Antiques series. This episode comes from Longleat in Wiltshire where the experts value a marble statue, previously used as a goal post for football in the back garden.
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Where do sea lions, hippos and gorillas live
by a stunning 16th-century Renaissance palace?
Well, there's only one place I know
and that's Longleat House in Wiltshire
which is home for our valuation day today.
Welcome to "Flog it!"
Longleat, the ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Bath
caused a revolution in the world of zoology back in 1966
by becoming the first place outside of Africa
to open a drive-through safari park.
Despite his peers insisting that a Wiltshire man should stick to sheep,
the 6th Marquess of Bath instead adopted lions, tigers
and a whole menagerie of other animals.
Now welcoming over one million visitors every year,
the safari park's success has been credited with saving the house
and its numerous treasures within.
We've got our own crowd of cheeky monkeys here today
but it's the antiques that are on safari,
trekking their way across the county
to our valuation tables and for the lucky few,
the expedition will end in the auction room
where hopefully someone will be going home
with a small fortune and it could be anyone.
Making their way through the queue and already showing signs
of territorial behaviour are today's experts.
I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a sticker.
-Do you think anyone would notice if I just quickly did that?
Claire Rawle knows who her favourite safari animal is.
Got to be a lioness, really, don't you think?
But I think David got the wrong idea.
I did see a little group of black and white cows,
Although Claire maybe fancies herself more as a lion tamer.
I tell you what I've noticed here now.
For all these naughty boys, there is...
-And I've been a very naughty boy.
Maybe we'd better get cracking with the show.
We've got the run of the house and the grounds for our valuations
today and we've got plenty to fit in.
Coming up, Matthew's worried his kids' football practice
is causing untold damage.
Every time a ball flies anywhere near it, my heart stops.
And it seems his fears are justified at the auction.
In perfect condition,
it would be probably in the region of £2,000, £3,000.
Wow, Matthew. Did you hear that?
But does the damage scare off the bidders?
We'll find out later on in the show.
Good luck, everybody. Fingers crossed.
It could be you going home with a lot of money, or you.
Everybody is now safely seated.
The bags and boxes have been unpacked and the sun is shining.
I've got a feeling it's going to be a marvellous day
so now it's time to let our experts loose.
And Claire has pounced first
on a rather unusual piece of Scandinavian jewellery.
You've brought this really lovely charm bracelet,
for want of a better word. I think it's great, actually.
It's a design I haven't seen
by a designer who is actually very, very collectable,
Georg Jensen from Denmark
and he's known for some lovely sort of simple designs.
The great thing about Georg Jensen is that everything of his
is marked very clearly and you can actually see,
just about, there is a mark there
and it will usually always carry the import marks as well.
So there is never any mistake with his stuff.
It's very well marked.
I love some of the charms. They're so different.
I suppose particularly the fish because I do like fishes
and I think that's a lovely shape and I'd quite like to wear that.
-Have you got a favourite?
-Yes. Mine is this saucy little mermaid.
-Oh, right. Yes, she's a naughty girl, isn't she?
-Yes, she is a bit.
She's setting herself off but, yeah, it's lovely.
It is a lovely item and obviously you know the history of it
so tell me about it.
Yes, well, I bought it in 1963 or 1964
and it cost me 4 pounds 10 shillings.
-OK. Quite a lot of money, really.
-Yes. I just fell in love with it.
I didn't know anything about Georg Jensen.
Since discovered of course how well-known he is and then
I have subsequently collected these three Georg Jensen charms.
-Oh, right. So those are by Jensen, are they?
-Yes, those three are.
And the other ones have sort of come from my travels, really.
So it was obviously a fond item for you for quite a few years.
You obviously decided, though, that you want to part with it.
I do, yes. I don't wear it any more
and I think it's a shame just to keep it lying there, really.
So we need to talk money because you've decided to sell it.
My feeling is that I think maybe low estimate £250,
£300, something like that.
-I guess I had thought probably around about £300.
I think I'd like to put a reserve of £300 on it
because if I don't sell it,
I will keep it and I know it will go up in value.
Perhaps a bit of discretion for the auctioneer?
I think £300 fixed. All right. Would that be all right?
I'd always like a bit of discretion,
-I'd always prefer to get it under the £300.
-I understand that.
But I think you're not putting a ridiculous price on it.
I think we'll go for £300 and I guess the auctioneer
-will probably put £300-£350 as an estimate on it.
-And the name will carry him forwards so we'll see what happens.
-OK. Thanks very much.
-Thank you, thank you.
Whilst our "Flog It!" followers soak up the sun in the formal gardens,
the majesty of the 16th-century Longleat House
is home to David's valuation.
Here we are in the Great Hall at Longleat
and just think of all the great and good who've walked
on these hallowed flagstones. And in front of me now,
-I have two autograph albums that belong to you, Robert.
And both of these are crammed with autographs
of the great and good too.
Tell me how you come to own these.
They belonged to my grandmother
-and she worked in the booking office at the Caird Hall in Dundee.
-And had access to the great and good.
-So these are mainly theatrical people.
You've been kind enough to tag some of them
and the first one in this album is none other than Paul Robeson.
And it says, "With all good wishes
"and many thanks for such a lovely reception, Paul Robeson, Dundee,
"March 4, 1930."
So inscribed, signed and dated.
What more could you ask for in an autograph? That's fantastic.
-Very famous man. Old Man River he sang, didn't he?
-Old Man River.
I shan't attempt to sing it.
Anyway, what have we got in here?
Again, I'll turn to the ones that you've picked out.
Anna Pavlova, ballet dancer, another big star,
with a couple of photographs which I think probably help
although they're not original photographs.
On the following page, Clara Butt.
Concert singer who died in the 1930s.
I don't know what that word says.
So your grandmother obviously got to meet these people
-so she must have had access to the changing rooms?
I think she used to look after them
-and their hotel accommodation and stuff like this.
Gosh, what an interesting life she must have had.
And you've treasured these and you have now decided to sell them.
And I think we need therefore to talk about what they might be worth.
I would have thought we've got between £150 and £200-worth here.
As far as you're concerned,
is it price-sensitive or do you want to sell them anyway?
-I think I'll sell them anyway.
-Sell them. OK.
Well, that's very philosophical of you.
I think the names are big enough,
the names are good enough for this little lot to do very well
so I think we'll say no reserve, we'll take a bit of a risk,
but I think we'll be safe and we'll come out smiling.
-£150-£200 and no reserve.
-Thank you very much.
-Look forward to seeing you again at the sale.
Those albums really do evoke the glamour of a bygone era
and back in the gardens where the folks are enjoying
a bit of a respite from the heat under the lime trees,
it's time to conjure up some nostalgia
for a more recent historical era.
How many of you here have memories of the safari park
-going right back to the early part of the 1970s? Do you?
Hold those stories
because I'll talk to you later on in the programme.
I've got my own memories.
I came here with Mum and Dad and my sister in a MK1 Ford Cortina.
Now, that dates it, doesn't it? What fun it was too.
Now, look, I've got a photograph of the 6th Marquess
who created the safari park with his wife
and what they've done is they've just got their picnic rug out
and plonked it down amongst the giraffe and the zebra
and enjoyed a good old packed lunch.
That's the kind of thing you did back then.
Anyway, we'll hear about those stories a little later on
because we're going to catch up with our experts
and find out what they're up to.
Well, Claire has found her own animals to get nostalgic about.
Little tin plate clockwork toy. They're great.
-They're like the Billy Goats Gruff, aren't they?
-So what can you tell me about it anyway?
-Not that much.
I know it was my father's when he was little and in the late '70s,
my grandfather said, "You might as well take this
"and then we know where it is," and really, it's been in a box
-because it's not for children to play with at the moment.
I couldn't give it to my two when they were little
so it's kind of been in a box, it's been up in the loft
and I can't seem to find out that much about it. I know it's German.
It is German. I think it's quite an early one.
It's pre-1920s certainly, by the look of it, the way it's made
and there are really good collectors out there
because they don't very often survive.
It's amazing, actually, that it's survived as well as it has
because it's made of pressed metal and it's fairly flimsy.
And it's just tabbed together and then sort of printed decoration.
And they do break quite easily.
The clockwork mechanism is actually very simple.
-But it works, doesn't it?
-Do you want to do it?
You do it and see what it does.
-How does it go?
-Oh, they've got their horns locked together.
Oh, it's brilliant.
We could be here...
OK, we could be here for quite a long time, couldn't we?
-Good boys. There we are. It's lovely.
And the fact that it works, as well, to a collector is great.
It needs to go to somebody who collects these sort of toys, I think.
You're right and I think actually, it will sell well at auction.
I've seen similar make actually very good money, in excess of £100.
Now, I think one always has to be sensible and probably £80-£120
but I'd perhaps suggest putting a reserve of 75 on it.
-75 would be lovely.
I look forward to seeing you at the auction
-and see how the billy goats do.
-Yes, that would be lovely.
Well, right now, it's time to leave this beautiful, peaceful setting
as we up the tempo.
It is auction time.
Our experts have found their first items to put under the hammer
and here's a quick recap, just to jog your memory,
of everything that we're hoping to sell.
Merrin has fixed a strong reserve on this charm bracelet
but the name Georg Jansen should carry it through.
Robert's grandmother compiled a good theatrical selection of names
in these autographs albums.
Let's hope it gets a good selection of bids.
And I'm sure these collectable tin plate toy goats
will find rich new pastures in the saleroom.
Head north-east from Longleat and you'll reach the busy market town
of Devizes in the heart of Wiltshire,
home to our auction house, Henry Aldridge & Son.
Putting his years of experience to good use,
Alan Aldridge is up on the podium today.
£20 for that. £10 get me away.
The auction is just about to start but remember, if you're thinking
of selling or buying in a saleroom, there is commission to pay.
Here, it's 18%, that includes the VAT and the lotting costs
and the photography but it does vary from saleroom to saleroom
so factor it in to whatever you're selling.
So, let's get on with our first lot,
those billy goats ready to fly into action.
One of my favourite items in the entire sale, absolutely love it.
We're locking horns with you. Belongs to Paula and not for much longer.
I'm sure there's collectors all over the country want these
-two little locking rams.
-And it still works.
-Yes, it does.
It's the top-end quality of German tin plate toys previous to the 1920s.
We had great fun on the day, didn't we?
-We did, trying to get it going.
-Off the table.
I agree with you with the valuation. That's what I'd put on it.
Let's find out what the bidders think. I can't wait to see this. Here we go.
Butting goats, circa 1920.
60 I've got. 60 I've got.
80. 90. 100.
This is going to be a slow climb.
At least we're going in the right direction.
120. 120 on my right. Got 120.
-Come on, it's worth more.
At 120, am I all done?
HE HITS GAVEL
-Top end of the estimate. £120.
-It was top end of it.
It's OK. I just wanted more but I'm happy it's the top end.
-You're happy with it anyway.
-Yes, thank you very much.
Thank goodness it's in good condition.
That's what it's all about.
That's what the collectors want nowadays,
condition, condition, condition. It has to be perfect.
Next up is that fabulous piece of Georg Jensen.
Time and time again we see it on "Flog It!"
and it always does well. You look like the lady that
obviously fell in love with this and can carry it off and wear it.
Why are you selling it?
Because it's a charm bracelet, it tends to catch on things and rattle
so it's just sitting in the jewellery box not being worn and I decided...
-It's got to go.
-I wanted to come to "Flog It!" and it's got to go.
It's a good item and I think the name will sell it.
Yeah, very much so. He's very in vogue, isn't he?
I mean, it's very clean lines. It's a design that just goes on and on.
-Well, let's hope it charms the bidders.
There's a good line to get us over to the rostrum. Over to you, Alan.
Here we go.
A Georg Jensen bangle with attached charms. To get me away.
150. 150 I've got.
At 200. At £200. Is there ten?
They normally fetch a bit more than this. At £200.
-We're not quite there, ladies and gentlemen.
-Well, I eat my words.
What was I saying, "Georg Jensen always sells"?
-Maybe it is because it's a charm bracelet.
-And I don't think it's overpriced.
-No. Well, I don't mind keeping it.
-I'm not too sad.
Well, it's a great item to keep hold of, Merrin.
Now for the autograph albums
on which there's been a small change of plan.
Initially, there was no reserve but now we have a reserve of £60
and I don't blame you for protecting it
because we don't want to let things go for nothing.
Between the wars, this was, wasn't it? Opera singers, dancers.
Life wasn't very glamorous for a lot of people between the wars but this
gives just a snapshot of the side of life that was glamorous, really.
-Why are you selling this?
-Well, it's been on the book shelf...
On the book shelf?
So at least it has been out on display and not in a drawer
-or has it been in a drawer?
There are some very interesting autographs in here
as you can see - actors, actresses, musicians.
I can start at 150.
150 I've got. 175.
-I wonder if this is really going to fly.
Two and a quarter. Two and a half. Two and three quarters.
At 325. 350.
I wonder if this is Paul Robeson's autograph.
420. 430? At 420.
At 420, am I going?
HE HITS GAVEL
-That's brilliant. That is absolutely brilliant. £420.
-You weren't expecting that, were you?
-I wasn't either.
I must say, what a great provenance.
-It could not have been better, really. I'm thrilled.
-So am I.
So am I. That's actually shocked me.
The pen is mightier than the sword, that's for sure, isn't it?
Well, that's the end of our first visit to the saleroom today. So far so good.
We're coming back here later on but right now,
we're returning to our valuation day venue.
The 6th Marquess of Bath set up the safari on the estate
in 1966 and back then, it was described by the media
as the most unsuitable use of England's green and pleasant land
that ever entered the head of a nobleman.
Today, the lions of Longleat are famous all over the world.
I went to investigate to find out how it all came about.
Now, the best way to go on safari is with a guide.
-Thanks for showing me around today.
-That's fine. Jump on it, then.
-I will do, yeah.
'With over 20 years' service,
'nobody knows the park like deputy head warden Ian.'
Right. We're off on safari.
It was in 1964 that the circus impresario Jimmy Chipperfield
put the idea to the 6th Marquess that he introduce game
to roam around on his estate.
"But won't the cages have to be awfully big
"if the cars are to drive into them?"
Lord Bath asked.
"No," Chipperfield replied.
"It's the people who are going to be in the cages,
"their cars and the lions who are going to be free."
The 6th Marquess was sold on the idea
and poured his resources into making it a reality.
Lord Bath, you've obviously spent an awful lot of money on this
but keeping lions in the manner to which they have been accustomed
must be expensive too. How expensive is all this?
Between £50,000 and £60,000, we spent on it
and to keep the lions is about £1,000 a week.
So what we need is 1,000 cars a week.
If we don't get 1,000 cars a week...
Initially, 50 lions, all extras from the film Born Free,
were brought in to roam the 100-acre reserve.
And as it turned out, Lord Bath needn't have worried.
3,000 cars visited the park in the first weekend alone.
And within five months, the capital cost of the venture had been repaid.
Brilliant to see the lions so up-close like this.
It really is fascinating just watching them.
How many lions have you got here?
In this part, we've got the two big males, four females and eight cubs.
We've got two prides of lions. 35 lions in total.
And they're not frightened of this car, are they?
That's one of the hiccups with the lions here.
Because they're so used to people, they're more dangerous than
the ones in the wild because the ones in the wild,
they're cautious of people where these lot don't care.
If anybody got out of the vehicle in this section, they'd spot straightaway.
They wouldn't be afraid, they'd go straight over which is why
we've got patrol vehicles in here all the time watching for safety.
It's a tried and tested safety regime but in 1966,
this had never been done in this country before
and there was a storm of protest.
Local residents were afraid of having a jungle on their doorstep
and questions were asked in Parliament.
And the press thought there was an unnecessary risk to life
and sceptics felt the whole venture couldn't be done safely.
You have 140,000 people a year coming to look over Longleat House.
Doesn't it seem a fairly safe bet that among those people,
there's bound to be somebody stupid enough to get out,
try and feed them, take a photograph?
Of course, there's always that risk and we have four patrol wagons
and they're always on the move
trying to stop if that sort of thing occurred.
But the danger is people will drive through with their windows open
and put their elbows out.
They must not do that. If they do that, it's their own fault.
If they stay in the car and obey the regulations,
it's safer than me going across the main street of Warminster,
I promise you.
Since then, the drive-through has welcomed millions of visitors
and no-one has been killed
but the park has had to continually guard against public complacency
with constant reminders about the dangers involved
if they don't follow the rules.
As well as all the warning signs, regular safety demonstrations
over the years, like this one from 1974 utilising dummies have reminded
the public what could happen if regulations aren't adhered to.
All our stomachs churned over and our legs shook.
It really was horrifying.
Has the care in looking after these lions changed
over the last 25 years or so? Have you seen a difference?
Definitely. Major difference. When we used to feed the lions,
we used to feed them from the back of a pick-up,
-get out with the lions and chuck meat towards them.
-So that was quite hairy.
Their housing was a railway carriage with the doors.
If you ever used to have to lock them in, you'd just shut the doors
behind them, rush out and slam the door shut.
So it was all quite hairy stuff. Now they've got proper housing, you know.
Individual cages, you know,
cages from babies to mums to look after
and they have got sort of air conditioning in it
so it's really cool.
Of course, the lions were just the start
and soon the park welcomed lots of other animals.
In 1968, the most expensive consignment of animals to enter
the country arrived at nearby Avonmouth Docks,
including the breed which is waiting to be fed right now.
-I understand they're Rothschild's giraffes.
-That's correct, yeah.
-You can see the size of our big male.
-You've had 100 giraffe born here.
-That is incredible, isn't it?
-We've had one baby born on Friday.
-Have you really? Can we see her?
-He's in the shelter.
-Oh, in the shade over there.
The giraffes that came here in 1968, how related are they?
Is it sort of like the fifth or sixth generation?
Yeah, it's probably the sixth generation.
-Good guess, wasn't it?
-I mean, giraffe are creatures of flight
and it's wonderful to see that they have so much space here
so they can actually run and exercise.
They can go off when they want. They don't have to stay here.
They can wander off. HE LAUGHS
I'm watching you. That one has a cheeky face.
What's he called, or she?
-That one is Gertie.
Look at that tongue.
Perhaps wisely bypassing the mischievous monkeys,
it's time to leave the park
as I'm heading down to the Half-Mile Lake.
Created in the 18th-century by 'Capability' Brow
who was working for the 1st Marquess of Bath.
It was altered to give the illusion of a natural river
winding through the landscape.
Originally made to delight the eye of those on carriage tours,
today, it's put to a rather different use.
-These are Californian sea lions.
-They are, yes.
-How many have you got?
-We've got six girls and two boys.
They are normally used to saltwater so how do they adapt to freshwater?
Doesn't really bother them that much.
In the morning, we top up the salt they would get
if they were living in the wild by giving them salt tablets
and multivitamin tablets and that seems to work really well.
-They look quite happy, don't they?
They live perfectly well without it.
-We just try and keep it as natural as we can.
-He's a big fella.
He is. That's Buster. He's our bull. He's the largest.
And the noisiest. Here, Buster.
Straight in the mouth.
The sea lions share their home with a pair of hippos
and Nico the gorilla
who lives on an island in the centre of the lake.
There he is, look, enjoying the sunshine.
He arrived at Longleat from a zoo in Switzerland in 1986
and it's believed he is now the oldest silverback gorilla in Europe.
I doubt, when the 1st Marquess created this late,
that he could envisage some 200 years later it would be full of
Californian sea lions, hippos and a silverback gorilla
but what can I say? That's Longleat for you.
Within the beautiful Elizabethan house and amongst the splendour
of the formal gardens, our experts are still hard at work
providing valuations to all our visitors here at Longleat.
And one expert, David, has come to the front of the house
to look at the back of a picture.
An old picture dealer once told me when I was a young lad
you can learn more from the back of a picture
-than you can from the front.
I took that with a pinch of salt but there was a grain of truth in it
and that is borne out by the fact that
if you look at the back of this picture,
-we see it has a label from the Fine Art Society...
-Oh, I see.
..who were a rattling good firm of dealers
and that label is original, it's authentic
and it's what you'd hope to see on the back of a picture like this.
-Also, I see there's a label here that says Mrs Richardson.
-My auntie was a cleaner and that for her.
-So there is a direct link.
-A link, yeah.
So let's turn it around and find out what we see on the other side.
And I was right. It's a jolly good picture.
Signed, which is nice, by a man called Alfred Parsons.
Very well-known watercolourist who died in 1920.
Now, I love this little picture very much.
Parsons was a Victorian artist, really.
He lived in the 20th century but this is the sort of picture
that would appeal to a Victorian public.
This herbaceous border could almost be here at Longleat.
I don't think it is but it's a lovely flower bed,
-or two lovely flower beds.
-It looks great and it's high summer, isn't it?
The sun is out, the gardener's been working there
and he's left his trug behind.
He's perhaps gone off for a cup of tea
so it's a very atmospheric picture.
It is a watercolour of course.
It's behind glass, which you'd expect.
This wonderful moulded gilt frame of the period.
This would have been its original frame
which definitely adds to its appeal.
-So you've decided that you're happy to sell it.
Do you have any idea what you think it might be worth?
-We thought round about £1,000.
-I must say, I think £1,000 is a bit optimistic.
Parsons CAN make four figures but by and large,
he tends to be somewhere around about £600-£800.
So if I may, can I suggest an estimate of £600-£800
-and a reserve of £600?
-So we won't sell it for less than £600.
-No, OK, then.
-So if we don't get bid £600, you'll have to take it home.
Let's hope that we do.
And in this heat,
one chap hoping he won't have to carry his item home is Matthew.
Tell me something about him because I gather it's a family item, is it?
Yes. It belonged to my grandfather
who was given it by a chap called Bert Crowther
-who was an antiquities dealer.
He supplied antiquities for the royal family and the Beatles
-and people like that.
-And my grandfather father was a good friend of his.
And he brought it back from Rome and gave it to my grandfather.
-It's been in the family ever since.
-So you've had it in your garden?
-And do you know the history of it at all?
-We believe it's by a sculptor called Emil Wolff.
-I think it's about 150 years old.
Yeah, it's after Emil Wolff because there's no signature on it
so we're quite sure that it's not by him.
Though he was a German, he actually worked in Rome
and they would have continued in workshops out there making figures,
-copying not just his figures but others as well.
It still has age and it is marble,
which is nice, as opposed to reconstituted stone.
And it's depicting winter.
It's this lovely figure of a young boy clutching this lion skin
to him to keep him warm. And I thought also that the lion
today is a nice tie-in with the lions of Longleat.
-It's the perfect place, isn't it?
And his poor little nose,
he has obviously had a little bit of a tumble every now and then.
Yes, I think he's a bit too well-travelled.
-As you say, he's travelled about a bit, hasn't he?
But what made you decide to part with it now?
Well, I've got three lovely kids who like to play football
-and ball games in the garden.
And every time a ball flies anywhere near it, my heart stops.
Yeah, well, when you've got children, they've
-got to have the space, haven't they, to do these things?
So obviously you're thinking of selling him
so it's time to let him go.
It's very difficult with this because if it was by Wolff
then you'd be looking at thousands of pounds
but I think my feeling is in the hundreds
-so I'd suggest an estimate of £250-£350...
..if that's OK.
But I think perhaps just pitch the reserve a little below that
-and put it at £200.
-You'd be happy with that?
Have you got any idea what you might put the money towards?
-I think I'll treat the kids.
-Perhaps a break away or something.
-They know this, do they?
-They're looking forward to it?
-They will do, yes.
Well, the secret's out now.
And Longleat has been treating the kids and creating childhood memories
since the park first opened in 1966.
Earlier on, we asked members of this wonderful crowd here
of their memories of the safari park in the early days
from the '70s, let's say, and they didn't disappoint.
With me right now, I have Nick and Moira and Chris.
What can you tell us about coming here?
Well, I remember coming here as a schoolboy for birthday parties
because it was a real treat in those days.
I think it cost £10 to get in, which was a fortune and price per car
so we used to chuck as many people in the car as we could,
-the whole birthday party.
As many as you could get in. People in the boot, everything.
Moira, what are your early memories of Longleat?
Coming down and having a good day out with the monkeys
and everything else. I've also done it with Brownies of
seven to ten-year-olds by the bus loads.
I can remember bringing my father down years and years ago
because he had worked on here back in the early 1920s.
So you're interested in the house really.
I was interested in the house.
Dad was very interested in the animals
because he was brought up in a farming community.
Of course, with home movies becoming popular in the '70s,
many of those memories are on tape
and you know, some visits can spark a lifetime's work.
This little boy in the knitted jumper grew up to be
Longleat's deputy house steward. Thanks for the footage, Jeff.
Now, long before the park was created, it was the house
people came to see after it opened to the public in 1949.
Behind us we have this magnificent Elizabethan facade,
Longleat House, dating from the late 16th century.
And shown from a different view on the modern guidebook.
But, Jill, you have brought along something which takes us
back to the good old days of the early 1950s when things were
a bit gentler, bit less flashy and I rather like that, I must admit.
What you've brought along is an early guidebook.
How did you come by this?
Do your family have connections with this house?
My grandfather took night watchman's job in the house.
When he retired from the house, it was presented to him.
-That's my assumption. I don't really know.
This guidebook actually was the second produced, I understand.
-It was published in 1951. It's described as follows.
-"Longleat from 1566 to the present time."
And it's written by the then Marchioness of Bath
and signed by four members of the family.
The 6th Marquess of Bath, who I understand was born in 1905.
Handily someone has written a few notes here under these signatures.
Christopher, Christopher John, I think, who was born in 1934.
Valentine who was born in 1937,
and Alexander who became the 7th Marquess
and is still alive and lives here.
There are some colour illustrations but generally speaking,
the illustrations are black and white
and the text is instructive,
perhaps just a little bit academic to today's taste.
I suppose quite scholarly, really.
-I don't frankly think it's going to make a lot of money.
-But you have decided you'd like to sell it.
-I have, yes, yes.
I think we're going to take a bit of a punt on this, really
and I would be inclined to estimate it at £10-£20
so it's not going to be the most important thing
that's ever been sold on "Flog It!", I'm afraid,
but it's interesting and who knows? A couple of people might like it,
particularly for those autographs, I think,
and pay a bit more than that.
But I would like, if it's OK by you, to offer it without reserve.
-Yes, that's fine.
-So prepare for the worst but hope for the best. OK?
And I'll see you in the saleroom
-when I hope it will be a bit cooler than it is today.
Well, it really has been a gloriously sunny day
and the wonderful people of Wiltshire have done us proud.
Yes, it's time to say goodbye to Longleat House,
our magnificent host location for today. And as a backdrop,
it doesn't get any better than this but right now,
we have to go over to the auction room for the very last time
to put our valuations to the test. Don't go away.
There could be one or two big surprises and here's a quick recap
of all the items that are going under the hammer.
We've got Gwen's lovely watercolour,
clearly painted on another summer's day.
Then there's Jill's early guidebook. Will it attract some local interest?
And here's hoping this statue won't be used as a goalpost
by Matthew's kids any more.
Welcome back to Devizes.
Now, on the preview day,
while all and sundry browsed for possible purchases,
I caught up with our auctioneer Alan
to get his opinion on Matthew's statue.
Now, I'm not sure about this little fellow, are you?
I mean, he's...
It looks like the kind of thing you'd find in a cemetery.
I know it's marble but it looks like monumental marble
or monumental stone. It's got that feel about it.
We've put a value of £250-£350 on this
with a fixed reserve at £200 despite the damage.
Well, I thought the reserve could be slightly more, Paul.
-I don't disagree with the valuation because of its damage.
It's a lovely little thing.
I know you find it spooky. I find it charming.
I think it's a little girl more than a little boy,
being looked after by the lion skin
and the winter bit is to symbolise the coming of spring
more than the dreariness of winter, to look after the child for winter.
-But to symbolise the coming of spring.
-So it's all about hope.
-It's hope. It's all hope.
-OK, well, let's hope we get the top end.
-And it's marble.
-You've upped the reserve.
We have upped the reserve to £300and now we would hope it would fetch
£460, maybe £470, somewhere around there.
It will be interesting to see if Alan's right
but as the fun of the auction starts,
it's Gwen's watercolour that's first under the hammer.
It's a beautiful painting. Has it been on the wall for a long time?
No, not actually on the wall. It's been taken down.
We've had it for so long that we just got fed up with it.
-Just fallen out of love with it.
Well, at least it's been kept out of sunlight
because the colour on it is absolutely vivid.
The condition is beautiful. We're looking at around £600-£800.
Yeah, well I love this picture. I love the artist. I love the subject.
It's in a great frame and it was originally sold by
the Fine Art Society but there is a big but,
you know I'm a pessimist, the market for
-Victorian watercolours at the moment is not what it was.
Fingers crossed. Art is an arbitrary subject.
I'm sure somebody will love this.
Let's find out what the bidders think. Here we go.
Interesting picture. Very attractive. 300, I've got.
300 I've got. 350
At 300. 350. 350. 400.
450. 500. 550. 600.
At 650. Is there 700?
Is there 700? At 650 all...
HE HITS GAVEL
-A bang-on estimate.
-There you go.
Well done, David. Ye of little faith.
You were having second thoughts then, weren't you?
I must be a bit more confident, mustn't I?
-A bit more optimistic.
-£650. I think that's great.
A great estimate there by David.
Now will we have a page-turner with the early 1950s Longleat guidebook?
It turned up at the valuation day. That's exactly what we wanted to see
-and lots of memories for you, Jillian.
-Yes, it has.
And it must be special to you because you hung onto that
-for such a long time.
-I didn't really know why had it.
I just found it in the drawer one day.
Well, let's find out what the bidders think. Here we go.
A signed copy of Longleat and it's local.
-Will it get more than £10?
£10. Thank you, sir. £10 I've got.
20. 25. 30.
What about 28? 28.
30? What about 29?
It's big money here we're talking. Pound coins.
Sold £28. Better than a tenner.
Paul, I must say, that is the right place and it's sold well.
I bet there's not many guidebooks knocking around
signed by Lord Bath from the 1950s
so somebody has picked up a little bit of history there thanks to you.
That's all right.
And now for our last lot, Matthew's statue titled The Winter.
It's not my favourite item in the sale but as they say,
beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Since the valuation day, the value has been changed.
The reserve has gone up slightly. Alan has put it up.
-He's keen on this. He thinks it will do well.
-It's a nice thing.
-So good luck, both of you.
Here we go. We're going to put it to the test.
Next, we have a very nice statue. In perfect condition,
it would be probably in the region of £2,000, £3,000.
Wow. Matthew, did you hear that?
But in its present condition,
we have to work on about 10% of that so it's £200 to get me away.
200 I've got.
220. 240. 260.
280. 300. 320.
420. 440. 460.
480. 500. 520.
I'm very surprised. Are you?
660. 680. 700.
Two people seriously want this. They're fighting it out.
Douglas on the phone on this?
At 740. 740 on my extreme left.
All going at 740.
HE HITS GAVEL
Well, I'm so surprised. I didn't like it.
I really didn't like it. £740.
-Wow. Well, come on, say something.
-It is, isn't it?
-I had no idea.
-It just goes to show sometimes, it's not about condition.
Glad you got it.
Anything can happen in an auction room and that's what it's all about.
It's so hard to put a value on something
when two people really fight over it and want to take it home.
I hope you've enjoyed today's show.
Sadly, we've run out of time from Devizes in Wiltshire
but until the next time, it's goodbye.
This episode comes from Longleat in Wiltshire. Experts David Fletcher and Claire Rawle are in fine form as they put a value on a wide range of items brought in by the general public. An autograph album evokes the glamour of a bygone era, but it's a marble statue, previously used as a goal post for football practice in the back garden, that puts the bidders into a frenzy at the auction!
Paul Martin also gets up close to the animals when he sets out discover how Longleat became the the first place outside of Africa to open a drive-through safari park in 1966.