St Albans 11 Flog It!


St Albans 11

Paul Martin presents this edition of the antiques series from St Albans Cathedral and Abbey in Hertfordshire. Experts Claire Rawle and James Lewis value items.


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Transcript


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Today, we're in the home county of Hertfordshire

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in the city of St Albans, which is just north-west of London.

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Our venue today is the magnificent St Albans Cathedral and Abbey

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and we've got our fingers crossed that something equally as gorgeous

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will end up on our valuation day tables.

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Welcome to Flog It!

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The cathedral city of St Albans is the successor of Verulamium,

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the third largest Roman city in Britain, which was founded in 50 AD.

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It was the only British Roman town to be declared a municipium,

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meaning that its inhabitants were officially Roman citizens.

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Today, both the city and the Cathedral and Abbey of St Albans

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are named after one of the Roman citizens of Verulamium,

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a man called Alban.

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Alban was the first man in the country

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to become a Christian martyr.

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He converted to Christianity towards the end of the third century,

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after sheltering a Christian priest who was fleeing Roman persecution.

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Alban exchanged clothes with the priest

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to help him escape and he took his place.

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His fellow Roman kinsmen soon identified Alban and said,

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"You have to renounce your new Christian faith."

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He wouldn't, so he was beheaded for his new beliefs.

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St Alban is still remembered here today in the cathedral and the abbey

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that bears his name and I can't wait to get inside

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to found out more about this intriguing story

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and, of course, we've got some valuations to be getting on with.

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We've got some antique business to do. Are you ready for this?

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-ALL:

-Yes!

-Well, let's get on with it.

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The crowd are raring to go and so are our experts,

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Claire Rawle and James Lewis, and they're going head-to-head today

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to uncover St Albans' most interesting and intriguing antiques.

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And it looks as if James is straight on the money.

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What have we got here? Ooh, early. Brilliant! Look at that! Roman.

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That's lovely and early.

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And Claire has found a necklace which deserves a closer look.

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That's very pretty. A little turquoise on it as well.

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-Yeah, right, could I sticker you?

-Yes.

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-And I can fast track you.

-Thank you.

-OK.

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While our experts keep hunting for more treasures,

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let's take a quick look at what's coming up later.

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-Claire has some fun with something nostalgic.

-I can't resist it.

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-Shall I set him going again?

-Go on.

-He gets a bit excited.

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-Argh!

-CLAIRE LAUGHS

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And at the auction, it's all smiles and handshakes.

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-Yes!

-That was short and sweet.

-Well done, well done.

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Two people fighting that out in the room.

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It's gone to somebody who will really like it.

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I'm sure they will cherish them.

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And later on in the show,

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I'll be visiting the theatre here in St Albans,

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but not these Roman remains.

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I'll be visiting a local theatre company who've taken inspiration

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from the Roman stage by using one of the props - the mask.

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But before that, it's time to throw open the doors to the cathedral

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and get everybody seated inside the beautiful nave.

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Getting us off the starting blocks is James,

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who has come across a great little collection.

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Probably the most common thing that is said to auctioneers

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and valuers up and down the country is,

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"It's got to be worth something, it's old."

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And, I have to say, the two things don't always go hand in hand.

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You can have something very modern, like a Banksy sketch,

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that can be worth hundreds of thousands,

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and then you can have something that's thousands of years old

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-and worth very little.

-OK.

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You've something here, Annie, that is incredibly early,

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but the question is, what's it worth? What do you know about these?

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All I know is that these three bottom coins are all Roman.

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They belonged to my second cousin, as did the other two,

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and I inherited them all when he died.

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I found them amongst his things.

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Somebody told me that the Roman ones were pre-invasion

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which, if that's true, I find quite interesting.

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The oldest is the one that I've never seen before and it's that one.

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-A-ha.

-So, that one there is Augustus and Agrippa.

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Now, this was struck after 10 AD.

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Let's turn it over.

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-Have you worked out what it is on the back?

-No.

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That is a crocodile standing in front of a tree.

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These are more common in Britain. Maximians. This one and this one.

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They would be 286 AD to 305 AD.

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Both are beautiful castings, really lovely condition.

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Next one, Elizabeth I.

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-It's 1,300 years later than these.

-Yes.

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Solid silver and it's what we call a struck groat,

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so it's just been banged, OK.

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And then above her, we have this one, and that's a George III coin,

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1797, known as cartwheel because of the thickness of the coin.

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So, value. We've got £10 there,

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bit less there.

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£15 there,

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£50 to £70 there

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and £6 to £10 there.

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All right? So, in terms of an action lot,

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I'd put them all together

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and I would put £70 to £100 on as an estimate.

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Are you happy to sell the lot cos I know that you were saying

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that there was one there that had a bit of sentimental value,

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so would you like to just take the one?

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-Yes, I'm sorry to mess you up.

-Go on.

-I'm going to keep that one.

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Can I ask why that one?

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Because when I was clearing all of my cousin's stuff,

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I'd got a huge drawer and I just picked up the drawer

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and stood it up vertically and I heard the ch-ch-ch-ch,

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and it was this that had fallen down the inside of the drawer.

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I remember it from 14 years ago when I was doing it,

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so I just want to keep it really.

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I think, for the sake of £10, it's worth keeping it

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but, having said that, I still think we should keep the same estimate -

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£70 to £100, with a £50 fixed reserve, OK?

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And I'm sure they'll do well and, hopefully,

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these little coins will make you a few more pennies

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to buy something else.

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I can't believe how low the estimate is for those coins,

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as they're steeped in history.

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And Claire is continuing the Roman theme over on her valuation table.

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So, Robert, you're from St Albans, aren't you?

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-And St Albans has a Roman heritage.

-That's right.

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Which is interesting because, in a way, your mirror has,

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because it's a mosaic decoration which, of course,

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the Romans used a lot of in their floors and decoration things.

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So, what can you tell me about this one?

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Only that Mother bought it at an auction sale in St Albans

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in the late '30s or early '40s.

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And did she particularly like mosaic or did she just buy things

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-that took her attention?

-She bought anything.

-Oh, right.

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And if she didn't like it after a month,

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-she took it back and put it into another auction.

-Oh, OK.

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-Well, this is, obviously, Italian-made.

-I would think so.

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Yes, I'm sure would have been made in Rome.

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They were making items like this for the tourist trade,

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by and large, and although this is 19th century,

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a lot of the micro mosaic work started in the 18th century,

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with the grand tour, where they made these brooches and decorative items

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with these very, very small tesserae -

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these little pieces of glass.

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And they made brooches of wonderful classical scenes and things

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and they are very, very collectible, very often mounted in gold.

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Then, as the centuries went on, into the 19th century,

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the items got a bit bigger. They did boxes as well as jewellery.

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But, actually,

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this is one of the nicest examples of mirrors I think I've seen.

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Very practical item, isn't it?

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-The unusual thing about it is the build-up.

-Yes.

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-It's not flat like a coffee table top.

-Exactly.

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It's the extra work that goes into that.

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You've got the 3-D, haven't you? They've built it up.

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And all these little bits are all

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different-coloured tiny little bits of glass put together.

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This is quite a traditional pattern, the floral pattern.

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I rather like the initials, so probably made to order for somebody.

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The wood looks like olive wood to me.

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A nice bevelled panel to the centre

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and I think this is a nice practical item.

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So, it's something you've obviously decided to sell?

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-Well, it's home is on my wife's dressing table.

-Right.

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-And she's getting a little absent-minded nowadays.

-Oh...

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-And a little clumsy.

-Oh.

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So, I thought let's get rid of it before it drops.

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Yeah, we don't want seven years of bad luck, breaking a glass.

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-No.

-I think it's actually quite a commercial item.

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Very, very decorative, very pretty.

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I think probably an estimate of £250 to £300

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and I think, also, it should be protected with a reserve of £250.

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-Are you happy with that?

-Yes, that sounds good.

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Do you want to fix the reserve at £250

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-or should we use a bit of discretion?

-Fix.

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-So you don't want it to go for any less than £250?

-No.

-That's fine.

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-We'll put a fixed reserve on it of £250, estimate £250 to £300.

-OK.

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-Excellent. Thank you very much indeed.

-That YOU very much.

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This is the shrine of St Alban.

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It was built in 1308,

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restored by the Victorians and then again in the 1990s.

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Over the centuries, countless pilgrims have visited here,

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offering prayer and leaving gifts at this medieval shrine.

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And today, it's still a place of meditation, prayer and worship.

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Pilgrims of a bygone age came here hoping for a miracle.

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You see these quatrefoils here, decorated at the bottom?

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There are some openings.

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These were known as healing holes

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and poorly pilgrims would insert their limbs,

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their legs or their arms, into these healing holes,

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hoping they would be made better, praying for a miracle.

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However, the real miracle is the shrine is here at all

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because, during the 16th century, the dissolution,

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Henry VIII's soldiers smashed this to pieces

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and the fragments were used to build a wall which went across there.

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The wall was taken down in the 1870s

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and those fragments were pieced back together

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and the shrine was reconstructed. And thank goodness it was,

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because that is a wonderful example of medieval craftsmanship.

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And right now, I'm hoping

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James Lewis is crafting his expert magic over at the valuation tables.

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Do you know, I don't think tobacco products have ever been

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as controversial as they are today.

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But they used to be incredibly popular.

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Queen Anne was known as "Snuffy Anne" because she was well-known...

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-You're not a Snuffy Sylvia, are you?

-No, not really, no, no.

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-We've got three snuffboxes and one snuff mull.

-Mull?

-Mull.

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If you've got a snuffbox in the form of a horn,

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-it's known as a snuff mull.

-Right.

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-You've got a little papier mache one from 1850.

-Wow.

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You've got a horn one from about 1830.

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-We've got another horn one, probably 1780.

-Yes.

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-And you've got this one, which is the best.

-The best.

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Which is the classic Scottish snuff mull.

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-Right.

-English tend to have snuffboxes, Scottish snuff mulls.

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-Mulls.

-If we take this and look around the edge, it says,

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-"George Flight, 1778."

-Yes.

-Tell me, what's going on here?

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Well, my mother was a Flight,

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-so that was her maiden name.

-Ah.

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And my grandfather was George Flight, so George has gone back

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all the way to the 1700s, so it's come down the family since then.

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-If only these things could talk.

-Exactly. Very tactile.

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-They are and they're personal, aren't they?

-Yes.

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-They're not necessarily like a table or a painting or a plate.

-No.

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This is something that's been in somebody's pocket

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-and lived a life with them.

-True.

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Family object, been in the family for over 200 years -

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what's it doing here?

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Well, my...my son, he's minimalist.

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He hasn't got a cabinet in his house,

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my daughter, she's got cabinets full.

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They don't want them, so I'd rather they could have something

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with this to have what they would like in remembrance of the family.

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-OK.

-That's why.

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-When it comes to value, that one is worth possibly £10, not a lot.

-No.

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Here we've got, again, sort of £20, £30 - a little bit more.

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But it's this one.

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It would have been great but it's got that great big crack in it,

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-look.

-Yes.

-So the condition is not good.

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-So that, I guess, may well be worth £30.

-Right.

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But the best one, the star, it's the snuff mull.

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And it's worth about £150.

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-So, if we add all those together, I guess we've got around £200.

-Mm-hmm.

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So, I would like to put £180 to £250 as an estimate

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-and a firm reserve of £170. Is that all right?

-That's for all of them?

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-For the lot.

-For the lot.

-Yeah.

-That would be fine.

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-Are you happy with that?

-Yes, I am.

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The horn, which Sylvia's snuffboxes and mull are made from

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would have come from a mountain sheep or cow.

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As you can see, our valuation day is in full swing.

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If you'd like to take part in the show, you have to come along

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to a valuation day just like this one at St Albans Cathedral.

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This is where your journey starts.

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Details of up and coming dates and venues are on our BBC website

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or check out our "Flog It!" Facebook page,

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or the details in your local press,

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because, fingers crossed, we're coming to an area near you soon.

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So, dust them down and bring them in and we'll flog 'em,

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and that's exactly what we're going to do right now.

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As you've just seen, our experts have found

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their first three items to take off to auction.

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Let's put those valuations to the test.

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Here's a quick recap of all the items

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that are going "ka", under the hammer.

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The age of Annie's coin collection spans an impressive 1,300 years.

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Fingers crossed, all that history will attract the bidders.

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After some reflection, Robert has decided

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it's time for his mosaic mirror to find a new home.

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And, finally, we hope the collectors turn out in force

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for Sylvia's three snuffboxes and snuff mull.

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We're only travelling a short distance to our saleroom in Tring.

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The origins of this small town go back even further

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than the Roman history of St Albans,

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as evidence of Iron Age barrows have been discovered in the area.

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We're testing our experts' valuations at Tring Market Auctions.

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Remember, whether you are buying or selling,

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there is always commission and VAT to pay.

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Here, sellers pay between 10% and 15%.

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Today, we are in the capable hands of auctioneer Stephen Hearn.

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But before the sale gets under way,

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I'm taking the opportunity to have a browse.

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I'm looking for something Roman from the city of Verulamium,

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which was, obviously, the old St Albans,

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and I've stumbled across something.

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Roman nails - look at that.

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Hand-forged nails from a Roman legionary fortress.

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But, sadly, not St Albans.

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This one came all the way from Perthshire in Scotland.

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AD 83-87. Look at that.

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And look at the condition of the nails. Incredible survivors.

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A great little lot which is in good company today

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with our Roman coins, which will be up shortly.

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But first under Stephen Hearn's gavel,

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is Sylvia's three snuffboxes and snuff mull.

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You came to the right man.

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James has one of the biggest collections in the UK of snuffboxes.

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It's the Scottish snuff mull that's the star of this lot.

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Let's mull over this then, shall we? Going under the hammer right now.

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-Good luck.

-Thank you very much.

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There is it. Little collection, four items there. There we are.

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What about £150 for them? £120 for them?

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Yes? 30 for them, yes? 40.

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The snuff mull is worth that.

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60. 70. 80.

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190. 200? No?

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At £190 then. It is your bid, sir.

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At £190, they're going to be sold.

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Down they go then.

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-For £190 then...

-GAVEL BANGS

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-That was quick wasn't it?

-Wow! It was quick.

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-Thank you.

-£190.

-Yeah.

-Thank you so much.

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Our first happy owner. Next, it's Robert's mosaic mirror.

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?

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Well, it has to be Claire, doesn't it?

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I've just been joined by Robert here, our next owner.

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Is £250 to £300 a true reflection

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of the price of that little micro mosaic work?

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Good luck with this. Why are you selling it?

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-It's either coming here or into the skip.

-It cannot go into the skip!

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No, it can't. That's why it's here.

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Somebody else is going to own this little mirror, fingers crossed.

0:17:500:17:53

It's going under the hammer right now.

0:17:530:17:55

The micro mosaic easel mirror, early part of the century.

0:17:560:18:00

What about that? 100, shall we say? 100 is bid for it.

0:18:000:18:03

Thank you very much, at £100.

0:18:030:18:05

And 10 for you, sir? And 20 now.

0:18:050:18:07

120. 130 I have. 140.

0:18:070:18:10

And 50. Perhaps 60.

0:18:100:18:12

No? At £150 then.

0:18:120:18:15

At £150 then. We're going to stop there.

0:18:150:18:17

At £150 then. We have to stop at £150.

0:18:170:18:23

-It didn't sell.

-Shame.

-I feared as much.

0:18:230:18:26

-My wife will be happy I'm taking it back.

-Oh, brilliant!

-Oh, right.

0:18:260:18:30

-A happy ending then.

-Yeah.

-It's a happy ending.

0:18:300:18:32

Finally, it's time to find out

0:18:330:18:35

if the Roman enthusiasts are in the room.

0:18:350:18:38

Right now, we're going to flip. Will it be heads or tails?

0:18:380:18:40

Because we've got that coin belonging to Annie.

0:18:400:18:43

There's about four coins here going under the hammer.

0:18:430:18:45

-Why are you selling the coins?

-Because I don't display them

0:18:450:18:48

and I don't really know the history of them,

0:18:480:18:50

so I thought it was time to let them go.

0:18:500:18:52

Surely it's got to be a couple of hundred pounds.

0:18:520:18:54

They're going under the hammer right now.

0:18:540:18:57

If you're not here, you can't buy them, so hard luck. Here we go.

0:18:570:19:00

There you are. There's three Roman, I believe,

0:19:020:19:05

and one Elizabethan shilling. What about those?

0:19:050:19:07

Ought to be £100 for those.

0:19:070:19:09

50, 60, 70, 80, 90.

0:19:090:19:11

100 now, surely? 100, I have.

0:19:110:19:14

And 10 for you, sir?

0:19:140:19:16

110. And 20 perhaps?

0:19:160:19:18

Yes. And 30? No more?

0:19:180:19:20

120 then, I'm selling. You're out. It's going.

0:19:200:19:24

Yes, it is. You can have another 10.

0:19:240:19:26

Ah, 130, there you go, see.

0:19:260:19:28

At 130. I'm awfully sorry. 40?

0:19:280:19:31

No? At 130 then.

0:19:310:19:33

-I'm selling at £130.

-GAVEL BANGS

0:19:330:19:36

-Brilliant! Better than 70 quid, wasn't it?

-Yes.

0:19:360:19:39

Still, not a lot of money for a lot of history.

0:19:390:19:42

-And you've been the proud custodian of these.

-Indeed, yes.

0:19:420:19:45

How fascinating! That's real history in your hand. If only it could talk.

0:19:450:19:50

No? 75 and I'm selling. £75...

0:19:500:19:53

There you are. That was fast and furious.

0:19:550:19:57

First three lots under the hammer, done and dusted.

0:19:570:20:00

We are coming back here later on in the show, so don't go away.

0:20:000:20:04

Now, earlier in the programme, I told you how the city of St Albans

0:20:040:20:07

was the successor to the Roman town of Verulamium.

0:20:070:20:10

The Romans had a big impact on this area and on Britain as a whole

0:20:100:20:13

and many of their influences can still be seen today,

0:20:130:20:16

as I found out when I took a trip with a cultural flavour.

0:20:160:20:20

The ancient Romans improved the quality of life for many Britons

0:20:310:20:34

by introducing luxuries and comforts, such as central heating,

0:20:340:20:38

but they also brought lively entertainment too,

0:20:380:20:40

in places such as this theatre.

0:20:400:20:43

Verulamium's Roman theatre,

0:20:460:20:47

the remains of which are in St Albans today,

0:20:470:20:50

was built around 140 AD and is unique in Britain,

0:20:500:20:54

as it's the only one of its kind to have a stage.

0:20:540:20:58

All others are amphitheatres.

0:20:580:21:00

Roman performers strutting around the stage would have worn masks

0:21:020:21:06

very much like this one. However, that's not an ancient Roman mask.

0:21:060:21:10

It is Romanesque in style,

0:21:100:21:11

but it's a modern creation made by a local theatre company,

0:21:110:21:15

here in St Albans, called Trestle, who have adopted

0:21:150:21:18

the ancient practice of mask-wearing into their performance.

0:21:180:21:22

They've made it their own, they've made it unique.

0:21:220:21:24

Trestle is over 30 years old.

0:21:310:21:33

It was formed in 1981 as a touring theatre company

0:21:330:21:36

who worked with masks and other forms of physical theatre.

0:21:360:21:40

Nearly 20 years later, they gave up their nomadic existence

0:21:440:21:47

when they moved into this converted hospital chapel in St Albans,

0:21:470:21:51

which they named the Trestle Arts Base.

0:21:510:21:53

Trestle are one of the first touring theatre companies

0:21:530:21:56

to create their own home and they've been here ever since.

0:21:560:21:59

I'm meeting artistic director Emily Gray

0:22:060:22:08

to find out more about the company

0:22:080:22:10

and, hopefully, get my hands on some of their extraordinary masks.

0:22:100:22:15

So, tell me, how do you incorporate

0:22:160:22:18

the ancient performance of mask-using in your work?

0:22:180:22:21

Masks were obviously used right back at the beginning of theatre,

0:22:210:22:24

so the Greeks used masks. They used them to seem bigger than life,

0:22:240:22:27

-so people could play gods, men could play women.

-Sure.

0:22:270:22:31

Massive amphitheatres, you could see the characters.

0:22:310:22:34

Then the Romans used them. They took them from the Greeks

0:22:340:22:38

and they started making much more stock characters of masks,

0:22:380:22:41

so you'd start to recognise the hero character or the villain

0:22:410:22:46

and that then developed into the 16th-century commedia dell'arte.

0:22:460:22:49

-Sure.

-So, the half-mask characters,

0:22:490:22:52

and they became terribly popular across Europe.

0:22:520:22:54

When we use our masks,

0:22:540:22:55

they're also very, very strong characters that come in.

0:22:550:22:58

And the whole idea of the performance is it's very immediate.

0:22:580:23:01

It's about engaging your audience. There's no fourth wall there.

0:23:010:23:04

It's the audience and the masks,

0:23:040:23:06

so it's all about eyeballing that audience, improvising with them.

0:23:060:23:10

I like this chap. He's a mohican, sort of, a punk. Look at that.

0:23:100:23:15

-This is Maurice the Mohican. Get his mohican to stand up properly.

-Ah!

0:23:150:23:20

THEY LAUGH

0:23:200:23:22

And he is one of our oldest masks, so he's from the early '80s,

0:23:220:23:25

-of course the era of punk.

-He's brilliant.

-He's brilliant.

0:23:250:23:29

He was in a show called Hanging Around,

0:23:290:23:31

which took place on a park bench

0:23:310:23:33

and it had your punk and your boy scout and your mod.

0:23:330:23:36

It was very '80s.

0:23:360:23:38

These masks here are from the older shows

0:23:380:23:41

and from the performances where there's huge detail

0:23:410:23:44

in the character in these.

0:23:440:23:46

These ones are more for our educational work.

0:23:460:23:49

There are eight of these masks, the basic masks,

0:23:490:23:51

-and they're very clear expressions, almost cartoon.

-They are.

0:23:510:23:54

We all know that this guy is happy.

0:23:540:23:56

And then you get the slightly more complicated set,

0:23:560:23:58

the intermediate ones, who have a bit more going on in them,

0:23:580:24:01

-a bit more expression in there.

-There's a worried look there.

-Yes.

0:24:010:24:05

Then we get to the advanced masks,

0:24:050:24:07

so these are more like the show masks.

0:24:070:24:10

-That's a bit more getting towards a human face.

-I can see that, yeah.

0:24:100:24:13

The most recent ones we've created are actually these ones.

0:24:130:24:16

-These ones talk to you, you see. Ha-ha!

-Oh, yes!

0:24:160:24:19

So, that's a devil, that's the devil mask.

0:24:190:24:22

I'm pleased you did that, not me.

0:24:220:24:25

For years, we didn't speak as a company, you see.

0:24:250:24:28

-It was completely mimed then?

-Yeah, completely. No sound.

0:24:280:24:31

Which meant we could travel anywhere and people understood us

0:24:310:24:34

anywhere we went. There was no basis in language.

0:24:340:24:36

But with these half masks, we can look at Shakespearean archetypes,

0:24:360:24:40

we look at the Greeks, we can do storytelling more,

0:24:400:24:43

so these are very fun

0:24:430:24:45

-cos they obviously bring in the voice.

-They do.

0:24:450:24:48

Alongside Trestle's professional performances

0:24:500:24:52

and their educational work,

0:24:520:24:53

the company also makes sets of masks

0:24:530:24:56

from their studio in the Trestle Arts Base,

0:24:560:24:58

which are then sold all over the world.

0:24:580:25:01

Joseph, who works in the studio, is showing me how they are made.

0:25:010:25:05

We take this resin mould and we put it in the vacuum former.

0:25:080:25:13

So that gets lowered in. Then we take a piece of plastic...

0:25:160:25:19

..heat it up...

0:25:210:25:23

PAUL LAUGHS

0:25:270:25:30

-Then give it a knock on the head so...

-Sure.

-..the mould falls out.

0:25:320:25:35

And then we'll go over here and cut it out.

0:25:350:25:37

So we do the eye holes and then the elastic holes

0:25:440:25:47

and then that's it done for this room.

0:25:470:25:51

-And then you get creative.

-Mm-hmm.

-Come on, let's do it.

-OK.

0:25:510:25:54

Talk me through what happens next.

0:25:570:25:58

What we do next is cut these out

0:25:580:26:01

cos they've not really got a good shape at the moment.

0:26:010:26:04

That's very quick.

0:26:040:26:06

-That's taken off all the rough edges there.

-Who do you sell these to?

0:26:070:26:10

We primarily sell to schools and drama groups and things like that.

0:26:100:26:14

-All over the world.

-Al over the world, yeah.

0:26:140:26:16

We send internationally as well as the UK.

0:26:160:26:19

-And how many of these do you make a day then?

-A day?

0:26:190:26:21

-The record's probably about 100 masks in a day.

-I'm very impressed.

0:26:210:26:25

-Right, I want to decorate one. Can I decorate one?

-Sure.

0:26:250:26:28

OK, this is the mischievous mask in the basic set

0:26:280:26:31

-and this is what it will look like when it's finished.

-OK.

0:26:310:26:35

A bit more blue.

0:26:390:26:40

-How's that?

-It looks good.

-Is that all right?

-Yeah, it looks good.

0:26:440:26:47

It's nearly there, isn't it?

0:26:470:26:49

The only thing now we need to do

0:26:490:26:51

is put some elastic on it and it's ready to go.

0:26:510:26:54

Right, here's my mask. It's nearly dry.

0:26:540:26:58

I think, before I leave here,

0:26:580:27:00

I should give it a test drive, don't you?

0:27:000:27:03

And Emily has kindly agreed to run through one of her workshops.

0:27:030:27:06

So now it's time to dim those lights.

0:27:060:27:09

I'm going to pop this on you.

0:27:110:27:13

You're going to look at me, not look at the audience yet.

0:27:130:27:16

Here's your hat. Here we go.

0:27:160:27:19

Great. Round I go. And let's see you. Hello!

0:27:190:27:23

Ha-ha! Are you going to say hello to everybody?

0:27:230:27:25

Look at all your audience here. There we go.

0:27:250:27:28

How are you feeling today? Show me in your body how you're feeling.

0:27:280:27:32

Oh, look who's here. Look who's here.

0:27:320:27:34

Um, so you have been very naughty, haven't you? I know.

0:27:350:27:39

You've really upset her. Are you going to say sorry?

0:27:390:27:42

Oh, look, he's going to say sorry to you. Is that...?

0:27:420:27:45

Do you believe him? No.

0:27:470:27:49

You need to apologise, show us that you're really, really sorry.

0:27:490:27:53

And I want to see you being really true to...

0:27:530:27:57

Oh, are you going to have a hug? Oh. Oh, how lovely.

0:27:570:28:01

They could be together. Happy? Good. Oh, you're excited now.

0:28:010:28:06

Really happy! Really happy, great, great.

0:28:060:28:09

Let's see you together in a final pose.

0:28:090:28:11

Looking happy together!

0:28:110:28:14

Oh, careful of him. Careful there. There we go. Hoorah! Well done.

0:28:140:28:18

APPLAUSE

0:28:200:28:22

Well, here, back in the nave, you can see

0:28:270:28:29

there are still hundreds of people

0:28:290:28:31

and, I must add, waiting patiently - thank you so much -

0:28:310:28:35

-with smiles on their faces. Having a good time? ALL:

-Yes!

0:28:350:28:38

The good news is you're nearly at the front of the queue,

0:28:380:28:41

where it's lights, camera, action.

0:28:410:28:43

We're going to catch up with our experts

0:28:430:28:45

to see what other treasures we can find.

0:28:450:28:48

MUSIC: Theme tune to Doctor Who

0:28:480:28:49

And it's over to Claire's table.

0:28:490:28:51

Well, Alan, we're in this ancient historical site

0:28:510:28:55

and what do you bring in? Science fiction!

0:28:550:28:58

-Wonderful! So, were these yours?

-They were my son's.

0:28:580:29:01

-Right.

-And they come from the '70s, I bought them.

0:29:010:29:04

-Does he know you're here?

-He does now.

-Oh, OK.

0:29:040:29:08

THEY LAUGH

0:29:080:29:10

-Have you got a lot more of these at home?

-Yes, a loft full.

0:29:100:29:12

Oh, right, OK. I have a sneaking suspicion, though,

0:29:120:29:16

-you actually quite like them yourself.

-I do actually.

0:29:160:29:19

The thing is with toys, they're a very nostalgic thing,

0:29:190:29:23

so people tend to buy into things they remember playing with.

0:29:230:29:26

It does also make you feel rather old

0:29:260:29:28

when suddenly toys you played with

0:29:280:29:30

become collectors' items, I can tell you.

0:29:300:29:33

Now, with robots, they really started making robots in the '50s,

0:29:330:29:37

so it's the '50s ones that make far more, whereas you say this is 1970s.

0:29:370:29:41

-Yes.

-He's Japanese made, which a lot of them were.

-Yeah.

0:29:410:29:46

-Battery-operated and he does work.

-Yes.

0:29:460:29:49

-So he wanders forward. Quite fun. Ooh, I say, he's flashing.

-Yes.

0:29:520:29:56

But the nice thing is you have the box.

0:29:560:29:58

-Now, the box not looking too good.

-No.

0:29:580:30:01

-But you've got the box and it's complete.

-Yes.

0:30:010:30:05

There are people that collect robots and people that love Doctor Who.

0:30:050:30:08

So, here we have Doctor Who game,

0:30:080:30:11

and you obviously looked after it well because, hey presto,

0:30:110:30:14

-it's pretty well complete, isn't it?

-Oh, yes, it is, yes.

0:30:140:30:18

So, we have our silver Daleks and our gold Daleks,

0:30:180:30:21

-all with plungers attached.

-Yes.

-OK.

0:30:210:30:25

No bits missing, presumably all the counters and things.

0:30:250:30:28

And I assume that you just parade them round the...

0:30:280:30:30

-Yes, you go round there.

-..round the track.

0:30:300:30:32

And Doctor Who has been such a cult show for so long.

0:30:320:30:35

I mean, I remember watching it when I was quite small, a long time ago.

0:30:350:30:39

So, there is a big collecting market for Doctor Who

0:30:390:30:42

so, again, a very collectible item.

0:30:420:30:44

-You've obviously decided to sell them.

-I have.

0:30:440:30:48

-I think we need to talk value.

-Please.

-OK, so the robot.

0:30:480:30:52

He's a little bit later, so he's not going to be hundreds of pounds.

0:30:520:30:55

-I think £60 to £80, £50 reserve.

-Mm-hmm.

-Is that good?

0:30:550:31:00

-Yes, that's fine.

-Excellent.

0:31:000:31:02

However, Daleks, I think this is actually quite unusual.

0:31:020:31:05

I haven't seen this game before and I certainly haven't seen

0:31:050:31:08

anything so complete as this and, again, it's Doctor Who.

0:31:080:31:12

-I think this will be a bit more.

-Oh, right.

0:31:120:31:14

-I think it's going to be £80 to £120.

-Good God.

0:31:140:31:16

And I'd put a £70 reserve on it. Is that good?

0:31:160:31:19

-That's fine, yes.

-Excellent. Right, well I can't resist it.

0:31:190:31:22

-Shall I set him going again?

-Go on.

0:31:220:31:24

-He gets a bit excited.

-He does, yes.

-Argh!

0:31:240:31:27

CLAIRE LAUGHS

0:31:270:31:29

I'm glad you're having fun, Claire.

0:31:310:31:34

Next, a very knowledgeable owner is educating James.

0:31:340:31:37

Brian, are you a collector or are these family?

0:31:390:31:42

No, they're not family.

0:31:420:31:44

I am a collector of mainly First World War medals,

0:31:440:31:47

but medals generally are a passion of mine as well.

0:31:470:31:51

-These aren't First World War though.

-No, no.

-They're earlier.

0:31:510:31:53

Yeah, they're much earlier, most of them.

0:31:530:31:55

-Tell me, where did you find them?

-I found them at a local auction.

0:31:550:31:59

It was mainly household items at a weekly sort of sale

0:31:590:32:02

and there just happened to be one group of medals

0:32:020:32:04

-and it was this group.

-Right.

0:32:040:32:06

Being a medal collector, you will have done the research.

0:32:060:32:09

-I've done a fair bit.

-So, tell me about the set.

0:32:090:32:12

They all belonged to one gentleman, a Mr J Johnson,

0:32:120:32:15

or Warrant Officer J Johnson, as he was in the forces.

0:32:150:32:19

He served from 1879, at least,

0:32:190:32:22

right through to the turn of the century

0:32:220:32:24

and was still alive to receive the Meritorious Service Medal in 1935,

0:32:240:32:29

so he's spanning 40, 45 years of probably continuous service.

0:32:290:32:34

-For me, the medal that causes all the emotion is this one.

-Yeah.

0:32:340:32:39

The South Africa Medal, the Zulu Wars,

0:32:390:32:41

the Battle of Rorke's Drift following Isandlwana,

0:32:410:32:45

those wonderful Zulus fighting for their homeland.

0:32:450:32:48

That's the medal that people got.

0:32:480:32:51

Moving on. Egypt - tell me about that.

0:32:510:32:53

This gentleman, by that time, he was entitled to the Egypt Medal.

0:32:530:32:57

-It has got his naming on it but it's in poor impressed capitals.

-OK.

0:32:570:33:01

-Ashanti.

-This is a very interesting star.

0:33:010:33:05

It was only awarded to around 2,000 troops,

0:33:050:33:09

who went up to suppress the king of the Ashanti.

0:33:090:33:12

-OK.

-There was no fighting.

0:33:120:33:14

When they got there, the king, Prempeh, said,

0:33:140:33:17

"I haven't got the gold that you want."

0:33:170:33:19

But they decided they had to come home anyway.

0:33:190:33:21

So, although 18 died from fever, most of them got back,

0:33:210:33:25

-so it's what they call attributable to the group.

-Brilliant.

0:33:250:33:28

-So that research helps us no end.

-Exactly.

-Next.

0:33:280:33:31

The Meritorious Service Medal, as I said at the beginning,

0:33:310:33:34

it wasn't awarded to him until 1935.

0:33:340:33:36

-That is almost like for still being alive.

-Yeah.

0:33:360:33:39

They issued a certain number each year

0:33:390:33:41

or to people when they died, they passed on to the next one entitled.

0:33:410:33:44

And the one on the end, that's the Khedive's Star.

0:33:440:33:46

-That relates back to Egypt.

-Egypt. Wow!

0:33:460:33:49

We often talk in the antiques world about things that go down in value

0:33:490:33:53

or it's not as fashionable as it once was.

0:33:530:33:55

But anybody who's invested in medals over the last 20 years

0:33:550:33:58

will have seen a very, very good return on their investment.

0:33:580:34:01

They've gone up considerably. So, in terms of value, what did you pay?

0:34:010:34:06

I paid around £650 with commission.

0:34:060:34:08

OK, I think we're going to get 50, another 50 there.

0:34:080:34:12

-I think there we've probably got a couple of hundred.

-Yeah.

0:34:120:34:16

-Here, another hundred.

-Yeah.

0:34:160:34:18

And here, probably 500 to 800.

0:34:180:34:21

I think you're in the right ballpark.

0:34:210:34:23

So if we said bottom estimate, £800 to £1,200.

0:34:230:34:25

I think you'd be very close to being on the mark, sort of thing.

0:34:250:34:28

Again, if there's two collectors and somebody wants it...

0:34:280:34:31

Yeah, well, let's hope somebody actually sets foot

0:34:310:34:35

into the saleroom and we have a battle over those.

0:34:350:34:38

-Thank you very much.

-Pleasure.

0:34:380:34:40

Earlier on, I showed you the shrine of St Alban

0:34:420:34:45

where pilgrims come to worship

0:34:450:34:47

the first Christian martyr in this country, St Alban.

0:34:470:34:50

Well, he's also been immortalised in another way.

0:34:500:34:53

There's a bun named after him and I've got a sneaky suspicion

0:34:530:34:57

this chap here can tell me more about it.

0:34:570:34:59

-Hello, Brother.

-Hello!

-Who are you dressed up as?

0:34:590:35:02

-I'm Brother Rockcliff.

-Brother Rockcliff.

0:35:020:35:04

-I'm from the 14th century.

-Right, OK.

-And I've been baking all night.

0:35:040:35:08

-They're not rock buns, are they? Rock cakes?

-No, no.

0:35:080:35:11

They're sticky buns, hot cross buns.

0:35:110:35:13

These are the famous Alban buns, which you can see the cross on them.

0:35:130:35:17

-We don't call them hot cross buns.

-OK.

0:35:170:35:19

But they originate from St Albans Abbey and in the 14th century,

0:35:190:35:23

this recipe was prepared and it's still a big secret. Have a go.

0:35:230:35:28

Can I break it in half?

0:35:280:35:30

-Mmm.

-What comes across?

-Spice.

0:35:310:35:33

People have tried before, endless times,

0:35:330:35:36

to try and get the recipe but it's a big, big secret.

0:35:360:35:39

Well, I hope our experts are having as much fun at the valuation tables.

0:35:390:35:43

We need one more item to take off to auction.

0:35:430:35:45

Who's that lucky owner going to be?

0:35:450:35:47

-Let's find out and I'll enjoy my bun. Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:35:470:35:51

Norma, it's lovely to see you today

0:35:540:35:56

and you've brought in this charming jewel

0:35:560:35:59

in this magnificent setting here, isn't it?

0:35:590:36:01

It was bought for my aunt when she was a young girl

0:36:010:36:05

by my uncle before they got married

0:36:050:36:08

and it was his first ever present to her and it was bought in 1919.

0:36:080:36:14

It was bought in Darlington and that was the box that it came in.

0:36:140:36:19

And it's been there ever since, practically,

0:36:190:36:22

since she gave it to me.

0:36:220:36:23

-Do you remember her ever wearing it?

-No, not really.

0:36:230:36:26

I think it was one of those things you wore

0:36:260:36:28

if you went out somewhere extra special.

0:36:280:36:31

-Yes, sort of dressed up, it's the finishing touch.

-Yes.

0:36:310:36:34

What about you? Have you ever worn it?

0:36:340:36:36

I think I've put it on once and then I thought,

0:36:360:36:39

"It's not quite the right thing", so I put it back in the box.

0:36:390:36:43

-It's a shame, yeah, it's a shame to be sat there.

-It is really.

0:36:430:36:47

It's such a pretty item. I think it does have an appeal for today.

0:36:470:36:50

They're quite simply made. They're stamped out in 9-carat gold

0:36:500:36:54

and you get this wonderful sort of scrolling open effect

0:36:540:36:56

and they would very traditionally put seed pearls in them,

0:36:560:36:59

tiny little seed pearls.

0:36:590:37:01

But I like the fact it's got this turquoise drop.

0:37:010:37:04

It just makes it finished, doesn't it?

0:37:040:37:05

It lifts it out of the ordinary cos, very often,

0:37:050:37:08

they have a little tourmaline or a coloured stone

0:37:080:37:10

-but I think this turquoise actually makes it...

-It sets it off.

0:37:100:37:13

-It does and it looks a bit more fashionable today.

-Yes.

0:37:130:37:16

It's a stone I think people would like.

0:37:160:37:18

And it's got it's original little suspension

0:37:180:37:21

but I think it does have a commercial appeal

0:37:210:37:24

for today's market. And I think, from a collecting point of view,

0:37:240:37:27

the fact you've still got it in its original box, from Darlington,

0:37:270:37:31

where it was originally bought,

0:37:310:37:33

-it gives it that much more history, doesn't it.

-Yeah.

0:37:330:37:35

It's a lovely family thing.

0:37:350:37:37

Had you given any thought to its value at all?

0:37:370:37:40

Probably somewhere around £100, something like that. I'm not sure.

0:37:400:37:44

Yeah, there was a time when they were making that fairly easily

0:37:440:37:47

but, because jewellery, the fashions have changed a bit,

0:37:470:37:50

they've come back a bit, my feeling is it won't quite make that much.

0:37:500:37:54

I think we're going to be looking at much nearer £60 to £80,

0:37:540:37:57

-that sort of price. I don't know if that sounds OK to you.

-Yeah.

0:37:570:38:00

I suggest putting a reserve on it of £50 to protect it on the day.

0:38:000:38:04

-Yes, I wouldn't like to see it go less than that.

-No.

0:38:040:38:08

-Thank you very much indeed.

-You're welcome.

-Thank you.

0:38:080:38:10

There you are. Our experts have now found their final items,

0:38:120:38:16

which means it's time to say farewell

0:38:160:38:18

to our magnificent host location today -

0:38:180:38:21

the fabulous St Albans Cathedral and Abbey.

0:38:210:38:24

And what a wonderful crowd we've had.

0:38:240:38:26

Thank you so much as well for bringing in all of your treasures.

0:38:260:38:30

Our journey isn't over yet.

0:38:300:38:32

We've got one final visit to the auction room

0:38:320:38:34

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

0:38:340:38:38

Dragged out of the attic, Alan's 1970s robot and Daleks board game

0:38:390:38:43

are sure to exterminate some bids in the saleroom.

0:38:430:38:46

Bought at local auction, Brian's collection of military medals

0:38:500:38:53

are heading back under the hammer.

0:38:530:38:55

And finally, Norma's gold necklace with seed pearls and turquoise drop

0:38:570:39:02

was made to be worn, so let's find a new owner.

0:39:020:39:04

We're back at Tring Market Auctions,

0:39:070:39:09

where auctioneer Stephen Hearn is still hard at work.

0:39:090:39:11

And it's time to put the first of our valuations to the test.

0:39:110:39:15

Right, our next lot.

0:39:150:39:16

We've got two lots coming up which will suit

0:39:160:39:19

all you modern-day collectible enthusiasts.

0:39:190:39:21

It's 20th century modern.

0:39:210:39:23

We've got a 1970s robot and a Daleks board game,

0:39:230:39:25

belonging to Alan, who can't be with us.

0:39:250:39:27

So granddad's not here but we've got the grandchildren, Anya and Ashley.

0:39:270:39:31

-Yes.

-I'd be playing with this robot, if I was you.

0:39:310:39:33

I'd be thinking, "Granddad, I want that robot

0:39:330:39:35

-"for later on in life because that will look great on..."

-No, no.

0:39:350:39:39

-You don't want a robot?

-I don't want a robot, no.

0:39:390:39:41

I'd go for the robot not the Daleks game. What about you?

0:39:410:39:44

Definitely Daleks because I'm a massive Whovian, so...

0:39:440:39:48

It's going under the hammer right now. We're going to find out

0:39:480:39:50

what everyone thinks of the robot. Here we go.

0:39:500:39:52

A battery-operated superrobot.

0:39:540:39:56

How about that? £100 for him? 100?

0:39:560:39:59

Or 50? Yes. 60. 70. 80.

0:39:590:40:02

Let's go like a robot.

0:40:020:40:04

90. 100. And 10. And 20.

0:40:040:40:07

-Wow.

-30.

0:40:070:40:09

130 for him then. He's going for £130.

0:40:090:40:12

GAVEL BANGS

0:40:120:40:13

-That went quickly.

-Yes!

0:40:130:40:15

One down, one to go. If this one doesn't sell, I will exterminate.

0:40:150:40:20

There you are. War of the Daleks.

0:40:210:40:23

40 perhaps? 30 perhaps?

0:40:230:40:26

Yes! 30 I'm bid for the Daleks. At 30 we're bid now.

0:40:260:40:30

Are you going to be 5, sir?

0:40:300:40:31

And 40. And 5. We close at £45. 50 perhaps?

0:40:310:40:36

No? At £45 then.

0:40:360:40:39

-Ah! No Doctor Who fans here.

-I thought it would have done more.

0:40:390:40:43

But you said you'd like that one.

0:40:430:40:45

Yeah, I wish I'd bought money with me now.

0:40:450:40:48

But hey, you can take it home with you.

0:40:480:40:50

Thank you anyway for standing in for him.

0:40:500:40:53

Next up, it's Norma's pretty gold pendant

0:40:530:40:55

and she plans to spend any proceeds on her grandchildren.

0:40:550:40:58

If Claire was allowed to buy it, I think she'd buy this.

0:41:000:41:04

Why are you selling it anyway?

0:41:040:41:06

Well, it's just sitting in a drawer in a box

0:41:060:41:08

and nobody's getting any wear out of it.

0:41:080:41:11

That's what most of our owners say.

0:41:110:41:13

"It's in a drawer, in a box and no-one looks at it,

0:41:130:41:15

-"no-one wants it."

-It's a shame.

0:41:150:41:16

-You'd rather have the cash to go and have some fun.

-Yes.

0:41:160:41:19

Go and spend it on yourself. It's going under the hammer now. Ready?

0:41:190:41:22

-Yes.

-Enjoy this.

0:41:220:41:24

What about that one? £80 for it. Or 50. Or 40. Bid.

0:41:240:41:28

5. 50 bid. 5. 60 bid.

0:41:280:41:30

5. 70?

0:41:300:41:32

At £65. 70 now then?

0:41:320:41:34

No. I'm selling.

0:41:340:41:36

-It's going down then for £65.

-GAVEL BANGS

0:41:360:41:41

-Treat the grandchildren then.

-Yes.

-How many have you got?

0:41:410:41:43

-Two small ones.

-What are they called? Give us their names.

0:41:430:41:46

-Beatrice and Oscar.

-Oh, Oscar!

0:41:460:41:49

He's going to sound like a character, isn't he, little Oscar?

0:41:490:41:51

-He is. He's dynamite.

-And Beatrice.

0:41:510:41:53

Great names, great names. Hello, if you're watching.

0:41:530:41:57

Now it's time for our final lot of the day, those military medals.

0:41:570:42:01

Since we last saw Brian at St Albans,

0:42:010:42:03

he has been in contact with the auction house

0:42:030:42:06

with further research on his medals.

0:42:060:42:08

Following this, the estimate and the reserve have been changed.

0:42:080:42:12

You've raised the reserve not from that lower end of £800. It's now...

0:42:130:42:17

It's £1,150 because the rarity of the medal group.

0:42:170:42:21

The thing is medals have gone up year on year on year

0:42:210:42:24

and I'm hoping these will follow the trend and do well.

0:42:240:42:27

OK, they're going under the hammer right now.

0:42:270:42:29

We've got the five 19th-century military medals

0:42:300:42:33

and you've got the Ashanti Star in this lot.

0:42:330:42:36

1,000 I'm bid for those. 1,100.

0:42:360:42:39

1,200. 13.

0:42:390:42:41

-14.

-They've sold.

0:42:410:42:43

£1,400 on my left.

0:42:430:42:45

At 1,400. And 15?

0:42:450:42:47

1,400's going to buy them if you don't bid.

0:42:470:42:51

Are you sure?

0:42:510:42:53

At £1,400 then, I'm going to sell them away from you.

0:42:530:42:56

-At £1,400.

-GAVEL BANGS

0:42:560:42:59

-Yes!

-Great.

-£1,400.

0:42:590:43:01

-That was short and sweet.

-Well done.

0:43:010:43:03

Two people fighting that out in the room.

0:43:030:43:05

It's gone to somebody who will like them.

0:43:050:43:06

I'm sure they will cherish them.

0:43:060:43:08

That's it. It's all over for our owners.

0:43:120:43:14

As you can see, the auction is still going on

0:43:140:43:16

but we've had a terrific day here at Tring Market Auctions.

0:43:160:43:19

Our owners have gone home happy.

0:43:190:43:21

All credit to our experts and to Stephen Hearn on the rostrum.

0:43:210:43:24

Job well done. Join us again soon for many more surprises.

0:43:240:43:27

But until then, it's goodbye.

0:43:270:43:29

This edition of the antiques series comes from St Albans Cathedral and Abbey in Hertfordshire.

Experts Claire Rawle and James Lewis are on hand to value items and take them off to auction. James is excited when some historic coins land on his table, and Claire has fun with a 1970s robot.

Presenter Paul Martin takes a trip to a local theatre company who use theatrical masks.


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