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MUSIC: Flute Concerto No 2 in D Major by Mozart
What do you do when you have a big collection of fine art and antiques
and nowhere to put them?
Well, the answer is, you build a museum
and that's exactly what John and Josephine Bowes did in County Durham,
back in the 19th century.
Welcome to the Bowes Museum and welcome to "Flog It!"
The exterior of the Bowes Museum looks like a French town hall
and the reason for this is that Josephine Bowes was French,
so they designed and built it in the French style,
using metric measurements,
which must have confused the local builders no end.
John, who was the illegitimate son of the 10th Earl of Strathmore,
had met Josephine, an actress, in Paris.
They fell in love, married
and set about indulging their shared love of collecting.
And we can see the fruits of their passion here at the museum -
the hundreds of paintings, the collection of fine French furniture
and all manner of fascinating objects from all over Europe.
But now, it's time to get to the front of the building,
where a large queue is eagerly waiting.
Could there be anywhere more appropriate for our experts
to make their valuations
than this temple of fine art and antique collecting?
Hundreds of people have turned up,
laden with their own antiques and collectibles. Yes, look!
And, hopefully, one or two will be going home
delighted with the news of what our experts will have to say
and you might make a small fortune in auction - but not you, madam!
But right now, there's only one question on everybody's lips,
which is... CROWD: What's it worth? Stay tuned and you'll find out.
Preparing herself to provide the answers
is auctioneer Elizabeth Talbot.
This is lovely. A little Bunnykins bowl.
And that is just the sort of weather I'd love to be having now.
That's beautiful. We'll have a look inside.
And joining her today
is knowledgeable antiques expert Paul Laidlaw.
Very pleasing, vey pleasing. And... CLEAR RINGING
..no problems with that at all.
We've set up our valuation tables in one of the fine picture galleries
and here we are, surrounded by fine works of art
from artists from all over the world. It's quite incredible.
But there's one artist I want to point out to you.
Up there, those large 19-century French landscapes
are by Josephine Bowes herself.
She was an incredibly talented artist. They're beautifully executed.
There is one picture which stands out for me, though,
and it's the great British bull up there.
That's definitely not Josephine's taste,
more the taste of her husband, John.
But right now, we're interested in the taste of our experts.
Let's take a closer look at what they've found
at the valuation tables.
Elizabeth is starting us off
with a piece of silver which is a long way from home.
Lovely to meet you.
Thank you so much for bringing your lovely little cup.
Tell me what you know about it. Well, it was a family item.
It belonged to my grandfather first and then my mother
and when she died, it passed on to me.
And you've treasured it and prized it, have you,
and it's been in pride of place in the cabinet? No.
It's been wrapped in tissue in the attic. Oh, has it?
Hence, probably, why it's in such lovely condition.
It's really pristine, isn't it? What do you know of it as an object?
Well, until I came here, I didn't have a clue what it was
and I was told it was a Russian vodka cup. Mmm-hmm.
Yes, it is Russian, very distinctively Russian.
One of the factors which makes it so distinctive
is the way it's been decorated.
First of all, the view on it is of the Kremlin. Right.
Which is a bit of a giveaway. But this black on silver -
this is a very specific form of decoration
which the Russians prize themselves in.
It's called niello work. N-I-E-L-L-O. Yeah.
It's a combination of sulphides of copper, silver and lead
which makes this rich black colour
which they can rub into a surface which has been predecorated.
Oh, right. It makes the engraved decoration stand out,
almost like a lined drawing, an engraving.
That makes it very distinctive.
It was made between about 1899 and 1917. It's that sort of period.
That would be about the time
my grandfather had his business in Berlin
where he was a master jeweller. Really? Oh, wow.
And he had a big shop in Berlin,
so it might have been amongst his stock there.
I think it's lovely and I really like it.
We don't see so very much Russian artefacts in this country.
There are pockets of it, but always lovely quality. Yeah.
Presumably, you have little idea of its actual value. None at all.
Generally, there is a huge collectors' market
for Russian silver and, of course, Russia and its economy,
being as strong as it is, there is a lot of interest
from the homeland of people looking to buy back
or to collect their own traditional artefacts,
so it's a good time to be selling it, I think.
Do you want to guess what it might be worth?
No idea, really. Not at all.
I would think that it would be worth in the region of about ?150-?200,
would be my estimate for auction. Goodness, yeah.
That's not a bad price. Is that all right? Yeah. OK?
In which case, if we place a reserve on it for you.
?150 reserve, estimate of ?150-?200 and we'll just see.
If it's protected with a reserve, it'll just find its feet.
Thank you. It's good of you to come in. Thank you. Thank you.
In such splendid condition, we should have a good shot at selling that.
Paul, next, who has also come across some family items.
Hi, Ann, Chris, how are you? You come armed.
There's got to be a great story behind these objects.
The ceremonial sword was brought home from the Second World War
by my dad. He was in the Royal Navy on landing craft. I see.
Before the war, he was trained as a telegraphist... Yes.
..and he worked on a newspaper. Right.
He volunteered for the air force but they put him in the navy
because he could do the Morse code.
He was over the moon about that. He wasn't!
I think he was seasick most of the war. Yeah.
Anyway, somehow he came by this when he was in Italy
and he brought it home with him at the end of the war
and it's been in our family ever since.
But most recently, just on the shelf.
Most recently on a bedroom shelf, really.
I don't know where else you're going to put your dress dagger. Yeah.
As far as I know, it's a ceremonial sword. Absolutely is.
So, that's that, but a generation before, someone earned these medals.
These belonged to HIS father, my grandfather,
who was a stretcher-bearer, a medic, in the First World War.
Wonderful. Two generations.
We have, here, the British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal.
Anyone that served in the First World War
would be entitled to these, so we can imagine
the hundreds of thousands, millions that circulate, OK.
What I like about the Victory Medal is this fabulous ribbon here
bears the colours from all the flags
of the allies during the First World War.
It's a poignant remembrance, so far as I'm concerned.
Now, I did hint on huge numbers that are out there. Yeah.
And all of the corps of these, the non-regimental - the artillery,
the engineers, the medical corps - they're pretty unloved. Yeah. Yeah.
Everyone respects what these represent
but there are a great deal out there and they command modest sums.
This little pair here, medical corps, get ?20-?40 in auction.
And there's nothing you or I can do about that. That's the going rate.
Look, the guy survived the war, which is lovely,
and one of his sons survived the Second World War,
applying for the RAF, ending up landing craft.
Well, it could have been invasion of Sicily,
and at some point, he probably traded this
for cigarettes or whatever. Yeah.
I thought I remember him saying he won it at a card game, but...
There you go. No, that's entirely plausible. What is it?
Well, it's actually a pre-war
Italian air force cadet's dress sidearm,
represented here by the crossguard modelled as wings.
I tell you what, it's a scarce object. Really?
These do not turn up so very often at all
and there's a very healthy demand for such.
Value-wise, I'd suggest ?150-?200 under the hammer,
which is a pretty healthy little sum. Yeah.
I'm hoping that you would like to take this to auction
and see what comes of it. Yeah. Yes. And the medals, likewise?
Absolutely. Yeah. Well, two separate lots, I'd advise that for sure.
Different markets, different collector base.
?20-?40 on our medical corps Great War pair, ?20 reserve.
And the dagger, ?150-?200's our estimate, ?150 reserve,
and we are aiming for the sky. We hope for good results.
Sounds good. That's great, thanks.
Now, we've had a wonderful, warm welcome here
from the people of County Durham
and, although it's a bit of a wrench to leave this museum,
the auction is beckoning.
But before we go, let's have another look at what we're taking with us.
The silver shot glass is from Russia.
Let's hope the bidders are going to love it.
Two military lots next - medals from the First World War...
..and a rare ceremonial dagger, dating from the Second World War.
We're heading west, across the Yorkshire Dales,
to the glorious South Lakeland,
which is home to Eighteen Eighteen Auctioneers,
a business that has been going since -
yes, you guessed it - 1818.
Remember, if you are buying or selling in an auction room,
there is commission to pay. Now here, at Eighteen Eighteen Auctioneers,
it's 20%, including VAT.
But these commissions do vary from saleroom to saleroom,
so check the details. It's all printed in the catalogue.
If you're unsure, ask a member of staff.
Don't get caught out when that hammer goes down.
And we have two auctioneers looking after us today -
David Brookes and Kevin Kendal.
Going under the hammer right now,
something I've never seen on the show before. I think this is quite rare.
It's a wonderful Italian dress dagger.
Paul, our expert, found this and it belongs to Chris and Ann.
Now, Ann cannot be with us today, Chris. Where is she?
She's up in Newcastle. She's recording an album for a charity.
But hopefully, if anything goes on the dagger,
it will go towards the production costs. Brilliant!
I like stories like that and I like this dagger.
It's a very rare thing. Yeah.
It's the only one I've seen come on the market in donkey's years.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Italian air cadet's ceremonial dagger.
Can I start then at ?110 for a start. 100? I'll start at 80 then.
?80 we'll go. ?80 bid.
Any interest on the net? 85. 90. 5. 100 now.
100. 110 anywhere? 100.
I'll take 10s anywhere. ?100.
Are we all done this time? No, at 100.
This is reserved. I'm afraid we're going to have to pass that today.
Gosh, that's a blow. But we have two lots
and all the money from the medals is going towards production costs.
Fingers crossed with that as well.
Here we go. Let's find out what they're worth.
The First World War medal pair.
What can I ask for this for a start? ?20.
?20, thank you. ?20, straight in on the net. 22.
There's no reserve on these, is there? No. 25.
Come on, this is more like it. 28.
Hugely undervalued, these. 28. 28. 30 anywhere? 28.
?28, going this time then. HE BANGS GAVEL
Hammer's gone down at ?28. You need the money.
Yeah. That's on the money.
I think the dagger, too obscure. Find yourself a specialist...
Militarist. And I think you'll beat your expectations, OUR expectations.
Smashing. Yeah, well it's worth doing. Yeah, all is not lost.
Get it into a specialist militaria sale, as Paul says,
and, hopefully, the proceeds will go towards those recording costs.
That's great. That's great. Hopefully. Thanks very much.
What a shame the dagger didn't sell.
But it was worth protecting with a reserve.
The next lot may be small but it is in immaculate condition.
Good luck. We're just about to sell the Russian shot glass.
It's been in your family a little while. Yes.
It's good quality, isn't it, hence the value.
The Russian buyers do buy quite heavily
and they will like this kind of thing. Hopefully.
We're on the internet. Hopefully, they'll pick up our reference.
It's easily postable in bubble wrap and a little box. Yes.
So it's got everything going for it. Let's put it under the hammer.
Russian silver vodka shot glass.
Again, various commissions.
I'm going to have to start the bidding at 130, 140...?150.
Ooh. Straight in. With me at 150. Straight in and sold.
160, 170, 180. Commission's out. 180 in the room.
190 on the internet. 200 in the room.
220 on the internet. 240 in the room.
240 in the room. Have we finished? It's your bid, sir, at 240.
I don't think there's anything going. In the room here at ?240.
HE BANGS GAVEL
Hey, worth toasting that one. Brilliant. Better than I thought.
Well, you know why, don't you?
That was quality and we keep saying it on the show.
Our experts always say it. Quality always... Sells.
That's the end of our first visit to the saleroom and so far, so good.
Some happy owners and that's what it's all about.
We are coming back here later on in the programme, so don't go away.
There could be one or two big surprises.
Back to the picture galleries,
where the valuations are taking place
and where there are still plenty of people arriving,
in the hope that they have brought in something worth a small fortune.
Let's get over to our experts and see what they've found.
And it's time to catch up with Elizabeth.
So, David, we have, here, a Rolex watch.
It's the pinnacle of watch names, very collectible.
Tell me the history of it, please.
I bought it in Singapore in 1969 from... It was a NAAFI shop.
It cost me ?53. Did it really? A lot of money in those days, I guess.
It was a month's wages. Yes.
So you were serving at that time, were you? Royal Marines. Right.
So, was that a treat for you to buy that?
Well, I was going diving out there at the time
and if you'd got to have a diving watch,
you either bought a Rolex or an Omega
which were the two top watches, the decent diving watches at the time.
So I went and bought myself one.
My goodness, so although it was a luxury good,
you bought it to utilise as a watch. As an everyday watch.
I wore it every day. You've obviously worn it quite a bit
because my only comment would be the condition of it is not quite...
It's had a new face and a new bevel on many years
cos I done rock climbing and it gets damaged on the rocks. Good for you.
I lost a strap cos I used to put a cloth strap on
for the military years and I lost that
so I just put a replacement strap on many years later.
It complements it quite well, I have to say.
It's lost the bezel from round the outside
and then a bit of damage on the glass, as you would expect,
but apart from that, it's very collectible.
It's been a good watch that I've worn since '69.
And when David bought his watch,
it would have looked something like this.
Rolex, obviously, a fantastic name, in terms of watches,
as you pointed out. Established in 1905
and one of the best Swiss manufacturer of watches,
certainly in the 20th century.
Because of the cult status, they hold as superb timepieces,
but they are also very wearable still
and people do like that vintage look.
They like to invest in something which maintains the value,
that is still worth quite a bit today.
So, you haven't worn it for a little while then?
No, I don't know whether it stopped keeping good time or not,
but it's worked ever since I put it on
and I took it into a jeweller's shop two years ago.
I thought I'd get it done up again and he said, "I can't touch it."
You've got to send it back to them. It's got to go back to them
and they said that'll cost ?1,000
but it will be worth about ?8,000 afterwards,
so I put it back in the drawer.
Until we came along and you think you'll now call it quits.
I saw "Flog It!" was coming, cos we watch it all the time,
so we brought a few other trinkets and we've had a day out today.
Well, it's been lovely to see you.
So, we're looking to liquidise the asset you have here
and put it at auction. Yes.
For the reasons we've discussed and the condition it's in,
obviously it won't be worth the ?8,000.
That's after restoration and so on,
but there have been other precedents set,
so we can trace the likely interest and I think, at the moment,
in that condition, it wouldn't be unfair to suggest
a price of between ?3,000 and ?5,000. Right.
Well, I was hoping to get ?4,000 at least for it. Right.
But you don't think that would make ?4,000?
I think if you suggested an estimate of ?4,000 and upwards from there
at the moment, in that condition, it would probably frighten people off.
So, ?3,000-?5,000. ?3,000-?5,000 would be sensible. Yep.
And a fixed reserve of ?3,000 on it to safety-net it.
Yes, that's fine. We'll see you at the auction.
OK, thank you. Nice to see you. Take care. Thank you.
That's what I call a well-loved watch.
Over to Paul now,
who has found something that brings back a bygone era.
Pat, Mike, hi.
You have got an astonishing collection of photographs
of stars of stage and screen, back in the day.
How do you come to own such a collection? I inherited it. Right.
I think it must have been my paternal grandmother
that started the collection. Yeah.
I know she was very keen on theatre and music hall. I see.
I never knew her. She died before I was born. Right.
I found these in an old shoe box among Mum's photographs
and I gathered them together in the albums.
So, we're looking at the 1920s and either side
and your grandmother, I guess, would have seen some of these celebrities.
Must have done. Dad was born in 1917. Yeah.
And he remembers going to music hall and theatre with his mum.
Where is this? Is this the Northeast?
No, it would be in Surrey or Hampshire, that sort of area.
That's where they lived then. Do we know how many there are? Go on.
About 130. Yeah. 130? Yeah, I think so. That is good going.
They knew how to take a photograph then. Anna Neagle. Yes. Anna Neagle.
Now there's a name I recognise. That looks signed, doesn't it?
I've come across this technique before.
While you can see an impression that you think was made by a pen nib,
it is, nevertheless, a printed process. Right. Right.
Very sophisticated and would certainly catch the unwary
and you wouldn't want to have
a signed portrait of Audrey Hepburn, back in the day,
and then find out it was one of these sophisticated reproductions
which are inferior by far.
That's a little insight into how careful we have to be
in this field of autographs.
Talking about Audrey Hepburn and the later stars,
Vivien Leigh, that looks like. Late 1940s.
If that had been signed in her hand, there's a lot on its own.
However, we've got, going back,
a whole load of people that most people have never heard of. Sure.
Yes. And I think, under the hammer, they're not worth ?1 a card. No.
My estimate would be a cautious,
though likely realistic, ?40-?80 for the collection.
Would you part at that? I would, yes. Yeah?
Would you like a reserve? I'm not bothered about a reserve.
You'll let them go. Yeah. ?40-?80's our estimate.
I think they'll do that - if the gods are with us, even more -
and I can't wait to see what happens on the day. Grand.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Hello, Clare. Hello.
Thank you for bringing this lovely shiny tea set.
What's the history behind it?
It was given to me by my mother for our 25th silver wedding anniversary
and her husband bought it for her 25th, for their wedding anniversary.
Yes? So she passed it on to me. Now I've no use for it. OK.
You don't serve your tea in this every day? No, no.
So, you're looking to sell then? Yes.
Do you know who it's by or the date of it or anything? No.
Nothing at all. The great thing about silver is in most cases,
when it's English silver, it's possible to be very precise
about when it was assayed, tested and passed
as being full of sterling silver and normally we find out who made it
and the date it was assayed,
so it gives you a good, big package of information.
The marks on yours indicate that it was assayed in 1965
but it was made by JB Chatterley Sons Ltd
and that was originally John Bishop Chatterley Sons,
who was established in about 1880 in Birmingham.
But this one is mid-20th century in date,
so we're getting quite late, in terms of production of tea sets.
And it looks as though both your parents and yourself
have not really used it very much
and it's been kept in wonderful crisp, clean condition.
No, it's never been used, hardly.
Well, it's all the better for that now. Yeah.
So, if you were to sell it, what would you do?
Would you buy something else?
It's our 40th wedding anniversary next month,
so we'd like to go away somewhere. Oh, congratulations.
So, keep the wedding theme going but in a different format. Yes.
Oh, that's lovely. I mean, it is good.
It borrows strongly from the 18th century Georgian style of tea sets
that we find from 200 years earlier. It's quite heavy gauge silver,
so quite a decent weight to each of the pieces which is nice.
But, like yourself, most people in the market these days,
wouldn't buy it to use it. Value will reflect that though -
that the demand will not be for the usage of it,
but more for the aesthetics of it.
I would think that, currently,
you'd be looking at a realistic open-market value
of about ?250-?350 for the set. Yeah.
Which, compared to where it was a few years ago,
is weak and a bit disappointing,
but that's very much reflective of the 21st century way of living.
People just... We don't drink tea in a leisurely way any more
out of nice things like this.
Would you be happy to put it for auction at ?250-?350? That's fine.
The silver market can fluctuate up and down within a week or two.
The markets are forever changing,
so if the silver prices continue to go up,
it might be that you make a little bit more. Right.
But I think it's a fair assessment, as it stands at the moment,
and we'll try our hardest to get as much as possible.
Is that OK? That's lovely. Wonderful.
Thank you very much for coming in. Thank you.
If only we did live the sort of lives that require a silver tea service.
There you are. You've just seen them.
Our experts have made their final choice of items
to take off to the saleroom, which means, sadly,
we have to say goodbye to the Bowes Museum,
surrounded by wonderful art and antiques all day long.
Hopefully, we'll make some history of our own today,
but let's say goodbye to all our people as well.
CROWD: Bye. And thank you so much for turning up.
We wouldn't have a show without that lot, would we?
Right now, we've got some business to do in the saleroom.
Let's put those valuations to the test.
Here's a quick recap of what's going under the hammer.
First, we have the Rolex watch which looks like it really has lived.
Followed by the albums containing photos
of the stars of the stage and silver screen.
And we round things off elegantly with the Edwardian silver tea set,
fashioned in the Georgian style.
We're heading back to the Lakes and the auction house
for our final selection of items.
Looking after our first lot is auctioneer David Brookes.
Going under the hammer right now, we've got that wonderful photo album
showing the stars of stage and screen from the 1920s,
belonging to Pat and Mike. Good to see you both again.
These have been in the family a long time.
Yes, they were my paternal grandma's.
Is this something that the dealers will pick on
for one or two specific photographs in there?
There's a lot of value in, let's say, four or five items,
rather than the generic book. Without a shadow of a doubt.
Some of these stars have stood the test of time,
so there's a few that make the album.
Yeah, fingers crossed. It's going under the hammer right now.
The selection of vintage postcards. Celebrity interest.
Start me at 40 then, please. ?40? Right, we're in. Thank you sir.
Bidder in the room. 42. 45.
48. 50 now.
55. In the room at 55.
60. 65. 70.
75. 80 on the internet.
85 in the room. Have we finished?
90. 95, room bidder.
It's against you on the internet. We have 95. 100 now.
110. 110 in the room.
In the room at 110. They're having a think.
120 now on the internet. No? Thank you anyway.
120 here on the internet.
And we will sell if no further interest at 120 to the net buyer.
HE BANGS GAVEL Hammer's gone down. ?120. Ooh.
Good result. Yeah, good result.
One or two there that thought, "There's something interesting,
"I'm going to invest and take a chance on it."
It was a good valuation. That's terrific. Thank you so much.
Well, good stuff.
Job done. Time now for the Rolex watch.
But will its poor condition hold it back?
There's only one name in watches, as far as I'm concerned,
as far as you're concerned. That's the Submariner, it's the Rolex.
Classic. Are you going to replace it with anything? I don't think so.
I've got a mobile phone now.
Oh, yeah, everyone tells the time from their phone, don't they? Yep.
I tell you what though, people are buying Rolexes
and they're paying good money for them and it's still working,
so there you go, that's the great Swiss movement in it.
Let's find out what it's worth right now. Here we go.
Now, this has seen 20 years' service in the Royal Marines,
hence its condition, but it'll scrub up very nicely.
Start me at 2,000 then somewhere.
2,000. We'll come right back, we'll take a bit of time.
Start me at 1,500 online. 1,500 bid.
16. 17. 1,700 now. 1,700.
1,700. You're out, on the internet.
1,800. 1,900 now.
1,900 bid. 2,000 bid on the net. 2,000 bid.
2,000 bid now. 2,200.
2,200. Is that 4 online? No.
2,200. Are you all done this time then?
At 2,200. We are reserved. The best bid was ?2,000 on the internet
but we have instructions not to sell. Sorry.
I'm pleased you put a reserve of ?3,000 on it, you know.
Well, it was worth... Oh, gosh, it's worth the top end of that.
It's worth the 5, they just didn't want it today.
It's one of those things. That's auctions for you.
It's been a day out. Yeah.
Thank you for bringing it to the valuation day. My pleasure.
What a good sport. Time for some refreshments.
Cup of tea, maybe, but don't rush to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
This tea's courtesy of Clare here and Elizabeth, our expert.
We have a silver tea set for you, going under the hammer.
Have you got fed up with cleaning it? Yes, I don't clean it much. No!
Do you know what, everyone that comes on the show
that wants to sell silver, says exactly the same thing.
No-one wants it any more, do they? It's going under the hammer now.
A four-piece silver tea set. 1965. Had various commissions.
I'm going to have to start the bidding with me at 250, 280...
Straight in, sold. Top end.
350. 380. At ?380 bid.
500. Commission's out. 500 in the room.
That's very good. That's good. In the room at 500.
Any interest on the internet? In the room here at ?500. Going.
HE BANGS GAVEL The hammer's gone down at ?500.
I told you it was a good time for people to buy, didn't I? Yeah.
They see something in that which means if they sit on that
for ten years, that will be a good investment for them.
There's a lot of silver there. You've got to be pleased with that.
I'm very pleased with it, yeah. It's great.
That's brilliant. And who knows, they may even drink tea from it.
There you are. That's it. Another day in another saleroom for "Flog It!"
And some happy owners. All credit to our experts
and our auctioneers on the rostrum. They did us proud.
If you've got anything you want to flog, we want to sell it for you.
Bring it along to one of our valuation days.
But for now, it's goodbye from all of us.
Welcome to The Mash Report!
Madonna has launched her own range of booted orphans.
Donald Trump is a legend!
Let's come at it from another angle. He might be the Messiah. Come on!
Join me, Nish Kumar,
for BBC Two's brand-new topical comedy show.