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We're in the heart of England for today's Flog It.
We're at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull.
The West Midlands has been the home of British motor manufacturing throughout the 20th century,
although sadly the glory days have now passed.
This museum stands as a tribute
to that once-great industry, which dominated the world
for many decades.
These wonderful, gleaming bikes are a fitting tribute
to the sheer brilliance of the British engineering achievement.
Hello there. What have we got in there?
Today, our experts are the brilliant Will Axon and James Lewis.
It's now 9.30.
Let's get the doors open, get everybody inside and kick-start the show.
And it looks like Will has already spotted something interesting.
This is wonderful. Tell me more about it.
When I saw it in the queue, I thought perhaps you'd come on your motorbike and left your helmet in the bag
or perhaps a part-time astronaut.
Cos this is a great piece of post-war design. How did you come by it?
It's actually my sister's. She and her husband got married in 1968.
So I assume they bought it shortly after they were married.
I think it dates from towards the early '70s, that sort of period.
-And does she use it?
-Has she used it or is it?
-They used to use it.
They don't use it now. Haven't for a long time.
No. Well, I think it's great.
It's actually... Obviously, we've got the name of the maker on it, JVC, a Japanese firm
who in the sort of '70s, early '70s, they were taking their sort of design influence, shall we say,
from the space race. You know, everyone was trying to, you know, going up to the moon,
conquering, putting satellites out in orbit and so on.
Which is where this TV gets its nickname. It's known as the Sputnik.
-Yeah, the Sputnik, after the Russian satellites that were blasted into orbit.
You've also got the original instruction leaflet here.
-So if I just open up these instructions, they're wonderful in their own right.
And it's even got these rather handy illustrations here, which are a sort of self-diagnosis of the problem.
Figure five looks like it's in a bit of trouble. If it goes like that, it's ready for the bin.
Let's look at it value-wise. I just noticed here...
You see these two little chains that are popping out the top?
They would have been a chain loop. Because the alternative for this...
You could have it on the stand as it is here, which is again a multi-swivel stand.
Or you could hang it from the ceiling from a chain, which would look great.
Imagine this orange, ball telly just hanging down.
-So like I say, bearing the condition, I would say a sensible estimate of £200-£300.
Yes. Is that more than you thought it would be worth?
-I thought about £50.
Really? No, that would be a good buy at £50.
In the right shop, you could see it retailed at sort of 500 plus.
So at auction, you should be looking at £200-£300 certainly.
-So if we say 200-300.
Put a reserve on it at £200, bidder discretion.
OK. My sister actually said she didn't worry about the reserve.
No reserve. Excellent. So £200-£300, no reserve and hopefully we'll do very well for you on the day.
Albert, when I first saw this, I saw it from behind and I thought it was a little desk watch.
Then I thought it was a picture frame.
And then I thought it was a desk weight.
And the thing is, they're all three in combination.
So it's a really neat, little thing for somebody's desk.
Now tell me, it's obviously Continental.
It's got a German or Austrian scene on the front there.
Looks like somewhere... Rhine Valley, I should think.
And if we turn it over, it's inscribed in Swiss at the back.
So it's a Swiss-made thing probably for the German market.
It's a little picture, painted on ivory,
and the clock tower actually has a working little timepiece in there.
On a solid marble plinth.
-Now is that something you picked up on your travels?
It belongs to the wife's mother.
So tell me, how does it come to be in your house?
Well, it was off the mother, but apparently the story was
it was brought back from Germany just after the Second World War.
-OK, as a tourist souvenir?
-As far as I know, yeah.
I mean, it's a neat little thing, but obviously you don't use it.
-No, no, no.
-I reckon that's going to go to somebody just as a little bit of fun.
Um, so therefore, it's not a lot of money.
It's not going to be worth a fortune.
Um, having said that, it's nice quality.
It's gilt brass. It's solid marble.
It's watercolour on ivory.
Nice little Swiss watch movement in the back.
What shall we say? £40-£60.
-You happy with that?
-Fantastic. Let's see how it does.
-OK. Thank you.
Kathleen, thank you for bringing this in.
Is this your concertina?
No, it was my husband's.
-It's what's affectionately known as a squeeze box.
-So it was your late husband's?
How long had he had it, do you know?
He must have had it 50 years.
-And did he ever learn to play?
Well, let's have a look at it.
The first thing to check is the maker's name.
Lachenal. London maker. It's a quality instrument.
These date from round about 1820. Popular throughout the Continent.
Mainly in France. The first thing to look for are the bellows action.
Now if I open this right out, the fabric does tend to split open
and that's why you see lots of them taped up.
But looking at all these cards, the linen over them is in perfect condition.
-So that's a good start, isn't it?
-It really is.
The important thing to look for are these little bone buttons.
There's 15 of them.
And we've sold them on the show before with 23 or 24 buttons and they've reached £300-£400.
I personally think this one, even though it is fantastic quality, it's probably worth £200-£300.
-Right. I've been offered a lot more than that.
What were you offered?
Many years ago he was offered 800.
£800! How long ago was that?
Oh, about four years ago.
From someone who sells...
I hope it is worth that.
-If you want, you can put that into auction with a fixed reserve of £700.
And it doesn't sell for £700, you can take it home and sell it
-to the person that offered you that sort of money. Shall we do that?
-Yes. It's doing no good at home.
-All we can do is give it a go.
All right. Let's go right through to the auction with this
and please prove me wrong!
John, I have to say, when I saw you in the queue earlier today and I saw one of these volumes,
my immediate thought was, "Oh, no, you've only got one."
But you had all three. But you had to go all they way back to get them, all the way home.
Yes, that's right, yes.
So whenever we're looking at a leather-bound book of this size,
the size alone tells us it's a pretty important book.
They're either important books or company ledgers that you find in this size.
So let's open up and have a look.
And as soon as you turn to the frontispiece,
one of the most important names ever in botany - William Curtis.
This edition. Except we've got Roman numerals here,
Absolutely fantastic. First edition.
-That's right, yeah.
-So you've got one of the most important botanists,
the first-ever edition, all three volumes.
And you've got other works linked in.
Tell me, how do you come to have these?
Well, they've been passed down through the family.
He is, in fact, my great-great-great-great grandfather.
-William Curtis is?
-William Curtis, yeah.
-My father was really proud of his ancestry
and, of course, I've known about this all my life.
But I don't know what I'm supposed to do with it now that it's in my custody.
It's probably been in your family since the day it was published.
This could even have been HIS copy.
-That's right, yeah. That's what we think.
-Oh! I mean, what a provenance.
Look at these.
It's interesting, if you look back in history,
he was said to have a microscopic eye and didn't even use lenses to look at the plants that he was sketching.
And each one of these plates would have been hand-coloured at the time the books were made.
So these aren't later coloured. These were done at the time. Look at that.
That thistle is just marvellous. OK, it's a very good book.
Now of course, for any botanist this was the...
the fun thing to produce.
But the bread and butter was this, his botanical magazine
that was produced literally every couple of weeks.
Here we have Curtis's Botanical Magazine or Flower-Garden Displayed.
And these are dated, here we go MDC... 1822. So look at those again.
Lots of coloured plates.
-Yeah, beautiful illustrations.
OK. We need to come up with some ideas of value for you.
They have made as much as £6,000 in mint condition.
I reckon we should put an estimate of 2,500-3,500 on them.
They may make more. They've got all the plates there, so that's important. Need to put a reserve on.
I would say £2,500. All right?
Now obviously you've discussed it with your family.
They've got to go somewhere.
They can't stay in my loft for ever.
These would look so wonderful back in a major library somewhere in one of the big country houses.
They are such an important set.
They're going to be well loved and well looked after and I'm sure they'll go to a great home.
Before we go to auction to sell those family heirlooms,
I'm going to take a quick journey back through history.
Welcome to the ruins of Kenilworth Castle, home to one of England's most determined romantics.
Noble families used to build castles to entertain kings and queens as they travelled around the country.
And in 1575, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, was expecting a very important guest.
And that guest was the object of all his affections.
And when she arrived, she had an entourage of 400 people.
It was none other than Queen Elizabeth I, who was very fond of travel.
In fact, it was the Queen's fourth visit to Kenilworth, and Robert, well,
he wanted to make it her most memorable.
Dudley had been pursuing the Queen for 16 years and hoped
during this visit, to finally tempt Elizabeth into marriage.
His efforts to woo her were very impressive.
He even had poetry and plays commissioned especially for her.
And the prose often contained thinly veiled pronouncements of love.
"The lake, the lodge, the Lord are yours to command."
The most lavish expense was the construction of grand, luxurious apartments in homage to the Queen,
to make her stay as comfortable as possible.
And to find out a bit more, I've come to talk to John Ducker of English Heritage.
-Hi, John. Thanks for talking to us.
-It's got the wow factor, hasn't it?
-It certainly has.
-You've got to use your imagination, but my word!
What expense did Dudley go in preparation for the Queen's stay?
Money was no object.
Lavish banquets, commissioning of tapestries and paintings.
All the sorts of elements of theatre to introduce these magnificent apartments to the Queen.
-But what about refined architectural detail? Obviously, fireplaces, windows.
-It was all about light.
The upper floors would have had huge windows to let light in,
so the Queen could see the tapestries and the paintings.
Dudley did lots of work throughout the castle.
Turning it from a defensive fortification really to a palace for entertainment.
It's all about theatre and show.
He's trying to impress the Queen.
-Can we go through here?
Oh, look at that.
Where we're now stood, this would have been the Queen's wardrobe area,
where the belongings that she brought with her would have been.
Then we'd have gone up in importance. These levels here would have been for entertaining.
The third level would have been the Queen's apartment,
where only the most close in the court would have been allowed.
And of course she gets lovely views as well.
She gets lovely views as well!
And right on the top floor would have been this grand ballroom.
-Lots of dancing and...
-Really, on the top floor?
-Gosh, you think you'd be exhausted getting up there before you start dancing.
From here the Queen would have been able to look out, as you've mentioned. The landscape.
And also when she was here, The Coventrymen,
-they performed a play outside, so she could lean out the window...
Live here, good Queen, live here.
You are amongst friends.
Their comfort comes when you approach and when you part, it ends.
The Queen and her courtiers stayed 19 days, making the most
of the lavish hospitality offered by Robert Dudley.
He proposed to her and after a long consultation with her advisers, Elizabeth turned him down.
Dudley was devastated.
However, this isn't as heartless as it sounds.
Elizabeth was reported to be deeply upset when she'd heard
that Robert Dudley had married Lettice Knollys three years later.
And she was quoted as saying...
"I love him and will love and regard him all my life long."
And it appears that she did.
After the death of Elizabeth in 1603, 28 years later,
a letter was found in a wooden box she kept by her bed.
It was a love letter from Robert Dudley.
Back at the valuation day,
let's look at what we'll be selling at the auction.
I loved this '60s Sputnik telly.
I can really see it taking off for June at auction.
Kathleen is so optimistic about her concertina, she's upped the reserve from 700 to £800.
These beautifully illustrated botany books will do well providing the right people know about them.
I personally think we've found some real gems here.
And finally, Brian's charming '40s clock will wind up with a well timed profit at auction.
We'll just need the bidders to be in the mood.
We're at Bigwood's Auction House in Stratford with Christopher Ironmonger on the rostrum.
I want to find out what he thinks about the botanical books.
Owner John is so confident he's upped the reserve to £3,500.
Remember these? Well, you remember John as well, the owner. They've been in his family
for a long time.
-Now let me get this right, great-great-great-grandfather.
I don't know why he's flogging them, but obviously he needs the money.
And we've got a valuation of £2,500-£3,000 on them.
I know he's put the reserve up now.
-He's upped it to £3,500.
So maybe they're going to stay in the family.
Well, I'm optimistic. We've certainly had good interest so far.
-I think we've got a couple of telephone bids booked.
-That's a good sign.
-We'll be working hard at it.
Whatever you do, don't go away.
Watch this space, because Chris is going to get on the rostrum and weave some magic right now.
Well, Kathleen and I want to make sweet music.
We want to end in a crescendo with this lovely, little concertina.
It's got a value of £800-£1,200.
I had a chat to the auctioneer earlier.
He said, "I thought it was a little bit punchy to start with, Paul, but
"we've got a couple of telephone bids booked." So that's a good sign.
It's a gorgeous instrument.
It's quality as well. This is it. It's going under the hammer now.
It's been a long wait, hasn't it?
442. 19th-century, Lachenal and Co, patent concertina.
I can start with bids on the book at 800. On the book at 800.
We've sold it.
Is it 850?
850, anywhere? 850. I've got 900.
-950? Yes, sir.
-Oh, go on.
Is it 1,000? I've got 960 here. 980.
Go 980? Yes, sir.
980. It's with you and I'm out now.
980, with you. £980.
That's very good, isn't it?
On the telephone at 980. Is it 1,000?
The bid's on that telephone at £980.
And we're selling. Yes!
Well done, you. £980.
You knew its value.
Gosh! What are you going to do with that money?
New fencing in the garden.
New fence in the garden!
Ah, thank you so much for coming in.
I thoroughly enjoyed that.
-It's been a long wait for that one, hasn't it?
We did it! We did the business!
Right now, time is up for Albert's desk weight.
It's got a little clock in and it's an image of the Rhine.
And we've got what? £30, £40, hopefully £60 on this.
-Let's get James' top end of the estimate.
-It's not a lot, is it?
No, but it was the mother-in-law's, wasn't it?
-Did you get her permission to sell it?
He's laughing his head off.
-The wife's permission.
-The wife's permission. That's more like it.
Why do you want to flog it? Has it been on a desk?
No, it's just been in the cupboard.
-Sick of it now?
-Want to flog it?
We'll do our best. Fingers crossed.
This is it. Good luck.
The 1930s desk paperweight.
Rhine Valley. Eight-day mechanism.
A little clock there in it.
Rather nice. Blue John moulded plinth as well.
£20, start me. £20, I've got.
Five. £30, sir? £30. Five, is it? At 30, at the back.
Five. 40. Five. 45...
-This is good.
-..50. Five. 60.
60 and five. 70, at the back.
70 and five, sir. 75. And 80.
At 80 and five. 85. And 90...
-They love it!
-95. 100. 100.
Go 110. 110. 120...
-Gosh, I'm pleased you brought this along now. Bet you are too.
140. 150. 145, all right. 150.
155. 150, right at the back. At 150.
It's going to be sold. You all done?
£150. He said Blue John.
Maybe that's what put the price up.
Well, there we go.
-You've got to be impressed with that, haven't you?
I said earlier I won't ask you what you'll spend the money on if it sells for 30 quid
because there's a lotting fee of £7.
By the time you take the commission away, you don't go home with much.
-But you're going to go home with quite a bit now.
-Yes. Well pleased.
What are you going to do with that, £140-odd?
Probably buy a bit of jewellery.
A bit of jewellery. Lovely.
-What a good day out.
-Is she here?
-No, no, no.
-Where I should be.
-You should be, yeah.
Do not adjust your TV sets, especially this one.
It belongs to June. It's the Sputnik. It's the JVC.
And I think this is iconic. This has got the look.
In bright orange, £200-£300 put on by Will, our expert.
Why are you flogging this? This is a design icon.
You should keep hold of this one.
-It's not mine, it's my sister's.
-Oh, is it?
-That's why she's flogging it.
-And they're moving and they don't want to use it...
-They don't use it anyway, but...
-Cos it works still?
-Yes, it does.
-Well, let's hope we get the top end.
Let's hope we get that £300. I know there's no reserve, is there?
No. It's here to go, isn't it? Again, living on the edge. We like this.
Once you've decided to sell something, usually when you go to auction,
things are making their best price on their first outing.
Once you don't sell something and then re-offer it in another sale, people, they've seen it.
They know it does the rounds.
-Exactly. So really let it go first time out.
-It'll be interesting to see.
Yeah. We're going to find out right now, because this it, it's going under the hammer.
Lot 300 is the JVC VideoSphere, black and white, manual television.
There we are. I can open the bidding at 100.
Here on the book at £100.
-Is it 120?
At £100, I'm going to sell it. 120.
140? 120, at the back. And I'm out.
I'll take 130 if it helps anybody. 120, it seems reasonable to me.
But it's going to be sold.
Are you done? Are you sure?
-Hammer's gone done. £120.
No retro collectors here today.
-It got the lower end.
-It's worth 200 quid.
-You think so?
-But the sale, it's tricky.
-You know, um...
-We got it away, that's the main thing.
-You decided to sell it, we sold it.
-With no reserve. Bit of a risk.
Yeah, there is a risk and bearing in mind the salesroom
and the people who are here, that's a good price, all bearing in mind.
-Thank you very much.
I've been waiting for this moment for the last six weeks since I saw at the valuation day
John's botanical volumes. Three of them, absolutely stunning.
They've been in the family a long time. Great-great-great- grandfather.
This is a very exciting and a very sad moment, John.
-You must have butterflies right now.
But first it's time to flog John's three botanical magazines.
We've got a valuation of £150-£250 on these, put on by James Lewis, our expert.
418. Now we're on to the Curtis's Botanical Magazine.
Quite a bit of interest in it.
Who's going to start me for this lot? Three volumes here and another.
Ought to be a couple of hundred, I should think. Start me at 150.
100. 100, I see. 100. 120.
140. Is it 160? At £140. 160. 160?
160. On that phone at 160. 180?
180. 200? 220, sir? 220.
240? 240. 260. 280? 300.
340. And 60? 360.
380. 380. 400.
420. 420. 440. 440. 460?
He's got the butterflies. This is your family heritage.
It's sad and exciting, I bet. Yeah?
-..550, 600. 650.
This is good.
600, down there on the floor.
600. 50 on the other phone? Yes, 650. 700. He says, "No."
650 on that phone. At 650, and it will be sold, make no mistake.
Any advance on 650?
It's with that phone at 650.
700, sir? 650.
Yes! That's a great result. £650.
-One more lot to go.
-Yeah, that's right.
The three big volumes. I just hope that we get well over 3,500.
And I'm pleased you've raised the reserve.
I don't know if you know this, James.
Originally, you said, "Yes, £2,500-£3,500."
-We had a reserve at 2,500.
-Raised it to 3,500?
-We've raised it to 3,500.
I think you've done exactly the right thing.
Because there are no other books in the sale.
It's right to protect them with that.
And if they'd have been mine, come to the sale, only lot of books, I'd have done what you've done. Good move.
Nice lot we're coming to now.
Really rather special, ladies and gentlemen.
We've got three volumes, the three volumes of it.
I'm sure you've all had a good look. What am I going to ask you to bid?
3,000, surely. 2,500.
2,500, I'm bid. At 2,500. 2,5.
3,4. 3,4. Is it 3,6? 3,6.
-3,6, I've got over there. Yes, sir, 3,8. 3,8. 4, sir? 4,000.
-4,2. 4,4. 4,6. 4,8.
-Now we're climbing.
This is more like it.
-4,8. 5,000. 5,2?
-Go to 5,2? Yes.
-5,2. 5,4. 5,6.
-Yeah, 6,000. 6,2.
-Go to 6,400?
-6,4. 6,6. 6,8? 7,000. 7,2...
-Worth every penny.
-7,2. 7,4. 7,6.
-Go to 7,6?
-7,400. Below the stairs here at 7,4.
7,6, anywhere else?
At 7,400, you're out? At 7,400.
Hammer's gone done. £7,400.
-Worth every single penny.
John, I'm so pleased you put the reserve up and you protected them.
-You did the right thing.
-And credit to the auction room, cos they marketed them well.
They got on the phone to the right people. Two telephone bids.
They've done a really good job here and you've done really well.
What are you going to put £7,400 towards, less the commission, of course?
What are you going to do with that? That's a lot of money!
-Unfortunately, it's not all mine.
-It's all spent.
No, it was given down through the family and I've got five brothers, well, four brothers and a sister.
-So it will be shared?
-It needs to shared.
But I can see a good holiday in there.
There's a big grin on John's face.
I hope you've got big grins on your face watching at home.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here at Stratford upon Avon.
So until the next time, it's cheerio.
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