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It's so bracing!
Now, you might just recognise that as the classic catchphrase
for the largest seaside resort town on the Lincolnshire coast.
It's been a popular holiday destination for well over 100 years.
Where else could we be but Skegness?
Skegness is a great place.
There's so much to do here.
It's got a fabulous, award-winning beach, but if you don't want to
paddle in the sea, you can entertain yourself on the pier, walk along the
promenade or play some crazy golf.
Or just make the most of the great attractions
by enjoying all the fun of the fair.
But all of these good people, hundreds of them here, have turned
their backs on that, to queue up outside the Embassy Theatre on the
Grand Parade to be entertained in a roller-coaster ride of excitement,
ending in the auction room with our very own stars of the summer season,
experts Elizabeth Talbot and David Barby, who are going to be asking
that all-important question...
ALL: What's it worth?
Well, we're going to find out.
It could be one of our experts!
You always get postcards at a seaside resort,
and Elizabeth has cleverly found us some to start the day with.
David, lovely to see you.
I'm intrigued by this collection of albums that you've brought in.
What can you tell me about them?
Well, when my father died 30 years or more ago, my mother
asked me to dispose of some of his clothing, which was in a cupboard.
She said, take everything in that cupboard
and just get rid of it, give it to charity or something.
And at the bottom of the cupboard,
after I got the clothes out, I found the photo albums,
which I thought, oh, gosh, what fun, you know?
And I just put them away in a cupboard in my house and
there they've stayed until I saw that this programme
was coming to our local town.
I thought, oh, my photo albums!
I wonder what they'll think of them,
and apparently they've caused a bit of excitement!
-We think a lot of them. We think they're lovely.
Within the three albums, there's a very varied and eclectic mix.
We have some humorous, we have some local, we have some quite serious
and we have some very collectibles.
-So, lots and lots of strands there to talk about.
-First of all,
the albums themselves help
date the collection to Edwardian, primarily Edwardian and a little
bit after, so early 1900's through.
So, that's a lovely period of postcard production and collecting.
There are some early photographs of Skegness, including their luxury
hotel camp at Skegness, which is quite interesting.
-And the early photographs are...
-Yes, I used to work at Butlins, too.
-Oh, did you?
-Yes. When I came to Skegness 22 years ago, I came
-to become the press officer for Butlins.
-Well! Another coincidence.
So, you must have been interested to see these from your own knowledge
-of the sites and everything.
How amazing. And also, at the front we have
some more humorous, sort of early 20th-century humour from Skegness.
-But along with all these, which are nice and local and relevant
for today, I notice you have some
very significant military-related ones.
Some shipping scenes.
And lots of strong themes which will inspire collectors to get
quite excited about what you have here.
Now, have you any perception of what you have here in terms of value,
or is it just interest value do you?
-No idea. No idea.
-Well, I think that it if you look
at them as a collection of three albums
all together, realistically, I would think they should make between
£120 and £180 quite comfortably.
-But I do suggest that we place a reserve, a protective reserve,
-of £120 fixed, so that they don't sell for less.
-Yes, I wouldn't like
-them to go for less.
-So, I shall meet you there on the big day!
-Yes, thank you very much! I look forward to it.
-Thank you for bringing
such wonderful items.
Tony, this brings back a lot of happy memories for me
because we have a similar box to this at home.
Now, I suppose we ought to open it up to show people what it
actually is! But this is a lovely
Victorian musical box.
It's equivalent to a gramophone,
the radio, the DVD player of today,
because this was the entertainment of the late 19th century.
So, where did it come from?
Well, all I can tell you about it is the fact that
my grandfather, he used to work on the docks at Boston, and I don't know
whether or where he really got it from.
When he died in 1955, he was 83,
and it was just passed down to me.
And him and my grandmother used to, I presume,
used to play it, but where it came from I can't tell you, I'm sorry!
Well, I think it's lovely and when you listen to it...
Let's have a play.
Because the inside
-has a lovely mechanism, doesn't it?
PRETTY TUNE PLAYS
Because the actual hammers
have butterflies mounted on them, so you've got this movement
-of the insects going backwards and forwards.
Now, if we look at this
lithographic plate, which has printed in English the various
tunes, we can actually date it, because one is here, number seven,
Soldiers Of The Queen.
And there's another composition here,
A Runaway Girl, by Monckton.
And Monckton was a great sort of entrepreneur of the musical stage
in the late Victorian period.
-So, we can date this towards the end of the 19th century.
-About 1885, 1890, that sort of period.
It's a lovely box and the very fact that it plays is brilliant.
These sell at auction anything from about £650 up to £1,000.
I can see this going round about £700 to £800.
Now, would you be happy at that figure?
Yes. Yes, certainly.
-So, if we put a reserve of 650 on it fixed...
-You'd be happy.
Well, I'd be quite happy, yes.
OK, well, Tony, let's go ahead and hope the auctioneer can call
-I hope so as well!
-Thank you very much indeed.
Lynn, this looks great fun.
I can't wait to put the key into the litter zebra and wind him up.
He does work, doesn't he?
-Yes, he does.
-Tell me a little about his history.
Right, I bought it round about ten years ago and I actually
bought it from a car-boot sale.
-Oh, did you?
-Because I know definitely this is 1950's.
This is a classic Japanese clockwork toy, typical 1950's.
It's kind of the end of the golden period for them,
because by the '60s it was all battery-operated toys.
And that's when started seeing all the robots. This is fantastic.
-I've not seen a little clockwork zebra before.
-And I've got to say, considering you got this in a car-boot sale?
It's in immaculate condition.
It's never, ever been played with, has it?
-It doesn't look like it.
-The ears are so new they're still bent over
-from being in the box.
-The box is a little bit tatty, but,
nevertheless, it's its original box and there's a lot of value
-in the box, as you know if you watch Flog It.
-Yes, I do.
-How much did you pay for this?
I bet you thought, oh, yes! That's made my day.
-I thought it was worth £2.
-You know that was too cheap,
-don't you really, for what it was?
-So, can I have a go?
-Can I have permission?
-Yes, you can.
I'm going to break it now!
Right, OK, here goes.
I won't over-wind this. Just do it two or three times,
shall I? I'll just put him down.
That's cracking, isn't it?
And the little zebra just goes around in a circle.
-It's definitely different.
-It's brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
-What do you think it's worth?
-I don't know.
Well, you'll be chomping at the bit to put this one into auction,
-because I think we're going to get £50 to £80.
-Do you really?
I didn't think it was worth as much as that. No. You've shocked me.
Yeah, I really do. I think it's that rare and that unusual and it's in
-museum condition, apart from the box.
-That's what I like about it.
The condition of it. It doesn't look as if it's been played with.
-Don't give it away though.
-We want to sell it, don't we?
But let's put a fixed reserve of £30 just in case nobody is interested.
-Let's flog it!
-Daisy, this is a lovely echo from the past.
Both 18th and 19th century, and all
with an element of personal hygiene.
Do you collect objects of this nature, or did you just acquire
these through family inheritance?
Family inheritance, from an aunt.
And what was the appeal to you to hang on to them?
They intrigued me, these little boxes that people put
small tablets in, patches and so forth.
-And if you move, you can take them with you.
That's true. It's the expertise in construction I find so intriguing.
-Particularly with this little box here, which is ivory and it has
-a delicate inlay of gold all the way around.
So, when you open this up...
..you've got an interior where on this little velvet section,
you would put your toothpick, normally silver.
-And then this mirror, which is very much, sort of, discoloured now.
But just enough to show my teeth.
-So, I'd take the toothpick out and then just clean.
So, that fogging is actually to one's advantage?
If you've got filthy teeth, you can't see them very well!
Well, not really!
The one I find fascinating is this box here.
-Because this is a simple little oval box and this velvet lining here
could have had, sort of, personal implements,
maybe for nails or teeth or something like that.
-But what is so intriguing,
again with this one, you have this gold mount all the way round
-and it's encasing under glass a little watercolour drawing.
Of a coastal scene.
-It would have been lovely if it was Skegness, but it's not.
Because this is an estuary and on the other side of the estuary,
there is a range of hills or mountains.
-Right in the middle of the scene there's a little frigate,
which has a steam funnel,
so you're looking at the, sort of, middle of the 19th century.
About 1840, 1850, that sort of period.
This piece, I like immensely, because I love enamel boxes,
and if we open it, it's got a little mirror inside.
-So, this would be used for patches that you would take out
and put on all those spots.
And so easy just to pop in a purse.
Oh, waistcoat. Waistcoat pocket.
-Waistcoat pocket. So, this is quite nice.
And then, the absolute wonder
of your collection is this little case here
-which is called an etui.
..There's a little press catch there.
-I can open it and there you have a lady's delightful
-pair of scissors.
If she snagged her sleeve, her lace,
It would be lovely if it were silver or gold, but I don't think it is.
Very nice indeed.
Now, how much are we going to realise for these pieces?
Well, I think somewhere between £500 and £600.
-How it is to be sold, well, I'm going
to leave that to the auctioneer.
-Because he may decide to put them in as one collection,
-or to sell them individually.
But he knows his market for these.
-So, I'm going to leave it up to him to say how he wants
-to sell them.
-Now, are you agreeable to that?
-Will you be at the auction?
-So shall I!
Margaret, I think this is very, very obviously a couple of pieces
of Troika which we're now all familiar with, I think.
-But you have a story behind these two?
Yes, well, I bought these for my mother in law in sort of 1971, '72.
And she absolutely loved it.
But unfortunately she died in 1976, so they came back to me again.
So, they have been in the attic ever since.
-So, you bought them as a gift, but you don't like it.
Troika was established in 1963 by three men, hence the name Troika,
and they specialised in this rustic, as you say, very rustic
moulded body, which was purposefully made to emulate concrete.
Now everything in the '60s and '70s was concrete.
It was very fashionable, both in architecture and in other things.
-In 1970, they moved to Newlyn.
-And then in 1983, it closed.
-They didn't have a very long...
No, they didn't.
-Only 20 years, so you were buying really in their mid period.
We look at the mark on the bottom, which is where they marked them.
and with the artist's monogram on the bottom there as well.
Of the two, I quite like the lamp.
I think it's a nice usable size.
It's practical, but it's a clever design.
The vase is probably classed more of a regularly seen item.
-Yes, it is, yeah.
-I think that,
realistically, the vase would sell for around about
£40 to £60, and the lamp should be in the region of about £70 to £90.
-Yes, that's fine.
-So, combining the two separate valuations, if we put
a total estimate of £110 to £150, with a reserve of £100 on them.
-Yes, that's good.
-You'd be comfortable with that?
The great thing about Flog It is that I get the chance to go
out and about all over the British Isles
to explore weird and wonderful things which people
are passionate about and today is certainly no exception.
The place I'm going to visit is a real gem and you wouldn't
expect to find this in the heart of Lincolnshire.
The Parrot Sanctuary was set up in 2003.
It's home to almost 1,700 birds
and is the result of one man's extraordinary passion.
So, how did it all start, and what drove Steve Nicholls,
the man behind it all,
to set up this national sanctuary here, just outside Skegness?
Steve, I've met some collectors
in my time before on the show, but nothing like this!
You and your extended family!
-It is quite big now, yes.
-Where did a passion for parrots start?
-I've always been an animal oriented person.
Did you have a parrot as a kid?
We had budgies, we had cockatiels, things like that,
but then, in my early 20's, I started to become more fascinated.
And then it developed, and I quickly identified that
-we didn't have a lot of knowledge of the pet parrot.
And no matter how fabulous they are and how nice we are with them,
there was a big mismatch with parrots and people.
I wanted to further my studies, so I actually bought one parrot,
which was a cockatoo.
-That's one of those over there.
-That's right, one of the large ones.
There was a reason for what I was doing. I didn't collect them as pets.
I wanted to study them and try to help them, and help people
that kept them. And I realised that there needed to be a place like this.
So, all of these are unwanted birds that people give you?
They're unwanted, but loved.
The people genuinely do love them,
but they realise that they can't give them what they need.
They need things to do.
It's a case of they're a very social,
interactive creature, so all day, they will be playing with each other.
They will be biting, pinching food.
They will be doing things that keeps them preoccupied.
In a cage, you can only play with that plastic yellow toy so many times
before you become demented.
What state are they in when they arrive?
That's the main state that they come in. The self-mutilation.
They'll sit there, just bored, and pull a feather out.
It becomes a habit and then they'll turn up to us with no feathers on.
So, the self-mutilation is the worst,
but it is a physical deformity, there's a mental deformity.
Most of them sadly actually do suffer
from mental diseases where it's stereotypical to a human,
where they rock backwards and forwards, and don't know
-how to present themselves with other animals.
They're beautiful, aren't they? Striking colours.
Well, that's their downfall.
If they were just a plain,
dull brown, nobody would be interested in having them in.
What would one of these cost in a pet shop now?
Between £1,500 and £2,000.
-It's a lot of money, isn't it?
-It is a big commitment.
We actually get people that will buy
these on Sunday and then phone me on a Monday
and say, can they eat fruit, and what size cage do they need?
We have to say, right, let's start it from scratch.
Why have you bought one of these?
-And they saw it because it's sat here and it's fabulous
while it's in the shop. Very difficult.
We don't want to say, yes, we've got nearly 1,700 parrots here
and we should have them all and nobody else should have any.
But here are certain birds
out there that are far better suited to being with people
than others that are better off in this kind of environment.
Name me some of the breeds you've got here.
Well, we've got 101 species.
Now, if you imagine there are 334 species of parrot in the world,
that means we've got a third of them here.
-And we've got all the macaws from South America
and the Amazons from South America.
The cockatoos from Australia,
and then, we've got the Indian ringnecks from India.
We're absolutely surrounded! Shall we take a look at the rest?
-I'm absolutely fascinated by them all.
PARROTS SQUAWKING LOUDLY
These are noisy, aren't they?
-These are the real noisy ones.
-Look at this one!
-That's Peter, that!
-Now, he's got more of an Elvis Presley haircut!
-Do you see how gentle he was?
Oh, they're very dextrous with their beaks.
It's just they're also very loud.
-Wow! They're quite aggressive, aren't they?
-They can be, yes.
They're very, very aggressive.
Watch your head as you come in.
I'm surprised they aren't fluttering everywhere!
No, these are quite relaxed, steady birds, these.
This is a lovely big colony,
and they get their own nice feeling, being together.
It's really nice that they
can actually fly around and interact with each other.
-Well, just this is just their play area for them to chew...
-This is Rio!
-You know, I felt that!
I thought, what the hell was happening there?
He won't let anybody go on telly without him being there.
-Do you know the names of all of these birds?
-Only the characters.
I think you are the most eccentric collector I've ever met, Steve.
And, you know, I take my hat off to you! I really do.
You and the family. Where does it go from here?
-Well, all we can do is keep collecting, but on a good side.
Ultimately, we'll be the largest rehabilitation centre
for parrots in the world, and it'll belong to the UK,
to all the guys coming to see them, and more so,
to these lovely birds.
This fascinating place is a real testament
to Steve's passion and drive.
What an inspirational, unique individual.
Time for a quick look at what's heading off to the auction room.
It's always nice to start with something local,
like David's lovely postcard collection.
Full of social history,
Tony's Victorian music box still plays a lively tune.
This 1950's clockwork zebra
should make money for Lynn, as she only paid £2 for it.
David had a happy discovery
with the exquisite boxes. Will the auctioneer will sell as one lot
or split them up? Good luck to Daisy!
Margaret is not keen on Troika, but plenty of people are, so I don't
think this vase and the lamp base will be going back into the attic.
For today's sale, we've left the Lincolnshire
coastline of Skegness and travelled inland to Grantham, to Golding Young
Auction Rooms, and on the rostrum,
the man with all the local knowledge is auctioneer Colin Young.
We've got some Troika up for sale and it belongs to Margaret.
-Are you a Troika fan, then?
-No, that's why you're flogging them.
-Well, it belonged to my...
-bought it actually for my mother-in-law,
but unfortunately she died in '76 and it came back to me.
We love Troika. I love Troika. It's good 20th-century studio pottery.
I'm growing to like it, but I do like the lamp.
-I could live with that.
-You could live with that.
-I could, yeah.
-What do you going to buy with that?
-I was going to share it between my grandchildren.
-How many have you got?
Three and a great-grandson.
Wow! Well, you'll be busy then, won't you?
Lot number 310 is the Troika wheel table lamp,
and we also have the Troika coffin vase. There we go.
Very nicely named, of course(!) Who's going to start me at £100?
100? 100? 80 to go then. Always very popular, Troika.
-Not in Grantham!
-Oh, this is cheap for Troika.
At 50 bid. 60 surely? 60. 70.
80. 90. 100. 110.
120? 110 bid. Any more now? At 110. We're on the market at 110.
I'll take 15 as the last call. 15. 120 on the internet.
125. 130 do I see?
130? 130 there. 135. 140? 140.
145. 150? 150. 155. 160.
155 bid. 160 do I see?
The internet's out. Selling at 155.
-The hammer's gone down.
Colin's done a proper job for us, hasn't he? He did really well.
-He did, very well.
I thought it was sort if settling down a bit
and people weren't buying too much now.
Oh, there's always another bid to tease out! You ask Elizabeth,
she gets on the rostrum a lot.
-Yes, I know!
-You've got to work that crowd!
Still nervous on this side, watching what's happening. My goodness!
Right, let's make some sweet music because it's Tony's
19th-century music box. Wonderful. Got all the airs. It's working.
We know what David said at the valuation day, £700 to £800.
Because, you know, sometimes you've got a £400 to £800, but I like that.
That's a proper valuation,
not an estimate and we've seen plenty on the show before,
and they've all done well for us. This is your lot. Good luck!
A 19th-century Swiss musical box this time, playing ten airs.
What shall we say for this one? Who'll start me at 700 for it? 700?
Five, then. Surely five. Who's going to put me in? Five?
Four, if we must. 400. Thank you. £400 bid. At 400.
50 now, do I see? £400 bid, 50 now surely?
At £400 bid. 50 anywhere else now? 450?
500. And 50 now.
-We're going up.
-We've got a bid on the books.
600 surely? 600? We're petering out now at 600 bid.
50? One more? At 600, are we all done and finished at 600?
I'm afraid I have to withdraw this one.
If you have a word with us, we may be able to negotiate a sale.
I was toying with dropping it to six before. But I thought...
Really, when we where at Skegness, I said,
when I was going out, I said, I think I ought to have said to David
-just knock it down to six, but we thought...
-A little bit late.
-It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter now.
-Well, have a word
-with Colin afterwards.
-I will do.
Remember that lovely clockwork toy, that zebra?
It's my valuation and it's just about to go under the hammer,
-and it belongs to Lynn. It's good to see you again.
-I think we'll sell it.
-Yeah, I think so.
-£30, fixed reserve,
-we're not giving this away.
It's worth a bit more. It's worth double, isn't it?
-I think so.
-And we had a bit of fun with it. It's a lovely little zebra.
-All the money is going to your son, is it?
-You're going to treat him.
-OK, OK. Well, let's find out
-what the bidders of Grantham think, shall we?
They will love this. It's going under the hammer.
A "made in China" tin-plate clockwork jumping zebra.
A fabulous little lot. Quite fun, isn't it?
Who's going to start me at £30 for it? 30? £30? £20?
Well, who wants to start me at five? Five bid. Eight anywhere else now?
-Oh, come on!
-10 bid. 12 bid. 15? 15. 18.
20. At £20 I'm bid. Two, do I see? Two? Two, bid. Five now. Five. 25.
28. 30. At 30 bid. 32 now.
-£30 bid. At £30.
32 now, do I see? At £30, second row.
At 30 bid. Any more now? At £30.
Well done, Colin. He pushed that one.
Unfortunately, we didn't get middle estimate.
No, but that's not bad, is it?
-It's still not bad. That's a very good result.
I think it is. I think it is really.
Well, it looks like Daisy's selling part of her collection?
-A small selection.
Small. Why did you start with these four items?
The first one, the enamel one,
is my favourite, actually, because it's been much used.
-And I think there must be so much history with it.
And it's sweet and I love enamel,
but yes, that's the first one to go.
Well, we're starting off with that one, then there's a couple of ivory
little cases and that lovely little etui, which I love.
-You valued all of these, David, £500 to £600 in one lot?
-Colin's decided to sell them separately.
-Which is sensible.
Well, you knew he was going to do that.
-So, we're going to start with the little enamel box.
Lot Number 140 is the 19th century
French enamelled and gilt metal box. 30?
-20 to go then, surely? 20 bid.
22. 25. 28. 30. 2. 35. 38.
Bid 40. And 2. 42. At 42.
This is cheap. 45 now, surely. At 42 it's on the market and selling. 45.
45. 48. 48. Bid 50. And 5. 55.
Bid 60. And 5.
Bid 70. 70 bid. 75. Bid 80, now. No?
75. 78, if it helps, then? At 75. Last call, then.
All done and finished and selling then, £75.
That's one gone, 75.
The next is the tooth pick.
What shall we say for this one? Start me at £50 for it. 50?
30 then. 30, Who's first in? Thank you. 30. 35, now.
35 was on the net. 35. Bid 40. 45.
Bid 50. And 5. Bid 60. 55 bid.
60, now, do I see? 60. At 60 bid.
5 bid. 70 bid. 5 bid.
80 bid. 5? £80, I'm bid. 5 anywhere else now? £80, I'm bid.
Any more bids? 5, do I see?
5 now, surely? Thank you. 85. Bid 90. At 90 bid.
-95? 95. 100.
-We've got to 100.
And 10 now? Thank you. 110.
At 110. 120 now? 110.
Are we all done and finished, then?
At £110. Last call.
I'm selling at £110.
Well done, that man!
-Yes! The internet does work.
-Yes, doesn't it?
The next one is another ivory box. It's the one with the D end.
Who's going to start me at £50? 50 straight in. 50.
I'm bid 50. At £50 I'm bid. 5. 55 bid. 60 bid. 65. 70. £70, I'm bid.
At 70 bid. 5, anywhere else? At £70 bid. 5 anywhere else?
At 70. Are we all done? At 70. Last call, then. Going at £70.
That's OK. We're still on track for your £500 to £600.
Lot Number 155 is an 18th century
lady's gilt metal and banded agate etui. £100, surely. 100.
Thank you. Down there at 100. 120 now, may I say? At £100 bid.
120? 120. 140? 140. 160?
-160 now. Do I see 160?
-180, come on!
180. 200. 220 now. £200 I am bid.
At 200. 220? 220. 240. 260. 280.
-We've done it.
340. 360 now. 340 is all I'm bid.
-At 340. 360 or not now? 340. Any more bids?
At 340. Last call, then. I'm selling, make no mistake, at £340.
Brilliant! We got your top end, then.
-Oh, that is good!
-We have gone toppies!
-That is good.
You were spot on. You said £500 to £600.
I think we've just topped £600...
-For once in my life!
-The prayer was answered!
-I am so pleased!
-For once in my life! Bless you!
Thank you both so much. What fun!
Well, next up we've some memorabilia,
some social history of Skegness.
Some early photographs that belong to David.
These are so sought after, and you thought that as well.
-It's the social history always sells well.
A good mixture of all sorts, including some militaria,
so it's a lovely original album in a proper collection.
Yeah, £120, £180.
-There's even Butlins in Skegness there!
Yes, so we've got it all.
Hopefully, it's going to find a good home.
Lot Number 355 is a collection of early 20th-century postcards
contained in three albums.
Nice spread lot. Who's going to start me at £100?
100? 80 to go then. 80.
-Yeah, come on.
-50 surely? £50. Who's going to be first in? 50.
Five. 60. Five. 70. Five. Bid 80.
And five. And 90. And five. 100.
110. 120 on the book.
130 in the room. 140.
-150. 160. 170?
170. 180. 190? 190. 200. 220.
240. 260. 280. 300...
He's got a commission bid on the book. He keeps looking down.
At 400 bid. I'll go to the phones. Do we have an extra bid?
We do, 420 on the phone. 440.
460 now. 460? 460. 480.
500 now, say. 500 bid surely?
Thank you. 550 now? I'll take 20.
Let's keep the progress rolling.
520. 540 now. 540 bid. 540.
560. 580 now? 580 bid?
580. 600 surely? No?
At 580 it's on the telephone then.
Do we've any more bids? At 580.
-We're done and finished, on the telephones at £580.
£580. The hammer's gone like that and it's sold.
-We see it time and time again.
So much money in social history.
If you've got a collection like that, we want to see it.
-A lot of money there.
-There's a bit of commission to pay.
-What will you put that towards?
-Any idea? What's going through your mind?
-I'm taken by surprise
by the amount it's fetched!
I shall have to give it serious consideration in a quieter moment!
Lot with you, at 45.
Well, how about that? So far so good.
We've had some cracking results.
We are coming back later on in the show to the auction room,
but right now I'm going to take a break
and I need some bracing sea air, and David, with those postcards,
has just given me a very good idea.
That is absolutely wonderful!
How could I possibly come to the bracing Lincolnshire coastline
without visiting one of the big names
in British holiday seaside entertainment?
And in my opinion, it's up there with fish and chips,
Brighton Rock and Blackpool Tower.
Hello, everyone! This is Beryl, your Radio Butlin announcer,
wishing you a very good morning.
It's Billy Butlin's first ever holiday camp in Skegness.
Billy opened the holiday camp in 1936 and this chalet, which is now
a Grade II-listed building, is all that is left
of what those visitors would have enjoyed in the early days.
There was one electric light bulb.
A cold tap and hand basin in the corner, and no heating!
So, you can see, it was all pretty basic.
But it didn't seem to matter,
because what Billy provided was a week's holiday for a week's pay.
'The time is now 7.30,
'and breakfast for all our first sitting campers
'will be available at 8.15.'
People may scoff at knobbly knees competitions
and the regimentations of camps,
but it gave ordinary families the chance to get away,
meet new friends and have some great fun.
Right, I'm off to find Chris Barron and have a chat with him.
He's the resort director,
and I'm going to find out a little bit more about the man who started
this fantastic holiday empire.
How did Billy come up with the idea?
I think what he had done is when he was in Skegness,
he saw how the old bed and breakfast used to work and the mum and dad
and the two kids being kicked out at nine the morning
and being told they couldn't come back till six at night.
He had the recollections of his days in Canada when he was a youth
when he used to see these old-style camps,
which were made up of tents,
and he had the dream of being able to do this.
-So he put the two ideas together.
-What was he doing, for a living?
He had, just before then, he'd been into fairgrounds.
He was always a showman. He'd done the stalls and stuff.
He'd come up to Skegness because he'd heard two guys
in a pub in London saying what a great season they'd had
and how much money they were making.
Then he got the break on the seafront when he saw these dodgem cars.
And again it was an exceptionally brave decision to commit
to take the concession
for these from America for the whole of Europe and Britain.
So, again, he made lots of money bringing dodgem cars in,
and that give him the base to sort of crystallise his dream.
So, he bought the turnip field that was here in 1935
and started out building Butlins as we know it today.
-And the plan for the 1936 chalet
that you saw over there was drawn on a cigarette packet!
Something that we wouldn't get away with now!
It opened in Easter '36 and it was literally last minute.
People would turn up to their chalet and the door wasn't there.
By the time they got back to say the door wasn't there,
it would have been put on. It was all very tight.
It sounds like he was a very good businessman.
He was. He always knew how to spot an opportunity,
but he also knew how to sell himself.
In '36 he borrowed lots of money to build this place
and things were running late,
his creditors were getting concerned, so he had the inspirational idea
of what he'll do is just hire a Rolls Royce for the day.
No way could he afford one!
He went round his creditors, reassured them.
They saw this in the car park and they were very comfortable
and it gave him a breathing space.
He also knew, when there was an opportunity, to make the most of it.
Just after the war, all of a sudden people were saying,
workers deserve holiday pay, which they'd never had before.
So he invited all the MPs down to Clacton to give them a presentation
to say why it was so important
that these people should have a week's holiday pay,
ignoring the fact that Billy was the only person in the country
who was in place to capitalise on that!
-But at least he lobbied for it, didn't he?
-Yeah! And again,
it made him a people's champion.
But it also then gave him his slogan, which was
"A week's holiday for a week's pay",
which is still probably the case today.
What was a holiday camp is now a holiday resort,
with New England style chalets,
a sumptuous health spa,
water slides and swimming pools
and a variety of great evening entertainment.
It has changed tremendously.
Entertainments are still absolutely key to it, but there has been
massive investments in accommodation. We now have a holiday resort
for the 21st century,
and television is now key to people's lives, so what we try and
do is bring television to life.
So, entertainment will include things like stars from the X Factor,
or Britain's Got Talent,
but it'll also include bringing things that people won't see at home.
So whether it will be the Colombian Circus, or acts from Moscow.
Also, the first time your five-year-old sees Bob The Builder
or Angelina Ballerina,
-you just can't capture that smile.
-No, you can't.
You want to provide an environment
that people probably aren't getting anywhere else.
Bring the world to Skegness!
But one thing that is still recognisable is the famous Red Coat
and I'm not leaving here without meeting one.
Chris, hi! Pleased to meet you.
I'm going to steal him away from you, ladies, OK,
and have a quick chat with him.
See you later!
Where did the idea of the Red Coat come from?
The Red Coat?
Well, it comes back to when Billy Butlin... He was Canadian,
and I think he got the idea from the Canadian Mountie.
He wanted a bright coloured red coat to make a statement
and to show everyone we're here to entertain you and have a good time.
What's the best thing about being a Red Coat?
For me, there's no better buzz than when you're making people smile
and laugh on stage to 2,000 people.
You're up there, you're making their holiday.
You're having a great time
and you're making sure they're enjoying themselves.
-That's the best buzz for me.
-Chris, thank you very much.
-I'll let you get back on.
-Yeah, better go!
Well, Butlins has been updated
in so many different ways since those early days,
but the brilliant thing is
the tradition of a great British seaside holiday,
packed full of fun and tremendous value is still well and truly alive.
Time to get back to our very own version of seaside entertainment
with a rather excited David.
William, this is an extraordinarily beautiful figure.
Lovely, lovely quality porcelain. Where did it come from?
My wife's uncle - I called him uncle.
He travelled the world with a film company from London.
On his journeys, with his friend, who was the wardrobe man,
he was the caterer, they picked things up like this.
When he went senile, me and my wife looked after him and he left me that
before he died, then he left me a lot more stuff after he died.
So that's where it came from,
somewhere on his journeys around the world.
-Or possibly somewhere in this country.
-It could be.
This is an English piece of porcelain. Worcester.
-The very best you could have bought.
This dates from the end of the 19th century,
tucked just into the 20th century.
It's known as the Eastern water carrier.
It's a lovely figure.
There's a special technique of decorating these figures with gold,
which they blew onto the surface.
It gave the effect of bronzing.
-The mark underneath says "Worcester shot enamels".
-I've seen that.
-So this was sprayed onto the surface.
The cap is interesting.
When I had a look at this,
I thought it was a second, because that is bubbled.
But what you've got to bear in mind is,
in the kiln, it depends where this was placed.
If it was placed fairly high up in the kiln, the heat rises.
It could have had a reaction
in the second firing when they were securing the gilt.
That's what might have happened.
That it reacted on that particular section of colouring.
So, why are you wanting to part with this?
Well, I never liked it. My wife doesn't like it.
It's been sat up on a pine corner cupboard for years and years
and we have to get it down and dust it.
I think this is a terrific figure.
At auction, it should realise £600 to £800, but...
but...there's something wrong with it and you know what it is.
-A well's missing.
I think it was a large basin and he's pouring water into the basin.
-What I find extraordinary is you've got
this circular aperture which would have
secured the basin, which was modelled separately,
but it still looks perfectly OK,
as though he's pouring water into a hole.
Into a hole, that's right.
But that does affect the value.
So instead of the £600 to £800, we might be only looking at around
-£100 to £150.
-That's all right.
If it only realises, let's say,
worst scenario, £80, what are you going to do with that money?
-It's not an awful lot.
-My wife asked me that and I said,
"When the money comes, if it comes and it's OK, just take it and
"get your hair done, get a new frock and do whatever you want with it."
-What a nice idea.
-She's a lovely lady.
That's a lovely gesture.
-I hope we make 200.
-I think this is stunning.
I think this is lovely.
It's obviously some piece of fine jewellery that you're actually
Tell me the story of it and the history of it.
It was handed down to me from my mother.
An aunt left my mother it.
So you remember it from a child?
-Have you ever worn it? Have you had an occasion to wear it?
-I've worn it once.
-When was that?
When I was...perhaps 24, 25 and went to a ball.
Oh, stunning. Felt like Cinderella, I should think?
I felt the bee's knees.
But you've also got it squirreled away somewhere?
-It never sees daylight.
-It's a shame.
I say that, but if we have a closer look at it,
I think that, ironically, has been to its advantage. What we have
here is a late 19th century
necklace, which dates at, I think, from about 1880.
Stylistically, that's when I would place it.
So it's about 120-130 years old.
It comprises six hand-carved ivory panels.
Ivory is a natural substance which is very prone to reacting
to its environment and its surroundings.
Also, it absorbs impurities in the atmosphere.
So over time,
as it ages, ivory tends to go quite yellow or a very deep cream colour.
This looks almost as fresh and as crisp and clean as it did
when it was first crafted.
It's been wrapped away and hidden, but we take it out in the 21st
century and it really couldn't look any better.
There's always a question mark over the sale of ivory.
It's a very sensitive and important issue.
What I'd make clear here is that this is a late-19th-century piece,
so the legitimacy of this as examples of ivory,
and even the ivory box, is quite pertinent to sell.
If it were after 1920, it would be a very different story
and it wouldn't be something that could be commercially traded.
-But absolutely fine on this one. You can rest easy on that.
I think it's wise for you to try it with an estimate of £800 to £1,000.
-And I do recommend you reserve.
It should have a reserve on it.
It is a serious piece of jewellery which merits that.
If it doesn't make that, I would hang on to it.
-Well, I think you and I should go to the auction,
offer it there and the proof will be in the pudding, won't it?
Dawn, if anybody posed a question to me, "what should you collect?"
These are the objects I would advise anybody to collect
-if they had spare cash.
Although they date from the earlier part of the 20th century,
they are so much of today's style.
Where did they come from?
Originally, I think they would either have been Grandma's,
if not Grandma's, then Mother's, most certainly.
Both my parents passed away recently, so we've been clearing out.
We found them in the shed.
You found them in the shed?
In the shed, yes. So I'm quite amazed they've survived, really.
So am I! I want to know why you're selling them.
-I'm a bit clumsy and I'd rather have ornaments that bounce.
Right. I can understand that.
-These are exquisite. You know what they are?
They're Ruskin Pottery.
William Howson Taylor, together with his father,
who was called Edward, set up a factory in Smethwick,
very close to where I live in Warwickshire.
That was in 1898.
The factory eventually closed in 1935.
But they were renowned worldwide for their exquisite pottery,
which was based on Chinese originals.
In particular, the glazes.
They produced a huge range of glazes, including flambe,
which is a lovely glowing red,
and these, which come under the category of snake green.
There's a mark on the bottom which is oval and it says
"West Smethwick" on the bottom
and also there's a date - 1905.
That's very early.
That's very early in the catalogue of production,
they established the factory only a few years before.
But these are absolutely exquisite.
The design itself is based on a Chinese bottle,
with this wide shoulder, but a very narrow neck.
-Put your finger in that hole.
-Yeah, I thought they were...
-And then that one.
-Slightly different, aren't they?
Exactly. That's an indication that every single piece was hand-thrown.
That means every piece is also unique.
Now, think in terms of price.
These are sought-after pottery items.
I would estimate these somewhere between £400 and £600 for the pair.
-But they could do more, so don't be too shocked.
-I think we'll put a reserve of about 380 on them.
-Is that agreeable?
-Yes, I think so.
-We'll put them up for sale.
-Lovely. Thank you.
-Are you having a lovely day?
-I'm having a lovely day.
Well, I've picked out what you've brought cos I think this is charming.
Tell me what you have here?
I don't really know what it is. I know the name
Vesta has been mentioned.
-Dad died in '96 and we were sorting out the drawers,
and Mum said, there's a bit of rubbish in there, just clear it out,
you can have what you want.
-So, I liked the colour of it.
And basically, it's been in a drawer for 12 years.
It caught my eye because of this electric blue.
-It's a stunning colour.
You mention the word Vesta and you are quite right.
What we have here is a late Victorian, Edwardian Vesta case.
-It would have taken a little book of matches that would sit in there quite comfortably
and on the outside is this stunning...
-Do you know what this is made of?
-Is it ceramic?
-No, it's not ceramic.
Good guess. It's enamelled.
-Oh, enamel, right.
-Now, enamel is, in effect, molten glass.
-Oh, right, yes.
-So, what they did was they painted
this wonderful greyhound in a little landscape
with this wonderful blue surround.
It works beautifully.
Because it's not a solid silver or a solid gold case,
I think the value will be restricted to round about £60 to £80.
-And with that in mind, would you like a reserve on it?
-Yes and I would value your opinion.
If we put a £60 threshold on it
but asked the auctioneer to use his discretion of one bid, maybe
so if it got close enough with one bid difference, he'd sell it
any greater discrepancy, it would be saved and kept back for you, so it
wouldn't be sold for a huge amount less than £60.
But I'm hoping for it to be £80 nearer.
But £60 to £80 with a £60 discretionary reserve.
That would be lovely.
Now for a last look at what our experts have chosen.
William wants to treat his wife and I think this lovely Worcester figure
should provide the means.
Elizabeth picked out this exquisite ivory and gold necklace.
Time for it see the light of day and shine in the sale room.
The enamel Vesta case. It's in perfect condition, and I think
well worth the £60 to £80 Elizabeth valued it at.
Finally, rescued from the shed,
these hand-thrown snake-green Ruskin vases really are an exciting find.
Sue, why are you flogging this? It's a lovely Vesta. Nice box.
Well, it's been in the family for a while, but it's been in a drawer for
the past 12 years since Dad died,
and I'd like to buy an ornament to remember him by.
Let's hope we can get you around £100.
It might be pushing it, that's the top end. We've got £60 to £80 on it.
I would hope so. It's in good order. The enamelling is very, very nice,
and I think it's got many positives, so I'm quite optimistic.
We've got two sets of collectors after this. The little enamel
-boxes and animal lovers.
-Yes, so that will always help!
Fingers crossed! Straight out of the traps and there we go!
Lot Number 95 is the late 19th century gilt metal Vesta case
with a greyhound on grass. Who's going to start me at £50? 50?
Thank you. £50. 5 bid. 60...
-We're in! We've done it!
-At £60 I'm bid. 5 now, surely?
At £60, I'm bid. I'll take 2 if it's going to...
It does! 62. 65. 5 bid. 65. 68. 68. 70. At 70 bid. 2. 72. 75. 78?
78 bid. 80 bid. Make it 5? Let's make some progress.
-85, I see? 85 now.
-Come on, one more!
I'll take 2, then. No, it doesn't work. £80.
We're on the market and we're selling. Make no mistake. At £80.
The top end of our estimate! Well done, Elizabeth!
A good part of the country for greyhounds!
Yes. And well done Colin Young.
So, you've got £80, less a bit of commission.
-Yes, that's fine.
-That's a good day out.
That's lovely. Yes, it is, yes.
A good day at the races!
55. 55 now. £80 bid. At 110.
Next up is William's Worcester figure,
with a valuation of £100 to £150.
All the money is going on a makeover for your wife.
I think that's so sweet. But were you under orders?
-She said, "I don't like it, flog it!"
"I want a new dress, hairdo."
-She's got her purse ready.
-The works. Spa treatment...
I think that's really nice. I really do. Good for you.
You'll be in her good books.
Let's hope we get that top end, David.
For that sort of makeover, we've got to look for about 200.
If not more.
-Here we go. It's going under the hammer.
Royal Worcester Cairo-ware figure.
This is a male water carrier. Who will start me at 150 for it?
150? 100 to go then, surely? 100?
-80 if we must. 80, who's going to be first in?
-Come on, come on.
50 then, surely. £50? 50?
-30? 30, thank you.
-This is Worcester. This is Worcester!
Bid 40. Do I see 40?
Bid 50? 5. 60.
65. 70? £70? Do I see 70?
£70 bid. Five now surely.
75. 80? 80 bid. £80. Five, do I see?
£80 bid. Five anywhere? At £80.
Any more bids? No. At £80 bid, we're done, we're finished.
We're on the market at £80.
-It's gone though. £80.
-That's the hairdo.
That's it, that's the hairdo, yeah.
I'm happy with that. Yeah, very good.
-Ailsa, are you feeling nervous?
-Don't worry, don't worry.
-You wear it well. You'd never guess.
There's £800 to £1,000 riding on this wonderful necklace.
It really is a consummate work of art.
It's somebody at the top of their genre.
You see a lot of bad carvings in ivory.
But the sad thing is it's all anonymous.
There's no signature or anything.
You can't attribute to anybody. But it's lovely.
19th century Cantonese ivory and gold necklace.
Fantastic little lot. Lot 65. What shall we say?
Who's going to start me at the bottom estimate? 800 for it? 800?
-Thank you, 400 bid.
At 400. 420, do I see?
At 400 bid, 420 anywhere else now?
At 400 bid. 420 there. 420. 440.
500. 550. 600. 650. 700 now.
650, my bid's here. At 650.
Seven now surely? Seven, do I see?
At 650. Is there seven anywhere else now?
At 650. Seven now surely? Seven? At 700. 750, do I see now?
At 700, any more bids? All done and finished at 700?
I'm afraid I have to withdraw that lot.
-You've still got it.
-Just a bit short.
I think you're meant to keep this. It's been in the family a long time.
I'm quite happy to keep it.
-I really am.
-Back under the bed! Put it back under the bed.
Dawn has got to pay the bills.
-So many have come in.
-We need the money desperately.
That's why we're flogging the Ruskin vases. Wonderful pair.
They are nice. Lovely colour.
David gravitated towards them.
Of all the things I've ever wanted at a sale, it is these vases.
Snake green. I love the term "snake green".
-Were you happy with 4-6?
-That will cover the bills?
It will help. It won't cover them, but it'll help.
Well, on a good day... I don't want to get your hopes up.
But on a good day, with two people actually bidding and
-loving these and wanting them, could do four figures.
-We have a triptych of telephone bidders now.
The most exquisite pair of Ruskin vases I think I've ever seen.
What shall we say for these? Start me at bottom estimate. £400?
400, who's first in?
Deathly silence. What do I know then?
300 bid. At 300. Let's go 20 now.
At 300. 320. 340. 360.
380. 400. 420.
440. 460. At 460. 480.
-500. 550. 600.
700. 750. 800. 850 now. At 800 bid.
850. Who's joining in next?
At 800 bid, any more now?
At 800. 50, do I see? 850 on that phone there.
900. 950, do I see? 950 bid.
-1,100? 1,100 bid.
I have 1,200. 1,300 now?
1,300 over there. At 13.
14 anywhere else now? 1,300 on that phone.
Anybody else joining in? At 1,300.
1,400. Thank you, 1,400.
1,500 now? 1,500. 1,600?
1,700 over here? 1,700?
1,700. 1,800 now?
1,800, it's Mr Squire's client at 1,800. Any more now?
50 is the last call.
1,850 in the room. At 1,850. 1,900 now. 1,900 bid, do I have?
Oh, my gosh, that's wonderful.
At the back of the room then, selling at £1,850.
-Really well. Brilliant.
-Pay those bills.
-Always deserved four figures, didn't it?
-It really did.
I'm really pleased about that.
I didn't want to take them home,
because I was worried they would get broken.
No way would you take them home at £400 to £600. That was...
A come-and-get-me figure!
We had a chat and we said, "It will do four figures,"
but we didn't want to get your hopes up.
To get that sort of figure - nearly £2,000, is fantastic.
Will that cover the bills?
It will be a big help. It won't cover them all, but it is a big help.
It really is.
If you've enjoyed the show, please keep watching.
There'll be plenty more surprises like this in the future.
Until then, cheerio.
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