Paul Martin and the team are in elegant Georgian Cheltenham. Experts Charles Ross and James Lewis give valuations while Paul visits Snowshill Manor.
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Today we're in a Regency town famous for composers, poets and pop stars.
Welcome to "Flog It!" from Cheltenham.
And talking of pop stars, not many of you would know
that Brian Jones, the guitarist in the Rolling Stones, was born here in Cheltenham and went to school here.
Brian, with the rest of the Rolling Stones,
played an early gig in Cheltenham on the 10th of February, 1964.
And rocking their way along the queue today are our very own heart-throbs. Look at them.
I can't see them in a rock 'n' roll band, more Eurovision. It's the cheeky boys.
It's James Lewis and Charlie Ross, who are hoping to find some big hits in the queue.
-Oh, did you want me to do it?
We're in Cheltenham's elegant town hall today and the excitement is building.
And first at the table is Charlie, who's found something rather intriguing.
John, I expect you know what you've got.
-I think it's a snuffbox.
-I think it's a snuffbox too.
It's an attractive one.
-Where did it come from?
-Well, it was my grandmother's.
So my father gave it to me to bring in to see what it's worth.
Oh, I see! And then sell it regardless?
-If I tell you it's worth £2, still sell it?
Maybe a little more than that!
-Do you know what it's made from?
-I presume it's silver and ivory.
It is silver and ivory, absolutely spot on. It is, as you say, ivory.
It's interesting that colouring's going, isn't it? On the top there.
And I've opened it up, and what did you think about the inside?
-I thought it was wood.
-Yeah, I didn't realise.
I can see why you thought that. It's got a woody grain to it.
-But, you see, what's happened is it's become discoloured.
It is ivory. It's one piece of ivory, and it's ivory top to bottom.
And the reason it's gone that colour is, of course, because it's been used for snuff.
Then looking at the inside, inside it appears has been gilded at some stage.
Why would that be?
For protection of the silver and also for quality purposes, which is high quality gilding.
What sort of person would have a snuffbox like this?
Oh, quite a gentry.
This is high quality in silver. I mean, a lot of people had snuff,
but they would have just wooden snuffboxes, metal snuffboxes.
This is silver.
And in terms of its date, the hallmark is unclear.
We can tell, obviously, that it's silver.
We can tell that it's George III because we've got George III's head on there.
The date stamp is unclear.
And I've come up with two possibilities. 1790 or 1810.
So for purposes of valuation, we'll call it 1800, George III.
It's really quite a good size.
It's quite a big, big snuffbox.
They were more commonly half that size.
-Now, it's got a name on the bottom.
-I have no idea who that is.
-Tell me that's your great, great grandfather.
Sorry, no. I don't think so, anyway.
What a great shame. That's another comment,
-another social comment of the standing of the person it belonged to.
You know, if you were Joe Bloggs and you were a farm labourer,
you wouldn't have had this wonderfully engraved name on the bottom.
-It's fabulously done.
-What do you think it's worth?
I've got no idea. I have no idea.
-I'll give a wide estimate of £100-£200.
I think it's certainly worth £100.
-I'd like to see it make nearer £200.
-So we'll put it in, and I think we'll put a discretionary reserve on it of £100.
I think we need to protect it with a reserve.
This really shouldn't be sold for £50.
-And I don't suppose you've got any use for it?
-My father hasn't, and I haven't.
-Not a snuff taker?
-Not a snuff taker at all, not even a smoker.
-So, father's given it to you to bring in today.
And why does he want to sell it?
Probably to buy more whisky or wine.
-Or go and see more horseracing. I don't know.
-Oh, that's... Splendid!
Bev, Chrissie, when I first saw this earlier on today, I thought, fantastic picture.
I'm going to be able to do some research into the artist and tell you all about it later.
But do you know, I found nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I've searched internets. I've looked through books.
All the valuers here have tried to find out,
but the thing is, I just really like it.
I really do.
But we've got the information on the back here.
HH Sheard, RBA, who exhibited at the Royal Academy.
It says here,
"Exhibited and purchased from the Royal Academy in 1920."
And whenever you have that sort of provenance to a picture,
you can almost guarantee that there will be a listing somewhere,
but not for yours! So, is this a family piece?
No. It was given to my mother.
-She was the housekeeper in a big house.
And the owner was terminally ill.
And he said, my mum could pick five things from the house, and she fell in love with that painting.
She adored that painting, so that was one of the things she chose.
It's a great lot.
It's known as Pre-Raphaelite, the Pre-Raphaelite style.
And this is known in the idealised beauty, the delicacy of the hands.
There's the shroud, its mystery.
It's taking its influence from an earlier time.
The cup itself is a classic Etruscan cup,
and the surface textures, the attention that's been paid to the detail on there, is really super.
Look at the colours! You've got white, pink, blue, black...
All just in the hand. Having said all that, no details on who it is, though.
So, it's a very difficult thing to value.
I think that should make around £100, something like that, so...
auctioneer's favourite, £80-£120.
-Is that all right for you?
-Yeah, that's fine.
-We just wanted to know the history.
-I've come up and given you the history of absolutely nothing at all.
I've failed dismally!
I wish I could tell you. Have you tried to find things out about it?
Well, it was just hung up on my mum's wall, and I don't live at home, you know,
because my sister, Bev, she lived at home with my mum,
so I didn't really pay much attention to it, I must admit.
All they said to Mum was that it was worth some money. That's all she was told.
She didn't know anything else.
Well, I love it. I really do!
I've got a good feeling about this, but my friends and family always tell me
I have no taste in art at all - not a good move for an auctioneer, really.
Whenever I like a painting, it fails to sell.
But, hopefully...I haven't put the dampeners on this one.
-So, you don't like it at all?
-Do you want it back?
-So what happens if somebody offers you a fiver?
-Oh, no, no, more than a fiver.
A tenner and it's yours.
A tenner, fine. If you're happy to let it go...
Yeah, it's not sentimental at all, so, you know.
-Somebody else will probably fall in love with that.
-Fair enough. You know?
-80-120, no reserve.
Michael, this is looking a bit like D Day here.
It certainly is, yeah.
You collected these over years or...?
Yes, many years when I was a child.
-I, you know, bought a few pieces and was given a few pieces.
So you'd have bought these, how long ago? These are early '60s?
-40 years or more.
-I was buying the same thing at the same time.
Unlike you, I haven't still got mine.
-And you've even got some in boxes.
-As you now know, of course, this is the key.
If you and I had known that back in the '60s, we'd have a lot of value, wouldn't we?
How much did they all cost?
Do you remember what sort of money we were paying in those days?
A few shillings I suppose, were we?
Yes, well, it's all ranging probably up to about £1.
-£1 would have been a pretty good one, wouldn't it?
So you've got all this collection painstakingly got together over the years. Why sell them now?
Um, well, it's really just...
..my son isn't really interested in...
-Is he not?
-How old's your son?
-So if he was going to be, he would have been by now.
He's more into more passive...
Pastimes. Not a bad thing.
So they're just in a cupboard, and they'll go off to a collector who can really enjoy them.
-Well, the last time I unwrapped them was 20 years ago.
-Yes, it was.
And prior to that was 1971 when I moved house with my parents.
-I wrapped them all in a box.
Well done for not throwing them away and giving them to somebody.
Do you have a value in mind for these?
Well, I was hoping for perhaps £150, £200 as a job lot.
Yeah, I think they might make a bit more than that.
I think that's pretty accurate.
I think you've got in the four boxed ones here, I think you're off to 100 quid, really.
I would have thought £200-£300 with an estimate. I don't see why not.
I think 200-300 as an estimate.
Perhaps reserve 150 as a bottom line.
-Wouldn't want to sell for any less than that.
Otherwise you could end up selling them individually or just put them in a box for a few more years.
-They're never going to be worth any less.
-No. Well, we'll do that.
-We'll put them in.
-And history tells me that there are ALWAYS Dinky toy buyers.
-Nice to know.
Moya, Antony, one very simple word - brilliant!
Love it. One of the best pieces of silver I have ever seen on Flog It.
I really love this.
Rarely do you find such an early piece of silver.
And to find an early piece of silver that has never been touched,
in such good condition, is wonderful.
So tell me, you've had it... Well... HAVE you had it for a while?
Yes, we've had it for over 45 years, and I believe that it came from my grandfather,
-who was the Lord Mayor of Manchester, as a matter of fact.
-So we've just had it ever since then.
-Have you done any research into it?
Well, when I got it, I didn't get any information
with it, but I did look it up and looked up the hallmarks and so on.
-1737, I believe.
And George Boothby.
Is that the maker? I haven't even looked yet.
Good clear mark in the lid.
-Yes, yes, it is.
-Good maker too.
Yes. And I don't use this for beer or anything.
It's just in the display cabinet.
OK, so you thought you'd bring it along and see what it's worth.
Well, whenever we're looking at 18th century silver, the most important thing...
Well, there are several important bits of information for you to gather before you come to a value.
Authenticity, originality, condition and provenance.
And whenever we're looking at an 18th century tankard, these were often changed to mugs
by the lid being taken off, and jugs, by a spout being put on the front,
and this is known as a chair-back thumb piece
or an Onslow pattern thumb piece,
-and that would match the fashion of the day, and it would often match the chair backs of the day.
Here on the handle we have the triad mark,
and this would be, I don't know, "Ethel and Samuel Edmunson."
So the "E" at the top would be the surname,
and the "E" and the "S" divided by the star would be the first names.
That's known as a triad mark.
When we're coming to date a tankard, the late 17th century tankards started with a flat cover,
and they were quite low and quite wide,
and as the 18th century progressed, the silver tankards became slightly narrower and taller and more elegant.
-What is the reason for the pegs inside?
If you have a look in there, you'll see one, two, three, four, five, six.
Six levels divided by five pegs, and the idea was,
you would fill that with beer, you would take a swig,
and if you're doing your neighbour down, you would pass it along,
and they would have a peg as well. These were known as pegs down the inside.
Of course, if you took more than one peg, you'd taken your neighbour down a peg or two.
-Ooh, isn't that nice!
-The origin of that.
-I didn't know.
-That's something different.
It's a wonderful thing.
The reason it's a tankard and not a mug, a tankard has a cover and a mug doesn't.
And the idea for a cover was to stop anybody drugging your drink.
-So, if you can imagine in the 18th century,
instead of being worried about date raping, the worry was being press-ganged.
And all these guys came off ship on to shore. They were short of men to work onboard boats,
so what they would do, is they would drug your beer
and you would get a whack over the head, get carted onboard ship,
and you'd be off... and a seaman, whoever.
So, why, after having it for 40 years,
do you bring it along to Flog It and say it's time to go?
Well, I used to collect English antique silver,
and children don't seem to want that any more now, so there's no point in keeping it forever.
So, if the opportunity for selling it comes along, I'll sell it.
Well, I think it's going to do very well.
There are lots of collectors who would go for it.
The condition is fantastic.
It's a lovely-looking thing, and I think we ought to put an estimate of...
-..£1,500 to £2,500.
-Is that all right?
It's a fantastic object. I would absolutely love that!
Now, are you an avid collector?
Well, if the answer is yes, then stay tuned to us right now
because today we're at Snowshill Manor, the creation of one man.
He was an architect, a craftsman, poet and an avid collector, and his name...Charles Wade.
Charles' collecting fever started at the age of seven
when he was sent to live with his grandmother in Great Yarmouth.
In her drawing room was a Chinese cabinet stuffed full
of exotic objects that young Charles found endlessly fascinating.
And this is it.
The very cabinet that Charles' grandmother would open
just one day a week on a Sunday so the contents could be examined and, of course, held
because that's what it's all about, and that's what inspired the young lad to start collecting curios.
But, obviously, on a much vaster scale here at Snowshill.
He started by spending his pocket money on the odd thing.
And of course, with an ever-increasing budget, the collecting just never stopped!
House manager Jennifer Rowley is going to show me around the rest of this extraordinary collection.
-Oh, how lovely! Look at that! A collage of musical instruments.
-Yes, they're lovely, aren't they?
Beautiful. What's that one shaped like a serpent?
It is. It's called a serpent, actually, yes.
We've got some lovely Irish harps here.
'What a wonderful display!
'But there's so much to see here, we better move on...
'..to something rather unexpected!'
Oh, my gosh. Look at this!
I'm surrounded by Japanese samurai.
Where did Charles buy all of this from?
Well, the majority of items in the collection were actually bought in this country,
and this includes the samurai armour.
He found some of the suits in a plumber's shop in Cheltenham when he went to buy a washer.
Some came from Cheshire, and some were found in a dusty heap in a cellar off the Charing Cross Road.
And they were arranged to give the impression of warriors meeting
in the gloom with all their weapons and banners.
Well, I've certainly been transformed to the Orient, that's for sure!
And now for something completely different.
You can see why this area is called 100 Wheels.
Once used as a granary, it now houses Charles' enormous collection of bicycles,
and I wonder how many he tried out.
Hmm. They all look a bit uncomfortable to me!
Oh, this is a lovely little room. It's full of children's toys.
It reminds me of a nursery. Are some of them Charles'?
Yes, a lot of the toys here did belong to Mr Wade, in particular the pantechnicon here
which was used to transport furniture between the two dolls' houses,
so it was played with by Mr Wade and his sisters.
-What a lovely story!
-I like that, the Noah's Ark.
Yes, it's great, isn't it?
But unfortunately, you have to be very careful because if you knock one animal, they all go down.
-A domino effect?
-Yes, definitely. And we've got
the lovely Georgian-style doll's house over here which belonged to Mr Wade's grandmother.
The room is called "Seventh Heaven." Why is that?
Well, Mr Wade thought that Seventh Heaven was something that could only be attained before schoolmasters
and schools took away the greatest of treasures, which was imagination.
-Hence the name.
-They don't make toys like this any more.
No, they don't. They don't. A real shame, I think.
Charles Wade decided that the manor was the best place to show off
his vast collection of more than 22,000 items.
So he created a home for himself in the priest's house,
a modest cottage in the garden just a few yards away from the manor.
As you can see, it's cosy, isn't it?
Proper bachelor's pad. It's so masculine.
There's nothing feminine about this place at all or indeed the manor.
And this chair is where Charles would have sat on many an evening
by the fire, keeping warm and listening
to great classics on the wireless such as Much-Binding-In-The-Marsh.
And, as you can see, the collecting certainly spilled over from the manor house into here.
Every room was candlelit. There was no electricity in the village at the time,
and I think, to add a little bit of comfort and domesticity to the place,
this little wooden cat certainly did the trick.
But life was about to change for Charles forever.
One day, a visitor to Snowshill got lost, looking for the gardens.
One evening in 1946, a young woman lost her way,
knocked on the door of the priest's house and was invited in.
For the solitary collector, aged 63, romance had arrived!
That very same year, Charles and Mary married,
and they later moved abroad to a more sunny climate - St Kitts.
Although Charles was living overseas, he still maintained
a lively interest in the manor and, of course, its contents.
After a brief visit in 1956 to the house, by then in the hands of the National Trust,
Charles sadly, and peacefully, passed away, and he's buried right next to his mother
and his sisters here in a local churchyard.
There was an impressive turnout at our valuation day in the splendid Cheltenham Town Hall.
Let's hope the buyers are equally impressed with what we're taking with us to auction.
I wonder if they'll sniff out the quality of John's rather special George III snuffbox.
James loved Bev and Chrissie's painting.
What a pity that the artist is as much of a mystery as the woman he painted.
Out of the mothballs and into the auction room for Michael's fantastic collection of boys' toys.
I hope the damage doesn't affect the price.
And finally, Antony and Moya's wonderful tankard.
What a find, James!
We've certainly found some cracking items and we've all had time to reflect on their values.
But now it's the time to put them to the test.
For our sale today, we're in Cirencester at the Cotswold Auction Company.
Right now, we're just about to flog a complete army.
-Well, it's your army, isn't it, Michael?
-The Dinky toy army.
A massive collection that you've collected from the '60s. I think Charlie's right on the money here.
It's about right. I had all these as a child.
My mother gave them all away.
I never kept the boxes.
I was naughty, really bad. Lots of memories here.
Most definitely, yes, yeah.
Again collected as a small child and into my early teens.
Then they went into a box and they've been there ever since.
At least you had the sense to keep them in a box. I didn't.
-Good luck, both of you.
-It's going under the hammer now.
Quantity Dinky toys.
Start me at 100. At 110.
120. 130. 140. 150. 160. At 170.
180, 190, 200, 210.
220. At 220 right at the back.
At 220, any advance? At 220, then.
For the last time at 220.
-That'll do, won't it?
We won the battle there.
Something for you fine art lovers.
It's an oil painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style, and it belongs to Bev and Chrissie.
We don't have Chrissie, but we've got Bev. So where's Chrissie today?
One of her children is not very well, so she had to stay at home.
Looking after them. Oh! I hope they get well soon, OK?
And I hope we get the top end of James' estimate, don't you?
-We've got 80-120 on this.
It's a pre-Raphaelite style. It looks the part.
It does. It really looks the part.
I couldn't find ANY trace at all about the artist,
and, at the auction room here, they haven't been able to find out anything,
and I've put the feelers about for the last few weeks
and I still haven't been able to find out anything about the artist either. So...
OK. It's going under the hammer.
Ready, Bev? This is it.
Our pre-Raphaelite lady.
We'll start the bidding at 50. 5. 60. 5. 70. 5. 80. 5.
At 85 now. 90. 5. 100. 105.
At 105... All done. Going at 105.
That's a sold sound!
That's a big booming sold sound.
Good estimate. Good estimate. Spot on!
Next up, the Georgian snuffbox with the ivory top belonging to John,
who is on his way to the dentist, aren't you?
-Thank you, yes, very kind.
-Going to have a couple of crowns put in.
-I needed that!
-Well, you need the money to pay for it.
I'm looking at £100-£200 for the snuffbox. I hope we get the top end.
-It's a nice thing, and I would have thought a very collectable thing.
Well, we're going to find out right now. This is it.
414 is the Georgian silver oval snuffbox.
-Let's start the bidding at 100. At 100. At 110. 120.
That's good. We've sold it.
At 130, at 140.
140. 150? 160. 170. 180. 190...
-Oh, God, John!
-210, commission bid.
220. At 220 in the room now. 240.
At 280? 300.
Serious case of undervaluation.
At 300, then. We're all done at £300.
Wow, they loved it, £300!
The hammer has gone down.
That will make going to the dentist a little less painful.
Thank you. Yes, it will.
The annoying thing about the dentist is you've got to pay to have all of that pain done.
-That's the annoying thing about it! It really is!
-Hurts so much...
And then you've got to pay for it.
-At that price, they're going to be platinum teeth, aren't they? Diamond studded.
-Ooh, how awful!
Right. Next up, the moment I've been waiting for.
It's that wonderful silver tankard.
The pegged tankard belonging to Antony and Moya.
They've gone back home to the Philippines.
James is with us, who put the value on at £1,500 to £2,000.
-But we've got daughters...
-With us. Two beautiful daughters.
Now, this is really your family inheritance, isn't it?
We're flogging it. Anyway, it's going under the hammer right now.
Lot 426 is the interesting and lovely 18th century silver tankard
showing here. Thank you very much.
At £1,000 I have. At 1,000.
And 50. 1,100. And 50. 1,150. 1,200.
1,250 on the phone? 1,250. 1,300.
1,450. 1,500 on the phone.
At 1,500 on the phone. All done?
I'm selling on the phone, £1,500.
-Was that 15?
It's gone, £1,500 on the phone. You're happy, aren't you?
-You didn't like it.
-Yes, I'm happy.
-I think I'll be happier.
-Will Mum and Dad be happy?
Well, as you can see, the sale is still going on behind me down on the auction room floor.
It's been a hectic and very busy day.
We've had our ups and downs, but on the whole, everybody's gone home happy,
and I hope you've enjoyed the show.
So, from Cirencester until the next time, it's cheerio!
For more information about Flog It, including how the programme was made,
visit the website at bbc.co.uk/lifestyle
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Paul Martin and the team are in elegant Georgian Cheltenham. Experts Charles Ross and James Lewis value the local antiques while Paul visits nearby Snowshill Manor, where he discovers a most extraordinary collection of artefacts.