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We've set our valuation tables up
inside the stunning, the magnificent St Albans Cathedral and Abbey
in the city that shares the same name
in the county of Hertfordshire.
This church was named after a local man,
a brave man called Alban, who sacrificed himself
to save a Christian priest over 1,700 years ago,
and from that day onwards, people have been coming here to worship.
It's the oldest place of Christian worship in the country.
Now, we can only hope that somebody here in this magnificent queue
has brought along an antique that dates as far back as that.
Well, we live in hope, don't we? Welcome to Flog It!
St Albans Cathedral and Abbey stands on the site
where Alban gave his life towards the end of the third century AD.
Inside the cathedral houses a medieval shrine in his honour,
and pilgrims still come to worship and pray by it today.
The building itself has evolved over the centuries,
which is reflected in its mix of architectural styles,
from the Saxon period to the Normans
through to its great Victorian restoration,
and the building of a 20th-century chapterhouse.
Well, this happy crowd seem eager to get inside to learn more
about the history of this magnificent building,
and, of course, to meet up with our experts, to pick their brains,
to ask that all-important question, which is...?
-What's it worth?
-And if you're happy with the valuation,
-what are you going to do? ALL:
Right, let's get inside. Come on, follow me, everyone.
Our experts are already hard at work,
and we haven't even got through the cathedral doors yet,
but James Lewis is already imparting his wisdom.
-Lovely shape, isn't it?
China is doing very well at the moment. Very well.
And it looks as though Claire Rawle may have spotted her first item.
That's quite an unusual cribbage board marker, isn't it,
with the little soldiers in it?
Don't think it's terribly old, is it?
It's quite nice, though, isn't it? It's quite fun.
So, is it round one to Claire or is James still a contender?
Hello, James. What have you got there?
It's a boxing programme, Anglo-American.
-OK. Boxing, hey?
-Is this going to turn into a fight, do you think?
-It already has.
-Do you want to find your own lot? Go on.
Yeah, all right, I'll go up here, shall I?
Whilst everyone pours into the breathtaking nave
of St Albans Cathedral and Abbey and makes themselves comfortable,
let's take a look at what's coming up later.
James comes across an unusual picture...
-Are they sand pictures?
Just feel that.
..and one owner gets some great news.
-Were you surprised at the valuation?
I thought they might have been about £100 or something.
Something along those lines.
And I'll be paying a visit here to Knebworth House,
a magnificent Grade II Tudor stately mansion,
probably best known for hosting its rock concerts.
I'm here to uncover a little-known story
about one of its bravest inhabitants,
Lady Constance Lytton,
who put her own wellbeing aside to stand up for her beliefs.
But before that, fortune is smiling on our crowd today
because they get to queue
here in the nave of St Albans Cathedral and Abbey,
and this nave is spectacular, isn't it? It's 85m in length,
it's the longest nave in the country,
and that is some view.
I'm in awe of this building. Not just its history,
not just the tales of bravery I hear,
but also looking at the images -
the wall paintings telling a story of Jesus' sacrifice,
many images of the Crucifixion
on all of these wonderful Gothic columns.
James Lewis gets our valuations off to a great start
with a tale of derring-do.
Alison, I have to say, you don't strike me as being a pipe smoker.
Let's have a look. Give it a go.
-No, it's not you, is it?
-Why have you got a pipe?
-It belonged to my grandfather.
He was a pipe smoker and he had a collection of pipes.
-So, only one left in the family?
-Nothing as carved as this. Just ordinary pipes, but...
-Why did he have this, do you know?
-No idea. No, no.
-Do you know who he is?
-No, I've no idea.
Well, it looks like an explorer.
That sort of woollen wrap around his head and the big goggles.
This guy, I think, is a chap called Frank Wild.
Now, Frank Wild was a great explorer.
He went on some of the biggest expeditions in British history.
The first one was on board Discovery with Scott in 1901 -
Scott's first Antarctic expedition.
Then he went with Shackleton in 1908.
-Luckily for him, he didn't go with Scott in 1912.
Otherwise, he may well have never returned.
But what he did do was go back on the trans-Antarctic journey in 1914,
and that was, of course, the expedition where
the ship was caught in the ice and they were out there for two years.
-Total disaster, but he made it back.
-So, that's who we think he is.
I've done a bit of research. What do you think to him?
-That's Frank Wild.
Yeah, he had a beard rather than a moustache.
I guess, if they're going to do an image of him,
-they would have him wearing all the kit...
-Smartened up, yes.
-..but they would smarten him up.
I think that's probably why we're looking at that.
-But I think that image is uncanny. I think it's got to be him.
I've never seen a pipe like it.
In terms of value, if I said £40-£60,
-would you be happy with that?
-Mm, a little bit more.
-Well, what are you thinking?
-With a reserve of 50.
-Are you happy with that?
-Yes, that's fine.
-Do you know, I wouldn't be surprised if it made £100.
But then again, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't sell at all.
-It's one of those things that,
-in the right sale...
-..I think it would do very well.
-Let's take it along and see if it's the right sale.
What a wonderful story.
Now, remember those charming games that Claire spotted in the queue?
It's time to take a closer look.
Richard and Barbara, it's lovely to see you today
in this magnificent, holy place.
And what have you brought in? Gambling items of vice!
My goodness, I hope we're not struck down in here.
Cribbage marker boards and some dominoes.
So, you tell me a bit about them. How did you get a hold of them?
We got them in a car-boot.
We sometimes go to car-boots just to have a look around.
And we like quirky things, and it's just caught our eye.
So, how long ago did you find these?
About three and a half, four years ago.
-What did you pay for them?
-Oh, OK. Reasonable. Well done.
And do you play crib or dominoes? Have you used them at all?
-Widow, sometimes, yeah.
-Oh, OK. So, you understand crib, do you?
-Not crib, but dominoes.
-Yes, I can do the dominoes!
-So, you've decided now you're going to part with them, or...?
They don't really fit in with the decor any more, so...
-I know, everybody says it, but it's time, perhaps,
-to move them on to somebody who really will enjoy them.
-They've been cast off.
They are very collectable.
Cribbage, as a game, has been around since the early 1600s.
It's an old game. Dominoes was more a sort of 18th-century game.
So, both games, actually, have been around for centuries,
and very, very widely played still today.
But these don't date, actually, from quite that early.
You're looking at, I think, a set that was probably made in the '70s,
late '70s, that sort of period.
The dominoes are made out of a type of plastic.
But what I really like are the little military figures...
-..because they are painted die-cast...
-..like the Britain soldiers.
And I think they probably were made to be used with this set.
And, of course, these little chaps are the markers.
With crib, you have to move them up and down the board, don't you?
That's right, yes.
And then the person that gets back to the beginning is the winner.
So, I think they are actually quite collectable items.
But how about you, Barbara?
What do you think they might be worth?
I think we were thinking somewhere about £40-£60,
-maybe, for them, hopefully.
-Well, that seems quite sensible.
It's not a million miles away from what I was thinking.
I was pitching it a little bit lower -
maybe sort of 30-50.
Would you want to put a reserve on them to protect them on the day,
-do you think, perhaps?
-I don't think so, no.
If someone will buy them at a reasonable price,
-and they'll go to someone who'll enjoy them.
they will go to a collector. That's very sensible of you
because I think they'll find their own price on the day at the auction.
I mean, that's what auctions are all about.
So, if we go forward with that estimate,
but perhaps leave them without a reserve?
-That's fine, yeah.
-Excellent. It's been a pleasure seeing them,
and I look forward to seeing you at the auction.
Let's hope the Lord's on our side
and they march away at a tremendous profit!
Our crowd are in luck today, as they are being entertained
by some of the tour guides who work at the cathedral
who have come dressed in historic costumes.
Stephen, who is clad as a monk of the Benedictine Order,
is showing me one of the church's most prized possessions.
-Tell me about this one.
-Well, when bishops in the Church of England
started bringing crosiers back in in the 1800s,
this was probably the second or third crosier in England
-to be reintroduced.
It's quite controversial these days
because the head is made of a complete piece of ivory,
and so it has to be certified as one of those, you know, survivors.
But Thomas Claughton, the first bishop of St Albans, 1877,
-brought this in, gave it to all his successors.
And it's the one that, when a bishop retires,
he lays this up on the altar,
and when the next bishop comes, he picks it up again and moves on.
It's a very symbolic part of the role.
And it must be a real honour to hold it.
-Can I have a go, please?
-Go on. It's a wonderful feel.
-Gosh, there's some weight to this.
-Do you feel like a bishop?
I do feel like a bishop, yes.
And I'm off. Bye-bye, guys. THEY LAUGH
Isn't that a work of art?
Back on the valuation tables,
James has found a decorative piece that is just as pleasing.
We are here in this magnificent building,
surrounded by some of the earliest sculptures in stone,
with wonderful carving everywhere,
and you've brought your own little bit of wonderful carving,
and I love it!
-There's one thing about this, Rosemary.
The combination of bronze and white marble
that tells us a particular date.
-I thought it was late-19th-century.
-I think it's slightly later than that.
-Is it? Oh, right.
Looking at her, the way her hair is, her features, I think she's 1920s.
Oh, right. Fair enough, yeah.
When I see marble and bronze together,
I think it's a wonderful, wonderful combination.
This came from my grandmother.
-When I was a little girl, I absolutely loved her...
..cos I thought she had such a pretty face and lovely hair,
and she was very tactile.
-When she died, it was left to me.
So, she knew you loved her, at that time?
Yeah, absolutely. Very, very pretty. Very, very pretty little woman.
Have you had a good look over her for a mark, a signature?
Yeah, I can't find any marks or anything on her at all.
-How long have you had her?
Ah. Well, there's a signature.
And it says G Merlin,
and he's signed it on the marble base,
which was something that was very fashionable
in the 1920s and '30s, especially in France.
And it's an artist that does come up in the salerooms occasionally,
but comes up in various forms and various sizes.
Whenever you're looking at a female form from this period,
bearing in mind the '20s was quite a risque time,
they were making lots of nudes and nude dancers, scantily clad,
the odd bit of material here and there,
hardly concealing anything.
Those, as I'm sure you can imagine, are the most popular of all of them.
So, as soon as you've got a bronze and marble combination like this
where she's almost pensive
and, as you say, could almost have been 19th-century...
-..in her pose,
-then they're not worth such a lot.
So, the same artist can command different prices.
And in terms of valuation, these figures, these busts make,
week in, week out, £200-£300, something like that.
Occasionally, they sort of fall at 150,
-but I wouldn't want to see her make that.
-So, if we said £180 firm reserve...
-..would you be happy?
-Great, let's do it.
Yeah, that's great. Lovely. Thank you very much.
We've had a brilliant day so far,
and our experts are still working flat out,
but they have found their first three items to take off to auction,
as you have just seen.
I've got my favourites, you've probably got yours.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
While we make our way over to the saleroom,
here's a quick recap, just to jog your memory,
of all the items we're taking with us.
James believed that Alison's wooden pipe
may have been fashioned on the intrepid polar explorer Frank Wild,
but what will the bidders make of it?
Will the domino and cribbage sets, with their die-cast soldiers,
march away at the auction room?
And finally, Rosemary's always loved her 1920s marble and bronze bust,
but now it's time for this pretty lady to find a new home.
We are staying in Hertfordshire for our sale,
but are relocating to the small town of Tring,
which borders the Chiltern Hills.
As well as attracting visitors
who want to explore the nearby countryside,
this pretty market town has another draw -
the beautiful Victorian Tring Natural History Museum.
Hopefully, the bidders will find our lots as enticing
as the nearby attractions,
as we head over to Tring Market Auctions,
where Stephen Hearn is on the rostrum.
Remember, whether you're buying or selling at every auction,
there is always commission and VAT to pay. Here, sellers pay
between 10% and 15%. First under the hammer
is the 1920s bust.
Rosemary, good luck. I love Rosemary's lot. It's so pretty.
It's a combination of marble and bronze.
It's a beautiful, beautiful little bust.
Now, will we get that £200-£300, and why are you selling it?
I'm selling it because, if it sells,
I'd like to put money towards an antique cat.
-An antique cat?
-I like cats. I collect cats.
Ooh, a bronze cat? Something like that?
-Do you have real cats, as well?
-Oh, I have real cats.
-You're a cat lover?
-Oh! Well, good luck.
-It's going under the hammer now.
That's a bit different, that one, isn't it? It's a rather nice one.
Inscribed by Merlin. There it is.
Alabaster, probably 1920s, something like that.
A couple of hundred pounds for it? 200 for it? 150 for it? Yes. Surely!
Yes? 60? 70?
80? 90 now.
Yes? 190, we've got.
Are we going to be...? That's 200, we're bid now.
200, thank you. 210, yes or no? 210, I have.
220, is it? At 220.
-Getting there. Crawling.
-Come on, Rosemary.
And 40? Is it 240?
And 50 now. Is it going to be 60?
Sure? 250 has it, then.
-And you are out. £250, then.
Do you know, that was beautiful, wasn't it? It was quality.
-And as we always say on the show, quality always sells.
Well done, you.
That result should go a good way towards an antique cat for Rosemary.
Next, let's see if we can make a decent profit
for Richard and Barbara on their cribbage and domino games,
which they bought for £20 at a car-boot sale.
Fingers crossed we get these away top end of the estimate.
You see, the thing is, there's no reserve.
I know they're going to sell,
but I really like to see things with reserves,
and I know it's an auctioneer thing.
-You're confident, though, aren't you?
Well, they're just quirky items, unusual.
-If you like playing games, it's great, isn't it?
We're walking a tightrope here. You know that, don't you?
Let's hope we get to the other side.
Here we go. It's going under the hammer now.
Right, now we've got a domino stand. Rather nice, those.
And a cribbage board with the guardsmen.
Are we going to get 60 for it?
Or 50? Or 40?
-We've got 40 for it.
-Have we got 50? Yes?
-50? I've got 50. And five now, then.
If there's no more, then, at £50, then it's going. The room's out.
It's going down and I shall sell it for the £50, then.
Thank you very much.
-£50. Brilliant. Well done.
-We got the top end.
Who was worried about no reserve? THEY LAUGH
What a great profit on a car-boot bargain.
Finally, remember that pipe
which James thought might be the explorer Frank Wild?
Well, it's time for it to go under the hammer.
-It was your grandad's or your dad's?
-It was Grandad's. He collected pipes, didn't he?
-You don't want it any more? You're decluttering?
Anyway, look, good luck, both of you.
This is going under the hammer now.
A pipe, the wooden bowl carved as an explorer.
Is he one of the Arctic explorers? There you are.
Are we going to get to £100 for it, or £50?
Yes, we'll get to 50, won't we?
Yes. 50, I'm bid, then.
And five for you? And 60? And five? And 70?
And five? At £80, we're bid. 85? 90? Five? 100?
£100, then. 100, I'm bid.
-Well, this is good.
-110? And 20?
110's got it, then.
£110. Thank you.
-Yes! Hammer's gone down 110.
-I was thinking around 70-80.
-I think that's a great price for it.
-100 - top price, top price.
-Very good, yes.
Well, there you are - our first three lots under the hammer
and some happy owners.
We're coming back here later on in the show, so don't go away.
We could have that big surprise.
But before I head back to the valuation day,
while we're here in the area,
I took a trip to the beautiful Knebworth House,
which is about 20 miles from here.
Knebworth House is an architectural masterpiece.
It dates from the Tudor period,
though you'd be forgiven for thinking it was built much later,
as the original 16th-century red brick
was concealed beneath turrets, domes, gargoyles
and stained glass in the 19th century,
which turned this stately home into a Gothic Victorian fantasy.
But however fascinating the architecture is,
Knebworth is best known
as one of the country's premier concert venues.
Over 100 major artists have played here
since the estate threw open its gates in 1974,
with kings and queens of pop and rock topping the bill,
such as The Rolling Stones, Ella Fitzgerald and Queen.
But I'm not here to admire this architectural treat
or delve into Knebworth's past rock history.
I'm here to learn more about a story of one of its past residents.
In the early part of the 20th century,
Lady Constance Lytton put her own health at risk
to stand up for what she passionately believed in -
the right for women to vote.
During the second part of the 19th century,
women in the United Kingdom began campaigning for women's suffrage,
the right of women to stand for electoral office and to vote.
Lady Constance Lytton, who spent her formative years here
in the sumptuous surroundings of Knebworth House,
played a vital role in the movement.
To find out more, I'm meeting Clare Fleck,
who has been Knebworth's trusted archivist for over 20 years.
What type of person was Lady Constance?
Well, she was born into an aristocratic family,
so very privileged lifestyle.
And some of the things she'd done would have been quite conventional
for a young lady, such as her watercolours.
She did watercolour art.
She was also very musical. She was a sensitive soul, very shy.
Didn't like the public aspects of her upbringing.
She played the piano beautifully,
would loved to have been a professional pianist.
There's some lovely cartoons by her brother-in-law,
Edwin Lutyens, of her playing the piano here.
And she loved doing ordinary things.
She liked to do what she calls in her diaries "house-maiding".
She loved cleaning, she loved flower arranging,
doing the accounts, mending hats, mending her clothes.
She was a very practical person.
She didn't like the posh side of life.
How did Lady Constance get involved in the suffragette movement?
In 1908, she met the suffragettes
through helping with the girls' club that she was helping to run
with a little inheritance of her own,
and she was invited to go with them to a seaside house for a holiday.
There were two strong suffragettes there who suggested she join them.
But she didn't just willy-nilly say, "Yes, that's for me."
She went away, she read the literature
and made a conscious decision that, yes, this was a very valid cause
and that she would join the suffragettes.
There were two different lines of attack
in the fight for votes for women.
The first was represented by the National Union of Women's Suffrage,
which used only peaceful means of protest,
whereas the Women's Social and Political Union
used militant and sometimes even violent means
to get its message across.
So, she decided to join the cause,
but it was a while before she actually signed up
to the Women's Social and Political Union,
which was the militant side of the cause.
Con decided that the militant way was the way she could make her mark.
But she was never violent in a serious way.
She'd throw stones at a car or break a window -
minor violence just to attract attention
-and ultimately get arrested.
-And she did.
The first demonstration she went on took her by surprise
cos it was a very violent business.
She was pushed and shoved and squeezed by the police,
and she was not strong herself.
She had a weak heart and never had strong health,
so it was really a traumatic experience for her,
but this is what she wanted.
She wanted to be involved with the ordinary suffragettes.
-Did she spend time in prison?
Altogether, she had four imprisonments.
The first time, in 1910, she went to Holloway
and she wasn't treated as an ordinary suffragette.
-She was Lady Constance Lytton...
..so she had preferential treatment, her health was checked,
so her heart - her weak heart - was identified,
and she was put on the hospital wing, which she didn't want.
She had two imprisonments like that,
and for her third occasion, she took drastic action.
She went well away from London,
disguised herself as a working seamstress, as Jane Warton.
She even rejoined the WSPU as Jane Warton.
So, when she was arrested there,
-Jane Warton's health wasn't checked.
She was an ordinary prisoner, a third-degree prisoner,
and went on the ordinary wing. So, when she went on hunger strike,
she was then brutally force-fed, as the suffragettes were.
That's what she wanted, but it was a brutal process.
She had ill-health afterwards, but went on working for the cause.
She worked in the headquarters of WSPU, went on lecturing.
Even though she felt she was a very poor speaker,
she really inspired people through her lectures and talks.
So, how did Constance's story end?
Did she know that she made a big contribution and a big difference?
I think she appreciated her part because she wrote a book,
a very moving book called Prison & Prisoners.
We've got a copy, which is an account of, it says here,
"Some personal experiences by Lady Constance Lytton
"and Jane Warton, spinster."
-She's got both sides.
It's the story of her part in the "votes for women" cause,
her prison experiences. It also tells us a lot about her.
The book, which was very popular -
the first 2,000 edition was sold out within a week,
and it was published internationally...
And, again, it shows us not just prison conditions.
She can see the best side of anything.
Well, she died relatively young, in her 50s.
Yes, she was only 53, and I'm sure that the fight that she took part in
contributed to her ill-health and her early death.
Was she alive to see women get the vote?
To some extent. She died in 1923.
In 1918, women over the age of 30 had got the vote,
-so she did see that.
In fact, in her book, there's a very touching piece
written in her own hand, and she says,
"February, 1918. By the Representation of the People Act,
"about six million women of 30 years of age
-"obtained the Parliamentary Vote."
But full suffrage didn't come to women till 1928,
and, of course, she'd been dead five years by then.
A sad story, but a wonderful story and a wonderful woman.
The casket holding Lady Constance's ashes
rests here in this mausoleum on the Knebworth family estate.
And from everything that I've learned about Constance today,
I think the epitaph written here is rather apt.
Just listen to this. "A celestial sense of humour,
"boundless sympathy, a rare musical talent.
"She devoted the later years of her life
"to the political enfranchisement of women
"and sacrificed her health and her talents
"in helping to bring victory to this cause."
Today, Constance is still remembered
because every year, in March, on International Women's Day,
a group of women make the journey here
to pay tribute to Constance's bravery
and contribution towards the suffragette movement.
Back at St Albans Cathedral and Abbey,
our valuation day is still in full swing
with hundreds of people queueing to see our experts.
And we're not finished with the suffragette theme just yet,
as Claire has come across a pair of mementos from the cause.
Helen, I love these.
Now, we've actually seen a lot of religious figures here today,
but these are from a totally different movement, aren't they?
-So, tell me a bit about them,
-what you know about them.
-Well, all I know is that
my mother-in-law gave them to me about 15 years ago.
I can't say that I really like them
cos they're not particularly attractive,
and I can't find a use for them,
but I do know that they are meant to be suffragettes.
They're actually hallmarked Chester, 1908,
which is not long after Emmeline Pankhurst founded
the suffragette movement in 1903.
So, very, very much of the period.
They're made by a very interesting firm
called Saunders and Shepherd,
who actually originally mounted mourning jewellery.
-Whitby. The old Whitby Jet.
-Oh, yeah, yeah.
-And they're little novelty salt and pepper shakers...
..in the form of two suffragette ladies.
-They're made of silver.
And then you've got like little panels front and back,
wearing the poke bonnets,
and the little holes are made in the back of the bonnets
for the salt and pepper to be shaken from.
-And then you've got some rather unattractive faces in there.
Yes. Very simple arms and rather shapeless figures, as well.
Suffragettes, at that time, were depicted in illustrations,
postcards, anything, as rather ugly, manly women.
Not the sort of feminine, attractive woman
that would look after her home and her husband
and not be bothered about things like voting.
You know, they were depicted as ugly. They were ridiculed.
They had to go through all that.
And the boards, front and back,
actually did have lettering on them, which you can just see.
-But you know what it says, don't you?
The salt has "Votes For Women" written on,
and the pepper has "I Can Make It Hot For You."
-I mean, obviously, you've got the pepper making it hot.
But also, it's a reflection on their feeling,
"Yes, we can make it hot for you. We'll make it difficult for you.
"We'll make you give us the vote." Because it was a huge struggle.
So, these ladies represent something
-that was amazingly important, really, in history.
However, we need to talk about value.
They are very collectable.
They're novelty condiments and there are people who collect them,
but it's the fact they're suffragettes
-that's going to give them their value.
I think, easily, we should estimate them
at 1,000-1,500 because the singles will make 700 or 800.
-I think that's a very conservative estimate,
if you're happy with that.
And I would certainly put £1,000 reserve on them,
-perhaps with a bit of discretion.
-It's so unusual to find the pair.
And they're in good condition
and they're just so beautifully collectable,
-I really, really think. So, do you think that's good?
-Worth getting them out of the box for?
-Very surprised, yes.
Well, that's always nice when it works that way.
-Well, let's hope they do something.
-I'm sure they will.
Over on James's table, it looks as though he's in for a surprise, too.
-Now, Lesley, this is a real first for me on Flog It!
-Is it, James?
Because what generally happens is
I go out in the lines first thing in the morning
and we look at everyone queueing outside
-and we delve into people's bags. And I saw you in the queue...
-..but I didn't see this.
-I have no idea what's in this.
"Miss Clarissa Crancher, June 1844."
-Oh, look at these. Sand pictures.
-Are they sand pictures?
Just feel that.
Now, this would have been so fashionable at its time.
What is this? "Shanklin Chine."
OK, now, sand pictures were made fashionable
by a chap called Zobel, who would paint these massive pictures of,
a lot of the time, farm scenes, cattle, out of sand.
It's literally, as we did when we were kids,
get a piece of paper, put some glue on it
and sprinkle some coloured sand on.
-And that's exactly the way they did these.
-Aren't they brilliant?
There was a huge fashion for these scrapbooks
from the late 18th century.
-Tell me, what's the family history?
-My mother bought it at a boot sale.
-Yes, about 20 years ago.
And this, she would have loved it.
She did love it and, you know, it was right up her street.
One of the interesting things about these
is that we look at them today with a very different eye,
and we look at that and think, "Oh, isn't that amazing?
"What a wonderful hand."
But, of course, in the 18th century and the 19th century,
almost every member of the middle classes was taught how to paint...
-..and how to sing...
-..and how to draw.
It wasn't till the 1920s and '30s when we had radio
that that sort of skill was lost.
And, of course, today, it's the computer game and telly,
-so we haven't got very many skills left at all.
-No, I'm afraid not.
-Not in this way, anyway.
-Any idea of value?
-None at all. None at all.
A lot of these are split up and sold as individual objects,
individual sand pictures.
But I have to say, in the last sort of ten years,
there's been a change and an appreciation of this
as an actual object, so I'm hoping that somebody will buy this
and actually love it for what it is. In terms of valuation,
I think there's a lot in there that's really nicely done.
There are quite a lot of also-rans, as well.
So, I think, let's concentrate on the good,
and I think, if we add those up,
I think that's going to be worth an estimate of 100-150.
May well make 200.
But I think, if we put a reserve on it,
-the reserve is going to be £100.
-That's what I'd recommend, if that's OK with you.
-Yes, very pleased with that.
-Thank you, James.
Every year, thousands of visitors flock to St Albans Cathedral
to admire the art, architecture and the history
of this awe-inspiring building,
but the cathedral also boasts an unusual tourist attraction.
I couldn't leave St Albans
without sharing with you the story of Humphrey.
Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester, died in 1447.
He was the brother of Henry V.
History will remember him as a brave man
who fought on the front line against the French
in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Humphrey lies in a tomb down there,
and I'm going down there to take a look for myself.
Gosh, it's difficult to get down
because the treads on the steps are so uneven.
Well, poor old Humphrey's body
was brought down here soon after his death,
and then forgotten about until 1703,
when some building work was taking place in the area
and they discovered the crypt.
When they opened the lid of the coffin,
they saw Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester.
There he was in an amazing state of preservation.
Everything was there.
And further more, the coffin was full of a sticky liquid.
He'd been embalmed, preserved, pickled!
This soon became a tourist attraction
and thousands of people visited dear old Humphrey down here.
That is the reason for the wear on these treads -
thousands of people would have come up and down this staircase
in awe looking at this body.
They were coming down here and they were dipping their fingers
in this brown, sticky mess. And furthermore,
some people were even stealing poor old Humphrey's bones.
Well, enough was enough.
The trap door was finally sealed up in 1872.
They had to seal it up before poor old Humphrey disappeared.
All that's left of him now is his skull and seven bones.
Having emerged back into the light of the cathedral's nave,
it's time for our final valuation with Claire.
-Well, Fran, Martinware - it's not everyone's cup of tea, is it?
-But I think this is actually quite pretty.
-I love it.
And I do have to correct myself - it's not actually a teapot.
-I think it's a coffee pot.
-So, are you a collector of it?
-No, we're not.
We collect Lambeth - Doulton Lambeth.
But my husband bought me this about 20, 30 years ago
because it was very pretty, because it's lovely,
-because it's got birds on it.
-So, you're a bird person, are you?
-A bird lover, yes.
And, actually, the colour of the glaze isn't that dissimilar, is it?
-No, it's quite soft.
-Yes, yes. It's quite a nice piece.
Do you know much about the Martin Brothers?
I don't know anything about them at all,
-except that there were lots of them.
-There were four.
-Extraordinary potters, really,
and working at a time where art studio pottery
was really quite in vogue.
Although this is a fairly conservative item for them
because they're better known, perhaps,
in the world of sort of exciting antiques,
-for the big wally birds.
-Big, chunky birds.
great beaks, which actually were supposed to be caricatures
of prominent people at the time,
although it's not always easy to discern who they are.
-So, it's made by Martin Brothers.
You can tell that from decoration, but actually,
it's very clearly marked underneath.
-They always incised the base in the clay when it was still wet.
So, we have a lovely signature there of W Martin,
and also the date - very clearly dated, actually -
the 28th of April '82,
-so there's no doubt about when it was made.
Yeah, very, very nicely marked.
-Worked in salt-glaze stoneware.
-Stoneware is -
well, as you know, if you collect the Doulton Lambeth
-because that's the same - it's very hard, isn't it?
And then they throw salt into the kiln
to give you this sort of overall,
almost like a luminescent effect on the glaze.
-It's very beautiful.
-It's nice, actually, isn't it? I do like it.
-Now, the important thing, always, with pottery, is condition.
And, sadly, this does have a hairline crack in the base,
which, if anybody collecting... The first thing they ask you
when they want to buy a piece of pottery, "What condition is it in?
"Has it got any chips or cracks?"
So, the minute you mention a hairline crack,
they'll be a little bit, "Hmm, OK."
Perhaps not quite so excited about it.
But having said that, you don't see that many pieces on the market.
They weren't that prolific.
They really were quite an extraordinary bunch.
-So, we need to speak a bit about value.
It's always difficult with something with a hairline crack.
I have sold items before that have been damaged
and they've done extremely well,
but I always err on the side of caution
and just try and keep the estimate sensible.
-I'd estimate it about 150-250.
-Does that sound good?
-That sounds lovely. No, that sounds good.
I think, perhaps, we pitch the reserve just under the 150,
or maybe 130. Fix the reserve at that? Is that all right for you?
-No, that's fine.
I shall look forward to seeing you. Thank you very much indeed.
Well, there you are, that's it. Our work is nearly done here.
Our experts have now found their final items to take off to auction,
so we have to say goodbye to St Albans Cathedral and Abbey.
But I tell you what,
-it's not easy putting a value on an antique, is it? ALL:
-Our experts are pretty good, aren't they? ALL:
But anything can happen in an auction room, and you know that.
Right now, we're going to put those valuations to the test.
Here's a quick recap of all the items
that are coming with us off to auction.
Helen isn't very fond of her suffragette salt and pepper pots,
so will be happy to see them sell.
The Victorian scrapbook is crammed full of different illustrations,
including those interesting sand pictures.
And finally, let's hope the hairline crack
on Fran's Martinware coffee pot doesn't deter the bidders.
We're back at the saleroom in Tring,
where auctioneer Stephen Hearn is still hard at work.
First up, it's that Martinware coffee pot.
Fran, I want to say good luck, but at the same time,
I want to say I don't want you to sell it.
-Why, why, why are you selling this?
-Because my husband said
he would like us to come and do something like this.
-On Flog It?
-On Flog It! And do you know, he's just done something.
-Oh, you could have found something else!
-I know, I know.
This is it. It's going under the hammer.
200, I have. 210 for you, sir?
220? 230? 240, I have.
-Let's get 350.
270? 280? 300, he said. No?
At £300. At 310. 320 now. 330?
Don't often get a piece. It's going down.
I sell for £350, then.
-You got top money - £350.
-It's a good result.
-Thanks for being such a brilliant sport.
-Thank you very much.
-Because quality, quality, quality.
-Martin Brothers - great London makers.
Next, let's hope the collectors are in the saleroom
for that jam-packed sketch book.
-Leslie, it's great to see you again.
-Thank you very much.
I love the little sketchbook.
We're just about to sell Leslie's little sketchbook.
-Leather bound, it's got some wonderful watercolours in it.
-Oh, it's fabulous, isn't it?
-It really is delightful.
-And Mum got this?
-From a boot sale, yes.
-About 20-odd years ago?
-20-odd years ago.
OK, fingers crossed we get that top end.
This is going under the hammer right now.
There it is. 150.
Make it 60? 70? 80 now?
At £70. Are you going to be 80?
90? 100? £100.
Surely one more, sir. No?
Madam's going to have it, then. I shall sell away from you.
It's going for £100, then.
-Well done. Well done. We're all happy.
-Yes, that's good. Yeah, yeah.
-Job done, James.
-Good. Well done.
Now for our final lot of the day,
and it's Helen's suffragette salt and pepper pots.
Great to see you again, and what a find at the valuation day.
You spotted them. You zoomed straight in.
-Were you surprised at the valuation?
I thought they might have been about £100 or something.
-Something along those lines.
-That must have been a big surprise.
Hopefully, we'll get that £1,500. Hopefully, get a bit more.
-Yeah, hope so. It's quite scarce to find a pair.
They often come up singly. Well, not even that often,
-but you see them singly.
-This is exciting, isn't it?
-This should be our star lot.
This is the big one we've been waiting for!
It's going under the hammer right now.
They're the right date. I am bid £700 for them.
720, I have. 750 is bid for it.
820, we've got. 820.
900, we've got. At £900.
920? 950, is it?
980? At 980, they're going to be sold.
At 980, then, they're going to be sold.
They go down at £980.
-Oh! It wasn't bad, was it?
-But I tell you what,
-it's better than 150, isn't it?
-It is. It is.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-They were rare.
-They were. It would have been nice to see the 1,000,
-but that's not a bad price, is it?
-That's pretty good.
-That's not a bad price.
-Thank you so much for bringing them in.
-Oh, you're welcome.
Well, there you are. That's it. It's all over for our owners.
We've had a marvellous time here.
And if you'd like to join the show, we'd love to see you.
Check out our up-and-coming dates and venues on our BBC website
or our Facebook page, or check the details in your local press.
Come on, dust them down, bring them in,
we'll flog them in another auction room.
But until then, it's goodbye from Hertfordshire.