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Today we're in Sussex, at Herstmonceux Castle.
Just look at that for a backdrop - isn't that magnificent?
That's home to our valuation day
and hundreds of loyal fans who've turned up from far and wide.
Welcome to Flog It!
Herstmonceux Castle is a stunning building
which has served many purposes over its 700 year history.
It's been a grand home for medieval lords of the manor,
a tourist-attracting ruin for Victorians, and even offices
for an insurance company during World War II.
Today, it's a university campus,
with students coming from all over the world to study in the stunningly
unique surroundings which we're also enjoying today.
Look at this, what a turnout we have today.
Hundreds of people have turned up,
laden with bags and boxes full of antiques and treasures.
They are here to see our experts,
to ask that all important question, which is...
-What's it worth?
And if you're happy with the valuation, what are you going to do?
With so many items to sift through, our experts are not wasting any time.
Today we've got James Lewis,
who is so on it he can spot the best antiques still in their boxes.
-Gold pocket watch?
-Correct. How did you guess?
And joining him, welcoming our visitors, is Jonathan Pratt.
Although he may need to be careful with some!
Well, everyone seems to be having great fun out here,
but that's not how it works.
We need to get all these lovely people inside and get the show started.
First on the menu, a little taster of what's coming up later in the show.
Jonathan unearths an antique that was picked up for a bargain price.
-I paid £4.99.
James is even more amazed by his keen-eyed treasure hunter.
-How much did you pay?
-I did, 50p.
And I discover a little-known story of British wartime ingenuity.
It was something that only the British would ever have thought of inventing.
I think we're the only nation who would come up with something as mad as this.
There's not a moment to lose.
So, as everyone gets settled, we can begin.
-Having a good time, everyone? ALL:
That's what it's all about. We're going to crack on with our first valuation.
Who is that lucky owner going to be?
We're going to find out right now as we join up with our experts.
Jackie, whenever I see porcelain like this...
..it makes me remember how lucky we are, actually, to have it.
-We take it totally for granted today, don't we?
But the factory that made these was the factory that first made porcelain in Europe.
Let's go back to the early 18th century.
Porcelain was incredibly expensive.
It had to be imported from a long way away.
Eventually, in around 1710,
there was a chap called Bottger who produced the first-ever European porcelain at Meissen.
So we are looking at a really important factory.
These are, though, as I'm sure you know, later.
They are 19th century.
Do you know how long you've had them in your family?
Well, I can remember them at least 65 years.
-They were given to my grandparents by their neighbours,
who collected a lot of porcelain and china.
And they were very kind and they gave them several pieces.
Well, let's start with this one.
They're all little cherubs.
And here we have four of them, and they're allegorical of the four seasons.
We have this little chap, with his fruiting vines.
He represents autumn.
Just behind him, we have summer, holding the wheat sheaves.
And we have spring with, again,
a floral chaplet, this time, in his hair.
And look at the final one.
He's got his cloak and, of course, he is winter.
The second group, again, it could well have been for the seasons.
-Because we've got him...
-..on his sledge, so clearly winter.
So, how do we know they're Meissen?
Loads of people copied the Meissen marks,
but what you need to look for, of this period,
is a combination of the crossed swords mark in blue,
and then an incise number,
and maybe a stamp number and a design number in red as well.
So, when you see all four together,
that's when you know that you're looking at a piece of 19th-century Meissen.
What are they doing here? Why are you selling them?
Well, the children don't want them.
And I just think that somebody who perhaps collects Meissen
would like to add them to their collection.
-Time to let them go?
-Well, let's think in terms of value.
-We've got a bit of damage, but generally not too bad.
So, I think we should put a reserve of...
£350 on them.
-And an auction estimate of 400-600.
-How do you feel?
Yes, I thought they were worth a little bit more than that.
What did you think they were worth?
I don't know, because they're not perfect, I appreciate that.
I think it's a conservative estimate, but I think it's realistic.
-Would you like to put the reserve slightly up?
-Do you want to put that at 400?
-Yes, let's put it at 400.
Let's do that. Let's do that.
And, you know, I think they'll do OK.
They'll go to a new home.
Those are lovely figurines to get our auction collection started.
Let's see what Jonathan has found to add to the mix.
-Well, hello, Erica.
-You've brought a lovely object along here,
very pretty lady in there. Where did you find her?
I was very lucky and I found her about ten years ago in a charity shop.
When people say they found something in a charity shop,
it means they didn't pay very much money for it.
-No, I didn't pay much at all. I paid £4.99.
Is that what you do quite a lot of, you like looking through charity shops and trying to find things?
-Or is it just buying what you like?
-I'm generally a hoarder.
-I've inherited it.
My mother was a hoarder, and so was my grandmother.
It is jewellery, jewellery is the thing.
I mean that's not a bad thing to hoard.
And I have photos of my great grandmother wearing the jewellery that I wear now.
I don't think there's anything wrong in hoarding that sort of stuff.
It's lovely. So I've been lucky.
I think, to have gone to a charity shop and found that for 4.99,
you obviously have an eye for things.
-Do you know anything about it?
Nothing at all, no.
It's a great thing. The enamel itself is very, very pretty.
A very pretty girl in a straw hat and red hooded cloak.
And she's carrying a bundle of twigs or sticks or something under her right arm.
She looks very rosy cheeked and Victorian.
I think it's beautiful. I really do love it.
I think she's a pretty girl and it's a bit cheeky as well.
This is something else.
-Her blouse is just popping open a little bit down there as well.
-Oh, I never noticed that.
-Me looking at her yellow bonnet.
Exactly. I'm sorry, but, you know, you're looking at the bonnet and...
You know, there we are. That's a father of four for you.
She was very much the sort of character you might find in a Victorian painting
in the sort of 1860s, 1870s, that sort of date.
Second half of the 19th century.
The process for producing the panel - it's a copper back.
It's enamel on top.
And then there's some detail, I think, which has been put in.
Like the stripes on the sleeves, in green paint.
But the whole thing has this great finish.
-Beautiful condition. Not signed.
Not marked. But I'd expect it to be gold.
-So, being a hoarder...
You're going to ask me why am I getting rid of her.
-Because I really won't wear her.
-No, I won't.
And I came today because I wanted to find out if she was real.
-I thought she looked too good to be true, really.
-I don't have a sentimental attachment to her.
My feeling is it's OK.
In its entirety, it's a really good thing.
I would say, gosh, 4.99.
I don't know. What do I say?
I would happily say £200 to £300.
Put a reserve of £200 on it.
I'm really thrilled.
-I shall buy some more jewellery.
Words of a true hoarder.
You know, I live in hope that one day I'll find something
just as amazing in a charity shop. In the meantime,
I've got something equally thrilling to keep me going,
unearthing treasures brought into the show.
Brenda and Martin, thank you so much for coming in today.
Not only has this location made my day, but this item has as well.
This is fantastic.
We're looking at an oil on canvas by David Roberts,
one of the greatest Scottish artists.
How did you come by it?
This was hanging on the wall in my grandparents' house in Malvern in
Worcestershire, and then it came down to my mother.
-When she died we inherited the house.
-Where has it been?
Sitting behind the sofa bed in my son's old bedroom.
-Shame on you. A David Roberts.
-Royal Academy member.
One of the greatest artists. Someone who is in vogue right now...
I know he was famous! But you know...
And he's behind your sofa bed!
We were about to bring it out and hang it.
Can I please, please take this off your lap and...
-..hold it and caress it and enjoy it for ten minutes.
For ten minutes, it can be mine!
I think this is so exciting. This is absolutely lovely.
It really is. And looking at this,
you can see he is heavily influenced by Turner.
-You can see that sunset.
You can see the colours, can't you? He became a friend of Turner's.
He encouraged David Roberts to get out to Egypt,
to the near East and to North Africa...
That's the Nile. That's the sunset on the Nile, isn't it?
-Do you know what those boats are called?
-Yes, good on you. I was just going to tell you that.
But, look, this is exciting, it's absolutely brilliant.
And it is signed, David Roberts, Royal Academy, and it's 1851.
This was at the height of his career.
His name is so sought after.
I personally think this is worth £8,000.
This is absolutely lovely.
Thank you so much. This is so exciting.
-You've made my day.
Brenda and Martin's painting isn't going to auction,
but what a treat for us to see it.
And it gets to stay in the family for another generation.
In the meantime,
our team have been busy searching for items to take off to auction.
So let's see what Jonathan has found.
-You've brought a lovely watch along.
-I hope so.
-So, is this your watch?
Well, yeah, it is. It was my grandfather's.
-And previous to that, it was his grandfather's.
So it goes back quite a while.
So, your grandfather, great grandfather, great-great-grandfather.
-All right, OK. It's a very nice watch.
Hallmark smack on the top there.
Let's take it out of the box.
The important things about watches are dials...
They can either be sort of porcelain or enamel.
That little button on the side there starts and stops it, OK?
-No way to reset it,
it is simply a start-stop mechanism on the second hand.
-OK, so similar to a stopwatch.
-Similar to a stopwatch.
Case is in nice order.
Pop into the back. So, this is the inscription presented to your
-That's right, yes.
-By Tyndale & Co Solicitors, of Birmingham,
in recognition of 50 years faithful and devoted service.
-Well, there we are.
-26th February, 1902.
Well, look at that. 50 years of service and you get yourself a gold watch.
-What do you get today?
-Probably a book token or something.
-Yes. A nice...
A nice watch. So you've got a model number on there.
-Or movement number.
-But other than that...
..there's nothing else to say...
-Who made it?
-..who made it. You know,
very often on the dial you will see something or on the movement
you will see something or even on the case you'd see something.
But it's a nice quality 18-carat pocket watch.
Sitting on a nine-carat chain.
Every link is marked. You can see the difference of colour.
-Slightly, you know, more of a copper colour because it's got copper in it.
You know, that's more pure.
Nice presentation gift for 50 years' service.
-Very good, isn't it?
-So, why are you getting rid of it?
What's going to happen to it when I go?
-I've got a daughter.
But she's not really interested in a pocket watch. So...
-No, maybe not.
-I think sadly it's time to move on.
Time, indeed. So, value wise, there are two elements to the value.
First one is the watch, second one is the chain.
So, you know, it's quite a heavy chain.
And obviously there's the gold value and then people do like these things anyway,
so they will pay a little bit more maybe than gold value.
So the watch is probably worth around the £400-600 mark.
-The chain is worth probably £400.
-So, you are looking at a combined value,
presented in its case as well,
of, you know, upwards to £1,000.
And at that, I would suggest maybe let's put an 800 reserve on it.
-Yeah, I'd go with that.
-And if it doesn't sell, your daughter can have it.
-Lovely, thanks a lot.
-Thank you very much.
Well, this is where it gets exciting.
This is where we change gear. Our experts have now found
their first three items to take off to auction.
Anything could happen. Do not go away.
Fingers crossed we are going to have one or two big surprises.
We are making our way over to the saleroom and we are going to
leave you with a run down just to jog your memory of all the items
that are going under the hammer.
Meissen figurines are always popular with the collectors.
So we are hoping these two will fetch a decent figure at auction.
Erica's brooch is a fabulous charity shop find.
All it needs now is the right buyer to find it in the saleroom.
And Jim's gold watch, given for 50 years of loyal service,
should go pretty quickly through the auction.
And we're taking our items east
across Sussex, to the pretty fishing town of Rye.
Rising up above the scenic levels of the Romney marshes, for centuries
Rye was an important part of the country's coastal defences.
Inside today's saleroom at Rye Auction Galleries,
the lots are already flying through,
with Kevin Wall in charge of the proceedings.
If you are heading to auction,
remember there is always commission to pay,
and today it is 15% plus VAT.
And first up are Jacqueline's pair of nearly perfect Meissen figures.
-There is a bit of damage, isn't there?
-There is, unfortunately.
-How did that happen? Was it the kids?
-Well, before me.
But these will give somebody the opportunity that can't afford a perfect one.
Cos turned round, you don't notice the damage.
No, exactly. Just keep turning it!
Two 19th-century Meissen figural groups.
The woodcutter with sled,
the other of four childlike figures, to include Bacchus.
I've got 200. 220.
-To start, at 280.
300. 320. 340?
It's on the internet, are we?
At 380 here.
At 380. 400, do I see?
400 in the middle row.
I've got you, sir. At 400 now.
At 400. Do I see 420?
At 400. It's in the middle, I've got.
Yes, well done, James.
-Thank you very much.
-It was close but we did it.
And you didn't want to take them home, did you?
-No, I didn't.
-Thank you very much, James.
That's all right. Thank you for bringing them in as well.
That's a great start for our lots.
Let's hope that brooch can continue the trend.
Right, so far, so good.
We are going to turn £4.99 into £200-300
with the help of Jonathan and Erica here. There are bargains out there.
You've just got to make sure you're in the right place at the right time.
-It's just chance, isn't it?
And you've got to go with your gut feeling.
-But they are still there.
-They are still there.
OK. We are going to find out what the bidders think right now.
This is it.
Portrait miniature on enamel plaque depicting a girl in a yellow bonnet
carrying a basket.
There it is. Very pretty.
I've got 120 to start.
At 200, I'm out.
At 200 here. At 200.
-Do I see 210 now?
Lovely little brooch. At £200.
It's still in the room.
At £200. Are we all done?
And finished at 200...?
On the money there, Jonathan. Well done, you. £4.99 into £200.
-It doesn't get much better than that, does it?
-Well done. Yeah, well done.
-Very pleased, thank you.
Our experts have been spot-on so far.
Two lots that have sold right on the money.
Will John's watch buck the trend?
Well, that's it, time is up. No, it's not the end of the show.
Time is up for Jim and his gold open-faced pocket watch
which is going under the hammer.
It's been in the family many generations, hasn't it?
It has, yes. It was my great-great-grandfather's.
And you're the last chap, your daughter doesn't want it.
-It's got to go.
-It's got to go.
-It's been in the kitchen drawer,
all of these things end up in a big kitchen drawer somewhere, don't they?
-It's a lovely thing.
-Great thing. Great thing.
-Condition is good.
-It's all good.
-It's going under the hammer right now.
We are going to find out what the bidders think. This is it.
An Edwardian 18-carat gold pocket watch with white enamel dial,
set with Roman numerals.
And I start it at 500. 550.
700. 750. 800 here.
850. 900. 950.
1,050 here. 1,050, I am bid.
At 1,050, are we all done and finished here?
-£1,050 coming your way.
Well, thank you for bringing it in. That was a nice thing. I liked that.
So, do you now have to give the proceeds to one of the children?
-No, it's all mine.
Well, there we are. You've just seen them.
Our first three lots under the hammer.
And we are coming back here later on in the programme, but before we
join up with our experts to look for more treasures at the valuation day,
I had a chance to take a trip up the coast from Rye to uncover the story
about one of the most remarkable feats of British engineering during the Second World War.
This is the Dungeness coastline in the south of Kent.
It's an incredibly strategic part of the UK from a military perspective.
Over there, 30 miles across, is the coastline of France.
That stretch of water, the English Channel,
became a hiding place for one of the most amazing achievements of the
Second World War - Operation Pluto.
Pluto stands for Pipeline Under The Ocean,
and it was an audacious way of getting fuel to the Allied forces invading France.
All military manoeuvres need soldiers and equipment,
but it's easy to forget that they, in turn, need fuel.
Like so many operations of the war,
Pluto was kept under a veil of secrecy and still remains relatively
unknown, but what exactly was Pluto?
As the Second World War dragged on,
the Allied forces planned to launch D-Day,
a massive invasion of the Normandy beaches of France in 1944.
To say it was going to be big is an understatement.
Within just a few weeks,
nearly a third of a million troops and over 54,000 vehicles would sweep
across the English Channel and flood into France, hoping to
storm across Western Europe and achieve victory against Germany.
However, without a reliable supply of fuel,
all those vehicles would quickly grind to a halt.
The problem of getting it to them was a logistical nightmare.
The solution was breathtakingly simple, but daring and dangerous -
to lay hundreds of miles of pipeline underneath the English Channel
to France, without being spotted by the enemy.
But nothing like this had ever been attempted and there were all manner of problems to overcome.
The first being to create a new kind of pipe that was flexible enough
to roll out across the sea bed,
and yet could withstand being hurled against rocks by strong currents.
The pipe had to be incredibly strong to withstand the pressure of huge
amounts of oil being pumped through it, and the pressure of being
at the bottom of the English Channel.
Now, this had to be laid quickly
but laying pipe at sea is an incredibly slow process,
and any ships doing it could be picked off by the Luftwaffe.
Work on the special pipes started in early 1942, and within just a year
after many tests and failures, two suitable solutions were found.
One was a tough but flexible steel tubing called the Hammill pipe.
The other was layers and layers of lead, steel, hemp and bitumen,
bound together to create the Hayes cable.
Adrian Searle is a historian who has written extensively about Project Pluto.
Adrian, is that a bit of the Pluto pipe?
Yeah, this is the original concept.
-This is the Hayes cable.
-It's heavy. Yes.
-Can you imagine?
That bit is heavy, but can you imagine it being six feet long
-and trying to pick it up?
-Precisely. I wouldn't want to pick it up.
And that's lead in there. That's lead on the inside.
You have a lead interior, it's based on a hollowed out telegraphic cable.
It was a very expensive thing to produce.
I was about to say, that must have cost a fortune.
-Where did all the lead come from, off the church roofs?
-Some of it may well have done, actually.
We can joke about that, but I suspect that's not too far from the truth.
For every mile, it would have taken 50 tonnes of lead.
-How and where was this made?
-Every cable manufacturer in this country,
and later from the States as well, had to suspend
all their usual commercial rivalries to work together
to produce the phenomenal lengths of cable that were needed.
-So factories all over the UK?
-All over the UK.
The grand plan was to run four pipelines from the Isle of Wight to
Cherbourg, and another 17 lines from here in Dungeness to Boulogne,
30 miles across the Channel.
In total, that meant nearly 800 miles of pipeline being laid out
across the most dangerous strip of water in war-torn Europe.
Production went full steam ahead and within just a year,
all the lengths were ready,
including one piece that was 40 miles long
and weighed over 2,000 tonnes.
The biggest challenge still lay ahead -
how to lay the pipe quickly and carefully.
The solution was jaw-dropping.
-It had to be laid, uncoiled from an enormous floating cotton reel, one might say.
There were four of them. They were called HMS Conundrum.
They must have been massive.
They certainly were. About 40 feet tall,
weighing someone in the region of 250 tonnes,
and able to carry around about 40 miles of the flexible steel pipe.
The next critical step of the operation was pumping
the oil to France without the enemy finding out.
The answer was to have pumping stations set along the coast
but disguised as houses, garages and even ice cream parlours.
These two Art Deco houses were requisitioned by the army
and turned into pumping stations for Project Pluto.
Hugh Shere lives here now,
and has researched how his house was adapted for its secret role.
The house was completely gutted.
You can see how thick the walls were.
Oh, I can. It's like that.
That wall is 25 inches.
The one down the bottom is 25 inches.
Girders were put on from end to end.
So the whole bungalow can be stripped out
but leave the outside the same
so that reconnaissance air planes couldn't see what was going on.
-Pumps were inside. Nobody knew they were there.
And this is a photograph of the house before you bought it.
Yeah, that's in about '42, when the builders were just beginning...
You've even got a spade and jacket there.
A lot of work was put into this, wasn't it?
Yeah, a lot of work. Yeah, it makes you feel very proud.
It's a bit of secret history, which helped to win the war.
So I've got one little... One little bit of that.
Now all the elements of Operation Pluto were in place.
Thousands of people had worked in total secrecy to help make it
possible, and in June 1944 the invasion of France was launched.
Once it was fully operational, operating from here,
it became extremely successful.
By the early summer of 1945,
round about a million gallons was flowing through Pluto,
which made all the difference and helped the Allied forces move
progressively further away from the Normandy beaches.
So yes, it was a tremendous, tremendous achievement.
It was something that only the British would ever have thought of inventing.
I think we're the only nation that would come up with something as mad as this.
But make it work. And we should be eternally, I think,
proud of the people that came up with this idea
and developed it. Very British.
Within a year of D-Day, the Allied forces had achieved victory.
Six years of brutal war in Europe had finally come to an end.
And Project Pluto had quietly played its part in helping achieve success.
Sir Winston Churchill, who gave the idea his full backing, said of it,
"Operation Pluto was a remarkable feat of British engineering,
"distinguished in its originality,
"pursued with tenacity and crowned off with complete success.
"And it's this creative energy that helped to win the war."
Welcome back to our valuation day at Herstmonceaux Castle.
As you can see, the ballroom is still very, very busy.
So let's now join up with our experts and see what other treasures
we can find to take off to auction.
First up, it's James Lewis.
We all have objects that we love and periods that we love, and for me,
I love the Grand Tour,
I love the late 18th century, early 19th century,
and, John, what you've brought along today is exactly that.
It's a lovely little thing.
-Where did you find it?
-A boot sale find.
Where am I when these are at car-boot sales?!
-Right, how much did you pay?
-Oh, you're joking.
I did. 50p. I knew what it was, as soon as I saw it.
Well, what we are looking at is a piece of Grand Tour micro-mosaic...
-Would have been made somewhere between 1820, 1840...
-Somewhere around there.
-With a black slate base as a desk weight.
And the fineness of the micro-mosaic, really,
-as well as its subject, denote its value.
The finer the mosaic, the smaller the pieces, the better.
-And also the subject. The subject here...
-We are looking at something that everybody will recognise.
-The Colosseum in Rome.
-One of the most incredible buildings.
This was a copy for the tourists to buy in the early 19th century...
-..to bring home and to show everybody, "Look what is in southern Europe."
-And an incredible little thing.
-It would have been expensive in its day.
-Would it? Yes?
The method of manufacture for micro-mosaics is also quite
interesting, because there is one way of placing each individual piece
into the ground of the desk weight
and they tend to be slightly coarser.
The other way is to have all of the canes of glass next to each other
-in a huge pattern, and slice them individually.
And by doing that, you can make lots and lots and lots of patterns.
-Exactly the same. A little bit like a stick of rock.
-So it's a really fabulous technique.
It's incredible, really.
Yes. It's lovely.
I've been to the Vatican...
-And at the gates of the Vatican, there's an outlet where
they are making them and there's nothing as intricate as that.
-No, the 19th century ones are the best.
I can't believe you found it in a car-boot sale.
Yes. They are still out there.
I haven't found anything since.
-If that came in at my auction house,
I would put £80-120 on it.
-Expecting it to make towards the upper end.
-Now, how would you feel about that?
-Well, I think I'd rather keep it. Is that all right?
Now, what would you want to have for it, for it to be saleable?
It's got a chance at that, you know. It has got a chance.
-If we put...
..150 reserve, and an auction estimate of 150-250...
-Would that be all right?
-Yeah, that would be fine. Yeah, yeah.
Well, for 50p, you've got a great... You've got a great profit there.
-Yes. Yes. True.
But it will take a lot to find another.
It would, yeah. I shall never find another one.
That's what I love about antiques -
gems like that mosaic can turn up almost anywhere.
I wonder where Jonathan's next find was discovered.
Well, good afternoon, Audrey and Claire.
-You've brought along this pot,
which I can immediately identify just from the style of it
as Doulton. Where did you find it?
I actually found it in my mum's shed after she had died.
-In a shed.
-In the shed, yes.
So, how long it had been there, I don't know.
-How long had she lived there?
So this has been in the shed, potentially, for quite a long time.
-Your mother obviously didn't like it.
I don't know, to be quite honest.
I don't remember in my childhood seeing it indoors.
-She was a hoarder, almost.
You know, she would tuck away little things, bits and pieces.
Well, look, you've got this pot and you can see... The colours
and the style of it immediately tell you it is Doulton,
and it's typically Doulton of the late 19th century.
So down here, you've got the Doulton Lambeth mark.
You've got a date mark, that will tell you it's 1873.
And you've got a mark here for the decorator, called Harriet Hibbert.
It's not your normal style.
There's lots of symbols on this which are quite unusual,
I have to say. Bearing in mind this pot dates from 1873, and that time,
there's a lot of influence from the Far East, from Japan and China,
and so you've got what look like crows here,
sitting on a prunus, a flowering fruit tree, an apple tree.
But then you've also got this sort of little roundel here
-with a fish on.
-Yeah, I thought it was a fish.
Yeah. And here, you've got... This is the one that's...
It's facing me, as well, which is spooking me a little bit.
You've got this tiny little mouse, who is hiding in the brambles,
and the snake is just about to come down and eat him.
So it's been sitting in your shed, and you dug it out when?
-So you found it in 2004?
-Has it been on display ever since?
-Do you not like it?
I haven't really got room for it, to be quite honest.
I think you've kind of got to like it really, haven't you?
Well, the value of it is determined by, you know, a few factors.
Obviously the age and decoration, and the name of the person who did it,
and also the condition, and we've got a few little nibbles
around the foot. So, if we were to say maybe it's £100-150...
-That's not bad actually.
-Not bad for a bit of...
-Digging it out of the shed.
And, you know, it may run on after that, but I think 100, £150 would be sensible.
-And maybe let's put a reserve of £100 at the bottom.
-And if it doesn't sell,
you can put it pride of place on your side table.
Make some room.
-I thought you were going to say "Put it back in the shed".
That vase definitely shouldn't go back in the shed.
It deserves to be seen and enjoyed, much like our last item of the day.
Well, I have to say, bears haven't been around in this part of England since about 1000AD.
So, we know he's not an English bear.
-Where is he from?
-I think it's Black Forest.
That's far as I know.
OK. And is it a family piece?
It was my grandmother's. She had it sitting on the side there, and
I always used to try and play with it, but she wouldn't let me.
You remember it as a child and it's something you've had around you for
-almost all your life, then.
-This sort of traditional carving
started in Switzerland, commercially,
in the early part of the 19th century.
There were lots of pieces like this shown at the 1851 exhibition.
And the fashion and tradition for this sort of carving spread
right the way through the Black Forest down into Germany
and is still being done today.
The biggest market for them is the USA.
One of the reasons for that is when the troops came over
in the First World War, the American troops,
all those that were stationed there started buying these things
and sending them home.
And of course the Americans loved the bears, anyway.
And they sent them home and spread the word of Black Forest carving.
And when you're trying to value one of these chaps,
it's all about the face.
If he's an aggressive, mean, snarling bear, they actually,
genuinely do make less at auction...
-..than the friendly, happy bears.
And he's a jolly, friendly, happy bear, isn't he?
-Quite friendly, yes.
But the majority of the bears that we see at auction are 20th century.
But this little chap, I should think he's going to be
around 1890, 1895, something around there.
He's set with glass eyes, he's waxed,
and this has taken on a good patination.
But the major problem with him is he's had the worm at some stage.
He's covered all over his face and all over his front
-with thousands of holes.
-But having said that,
the front doesn't appear to have any great cracks in.
But we have a problem with his bear behind.
Because if we turn him round, I mean,
most people's bottoms have a crack in a certain place,
but I have to say it shouldn't be there!
And it does spread rather a long way up his back!
-But he's great.
And the majority of the value is what you would take from the front.
So, why sell him?
I've got nowhere to keep him now.
I've downsized and he was just getting dust and cobwebs on him.
-Aww, OK. Well, somebody will love him.
I should think that he will make £100-150 in that condition.
Perfect, it would have been 300 or 400.
But the work taken, we've got to take that into consideration
for the woodworm and 100-150 I think would be sensible.
-Is that OK?
-Yeah, that's good. That's good.
Reserve of £100, put that on as a safety net.
I'm hoping that when he comes up for sale,
there'll be some bidding on the internet
-and some interest from America as well.
Well, there you are, our experts have now found their final items
to take off to the saleroom, so we have to say
a sad farewell to Herstmonceux Castle,
our magnificent host location.
I've thoroughly enjoyed being here, I hope you've enjoyed it too,
but right now it's straight over to the saleroom
and here's a quick recap of all the items we're selling.
John's micro-mosaic was bought for small change at the car-boot sale
but it should definitely make big bucks today.
Audrey's vase came out of the garden shed
but can we find it a new owner and give it a new home?
And will Alan's wooden bear be a honey pot for the collectors?
Bear with us, we'll find out soon.
Back at the saleroom, it's all eyes on Kevin Wall
as he works his way through the lots.
This is where we put our valuations to the test,
and first in line is John's mosaic.
This is one of my favourite items in the sale, the micro-mosaic work,
the Colosseum in Rome, sort of early 1900s.
It sums up the Grand Tour and it sums up
that all of this is out there.
If you get up early, open your eyes, you can pick a bargain up.
-If you're lucky!
-How much was it?
-Not bad, was it?
-That wasn't bad.
-Have you had many finds like that?
-Not really, that's the best. Yes.
I love it. Look, I hope you do well, OK?
-You're going to make a lot more than 50p.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
-It's going under the hammer now.
The Victorian Grand Tour micro-mosaic brooch
converted to a paperweight,
depicting the Colosseum in Rome.
And I start it at 85, 95, 100, 110.
At 110, do I see 120 now?
120, 130, 140, 150.
-150 here, 160, 170, 180.
At 180 on my right still.
At 180, do I see 190 now?
-It's climbed to 180.
-At £180 it's on the net.
At £180, are we all done and finished?
-Treat yourself, won't you?
-Yeah, I will!
Brilliant, well done.
That's a hefty profit margin for a 50p purchase,
a perfect Flog It! antique.
Next up its Audrey and Claire's vase.
Right, now we've got a bit of classic Lambeth Doulton going under
the hammer belonging to Audrey and Claire.
-And this was Mum's, wasn't it?
-It was, yes.
-In the shed.
What did she put it in the shed for?!
She obviously didn't like it. I bet she didn't like it.
I really don't know.
-Do you like it?
-Not enough to keep, no.
Anyway, we're going to get this away, I know we are.
-Fingers crossed. Ready for this? BOTH:
It's liberated from the shed and it's going to find a new home.
Somebody's going to love this.
It's going under the hammer right now.
It's a late 19th century Doulton Lambeth stoneware pedestal vase.
There it is and I've got 65, 70, 75.
At 75, do we see 80 now?
At 75, do I see 80?
-Come on, we need 100.
-We do need 100.
75, 80. No?
-At 75 then.
-Are we all done?
You're sure and finished, nothing on the net?
At 75... I'm afraid that's not sold.
We didn't get enough. Look, Claire, how do you fancy inheriting this?
I think we'll keep it for another couple of months.
-And then put it into another auction.
-Give it another go.
-All right. Mum knows best.
-Ever so sorry.
It's a shame about the vase but auctions are an uncertain affair
and that's half the fun.
So, will our wooden bear do a roaring trade?
Going under the hammer right now, one of my favourite lots
in the sale. He's not a lot of money but I tell you what,
he's very charming.
-I'm not talking about Alan, but you are a charming guy.
-And it's your little bear.
If I owned this, I wouldn't be selling it. I wouldn't, I love him!
Absolutely love him. I know he's been on the top of your bookcase.
-That's right, sitting there looking at me.
Who's going to buy this little bear? We're going to find out right now.
It's going under the hammer.
The 19th century carved Black Forest bear
with facet moulded glass vase resting on a branch.
We start on commissions at 75, 85, 95, 100,
110, 120, 130 I'm bid.
At 140, 150, 160, 170, 180, 190.
200. At 190 in the middle, 200 here.
210, 220, 230, 240, 250, 260,
270, 280, 290, 300,
320, 340, 360.
380, 400, 420, 440.
440, new bidder. 440.
At 440, it's on the internet.
460. At 460...
The room is out. 480 on the phone.
-Yes, come on. Yes!
520, 540, 560, 580.
Yeah! Well, Alan, whoa!
660, 680, 700.
We go back to the telephone at 720 now.
At 720, it's on the telephone...
At 740, they've come back.
Back to 760 now.
At £760, on the telephone at 7...
-780, they've come back.
It's 800 on the telephone.
It's with you, sir, at £800.
Are we all done?
Everyone loved that bear! I bet you did, I did.
You wanted to sell it and now you've got £800.
A bit of commission to pay but that's phenomenal for that.
-What are you going to do with that?
I'm going to see my sister in America later this year so it'll all
-go towards that.
-Brilliant. When was the last time you saw her?
-Eight or nine years ago.
-Oh, so that'll be nice, a family reunion.
-And she's seen that little bear as well.
-James, that was a shock.
-What a price!
If you've got something like that, bring it along
to one of our valuation days. But sadly we've run out of time here
in Rye, and what a surprise that was!
So it's goodbye from all of us but join us again
for many more auctions on Flog It!