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Today, we're at Croome Court in Worcestershire,
and this magnificent 18th-century Palladian mansion
situated in woody parkland is the venue for our valuation day,
and I've got to say, it doesn't get much better than this,
with the Malvern Hills as a backdrop.
All of this is the vision of one man, the sixth Earl of Coventry,
a man of impeccable taste and vision,
and I'm hoping as all our experts look in these bags and boxes,
everyone here has good taste as well.
Welcome to Flog It!
George William, the sixth Earl of Coventry, inherited Croome in 1751.
He immediately set about transforming the house and the estate,
as he wanted them to be at the height of fashion.
The sixth Earl took a punt on up-and-coming talent.
He gave Lancelot Capability Brown his first complete commission
to landscape the grounds in the new naturalistic style,
and to remodel the house.
Croome is now looked after by the National Trust
so it's in safe hands, and I have to say,
it's looking fabulous today, and so is everybody here.
It looks like the whole of Worcestershire has turned up
laden with bags and boxes. They are here to see our experts,
to listen to them wax lyrical over their treasures,
and at the end of that you've got one important question
you want to ask them, which is...
-What's it worth?
If you're happy with the valuations, what are you going to do?
Right, let's get on with it!
Already hard at work scouring the crowd
to find exciting items to take off to auction, we have two experts,
You think it's for cutting an egg.
Any idea what that's for?
And David Fletcher...
What else have you got in there? Let's have a...
That's woke your cameraman up!
Adam and David have also found time for a little fun.
Is that even my size as well?
David? What do you think?
Much smarter than you normally look.
Thank you very much!
I think Adam is aspiring to David's dress sense.
Whilst everybody makes themselves comfortable on Croome's south lawn,
let's have a look at what's coming up later on in the show.
Adam realises a childhood fantasy
when he gets his hands on some firefighting equipment.
That squirts out there in a quarter of an inch jet.
And a late bidder comes to the rescue in the auction room.
No takers at 200?
Going to have to pass it, I'm afraid.
Yes, on the net!
And I'll be admiring some of the treasures
from the sixth Earl's collection,
which the National Trust have displayed in a contemporary way
which they think the Earl would have approved of.
I love seeing the plates on the ceiling.
But that's all to come later.
As you can see, everybody is now safely seated,
so it's time for our first valuation.
So let's catch up with Adam Partridge and see what we can find
to take off to auction.
Well, Deborah, what a fine saxophone you've brought along today.
I always like to see musical instruments.
My speciality is in the stringed instruments,
but I've sold lots of saxophones,
and I think we're going to have a go at this one.
-What do you know about it?
My uncle gave it to me over 40 years ago.
He used to play saxophone.
OK, was he in a band?
Yes, but I can't remember the name of it.
OK. And did you ever play?
Many years ago in a band for a theatre, yes.
Oh, did you? So you're a proper saxophonist?
-Well, it's been a while since you played.
Yes, a long time.
My parents are former musicians as well,
and you can't get them to play at all now.
Once they used to do it for a living, they won't do it.
-So presumably, is there any point in me asking...?
That was pretty firm, wasn't it?
I don't think we're going to hear it played.
So, it's a tenor saxophone.
It is. B-flat tenor.
And we've got a maker's name under here.
But it's very, very worn.
When you blow on it you can see Pan-American Elkhart USA.
-It's an American Elkhart Pan-American.
Early 20th century, quite popular these days, some value to it.
-No idea at all.
No? I think, really, it should make £200-300.
-Something like that.
You look surprised. Now I think I've got it wrong,
cos you know about saxophones!
No, no, no, I don't know about the value of them, no.
Judging by other examples I've sold,
I think it's worth that and maybe a touch more.
Condition's not bad at all.
No! Go on.
Can't get a single note out of it.
It's very hard!
It's very hard indeed.
So, why have you decided to sell it?
-You don't play any more?
-I don't play any more,
and it's time for it to move on.
Yes, OK, so you're happy to put it in the auction?
-And what price would you rather have it back if it didn't sell?
OK. Let's put 200 with discretion, so 180 would be the very limit.
-Is that all right?
And would you do anything specific with the proceeds?
I shall take my mother out to dinner
-and we shall celebrate my uncle's life.
-Are you going to play it now?
We'll just have to close our eyes
and imagine what that sax sounds like.
Next, David has come across some amusing pictures.
The British are very good
at taking the mickey out of themselves, I think.
And seeing the bright side of life.
There's that Monty Python song, isn't there?
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life,
and I think that relates to these, really.
I've come across Lawson Wood's stuff quite a lot,
as you might imagine. He's a book illustrator and a humourist, really.
He was born towards the end of the 19th century,
and as it happens he served in the First World War
and he got a decoration for gallantry at Vimy Ridge.
So he had a remarkable life,
but what I really like about these is to see so many in one go.
-Each one is based on an imaginary postcard sent home.
You know, we send postcards to our family and friends, saying,
"having a great time, wish you were here."
We don't wish they were here at all!
We're jolly glad, we've gone away to get away from them!
But we say wish you were here.
And this is the sort of thing that Lawson Wood is saying in a way.
They are all called Holiday Echoes, so it's from a series.
Have they been inherited?
They were my grandfather's.
They came down to my mother.
But probably in the last 20 years they have sat in the garage.
Do you ever remember them being hung together?
Yes, yes, in my grandparents' house in South Wales,
they were in the hall,
and as a young child I loved going and looking at them.
It was the first thing I did when we got to the house,
and that one is definitely my favourite.
I think that's great, and he is saying here,
"I'm in a very bracing position, over 500 feet above sea level.
"Sitting room is small, but gets glorious views."
-Isn't that great?
I mean, he's hanging from a rope, painting a skyscraper,
and he's none of those things at all!
He's very uncomfortable, he's swinging backwards and forwards,
but he is seeing the bright side of it.
And it's all about taking the mickey, isn't it, which I think is great.
So they speak of their period, they are good fun,
I think they are uplifting.
-They are just prints, we know that, of course.
It would be lovely if they were originals.
-They are not going to make huge amounts of money.
I would expect probably somewhere in the region of £100.
-Does that sound about right to you?
That's fine. That's fine, yes.
OK, well, what I would like to do, if we may,
is estimate them at 60 to 80.
Just to make sure nothing disastrous happens,
we'll put a £60 reserve on them, reserve at bottom estimate.
OK? Well, I'll look forward to seeing you in the sale.
And I hope everyone who views it has a jolly good laugh at these.
-I hope so.
-I am sure they will be cheered up if they do.
MUSIC: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle
Right, that's two solid valuations under our belt.
While our experts look for the third,
I thought I'd come inside the house to have a look around.
The Long Gallery was installed between 1761 and 1766
and it was designed to look outwards to the beautiful Malvern Hills.
The renowned 18th century architect and designer Robert Adam
was responsible for everything in this room.
He really was hands-on, he designed the chimney piece, the mirrors,
the furniture and even the decoration on the ceiling.
But sadly a lot of these artefacts have long gone,
including the neoclassical figures which would be standing
in these purpose-built niches.
Now, faced with this problem,
the National Trust came up with a brilliant idea
that was still in keeping
with the fashionable cutting-edge ethos of the sixth Earl.
They have commissioned up and coming artists to come up with
installations to fill the niches,
and the brief was something to do with the history and the characters
that made Croome great.
Now, if I climb in here, this one is called The Viewer,
and basically it's made up of hundreds of those little door viewers.
You know the spy holes you find in a hotel room or on your front door?
So, when you're in the room, and someone knocks at the door,
you look outwards, you can see who it is.
And this is rather clever, actually,
because whatever one you look through,
you get a different vista of the room.
Wonderful little perspectives.
This is an artful play on the work of Capability Brown, his landscapes.
So, when you're walking along a pathway,
you come between two trees,
it may just frame up a classical temple into a beautiful perspective,
and then you move and you look at something else and you see it
from a different angle. That's what this is all about.
I think it's really clever.
And there you are, I can see the Long Gallery now
tunnelling all the way down there.
And this one will put a smile on your face, it's called The Departed.
I imagine these feet disappearing into the wall
belonged to a neoclassical figure that was standing here,
and they probably had enough and they thought it's about time to go.
Into the wall they went, and off they go.
And in fact, that's exactly what I have to do right now,
but I'm not going through the wall, I'm going straight down those stairs
and out onto the lawn to join up with our experts.
We need one more item before we pay our first visit to the auction,
and it looks like Adam has come across something unusual.
What have we got here then, Ian?
We've got a Second World War hand-operated Lee Howl fire pump.
Lee Howl would be the makers from Tipton?
Yes, they started in about 1880,
it's obviously got an insignia for George VI,
which dates it to the Second World War.
And how the thing flew, you'd chuck that bit in a duck pond,
a canal or a river.
-Or a well.
-Or a well.
-So that was the inlet valve.
-That goes in.
That goes in the water, without that in the water, nothing happens.
Obviously, and it sucks up through here.
It sucks up through the cage so it doesn't take in all the rubbish.
-Where does this go?
-That goes on a hose,
it connects up to the inlet valve.
-Another hose to connect into that.
-That's the inlet valve.
And then basically you've got two outlets,
and those are the nozzles that operate...
That squirts out there in a quarter of an inch jet.
-And to make it work, you had two blokes on two handles.
So there would be something going...
The bar in each end of there, and you had one there doing that...
-And I'd be here...
-..and you're here doing that.
And then, with a bit of luck,
two lots of water came out there to the nozzle to fight your fire.
I see. Do you know what, I'm not very mechanically minded at all,
but you've explained that to me very well, Ian, thank you very much.
And it ain't been used for about 70 years, and it still works.
Well, it will do when we are long gone as well, won't it?
-I hope so.
We don't see many of these types of things on the programme,
so I was very pleased that you brought it in.
Tell me, where did you get it from,
because clearly you've not been around since World War II, have you?
No, I'd like to say I have, but I haven't.
No, I found it in about '83,
-in a family manor house about ten miles away.
Reputed that a member of the family was a Home Guard sort of boss.
-I would imagine he had the place to store it,
and then basically it was used by the platoon.
It's been sat inside a tea chest, so I thought it was time it was moved.
And is this the first time it's come out?
It's the first time anybody's ever seen it.
Wow. And you've decided to sell it, or try to sell it.
We've got to try and flog it.
We're got to try and find it a good home.
Well, it's one of those things, it's never easy to predict.
Either love it or hate it.
I suppose so, yeah.
I would put an estimate of £200-300 on it.
It doesn't seem much, I know, but you need to coax them into bidding.
Yeah, all we want is two real enthusiasts that must have it.
Yes. We're going to put a reserve of £200 on it?
-Estimate 200 to 300.
If it goes off and makes more,
would you spend it on anything in particular?
It's going to the Cuba slush fund.
-A holiday to Cuba.
-OK, very good. Well, I hope you have a good time on that holiday.
And thank you very much for bringing up and explaining it
-so eloquently for us.
-Thank you, Adam.
Well, there you are, our experts have now found
their first three items to take off to auction.
This is where it gets exciting.
You've heard what they've had to say.
I've got my own opinions on that, you've probably got yours,
but right now we're going to find out what the bidders think
as they go off to auction.
Here's a quick recap of the items we're taking with us.
Will Deborah's Pan-American Elkhart sax raise the roof at the saleroom?
David was tickled pink by Margaret's six cartoon pictures
by artist Lawson Wood.
Let's hope the bidders are too.
And finally, will things hot up in the auction,
when Ian's fire pump from the Second World War goes under the hammer?
Well, this is the moment I've been waiting for,
where we put those valuations to the test.
This is where it gets exciting.
We're just outside of Evesham, at Littleton Auctions,
and the car park is filling up.
The sale is just about to start.
This bodes well because when I go inside the saleroom,
hopefully it's going to be jam-packed
full of bidders all wanting our lots.
Let's catch up with our owners and get on with the sale.
Remember, whether you're buying or selling,
there's always commission to pay and VAT.
Here, the rate if you're selling is 15% plus VAT.
Auctioneer Martin Homer is already hard at work on the rostrum,
and first under his hammer,
it's Margaret's collection of six cartoon pictures.
These are fun. And architecturally, put together in two rows of three,
they look fabulous.
Or if you had a long, narrow corridor, all in a row,
with little lights above, it will make you laugh all the way down.
Why are you selling these?
Well, they belonged to my grandparents
who had them in a long hall.
I haven't got a long hall so I can't put them up.
OK. So I was right with the long hall bit, wasn't I?
As a child, can you remember looking at them and laughing?
-Lots of memories, lots of fun.
We think of satire as being an invention of the 1960s,
but these are satirical, in a way.
Just gentle rib-tickling, self-deprecating humour.
I love them, I think they're great.
Rib-tickling, I love that word!
Rib-tickling! Let's find out what the bidders think.
-Here we go, good luck.
-Let's see if their ribs are tickled.
Look at those. I've got a commission bid on the book of £60.
65 takes me out.
It's in the room at 65, 70,
five, 90, five,
at 95 with you, madam.
It's in the room at £95.
-We're looking for 100 now.
-Come on, there's six of them.
Great value for money.
Crack, the hammer's gone down.
-£95, that's brilliant, isn't it?
I'll tickle YOUR ribs!
Next up, let's hope there's a steady stream of bids
for Ian's World War II fire pump.
It weighs an absolute tonne, but I tell you what,
that's proper British engineering, isn't it?
-It really is. Don't you think so?
Over the top, belt and braces.
I'm quite surprised you actually got it there because it's so heavy.
I didn't, two of the humpers got it there for me.
Interesting lot, ladies and gentlemen.
Let's start that at £200.
We're looking at £200 to start here.
Do you know what, I really want this to sell.
I really want this to sell. Top money.
Room or net, an unusual lot.
Come on, don't go quiet.
The nozzles are fabulous on their own.
No takers at 200?
Going to have to pass it, I'm afraid.
Yes, on the net! £200!
At £200, we're on the internet.
-Never say never.
-They were waiting for it to go down, weren't they?
£200, I'm going to sell it.
-Going once, twice...
Telephone bid coming through!
200, all done?
Once, twice, sold at £200.
Well done! Well done, the internet.
Adam was right, they were waiting to see if it dropped.
Brilliant, that's a great result.
You've got to be so happy, thank you for bringing a proper boys' toy in.
-It was a bit different.
-But do you know what,
you made the effort to bring in something incredibly heavy.
Finally, fingers crossed we hit the high note now
with the saxophone belonging to Deborah.
Did you buy the saxophone to learn to play on,
or was it handed down through the family?
No, it was given to me by my uncle.
-He used to play it.
-And did you play at all?
-What put you off it?
Becoming a mother.
Oh, right, OK!
Gets a bit busy then, doesn't it?
Yes, it does a bit, yeah.
And once the kids are asleep,
you don't want to wake them up practising!
The saxophone in case, Pan-American, 1915.
I've got interest on this one.
I can come straight in at £200.
With me on the book at 200.
220 takes me out.
260, 280, 290, 320, 340, at 340.
-At 340, the net has it.
At 340. Looking for 350 now.
At £340, are we done?
That's what you said.
-He's so right.
-Twice, sold at £340.
-There we go.
-Thank you very much.
-It's a pleasure.
-That was hotly contested for a little while, wasn't it?
Well, that concludes our first visit to the auction room today.
We are coming back here later on in the programme, so don't go away,
it could get very exciting.
Earlier on in the show, I told you how the National Trust
are continuing the sixth Earl's legacy.
They have installed contemporary sculpture
designed by young up-and-coming talent at the house,
but they haven't just stopped there.
Croome was the brainchild of the sixth Earl of Coventry,
who brought together the greatest talent to overhaul his parkland,
house and its interiors in the 1750s.
The finished result was in the best of taste,
and it was at the height of fashion.
Altogether, the sixth Earl employed more than 40 leading craftspeople
to design furniture, ceramics, textiles
and the interiors for his new home.
The finished collection was hugely important and influential,
containing some of the finest pieces in the country.
I can only imagine then that the sixth Earl
would have been devastated if he'd known that
a couple of centuries later, in 1948,
his beloved Croome and its contents would be sold,
following the death of his descendant, the tenth Earl,
who was killed on the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940.
Despite the losses from the 1940s' auction,
enough of the original Coventry collection survives
to show the refined taste that the sixth Earl had,
and today the National Trust have chosen to display the key pieces
in a contemporary fashion,
which they feel sure the Earl would have approved of.
Amy Forster-Smith, Croome's house and visitor experience manager,
is sharing with me a couple of the pieces from the Coventry collection.
We're starting with the chairs in the main hall.
-I like that.
I love it. I've not seen hall chairs displayed like that before.
I'm glad you think so. That's exactly what we're trying to do.
-Isn't that great?
-So, the three chairs in the middle
are 18th-century Hall chairs made by one of the finest
18th-century carpenters that the sixth Earl could afford,
And they are modelled on a 17th-century Italian design.
-They are, yes.
-And there would have been rows of them here
-against the wall.
-Yes. We think they were a set of ten, originally.
-Yes, possibly that.
-And we have got all ten,
but we are just showing three here,
because we didn't want to display all the hall chairs set out.
-Against the wall.
-Of course, they were designed to be
as uncomfortable as possible,
-to make people sit at attention...
..anticipating meeting the Earl,
not getting any further than this space.
And most people didn't wash back then,
so you had to have chairs like that that you could wipe clean.
-But I love this.
So, who did this?
This is by Will Datson, who's an artist based in Bristol.
But he's not just an artist,
he's a craftsperson as well and a bit of an engineer.
And he really wanted to create something to not draw attention
to the objects just in themselves,
but also so you can see all of the structure,
and how they were made, and I think he's done a really good job.
Yes, you can tell he's an engineer, it's all counterbalanced.
Yes, it's got a steel core,
and then the plaster has been applied to the surface.
It's very, very clever.
Next, it's off to the dining room to admire the impressive collection
of porcelain, which is displayed in a way I've never seen before.
-It's incredible, isn't it?
I love seeing the plates on the ceiling, I love it.
We are absolutely surrounded, aren't we?
Yeah, it's been created so you get this sort of enveloping experience
of the porcelain, which is...
all of the items are from the collection,
the finest items from the collection,
so it's just a really funky display case, really,
something a bit different.
So, the artist wanted for us to see ourselves in all of this.
-Yeah, with the porcelain.
-With the porcelain.
and be able to take selfies and photos of each other,
and the outside of the box is incredible as well,
so the artist, Bouke de Vries,
we gave him a brief to do something playful
and to do something interesting
which would really draw attention to the porcelain,
but we had no idea what he would create, and this was it.
We absolutely love it.
I like the clear little vistas, are they the real key pieces?
There are lovely, yes, these are the very best pieces of the collection,
so this is Sevres porcelain,
and there's a little chocolate pot and a tea set that was meant for
Madame de Pompadour before she unfortunately died
and the sixth Earl snapped it up for himself.
The modern golden box is artfully juxtaposed
with Robert Adam's intricate 18th-century plasterwork,
which it reflects back on all its sides.
The plasterwork would have been white originally,
but during another interesting phase of Croome's life,
the religious order of the Hare Krishnas used the house
as their headquarters,
and they painted Adam's plasterwork in bright colours.
Everywhere you go in this house, your expectations are confounded.
This is pure theatre.
I love it. Absolutely love it.
These commodes should be
either side of a rather large imposing fireplace,
you know, as an architectural statement, perfect symmetry.
But here, displayed like this, back-to-back,
these commodes make the perfect centrepiece.
So naturally you have to stop, you have to go,
"Wow, look at the way they're lit, look at this."
This is by Mayhew and Ince, possibly the most important partnership
in the mid 18th century in cabinet work.
And the word "commode," that comes from the French chest of drawers.
They are not really a chest of drawers,
they are just cabinets to show off great craftsmanship,
and to show off wealth.
Another unusual thing the National Trust is doing here
is offering tours of the house's red wing to visitors.
There may seem nothing strange about this,
but you have to don a hard hat as the red wing is nearly derelict.
It's like being allowed a peek behind the scenes.
This was the entertainment area.
This was where the senior servants would have had their dinner.
And they would have been waited on by the junior servants.
When the trust acquired Croome, the red wing had been nearly derelict,
but they had managed to halt its decline.
In that room above, it would have been looking very dark,
The fireplace has chunks of shelves in it
that would have glinted at night.
Do you think things should be displayed more traditionally,
like other National Trust houses?
It's nice to see it...
Both ways of displaying it.
Sometimes it's nice to see the traditional
and it's nice to see it move on
and see something a little more modern.
We like the display of the chairs up there,
that piece of artwork was really interesting.
This is exhibition like we've not seen before, and it is cutting-edge.
It makes people stop and think.
I love the fact that you can go behind the scenes
and see conservation work, you know, ongoing here.
It's the nuts and bolts of the house, basically,
and getting below stairs.
But upstairs, you know,
incorporating the artist working with things from the 18th century
is just brilliant, it really is. It's put a smile on my face.
Back out in the sunshine on the south lawn,
everybody is still having a good time,
and our experts are looking for their next items
to put under the hammer.
And it looks as if David has come across something of interest.
Are you a child of the '60s?
Well, I'm not a child of the '60s,
but my very dear friend was a child of the '60s.
-Well, a teenager of the '60s.
She was brought up, lived in Liverpool.
As a 16-, 17-year-old,
would have frequented the various clubs and outlets in Liverpool.
Yeah. In Liverpool, yeah.
And you have got some autographs in this book,
collected by the lady you refer to, that are very interesting.
I'm sure people will remember Gerry And The Pacemakers.
Not the biggest name, but nevertheless...
-..an important name in the pop scene in the 1960s,
and still going, I think, aren't they?
And various other autographs as well,
but let's not beat about the bush, because the most important
-autographs you have in here are the Beatles.
Everybody knows about the Beatles,
so I don't have to do any explaining there.
We've got Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon.
I mean, everyone who collects pop and rock memorabilia
-wants to own the Beatles' autographs.
I mean, do you have any ideas as to their value?
At least 1,000.
Erm, just those four alone.
If you put it as an album...
-..as an autograph book together, you know, 1,500,
-I would have imagined.
There are other autographs in here, as we say -
I don't think any of those significantly increase the value, really.
-What whoever buys this will be buying, will be doing...
-..will be buying Beatles. Four Beatles autographs.
Now, I think you're bang on, really.
I think 1,000-1,500 is about right.
Now, I've got to say that there are issues
-that relate to the Beatles autographs.
As you might imagine, they get faked.
So, I think it's absolutely essential
-that the auctioneers get these authenticated.
Erm... Let's go for £1,000-1,500
with a reserve of £1,000.
-And we'll hope for the best.
That 20th-century autograph book is a very contemporary collectable.
Whereas over on Adam's table, it's an antique with a far greater age.
Murray, good afternoon, sir, how are you today?
-I'm fine, thank you.
-Thanks for coming along,
and you've brought this, erm, weapon along with you?
Yes, it's been around for quite a long time, this one.
It certainly has, I'd say it's been around best part of 200 years.
That's quite good, then, quite good.
-Where did you get it from?
-It came through my mum.
-And when she died, it came down to me.
-It's been in the family quite a long time?
Erm, it's a percussion cap pistol from the early 19th century.
You see the GR there...?
-..is George IV, so it's going to be 1820-1830.
-Now, we're stamped "Tower" here.
-That's right, I saw that.
-Do you know why that is?
I thought it was from the Tower of London.
-But somebody said today it may be a manufacturer.
Well, the Royal Ordnance Company was headquarter at the Tower of London.
So, that's why it's stamped Tower, it's by the Royal Ordnance Company.
So you're kind of right.
And they made a lot of weapons like this.
This isn't in great condition any more,
but neither would we be if we'd been around for 200 years as well!
-You've got a walnut stock and shaft going along here,
and I think the ramrod's also present underneath,
which is, you know, a lot of the time
these get lost as well.
But that's all there.
So, this is not a firearm that's going to be holding up
your local post office any time soon.
It's a decorative piece, a wall piece, for the collector.
Do you have it on display, on that note?
I used to have it on display.
But for years, it's now been in a cupboard.
Oh, well, not much use in there, is there?
No. That's why I brought it along.
These come up at auction fairly often,
so they're not too hard to value,
really, by comparison with other ones sold.
And it's going to be in the £80-100 region,
is the likely outcome.
Does that sound satisfactory to you?
-That sounds about right.
-Yeah. Well, I'm glad you agree!
Oh, I suppose about...
-£70 or something?
-I think so.
Very sensible, Murray.
-Thank you very much.
-And I detect an accent there,
it's not a local one, is it?
No, no, I've been away from Scotland a lot of years.
-Have you been accepted around here yet?
Well, I actually work here as well.
Oh, do you? Oh, wonderful, what a great place to work.
Whilst our experts search for our final object to take off to auction,
I'm nipping back into the house to look at another intriguing room.
Now, earlier on, I showed you the Long Gallery,
designed by the celebrated architect Robert Adam.
Well, the sixth Earl also commissioned Adam
to design and furnish this room, the Tapestry Room, which he did.
Now, back in the day, these walls would have been lined
with the finest tapestries and silks from Paris.
All that's left is the framework that the tapestries were suspended from.
They were sold off to pay for the family's gambling debts
in the early part of the 20th century,
and they were bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York. And then, in 1948,
the museum decided they wanted to display Croome tapestries in situ,
in the room they came from, so they bought the whole room!
It was all cut up and shipped out - the ceiling, the floor boards,
the skirting boards, the shutters, the dado rails.
So, what you see here now are replicas.
So, basically, if you want to see the Croome tapestries,
you've got to get on a plane and fly to New York.
Right, time for me to get outside and catch up with our experts.
And it looks as if David has found our final item of the day.
People call you Flick, is that right?
-Can I call you Flick?
Good to meet you.
I'm sure viewers will recognise this vase instantly,
as being the work of that great man Rene Lalique.
Who designed at first jewellery,
and then came to specialise in decorative items like this.
He is a big name.
We'll have a quick look at the mark.
And when we do so, we see that the mark is etched.
Later marks are moulded, so that's a good sign.
-How come it's here with us today?
Well, an elderly neighbour gave it to me.
She lived next door, and I used to go round to her garden,
and she had some lovely antiques, and she just gave it to me.
Well, what she gave you is very nice.
Erm, this pattern was designed in 1927,
towards the end of Lalique's life.
He was born in 1860.
He worked in England for a time - at least he was a student in England.
Which I think is perhaps one of the things
-that makes his work attractive to English people.
You know, I wouldn't describe that as being typically French.
-But what it IS, of course, is typically art deco.
These geometric shapes, geometric patterns -
-these are stylised leaves, in fact.
But what makes this particularly attractive is the fact it's yellow.
Now, this vase was made in other colours,
but it's the yellow one that people like.
-And when you think about it, you know,
yellow is a colour we associate with the 1920s and 1930s.
You know, you think of Clarice Cliff...
-..And the use of yellow in her palette.
So, really, what you have here,
and I'm very pleased you brought it along,
-is a very nice and very saleable item.
But...there is a bit of a catch, isn't there?
-It is chipped, as you rightly say.
-And these chips are significant.
-Sometimes, a skilful restorer can grind them out,
but if you tried to grind these out, you'd affect the pattern,
you'd affect the moulding.
Do you have any hopes or aspirations for it?
It would be good to fetch as much as possible for the grandsons!
You can guarantee that! So, the money's going to your grandson?
Yes, I've got two grandsons.
Now, I think in good condition,
it would have been worth between £700 and £1,000.
-Really? Oh, wow.
-But these chips are significant.
-And I think we have to...
..perhaps think in terms of 200-300.
Oh, wow! That's brilliant.
-Well, I'm glad you're pleased.
-But it's a significant reduction, isn't it, really?
But I can understand, with the chips.
But that's the way the market is - you know, people want these things in good nick, really.
So, I suggest we put a reserve just below the £200
bottom estimate on it.
So, say 180?
-And I think it could do...
Could do really well. Good. I'm optimistic.
Well, there you are, that's it, our experts have now found
their final items to take off to auction, which means sadly,
we have to say goodbye to this magnificent host location, Croome,
in the heart of Worcestershire.
I've thoroughly enjoyed myself today,
and I know so many people have here.
But right now we have some unfinished business to do
in the auction room. Here's a quick recap
of all the items that are going under the hammer.
The autograph book belonging to Norman is full of famous names,
but the standout signatures are those of the Beatles.
Murray's decorative walnut pistol, which still has its original ramrod,
has been languishing in a cupboard.
Time to find a new home.
And finally we're selling Flick's Rene Lalique vase from 1927,
with geometric designs.
Let's hope the art deco fans are in the room,
as it's heading under the hammer now as we return to Littleton Auctions,
where auctioneer Martin Homer is still ruling the rostrum.
The money's going towards your two grandchildren.
And what are their names?
George and Max.
George and Max, good luck!
Grandma's here, we're all rooting for you two, OK?
Now, this has got an etched "R Lalique" on it, Rene Lalique,
so it's done in his lifetime, OK?
So this is worth a lot more than something etched just Lalique?
Downside, a little chip on the rim, there.
I think this will sell, and I think it will do the estimate.
-I hope so, I've got my fingers crossed.
Rene Lalique vase, design circa 1927.
I'd like to start that off at £200.
And we're off at 200 on the internet.
-On the internet.
-Asking for 210, now.
Do we have any interest in the room?
For a piece of Rene Lalique?
At 200... 220, now.
The guy who bid 200 is bound to bid again.
He should do, shouldn't he?!
At 220, and I'm going to sell to that gentleman at 220.
Going one... 240, now.
We're at £240.
We'll give it 250, now?
At 240 going once...
Sold at £240.
240, and the grandchildren are going to get something?
-Yes. They'll be very happy.
From one 20th-century collectable to another,
and it's Norman's autograph book
which include signatures from the Fab Four.
The auction house has authenticated the Beatles' signatures.
So what's the verdict?
Has it changed David's original £1,000-1,500 estimate?
Ringo's and Paul's were correct...
The original signatures.
And Paul signed George's and John's.
And that went on.
I love that, Paul,
because you can imagine Paul McCartney
rather liking being a star,
you know, conscientiously signing away.
And John Lennon, insouciant about the whole thing, really.
So Paul signs for John.
Which is rather what you'd have expected, really.
-I like that.
-It's a sensible price, now, the auction house have put on.
It's £500-800, so good luck.
Good luck with that, OK?
It's going under the hammer right now. Here we go.
Here we are, lot number 110,
which is the autographed book to include the Beatles' autographs.
To start at £500.
Looking for £500 on the autographs.
Do I have any interest at £500?
In the room or on the net, ladies and gentlemen?
I've got to start at 500, if not I'm going to have to pass, gentlemen?
OK, we're going to have to pass on that.
Fine, I'll put it back on the shelf and I will look at it
-from time to time.
-I'm so sorry.
It is disappointing, because it was such a good lot.
Hang onto them, OK, because, you know they are worth...
They are definitely worth £5-800.
Finally, let's hope we have better luck with Murray's pistol.
So why are you selling this?
Well, it's been in the cupboard for so many years.
I thought that somebody else could care for it better than I am.
Yeah. Yeah. Needs to be displayed, really.
It's a perfectly legal item to have.
And do you know what, you look at it and you go, "Yes, history."
Absolutely. It's a wall piece, but it's got a nice feel to it.
It's a pleasing object, that one.
I hope this goes to a good collector and it's put on display
-It should do, shouldn't it?
It should do. Good luck with it, Murray.
-Thank you very much.
-We're looking for around £80-100
with a £70 reserve,
so fingers crossed we get that.
Got interest on this one, ladies and gentlemen.
At 60, 70, 80, 90...
-There we go.
At 100. 110. 120 back to me.
130, net. It's 140 to me.
I can go 180 on the book.
Takes me out at 190.
I've got £190 on the internet.
I've got 190. 210, now.
The net has it at 210.
At 230. Looking for 40.
And 270. 280. 290.
At £360, the bid's on the net at 360.
Are we done, ladies and gentlemen?
-That's very good money.
480, now. At £480, there we go, at 480.
At... 520, now.
At 520, the net has it at 520.
At £520, I think we're done, there.
Murray's enjoying this, I think Adam is as well.
At £540 going once...
Yes! Great result.
Great result. Murray, that got a round of applause.
I think we hit the bull's-eye, there.
-I can't believe it.
Obviously belonged to someone very famous.
Duke of Wellington!
Well, thank you very much.
I bet you're pleased you've looked after it, you know,
and kept it safe, you know?
And I'm glad I brought it to you at Croome Park.
-Thank you for coming, Murray.
-Well, I knew there'd be a surprise.
-Well, yeah, I wasn't expecting...
-I didn't think it would be this one
right at the end of the show. We have, sadly, ran out of time,
but that was our last item, and what a surprise.
Bull's-eye! Join us again the next time for many more but, until then,
from Adam, from Murray and from myself, here in Worcestershire,
Paul Martin presents from Croome, a Palladian mansion in Worcestershire, with antiques experts Adam Partridge and David Fletcher. Adam's interest is sparked by a hand-operated fire pump from the Second World War and David is tickled pink when he discovers a collection of humorous prints based on imaginary postcards. Plus Paul goes on a tour of the house to see how some of the key pieces from the historic collection have been incorporated into modern works of art.