Paul Martin is on the trail of top antiques and collectibles. Experts Charlie Ross and Michael Baggott join him in Winchester, England's former capital.
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We've come to England's oldest capital for today's show. Welcome to Flog It! from Winchester.
Recently voted the best place in the UK to live, Winchester also boasts
one of the highest levels of sunshine in the country.
And throughout its rich history, some very famous people indeed have passed through.
King Alfred and William the Conqueror both lived in Winchester,
and William's Domesday Book was compiled here in 1086.
Sir Walter Raleigh was tried for treason here in the Great Hall
and Charles II planned to build a royal palace here.
And there's a strong literary heritage too.
Jane Austen died here in 1817, two years before poet
John Keats found inspiration with his walks by the river.
But Winchester is not to everybody's taste.
Horace Walpole, the author of the first gothic novel in 1755,
described the city as a "paltry small town".
But there's nothing paltry or small about today's queue or experts, Michael Baggott and Charlie Ross.
And Michael has found something rather weird and wonderful.
Liz, you have made my day today.
-Thank you, thank you for bringing these in.
But where on earth did you get these from?
They were given to a great- great-uncle of my husband's who was a bespoke tailor.
And a gentleman had a suit made and he wanted another pair of trousers
but didn't have any money to pay for them, so he gave them these instead.
-So they've cost the price of a pair of bespoke trousers.
It gets more and more bizarre as I talk to you.
I don't know what's going on.
Do you know what they are first? I suppose you do.
I presume Victoria Regina.
That's it. That's it. That's what completes the puzzle.
-We've got the VR and they appear to be grown sulphur crystals.
And I've been asking my colleagues how on earth this is done and we either think it's a plaster base
-that's been carved with the initials and the Solomonic columns at the front.
That's been dipped and dipped and dipped.
Or even a piece of string that's been corded into shape and then dipped and dipped and dipped.
-And they've been left to grow.
-But over a very long period of time.
-And I'm sure that these were made for her Golden Jubilee...
-..being yellow as they are.
-They're over a hundred years old, fantastically rare.
The cases in themselves are wonderful things because you've got
this patination of over a hundred years on the lacquer and the grime
and the touch where it's been handled there, so I mean, it's all fantastic.
Have you given any idea what they might be worth?
-I haven't a clue. Haven't a clue. My husband said, "Get 20 quid for them."
-Where's my wallet?
But I'm not accepting that now, no.
-Well, it's difficult because I think if two people want these they will pay a lot of money for them.
So it's pitching it right.
And I think we should put these into auction at £200 to £300.
And I think if they don't make £200 you should have them back cos they are that unusual and that quirky.
-I'm sure the auctioneer will never have seen anything like them before.
And as long as they're illustrated in the catalogue and on the internet
-we'll get an awful lot of fuss made over these I think.
So all I can say is thank you so much for bringing them in.
-They've made my day.
They've probably made my year on Flog It. They're the wackiest things I've ever seen.
-Thank you so much and I hope we do well at the auction for you.
-Thank you very much.
I hope it does as well. Thank you.
Clive, what is it?
Where did you get this from?
I believe it's a baby carrier and I got it from a car-boot sale.
-Really? How long ago?
-About a year ago.
-And how much did you pay for this?
-I paid £12.
Well, it's very interesting. It's intriguing in fact.
And I think you did well for £12.
-You really did. It's carved out of obviously the trunk of a tree...
..cut in half and hollowed out and it's been mounted onto this base.
That's not one piece, is it?
Yeah, you can see the join.
Sort of like a gum mastic joint which has been cleverly coloured.
-It's obviously something to do with fertility.
-You've got this chap in the middle here.
Yes, yeah, on either side, yeah.
-Either side there's two women.
-He's obviously doing all right for himself.
-They're embracing each other. You know, it's a symbol of strength as well.
And the rope around it obviously tells you it's got to be carried and worn.
But it is just a curio.
And to think that somebody could walk around with a little baby held in there is quite fun in a way.
It's been purposely aged.
It's been coloured obviously because it's been joined in two halves so it's been coloured to disguise that.
But looking at it, for me it looks more 20th century.
It looks to me as if it's sort of circa 1910, 1920 or 30.
-Oh, it's still quite early, then?
I think we put this in and we let the auctioneer do the homework. It's not a cop-out.
He'll know his local academics that collect this form of naive artwork.
-Yeah? This folk art.
It's very hard to put a book price on it.
The value is in the eye of the beholder. You see different beauties.
And if it is Maori then it should go back to New Zealand and they'll pay dearly for it.
It could be worth £200 to £300 then.
-That would be very nice.
-That's what we would love. But let's put it into auction and I'm hoping for around about £40 to £80.
-No reserve. OK.
-See how it goes.
-£12, you can gamble that, can't you?
Yes. It's not much, is it?
Well, I've got a kindred spirit here today, haven't I? Another Charlie.
-That's right, yes.
-Good. And you've brought along a clock.
How long have you had it for?
-About three years.
-Is that all?
-So how did you get it?
Well, an elderly lady left it to me.
Oh, right. Had you always said to her, "Oh, I really like your clock," hoping that she might do.
Well, it's a carriage clock which, no doubt, you know.
It would be a French movement.
-Yeah, I thought it was.
-Yeah. And what happens is that they made the French movements
in the 19th century, and earlier for carriage clocks, and then
they would've imported them into this country,
popped into cases and been retailed
in this country. Hence of course if we look at the front of it, we've got, "Howell and James...
"To The Queen," it simply says.
That would be Victoria, would it?
That would've been Queen Victoria but strangely I think this clock is slightly later than that.
I'd like to think looking at this it's perhaps nearer 1910 than 1900.
I've asked you to pop it on the programme today is it's not simply a timepiece, it's a luxury model.
-Because, what we have here...
is three functions.
Straightforward timepiece and of course carriage clock - so named because it could
go along in a carriage. It has a platform movement at the top.
But the other functions it's got, it's a repeater, which no doubt you know.
-And the repeat works.
GENTLY CHIMES THREE TIMES
Any idea why it should do that?
-Well, I suppose if you're asleep or anything, you can...
-..you can tell the time...
-In the dark. Rather than go off and light your candle...
-..within the hour.
-..you simply can tell the nearest hour.
And that's quite a sophisticated movement to do that. Not only that, seems to have an alarm as well.
That's right, yeah.
And what about value? You must have thought it had a bit of value.
Well, I think between 250, 350.
I think that's a fantastic valuation. You've been doing your homework, have you?
-There is a problem with this clock and that is the dial.
If you look at the dial... it's got a crack.
-There is just a little crack.
-All the way through.
-Now, to you it may seem only a little crack...
To somebody that wants to buy this and use it,
or indeed a dealer who wants to retail it, he's going to have to sort that out.
-And it's not just a question of touching it up.
-No, I know.
You're gonna have to re-enamel the dial, put the name back on.
A relatively expensive thing to have done.
So we've got to be a little bit tempered with our price.
Nevertheless, I think 250 to 350 is an extremely good saleroom estimate.
-It's a nice clock. We'll do well with it. Thank you for bringing it along.
let there be light.
Where did this come from?
Originally it was my nan's and then she gave it to my mum and then Mum used to it as a bedside lamp.
And then when she died, I just took it and...
-I don't use it.
-Did Mum use it with this...
-And this rather...
-..easy electrocute switch!
-Your mum was a very lucky woman.
-I wouldn't advise you plug it in now.
And in fact, things like this, when they come up for auction, they will just cut the cord off.
-Because these things can be very dangerous.
And some poor soul goes home and plugs them in and fries themselves and it's not a good look.
But I mean ostensibly it's a very pretty little lamp. It's on a marble
base and it's cast bronze, and we're helped out immensely by the fact that on the back of the chair
there's a little inscription that says Nam Greb.
And Nam Greb,
you'll be glad to hear, is the mark of the Austrian bronze founder Bergmann.
And it's Bergmann backwards.
And I think there was a very good reason that he used to sign them like this because he didn't
-want his name on things like this which people might think, "That's a big peculiar."
-Oh, really. Really?
-That's just a table lamp, there's nothing offensive about that.
-Shall we share its little secret?
One, two, three.
-Not much modesty now.
-But it has protected the original...
-The colouring. It's nice, yeah.
-..gilding that it would've had.
-I just thought it was brass.
It's very easy. Once it discolours, once that gilding's gone, you look at it and you think, "Was it brass?"
It's cast bronze, it's Austrian, which is very good quality and it's about 110 years old.
1890, 1900 in date.
It's a rare early novelty.
-Shall we cover her modesty now?
-Yeah, why not?
I think everyone at home's had enough of a shock.
But naked women are very commercial, which is a good thing.
I think we can put this into auction and say...
-£250 to £350.
-Put a reserve somewhere at 220.
-220 or even 250.
-I don't think it's going to matter, cos I think once that's off, all the bidders...
-That'll do it!
..it might be slow, we'll have to tell the auctioneer.
If it's slow, take that off and they'll all start bidding.
Thanks very much for bringing that revealing young woman in today.
-OK. Thanks a lot.
-Thanks very much, Anne.
From the modern-day business of valuations, I'm travelling back through the mists of time
to find out about one of Winchester's forefathers.
In the very heart of Winchester lies the ruins of Wolvesey Castle, the old bishop's palace.
And it's considered to be one of the finest medieval buildings in the country.
Well, I know you've got to use your imagination because it is ruins but there is beauty here.
And in the 12th century it was the centre of community
in Winchester and home to one of the richest and most powerful men in the country, Bishop Henry of Blois.
Grandson to William the Conqueror, Henry was educated at the great
monastery in Cluny in the south of France, where he became a monk.
However, such a tranquil life was not for Henry, and at the age of 29
the ambitious young man was enthroned as the Bishop of Winchester.
Following the coronation of his brother Stephen
in 1135, Henry played an active role in the politics and warfare during his brother's reign.
Civil war had broken out and the castle was under siege and it was
here that Henry was pivotal in helping his brother hold onto power.
It was known as the rout of Winchester, and battle wrought havoc upon Bishop Henry's palace.
But it's in Winchester Cathedral where Bishop Henry has left his greatest mark.
His days of rabble-rousing well behind him, he turned his sights on the more spiritual things
Bishop Henry, no longer a key player in English politics, turned to a more contemplative way of life
and he started working with Winchester's monks to produce one of the world's most beautiful bibles.
I've come to the cathedral's library to see if for myself
and to find out a bit more from the curator John Hardacre.
Gosh, John, do you know, the first thing that strikes me is looking at it, it's the condition, it's superb.
They've survived the passage of time from the 12th century.
What can you tell me about the historical context?
It was produced in the middle of the 12th century.
The Normans arrived in England in the middle of the 11th century - 1066 -
and they spent their first hundred years building huge works in stone like cathedrals and castles.
After a hundred years when all that work was more or less finished, they thought, "What can we do now?
"What can we do to beautify and embellish these buildings?"
And the answer is they started to produce beautiful works of art,
such as this bible, elaborate sculpture, wall paintings and so forth.
-What was Henry's involvement in the bible?
-Henry as you know was Bishop here for a great deal
of the 12th century and he was a great patron of the arts. And...
-Financed it, then.
-..he sponsored it.
Who were the monks?
The monks were Benedictines.
They were the monks of St Swithin's Priory in Winchester.
One scribe worked on this for about five or six years, we reckon,
and he did the entire text.
The illuminations are done by half a dozen other men
who probably aren't monks.
These are journeymen artists working throughout Europe.
Working in Sicily and in Spain.
They can work with figures that are barely an inch high,
and you can see them working with figures that are 12 feet tall.
So they're extremely versatile.
-Can you talk me through some of the materials that they've used here?
-The whole thing is on calfskin.
The ink is almost certainly... oak gall.
-It hasn't faded at all.
It's remarkably stable.
The pigments are...
earth colours, vegetable colours, mineral colours - gold of course is used extensively in the bible.
And the blue pigment, which is the prize pigment,
is lapis lazuli which is otherwise known as ultramarine.
-It's from the bottom of the sea, so to speak.
-From beyond the sea.
And the only known source of it in any decent quality in the 12th century and even now,
I suppose, is Afghanistan.
So you wait for it to come on the camel trains with the silks and the spices and it is hugely expensive.
-It's journeyed a long way.
-It's about six times more expensive than gold. Yeah. And there's loads of it.
Sadly, Henry never saw this finished.
No. Henry died in 1171 and work carried on, I guess, for about ten years afterwards.
So he set it going but he never saw it finished.
Winchester Cathedral had a succession of great medieval bishops and Henry of Blois was one of them.
He lived for about 79 years.
A very good innings for an early medieval man.
He died a monk, as symbolised by his unmarked tomb, having given away all his personal possessions.
The crowds descended on us for our valuation day in Winchester's Guildhall,
and before we head off to auction, let's take another look at all our items.
How wacky can you get?
Sulphur crystals in a black box.
I don't think I've ever had anything quite so bizarre turn up at a Flog It valuation.
A piece of naive art from a car-boot fair for £12.
It just goes to show that if you look hard enough, there are still some real gems out there.
The passage of time hasn't done much damage to Charlie's clock.
I wonder if there'll be anyone who'll love it enough to carry it away on the day?
And for the last 100 years, Anne's bronze lamp has been the centre of attention.
Let's hope the final reveal will catch the eye of an admiring buyer.
Well, here we are at Andrew Smith and Son just outside of Winchester
in a little pretty village of Itchen Stoke.
And would you believe it, it's just started to rain.
A minute ago it was sunny and it would've been a great day
for a mow but, no, it's pouring down with rain.
I'm gonna go inside and catch up with Andrew,
the man with all the local knowledge and see what he's got to say about some of our owners' items.
Andrew, this could be a bit of fun or something for the serious academics.
Michael's done the valuation. We've got a valuation of £200 to £300 for these golden sulphur crystals.
The initials VR, they belong to Liz.
And apparently they were her uncle's and he got them for part payment for a pair of trousers.
It's a bizarre story but surely you've got to have
some clients with the initial VR that might be interested.
I hope so. We haven't actually had anything quite like that before.
-Have you seen anything like it before?
-Nor have I.
But I'm hoping they're gonna be quite pleased.
-Certainly they should make more than a pair of trousers today.
-Yeah. What do you think, though? £200?
-Well, the owner has actually taken the reserve off.
I see. They're here to sell.
They're here to sell. I think between 100 and 200, to be honest.
Well, this is the moment I've been waiting for in today's show.
It's those sulphur crystals belonging to Liz, a real curio.
-Yes, they definitely are.
-We've got a valuation of £200 to £300.
And I've just heard from Liz that she doesn't even want to take them home.
And she's absolutely dropped the reserve. There's no reserve.
-You don't care what you get, do you?
-No. Doesn't want them back in the house.
-My husband said I'm not to take them home with me.
Even though Liz has looked after them for 40-odd years and they're in perfect condition.
In a way I can understand it because these things,
they're so quirky, I don't know really what they're worth.
It's just a shot in the dark. But you either love them or hate them.
These are unusual Victorian sulphur crystals.
-A number of commission bids plus a telephone.
I'm gonna start the bidding
-Is there 20 in the room? At £300 and selling, is there 20?
At £300 commission bid.
Any more? At £300, are you sure?
At £300 then.
320... 340... 360...
At £340 then, is there 60?
At £340, if you're sure.
£340 for the last time...
Oh, Liz, wonderful. £340.
Great stuff. Wonderful.
-Thank you very much.
All that fuss, as Michael said you didn't need that no reserve on there.
-I didn't. I could've saved a phone call then, couldn't I?
I can't believe I actually got the estimate right.
-Yes, you did.
-Do you know what I mean?
I picked it out of the air. It happened to be spot on. If I could do that all the time, it'd be great.
It was wonderful. Thank you very much indeed.
That's OK. What are you gonna put the money towards?
Well, I hate to say it, but my husband's got the catalogue up there.
Oh, dear. He's spent it already, has he?
-He's flagging away.
-It's my turn to the expert. I've just been joined by Clive.
And we've got that baby carrier which you think was Polynesian.
-Yes, I do, yeah.
-I wasn't quite sure.
I've looked in the catalogue and it's African.
-Clive bought this at a car-boot sale for £12, wasn't it?
Did you get influenced because you've just had a newborn baby and you thought, ooh?
I wouldn't want to put her in there.
No. I just like the piece.
It looks really eye-catching.
It stood out. I had to buy it. £12.
You can't go wrong. Well, let's hope we can turn it into the £40 that we're both hoping for.
-40 or 60. It's going under the hammer now. This is it, good luck.
It's an African carved and pierced ebony baby carrier showing just here.
We have a commission bid.
I'm gonna start the bidding at £40, is there 5 in the room?
At £40... 45...
-50 and 5... 60 and 5... 70 and 5...
-They like it.
I'm gonna take 82... 85... 90...
-Commission bid's out...
-This is good.
-is there 5?
At £90 and selling. 95...
100... And 10... 120...
130... 140... 150...
-That's very good for £12 buy.
-And 10... 220...
-Gosh, they love it.
240... 250... 260...
270... 280... 290... 300... And 20...
340... 360... 380... 400...
-Try but it's so hard to value.
-£380, right up at the top there at £380.
At £380 then.
That's good. That's very good.
Where is that sort of money going?
-What are you gonna do with that Clive?
-Well, on the kids.
-On the kids. You've got two.
-Yes, I have.
-It'll come in handy.
-Back to the car boot though to buy a few more hopefully. Keep those eyes open.
-It's all out there - you've got to get up early in the morning and make a good buy like Clive did.
-I was very lucky.
Charles, it's good to see you again.
Next up we've got that lovely carriage clock.
It travels well. Strikes on and off the hour with a value of £250 to £350, put on Charlie Ross here.
Now, where is the money going to be spent?
-Who have brought along with you?
-I've brought my daughter along.
-You're spending dad's money, aren't you?
-I am, yes.
-This is good.
-She'll help me spend the money.
Is she? Oh, right, I see. What on?
-Well, with a family day at the races.
Ooh, oh, right. OK. What are the local races for you?
-So basically the proceeds of the carriage clock is gonna be used for betting.
-I like this, Charles.
-So do I. Let's hope it makes five grand!
-But it's in working order.
-It's an alarm as well as a repeater.
-Jolly well ought to make £300.
This is a brass carriage clock, lot 525. Have a commission bid.
I'm gonna start the bidding at 250.
Is there 260 in the room? At £250...
-Straight in at 250.
At £250 then, any more?
260... 270... 280... 290... 300...
-And 20... 340.
At 320, is there 340?
At £320 then, all done.
-Yes, the hammer's gone down.
-You'll take that, won't you?
-I'll take that.
-That's good odds.
I've been waiting for this and I bet you have as well.
It's that risque Bergmann table lamp belonging to Anne.
We've got £250 to £350 on this. It's worth every penny.
That's not a "come and buy me", that's "run" - that's a "run and buy me" estimate.
That's a "come and buy me", isn't it?
When you take the cloak off, you see the true value!
Bronze and gilt lamp base.
Two commission bids here and a telephone.
I'm going to start the bidding at £500.
At £500 and selling. 520...
-I can't believe it.
600... And 20...
650... 670. Commission bid's out.
At £700 to the telephone and selling.
At £700, is there any more?
£700 then for the last time.
-Oh, you've got to be so happy with that, haven't you?
-What are you gonna do with £700, less a bit of commission of course?
-I'm going to go on holiday.
-Greece, I think. I've never been to Greece. And my big birthday's coming up in June.
-It's never too late, is it?
-Get out there and enjoy yourselves!
-Well, it's very difficult to put a price on a beautiful woman, isn't it?
-Oh, you can't, you can't.
She had the perfect figure, we got the perfect figure.
I hope you've enjoyed today's show. See us next time on Flog It for many more surprises.
So from Hampshire, 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 is on the trail of top antiques and collectibles.
Experts Charlie Ross and Michael Baggott join him in Winchester, England's former capital.
Paul visits the Cathedral to learn more about the beautiful Winchester Bible and its patron, Bishop Henry of Blois.