Paul Martin presents from Bletchley Park. Experts Philip Serrel and Catherine Southon find intricately carved walnuts and a fabulous silver eperne.
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This is Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes.
During the Second World War, it had the mysterious codename of Station X.
Later on in the programme, we'll be finding out how the secret work
carried out here saved millions of lives, so don't go away.
Welcome to "Flog It!".
Bletchley Park sits tucked discretely in the suburbs of Milton Keynes.
During the Second World War,
this country estate was bought by the Government
and given a very unique role.
The mansion and the grounds were filled with thousands of people
working day and night,
working to decipher the secret coded messages of the enemy.
Today it's a museum dedicated to telling the story of the incredible
work that went on here and helped win the war.
Wow, look at the size of this queue!
And the rain hasn't dampened anybody's spirits.
It's a fantastic turnout,
and one secret our experts will be able to unlock is
what's in all of these bags and boxes.
And then they can answer that all-important question, which is...
-What's it worth?
And if you're happy with the valuation, what are you going to do?
And helping to put a value on those items,
we've got two of our finest experts on hand.
There's Philip Serrell,
who can identify antiques from the smallest of clues.
I would think this is probably from Paris.
And it's probably French, I would have thought.
The ability to read in this business is absolutely wonderful.
And Catherine Southon seems to have spotted an unwelcome visitor.
I thought that was a spider in there.
-No, no... No.
-That frightened the life out of me.
That almost got broken.
What a professional, putting our antiques above her own safety.
Well, I tell you what, I can't wait to get started.
Are you ready to get inside and get seated? Yes!
If the rain clears,
we'll be back outside to enjoy the grounds of Bletchley Park.
Until then, we'll keep everybody dry inside.
And while everyone's getting seated,
here's a quick look at what we've got coming up later on in the show.
Catherine is over the moon with her find.
To me, this is one of the most
beautiful things I have seen on "Flog It!" in a very long time.
Philip is a little less impressed with his lot.
Dear, dear, dear. I can't stand roll-top desks.
Oh, right. That's good, then.
And I discover the best-kept secret of the Second World War.
So, you didn't know what you were letting yourself in for?
No. No idea at all.
Well, this area of the house we've dedicated as a research area.
This is where the hard work is done.
We're doing all we can to find out about the item before it hits the
filming table. So we are now ready for our first item,
so let's catch up with Philip Serrell.
-Rosemary, how are you doing?
-Very well, thank you, Phil.
I think these are fantastic. Where have these come from?
My husband used to buy things and put them away,
and we could sell them when we got older.
And why did you decide to bring these today?
I just thought they were something different, a talking point,
and I'd like to know how old they are and...
Because I don't know, apart from being maybe Oriental.
-Why do you think they're Oriental?
-The little figures on there
-have Oriental faces.
-OK. Because the thing is,
from a distance they just look like old shrivelled-up
-walnuts, don't they?
-I know, yes.
And you're absolutely right, they're Oriental.
I think they're Chinese. Now, these things go back in time,
but I think these are probably somewhere between about 1880 and 1900.
And they were a sign of wealth, they were a sign of good luck,
good fortune. They're kernel carvings, effectively,
kernel being the nut.
And you have walnut shells, beech kernels...
All sorts of different nuts were carved.
And they were meant as a good-luck token.
So, if I might have given you this, this would have been a good-luck
token for you. The other thing is that...
-..when you held them like that, they were almost designed,
because the natural thing to do is to do this with them.
And you can feel that, and it's just really a lovely feeling.
And if you look at them very, very... I'll take the glasses off.
If you look at them really, really closely,
you can see that there's all sorts of little Chinese faces carved all
over them, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them.
These things can be quite rare and quite early.
I'm no expert on these things, but I take the view, I think they're 1880,
1900, around that date.
I don't think they're worth a huge sum of money.
Probably somewhere between...
..£50 and £80?
If you have a result, they might go and fly away and greatly exceed that.
But I think £50 to £80 is a sensible estimate,
and I think probably reserve them at around £40 and see where we go.
But I love them. I'd like to own them!
-Yeah. But I can't.
I'm sorry, Philip! Those walnuts have to be sold at auction.
In another part of the mansion,
Catherine's got help from one of the crew to show off her first find.
Doesn't she look absolutely stunning, standing here?
Everything about this dress - and our model, of course - is elegant.
Where did you get this beautiful 1950s dress from?
This dress belonged to my mother, who lived in Kenya, Nairobi.
And she was a single lady in the '50s and went to plenty of balls.
It looks in remarkably good condition.
Is it something that you've preserved over the years,
have you kept it in a suitcase or wrapped in tissue or something?
Well, we've all admired it and loved it.
It unfortunately hasn't fitted any of the girls in the family,
because my mum was so tiny.
So it's been on a hanger in a dust cover all these years,
but no special care has been taken of it.
But that's the thing - I mean, going back to the time in the 1940s,
1950s, the ladies were so much more petite.
Tiny little waists.
But what's lovely about this is it really does tell us about the 1950s.
If you think of Grace Kelly,
everyone's going back to this sort of nipped waist.
So you've got this lovely tight waist here.
But what I love here is the colour. It's a wonderful...
..I suppose almost aqua colour. Lovely aqua silk.
And this silver thread.
And they've complemented it with this beautiful lining at the back,
a smoky pink,
which I think complements the blue in the front so it just sort of
pops out every now and then. Complements the dress beautifully.
It really does.
And also the shoulders there, these straps...
I love the way you've got these sort of falls here
and the bow at the front and also a similar bow there at the back.
I think, really, the whole dress is a timeless classic
and something that you could easily wear today.
-How does it feel? Does it feel good?
-Feels very glamorous.
-It is very glamorous.
And I think to have this matching stole, as well,
with the wonderful pattern on the base of it, is really perfect.
-I think we should put an estimate on
of £100 to £150
with a £100 reserve, to protect it. How does that sound to you?
-That sounds good.
-Are you happy with that?
-So, I hope that we have lots of lovely slim ladies who come to
the auction and they all want to go off to a wonderful ball.
It looks stunning. Thank you very much.
-And thank you to our model.
Walking around the Bletchley Park estate,
it's hard to imagine what a hive of activity this place must have been
during the war. Thousands of people were involved in the work here,
some on this site and others dotted up and down the country.
As well as the code breaking being done here,
another group of men and women had the dangerous job of delivering
these messages by hand on motorcycles.
They were called dispatch riders,
and it was their task to deliver and collect secret messages,
exchanged between Bletchley and other listening stations dotted
around the coastline and in the heart of London,
and they rode bikes like this one,
an extremely rare 1943 500cc Norton, which has been lovingly restored,
and it's now on permanent display here at Bletchley.
Every day, the garages just behind the mansion saw over 400 riders
entering and leaving Bletchley Park,
carrying important messages and information vital to the war effort.
Although some were champion motorcycle racers, others were novices,
men and women enlisted from all walks of life.
There were no road lights or signs during the war,
headlights were forbidden
and time was of the utmost importance,
so this was an extremely dangerous and skilful job.
They operated day and night,
each rider covering a distance of 150 to 200 miles a day
in all weather conditions, even into the heart of London,
regardless of any air raids.
Motorcycles were considered a much safer way of sending a communication,
as they couldn't be intercepted like a radio communication.
And as well as carrying everything they needed to operate a motorcycle,
the dispatch riders were also issued with a pistol and strict
instructions to stop for no-one.
One can only imagine what it must have been like seeing them tear up
and down the roads of London at top speed
in the dark of night, in all weathers. Brave men and women.
Thankfully, our team at Bletchley today have the far less hazardous
work of finding antiques to auction.
And it looks like Philip's found himself a desk job.
-How are you both?
-We're well, thank you.
-Fine, thank you, Mr Serrell.
"Mr Serrell"! You don't work for the Inland Revenue, do you?
-How long have you had this?
-A couple or three years.
A couple or three years? I hoped it had been in your family
-man and boy.
We bought it at a little local auction.
And what did you pay for it at the little local auction?
It was about £30.
-And what was your price limit to go to?
-I think that was about it.
-Not overly generous, are you?
Careful, you two, aren't you? Dear, dear, dear. It sort of brings
a bit of a chord with me, and I'll tell you for why -
I can't stand roll-top desks.
-Oh, right. That's good, then!
-And there's a reason for that.
My dad used to have a roll-top desk at home
and he used to say to me, "One day, Son, that will be yours."
It was mine, it was my grandfather's,
it was my great-grandfather's and now I've got a roll-top desk
that I don't want. No.
But this is lovely, because you look at little bits of furniture like this
and people say it's an apprentice piece.
Now, I've got to tell you, if you were an apprentice and you'd made
this, you'd get the sack, wouldn't you?
Because in a way it's quite primitive, it's almost like it's folk art.
I don't think it's good enough to be a traveller's sample.
I think this is a labour of love, but I just absolutely love it.
-Do you have a roll-top desk?
-Nor any other desk.
I've got one I could sell you!
It's about time we shared the inside with everyone.
-Shall we just have a look? Isn't that just absolutely lovely?
And the thing is, this just pulls out there like a little writing slide.
Isn't that just the business?
-I love his pipe in there.
Well, I love the pipe, the little calendar, the pens, the paper tray.
They've even got the little...
Hold on, incoming. I think this is a telephone bid.
No, wrong number.
I just think that's really, really sweet. In terms of value...
..I think we put a 40 to 60 estimate on it...
-..a fixed reserve of £35 and keep everything crossed.
Well, I think that's good enough. We'd better go and sell it.
There you are, we have been working flat out all morning and our experts
have now found their first items to take off to the saleroom.
This is where it gets exciting. Anything can happen. And I think
there's one or two surprises there.
What do you think? Let's put it to the test.
Here's a quick reminder of everything that's going under the hammer.
Will the exquisite detail of Rosemary's Chinese carved walnuts
appeal to the collectors?
Sharon's evening dress is sheer glamour,
but can it find the right-size buyer?
Or will it be Denise and Ian's miniature desk
that gets the bidders calling in?
To find out exactly what they're all worth,
we're heading south to the pretty town of Watlington in Oxfordshire.
Here at Jones and Jacobs we've got a duo on the rostrum today.
Auctioneers Simon Jones and Francis Ogley are in charge of the proceedings
and they're fast approaching our lots.
And don't forget, there's always a commission to pay at auctions, and
today the rate here for selling is 18% plus VAT.
And first up from our lots is the miniature writing desk.
Are you ready for this, Ian and Denise?
-Yeah, so am I and so's Philip.
And I tell you what, your roll-top desk is going to fly out the room,
because it's miniature. If it was the real thing it just might struggle,
because furniture is on its knees at the moment,
especially for roll-top desks like that one.
But what a lovely little thing!
Did you have this on the dressing table?
We had it in the living room.
-And I'm just worried about damaging it.
-And what did you put inside it? Anything?
-No, it's fitted.
-It's fitted. But you didn't stick anything in?
-No, we didn't.
I wondered if there was a sovereign in there or something.
-No, I took that out.
-You took that out.
Because that's the kind of little thing you hide a treasure in.
You know, hide it from the kids, isn't it, really?
-Right, good luck. It's going under the hammer right now.
182, the roll-top desk.
55. Oh, punchy. Straight in.
All done at £55?
Commission bid £55.
All done? 60 anywhere?
At £55 I'm selling.
Well, it found its level straight away.
-They don't mess around.
-No, they don't mess around.
-Great, wasn't it?
-Yeah. Well estimated, Philip.
Yeah, spot-on. Happy with that, aren't you?
Over the moon. Over the moon.
That's the kind of result we love - items sold and owners happy.
Can the evening dress do the same?
Right, our next lot. If you want to look like a movie star,
you need a dress like Sharon's selling, and I think that's some dress.
It's a lovely 1950s dress. Your mum wore this a lot?
She did, she did. To some balls and parties in Nairobi.
It's beautiful, it's absolutely beautiful.
-And that took your eye, didn't it?
-The colour is stunning.
Yeah. And the silver thread as well going right the way through,
-and it's got a matching stole as well.
-It looks the business.
-It's classy, isn't it? And elegant.
-It looks frighteningly expensive.
In its day, it would have been, wouldn't it?
-I'm sure it was.
-Well, good luck, both of you.
Let's put it under the hammer and find out what the bidders think.
It's selling under there. There we go.
Right, lot 220, we've got the 1950s satin evening gown.
100 for that. £100.
80 to start me.
At £80. 80. 85 anywhere?
Finished at 80. I need a little more.
Done at 80. All done at 80.
Didn't get a bid.
-Didn't get a bid.
-Oh, I'm so sorry.
-No other textiles here.
-You're actually happy.
-You gave it an airing.
So it goes back inside the wardrobe.
It does. We'll keep it for another day.
It's a shame that dress didn't sell, but hopefully finding a buyer for
our final item won't be a tough nut to crack.
Going under the hammer right now we have two carved Victorian walnuts of
Chinese origin belonging to Rosemary.
Who will "shell out" £50 to £80 for these?
-Oh, very good!
-Did you like that, Phil?
-She's not nuts, is she?
-Lovely things, though.
-You've got to have great eyesight to notice all the
-detail on there.
-Because there's a lot there.
-Hundreds. Not thousands...
-Hundreds of little carvings and squiggles.
They are... And the thing with them is,
if you look at the work that is involved with those,
-whatever they make it'll be cheap.
-Of course it will.
-You can't put a price on that sort of craftsmanship.
No, they're lovely. They're really lovely.
So fingers crossed we get that top end.
So, let's hand the proceedings over to our auctioneer.
The Chinese carved thousand-faces walnuts there.
£50 to £60 for them.
45 I'm bid.
80 I've got. 85. 90 online.
-The lady down the front is bidding.
-The lady right at the front.
95, then. In the room at 95. 100 online if you want it.
110 I'm bid. 120. 120.
130 online. 130, 140, 150.
160. 160, 170 online.
170, 180, 190.
190, 200, 210.
They love their nuts!
220. 210, then. It's online at 220.
It's against you all in the room at £210.
210. All finished at 210?
You could say they were going nuts over that.
In seriousness, I think they made that because of their age and because
they've got some patina and you can see that they weren't done yesterday.
-So I'm really pleased with that.
Thank you for bringing them in.
Small and precious but worth a lot of money.
A great little find. Well done, both of you.
Well, that's our first three items done and dusted under the hammer.
So far, so good, and we are coming back here later on in the show for
more auction excitement.
But right now we're returning to our valuation day at Bletchley Park,
where our experts will look for some more treasures to sell,
and I took the opportunity to explore some of the secrets of its history.
Pretty but somewhat quirky, Bletchley Park Mansion
in Buckinghamshire started out life in 1883
as a country retreat for a London stockbroker.
But in 1938 it was bought by the British secret services to house one
of their latest secret departments,
the Government Code and Cypher School.
Now, this was a team dedicated to listening to and unlocking
the secret messages of the enemy.
World War II was a new kind of war.
The Germans introduced a new kind of warfare, Blitzkrieg.
Lightning attacks by planes and tanks meant armies
advanced incredibly quickly.
This needed speedy communication, and wireless radio was the answer.
The skies were absolutely filled with radio signals.
But this solution also had big problems.
Anybody could tune in and listen to what was being transmitted,
so each side sent their messages as a series of complicated secret codes
to stop the enemy from eavesdropping.
All well and good,
but if you broke into the encoding system it could help you deliver
victory, and that was what Bletchley was built to do.
All the latest snooping technology was installed, and in 1939 Bletchley
Park became a small but secret army engaged in a shadowy struggle for
Codenamed Station X, it didn't even appear on any map.
The mansion house was literally filled with the brightest brains in
the country. 110 people crammed into all of these rooms and it soon
became apparent more were needed, a lot more,
because the airwaves were filled with thousands of the enemy's secret
communications which had to be listened to,
deciphered and processed for use by our forces.
Wooden huts and then more substantial brick buildings were
quickly built, squeezing in all the new staff and equipment.
At its peak, around 9,000 people were working at Bletchley Park
24 hours a day, seven days a week in constantly rotating shifts...
..from professors of linguistics to genius mathematicians,
from telecom engineers to dispatch riders.
Today we've got the opportunity to talk to two women who were stationed
at Bletchley during the war.
Joanna Chorley and Joan Joslin were both part of the secret army
fighting a very secret battle.
It's also a chance for Joanna to revisit Bletchley Park.
So, how did you end up here at Bletchley?
Well, I joined the Wrens and I volunteered for anything...
..to do anything, because I hadn't got any good skills,
so I was just in the pool.
And I was one of the ones who were sent here.
So, you didn't know what you were letting yourself in for?
No idea at all.
I happened to be in the civil service and then one day I got
a letter to say I was to report immediately to Euston station,
catch the first train down to Bletchley.
"You can tell no-one where you're going, only your mother."
-And so I did.
-The teams at Bletchley were involved in all kinds of work,
searching for new ways to unravel the secret messages of the Germans.
This led to some amazing breakthroughs,
including the invention of Colossus,
the world's first electronic computer,
and Joanna was part of the team running it.
How did you end up working on Colossus?
I fell in love with it because it was such a magnificent bit of machinery,
and I loved machinery, and I ended up, actually, by asking if I could.
And rather grudgingly, I was allowed to be here!
My main job was to put the tapes on the wheels
and get them the right way round and all that sort of thing.
The other thing was to keep the eye,
the little thing which read the dots on the tape, clean and clear.
It was really a tidying-up job,
putting pegs in the right holes, and I wasn't one of the ones who did the
Joan also found herself given a highly important role,
helping crack some of the most complicated codes.
I was in a little room on my own, entirely on my own.
I was the only one on the shift that used this machine, and it was called
the EINS machine.
And I would sit for hours watching eight wheels going round,
and I would have to start this one, then this one, then this one,
then this one, and at intervals I would look for a full stop,
because when I found a full stop...
..I knew the message could be encrypted.
Very important, that was. And you know, when I found a full stop,
I used to have to ring up to London
and Churchill would answer personally.
And he had a - what's the word? - a name.
His name was Wiggly. We used to have to ask for Wiggly!
Even though Bletchley Park ran 24/7, there was time to relax
and enjoy the surroundings of the estate,
and Joan even met her future husband, Ken, here.
We had leisure time. We had good times.
We went out, we went dancing.
And I played piano, so...
..we used to gather round a piano and sing and dance, sort of thing.
So we were...we were quite happy, really.
When the war finally came to an end, the teams at Bletchley were the
first to hear the amazing news but couldn't tell anyone else,
having been sworn to secrecy.
The best thing that ever happened to Ken and I was when Italy gave in,
because we were on evening duty again,
and about ten o'clock it came through that Italy had given in...
..so we knew the war was over.
We got the last train from Bletchley and we arrived on Euston station
round about half eleven, and it was packed with servicepeople,
everyone you can think of, and we wanted to shout, "The war's over,"
and we couldn't. And we couldn't.
I would love to have shouted it...
..and I thought, "All these people, and they don't know it's over."
Yeah, that was...that was a night.
We weren't the ones who knew first. We were fooling round.
Actually, we were throwing lavatory rolls over the tree which used to
-As you do!
As you do. And we were hauled in and somebody came rushing up from down
below and said, "The war's over, the war's over."
-And that was a most astonishing feeling.
-Oh, it must have been.
Even after the war, everyone had to
keep a tight lid on the work done at Bletchley Park.
I knew that I shouldn't talk about it...
..and I didn't.
How did you feel about not being able to tell your parents what you
-Well, I only had one parent,
and that was a father who was very autocratic.
He was in the RAF and he was fairly high up and he thought he knew
everything that happened, and I was really rather glad that I actually
knew something that he didn't!
Whenever we've met up, up at Bletchley,
everybody's so proud that they were there...
..and that they helped.
They genuinely feel they helped end the war sooner because of the work
we did there. And I think we did.
-How does it feel, coming back?
-It's so good that something is going
-And also, the most important thing of the lot
is that the young are being told what happened,
because they wouldn't be here today if it hadn't happened.
-Yeah, that's a good thing, isn't it?
It was wonderful listening to Joan and Joanna's story,
history from living memory.
They played their part, and for years they couldn't talk about it,
not even to their loved ones.
Well, now they can, and thankfully it's going to be talked about and
remembered for ever.
Now the rain has stopped,
we can all enjoy the Bletchley Park gardens as our experts look for
antiques to take off to auction.
And Catherine's rather pleased with
a little group of rings that she's discovered.
Sarah, welcome to "Flog It!" and thank you very much for bringing
your gems along for us to see. Where did you get these rings from?
Well, these came from my late father-in-law.
And at a family function about 15 years ago he brought a box of
stuff that was probably his late wife's, and he offered the ladies in
the family a pick of the pieces.
So I picked a few rings - a pendant, actually this bangle -
and I've kept them since then.
But my late mother-in-law was a very tiny lady and so these are
very tiny rings and barely fit on my little finger.
-So I haven't been able to wear them,
so I thought I'd bring them along and find out a bit more about them.
Let's take a little close look,
because we've got a really nice assortment, and as you say,
they are all very pretty rings.
This first one here, we've got a little emerald and diamond cluster.
This one here, we've got a nice amethyst,
and that's surrounded by very, very tiny diamonds.
I have tested them, so I know they're diamonds,
but they are really tiny chips. And then this one here,
this is a nice five-stone ring. We've got sapphires and diamonds,
but again very small diamond chips.
But perhaps the nicest ring of all of them -
I don't know if this is one of your favourites -
is this lovely three-stone diamond ring.
Date-wise, I would say that that is probably round the 1930s.
So, is this something that particularly appealed to you?
Yes, yes, I liked them all because they were traditional, but that one
-because it was plain.
Now, the quality of the diamonds are OK.
We haven't got particularly big diamonds, and the clarity is OK.
They are a little bit cloudy,
but nevertheless it is a really nice setting.
The sad thing about this is unfortunately it's not marked.
The ring itself isn't marked, but I would think it's probably going to
be 18-carat, looking at the colour of the gold.
So, prices, that's really what it comes down to.
My suggestion on these is that they're really only worth round
about £50 each. I would suggest for these putting them together in
a little lot as £150 to £200 for the three
perhaps with a reserve of about 120. How does that sound to you?
-That one, which is a nicer ring,
I would put that by itself and put that with an estimate of 150 to 250
and protect that with a 140 reserve.
-Well, hopefully we'll find some people at the auction with little,
-They would have to have tiny fingers, yes.
And hopefully they will sell very well.
But thank you, Sarah, for coming along and for bringing your treasure
-Thank you very much.
Next up, Philip's in the driving seat with a glittering collection.
There's one question I want to ask before we start. You got a car?
-Does it break down a lot?
-So you don't need all these badges, then?
-No, I do not.
-How did you come into possession of them?
My father used to work in the warehouse when he was alive,
at Croydon for the RAC.
He was a stores man. He collected everything - nuts, bolts...
-..all through the years.
-So, he was a "Flog It!" collector, was he?
-Oh, he was, yes.
And what about you? What do you collect?
-00-gauge model railways.
-So you're into your trains now.
-I think these are lovely,
because you've almost got the RAC through the years.
-Which is your favourite?
-They were much better made, and I like the style of that one.
And I think that has more class than all the other plastic ones they came
-out with afterwards.
-Do you know which is my favourite?
Well, it'll tell you anyway. This one here,
and that's because this is motorsport.
And I'm a real car fan, I love my cars, and the RAC...
..they did a motorsports badge, which I believe is this one here.
And it's quite collectible.
So I think you've got a really good collection here.
The earliest one is this one here, and this is dated 1907.
And they go through the years.
The one key thing to this, these early ones are enamelled,
and if you can look at that enamelling there, you can just see,
just in the middle of the Union Jack,
I should think a stone's probably come up off the road,
hit it and damaged it.
And that's... For a collector, that seriously devalues it.
Why have you decided to sell these now?
Well, they were in the garage for many years, I had totally forgotten them...
..and I decided that I need some cash, to be honest with you,
-for my railway.
-You any idea what they might make?
-I'll be honest with you, I don't.
It's something I didn't think anyone would be interested in, full stop.
Let's turn it round another way - how much is an 00-gauge loco?
I pay about £200.
Aaaagh! No pressure here, then, is there?!
I think we should put these into auction...
..with an estimate of 150 to 250 and we'll put a reserve on them of 120.
And who knows, we might keep you on tracks.
Libby and Rachel, good to see you.
Now, when you were standing out in the queue,
I pounced on you because I saw this wooden box,
and it's not just an ordinary wooden box.
When I see something like this,
I think that it's going to contain something a little bit special,
perhaps a piece of silver. And, boy, did it contain a piece of silver!
So... But this isn't it. This isn't all the piece.
-It does turn into a bit of theatre, doesn't it?
-So, shall we start building it up?
-We need a few hands for this.
So, I'll have a little boat, as well. Wonderful.
And as we build it up, it does transform...
..into this wonderful silver epergne...
Where did you get this from?
Well, I bought it many years ago, nearly 40 years, I think,
in Norfolk at a sale.
And can you remember how much you paid for it?
-I think it was about £200, but I can't...
-Such a long time ago!
-A long time ago.
-She can't remember.
-And this is your daughter. Hi.
So, I just would love to tell you a little bit about it, because to me,
this is one of the most beautiful
things I have seen on "Flog It!" in a very long time.
This is made by a silversmith's called Thomas Pitts,
and we know that because we've got his initials round here.
It's really clearly marked TP. It's Georgian. Did you know that?
-Did you know it was Georgian?
-Well, I think I might have done
when I bought it, but it's been shut away for so long.
-Has it always been in this box?
-So you bought it...
-..and you've never displayed it.
-And you just put it in this box, purely for investment.
So, what we have, we have this centrepiece by Thomas Pitts.
Now, Thomas Pitts was one of the better silversmiths working at that
time, in the late 18th century,
and he is known for producing these magnificent epergnes.
And if you wanted to get an epergne at the time...
-..this is the man who you wanted to make it.
And I think if you look at each piece, it's so beautifully made.
Look at this piercing here, look at the scrolls,
look at the leafwork and look at the way also that we have these
roundels. We have these roundels which are left blank,
and that's where once upon a time you would have had the initials of
-..or perhaps your family crest, yeah.
Everything is done with the most meticulous detail.
But I think the real thing about this is the theatre, is the drama,
and we need to think about the epergne in its setting,
in its original setting in the late 18th century.
This is something that would have been on a very grand table.
You would have probably had some nice Corinthian candlesticks around
it, it would have had some fruit on the top there,
perhaps some little berries and
little toothpicks in these other baskets.
And it is such a dramatic piece and it shouldn't have been hidden away
all this time! It does upset me to see that.
So, how do you feel now that it's displayed in front of you, Rachel?
I'm glad she's going to sell it,
because I need the money for my drive!
-Oh, do you?
-She's going to pay for my driveway,
so we're trying to get the money together.
It depends how much it would make.
I would suggest putting this into auction with
-an estimate of £3,000 to 5,000...
-..at auction. Yeah.
-And a reserve of 2,500.
-How does that sound?
It sounds like a good investment.
I think that does sound like a good investment!
Well, it started off life as a show stopper,
and I think it's ended today as a show stopper.
It's really made my day, so thank you so much,
-both of you, for coming along.
-Thank you very much.
Wow, I love that last item. Fingers crossed for that.
We have now found all three items to take to auction for the very last
time, so our work is done.
It's time to say goodbye to our magnificent host location,
Bletchley Park. We've found some wonderful items,
we've met some wonderful owners.
Hopefully we'll get some wonderful prices.
Here's a quick recap of all the items that are going under the hammer.
Sarah's rings may have been made for dainty digits,
but are they big enough in appeal to reach Catherine's estimate?
Hopefully Phil's estimate will steer
the bidders to a great price for the RAC badges.
Or will it be Libby's epergne that takes centre stage and becomes
the star of the saleroom?
Hold on to your seat, because we're going to be finding out very soon.
The auction is still running at full
speed, and the lots are flying through.
We've got four rings we split into two lots,
as you did at the valuation day.
The first lot has three rings, the second one ring standing alone.
-But all precious stones, beautifully mounted.
-Very pretty rings.
Very pretty rings, and a nice little collection, the first ones.
So we're going to find out what the bidders think.
Will they sparkle? We're going to put them to the test now.
Here we go. Good luck. This is it.
Three altogether, lot 306.
150 for them?
100 to start me.
At 100. 110 anywhere?
110. 120 anywhere?
At 110. Done at 110.
All done. We need a bit more. At 110, if you want it.
Done at 110. All done?
Unfortunately, the three rings didn't quite make the £120 reserve.
Here's the second lot now. We need the top end of £250 to
-sort of get us on the way, don't we?
-Bump us up.
-Bump us up. Here we go.
-150. 160 anywhere?
I'll take this one. 160. 170. 180.
190. 200. 210.
-This is good.
-We're looking for 250 at the top end on this one.
250. At 240. 250?
At 240, front row at 240.
All done. Finish at £240.
-£240, short and sweet on that one.
-Well done, spot-on.
-We got there.
-You got there, didn't you?
Well, the diamond ring more than made up for the other three.
Can John's car badges keep the good news coming?
If you love badges, you will love our next lot.
They're going under the hammer now,
a collection of RAC badges belonging to John. It's great to see you.
-These were Dad's, weren't they?
-Yes, my father's.
He worked for the RAC for many years.
I was just about to say that - he wasn't just a member,
he worked for them, because that is some collection,
-a comprehensive collection.
-There's a great motorsport one.
They're going under the hammer now.
-Two phone bids. Two phone bids.
-Here we go.
Lot 130, then, is the RAC badges. 150 for these?
130 I'm bid to start me.
130. 140 online if you want it.
140. 150. 160.
-Come on, come on!
-160. 170. 180.
180. 190. 200.
-This is brilliant!
-At £200, then. It's online at £200.
Against you all in the room at £200 online.
At £200. All done?
210 now. 220. 230, then?
220, still online at 220.
All done at £220.
Against you all in the room still at 220.
Yes, I'm pleased with that. You've got to be pleased with that.
-I hope they go to a collector and I hope some of them get put on
a nice old chrome bumper.
And finally for our grand finale, that fabulous epergne.
Well, if you want a stunning centrepiece, look no further.
It doesn't get much better than this.
We've got a wonderful silver epergne just about to go under the hammer
-belonging to Rachel here and... Elizabeth.
Wow, I mean, how showy is this? And you put a value of...
I put a value of £3,000 to £5,000 on.
Since the valuation at Bletchley Park,
the auctioneer's been in touch with you.
He's now upped that reserve to 4,000 to 6,000.
-So it's only £1,000 different.
-But I think it's amazing.
It's one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on "Flog It!".
And you didn't put it on a table?
-You didn't put it anywhere. Why did you buy it?
-Why did you buy it?
-I liked the look of it and it's an investment.
And then put it in a box. Oh, I see, purely as an investment. You boxed it up.
-OK, that's quite clever, but you could have enjoyed it, you know.
You could have shown it off to the neighbours.
-We're going to enjoy it now.
-It's going under the hammer. Good luck.
The George III silver table centre, the epergne there.
4,000 for it?
I have 4,000 online. At 4,000. 4,100 anyone?
4,100, anybody in the room?
4,100? 4,100. 4,200.
Come on, we need lots of stately homes on the phone now, don't we?
4,350? 4,350. 4,400.
-It's so amazing.
It's all gone quiet in the room, hasn't it?
-It's slowly climbing.
-The tension is just immense.
It's the increments of 50. It's very slow, isn't it?
5,200 now, come on. 5,200.
I have 5,000. 5,100 if you want it online.
In the room, then, at 5,000. Selling at 5,000.
All done at 5,000. All done, finished.
Well done, £5,000.
-So you were spot-on.
-I think it was a good investment.
-I think it was a good investment.
-Well done, you.
Well done! And you hung on to it for such a long time!
-And you chose Bletchley Park to liberate it,
to bring it out onto our show, so thank you very much.
-Enjoy your new drive, won't you?
-Thank you, I will.
Well, there you are, that's it, it's all over for our owners.
As you can see, the sale is still going on,
but what a day we have had here. Everybody's gone home happy.
All credit goes to our experts and to the men on the rostrum,
they've done us proud, and I hope you've enjoyed the show.
Join us again for many more surprises.
But until then, from Oxfordshire, it's goodbye.
Paul Martin presents from Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Experts Philip Serrel and Catherine Southon find intricately carved walnuts and a fabulous silver eperne. Paul also meets veteran codebreakers who worked there during World War II.