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Today, we're in Leicester, a vibrant, multicultural city
in the heart of the East Midlands.
It's the birthplace of legendary footballer Gary Lineker
and controversial playwright Joe Orton.
It's also the place where the remains of one of history's
most famous kings was discovered.
Let's hope our experts can measure up to the great
and the good of this city.
Welcome to "Flog It!".
King Richard III was killed in battle in Leicestershire in 1485.
It has since been a mystery as to where he was laid to rest...
until 2012, when archaeologists began excavating beneath the car park in Leicester.
Human remains were unearthed
which were later confirmed as those of King Richard.
Leicester has claimed Richard III as one of their own, and the plan
is for his final burial place to be within the city's cathedral.
Imagine if we had a royal relic through the door today.
Here at De Montfort Hall, we've already got an impressive turnout.
The more people, the more antiques we see,
and the greater chance of finding something special.
And scouring the crowds today are our very own regal couple,
experts Thomas Plant...
-Do these work?
-Look at those.
..and Catherine Southon.
-Lovely. And you're "Hottie", are you?
They are on a mission to find antiques unusual, intriguing
Basically, anything fit for a king.
Yeah, we've got The Mouth.
You've got The Mouth? Is that what you call him?! The Mouth!
Well, it's time to get the doors open,
get this big crowd inside and hopefully find a few gems.
And we've got a packed show ahead.
Coming up, our experts go to battle with a couple of beautiful
Will Thomas's Chinese snuffbox find its fitting home
in an emperor's palace?
Or will Catherine's exquisite continental pillbox be
the king of the castle when it comes to the auction?
Whilst the crowds are still pouring in,
Thomas has already found his first item - some unusual glassware.
-OK, girls, you're sisters, aren't you?
-We are indeed.
-But there's four years' difference.
-Four years' difference? OK.
She's the oldest!
-So, it's Jane...
-There's no other siblings?
-No, I can see you're quite close.
There wouldn't be room for anybody else, would there?
So, tell me about these. What do you know about these things here?
They are marvellous.
They've been in the family for ever, I think.
Well, it feels as though for ever.
Certainly, when I was a child,
they were always on the mantelpiece or on the hearth.
-I think Mum thought they were French.
-Yes, but, erm, we're here to find out.
-I don't think they're French.
I call these, funny enough, Norfolk glass dumps.
Only because I heard the late, great David Barby once call them Norfolk glass dumps.
So I've always called them that.
-But people just call them doorstops, really.
How old do you think they are?
Interestingly, you have got quite a bit of wear on this base here.
I would say they are going to be late 19th century.
-So you're looking at the 1890s.
The thing about glass, it is difficult...
You can fake it, you can make it look old easily.
-But to get that honest wear on the base, you can't fake.
And to have a trio is marvellous, isn't it? Absolutely marvellous.
And this technique of getting the flowers within the actual
How do they make the flowers so uniform, almost?
I have no idea. When they blow glass, literally... I can't...
I did a bit last year and it is just amazing. So hot, you know.
A bit of blowing and back in the glory hole and then out.
And they only use a limited amount of tools. It's brilliant.
-It's absolutely brilliant.
Why have you brought them to "Flog It!"?
-To find out the value.
-Do you want to sell them?
-For the right price, yes.
-Is that always the wrong answer?!
-Oh, the pressure!
The pressure, you two!
I feel I'm being ganged up on. What is the right money?
Do you know, we have no idea.
We've looked on the internet and never seen anything quite like them.
I think they have got to be worth between 30 and 40 each.
So, as a holistic lot, it's £100.
£100... That's quite disappointing.
Yes. Because it's got to be split two ways, you see.
I think...£100, with a fixed reserve at 100.
-So give that a wide estimate. 100 to 200, £100 reserve.
-Are you going to agree?
Yes! We're there. I don't want to disappoint you.
-No, we don't want you to!
-No, you don't!
Thomas is feeling the pressure, but he needs to keep his cool.
There are plenty more people to see.
We've got a packed main hall here.
I've been told the queue goes outside, so let's have a look.
We might go through a bit of darkness to get there, so follow me.
Hello, everyone. We'll get you seated in just a moment.
Thank you so much for turning up today.
Without you, we would not have a show. How many outside?
Oh, my gosh, look. What a lot of people!
I tell you what, it's going to be a long day.
But a good one.
There's bound to be some treasure in all of those bags and I am hoping
for the crown jewels, but silver is a great start for Catherine.
Now, Paul, I see silver christening cups constantly,
but nothing quite as special as this.
-I want to know where you got this from.
How much did you pay for it?
Erm, we used to go to 'em Sunday mornings.
It was just something to do.
And I just... I came across this.
But obviously, when I seen it, it wasn't... It didn't look like that.
-It was black.
-It was black, right.
-It was black. It's about 20 years ago.
Why now are you coming to "Flog It!" to sell it?
Cos...my partner doesn't like it.
-I do. So...
..I'd like to sell it and reinvest the money into another collectable,
but one that I can have on show at home and be proud of.
Well, I think you should keep this, but then I'm a little bit biased.
Let's have a look at this.
First of all, a silver christening cup.
And you were drawn to it as a piece of silver?
I had a feeling it could be silver.
-Right, OK, but it was all covered in black?
Now, what I am so interested in with this is these little
figures around the bottom of the christening cup,
which are all figures of sailors, and they are all holding a ship.
And then you've got this swag detail going round,
which you quite often find on silver pieces of this era.
But they are actually made up like they're pieces of rope,
so you have this whole nautical theme.
Perhaps it was made for...
a baby of a nautical family,
-perhaps the family were sailors or something.
But it is just so lovely. So you're appealing to two different markets -
you're appealing to the silver buyers
and also to those who are interested in nautical works of art.
Now, we've got a lovely, crisp hallmark here.
We've got the maker's initials, DF...
..for David Fullerton, and the letter A.
So we can date that precisely to 1916, which is lovely.
-What worries me about this is that you bought it and it was black.
-And what did you do to it?
-The worst thing that I could do.
-The one thing that you tell us...
-I'm glad you recognise that!
-The one thing you tell us not to do - clean.
-Right. You've cleaned it.
And you've really, really polished it.
It looks like to me that you've got a very abrasive pad
and given it a good scrub.
-At the time, I didn't realise that.
I mean, it's nice to be able to see the detail, but really,
we should keep it in its original condition.
-Now, you paid £3.50 for this?
I would put that into auction at £100 to £150.
-But I can see it doing well.
-Can we put a reserve on it?
We can put a reserve. What do you want your reserve to be?
-The bottom end of the estimate.
-£100. I think that is very sensible.
We'll put a reserve on of £100. I think this is going to do well.
-I think you're going to get a lot of people interested in it.
It's all go here at our valuation day
and it looks like the whole of Leicester has turned out.
Even the local radio station has turned up.
..Paul Martin now.
We are Flogging It between now and midday on BBC Radio Leicester...
But DJ Tony Wadsworth has found a moment to chat to me
about this lovely piece of local memorabilia.
Tony, I absolutely love this photograph. It sums up Beatlemania.
Look at this, screaming fans going, "Aaaaaah!"
-You couldn't hear the concert.
-You're absolutely right.
-You saw The Beatles, didn't you?
-I did indeed, yeah.
-Did you hear any music?
-Not at all, no.
I was screaming alongside the girls,
but I was screaming at the girls to stop screaming!
How funny. But that picture really sums up Beatlemania
and the frenzy everybody got into.
I love the ticket stub, I love everything about that.
Did you put this together?
I bought this ticket from a well-known internet auction website.
I know the one!
This picture here was taken by the local paper at the time,
so this was taken in this very concert hall.
I thought it would be nice to put it in a frame like that.
I like what you've done. You've mounted it up
and created a little bit of history here, you know,
connected to De Montfort Hall, which I really like.
Now, did you get this set of autographs?
I wish I could say I did.
-Because, you know, provenance and authenticity...
..with The Beatles' autographs is key. It's crucial.
The story goes that the mentioned Mrs Glenn there,
she was employed as an outside catering contractor to serve
The Beatles sandwiches in their dressing room.
And got the Fab Four's signature and the rest, as they say, is history.
-So this signature came with this piece of paper to you?
I bought it just like that.
Is it something you want to sell?
No, I don't want to flog it, Paul!
You know, I'm a Leicester lad born and bred, and for me,
this is a little bit of local history. And I was there.
I was at that very concert in 1964.
And I remember it as if it was yesterday.
You really can't put a price on memories,
and for Tony, the value of this just isn't important.
But in the past, we've seen authentic Beatles autographs
which have sold for thousands of pounds.
And recently at Christie's, a piece of Buckingham Palace
headed notepaper, signed by the Fab Four, sold for £20,000.
Marie, Dale, tell me - how did you come by this box?
Erm, well, I bought it off a friend. It was probably 15, 20 years ago.
Ooh. Well, let's have a look at it.
-It's very light, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
It's extraordinarily light for something which is so delicate
and so well carved.
And you look at the space inside here
and you wonder what it could have been for.
-Quite a good tight fit as well, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
I think it's snuff tobacco.
And do you know the material?
I thought it was tortoiseshell.
It is tortoiseshell.
And you can see the colour coming through.
If you hold it up you can see that, can't you?
-Yes, it's beautiful.
-Isn't that delightful?
So, we have to look at a number of things with this.
Where is it from? The country of origin?
Chinese, I think.
How old do you think it is?
I think it's a bit older than 100 years.
It's probably going to be around 1870s.
Produced for our markets, produced for us in the West.
And we can tell that
because on the front of it there is a monogram here.
Yes, I noticed it was English.
Somebody like the East India Company,
who were based in the Far East,
dealing in tea and trading, etc,
some merchant would have had this commissioned
and had this very fine,
and it is fine, carving done on this piece of tortoiseshell.
And you've got a story here as well, haven't you?
You've got figures within a landscape, with pagodas,
weeping willow trees, within a bamboo border,
but I think the real gem is on the front
with these two dragons.
-So, I've told you what it is.
Why are you selling it?
Well, I've always collected loads of things, bits and bobs,
-and I'm getting on a bit now, so...
-Don't be silly!
Why is your mother selling this?
It's in a cupboard. it doesn't do anything. She doesn't look at it.
-It has been shut away for a while.
I used to have it in a display cabinet for a long while,
and then I just put it away.
It's a great market, with the emerging Chinese economy
and a new middle class, so to speak.
I would suggest, at auction today, it would be worth
between £500 and £700.
Fix the reserve at around about 450.
I think it could do a bit better.
But I don't want to push it.
-Are you going to be happy with that?
So, the 450 fixed reserve, and it's a realistic estimate,
for what it's worth.
But it also gives the intention that maybe,
intention that maybe it could go a bit higher.
Tortoiseshell is like ivory, and thus has sale restrictions in place.
But this box predates 1947,
which means we can legally sell it at auction.
Well, three great gems there.
You've just seen them.
There's nothing better for me than being surrounded by fine art
and antiques, makes me feel good.
And some of these items are fit for royalty.
Right now we're going to put them to the test in the auction room.
Here's a quick recap of what's going under the hammer.
We're taking those pretty glass dumps.
I hope they sell, or Thomas will be in trouble.
The christening cup is gorgeous.
But has Paul scrubbed the life out of it?
And the snuffbox is exquisite.
I'm expecting big things.
Our auction today comes from Market Harborough on
the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire border.
The town is located in an area which was formerly part of
Rockingham Forest, a royal hunting ground used by
the medieval monarchs.
Well, here we are. Gildings auction rooms.
It may be quiet outside, but hopefully it's buzzing inside.
The commission to pay at Gildings is 15% plus VAT.
And Mark Gilding takes to the rostrum as our first lot
goes under the hammer.
Here's hoping he makes one of our owners a king's ransom.
Going under the hammer right now we have three glass dumpy weights
belonging to Jane and Susan.
Sisters who join me right now here in this very exciting atmosphere.
-Are you looking forward to this?
It's the moment of truth. Wants £200, Thomas.
I think they're worth £150 any day of the week for three of them.
I like them a lot.
They were very popular
when we first started doing this show 12 years ago.
-Everybody was collecting these.
-Now they're not?
Well, we don't know.
This is the problem with antiques, fashions change, you see,
and prices fluctuate.
And we've got to sell them because they can't be divided up.
Two sisters, and there's three of them.
You could keep one each and sell one.
-But it's too late now, isn't it?
-Yes, it is.
-We'll wait and see.
Let's put them under the hammer, shall we?
Let's find out what the bidders think.
Here we go. This is it.
Bidding opens at £55.
55. I'm bid at 65.
110 I'm bidding.
You're out at my left at 110.
120. 120 online now.
And you're still out over here.
It's 120 online.
Online bidding, then.
And selling away. Fair warning at 120.
£120. Good result.
Look, it was better than £100, wasn't it?
That extra 20 helps.
Yeah, it's fine. That's good.
It wasn't the top end, unfortunately, but...
It was worth it for the experience.
Yes. Your first auction as well.
There's nothing quite like your debut sale for excitement
Let's hope we keep the buzz going for our next lot.
Going under the hammer right now we have a silver christening cup
with a value of £100-£150, brought along by Paul.
Was it yours as a christening cup,
-or just yours because you acquired it?
-No, I acquired it.
-A car-boot sale.
I think somebody's in for a lot of profit here.
But you know what he's done?
He's polished it to death.
-With an abrasive pad.
Oh, no. Oh, that's a no-no. You do not do that.
-You don't touch it, do you?
Let's hope we get the top end.
Here we go. This is it.
And bidding opens with me here on my books at £95.
£95 I'm bid.
At 95. 100 in the room.
Now at 100. And all my bids are lost.
£100 I'm bid.
We're at 100.
The internet's out. The book's out. Selling to the room at £100.
It's gone, but the damage let it down a bit.
-I think it was the scrubbing.
-It was that over-polishing.
I shouldn't have polished it. I should have left it alone.
Next time you will know - when you go to your boot fair,
you find your bit of silver, you leave it.
-Leave it to the experts.
But even so, what a great find and an amazing return on just £3.50.
Thank you so much for coming along to our valuation day
because you brought along absolute quality in the form of
a carved tortoiseshell snuffbox.
I mean, it's exquisite.
The detail on this, absolutely beautiful.
Got the reserve at 500.
-Did you increase it to five?
No, I don't blame you.
Right. Let's find out what it's worth. Here we go.
It's going under the hammer now. Good luck.
Cantonese carved box.
Carved in high relief, pavilions and foliage.
A smart object, this one.
And interest on the books here, 280, 300, 320, 340, I'm bid.
It's not enough.
£340. At 340.
I'm bid at 380.
It's against you online at £380.
They're being cautious.
480 bid now.
Against you online.
Waiting for you.
500 bid. We're online now.
It takes time to wait.
Selling away online now at £500.
Hammer's gone down.
That's a sold sound, and we love that sound.
You did the right thing.
Putting the reserve at 500. He had one online bidder.
As the auctioneer, he reserves the right to bid up to the reserve.
That's exactly what he did.
So, in the end, you did the right thing.
Cos otherwise it would have been sold at 450.
There was only one online bidder.
Well, there you are, that concludes our first visit to the saleroom,
as the curtain comes down on our first lots.
And right now I'm off to the city of London, to the West End,
to theatreland, to find out about one of the most influential
playwrights of the 20th century.
And he was a Leicester lad - Joe Orton.
Joe Orton was born in Leicester in 1933 into a working class family,
but it was here in the West End that he made his name.
He wrote some of the modern era's controversial and challenging plays,
including Entertaining Mr Sloane, What The Butler Saw and Loot.
But the road from the council estate to the West End
would be a bumpy one.
Orton had a fascination with the theatre
and writing from an early age
and was actively involved in amateur dramatics.
he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
It was during this time at RADA that he met his long-term partner
The pair were both aspiring writers,
but never really had a great deal of success,
and Orton had a few failed novels.
They both took menial jobs for six months of the year to fund
their lives so they could return to their typewriters to write
for the rest of the year.
But it wasn't their writing that first brought them to
the attention of the public.
It was a prolonged and elaborate practical joke.
I'm leaving theatreland to head to North London to the local
history museum in Islington, and I'm here to meet manager Mark Aston.
-Mark, pleased to meet you.
-Hello, Paul, likewise.
-Thanks for talking to me today.
-Not at all.
What was the practical joke all about?
What exactly did they do?
Well, Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell would go to their local libraries.
They would steal library books, take them back to their flat
and start doctoring the covers by adding alternative images
and narrative - bit of text, as well.
Occasionally changing the dust jacket blurb.
The would then sneak the library books back onto the library shelves
from those same libraries and just wait for drama to unfold.
Let's look at the original of John Betjeman, I'm a big fan.
OK. I think the full effect of the covers, the collage,
is to see the original.
and here we have a facsimile of the original cover,
which is a very basic cover showing Betjeman there in a boater.
When you look at that, I mean, that's so typical Betjeman, really.
But that puts a smile on your face.
It certainly does. Look at that.
And we've got there the Collins Guide To Roses.
Lots of wonderful, pretty roses.
Very simple cover.
And English rose, what could be more institutional?
But to cause a little bit of havoc, a simple monkey pasted on the rose.
How long did this go on for?
This went on for two and a half years.
From 1959 to mid-1962.
How many books in total, do you think?
We believe they doctored hundreds of books
as well as cutting out pictures to wallpaper their flat wall with.
Now that Orton is well-known, a very famous playwright,
these are quite rare, there's a lot of value attached to these now.
There is a lot of value attached.
We only have 42 originals.
They are priceless because they're irreplaceable.
Thank you very much for talking to me today.
You're very welcome, Paul.
This is Essex Road library in North London
and it's the scene of the crime.
Orton and Halliwell would come here
and replace their defaced books on the shelves and sit and wait
until an unsuspecting member of the public picked them up.
Like all practical jokers they wanted to see
the results of their work.
A lot of the staff here at the library used to look forward
to their latest creations,
but not everyone saw the funny side.
In fact, a lot of the changes that Orton
and Halliwell made were pretty racy,
especially for the 1950s, early 1960s.
This may have been a bit of fun for Orton and Halliwell,
but for many it was hugely shocking and blatant vandalism.
This was an attack on our books.
Our book stock, of which we are very proud,
was being attacked by predators.
The authorities took defacing public property very seriously,
and the joke drastically backfired.
And eventually in 1962 they were caught and both men were sentenced
to six months' imprisonment for malicious damage.
One person who knew Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell back then
was their next door neighbour Elena Salvoni, who still lives here today.
I always used to call them "the boys next door".
I remember quite a lot.
My son-in-law, he said, "Mum, what they've done is unbelievable."
I said, "What have they done?"
He said, "They've defaced library books."
The boys were very mischievous.
I mean, they used to banter off each other.
And then Ken would say, "Joe, now behave yourself."
I said, "It's about time you behaved yourself
"after what you've been up to."
And Elena clearly remembers the day they were arrested.
I found out by coming out of the door after going shopping
and Mrs Gordon was seeing to her flowers, and she said,
"Elena, isn't it disgraceful?" I said, "What?"
"The boys have been arrested."
I said, "What do you mean?"
She said, "They've defaced the library books.
"Didn't you see the blue van?"
I said, "No.
"Lewis saw the blue van,"
and I tell her I didn't have time to come to the window
because I was busy cooking.
Orton's time alone in prison
allowed him to find his style as a writer.
He later described his spell inside as his most formative.
And after his release he had a new lease of life.
And over the next few years he went from a struggling writer
to become to the toast of the West End.
In 1960s Britain, the working classes were on the rise,
and that suited Orton's background, his writing style
and his dislike for the middle classes.
The timing was absolutely perfect.
And his first play was a huge success, Entertaining Mr Sloan.
And that continued for his second play, Loot,
which won the London Evening Standard theatre award.
Orton's career as a playwright and celebrity continued to grow, but
his partner Kenneth Halliwell found his fame difficult to cope with
and there was an increasing distance between them.
Their relationship ended tragically.
In August 1967, Halliwell, suffering from depression,
murdered Joe Orton before taking his own life in that flat just there.
He was only 34 years old.
In a few short years, Orton wrote some of the most important plays
of the last century.
Tackling and challenging social issues of the day.
Themes that had never been put on stage before.
He was truly pioneering.
Welcome back to our evaluation day De Montfort Hall.
Let's now catch up with our experts
and see what else we can find to take off to auction.
Janet, there's one word, and one word only, to describe this.
And that's fabulous.
Fabulous. It is a beautiful object.
Predominantly, probably a pillbox, I would say.
Tell me first of all how you got this beautiful box?
Well, my late first husband,
he just liked looking around antique shops and buying what he wanted.
May I say that your husband had a fantastic eye
because this is superb quality, and it is of the very, very best.
When I look at it, to me, it looks...Swiss.
-Because it looks like the musical boxes of a similar period.
Similar small musical boxes that had little flip-up lids
with birds singing. Like singing bird boxes.
They were made in Switzerland towards the late 19th century.
If you look inside there's this little mark here.
-A tiny little mark, which is a little bit rubbed.
And I think... I've got a feeling that mark may actually be French.
So it could be Swiss or it could be French.
But it's so rubbed it's very difficult to be sure.
The box itself...
is rose gold.
And all of this around the outside is enamel.
I thought it was enamel.
All this blue work. This blue here, that's all enamel.
-But what I love is this lovely central panel here.
This has been overlaid onto the gold.
We have this lovely central urn.
And this here is platinum. And then we've got the yellow gold
and the little rose gold...
all around the outside, the leaves and the flowers.
It's absolutely exquisite.
The detail is just second to none.
Even on the sides there you've got the little...urns
and with the flowers.
And all these wonderful panels, everywhere.
It's just lovely quality.
Is it not something you would like to keep?
Well, I would like to keep it
but I would like to travel a bit and do one or two things.
Probably a second youth, sort of thing!
Why not? Why not?
It's the sort of thing that
people will get very excited about at auction.
-Really because of the pure quality of it.
It's just untouched.
I mean, it looks... Apart from a little rubbing inside,
which is really not the end of the world...
the condition, I think, is perfect.
Do you have any ideas on prices?
I haven't a clue, no.
It must've been in the '70s when he bought it.
I would absolutely love to rewind to the '70s
and find out what he paid for it.
I haven't a clue, to be honest.
It would just be wonderful to know.
-Well, I would love to put this in auction.
I would like to put this in with an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.
Golly, that much!
How does that sound?
Well, I could have a good holiday on that!
You could have a jolly good holiday. I could come, too!
Well, shall we put it in with an estimate of £2,000-£3,000?
-And let's put a reserve on of £1,800.
-Just to protect it.
-And I hope that it does very, very well.
And you can go round the world a few times.
Well, I don't know about that!
What a beautiful find for Catherine!
And now it's my turn and I've discovered something
with a brilliant local connection.
Corinne, is this yours?
Well, it was my husband's.
He was the locomotive enthusiast, was he?
Absolutely. Not me.
It's a lovely, lovely image, isn't it?
You see that steam locomotive rolling down the tracks.
Has this been on the wall in pride of place?
It's been on the wall, not necessarily in pride of place.
-How long has it been on the wall for?
-Oh, years. Years and years.
When you took it off this morning to come to the valuation day,
-did it leave a sort of mark behind?
-It's left a mark.
Now, it is signed Weston. It is by David Weston.
And look...there it is, there's the date - 1968.
So it's one of his earlier works.
He sadly died in 2011.
He was born in...1935.
And his work is exhibited at the London Transport Museum.
-Right. I didn't know that.
-He's highly sought-after.
-I know it's highly sought-after.
-Especially in this area.
Especially with railway enthusiasts.
I mean, that's a nice image, isn't it?
You've got this wonderful tank locomotive
steaming down the track,
smoke bellowing everywhere,
pulling the Pullman carriage.
His work, I think, is quite popular with his acrylics on board.
This is slightly different, this is an oil on canvas.
-Yes, it is.
-And it's quite big.
-Have you any idea of the value?
Well, I've been told £200, but I'd got no idea, prior to that.
You bought this in the '60s?
Erm... No, later than that.
-I would say it was later than that.
-And I don't know how much it cost.
I'm confident with you on £200.
-There's a lot of paint in there for £200.
Can we put it in for a sale with a value of 250 to 350?
Would you be happy?
I'd be very pleased. I would be very pleased with that!
So, I think your husband made a wise investment back then in the day.
He did, didn't he?
Fixed reserve at 250?
If you were going to take £200, then I'd just up the ante a bit.
-I think this will be jolly exciting.
It's full steam ahead and we're on the right track.
-Yes. I'm with you.
See you at the auction room.
Oh, I love a good pun, so, how about this one?
Thomas has found a collection which could light up the room!
Fiona, tell me about your collection of pipes, "peeps" -
whatever you want to call them.
They were passed down to me from my grandfather.
He died about 12 years ago
and I inherited them from him.
And I think they came from his great-grandfather.
-Do you know what they are called?
-I know they're meish...
Was your father a pipe smoker?
-Never smoked in his life.
-Really? Do you smoke?
-Never in your life?
Meerschaum pipes from...probably Austria, these ones.
Or that mid-continental European bloc.
And this is sea foam.
They are late 19th, early 20th century.
It's carved and they are brilliant, brilliant white
-when you first buy them.
And as the tobacco
stains the pipe as you're smoking it,
it colours the pipe.
And it creates these lovely patterns, doesn't it, really?
And patination within these marvellous things.
And, of course, because it's quite a soft material - chalky almost -
it's easy to carve.
So you get lots of different faces and heads and objects, etc.
Where are they at home?
They're kept in a cabinet in the lounge.
-Do you like looking at them?
-Yes, I do. Yes.
So, why have you brought them along?
Well, I've got nobody to leave them to
and I can let someone else have some enjoyment out of them.
Which one is your favourite one?
I like the one with the lady with the colours.
Where it is all mottled.
Yeah, it's good that, isn't it?
It's got a lovely richness to the colour.
This is my favourite one. I like the Cossack.
-He's got a really expressive face.
Let me just pick him up.
He's rather handsome, isn't he?
Almost a bit sort of Sherlock Holmes-y, isn't he?
I've always thought that these are lovely things.
We do see them quite often.
You do get lots of faces.
You get, erm, interesting objects such as the acorn.
The more racy ones are obviously the more valuable ones.
Because they were more risque.
So you get naked ladies, and stuff.
-Have you got an idea of value?
Probably between 100 and 200.
Yeah. I mean, there's one here with a bit of damage to it,
which will knock it down.
You're in the right ballpark.
There's no moment here when I can surprise you and say,
actually, madam, they're going to be worth £50,000.
-It's not one of those.
-It'd be nice if you could!
I know. It'd be lovely, but it's not.
If we sort of base this around that £100 bracket
and we sort of use our typical auctioneer's estimate -
-can we use that one?
IN UNISON: £80 to £100!
Because I think that's fair.
Reserve at £80.
I think they should do rather well. There are many collectors for them.
Are you going to be happy to let them go?
Yeah, we've decided that we might as well let somebody else have them.
So our valuation day is nearly over
but before we head off to the auction for the last time
I'm taking advantage of the peace and quiet
to show you something rather lovely.
This striking sculpture that you'll find standing proudly
outside De Montfort Hall is entitled Concerto.
It was made by Leicester artist Dr John Sydney in 2010.
The sculpture is of great significance to De Montfort Hall
as the venue is a second home
to London's world-renowned Philharmonia Orchestra.
In 1997, this elite orchestra took up residence here in Leicester
and each season the city sees around nine performances
featuring some of the world's leading conductors and soloists.
What a truly eclectic venue De Montfort Hall is.
It's played host to everything -
from the Philharmonia Orchestra to The Beatles.
But now it's time to head back to the saleroom for the last time.
And here's what we're taking with us.
One of the finest little boxes I've ever seen.
The painting which I hope will tempt in not just the locals,
but the train enthusiasts.
And the pipes!
Quirky items often do well, so I'm keeping everything crossed.
Welcome back to Gildings Auction Rooms in Market Harborough.
Let's now catch up with our experts
and get on with our next lots.
Hopefully, we'll have one or two big surprises.
We've got some bearded gentleman going under the hammer
in the form of meerschaum pipes belonging to Fiona.
We've seen these before.
-And the characters are wonderful, Thomas?
So, have these been in the family a long time?
Who's been collecting these?
They came from either my great-grandad or great-great-grandad.
Not sure which.
Hopefully, we'll get the top end of Thomas's estimate,
I think there's one or two that are quite delightful.
-They are delightful.
-We have to wait and see.
Well, we can't really say any more about it,
let's hand proceedings over to Mark Gilding on the rostrum. Here we go.
Bidding opens here with me at 35.
£55, I'm bid.
At £55. I'm bid at 55.
60. Do I see it? 55.
Then 60. 65.
65? Bid at 65.
75 bid now. At 75.
At 75. 80, I'm bid. At 80.
At £80 I'm bid.
At 80 now, at 80. Online at 80.
You're all out in the room?
At £80 I'm bid. Selling to the internet at £80.
-Well done, Thomas.
-I'm really pleased about that.
-Yeah, so am I.
Because we kind of said, you know,
these were in vogue about 10-15 years ago,
and the fashion has really dropped.
-But they've got away. Thank goodness.
-That was a good job.
I'm glad. I've filled the space in the cabinet already!
And now time for another pun.
OK, well, we seem to be chugging along quite nicely,
which brings me to one of my valuations.
Yes, it is the oil painting by David Weston.
The wonderful locomotive under steam belonging to Corinne
-who has just joined me.
And we're looking at £250-£350.
He's a local artist, so hopefully the word is out there
and there's a bit of interest.
-Let's hope for the best.
-Yeah, let's hope. Fingers crossed.
And I know you've brought some support along today.
Yes, my son's here. Yes.
OK, good luck.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
-Let's see if we're on the right track!
-Let's hope so.
-Here we go.
And this is the David Weston.
With Michael here on my right -
the steam tank locomotive, signed and dated '68, an oil on canvas.
And, understandably, quite a bit of interest in this.
130, 140, 160, 180, 200...
Someone in the room's bidding in the front.
..240, 250 I'm bid.
250 I'm bid.
He's got it away at 250.
It should fetch more than that, really.
-That's encouraging - a phone bid.
300 on the telephone. At 320?
340 with the telephone.
360 with me.
360 with me, then.
The telephone is out and walking away.
360, then. Selling at 360.
-Top end of the estimate.
-We wanted to fetch more, but it's gone.
-We did, a bit, didn't we?
But it's gone, I didn't want to take home.
-But money is tight at the moment.
-Yes, it is.
-But nevertheless, it's gone and you didn't want it, did you?
-I didn't want it back home.
-We did it.
-Thank you very much.
Thank you for bringing it in.
And finally Janet's beautiful gold pillbox
is going under the hammer.
Catherine valued it at £2,000-£3,000,
but on the auction preview day I asked Mark Gilding what he thought.
It's absolutely exquisite. It really is.
It's about as good as you'd find
from the period these were made - the 1840s.
What I want to know is,
has this been picked up and handled plenty of times
along the viewing days?
Not only that, it's been picked up through the internet
-and lots of interest - from the UK and abroad.
Can we see the top end of that two to three?
Can we see that and that more?
Well, I think we can be certain of it selling.
OK, the market will dictate later on.
If three or four people really want this, they might pay over the odds.
So without further ado,
let's see how it does.
Every now and then our valuation days throw up a real gem.
And we certainly had one back at De Montfort Hall
in the form of Janet, and also in her beautiful little
rose gold and enamel box.
This is a delight! An absolute treasure!
-You were gobsmacked.
-It's absolutely beautiful!
Had a chat to the auctioneer - he said he's had phone bids,
we've got internet booking on it, and hopefully interest in the room.
-We're here to enjoy the moment, aren't we?
OK, well, let's see what the bidders think. Here we go.
This is it. Good luck, both of you.
So, this is the rose gold, enamelled, rectangular snuffbox.
And I think you'd struggle to find a better one
in many other places.
Lots of interest in this throughout all of the viewing.
I'm going to open the bidding here at £1,000.
1,000 I'm bid.
It's not enough!
£1,800, I'm bid now.
Two phone lines ready to battle it out. See those two gentlemen?
-(Amazing. It's wonderful.)
-(It's a great thing.)
2,700 I'm bid, then.
2,800 - new bidder.
-Did you know it was worth this much?
-Not really. No.
-Are you OK?
-It's very nice...
£4,000 I'm bid.
So, £4,000 we're bid.
No bidding with the internet, as well.
With the telephone, then. £4,000?
Last chance - selling at £4,000.
-Wow. What a wonderful way to end today's programme!
-You don't really know what to say, do you?
I enjoyed it.
You enjoyed it!
-Thank you so much for bringing that in.
It's been a real delight to see.
Our experts love things like that.
If you've got anything like that we'd love to see it.
But for now, from Market Harborough and from all of us,
it's goodbye from a wonderful, wonderful "Flog It!".