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I'm in the High Peak District of Derbyshire,
1,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by gorgeous scenery. I'm in Buxton. So let's flog it!
Buxton has one of the purest mineral waters in the world.
Its quality was first recognised around AD70,
when the Romans settled here.
The source of the spring is marked by St Ann's Well near the town centre.
A valuation of the well, requested by King Henry VIII,
said it was worth £26 - a considerable amount of money for the day.
Let's hope our valuations aren't inconsiderable as well.
We're Buxton's famous Pavilion Gardens,
and our experts are the famous Phil Serrell and Kate Bliss,
and they're already testing the water to see what people have brought along to sell.
And with the time ticking away, Philip's first off the starting blocks.
-This is a sweet little clock, isn't it?
-It has a certain appeal.
-Does it have an appeal to you? Clearly not. That's why you're at Flog It!
We have it in the bedroom, but I don't like a ticking clock.
-I wanted to come to the show, so I thought, "What can I take?"
-Why don't you like ticking clocks?
-I don't know.
-A lot of people don't like that.
I just think that gentle tick...tock...
-of a really good old long-cased clock.
-It's just like your life going by.
Don't be so morbid! Let me just have a look at the back of it... If I take the back off,
I just want to have a look and see where the movement's from.
This is a French movement.
What's interesting is we've got on the front
Curtis & Horspool, to H.M. The King, Leicester.
So we've got a French movement with an English script on the front.
What do you think that means?
-I should think that's the retailer.
-Spot on. The King narrows it down!
-So it's going to be, I would think, Edwardian times.
Perhaps about 1910? This is probably just about 100 years old.
Oh, yes. I would think it was at least that.
It's a nice smaller version of an 18th or early 19th-century bracket clock.
-It's very much 18th century in style.
The one thing that just confuses me a little bit is this little, er, winged putty figure here.
To me, stylistically, I can't quite see why that would be on there.
-I just wonder whether someone's put that on afterwards.
-I don't know.
Certainly not in my time or my husband's time.
I think these little splayed bracket feet here...
I think they're really lovely.
-Quite evocative of a former era.
-Has it been in your family a long time?
-It was in my late husband's family, yes.
-Did he enjoy buying clocks?
-Oh, it's been handed down.
-I think from his grandfather to his father to him.
-Have you given any thought to what it's worth?
-I think again we can estimate this at around the £100 mark.
-We'll put a broad estimate on it of 80 to 120.
-We'll fix a reserve at £60.
-I think it'll find its own level.
-Oh, right. Lovely.
-So time will have flown, won't it?
Maureen, you obviously like wearing rings.
But I was quite surprised when you told me you're not very keen on diamonds. Is that right?
-Yes. I don't like them.
-Is that because they're showy? Why don't you like them?
I like coloured stones better.
-You're wearing some beautiful tourmalines.
-Lovely deep colour.
-So you want to sell this one?
-So where did this diamond come from?
It was my mother-in-law's engagement ring. She left me a brooch in her will.
I don't really like brooches, terribly.
-My sister-in-law liked the brooch, so we did a swap!
-That was a good idea!
I think this is a lovely shaped stone. It's particularly nice, of course...
You've got this large, almost three-quarters of a carat, stone in the centre here.
And it's cushion cut, what's known as cushion cut.
It's that cushion shape.
And it's claw set in a white metal, probably platinum.
And I would think dating from around the turn of the 19th century.
-That would make sense.
-That would fit quite well.
We've got three little diamonds set to each shoulder.
These are nice old-cut stones again.
Diamonds are measured and valued according to their cut,
but also their clarity and their colour.
The clarity of this one for the size of the stone is actually quite good.
Often, you see little black spots or imperfections,
or even white little fissures in diamonds, which bring the value down - little imperfections.
This one is fairly clean, but the colour is slightly yellow.
That's actually very common with a stone of this sort of size.
Although it still looks quite sparkly,
if we put it against a very white sheet of paper, you'd see that colour creeping in.
So that's going to keep the value down a little bit.
-Have you had it valued before?
-It was valued when my mother-in-law died.
Then it was valued at 2,500.
-That would be a retail replacement value, yes.
-The auction value is very different from an insurance value.
I would think in today's market, because it is slightly yellowed,
-I would say £400 to £600 would be a reasonable estimate.
The auction house has a lot of private followers.
-There are lots of people, unlike you, who do like diamonds!
I know people do, and I know I'm stupid, but I don't!
I didn't say you're stupid. I just think you've got different taste, and that's what jewellery's about.
I don't think I've ever met anybody who says they don't like diamonds before.
-Thank you for bringing it along.
-That's all right. A pleasure.
-Graham, how are you?
-Very well, thank you.
-These are magnificent weapons!
-How did you come by these?
My parents bought them late '50s, early '60s.
They passed away and they passed down to me. I've had them in my dining room for five years.
A friend of mine who's a policeman said I couldn't have them because they are a weapon.
-So they've been in your family...
-And the only reason you want to sell them is cos you're frightened to have them in your house.
-So you've had these over the fireplace or in the hall?
-In the dining room.
I think they're really interesting. Let's see what we can find out.
I'm not going to profess to be a militaria expert. Let's have a look.
This is the maker's name on here, which is...Klingenthal, which is a French maker.
This one's dated 1811.
-These are cuirassiers - cavalry mounted soldiers' swords.
It's a double-fullered blade,
which is explained by these two concave dips in the blade.
It's got a spear mount.
The thing that always fascinates me with these is, you imagine...
I'm going to stand up now! Imagine you're on horseback.
You've got that there. You're on this horse.
You're jiggling around like that.
How on earth do you get that back in there without doing yourself some serious damage?
-I've often thought that.
-You've got to admire their horsemanship.
Now, that is what I think these are.
-In terms of value, do you know how much your dad paid for them?
-No. I'd think about 40, 50 quid.
-I think these are worth probably £500 to £800 the two.
And I think we ought to put a reserve on them of £400.
-Clearly a couple of hundred pounds each.
Adam, whose saleroom we're going to, I'm going to ask him before the auction
if he thinks that they're going to sell better lotted separately.
-I'll ask him to do that. They'll probably each have a £200 reserve on.
-An estimate of £250 to 300 or whatever.
-I think they'll do well. How do you feel about that?
So if they make £700, will you go and buy more antiques?
No, it's going towards a cruise that we're doing at the end of August.
So a real good family holiday trip? Just the wife and I.
-So that's, er... These are on their way, then?
I think I get the point!
John, we've got two different pieces of pewter. What's the story behind them?
-That one, I paid £1 for off a car boot, out of a box.
This one, a guy I used to work with
got wood blocks in his cellar to show me and this was in the cellar.
His wife collected brass.
I'd got some brass, so I offered to do a swap.
-You spied this, did you?
-Yes. I didn't know what it was. I knew it was Art Nouveau.
But I didn't know who it was by. She didn't want it, so we did this swap.
I don't know what your brass was like, but I think you certainly got a good deal.
-Have you found anything about it since?
-I was in the doctor's and got this clipping.
-It said it was by Archibald Knox.
-In a magazine?
-It's amazing what you find at the doctor's surgery!
-Yes. Another friend found out it was dated 1903.
-You've done your research well, haven't you?
You've found out the important things, I would say. It's a very decorative piece,
as well as being functional. You're absolutely right about Archibald Knox.
He was one of the foremost designers for Liberty's at around the turn of the century,
or the late 19th century.
We know that it was for Liberty's because it's got "Tudric" there,
which shows it was made for Liberty's.
Obviously, the lovely Art Nouveau style that you spotted,
is encapsulated in this lovely frieze.
Liberty's used, and Archibald Knox particularly,
what's known as "entrelac" motifs - very interlaced work,
which were drawn from ancient jewellery motifs, in fact.
Upside down, we've got some flaking, some pitting to the pewter.
-But for something 1903 in date, you'd expect a little bit of wear.
For some collectors who like pieces pristine, that might put a few off.
But at auction, I think you're still going to get a pretty good price.
This, however, you can see straight away, we haven't got any of the lovely entrelac motifs.
We haven't got a very strong shape at all
and what looks like copy of enamel is just a cheap bit of glass.
-Your pound was probably about right!
We'll put that to one side. What do you think it might fetch? Any ideas?
-I should think about 500.
I'm going to be cautious because of that little bit of wear and damage.
-I'm going to say 300 to 500.
I hope that you would be right, that we get the top end.
I think a £300 to £500 estimate at auction would get people interested
and is erring on the cautious side.
-Would you be happy with that?
-I think that's pretty good for a swap!
Yes! THEY LAUGH
The hills of Derbyshire were once a notorious haunt for outlaws.
In the 15th century, legend has it a character called John Poole hid in a cave not far from Buxton,
and from there he'd venture out to rob merchants and travellers on the road to market.
The caves became known as Poole's Cavern,
and they say somewhere in here is his buried treasure.
Although named after the outlaw Poole, the caves' human history goes back a lot further.
To find out more, I've come to meet custodian Alan Walker,
who's going to take me deeper into the past.
Alan, what can you tell me about how the caves were used before the 15th century?
We've had teams of archaeologists digging in the first chamber,
which has showed that, over 5,000 years ago,
cave dwellers were in the entrance, sheltering from the cold.
Cooking food, burying their dead.
Right through to the Iron Age, and then on the oncoming of the Romans -
-the cavern was possibly a shelter during the original invasions.
Probably the main use of the cavern was by the Romans and the Romano-British local people
as a shrine, a temple to worship the goddess of water.
We found this incredible amount of jewellery and pottery that was left as votive offerings.
When did the local people realise the caves had such hidden beauty?
Just look at it. It's breathtaking!
The first tourists came into the cave in the 16th century.
We know Mary Queen of Scots visited the cavern, from records.
By the 18th century, it was well regarded as one of the seven wonders of the Peak.
It was developed as a tourist attraction in 1853.
It was opened by the sixth Duke of Devonshire.
-Once the railway came to Buxton...
-They must have flocked here!
-How deep are the caves?
-It's rather peculiar.
People say "going down" a cave, but we're walking uphill!
The hill rises steeply. We're walking horizontally into the cavern.
At the end, we'll be 120 feet below the surface.
-What part of the caves are we in?
-The sculpture chamber, named after this crystal formation.
-It looks like a cauliflower!
School children think it looks like mashed potato!
Can I have a quick geology lesson about rock formation and crystals?
We're completely surrounded by limestone. It's over 300 million years old.
-The chemical name is calcium carbonate. You'll notice drips of water on our heads!
That's rain slowly filtered through the rock over many months, dissolving the limestone.
Which creates all this formation, this undulating.
That's right. The passages have been worn away by water over two million years.
What about some of the crystals growing here?
All these drips falling around us are depositing pure calcium
on the walls and the ceiling, over many, many thousands of years.
That creates the stalactites that hang down,
and the stalagmites that grow up.
-You can see little faces looking at you.
-If you're in a creative mood...
Yes, or ghostlike creatures or alien formation.
These stalagmites look like they've got poached eggs on top!
-We call it the poached egg chamber! LAUGHING:
-It is, is it?
-How's that created?
-It's iron washing through in the rainwater.
That stains the white.
These grow annually.
Do they leave growth marks, like a tree, so you can measure the age?
Just the same, yeah. Scientists have proved recently
that these formations grow incredibly fast compared with most stalagmites -
up to 1cm in a year. We didn't really understand why to begin with,
until we walked on the hill above. We found the remains of 18th-century lime-burning kilns.
-The waste dust filtering through the rock produced very rich lime.
So they have grown because of the pollution from old quarries 300 years ago.
What's the environmental impact nowadays on the caves?
The stalagmites, for instance, the annual growth rings can mark how the climate is slowly altering.
-So these are being monitored?
The cave is a laboratory as much as a tourist attraction.
Scientists visit the cave every year to study how the formations change.
-How long have you worked here?
-I've been here for 20 years!
-You must know every rock in here!
-I've almost got stalagmites growing on me!
Thank you so much for showing me around.
-I envy you. I like your office!
-It's been a pleasure.
-Thank you very much.
It was all systems go at our valuation day in Buxton, and now we're off to Knutsford
for today's auction. So here's a quick recap of all the items we're taking along.
Molly doesn't like the tick of the Edwardian clock.
Although it's been in her husband's family for a long time, she's ready to let it go.
Maureen prefers coloured stones, so hopefully her mother-in-law's diamond ring
will find a new best friend.
Philip was impressed with Graham's cavalry swords,
but they no longer have a place in his home.
And finally, although John's pewter bowl is not one of the best examples,
it does have the sought-after Liberty mark.
But before we find out how it does,
sharp-eyed auctioneer Adam Partridge takes a closer look at one of our lots.
Two French swords belonging to Graham.
One's slightly earlier - 1811. The other's around 1820, 1825.
Philip, our expert, good old Philip.
He said £500 to £800. Put them in as a pair. Let Adam sort it out.
-Hard thing to value.
-They are hard to value.
He phoned me and said, "Split them if you think they warrant splitting."
We think they do, cos the earlier one will do a bit better.
-That constitutes Napoleonic Wars because it's pre-1815.
-Absolutely. They look like a pair.
I was just going to say that. They look like a pair. So you decided to split them.
Yeah. I think they will sell better separately. The same buyer might buy both of them.
-But you might end up with a better price. That's what it's all about.
-Yes. I hope they do stay together.
Hm. Much as I like to shoot Philip's valuations down - we've got a great friendly rivalry -
I think they're going to sell well.
-He's probably got it just about right.
-OK. No surprises?
The only surprise is that Philip's got it right!
Now, for all you Art Deco lovers, we've got a Liberty's Tudric bowl.
It belongs to John, who's wearing the most amazing hat!
I think more guys should wear hats. I haven't got the courage, but when I'm older I can wear one.
-John swapped this for some old brass, basically!
We got a valuation of £300 to £500.
-It's all the rage. Especially Liberty's, Kate.
-It's a really good lump of Art Nouveau.
It's not enamelled, which is a shame.
The condition isn't top notch, but there should be someone for it.
Fingers crossed. It's just about to go under the hammer. This is it. Good luck.
398. This is a lot I like, the Art Nouveau Tudric pewter bowl.
In the style of Archibald Knox. £300 for it?
£300? 300? 200, then?
£200? 200 bid.
At 200, we have. 210.
210 on the phone. 220? Come on.
At 220. 230? 230. 240?
240. 250? 250 on the phone.
-260 now? 260.
270? 270. 280?
Come on, online. 280. 290 on the phone. 300, now?
300. 320? 320 bid.
-340. 360? 360.
380? 360. The bid's on the phone at £360.
At 360. At 360, good price here. All done?
-Yes! The gavel's gone down. We'll take that.
-That's all right.
What will you put the money towards, less a bit of commission?
I like northern artists. One of the best is a guy called Geoffrey Key.
-I'm going to put it towards one of his pictures.
-Just did it, Kate.
I'm glad John is happy, but I'm a little bit disappointed. I hoped it would make a little more.
-But you never can tell.
-That's the market for you.
-Molly, you look gorgeous. I love your outfit.
Time's up, because we're about to flog Molly's Edwardian clock.
-That clock from 1910. Were you happy with the valuation, 80 to 120?
-Yes, very. If it fetches that.
Fingers crossed. I think Philip's right on the money.
-It'll sell. Adam will do a job.
-Adam will do us proud!
-He really will.
-There are quite a few clocks here.
-OK, so, this is it. Here we go.
This is the moment we've been waiting for. Will the bidders of Knutsford love this? We'll find out.
Here we are, Molly.
Lot 18 is the French mahogany-cased mantel clock.
Pretty clock with the cherub mount. What do we say? £1,000?
He's pulling your leg!
60. Five. 70. Five. 80. 85.
90 now? 90. Five? 100? 110? 120?
Any more now? 110? 120. 130?
140? 150? 160? 150, fourth row. Any more?
All done at 150?
Selling this one away at 150...
-Yes! 150! Well done, Philip!
-That's good, isn't it?
It's time to add a bit of sparkle to the sale! I'm joined by Maureen,
-who's going to put a big smile on my face. You look absolutely lovely.
-I love your ring. The diamond ring is so pretty.
-I know it is.
We've got a valuation of £400 to £600 on this.
I had a chat to the auctioneer earlier on.
He said he doesn't know a lot about diamonds.
Adam owned up, put his hands up.
But he has somebody that works for the firm who said it should do the lower end.
-Fingers crossed we're going to sell it!
-Good. I hope so.
-It's going under the hammer now.
A single stone diamond ring, old-cut stone, diamond shoulders.
£400 for this? 400? 300?
300 is bid.
At £300. 20s now. Who's going on 320?
380? All done 380? Front row.
£380. Any more now at £380?
-Are you all done? I'm selling at £380.
-He's going to sell.
Yes! Hammer's gone down. Used a little bit of discretion there.
£380. You're pleased with that, aren't you?
I'm pleased. Could buy me another coloured ring!
Once the antiques leave the valuation day, they arrive to the cut and thrust of the sale.
I'm joined by Graham and Philip.
-We've got two swords. We won't be crossing them.
-No, no, no.
Adam has decided to sell them separately, which Philip suggested.
He's done his homework.
I'll be proved wrong, but I don't think they'll sell in the room.
I think they'll be sold to an internet or a telephone bidder - real specialist collector areas.
It's not the kind of item you want to walk down the high street with on the way to the car!
-Without being arrested!
-The first one up is the sword dated 1811. Napoleonic era.
Adam thinks this one will do quite well. Hopefully, £400 by itself.
-We have got a reserve of £200 on each.
-They're not going to go for nothing.
-Why have you decided to sell them now?
They've been in the family 50 years. They're out of place on the decor that we've got.
They're not on the walls at the moment, so they're gathering dust.
The wife's complaining about dusting them off, so we thought we'd get rid of them!
Now it's time to flog them. Let's do it. Here we go.
On to the militaria now.
A good selection of militaria, starting with lot 230.
A 19th-century French heavy cavalry sword engraved for 1825. Lot 230.
What a super sword. I'm starting at £200 bid.
Take ten. At £200. Where's the ten? At 200.
200 bid. 210. 220. 230? 240.
240 bid? Any more now? 240. At 240.
Are you finished, then, at £240?
All done on this one at 240?
£240. That's the later one. He's put them round a different way.
Now it's the Napoleonic one. 1811.
1811, this one. Lot 231. Very similar, an earlier date.
Also a French cavalry sword. I'm bid 220. 220.
230. 240. 250? 260.
270? 280. 290? 300. And 20?
300 bid. Any more on this one?
Are you all done at £300? Selling now.
Yes? 360. In the room now at £360 this one.
At 360. All done now at 360?
-That is a great result.
-That is marvellous.
Philip, you were right. 500 to 800, if you put the two together.
You were there.
-Went to someone in the room, the last one.
-That lady. Her husband could be in for trouble tonight!
That's why you got rid of them!
As you can see, the auction's still going on, but it's definitely all over for our owners.
It's been a hectic day. We've had mixed results and a few surprises. We've thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
I hope you've enjoyed watching the show. Join me next time when we put many more theories to the test!
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