Paul Martin presents from Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Antiques experts James Lewis and Caroline Hawley unearth a sword and an early Moorcroft vase.
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Today, we've come to the West Midlands
and stopped off in Wolverhampton.
And there you have a proud history,
a heritage of manufacturing, a fabulous football club,
devoted fans, scrumptious beer
and a musical accent.
-'What you sayin' about our accent?'
See? I told you. HE CHUCKLES
Welcome to "Flog It!"
The West Midlands spent decades at the heart
of Britain's Industrial Revolution.
In the mid-19th century,
the area between Birmingham and Wolverhampton
was named the Black Country due to the smoke
bellowing from the many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges.
Black by day and red by night
is what used to be said of the landscape.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and the smoke has cleared.
Today, we've set up our valuation tables
at the fabulous Wolverhampton Art Gallery,
this architectural delight right behind me here.
The gallery's exhibitions span over 300 years of art history,
with key periods on permanent display,
plus they sit alongside revolving exhibitions of contemporary art,
so there's so much for us to embrace.
All that's inside. Outside, I suspect, in these bags and boxes,
there's some fine art and antiques for our experts to discover,
and some wonderful tales to tell.
So, let's meet today's experts.
Hi, nice to see you. Hello!
James Lewis, who can make you happy...
Thank you. He's really sweet, isn't he?
HE QUACKS LIKE DONALD DUCK
BABY CRIES ..or sad.
And Caroline Hawley always makes sure she gets the best of the best.
-I think I'm going to put a sticker on them.
-It won't hurt a bit.
Right now, we've got to get the doors open and get everyone inside.
-Are you ready? ALL:
-Let's do it.
Later in the show, Caroline finds a sword with a dark history.
This, I would think, is human bone.
And it's a "Flog It!" favourite, but will it hold its own at auction?
And later, I explore some of the region's industrial past
with the female chain makers of Cradley Heath
and their fight for a fair wage.
Now, I've heard that we have already discovered something
with an unsolved mystery,
and I think that item may be in here and it may be on Caroline's table.
Let's take a closer look.
-Anne, it's always lovely to see diamonds.
-So, tell me, you're clutching a piece of paper here.
This ring, I inherited after my aunt Bessie died back in 1971.
-This is Aunt Bessie?
-This is Aunt Bessie.
But she lived with her two sisters,
-Aunt Annie, who had been married, and Aunt Mariah, who hadn't.
So, I don't actually know whether the ring was Bessie's
or whether it had come from Aunt Annie,
so that was one of the things I came for today -
-to see if I could find out a bit more about the ring...
-..and whether it was an engagement ring.
And where did these ladies live?
They came from Hull, where my dad came from. East Yorkshire.
-Do you know where I come from?
-I come from Hull, East Yorkshire.
And I'm looking at your pictures here of these lovely ladies,
-and there's a name here - Annie Robinson Hellyer...
..rings a bell to me because the Hellyer is a name
-of a big shipping family in Hull.
-That's right, that's right.
-Yes, Aunt Annie was a barmaid.
And she married Bart Hellyer,
who was the son of the shipping company.
And, obviously, it wasn't looked upon very kindly,
so they emigrated to Tasmania as soon as they got married.
-That's fairly dramatic.
-Yes. And they lived in that area.
Uncle Bart sadly died within a few years,
but Aunt Annie stayed out there till she was an old lady
and came back to live with her sister.
-And did they have children?
-No, sadly, they didn't.
And do you know which pub she worked in?
-Now, that is on the marina in Hull.
-That's right, that's right.
-Well, that is a real, real iconic pub...
-Yeah, it is.
-..from the Victorian era in Hull.
-That's right. Yeah, yeah.
Do you know? I could talk to you forever,
but we're not here to talk about Hull and pubs and the Hellyers.
We're talking about this gorgeous ring.
Now, this is a Ceylon sapphire.
-Two diamonds - old cut diamonds - set in 18 carat gold.
-So, it's an expensive thing...
-..which is making me lean towards Annie...
-..because she married into...
which is what I'd always wondered - whether it was her engagement ring.
-It dates from about 1905, 1910.
-Exactly right. She married in 1907.
-That's exactly right then, yeah.
-So, it's right, isn't it?
-It needs a good clean...
-..but it's a good sapphire, it's a good diamond...
..and it's 18 carats, so I think it could have belonged to Annie.
Well, I think it's lovely,
-and an auction estimate, I would think, £200 to £300.
-Are you happy with that?
-I'm very happy with that, yeah.
And would you like a reserve, Anne?
Yes, but I'll take your advice on what that should be.
I would put the bottom estimate - £200...
-..but with discretion.
And it's gorgeous to see the picture of these lovely ladies
with their tiny waists and their beautiful hair,
-and the story of Annie running off to Tasmania.
That's made my day. Thank you, Anne.
It's made mine as well. Thank you, Caroline.
So nice Caroline could fill in the missing pieces.
I have a feeling we won't be short of anecdotes today.
For me, the joy of this is about its story,
-not necessarily what it is.
-So, shall we start with the history behind it?
Well, it belonged to my father.
-He was a lot older than my mother...
..and was married previously to a German Jewess
in the late 1920s, early '30s.
-He'd been with the army on the Rhine after the First World War...
..and then he was working for the British government
in Cologne after that.
And when Hitler began to make noises, he...
-So, we're talking about the early '30s?
He made it possible for quite a few members of her family and friends
-to get them moved to England, basically...
..cos they could see what was coming.
This was given to him by one of those people
and she gave it to him because of the way
that he'd helped her escape from Germany, if you like.
-Can you help with that?
-I can indeed, yes.
It says, "Thanks for fabulous treatment."
Somebody called Lucie.
-Yeah, basically, this is a present...
-..from a German Jew...
..to somebody who helped them escape from Nazi Germany...
-Yes, that's right, yeah.
-..which is an incredible story.
And the appreciation and the story lives on through this little box.
Yes, it does. And it's a pretty little box.
We've got these little cherub-like children
dancing in a little ring.
Ring A Ring O' Roses - something like that, you can imagine.
-And you can see that they're just having great fun.
-They are, yes.
And it's typical of the late 19th, early 20th century,
so we're looking 1890 to 1910.
-Something around there.
It looks as if it could be for cigarettes, in terms of size.
-Yes, I think it was, probably.
-And we've got the 800 mark on the side there.
-An 800 just means 800 parts per 1,000 silver.
80% silver, which is a much lower grade than British silver,
-which is 95 - sterling standard.
So, you're happy to sell it?
-You're happy to let it go?
If we put 80 to 120, the old auctioneer's favourite?
Well, that would be absolutely wonderful.
-Is that OK?
-I'm hoping it'll make the top end.
-Right, that's brilliant. Great.
Well, we'll take it along and put it in auction
-and somebody will love it.
What an amazing tale.
I'm here in the Victorian room of the gallery.
Many of the works here are typical English pastoral scenes
prior to the Industrial Revolution.
However, there was one local artist
who was born in Wolverhampton in 1874, Edwin Butler Bayliss,
who absolutely loved to paint the industrial, stark landscape,
and this is an example of his work. He was the son of an ironworker,
so he came from a relatively well-off family.
He had the luxury of not going to work for a living.
He could capture these scenes with his oils on canvas.
And you've got this wonderful horizon
with the large chimneys billowing out smoke into the atmosphere,
the blast furnaces' red glows everywhere -
dots on this black horizon. And look at this.
Anonymous coal pickers and iron pickers
trudging to work in the mud.
I think that is absolutely fantastic.
That's a document of social history of what went on here in this area.
And thank goodness he did it
because it's here for all of us to appreciate
what this area looked like.
Back at the tables and Caroline has spotted
a unique collection of memorabilia.
Sue, what a fabulous collection of postcards.
I could spend all day and more just sitting here looking at them.
Such an eclectic mix -
local history, birthday cards, film stars, wartime.
-Tell me about them.
-My mum collected all of them.
They were all given to us as a child. There's some blank ones,
but most of them have been sent to family members.
You know, they've come to or gone from.
So, this is your whole family history within these books?
-And have you spent hours looking at them,
-like I would love to?
-As a child. As a child.
These date from the early period of the 1900s through to the 1930s.
This one here, "Birthday greetings".
Now, this is to Miss G Hartland.
-Now, do you know who she is?
-Yes, she was my great-aunt.
-My maternal grandma's sister.
She lived with a Gwen, which I called Auntie Gertie and Gwen
because I thought they were friends.
It wasn't till I was about my 20s, realised they were lesbians. But...
-..it wasn't talked about in those days.
-You didn't know anything about it.
-But they were together for a lifetime...
-Oh, how lovely.
..and they were really lovely together, so it was happy.
But they weren't allowed, in those days.
-It wasn't spoken about.
-That is gorgeous.
-There's a lot from Gertie Hartland in the book.
And this one is another lovely one.
"Ever dear." Now, this is...
It's a new year card to Alice from Bill.
-Now, who's Alice?
-Alice was my mum's elder sister.
-She was like a second mum to me. She was lovely.
Always a spinster, but she told me that she had a boyfriend.
-I think it was Bill, yes.
-But Gertie, her auntie...
didn't like the family he came from, didn't think he was suitable,
and told her mum, so they broke the friendship up.
-It's a very sad story cos she never married
-or had anybody else, so...
-And she took notice of the family?
You did in those days. It wasn't she took notice.
-It was forbidden, so...
-..she lived and died a spinster.
And I think she would have been happy with that man
-had the family not got involved, you know, but...
Do you know? I could sit here and talk to you forever.
I feel part of your family already!
Now, this one is very interesting. The Titanic.
It says, "Fred Hartland". That's...
That's Frank, another great-uncle of mine.
Well, what's even more extraordinary,
in your huge, interesting family, is the date -
the 27th of April 1912.
Now, that's a few weeks after the ship went down.
Yeah, I think it went down on the 15th or something like that.
He mentioned on the card that he was sad about the news.
He'd heard the news and he was sad that it had gone down,
but he wasn't on the boat.
"I have sent this postcard as I know it will be interesting
"after seeing the news about its disaster."
But what a wonderful piece of history documenting that.
-So, you have a very, very interesting collection.
-Some of them are worth literally next to nothing.
-Others are worth £5, £2, £10.
It's a very, very specialist market and the collectors of postcards
know exactly which ones they're looking for.
I would put a very, very conservative estimate
for auction of £100 to £200,
-but I think that is a very conservative estimate.
-I am almost sure they're going to exceed the top end.
So, would you like a reserve on them?
-What do you think?
-I don't think you need to.
-No, I'll trust you.
OK, and we'll put an estimate - 100 to 200,
but I think that is very conservative.
-Right. Fingers crossed, then.
-And I'll see you at the sale, Sue.
-Yes, lovely. Thank you.
-How about that? It's all going well, isn't it, everyone? ALL:
What's the time? Well, it's time we went off to auction.
Our experts have been working flat out.
We've found our first items to put to the test in the saleroom.
What's it worth? We're going to find out as that hammer goes down.
And here's a quick recap of all the items we're taking with us.
It's a sapphire and diamond ring with plenty of sparkle.
That should do well at auction.
Let's hope this silver cigarette case
with its fabulous World War II story
will draw in the collectors.
And Sue's eclectic postcard collection
will have plenty to keep its new owner
entertained for hours.
The market town of Whitchurch is the oldest
continually inhabited community in Shropshire.
Built on an original Roman site,
it was named Mediolanum by the Romans -
the place in the middle of the plain.
For us today, all roads lead to Trevanion & Dean auction house,
and Christina Trevanion and Aaron Dean are on the rostrum.
Don't forget, auction houses charge a commission fee.
Here today, it's 17%
First up, Anne's sapphire and diamond ring.
Let's hope the room sparkles right now. Good luck with this.
-And there is a great story behind this, isn't there?
-And you've checked it out?
-I have checked it out.
-You have done your duty.
-Done my duty.
-Beyond the call of duty.
-Yes, I've been to the Minerva pub in Hull,
-where your great-aunt worked...
-..and nothing's changed.
-It's absolutely gorgeous.
Did you tell the pub that this was coming up for sale
-and that they should buy it?
-Yes, I did.
I told them all about it and about your aunt, and they were fascinated.
-Anyway, look, good luck.
-Here we go. Let's hope the pub...
-Let's hope the landlord's here of the pub, shall we?
And all the pub have turned out. It's going under the hammer now.
Lot 130 is the sapphire and diamond three-stone ring.
Bid me... What have I got here? 150. 160.
At 160. Bid me 180. 180 is bid.
200. 220. 240, sir? 240.
260 here. 280. 300.
-Oh, this is good.
-This is good.
Will we go 360? You're out. At £340.
At 340. With the lady, then, at 340.
-Determined. Look, she's holding her bidding...
-Yeah, she's not moving.
Do you know? I think it's a really nice combination -
-sapphires and diamonds.
-I do. Beautiful.
It's a beautiful combination, yeah.
-Well done, you.
-Thank you, Caroline.
Next, the silver cigarette case.
Why are you selling this?
Because I think the story is more important than the cigarette case.
Maybe, but it's just been lying in a cupboard for years
and, although it's beautiful, I'd like to get some art materials.
-Are you a budding artist?
-I am, yes.
OK. Well, we're going to find out what the bidders think.
Let's hand the proceedings over to our auctioneer -
Lot five now is the German silver box.
Interest here with me on commission at £80.
Straight away with me at 80.
And five. 90 with you, sir. Thank you. 95. 100.
I'm looking for 110. 110. Thank you, sir.
-At 110. 120.
-HE MOUTHS SILENTLY
Thank you, anyway. At 130 with you, then, sir.
Are you sure, sir? I'll take five if it helps.
Thank you, anyway. At £135.
-Hammer's gone down. £135.
Well, look, at least it's gone, and it's gone over the top end,
-so that's a good thing, OK?
-Thank you both very much.
-I hope you don't miss it.
I won't miss it.
Well, I hope it's now gone to a loving home.
And now it's time for Sue's collection of postcards.
She's added a reserve of £100.
We do normally have lots of surprises with these,
so, Caroline, very brave of you to put a price on this because...
-They are good, aren't they?
-They really are.
Documents of social history.
Some of these buildings and places don't look like that any more.
It's a capsule. It's a little reminder of the past.
And you've hung onto it and now you want to get rid of it.
-Well, yeah. A bit nervous.
-We're all nervous in this game!
Anything could happen. Sit back and enjoy this. Here we go.
Lot 264, ladies and gentlemen. Postcard album.
Collection of assorted postcards
and lots of interest in this.
-Lots of interest.
-I've got to go straight in at 140,
50, 60, 70, £180. Straight away on commission at 180.
It's £180. Who's coming in now? 190.
200 with me. 210. 220 with me. 230.
And now I'm out at 230.
It's at £230 in the room now. On my left at 230.
Standing in the room at 230. You're out, then, at 230.
-That was a good result.
-It was excellent.
I knew they'd sell and I knew they'd sell well.
-Cos you put the reserve of 100, didn't you?
-I was a bit worried because, you know...
-You were worried, Anne?
-I knew they'd go.
-Thank you ever so much.
-That's all right.
-Yeah, thank you.
Well, there you are. That concludes our first visit to the auction room so far.
Let's hope our good fortune continues
when we return later on in the programme.
Now, back in the 19th and early part of the 20th century,
the Black Country became the centre of chain making in England.
In 1910, the women chain makers grabbed the world's attention
when they laid down their tools, refused to work
and demanded a fair wage. I went to find out more.
During the Industrial Revolution,
the Black Country became the world's leading iron-producing region,
making everything from huge anchors to nails and chains.
By 1850, there were around 200 blast furnaces
and 2,000 wrought-iron furnaces in the area,
supporting mills, forges and foundries.
The anchor for the ill-fated ship, the Titanic,
was forged in the town of Netherton,
and at the time and for many years to follow,
it was the largest anchor ever forged by hand,
weighing in at just over ten tonnes.
And its chain of equally impressive scale
was made just down the road in Cradley Heath.
The Black Country were really proud of their achievement
and, when the anchor was completed in 1911,
it was paraded through the streets.
Hundreds of people turned out to witness this epic spectacle.
The iron trade was not just a job for the men.
While they were working in factories making heavy and medium chains,
lighter chains were being made by women working in small factories,
or outhouses, behind their homes.
I'm meeting local-born Luke Perry,
who is a sixth generation metalworker.
Luke now works as an ironwork sculptor and art historian.
During his spare time, he runs this traditional
chain-making workshop here in Cradley Heath.
For him, workshops like this
keep the story of the women chain makers alive.
-Hi, how are you? Are you all right?
Hello. Yeah, good to see you.
So, tell me about this place. It looks like a time capsule.
Well, it was down to about there in the 1970s, but we rebuilt it,
and now it's the last surviving chain-making shop
on its original site in the world, same as it was about 100 years ago.
-So, it's got some history, then?
-Oh, yeah, quite a bit of character.
When I think of chain making, I think of,
you know, big, strong guys -
almost like blacksmiths - forging away.
But I know women were involved in this trade here in this area.
When nail making died out in the sort of early 1900s,
they moved into chain making to sort of relieve the extreme poverty.
And particularly in this area, like you said,
there was a humongous amount of women making chain.
Smaller stuff, but still pretty physical.
Well, I'm eager to have a look around inside,
-watch you work and hopefully have a go if we can.
-Come on, then.
Men would have made chain anything from this sort of size
-up to larger chain like this.
And this would be studded chain, which would be used on ships,
-big anchor chain, that kind of thing.
But the women, the women's chain would be much smaller -
anything thinner than half an inch in diameter bar -
-and it was much more fiddly, much more precise.
-And it would be traditionally things like this.
-Oh, that's nice.
-That almost looks like it's plaited.
-Yeah, it's like a braid.
-And that'd be for use in agriculture,
like on horses, that kind of thing.
I can't make women's chain, it's so fiddly.
This is a really good example of the smaller stuff.
-So, women would also make things like toilet chain.
It's very, very light.
The women would be paid as the men were paid, so by weight.
So, if you imagine the work that would go in to something like this.
-So, that would be about...
-It's not a lot.
-Not a lot of weight.
-Not a lot of weight.
-One of those links is probably...
-And in comparison to...
-Yeah. So, that might be a week's work, perhaps.
And this would be 20 minutes' work,
yet it's not even a fraction of the pay
because of the weight of it.
A woman would have to work a 12 or 13-hour day
hammering up to 5,000 links a week to earn five shillings -
that's 25p in today's money.
That would barely be enough to pay for food and bills.
Luke is going to show me the chain-making process.
-It gets hot very quickly.
If you burned the link, you burned that amount of work,
and that's money. Everything is money.
That looks good.
It's getting there, but you need it to be nice and kind of yellow.
-It's got to have a barley colour.
-I can feel the heat.
There are stories that women would give birth
and go immediately back to work.
So, they'd be working whilst they were in labour, give birth,
and go straight back.
-And that was very common.
-That's cos money was so tight?
So, that's the first shape that we're trying to make there,
-which is the U-shape.
The chains were made on a hearth by hammering red-hot,
wrought-iron rods into oval links...
-That link has become... It's one unit now...
-..rather than being...
..then passing links through each other to form a cable.
That goes through the other link...
-Oh, I like that.
-I like that.
But, of course, the longer the chain is,
the more you've got to be careful
-cos this would all be boiling hot.
-Oh. So, yeah,
once it gets to, like, a metre long or so, you're dragging it about.
So, it becomes very heavy then, very physical.
-There we are.
I won't hold it! HE LAUGHS
In 1910, there were 3,500 chain makers
working in the Cradley and Cradley Heath district -
two thirds of them were women.
Tired of working day and night for starvation wages,
in August 1910, the women chain makers downed their hammers
and stood up for their right to earn a living wage.
In order for me to get a better understanding
of the brutality of the industry,
I want to have a go at making a link myself.
-Gosh, it's hot.
-It's really hot, yeah.
-Oh, man, it's hot!
Do you know what? That looked so easy when you were doing it.
-I have had seven-year-old girls making chain...
-..so you've got no excuses at all.
-I'm not going to be defeated.
Oh, it's hot! HE LAUGHS
Oh! Right, OK.
-That's it. OK, right on there.
And then knock that down.
-That's the way.
-Cor, that's so hot on my arm.
Get in there.
You need longer tongs. HE LAUGHS
I need tongs twice the length.
Are you sure a seven-year-old girl's done this?
-Right, there we go. OK.
-Oh, gosh! Gosh, that was hot.
-What am I doing?
-Just gentle taps to knock that down.
OK, that'll do. Right, so now...
-That's looking like rubbish.
-No, it's not bad.
Go on. Give it some. Really...
-Yeah, that's it, isn't it?
That's a pretty good link. It's not a bad first attempt at all.
That is hard work, working in this intense heat.
I mean, that's dangerous.
-You know, to think that women did this day in and day out...
-..with little nippers running around, as well.
And, of course, all the bits that spit out
would be all over the floor.
-Doesn't bear thinking about.
-No, not at all.
The women were dubbed the white slaves of England.
Having heard of their plight, union organiser and campaigner
Mary Macarthur came to help the women and lead the strike.
She waged a stunning national campaign
which exposed the chain masters
as enforcers of sweated labour in the country.
This monument of Mary Macarthur is one of Luke's works.
It stands in homage to the women chain makers.
In 1910, more than 800 women marched through this whole area
of Cradley Heath singing protest songs.
And after ten long weeks of striking, they won their dispute
and they saw their average earnings double overnight
from five shillings per week to 11 shillings per week.
The strike was one of the first in the world
to demand better pay and conditions for women workers,
and their victory established the principle
of the national minimum wage.
Back here at Wolverhampton Art Gallery,
valuations are hammering along nicely
and James has also spotted something with an industrial link.
Now, when I saw you outside with this...
..I thought it was wonderful.
-Because these aren't straightforward coins, are they?
They're industrial tokens.
-Obviously, somebody has collected these with an eye for detail.
Well, that was my father. It was his collection, done over many years.
He used to bring them home in his saddlebag
-cos we didn't have a car in those days...
..on his bike on a Saturday.
And my mother always used to grumble at him and say,
"What have you got in your saddlebag now?"
And it was always coins or it might have been antique glass
-or something like that.
-But he was very keen on antiques.
The only thing I know about industrial tokens
is that they were given to work people instead of money.
So, if you were a factory owner
and you were a factory owner who also owned the houses
that your tenant workers were staying in,
you were also likely to be owning the local shop, as well.
So, you would pay your workers with your own factory currency.
They would take it in one hand
-and then pay it back to you with the other.
It would prevent them spending your money with anybody else.
But I think there is an element of myth in there
because I do think other people took the tokens, as well,
and I think one of the reasons that they were produced
was the lack of availability to get low currency coinage.
So, if you wanted to pay your workers a halfpenny here and there,
the halfpenny's were in short supply,
so people made their own.
But normally, when we look at a collection of tokens,
they're worn, they're soft, they're smooth. Look at these.
They're as good as you'll ever see, time after time.
We've got one here that says,
"Fine mould and store candles, 1794."
With an old candle mould in the centre, so a candle maker.
And then, at the top, we've got a forge for iron manufacturing.
Brilliant. And what history!
Looms, weaving down at the bottom. I mean, they're wonderful.
You've got pages after pages after pages.
On average, they're worth £10 each,
-so if we said, across that lot, £400 to £600?
-Sounds good to me.
-Not bad if you're spending pennies.
-Sounds good to me.
That's a great lot. Really very, very interesting.
-Oh, lovely. Thank you.
-Made my day.
That's what you call a collection.
Now, there seems to be a rather gruesome object
on Caroline's table from the late 19th century.
Tell me, what do you know about this?
Nothing at all, except it was given to my husband about 40 years ago.
-And who gave it to him?
-And was his uncle from around these parts?
I think he went abroad a lot on holidays
-and this, that and the other.
-And would bring souvenirs back, maybe?
-And do you like it?
It is unusual. And where do you have it at home?
It's been stuck in the loft for years.
-I think that's wise, Dawn.
Now, I've had a very good look at this.
-It comes from Borneo.
And I think it's from one of the northern tribes,
either the Iban or the Dayak tribes of northern Borneo.
It is a steel blade.
It's got a bone handle here.
And this is lovely wirework that's all plaited and woven here.
Do you have any idea what it might be?
-Are you sitting comfortably?
It's a tribesman's head-hunter sword
and it really would be exactly used for that - for cutting off heads.
-This is human hair.
-I thought it might be.
-And this, I would think, is human bone.
You'll be glad to know, headhunting has now died out.
In the 1950s, it ceased to be a practice.
But people would attack other tribes
and they would take the heads as a trophy.
The steel blade.
Now, if we look at it, it's very good quality.
It's inlaid here with these little dots of brass on the steel.
-Sadly, not brilliant condition.
-It's a bit rusty.
And I think, because of the quality, it's probably belonged to a chief.
They're not everybody's cup of tea, for lots of reasons.
Now, value... It's a dangerous weapon.
It's still very sharp, so it needs to be sold correctly.
There's not a wide following of these items.
I would think, in great condition, it's worth probably £200.
But in this condition, with this rusted blade, only 150.
-That's fine. That's all right.
-Would you be happy to let it go?
-Would you be thrilled to let it go, Dawn?
So, if we put it into auction with an estimate
of £150 to £200?
-Yes, thank you.
Well, thank you, Dawn, for a most extraordinary thing.
That may not be to everyone's taste, but it is a relic of a bygone era.
Now, from the obscure to the more familiar,
but please don't make that baby cry again, James.
-If I'm too loud, just...
-Not at all.
-Well, Barbara, I have to say,
you have brought along an old "Flog It!" favourite.
Moorcroft is something that we see up and down the country,
day in, day out.
I know you'll know all about it, all about the factory,
but it is something that we see, and we keep showing on "Flog It!"
for one very good reason - it is popular.
-And the different designs make different values.
You know, we can see the hibiscus pattern
almost every day of the week, and it'll make £30 to £50.
But this is earlier and this is more interesting than most.
-I see. Good.
-So, what's the history? What do you know?
All I know is my parents received it as a wedding present in the 1920s.
OK. Well, the fact that you know that it's been in the family
since that sort of period
-confirms the fact that it is an early period.
It's known as the Spanish pattern
and it was a pattern that was invented by Moorcroft in 1910.
And this one, this vase, two blind as they all are,
-has this wonderful softness of colour.
I always think you can tell the period
by just looking at the background glaze -
nice and mottled.
-The more modern colours are much harsher, much brighter.
-But this, I have to say, this is my favourite period of Moorcroft.
So, why is it here?
Well, because we're three of us - three girls.
-You can't really share a vase between three people.
-So, we decided the best thing was to sell it.
-Well, there we go.
Because it will end up finding its way into a very nice collection,
-I have to say.
-I hope so, yes.
-It's a lovely example.
-It's in good condition, yes.
-Yeah. Now, let's look at the condition.
The first thing about Moorcroft is
it's a nice, solid, but high-pitched...
-..sound, which is exactly what you would want.
The first place to look is here...
-..because that's its weak point.
So, if you just turn it around, see if there's anything there.
And if you look at the foot rim, the fact that the crazing
-goes evenly throughout the whole of that white...
..tells you it hasn't been substantially restored.
-No, it hasn't been. No.
Because when it's restored, not only do you restore the top,
but you also restore the underside, and that removes all the crazing.
-Around the rim, though... Just here, look.
..we've got a couple of very tiny
-Oh, where it's worn, yes.
-But that is really nothing to worry about at all.
If you didn't have something, you'd be slightly concerned.
-Yes, after that length of time.
Pretty much 100 years old. Value?
I would be very disappointed if that didn't make £300 to £500.
It's a great pattern. I think there should be a reserve - £300 firm.
-And I'm sure that whoever ends up with it will love it.
-So, well done. Thank you for bringing it in.
-Well, thank you.
I can't believe she had that in her cupboard for so long.
Well, they say Wolverhampton
has some of the friendliest people in the world,
and do you know what? I've met some wonderful people from this city.
I think that's true, don't you? Yes.
-Have you had a good day? ALL:
Well, look, give the camera a big wave and smile, everyone,
because our experts have now found their final items,
so, sadly, it's time for us
to say goodbye to Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
We've had a brilliant time here and all of these people have.
We've been surrounded by art and antiques all day long.
But, right now, we're going to put our final valuations to the test
and here's a quick recap, just to jog your memory,
of all the items that are going under the hammer.
The book of work tokens collected by Sheila's father
is a rare find.
I believe Dawn will be glad to see the back
of the tribal sword.
And the early Moorcroft vase.
We love them on this show, but will the bidders?
Now, back to Whitchurch in Shropshire,
where the auction room is in full swing.
Aaron Dean and Christina Trevanion are our auctioneers.
First up, the tribal sword.
Dawn, did you live with this in the house?
-And you're very happy
-to be getting rid of it now, aren't you?
I bet you are. I bet you can't wait. "No reserve, please!"
-But there is, isn't there?
-Yes, there is.
You've got to protect it - I understand that.
But we've never seen anything like this on the show before.
-Gives me the creeps.
I guess it comes under that label of ethnographica.
-You know, tribal art.
-And it's big business right now.
-It's a very specialist, specialist market.
-It really is. Yes, yes.
-So, good luck, both of you.
Lot 306. It's the late 19th-century head-cutting knife.
I've got to start you straight away on commission at 120, 130, £140.
Bidding at the back, 140. 150.
-Back of the room it is at 150.
Any advance on 150? Selling, then, at 150.
-Hammer's gone down. Thank goodness it's gone!
-Thank goodness it's sold!
-Yeah, that's a big smile.
Well, that was a sword with a rather macabre past.
Let's move on now to the industrial book of tokens.
Well, this is the one I've certainly been looking forward to.
This is history going under the hammer
and that's what this show is all about.
We have something so rare on the show right now.
Dates back to the late 1700s. That's the 18th century.
-These little halfpenny tokens...
..where the workers could spend their money with the boss
so he could make even more money!
Yeah, I mean, they're just so fascinating.
Each one is for a different industry and a different owner.
I've not seen them come up for sale before.
You're giving the opportunity now
for collectors and for museums to get involved in trying to buy these
because these are of museum quality. These need to go to a good home.
Lot 182 is the collection
of 18th-century ha'penny, or halfpenny tokens,
and I'm looking for £200 for it.
At £200. Where's 200?
At £200 for the halfpennies and coins here at £200.
-At £200. Are you bidding, madam?
At 200. 220. 240. 260.
280. 290. 300, I'm out.
At £300 with the lady seated.
At £300. At £300.
-I'm pleased they've gone for you.
-Cos £300 is OK.
-I mean, that's fine,
but I thought they'd be worth an awful lot more.
-As long as they've gone to a good home.
-I'm sure they have.
-I'm sure they have.
-That's the great news about it.
We've found someone who's obviously prepared to spend £300 on them,
so they are going to love them and...
-And nurture them.
-..keep them, yeah.
-That's absolutely fine.
And we have since found out it was bought by someone interested
in industrial history, who is pleased with this very rare find.
It's a great name in ceramics. It's one of the best - Moorcroft -
and it's an early one, as well, and it belongs to Barbara.
-This is some piece.
-It's got everything going for it.
And let's hope we get the price right.
Let's hope we get the top end.
I'm hoping it'll be at least top end.
-Let's hope so.
-Happy with that?
Let's put it to the test. Here we go.
What's it worth? We're going to find out.
Now, lot 418 is the Moorcroft Spanish pattern vase circa 1920.
Start me at 250 for it.
£250 is what I'm looking for. Where's 250?
250 is bid straight away.
280 here, internet.
So, at £320 already online. 320. 340. 360.
At 380. 400.
At £400. At 400. 420. 440.
Bid me 500 now. At £480. Internet bidder at £480.
I'm looking for 500. I'll go to the phones.
Would you like to bid?
-At £500 on the phone.
-We got 500.
It's on the phone at 520 online.
At £520. You're out. Thank you, anyway.
Are we all done at 520? Selling online at 520.
-Big smiles all round.
-That's marvellous, isn't it? Yes.
Well done, James, and thank you so much for bringing that in.
-Well, thank you, James.
-Real joy to look at.
-I'm glad you saw it and it caught your eye.
-Couldn't miss it!
Well, that's it. It's all over for our owners
and a big thank you to our experts.
It's not easy putting a value on an item, as you've just seen.
We've had one or two surprises, but everyone's gone home happy.
That's the main thing. I hope you enjoyed the show.
Join us again next time for many more surprises to come,
but until then, from the West Midlands, it's goodbye.
Flog It! comes from Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Antiques experts James Lewis and Caroline Hawley unearth a sword with a dark history and an early Moorcroft vase. Paul Martin explores some of the region's industrial past.