Antiques series. This episode comes from the place sometimes dubbed 'the last bastion of free speech in the western world' - the historic Oxford Union.
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Today, we're in a place dubbed
the last bastion of free speech in the world.
This place is famous as a forum for debating controversial issues.
And no doubt, we'll have one or two good points to talk about today
over the items we find. This is "Flog it!"
For this programme,
we've come to the most famous debating room
outside of Westminster,
the hallowed chamber of Oxford Union.
The Union's core principle is free speech
and it was founded at a time when universities banned students
from talking freely about politics and religion.
Malcolm X came here to debate civil rights...
The most cosmopolitan and progressive parts of it...
And Teddy Kennedy arrived under a hail of protest to discuss Vietnam.
Well, let's hope our "Flog It!" audience aren't as rowdy today.
We are literally surrounded by history here today
at the Oxford Union.
Malcolm X made his famous speech in 1964
when he demanded black empowerment by any means necessary.
Let's hope we find some wonderful political memorabilia.
Come on, then.
And our experts on the campaign trail are Christina Trevanion,
our silver-lounged jewellery expert.
All that glitters. I like it.
And our very own formidable debater Mark Stacey,
who seems to me in need of a little light refreshment.
Oh, you've drunk it all.
Not very much fun, is it? We need a little tipple,
being outside in this cold, don't we?
Call to order.
I believe this house has large queues of people all waiting
to have their antiques valued by our experts.
So, without further ado, let's see what Oxford has to offer.
Coming up in today's show...
Has Christina uncovered a famous fake?
You think it's Serves.
Yes. Is it not?
While Mark gets a bit of a religious education.
So, who was Charles Spurgeon?
And I turn the clock back to the Cold War protests
at Greenham Common.
Did they change history?
NEWS REPORTER: They arrived in their thousands by coach, by car
and even on foot.
Well, everybody's now safe and seated inside
and our expert first out on the blocks is Christina.
Let's take a closer look at what she spotted.
So, June, I'm assuming you're a Libran
because opals are the birthstone for Libras.
-No, I was born in November.
-Ah! A little bit late, then?
I've never understood why two separate...
-These are love tokens from past admirers...
-Oh, my goodness!
And they both bought me these stones at separate times,
-which is extraordinary.
And I've never expressed a desire for opals.
So, have you ever worn them?
I've just tried them on and thought, "They're really not me."
"Thanks very much, but you obviously don't know me."
-That's why they are past admirers.
Well, a lot of people are very suspicious about opals.
Like I say, they were...
Or they are the birthstone of Librans and traditionally,
it said that Librans are the only ones that can wear them,
which frankly is buncombe.
They have been historically linked with bad luck due to a book
that Walter Scott wrote
where he had his main character wearing an opal talisman
-and she promptly, I think, dropped down dead, sadly.
So, they've been associated with quite bad luck
since the 19th century.
I think they are beautiful and I've got quite a few opals
mainly because I went over to Australia and picked up...
Cos they are the native stone of Australia.
Oh, are they? I didn't know that.
So, I had a bit of a tourist moment
and bought myself an opal in Australia.
This one here...
Or this pair here is set in nine carat
and they're obviously a pear shape
with this little wire work surround in a...
If we pick one up, you can see it's quite a drop.
-And it's just quite a nice effect when you turn your head.
They sort of almost quiver. They're quite sweet.
And they are from I think about 1975, I think.
-So, with that sort of tally with the right date?
And then we've got this little cluster,
which is almost quite a Tudor-y looking setting here.
Garnets in the middle
and I think these are also stamped nine carats on the back.
So, very, very sweet.
Difficult thing to value
because like I say they've got this reputation and opals are...
They're not as commercial as say diamonds
or some of the other harder stones.
If we were to put them into auction, we would put them in as one lot.
-So, we've put them together and I would probably be looking
somewhere in the region of £80 to £120, something like that.
And hoping to get the sort of £100 region.
-How would you feel about that?
-That sounds fine.
Would we look at a reserve or not on that?
If we could, possibly a reserve of sort of 80. How would you feel?
-Is that all right?
If we put 80 firm and then the auctioneer sort of can't go
-any lower than that.
Well, let's hope we get some divine inspiration for our earrings,
-Let's hope we do.
Our next item is a rather unusual bust of a gentleman who
preached divine inspiration every Sunday from the pulpit.
This was a man not afraid to speak his mind -
the Baptist Charles Spurgeon.
Mark should like this one.
You've brought this rather interesting
Parian ware bust into me.
Now, what can you tell us about it?
My mother owned this all of my life.
And I think she used to go around and, on occasions,
heard Charles Spurgeon actually preaching.
-So, she might have met him.
-At some of his meetings, yes.
-He was known as the Prince of the Preachers.
So he was very popular in his day.
-And he looks a terribly Victorian gentlemen.
-Oh, absolutely, yeah.
And being a preacher, of course, he would've felt at home here,
-in a debating chamber.
Similar to the gentleman across there.
-He looks very Victorian as well, doesn't he?
And why have you brought it in to show to us today, David?
Well, it's not something that we feel we need to keep anymore.
-And time's are hard...
-Maybe time for somebody who collects Parian ware
-to have it.
It's known as Parian ware after the Island of Paros.
Because of course, when you first see them, they look like marble.
-And that's where they mined marble.
And they are often fully signed.
We know this one is by a firm called Robinson & Leadbeater,
and I think it was designed by one of their sculptors called Acton,
J Acton, around about 1878.
So it is a nice, proper antique item.
Now, they used to be popular many years ago.
The market for Parian ware is much more realistic these days.
And it does depend on the model.
You know, if you get one of the very big models of a glamorous
looking young lady, who is semi-draped,
showing a little more than she should be showing...
-..then it is a little bit more popular.
This is more of an academic figure.
This is for someone who has got a nice Victorian house who
wants to create a sort of library or something like that.
Having said all that, I think he would sell at auction.
I think years ago,
something like this would have made £80 to £100.
Today, we've got to be a little bit more realistic, I think.
I'd like to put it in with an estimate of around £30 to £50.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Yeah, that's fine.
Would you want to put a reserve on it or would you
-just like to see what happens?
-No, I don't, because I... No.
Let the market decide on the day.
I mean, hopefully, there will be two or three people.
Put those hands up and we'll get a good price for it.
-Find its own level.
Well, I've done enough preaching, now it's off to the auction for us,
But before we do,
let's delve a little bit deeper into the history of the Union.
And keeping a tight rein on the proceedings,
is the President of the Union,
who sits right here, in this chair.
It currently belongs to student Maria Rioumine,
who has some ambitious plans for her tenure.
-Why did you want to be President for the Union?
When I came to Oxford, cos I'm Russian,
so I'm an international student,
I was absolutely overwhelmed with the history of the place,
with the debates that've gone on here, with the speakers that I saw.
And I think I just thought that, where else could you have such
an opportunity, age 20, to basically run an entire institution
and put on any events that you wanted?
So to me, having always debated all the way through school,
I thought that this is definitely something I should get involved with.
What speakers do you want to bring here?
Ideally, I want to make my debates as controversial as possible.
-That's the whole idea in a way, isn't it?
-Exactly. So that's why...
I mean, this time we've had Psy come to give his first
English-speaking address. We had John McCain.
We had even the Winklevoss twins, which were extremely popular.
So, I think...
Ideally, for... I'd like people like Caitlin Moran, Germaine Greer,
politicians, anyone from the frontbench, any Americans,
obviously Barrack Obama, but I think he'll probably be busy.
-Well, you never know, do you?
-Well, I can... I'll try, I'll try.
I'll bring up Angela Merkel as well, but we'll see about that.
I'm sure you will. Thank you so much for talking to me today.
Thank you very much.
Clearly a lady who's going somewhere,
and I'm sure she will get Barack Obama one day.
Welcoming our next guest is another intelligent lady,
Christina Trevanion, who has discovered a piece
by a famous female potter.
Welcome, Julian and Paris.
Thank you for coming in today and for bringing this beautiful
Charlotte Rhead vase. Which belongs to you, Julian.
Did you inherit the piece?
-From his nan.
-From your nan, OK.
And was she a Charlotte Rhead collector?
-She collected lots of things.
-She did? Oh, brilliant.
Well, she obviously had a very, very good eye cos this is
a particularly beautiful piece.
-Do you like it?
-Nice design, nice shape.
Brilliant, it is. It is a beautiful design.
And Charlotte Rhead really came from an entire dynasty of Rhead family
And they worked for a lot of different Staffordshire companies.
But she really is the most famous of her brothers and her sisters,
who were also in the industry.
If we look on the bottom - we'll have a look at its bottom here -
it's actually got TL5 - Tube Line 5.
And this pattern is quite a prolific pattern.
It has got oranges and lemons
and it is a continuous band all the way around.
So if we keep looking, it is all over decorated.
And collectors do love that.
What are your valuation expectations for it?
Because she did produce quite a lot of them, they are quite prolific.
Four years ago,
we saw on the computer, online, one for about £120.
which would be a fairly accurate open market valuation for it.
I was thinking, I had in my head,
cos I've sold quite a lot of these before,
and they've made in the region of about £80 to £120.
So, I would be happy to put an £80 reserve on it,
with an estimate of 80 to 120.
How do you feel about that?
Well, let's put it to auction at 80 to 120,
and hopefully, we'll get some more for you.
Thank you ever so much for bringing it in today.
-It has been a pleasure to meet you both.
Well, one or two frank discussions over the valuation tables.
I'm sure you will agree.
Well, there you are, three wonderful items we have found so far.
Our auctioneer, Thomas Plant, is under starter's orders.
He's at the auction room right now,
so it is time for us to go over there.
And here is a quick recap of all the items we are taking with us.
We have Jean's opal love tokens from past admirers,
which failed to impress.
"But you obviously don't know me."
-Hence why they are passed admirers.
And David's rare Baptist bust, which turned Mark's head.
And not forgetting, Julian's Charlotte Rhead vase.
Which one of them will triumph in the arena of the auction?
Our sale today comes from Newbury, near Reading.
At £1,100, make no mistake...
Our very own auctioneer, Thomas Plant,
has set up home on a former RAF base, Greenham Common.
It has its own story to tell, but more of that later.
Right now, our first lot up are Jean's opal earrings,
a favourite of Christina's. It is just a shame she cannot bid.
Jean, I've got my fingers crossed for you. Good luck.
-Thank you very much.
-And I must say, you look fabulous.
You don't need it. You don't need it. You've got style, lady!
We are about to sell the two pairs of gold and opal earrings.
Let's hope they are all in vogue and it's not running hot and cold.
Because we need some kitchen taps, or is it bathroom taps?
-So, you are doing a bit of DIY?
I am indeed. I'm looking forward to it.
-I like these, I think they've got style.
Opals, not everyone's cup of tea, so let's just hope that doesn't
put too many people off and we get some Librans in the sale room.
I'd like them to go to somebody who really loves them.
-Cos you don't wear them anymore.
-I don't. They are not really me.
No. Do you know, I can see that. I can see that.
-Anyway, good luck. This is it.
Next up is lot number 90.
This is two pairs of gold and opal earrings, the drops here.
Start me off here at £65. At 65.
At 65, the bid is with me here at 65.
At 65. 70. Five.
-80. And I'm out at 80. Lady's bid at £80.
-Well, we've sold them.
-£80 against you all...
-Jean, the hammer has gone down. We just did it, £80.
Those taps will be mine.
From plumbing to Parian ware, it is that bust next.
Will the Prince of Preachers fetch a princely price?
Going under the hammer right now, we've got a Parian ware bust
of Thomas Haddon Spurgeon, belonging to David.
And in fact, David has brought along a book which accompanies the bust.
-It tells us all about the Prince of Preachers.
-As he was known.
-Indeed, you are right, Paul.
Why have you decided to sell it now?
We've got no direct connections with it anymore
and there is a Spurgeon Society that is current at the moment,
-so somebody might be interested in moving it onto them.
And it is beautifully made.
It is by a good maker, so it is very well modelled.
-It is beautifully modelled.
I know, that's dangerous.
Was that your idea or Mark's idea?
We both agreed.
-I can't be blamed for this, Paul.
Well, I'm sure Thomas will not let this go for £5.
Lot number 210, the Robinson and Leadbeater
Parian ware bust of Charles Spurgeon,
and I've got bids here with me starting straight in at £35.
-Straight in at the top end, there you go.
At £35, the Parian bust.
At £35, is there any advance?
At £35. That is my top bid at 35.
40 if you want it.
At £35 against you all...
That is a great result.
You know, I wouldn't mind owning that for £35.
I would love it for £35.
It is a nice little thing. Especially with that book.
I'm sure Charles Spurgeon's book has a few revelations.
But now it is time for a real "Flog It!" favourite.
Well, going under the hammer right now,
we've got a Charlotte Rhead jug.
It is a great name in ceramics.
Charlotte Rhead is up there with the best.
Belonging to Julian, who is standing right next to me,
with his interpreter, Jean.
Julian's hoping to put the money towards a trip
to New York for his 40th birthday.
Good luck with that. Great to see you both.
Good to see you both again.
-It's very exciting.
-I like this a lot.
And it belonged to your grandmother, didn't it, Julian?
So, do you think we'll have her blessing to sell it today?
-Oh, yeah, I think she'll be very pleased.
I'm sure she'd be happy that I'm going to use
the money for a holiday to New York.
Well, good luck.
Let's hope we get the top end of the estimate and a little bit more.
Here we go. Let's hand the proceedings over to Thomas Plant.
An Art Deco pottery jug by Charlotte Rhead.
Good-looking lot, this one.
I start the bidding with me, straight in at £85 with me.
-Wow. That's good.
Is there any advance at £85?
90. Five. 100. And ten.
-It's just such a great name.
Everybody is out at 130?
-With me, on the book at 130. I sell, then, £130...
-Yes, the hammer has gone down.
-That's marvellous news.
That'll help towards the trip.
I've got hands everywhere. Last chance, then.
Free speech is a central tenant of Oxford Union,
everyone has the right to express their opinion.
In 1981, a group of women expressed their opinion in a rather
This was a debate that the whole world would sit up
and take notice of, and it happened literally right here,
because the auction room is built on the site of Greenham Common.
In 1981, 36 women and four babies in pushchairs set out
from the city hall in Cardiff to walk to Greenham Common, RAF base.
They had one aim - to reach the American air base,
which was situated here, on Greenham Common.
It was a 120-mile walk, but they were determined.
They were on a mission to protest.
The reason being, American nuclear warheads were stored here,
on this site.
And behind this door, lies the command centre.
This is where the protesters were desperate to get access to,
and they actually did make it on the base,
when security guards mistook them for cleaners.
But once their protest began in earnest, relations soured.
'Despite the rain and the bitter cold, they arrived by coach,
'by car and even on foot.
'Their aim was to stress as powerfully as possible that in their
'view, the cruise missile is not a deterrent, it is a weapon of death.'
In the volatile political landscape of the 1980s,
opinions polarised over nuclear issues.
And Greenham Common became a symbolic battleground.
Now, many people believed cruise missiles were
a deterrent against a nuclear attack from Russia, while many other
people believed they were a force of destruction in their own right.
Ordinary women felt they had no choice
but to leave their families and homes behind.
They came to Greenham to protest,
as they believed Armageddon was imminent.
We had been told we're stuck with this reality,
where war is acceptable, war is a way of solving the world's problems.
And that is simply not good enough.
This is not even war what they're promising now,
Of us, of everybody.
Every living thing.
Jean Hutchinson was one of the founding mothers of the camp.
It was actually her family who persuaded her to take a stand.
My son said, "It's about time that you got down there and found out,
"and I'll do the cooking for the family."
I arrived with a tent and put it up. So we were all in tents.
'They'd been living in the most primitive conditions outside
'the main gate for 15 months. Tonight, however,
'police reinforcements have been called to Greenham.'
The Council liked to evict us a lot.
We had to be very close, because we had to come onto this ground
and coordinate a nonviolent, direct action.
'Women had gathered to form a human blockade.
'They stood in the path of a military convoy
'and refused to move.'
# Whatever happened to dear old Lenny? #
Jean soon found that the authorities adopted a zero-tolerance policy.
Yes, we all went to prison several times, of course.
# Whatever happened to the heroes? #
A pattern was set up -
nonviolent, direct action, court, prison.
It was thought of as all part of getting rid of the cruise missiles.
This weapon is massively destructive, 16 times a Russian bomb.
The Greenham Common women captured the interest of the media
by chaining themselves to the perimeter fence,
demanding an open debate with government on nuclear armament.
They didn't think it was democratically right that
Margaret Thatcher's government would just let the Americans
bring their nuclear missiles into the country.
Greenham became a permanent encampment.
Jean lived here for 18 years. Conditions were primitive.
There was no electricity, no running water.
But by the mid-1980s, more than 1,000 women had joined her.
'Thousands of women and small children spread
'out around the base, joining hands to surround it completely.'
'They believe their protestors made deployment of crews too
'sensitive politically and too unsafe.'
But there is another view from inside the base.
Phil DeMonte used to work for the US government
and was based behind the wire at Greenham from 1988,
where things looked very different.
They used to get on the base quite regular. It was massive base.
Cut a couple of holes through the fence, climb over the fence.
They couldn't stop them getting on the base but the secure areas, they never got into.
I appreciate the fact that they were protesting,
and that's one of the liberties that we do have is the right to protest.
But when they actually started cutting down fences
and damaging property and interfering with convoys,
by throwing paint balls, etc, that put people's lives in danger
and that actually cost money to the British taxpayer.
I mean, realistically, in the event of the missiles
actually having to be deployed on a real footing,
I really don't think they would have had anywhere near the systems
or the convoys or the base.
This is a unique view inside the decontamination chamber
which was only accessible in a state of high alert.
Scarily, survival time in the event of a nuclear attack
outside of this chamber was just 14 seconds.
Now, that's just 14 seconds
to decide what to do with the rest of your life.
So you can understand why this was an issue
so many people had to take a stand on.
The whole world held their breath as Reagan and Gorbachev
sat down at the table to discuss nuclear disarmament.
The historic INF Treaty, signed in 1987,
effectively ended the Cold War
and the life of the nuclear weapons stored here at Greenham.
Now that the missiles have gone 30 years since protests began,
is there any common ground?
Jean and Phil, I've brought you together here in the Peace Garden.
Can you see it from each others' point of view now?
-I applaud what they've done 18 years standing out here.
But what I cannot condone and never can condone -
when fences were ripped down and property destroyed
as well as interfering with military operations.
I can't condone that.
-What are you going to say to that, Jean?
We took non-violent direct action.
The whole place is freed up
from more than 100 weapons
that could have - if used - killed a billion people.
And you really feel that your actions here
had a direct result in the fall of communism?
Women on this spot
knew that it was possible to defeat cruise missiles.
So the cruise missiles themselves deployed in the field
had nothing to do with the signing of the INF Treaty, that's what you mean?
You can't say that your people
were working for multilateral disarmament and then...
Yes, they were.
You think that wasn't Ronald Reagan's stance, speak softly but carry a big stick?
He had the weapon systems ready. Now do you want to sit down and talk?
I can see...I can see now that opinions are still divided
and they haven't really changed
and I don't think they will, will they, Phil?
-We had a job to do.
-You had a job to do.
-And we had a job to do.
The publicity was on this side of the fence
but the history was made on that side of the fence.
We can all safely say history was definitely made here.
Yes, we had the missiles destroyed.
Well, that got quite heated.
It just goes to show you that 30 years on,
issues such as this can still prompt debate.
But at the end of the day, that's what it's all about -
freedom of speech.
This was the reason that Oxford Union was created.
Welcome back to our valuation day venue, the Oxford Union.
There's still a great buzz in the room
and plenty more antiques to find to take off to auction.
So, from the best seat in the house, the president's chair,
it's over to the hot seat in the house, Christina's chair.
Let's go and take a closer look at what she's spotted.
So, Joy, you've brought this beautiful box in to me today.
Tell me where it came from.
-It came from Lord and Lady Baldwin's estate.
He'd died and his wife lived there for a little while afterwards
and she found the place was too big,
so they had a massive auction which I attended.
My parents worked for Lord and Lady Baldwin.
-When did you buy it?
-And what did you pay for it then?
-And you think it's Sevres?
Is it not?
-I'm afraid it's not.
We've done a little bit of research and although the top is lovely,
we're going to have a look at its bottom
-because that's the bit that tells us everything, isn't it?
So if we turn it over here,
we've got this lovely sort of entwined Ls mark
-which, you're absolutely right, is a Sevres mark.
But there was a factory based in Paris called Samson.
Oh, I see.
Now, Samson started in the 1830s
and he started by producing imitation Sevres works basically.
And he was a great imitator and a great copier.
And he never set out to deceive anybody,
he just made replacements for things that were broken
-and things like that.
But he actually became very well-known in his own right.
-And this is a Samson box.
-Well, how strange.
I'm wondering if Lady Baldwin knew that.
-You never know. It is a difficult one to spot.
Especially because this is such a typical Sevres view.
Yes, I knew that.
This sort of 'what oh'-esque lovers frolicking in a French garden
in very much the 18th-century style is typical Sevres, isn't it,
with this wonderful blue Mazarin ground.
And we open it up. We've got this lovely ormolu setting
-and inside, lovely gilt interior.
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
And I think this is quite a late one.
This is a late 19th-century example.
I don't think it is the 1830 that we'd like it to be.
And as such, really that is going to be reflected
in the auction estimate.
Yes, I do understand that.
But I think at auction we might be looking
-somewhere in the region of sort of £60-£80.
How would you feel about selling it at that sort of level?
-Um, that's difficult.
-It is difficult, isn't it?
I don't have any daughters but I do have two lovely daughters-in-law
and I was wondering about giving it to one and thinking,
-I've got nothing to give to the other one that's similar.
Um, now...I'll sell it.
-You'll sell it.
-Are you sure?
-And they'll get the money.
-Good. That's a very good idea.
-So if we put an estimate of £60-£80...
-..and a reserve of 60...
-..and see how we get on.
-Yes, that's fine.
Well, we look forward to it.
Let's hope we can make slightly more than that for you.
Oh, never mind.
-Thank you for bringing it in.
£50 back in the early '70s was quite a lot of money.
It just proves that you have to look closely
when buying at local auctions.
Now it's time to leave the lively excitement of our "Flog It!" crowds
for a bit of quiet.
We are in the cathedral of learning after all.
This was the original debating chamber until 1878.
It's hard to imagine but, back then,
Oxford University was very restrictive.
The culture was the graduates were there to be taught,
not to think for themselves.
And there was very little in the way of books
other than the textbooks the college provided.
So the students were very keen to start up their own library,
and I think they've jolly well succeeded, don't you?
I mean, this is just marvellous.
From the wonders of books to the beauty of bronze,
Mark Stacey has unearthed something Bergman.
What an extraordinary group of figures you've brought in.
Have you had them a long time?
My wife's mother said that they were bought by her father,
so, my wife's grandfather.
So a wee while ago?
-Probably a long time ago.
I mean, the minute I saw them, I thought only of one thing.
-That they were of course Austrian.
Cold painted bronze, which means that the painting
and the decoration is painted on after they were actually...
-come out of the mould.
And I hoped they would be by one maker...
a chap called Franz Bergman.
And the answer to my question is on here.
And we've got a little number here.
Then we've got a word that says "geschutzt"
which is Austrian or German for "register".
Can you see that little vase there?
-With the B in the middle?
-That stands for Bergman.
Franz Bergman. That's his mark.
-And it's really nice to see.
-So it's confirmed what I thought they would be.
-And they would date to around about 1900.
So they're going to... They're well over 100 years old.
He specialised in this type of work
and produced a wide range of animal figures and bird figures.
Produced a lot of Arabian-type scenes
with Arabs drinking coffee,
-carpet sellers, this sort of thing.
But these are Africans, aren't they?
Well, we always assumed they were sort of Zulus.
-Yeah, Zulus with their shields.
There's a huge collector's market for Franz Bergman's works
but I've not seen a little group like this
and I think they're absolutely charming.
I would say, as they're damaged, put them in as a little group.
-And I would like to put an auction estimate on them
But I think they might make a bit more on the day.
Would you be happy to put them in at that?
-Um, yes, I have my wife's permission.
You're not going to get into trouble with 'er indoors?
-I don't think so, no.
-Oh, good. I'm sure you won't.
-We'll put a reserve of course.
-We'll put a reserve of £400 on them.
There's two types of reserve, you can have it fixed,
-which means that we won't sell them below 400.
Or you can have it discretionary,
which gives the auctioneer 10% on the day.
What do you think your wife would be comfortable with?
Um, let's say fixed.
-Shall we say fixed?
-I would say fixed anyway.
Let's say fixed because actually, I think we're going to be OK.
And they'll go to a collector who loves these type of things.
They've been in a box, I must confess.
Oh, no. Oh, no, they can't live in a box.
-They're much too nice for that.
I think someone who appreciates them should...
I'm glad we've got them out of the box
and we're going to give them a chance
of finding a home where they're going to be loved and cherished.
-Thanks for bringing them in, Michael.
Here's hoping those beautiful Bergman bronzes
never have to be boxed up again.
And now, our final item of the day could be the most lucrative.
And who better to evaluate it than our very own jewellery expert
Zena, what a sparkler.
I love it. You've brought this beautiful ring in to us today.
It's absolutely stunning.
Can you tell me a little bit about it?
The original ring was given to me by an ex-boss when she retired.
She gave me the option of a few items which I'd like to have
as a thank you and I chose the ring.
-But it was set in white gold at the time.
It was a very small ring but a square setting
and it looked more like a ring out of a cracker.
So I had it reset in 18 carat gold.
So you must have worked incredibly hard
-because it's a beautiful ring and a very, very generous present.
Very generous present.
-So you've had it put into quite a traditional setting really.
And it's very, very similar to my engagement ring.
-I'm thinking about swapping.
-No. No, no, no, no.
Slightly bigger than my engagement ring!
But this is a very, very traditional setting.
-And did you wear it when it was...?
-I did, yes. I used to wear it
-but the insurance value was rather high.
and I put it in the safe and now I don't wear it, so...
It's a bit ridiculous paying the insurance for it.
It does seem that way, doesn't it?
So let's see if we can find a mutually agreeable value
and then perhaps you can use the money
towards something that you will wear.
Obviously it's a diamond ring set in, what looks to be,
a platinum, little coronet setting and then 18 carat yellow gold hoop.
We've got a diamond solitaire, a brilliant-cut diamond here
and we grade diamonds on what we call the four Cs,
so cut, clarity, colour and obviously carat weight,
what every girl wants to know really is, how big is it?
And in all four of those aspects it really does score quite highly.
It's a great colour. It's a nice white colour.
Clarity, there are a few little inclusions there.
A lot of people quite sweetly call them birthmarks
-because that's how the diamond would have formed.
But this is quite clear.
And carat weight, we've worked it out at about a carat.
-Should be 1.1.
-Is that what they graded it at?
-Yes. BOTH: On the insurance.
-Which is great cos that means it's over a carat
which really does make quite a difference
-when you get over that one carat mark.
So, value-wise, at auction
I would be quite cautious
because of the current economic market we're in
and maybe go somewhere in the region of sort of 1,000-1,500,
-something like that.
-How would you feel about that?
-Is that all right?
So if we put an auction estimate of 1,000-1,500
and perhaps a reserve of 1,000,
-cos I don't think it needs to go for any less than that.
-No, I wouldn't want it to.
Cos it really is rather beautiful.
And what would you use the money for?
-For a holiday I think.
-Cos you're quite an intrepid traveller, aren't you?
-Globe trotted by the sounds of it.
Well, we haven't seen the Northern Lights yet,
-so I'd like to do a cruise to the Northern Lights.
So next year is supposed to be a good year.
It would be quite appropriate really from a sparkler
-to sparklers in the sky.
-It would, wouldn't it?
Well, here's hoping that in Zena's case,
diamonds really are a girl's best friend.
They definitely appear to be a long-time favourite of Christina's.
Well, our experts have been working flat out here at the Oxford Union.
You've just seen the items, you've heard what they've had to say,
you've probably got your own opinions, but right now
we're going across to the auction room to put them to the test.
And here's a quick recap of what we're taking with us.
Will Michael's Bergman bronze captivate the crowds?
Or will it be Zena's diamond solitaire ring
which sparkles in the eyes of the bidders?
But first, it's that Sevres box.
Joy got a shock on the valuation day
when Christina revealed
her antique box was actually a later reproduction.
But can we still turn her a little profit?
£85. 90. 95.
100 and I'm out.
Thomas is back in action on the rostrum.
-Against you all.
-Here's hoping he can weave his magic.
And now, for our next item just about to go under the hammer.
It belongs to Joy, and unfortunately, she cannot be with us
but her little porcelain box can.
-And it's going under the hammer.
-It is, yes.
-Big grin on your face.
-Yeah. It's Samson. She thought it was Sevres.
-So, Samson box.
-Which is a copy really of...
-They were the best in...
-Of the best.
And they did a lot of Meissen, Sevres reproduction wares.
-So hopefully... Hopefully, hopefully.
-Yeah, bless her.
-She bought it for £50 over 30 years ago.
-Thinking it was the real thing.
-Thinking it was the real McCoy, so let's hope.
we can get her money back. It's going under the hammer. Good luck.
Here we go.
19th-century Samson porcelain box and cover.
There we are. With gilt metal rims.
I can start the bidding with me here at £45 with me.
-At £45 for the box.
-Well. Come on, Thomas.
-And 50. And 55 with me.
At 55 against you all.
Is there any advance at 55?
And 60 and I'm out.
-Ooh, that's better.
-It's in the room at 60.
Last chance then, at £60.
-At £60. Oh, joy! Joy for Joy.
Hammer's gone down and we've sold it.
-I hope you're "en-joying" this moment.
-Phew, that was a relief.
-Yeah, it was.
No more Joy jokes, I promise.
Up next, there's a bit of a dispute in the saleroom.
Going under the hammer right now, one of my favourite lots
of the sale that belong to Michael who's right next to me.
It's a group of three Bergman cold painted bronzes.
And these really are flavour of the month.
They are really nice. I don't know why you're selling them.
I'd like to find out.
Well, they're a bit fussy for us
-and a bit British Empire too.
It's all the rage right now though.
-Well, Bergman is a very big name, Paul, isn't it?
-Very big name.
Let's find out what auctioneer Thomas thinks.
We've got a big crowd here and hopefully
we're going to get them away at the top end. This is it.
345, a group of three 19th-century Viennese cold painted
tribal figures - Bergman style.
There we are.
But they're not Bergman style, they are Bergman.
Start the bidding with me at £200.
Start the bidding with me at £200 for the Masai figures.
220. 230. 240. 250.
250. 250 I have.
With me here at 250.
Against you all 250. 260.
-270. 280. 290.
-This is a surprise, Paul.
-It's a slow climb though. We're getting there.
340. 360. 380 with me.
If you want it, it's 400.
At 400 and I'm out. At 400 I have.
At £400. It's in the room at 400.
Make no mistake.
And I'm selling at £400.
-Well, they've gone.
They've gone at £400, right on the lower end of the estimate.
-Are you happy with that?
-Um, not totally
because of the "Bergman style" description.
Do you feel that slightly killed it off a little bit?
Uh, well, I don't really know.
I think it's because some of them need a little bit of restoration
and that does add to the cost when you're buying something, you know?
Because you need to take it to a skilled person.
I'm glad we fixed a firm reserve of 400 on them
because it meant we protected them.
It's a shame that those bronzes didn't go for more
but, Mark is right,
they did have some damage which maybe put the collectors of.
There's always an element of risk at auction,
that's why we fix a reserve.
But here we are at the last lot of the day
and I'm keen to show Christina that I have been paying attention.
Colour, cut, clarity, carat.
Yes, you know what I'm talking about - Zena's sparkler.
Hi, Zena, it's great to see you again.
-Who have you brought along with you?
-This is David, my husband.
-How do you do?
-Pleased to meet you.
Of course, with those four Cs there is one more C to go with them, isn't there?
-You beat me to it.
-The fifth C!
-Well, you both sparkle. The six Cs though.
-I'm seriously impressed.
I've taught you something.
-You have, haven't you?
We're putting this to the test. It's going under the hammer right now.
-Good luck, everyone.
-Here we go.
Next lot is the diamond solitaire ring. The diamond solitaire.
Lovely ring this one here.
Start me here at £800.
At 800. At 800.
At £800, solitaire diamond. 800.
820. 850. 880.
1,000 and I'm out.
It's reached its reserve. Brilliant.
Is there any advance at £1,000?
At £1,000 it's in the room.
1,050. Late legs but it's there.
And £1,100. At £1,100 are we all done?
At £1,100, make no mistake.
-Yes, the hammer's gone down.
Well done, everyone.
-Congratulations. That's fantastic.
A few successes and a few debates at auction, hardly a surprise
given our choice of venue - Oxford Union.
We've had a fascinating day here.
If you'd like to take part in the show
and you've got unwanted antiques and collectables
you'd like to sell, bring them along to one of our valuation days.
Details you can pick up on our BBC website.
If you don't have a computer,
check the details in your local press
and maybe we can help you to flog it.
This episode comes from the place sometimes dubbed 'the last bastion of free speech in the western world' - the historic Oxford Union. Paul Martin is joined by experts Christina Trevanion and Wil Axon. Together the team pick out a selection of interesting antiques and collectables to be sold at the local auction house.
Christina uncovers a famous fake while Mark gets a religious education after discovering a rare Baptist bust.
Paul delves into the history of the auction site which is built on top of infamous Greenham Common.