Paul Martin and experts David Barby and Jethro Marles visit Corby to value antiques and collectibles. Paul also goes to admire the art collection at Rockingham Castle.
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Welcome to Corby and welcome to Flog It!
Corby emerged as a Midlands boom town in the 1930s,
due to the steel industry.
Much of the workforce arrived from Scotland
and Corby still retains a strong Scottish influence.
And each year, they even hold their own version
of the Highland Games here.
Well, we'll have fun and games of our very own today.
We brought along our experts, Jethro Marles and David Barby.
Their first challenge is who will get first to the valuation tables.
So gents, are you ready? On your marks, get set...
Well, David, congratulations. You got there by a hair's breadth.
But Jethro, don't despair, it's not over yet.
Because the ultimate challenge is finding those antiques
which will fetch the most at auction. So off you go.
Sorry, Jethro, looks like David's beaten you to it again.
Girls, how can you part with these delicious little pieces,
these lovely teddies?
-Do they belong to you, Gail, or to you, Dorothy?
-So, Gail, how long have you had them?
-All my life.
The bigger bear is 55 years old and belonged to my brother before me.
The smaller bear is 50 years old, just about. I'll be 50 this year.
My eldest brother brought the bigger one back from Germany when my mum was expecting.
-How many children are there?
-How many girls?
-Seven. My husband calls us The Seven Dwarves!
-We're all little and fat!
So why are you parting with these?
I've got other teddies
that I had when I was small but they're literally in a suitcase in the loft
and it seems a shame because I've got no room, really.
-I think often teddy bears take on the character of the owners.
-This one looks so, sort of, almost melancholy.
-And he growls.
-Does he really?
-He's still got his growl, yes.
-He's got a hump back.
That's indicative of being an early teddy bear.
And also, if you look at his arms,
-the little pads turn inwards and again that's indicative of an earlier bear.
-He probably dates from the 1930s, or early 1940s.
And the fur is quite long.
-Now, I would have thought this was a sort of Chad Valley long-haired teddy bear.
-But your brother said he brought this back from Germany.
And where is the other one from?
-I'm not sure.
-It was given to you as a child?
-Yes, as a baby.
I think this is an English teddy. Both have got glass eyes,
sewn in I would hope,
-because now glass-eyed teddies are not allowed because of the danger to infants swallowing them.
But teddy bears are still loved
and they're still collected and these will find a ready market.
-I think they shouldn't be separated.
-They should always go together, yes.
-They should always be together.
-So I'll put a price in the region of about £90-£100.
-That sort of price range.
-I hope somebody falls in love with them.
So do I, I hope they'll be loved.
As much as I do, I think!
Joan and Jane, well, thank you for coming in.
Little dishes, here, what do you know about them?
Well, they were my aunt's, my elderly aunt's,
-and they've been passed down through the family.
-How far back is that?
Well, my aunt died in 1983.
And I think she was 89.
-How long had she had them?
-Since she was married.
So you think she had them when she was married? She was about 20?
So that takes them back to about 1920, something like that?
But they're older than that.
These are what are known as Famille Rose Canton, um...china.
Famille Rose because you have this predominantly pinkish-coloured rosy glaze decoration,
Canton because they come from the port of Canton
and they are Cantonese.
Date wise, they are late 19th century -
sort of 1890 - and they're typical of plates we see all the time.
These are nice because they're a little different. They're not circular, they're square-ish.
The scene on the front, if we have a look, it seems to be depicting some sort of play.
And you've got all the colours,
although it's predominantly this Famille Rose colour,
if it had been predominantly green, we'd have called them Famille Verte.
-From the green family, if you like.
I've had a check
and they seem in pretty good condition, chips and crack wise, no damage at all,
but this one is in slightly better condition than this one.
This one, if you look at the detail,
we've lost an awful lot of the detail here.
That is going to affect the final price that they make.
But they are very decorative plates. I think they'll make £50 each,
so £100 or more.
If they'd been in good order, we could have gone up to £200.
-I think it's a realistic estimate to put on them at auction.
-Will you put them in?
-I think so.
-Shall we do that?
-Shall we put a reserve on them?
-I think we should put a reserve on because you wouldn't be happy if they sold for less than £100.
In that case, we'll put a £100 firm reserve - no discretion for the auctioneer -
£100 absolutely firm. I think they'll still sell.
-I'm sure we'll get a good price.
-Right. Thank you.
-Who does this belong to, Roger?
-It belongs to my wife.
-It belongs to my family.
-Your family, Jane.
It was given to my grandmother
-in 1935, 1940, from a couple she used to work for.
-In what capacity?
She used to keep house for them.
They must have thought a lot of her to give her this fabulous piece.
This is a delightful object.
I saw this from a distance, I thought, "That's marvellous."
I'm so pleased it came into my hands and no-one else's.
This is part and parcel of an art movement known as Arts and Crafts.
It started towards the end of the 19th century.
It drifted onto the '30s.
Arts and Crafts was a return to hand-made objects
by indigenous work people.
By saying all that, this piece is reminiscent
of a designer called W. Harraway, who was a London designer,
and eventually moved to India in the 1930s.
-I don't know what happened to him afterwards.
But it's so reminiscent of his work
because he did feature these galleons in his work.
-They look Nordic to me.
-Yes. It has that feel to it.
But the whole bowl is like a Scottish pollinger.
So you'd expect Vikings and Celtic origins to have an influence
on these designs. But we are looking back.
It's interesting you mentioned that. That's part
of the Arts and Crafts movement so you're looking to that period. Very good observation!
-Well, one up for me.
-The other thing to look at
is this - the surface is pitted by small hammer marks.
So this is silver.
-Yes, sorry. I had no idea what it was.
But it's hand worked.
It's hand worked. And there is no stamp on it to say it's silver.
And no maker's mark.
So one might assume this could've been made for his personal use.
-Or his personal enjoyment.
What I like in the middle
is this enamel plaque,
you have this wonderful fish here
which relates to these galleons either side.
Now, at auction, I think it is speculative.
It needs research by the auction house
to see whether they can identify the designer
without having any mark on it at all,
I would estimate a price in the region of about...
£250 to £400.
-And I think it might do more.
-Is that all?!
-Are you gonna let go of it?
Somebody's almost life story...
What can you tell me about it?
Only that I bought it about 20 years ago
at a sort of indoor arena in Chester
for just £18.
I have tried to find anything about who actually wrote the book,
-but no luck.
-There's no clues given at all?
-There's a lady's name, and that's about it.
-That's Alice Cresswell.
I think this is a lovely drawing, actually.
It's very reminiscent of Pre-Raphaelite and Art Nouveau.
It's almost a combined effort.
But what is exciting is that this is a record of her visits
She's dated this Friday November 25th 1927
when she actually went to Pompeii.
So here we have the write-up and the corresponding photographs.
Have you explored the book and read every item that she wrote?
I think I have. I've probably taken more account of the second part of the book
because it's a little bit more personal.
The first part is quite factual.
When we come on to her second visit, she has embellished it with these pen and ink drawings.
She's quite a comical lady because many of her illustrations
have a lot humour about them. You have to read them to believe them.
You're correct because in this illustration here, we have a gentleman in an Alpine costume.
He's playing one of those huge Alpine horns.
-There are notes of music coming out the far end.
-That's right. In her writing,
she says, "If you give him 50 centimes, he will blow for you."
How wonderful. There is a clue here...
"On Saturday July 28th, we left Bournemouth with Mr and Mrs Decombe..." Here's a photograph
of three people.
-Could one be Alice?
-I would like to think so, but then it makes me wonder,
-who took the photograph?
-A passing stranger.
-I wonder how many albums of her life she created. This is just a fragment.
I think you're probably right.
I'll like to put a price in the region of about 90-120.
Hopefully it'll go up to about 150. Not only is it commemorative to visits,
it's a social history of middle class
I think this is a lovely record. It's almost three quarters of a century old.
An extraordinary piece of social history caught between the pages
of one woman's album.
I'm off to a grand location to find out more about building in a very checkered past.
This is Rockingham Castle in Northamptonshire.
It is so easy to see why.
William the Conqueror ordered this castle to be built between 1068 and 1071,
because of its staggering vantage point. Just look at this!
It's stunning, and you can see over five different counties from here.
What fascinates me about Rockingham Castle is its superb collection of fine art
which mirrors a thousand years of history, from Norman times right up to the present day.
Whether or not you're talking about the Norman period, the Tudor period, or even the Victorian era,
it has it all.
And it's even got a fantastic collection of modern art behind these very robust walls.
And joining me in this magnificent great hall is Basil Morgan.
-One of the guides here at the castle.
What we are going to try and do is tell the history of this magnificent place with just six pictures.
We'll start with this painting first...
-Is this the first recorded painted picture of the castle?
-As far as we know, yes.
The Medieval kings used it as an administrative centre and to hunt in the forest.
-Which would be plentiful around here.
-Yes. And from time to time,
they had to garrison against rebellions. Most of the early kings visited.
Henry V was the last king to stay here in 1422 and this picture of the 1530s shows the castle very run down
-about 100 years later.
-It is. There's grass growing out of the roof there.
Yes, Henry VIII didn't know what to do with it. He didn't need a Midland Castle here any more.
He even allowed a local landowner to take the stone to build his own house.
So he was very glad to lease it in 1544 to Edward Watson.
That's that chap over there on the panelled wall.
It's quite a naive painting. It looks very English School.
It is a wonderful portrait.
Tell me more about Edward Watson.
He was the man who came in in 1544 - the first of the family.
And he converted it from a rather ramshackle Norman castle
into the castle we see today.
His father was Surveyor General to the Bishop of Lincoln who had a parish in a neighbouring village.
Because of the Bishop's influence at court, that managed to get Edward the lease.
And he has done a splendid job, hasn't he?
Up above, Elizabeth I.
Yes, she is here because families like this always put a picture up of the reigning monarch
to show they were loyal. Otherwise, they might have been suspected of being a Catholic.
This is a rather attractive picture from the 1570s,
before her pictures got too florid and propagandist at the Armada time.
Which brings us on to the 18th century with this copper engraving.
The castle looks very much like it does today.
Yes, unfortunately, in between Elizabeth and this time,
Cromwell's men captured the castle and occupied it for about three years, leaving a lot of damage.
They turfed out the existing owner - Sir Lewis Watson.
He was even imprisoned by the king
as a result of not holding onto the castle firmly enough.
But he does come out of imprisonment with the title of the first Lord Rockingham.
So he had to start rebuilding the castle again until it became like this in the 18th century.
Lots of windows adding lots of light.
It is a striking home.
We have two more pictures to see, which takes us into the 19th and 20th century. Shall we look at them?
Well, that is a very fine portrait.
He's obviously a distinguished naval officer and we're looking at the 19th century.
Yes, this is Sir Michael Seymour who owned the castle.
He lost an arm in the wars against Napoleon.
And in his ship, The Amethyst,
he defeated a bigger French vessel called The Thetis in 1808
for which he was given a baronetcy.
We have now seen five pictures which have been very traditional.
Going into the 20th century, we have something altogether more modern.
I recognise the artist. Maggi Hambling, a wonderful contemporary portrait artist and sculptor.
Who is the gentleman?
He's Sir Michael Culme-Seymour who inherited the castle as a 15-year-old naval cadet in the '20s.
He lived here from 1945 to 1965.
He was a great collector of modern art.
Most of the paintings in this room were collected by him.
When he died, he obviously knew Maggi Hambling quite well,
-because she gave the address at his memorial service.
-That really is a fitting tribute.
It's really nice that he has left his mark here in this house as part of the evolution when he was here.
It's sort of history moving on.
-That has brought us right up to the present day. Thank you very much, Basil.
It's auction time and we have four different items on offer.
Two very cuddly childhood toys.
Can Gail BEAR to be parted from them?
Joan and Jane's unusual Famille Rose dishes,
all the way from the port of Canton.
David's favourite, a special Arts and Crafts piece.
And finally Alice Cresswell's amazing travel journal.
For today's sale, we've skipped over the border from Corby in Northamptonshire
to Market Harborough in Leicestershire, and the bells are ringing out for us now!
We'll be at Gildings auction rooms, a father and son-run operation.
-Today's auctioneer is
I love this lot, belongs to Jan and Roger.
David Barby's put £200-400 on it. It's a lovely silver bowl,
with an enamel fish in the centre.
It's straight out of the Arts and Crafts movement. It's cracking.
Yeah. Arts and Crafts movement, yeah, fine.
But you show me the silver mark.
-I haven't seen any.
-There isn't one.
-But David knows what he's on about.
I really did think David would know what he was talking about.
Unless he's found something that I can't, I say that's pewter.
-There's a big difference in price between...
A lot, a lot.
-It's... I've looked at this particular piece so many times,
I can't believe that it's silver.
I can't believe our David, our faithful David
who knows it all, has got this one wrong!
I've no doubt he'll have the opportunity of correcting me
-if I am wrong.
-He'll be delighted, won't he?
-I'm afraid I can't see that
being half the price. In fact,
-we're not allowed to say it's silver because of the lack of hallmark.
-It has to be "white metal".
-In that case,
-what price would you put on it?
-I would have said 80-120 was its top whack.
Gosh, that's a big difference.
We'll see how the bidding goes, and if necessary,
-we shall have to withdraw it.
-Sounds like trouble!
-It might be a difficult one. And if it's wrong,
then I'll apologise, of course! THEY LAUGH
Beers all round on John, I think!
I think David will want more than that.
He'll want you to eat humble pie!
Those wonderful photographs put together in the album by Alice Cresswell. A lot of work
and now they're going under the hammer.
-Sad to see those go?
-Yes, I think I am.
I've grown attached to them but I can't keep carrying big books around for the rest of my life!
-Incredible, aren't they?
-It's got great potential.
First of all, I love the drawings.
The second trip she made becomes more personal
and I can see possibly a diary being published rather like the Edwardian Country Lady's Diary.
And somebody publishing it,
-probably updating the text, but it is an interesting article.
-This is it.
-This has got to be good!
Have you seen this? If you haven't, you should look when I've finished.
It'll be too late!
185. Start the bidding, please.
It's with me on commission at £90, to get the thing started at 90.
£90 I'm bid. 90. At 90.
Do I see five anywhere? All out at £90?
At £95. I'm bid 95. Do I see 100 anywhere?
Being sold, make no mistake. At £95.
-Watching you all carefully. Sold at £95.
The hammer's gone down. David was right. He was right.
I think things like that are worth so much more money but you can't put a value on them.
A piece of social history like that you can not put a value on.
-This is true. The social history in that album is incredible.
-All those photographs!
-Nevertheless, they have gone.
-You're happy? David was bang on.
What will you put the £95 towards?
-We've been married 22 years.
Yes, this year, and we'd like to revisit where we spent out honeymoon.
-Oh! Where was that?
-In the Peak District, climbing!
-We're not up to that yet!
-Get into some training, you know!
-A few walks on a Sunday afternoon. How beautiful!
-Joan and Jane, are you ready for this?
-Good, ready to go!
It's time and we have two Famille Rose plates,
serving up for you right now at £100-£150. Happy with the valuation?
-Yeah? The man who put the price on it is Jethro.
-Any change of plans?
-I think it's about right.
-They are pretty.
-A little bit worn.
-You're a bit worn, but you're all right.
-I'm fraying at the edges!
Aren't we all?!
This is it. It's going under the hammer. Good luck, you two!
Lot 20, please.
Two very nice Famille Rose dishes. And bidding starts on commission.
£100. Are you all out in the room at 100?
160 with me, then. At 170 in the room. At 170.
-That's an even better price!
190. Bid 190. 200. I'm bid 200.
-This is very good. This is excellent. They love it!
-Selling at 200.
-What a dish! How about that?
-Can't get more than that, can we?
I've just been joined by Dorothy. But where is Gail?
-What's she doing?
-Why didn't you go with her?
-She's gone with her husband!
-I thought sisters did everything together.
-Not playing gooseberry!
-We've got two teddy bears.
They're going under the hammer right now. Talking over. This is it.
And lovely teddy bears! Lot 200.
You're all out at £55.
65. 70. 75.
80. 85. 90.
95. 100. 110?
130. 140. 150.
On the telephone at £210.
And the room fell silent! All done? Sold at 210.
-She'll be thrilled.
-She will be over the moon!
-Are you going to call her?
-Yes, I'll give her a ring.
-£210, that's not bad, is it?
-Are you dividing that up?
-No, it's going towards a kitchen fund.
-Is it? Whose kitchen?
I've been looking forward to this one. I've been joined by Jane and Roger.
Tension is building.
Earlier, I had a chat to the auctioneer.
I love this silver bowl with the fish enamel in it.
It's stunning, I think David's got the value right.
When I had a chat with the auctioneer, he said it's pewter.
What do you think of that?
-Not a lot!
-A bit different to silver!
It's got a ping to it which made me think it was a harder metal.
Pewter's quite soft.
I touched it afterwards.
I said, "David has never been wrong on something like this." I stuck up for you.
He's our number one. I learned everything from this guy.
He's forgotten more than I know.
I rubbed it afterwards and I smelt it,
and to me that's silver.
That is a bone of contention. It's gone in the catalogue as pewter but I think it's silver.
The off-screen experts on the day say it was silver.
There was a double check to see that it was.
-So we'll see how much it goes for.
-It's down to the bidders now.
Talking's over and done with, this is it.
Amendment to your catalogue. Lot 365.
It is not pewter, it's white metal.
Arts and Crafts period...
Wait for it.
£290 I'm bid.
At £290, I'm bid £290. Have you all done?
It will be sold.
Commissions take it at £290.
I'm so pleased for you.
I was so frightened about that.
I was with you on that, David.
I gave it a rub and I smelt it.
It feels...feels like silver.
He's just confirmed it from the rostrum.
He changed his mind.
He called it pewter earlier on.
I know pewter is an alloy. It's a mixture of lead and tin
and a little bit of silver in it.
-That was definitely silver.
-Thank you both.
It's so exciting.
What will you do with the money?
It's come from my mum's family so the money will go to my mum.
She can treat herself to something nice.
Thank you very much.
The auction's still going on.
It's all over for our owners though, they've gone home very happy.
All credit to our experts. They were spot on with the valuations.
I hope you enjoyed the show. Till the next time, it's goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Limited.
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The team visit the former steel town of Corby. Paul Martin and experts David Barby and Jethro Marles blow the dust off antiques and collectibles brought in by hopeful members of the public. Meanwhile, Paul goes to admire the art collection at Rockingham Castle.