Wolverhampton 4 Flog It!


Wolverhampton 4

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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Transcript


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Today, we've come to the West Midlands

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and stopped off in Wolverhampton.

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And there you have a proud history,

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a heritage of manufacturing, a fabulous football club,

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devoted fans, scrumptious beer

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and a musical accent.

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-WOLVERHAMPTON ACCENT:

-'What you sayin' about our accent?'

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See? I told you. HE CHUCKLES

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Welcome to "Flog It!"

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The West Midlands spent decades at the heart

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of Britain's Industrial Revolution.

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In the mid-19th century,

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the area between Birmingham and Wolverhampton

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was named the Black Country due to the smoke

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bellowing from the many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges.

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Black by day and red by night

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is what used to be said of the landscape.

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Fast-forward to the 21st century and the smoke has cleared.

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Today, we've set up our valuation tables

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at the fabulous Wolverhampton Art Gallery,

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this architectural delight right behind me here.

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The gallery's exhibitions span over 300 years of art history,

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with key periods on permanent display,

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plus they sit alongside revolving exhibitions of contemporary art,

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so there's so much for us to embrace.

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All that's inside. Outside, I suspect, in these bags and boxes,

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there's some fine art and antiques for our experts to discover,

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and some wonderful tales to tell.

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So, let's meet today's experts.

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Hi, nice to see you. Hello!

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James Lewis, who can make you happy...

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Thank you. He's really sweet, isn't he?

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HE QUACKS LIKE DONALD DUCK

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BABY CRIES ..or sad.

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And Caroline Hawley always makes sure she gets the best of the best.

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-I think I'm going to put a sticker on them.

-Ooh!

-Ooh!

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-It won't hurt a bit.

-Thank you.

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Right now, we've got to get the doors open and get everyone inside.

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-Are you ready? ALL:

-Yes!

-Let's do it.

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Later in the show, Caroline finds a sword with a dark history.

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This, I would think, is human bone.

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And it's a "Flog It!" favourite, but will it hold its own at auction?

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-Well done.

-Great.

-Yes! Fantastic.

-Top end.

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And later, I explore some of the region's industrial past

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with the female chain makers of Cradley Heath

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and their fight for a fair wage.

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Now, I've heard that we have already discovered something

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with an unsolved mystery,

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and I think that item may be in here and it may be on Caroline's table.

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Let's take a closer look.

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-Anne, it's always lovely to see diamonds.

-It is.

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-So, tell me, you're clutching a piece of paper here.

-Yeah.

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This ring, I inherited after my aunt Bessie died back in 1971.

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-This is Aunt Bessie?

-This is Aunt Bessie.

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But she lived with her two sisters,

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-Aunt Annie, who had been married, and Aunt Mariah, who hadn't.

-Right.

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So, I don't actually know whether the ring was Bessie's

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or whether it had come from Aunt Annie,

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so that was one of the things I came for today -

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-to see if I could find out a bit more about the ring...

-Right.

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-..and whether it was an engagement ring.

-Right, OK.

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And where did these ladies live?

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They came from Hull, where my dad came from. East Yorkshire.

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-Do you know where I come from?

-No.

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-I come from Hull, East Yorkshire.

-Never!

-I do!

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And I'm looking at your pictures here of these lovely ladies,

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-and there's a name here - Annie Robinson Hellyer...

-Yeah.

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..rings a bell to me because the Hellyer is a name

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-of a big shipping family in Hull.

-That's right, that's right.

-Gosh!

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-Yes, Aunt Annie was a barmaid.

-Right.

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And she married Bart Hellyer,

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who was the son of the shipping company.

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And, obviously, it wasn't looked upon very kindly,

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so they emigrated to Tasmania as soon as they got married.

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-That's fairly dramatic.

-Yes. And they lived in that area.

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Uncle Bart sadly died within a few years,

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but Aunt Annie stayed out there till she was an old lady

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and came back to live with her sister.

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-And did they have children?

-No, sadly, they didn't.

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And do you know which pub she worked in?

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-The Minerva.

-The Minerva.

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-Now, that is on the marina in Hull.

-That's right, that's right.

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-Well, that is a real, real iconic pub...

-Yeah, it is.

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-..from the Victorian era in Hull.

-That's right. Yeah, yeah.

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Do you know? I could talk to you forever,

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but we're not here to talk about Hull and pubs and the Hellyers.

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We're talking about this gorgeous ring.

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Now, this is a Ceylon sapphire.

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-Two diamonds - old cut diamonds - set in 18 carat gold.

-Right.

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-So, it's an expensive thing...

-Right.

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-..which is making me lean towards Annie...

-Yeah.

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-..because she married into...

-Into money,

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which is what I'd always wondered - whether it was her engagement ring.

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-It dates from about 1905, 1910.

-Exactly right. She married in 1907.

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-That's exactly right then, yeah.

-So, it's right, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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-It needs a good clean...

-Yes!

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-..but it's a good sapphire, it's a good diamond...

-Yeah.

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..and it's 18 carats, so I think it could have belonged to Annie.

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Well, I think it's lovely,

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-and an auction estimate, I would think, £200 to £300.

-Right.

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-Are you happy with that?

-I'm very happy with that, yeah.

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And would you like a reserve, Anne?

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Yes, but I'll take your advice on what that should be.

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I would put the bottom estimate - £200...

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-Right.

-..but with discretion.

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And it's gorgeous to see the picture of these lovely ladies

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with their tiny waists and their beautiful hair,

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-and the story of Annie running off to Tasmania.

-Yeah.

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That's made my day. Thank you, Anne.

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It's made mine as well. Thank you, Caroline.

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So nice Caroline could fill in the missing pieces.

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I have a feeling we won't be short of anecdotes today.

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For me, the joy of this is about its story,

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-not necessarily what it is.

-Mm-hm.

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-So, shall we start with the history behind it?

-Right.

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Well, it belonged to my father.

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-He was a lot older than my mother...

-OK.

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..and was married previously to a German Jewess

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in the late 1920s, early '30s.

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-He'd been with the army on the Rhine after the First World War...

-OK.

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..and then he was working for the British government

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in Cologne after that.

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And when Hitler began to make noises, he...

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-So, we're talking about the early '30s?

-Yeah.

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He made it possible for quite a few members of her family and friends

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-to get them moved to England, basically...

-Wow.

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..cos they could see what was coming.

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This was given to him by one of those people

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and she gave it to him because of the way

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that he'd helped her escape from Germany, if you like.

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-Can you help with that?

-I can indeed, yes.

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It says, "Thanks for fabulous treatment."

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Somebody called Lucie.

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-Yeah, basically, this is a present...

-Yes, yeah.

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-..from a German Jew...

-Yeah.

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..to somebody who helped them escape from Nazi Germany...

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-Yes, that's right, yeah.

-..which is an incredible story.

-Yeah.

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And the appreciation and the story lives on through this little box.

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Yes, it does. And it's a pretty little box.

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We've got these little cherub-like children

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dancing in a little ring.

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Ring A Ring O' Roses - something like that, you can imagine.

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-And you can see that they're just having great fun.

-They are, yes.

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And it's typical of the late 19th, early 20th century,

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so we're looking 1890 to 1910.

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-Something around there.

-Right.

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It looks as if it could be for cigarettes, in terms of size.

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-Yes, I think it was, probably.

-Solid silver.

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-Mm-hm.

-And we've got the 800 mark on the side there.

-Ah.

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-An 800 just means 800 parts per 1,000 silver.

-Right.

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80% silver, which is a much lower grade than British silver,

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-which is 95 - sterling standard.

-Right.

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So, you're happy to sell it?

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-You're happy to let it go?

-Absolutely.

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If we put 80 to 120, the old auctioneer's favourite?

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Well, that would be absolutely wonderful.

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-Is that OK?

-Yeah.

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-I'm hoping it'll make the top end.

-Right, that's brilliant. Great.

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Well, we'll take it along and put it in auction

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-and somebody will love it.

-Great.

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What an amazing tale.

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I'm here in the Victorian room of the gallery.

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Many of the works here are typical English pastoral scenes

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prior to the Industrial Revolution.

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However, there was one local artist

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who was born in Wolverhampton in 1874, Edwin Butler Bayliss,

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who absolutely loved to paint the industrial, stark landscape,

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and this is an example of his work. He was the son of an ironworker,

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so he came from a relatively well-off family.

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He had the luxury of not going to work for a living.

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He could capture these scenes with his oils on canvas.

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And you've got this wonderful horizon

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with the large chimneys billowing out smoke into the atmosphere,

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the blast furnaces' red glows everywhere -

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dots on this black horizon. And look at this.

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Anonymous coal pickers and iron pickers

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trudging to work in the mud.

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I think that is absolutely fantastic.

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That's a document of social history of what went on here in this area.

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And thank goodness he did it

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because it's here for all of us to appreciate

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what this area looked like.

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Back at the tables and Caroline has spotted

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a unique collection of memorabilia.

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Sue, what a fabulous collection of postcards.

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I could spend all day and more just sitting here looking at them.

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Such an eclectic mix -

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local history, birthday cards, film stars, wartime.

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-Tell me about them.

-My mum collected all of them.

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They were all given to us as a child. There's some blank ones,

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but most of them have been sent to family members.

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You know, they've come to or gone from.

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So, this is your whole family history within these books?

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-Yeah.

-And have you spent hours looking at them,

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-like I would love to?

-As a child. As a child.

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These date from the early period of the 1900s through to the 1930s.

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This one here, "Birthday greetings".

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Now, this is to Miss G Hartland.

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-Now, do you know who she is?

-Yes, she was my great-aunt.

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-My maternal grandma's sister.

-Right.

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She lived with a Gwen, which I called Auntie Gertie and Gwen

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because I thought they were friends.

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It wasn't till I was about my 20s, realised they were lesbians. But...

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-Really?

-..it wasn't talked about in those days.

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-No, no.

-You didn't know anything about it.

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-But they were together for a lifetime...

-Oh, how lovely.

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..and they were really lovely together, so it was happy.

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But they weren't allowed, in those days.

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-It wasn't spoken about.

-That is gorgeous.

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-There's a lot from Gertie Hartland in the book.

-Yeah.

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And this one is another lovely one.

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"Ever dear." Now, this is...

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It's a new year card to Alice from Bill.

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-Now, who's Alice?

-Alice was my mum's elder sister.

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-Right.

-She was like a second mum to me. She was lovely.

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Always a spinster, but she told me that she had a boyfriend.

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-Bill?

-I think it was Bill, yes.

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-But Gertie, her auntie...

-Yeah.

-..my great-auntie,

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didn't like the family he came from, didn't think he was suitable,

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and told her mum, so they broke the friendship up.

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-Aw.

-It's a very sad story cos she never married

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-or had anybody else, so...

-And she took notice of the family?

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You did in those days. It wasn't she took notice.

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-It was forbidden, so...

-Poor Bill.

-..she lived and died a spinster.

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And I think she would have been happy with that man

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-had the family not got involved, you know, but...

-Aw.

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Do you know? I could sit here and talk to you forever.

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I feel part of your family already!

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Now, this one is very interesting. The Titanic.

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It says, "Fred Hartland". That's...

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That's Frank, another great-uncle of mine.

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Well, what's even more extraordinary,

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in your huge, interesting family, is the date -

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the 27th of April 1912.

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Now, that's a few weeks after the ship went down.

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Yeah, I think it went down on the 15th or something like that.

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He mentioned on the card that he was sad about the news.

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He'd heard the news and he was sad that it had gone down,

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but he wasn't on the boat.

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"I have sent this postcard as I know it will be interesting

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"after seeing the news about its disaster."

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But what a wonderful piece of history documenting that.

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-So, you have a very, very interesting collection.

-Good.

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-Some of them are worth literally next to nothing.

-Yeah.

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-Others are worth £5, £2, £10.

-Yeah.

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It's a very, very specialist market and the collectors of postcards

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know exactly which ones they're looking for.

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I would put a very, very conservative estimate

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for auction of £100 to £200,

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-but I think that is a very conservative estimate.

-Right.

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-I am almost sure they're going to exceed the top end.

-Right.

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So, would you like a reserve on them?

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-What do you think?

-I don't think you need to.

-No, I'll trust you.

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OK, and we'll put an estimate - 100 to 200,

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but I think that is very conservative.

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-Right. Fingers crossed, then.

-Fingers crossed.

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-And I'll see you at the sale, Sue.

-Yes, lovely. Thank you.

-Pleasure.

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-How about that? It's all going well, isn't it, everyone? ALL:

-Yes!

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What's the time? Well, it's time we went off to auction.

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Our experts have been working flat out.

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We've found our first items to put to the test in the saleroom.

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What's it worth? We're going to find out as that hammer goes down.

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And here's a quick recap of all the items we're taking with us.

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It's a sapphire and diamond ring with plenty of sparkle.

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That should do well at auction.

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Let's hope this silver cigarette case

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with its fabulous World War II story

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will draw in the collectors.

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And Sue's eclectic postcard collection

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will have plenty to keep its new owner

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entertained for hours.

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The market town of Whitchurch is the oldest

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continually inhabited community in Shropshire.

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Built on an original Roman site,

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it was named Mediolanum by the Romans -

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the place in the middle of the plain.

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For us today, all roads lead to Trevanion & Dean auction house,

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and Christina Trevanion and Aaron Dean are on the rostrum.

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Don't forget, auction houses charge a commission fee.

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Here today, it's 17%

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plus VAT.

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First up, Anne's sapphire and diamond ring.

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Let's hope the room sparkles right now. Good luck with this.

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-And there is a great story behind this, isn't there?

-Fabulous story.

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-And you've checked it out?

-I have checked it out.

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-You have done your duty.

-Done my duty.

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-Beyond the call of duty.

-Yes, I've been to the Minerva pub in Hull,

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-where your great-aunt worked...

-Yeah.

-..and nothing's changed.

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-It's absolutely gorgeous.

-Brilliant.

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Did you tell the pub that this was coming up for sale

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-and that they should buy it?

-Yes, I did.

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I told them all about it and about your aunt, and they were fascinated.

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Brilliant. Brilliant.

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-Anyway, look, good luck.

-Thank you.

-Here we go. Let's hope the pub...

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-Let's hope the landlord's here of the pub, shall we?

-Yeah, yeah.

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And all the pub have turned out. It's going under the hammer now.

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Lot 130 is the sapphire and diamond three-stone ring.

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Bid me... What have I got here? 150. 160.

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At 160. Bid me 180. 180 is bid.

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200. 220. 240, sir? 240.

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260 here. 280. 300.

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-Oh, this is good.

-320. 340.

-This is good.

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Will we go 360? You're out. At £340.

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At 340. With the lady, then, at 340.

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-Determined. Look, she's holding her bidding...

-Yeah, she's not moving.

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Do you know? I think it's a really nice combination -

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-sapphires and diamonds.

-I do. Beautiful.

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It's a beautiful combination, yeah.

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-Well done, you.

-Thank you.

-And you.

-Thank you, Caroline.

0:16:380:16:41

Next, the silver cigarette case.

0:16:420:16:45

Why are you selling this?

0:16:460:16:47

Because I think the story is more important than the cigarette case.

0:16:470:16:50

Maybe, but it's just been lying in a cupboard for years

0:16:500:16:54

and, although it's beautiful, I'd like to get some art materials.

0:16:540:16:59

-Are you a budding artist?

-I am, yes.

0:16:590:17:01

OK. Well, we're going to find out what the bidders think.

0:17:010:17:03

Let's hand the proceedings over to our auctioneer -

0:17:030:17:06

Christina Trevanion.

0:17:060:17:07

Lot five now is the German silver box.

0:17:090:17:11

Interest here with me on commission at £80.

0:17:110:17:14

Straight away with me at 80.

0:17:140:17:16

And five. 90 with you, sir. Thank you. 95. 100.

0:17:160:17:20

I'm looking for 110. 110. Thank you, sir.

0:17:200:17:22

-At 110. 120.

-HE MOUTHS SILENTLY

0:17:220:17:25

130?

0:17:250:17:26

Thank you, anyway. At 130 with you, then, sir.

0:17:260:17:28

Are you sure, sir? I'll take five if it helps.

0:17:280:17:31

135.

0:17:310:17:32

Thank you, anyway. At £135.

0:17:320:17:35

-Hammer's gone down. £135.

-Wow! Fantastic!

0:17:350:17:38

Well, look, at least it's gone, and it's gone over the top end,

0:17:380:17:41

-so that's a good thing, OK?

-That's brilliant.

-That's great.

0:17:410:17:43

-Thank you both very much.

-I hope you don't miss it.

0:17:430:17:46

I won't miss it.

0:17:460:17:48

Well, I hope it's now gone to a loving home.

0:17:480:17:51

And now it's time for Sue's collection of postcards.

0:17:510:17:53

She's added a reserve of £100.

0:17:530:17:56

We do normally have lots of surprises with these,

0:17:580:18:01

so, Caroline, very brave of you to put a price on this because...

0:18:010:18:04

-They're fantastic.

-They are good, aren't they?

-They really are.

0:18:040:18:06

Documents of social history.

0:18:060:18:08

Some of these buildings and places don't look like that any more.

0:18:080:18:11

It's a capsule. It's a little reminder of the past.

0:18:110:18:14

And you've hung onto it and now you want to get rid of it.

0:18:140:18:16

-Well, yeah. A bit nervous.

-We're all nervous in this game!

0:18:160:18:20

Anything could happen. Sit back and enjoy this. Here we go.

0:18:200:18:23

Lot 264, ladies and gentlemen. Postcard album.

0:18:250:18:27

Collection of assorted postcards

0:18:270:18:29

and lots of interest in this.

0:18:290:18:30

-Lots of interest.

-I've got to go straight in at 140,

0:18:300:18:33

50, 60, 70, £180. Straight away on commission at 180.

0:18:330:18:37

It's £180. Who's coming in now? 190.

0:18:370:18:39

200 with me. 210. 220 with me. 230.

0:18:390:18:43

And now I'm out at 230.

0:18:430:18:44

It's at £230 in the room now. On my left at 230.

0:18:440:18:47

Standing in the room at 230. You're out, then, at 230.

0:18:470:18:50

-That was a good result.

-It was excellent.

0:18:510:18:53

I knew they'd sell and I knew they'd sell well.

0:18:530:18:56

-Cos you put the reserve of 100, didn't you?

-I did.

0:18:560:18:58

-I was a bit worried because, you know...

-I wasn't.

0:18:580:19:00

-You were worried, Anne?

-Yeah.

-I knew they'd go.

0:19:000:19:02

-Thank you ever so much.

-That's all right.

0:19:020:19:04

-Thank you.

-Aw!

-Yeah, thank you.

0:19:040:19:06

Well, there you are. That concludes our first visit to the auction room so far.

0:19:130:19:17

Let's hope our good fortune continues

0:19:170:19:19

when we return later on in the programme.

0:19:190:19:21

Now, back in the 19th and early part of the 20th century,

0:19:210:19:25

the Black Country became the centre of chain making in England.

0:19:250:19:28

In 1910, the women chain makers grabbed the world's attention

0:19:280:19:31

when they laid down their tools, refused to work

0:19:310:19:34

and demanded a fair wage. I went to find out more.

0:19:340:19:37

During the Industrial Revolution,

0:19:470:19:50

the Black Country became the world's leading iron-producing region,

0:19:500:19:54

making everything from huge anchors to nails and chains.

0:19:540:19:59

By 1850, there were around 200 blast furnaces

0:20:000:20:04

and 2,000 wrought-iron furnaces in the area,

0:20:040:20:08

supporting mills, forges and foundries.

0:20:080:20:12

The anchor for the ill-fated ship, the Titanic,

0:20:120:20:15

was forged in the town of Netherton,

0:20:150:20:17

and at the time and for many years to follow,

0:20:170:20:19

it was the largest anchor ever forged by hand,

0:20:190:20:22

weighing in at just over ten tonnes.

0:20:220:20:24

And its chain of equally impressive scale

0:20:240:20:27

was made just down the road in Cradley Heath.

0:20:270:20:30

The Black Country were really proud of their achievement

0:20:300:20:32

and, when the anchor was completed in 1911,

0:20:320:20:35

it was paraded through the streets.

0:20:350:20:37

Hundreds of people turned out to witness this epic spectacle.

0:20:370:20:41

The iron trade was not just a job for the men.

0:20:430:20:46

While they were working in factories making heavy and medium chains,

0:20:460:20:51

lighter chains were being made by women working in small factories,

0:20:510:20:55

or outhouses, behind their homes.

0:20:550:20:57

I'm meeting local-born Luke Perry,

0:20:590:21:01

who is a sixth generation metalworker.

0:21:010:21:03

Luke now works as an ironwork sculptor and art historian.

0:21:030:21:08

During his spare time, he runs this traditional

0:21:080:21:10

chain-making workshop here in Cradley Heath.

0:21:100:21:13

For him, workshops like this

0:21:130:21:15

keep the story of the women chain makers alive.

0:21:150:21:19

-Hi, Luke.

-Hi, how are you? Are you all right?

0:21:190:21:21

Hello. Yeah, good to see you.

0:21:210:21:22

So, tell me about this place. It looks like a time capsule.

0:21:220:21:25

Well, it was down to about there in the 1970s, but we rebuilt it,

0:21:250:21:28

and now it's the last surviving chain-making shop

0:21:280:21:30

on its original site in the world, same as it was about 100 years ago.

0:21:300:21:34

-So, it's got some history, then?

-Oh, yeah, quite a bit of character.

0:21:340:21:37

When I think of chain making, I think of,

0:21:370:21:38

you know, big, strong guys -

0:21:380:21:40

almost like blacksmiths - forging away.

0:21:400:21:42

But I know women were involved in this trade here in this area.

0:21:420:21:45

Yeah, definitely.

0:21:450:21:46

When nail making died out in the sort of early 1900s,

0:21:460:21:49

they moved into chain making to sort of relieve the extreme poverty.

0:21:490:21:52

And particularly in this area, like you said,

0:21:520:21:55

there was a humongous amount of women making chain.

0:21:550:21:58

Smaller stuff, but still pretty physical.

0:21:580:21:59

Well, I'm eager to have a look around inside,

0:21:590:22:01

-watch you work and hopefully have a go if we can.

-Come on, then.

0:22:010:22:04

Love this.

0:22:060:22:07

Men would have made chain anything from this sort of size

0:22:140:22:18

-up to larger chain like this.

-Yeah.

0:22:180:22:21

And this would be studded chain, which would be used on ships,

0:22:210:22:24

-big anchor chain, that kind of thing.

-Yeah.

0:22:240:22:26

But the women, the women's chain would be much smaller -

0:22:260:22:30

anything thinner than half an inch in diameter bar -

0:22:300:22:33

-and it was much more fiddly, much more precise.

-OK.

0:22:330:22:36

-And it would be traditionally things like this.

-Oh, that's nice.

0:22:360:22:38

-That almost looks like it's plaited.

-Yeah, it's like a braid.

0:22:380:22:41

-It's beautiful.

-Yeah.

-And that'd be for use in agriculture,

0:22:410:22:44

like on horses, that kind of thing.

0:22:440:22:46

I can't make women's chain, it's so fiddly.

0:22:460:22:48

This is a really good example of the smaller stuff.

0:22:480:22:50

-So, women would also make things like toilet chain.

-Yeah.

0:22:500:22:53

It's very, very light.

0:22:530:22:54

The women would be paid as the men were paid, so by weight.

0:22:540:22:57

So, if you imagine the work that would go in to something like this.

0:22:570:23:00

-Yeah.

-So, that would be about...

-It's not a lot.

0:23:000:23:04

-Not a lot of weight.

-Not a lot of weight.

0:23:040:23:05

-One of those links is probably...

-And in comparison to...

0:23:050:23:08

-Yeah. So, that might be a week's work, perhaps.

-Yeah.

0:23:080:23:11

And this would be 20 minutes' work,

0:23:110:23:14

yet it's not even a fraction of the pay

0:23:140:23:16

because of the weight of it.

0:23:160:23:18

A woman would have to work a 12 or 13-hour day

0:23:190:23:23

hammering up to 5,000 links a week to earn five shillings -

0:23:230:23:27

that's 25p in today's money.

0:23:270:23:30

That would barely be enough to pay for food and bills.

0:23:300:23:34

Luke is going to show me the chain-making process.

0:23:380:23:42

-It gets hot very quickly.

-It does.

0:23:420:23:44

If you burned the link, you burned that amount of work,

0:23:440:23:47

and that's money. Everything is money.

0:23:470:23:50

That looks good.

0:23:500:23:51

It's getting there, but you need it to be nice and kind of yellow.

0:23:510:23:55

-It's got to have a barley colour.

-I can feel the heat.

0:23:550:23:58

There are stories that women would give birth

0:23:580:24:02

and go immediately back to work.

0:24:020:24:04

So, they'd be working whilst they were in labour, give birth,

0:24:040:24:08

and go straight back.

0:24:080:24:09

-And that was very common.

-That's cos money was so tight?

-Yeah.

0:24:090:24:12

So, that's the first shape that we're trying to make there,

0:24:130:24:16

-which is the U-shape.

-Yeah.

0:24:160:24:17

The chains were made on a hearth by hammering red-hot,

0:24:190:24:22

wrought-iron rods into oval links...

0:24:220:24:26

Ooh!

0:24:260:24:27

-That link has become... It's one unit now...

-Yeah, yeah.

0:24:270:24:30

-..rather than being...

-That's fantastic.

0:24:300:24:32

..then passing links through each other to form a cable.

0:24:320:24:35

That goes through the other link...

0:24:350:24:37

-Oh, I like that.

-..like that.

-I like that.

0:24:370:24:39

But, of course, the longer the chain is,

0:24:390:24:41

the more you've got to be careful

0:24:410:24:43

-cos this would all be boiling hot.

-Oh. So, yeah,

0:24:430:24:45

once it gets to, like, a metre long or so, you're dragging it about.

0:24:450:24:49

So, it becomes very heavy then, very physical.

0:24:490:24:52

-There we are.

-That's fantastic.

0:24:520:24:54

I won't hold it! HE LAUGHS

0:24:540:24:56

In 1910, there were 3,500 chain makers

0:24:580:25:02

working in the Cradley and Cradley Heath district -

0:25:020:25:05

two thirds of them were women.

0:25:050:25:07

Tired of working day and night for starvation wages,

0:25:070:25:11

in August 1910, the women chain makers downed their hammers

0:25:110:25:15

and stood up for their right to earn a living wage.

0:25:150:25:19

In order for me to get a better understanding

0:25:260:25:28

of the brutality of the industry,

0:25:280:25:31

I want to have a go at making a link myself.

0:25:310:25:34

-Gosh, it's hot.

-It's really hot, yeah.

-Oh, man, it's hot!

0:25:340:25:38

Do you know what? That looked so easy when you were doing it.

0:25:380:25:40

-I have had seven-year-old girls making chain...

-Right, OK.

0:25:400:25:43

-..so you've got no excuses at all.

-I'm not going to be defeated.

0:25:430:25:45

Oh, it's hot! HE LAUGHS

0:25:450:25:50

Oh! Right, OK.

0:25:500:25:52

-That's it. OK, right on there.

-On there?

-Yeah.

0:25:520:25:54

And then knock that down.

0:25:540:25:56

-That's the way.

-Cor, that's so hot on my arm.

0:25:570:26:00

Gosh!

0:26:040:26:05

Get in there.

0:26:060:26:07

You need longer tongs. HE LAUGHS

0:26:090:26:13

I need tongs twice the length.

0:26:130:26:15

Are you sure a seven-year-old girl's done this?

0:26:160:26:19

-Right, there we go. OK.

-Oh, gosh! Gosh, that was hot.

-In there.

-Yeah.

0:26:190:26:23

-What am I doing?

-Just gentle taps to knock that down.

0:26:230:26:26

OK, that'll do. Right, so now...

0:26:260:26:29

-That's looking like rubbish.

-No, it's not bad.

0:26:290:26:32

Go on. Give it some. Really...

0:26:340:26:35

-Yeah, that's it, isn't it?

-Yeah, that's...

0:26:380:26:40

That's a pretty good link. It's not a bad first attempt at all.

0:26:400:26:45

That is hard work, working in this intense heat.

0:26:450:26:47

I mean, that's dangerous.

0:26:470:26:49

-You know, to think that women did this day in and day out...

-Yeah.

0:26:490:26:51

-..with little nippers running around, as well.

-Absolutely.

0:26:510:26:54

And, of course, all the bits that spit out

0:26:540:26:56

would be all over the floor.

0:26:560:26:57

-The conditions...

-Doesn't bear thinking about.

-No, not at all.

0:26:570:26:59

The women were dubbed the white slaves of England.

0:27:030:27:07

Having heard of their plight, union organiser and campaigner

0:27:070:27:11

Mary Macarthur came to help the women and lead the strike.

0:27:110:27:15

She waged a stunning national campaign

0:27:160:27:19

which exposed the chain masters

0:27:190:27:21

as enforcers of sweated labour in the country.

0:27:210:27:25

This monument of Mary Macarthur is one of Luke's works.

0:27:260:27:29

It stands in homage to the women chain makers.

0:27:290:27:32

In 1910, more than 800 women marched through this whole area

0:27:350:27:40

of Cradley Heath singing protest songs.

0:27:400:27:42

And after ten long weeks of striking, they won their dispute

0:27:420:27:46

and they saw their average earnings double overnight

0:27:460:27:50

from five shillings per week to 11 shillings per week.

0:27:500:27:54

The strike was one of the first in the world

0:27:540:27:57

to demand better pay and conditions for women workers,

0:27:570:28:00

and their victory established the principle

0:28:000:28:03

of the national minimum wage.

0:28:030:28:06

Back here at Wolverhampton Art Gallery,

0:28:170:28:19

valuations are hammering along nicely

0:28:190:28:22

and James has also spotted something with an industrial link.

0:28:220:28:26

Now, when I saw you outside with this...

0:28:270:28:30

..I thought it was wonderful.

0:28:310:28:33

Really interesting.

0:28:330:28:35

-Because these aren't straightforward coins, are they?

-No.

0:28:350:28:39

They're industrial tokens.

0:28:390:28:41

-Obviously, somebody has collected these with an eye for detail.

-Yeah.

0:28:410:28:45

Well, that was my father. It was his collection, done over many years.

0:28:450:28:49

He used to bring them home in his saddlebag

0:28:490:28:51

-cos we didn't have a car in those days...

-Right.

0:28:510:28:53

..on his bike on a Saturday.

0:28:530:28:54

And my mother always used to grumble at him and say,

0:28:540:28:56

"What have you got in your saddlebag now?"

0:28:560:28:58

And it was always coins or it might have been antique glass

0:28:580:29:00

-or something like that.

-Yeah.

-But he was very keen on antiques.

0:29:000:29:03

The only thing I know about industrial tokens

0:29:030:29:06

is that they were given to work people instead of money.

0:29:060:29:10

So, if you were a factory owner

0:29:100:29:13

and you were a factory owner who also owned the houses

0:29:130:29:17

that your tenant workers were staying in,

0:29:170:29:20

you were also likely to be owning the local shop, as well.

0:29:200:29:23

So, you would pay your workers with your own factory currency.

0:29:230:29:28

They would take it in one hand

0:29:280:29:30

-and then pay it back to you with the other.

-Mm.

0:29:300:29:32

It would prevent them spending your money with anybody else.

0:29:320:29:35

But I think there is an element of myth in there

0:29:350:29:39

because I do think other people took the tokens, as well,

0:29:390:29:43

and I think one of the reasons that they were produced

0:29:430:29:46

was the lack of availability to get low currency coinage.

0:29:460:29:51

So, if you wanted to pay your workers a halfpenny here and there,

0:29:510:29:56

the halfpenny's were in short supply,

0:29:560:29:59

so people made their own.

0:29:590:30:01

But normally, when we look at a collection of tokens,

0:30:010:30:04

they're worn, they're soft, they're smooth. Look at these.

0:30:040:30:08

They're as good as you'll ever see, time after time.

0:30:080:30:12

We've got one here that says,

0:30:120:30:14

"Fine mould and store candles, 1794."

0:30:140:30:19

With an old candle mould in the centre, so a candle maker.

0:30:190:30:22

And then, at the top, we've got a forge for iron manufacturing.

0:30:220:30:26

Brilliant. And what history!

0:30:260:30:29

Looms, weaving down at the bottom. I mean, they're wonderful.

0:30:290:30:32

You've got pages after pages after pages.

0:30:320:30:37

On average, they're worth £10 each,

0:30:370:30:40

-so if we said, across that lot, £400 to £600?

-Sounds good to me.

0:30:400:30:45

-Not bad if you're spending pennies.

-Absolutely.

0:30:450:30:47

-BOTH LAUGH

-Sounds good to me.

-Well done.

0:30:470:30:50

That's a great lot. Really very, very interesting.

0:30:500:30:53

-Oh, lovely. Thank you.

-Made my day.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:30:530:30:57

That's what you call a collection.

0:30:570:30:59

Now, there seems to be a rather gruesome object

0:30:590:31:01

on Caroline's table from the late 19th century.

0:31:010:31:04

Tell me, what do you know about this?

0:31:060:31:09

Nothing at all, except it was given to my husband about 40 years ago.

0:31:090:31:13

-And who gave it to him?

-His uncle.

-Right.

0:31:130:31:16

-And was his uncle from around these parts?

-Yes, yeah.

0:31:160:31:20

I think he went abroad a lot on holidays

0:31:200:31:22

-and this, that and the other.

-Right.

0:31:220:31:24

-And would bring souvenirs back, maybe?

-Yes, yes.

0:31:240:31:27

-And do you like it?

-It's unusual.

0:31:270:31:30

It is unusual. And where do you have it at home?

0:31:300:31:32

It's been stuck in the loft for years.

0:31:320:31:35

-I think that's wise, Dawn.

-SHE LAUGHS

0:31:350:31:37

Now, I've had a very good look at this.

0:31:370:31:40

-It comes from Borneo.

-Right.

0:31:400:31:43

And I think it's from one of the northern tribes,

0:31:430:31:46

either the Iban or the Dayak tribes of northern Borneo.

0:31:460:31:51

It is a steel blade.

0:31:510:31:54

It's got a bone handle here.

0:31:540:31:57

And this is lovely wirework that's all plaited and woven here.

0:31:570:32:02

Do you have any idea what it might be?

0:32:020:32:05

-No.

-Right.

0:32:050:32:07

-Are you sitting comfortably?

-Yes.

0:32:070:32:09

It's a tribesman's head-hunter sword

0:32:090:32:14

and it really would be exactly used for that - for cutting off heads.

0:32:140:32:20

-This is human hair.

-I thought it might be.

-Yeah.

0:32:200:32:24

-And this, I would think, is human bone.

-Mm-hm.

0:32:240:32:27

You'll be glad to know, headhunting has now died out.

0:32:270:32:31

In the 1950s, it ceased to be a practice.

0:32:310:32:34

But people would attack other tribes

0:32:340:32:37

and they would take the heads as a trophy.

0:32:370:32:40

The steel blade.

0:32:400:32:41

Now, if we look at it, it's very good quality.

0:32:410:32:45

It's inlaid here with these little dots of brass on the steel.

0:32:450:32:50

-Sadly, not brilliant condition.

-No.

-It's a bit rusty.

0:32:500:32:54

And I think, because of the quality, it's probably belonged to a chief.

0:32:540:32:59

They're not everybody's cup of tea, for lots of reasons.

0:32:590:33:02

Now, value... It's a dangerous weapon.

0:33:020:33:06

It's still very sharp, so it needs to be sold correctly.

0:33:060:33:10

There's not a wide following of these items.

0:33:100:33:14

I would think, in great condition, it's worth probably £200.

0:33:140:33:19

But in this condition, with this rusted blade, only 150.

0:33:190:33:25

-That's fine. That's all right.

-Would you be happy to let it go?

0:33:250:33:28

-Yes.

-SHE LAUGHS

0:33:280:33:30

-Would you be thrilled to let it go, Dawn?

-Probably.

-Yes!

0:33:300:33:33

So, if we put it into auction with an estimate

0:33:330:33:36

of £150 to £200?

0:33:360:33:40

-Yes, thank you.

-Brilliant.

0:33:400:33:42

Well, thank you, Dawn, for a most extraordinary thing.

0:33:420:33:45

It is.

0:33:450:33:47

That may not be to everyone's taste, but it is a relic of a bygone era.

0:33:480:33:54

Now, from the obscure to the more familiar,

0:33:540:33:56

but please don't make that baby cry again, James.

0:33:560:33:59

-If I'm too loud, just...

-Not at all.

-OK.

-Don't worry.

-OK.

0:34:010:34:05

-THEY CHUCKLE

-Well, Barbara, I have to say,

0:34:050:34:08

you have brought along an old "Flog It!" favourite.

0:34:080:34:11

Moorcroft is something that we see up and down the country,

0:34:110:34:15

day in, day out.

0:34:150:34:16

I know you'll know all about it, all about the factory,

0:34:160:34:19

but it is something that we see, and we keep showing on "Flog It!"

0:34:190:34:23

for one very good reason - it is popular.

0:34:230:34:26

-Yes.

-And the different designs make different values.

0:34:260:34:29

You know, we can see the hibiscus pattern

0:34:290:34:31

almost every day of the week, and it'll make £30 to £50.

0:34:310:34:35

But this is earlier and this is more interesting than most.

0:34:350:34:38

-I see. Good.

-So, what's the history? What do you know?

0:34:380:34:41

All I know is my parents received it as a wedding present in the 1920s.

0:34:410:34:47

OK. Well, the fact that you know that it's been in the family

0:34:470:34:51

since that sort of period

0:34:510:34:53

-confirms the fact that it is an early period.

-Yes.

0:34:530:34:56

It's known as the Spanish pattern

0:34:560:34:58

and it was a pattern that was invented by Moorcroft in 1910.

0:34:580:35:02

And this one, this vase, two blind as they all are,

0:35:020:35:05

-has this wonderful softness of colour.

-Yes.

0:35:050:35:09

I always think you can tell the period

0:35:090:35:11

by just looking at the background glaze -

0:35:110:35:15

nice and mottled.

0:35:150:35:16

-The more modern colours are much harsher, much brighter.

-Mm.

0:35:160:35:21

-But this, I have to say, this is my favourite period of Moorcroft.

-Yes.

0:35:210:35:25

So, why is it here?

0:35:250:35:27

Well, because we're three of us - three girls.

0:35:270:35:30

-You can't really share a vase between three people.

-No. OK.

0:35:300:35:34

-So, we decided the best thing was to sell it.

-Well, there we go.

0:35:340:35:38

Because it will end up finding its way into a very nice collection,

0:35:380:35:41

-I have to say.

-I hope so, yes.

-It's a lovely example.

0:35:410:35:44

-It's in good condition, yes.

-Yeah. Now, let's look at the condition.

0:35:440:35:47

The first thing about Moorcroft is

0:35:470:35:50

it's a nice, solid, but high-pitched...

0:35:500:35:53

-Yes.

-..sound, which is exactly what you would want.

0:35:530:35:57

The first place to look is here...

0:35:570:35:59

-Yes.

-..because that's its weak point.

0:35:590:36:01

So, if you just turn it around, see if there's anything there.

0:36:010:36:04

-There isn't.

-No.

-It's fine.

0:36:040:36:06

And if you look at the foot rim, the fact that the crazing

0:36:060:36:10

-goes evenly throughout the whole of that white...

-Yes.

0:36:100:36:14

..tells you it hasn't been substantially restored.

0:36:140:36:17

-No, it hasn't been. No.

-No.

0:36:170:36:19

Because when it's restored, not only do you restore the top,

0:36:190:36:22

but you also restore the underside, and that removes all the crazing.

0:36:220:36:27

-Around the rim, though... Just here, look.

-Yes.

0:36:270:36:30

..we've got a couple of very tiny

0:36:300:36:33

-glaze chips.

-Oh, where it's worn, yes.

0:36:330:36:35

-But that is really nothing to worry about at all.

-No.

0:36:350:36:39

If you didn't have something, you'd be slightly concerned.

0:36:390:36:41

-Yes, after that length of time.

-Yeah.

0:36:410:36:44

Pretty much 100 years old. Value?

0:36:440:36:47

I would be very disappointed if that didn't make £300 to £500.

0:36:470:36:52

-Really?

-At least.

-Ooh.

0:36:520:36:54

It's a great pattern. I think there should be a reserve - £300 firm.

0:36:540:36:58

-300.

-And I'm sure that whoever ends up with it will love it.

-Yes.

0:36:580:37:02

-So, well done. Thank you for bringing it in.

-Well, thank you.

0:37:020:37:06

I can't believe she had that in her cupboard for so long.

0:37:060:37:10

Well, they say Wolverhampton

0:37:100:37:11

has some of the friendliest people in the world,

0:37:110:37:13

and do you know what? I've met some wonderful people from this city.

0:37:130:37:16

I think that's true, don't you? Yes.

0:37:160:37:18

-Have you had a good day? ALL:

-Yes!

0:37:180:37:20

Well, look, give the camera a big wave and smile, everyone,

0:37:200:37:22

because our experts have now found their final items,

0:37:220:37:26

so, sadly, it's time for us

0:37:260:37:27

to say goodbye to Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

0:37:270:37:29

We've had a brilliant time here and all of these people have.

0:37:290:37:32

We've been surrounded by art and antiques all day long.

0:37:320:37:35

But, right now, we're going to put our final valuations to the test

0:37:350:37:39

and here's a quick recap, just to jog your memory,

0:37:390:37:41

of all the items that are going under the hammer.

0:37:410:37:43

The book of work tokens collected by Sheila's father

0:37:460:37:49

is a rare find.

0:37:490:37:50

I believe Dawn will be glad to see the back

0:37:530:37:55

of the tribal sword.

0:37:550:37:57

And the early Moorcroft vase.

0:37:590:38:00

We love them on this show, but will the bidders?

0:38:000:38:03

Now, back to Whitchurch in Shropshire,

0:38:070:38:10

where the auction room is in full swing.

0:38:100:38:12

Aaron Dean and Christina Trevanion are our auctioneers.

0:38:120:38:16

First up, the tribal sword.

0:38:180:38:20

Dawn, did you live with this in the house?

0:38:210:38:23

-For years.

-For years.

-And you're very happy

0:38:230:38:26

-to be getting rid of it now, aren't you?

-Yes.

0:38:260:38:28

I bet you are. I bet you can't wait. "No reserve, please!"

0:38:280:38:31

-But there is, isn't there?

-Yes, there is.

-Yeah, OK.

0:38:310:38:33

You've got to protect it - I understand that.

0:38:330:38:35

But we've never seen anything like this on the show before.

0:38:350:38:37

-Gives me the creeps.

-Me, too.

0:38:370:38:39

I guess it comes under that label of ethnographica.

0:38:390:38:42

-You know, tribal art.

-Yeah, yeah.

-And it's big business right now.

0:38:420:38:45

-It's a very specialist, specialist market.

-It really is. Yes, yes.

0:38:450:38:48

-So, good luck, both of you.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

-OK?

0:38:480:38:50

Lot 306. It's the late 19th-century head-cutting knife.

0:38:510:38:56

I've got to start you straight away on commission at 120, 130, £140.

0:38:560:39:01

Bidding at the back, 140. 150.

0:39:010:39:04

-Back of the room it is at 150.

-SHE WHISPERS

0:39:040:39:06

Any advance on 150? Selling, then, at 150.

0:39:060:39:09

-Hammer's gone down. Thank goodness it's gone!

-Yes.

0:39:100:39:14

-Thank goodness it's sold!

-Yeah, that's a big smile.

0:39:140:39:17

Well, that was a sword with a rather macabre past.

0:39:180:39:22

Let's move on now to the industrial book of tokens.

0:39:220:39:26

Well, this is the one I've certainly been looking forward to.

0:39:280:39:31

This is history going under the hammer

0:39:310:39:33

and that's what this show is all about.

0:39:330:39:35

We have something so rare on the show right now.

0:39:350:39:37

Dates back to the late 1700s. That's the 18th century.

0:39:370:39:40

-These little halfpenny tokens...

-Yes.

0:39:400:39:42

..where the workers could spend their money with the boss

0:39:420:39:45

so he could make even more money!

0:39:450:39:46

Yeah, I mean, they're just so fascinating.

0:39:460:39:49

Each one is for a different industry and a different owner.

0:39:490:39:52

I've not seen them come up for sale before.

0:39:520:39:54

You're giving the opportunity now

0:39:540:39:57

for collectors and for museums to get involved in trying to buy these

0:39:570:40:00

because these are of museum quality. These need to go to a good home.

0:40:000:40:04

Lot 182 is the collection

0:40:060:40:08

of 18th-century ha'penny, or halfpenny tokens,

0:40:080:40:11

and I'm looking for £200 for it.

0:40:110:40:13

At £200. Where's 200?

0:40:130:40:15

At £200 for the halfpennies and coins here at £200.

0:40:150:40:20

-Come on.

-At £200. Are you bidding, madam?

0:40:200:40:22

At 200. 220. 240. 260.

0:40:220:40:25

280. 290. 300, I'm out.

0:40:250:40:29

At £300 with the lady seated.

0:40:290:40:31

At £300. At £300.

0:40:310:40:34

-I'm pleased they've gone for you.

-Yes, right.

0:40:340:40:36

-Cos £300 is OK.

-That's fine.

-I mean, that's fine,

0:40:360:40:38

but I thought they'd be worth an awful lot more.

0:40:380:40:40

-As long as they've gone to a good home.

-I'm sure they have.

0:40:400:40:42

-I'm sure they have.

-That's the great news about it.

-Yes.

0:40:420:40:45

We've found someone who's obviously prepared to spend £300 on them,

0:40:450:40:48

so they are going to love them and...

0:40:480:40:51

-And nurture them.

-..keep them, yeah.

-That's absolutely fine.

0:40:510:40:54

And we have since found out it was bought by someone interested

0:40:560:40:59

in industrial history, who is pleased with this very rare find.

0:40:590:41:04

It's a great name in ceramics. It's one of the best - Moorcroft -

0:41:060:41:10

and it's an early one, as well, and it belongs to Barbara.

0:41:100:41:13

-This is some piece.

-It is.

-Some piece.

0:41:130:41:15

-It's got everything going for it.

-Yes.

0:41:150:41:17

And let's hope we get the price right.

0:41:170:41:19

Let's hope we get the top end.

0:41:190:41:20

I'm hoping it'll be at least top end.

0:41:200:41:22

-Yes.

-Let's hope so.

-Yes.

-Happy with that?

-Yes, yes.

0:41:220:41:25

Let's put it to the test. Here we go.

0:41:250:41:26

What's it worth? We're going to find out.

0:41:260:41:28

Now, lot 418 is the Moorcroft Spanish pattern vase circa 1920.

0:41:300:41:35

Start me at 250 for it.

0:41:350:41:37

£250 is what I'm looking for. Where's 250?

0:41:370:41:40

250 is bid straight away.

0:41:400:41:42

280 here, internet.

0:41:420:41:43

So, at £320 already online. 320. 340. 360.

0:41:430:41:48

Where's 370?

0:41:480:41:50

At 380. 400.

0:41:500:41:51

At £400. At 400. 420. 440.

0:41:510:41:55

460. 480.

0:41:550:41:57

Bid me 500 now. At £480. Internet bidder at £480.

0:41:570:42:02

I'm looking for 500. I'll go to the phones.

0:42:020:42:05

Would you like to bid?

0:42:050:42:06

-At £500 on the phone.

-Very good.

-£500.

-We got 500.

-£500.

0:42:070:42:11

It's on the phone at 520 online.

0:42:110:42:15

At £520. You're out. Thank you, anyway.

0:42:150:42:18

Are we all done at 520? Selling online at 520.

0:42:180:42:22

-Well done.

-Great.

-Yes! Fantastic!

-Top end.

-Yes.

-£520.

0:42:230:42:27

-Big smiles all round.

-That's marvellous, isn't it? Yes.

0:42:270:42:30

Well done, James, and thank you so much for bringing that in.

0:42:300:42:33

-Well, thank you, James.

-Real joy to look at.

0:42:330:42:35

-I'm glad you saw it and it caught your eye.

-Thank you.

0:42:350:42:37

-Couldn't miss it!

-No, no.

0:42:370:42:40

Well, that's it. It's all over for our owners

0:42:450:42:47

and a big thank you to our experts.

0:42:470:42:49

It's not easy putting a value on an item, as you've just seen.

0:42:490:42:53

We've had one or two surprises, but everyone's gone home happy.

0:42:530:42:56

That's the main thing. I hope you enjoyed the show.

0:42:560:42:58

Join us again next time for many more surprises to come,

0:42:580:43:01

but until then, from the West Midlands, it's goodbye.

0:43:010:43:04

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.


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