Luton Flog It!


Luton

The team are in Luton, where experts Anita Manning and Mark Stacey value antiques and collectibles. And presenter Paul Martin visits a local milliner.


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Transcript


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Today, Flog It comes from a town that's famous for cars, hats

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and not to mention one of Britain's fastest-growing airports.

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Today, we're in Luton in Bedfordshire.

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With Luton's long history of car manufacturing,

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it's fitting that today's valuation day

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comes from the Vauxhall Recreation Centre.

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Our experts? We've got the classic, slick lines of Anita Manning,

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and the more practical, reliable Mark Stacey.

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We've got a massive queue, all laden with antiques and collectables,

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so it's now 9.30, let's get the doors open and the show on the road. Everybody, inside!

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-Hello, Pauline.

-Hello, Mark.

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You've brought a lovely selection of travelling books to show us,

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which are really interesting, but before we go into details,

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can you give me the history of them in your family?

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Well, they have just gone from loft to loft,

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and I'm having a big clear-out. It's a question of the storage. They've got to go.

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-So you've inherited them from a relative?

-Yes. My great-grandfather.

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-So they've been in the family quite a while, then?

-Oh, yes, yes!

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-And have you looked at them at all in detail yourself?

-Only rarely.

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I've never read any of them.

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-So you haven't got a big library at home?

-No. Not of these ones.

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They are fascinating, actually. You've got about 27 volumes here,

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and if we just take one of my favourite ones, Spain and Portugal, and each one is similar in a way.

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When we open it up, we'll find a little map

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-of the country in question...

-Yeah.

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..and then we have the title of the book, The Modern Traveller, popular description,

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and the various countries of the globe.

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-Each one is dated, either 1824, 1825 or 1826.

-Yes.

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And in some cases, if you look at the others, we've got four volumes of India,

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we've got Russia, all of the Far East,

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as well as a lot of countries in Europe,

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and then it gives you a whole history of the countries that you're actually researching,

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-so this is almost an early 19th-century equivalent of the internet for travellers?

-Yes, yes!

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But much more interesting, I think, and they've got these very nice leather spines here

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with tooled work on that, and then the gilt titles.

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-Have you ever thought of the value?

-I actually thought people would buy them just to cut the maps out.

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Oh, really? Well, you've got a good point there, because that happens a lot,

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but it normally happens when the books are damaged,

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-or when you haven't got as complete a set as this.

-Right.

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We've got a little bit of damage in the books, but I suspect people will buy them.

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-A specialist buyer will buy them for the content.

-Oh, right.

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I know that early travelling is quite a popular collecting subject,

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and I would say, if we were putting these in for auction,

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we ought to be looking at something like £400.

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£400?

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£400!

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-Right.

-Is that good?

-That's amazing!

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-I thought about £2 a book, or something!

-Oh, no, no. I think they're more than that.

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I suppose, because of some of the wear,

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we should maybe put the estimate at £300 to £500, and put the reserve at £300.

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I think we should set a reserve at £300.

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-I assume, by the look on your face, you're happy to sell them at that?

-Oh, I am, yes, definitely!

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Molly, John, welcome to Flog It.

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It's lovely to have you along and to have brought this lovely piece of pottery.

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Do you know what it is?

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-Charlotte Rhead.

-Charlotte Rhead, yes.

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Molly, tell me where you got it and give me a little bit of its background.

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It appeared in John's family home when we cleared the house out.

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Some of it's been in my family for many years, I don't know how many years.

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-Perhaps since the 1930s?

-Yeah.

-Could be!

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Now, Charlotte Rhead, I find her very, very interesting.

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The Rheads were a family who lived in north Staffordshire,

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and they had been associated with pottery since the 18th century.

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-Charlotte was third generation...

-Oh.

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..of this family who were associated with pottery.

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Now she was born in 1885, and by the time it came to 1930,

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when she was at her best,

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-she was one of the leading ceramicists of that period.

-Right.

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Very popular just now. Her lovely Art Deco and Art Nouveau pots are sought after.

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But if we just look at the back stamp, it's always nice to see that beautiful signature.

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Charlotte Rhead is a child who was a sickly child.

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She didn't go to school, but she spent most of her time drawing.

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She went to the Fenton School of Art to learn design and enamelling

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before starting in one of the factories.

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I like the colour, I like the blues, it's vibrant.

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To me, it's a singing blue.

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It's lovely. Well, we can put it into auction in Cambridge,

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and I would like to estimate in the region of £50 to £80,

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-and we could perhaps put a reserve of £45, just to protect it.

-Yes.

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One thing that had occurred to me, Molly, a jug usually has a handle...

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but it also has a spout.

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-True. We never thought of that.

-Never thought of that.

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-So what it is?

-The thing is, if it had been a mistake,

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-she would not have signed it.

-Oh, right.

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So her signature is there, and she has regarded that

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as a complete item,

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so maybe she has a sense of humour.

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-So it's a mystery. Shall we flog it.

-Let's go for it.

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I'll see you in Cambridge.

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-Hello, Sandra.

-Hello.

-Now you've bought a fascinating little group of items in to show us.

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-Yes, I have.

-Give us a little bit of history on them.

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My father loved collecting glass.

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He started collecting antiques in the late 1960s and he loved

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going to the local antiques fair and he fell in love with lamps...

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anything that was unusual...

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And he fell in love with these.

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He had just a love of car lamps and bicycle lamps.

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And did you inherit that love or not?

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I did, yes.

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I did. I love antiques.

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-And where do they live in your home now?

-All in boxes, I'm afraid.

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They're not really suitable for the modern home, they're really not.

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-You've got to love this type of thing, haven't you?

-Yes.

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-Specialise in...

-It's got to be your collecting bag really?

-Yes, you have.

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Well, they are fascinating and it's got us talking today

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cos we haven't had anything quite like this on the show before

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and I just want to talk about a couple of the pieces.

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This lamp ceased production in about 1922, so it was made before then,

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and it's called the Colonia, which is rather nice, and it's in good condition.

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We've got this rather nice big lens here

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and we've got the little green light on the side as well,

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and it's really quite a nice object, and then we've got this funny lamp,

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which was designed by a Frenchman called Pigeon, and we all looked at it and thought it was a Pigeon lamp.

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What would you do with a Pigeon? Of course it's not.

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It's a sort of individual travelling night-light almost,

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and you have the wick coming out there and of course,

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when you want to extinguish it,

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you put that on the top and it puts the flame out.

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We've got all this nice writing here and it's very difficult to read

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but we have just deciphered,

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"12 good hours' light for one whole penny"!

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So I suppose if you used it to walk,

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12 hours would actually last you a very long time,

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but it's actually quite nice to have that on there, isn't it?

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-Have you ever thought about the value?

-Not at all. I have no idea at all.

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I think this is quite a difficult one,

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because I don't know how big a collectors market

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there is for this type of thing, but I think they are quite fun,

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and there must be people out there who would like to maybe start a collection

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who haven't got this particular model.

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I would have thought

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hopefully around the £100 mark for a little group like that,

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so if we put the estimate at sort of £80 to £120 -

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it's a typical auctioneer's cliche, really, £80 to £120 -

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but I think it works in this case.

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-Would you be happy with that?

-I would.

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And who knows? They might light up the saleroom!

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Well, it's great to see some youngsters on the show.

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-What are your names?

-Callum.

-And?

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-Jasper.

-Jasper. Are you brothers?

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-No.

-Just friends? And how old are you both?

-Nine.

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-Eight.

-And eight. So whose is this little Welsh dresser?

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-Mine.

-And did Mummy give it to you?

-No.

-Granny?

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-Yeah.

-How did Granny come by this?

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-Her dad made it.

-Her dad made it?

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So your great-grandfather made this?

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-Yes.

-Was he a carpenter?

-Yes.

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Your grandpops was very, very clever.

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This is an apprentice piece, really.

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It's a scaled-down little dresser and it's beautiful.

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It's made in pitch pine. Are you hoping to sell this?

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Are you really? Well, this has been in the family a long time,

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four generations, it's part of his heritage.

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I think he should keep it, don't you?

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Well, it could sell for some money.

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What do you think it's worth?

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-£100?

-£50?

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D'you know what I think? I think I'm gonna go for the middle...

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I'm gonna go for £75.

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I think it's worth £75 to £100 if we put it into auction, but I think you should hang onto it.

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One day, you'll be really proud to own this.

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When you grow up a bit, when you get to my age, you'll want something that Great-Grandad made.

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And £75 is not a lot of money, but it's a lot of money to you guys, isn't it?

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That's a hell of a lot of money, but, hang onto it!

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It's your heritage. Look after it!

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Yeah, look after it. Promise?

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-Promise!

-OK.

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Sandra... I really became quite excited

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when I saw these two wonderful tiles.

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Tell me, where did you get them?

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Well, as a young child, I lived in Dunoon where there was a large villa

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behind my house and in those days,

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children were allowed to run free so we used to go up

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and forage about in it, and we just picked them up off the floor.

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-They've come from a burnt-down house?

-Yes.

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-And lived with you ever since?

-They have.

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-They've travelled from Dunoon in Scotland to Luton?

-They have!

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-You must have liked them!

-Oh, they're beautiful!

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They are! They are indeed!

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Well, they're very interesting, as well as being beautiful.

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These are De Morgan tiles, and they were made by De Morgan

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who was a follower of the Arts and Crafts movement

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and a great friend of William Morris.

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In fact William Morris sold De Morgan's tiles in his retail outlet.

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I would date these tiles from about 1890 to late 1900s.

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De Morgan was famous for these high lustre tiles, and people loved them.

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They were made in fireplaces or for decorative purposes.

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If we look on the back, we can see the back stamp,

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which is an embossed back stamp and we have

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W De Morgan and Sand's End Pottery.

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William De Morgan often bought blanks from the Poole Pottery and decorated them himself.

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Now I love these wonderful stylised flowers,

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and they're in this almost Art Nouveau background of foliage.

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The condition isn't wonderful.

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We have some damage here and here

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and someone has tried to do a wee bet of restoration.

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-Was that yourself?

-No. It might have been my mother!

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-It might have been your mum? Un-huh! And we have some damage here, and this is quite a big chip.

-Yes.

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However, having said that, I still think that they should achieve a good price.

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I would estimate these tiles to be sold as a pair

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between £200 and £300.

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Oh! Good grief!

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-Would you like to put them into auction?

-I would.

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We'll put them in with an estimate of £200 to £300,

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and perhaps a reserve of £175 in that region

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-with a little bit of discretion.

-Lovely!

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Why do you want to sell them now?

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Unfortunately I need a new chainsaw.

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-You need a new chainsaw?

-Yes, for the garden!

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As the old saying goes, if you wanna get ahead, you've got to get a hat,

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and there were plenty in evidence in this morning's queue.

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Luton has been right at the centre of the hat-making world way back to the 17th century.

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In 1860, there were around about 60,000 men, women and children

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all working in the hat industry here,

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and they were making straw hats very much like this one.

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To make a hat, you need straw plait,

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which is then sewn into a cone shape.

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It's then stretched into the required shape on a hat block.

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The hat is completed by sewing the brim and the crown together.

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Ribbon is then added to cover up the stitching and, finally,

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the all-important trimmings are attached.

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I've come to meet Mary-Louise Lowcock, who is carrying on the tradition of hat-making in Luton.

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She designs and manufactures her own collection of hats in her own home,

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a 21st-century cottage industry.

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Mary-Louise, there is so much colour in your showroom I feel I'm walking through a rainbow, it's fantastic.

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-Oh, thank you, Paul.

-It really is. Why Luton?

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Why is Luton so popular for hat-making, and why did you have to come here?

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The beautiful straw from Italy couldn't be imported because of the Napoleonic Wars,

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and Luton and the surrounding towns and villages

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had wonderful, very fine wheat-growing fields

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that made this very delicate, lovely straw that was very fashionable.

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-Yes. The resources are right here, basically?

-Exactly.

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We're surrounded by hats. How long does it take to make a hat?

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Well, it can take anything from a whole day, about seven hours,

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-to three or four days, like this, my artist's palette.

-The palette.

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Yes, exactly, which I made to wear at Royal Ascot

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and it was inspired probably by my love of David Shilling's work in the 70s,

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who made extraordinary hats for his mother, Mrs Shilling,

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and I'm sort of following in his footsteps, and also because I love art and painting.

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-So you get most of your inspiration from books and magazines and other milliners?

-Yes, and collecting.

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I've always been a great collector.

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-What should you look for when you're buying a hat?

-When you go into a high street shop,

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you might not get as much help as you would coming to somebody like myself,

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so I think it's always a good idea to go on your own,

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don't take anybody else with you, cos you've got to be happy with it, and you must take notice of the milliner,

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and you must feel relaxed and you must smile, and you must wear of plenty of make-up.

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You need to emphasise the lips and the eyes, and that's the wonderful thing.

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The hat features on the eyes, the window of the soul!

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Who are you main clients? Who buys your hats?

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Invariably my most popular customer is the mother of the bride

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and that's a great treat for them because I can

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give them lots of attention, I help them with their whole outfit and I match their outfit exactly.

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How much do you charge?

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I know that's a stupid question, because each hat differs,

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but on average, like the hat you're wearing now?

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From £150 upwards.

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-Well, it's good value.

-It is.

-For a one-off!

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It's extremely good value!

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Talk me how you would make a hat like the one you're wearing?

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-Where do you start?

-Well, I make the base out of buckram in two pieces,

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and you sew the crown and the band on, and then it's covered in a special fabric,

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and then I decorate it, which of course is always the nice part.

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-That's the fun bit, isn't it?

-It is, it is! The indulgent part.

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What's the most challenging hat you've ever had to make?

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Well, I would say it was the hat I made for Jenny Bond.

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-Which we've got just behind you there.

-We have, indeed.

-Here it is!

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This took me three days, because it's entirely made by hand.

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I bound the wire with silk and then I had to balance it

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and hats have to be very light.

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I think it's a shame that men don't wear hats any more

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because it adds a bit of mystery, doesn't it?

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Oh, hats do a lot for everybody.

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They add a lure, a mystery, they're terribly attractive,

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and they bring out the character in somebody.

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But I would be really scared to wear one!

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Until lots of other men start wearing them...

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Oh, I see! Yes! And women I think are the same...

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They have the same idea because people do look at you,

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-but you've just got to ignore them, because you just look wonderful.

-Do your thing!

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Exactly! Exactly! I mean people don't dress to look opulent these days.

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We all look a lot more casual.

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We don't want to draw attention to ourselves, and our lifestyles have changed.

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All the ladies work now, whereas at one time they would have gone out for afternoon tea.

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Well, hats off to you, thank you so much for talking to us today.

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And I'm so pleased you're keeping the Luton hat-making tradition alive.

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Not at all. It was my pleasure.

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We were kept on our toes at the valuation day in Luton, but now we're off to auction

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with our top four items.

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And that £300 estimate for Pauline's travel books has certainly sent her reeling.

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Will this colourful piece of Charlotte Rhead pottery sell,

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even without its spout?

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We're hoping that these brass lamps have a bright future

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and I'm sure there's an Aladdin out there who'll love this lot.

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Sandra wants to spend her profit from the William De Morgan tiles on something rather unusual.

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I hope she knows what she's doing!

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For today's sale, we're at Cheffins auction house in Cambridge,

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with auctioneer Will Axon, so let's catch up and find out what he thinks about those tiles.

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Well, you've seen these before, Will.

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-You can spot these a mile off.

-De Morgan, yeah.

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Late Victorian. They belong to Sandra. The story is great.

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-Now she's selling these cos she wants to buy a chainsaw!

-A chainsaw?

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I don't know what for, but she wants a chainsaw, and Anita has put £200 to £300 on them.

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Yeah. I can see where she's coming from. There's a little bit of damage

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which will have to be considered.

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-That usually occurs when they're taken out of fireplaces, that sort of thing.

-These were salvaged.

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Were they salvaged? That's what usually happens with these.

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Subject wise, they're pretty typical. They're sort of Persian, Isnik ware.

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-They're not the kind of classic, icon-catching William De Morgans of the boats...

-The galleons...

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-..with the lovely oxy red?

-That's right.

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I mean he's well-known for his big P & O commissions

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for the ferries and also the Tsar of Russia...

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He commissioned a large piece for his private yacht.

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I was actually lucky enough recently to see the De Morgan Institute,

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and we managed to see in an un-restored condition

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a P & O commissioned piece that they had bought for £55,000

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and it's amazing to see, made of up tiles, these large pictures of galleons,

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sea serpents, so much going on. Those are the sort of pieces that command the high price.

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But back to these tiles, which aren't quite in that bracket, but still saleable.

0:21:350:21:40

You're buying the name with these.

0:21:400:21:42

-I think to £200 to £300's right.

-Spot on the money?

0:21:420:21:45

Yeah. I would hope so.

0:21:450:21:46

Pauline, these are a fantastic collection of leather-bound books.

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Late Georgian. I wouldn't be parting with them.

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They're very collectable. Did you twist Pauline's arm, Mark?

0:21:550:21:58

I didn't twist Pauline's arm!

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I'm glad she did part with them because we can make a show now,

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-but I did fall in love with them, like you would have done.

-They're a class act!

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Because they're wonderful things. They're leather bound, and I think we're safe. 300 to 400.

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The condition's very good as well. You've looked after them.

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They've been in a box in the loft, so I haven't even looked at them.

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They've got the look. The decorators will absolutely love these!

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Let's just hope they're right here and right now, because it's time to flog them. Good luck.

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There we are showing the collection of travel books here.

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Various volumes, nicely leather bound, in reasonable condition.

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-I've got a hopeful bids here...

-Yes!

-..but I'll bypass those,

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and we start already at 260, 280, 300..

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-Sold 'em.

-Yeah.

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320, 340, 360, 380, 400, 420,

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440, 460, 480, 500,

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520, 540, 560.

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You're in now by 10 at £560 in the room now. At 560.

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At 560. My bidder's out. All done then at £560?

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-Sold.

-Brilliant! How about that?

-Thank you.

0:23:090:23:14

-Well done!

-That's brilliant. Thank you.

0:23:140:23:17

Oh, ye of little faith.

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They were worth every single penny!

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What is the money going to go towards? There is a little bit of commission to pay.

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I'll give a bit to my mum, because they were in her loft before mine,

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and I want to buy my husband a Grand Prix ticket because he's been working on my kitchen.

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-Aw...

-Yes, so I'll buy him a Grand Prix ticket, cos he's been working really hard, so...

0:23:350:23:40

Well, we have some studio pottery for you right now,

0:23:450:23:48

-a bit of Charlotte Rhead. Great name.

-Mm-hm.

0:23:480:23:50

-Nice piece, £50 to £80, John, Molly, hoping for the top end?

-Well, yes!

0:23:500:23:56

We all want the top end.

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If we sell this, what's the money going towards?

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-It'll probably go towards a bottle of wine and our next holiday in New York.

-Ooh!

0:24:010:24:06

Sounds like they're jet-setters.

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We should get the top end, a bit of Charlotte Rhead?

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I estimated conservatively - £45. It's got to go higher than that.

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And 400 is the Charlotte Rhead jug there for you.

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Where do you start me on that? £50? Thank you. Straight in at £50.

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50!

0:24:240:24:26

That's the way to buy it. 60.

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70, 80, 90, 100...

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At £100. And 10 seated.

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At 110 seated, bid at 110 now. Steals it at 110.

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All done, then? I shall sell it. Hammer's up. Have you at £110.

0:24:380:24:41

Yes! You can't go wrong with 20th-century modern.

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-That's what people want now.

-Thank you.

0:24:440:24:46

A nice bit of studio pottery.

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Enjoy, won't you?

0:24:490:24:51

I'm very jealous. I'd like to be going.

0:24:510:24:53

So would I! Would you like to come with me?

0:24:530:24:56

Is that an offer?

0:24:570:25:00

On television.

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-We've got witnesses!

-He's blushing.

-You have witnesses.

0:25:020:25:05

Sandra, let's hope this next lot shines out from the rest, shall we?

0:25:080:25:13

-I hope so!

-That collection of lamps!

0:25:130:25:15

Well, we've got a valuation of £80 to £120

0:25:150:25:18

put on by our expert Mark, here.

0:25:180:25:20

And you're flogging because they don't suit your interior?

0:25:200:25:24

That's right, yes. I mean they won't fit my car, they won't fit my bike, and I need the space!

0:25:240:25:30

And lot 410 there being shown, thank you,

0:25:310:25:33

is the four Victorian lamps there for you, and I've got bids

0:25:330:25:36

here starting me where? £50, £60, £70, £80 bid here. At £80 I'm bid...

0:25:360:25:41

-We've sold them!

-At £80 I'm bid at £80 now. Against you all. £90, £100.

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At £100. You bidding? No, careful!

0:25:450:25:47

At £100 I'm bid. At £100, at £100.

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I'll sell them at £100...and 10, 120. One more if you like, no?

0:25:500:25:53

At £120 it's my bid. I'll take £130.

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Yes or no? I shall sell it then.

0:25:570:26:00

The hammer's up at £120. Sold.

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Brilliant valuation!

0:26:020:26:03

-Happy with that? Top end?

-Very happy indeed, thank you.

0:26:030:26:06

-What are you gonna spend it on?

-I'm going to treat myself

0:26:060:26:10

-to a new bigger barbecue.

-Nice!

-Yes, for entertaining.

0:26:100:26:13

-Have you got a nice garden as well?

-Yes.

0:26:130:26:16

Yeah? D'you like cooking outside? It is nice in the summer, isn't it?

0:26:160:26:19

Well, if we're gonna get another nice summer like we did last year, it'll be brilliant!

0:26:190:26:24

Why not? Barbecues are all the rage!

0:26:240:26:26

It is, and I love being on the top! The top of the estimate there.

0:26:260:26:29

-Wonderful. I'm really pleased.

-Thank you very much indeed.

0:26:290:26:32

Thank you.

0:26:320:26:34

Well, I'm in the middle of Cambridge surrounded by Scots lasses.

0:26:380:26:41

-Oh, you noticed that, Paul?

-Anita, I think I just might!

0:26:410:26:45

-Hi, Sandra, good to see you again.

-Hello!

0:26:450:26:47

We are both fans of William De Morgan and William Morris.

0:26:470:26:50

We love the tiles. We've got a valuation of £200 to £300.

0:26:500:26:53

I love this story! The money is going towards, what? Go on!

0:26:530:26:56

A chainsaw! A new chainsaw!

0:26:560:26:59

Are you handy with the chainsaw?

0:26:590:27:01

-Oh, I'm not too bad.

-Dangerous equipment!

0:27:010:27:05

But £200 will get you a decent chainsaw, anyway.

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£300 will get you a top-of-the-range one.

0:27:080:27:10

Let's see if we can get top-of-the-range right now. Good luck.

0:27:100:27:14

-Thank you very much.

-This is it.

0:27:140:27:16

And 330 now, 330 again showing, thank you, the De Morgan tiles there

0:27:160:27:21

for you. Where do we start these again?

0:27:210:27:23

Interest here on my commission bids at £150, £160, £170, £180, £190.

0:27:230:27:28

I'm bid £200 here, 220, 240, 260, 280, 300, 320, 340, 360, 380.

0:27:280:27:35

I've been left £390. £400 rounds it up, at £400...

0:27:350:27:38

Blink and you'll miss this! I tell you what, it has shot up!

0:27:380:27:41

At £400 who'll join us?

0:27:410:27:42

At £400 I'm selling them, left hand here on the telephone at £420.

0:27:420:27:46

£440. At £440, I'm bid. £460, 480.

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At £480...

0:27:490:27:51

-They love it!

-£500. And £50.

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At £550 I'm bid. No. Thank you for your help.

0:27:540:27:56

At £550, original bidder still then.

0:27:560:27:59

At £550.

0:27:590:28:01

-Yes!

-Oh, that is wonderful!

0:28:010:28:03

£550!

0:28:030:28:05

Oh, my!

0:28:050:28:07

Not only can you get the chainsaw,

0:28:070:28:09

you could get the safety goggles, the helmet, the boots, everything!

0:28:090:28:14

A new garden, possibly!

0:28:140:28:15

They were the Rolls Royce of tiles!

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Well, how about that?

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What a great day, and all the lucky bidders are queuing up and paying for their lots.

0:28:230:28:27

Our experts were right on the money today.

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I hope you've enjoyed the show.

0:28:300:28:31

Sadly that's all the time we have here from Cheffins in Cambridge, so until the next time...cheerio.

0:28:310:28:37

For further information about Flog It,

0:28:370:28:40

including how the programme was made,

0:28:400:28:43

visit the website at bbc.co.uk/lifestyle

0:28:430:28:46

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:580:29:01

E-mail [email protected]

0:29:010:29:04

The team are in Luton, where experts Anita Manning and Mark Stacey delve through the antiques and collectibles, providing their valuations. And presenter Paul Martin visits a local milliner still working in the traditional hat industry.


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