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MUSIC: Lady Of The Sea by Seth Lakeman
Today we're in Nottinghamshire
and it's forests like these that are famous for the myth of Robin Hood,
but they're also associated with another,
much more mysterious man that dates back even further, to pagan times,
and he's known as the Green Man.
And later on in the programme, we'll be finding out more about him.
But right now, we need to find some antiques. Welcome to "Flog It!"
While some cathedrals are the flagship for a city,
Southwell Minster is different.
Soaring up over the small market town of Southwell,
it's surrounded by fields and forests - a real rural idyll.
As we'll be finding out later in the show,
the peace and the tranquillity of its natural surroundings
have been brought seamlessly into the heart of the Minster.
The Poet Laureate John Betjeman once said of the Minster,
"Everywhere around is an atmosphere of peace."
Well, I tell you what, there's no peace here in this
magnificent queue because they're here to see our experts.
They're laden with antiques and collectables.
And if they get a favourable evaluation from our experts,
what are you going to do? ALL: Flog it!
So, as our "Flog It!" sellers wind around the cathedral,
our experts are on hand to survey the antique booty.
I honestly thought I was working with a professional today
and somebody who would share the goodies out.
You've been deeply misinformed. I have, haven't I? I can see that.
Mark Stacey's warming up his acute skills of deduction.
I think they're ducks. I think they are.
You see, that's how knowledgeable I am. I can spot them straight away.
Well done, Mark. While Michael's looking for richer pickings...
Bag inspector. Anything of interest, anything silver?
So let's get our crowd out of the cold and into the warm
and the calm of the cathedral.
Coming up on today's show, we've got our highest ever turnout
here at Southwell, with over 1,000 people showing up.
In their bags and boxes, our experts have spotted
some very unusual curiosities...
And it was by the side of the bed, so that
if anybody broke in... That's it.
..as well as exotic treasures.
Everybody wants it. Oh, right.
Everybody wants it.
But can you guess which one sells for over ?1,000?
Is the room bid? Third warning...
So let's hope our experts'
valuations will be up to scratch today.
We've taken over all of the nave, here at Southwell Minster.
It is the most beautiful, inspiring place, as you can see.
Full of carvings, stained-glass window and stone,
all inspired by nature.
Later on in the programme,
we'll be taking a closer look at as much of it as possible.
But right now, as the room's filling up,
let's get on with our first valuation.
And it's over to Michael Baggott's table. He's just there.
Margret, Jane, thank you both for coming in and thank you both for,
I think, making my day.
This has all the looks of something absolutely wonderful.
You know what's inside, don't you? Yes. I had a peek earlier.
Shall we reveal to the...?
I think people are screaming, "What's inside?!"
I think they may have seen one of these before.
A pocket terrestrial globe in its original shagreen case.
Where did it come from? I suspect it was
my late husband's grandfather.
He used to collect a whole load of things.
So, is it something you both like? Is it something you've...?
Yes. Yeah? Over the years?
It's different. It's different?
That's normally what people say when they don't like it.
So where do you keep it? In the shed. The shed? In the shed.
Is this a really special, climate-controlled,
museum-quality shed? Yeah, yeah.
That's the sort of... Or is it just a shed?
It's a shed, but it's got a lot of things in it.
Well, there's one less.
I mean, the remarkable thing about this to me is the condition.
All of this black, which is actually ray skin, we call it shagreen.
It can be shark's skin or ray's skin.
It's taken off, it's prepared and it's as hard as iron.
So you put it on and it basically dries, protects it.
And when we talk about things like this,
people like to buy them untouched,
as they were made, and have come down without damage or restoration.
And that's what we have.
Now, obviously we look at the globe and we've got all of Australia.
We've got the various travel routes,
so this is going to be a fairly late globe.
When you see these, you think of coffee houses in
the late 18th century and gentlemen pulling them out of their pockets
and having learned discussions about one thing or another.
This is actually... It surprised me,
this partnership, Williams and Hayden, who were working in London,
and we've got their label there. They were working in the 1830s,
so we've actually got a William IV globe...
..which is later than we'd expect. But it's in lovely condition.
Have you got any idea what it might be worth?
No. No, not at all. I mean, they're incredibly sought-after.
What I'd like to do is I'd like to put a reserve on it
of ?2,500. Good grief!
And I'd like to put an estimate... In the shed. It was in the shed.
..of ?3,000 to ?5,000, and that's a proper sum for it.
Are you happy with that?
Certainly. Certainly. Is that a good surprise?
It's a very good sur... I mean, I guessed it was valuable,
but I didn't think... It's valuable and it's sought-after.
Thank you both for bringing this in.
Made my day and I look forward to seeing you both at the auction.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
I totally agree with Michael - it's a really special piece,
which should stay out of the shed and be
placed into the hands of the collectors.
While the valuations continue, I've decided to do some globetrotting
and have found an object often discovered
bobbing in the seas as naked as nature intended.
Mike, that looks heavy. It is quite heavy. Can I hold it?
Of course you can, yeah. Absolutely.
I know what it is, it's a sea coconut, isn't it? It is.
Coco de mer.
I've seen many in my time, polished,
with a patina like the finest furniture you will ever see.
And sometimes hollowed out, hinged here
and turned into little boxes. Oh, I see.
They make wonderful curios and great caddies,
but they're particular to the Seychelles. They are indeed.
I brought it back from the Seychelles. You've been?
I went to the Seychelles coaching squash in 1976
and I was given that as a gift, and I brought it home with me. Really?
Yeah. Have you any idea of its age?
It's... Well, it's 40 years since I was there
and I suspect it's probably around about 40 years old.
Yeah, I think it may be considerably older.
I think this could be around 100 years old. Really?
There's something about it.
At one stage, you could only find these on the Seychelles.
In its state like this, 100 to 200.
Polished up...300 to 400.
Good. OK. Enjoy. Enjoy polishing that. I will. Thank you very much.
I've enjoyed touching it.
That's a keeper for Mike, but it's great when you treat us
to such interesting curios
and one that's put a smile on all of our faces.
And now, from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific
for Mark's first find.
Teri, thank you for braving the weather to come to see us.
It's quite, quite nasty out there, isn't it?
I was amazed when it started to snow - I hadn't anticipated that bit.
You were the first in the queue, as well. I was, yes.
Which I think is very brave of you.
But well worth it from my point of view
because you brought this fabulous item. Oh, I'm pleased.
How on earth did it come into your family?
Well, we are a military family, we have been for generations,
and travelled around. And, I mean, I was born in India.
Yeah, and my mother always travelled,
always managed to acquire unusual things.
I can remember this being in the family for
at least 60 years, probably more.
It was always there. So this was your mother's?
Yes, it was my mother's, yes. And where did she keep it?
Was it proudly displayed? Oh, no, no, no.
She had it as a protection for herself.
It amused me because she was only 4'11",
though she insisted she was five foot.
It's very heavy and it was by the side of the bed,
so that if anybody broke in... That's it.
And I think she was hoping the sight of it would terrify anybody.
But it was her protection.
She sounds a wonderful character, your mother. Absolutely.
She was just... She did her first parachute jump at 80.
Parachute jump at 80?! For Great Ormond Street.
And then she did about four more after that.
I mean, she just was a most incredible woman,
who lived life to the absolute full.
Well, going back to the wonderful object...
It is a sort of protection, in a way. I think it is Fijian.
Oh, right, yes. It's an item called an ula
and it's a sort of throwing club.
So you would throw this at, you know,
whatever you were chasing at the time. Yes.
It's made of this very hard, dense wood, with this gnarled edge.
A lot of tribal stuff is made now.
Soon as I saw this in the queue, it had such a wonderful, warm colour.
This is hundreds of years of people stroking it and holding it,
and it's got this lovely little geometric carving here,
which is very decorative. Wow, yes.
But if you think about it logically, if you're holding something,
to have that bit of decoration gives you a little bit more grip as well.
Course it does. Yes, yes, I hadn't realised that.
And because of that pattern, I think this is a nice
genuine 19th-century example. Yes.
And very, very collectable. Oh, good.
I think, putting it into auction, we'd need to put the estimate
at the right pitch because we want to attract the right bidders in.
Right. So I think if we put it in at, say, ?300 to ?500...
..with a fixed reserve of 300. Yeah, fantastic.
As I don't want it to go less than that. No.
And I think, on a good day, if the internet bidders are there,
and if the right collector's there, which I'm sure they will be,
I'm hoping it would go even over the 500. Yes.
And it deserves to make that sort of money. Oh, thank you.
Oh, that would be fantastic. Well. Mum will be thrilled to bits.
And if they don't bid, we can throw it at them.
Let's hope it won't come to that.
If you've got something fascinating, bring it along
to one of our valuation days,
details of which you can find on the BBC website.
Just log on to bbc.co.uk/flogit.
All the information will be there.
Or check for details in your local press. We'd love to see you.
Next, Michael's doing well with another piece that would have been
essential on board ship for navigating the high seas.
Pauline, you've brought me a clock in a box, haven't you?
A clock in a box, yes. Beats a jack-in-the-box.
Well, let's open it up first and let's get a proper look at it.
Isn't that lovely?
I particularly like the fact that all of this is uncleaned.
Well, I was going to ask you about that.
I really was tempted to get the cleaner out.
The polish out and go over it? Just to make it sparkle a bit.
Do you know? So many people do and it raises an extremely good point.
When you're looking at instruments,
you're looking for originality of finish
and, every time you polish it, little bits of lacquer come off,
little bits of gilding come off,
so collectors always prefer them to be very dull.
And that shows that you've kept it and not touched it.
Well, it hasn't been touched. Now, where did it come from?
My husband was a clock man. Right.
He appreciated the workmanship,
the engineering, the measurements...
The precision that went into making it. ..that went into making something like this. Yeah.
There are various grades of chronometer
and I am not a chronometer expert.
I can admire the amount of skill and precision that went into it,
but I wouldn't flip that out of its gimbal mounts
and start mucking about with the insides or the workings of it. Yes.
What we can say about it is it's basically made
to the highest standard that you can make a timepiece
because you need it to be so accurate.
I mean, we can see here, we've got the date - 1928.
You can tell from the style of the case it's early 20th century.
Yes. We've got the makers there,
Thomas Mercer, London and St Albans.
And St Albans, of course, has a wonderful tradition of clock-making.
We'll close him up.
I think we'd be very sensible to put an auction estimate
of ?400 to ?600 on it. Yes. And a fixed reserve of ?400.
And if there are two clock men,
which I'm sure there will be at the sale, at least two -
we want more than that, don't we? We want about ten.
It will find its level. Yes.
And that's the most important thing, and we'll get it away.
But you recommend a reserve of ?400?
I think ?400 protects you,
it stops it going for a silly amount of money. Yes, yes.
And if we can get towards that ?600 or ?700 mark,
I think that would be a very good result. It would.
Thank you so much for bringing this in.
It's been a pleasure talking to you.
Such a perfect speciality clock
should do very well in the auction room.
Hello, James. Hello, Mark.
Now you've brought this Rolling Stones album.
I understand it's quite an early album, is that right?
Yes. It looks to be the first album that they did.
Very young faces there.
Absolutely. All look very innocent there, don't they?
Well, yes, yeah. Not for long.
It's an interesting story, isn't it?
Because you got it through a family member.
Yes, my stepfather,
I believe, shared a flat with a gentleman who was a jobbing artist.
He did covers of albums and books and he happened to be
speaking to somebody in the studio somewhere, and the Stones came
in with this album and all signed it and gave it to him.
Obviously, it wasn't of any great interest to him because
he went back to their flat and threw it in the bin,
and my stepfather pulled it back out of the bin and kept it.
Well, I'm guessing, in the mid-'60s, there were
a lot of budding pop groups and I suppose nobody realised
who were going to become the huge hitters, if you like -
the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, other bands.
It is interesting because this is their first album.
It says there 1964. Yeah.
Incidentally, that was the year I was born -
1964... Right. ..so that's a tie-in.
And you can see these songs are not written by them at all.
Route 66. I Just Want To Make Love To You.
So these are all sort of cover versions, aren't they?
Yeah, I believe so.
They've obviously got a bit of self-publicity.
Maybe you could read some of that, James. OK. Thanks.
"The Rolling Stones are more than just
"a group - they are a way of life.
"A way of life that has captured
"the imagination of the nation's teenagers."
And how right they were.
Yeah, they... Yeah, I'm sure they did at the time, yeah.
There is, as we say, the signature of Mick Jagger is done in pencil,
so it's slightly faded. It has done, yes.
It's not too keen on being in bright lights. No. Neither am I.
And there's other signatures on here.
And, of course, the interesting thing is had it not been signed at
all by the Rolling Stones, even with the faded signature, I can't imagine
the album would be worth half as much as it would
with the signatures.
It's all-important, isn't it? Yeah.
The other key thing of course is that it's framed,
so we can't take it out of the frame at the moment.
But there is a record inside isn't there?
It's the original record in the sleeve, yeah.
So I think that's important for the auctioneer to put in the
catalogue description. So it's not just the album cover,
it's the record that goes with it, which is quite important.
I have to be honest, James, I'm not a great expert in rock memorabilia.
But I think it will have interest.
My gut feeling is around 200 to 300 with a fixed reserve of 200.
Would you be happy to give it a go for that? Yeah. Yeah.
Are you sure? Wonderful. Well, let's give it a try. Brilliant.
Before we head off to auction,
there is something I would like to show you.
Newstead Abbey, today one of the great stately homes of England.
Rooms over-spilling with splendid furnishings,
intricately decorated with oak carvings,
family portraits peering down at you -
everything you'd want in a stately home -
but there was a time when this place fell far short of the term stately.
It was down to two visionary families to rescue this place,
but first I want to find out why it fell into such a parlous state.
Like any good soap opera, the Byron family had their ups and
downs over the 300 years here,
counting bad debt,
insanity and even manslaughter amongst the family sagas.
So, by the time the poet Lord Byron inherited the house,
Newstead was what one friend described as "an extensive ruin".
By the age of 21, Byron had moved in with small means but
a whole host of his buddies.
He treated Newstead as his bachelor pad, maintaining
a few rooms for himself
while leaving other rooms for his caprices.
In fact, this room, the great hall, he used as...
And this room was empty but he still put it to good use for
fencing and boxing practice,
like any red-blooded 18th-century lord would do.
But it was an expensive place to run.
While he may have been adept with words, he was not good with money.
In 1818, Byron was forced to sell the house
to his great long-time friend Thomas Wildman.
Wildman immediately realised that the massive purchase cost
of ?94,500 wasn't just buying him a house,
it was buying him something far greater -
a duty to preserve and protect the Byron legacy.
Now, there's something I want to show you in this cabinet,
it's a letter from Byron to Wildman,
written in 1818, and in it Byron gives him his blessing.
It really is quite touching. And it reads something like this.
The extract from the bottom.
"I trust that Newstead will, being yours, remain so and that
"it may see you as happy,
"as I am fairly sure that you will make your dependants."
So you can see he really is letting go.
He is saying, "Come on, love this house like I have".
That really is quite sweet.
With a big thumbs up from Byron, Wildman spent
a small fortune on a makeover that transformed the house.
Now, I love little documents of social history, which gives a window
into the past, and we normally see it on bits of paper and photographs,
but surprisingly here you've got it
on beautifully decorated serve plates.
This is gorgeous.
Look at this.
These are images of Newstead Abbey just prior,
two, three years before Wildman got his hands on the property.
And of course, once he did,
look, Wildman demolished this staircase that you can see there.
But the Wildmans did an awful lot to this house to turn it into
what we see today - a proper family, a comfortable family home.
But these plates were painted by Wildman's sister Maria,
who was a talented amateur porcelain painter in her day,
and it's because of her we've got this document of the past.
Wildman had put his stamp on this place, while being faithful to
Byron's wishes, and the Byron fans flocked here to see where the
great poet had lived and loved.
When Wildman died, it could so easily have fallen into the hands of
someone who had no interest in the Byron legacy.
Now, by luck or by good fortune, the next family to arrive
in 1861 were keen to celebrate Byron here at Newstead.
Now, that is a portrait of William Webb, a wealthy landowner.
His wife Emilia was keen to keep the Byron tours going here at the house,
so keen that she even took tours of visitors around herself,
leading her children to tease her that she was Byron's caretaker.
She methodically carried on Wildman's buying spree,
collecting back Byron's personal effects, furniture and pictures.
The cabinets here in the library are filled with Byron's things,
most of them Byron left here, but the Wildmans and the Webbs have
added to it, returning things to their rightful place,
which is absolutely marvellous.
Now, we've been given special permission to open these
cabinet doors, just so you can get a better look.
You can tell they haven't been opened for a long time.
That's an old door creaking. But, look, Byron's boxing gloves.
He was a keen fighter. He followed the sport.
He was a good fighter as well.
There's a dog collar belonging to one of Byron's dogs.
Beautifully inscribed. Look - "Lord Byron".
Best thing I like though is this section of tree,
which has been cut down. Look, it's got "Byron",
he carved that in with quite a crude knife.
"Byron" and "Augusta", his half-sister,
on 20 September, 1814.
Isn't that lovely?
Here it is, look, in the cabinet, which I'm just about to shut.
Isn't that nice?
By the 1870s, Byron's Newstead was really on the map and was said to
be on the top ten list of Victorian favourite country houses to visit.
But like the Wildmans,
the family put their own personal stamp on the house, too.
One of the many treasures that the Webb family introduced to this
house was this incredible Florentine centre table.
It dates back to the 18th century.
Now, you may be forgiven for thinking that this top
is just decoration that's painted on, but it's not.
I've not seen work like this in my life before.
This is known as pietra dura, which means painting and drawing in stone.
It is literally set in stone. This image is there forever.
Each individual piece, each individual colour,
is a different piece of marble or semiprecious stone mined
from the quarries in Italy. This is a specimen top table
and it is incredibly rare and incredibly expensive.
This is done by a master of the genre,
a chap called Zocchi, in his studios in Florence.
It's dizzying and it's really, really incredible.
And this is one of their greatest legacies, the Japanese room,
created by daughter Geraldine, sort of circa late 1890s.
She brought these wooden panels back with her and on them they
depict scenes of pine trees, oak trees and cranes -
all very symbolic to Japanese culture.
I think it's absolutely incredible.
And I love these painted images above as well.
This is gold leaf on paper. Look at the cranes. Isn't that fabulous?
This is a touch of the Orient coming to Nottinghamshire.
Much of the house today is as both families left it
and it's now in the safe hands of Nottingham City Council.
What is so amazing about the Wildmans and the Webbs is they felt
a real sense of duty to preserve this place,
Newstead, not just for their generation to pay homage to Byron,
but for future generations,
so people like us could
come here and enjoy it, too.
We're off to auction for the very first time.
You've seen what our experts have found -
let's now put them under the hammer -
and here's a quick recap of what we're selling.
There's that tribal Fijian club, owned by Terry
and once kept by her mother for protection,
just shrieking age with its well-worn patina.
Can we find a new home for Margaret's gorgeous globe,
kept in the potting shed?
And will the Rolling Stones classic
rescued from a bin attract the bidders at auction?
And Pauline's pristine ship's chronometer
should clock up a good sum from the buyers.
Nottingham, where we're holding our auction today,
has a marvellous secret lurking beneath its pavements.
There are more than 500 caves dating back 700 years,
that have been used by tanners, butchers and monks.
The one use they haven't had, though, is selling antiques,
and for that we're heading to Mellors Kirk,
where Nigel Kirk is conducting the proceedings above ground.
And the first lot is Terry's club,
brought back from travels by her intrepid mum.
Oceanic art, it's superb. Nice crosshatching, as well, in places.
It was great. It's got everything going for it.
Hopefully we'll get a little more than 500, hopefully that top end.
Well, we've been lucky with tribal things, haven't we, on "Flog It!"?
Yes, we have. Yes, we have. SHE LAUGHS
Let's keep our fingers crossed. Let's do that, shall we? Absolutely. Look, good luck, both of you.
Thank you very much. Here we go. This is it.
305, the Fiji dense hardwood throwing club
of late 19th or early 20th century date.
?300 for this lot.
I am bid 320,
350 for it. 350.
420. 420, I'm bid.
?420. 450 for it?
Come on, come on. ?420, sell.
He's selling at 420.
Hammer's gone down. ?420. Well, it's not bad.
That's not bad. Not bad. Middle of the estimate.
I'm thrilled to bits, quite honestly.
Cos you didn't know what to do with it, did you? No, I didn't know. No.
I had no concept of the value.
Well, I think it's a great buy. Yeah, that's great. Super.
And don't forget, Terry will be paying 15% seller's commission
plus VAT to the auction house.
For our second lot, we're hoping to find a globe lover
for this 19th-century shagreen pocket globe.
I love this. This is my favourite thing of the whole sale.
The entire sale, not just of our "Flog It!" lots. It's beautiful.
And the condition...
My eyes lit up on the day. To find something like that...
I was jealous. I was jealous. I mean, it is a gem. It is.
And they are sought-after gems. Three-inch terrestrial globe
for the globe itself, and on the case it was celestial in the lining.
Yes. Nice shagreen case and untouched.
Were you surprised at the value, when Michael said three to five?
I was. I thought maybe about 1,000.
I didn't expect that at all. It was totally amazing.
Hopefully we can make your day, both of you.
Hopefully we can sell it and get that top end.
Well, I'm excited. Don't go away
because this is going under the hammer right now. Enjoy.
Lot 320 is the English three-inch terrestrial pocket globe
by Williams Hayden.
And ?1,600 I am bid.
1,900. At ?1,900.
?2,000, I'm bid.
At ?2,300. Any advance?
Unsold. Didn't sell it.
You get a feeling on the day with an auction, sometimes, and...
No trouble at all. You live to fight another day.
That globe won't be going back into the shed
and we're sure it will find its well-deserved
level at auction in the future.
And for our third lot,
will the Rolling Stones attract the auction crowds?
I've just been joined by James, our next owner, and our expert
Mark Stacey. We're talking about the Rolling Stones album,
all signed by the boys themselves, my favourite band.
I'd be keeping this if I was you. I'd have that on the wall. I did.
Yeah, I did for a while, but Mick Jagger signed it in pencil,
it started fading and I panicked, so I took it off the wall.
OK, so it's a good time to part with it really, isn't it?
We're going to put that value to the test, Mark.
We know pop and rock memorabilia is very popular. We do, we do.
Here we go.
And ?150 I am bid. At 150. At ?150.
160. 170. 180. 190.
200. At ?200 bid. 220. 250? 250.
250 I am bid. 280? 280.
300. 320. 350. 380. 400. 420.
?400 against you online. ?400. Fair warning.
That's a good result. ?400. I'm happy. Are you happy with that?
Yeah, I think that's fair enough. That's not bad, is it?
Considering the condition there.
Yeah, yeah, it was a bit tatty. And you got it for nothing.
Well, that helps, yeah.
Auctioneer Nigel Kirk has got high hopes indeed.
The auctioneer said yesterday this could fly.
He said it could fly away. He liked it. That's marvellous.
It's meant for a ship.
I suppose we can put it on a plane as well, that's not a problem.
I mean, on the day, I said, "I'm not a great expert on these.
"Let's put it in with a low figure and let's see what the experts,
"the dealers in that saleroom, make of it." Yeah.
Only time will tell how much it's going to go for.
In fact, time is up right now. This is it. It's going under the hammer.
Good luck, both of you.
?250 for this lot is bid.
At 250, 280, 300...
There's a chap down there who wants to buy it.
..380, 400, 420, 420? 420.
450, 480... Competition in the room. 500?
500, 550, 600, 650,
700, 750, 800... Wow.
Wow. 750 I am bid in the room. 750.
Any advance? At ?750, I sell.
?750. Brilliant. You're shaking, aren't you? Yes, I am.
That's great news.
That was fantastic. That really is good news.
That was a fine example of scientific excellence
and, as we say, quality will out.
Our stunning valuation day venue, Southwell Minster, is famous
worldwide for its architecture, but there's a building
attached to the minster that's also renowned throughout the world,
not so much for its architecture but for what's in it.
I was intrigued, so I went off to investigate.
CHORAL MUSIC PLAYS
As you leave the nave,
you enter through this wonderful Gothic archway,
down this corridor, and the first thing you notice are the backlit
stained-glass windows, each with their own narrative, but above them,
and around them, you can see these wonderful
gargoyles and grotesque masks and clusters of foliate work,
all hand-carved by the stonemasons, punctuating the architecture.
But there's a bigger surprise waiting for us
just around the corner.
And this is it - the octagon,
known because it has eight sides to this room.
It was built in 1288 and, as you can see, the ceiling soars
high to the heavens and the light comes flooding in.
It's known as the Chapter House and it's a meeting room,
but if you get over that and you look at the detail on the wall,
in the stone itself, you can see the work of a master stone-maker.
He's made stone come alive.
# My face in the foliage
# You've seen that face before... #
If you look closely, you can see faces peering down
at you from between the foliage.
This image, of a mysterious, at times frightening
man in the trees, is what came to be known as...
the Green Man.
# I'm the Green Man... #
Well, I've counted 15 of them.
Now, the question is, who was the Green Man and what's he doing here,
and why are there so many of them?
# If you cut me down... #
This ancient image is thought to have its roots in pagan beliefs
dating as far back as 3000 BC.
But it's Dr Colin Harris, who has had a lifelong obsession with
the Green Man, who can shed more light on him.
So, who was the Green Man?
Simply a concept which was absorbed by the early Church
about the spirit of nature, about the spirit of birth,
life, death and rebirth,
which people felt a great oneness with, particularly when you consider
that England was covered largely in forest. From Bath to Nottingham,
a squirrel would never have to jump on the ground.
In most religions, and in most continents,
for many thousands of years, the Green Man, as we now call him,
has been an integral part of our oneness with the Mother Earth.
So the Green Man is venerated all over the world? Absolutely.
The Green Man was a revered spirit,
worshipped as a symbol of renewal, rebirth and regeneration,
but he also found his way
into more common beliefs.
There are also this link, this secular link, with our folklore,
our customs, our traditions,
that the Green Man popped up as parts of festivals.
Through Anglo-Saxon times and to the present day,
the Green Man appeared in old stories,
customs and characters, like Jack in the Green and Jack the Lad.
Even the myth of Robin Hood may have emerged out of
beliefs in a gift-giving Green Man.
It's quite an interesting story that the Green Man, this kind,
benevolent, overarching concept in our lives, became a very
important person like Robin Hood.
It was only in the 1930s that the phrase of "Green Man"
came into use, when someone recognised the similarity
between folkloric traditions and the carvings found in churches.
But I wanted to know how had this pagan image
made its way into churches like Southwell in the forms of these
medieval Green Man carvings?
And the Church brought the Green Man in with its own symbolism
and its sort of little effigies and carvings, really, in order to
get more worshippers in, to get the pagans into church, do you think?
Well, not so much bums on seats,
but much more about not offending previous faiths.
In other words, Church leaders in places like Southwell saw
the need to incorporate the Green Man into the Church as a way
of embracing the long-held beliefs of their community.
With that in mind, it's time to get back into the Chapter House
to get a better look at this man for all seasons.
As well as the Green Man, there is a Green Woman.
This is extremely rare and valuable, and she's over there.
There are other faces, as well, that you can spot.
One above the door, now that's the Jewish usurer.
He was the moneylender, who probably financed the Chapter House.
These images are out of kilter with the taste of the time,
which was for rigid form.
Here there is a freedom and a fluidity,
surely the reason why people flock here from all over the world.
The detail in the carving is not only exquisite,
but it's absolutely astonishing. Just look at this plant life.
Look at the leaves here. No two leaves are the same.
They are all horticulturally correct
and there's 14 different varieties of plant life.
There's field maple there and there's oak leaf there.
Not only was he a great draughtsman, but he must have studied plant life.
It's the freedom of his hand I find so astonishing.
Now, this one is my favourite one.
Not for subject matter, I hasten to add, but for technical merit.
What you have to remember here is the mason has carved this,
all of these things, out of one solid lump of stone.
Look at the undercuts,
look how he's got inside that to sort of work back outwards.
You can see the light and shade created by these voids.
First of all, you notice the leaf work. You can see that's ivy there,
with berries sort of clinging on.
If you look underneath that, you can see an observation on real life -
two hounds ripping a hare apart.
It is a masterpiece. A technical masterpiece.
The man behind this extraordinary stonework is right here
in the Chapter House itself.
Now, that is a self-portrait of the master mason who did all of this
wonderful work, bringing this building alive.
I am in awe of this chap.
We don't know his name. He probably was an itinerant worker
who came over from France.
His work is absolutely dynamic and, as far as I am concerned,
So, a Pagan belief, a folkloric tradition, and a symbol of renewal,
and giving back to the people,
but can we ever really know exactly who the Green Man was?
He's a conundrum, he's a puzzle which has no answer,
and I've never come up with a true black and white single answer
as to what he is.
# I'm the Green Man... #
We may never know who he is, but we are left with these wonderful
carvings which conjure up another time and place,
and for that we have the mason of Southwell Minster to thank.
# If you cut me down I'll spring back green again. #
Time to get back to the valuations in the nave.
As you can see, we have still got a full house,
packed to the rafters. Plenty more antiques to find to take off
to auction, which brings us to our next item and Michael Baggott.
Now, he's found something that you'll now be quite familiar with.
Let's take a closer look.
Anne. Hello there.
Thank you for bringing this delightful bit of silver.
Before I tell you anything about it, what do you know about it?
Not a lot. Only that it's got the Green Man on it just there.
He's smiling away, isn't he? And it's on both sides, as well.
It's the same pattern, both sides. Both sides, yes.
But where did it come from? Was it family? No.
I was stood on a market stall about 12 years ago
and it was on the next stall, and I took a fancy to it and I bought it.
A market stall? Yes. Was it big money?
I wouldn't have paid more than ?10
cos I did not have a lot of money in those days.
12 years ago? Yes.
It's clearly Victorian to my eye, but we need to have a look
for the hallmarks and they are always hidden in the decoration.
So there we have got a very tiny little maker's mark, "HM" -
that is for Henry Matthews - and he made little purses, and he also
specialised in making dressing table sets. Oh, right.
All the silver top bottles and the trays.
And, there we go, we have got a Birmingham town mark
and we've got the date letter -
we're just into the Edwardian period.
We're 1904. Quite old, then.
This is in mint condition and, just to reinforce that,
if we press down, look at the lining. It is perfect, isn't it?
Untouched, unstained. We have even got the little clip there
for your stamps or your little sovereign. Yeah.
So it doesn't fall out. I mean, it is just wonderful
and, for a tenner, that's amazing. Yes.
And, of course, you have got the little suspension ring.
And people wonder what these are for,
but it is, of course, for when you're dancing.
Yes. You can hold hands and that goes along like that. Yes.
What do you think it's worth now?
I've no idea. No idea. They're always collectable, but they are not
worth a fortune. No, no. That's how we have to look at it.
I think, if we put reserve of ?100 on it... Right.
..that's ten times your money back, and we'll put an estimate
of 100 to 120 and I think, at that, we'll sell it all day long
and hopefully we'll get the top end of that. Right.
Thank you so much for bringing it in. Yes, thank you.
Let's see if the Green Man weaves his magic
when he goes under the hammer.
Now, you may not think Southwell has horticulture
running through its veins, but it does.
Take a look at that stained glass window up there above me.
See that? That's not your usual biblical scene, but it does have
a narrative. It's got apples in it, Bramley apples, to be precise,
and someone who can tell me all about that is Maria Marriot
from the WI.
From the WI. From the WI.
With pie in hand. A little gift for you. Is that for me?
For you...only. Thank you so much.
Tell me the story of the Bramley apple.
Mary Ann Brailsford, a little girl, in 1809,
planted some pips in the garden,
and a Mr Bramley was walking past, a butcher, an old butcher,
and he decided to buy this house and cottage, did so
and, later, along comes Mr Henry Merriweather,
likes the look of the apple and decides HE wants it.
Mr Bramley sells it as long as it keeps the Bramley name.
Right, and that's the story of... And that's the story.
..that variety, then.
And how fitting that the Minister commemorated the bicentenary
of their famous local apple with this beautiful stained-glass window.
But now, let's see if that's whetted Mark's appetite
for his next item, inspired by nature.
Shirley, what can I say? I don't know.
You've brought in a "Flog It!" favourite. I know.
We don't need to say much about this, do we?
Not really, no, but I would like to know the age of it.
Well, first of all, I would like to know how you acquired it.
Well, from a cousin several times removed. So you inherited it.
I inherited it. Do you have other pieces like it at home?
No, unfortunately. It's a one-off. It is a one-off, yes.
You know, of course, it's Moorcroft.
Yes, I do. Just looking at this, we all know, as soon as we see this
tube line decoration, which is this sort of outline pattern
that they tube line on and then decorate it.
The slightly interesting bit about this is that it has got this
very high flambe glaze and it's got these lovely rich autumnal colours
in there with the leaves and berries.
That's why I liked it. I love this sort of baluster shape
and, if we look underneath, we can see, there it is, the Moorcroft
signature, impressed, as well,
and "Made In England".
And I think it is just a lovely little piece.
This is probably going to be 1930s, 1950s, because it is a
slightly later pattern and the flambe design, but it is absolutely
beautiful. And when you revolve it in your hands,
it needs a bit of a wash.
Yes. I'll just point that out.
Like me! I forgot it.
Well, I believe in the format of Quentin Crisp -
the dust doesn't get any more after 30 years.
You don't notice it. HE LAUGHS
Have you ever thought of the value? I know what I would like,
but the prices have gone down. They do fluctuate quite a lot.
I mean, the early rare pieces still make quite a lot of money.
The majority of Moorcroft is realistic at the moment, shall we say?
In terms of an auction estimate,
we've got to try and entice people in to bid. Yes.
I mean, I would have thought somewhere around ?200 to ?300
with a fixed reserve of 200...
so we wouldn't sell it below that. Would you be happy with that?
Yes, I'll accept that. Well, hopefully we will get a bit more,
I would like to see it making 300 or 400 if we can.
And if we've got a good price, what would you put the money towards?
It would go towards my granddaughter's driving lessons.
Fantastic. Thank you so much. Thank you.
And Shirley's not the only one looking to clean up at auction.
Look at that. There you go.
I had to do a bit of cleaning up. The place is a mess.
# Does he wash up? Never wash up... #
Now, Michael has found something that could do with some TLC, too.
These look a little unloved. Are they not in pride of place at home?
No, they're stuffed in a box in the loft. Stuffed? Not placed!
Stuffed in a box. Stuffed in a box in the loft.
I've always thought they were hideous.
My mum liked them. Your mother liked them? Yes.
Did she buy them? No, they were from her mother,
so they're my grandmother's, and I think that would
have been in the early '40s.
So it is around World War II, just post-War.
Yes. Was it always the leaning tower of candlestick? No?
As far as I remember, they've always looked like that. Right.
We've got these Chinese figures
and we've got the lappet border, which is stylised lotus,
and we have got these floral stems, and we've got these cage works
around here for a single candle.
I used to work for a famous sale room about 10 or 12 years ago,
and the one thing we couldn't sell,
no matter how cheaply we had it in, was Chinese silver. Right.
Advance to the present-day, everybody wants it.
Oh, right. Everybody wants it.
We look over...and we have got the marks there,
we have got a 90 mark, which just means it is 900 standard silver,
and we have got two initials.
We've got... It is not "HM", it is "WH".
This is a Cantonese maker called Wang Hing.
Right. And Mr Wang Hing was one of the most prolific and most
These will date to about 1870, 1880.
Right, older than I thought.
So they were nearly 70, 80 years old when your grandmother had them.
Right, yes. Apart from a little bit of work that has to be done to them,
how much are they worth? What's a good cash offer today?
Where's my wallet?
I don't know because I didn't even realise, really, that they were
silver and we thought we'd chuck them away. You wouldn't know from...
Were you going to chuck them away?! When's your bin day?
Shall I give them you back? Tell me. Um...
Let's put ?800 to ?1,200 on them.
Let's put a reserve of ?800 on them.
Right, fantastic. Let's see where they go. Right.
They're very sought after. I am constantly surprised when I go
to auctions because it is not my taste either,
but how much this stuff makes. Right, fantastic.
Thank you so much for bringing them in.
Brenda, I couldn't think of a more appropriate thing to come into a
valuation day this year
than a piece of trench art from the Great War. Mm hm.
What is the history of it?
My grandfather's colleague made it in the trenches and unfortunately
he got injured and, as he lay dying, he gave it to my grandfather.
Oh, gosh. It's a bit sad. How wonderful. It's a bit sad.
Very sad, isn't it? Yes.
And your grandfather's obviously passed it down to your father...
Father, yes. ..who has passed it down to you. And he passed it to me.
That's amazing, isn't it?
Yes. Absolutely amazing because,
when you think, it was a horrible war.
Yes. All wars are horrible but that one particularly,
with those poor young men trapped in the trenches
for month after month after month.
And, of course, in amongst the intermittent firing and
fighting, there were long periods of time, I suppose, where...
They had to find something to do.
Inactivity, they had to find something to do.
When you pick it up,
you can see it it's a bit of a shell case, isn't it? Yes.
And then these little strips here are probably another shell case,
which has been flattened out. That's right, yes.
And I noticed that the wheels are made out of buttons. Tunic buttons.
Tunic buttons from his regiment.
It was, at one time, there was a little propeller on the front
as well, but that's gone as well.
They just used very basic tools and equipment to make these. Oh, yes.
It's amazing really that...
They could manage to do it in the trenches. Exactly. Exactly.
And that it survived. Why have you brought it in today?
Well, it's just in the loft, wrapped up,
and I'd like somebody who could appreciate it to have it more.
Somebody who would restore it and add it to their collection. Yes, and look after it.
Well, there's a great interest in this type of thing.
But it's so interesting to see a biplane because, of course,
planes were quite a new thing then. That's right.
We take every granted these days, don't we? Yes.
Flying across the Atlantic.
But, at the time, they were quite rarities.
It's got a real sentimental look to me.
Crudely done but very emotional, really, isn't it?
Yes. I love it, actually.
I think there'd be a lot of collectors who love it.
In terms of value, I think we've got to be realistic
and I would have probably put an estimate
of something like ?150 to ?250 on it, with ?150 reserve.
Would you be happy with that? Yes, that's fine. Yes.
Well, I look forward to seeing you at the auction and thank you
so much for bringing it in.
Well, that's it. Our experts have made their final choice of items to
take off to auction and I think there is some real treasure there.
I can't wait to put them under the hammer which means, sadly,
it is time to say goodbye to this.
Hundreds of people, in fact, over a thousand people have turned up
from the surrounding areas and here's a quick recap
of all the items that are going under the hammer.
We've Anne's mint condition Edwardian purse
embellished with the mysterious Green Man.
A plant-inspired Moorcroft vase, the proceeds of which should pay for
driving Shirley once she funds her granddaughter's driving lessons.
And there are Ursula's rare foliage-carved candlesticks,
which Michael is sure will light up the sale room.
We have Brenda's astonishing piece of WWI art
that survived the trenches.
So, we're back at the auction house
to put our experts' valuations to the test
and our first item is just about to go under the hammer.
I'm talking to Anne and we are looking at that wonderful little
Green Man silver purse.
The thing that singles it out is the condition. Yes.
It is exceptional, isn't it? Perfect, isn't it? Perfect.
Gut feeling right now, here on the day, Michael, what is going to do?
?100, I'll be happy. ?100. OK, ready?
We'll put him to the test again. This is it.
Lot 155, the Edwardian silver purse.
?30 for this, please.
30 bid. 5, 40, 45, 5, and 50,
50... 60, 70, 80...
80? 80, thank you.
90? 90 I've got.
100? 100 I am bid online.
110 for it?
At ?100 online and selling...
Yes, nice big round figure, spot-on. GAVEL STRIKES
Spot-on! Sorry about that. That's all right! ?100.
Smashing. That's good, isn't it? It's very good.
We turned that tenner into ?100. Yes.
And that is what it's all about. It is all out there,
you have just got to get up early in the morning, get out there
and start foraging, haven't you? Yes, that is true.
Now, time for Shirley's vibrantly decorated floral Moorcroft vase.
It's a lovely thing and it's a sign of quality, isn't it?
It is a great name in ceramics, it really is.
But I look at you and I see you with Moorcroft,
I just see that lovely pattern.
Well, you should have seen it when I originally saw it. Oh, OK.
It had the most ghastly plastic daffodils in it. Did it?
That was 20-odd years ago. Gosh.
It's had some service, then, hasn't it?
Oh, yes. I've only had it five years.
Well, look, good luck with it anyway. Thank you.
?200 for this lot I am bid.
At ?200. 220 for it?
220 online. 250? 250 in the room.
300? 300 I am bid.
This is good.
320 for it.
320. 340. 360.
400 I am bid in the room.
On my right. ?400. It's a good price, it's a good price.
Fair warning and selling.
?400. That's not a bad price. It's fantastic. No.
That is a good price. That's near what I'd had hoped for.
You should have done the valuations! They always want more.
They're like you!
That's a good start for her granddaughter's driving lessons.
So, let's get under way with our biplane.
It's a bit of trench art and it's incredibly hard to value
because you can't do comparables. It belongs to Brenda - hi there!
I love what you're wearing, it's lovely and bright. And who's with you?
It's my husband Dave. Dave, pleased to meet you.
Well, I'll tell you what, this little plane does actually put
a smile on your face, doesn't it?
It's a very rare item, Paul, and I love the way they've used
little regimental buttons as the wheels.
It is a one-off, as you say, Paul,
and any collector of militaria and First World War memorabilia
would love to add this, I'm sure, to their collection.
Fingers crossed we get this away. Here we go.
A brass, iron and copper model of a biplane.
?50 I am bid for this. 50, 60 anywhere? 60, 70.
80...?80! 90 for it?
120? 110 and 120.
At ?130... 140. 150.
160... At 150... At ?150 in the room and selling...
160. 170, madam?
No. At ?160, I shall sell.
Sold at ?160. That was OK.
That was all right, wasn't it? Yes.
And it looks like it's gone to a collector, which is a nice thing.
Somebody who will enjoy it, yes.
Thanks for bringing that in because,
really, at the end of the day
it's all about the story and that's what we're reminded of.
What a pleasure to see such a poignant memento to World War I.
And, for our final lot, we are aiming high with Ursula's very rare
Well, I tell you what, you brought these to the right man
at the valuation. I saw Michael gravitate towards you.
He was like, "Get out of the way, everyone!" I did leap.
Leaping was involved. You did.
Now, the auctioneer said yesterday that he could not find
an illustration in the maker's catalogue for this particular pair,
so he thinks they're quite rare.
Candlesticks are incredibly unusual for Chinese export -
I've only seen two or three pairs in my life.
These could get away at 8 to 12. Michael, spot on, or they could fly.
We're going to find out right now. Are you ready for this? Yes.
Here we go, we are putting it to the test under the hammer.
And ?300 I am bid. Oh, it's a bit low.
300 only bid. 320 for them?
320. 350. 380. 400. 420.
450, 480, 500, 550.
800? 800 I am bid.
Right, we've got to the reserve.
?800. Where is the internet?
850 I am bid from Hong Kong. There we go. There's the internet.
900. 950 for you.
950. 950 online from Hong Kong.
1,000 is bid in the room. 1,100 for them.
It's going to be a slug-out out now. Yes.
A very rare lot indeed. I'm selling to Hong Kong at ?1,100 online.
That's fantastic. Amazing. That is what we want to hear, sold to
a buyer in Hong Kong. Happy with that? Yes, very, thank you.
Enjoy that money, won't you? Thank you very much.
Because we certainly enjoyed looking at those.
Spot-on, Michael, with something we may be lucky enough to see only once
in a lifetime.
Well, that's it, another day in another sale room for our owners.
As you can see, the sale is still going on but what
a fabulous time we have had here in Nottingham.
Our experts have been on the money today
and everybody has gone home happy,
and that's what it is all about. I say, job done.
Join us again soon for many more surprises, but, until then,
it's goodbye from Nottingham.
We glance at blurred patio doors
Horses nibbling the edges of fields
And we know each other for a while