilliant, that.
Auction estimate, I think it's obviously
worth more than what you paid. I think that was a real bargain.
You should double your money and a bit more.
-I'm going to suggest an estimate of £100-£150.
-Yeah, that's lovely.
-Is that all right?
-Is that in line with what you thought?
Yeah, I was thinking about 150.
Yeah. I think it should make 150-ish so, hopefully, we're both right.
But in case there are people there that don't like it
we should put in reserve on it.
-Everybody likes it in here.
-Lovely lass saying, "That's lovely, that."
-There'd be nothing worse
than it making 40 quid and then you saying to me afterwards, "You..."
-So let's put a reserve on it.
-100 quid, yeah.
-Bit of leeway, discretion?
-Just a little bit.
£100 reserve, discretion 10%
-but I think it'll make a bit more.
-Keep an eye out for those bargains, Jim.
You've got a good eye.
-I will do.
-If you had two good eyes you'd be unstoppable.
Well, what a marvellous time we've had here at the Discovery Museum,
our host location, for our valuation days.
We've been surrounded by fine art and antiques
and great advances in science.
We've learnt a lot about local history
and also history that has shaped this nation.
But right now, we need to make some history of our very own.
We're going over to the Boldon Auction Galleries
for the last time today.
And here's what's going under the hammer.
A moving collection of World War I and II memorabilia
should appeal to a collector.
It's only a matter of time for Lillian's gold watch
and weighty chain.
It might be a modern reproduction
but Charles' mahogany table should still make good money.
Back in Boldon, our auction room is packed
and auctioneer Charles Hodges is on the rostrum
ready to sell our next lot,
a collection of World War I and II memorabilia.
-Elizabeth, fingers crossed. Good luck.
We've got some medals going under the hammer
from the First and Second World War.
We've seen lots of surprises on medals before, haven't we?
-Now, I know since the valuation day
you've had a chat to Giles,
and he's put the estimate up to £80-£100, which is about the same.
-Yeah, they'll make what they're worth, won't they?
-But there is a new fixed reserve at 80 and not 50.
Well, we'll see what happens. I think they'll make that.
-So, we're really selling a story here, not medals.
OK, well, look, good luck, both of you. And I'm sure they'll do well.
They're going under the hammer now.
A collection of World War I and II memorabilia
and ephemera, including the medals.
And on bid 50 to start me.
At £50 for the lot. At 50. At £50.
55, anybody else now?
At £50. Anybody else? At 50.
55. 60. 65.
70. 75. One more will do.
At £75. And we're not going to do it.
At £75, ladies and gents.
-80. At £80.
All done at £80 for the final time.
Internet's quiet too. At 80.
You wouldn't have minded if they only went for 50.
-You were happy with Adam's valuation.
And to tell you the truth... To tell you the truth,
I sometimes think... And you know this, you're an auctioneer,
very experienced. ..it's better to pitch that value lower.
-Get everybody interested.
Everybody wants to own it. If you pitch it at its right value,
-Puts it off a bit.
-Puts it off with it.
It just scraped through but worth every penny and more.
Now, will our next lot get a tick from the bidders?
Going under the hammer right now, a pocket watch and chain.
-And I think all the value's in that gold chain. Don't you, Lillian?
And who have you brought along with you? Hello, what's your name?
-Lara, who's this?
-Lara's my daughter.
-Right. Eh, this is your inheritance then.
Do you know what? I'd say to Mum,
"Sell the watch and keep the CHAIN."
-Did you think about that?
Well, no, I thought maybe I'd buy something that I like better.
-You weren't going to wear the chain, were you?
-Not your style.
Let's hope we get the top end, OK?
Good luck, both of you, because someone wants to go shopping.
It's going under the hammer now.
I'm bid 200 to start with.
220. 240. 260.
At £300. The bid is upstairs.
-That's what we wanted.
-At £300, anybody else?
At £300, ladies and gentlemen, I shall conclude at 300.
-Happy all round.
Treat yourself to some clothes, shoes, whatever you want.
Buy a nice... A little bit of jewellery. Just so you can wear.
However Lillian and Lara spend their money, good luck to them.
Now, our last item, it isn't old but it's a beautiful piece.
Charles, thank you for bringing that in. I know it's reproduction
but the quality is there. And it looks jolly good.
And it's the right size to fit any house.
If you live in a small flat, a little cottage
or a new-build, it will look great.
I think so. It's a handy little table.
And whilst we try not to put reproductions on the programme
I think this was a sufficient quality and design
to be worth coming on.
-And, you know, in 100 years that'll be an antique, won't it?
Anyway, it's going under the hammer right now.
We have the Earl Spencer occasional table.
A little empire-style one.
-I have two commission bids. We are straight in at 140.
160. 170...170. 180.
190. 200. 210.
230, the bid is upstairs to the left.
-That's what it's all about, you see?
That is a useful piece of kit that will become very practical.
-I think it was quite...quite a bargain.
-Well, there you go.
-Not long ago?
-Went in here. I seen it...bang.
-I'm going to have that.
Even good reproduction has quality.
Well, Charles has more than quadrupled his money.
A savvy man with an eye for a bargain.
Well, that's it. It's all over for our owners,
and what a fabulous day we have had here.
A few highs and a few lows but that's what auctions are all about.
Full of surprises and it never changes.
So, from this extraordinary part of the country
with its riches past, present and in the future,
it's time for us to say goodbye from the Northeast.
So, until the next time, from all of us here, cheerio.
This episode comes from the Discovery Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of inventions, nautical history, and even taxidermy of extinct animals. Paul Martin is joined by experts Nick Davies and Adam Partridge. The team choose a selection of antiques to go to auction.
Adam becomes visibly moved when he delves into a set of First and Second World War memorabilia. And Nick Davies can't help but get star struck when a Mae West signature appears in front of him.
Paul travels to the birthplace of Thomas Bewick, the famous Northumbrian engraver whose work made images of previously unknown animals available to the wider public.