Antiques series. Flog it! comes from Leicester's De Montfort Hall and the experts hunting out the best antiques to take to auction are Claire Rawle and Thomas Plant.
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Leicester is a vibrant, multicultural city,
bursting with life and vitality.
It has a fascinating array of architecture
dating right back to the Roman period
and a 350-year-old history in the textiles industry.
But there's one thing that might surprise you,
and I found it here in the city's art gallery and museum.
It's a unique collection of ceramics
by one of the world's greatest ever artists, Pablo Picasso.
Welcome to Flog It!
It's time to head across town to De Montfort Hall,
home to our valuation day.
This venue has been entertaining audiences for 100 years.
It has played host to such trendsetters as David Bowie
and Elton John.
In 1973, Bowie played here to an audience of ardent fans -
imagine having been there.
Our dedicated followers of Flog It! have come from far and wide today
to get their antiques and collectables valued by our experts -
Flog It! fashionista Claire Rawle and Thomas Plant.
It's the most ghastly box you brought it in, isn't it?
-Yes, this is what it was donated in.
-Get rid of the box.
-That is lovely and bone-y and China-y and this is more...
More clunky, yes.
Give us five.
Let's not keep this patient crowd waiting any longer, it's now 9.30.
I think it's time to get the doors open
and start hunting for some treasures.
-Are you ready to go in?
There's one chap up there...
I'm going to go and pick on that chap
because he's been noisy all morning. Come on.
-Hello, what's your name?
-Barry, pleased to meet you.
-Thank you for coming. Are you by yourself?
-No, my wife.
-Are you keeping him under control?
We've come for the experience. We've enjoyed every moment.
You will get the experience, don't you worry. What have you got there?
-I brought the mother-in-law.
-You brought the mother-in-law?
Right, it is time, as I said earlier, before we got interrupted,
it's time to get the doors open and get everybody inside.
Are you ready? Yes, come on then.
There certainly is a raucous crowd here today.
I hope their antiques match their enthusiasm.
But before we find out, here's what's coming up on today's show.
We have got two ornate but very different Chinese items...
..this elaborate silk outfit...
and this book of intricate rice paper paintings.
Both beautiful things, but which will be all the rage
when we put them to the test in the auction room?
And now the crowd are oohing.
Antiques and fine art everywhere you look.
We have the most wonderful array of items today, so don't go away
because I reckon we are going to have one or two big surprises later.
This next item is a personal favourite.
Thomas just zoomed in on it. Take a look at this.
Tell me about these postcards, where have they been?
They were my great aunt's.
She gave them to my mum and then my mum passed them on to me.
Anybody in here family?
Some of them were sent to my great aunt
and I do believe there might be one or two in there, seaside ones,
that we sent to her when I was younger.
-How long have you had them for?
-It must be 15 or 16 years.
-Are you Leicester people?
-We live on the Leicester-Warwickshire border.
you've got these Leicester First World War postcards,
which really make it relevant to where we are.
But you don't know if they are members of your family?
My grandfather was in the First World War.
-Do you think one of these are him?
Then you've got this card here, which is a suffragette card.
-I don't know if it's a play on... I don't understand the joke.
"A suffragette. Yes. A Cur Hardy."
And then you've got what scares the living life out of me -
Leicester Royal Infirmary's X-ray department.
That looks like a torture chamber.
It does, you wouldn't like to go there now.
Quite interesting local history.
And then here, we've got almost a scrapbook.
You decoupage them on to your screens, furniture
and throughout the album there are similar scenes.
-The two albums, because you've got the local interest,
that is the important thing.
I would have thought an estimate of £70-£90 with a fixed reserve of 50.
-How does that grab you?
-That is fine, thank you.
-Have you enjoyed your day on Flog It!?
-I have enjoyed my day, yes.
While I was waiting to see you,
I was showing somebody these postcards and as I flipped them over,
she recognised the address on the back of one of them
and she said, "I used to live there."
And I said, "Really?" And I said, "What was your name?"
And she told me her name and I said, "We were at junior school together!"
-Isn't that extraordinary?
-40 years later.
-40 years later. It's amazing.
You've got a memory on you!
What a busy and productive day we are having here.
We've managed to rekindle an old friendship!
But time is ticking on and, so on to our next lot.
Good morning, Sue, good to see you. Thanks for coming along to Flog It!
It's fairly self-explanatory what you have brought along,
a pocket watch and an Albert watch chain.
What can you tell me about them?
This was my grandfather's,
it was presented to him by the Sports Association,
the CWS, the Co-operative Society in Lowestoft.
This is an heirloom that we have now got to split four ways
cos there's four people left of this generation.
You can't split it, so sell it.
So often these watches were handed, father to son, down the generations.
People don't use them any longer,
so they languish in boxes in cupboards.
This is really the archetypal gold watch.
Indeed, it is.
It is a nine-carat case, open-face pocket watch
with this lovely white enamel dial.
It's by a firm called Recta, which were Swiss manufacturers,
like so many of them were, very good movements.
It's just a lovely watch of its type.
I guess he probably used to use it, did he?
He did, I remember as a young child that he always had his waistcoat on
with his fob watch and he would actually get it out occasionally
when we were a little bit late, being a bit tardy,
and he'd get it out and look at it and tap his foot.
-Did he have it on this chain?
-Yes, he did.
Because that's earlier, that's actually Victorian.
It's what you call a fancy link chain or Albert as they are known.
And having looked at it, you've got a nine-carat hook there
and a nine carat T-bar and then a nice seal -
what they call a swivel seal because it turns round -
and that's in a nine-carat mount.
The frustrating is that I think that's made of pinchbeck,
which was a Victorian metal that was used to replicate gold.
They used it in a lot of jewellery.
The trouble is, it's a base metal so it doesn't carry the value of gold.
What I would suggest is, when it goes forward to being auctioned,
that we get it tested just to make sure.
Because if it is nine-carat gold,
it changes the value quite considerably.
My feeling is we're looking at an estimate of £150-£250,
that sort of...as a broad estimate.
I think use the lower estimate as a reserve - 150 -
perhaps with a bit of discretion. Does that sound OK to you?
-At the end of the day, what else are you going to do with it?
I know, it could go back in the draw and then my poor daughters
would have to deal with it later on, so I'll make the decision now.
It's hard to let go of sentimental things,
but you just have to be bold and let someone else get enjoyment
from an item you don't need any more.
Tell me about this lovely outfit, where did it come from?
It came from my grandad who was in the Royal Navy.
-He was a chief petty officer.
-When was he in the Navy, in the 1920s?
I believe so, yes. And he was based a lot of the time in China. Shanghai.
Then it passed down to my father, who is 91, still alive, and then to me.
It's a bit small this hat. This is real human hair.
But I think, like in all cultures, we have coming of age ceremonies
such as confirmation, bar mitzvahs,
and I don't know about the Chinese culture,
but I would've thought this is a similar sort of thing.
This butterfly symbol on this beautiful, long overtop or overcoat
with the long, wide sleeves
is a symbol of a girl becoming a woman,
actually growing into the butterfly, growing into her beauty.
This might be a ceremonial outfit, probably worn once or twice.
It looks like it's going to be 1900s, 1920s.
-Where has it been?
-It's been packed away, really.
I talked to my dad recently when I said I was coming here
-and he said he remembers wearing it as a child.
Interestingly, this, I think, is just the overcoat, the over jacket.
-This is a skirt, but the two don't seem to go together.
The colours are different.
It's not the oldest thing in the world,
it's not the most collectable thing in the world,
but it does have a sense of stature, status, beauty with it.
This lovely blue in the shot silk and the cuffs.
I would have thought, at auction today, it is going to be £100.
-Would you be happy with an estimate of 100-120?
-With a discretionary reserve on it.
-Of what, 100?
-I would say £80.
-I'd say 80. And would you come in?
-Definitely, and I hope to bring my father with me.
-That would be amazing.
-Yes, and then we would go out for a meal.
For a Chinese, my friend said, but I don't know about that.
Some intriguing items already valued,
boxed up and set to be put into auction.
Before we put those valuations to the test,
there's something I want to show you -
De Montford Hall's pipe organ, and you cannot miss it.
ORGAN MUSIC PLAYS
Here it is. You get some idea of the scale of the thing.
It's absolutely enormous.
It's the only surviving example of its kind,
built by Stephen Taylor and Sons here in Leicester.
In fact, its many distinguishing features have drawn famous organists
from all over the world to come and play recitals here.
One organist from Westminster Abbey said it is the most comprehensive
and exciting musical instrument in an organ he has ever encountered,
and more satisfying than playing the organ at Westminster Abbey.
So there you go.
No doubt, there is going to be sweet music right now in the auction room
as we hit those high notes.
Here's a quick recap of what's coming with us.
Let's hope we get plenty of bidders from Leicester
fighting over the postcards.
The Chinese outfit is exquisite
and deserves to be put pride of place somewhere,
not hidden away out of sight.
Let's wait and see what the auctioneer thinks
of the pocket watch and Albert.
If the whole lot is gold, we could be making big money.
Our saleroom today is in Market Harborough,
a pretty town which had a thriving textile industry all of its own.
In 1876, Symington's factory began making corsets.
Just over ten years later, the firm employed around 1,600 people.
Working hard for us today is auctioneer Mark Gilding.
Before the sale, he wasted no time giving his opinion
on what Sue's pocket watch and Albert were made from.
We valued this at £150-£250.
-At the valuation day, we were unsure if this was nine-carat gold.
You've done a lot of research, haven't you?
Yes, we've had a look at it and I'm confident it is nine-carat gold.
OK, so what is the new value may on this?
We spoken to the vendor and we've moved that up to 300-500.
-I bet that was a nice phone call to make.
-They are good ones to make!
It's worth a lot more than we initially thought.
-Rather than the other way.
-So, with the new value of 300-500,
fingers crossed this should do somewhere near the top end.
There is a lot of gold there.
There is, and these are things that people are looking at
and buying with confidence.
Collectors buying pocket watches with the knowledge
that they are underpinned by the value of the gold.
-Are you keeping them as one lot, or are you separating them?
OK. Much interest at the moment?
-Have they been picked up and viewed?
-They have indeed.
There could be a nice surprise for everybody later on.
Claire was right to suggest the Albert should be tested.
A little bit of investigation can pay dividends.
And now, first under the hammer, the postcard collection.
Could the local connection on our next lot
help it get away at the top end? We're just about to find out.
I've been joined by Karen.
We're just about to put your item under the hammer. I like this.
We've had one or two surprises in the past with postcards.
-Let's hope so.
-The collectors know what they're looking for.
They certainly do.
And it has good Leicestershire connections
with the First World War Leicestershire Regiment
and the suffragette card.
Fingers crossed we get that top end, plus a lot more.
It's going under the hammer right now. Here we go.
Two albums of postcards and photographs,
Royal Jubilee foldout charts, sovereigns of England, all sorts.
Lots and lots here for you all to look at.
Bidding starts here with me at £50.
60, 70, 80. 90. 100. 110. 120. 130.
140. 150. 160. 170. 180. 190. 200. 220.
-Karen, this is flying.
I'm out at 240. The bidding is on my left now at 240.
I said we'd have some surprises with our postcards.
Selling to the room at £240.
240! The hammer's gone down.
We like the sound of that.
-That's a lot of money.
There is commission to pay, 15% plus VAT here, everybody has to pay that,
but that's a lot more than you were expecting.
-It is, yes. I'm very pleased.
-Yes, very happy.
-Are you going to spend it in the saleroom?
That takes some willpower!
There are some great things to be bought at auction
and I hope this little lot is no exception.
Well, our next item is certainly rare -
a little bit of the Orient comes to Leicestershire.
-Good to see you, Jane.
Well, we've got a Chinese ceremonial outfit,
which I believe your father wore.
He's here today, isn't he? He's just around the corner.
-Do you want to give him a wave?
Very hard thing to put a price on.
It's one of those things where you've just got to
lose your context of what you've sold similar in the past
-and have a go.
Anyway, let's find out what the bidders think here, shall we?
It's quite unusual. This could be a first
and it's going under the hammer now. Here we go.
Lovely Chinese silk-embroidered costume.
Interest here and bids start with me on the book at 55.
Straight in at 55.
£55 I'm bid for the Chinese silk-embroidered costume.
At 55. 60. 65, I'm bid.
At 65 bid. Looking for you all in at 65.
65 the bid is then.
At 65 and £65...
Well, I have to withdraw that, pending instructions.
Pass on 258 for now.
I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. We were close, but not that close.
He couldn't even use any discretion really -
we didn't get that bid of 65.
-It's going home.
-It's been fun.
-It's been fun.
Such a shame, but the costume may need a specialist sale to
realise its full potential.
Let's hope Claire has better luck with the pocket watch,
and the new valuation put on by auctioneer Mark is realised.
Going under the hammer now, we've got Sue's pocket watch
with nine-carat gold fob and chain.
Yes, it tested as real gold, so we're happy with that, Sue.
Quality, quality, quality!
That's what we like and we're putting it under the hammer,
and hopefully it's going to get that new top end.
-Good luck, Sue.
Look at all these bids.
Well, you can't but I can.
£500 is my opening bid.
Wow! We are straight in at the top end of the estimate.
560 in the room now.
560 down my left-hand side and I'm all out and selling at £560.
-That was just two bids -
blink and you'll miss it.
Straight in at the top end and another bid of 60 on top.
-Well, someone really wanted that!
-They did. Yes.
Well done and thank you for bringing that in.
Thank you for letting me bring it. Really good.
That concludes our first visit to the auction room today -
so far, so good.
We are coming back later on in the programme, so don't go away.
Now, we expect to see all kinds of ceramics on the show,
from all over the world,
but right now, I'm off to take a look at a collection that could
surpass all others.
And the fascinating thing -
it's been assembled by a legend in his own right.
Most of you would've heard of Lord Richard Attenborough,
he's one of our greatest and most-renowned film directors.
What you possibly weren't aware of
was the fact that he was a lover and collector of fine art.
Richard grew up here in Leicester,
and as child, along with his brother David,
they spent many hours here in the city's
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.
And here, David's love for the natural world developed
and Richard's love for art blossomed.
His passion culminated in one of the most extraordinary
collections of Picasso ceramics anywhere in the world,
and it's housed right here inside, so let's take a look.
Richard Attenborough was a great follower of Picasso's work
and discovered that he'd also turned his hand to ceramics.
So in the early 1950s,
he and his wife Sheila paid their first visit to the Madoura Pottery
in France where Picasso had been working for several years.
Picasso was predominantly known as a painter and a sculptor,
the father of modern art and one of the pioneers of Cubism.
But towards the later years of his life,
he had a prolific period producing ceramics.
In 1946, whilst in Southern France,
he met the owners of Madoura Pottery, Georges and Suzanne Ramie.
He was so impressed by their craftsmanship
that he decided to stay,
and he worked there for almost 30 years,
never returning to his homeland, Spain.
The majority of the collection consists of what is
referred to as editions and originals impressions.
These are multiple works that Picasso insisted the pottery
should produce and sell, inexpensively, in his name.
The Attenboroughs started with modest purchases,
leading to a collection totalling around 150 wonderful pieces.
Each year, the family would holiday in the south of France,
religiously returning to the pottery to pick up their next purchase.
It wasn't until 1963 at a private viewing at Madoura,
that they finally met Pablo Picasso.
And through the crowd came this enchanting woman,
and she was bringing somebody by the hand.
And it was the old man. And I...
I mean, I didn't faint, but if I'd met Beethoven or
Shakespeare I couldn't have been more bowled over.
In 2007, Lord and Lady Attenborough announced that their
collection of Picasso ceramics
would be entrusted to the city of Leicester
to commemorate the lives of their daughter Jane Mary
and their granddaughter Lucy Elizabeth,
who sadly perished together during the Asian tsunami of 2004.
Jane May, curator at the New Walk Museum, is here to tell us
more about this extraordinary collection.
Why did he get involved with ceramics?
I think he needed a sort of fresh outlook on life.
Just after the war, he came down to the south of France,
wonderful new surroundings,
and he discovered a wonderful new medium to work in.
Do you think it was a way of slowing down and relaxing?
-No, absolutely not.
-He was so prolific.
It was a fresh impetus.
His first year, he worked on over 600...
-That is prolific.
there's jokes - you could see he was having fun.
It kind of revitalised all his work.
Was it really ground-breaking at the time?
Did he add any new dimension?
He wasn't the first person who was a fine artist who worked with pottery,
but he was the first who took it really seriously,
did it in a big way.
And because he was coming to it fresh,
he would suggest or try and do things that nobody ever thought of before.
He painted owls, he had owl sculptures, he had pet owls.
They're not a single shape, created from scratch.
He took a bit of an amorphous shape, which is like an elongated egg,
as the body of the owl,
and he took the neck of a jug to make the head of the owl
and the spout becomes the beak,
and another one underneath to be the feet - the base that it stands on.
-So there's lots of parts.
-It's a composite.
So, although they are mass-produced, you are buying a one-off?
He said at one point that he would love to just load up a donkey
with panniers of pots and take them off to the market.
But he knew if he did that, the dealers would come
and it would turn up in Paris at ten times the price,
or 100 times the price.
But he introduced the editions, which are like prints in a work of art
so that they would be affordable.
Are there any pieces here in the exhibition
that are solely by his hand?
There's just one and it's just in this case over here.
And it's the head of a bullfighter, or a matador,
which you can hardly see.
You can just make it out.
The profile of the nose and so on is carved into the surface.
So you've got relief, but you've also got added texture on top.
You've got added texture, you've got colour,
and he's used the outline of the plate as the bull ring.
So you've got the sand and the people's faces around the other side.
I have to say, one of the reactions of the first people that saw it was,
"What's that dead rat?"
So it has, I'm afraid, been the dead rat plate ever since,
as far as I'm concerned.
-It puts a smile on your face.
And Picasso would have liked that, I'm sure.
Let's take a walk down there.
-Which one are you going to point out?
-The one in the middle.
-The one in the middle - the face.
It's part of a series and I think one of the most emotional,
poignant pieces that he made in his ceramic art.
For me, less is more.
I gravitate towards that. It's subtle.
It's subtle, but it's very clever.
It's very clever.
It was made late in his life and the series, really, I think
has to be interpreted as a meditation on mortality.
-The face, that starts off pure and serene and flawless,
is gradually eaten into -
you can see it decaying and crumbling and...
I know he did things like that in his other media,
but there's a kind of texture to the ceramics.
You can empathise with the wrinkles and the flaws and the decay.
If I could pick one to take home,
and I know I wouldn't be allowed to...
I shall search you before you go.
In my Paul dream-world, I think my favourite piece caught my eye
when I walked in, and it's down that end.
-Let's take a look.
-Let's go and talk about it.
And it's this one here.
Again, it's another face on a plate...
introducing a little bit of colour.
But why I like this is because I like the use of that lovely
dark green glaze on that yellow ground.
It's my favourite too, I have to admit.
-It's a very happy piece.
-We've got good taste!
The way he uses the plate as the head and the little horns
and the pan pipe.
And it's one of his most traditional pieces in the colouring -
it's most like ordinary...
That's the colour you find in Mediterranean pottery.
And this was the very first piece they made as a multiple edition.
It's incredible to think
that the enthusiastic passion of Lord Attenborough
and his family has resulted in such an extraordinary collection.
And a joy to see the work of one the world's most influential
and important artists right here in Leicester.
There's a real buzz here at De Montfort Hall,
an air of excitement and anticipation.
You never know what's going to turn up at a valuation day.
Let's catch up with our experts and see what else they've found,
and hopefully, that one big surprise is just down there.
And now its over to Thomas,
who has those Chinese paintings on his table.
John, tell me about these drawings. I call them rice paper drawings.
-Where did you get them from?
It's certainly from my mother's side of the family.
I think it was from her father's father,
so my great-grandfather.
Where did he live? Was he a Leicester man?
No, he lived in London,
and he actually had a cafe in London in the late 19th century.
I'm not sure if he travelled
cos I've got one or two other things, which are slightly Chinese.
Cos these are tourist pieces.
I mean, they are from the late 19th century...and they're Cantonese.
So here's a gentleman here in sedan chair...
-Let's have a look. What else have we got?
-How many are there?
-Looks a bit wistful.
-Yeah, and there's a band, a procession.
-Yes, the lanterns.
Very similar colours to you see on Cantonese porcelain -
these pinks, these blues, these, you know, high decorations.
And it's all done just by paint?
It's all done... Layers and layers of paint, absolutely.
And it's obviously a procession, a story of something going on.
So when he would got these, your great-grandfather,
these could have been almost new.
Some people say these are mulberry paper,
so from the mulberry tree itself.
Obviously, that is where silk is made from, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
-They eat the leaves and produce...
-Produce the silk.
It's very fine paper and tremendously painted,
and I think quite a porous material -
every time you paint, it raises up,
so you've got to paint and paint and paint.
Ever had any thoughts on value of them?
Not really, because I wasn't too sure exactly how many people
collected this kind of stuff.
They are widely collected.
With the rise in China, these will become more
and more collectable, definitely.
And I would have thought that these would be worth...
Got a bit of worm in this one here, so a bit of damage there.
If the were big bold single figures of dignitaries
in ceremonial costumes, et cetera, they'd be worth a lot more.
I think we're looking at 300-500.
-Fixed reserve at £300?
-Yes, that sounds reasonable to me.
I will look forward to seeing them sell at the auction
-and they might make some more.
-Hopefully they do, Tom.
What a great crowd we have here today.
I love the people of Leicester, they're so friendly.
"Liar," someone said!
Can you remember early this morning, we had someone that was
giving it all that in the queue as I was doing pieces to camera?
Well, it's his turn to come round here now and there's an empty seat.
This is Barry. Aren't you going to take your hat off?
Does he ever take is hat off when he's at home?
-No, he goes to bed in it.
-He goes to bed in his hat, does he?
-She's getting her own back now.
-Do you want to see what I've got?
-I want to see what you've got.
-I've got that.
He's a big old beast, isn't he?
-There's no name on them.
I was thinking it might be a bit of Dalton there.
You're obviously retired now. Leicester born and bred?
-Leicester born and bred, yes.
-What did you do for a living?
I worked in the hosiery industry.
-Yes, in Leicester.
It was quite a busy time - worked there 40-odd years.
Well, it makes sense you worked in the textile industry
cos it was all based around here - several hundred factories.
What exactly did you do?
I was actually, for years and years,
what you call a sock examiner.
We were responsible for examining the socks,
pairing them and grading them.
I guess in those days they made
a left foot and a right foot, a proper pair.
-You're right there.
-Yeah, but they don't nowadays.
-No, they just chuck 'em in a bag.
-Slap them in.
-How did you two meet then?
-We met at the youth club.
-That was 50-odd years ago.
-50-odd years ago?
-And you're still happily married?
Course I am.
Course you are, you wouldn't joke like that otherwise!
I bet he keep you entertained.
You have, you've entertained us.
No, your entertainment's been beautiful.
Thanks, Barry. It's nice to get into
the crowd though and meet some great local characters.
Now it's Claire's turn.
Hazel has brought in a box full of Victorian gems.
It's nice to see you. Glad you came in today.
These are rather pretty.
-Are they family ones? Things you've had in the family for a while?
Right, OK. So what's the history behind them?
My father had them and I inherited them.
Do you think he inherited them from his father?
I would think so, yes.
-And he would be likely to have worn them.
-Yes, yes, indeed.
Your father didn't wear them, you don't think?
-I don't think so, no.
-So they've just been sitting in a drawer doing nothing?
Yeah, yeah. Cos of course we know what they are,
but not everybody will, will they?
Cos they're a bit...something from the past.
Something from a rather elegant past.
They're known as dress studs,
and we've got matching cufflinks.
These wouldn't have just been dressing for dinner,
been going out to a ball or something smart,
and you had the white dress shirt with the stiffened front
that had no buttons in it.
And so you had to attach buttons and this is exactly what you used.
These are particularly decorative cos they're nine-carat gold,
set with mother of pearl and turquoise,
which was a popular combination cos it's very attractive without
looking too feminine.
And all these fittings at the back are what you used to fit
the button, and then you put your button through your dress front.
You've seen the comedy sketch where the fellow's standing there
and suddenly it winds itself and slaps him in the face!
Well, it was a starched front
and it had to be kept down to be worn under the black tails.
So that's what this would have been used for.
And... Well, no-one uses them today, but they are very decorative,
and there are cufflinks. So we have a pair of cufflinks,
and the various buttons are different sizes,
and sadly, one has disappeared,
which is why the little fellow's been turned over.
So there would have been another - a fourth of those.
But because they screw in to the front,
they're ever so easy to lose.
So very nice.
Lovely case - its original case, obviously.
Name in there is good - that's Bensons in London.
Usually associate that name with clock and watches,
they were makers of clocks and watches,
but good retailers as well.
So this was obviously an expensive thing in its day,
might have been given as a gift, perhaps,
to a husband or an intended.
-Have you thought of value on them at all?
-I have no idea at all.
Yeah. Right. OK.
I think a sensible sale estimate would be between £70 and £100.
I've seen them selling for that quite regularly.
And I would suggest putting a fixed reserve of £60 on them -
just pitch it below the lower estimate. How does that sound?
-Yes, fine. Yes.
And now for something I absolutely adore.
Well, the call went out, we needed furniture on the show,
and Pat hasn't let us down.
Thank you so much, my darling, I'll give you a kiss for this one.
Are you sure you want to sell this?
Well, yes, I do.
Let's talk about it first cos you might just change your mind.
Tell me about its history - how did you acquire it?
It's come through the family.
It was my grandmother's, that I know of, it may have dated before that.
And then it was my mum's and now it's mine.
It spent its Second World War in the air raid shelter in the garden.
-Oh, did it?!
-Yes, and the neighbours used to play cards on it.
Now, you nearly gave it away, you see - playing cards on it,
cos there's a little surprise.
Wait for this.
This top swivels...
..lots of counters would be in here...and then that opens up.
And there you have it - chess, backgammon and crib.
Again, figured walnut throughout, original hinges,
a choice of woods,
variegated hues exploding all over the place in a variety of colours.
If I close that up, it's got all those
characteristics of something that's been used and loved and polished,
and bless you for that, cos I think that's slightly added to the value.
-You've given this piece of furniture a personality.
It does date... It is English.
It's English, yes.
It's English and it dates from around about 1880/1890.
When you look at the construction of this,
you can see it's got this lovely figured walnut grain to it.
Can you see it's quarter veneered?
You can just see the joining line there.
And these veneers are very thin slices of walnut
and they've been cut and opened up,
which is what we call a butterfly technique,
or bookmatched, so you can see these little tiny designs,
-almost like butterfly wings. Can you see them there?
Sadly, this whole thing has opened up over the period of time and
you've got one great big split down the grain - that can be sorted out,
-but it will cost money.
So that will devalue it. But do you know something?
If I owned this piece, I wouldn't get it fixed.
I could live with that!
This is definitely a city piece, I'd say a London piece,
and this would have belonged to a middle-class family,
a well-educated couple, living in a townhouse in London.
-That's where it would have belonged.
-That's where it came from.
-Does that sound right?
-It sounds right.
What's your bottom line? If you want to get rid of it,
what would you be happy with?
I think if it was less than 250, I'd take it home.
OK. I think it'll sell at 250.
If we put it in a 250, fixed reserve,
and say 250-350, it will sell.
And because it is a games table and not a work table,
I think it's got something more going for it. Don't you?
I'll just keep my fingers crossed.
I think whoever buys it will only buy it
if they're prepared to look after it.
-Yeah, they will. Someone will love that.
What a wonderful piece of craftsmanship to end with.
That's it for out valuation day here at De Montfort Hall,
and what a fabulous time we have had.
But right now, the stage is set for our final visit to
Gildings auction rooms, and here's what's going under the hammer.
It's a real mixed bag.
The Chinese paintings are of such fine quality,
let's hope the bidders like them.
The dress studs might not be worn by many any more,
but they are genuinely gorgeous.
And Pat's table - my favourite thing at the entire valuation day!
First up though, it's the studs.
I've just been joined by Hazel and Claire,
and going under the hammer we have...
-Is it great-grandfather or grandfather?
Grandfather's shirt studs -
mother of pearl and turquoise - these are really interesting.
Not come across anything like that before. And some cufflinks.
It just goes to show how posh the gents were back then,
and what they wore to work. Did he work in the City of London?
He was a solicitor in London.
There you go. You can tell a man by the way he dresses, can't you?
-I don't know what corduroy says about me!
You wouldn't wear them to work though, would you?
As a solicitor, maybe.
Yes, impressing a client, maybe out at dinner or something.
We're going to put that value to the test - what are we looking for?
-OK. Hopefully we'll get that top end.
Here we go.
Set of gent's raised-metal dress studs, cufflinks and buttons,
turquoise and mother of pearl faced.
Lovely set and in a nice box as well - these lot 479.
Had a good look at these yesterday. At £60 I'm bid.
I'm bid at £60.
-Hazel, come on, we've got £70.
£70. 5. 80.
£80. 80 now against you online at £80.
Still against you online at £90. 90.
Fair warning on the internet - I'm out, you're in.
Selling here on the book at £90.
£90. Hammer's gone down.
-I'm pleased. Are you pleased?
There is commission to pay -
it's 15% here plus the VAT on the hammer price -
but that's still a little bit of spending money for you.
-Yeah. Go out and spend it now and have lunch.
-Treat yourself, yeah!
Now it's my turn to be the expert.
So far, so good, which brings us that wonderful Victorian games table
that I put a value of £250-£300 on, belonging to Pat.
It's been loved and cherished by the family,
it's been down the air raid shelter during World War II,
and now it's ended up here in the sale room in Market Harborough.
It's had quite a life, hasn't it?
Anyone can put a table like this to good use
and it will suit any interior.
OK, it's going under the hammer - this is it.
Bids start at £210. 220.
220 I'm bid now. At 220.
At £220. I'm bid at 220.
240. Bid at 240. 250.
At 250, bid at 250. 260 do I see?
At 250. We're with the telephone now at 250,
and I will sell, make no mistake.
Away then at £250...
No-one's challenged that bid.
Someone on the phone could have gone a bit more,
-but no-one challenged it, but it's gone. £250.
-Thank you, Paul.
It's gone within estimate.
Well, it's gone at the bottom end of the estimate,
but I have high hopes for our next lot.
We have a little treat for you right now, something that's very unusual,
and I've not seen anything like this on Flog It!
for years and years and years.
15 Chinese rice drawings, in an album, belonging to John,
and I think those are absolute quality.
Very hard to put a value on, Thomas.
-Very, very hard. 300-500 you've given...
There's a fashion for them now though and they're quite desirable.
Yeah, these will be split up and mounted and, hopefully,
on the wall where they belong.
-Chinese people reclaiming their heritage?
That's where all the money's going.
John, you've had them a long time, why are you selling them now?
Because I'm not doing anything with them, so they might as well be sold.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Really fantastic Chinese watercolours on rice paper.
And bidding opens with Mary on the telephone at £200.
220, I'm bid now. 220. 230.
I'll take that at 230.
260. 270 online.
It's a nice slow, steady climb.
600 on the telephone.
And 50. 1,000.
John, this is very, very good, isn't it?
-This is very, very good.
-You must be enjoying this.
This is...yeah, more like it.
1,600, I'm bid.
£1,800 with the telephone.
More and more!
This is very exciting.
It's gone very, very quiet - this is what an auction's all about.
2,400 with the telephone.
-Yes! Yes! Yes!
2,600. Thank you - with the telephone.
2,600 on the telephone then.
2,600. Looks like the internet's...given in.
It's with the telephone then, last chance.
Fair warning at...
£2,700, and now the crowd are oohing!
The telephone's beaten then. We're online bidding at £2,700.
And the hammer going down, and it's gone down. That's a sold sound!
Wow! You've got a round of applause, John.
Yes, thank you.
-Coffee's on me!
-In your wildest dreams,
you didn't think that was going to happen here, did you?
-Definitely not, no.
What were you expecting, top-end?
OK, I went with Thomas' estimate and perhaps a bit more if I was lucky.
-£600 or £700.
-600, yeah. Yes.
That was fabulous, Thomas, absolutely fabulous.
Absolutely fabulous. It just goes to show, they're really fashionable
and they're being repatriated, just as you said.
I told you there was going to be a big surprise,
it was worth waiting for, and I hope you enjoyed that
because we certainly enjoyed presenting it.
Sadly, we've run out of time here in Market Harborough,
so from John, Thomas and myself and all the crew here,
see you next time for many more surprises.
Flog it! makes Leicester's De Montfort Hall its home and the experts hunting out the best antiques and collectables to take to auction are Claire Rawle and Thomas Plant.
Paul Martin discovers a collection of Picasso ceramics put together by a legend in his own right - Lord Richard Attenborough.