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Today we're in Northamptonshire, where tradition runs deep.
The Spencer family have been part of this community for five centuries,
running the vast estate and the house,
and employing local people to work here.
And today we get a chance to see how it all works
as we make Althorp our home.
Welcome to "Flog It!".
The Spencers have an unbroken link with Althorp
and the family includes Diana, Princess of Wales,
who was laid to rest here after her death in 1997.
Covering 13,000 acres, the estate is largely unchanged
and we're looking forward to exploring this and the house,
and our crowd is just starting to arrive.
Gosh, look at this, what a fantastic queue. Morning, everyone!
Hundreds of people have turned up, laden with bags and boxes full of
antiques and treasures, and hopefully one or two of you are going to go home very rich!
They're here to see our experts and our experts will give every single item a valuation.
And if you're happy with the valuation, what are you going to do?
-Let's do it.
And we've brought in the best experts to help us.
Ever the fashion icon, we have Christina Trevanion.
I love that, where's that come from?
-It matches my coat!
-It does, yeah.
And hot on her tail is Will Axon.
-It's still wet.
And they're getting ideas above their station.
-Sandringham or Althorp, which would you prefer?
Well, they're both a bit pokey, aren't they?
Well, it's time to open the doors and get on with the valuations
and get the crowd inside. Come on in.
So while they're settling down and unpacking all their antiques
and collectables, here's a quick look at what's coming up on today's show.
Christina makes a new friend...
Well, that's a nice spa day for me, then.
Oh, that's a great idea. Can I come too?
Will faces temptation...
-I live on a narrow boat.
-You live on a narrow boat?
-I've always been tempted, you know.
'There are lessons to be learned at auction...'
That's better than being in the skip, isn't it?
'And I navigate one of the longest canal tunnels in the UK
'and find out what it was like to be one of the boat people
'who kept Britain in business.'
Now we can't get too cosy because our experts have got to work flat out today.
Let's join up with them at the valuation tables
and take a closer look at what THEY'VE spotted.
Christina's found a snug place at the top of the stairs.
Marion, it really is a very estately home, isn't it?
-It is, beautiful.
It really is.
And exactly this sort of home would have accommodated a box like this.
-Yeah, it's a really lovely thing.
Now, tell me where you got it from.
It was given to my husband over 50 years ago by a neighbour.
It's been in one loft to another after moving house...
-..and I decided to bring it today...
-..because my husband was going to put it on the skip.
-On the skip?!
-On the skip.
-Why was he going to put it on the skip?
-Cos he said it's a load of rubbish.
-A load of rubbish?
And I said, "Well, we need to know what it is..."
OK. How interesting.
This is what we call Visakhapatnam.
-OK. Now this was made a very, very long way away from here.
This was made on the Coromandel coast of India.
-OK? From a little town called Visakhapatnam,
where they made these type of wares.
Now, if we open it up,
inside we can see that this originally
-was once a writing slope...
-..or a writing desk, if you like.
Now, these sorts of wares were made between the sort of
mid-17th century and the mid-19th century.
But this particular example was made in about...
I think probably about 1830, 1835.
So this is antler.
So all this knobbly bit on the top here is antler.
This is probably ivory, but because this is an antique piece,
-ivory is OK to offer.
Right. So, it would have had a covering here, which, sadly, has now gone.
There is also a bit of a condition issue.
I think I saw a little bit of missing stringing just here.
-Just there, sadly.
But you've got all the components to it.
You got your wonderful little pen well here.
I'm so glad you salvaged it for us, Marion, I really, really am.
-It's such a beautiful thing.
I mean, they were made for a Western audience,
-they were shipped back home from India.
-So they are in very much sort of Anglo-Indian style.
Value-wise, at auction they are very popular.
Well, I would happily put an estimate of £200-£300 on this,
with a reserve at 150.
-Are you all right?
-Are you all right?
£200 worth of box in the skip!
Well, that's a nice spa day for me, then.
-Oh, that's a great idea. Can I come too?
Well, that's a date, then!
And it looks like Will's uncovered some real craftsmanship
from the historic workshop of Robert Thompson.
Hi, Anne, nice of you to come along
and thank you for bringing this rather wonderful,
of course, Mouseman tray.
-Not only have we the one mouse -
I've got a rather nice plump long-tailed mouse my end -
but your end another one,
because it is, obviously, a two-handled tray,
so the mice themselves actually become part of the tray
and make it easier to carry.
Tell me, are you a Mouseman fan?
I am, we've got a lot of Mouseman furniture in the house
and in the family, and...
-..parents and grandparents...
-..on my husband's side have got a lot of Mouseman furniture, so...
-..we've got a few mice running around our house.
Yeah, well, I'm very envious because I love Mouseman,
I think it's relevant in the modern decoration, with its simple lines
and its back to sort of basics manufacture.
I don't need to tell you the story of the mouse, do I? You know that?
"Poor as a church mouse."
Exactly. Who knows if that's true or not, but it's a beautiful...
-A lovely myth, isn't it?
-A lovely sort of idea to think that.
It's not cheap to buy from the workshop itself up in Kilburn.
It is expensive and they themselves
still sell some of the antique pieces.
Where has this come...?
Tell me it's out and used. Have you had a few TV dinners on it?
Unfortunately, it's not.
We've got other Mouseman furniture that we use every day - day in, day out -
but this was given to my husband by his great-aunt...
-..and unfortunately, it's not used.
-And it seems a shame for it not to be in use and admired, so...
It does seem a shame because it's got everything going for it.
It's got the nicely carved mice with the long tails...
It's got this lovely adzed surface and importantly, the colour -
that's what's very important
because I don't know if you've been up to the workshops recently...
-..you know, now the oak is quite pale,
that sort of pale yellow oak,
whereas this colour oak, where it's just natural patternation
building over the years and it's this rich, deep,
almost a sort of... Well, I suppose it's almost like a mahogany.
We've never really known the date of it,
except it looks quite early to other furniture that we've got.
I know people in the business who are specialists in Mouseman
and they just have to have one look at a mouse
and they know exactly when it was carved and who carved it,
because each carver had their own little quirks.
You know, one made the ears perhaps a bit longer,
-the tail longer, the tail thinner, fatter.
Well, I'm going to say it's probably 1950s, that sort of period,
-possibly '60s, but I don't think it's any later than that.
-Well, listen, I think we've got to price it sensibly.
You know the name of the game.
What you don't want to do is scare buyers off
by overcooking something's estimate,
so I would suggest a sensible auction estimate
has got to be £200-£300...
I mean, are you happy at that sort of money?
Yeah. That's lovely, thank you.
Well, Will's not the only one who loves oak.
I'm a real fan and at Althorp there are some amazing specimens.
There used to be formal plants and flowerbeds surrounding the house,
but the park and the magnificent oaks are very much part
of Althorp's historic landscape
and the current Earl is keen to see that the eye is drawn
to these wonderful trees in the typical traditional English scene.
And this one is known to be the oldest oak on the estate,
it's called the Crimea Oak and it dates back to 1589,
and just look at the girth on that!
Memorial planting has continued here on the estate.
When Diana, the Princess of Wales, died,
36 oak trees were sown to commemorate her life -
one for each year she lived.
We're back at the house and Christina's spotted a real gem.
Now, Anthony, this is just beautiful, isn't it?
-Thank you, yes.
-My goodness, how did you come by this?
I came by it because it belonged to my late mother,
-who never actually wore it and it was...
No, it has always been in a cupboard or a drawer somewhere
and it was left to her by her godmother.
It just seems criminal to me
that this hasn't seen the light of day for how long?
30 years at least.
-30 years at least.
I mean, it is just a little treasure, innit?
Look at that, it's beautiful.
So, date-wise, I would put this at sort of maybe late 1930s,
the end of the Art Deco period.
Would that tally with the dates?
Possibly. I mean, obviously, her godmother would have been born
about the turn of the century,
so I don't know whether it would have been a 21st present for her,
or whether she bought it for herself.
The reason I'm saying that maybe it's slightly later than that, or it certainly might be of that period...
-But if we look at the hoop of the ring here...
..it's actually stamped platinum.
Platinum wasn't used in this country until the 1920s and I think it's
quite a sophisticated setting,
-so I'm thinking it might be slightly later.
Nonetheless, it is the most stunning ring.
It's beautiful. We've got this fabulous, rich,
velvet blue sapphire in the middle here,
which is sort of an oval mixed cut, really beautiful.
-I would suggest it might be a Ceylon sapphire...
..which is the best of the best of the best you can get,
it's just gorgeous.
And then surrounded by this wonderful row of diamonds...
We've got baguette-cut diamonds on the shoulders here
and old-cut diamonds around the outsides there.
And then obviously centred by this approximately
six-carat beautiful sapphire.
Now, when I started out in this business,
coloured stones were not particularly fashionable.
They weren't what people wanted and they weren't particularly sought after.
Therefore, they were relatively cheap.
Ever since the Duchess of Cambridge and her very beautiful sapphire
-and diamond ring arrived in our lives...
..coloured stones have been incredibly sought after
and they've become fashionable again and they've become very sought after.
This is absolutely the right time to be selling it.
-Ten years ago I would have said, "Mmm..."
..I think it's gorgeous and the fact that it's set in platinum,
it's a nice early piece, the sapphire is incredibly beautiful,
-it really is a lovely piece.
I would suggest that an appropriate auction estimate for this piece
would be somewhere in the region of, I would say,
-How would you feel about that?
Um, yes, yeah, I'd like to see it get £1,000, I think.
OK, so you'd want to have a firm reserve at 1,000?
-You sure I can't push you down to 900?
-Just in case we should need it...
-Well, yes, OK, discretion of the auctioneer, shall we say?
Discretion of the auctioneer, I like that.
Now, tell me, Anthony, without probing too much,
do you have a special lady in your life?
-Yes, but if I gave...
-So why isn't she wearing it?
If I gave it to her, she would be feeding the horses or mucking them out
and it would disappear, I guarantee.
-It would end up at the bottom of a manure heap somewhere.
-Never to be seen again.
-Oh, my goodness, OK.
-Well, in which case, we should definitely sell it.
-Yes. Yes. Yes.
-And you never know, it might be heading off to be someone's
engagement ring, mightn't it?
-Good. Thank you.
-You never know.
No, thank you very much.
Well, thank you for bringing it in, it's been an absolute pleasure to see it.
Anything can happen in an auction, so do not go away.
But before that, let's take a closer look at our sumptuous surroundings,
the state dining room!
This was added in 1877 to be closer to the kitchens.
Prior to that, the kitchens were in one wing and the family ate in the other,
so you could imagine the servants having to get there in such a rush
before the food got cold, and we don't like cold food, do we?
Well, let's hope our items are red hot in the saleroom.
They're going under the hammer right now
and here's a quick recap of what we're taking.
Bound for the skip but luckily re-routed,
a writing desk all the way from India.
And the handcrafted oak tray with the telltale Mouseman emblem.
And the beautiful diamond and sapphire ring.
We've left Northamptonshire behind and travelled half an hour north to
Market Harborough in Leicestershire.
The town had its own canal branch line
and the wharf was busy in the 19th century,
when it was a distribution centre for coal and corn.
For us, though, it's time to see
how the riches we found at Althorp
were going to fare
as they go under the hammer.
And it looks promising.
We have two auctioneers on the rostrum for us today -
Mark and Will Gilding.
We're hoping we'll find a new home for the antler writing desk.
Going under the hammer right now, something from India from the Coromandel coast.
-That's on the east, isn't it?
Yes, it's that lovely little writing desk belonging to Marion.
This is a bang-on trend, current interior design piece, isn't it?
I mean, it is, let's face it.
-You see it in the magazines, everyone wants something like this, so...
-..this is it, good luck.
This Anglo-Indian antler bone and ivory writing box...
Bidding opens here with me on my book at 110.
120. 130. 140...
-Oh, bidding in the room, fantastic. Look at those hands.
170. 180, 190. 200.
210. 220, I'm bid in the room, now, at 220.
230 online now.
-Chap's in the room, 240.
-Back online, come on...
At 250 now with the internet.
260 in the room.
260. Come on, come on, let's do 300.
Selling away at £260...
-It's gone anyway, £260.
Now that's better than being in the skip, isn't it?
My husband's shocked!
-He will be.
-Fantastic. Thank you very much.
-Oh, that's all right.
-I hope you've enjoyed the day as well.
-Thank you. Oh, I have.
-It's been wonderful.
-It's been brilliant.
-Thank you very much.
-Well done you for making him bring it.
Thank you very much. I'm so excited.
A happy customer and a great start.
Let's hope the luck continues.
Well, we are literally serving up on "Flog It!" today a tray.
Yes, it's a Robert "Mouseman" Thompson one -
there's two chunky mice as handles!
I love it, Anne, I think it's absolutely brilliant.
I've not come across the tray before, so that's quite nice.
Yeah, it's nice. Good size.
-You know, very usable.
-We're used to seeing the cheeseboards, aren't we?
-Bookends, that sort of thing.
Exactly, but I love the tray.
-Yeah, so do I.
-It can be a little bit tricky because of the adzed top...
Little bit of a wobble, but, you know,
you put up with that to hold a bit of Mouseman, don't you?
-Course you do. Anyway, good luck, Anne.
-It's going under the hammer now.
The Mouseman tea tray, starting at £140.
140, 150 here.
At £150. 160, 170.
180, 190. 200 bid.
In the room at £200.
At £200... At 200, 210 online.
210, the online bidder, thank you.
210. The internet has the bid at £210.
That's good, isn't it?
-Well done. Thank you for bringing that in.
It's always nice to talk about great British craftsmanship.
That's what it's all about.
Now for one of Christina's favourite lots.
Good luck, Anthony. Hopefully we can find a loving home for your late mother's diamond and sapphire ring.
-It's going under the hammer right now, £1,000-£2,000.
-Do we have to sell it?
-That's a lot of carats, isn't it?
That's a lot of carat, that's a lot of ring.
Anthony, don't you want somebody to give it to?
-No, no. No.
I can understand why your wife doesn't want to wear it
cos she'd be so frightened of losing it...
Mucking out the horses or just riding and, you know, on a gallop one day, and...
-Yeah, but really...? Really?
-I'd wear it all the time!
-You would. You'd have to wear gloves over the top to protect it.
Yes, that's an idea. Don't suggest the gloves.
Let's sell it.
-Don't suggest gloves...
-Let's get the money.
Horses cost a lot of money, don't they?
-You need the money.
Right, let's find out what the bidders think, shall we?
Sapphire and diamond cluster ring...
At £850, at 850, I bid.
850. 900, and 50.
1,000. 1,100. 12.
1,300. 14. 1,500.
My bid at £1,500...
-No, he's out, he's out, he's out.
-£1,500, come on, telephone bidders.
Surely a telephone bid on this...
Now is your chance. At 1,500. 1,600.
-That's why you need two people.
Thank you. £1,800. John's telephone...
£1,800, are we all done?
-It's exciting, isn't it?
-Although I'm very sad to see this go.
1,900, right in the corner at 1,900.
£2,000, telephone bid.
-Anthony, that's brilliant.
-£2,000, we got that top end.
-We got that top end.
-Well done, you. And well done, you.
-Will it pay for the horse?
Just about, just about.
They are expensive, you know, I know what that's all about.
We're off to the Channel Islands, to Herm in a few weeks,
-so that'll be nice.
-It'll pay something towards that.
Well, there you go, our first three lots under the hammer done and dusted.
Some good results, but more importantly some very happy owners
and that's what it's all about.
We are coming back here later on in the show, so don't go away.
We could have that big surprise.
But before that, I had the opportunity of finding out what life was like
for thousands of workers around here
who navigated the waterways in narrow boats full of cargo.
This is a tranquil setting now -
the perfect place for a peaceful stroll.
But back in the 19th century,
the Grand Union was the canal equivalent to the M1 -
linking London to Birmingham, bustling with narrow boats,
their crew with horses pulling them along.
It was a trunk route for getting cargo from A to B.
Sculptor was a working boat
owned by the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company.
She's now in the hands of the Canal and River Trust,
who make sure she is shipshape.
I'm taking to the water with Lorna York,
whose family have been boat people since canals were first built.
She's been researching her family's heritage.
So, what did boat people do?
They were the lorry drivers of their day.
-They carried cargo to wherever it was wanted,
and they were continually moving up and down.
And how far do your family go back in the trade?
Well, the earliest mention I've got is the marriage of Timothy Bailey
to Mary Pemberton, 1796.
-Yes, it says, "boatman".
Are you an official boatman?
-This is your patch, isn't it?
-Yeah. Oh, yeah.
This is a photograph
of my great-great-grandmother, Caroline Yarnell,
and her daughter, Julia.
It's not a pretty picture.
It's not. She looks tough.
Yes. She was 81 when she died, on a boat, and she was still captain.
-As you can see, there's lots of boats cos there's a stoppage.
-So they all had to stop.
-I think what...
-And what would they have been carrying?
Wood. Coal, of course.
Anything you can think of.
As I said, they were lorry drivers.
-But they travelled on water.
-Any load, it doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter, brings in the money.
And what about your parents? Obviously they were boat people.
-My father was the last one born on a boat.
And I'm the first generation of what they call "on the bank".
-On the bank, OK.
-Is there another generation?
-Have you got kids that are going to...?
-Yes, I have three children.
And are they going to be boat people?
They've done their university education, they've got good jobs,
so maybe later, in another ten years,
they may decide that they want to be on a boat.
But it wouldn't be one of these.
-They'd like a bit of comfort.
-It'd have a roof on it.
-And a proper toilet!
And a bathroom. And a television.
Now, THIS is Blisworth Tunnel.
It was built 200 years ago to carry the canal under Blisworth Hill
south of Northampton.
Now, nowadays these narrow boats have an engine.
You can hear it, listen to that - boom, boom, boom, boom...
Chugging along nicely.
But back in the day,
they were pulled along by a heavy horse, harnessed up
on the towpath, pulled by rope.
Now, bear in mind, this tunnel is one and three quarter miles long,
and there are NO towpaths.
So how did they do it?
The canal company would employ men called "leggers",
who would literally be laying on boards off the side of the narrow boat,
legging their way through - one this side and one the other.
Now, can you imagine...? That is hard work
because when these boats are full with cargo, that's a heavy payload.
It's damp, it's cold.
Sometimes they'd have been soaking wet as well.
And once they'd finished this way,
there'd be another team ready to go back that way,
and then backwards and forwards,
so you'd work in tandem all day long.
And these boards were known as "wings",
so they were literally winging it as well!
We'll be finding out more about the life of the people who worked
on the boats a little later, but first,
I've spotted something that would have been vital
to the labourers and the vessels they operated...
A blacksmith's, right here on the towpath.
Bob Nightingale is a modern-day blacksmith
who's been perfecting his craft for 40 years.
What a great spot you've got here, right on the towpath as well.
So, how old is this blacksmith's?
Well, the blacksmith's shop was built in 1902
and it repaired the boats.
It repaired the metalwork on the boats
cos most of the boats were wood,
so there's always been a blacksmith's here...
And the blacksmith made all the tools for the bankmen,
cos all the banks would have been stripped bare...
and all the towpaths had to be maintained.
So you were really vital to the life of these people
that worked on these boats.
All of those people would have used me at some stage.
Yeah. Would there have been quite a few blacksmiths?
-As the canal cut was dug...
..there'd have been blacksmiths travelling along the canal.
They would have worn-out tools.
The tools weren't bought from central supply -
they were made on the spot.
Yeah. I guess having a location like this, right on the canal towpath,
a blacksmith would never be out of work, with all of this traffic
going backwards and forwards.
This was the major thoroughfare.
The tonnage that was carried in those days would have been vast.
-Yeah. Well, look, it's good to bump into you.
And you know what? Life has stood still for me here.
I've gone back 100 or 200 years.
You know, I've had a beautiful trip so far.
I'm jumping aboard now and we're carrying on our journey.
-My pleasure. Enjoy your day.
So, what would life have been like on the boat here?
If you were the woman, you would be steering.
You'd be preparing the meals, you'd be looking after the children.
If you were the man, you'd also be looking after the horse on the bank.
It was different when the motorboats arrived
because the man would be steering the motorboat,
the woman would be steering the butty,
so you've got two boats then.
In this particular boat, you were allowed two adults and two children.
-But if you had a butty boat, you could have another...
-Which is one that follows, that you tow with cargo in...
You could have another six children cos two children equals one adult,
so you've got eight children on-board already.
-That's a big family!
-No, no, that's quite small.
I wouldn't want to be with eight children on a narrow boat,
-that's for sure.
-And, of course, if they had more children than that,
they sort of had to disappear when the boat inspectors came round.
Right, so they'd hide somewhere?
They would hide or they'd be on another boat
and so on and so forth.
The children were always with their parents
because the boats were their home.
-They ate fairly well.
Anything that moved on the towpath was theirs...
-if it was edible.
-Whether it's pheasants, rabbits, or whatever.
So, all the kids were well looked after?
Oh, they were well looked after.
They might not have been clean, but then if you're in a boat
-with 60 tonne of coal on board, you're not going to be clean!
What about the education of the kids?
They didn't have any education.
Occasionally, when they were at a place where they were off-loading
or loading, they would go to the local school,
but it may be for half a morning, a morning, or a day.
-But that was it.
And they might not go to another school for maybe another month.
There was no actual medical care available to them as such
because they were on the move.
-But saying that,
there were places like Stoke Bruerne where they could get medical care.
The lady that lived in Lock Cottage, Sister Mary Ward,
looked after the boat families for 30 years and they trusted her.
They were looked down on and there was always a stigma.
They were called gypsies, dirty bargees, and so on and so forth,
so they were very mistrustful of the general population.
What brought on the end of the boat people?
What was it, the railways, really?
It was in stages.
After the First World War, you had all the men coming back
and all the lorries came back, and the road systems improved.
-And they could transport goods and stuff much quicker by roads.
-And then the last real bit was the big freeze of '62/'63.
That really put the nail in the coffin.
-And after that...
-Nothing could move.
Nothing could move for months on end and, after that,
they'd lost all the contracts to the road.
-It just disappeared. It just...
-It couldn't come back.
-It couldn't come back.
-No. Which brings us nicely...
to a pub.
You know, I know life has moved on,
but my little trip today has given me time to reflect.
It's actually slowed right down.
I've thoroughly enjoyed it.
It's given me time to appreciate what life WAS like for those boat people,
people that Lorna is so proud of.
Back at Althorp, our experts are working their way through the queue
and Will has unearthed something belonging to a man who lives on a narrow boat.
As I've just discovered,
there's not much space on-board for treasures.
-Well, Harvey, we met briefly in the queue over a couple of cardboard boxes...
..as is often the case,
and you showed me a photograph of what was inside,
and here we have it.
Unwrapped in all its glory.
A gilt metal mantel clock under a glass dome.
Tell me, it had a life before it came to you.
Yes, it goes right back to my grandmother.
I know she had it prior to the Second World War.
-So it survived the Blitz?
-It survived the Blitz in London.
-So I remember it as a child, standing there looking up at it...
and-and loved it...
-And, out of the blue, I found it had been left to me.
-So, I got it, I got it working...
-..but had nowhere to display it,
-so it lived in its box...
-..and there it's lived ever since.
So why don't you have it on display?
Um... I live on a narrow boat and there's no space.
-You live on a narrow boat?
-What fun. I've always been tempted, you know.
-Well, you should.
-And do you stay in one place,
or do you travel the country in your narrow boat?
We travel around.
We usually have a marina for the winter time.
-We get distracted.
-We've got to talk about the clock, haven't we?
Because I remember, in the queue, I asked you, we saw the photograph,
I said, "Is it spelter?"
And you said, "No, I think it's ormolu,"
which would be gilded bronze.
-It's spelter, yes.
-It is spelter, I'm afraid.
-Cheaper alternative to bronze, cheaper to manufacture.
By this stage, you're talking probably here late 19th century.
There was a great sort of explosion
in the size of the sort of middle classes.
Everyone wanted to sort of keep up with the Joneses.
You know, everyone had seen the big house on the hill, you know,
had the fancy clock on the mantelpiece and so on, so...
just to emulate that, really, and sort of your place socially.
Let me take this dome off.
You've done very well to keep that in one piece.
The dome itself has a value
cos someone might have a clock with no dome.
But let's have a look at the clock itself.
As I say, it's in spelter,
what we would call a sort of figural mantel clock.
We've got a lady here.
Is she emblematic of the seasons, perhaps?
They've used a harvest girl.
Here she is, look,
she's got her wheat sheaf here that she's harvested.
So, emblematic of the seasons.
You've got this white enamel dial, which, again, is in good condition.
You've got the Roman numerals nicely painted on there.
You've got a barrel movement - fairly mass produced, to be honest -
shipped all over the world
and placed into cases which were then retailed in those countries.
There's no bell on the movement, so it is a pure timepiece,
it's not a striking clock.
In theory, to be called a clock, it needs to strike -
either on the hour, quarters, that sort of thing.
So, it's a timepiece...
It may be a bit mean,
but I think it's got the look and the dome in good order...
I'm going to say £200-£300, how does that sound?
-Yeah? Is that all right?
-And what about a reserve?
I mean, how desperate are you to have it back if it doesn't sell?
Well, I've got nowhere to put it.
What's the least you would take for it,
and we'll stick that on as a reserve?
-Yeah, go 150.
-Shall we go 150?
-Tell you what, it's a deal.
-200-300, 150 reserve...
-Thank you. Lovely.
-..and, uh, bye-bye clock.
After exploring the house,
Christina's taken her find to the driveway.
Dean, Janet, THIS is arriving in style, is it not?
-There's no messing around here, is there?
Where on earth did you get it from? Dean, is it yours?
-It is mine.
I was given it from my nan as a Christmas present
when I was four years old.
-God bless Granny.
-God bless Granny.
-Four years old.
Four years old, so we're talking 26 years ago now.
And did you have it when you were a child, Mum?
I was with her when she bought it.
-And she bought this...
-And was it as a present for you?
For the family, brothers and sisters.
On Christmas Day we all had a go and then it was locked away.
-It was locked away?
-Boxing Day, locked away.
-Oh, my goodness.
And then it came to Dean here?
-And there is literally not a mark on it.
-It's been well looked after.
-It's been really well looked after.
Granny really cherished it, didn't she?
-All the Christmas presents, she did.
-Locked 'em all away.
-Oh, did she?
-Yeah, she was a rotter.
-At the time...
-I was going to say!
-She was a rotter.
At the time, that must have been incredibly frustrating, wasn't it?
It was. Dolls, everything got locked away.
So, Dean, as a four-year-old, were you allowed to play in this?
I was allowed to play in it a couple of times,
but it was never allowed outside the house.
I only pedalled around the living room in it.
-Oh! On the carpet.
-On the carpet, yeah.
So was that Granny telling you that, or was that Mum?
-I think that was Mum.
-So you inherited it from your mother!
-I mean, how does it drive?
-It just pedals along.
But there are no chips or anything on here,
so well done you guys for keeping it in such good condition,
because that is where your value is now.
We do see these a lot,
you know, they're not particularly rare.
-It's made by a company called Tri-ang, who, in the 1940s,
laid claim to being the largest toy manufacturer in the UK.
-So it's not a particularly rare, rare model.
But nonetheless, the fact that it's in such good condition
is really quite exceptional.
You've done incredibly well.
And the piece de resistance for me...
is you've got the box!
I mean, how did you think about keeping the box?
So many people just fling 'em away, burn them.
-That's Mum again.
-Mum always says, "You keep it in the box!"
-So, tell me, Dean, when you were pedalling this round...
-..what does this do?
Well, this button here,
this is for the horn...
-And this little button here is for the lights.
Oh, it's got lights!
-You have lights at the front and lights at the back.
Oh, the horn doesn't work!
No, the battery got left in there
-and it got a bit eroded...
-..but apart from that...
-Yeah, she forgot to take that out.
-It's not a biggie.
It's great, though, isn't it?
-You've got your adjustable seat here.
-Does the boot open?
-The boot does open, yeah.
I bet you put your packed lunches in there, did you?
-I put a radio in there.
-Oh, did you?
-Oh, I like it!
-Radio in there...
-And does the front open?
Yeah, the front opens as well.
Oh, I see, so there's your batteries and things in there.
-Your batteries and whatnot...
Exactly. Love it.
I really, really think that this will do well at auction.
I don't think... I mean, I've seen them sold before.
They tend to make maybe £100-£150, but for ME,
the fact that you've got this in such good condition
and the fact that YOU have kept it in such good condition,
-..all through the generations...
The fact that you've got the original box - which, I mean,
-I've never seen an original box - will really help the value.
Now, I would like to put an auction estimate of maybe £200-£300 on it.
-What do you think about that, guys?
-That's not too bad.
-Not too bad?
As long as it goes to the right person.
It will go to somebody who absolutely cherishes it because...
-I mean, where do you get another one in such good condition?
-That is where its value lies now.
So, well done, you.
I really, really love it, and I hope it goes va-va-voom...
-..over £300 for you.
-That'd be nice!
We're staying outside for the time being.
I'm meeting up with the gamekeeper at Althorp, Adey Greeno,
who's been here for 26 years.
Tell me about the deer.
Well, these are red deer
and they're a relatively new herd for us...
well, for Lord Spencer,
and we picked our blood stag up from Norfolk.
He's a big boy. You've also got, what, 400 other...?
-Yeah, we've got some fallow deer...
..which have been here since 1508.
And they're all named after cheese, aren't they?
Well, we bought the blood stag from Lord Leicester in Holkham Hall
and because he's a red deer and he was from the Earl of Leicester,
we called him Red Leicester, and then we've got Edam.
They're all named after cheeses and the little tiny one is Babybel.
-So it's just easier to keep them...
But as they... They'll be doubling up this June
and I think we're going to run out of cheeses quite soon.
It's a marvellous sight to see here on a late afternoon,
with this sun coming down,
and you expect to see them here in this parkland, don't you?
Yes, you do, and they do go hand in glove
with stately homes in this country,
and, as I say, the fallow deer have been here as long as the Spencers,
and Lord Spencer is always telling me
-that they have as much right to be here...
-As the family.
..as he and his family, yes.
Lovely. Absolutely beautiful.
Time to get back inside and Will's been busy.
Marion, tell me, are you local to Althorp?
Um, I am, about eight miles away in Overstone.
OK, so, tell me, how does someone eight miles from here
end up with something from halfway around the world?
It was my Uncle Bill's, who lived in London,
and who was a curator at the British Museum.
-Was he really?
-The Roman section,
and he loved actually anything that was Chinese or Japanese.
So he loved the Oriental...?
-It's the skill involved in creating these pieces, you know...
-If you have a look at this... what is an ivory cardcase,
-the intricacy of the work there is amazing, isn't it?
It makes you wonder how they...
How on earth they did it, how...
-They must have been super skilled...
-..or had a lot of patience,
-because I'm not sure I would have the patience.
-Both, I suppose.
And first of all, it is ivory and I'm just going to...
-I wasn't sure.
-You thought it might have been...?
Well, a good way of telling the difference between ivory and bone
is if you look at bone, generally it will have little flecks in it,
little black flecks.
-No dark flecks, it's going to be ivory.
And I've got to stress here that this certainly dates before 1947
because with the Cites licence
needed to sell pieces after that date,
pieces before that date are exempt from the legislation,
-so it's perfectly legal for us to sell this.
Well, it's come from China, you know that, but where in China?
There were two major sort of centres of ivory production in China.
-One was Beijing and one was Canton.
Beijing tended to concentrate on more natural carvings of ivory,
-intended for the domestic consumption...
..whereas Canton really was a centre of export,
sort of more bleached white ivory pieces that were intricately carved.
-They would turn it into bowls, cardcases, boxes,
all sorts - you name it, you could get it -
whereas in Beijing, I think they concentrated on more
the sort of natural organic shape of the ivory and worked around that,
-if you see what I mean.
Date-wise, again, turn of the century, 1900.
Canton, Chinese, little ivory cardcase,
but I think we're going to have to be sensible with our estimate...
-..and I would like to straddle that £100 mark.
-It's an old "Flog It!" favourite, I know...
..but if I said to you 80 to 120...
-..and we'd fix the reserve at 80, is that acceptable to you?
-Tell me if it isn't.
-I think I would like to try it at 100...
-That's fair enough.
-..if you don't mind.
-Listen, it's bang in the middle of my estimate...
-..so it stands a chance, doesn't it?
-And the estimate in that case will be published at 100 to 150.
I don't appreciate it as much as somebody else would.
-Well, that's the joy of auction - whoever buys it, wants it.
-Yes, that's it. Yeah, exactly.
-Have you enjoyed yourselves today? ALL:
Ye-e-es! They've done us proud.
We've found some real treasures
and right now we're going straight over to the auction room for the very last time.
I've got my favourites, you've got yours,
let's find out what the bidders think.
They're going under the hammer right now,
and here's a quick recap of the items we're taking with us.
There's no room for it on Harvey's narrow boat,
but the mantel clock will make a real statement in the right place.
It's absolutely pristine and should attract the bidders...
The smart Tri-ang pedal car.
And the intricate ivory cardcase from China.
We're back in the auction room,
with both Will and Mark Gilding on the rostrum,
and it's time to see if any bidders are keen
to fill their mantelpieces.
Good luck with this clock, Harvey.
-Certainly not the thing you want to keep on a narrow boat.
Yes, Harvey's sold his house, he's now living on a narrow boat.
I'm jealous. I'd love to live on a narrow boat, wouldn't you?
-Well, when you retire...?
Well... I wouldn't mind spending a night or two on a narrow boat...
-..and experiencing the whole thing, but not living on one.
Oh, you old lightweight!
He's only saying that cos you know he wouldn't really!
I'm going to go on the Blue Angel. We're going...
Hopefully, if we get a good result, you two can buddy up.
Right, let's find out what this is worth.
It's the French gilt metal and alabaster mantel clock...
With me at £120, I bid.
At 120. 120, I have, and 30. 140, I have bid.
150 and, 60, I have.
-It's going there.
-At £160, it's here with me at 160.
170, 180 bid.
At £180, I have, the absentee bidder at 180.
-I think he's going to sell at 180.
-He's got to sell it.
Yeah, using discretion. Yes!
180, just got away with it.
-Well, listen, at least it solves a problem for you.
-Yes, it does.
-It doesn't need to go on-board and that money can be spent
on antifouling paint or anything like that...
-Some new fenders.
-Yes, that's it.
Yes. No, that's great.
We are on a roll!
-Marion, it's great to see you again.
Going under the hammer right now we've got that ivory Chinese
cardcase and I think this is a good time to sell.
We're looking at around £100, £150?
-I think, in three or four years' time, there'll be a total ban
on ivory, irrespective of works of art or age, don't you?
-And rightly so.
-I think you might be right.
-I think everything's moving in that direction now,
-so a good time to sell.
Some Cantonese carved ivory, a visiting cardcase,
and bidding opens with me at £90.
-90, I'm bid.
100 in the room.
110, 120, 130.
140. 150 online.
Bidders all out down here then.
In fact, you're out this side as well.
It's 150 with the internet.
I will sell away then, fair warning at 150...
-£150. Well done, Will, top end.
-Well done you for looking after that...
..and hanging onto it, and bless you for coming in.
-I know you were really nervous, weren't you?
-Thank you very much.
Time now to press down hard on the accelerator.
I absolutely love this.
It is a classic and I've just found out today it's still boxed, isn't it?
You've got the original box.
-£200-£300 we said at the valuation day.
Now I know you've had a chat to the auctioneer.
-You've upped that valuation, 300-400, fixed reserve at 300.
So it can't sell for any less than 300.
No, and I sincerely hope it does...
I really hope that because it's in such good condition and it's got
its box, that it just nudges up there for you,
I really hope it does.
-Fingers crossed, eh?
Pedal to the metal, let's go! Here we go.
The Tri-ang Farina pedal car, with original packaging...
They start the bidding here with me at 260, 270, £280, I'm bid, at 280,
300... 20, 40, 60, 80.
400. 20, 40, 60, 80, 500.
My bid. £500, at 500.
50. 600. 50, 700. 50, 800.
And 50. I'm out.
At £850, watching you all carefully in the room at 850...
And 50. 1,000. 1,100.
-£1,100 here, standing at £1,100.
-That's brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
-1,200. And 50.
1,250. Last chance...
-Yes, 1,250, how about that?
The classic Top Gear! How about that?
Yeah, well done you for putting the reserve up.
-That was just fantastic.
-I'm glad I kept it on the wardrobe!
D'you know what...? Yeah, cos you must have looked after it for a little while.
-26 years. And it's so big, what do you do?
-On top of the wardrobe.
-And if you put it in a shed or the garage, it just gets rusty,
the box gets damp, you chuck the box...
Always keep it boxed.
Join us again for many more surprises, but until then,
from Market Harborough, from all of us here, it's goodbye.
Paul Martin presents from the ancestral home of the Spencer family: Althorp in Northamptonshire. Nineteen generations have lived here, employing local people to work at the house and vast estate. Antiques experts Christina Trevanion and Will Axon find a selection of antiques and collectibles to take to auction. Christina is drawn to a 1950s toy pedal car and Will finds a Mouseman tray. Paul discovers the Grand Union was the canal equivalent of the M1 as he takes to the water on a narrow boat and discovers what life was like for the boat people who ferried cargo from A to B.