Torquay Flog It!


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Torquay

Paul Martin and experts Mark Stacey and Michael Baggott visit Torquay on the lookout for more dusty but valuable antiques.


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Today, Flog It is on the English Riviera,

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a place of choice for Victorian royalty and the well-heeled.

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It has a real continental feel to give St Tropez a run for its money.

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Welcome to Torquay and Flog It!

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Tourists have come to the English Riviera since the 18th century,

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partly inspired by King George III who was apparently cured of mental illness by a dip in the sea.

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This inspired rich and important landowners to follow suit for the good of their health.

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Torquay impressed everyone.

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One early visitor wrote in 1794,

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"How great our surprise at seeing a pretty range of new buildings fitted up for summer visitors

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"who may have enjoyed carriage rides, bathing, retirement and a most romantic situation."

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We're at the Palace Hotel in Torquay

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which has been welcoming holidaymakers since 1921,

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but today the crowds are here for something completely different.

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They'll get their antiques valued by Michael Baggott and Mark Stacey.

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If our owners like the valuations and they want to flog their item,

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we whisk them down the south coast where they go up for auction.

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-Not sold.

-Oh, dear.

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-Could've been a bit more for Mary.

-He was decapitated.

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-Yes!

-Good.

-Michael was spot-on.

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There's no shortage of interesting looking bags and boxes

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and Mark's already spotted a rather stern-looking gentleman.

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-Good morning, Margaret.

-Good morning.

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I love this plaque you've brought.

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He looks as if he's flushed with success and I hope we will be.

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-Do you know anything about it?

-Nothing at all.

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-Where did it come from?

-An elderly gentleman gave me it 40 years ago.

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He said it belonged to his father, so I imagined it was old.

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Where has it been in your house?

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-It was on the wall, but I didn't like the look of it.

-Quite scary.

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A bit scary. So, it's been wrapped up in a cupboard.

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Did this elderly gentleman have a Scottish connection?

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I wouldn't know. I don't know about that.

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It might have started life in Scotland.

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It's got the look of the Portobello factory,

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the painted decoration on the side.

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He's a religious looking character, almost Wesley,

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but I don't think it is Wesley.

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There's no mark on the back to give us an indication of the factory,

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but this wonderful creamy texture to the pottery

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and this bluish tinge tells us that it's pearlware.

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-Yes.

-And pearlware was made in Staffordshire, the northeast,

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as well as in Scotland.

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-Have you ever thought of the date of it?

-No, I've no idea.

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I think this was probably made around 1810, 1820.

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It's getting on for 200 years old which isn't bad.

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We have a small chip there, but it doesn't make a huge difference.

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I've got more damage on me and I'm nowhere near 200 years old!

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The value might surprise you too, because though it's not attractive,

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there are a lot of collectors for early pottery.

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I would put a value on it for auction of between £100 and £150.

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Gosh!

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-By your reaction, I think you quite like that.

-Yes.

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I wish I'd said 80 to 120 now.

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The reason I put that on it is I want to tempt the buyers in.

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It's going to a good auction room in Plympton

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and I think they'll pull in the collectors for it.

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I have a feeling it might even top our top estimate.

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-Let's see how far we can reach with it.

-Lovely.

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Sue, where did you get this curiously shaped object from?

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I inherited it from my aunt about 15 years ago.

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Is it in pride of place at home?

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It's been by the fireplace for 15 years, I think,

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but I don't like cleaning it.

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-Have you any idea what it might be?

-It may be a Victorian hand-warmer.

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-I'm not sure.

-Oh, close, close.

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If we have a look at it and pop it open,

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we must be careful because the hinge is broken...

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-Do you know how that happened?

-It's always been like that.

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We've got this brass pierced ball and this steel gimballing inside

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which is supporting a small heater.

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You would have a flame there,

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but it's not a hand-warmer, it's a carriage warmer.

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They would be carried in carriages and they would emit warmth from them.

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They were produced for a number of years. Any idea how old it may be?

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Well, a guess, Victorian?

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You could be forgiven for thinking it was Victorian

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cos they were made up until that time.

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They started to be made in the 17th century here and in Holland.

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They continued to be made through the 18th and early 19th centuries.

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It's hard to date them because they've always got this stylistic flaw engraving on them

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all the way around to let the heat out.

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But as it's such a nice quality one and the catch is very well made,

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I'll stick my neck out and say it's about 1780, 1800 in date.

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That's older than I thought.

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Whether it's English or Dutch, I don't know, but it doesn't matter.

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Have you got any idea of its value?

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No, I've never thought about it very much. It's just always been there.

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-In the fireplace?

-Yes.

-Did you do anything to it?

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It's a little bit bruised.

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As children, we'd roll it up and down the hall at my aunt's house.

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-Your aunt was happy about this?

-I don't think she knew we were doing it.

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Condition-wise, it's fairly good, but it has got a few dents.

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At auction, it should do between £200 and £300.

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If we put a reserve of £200 on it, pop it into the sale

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and it does well, what are your plans for the money?

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I don't know. Probably treat my friends to something.

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-So, they'll all be rooting for it?

-Yes.

-Thanks for bringing it in.

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There's 11,000 miles of coastline around the British Isles,

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so, on the south Devon coast, we had to see nautical memorabilia.

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Tell me all about it, Jason.

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I don't really know a lot about it.

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All I know is that when we bought it from the auction,

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we overheard the auctioneer say

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that it was built in Chatham Dockyards in the 1800s.

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-Yeah.

-As an exhibition piece for the Golden Hind.

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Other than that, nothing else?

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-I've no idea.

-How long ago did you buy this in auction?

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-It was only months ago.

-How much did you pay?

-£14 with commission.

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-With the commission, it's £15.

-You definitely got a bargain.

-Thanks.

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It is a model of the Golden Hind.

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It's a late Victorian one, around about 1880, 1890.

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We call it a scratch-built model.

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It's a one-off and it's built of whatever materials are at hand,

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a mixture of woods cobbled together and painted.

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I expect this has had its last few years of its life

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in a theme pub or a restaurant.

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The more you look at it, the more you can see the detail,

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the rigging, the blocks, the gaffs, the cannons.

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Everything is right about it, apart from this door-knob finial from a piece of furniture.

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-I did think that was a little bit strange.

-It's a bit over the top.

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And there's rather a crude repair on the rudder, look.

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It's been done probably in the '50s or '60s with strips of rubber.

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The plinth isn't right for it, the base, unfortunately.

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That lets it down, but someone who buys that will sort it out.

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We'll get a good return on what you paid for this, £14.

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It's a hard one to pin down

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as it's scratch-built, a one-off.

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That will put the value up, but the condition will let it down.

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I think we're looking at a value

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of possibly £60 to £120,

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somewhere around there.

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-I know it'll do the £60 mark. I'd like to say 80 to 120.

-Yes.

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Hopefully, two people will fall in love with it.

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If you've only had it a few months, why do you want to move it on?

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I did get it for myself, the reason being if I did keep it myself,

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-I'd try my hand at sorting it out, but I'd ruin it.

-You'd ruin it.

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Whoever buys this will leave it looking exactly as it is.

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If we got £80, what would you do?

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We're looking to save for a holiday at the moment, a family holiday.

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-It's lovely and let's hope it sails away at the auction room.

-Thanks.

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Debbie, you've brought this little fellow in to see us.

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Where did he come from?

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I found him in my grandmother's loft 20 years ago after she passed away.

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He was wrapped in an old blanket.

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He's in fairly good condition for being wrapped up in the loft.

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-Did you have him out on display?

-I did for a couple of years,

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on the bedside cabinet, then I put him away again for safekeeping.

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-He's lived most of his life in the dark?

-Yes.

-Poor teddy bear.

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-Do you know anything about him?

-No.

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I'll tell you a bit about him. He's in plush mohair.

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And a little bit worn around the belly.

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There's something in his belly.

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He's either been used for smuggling or he's got a growler.

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And even if I press it very hard, I can't get him to growl,

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so that's broken, but he's in fairly good condition.

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He's got a plastic, rubberised nose

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which I'm told dates him to the post-war period.

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So, he's probably 1945, 1955.

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I don't know if it was your grandmother's or your mother's.

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And he's your classic teddy bear and very collectible too.

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-So, have you got any idea of what he might be worth?

-No idea at all.

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Even with the little bits of wear, he's worth between £40 and £60.

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-Right.

-Hopefully more than that.

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So, if we were to put him in, have you got any plans for the money?

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-My children would find a way of spending it.

-So, your children would rather have the cash?

-Probably.

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We'll put him into the auction and do our very best.

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-Beryl, Derek, nice to see you.

-Hello.

-Hello.

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You've brought an interesting thing in.

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Tell us the history of it.

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The history is we were in London. We had been down to one of our shows

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because we used to be in the nursery trade - cots, prams and baby things.

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And I thought I'd have something a little bit showy.

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I saw these lorgnettes and they were very nice,

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-so we bought them in Portobello Road.

-Really?

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-At a jeweller's and I used to use them.

-I think we should have a look.

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If we look first at the handle,

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we've got this lovely turquoise blue enamel on here

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with this engine turning underneath it.

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-As we turn it round, it gives that lovely rippling effect.

-It does.

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And that technique is very French,

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so when we look for some marks, we'll find they're continental.

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French or Swiss.

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If we fiddle with that button, there you go.

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There's your glasses to look over. And if we have a look inside,

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we've got some continental marks, but also some import marks

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to show it was sufficient quality to be hallmarked in this country.

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-That's interesting.

-We're looking at the early part of the 20th century.

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Maybe 1910, 1920. They went up to the Art Deco period.

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The other thing I like is they're telescopic.

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That just gives you the chance to be more superior.

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-You can go like that.

-Absolutely.

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They're absolutely charming. You bought them about 35 years ago.

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-What did you pay for them?

-I think it was round about the £50 mark.

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That's not too bad, considering that you're buying them in London.

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-£50 at the time was a lot of money.

-It was, actually.

-Yes.

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I think the estimate today should be about £120 to £150 on them.

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-You've enjoyed them.

-Yes.

-They've gone up in value.

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And if we get a good price, what will you put the money towards?

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I'd like Beryl to have jewellery for her neck or diamond earrings.

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-Is that a good idea, Beryl?

-Yes. I have arthritis in my hands.

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I can't wear rings any more.

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-So, maybe a nice bracelet or necklace or some nice earrings?

-That would be very nice.

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-I hope a lot of people want a pair of lorgnettes.

-Very becoming.

-Thank you.

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We've had no shortage of quality items coming through the Flog It doors here today.

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Here's a quick reminder of what we're taking to the auction room.

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Will Margaret's pearlware plaque pass the £100 mark at the auction?

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Could Sue's carriage warmer heat up the bidders

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and make between £200 and £300?

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The model ship may have been caught in a storm, but will it sail away?

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If you go down to the woods today,

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you'll find a bear that's lost its growler, but is he a bargain?

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And here's looking at you through a pair of lorgnettes.

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At £120 to £150, the bidders could have double vision.

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The sale today comes from Plympton, a former trading centre for locally mined tin

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and the birthplace of renowned artist, Sir Joshua Reynolds.

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It's auction preview day and as the public look at what's up for grabs,

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I'll corner auctioneer Anthony Eldred to see what he thinks of some of our experts' valuations.

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Now, this is a real curio,

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Sue's carriage warmer.

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If I open this up, you see it works on a gyroscope effect

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where it'll always find its own level. Isn't that unusual?

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-It's marvellous.

-Michael Baggott has put £200 to £300 on this.

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-We won't see another one for a long time.

-I've not seen one.

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Certainly not in this form. I've seen square ones.

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It's a fascinating object. £200 to £300 is probably what it's worth.

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It's not worth any more than that.

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I can see this doing the top end because it is so rare

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and it's a nice period thing. If you had £300, would you buy this?

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I wouldn't, but I see that a lot of collectors would.

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It's not a thing of beauty when it's closed like this,

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but when you open it, it becomes much more interesting.

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-It's like Pandora's box.

-I would have it open like that.

-Precisely.

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Anthony seems confident about the carriage warmer. What about the battered boat?

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Oh, my word, just look at Jason's model ship of the Golden Hind.

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I think it's sailed down from Torquay to Plymouth in a Force 9!

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Can't remember it looking like that at the valuation day.

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I put a valuation...of £80 to £120 on this. I put a reserve of 60.

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I'll stand by my reserve because I know it looks so tatty...

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It certainly doesn't look seaworthy enough for your original quote,

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but you may just get the £60.

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-I think it could fail.

-I might have had rose-tinted spectacles on.

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But it's a restoration project,

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I want you to look enthusiastic, be very positive on my behalf

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and push it to the bidders as a good auctioneer can sell things.

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You're testing my talents.

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It does at first glance look like a bag of string and parchment.

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-I think Hurricane Charlie's done its worst.

-Look deeper!

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It's got some deck detail and I will do my very best for you,

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but I'll have my work cut out.

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We'll see, but first to go under the hammer is Margaret's plaque.

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-We need £100 to £150. You don't like it.

-No.

-I'm not keen on it.

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-But I bet somebody out there will love it.

-I hope so.

-They will.

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-Will we get the top end?

-I like it.

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-A nice piece of English pottery.

-Would you have it on your wall?

-No.

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Let's find out. The bidders of Devon will love this. Good luck.

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A pearlware, oval, portrait plaque.

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And I'm bid £60 for it.

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At £60. 65 anywhere? Against you all in the room at 60.

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5, surely? All done at £60?

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5. 70. 80. 90.

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-£90. 100.

-Yes.

-We've got it.

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At 100. Are you all done at 100?

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Quite sure then...?

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-We just did it - £100.

-Wonderful. Lovely.

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-That was close.

-Very close.

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I'm not an auctioneer, but you are.

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If you have enthusiasm in your lots, you can draw the bidders in.

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I'm sure a good auctioneer will sell something for a little more.

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-We're supposed to encourage and enthuse.

-Of course you are.

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But if there isn't anybody bidding in the room, it is difficult to drum up that enthusiasm.

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-You cut it flat?

-Sometimes it's better to say nobody will buy this, let's get on with the next sale.

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-And you'll spend your £100 on what?

-Pampering myself.

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Sounds good!

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Great start. Let's hope the bidders aren't sitting on their hands now.

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If they need warming up, we've got Sue's carriage warmer,

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valued by Michael at £200 to £300. I think that's right on the money.

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I'd like to see the top end. I had a chat with the auctioneer.

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-He didn't quite grasp it...

-Oh, dear.

-Wasn't keen on it,

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didn't know a lot about it, so he's gonna trust Michael's opinion here.

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-I hope so.

-Oh, dear.

-It's all down to you, Michael!

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-I've found out it's based on an Islamic incense burner.

-Right.

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They came into this country hundreds of years ago and were used as hand or carriage warmers.

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-But I think that little catch means it's European.

-It sets it off.

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Might be an Islamic style, but it's definitely Dutch.

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This is the 19th century, ball-shaped carriage warmer.

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Got a gimbal-mounted burner inside.

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It starts at £100. 10 if you want?

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110. 120. 130. 140.

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150. 160.

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At 160 then. Against you all at £160...?

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-Quite sure at £160...?

-Come on, come on.

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-Not sold.

-Didn't do it.

-Oh, dear.

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-Didn't do it.

-Didn't sell it.

0:22:270:22:29

-I'm sorry.

-I'll have to take it home again.

0:22:290:22:33

Or put it into a specialist sale. This isn't quite the right room.

0:22:330:22:39

Someone was interested at 150, 160, so we're fairly close. It's a pity we didn't get it away.

0:22:390:22:45

This is the moment I've NOT been looking forward to.

0:22:500:22:54

Here is Jason who's a big bloke. I hope he's got a sense of humour.

0:22:540:22:58

-We'll find out. Do you want to know what the auctioneer said?

-Yeah.

0:22:580:23:03

It will struggle. I said it could be a restoration project at £60.

0:23:030:23:08

He said it might struggle at 20 to 30.

0:23:080:23:12

-Hmm.

-You're not gonna thump me, are you?

0:23:120:23:16

And it's the carved wood model of the Golden Hind.

0:23:160:23:20

It's had a rough trip, but is an excellent challenge to restore it.

0:23:200:23:25

And I'm bid £30. Against you all at 30.

0:23:250:23:29

At £30. 5 if you want it. At 30.

0:23:290:23:32

At £30. 5. 40. 5. 50.

0:23:320:23:35

-5. 60 now. At £60... All done at 60 then?

-We've done it.

0:23:350:23:41

Quite sure at £60? All done then? Last chance at £60...

0:23:410:23:46

-He sold it.

-Well done.

-I'm so pleased I put a 60 reserve.

0:23:470:23:52

On an 80 to 120, that was quite speculative.

0:23:520:23:56

I'll stick to furniture in future.

0:23:560:23:59

-I was gonna walk the plank there, but we did it.

-We did it.

-Yes.

0:23:590:24:04

-And you only paid £14?

-£14.

0:24:040:24:07

In the right sale room you can make a profit.

0:24:070:24:10

Mary cannot be with us. She has a hospital appointment.

0:24:150:24:19

Let's hope she's on the mend, unlike Teddy who's lost his growl

0:24:190:24:24

and his head fell off, but Michael has put £40 to £60 on this.

0:24:240:24:29

-I think he's gonna do it.

-I hope he BEARS up well in the auction!

0:24:290:24:34

He's the only toy in the sale, so he might struggle a bit.

0:24:340:24:38

His growl has gone and he's a bit tired, but he's charming.

0:24:380:24:43

And he does have the look. Let's find out what the bidders of Plympton think of Teddy!

0:24:430:24:49

It's a post-war teddy bear.

0:24:490:24:51

Little bit tired, but he looks quite good fun.

0:24:510:24:55

I'm bid £40. 2 if you want?

0:24:550:24:58

42. 5. At 45 now. Against you all still.

0:24:580:25:02

-At £45. 8 if you want him?

-Come on.

-£45 then...

0:25:020:25:06

Teddy's going for £45. All done?

0:25:060:25:09

Just over the bottom end, £45. Could've been a bit more for Mary.

0:25:110:25:16

He was decapitated and stitched back, so I think £45 is a good result.

0:25:160:25:22

Beryl and Derek are just about to flog their lorgnettes

0:25:270:25:31

which is such an unusual thing.

0:25:310:25:34

Mark valued it at 120 to 150.

0:25:340:25:37

-Are you happy with the valuation?

-Yes, I am.

-Hopefully we'll get the top end.

-I hope so.

0:25:370:25:44

And Lot 79...

0:25:440:25:47

is the pair of early 20th century, enamelled lorgnettes.

0:25:470:25:51

And several bids again. I'm bid £125.

0:25:510:25:55

-Straight in.

-At 125. 130.

0:25:550:25:59

5. At 135 then...

0:25:590:26:02

Against you all at £135...

0:26:020:26:05

Bit more!

0:26:050:26:07

At 135, I'll sell it. All done...?

0:26:070:26:10

-He's done it, no-one else to push him. £135.

-That's very nice.

0:26:110:26:16

What are we gonna put 135 quid towards?

0:26:160:26:20

Less a bit of commission to pay. In this sale room, it's 15%.

0:26:200:26:25

What's the money going towards?

0:26:250:26:28

It was going towards a necklace for Beryl cos she can't wear rings now with arthritis.

0:26:280:26:34

But we were talking today with my mother, it's her birthday, 96,

0:26:340:26:39

we might push it up there to Yorkshire.

0:26:390:26:43

-Happy birthday, Mum.

-Happy birthday.

-Happy birthday, Mum.

0:26:430:26:48

It may look like another slice of English countryside,

0:27:040:27:08

but hidden from view, as was intended, is Crownhill Fort,

0:27:080:27:13

built in the 1860s to fend off an attack from invading armies.

0:27:130:27:19

By 1850, France had recovered after the defeat at Waterloo

0:27:190:27:24

and set about building a naval fleet to re-establish its strength.

0:27:240:27:29

With the launch of the first fully iron-clad warship, La Gloire,

0:27:290:27:33

the British Parliament took note.

0:27:330:27:36

Led by Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, Britain began to build 70 forts to defend its harbours

0:27:360:27:43

against the possible threat.

0:27:430:27:46

The "Palmerston follies" stretched around the south coast

0:27:460:27:50

with Crownhill Fort the largest in the Plymouth area.

0:27:500:27:54

As the flagship defence post, it was at the cutting edge of Victorian fort design.

0:27:540:28:00

After nine years and a couple of strikes along the way,

0:28:000:28:04

it was finally opened in 1872 at a total cost of £76,400.

0:28:040:28:10

In today's money, that's just over £4 million.

0:28:100:28:14

Built on an exposed hill 400 metres in front of the defensive line,

0:28:140:28:20

the seven-sided fort had a 360-degree lookout.

0:28:200:28:24

An advancing enemy could be spotted at distance from the huge ramparts as they approach Crownhill

0:28:240:28:31

and would meet the first line of defence, a 30-foot-deep dry ditch.

0:28:310:28:36

The soldiers would be armed with rifles and artillery,

0:28:360:28:40

able to fire on the enemy that had reached the ditch.

0:28:400:28:44

The idea was to have a line of fire in each direction on this level.

0:28:440:28:49

If that wasn't enough, each caponier had 21 rifles and two cannons which fired case shot.

0:28:490:28:56

You can just imagine the noise - absolutely deafening.

0:28:560:29:00

You can hear the acoustics with my footsteps, let alone one of these things going off!

0:29:000:29:06

The place would've been filled with smoke, there'd be no visibility

0:29:060:29:10

and the armourers were loading by touch alone.

0:29:100:29:14

Underground tunnels zig-zagged around the fort, allowing soldiers to be deployed quickly and safely,

0:29:160:29:23

but also enabling them to listen in to intruders on the outside.

0:29:230:29:29

20 soldiers at any time would live, sleep and eat in the barracks,

0:29:360:29:40

receiving the most basic provisions and kit.

0:29:400:29:44

Today, it's re-enactors that take their place, bringing to life the experience of a serving soldier.

0:29:460:29:53

-What was life like in the barracks?

-Far better than on civvy street outside.

0:29:530:29:59

At least you're warm, it's dry.

0:29:590:30:02

You're given your kit, your clothes, two good meals a day.

0:30:020:30:06

-I take it you saw no action here in the time?

-No, not one.

0:30:060:30:11

We didn't fight the enemy at all.

0:30:110:30:13

What's the daily routine like?

0:30:130:30:16

Early in the morning, six o'clock, up, try and wake,

0:30:160:30:21

-send some men detailed to the cookhouse.

-Right.

0:30:210:30:25

Take the tea dixie down and use your tea bowl.

0:30:250:30:29

It's not only a tea bowl, it's a shaving bowl or it could at night be a night bowl.

0:30:290:30:35

We'll move on from that swiftly. I wondered why it was so big!

0:30:350:30:40

Once you've done your drill, there wouldn't be a lot to do unless you were on duty. You'd do maintenance.

0:30:400:30:47

You'd have to do maintenance on the gun, you'd have to practise.

0:30:470:30:52

Every so often, a general would say, "We want you out on the moors for a couple of days.

0:30:520:30:58

"We'll do sham fights. We'll put a dummy enemy out. We want you to fire rounds at the targets."

0:30:580:31:05

-What would a soldier earn?

-One and tuppence a week before stoppages.

0:31:050:31:10

One and tuppence is a lot of money.

0:31:100:31:13

-Yeah.

-But deductions for the wife

0:31:130:31:17

or money sent back to Mother,

0:31:170:31:20

stoppages for fines, stoppages for loss of kit.

0:31:200:31:24

You went drinking the other night, you lost your belt - buy a new one.

0:31:240:31:29

Sunday pay parade, start off at one and two, sorry, there's your total - threepence, three farthings.

0:31:290:31:36

-I bet some gambling went on in here as well.

-No doubt some went on.

0:31:360:31:41

In its heyday and fully armed,

0:31:420:31:45

Crownhill was garrisoned by 300 Royal Artillery soldiers.

0:31:450:31:49

Despite all the practice runs, the French threat amounted to nothing

0:31:490:31:55

and as technology moved on, the fort became obsolete.

0:31:550:31:59

Today, the fort is open to the public and 130 years on,

0:31:590:32:04

it's only one of two forts fully preserved in original condition.

0:32:040:32:09

It may be a legacy to Palmerston's imaginary foreign invasion that the guns are far from silent.

0:32:090:32:16

We're back at our valuation day in Torquay,

0:32:210:32:25

home to one of our most prominent crime writers.

0:32:250:32:29

Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890

0:32:290:32:33

and is the most widely published author ever, only outsold by the Bible and William Shakespeare.

0:32:330:32:40

She wrote 80 books over a career that lasted more than 50 years,

0:32:400:32:44

setting scenes in the Torquay area.

0:32:440:32:47

The scene's set at the Palace Hotel and the only mystery is what will turn up on the Flog It tables.

0:32:470:32:53

Shirley, you haven't been disconnected at home to bring this?

0:32:570:33:02

I doubt it, but you never know, do you?

0:33:020:33:05

-So, if this isn't your day-to-day phone...

-Not really.

0:33:050:33:10

-Where does this live in your house?

-On top of my bureau at home.

0:33:100:33:14

It's just, you know, for show really, but...

0:33:140:33:18

-Where did you get it?

-I acquired it 40 years ago.

0:33:180:33:22

-You bought it as an ornament?

-I didn't buy it.

0:33:220:33:26

-I think it belonged to an ex-husband.

-Oh, right.

-But he's passed away.

0:33:260:33:32

-So, it is mine.

-It ended up with you.

-Yeah.

0:33:320:33:36

It flummoxed me a bit because early phones aren't my speciality.

0:33:360:33:40

We've got a lovely mahogany base and all the fittings are in brass.

0:33:400:33:45

And we've got this early Bakelite handle

0:33:450:33:49

and rather amusingly this button says, "Press this while speaking."

0:33:490:33:54

-Yes.

-So, you get some exercise, as well as a conversation.

0:33:540:33:59

And it's apparently "the magnet".

0:33:590:34:02

-The period of its manufacture is about 1905, up to the First World War.

-I thought so.

0:34:020:34:09

But it's a lovely thing.

0:34:090:34:12

It's most unusual in its form and I haven't seen many like it.

0:34:120:34:16

Usually you see the upright telephones with a hook on them.

0:34:160:34:21

People like to have them working in their homes now.

0:34:210:34:25

It just makes having a conversation more enjoyable.

0:34:250:34:29

-Yes.

-There is a little bit of damage there.

0:34:290:34:34

I'm not an expert in early phones,

0:34:340:34:36

but they are collectible and it's a pattern I haven't seen.

0:34:360:34:40

I think at auction it's going to be in the region of about £70 to £120,

0:34:400:34:46

-that sort of region.

-That's fine.

0:34:460:34:48

-If we gave the auctioneer maybe 10% discretion at the £70...

-Yes.

0:34:480:34:54

But we could both be pleasantly surprised.

0:34:540:34:57

-So, what are your plans for the money?

-Towards a holiday. Pocket money.

0:34:570:35:03

-Malcolm, I really like these candlesticks. Are they yours?

-Yes.

0:35:070:35:12

-How have you got them?

-Someone gave me them with a load of other stuff.

0:35:120:35:18

-When did you receive them?

-About two months ago.

0:35:180:35:22

-So they're a new acquisition?

-Yeah.

0:35:220:35:24

-You thought these were interesting.

-There's signatures on the base.

0:35:240:35:29

I thought they were old, so I'm just curious about them, really.

0:35:290:35:34

You're quite right. They've got this "AR" mark underneath.

0:35:340:35:40

Which means "Augustus Rex".

0:35:400:35:42

And if these were Augustus Rex candlesticks,

0:35:420:35:46

we're looking at a pair of Rococo candlesticks of the 1740s, 1750s.

0:35:460:35:52

They are German and they would be quite valuable.

0:35:520:35:57

We've got typical scenes of rural lovers and typical colours as well,

0:35:570:36:02

the turquoises and pinks and these lovely floral sprays.

0:36:020:36:06

Unfortunately, that's not the case.

0:36:060:36:08

These are much later than that.

0:36:080:36:11

They are round about 1900, 1920.

0:36:110:36:15

The hole in the bottom was put in to stop it breaking in the firing.

0:36:150:36:20

If the air couldn't be released, the whole thing would shatter.

0:36:200:36:25

And on one of them, we've still got a slight firing crack.

0:36:250:36:29

That happened in the kiln.

0:36:290:36:31

I can see these in somebody's house. They're quite commercial.

0:36:310:36:37

Have you thought of their value?

0:36:370:36:40

Roughly about £30, £40.

0:36:400:36:43

I think I might please you in that case.

0:36:430:36:46

If we put these in for sale, we'd be looking at an estimate of £100 to £150.

0:36:460:36:53

-Blimey!

-Is that all right?

-Yeah.

0:36:530:36:56

They are a good pair and they might push up on that.

0:36:560:37:00

-Right.

-It obviously pleases you.

-Oh, yeah.

0:37:000:37:04

-I do like them, but they don't go...

-They're not your style.

0:37:040:37:08

-I'm a bit more modern.

-More contemporary.

0:37:080:37:12

If we got a good price, any ideas on what you might spend it on?

0:37:120:37:17

Not really. I'd probably take the wife out.

0:37:170:37:21

I'm updating my computer and stuff.

0:37:210:37:24

-Put it towards a new megabyte or something.

-Yeah, bit of software.

0:37:240:37:29

-And treat the dog.

-Another mega-BITE!

0:37:290:37:32

-Jackie, where did you get this wonderful article?

-From my partner.

0:37:360:37:41

It was from his late grandmother.

0:37:410:37:44

That's about ten years ago now. I don't know a lot else about it.

0:37:440:37:50

Where does it live at home?

0:37:500:37:52

-It's in my unit with all my other articles.

-It should be on a desk.

0:37:520:37:58

-Do you know what it's used for?

-I thought it was a letter or a paper opener.

0:37:580:38:04

You can be forgiven for thinking that.

0:38:040:38:07

It's actually a page turner.

0:38:070:38:10

Sometimes they can be cut down to be used as letter openers

0:38:100:38:16

as that's slightly more practical.

0:38:160:38:18

It was used in Victorian times when you had a large newspaper.

0:38:180:38:23

Rather than get the print on your hands, you had a page turner

0:38:230:38:28

and you could insert it into each leaf and turn it.

0:38:280:38:32

-This would discolour and not your hands. Any idea how old it is?

-No idea, no.

0:38:320:38:39

It's a bit of silver and it's hallmarked.

0:38:390:38:42

I'll hunt around for my eyeglass and having got it,

0:38:420:38:46

it's by Edward Barrett and Barrett's a good maker.

0:38:460:38:50

They made little desk blotters, stamp cases and desk accessories.

0:38:500:38:55

That's absolutely in keeping.

0:38:550:38:58

And we've got the lion passant for sterling silver,

0:38:580:39:02

the leopard's head for London

0:39:020:39:05

and it's got a little F which is the date letter for 1901,

0:39:050:39:09

so it's just between Victorian and Edwardian.

0:39:090:39:14

The handle, unfortunately, isn't solid silver.

0:39:140:39:17

They've die-stamped it on a press because it's far too intricate

0:39:170:39:22

with these little flowers and acanthus motifs.

0:39:220:39:26

They've done that in two pieces and filled it in with pitch, so it's not very heavy.

0:39:260:39:33

They've got a bit of elephant ivory or any other ivory

0:39:330:39:36

that was large enough to form this blade and pinned it in.

0:39:360:39:41

-Have you any idea what it might be worth?

-No idea.

0:39:410:39:44

-It's going to be worth at auction between £50 and £80.

-Gosh!

0:39:440:39:49

It's a nice thing, so we'll see how it does in the auction.

0:39:490:39:53

-Thank you for bringing it in.

-Thank you for seeing me.

0:39:530:39:57

-Hello, Mary.

-Hello.

0:39:570:40:00

You've brought a nice pair of watercolours in

0:40:000:40:04

with unusual subjects on them.

0:40:040:40:06

-Can you give me the history?

-Yes, they belong to my family.

0:40:060:40:11

My mother died at the age of 97 last October,

0:40:110:40:14

so my sister and I decided it would be better to sell the two together,

0:40:140:40:20

rather than split them up.

0:40:200:40:23

I quite like them. They're continental scenes.

0:40:230:40:26

I particularly like this one with the senorita with her fan

0:40:260:40:31

and the musician is playing outside her window.

0:40:310:40:35

You've got a few other street vendors there as well.

0:40:350:40:39

That might be a street in Santiago which would be fun if it was.

0:40:390:40:45

This one is a typical market scene

0:40:450:40:47

outside the cathedral or the town hall there.

0:40:470:40:51

They're both signed here, "Thomas Macquoid", this one "1894" and the one over there "1886".

0:40:510:40:58

They both bear labels on the back which adds a bit of provenance

0:40:580:41:03

which I always like

0:41:030:41:06

and it's staggering to think that even then it was £15, 5 shillings.

0:41:060:41:11

-Amazing.

-That might have been later in a gallery.

0:41:110:41:15

-20 years later maybe, but it's a nice part of the history.

-It is.

0:41:150:41:20

And when these were painted, the Victorians loved these scenes.

0:41:200:41:25

Their houses were covered with these paintings and pottery and ceramics

0:41:250:41:31

and china cabinets and furniture,

0:41:310:41:33

much more cluttered than we live today.

0:41:330:41:37

They should sell reasonably well. If we put them in for sale,

0:41:370:41:42

we should try them at an estimate of £300 to £400 for the pair.

0:41:420:41:47

-Is that something you'd be happy with?

-That would be fine.

0:41:470:41:51

And they might go for a bit more.

0:41:510:41:54

The valuation day is in full swing with the experts working flat-out.

0:41:580:42:03

It is thirsty work and I've got just the tonic.

0:42:030:42:07

There is something missing and it is a good job we're just a stone's throw away from Plymouth

0:42:110:42:18

where they have been putting the G into G&T since 1793 at England's oldest distillery.

0:42:180:42:24

Plymouth Gin has its roots at the Barbican in the historic heart of the city.

0:42:320:42:38

This place is home to the Royal Navy and there's always been a link between gin and the Navy.

0:42:380:42:45

Dutch courage was given to the sailors before they set sail.

0:42:450:42:49

But ordinary Britons got their first taste of the spirit at the beginning of the 17th century

0:42:490:42:56

when William of Orange, a keen genever or gin tippler,

0:42:560:43:00

came from Holland to seize the English throne.

0:43:000:43:04

It quickly became a fashionable drink amongst his courtiers.

0:43:040:43:09

William furthered the gin cause by encouraging the country to shun French imports of wine and brandy

0:43:090:43:16

in favour of domestic distilling, resulting in a gin free-for-all

0:43:160:43:21

with legal and illegal production rocketing.

0:43:210:43:24

The streets were awash with gin and the quality varied so much

0:43:240:43:29

that it was often bottled in stone jars to disguise impurities.

0:43:290:43:34

Gin took a grip on the country and scenes like Hogarth's painting of "Gin Lane" were commonplace.

0:43:340:43:40

In London, one in three houses sold gin, many people were paid in gin

0:43:400:43:45

and wives and daughters were sold into prostitution just to pay for the spirit.

0:43:450:43:51

"Mother's ruin" was threatening to destroy society.

0:43:510:43:55

By 1730, production was up to 11 million gallons,

0:43:560:44:00

so the government decided to halt this excessive consumption.

0:44:000:44:05

The Gin Act put a cap on things.

0:44:050:44:08

By introducing duty and forcing producers to have a licence, they got the situation under control,

0:44:080:44:15

but not without a public outcry.

0:44:150:44:17

There were several gin distillers in Plymouth when Mr Coates bought the Black Friars building in 1793

0:44:170:44:25

and ousted his rivals by winning a court battle to be the only distiller of Plymouth Gin.

0:44:250:44:32

His recipe remains the same to this day.

0:44:320:44:36

Richard, what are the ingredients? What's so special about it?

0:44:360:44:40

The most important thing is the water, soft Dartmoor water, but also the seven botanicals.

0:44:400:44:47

What is that? Is that its recipe?

0:44:470:44:49

Yes, I've got some of them here.

0:44:490:44:52

So, this is the secret recipe, but not so secret now?

0:44:520:44:56

What goes into it is not secret, but the mixes and the proportions are.

0:44:560:45:02

We have juniper berries - every gin has juniper in it.

0:45:020:45:06

We've got coriander, lemon, orange - Plymouth gin is very citrussy -

0:45:060:45:11

cardamom pods from Sri Lanka, angelica root from Germany

0:45:110:45:15

-and orris root from Italy.

-Talk me through the distilling process.

0:45:150:45:20

We put 5,000 litres of neutral grain spirit, which is basically from English wheat,

0:45:200:45:27

2,000 litres of Dartmoor water and the botanicals into the still.

0:45:270:45:31

They're brought to the boil slowly,

0:45:310:45:34

then the spirit in vapour form goes through the swan neck.

0:45:340:45:39

-And that's what's collected?

-Yes, into a condenser and from there,

0:45:390:45:44

the spirit comes through to these spirit safes.

0:45:440:45:48

They used to be locked and the Excise man had the key.

0:45:480:45:53

This is still the place where the distiller can check the product.

0:45:530:45:58

And the first part is thrown away.

0:45:580:46:01

The middle part when it becomes consistent and the quality is right,

0:46:010:46:06

that's what's kept - the middle cut.

0:46:060:46:08

Wow, how fascinating is that!

0:46:080:46:11

-So, how long does the whole process take?

-Only a day.

0:46:110:46:15

-And it's ready to drink almost straight away.

-He said with a big smile on his face!

0:46:150:46:21

This might be a daft question, but how can you tell the consistency? Is it the old...?

0:46:210:46:27

No, it's the expertise of the distiller. It's done with the nose.

0:46:270:46:32

They all say that. I see lots of glasses dotted around.

0:46:320:46:36

-Maybe we should have a test, but not with the nose?

-Absolutely.

0:46:360:46:42

For centuries, the Navy took Plymouth Gin around the world,

0:46:420:46:46

spreading the word on this fashionable drink.

0:46:460:46:50

They even had their own gin pennant which was hoisted while in port

0:46:500:46:55

as an open invite to come aboard and have a drink.

0:46:550:46:59

Even today, each new vessel is given a pennant and a case of gin.

0:46:590:47:04

Traditionally, the gin was stored near the gunpowder store.

0:47:040:47:08

This was a problem because if the gin spilt, the gunpowder wouldn't ignite.

0:47:080:47:14

So, a special Navy-strength gin was developed

0:47:140:47:18

and at 57% proof, it would combust every time.

0:47:180:47:22

The gunpowder/gin mix was tested on deck to see if any dilution occurred on the way.

0:47:220:47:29

This proof test led to the alcohol measuring system we still use now.

0:47:290:47:34

While I get used to the subtleties of Plymouth Gin, here's a rundown of the items up for auction.

0:47:390:47:46

If Shirley's telephone connects with the bidders,

0:47:490:47:53

perhaps they'll exchange £70 to £120 for it.

0:47:530:47:57

Malcolm hopes his candlesticks will sell for at least £100.

0:47:570:48:01

That way, his wife and his dog will be in for a real treat.

0:48:010:48:06

Could Jackie's page turner make £50 to £80 when the gavel goes down?

0:48:060:48:12

And finally, let's hope our pair of watercolours

0:48:120:48:16

aren't left hanging around at £300 to £400.

0:48:160:48:21

In the saleroom, the lots are ready to go under Anthony Eldred's gavel,

0:48:240:48:30

but what does he have to say about the watercolours?

0:48:300:48:34

Mark Stacey has put a valuation of £300 to £400 on the pair.

0:48:340:48:39

They belong to Mary, but at £300 to £400 these are gonna sell.

0:48:390:48:44

She didn't want you to split them because they've been in the family a long time.

0:48:440:48:50

We've catalogued them together, but they're not really a pair

0:48:500:48:55

and might have made more split.

0:48:550:48:57

300 to 400 is conservative and we should do better.

0:48:570:49:02

-I love the detail in this one. That to me is 300 to 400 alone.

-Yes.

0:49:020:49:07

There's so much going on in it.

0:49:070:49:09

The bidders will have to pay the extra money to get that one.

0:49:090:49:14

-Mark says they are Spanish scenes.

-I can understand.

0:49:140:49:18

One of them does look to be,

0:49:180:49:20

but the other one is titled "Wurzburg" in Bavaria.

0:49:200:49:24

I suspect it is the market there.

0:49:240:49:27

Would our Mark have missed something like that?

0:49:270:49:31

What would you put them on as a pair?

0:49:310:49:35

-They should make between £600 and £800.

-That's what we want to hear.

0:49:350:49:40

Do you like these? They're Malcolm's continental candlesticks.

0:49:440:49:48

Mark Stacey's put £100 to £150 on these. Will they do it?

0:49:480:49:53

They might do it.

0:49:530:49:56

I don't see what else you could quote on them.

0:49:560:50:00

-They are porcelain.

-They're hand-painted, not transfers?

0:50:000:50:04

They are hand-painted, but look at the overall quality of the things.

0:50:040:50:10

They sort of lean over at the top.

0:50:100:50:13

This one's like the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

0:50:130:50:17

They are in good condition, they're not damaged

0:50:170:50:21

and they've got this pseudo Augustus Rex mark here underneath.

0:50:210:50:26

The decorators will like them.

0:50:260:50:28

I think for £100 they're perfectly good value.

0:50:280:50:32

There's no accounting for taste and someone out there will love them.

0:50:320:50:38

Will that wonky pair put the buyers off? Let's put them to the test.

0:50:380:50:44

Malcolm's going to sell the pair of continental candlesticks for £100 to £150,

0:50:470:50:53

-but he's also brought in his dog, Ginseng.

-What a face!

0:50:530:50:57

I say, hello! How cute is that!

0:50:570:51:00

Do you like these candlesticks?

0:51:000:51:03

-Not particularly.

-They don't do anything for me.

0:51:030:51:06

I had a chat to the auctioneer

0:51:060:51:09

and we both preferred a couple of empty wine bottles with candles in!

0:51:090:51:14

But I think they'll do the £100. There's a lot of work there.

0:51:140:51:19

-Sorry, Mark.

-They're a little bit better than that, come on!

0:51:190:51:23

They're quality, but they're not my taste.

0:51:230:51:27

They're copies of 18th century, but they should make £100.

0:51:270:51:31

-They're decorative enough for that.

-That's all hand-painted.

-Yes.

0:51:310:51:36

-We'll find out now. This is it.

-Right.

0:51:360:51:40

Next is Lot 363

0:51:400:51:42

which is a pair of candlesticks.

0:51:420:51:45

There they are, German candlesticks.

0:51:450:51:49

£50 starts those. 5 if you want?

0:51:490:51:51

£50. 5. 60.

0:51:510:51:54

At £60 then. 5. 70.

0:51:540:51:58

-Surely? 5. 80.

-We're gonna do it.

-£80.

0:51:580:52:02

5 anywhere? All done at £80...

0:52:020:52:04

-Quite sure?

-Oh!

0:52:040:52:07

-Not quite.

-Didn't sell them.

-No.

-Not quite, not quite.

0:52:070:52:11

-It's all right.

-They weren't anybody's taste.

-I'm afraid not.

0:52:110:52:16

-Except yours.

-Well, I didn't say I liked them!

0:52:160:52:20

-I wouldn't have them in my bijou residence in Surrey.

-No.

0:52:200:52:25

But they were decorative.

0:52:250:52:28

-Maybe try them in another sale with a lower estimate.

-Yeah.

0:52:280:52:32

-We nearly got it right, just £20 under.

-Not too bad.

0:52:320:52:37

Thanks for coming in and thanks for bringing in Ginseng who is behaving very well.

0:52:370:52:43

He likes the camera. Don't you?

0:52:430:52:46

The crooked candlesticks had a leaning for Malcolm's mantelpiece

0:52:460:52:50

which is where they're going - back home!

0:52:500:52:54

Perhaps the telephone will ring more bells.

0:52:540:52:58

I wonder if there are any phone lines booked on Shirley's telephone

0:52:580:53:02

which Michael has put £70 to £120 on.

0:53:020:53:06

Quite a wide margin, Michael. It's normally 80 to 120.

0:53:060:53:10

It's a guestimate cos I've never seen one before in my life.

0:53:100:53:15

I don't have a clue what it's worth, but let's give it a go.

0:53:150:53:19

I wouldn't like to value it either.

0:53:190:53:22

-You've had this 40 years. It's now time to sell?

-That's right.

0:53:220:53:26

-It belonged to an ex-husband, so...

-The telephone's got to go.

-Yes.

0:53:260:53:31

Next is the earlier telephone on a wood base. There it is.

0:53:310:53:36

And I'm bid...

0:53:360:53:38

£50, against you all at £50.

0:53:380:53:41

At 50. 5. 60. 5. 70.

0:53:410:53:44

-Oh!

-At £70. At £70.

0:53:440:53:47

At £70 then, against you all. Are you done for 70?

0:53:470:53:51

At £70. Are you bidding...? 80. 5.

0:53:510:53:54

-He's got one bid on the phone, one on the book.

-90. At £90 now.

0:53:540:53:59

On the telephone at £90, against you all. I can sell it for 90.

0:53:590:54:04

-90 quid.

-That's fine.

-We'll settle for that. Good guestimate!

0:54:050:54:09

-Spot-on for a guestimate!

-Yes.

0:54:090:54:12

"The magnet" phone attracted a few bidders!

0:54:120:54:16

-You complain at MY lines!

-I can buy an up-to-date model.

0:54:160:54:20

-What will you do with £90?

-Buy an up-to-date model.

-Seriously?

-Yes.

0:54:200:54:25

-That one you didn't use, so you had another one?

-Yes.

-Fair exchange.

-Yes. Thank you very much.

0:54:250:54:32

Remember the wonderful watercolours that Mary brought in?

0:54:360:54:40

We've just been joined by Mary and Mark Stacey.

0:54:400:54:44

We had a chat to the auctioneer.

0:54:440:54:47

He said 3 to 4 is a "come and buy me".

0:54:470:54:50

He's hoping for maybe £600 to £800.

0:54:500:54:53

-Oh!

-That'll suit us, won't it?

-Very much.

-I think that'll suit Mary!

0:54:530:54:58

-It will. Excellent.

-A bit of pressure off Mark here.

0:54:580:55:02

We'll find out because we just don't know.

0:55:020:55:06

I feel we should've sold them separately,

0:55:060:55:09

but they mean something to you and you want them sold in a pair?

0:55:090:55:14

It would be a shame to split them,

0:55:140:55:16

-but maybe it would have been better to sell them separately.

-This is it.

0:55:160:55:22

Next is two watercolours by Thomas Macquoid. A bit of interest.

0:55:220:55:27

I'm bid £310 to start it. Against you all at £310 now.

0:55:270:55:32

320. 330. 340.

0:55:320:55:34

350. At 350 now. Still against you all at £350.

0:55:340:55:40

All done at 350, sell at 350...

0:55:400:55:43

The hammer's gone down, unfortunately, only £350.

0:55:450:55:49

Mark, you were spot-on. That's auctions for you.

0:55:490:55:53

-But you're happy?

-Very happy.

-What will you put the £350 towards?

0:55:530:55:58

-My family are coming over from Australia, so we'll have a big party.

-Enjoy it!

0:55:580:56:04

At 1,000. And 10...

0:56:050:56:08

For those of you wishing to turn over a new leaf,

0:56:080:56:12

you might be interested in Jackie's ivory and silver page turner

0:56:120:56:17

which Michael has estimated at £50 to £80.

0:56:170:56:21

I love this, it's quality. Will it turn a profit?

0:56:210:56:25

You've stolen my line!

0:56:250:56:27

I think it's got to sell. No question. I'd love it to make £80.

0:56:270:56:33

There's a spot of damage on the ivory, but that can be polished out and it will be as good as old.

0:56:330:56:39

As good as old!

0:56:390:56:41

The silver and ivory paper knife or page turner...

0:56:410:56:46

And I'm bid £42. Two bidders at 42. At £42.

0:56:460:56:50

5. 8. 50.

0:56:500:56:53

2. 5. 8. I'm bid 60.

0:56:530:56:56

-5. At £65...

-Really?

0:56:560:56:58

At 65. 68. 70.

0:56:580:57:01

Against you seated at £70, still at the back. 75. 80 now.

0:57:010:57:07

-That's good. 80, oh!

-At £80. Quite sure?

0:57:070:57:11

At £80. All finished at £80...?

0:57:110:57:14

-Yes!

-That's good.

-Michael was spot-on, top end.

-Lovely.

0:57:150:57:20

-80 quid, £80.

-Lovely.

-Happy with that?

-Yeah, very good.

0:57:200:57:25

Michael, top end, well done.

0:57:250:57:28

If you're wealthy enough to want one to turn the pages of your newspaper, £80 is nothing to you.

0:57:280:57:34

-No. Very decadent.

-Lovely thing, though.

0:57:340:57:38

The auction's finished and our two experts have done us proud,

0:57:430:57:48

although one "no sale" each. What have you got to say?

0:57:480:57:52

-Those Dresden candlesticks hardly lit up the sale.

-Michael?

0:57:520:57:57

That carriage warmer, the bidders didn't warm to it.

0:57:570:58:01

-But at least I got that battleship away.

-You were lucky.

-I know.

0:58:010:58:06

Some you win, some you lose.

0:58:060:58:08

If you've got any antiques and collectibles you want to flog,

0:58:080:58:13

bring them along to one of our valuation days. See you next time!

0:58:130:58:17

Subtitles by Subtext for BBC Broadcast 2005

0:58:380:58:42

e-mail us at [email protected]

0:58:420:58:46

Paul Martin, along with experts Mark Stacey and Michael Baggott, visits Torquay on the lookout for more dusty but valuable antiques. Whilst in Plymouth for the auction, Paul also inspects a huge Victorian military installation and learns about the production of Plymouth Gin.