Flog It! comes from St Albans Cathedral and Abbey in Hertfordshire. Antiques experts Jonathan Pratt and James Lewis find a selection of objects to take to auction.
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Today, we've come to the historic city of St Albans
in the home county of Hertfordshire,
and just look at this incredible queue that has already turned up -
and it's only 9:30.
-Are you ready for this, everyone? ALL:
Well, our valuation day venue lays claim to being the oldest site
of continuous Christian worship in the country, and it's this,
the magnificent, the glorious St Albans Cathedral and Abbey.
Welcome to Flog It!
For over 1,700 years,
there have been buildings of worship on the site
where St Albans Cathedral and Abbey proudly stands today.
In 793, a Benedictine abbey was founded
and a small town grew up around the monastery's walls.
This was the premier Benedictine abbey in the country,
but was suppressed by Henry VIII in the 16th century.
Following the dissolution,
the town bought the church for parish worship.
Later, in 1877, St Albans achieved cathedral status,
although it still remained a vibrant parish church as well.
St Alban, who the Cathedral and the Abbey are named after,
was the first Christian martyr in this country.
And he was a citizen of the old Roman town of Verulamium,
which was the precursor to the city of St Albans we have today,
and he converted to Christianity
towards the end of the third century,
after listening to a Christian priest talk.
He subsequently helped the priest escape, he took his place.
But his fellow Roman kinsmen identified him,
asked him to renounce his new faith. He wouldn't.
He was put to death for his new beliefs.
This site, where Alban was buried
and where afterwards a shrine was built,
has for centuries attracted hordes of Christian pilgrims,
and many still come to worship at St Albans Cathedral and Abbey today.
In June, St Albans hosts a major pilgrimage festival,
which includes a procession that has giant puppets of Alban
and his executioners.
And we have our own group of pilgrims here today,
who have travelled far and wide,
laden with antiques and collectables,
here to see our experts, to ask that all-important question, which is...?
-What's it worth?
-Stay tuned and you'll find out.
-Are you ready to go inside?
On hand to value St Albans antiques and collectables,
we have our experts, James Lewis and Jonathan Pratt.
This is amazing. Do you know, I've seen a lot of beadwork,
but I've not seen a bead snake before.
-Ah, that's interesting.
-It's trying to get away, actually.
-Is it Turkish?
The Turks always made these.
-Yes, very good...
That's "How much, please?" in Turkish!
Time to get a wriggle on. Let's get this show on the road.
And this is where it gets exciting.
This is the front of the queue and we're going in.
Come on, everyone!
Whilst everyone takes their seats and makes themselves comfortable
in St Albans' beautiful nave,
let's have a quick look at what's coming up.
Jonathan uncovers some autographs from the age of flower power.
Now, did you meet all these people personally?
-Um, I think I did.
-You think you did. You can't remember!
And one of our owners is shocked at the value
of her antique walking cane.
-It's a fabulously early interesting bit of maritime history.
I'm absolutely stunned.
And I'll be stepping away from the nave and the hubbub
of the valuation day to meet the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John,
the Dean of St Albans Cathedral,
to find out more about the life of the cathedral today,
and the people involved in keeping it running.
But before that, it's time to get our valuations underway.
-Is everybody ready? ALL:
Yes, well, any one of you could be going off to auction.
Let's find out who the first lucky person is.
You have brought a wonderful lot for us today.
-It's a really interesting walking cane.
-You don't know quite how interesting, do you?
-No, I don't.
No! I could tell!
I saw it poking out of your bag outside in the queue
and I thought, "Wow, that is a really interesting thing."
What's the history?
My mother had it and I believe it came from an aunt of hers.
Aunt Kathleen. But that's all I know of it.
OK, now, do you know what it's made from?
No, I did think it was ivory.
OK. Well, I'm very glad to say it's not ivory.
But it is another product that came from generations past.
Whaling was banned in 1986,
thank the Lord that we do not allow it today.
This sort of thing was taken from the whales in the 18th century.
So, we're talking 200 years ago.
This is a by-product - the whale's been killed,
its blubber has been taken for the oil.
And the sailors on board the boats,
because they were out at sea for years and years and years,
while they were out at sea, what do they do
when they're not chasing whales?
They have to have something to amuse themselves.
And they did something called scrimshaw.
And they would take the teeth of the sperm whale,
they would take the eardrums from the whales
and they would carve those.
And they would also take whalebone
and they would make things like this.
So, this is a whalebone walking stick and it dates to 1780, to 1820.
-So, it's really early.
-It's in the reign of George III.
The Americans were the great whalers of this period.
And if we look on the inlay here, we've got a couple of things
that indicate that maybe this stick was something taken from that area.
Because we've got that,
it's a mollusc that is now totally protected and it's abalone.
And that's the abalone shell.
And then, here we've got little inlays of palm wood,
tortoiseshell and also, look, do you recognise what it is?
-It is a whale.
-It's a whale!
But this object is rare.
So, what's it worth?
-If I said to you it was worth £50-£80,
-would you be happy to sell it?
-Yes, happy with that.
How about £400-600?
-No, it's not worth £400-£600.
No. It's worth £600-£1,000.
It's worth £600-£1,000.
-It is a fabulously early, interesting bit of maritime history.
I'm absolutely stunned.
We sent it off and it went into a school play as a prop.
-Yeah, a couple of years ago.
-What was it?
-I think they were Edwardians or something.
-It went off and the children looked after it really well
and I'm glad they did.
I would like to see a reserve of £600, with discretions.
-That's fine. Absolutely...
-Is that all right?
-Lovely, yes that's great.
-Thank you so much for bringing it.
Next, Jonathan is taken by an elegant item.
-So, hello, Rob.
-You brought along a lovely gold watch.
-It's not yours, is it?
-It is now!
-It did belong to my ex-wife.
-It's got quite a lot of style about it.
Some watches are just very plain, round dials, a bit of leather strap.
How did you come by it?
She actually wanted a designer watch,
so I went into a jewellers come pawnbrokers and saw this.
And it had a sort of Art Deco feel about it to me, so,
I liked the face of it and the
surround on the dial with the sunburst.
So, I bought that.
It was a lot cheaper than a designer watch as well.
-Well, there is that point.
And this would go up in value, the designer watch would only drop.
There is that, I mean, there's a lot of gold there,
so you're buying an investment in that respect as well.
But what you've got here is a ladies bracelet wristwatch
dating from the '70s.
It's hallmarked for nine-carat gold on the back on there
and there is a hallmark.
It's a Birmingham mark but the date letter is very difficult to read.
But it's in that sort of period, '60s in towards the '70s.
The brand is Nivada.
So, a nice Swiss movement.
You've got this radiating sunburst sort of bezel to it.
A bit of style about it.
And then this, I quite like this bar bracelet
and then a fancy link on the side there.
The movement of this, you say you like the dial,
this sort of small movement in the early '50s, 1952,
Queen Elizabeth's Coronation,
she wore an extravagant diamond set watch but with a tiny little dial.
And it sort of generated this fashion for, in the '50s and '60s,
for these very small dialled wristwatches.
Why do you want to sell it?
It's just been sitting a drawer for about 18 years unused.
Nobody wants to wear it. Nobody wants to wind it up.
But it does, have you tried winding it?
-It does work. Let's have a listen.
Ticking away beautifully. It's keeping very good time as well.
So, it's got quite a lot of style about it.
If you go to a pawnbroker, they'll just stick it on a scales
and say that is worth X in gold and that's it.
Hopefully, someone's willing to pay more for it.
Gold value alone would set it at a certain figure.
I would have thought at auction it's worth between £250 and £350.
But I would suggest having a reserve around the £230 mark.
You've got to reserve that, so it protects the gold element
but you've also got an estimate which encourages the bidding
-a little bit higher.
-That's great. It's more than I thought.
It was more than you thought? Fantastic!
Well, we've got off to a great start with both James and Jonathan
finding a couple of striking items,
and I've found something very special to show you, too.
It's called a watching loft and it dates back to the 15th century.
St Albans is the only place in the country to have one.
Now, it acts like a medieval CCTV.
Lay brothers would take it in turns to sit up there,
and it is very cramped inside,
and look out through those openings at Alban's Shrine below.
Not only looking over the shrine, making sure it's all right,
but making sure that whatever was left by a pilgrim
wasn't picked up by the next bloke who came in.
I think it is absolutely fabulous.
It's constructed of oak, it's got that wonderful dry quality to it.
It's a real survivor.
Along the frieze, you can see some wonderful carving,
look, heavenly figures.
You can just make out a few angels by their wings.
It's so terribly worn, but what a survivor.
That is absolutely stunning.
It's very impressive.
And you can see, you get up to it by virtue of these tiny little stairs
and the whole thing has the most wonderful ornamentation
and carving to it.
Right, over to our experts now.
Hopefully, they're keeping a watchful eye over the next item
that lands on their table.
My palms are starting to go a bit clammy.
-I'm starting to feel nervous.
These Pelham puppets.
If only you knew my history with Pelham Puppets.
I have actually been involved in selling
-the world's largest collection of Pelham puppets.
Just putting these on the table,
you know how difficult it is untangling strings.
-Well, imagine 1,500 of them.
Oh, my God! OK.
And if you them stand up, the head always goes in the wrong direction.
So, if you're trying to take a photograph,
you then bend it the other way and the head goes...
And it goes anywhere apart from where you want it to go.
But anyway, there we are.
But what's the history, did you play with them as a kid?
No. I bought them in a car-boot sale,
-probably three months ago.
There was a box next to this guy's stall and this one was in the top
when I opened the box, and I said, "How much is the puppet?"
He said £10.
I said, "Fine", gave him £10.
And he gave me the whole box.
-All of these were in it?
-All of them, all eight.
-All for £10?
-I smell a profit.
They were made by a chap called Bob Pelham.
Bob Pelham started in the factory in 1947
but he originally had a company called Wonky Toys.
-Because during the Second World War,
he used to sit there making little models of donkeys.
And he was known as the Wonky Donkey Officer.
But quite sensibly, he changed the name and formed Pelham puppets.
And of course they did very, very well,
especially when Disney gave him the contract
to make some of the characters from the cartoons.
We've got Pinocchio here.
And they came in various sizes.
Got the little ones like this, but what you haven't got
are the ones that are about two or three feet off the floor.
And the one that really gave me the nightmares was the eight-foot clown.
Oh, no! Bit spooky.
But they're brilliant fun. Some are much rarer than others.
The majority of them are worth £10, £20, £30 each.
But you do get some incredibly rare ones.
And I have to say, the ones we've got here aren't rare.
-So, in terms of value, I think we should put £80-£120 on them.
-But we need to secure them with a reserve, you only paid £10,
so shall we put £70?
-As a reserve?
-Yeah, I'm happy with that. That's fine.
And thank you so much for bringing them in.
Thank you. I've given you more mad nightmares now!
We've had a brilliant day so far
and our experts are still working flat out,
but they have found their first three items to take off to auction,
as you have just seen.
I've got my favourites, you've probably got yours,
let's find out what the bidders think.
While we make our way over to the saleroom, here's a quick recap,
just to jog your memory of all the items we're taking with us.
Leslie's intricately-carved whalebone cane
should easily walk away at auction.
Rob's nine-carat gold bracelet wristwatch
has been languishing in the drawer for 18 years,
so it was definitely time for it to see the light of day.
And finally, Helen's collection of Pelham puppets
certainly gave James the heebie-jeebies.
Let's hope the bidders are made of stronger stuff.
We are only travelling a short distance from St Albans
to the nearby market town of Tring for our auction today.
Like the cathedral,
Tring is a town which is steeped in history
and it was first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon record of 571 AD.
Right, this is the moment I love, putting our valuations to the test.
And we're doing it here in Tring Market auction rooms.
In a moment Stephen Hearn, our auctioneer,
will be getting on the rostrum and getting the lots underway.
Remember, whether you are buying or selling, there is always commission
and VAT to pay at every auction.
So, please bear that in mind,
as it does add up.
Here at Tring, sellers pay between 10-15%.
Stephen Hearn is now on the rostrum, wielding his gavel,
so it's time to test the first of our valuations.
Going under the hammer right now, no strings attached, a-ha!
We've got some Pelham puppets belonging to Helen.
You know what, I like Pelham puppets.
I know our expert James is a bit fed up with them, aren't you?
I don't want to see another one for at least a year.
No, but do you know, Marlborough in Wiltshire was the home
for Bob Pelham and his little factory
and I had an antiques shop in Marlborough.
So, I kind of,
I'm kind of connected there somewhere, you know?
I kind of love Pelham puppets.
-Hey, good collection anyway.
-So, why are you selling these?
I bought them at a car-boot sale.
-You just want to flip them and make some money?
-OK, you paid a tenner?
We're going to turn £10 into £100 right here, right now for Helen.
Here we go. It's going under the hammer, good luck.
It's quite a collection of them, almost a village.
-There you are, Pelham puppets, £80 for them.
Or 50, 60, 70.
Got it, 70 I am bid for them.
80 I am bid, 90?
No. At £80 then, I shall sell them.
Yes, sold. £80.
That's still good, we were hoping for 100, we got 80,
they only cost ten.
We're happy, you're happy.
-That's good, yeah.
90 I have now.
Next, let's see if it's a walk in the park
for Leslie's whalebone cane.
Absolutely love it. It's gorgeous, isn't it?
-Why are you selling this?
-Well, we don't parade any more...
-So, we don't put it on the wall or anything, so, it's time to go.
-OK, hopefully, the money'll come in handy.
-I'm sure it will, yes.
OK, let's hope we get £1,000. It's going under the hammer right now.
A love-token walking cane, the 18th century, marine.
I think possibly that one is rather special.
£500? 400, then.
300? Yes, 300 we are bid, then.
Are you going to be 20, sir?
And 50 for you?
380, 400, and 20, and 50, 480 I am bid for it.
-500, is it?
-Ooh, It's not going to sell.
At £500 then, we close.
Sorry, thank you.
Of all the "Flog Its!" I've ever done,
that is the biggest surprise for me, ever.
I cannot quite understand that.
-It's an academics piece, isn't it?
-It really is.
-It needs to be in a very, very good collection.
-Gosh! I am stunned.
-Well, look, look, there's another day, OK?
-I would hang onto that.
It's just that there were no buyers here today, OK?
Finally, let's find out if Rob's gold bracelet wristwatch
is a crowd pleaser.
Going under the hammer right now, we have a bracelet wristwatch
belonging to Rob.
We've got the item, sadly Rob can't be with us today.
We do have our expert, Jonathan.
Now, he bought this 20 years ago.
It's nine-carat gold and as you know, he only paid about £20 for it
in a pawnshop, so it's going to make a profit.
-It's going under the hammer now.
There it is. Ladies gold wristwatch this time.
Rather nice watch. Got a good strap on it.
What about 250 for it?
200? 150? 160. 70.
80, 90, 200, 210. 220.
And you're out. It's going then, I sell, at £220.
-Brilliant! Fantastic result.
-I'm very happy with that.
-So am I,
because I didn't see any bids going on.
They're secret bidders here in Tring, aren't they?
-Sort of covert bidding.
The auction house sold Rob's watch for £10 less
than the agreed fixed reserve,
so they will make up the difference
as it was better than losing the sale.
£200 now. 10, is it?
Well, there you are, that's our first visit
to the auction room done and dusted.
Our first three lots under the hammer.
We are coming back here later in the programme, don't go away,
we could have that big surprise.
Now, I had the opportunity to look around St Albans Cathedral and Abbey
without the hustle and bustle of the valuation day,
and I soon discovered it's always a busy place.
It's an early start at St Albans Cathedral and Abbey.
The doors open at 7:15am
with morning prayers swiftly following at 7:30am.
Before that, the building has to be made ready,
which is the job of the vergers.
Over the centuries, countless pilgrims have come here
to St Albans Cathedral to offer their prayers
and nowadays, many thousands still do.
In fact, the cathedral welcomes around 350,000 visitors,
worshippers and pilgrims each year, and as you can imagine,
that takes a well-coordinated effort and many willing hands
to prepare the cathedral to receive their guests
with such a warm welcome.
To tell me more about the people who work so hard
to keep St Albans running today,
just like their predecessors on this site
have worshipped it before them,
I'm meeting with the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans.
Here we are, look, in front of the shrine of Saint Alban.
Is this the very heart of the cathedral?
Yes, this really is the heart of it.
It is the raison d'etre of the whole place, really.
This is the grave of Alban, the shrine of Alban,
so it's a very, very busy place.
We have pilgrims all through the year, people visiting the shrine.
The Great Feast Of Alban, we had about 10,000 people coming
and the Archbishop of Canterbury came.
It was a great occasion.
But all through the year, people come and visit the place,
and they may come with a specifically religious motive
in order to visit the shrine,
but of course, we get many secular visitors
or tourists coming as well, because of the great age of the place.
-The huge historical interest of the place.
All those ages, there are stories from every century here,
all of them absolutely fascinating.
It must take a small army of people to keep the cathedral running.
Yes, it does.
We have about 50 paid staff, that's including five clergy
who look after the spiritual running of the place,
but also probably more than 600 volunteers...
-..who very kindly come and give us their time,
because they love the place.
And they do all kinds of things to help us,
from cleaning and gardening and helping with practicalities
to looking after the fabric of the place, the textiles.
And just some of the things you take for granted, I guess.
We have a whole set of expert guides who show people around.
We rely heavily on volunteers here to keep the whole place running.
This part here, the north transept,
this is part of that original structure from the Normans
that was started in 1077.
Everything here you see is Norman,
except for that lovely rose window.
That was put in in the Victorian period.
There are about 60 active guides.
I'm a relatively newly trained guide.
I've been guiding for five years, and although that begins
to sound quite serious,
some of my colleague guides
have been at the business for much longer.
The statues that you see there today
were put in during the Victorian period.
It takes about a year as a trainee
because you're encouraged to go on other people's tours,
and what you'll find,
because we don't actually have a script here,
you could go on any number of tours and you'd learn something different.
Some people specialise in different aspects of the building.
We've got architects, we've got historians.
So, people have a different take on the place, which makes it fun.
In the medieval period, when you would have had pilgrims coming in
to visit the shrine of St Alban,
this is where they would start that last section of their visit,
and that's where we'll follow in their footsteps today.
It must be lovely, cos you're constantly learning all the time.
-Oh, I am, yes.
Every time I go on a tour of the place, I learn something new,
because there's a massive amount to be known.
When you've got such a length and depth of history in a place,
you're always learning something new.
I've noticed some beautiful flower displays here.
Would the cathedral always have been decorated with flowers?
Yes. I know there are medieval records from the abbey here
which list the expenses that have been made on flowers for the altars
and for particular festivals.
There's an inventory, is there?
Yes, and there were particular flowers associated with
particular festivals - holly and the ivy, for example.
We know that that was bought in in order to decorate the altar
and chapels during Christmas season.
Is it the volunteers who do the flowers?
Yes. There's the Flower Guild.
Some of the volunteers are actually trained flower arrangers.
From time to time, we will have a big flower festival
and fill the whole cathedral with flowers,
and all telling a story in some symbolic way.
It's very cleverly and very beautifully done.
There are approximately 75 people in the Flower Guild,
and they range from
quite experienced to some people who we're teaching,
cos we're always looking for new members.
We arrange on Friday morning
and hope that the cathedral isn't so hot!
We hope that they last all week.
I've been in the Flower Guild now
for 35 years,
following after my mother,
who was also a member of the Flower Guild,
so it's definitely running in the family.
There have been flowers since medieval times.
Even through the Reformation, the Roman Catholics,
when it was Roman Catholic,
the Roman Catholics loved having flowers in church,
as they still do today, and that was the one thing that carried on,
actually, just in a limited way.
Our flower guild was started in the '20s,
and until recently, it was always people's gardens,
the flowers came from gardens,
and even now, the greenery has,
and this has come from my garden and this has come from Liz's garden
and it's lovely to see stuff from the gardens.
But we do have to buy some flowers
because it isn't possible for them to last all the time.
But it's a very enjoyable experience and everybody's so nice.
We have a lot of fun.
It's the best thing I do, it really is.
Well, it certainly is a feast for the eyes when you're standing here.
Beautiful flower displays here, textiles as well.
Yes. Yes, we have a textile guild
that looks after that kind of fabric.
For example, they made the canopy on top of the shrine,
which has been very carefully embroidered with flowers
that would have been blossoming on the hillside here
at the time when Alban was martyred.
They look after the altar hangings, the vestments that the priests wear,
services and so on.
There are about a dozen of them in the Textile Guild.
We usually work on Thursday mornings,
I'm usually here just after nine o'clock.
We do everything from mending, sewing on buttons, making coats,
making mitres, cushions, kneelers.
You name it, if it needs a needle,
we're ready to work.
Helen and Vanda,
they're just doing a little bit of maintenance on the Dean's coat.
The Dean wears it so much, I think he'd wear it out if he could.
It's quite heavy, it's on velvet.
But it's got saints and angels and archangels on
and it's one of the treasures of the abbey now, I think.
At the end of another busy day,
it's the vergers who close down the cathedral.
It's clear to me that this special place of worship
wouldn't be the same without the hundreds of volunteers
who selflessly give up their time to keep it running.
St Albans Cathedral and Abbey truly means so much to so many.
Why is St Albans Cathedral and the Abbey so important to you,
This is the oldest Christian site in the whole country -
1,700 and more years of worship on this spot.
The fact that this place has been prayed in for all those centuries,
it's almost seeped into the stones of the place.
You can feel the holiness of it
and that's drawn people very powerfully for all those years,
and keeps drawing them.
Jeffrey, thank you so much for talking to me today.
-Great to see you again.
-It's a real pleasure. Thank you.
Welcome back to our valuation day venue,
the magnificent St Albans Cathedral.
This place really is full of history and hopefully today,
we're going to make some history ourselves.
We're going to find that one big gem,
and it's right down there,
in the nave, it still looks really busy.
Let's catch up with our expert, Jonathan Pratt,
and take a closer look at what he's spotted.
So, you must be...
-Lydia Stephenson? Is that correct?
-That's right, yes.
Wonderful, and this would be,
you've got your little book here of autographs.
-Did you take them all yourself?
-I did, mainly in the '60s.
Who have we got in here?
Well, we've got the Stones with Brian Jones.
Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman.
-But not Keith Richards, sadly.
Yes, still time! And Brian Jones.
We've got four of the Rolling Stones,
but this is absolutely jam-packed with them.
-It was January 1964.
They came to Kettering, Northamptonshire,
and did a show and it was their first British tour.
At the same show with the Stones,
the Ronettes were there and Dave Berry
and a few other people,
Frank Farley and the Pirates, John Leyton and...
-Yeah, Billy Fury.
-Billy Fury! Good name.
-Billy Fury. Did you meet all these people personally?
Well, it was 1964 to 1968, so I think I did.
You think you did! You can't remember. No.
Well, I'm sure I did because, as I say,
a lot of them were in this same show and after the show,
they came up onto the first floor, where there were tables and chairs,
and had drinks, so I would go round
with my autograph book and get them to sign.
No-one remembers the '60s anyway, so don't worry.
It's... You know, it's a really nice collection
of a slice of musical history
and a lot of people spend years and years doing them,
but this is your teens.
-So, this is, you know, a slice of the 1960s.
I think it's very nice. Now, the thing about autographs are,
certainly with the most famous of them,
that they can be faked,
and there are modern fakes.
They were sometimes done when bands were very famous,
certainly with the Beatles, for example.
Roadies would sign for them.
And the Rolling Stones were very, very famous,
certainly by the '70s.
But you saw them in 1964.
So, I think we can be fairly confident.
I say fairly confident, I think we can be confident...
-..that they are absolutely right,
which is absolutely key to their value.
There are people who would be able to put down the value
to every single one, and some of them would be worth pounds
-and others would be worth...
..tens and a few hundred pounds.
My feeling is that this book is worth, at auction,
between £500 and £700.
Oh, that's good. Yes, that's lovely.
Put a reserve on it.
Obviously, you would like to sell it, but not for anything.
Oh, no. I've kept it very carefully all these years!
-So, a £500 reserve.
Estimate of £500 to £700.
It will hopefully do much more.
OK, lovely. Thank you very much.
# Why do you miss when my baby kisses me...? #
Over on James's table, something decorative has caught his eye.
For hundreds of years, France has been the centre for European design,
fashion and influence in art.
Now, Michael, is this something you've bought from France
or a family piece?
We bought it about 18 years ago.
-In Fayence, in the south of France.
OK, so you bought it in France?
Yeah, in a sort of...what they call a brocante shop.
-Sort of, yeah.
-An upmarket junk shop.
Well, it just stood out,
and I think we paid about 250 euros but we just fell in love with it.
And then, when we got it home,
we thought, what are we going to do with it?
Well, what did you do with it?
-It's never been used.
It's been put away.
Always had this idea to put, like, four white orchids in it,
this wonderful display, like you see in hotels.
-But never did it!
Well, the interesting thing is that I've seen these marketed
time and time again as wine coolers.
Commercially, it's worth a lot more if it was a wine cooler.
-But unfortunately, it's for plants -
you were closer with the orchids.
So, let's have a look at the woods and the way it's put together.
We've got a metal liner and inside that metal liner,
we've got a very plain wooden frame.
Sometimes, the carcasses were pine or deal if they were very cheap.
In this case, I think it could even be oak.
But the important woods are the ones on the outside,
and here we've got parquetry -
kingwood, set into cubes, like a tumbling block affect,
and those are interspersed with these radiating stars of ebony,
lacquered brass and blue lacquer.
It's 1860, it's French.
We've got a bit of damage this side.
So, what's it worth?
In the height of the market, this would have probably been worth
£200, £300, which I guess is what you paid for it in euros.
-Today, the market's changed slightly.
It hasn't gone down much.
I would say now, it would be 150-200
but with the damage, 120-180.
-Now, we need to put a reserve on it to secure it.
-I think 120 would be fine.
Wouldn't want to let it go for much less than that.
Great. 120-180 and do you know, I think it's a great lot
and it'll be very, very popular in the sale room.
-I hope so.
-Thank you so much for bringing it in.
Here on the show, we're so grateful when hundreds of you turn up,
because without you, and our crowds here today,
it wouldn't be possible to make the show.
We need your stories and your antiques,
those wonderful little windows into the past.
Sometimes, it's not about the value, it's not about what it's worth,
it's about great craftsmanship.
That's what we want to flag up.
And I know it's a long wait.
Sometimes, you have to wait three or four hours
but it's well worth it once you see our experts.
But luckily enough today,
our great crowd of people can soak up
such wonderful historic surroundings.
They can also listen to the guides,
because many of the guides here are dressed up in historical costume
with a story to tell.
I'm going to chat to one right now.
Julia, hello. Hello, there.
Thank you so much for coming in and being on Flog It!
-This is Julia, one of the guides here.
Now, you're dressed up as who?
-I am Christina of Markyate.
-And what was her story?
Ah, Christina was a very powerful lady in her time.
From the 11th century
and she had a great deal of influence on the abbot here.
In fact, her painting, we believe, is on our wall,
which is most unusual, because generally, they're all male.
Thank you for that.
Right now, we need one more item to take off to auction,
and I've just been told expert Jonathan Pratt has found a real gem.
Let's take a closer look.
Well, this sort of takes me back to my childhood, Martin.
Is this a set you played with as a child?
Very early on. 1960s was the last time it was out of the box.
But you spent your childhood playing with train sets?
Under supervision of father, because this gets very hot.
Yeah, well, I think, you know, this runs on methylated spirits.
-It's a meth...
-You have to set it on fire, don't you?
-You've got to get the thing going.
It sounds like a terribly dangerous thing
for a child to be playing with.
Probably would be viewed as today, yes.
Is this a Christmas present?
No, I've inherited these from my father.
So, this could have been used by your father, then?
I think it was used by him. I think he acquired it in the 1950s.
This train set itself, in that box there,
from the Bassett-Lowke factory.
This model here, the Super Enterprise,
was available from about 1937 onwards
through into the early part of the '60s.
I mean, this is the rarest model of Bassett-Lowke engines.
we've got a few conditional problems.
There's a little bit of paint loss on the top here.
Well, it's been used. That's the...
-Well, toys should be used, shouldn't they?
So, you've got this engine and you've got some carriages.
Now, tell me about the carriages.
We've got three of these in their original boxes.
Now these, obviously looking at the boxes, this is a Bassett...
This is a Bassett-Lowke coach.
We've got three of these and we've got these restaurant cars.
I mean, these are absolutely mint.
-Oh, they are.
-Which suggests they're not played with.
I mean, did you have the whole lot set up?
The intention was to run it round our loft in the family home
but we never got round to it.
The stuff we played with was the smaller stuff.
Are you still a train enthusiast?
Not particularly now, no.
So, you'd probably be quite happy to sell it, wouldn't you?
Yes, we are.
Somebody said to us "Flog It!" was coming to town and we said,
"Right, let's do it," and that's why we've come!
My feeling for the value of it, it's between £200 and £300.
-And what I would suggest is put a reserve at £170.
-How does that sound?
Well, thank you very much for bringing it along
and I hope...this engine's journey comes to a happy ending.
Thank you very much.
Well, there you are.
Our experts have now found their final items to take off to auction,
which means we have to say goodbye to our magnificent
host location today, the fabulous St Albans Cathedral and Abbey.
I've thoroughly enjoyed being here.
It's been a real privilege soaking up the history
and listening to all the important people that keep this place running.
And of course, to all of you for coming in,
thank you so much for bringing in your treasures.
Our journey isn't over right now.
We're going straight across to the auction room
and here's a quick recap of all the items we're taking with us.
Lydia had a fabulous time collecting her autographs in the '60s
and we hope the bidders will now enjoy them too.
Bought 18 years ago in the South of France,
where will Michael's jardiniere travel to next?
And finally, it's time for a new station stop
for Martin's collection of Bassett-Lowke engine and carriages.
We are back at Tring Market Auctions to sell our final three lots
and Stephen Hearn is still doing the business on the rostrum.
# I'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be
# You gonna give your love to me... #
And going under the hammer right now,
we have that wonderful autograph album book belonging to Lydia.
It's got the Rolling Stones in it, but not Keith Richards.
-Not Keith Richards.
-OK, it's nearly the complete band,
so the complete band alone is worth around £800
in the right market, isn't it?
We're just missing Keith's signature.
-Don't know where he was.
-Brian Jones was there.
But you were there, weren't you? You were there and...
-I was there. It's in my diary.
-This is an entry from the diary
from that very day - listen to this.
OK, so it's the 9th of January, 1964.
"Went to the Granada to see Rolling Stones, Swinging Blue Jeans,
"Marty Wilde, Ronettes, the Chains and Dave Berry.
"He was absolutely wonderful."
Aw! And the Stones weren't top of the bill then, were they?
No, they weren't. No, they weren't very famous at all then.
Yeah. Well, good for you.
Right, it's going under the hammer now. This is it.
What about 400 for it?
300? 200, I have.
220, and 50.
280. 300. 320 for it.
350. 380, sir?
Yes, at 400?
And 20? There's two of you who want it.
450. 480. At £480, then.
If there is no further bid, it's going down and I shall sell.
Yes, and the pen has gone down!
OK, we had a fixed reserve at 500,
but I know Stephen the auctioneer will make up the difference to you.
-Oh, that's lovely.
-So you've got your £500.
Oh, that's fantastic!
# Baby, picture me with someone else... #
Next, let's keep our fingers crossed for that jardiniere.
-It's Michael, isn't it?
Great to see you. And look how smart you look!
You're in the fashion business, and it shows, doesn't it?
-It does. Very much.
-I like that. I like that look.
And I can understand why you're jardiniere doesn't suit
your new Arts-and-Crafts-style house.
It would really ring a clash, wouldn't it?
-So, it's got to go.
It's a nice thing. I like it.
-Ready to go for this?
Let's do it, it's going under the hammer now.
Nice piece of Victoriana.
Surely it's 120?
Come on, where are those hands?
I've got 90 now.
£100? Who's got the ten?
And 20? Yes.
At 120. And 30 now?
At £120, then.
Mon Dieu! Well done, it's gone.
-It's gone, great!
-You can go and buy some Arts and Craftsy stuff now.
Finally, it's full steam ahead for our last lot of the day.
The tension's building right now.
Going under the hammer, we've got something
for all you railway enthusiasts.
We've got a Bassett-Lowke engine,
plus five carriages, belonging to Martin.
-So, why is it time to say goodbye?
-Because it's gathering dust at home.
It's never been out the box, Paul.
-Don't want to pass it on to anyone else in the family?
-It's time to move it.
They're going to find a new home today, I'm pretty sure.
And I saw a chap earlier who's come here to buy this and I said,
"Are you buying or selling, sir?"
And he said, "I've actually come to buy something."
"What are you buying?" He said, "That train set over there."
I said, "That's one of ours. I'll be watching you."
And he's just down there, Martin.
So, hopefully, he's going to buy it.
It's going under the hammer right now.
I think we ought to be looking somewhere around £300 or £400,
don't you? 300? 200?
220 I have. 250.
Yeah, he's bidding. Look, the chap, he is bidding.
300, we have. 320?
350? 380, I have now.
At 420. 450 I have now.
That chap's still buying it, look. Can you see that chap down there?
Yes, go on! Keep your hand up. He's a keen bidder.
580, is it?
At 570, I'm selling it, then.
You lose it. At £570.
20, 30, 40, 50...
He's out. Aw!
650 then, on my left.
It's going down, then.
Fantastic! Very good. Well done.
Very good. Thank you very much.
We were certainly ON TRACK with that, weren't we?
And what a way to end today's show.
We've had a marvellous time here at Tring Auction rooms.
I hope you've enjoyed the show.
I told you there'd be a big surprise and we definitely got it.
We're all chuffed here. See you next time.
Flog It! comes from the historic St Albans Cathedral and Abbey in Hertfordshire. Antiques experts Jonathan Pratt and James Lewis find a selection of objects to take to auction.
James comes across an intricately carved whalebone walking cane and Jonathan delights in an autograph book which includes signatures from The Rolling Stones.
Paul Martin finds out about all the special people who keep St Albans Cathedral and Abbey running.