The team is deep in the heart of Wiltshire, in the market town of Chippenham. Experts Catherine Southon and Jethro Marles decide what can go to auction in Pewsey.
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Today, we're in Wiltshire, in the old market town of Chippenham.
It's a place with a rich sense of history and heritage. I'm sure we'll get a flavour of that on Flog It!
And the local people have certainly turned out to support us today.
Experts Catherine Southern and Jethro Marles will be picking out the best items to take to auction.
Here in the Neeld Hall, everybody's in place, the room has filled up.
Let's see what item is first on the agenda.
Charley Weaver the bartender.
Now, Roger, you've brought this toy along to us today.
It looks fascinating.
Tell me, how you came by it. Why did you acquire it?
Well, I was in the Royal Navy, and we...were out in the Far East.
I went ashore one day and I spotted this.
There was a couple of more toys I bought, for the son, really. And when I got home, I kept this.
The boy had the toys, but he didn't get that.
-So it was too good for your son?
-It was sort of a party-piece, really. You take it out... A bit of a party piece.
And you can tell. Look at him. Charley Weaver the bartender.
-He looks a bit like Benny Hill, doesn't he?
-In fact, if you grew a moustache, he has got a slight resemblance.
-Yeah. We've been told!
Here he is, in all his glory.
Wow! There we go. And, um...
-shall we see what he does?
-He's mixing a cocktail, isn't he?
-Yeah, he makes a cocktail, which he pours into his glass.
He drinks it, and his face will go all red.
Here he goes, he's having a drink. Smoke coming out the ears!
-And a kick in the back of the neck...
And he's off again! I think he's absolutely fantastic.
Of course, the mechanics that go into something like this are quite...
We've been very lucky, as regards none of the mechanical parts have broken.
I have seen some where the smoke doesn't come out the ears.
And for some odd reason, this one still does.
Well, another point, if you look underneath it says,
-"If the bartender ceases to emit smoke, it means that the batteries are weak."
-So maybe those other ones didn't have fresh batteries.
Now, Roger, I would say that, a little while back,
collectors would have paid over £100 for a model like this, in good order.
But the market has gone off a little bit.
-I feel that if you're going to sell his one, you shouldn't put a reserve of more than, say, £60.
An estimate of £60 to £80 would be a realistic estimate, I think, in the auction.
-Would you be happy with that?
-I'd be very happy, yeah.
-OK. Well. If we get £60, you know...
-We can have a little drink together. Have a cocktail.
Whilst our owners are still arriving, I've decided to learn some more about Chippenham.
The London to Bristol coach road ran through these parts and, in fact, over here and onwards to Bath.
But a big change came about with the arrival of Brunel and the Great Western Railway.
The railway brought new life to Chippenham.
An engineering works sprung up here, but old money still counted.
In the 19th century, Chippenham was represented at Westminster by Joseph Neeld.
He inherited a fortune,
and after a disastrous marriage, used his money to invest
in fine buildings like this one, the one we are in today.
So let's get back to the hustle and bustle of our valuation day,
and see if Catherine's found anything interesting.
Nicola, thank you for coming along today, and bringing your...
Well, what shall we call it?
A part Belleek tea set? Now, any Irish connection in your family?
-Cos Belleek comes from Northern Ireland.
-None that I know of, anyway.
No. I think this set was my great-great-grandmother's,
and it's been passed down, and now it's belonged to my grandmother. It's just been kept in the attic.
What I like about the Belleek mark, underneath, is that it's got the Irish symbols.
It's got the harp, the dog and the tower,
which have all been printed on the bottom.
Now, the fact that this actually says, "County Fermanagh, Ireland",
tells us the date of it.
It means that it's actually post-1891, so it's not early period.
It's going to be the later period.
It's difficult to be definite about the date,
but I'd probably be safe with saying about the First World War period, something like that.
It's possible that, once upon a time, you had three green cups and the three pink cups,
but at the moment you've only got the one, two, three green cups and just one pink cup.
-And you haven't got the teapot?
The things that I'm worried about with these is the condition.
-You have to be so careful with Belleek, because it is fragile. It's so easy to break them.
But I can see that two of them have been broken, which really will affect the price.
Now, what I do like about these are these sort of little dishes, here.
I thought they were saucers, but they're not because they haven't got the ring around them.
They are quite unusual. Do you know what they're for?
-My grandmother said that they might have been plates, but they're small.
-You wouldn't get a lot on them.
Just a tiny cake or something. Do we have any idea of price on this?
None at all. No. I wouldn't know what it's worth.
A little guess, perhaps?
Eh...my grandma said she's seen a whole set before, with the teapot, and that went for 1,000, so...
-Right. We're not quite up to that.
-Belleek is very collectible,
and we have the nice Nautilus style here,
-but we must remember that we have PART of a set.
-With that in mind, I'd like to put an estimate on of around £200 to £300.
-Does that sound OK?
-Would that be OK to Grandmother?
-I don't want to upset her!
-Yes, she'd like that.
-She'd be happy?
Carolyn, thank you very much for bringing this pair of prints in.
I love them. They're romantic, until you take a closer look and realise what's going on.
-They're both death scenes of women, which is not romantic, is it?
-But they have the look.
-Where have they come from?
They've come from the attic of the house I moved to.
-So you found them, you inherited them, in your attic?
They look like they've come from an attic - they're damp in places.
It's a good job you got them out, because they'd start to perish.
But the good news is, at least the prints aren't too badly damaged.
A bit of water marking. This is the sort of thing
I'd like to sort of repair and restore myself.
Anybody that's done a bit of decorating, and can work with plaster, could touch that up.
This one, on the other hand, is in much better condition.
It depicts the death of Lady Jane Grey.
She was beheaded by Mary Tudor,
the daughter of Henry VIII, who rightfully inherited the throne.
-And if you look closely, you can see millions...
-I've never noticed that before.
-..of little dots.
It's come from a print run, and these are late Georgian.
-I think they're round about 1810, 1820.
But what's good is, they've not been hand-coloured in.
This is beautifully coloured in, but the ink has been on the press before they were pressed.
-It's actually on the engraving.
-And I like them. I think they're quality.
They've definitely got that look for me. The backs...?
Well, if I pick one up...
The collectors will like that.
The dealers will like that. It shows they haven't been tampered with.
-I would like to see these sell for round about £140 for the pair.
-I think they've got the look.
-But to be safe, I'd like to put them into auction with a valuation of about £90 to £130.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Yeah. That's fine.
Now, Louise, you obviously like reading comics?
Well, I have a confession to make.
They were collected by my youngest son.
And, um, as soon as he did his paper rounds and got a little bit of extra pocket money,
he started the collection, which is huge.
How many are there in the whole collection, do you think?
-Because you've brought a selection along today.
You think 400 or 500, 500 or 600?
I really don't know, without sitting down and counting them all individually.
Now, a lot of these are American comics.
Yes. It's what he was into.
How did he get hold of them?
I'm sure they were sold in the local newsagent's. He popped along, came back with his comic, so must have...
Did he have a favourite?
Um, Batman... was one of his favourites. Spiderman.
-Well, Batman was my favourite.
-In fact, I made myself a costume when I was a young lad. And I thought I was Batman.
I did! I had a mask and everything. And, yeah, I loved it.
Spiderman, not really my thing. But the comics are in lovely condition.
-And when we've taken a couple out of their wrappers...
And here we go. Look, we've got Batman here.
I liked this one because, "Batman And The Outsiders."
It's very un-Batman-like, because he's saying to Superman, and Wonder Woman,
and all the other superheroes that we know, "I've had enough of your Justice League.
"From now on, these are my new partners." Who the heck these are, I've got no idea!
I think he's on the wrong team here.
I have no idea, either.
But there is a lot of interest, a lot of people do collect these.
There are certain things that make some of these comics more valuable than others.
If they're the first in a run, or a first edition in a series, that makes them more valuable.
If there were only a certain number of a particular number printed, that would make them more valuable.
Yes, of course.
These do need to be gone through, and you say that you've got more.
-Yes, at home.
-So, those will need to be gone through as well.
Listening to what you've been saying, and looking at the general condition, because they are in good condition,
-I think we're looking at perhaps £60 to £80 as an estimate...
-..and a reserve at £60.
-So you'd be happy with that?
-We'll see when you bring the rest along, but based on what you say, 60 to 80, with a 60 reserve.
Well, our experts have been working flat out,
and it's time to take our first batch of antiques to the saleroom.
But what will auctioneer David Harrison think of our items?
And will the people of Pewsey be in a bidding mood?
We'll find out a little later on. But first, here's a quick rundown of the items going under the hammer.
Charley Weaver the bartender was bought for Roger's son,
but he liked it so much, he kept it himself.
At auction, it should shake up at least £60.
Nicola inherited her Belleek tea set,
but wants to get it down from the attic and sell it.
Catherine's hoping for at least £200 to £300.
Also found in the attic, these pictures are sad but romantic.
Carolyn wants to flog them, so let's hope they better my estimate.
Louise's son left his collection to his mum, to pay off his debts.
I hope they were no more than £60!
Pewsey is a sweet little town nestling alongside the Kennett and Avon canal.
Just outside are the Jubilee Auction Rooms where we've two auctioneers - Chris Linney and David Harrison.
This is a good little lot. It belongs to Nicola.
It's a Belleek tea service. It's part complete, really.
It's been in the attic a long time.
It's been handed through the family, three generations, and Catherine Southern has put £200 to £300 on it.
-Bit of damage on two items.
-I don't see us having a problem with it.
I really don't. The majority of it is first-period Belleek, with the black mark at the base.
When you say three generations, I find that quite interesting.
-These days, we can call a generation 25 to 30 years, times 3, so we're 75...90 years.
And they're a little bit older than that, being first-period.
Obviously, the damage won't help. Nautilus pattern - very sought-after.
I personally think that they will probably be bought by the trade.
-Yeah? And broken up.
-Exactly. They'll break them up.
Individual cup and saucer.
I am reasonably confident, as much as an auctioneer can be confident,
that these will go flying out of the saleroom.
This is an interesting lot, David. These were brought in by Louise.
They are her son's, but he's just left home, incurred a lot of debts,
so she's flogging them to pay off some of the debts. And it's a collection of 265 comic magazines.
We've got Batman, all sorts of superhero characters.
Superb graphics. DC Comics, printed in Fifth Avenue, New York.
And, um, Jethro our expert has put a valuation of £60 to £80 on them. But something's happened since then?
Yes, we had a further 300-odd. We haven't had the time to count them all,
-but we are in excess of 500.
Obviously, we're sort of pushing that estimate up,
and we would hope that they will make £100, £150.
-That's the revised estimate?
-That's the revised estimate.
And if you sort of work that back, it's 20p a copy.
You can't buy a comic for that money these days.
-Not these days, but then, looking back, these... What? 82 to 85, that sort of period?
They cost 30p each then, so it's not been a very good investment, has it?
I think, possibly, the ones that are making the money are the 1960s.
-And if Mother can cope with stocking the box for another 20 years, it'll be a different story!
So watch this space for 20 years' time!
But she's not gonna tuck them back in the loft, because they're here to flog. Will they get the top end?
I don't think they'll get top end, but I would be reasonably confident that we'll get them away, Paul.
-I think you're going to be our very own superhero. Get on the rostrum and do your stuff.
-I'll do my best!
And kerbang! It's now time for that auction. Will the Belleek fly?
I've just been joined by Nicola, and she's selling her family's collection of Belleek.
There's a lot of it. I had a chat to the auctioneer earlier.
Catherine's valuation, 200 to 300 - bang on.
There is some damage. It will be bought, possibly by the trade, and split up.
-That's what he said.
-It'll go to make other sets.
-We're there with the money.
It's going to do it. It's going to do the 300 mark.
What's the money going towards?
It's going to my grandma, for her to buy my wedding cake next year.
-Aw, you're getting married?
-Yes, I am.
-You're very young. How old are you?
-I'm 20 this year.
-Looking forward to it?
-Well in love.
Good luck with that, and good luck with this. Here we go.
Lot 200 is the part Belleek Neptune tea service.
-Really, really rather nice.
-It is quality.
A little bit of damage.
-But it's got great potential. Telephone bids...
That's what we want!
£110, at 110. At 110, at 110.
At 110, 120. 130. 140. 150. 160. 170.
At 170, at 170. At 170. At 170...
At 170, at £170...
-That's not going to sell it.
-All finished at 170?
I don't believe that. I really don't believe that. I'm so sorry.
-You didn't want to take these home. You don't like them!
-I'm so sorry!
-I'm surprised at that. When he said "telephone bidder", I thought, "We'll do well."
You just don't know what's going to happen.
Obviously the people just weren't here today, but it will sell.
-You will get your wedding cake.
-I hope so!
Oh, dear! Time for a swift drink, if you ask me.
Let's hope it's cheers all round for Roger and his little battery-operated bartender,
who's used to pulling pints, but can he pull in the bidders? We need 60 to £80. It's boxed and it's working.
And it's in good nick, so hopefully we'll get the top end.
-Yeah, I hope so.
-So do I, but will our expert change his mind?
-Why do you say that, Paul? On the day...
-Cos he's under pressure.
..I was reasonably confident, but I have looked on the internet,
and it's possible to buy a perfect - with a mint-condition box - Charley Weaver for £45, at the moment.
Hopefully, buyers in the room don't know that.
Yeah, and hopefully there's two people in the room that will pay
-£45 plus, which means they'll bid each other up.
-Yeah, I hope so.
-That's the general idea!
Lot 141, a Japanese mechanical toy.
Lots of fun here.
Entitled Charley Weaver, the bartender.
He mixes and shakes his own drinks.
And I can start the bidding here at £40. £40, I have. 45.
50. 55. 60. 65.
We've got to 65. Do I see 70 anywhere? 70 on my right.
-70 on my right. Selling, then, at £70...
-The hammer's gone down on £70. You pleased with that?
-Yeah? Top end of the estimate.
What's the £70 going to go towards?
Ah...well, that's for the wife.
It's her birthday next Friday. She's 70.
-So she gets an evening out.
An evening out? A slap-up meal and a nice bottle of wine?
-So she'll be quite pleased with that.
-Enjoy it, won't you?
Thanks, Roger. ..Good result.
You see, you were a little bit worried.
It proves there are no such things as fixed values in the auction room. It's an open book every day!
OK, the pressure is on me now. It's my turn to be the expert.
It's a bit of fine art - in fact, it's two lovely engravings, brought in by Carolyn. Early 19th century.
They are death scenes, but I hope it won't be a nail in the coffin for our valuation.
-What will you do with the money?
-It's going to go towards my daughter's first car.
-And how much is that going to cost, I wonder? Lots of money?
-For the car she wants, anyway.
-Hopefully this is six months' road tax. We'll find out now.
Now we come on to lot 199.
A very fine pair of engravings, after William Martin.
Edward And Eleanora, and The Death Of Lady Jane Grey.
Where's someone going to start me? Someone start me at £100?
50, then? 50, I have. 50, I have. 55.
55. 60 here. 65.
70 here. 75 at the back.
80. 85 at the back.
90, and the bid is with you.
90, the bid is on my right.
-Do I see 95 anywhere?
-Come on, come on.
The bid is on my right. Do I see 95 anywhere?
Selling, then, at £90...
-Thank goodness for that!
-That is six months' road tax, isn't it?
Bang on the nose, as well.
Well, yeah, bottom end.
Thank you. I'm pleased. In fact, I'm well relieved.
Unfortunately, Louise can't be with us right now, but husband Dave has stepped into the breach,
-and we're flogging those comic books.
-You've added to what we took in.
-The reserve has been upped now.
-We had a chat with the auctioneer earlier.
And he said it will do it.
It's on the money. £100 to £150.
There's a lot there.
-508, I think.
-All credit to your son, because he's looked after them.
The pressure's on a bit, Jethro, but as David said earlier, the money's right.
-I think we should be all right.
-You certainly get a lot for your money.
Let's hope we get a mini marvel right now.
Dating from the mid-'80s, about 500. Overall, in very good condition.
Absolutely brilliant condition.
A couple of hundred for the lot? 100 away?
50, then? Thank you, sir, everywhere.
50. 55. 60.
5. 70. 5. 80.
95. 100. I'll take five, sir.
At 110, take 15? 115. 120.
-At 120, at 120...
125, thank you. 130.
135. 140. 145. 150.
-160. At 160...
-The clock's striking!
190. At 190, sitting down, front row.
At £190, have we all finished now?
-That is very good.
-That is, isn't it?
Absolutely brilliant. I'm sure Louise will be happy with that,
because it was her son's comics.
-Send her our best wishes, because she's not very well.
-I certainly will.
-What a result, £190!
"Holy broken bones, Batman!"
And "holy" is a good word to use, Jethro, as I'm now off to visit
a sacred Neolithic site, over 6,000 years old.
The Neolithic period was when land cultivation first developed.
Animals started to be managed, not just let loose in the woods.
After a couple of thousand years, the local residents got extremely efficient at organising themselves,
and they started to erect things like this.
Yes, huge, enormous stones, dragged to specific spots, and turned up vertically, to form a circle.
I'm standing in the Avebury Stone Circle.
This place predates Christianity by several thousand years, and it was once a centre of pagan worship.
I'm joined by Ros Cleal, curator of the Avebury Museum.
It's not until you walk around the place that you realise the scale it's on. It eclipses Stonehenge.
Oh, yes, it does. I mean, it's very roughly the same age as Stonehenge, but it's much, much bigger.
-What is the significance of the place?
-Well, I think it's got to be a sort of religious site.
It tells us something about society at that time - that they were able to build something as big as this,
and that something was important enough for them to do it.
Exactly. You can imagine, can't you, thousands of years ago, travellers
passing through here, seeing all the trees chopped down, and seeing this.
So impressive, it must say strength, and symbolise something.
Yes. I think that's right, and I think about it like one of the great cathedrals.
-A temple of worship.
-Yes, and it would have made a great impression,
because the great bank around the outside would have been white. It was built of chalk.
-So it looked like a lunar landscape.
-It would've looked incredible, in the generally green landscape, yes.
The stones vary in height from 5 to 20 feet.
Only 76 are now visible, but it is estimated there were once over 600 of them.
It is one of the largest prehistoric henges in Britain.
Do you know, for a little while, you can get lost in your own little world here, can't you?
And then you realise, hang on, we're living in modern times,
because you've got the traffic cutting right through this village, which is quite sad, really.
Well, it is, and it is a very busy road, but it has been there probably since the Middle Ages, at least.
-It's just got very busy in the last few years.
-So the Saxons are responsible for that?
But what about the stones? How did they get brought here?
Well, they're quite local.
-They've only come a few miles, from the Marlborough Downs.
-Sarsen stone, isn't it?
-They're sarsen stones.
-It's a type of sandstone.
-And they were dragged here by the people who built the henge.
-Or pulled on logs?
-Or pulled on logs.
These stones are massive. I guess they must be the same depth in the ground, to stop them from toppling.
-Well, no, they're not, actually. There's not very much underground.
-Crikey, hang on...!
What about the ditch itself?
Because that's a lot of digging.
And you're only seeing the top third.
There's actually another two-thirds below that, which has got filled with rubble.
Why did they dig so deep, then?
We just don't know. It obviously meant something really important to them,
because they were digging with really primitive tools, like this.
-That would be their pick?
-This is the pick, made from a deer antler.
very hard digging.
Very labour-intense, relentless, relentless work, day in and day out.
Yes. And we don't know how long it took them to dig,
but it's calculated there's about half-a-million work hours, just in building the bank and ditch.
What is the significance of the bank, then?
-It's very odd that it's outside the ditch, because it doesn't look defensive.
-No, it's not at all.
People do speculate that people sat on it, that it was an arena,
-and people were watching things going on inside the henge.
-Could be, couldn't it?
Water in the west! Blood in the earth!
Welcome to our circle!
Hail and welcome!
And Avebury Stone Circle is still a centre for worship, even today.
Welcome to our circle!
-I've come to meet Gordon Rimes. ..Hi, Gordon.
-Nice to meet you.
-What's this all about?
This is a very important site.
I am a pagan priest, I live just over the other side of the hedge.
This is the Ancient Britons' temple, and it's still used today.
And how do you worship, as a pagan? What do you do?
Some of us wear robes and things for some of the bigger ceremonies.
I represent the Horned God.
This is my stang, and I wear horns and robes when I'm doing ceremony here.
The local Druid wears his Druid robes, other Druids come here,
and different orders and things have different things.
Some come in ordinary clothes. You don't have to dress up to be a pagan. It's a wonderful place.
All the energy lines cut through here.
The sunrises here are different from everyone else. Because of the high horizon...
we're actually 500ft above sea level here, and the horizon is 800, 900ft above sea level...
so what happens is, you get first light at the same time as everybody else,
but you've got 10 to 15 minutes before you get the sun over the horizon, so...
You get this kind of glow?
Well, yes, now, that's the time...
what people in the magical circles would call "between the worlds".
-It's neither day nor night.
Gordon, you're obviously enjoying yourself, you're embracing nature, which is fantastic,
-and it's keeping you healthy. Thank you.
-Me and many others. Everybody's welcome here.
-It was enlightening.
In fact, spiritually enlightening! It's time for us to go straight to the valuation day
and join up with our experts, and we could find some artefacts as old as Avebury. You've got to live in hope!
Well, I'm always optimistic,
and Catherine is certainly taking a long, hard look at something.
Angela and Mum.
Thank you very much for coming along today, and thank you for bringing this rather fun piece of silver.
Now, let's just take a closer look.
It's actually a piece of Chinese silver,
and we've got the little man at the front, with the rickshaw at the back with the condiment set.
Now, first of all, going through this, right at the front, we've got this lovely little bucket...
with the salt. Looks like it is actually the original glass holder, which is wonderful.
Let's put that back in there.
And a lovely little... That's gorgeous.
-The little pepper.
-I think it's like corn.
Like corn on the cob - maize.
It could be, cos of the patterns there.
But it's a wonderful shape, it's really lovely. And the little...
mustard pot here.
It doesn't look like it's got its little spoon.
-Have you got the spoon?
Been missing, but you have got, I can see, the glass container again inside, which is lovely.
It's a fabulous piece, isn't it?
A really unusual thing. Where did you get it from?
I bought it from an antiques centre in Hungerford.
-So a long way from China?
And can I ask how much you paid for something like that?
I paid... I think it was about £45.
Right, OK. Well, let's delve in and try and see about the date.
Let's just turn this over, carefully.
We've got the initials here, W H, and therefore, stands for the Chinese silversmith, Wang Hing.
and above that, you can also see another little mark.
I believe that's the Chinese characters for his initials.
Now, to the left of that, there's also another mark.
-That is actually "90", which stands for this being 90% silver.
I think it's probably going to date from early 20th century,
probably around 1900, 1910, something like that.
But, at the end of the day, it is a fun piece.
Why d'you want to sell something like this?
I've seen a piece of artwork, and my husband said, "Well, it's one thing in and one thing out", so...
if I really want that piece of artwork, which I would like - it's a glass sculpture -
then something's got to give.
Very sensible husband. He knows what he wants.
-Well, this is the item that's got to go, and you paid £45 for it?
I think we could get you a bit of a return on that.
It's not going to be a huge profit, but if I say to you that we could get
perhaps 60 to £80 on it, how does that sound?
-That sounds good.
-I hope that it makes more towards the top end of that, more towards the £80.
-Let's flog it and let's hopefully make a lot of money for you.
-OK, thank you.
Mary, you should have invited me for tea before you were selling this
because lobster is one of my favourite things.
-I've never had it.
-You've never had lobster?
-That could be why you're selling this.
So have you ever used this bowl?
No, I don't really think I have.
So how did you get hold of it in the first place?
Well, I used to do an old lady's hair because I was a hairdresser.
And before she died, she gave a lot of her things away.
She asked me what I would like. And I chose this.
And that's how I got it.
-You thought, "There's a bowl I'll never use. I'll have that."
-Not then, but that's how it worked out.
On the outside and also on the inside, you've got this seaweed effect, which is transfer-printed.
Transfer-printed, put on by transfer.
And then it's hand-painted.
It's hand-coloured with the green, pink and ochre,
to give this lovely floating seaweedy look.
If you've got salad leaves in there, they'll mingle in with that.
It's a lovely-looking thing.
You've got this electroplated rim going all the way around
to stop chips, because the edges could easily become chipped,
-especially if you're using your salad servers.
-Yep, that's right.
And as you're doing this,
if you knock the side of the bowl,
you're not going to damage the bowl.
Have a look on the back of the salad servers.
That tells you the electroplated elements
-were made by a company called James Dixon and Sons.
That's their mark, the little trumpet.
And the lobster claw handles.
Again, they've been fairly well used because the colouring has faded.
I thought that was faded.
The bowl and the handles of the servers are not made of porcelain, they're made of pottery.
So let's just turn it up and have a look and see
who made it. And there we go - Wedgwood.
This is the sort of wares they were producing in the early 20th century,
really right up to the second war, the latter part of the 1930s.
The next thing you're going to ask me is, "What's it worth?"
-And I think £80 would be as much as you should really hope for
-as a certain price.
-So if we set a reserve at £80,
estimate 80 to 120.
And let's see what happens.
-If it's going well, it might do a bit better. Would you be happy to put it in?
Caroline, this is what I like to see, toys in their original boxes.
You and I are a little too young to remember Muffin the Mule on TV.
But certainly he was an important character
for children of the 1950s, early '60s, on BBC1.
You're too young, so how did Muffin the Mule come into your family?
He's either my mum's or my dad's. They both have one so we've one in the attic somewhere.
I imagine this is probably my mum's. She was probably more careful than my dad.
We think this is probably the original box.
In the top left-hand corner it's got 8/6d, which is what was paid for it originally - fantastic.
A nice piece in great condition.
It's actually made from die-cast, and actually made in England.
It's fantastic that you've got the original box here.
What I like is that we have got the strings, and we have four individual rings
which, as we can see on the box,
these were actually put on to the fingers and manipulated like this.
I would say they're not as popular as they were about 10 years ago
when the toy market was a bit stronger.
Nevertheless, I think you should still ask about £60 to £80.
-How does that stand?
-It's rather much more than that, so...
We should put a nice reserve on it and keep it at about £60.
-I wouldn't like to see it just go. It is in great condition.
-We wouldn't part with him for less than that.
£60 to £80 sounds good.
I won't be as good as the original puppeteer.
But shall we see if Muffin still works? Let's give him a little walk.
Excellent. There we are.
# Here comes Muffin
# Muffin the Mule. #
There we are. He's had enough. That's enough for the day.
Valerie, you've brought in a piece of jewellery which I love.
I think it's a delightful piece.
But tell me what you know about it.
All I know about it is that it was given to my mother on her wedding day by a great aunt.
It came from Scotland.
And it's quite old. I don't know how old.
Yes, it is Scottish.
-You think it might be 60-80 years old, or maybe a bit more.
-A bit more.
Maybe 100 years old. That's what you think.
Why are you selling if it's come through the family?
Well, it's stuck in a drawer at home.
I'm frightened to wear it, as it's so precious.
I would like to sell it and buy a modern piece of jewellery
so I can wear it and enjoy it every day.
If it's stuck in the drawer, that's the best thing to do.
Let's take off this clasp and open it up,
because then you reveal the piece in all its glory.
And look at that! Look at the different colours that you've got here.
Now, all of these gems are hard stones.
And they're all basically agates.
Agate hard stones you can actually pick up off the Highlands.
-If you were in the Highlands, you could pick these up like pebbles.
They can be polished and made into a bracelet like this. Look at the variation of colour.
You've got banded agate just here, moss agate here.
Moss agate is formed when the crystal agate is being created.
Oxides of manganese creep into the crystal.
When it solidifies it looks like moss growing.
But it's not.
Blood stone here.
And beautifully done.
-The design itself, it just looks lovely, doesn't it?
The capping on either side is gold.
The chains in between are all gold.
And then look at the clasp, the padlock clasp.
A little giveaway for the date of it, if you look at that decoration around the outside here.
This is a sort of bright cutting.
And this bright cutting was very popular in the latter part of the 18th century
and was carried on through into the early part of the 19th century.
I would say this dates a little bit earlier than you thought it might be.
-It goes back to the 1830s, probably 1840s.
If we just turn it over,
a little bit of an unusual aspect of this one
is that each of these links is set on to granite.
-And that's unusual because normally it's set straight on to gold.
One of these links has been broken.
-And it's been repaired effectively but unfortunately with a bit of brass there.
So not so good.
It should have been done with gold.
That would have been far better. But at least they've done a good repair.
It's in lovely condition, apart from the fact that on the high points, can you see just here,
there are holes that have just started appearing?
What's it worth if we put it into auction?
-What do you think it's worth?
-200 or 300?
Do you know, you might be right?
You might be right.
If we were to put an estimate of £150 to £200, would you be happy?
Er, yes, I think so.
-What about 180 to 220?
-That would be better, as a reserve.
I'm trying to make it as attractive a proposition as I can.
With the repair and with the bit of wear that's happening,
it's not in the prime of life, but it's a lovely piece.
-And remember, it will make its price on the day.
When I came to Marlborough 15 years ago, this place was a branch of WH Smith.
But they decided they needed bigger premises, so they moved down the High Street.
The people of Marlborough realised they could get their hands on the finest building in town.
The Merchant's House dates back to 1653.
We know that because it's the date of the Great Fire of Marlborough.
The fire started just over there in what was a tannery,
and spread along the buildings on the south side of town.
Burning thatch blew across the High Street on to the thatched roofs on the north side.
And so many of those properties were also destroyed.
As luck would have it, the people of Marlborough had supported Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War.
One of his achievements in his brief spell in power was to raise funds for the rebuilding of Marlborough.
Work commenced swiftly.
This building became the home of Thomas Bailey, silk merchant and leading figure in the town's trade.
His family lived here for several generations.
Then, 340 years later, work began to restore 132 High Street, Marlborough to its original specifications.
A talented team are tackling the task.
It's a work in progress, with different rooms at different stages of restoration.
Leading the restoration team doing all this wonderful work is Michael Gray.
-Good to see you.
-Good to see you.
This fantastic staircase must have been a good starting point. Was it always like this?
It's an important staircase. It was built in about 1670.
In answer to your question, no, it wasn't always like this.
-It was in this form but painted in a stone colour.
-Why was that?
You'll see the stone colour is reflected in the painting on the actual staircase walls.
Why was that? Because, presumably, it was the fashion.
You find it in a few other houses.
When the trust moved in, 14 years ago, this was covered with wallpaper and paint.
A team of paint conservators have removed this
and revealed it as you see it.
You'll also notice it indicates the actual missing parts from the newel post,
which were cut off at a later stage.
That must have been a really exciting reveal, watching that go on, the peeling back of layers.
Do you work on one room at a time?
We do one room at a time, because of limitations of funding. We'd do more if we had more funds.
Every year, another room is completed and furnished. That's the programme at the moment.
-A nice little journey. Will you take me on one? Can we see the rooms?
One of the fascinating things about the Merchant's House
is that you can see different rooms in very different stages of restoration.
This is the legacy of four centuries of DIY.
1970s wallpaper - very Mary Quant.
But underneath this layer, there are layers that reveal how it would have looked four centuries ago.
I know there's not a lot to go, you have to use your imagination,
but in a year's time, this is going to be a 17th-century bedroom, complete with a four-poster bed.
Michael, this certainly has the wow factor - the panelled room.
This is the end result. This is what you are working for, for every other room to be completed like.
Yes. A good repair job on all the rooms, so we end up with
a very good close approximation to the way it looked in the 17th century.
You'll notice behind us, we've got the fireplace.
You can't not notice that. It's stunning.
It's quite an impressive presence.
This, of course, was the focus of the best room in the house.
The very fact that this limestone is not local indicates a degree of wealth.
They could afford to transport it from the nearest lime quarry.
Like a status symbol, showing off.
Yes. No BMWs, so this was one way of doing it!
Love the floorboards, Michael. Were they originally here?
They are largely the original 17th-century floorboards.
They've been damaged in the 19th and 20th centuries by work people...
-..plumbers and so on who've levered them up.
-You will see, in places, we've done some very careful repair work.
And you've furnished the whole room with furniture of the period, which is lovely.
The furniture programme is basically pre-1700.
Lovely Turkey work chair. This is rare.
-How did you come across this?
We bought it because we realised from our research that there were 12 in the house.
We bought one. And they are extremely rare, as you will know.
Therefore, we've had 12 replicas made and they're being re-covered by some of our volunteers.
Turkey work, of course,
resulted from the importation of Turkish carpets, which was then copied by our own workers
in major cities.
You've done a stunning job, Michael. Without your efforts, this project wouldn't be half as good as it is.
Oh, well, modesty forbids!
My next stop is the drawing room which is unexpectedly colourful.
I'm here with Jane Rutherford - a specialist in fine art conservation.
We've a cracking example on the wall.
It must be exciting peeling back the layers of time. How's it done?
Very much like the archaeologists work -
with very fine instruments, scalpels, magnification,
endless amounts of patience, fine tissue layers,
very, very delicate fixatives,
a lot of experience and the back-up of science,
art history. You bring a lot of disciplines together.
So you can be confident that what's achieved above,
the way it's been replicated, is right for what's below.
Absolutely. Science plays the key role because it can analyse...
The scientists can analyse the various pigments.
Here we have indigo, red ochre, yellow ochre, the green is a mixture of yellow ochre, indigo and chalk.
Once you've analysed those, it's not hard to make up the same combination
to reproduce the decoration in the restored areas.
I think this is very 1960s swinging London. It's very jazzy.
And to think this was the 17th century, when you imagine
puritans to be dour and miserable, wearing black. And, hey presto!
They come home and they're real partygoers. I mean, look at it!
In the Netherlands, it is known that this type of decoration was common.
-Whereas in England, we now only have this example.
-So it is unique.
Yes, in this country it is unique.
If you're in Marlborough, in the town, do visit the Merchant's House. It's well worth a visit.
You can see the work ongoing and it really takes you back in time.
Right now, time to head back to the auction room and our owners. Let's see if we can make them a profit.
Angela wants a glass sculpture.
Her husband insisted she makes space. She picked this to sell.
Mary's never had lobster and never used this Wedgwood bowl.
Definitely time to flog it.
Caroline's hoping to trade Muffin the Mule for a share in a boat.
Let's hope we don't catch any crabs.
And Valerie is hoping to swap her bracelet
for a more modern piece she would prefer to wear.
Serving up a bit of kitsch now. But quality kitsch cos it's Wedgwood.
It's a salad bowl.
Belongs to Mary.
And Jethro has put £80 to £120 on this. Do you like this?
No, but I'm not surprised he's put £80 to £120 on it.
Someone out there is going to love it.
There's always a buyer for something.
I think the stylistic lobster support that it's on.
It's got the quality of having the silver-plated rim.
And we have got the pair of servers as well, with the claw terminals.
I think that's absolutely fantastic.
And condition, and maker's name.
Absolutely. It will sell itself.
What will it sell at?
I think quite comfortably £100.
It wouldn't surprise me if it made 150 or slightly more on the day
if two people fall in love with it.
Let's hope the bidders love all our lots. It's time to sell.
£20 bid only.
How about a little something from the Orient right now
to spice things up? A silver Chinese condiment set valued at £80 to £120.
-Margaret brought it in with her daughter. She's on her hols.
-She is, yes.
-Where's she gone?
-She's gone to Thailand.
Very nice, very nice.
Why didn't she take you?
She took her husband.
You've upped the reserve.
There was a £60 reserve.
-Angela's upped it.
-Upped it to 80, haven't you?
-That's sensible. If you like it that much and think it's worth that, don't let it go for any cheaper.
-OK. Good luck, this is it.
There we are, in the form of the rickshaw.
Make marked underneath, W H for Wang Hing.
There we are, with the liners as well. Nice novelty cruet set.
There we are. Come at 100 for it.
-Oh, my God!
It's dropped down again.
I'll put some salt in it. And some pepper.
-Come on. Aren't they mean?
-I think they're all sitting on their hands.
-I think they are.
No one interested?
I can't do anything at that figure.
Oh, well. That was short and sweet.
Never mind. She'll be happy to take it home.
She wants it back so she's got it back.
Next to go is the Wedgwood lobster salad bowl.
It belongs to Mary,
-who is in love with it. But you're flogging it.
Why, if you like it so much?
Well, nobody else will want it and it's stuck on a wardrobe.
It gets full of dust and it's got to be cleaned.
That's why it's in pristine condition.
It's perfect. It's mint. We've got a valuation of £80 to £120.
Had a chat to the auctioneer earlier.
We found it quite amusing. We thought it was not our cup of tea.
-I wouldn't have it in my house.
-There's no accounting for taste.
I'm sure you love it, Jethro.
It's full of dust when it should be full of lobster.
is the Wedgwood salad bowl with the silver-plated rim.
Decorated on those lobster feet.
-And I can start the bidding straightaway at £80.
-I told you.
At 80. At 80. 5. 90. 95. 100.
Commission at 100. At £100.
At 100. Take five. And five, sir.
110 with me. At 110, it's a commission bid. 110.
That's how old it is, 110.
£110. Done at 110.
-Doesn't go back on the wardrobe.
-No, thank goodness.
I said to you earlier, what would you do with some money?
You've got £110.
I've got to give them two something, my grandchildren.
-What are their names?
-Harry and Lily.
-Harry and Lily, hello.
-Ah, treat them, that's lovely. Treat yourself as well.
-I will do.
Take them out for the day.
Why not buy a nice lobster?
Bit of clarified butter, and just sit there and think of me...
-..when you're eating. Lovely.
-I'm sure you've got more things to think about than Jethro.
-Well done, anyway.
Right now we're gonna sell Muffin the Mule, in original box, brought by Caroline.
A valuation of £60 to £80.
We've had one on the show before and we sold it for £90.
-Fingers crossed, we can get more.
Hopefully 120, 130. That's what I'd like to see this go at
because it's in good condition.
-And it's your mum's.
-She doesn't mind you flogging it?
-You don't want to inherit it?
-Don't want it.
-Enough toys to play with, I think, in my house.
Let's flog it then. Top end?
I hope so. It should do. It worries me slightly.
I don't know if there's many toy buyers. There doesn't seem to be.
There's not many toys. It's the only toy here.
It might be a little lost. That's all that worries me.
-It would have been nice if it had been displayed with all the strings.
-Hanging up near the rostrum.
-Let's hope someone's picked it out of the catalogue. Here we go.
-This is it.
531, Muffin the Mule in his original box as well.
And, apparently, it's just coming back on to the television.
-Oh! I didn't know that.
And I have got commission bids,
so it makes life ever so easy. I will start the bidding at £90.
Ooh! That's excellent.
£90. At 90. I'll take five. At £90.
At 90. Five anywhere else?
At £90 then. It's going to a good home.
At 90, all done.
-Yes, 90 quid.
We sold one other on the show, I think in Manchester, for £90.
The price doesn't fluctuate around the country.
What will you do with the money?
I'm saving for a sculling boat.
-You're a rower then?
-At City of Oxford rowing club. It's going to go towards that.
-It keeps you fit and I bet you've got really strong arms.
-How much would a rowing boat cost?
-So a long way to go yet but it's a start.
-It's all contributing.
Valerie's flogging a family heirloom - a lovely agate and gold bracelet.
We're looking at 180 to 220.
Why flog a family heirloom? You should be wearing it.
My daughter's not interested in it.
We only wear it once a year.
We thought we'd buy a modern type of jewellery that we can enjoy wearing every day.
-You'll miss that one time a year special occasion, won't you?
It's a precious little thing.
Collectors will love it. Little bit of damage.
-Will that hold it back?
I hope my estimate reflects that.
Any jewellery collector will think, "Jethro, that's a bit of a low estimate." I hope they will.
But that's because of that damage.
I'm hoping that "come and get me" estimate will bring the bidders up.
Lot 330 is the agate and gold bracelet.
There we are. Interesting interlinked form.
-If we sell this, Jethro's going to do his dance.
200. 100. Thank you, everywhere.
110. 120. 130. 140.
150. 160. 170. 180. At 180.
190. 200. And 10? 220. 230. 240. 250.
260. 270. 280. 290. 300. And 20?
340. 360. 380. 400.
420 on the phone. At 450. 480. 500.
520. 550? At 550.
Take 80. 580. 600. At 600.
At £600, all done. 620.
Just in time. 650.
At 650. Bid's in the room at £650.
£650! Wow! Crikey!
-That is a real shock. I'm stunned.
You must be shaking.
No, cos I thought it was worth about 400. But yes, that's wonderful. 650!
In all honesty, I think that was a realistic price. £400 was right.
With the damage, bring that down. Someone's got carried away.
Thankfully two people got carried away. We can do the dance!
The auction's over and some of the bidders are paying for their lots.
And of our Chippenham's chosen few,
our golden moment was Valerie's bracelet, selling for nearly triple the top end of its estimate.
You can't ask for more than that.
Join me for some more surprises next time on Flog It!
For more information about Flog It,
including how the programme was made,
visit the website at bbc.co.uk/lifestyle
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd - 2006
E-mail [email protected]
The team is deep in the heart of Wiltshire, in the fine old market town of Chippenham. Experts Catherine Southon and Jethro Marles decide what can go to auction in Pewsey, located next to the lovely Kennet and Avon canal.
Paul Martin inspects the restoration at Marlborough's Merchant House and explores the magic and mystery of Avebury Stone Circle.