Experts Anita Manning and Nigel Smith are in Rochdale to value antique items brought in by the public, whilst presenter Paul Martin pays homage to Gracie Fields.
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If you're old enough to remember The Biggest Aspidistra In The World,
then you'll be familiar with one of the greatest names in entertainment
in the 1930s and '40s. Yes, Dame Gracie Fields was born right here in Rochdale in 1898.
Today we're bringing you our own entertainment with Flog It!
Rochdale has a rich industrial past and now has a bustling town centre.
Our Gracie wasn't the only famous name to hail from here.
Mike Harding, Lisa Stansfield and Anna Friel are among many stars of stage and screen from the town.
This magnificent town hall is our venue today.
We've got the all-dancing Anita Manning and Nigel Smith to dazzle you with their valuations
of all the antiques for auction. Let's hope there's a big queue!
There's going to be plenty to choose from - hundreds of people and hundreds of antiques.
It looks like Anita has already spotted something.
When I was a wee girl,
I used to go to the cinema on a Saturday morning.
-Lady and the Tramp was one of my favourite movies.
-It was mine.
Well, what we have here are three little Wade animals.
We have Lady, we have the Tramp and we have good old Trusty.
-Tell me, where did you get them?
-A friend of mine bought them. She died of cancer, unfortunately.
She bought me one every so often because she knew I liked them.
-So when did she buy them?
-It must have been the early '60s.
-'62, '63, I should imagine. It was a long time ago.
-I loved that.
I remember Peggy Lee singing! She was the voiceover for Lady.
-It was so wonderful.
They're not worth a huge amount of money, not a huge amount.
But I would imagine that if we put them into auction
we would get maybe
£100-£150 for them.
-For all three of them?
-Yeah. Would you be happy to sell at that?
It will be a bit of a wrench because it was from my friend,
but I think it's time they moved on.
So £100 firm reserve, estimate £100-£150.
-We'll flog them and I'll look forward to seeing you.
-Thanks for coming along.
-You've got a lovely smile. Will you be smiling when I tell you about this?
-I hope so.
-Are you confident?
Um, well, I don't like it.
It's an Art Deco sugar caster. It's Clarice Cliff.
Everybody knows about Clarice Cliff now.
We've sold a lot of it now. Still commercial, but not my taste.
-Not mine either.
-So you've decided to sell it.
Let's have a closer look. It's quite a vivid pattern. Lovely, brightly-coloured trees.
The sad thing, which I think might affect its value - in fact, I'm sure -
is, if you turn it upside down, it hasn't actually got a Clarice Cliff mark.
-Nothing. A lot of collectors will be unnerved slightly by that.
There are fakes about. This definitely isn't. It's right.
But a marked piece and an unmarked piece are two different things, so we've got to be conservative.
Anyway, it's a great thing.
-Not to my taste, not to your taste. So let's sell it.
And put the money into something you do like.
Will you promise me you'll reinvest it in an antique?
No... A work of art, yes.
A piece of modern art. Something nice.
I was thinking of something to remember my auntie by,
-who it belonged to.
-I would think a couple of hundred pounds for this.
-Do you want a reserve on it?
-Or do you just want rid of it?
-I do want to get rid of it, but...
-Let's put £100 on it.
-You're not greedy.
-Give them a chance of a bargain.
That'll draw them all in and hopefully make a bit more.
-Then buy something decent.
David, this is an excellent woolwork sampler.
Is there a family connection or did you acquire it?
The only family connection was with my wife's first husband's great aunt.
-Who we think was Jane Roberts.
The auntie was Gladys and we think Jane Roberts was her mother.
So this has been in the family a long time.
We have seen them before. We've seen a lot of silk samplers and cotton samplers. This is wool.
But the images, considering its date -
"Jane Roberts sewing work made in the year 1883."
You've got the stately home with the pond and trees. A close-up of the big house. Excellent.
The colour is there. It's quite vivid. It's not been in the sun.
The frame is right. It's walnut veneering
on a pine frame.
That is so right, so important. The mount is right as well.
I think, safely,
we could put this into auction at £300-£400.
-It's a nice-sized sampler.
-I must admit, it does seem rather bigger...
We'll put it in for sale at £300-£400. We'll protect it with a fixed reserve at £300.
-OK? Happy with that?
-Yes, thank you.
-Let's sell it.
Now then, Lily. What can you tell me about him? He's cute, isn't he?
My husband inherited it from an aunt when she died. When my husband died, I inherited it.
I love teddy bears, they're great fun.
They all have their own little characters, but this one's a little bit special.
-Yes, he is.
-Shall we show everybody?
His head comes off!
And what it is inside is a little scent phial.
-You put perfume in it.
This would date, probably, from around about the 1920s, I'd think.
-It's a little German bear.
Probably made by Schuco.
What spurred you to come along today? I know you're a Flog It fan.
Just to see if it was valuable.
Collectors buy these on two levels.
There are scent bottle collectors and teddy bear collectors.
It's a double bonus, really. And they are popular.
-We could estimate him somewhere around £60-£80.
He's nice, he's got character. He's in lovely condition.
-We could do very well with him. Are you happy to sell him?
What would you invest £100 in?
Well, I'll give my son half and I'll have half towards a holiday.
-Won't be a lot, will it?
-Let's be confident.
-Everyone will love him.
I'll put £60 reserve on him and we'll turn him into cash for you.
-We'll flog him.
Lynn, I am SO pleased!
Here we are in Rochdale, and what we have
are letters and postcards from Rochdale's finest daughter, Gracie Fields.
-Tell me, where did you get them?
-Well, my husband went to an auction about 20 years ago.
We were collecting books at the time and he bid on a box of books,
brought them home and was looking through them for first editions
and at the bottom of the box was these letters and postcards.
Were you quite excited?
We was, because we knew that Gracie lived in Rochdale,
but we just put them in the drawer and left them there.
Then when I heard that the Flog It team was coming to Rochdale,
I thought we'd bring them down just to see.
She was absolutely wonderful and renowned. She travelled in the US and all over the world.
Here we have two postcards - one with Gracie's photograph on it
and we have another one from Capri where she lived, latterly.
And this is to Phyllis Reynolds, just a typical holiday postcard.
"Many thanks. Best wishes." Et cetera.
But what really makes it for me, Lynn, is this letter here.
If we take it out...
It's from Capri and it was written in 1968.
"My dear Phyllis and your dear sister, we just returned to Capri and found your lovely gift
"of hankies!" Isn't that nice?
"Bless on you both. Thank you very, very much also for your kind letter. Birthday wishes.
"We've enjoyed a lovely holiday in Brighton and London. All my good wishes and thank you, Gracie."
-Isn't that wonderful?
-It's wonderful. I love it.
They're not worth an enormous amount of money.
I think if we put them in, say, with an estimate of £40-£60 I'm sure they will go higher,
but I think to give a reasonable estimate will encourage the bidding.
-Would you be happy to put them in at that price?
-A good turn on your couple of pound box of books!
We've had a wonderful collection of items at the valuation day
and Lynn's postcards have inspired me
to find out a little more about Rochdale's First Lady.
There's not much olde worlde charm left in Rochdale these days.
Even back in the 1930s and '40s it was a hard-working mill town,
part of Lancashire's harsh industrial landscape.
But the people are at the heart of Rochdale. They're so proud of their heritage.
If you look around, a flavour of the old days still lingers.
-# Sing as we go... #
-There was no one prouder of her Rochdale heritage
or did more to put this town on the international map than the world-famous star, Gracie Fields,
who was born here in 1898.
Our Gracie ended up a Hollywood star, and by the end of the 1930s
she was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, but she never forgot she was a Lancashire lass.
Whenever she came back, people turned up in their thousands.
# Once I had a secret love
# That lived within the heart of me... #
Gracie was born Grace Stansfield and she grew up with two sisters and a brother in Molesworth Street.
As a young child, she worked part-time in one of the mills.
She knew she'd be a big star because her mother told her.
She said, "If you don't get your act together, you'll end up in a mill for the rest of your life."
At the age of seven, Gracie won her first talent contest.
By 1931 she was in Hollywood.
Over a five-year period she made a small fortune,
but Gracie said that to her, home always meant Rochdale and its folk.
When the war broke out in 1939, Gracie's popularity dipped for the first time in her career.
She was married to her second husband, Monty Banks. He was an Italian and, therefore, the enemy.
She left Britain to be with him, touring Canada, the USA and Europe,
raising thousands of pounds and morale for the war effort.
Gracie never took her fans for granted and she always took time out to stop and chat with them
and sometimes even sing them a song.
No matter how famous she became, people loved her because she remained down to earth.
Do you look back on those days in Rochdale and think, "Without this, I wouldn't be Gracie Fields"?
I wouldn't, definitely. I wouldn't know people so well if I had a silver spoon in my mouth.
And I wouldn't understand other people's reactions to things.
I love to get on a bus today. People can't understand that.
I don't want a taxi. I love people.
I want to see them. I know how they feel and I feel the same way.
So when I sing a song, either a tragedy, a dramatic song, or a comic song,
I feel I know how to handle it.
In 1978, at the age of 80, Gracie returned to Rochdale for the last time.
As usual, people turned out in their thousands to welcome her.
It was a day for pure nostalgia as Rochdale welcomed home the original Lancashire lass
who made their town famous. Gracie was clearly delighted to be back
and she had some treats in store for everyone.
Then, at a local school, a chance for youngsters to meet the legend they were brought up with.
And then shake my box!
The following year, she went to Buckingham Palace, where she was made a dame.
# ..the hour For me to say goodbye... #
Gracie died in Italy in 1979.
A memorial service was held here in the church where she was christened.
Many famous names turned up to honour our Gracie,
the girl from Rochdale who made good and never forgot she was a Lancashire lass at heart.
We've seen some super items so far, so let's have a look at what's going off to auction.
Lynn's letters from Gracie Fields won't make a fortune, but they're a great piece of showbiz history.
Speaking of showbiz, this rather nice modern collection of Disney figures
should catch someone's eye at the auction.
And there's another famous name associated with the sugar shaker,
which I think will do rather better than Nigel's estimate.
Needlework samplers are always in big demand at auctions.
This one, handed down through David's family, should do really well.
But one thing's for sure -
there's going to be some fierce bidding before someone gets their claws into this little bear.
Before our items are sold off at the Calder Valley auction house,
I'm going to speak to our auctioneer, Ian Peace,
about that Schuco bear.
A very tiny bear. A tiny, tiny bear on this massive great big table!
He's a little Schuco bear. His head comes off.
He belongs to Lily. She inherited him from an aunt.
We've got a valuation of £60-£80.
-He's almost like a novelty key ring!
It's charming, it's small and it's a scent bottle. I think £60-£80 is on the low side.
I think it's got a chance of £120-£130, £140.
Unfortunately, the reserve has been put up by the vendor.
I do know one that went down in Sussex for £170, so we may just make it.
When I saw £60-£80, I thought exactly what you said.
It would do that any day. We've now upped the ante.
-I shall work hard.
-It's got the sweet smell of success.
Speaking of sweet success,
first up, it's the sugar shaker by Clarice Cliff.
I wish I had a fiver for every time I've said this - it wouldn't be Flog It without Clarice Cliff.
I've joined up with Liz here, who's flogging her Clarice Cliff sugar shaker.
-Let's hope we get that top end.
What is the money going to go towards, Liz?
-I don't want to make Nigel blush, but...
-Nothing fazes Nigel.
-I'm going to put it towards a Clarice Cliff tattoo.
-One on your body?!
Yes. The pattern that we're selling.
-So you're going to get a crocus?
-No, it's a cottage.
-A little cottage landscape.
-The whole thing?
-Not the whole thing.
A Clarice Cliff oval sugar shaker.
I'm going to open this at...£150.
At 160. 170. 180. 190.
200. And 10. 220.
-Fantastic! They love it.
260. 270. £270.
At £270. 280. 290.
-300. And 10.
£330-worth of tattoos! Painful!
At £340, ladies and gentlemen.
£340. The hammer's going down.
-Oh, my God!
-Clarice always does the business.
I wouldn't blame you
-if you changed your mind.
-I might buy jewellery!
She was christened Gracie Stansfield, we all know her as Gracie Fields
and we've got memorabilia brought in by Lynn.
-Your husband found this in an auction room.
We've got £40-£60 put on by our expert, Anita. We should do that!
Everybody wants a bit of Gracie!
In the right area. They're not uncommon - she was a prolific letter writer,
but I think the letter is very sweet, thanking someone for a box of hankies. Lovely.
And we're thanking you for bringing it in. It really is a special topic.
-There's lots of local interest.
A letter hand-written by Gracie Fields, together with three envelopes and two signed postcards.
Number 36 is the lot.
20? 20, thank you.
£20. 5 anywhere? At £20. And 5.
At 25. At 25. 30 do I see?
At 25. 30. And 5. At 35. 40 do I see? At £35.
-Are we all done at £35? 40, sir.
We're in the market at 40. Any further bids at 40?
-At £40, then, here in the room. All done?
-We got right on the estimate.
-40 quid. That's OK, isn't it?
-That'll do me.
-You've got to treat your husband. He found them.
-Well, I suppose so.
I've been looking forward to this. We've got a sampler, it's gorgeous. I've put £300-£400 on it.
-David brought it along. And who's with you?
-My wife, Sally.
-This is really yours.
Yes. It was my aunt's. My late aunt's.
-Sally broke her hip!
-I was line dancing and I fell!
-Line dancing?! All the cowboy stuff?
-Do you both go line dancing?
-No, I go occasionally.
-That must be really exciting.
-It was, until I landed in hospital.
-And did your hip in.
-Yes. We had to cancel our holiday.
-Where were you going?
I've told him if this sells he can take me somewhere else!
It's going under the hammer.
A large needlework sampler, 1883.
-Come on, bidders.
150, then. 150, 150. At 160. 170.
180. 190. 200.
And 10. At £210. At 220.
-220, 220. 230?
-And 250? Yeah.
It's worth much, much more!
£280 I'm bid.
A fresh bid of 290. At £290.
-300, thank you. £300. At £300.
-That's the reserve done.
Any further bids? At £300, then.
We're selling. Yes, just!
Right. Not Spain this time, though.
No. We might go to Cornwall.
-You'll enjoy it down in Cornwall.
-I'm sure we will.
-I did go to Cornwall, about 40 years ago.
It hasn't changed much! It's still beautiful!
Next up, the Lady and the Tramp. I'm surrounded by two ladies.
I have been accused of looking like a tramp recently on Flog It!
-We've got those lovely Disney figures. They're the larger version.
-They're called blow-up figures.
-Bigger, better, more expensive.
-We need more money for Poldie.
-I want a thousand for them.
You're not going to get a thousand! But hopefully the top end.
The money will go towards your art materials.
Poldie makes cards. She's made me one.
-I've got a lovely lady banging the drum. You're from Austria?
-You came over to Oldham how many years ago?
-Wow. What brought you over here?
-Work, Paul. Work.
-In the mills?
-Yes, it was. But I was 22 at the time and it was easy.
-Why did you stay? Did you meet a man?
Anita's met a few and got rid of them!
Lot 10. Three Wade Porcelain Walt Disney models. Lady and the Tramp.
Shall we say £100? 80? 50, thank you. At £50.
And 60. At 60. At 70.
-80. 90. 100.
-(Yes, they've sold.)
£100. 110. 120. 130. 140.
-They absolutely love them.
At 160 in the doorway. £160, then. Hang on - there's two cards there.
Anybody else at the back of the room?
180. Against you, sir. 190.
£190 here at the front. 190 - it's going.
-The hammer has gone down.
What a great result!
-Seriously, what's £190 going towards?
-We've all got them, haven't we?
-With a vice like that...
-A vice like making cards.
-I could do with a bigger flat.
-For all the stuff! I have boxes everywhere.
-Thank you so much for coming in.
-As a 22-year-old, you would have been in lots of trouble!
-I'd have given you a run for your money.
Next up, we've got Lily and that lovely little Schuco bear.
We had a valuation from Nigel of £60-£80.
Lily has upped the value without you knowing.
She's had a chat with Ian. You weren't happy with £60-£80.
-No, it wasn't enough.
-So you've upped it to £150.
-I did have a chat to Ian.
-We both fell in love with this little bear.
-Think it will sell?
-We think it's got a chance at 150.
He is so cute. You just want to love that little bear.
-If he doesn't sell for any more than 150, you've done all right. Protect your investment.
OK, going under the hammer now.
Lot 261. A German Schuco miniature teddy bear in gold plush.
I'll start this at £100. At £100.
120. 130. 140.
-Sold it. Yes!
-This is more like it, isn't it?
And 10. And 20. 230.
240. At £240.
At £240. Any further bids?
-Brilliant. They love it.
-I thought it was rare(!)
The hammer has gone down at £240, Lily.
-Lily, how about that?
-What are you going to do with £240?
-Well, I was going to give my son half of it.
He takes me about a lot. He said he doesn't want it.
-I bought him a little ornament.
-In the sale?
-Good for you!
-She's selling AND buying!
-You've got your finger on the pulse.
It's great to meet you. Thank you for bringing a lovely bear.
-We'll all enjoyed that moment.
-It's what Flog It is about.
-I hope you've enjoyed the show. We enjoyed making it.
It's cheerio from Nigel, Lily and myself. Take care.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2007
E-mail us at [email protected]
Rochdale provides some dazzling entertainment today as experts Anita Manning and Nigel Smith value antique items brought in by the public. Presenter Paul Martin pays homage to one of our biggest stars of stage and screen, Rochdale's own Gracie Fields.