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Today, Flog It has been sent to Coventry. Now, we're all familiar with the phrase, "Sent to Coventry",
meaning to ostracise, but where does it come from?
The origin of the phrase, "Sent to Coventry", isn't known for sure.
But it is thought to originate from the time of the English Civil War.
During the conflict, captured Royalists were sent to Coventry to be imprisoned
where the Parliamentarian population refused to speak with them.
Well, this crowd seem friendlier now. We've got the doors open. We're getting everybody inside.
Today we're very privileged to be based in what has to be Coventry's most iconic and renowned building,
the incredible Coventry Cathedral.
Completing the Flog It team sheet today are Michael Baggott and Will Axon.
And first up, it's over to Michael.
June, what a curious collection of different objects we have on the table today.
-Where did you get them from?
-They used to belong to my mother, who was in business in Coventry from 1929.
-And she died 30 years ago, sadly. And these are just some of the few things I've got left now.
What business was your mother in?
She was in new and second-hand furniture and china and glass.
And also crocheted tablecloths. And she went to lots of auction sales.
-So all sorts, really?
-Well, she had a wonderful eye.
Let's start with this fellow here. And his use becomes apparent when we turn him round.
He's obviously a nutcracker. It's a type you see in the 19th century.
The wood... I've been thinking about this. I'm sure it's a fruit wood.
-It may well be apple or pear. And fruit wood's very close grained,
-so it doesn't, even though it's got a few cracks, split when you use it and apply pressure.
And I think that's supposed to be Punch.
-Oh, is it?
-Or a Punch-like figure in his little tricorne hat.
-They term that as a frilled ruff.
And it's a very amusing thing.
-And it would have been carved in about 1850, 1860.
They're quite collectable things and still useful.
Then we've got a tortoiseshell box. And if we open it up - fantastic.
You've got a little travelling scent bottle set.
Beautiful hand-blown, faceted, glass vials.
In date I think that's around about...
-It's English. And it's about 1765, 1770.
It's a very early little travelling case. Normally they are a little bit more elaborate than this.
You can get silver inlay. But it's still a lovely early thing. And this is a little papier mache snuff box.
-And again that's got some great age to it. It's about 1810, 1820, when these things were fashionable.
What's really interesting though is that you get all sorts of printed and applied scenes.
This is a named view of Gibraltar.
So even though the box itself is a little bit nibbled and distressed,
having that is really nice.
-Any idea then of the individual values?
-Well, Michael, I did think about £50 for the nutcracker.
-Maybe 60 for that one...
And the other one, well, again, I didn't think it was very good at all.
I can feel myself reaching for my wallet as you speak. The nutcracker, these things are still under-rated.
But they are lovely, hand-carved treen.
-That's got to be £70 to £100 of anybody's money.
-This little set, that's £100 to £150.
-I think that that is a makeweight.
-So I think we should put them in a lot together at auction
as they're interesting individually and they'll complement one another.
And if we put £200 to £300 on them as an estimate and put a reserve a little below that at 170.
-And we hope that there are three fanatics for those items there and it does really well.
-But thank you so much for bringing them in.
Kathleen, good morning. What can you tell me about this infantry helmet you've brought in today?
Not a lot. At some stage, my mother-in-law had a German lodger
and it's just come from her house when we cleared it out.
Well, the German lodger connection is interesting for me
because you may remember that propaganda image of the German soldier in the Second World War.
They were nearly always wearing these helmets or Pickelhaube, as they're known.
And then the spike on top, which actually through the years has got shorter and shorter.
When they first came out in the mid-19th century, these tended to be a lot taller.
And occasionally you would also have plumes of horse hair on the top.
They weren't originally invented for or designed by the Germans.
They were, in the mid-19th century, designed by the King of Prussia.
I notice from the badge at the front as well... On first inspection, it looked like the Prussian eagle.
-But on closer inspection, it's actually a griffin...
-..with a shield and holding a sword.
The badge at the front usually gives you some idea of where they're from.
It's usually the emblem of the city they're from.
-Now, any ideas? Have you come across that emblem before?
-Well, luckily, I did a bit of research.
And it's of Baden in Germany, which again ties in nicely with this mysterious,
-shall I say, German lodger.
-What can you tell me about him?
-And your mother-in-law had him as a lodger?
Maybe he ran off without paying the rent and he thought this would cover it.
-Have you any idea of what its value is?
-Someone once offered me £10 for it.
-That sounds a little bit mean.
-I thought that it was mean cos I'd seen them on programmes before.
-I would say, looking at it,
we've got issues with condition. You've got shrinkage cracking to the leather cover.
You've lost a chin-strap. And taking all that into consideration,
I would say... Now, you say you were offered £10 for it at some stage.
-I think you could probably put a nought on that.
-I would think it's worth about £100.
-So can we straddle that £100 with an 80-120...
-..estimate? You've seen this programme before!
-So 80 to 120. And let's reserve it at that bottom figure. Can we give the auctioneer some discretion?
-But hopefully we won't need it. But I shall see you there.
Kathleen, it's so nice to see a good, honest set of chairs ready to go to the kitchen.
-They're lovely. A set of six.
-We often get the odd chair.
Or we get a pair of hall chairs.
But this is a good set of six chairs. So what's the story? Where did they come from?
-My auntie bought them for my mum and dad when they got married. That's 101 years ago.
-So these have been in the family for 101 years?
-Yes, for 101 years.
-So you used these in the kitchen as a little girl?
-Sat on all of them probably?
-Yes, all the time.
This one's had a little bit of a bash up there. It's been cut. But it's very, very smooth.
-It's sort of worn.
-Yes, my mum did that.
-What did your mum do? What happened?
-I think I was 15 months and I put my head through it.
-You got your head stuck in there?
-Were you playing games?
-I must've been. So she had to hold my head down and got a knife and just...
-Skimmed a bit off there?
-What a lovely story. They are fantastic.
They're sort of circa 1820, 1830. All the seats are made of elm,
which is a great wood. Look at the grain. It's so ambiguous. It never runs in one direction.
And it's called the wood that never sleeps, so it's always moving. When you sit on them, it gives with you.
-They're normally called a blade-back. You can see they're sort of shaped like a blade there.
And they were made as practical kitchen chairs when every family in the country, in the early 1800s,
-had practical functional chairs like this.
-They were made in their thousands.
-Have you any idea of the value?
-Not at all.
-Well, you see lots of these in auction rooms
and they fetch around about £15 a chair, £20 a chair.
But with a set of six, I think there's a premium on that.
-And I think we could get over £200 for a set of six.
-That's not bad.
-We'll put a reserve of £150 on.
-I think it's a great set.
And somebody's going to inherit your love that you gave these.
It's a shame to have them and not use them, you know. None of the family want them.
That's sad. I think there's another 100 years left in them.
I'd like to think so. Yes.
-Well, Nic, thanks for coming in today.
And when I found out that we were going to do the valuation day in Coventry,
one of the things I thought we might get a chance of seeing
were some Stevengraphs and you've brought one in for us,
-together with another.
-It's a good job I did then!
-What can you tell me about these?
-They're just family pieces.
They were inherited.
-Originally they belonged to my great-grandmother.
It was in a book of old Coventry and that's where we found them.
They were in the book. And that was passed to my granddad
and when he died, they passed the book along again...
-So it's come down the family.
-So it's travelled down. They're family pieces.
So the Stevens factory
was originally one of the Coventry silk ribbon manufacturers.
So, really, when we say a Stevengraph, that's what we mean.
-We mean a silk woven picture.
We've got a nice touch here in that we've got St Michael's Church,
-which is outside of the window to my left.
-That's right, yeah.
Not looking quite as grand as it does there
but nonetheless, you can still recognise the spire, can't you?
And above that we've got this chap, Rev Widdrington
and he was the vicar of St Michael's, Coventry.
-So lovely sort of local touch to those.
Now, you say they've come down through your family.
-Not something you're interested in keeping?
We don't collect anything like that as a family
and we just thought we'd like to pass them on
and if anybody's interested in that kind of thing or they collect it, it'll come in handy.
Well, they are collected.
Because there were so many different subject matters and designs,
there's a lot there for people to collect,
-so people tend to like that.
-That's the collectable factor.
-So have you had any idea of value?
-Not at all.
-Have you seen similar items sold?
-Well, they're not hugely valuable.
I think we're going to estimate them, I would think, at £30-£50.
-How do you feel about that?
-And would you be happy to go without reserve?
Well, that suits me. We've got a guaranteed sale, shall we say.
You've decided to sell them, so they're definitely going to go.
30 to 50. If they don't make the 30, I might have to make it up myself,
but I'm confident that we'll get them away for you.
-That'd be brilliant. Thank you.
Valerie, thank you for bringing this lovely gentleman's watch in. May I ask where you got it from?
It belonged to my father's father, so that's my grandfather.
-It's been in the family quite some time. Do you know roughly when it was made?
-I know nothing about it.
From the outside, I'd say it's not an English watch. It's likely to be French or Swiss.
But we'll have a little look, pop it open. That's very nice.
You've got a lovely gold dial with black Arabic numerals to it.
And we've got some marks there which tell me that the case is Swiss.
And it's 14-carat gold. If we close that up, the back's similarly beautifully engraved with flowers
and scrolls on this machine-turned ground. Quite exquisite.
And we've got the dust cover there
which says it's "15 Rubis",
15 jewelled movements.
And that's probably going to be quite standard. And there's the standard Swiss cylinder movement.
-It's lovely and thin. It was made for elegance.
But really if you see how thin that dust cover is, it's more for show than substance.
It would've been made around 1890, anywhere up to about 1910.
And it's that typical, showy, Swiss gold engraving that they did terribly well.
And why have you decided to part with it now?
It's to de-clutter. I never look at it. I never use it.
-And so it's...
-It might as well go to somebody who'll appreciate it.
Unfortunately, I've given this a little shake and there's no ticking.
So it's not in working order which will make a slight difference to the value.
-But any idea of what it's worth?
In running order, it would be about £120 to £180.
But you've got to take into account someone's going to have to overhaul the movement and do repairs to it.
So I think at auction we should be putting that in at 80 to 120. We'll put a fixed reserve of £80 on it.
And hopefully a watch repairer will fall in love with the case and not mind about the movement.
-But are you happy to put that into auction?
-Yes, I am. Yes.
So we'll pop it into the sale for you and hope it does really well.
I hope so.
Earlier on, we saw Coventry cathedral packed with hundreds of people,
antiques everywhere, with all of our cameras and lights.
But I couldn't resist coming back in a quieter moment,
just to absorb the atmosphere
and reflect on a lot of the architectural detail.
For me, it's one of the most successful and inspirational builds
of its age.
It captured the mood of the public at one of the most important times
in British architecture.
And to understand why, we've got to start outside.
These are the skeletal remains of the original St Michael's Cathedral,
which was built during the late 14th and early 15th century.
It was destroyed during the Coventry blitz
on November 14th 1940.
Tens of thousands of other buildings were damaged or destroyed in Coventry
the same night
and over 500 people lost their lives.
The ruined cathedral at once became a very potent symbol
of the devastation of war.
The scars caused by aerial bombing
were clearly visible in many other cities too,
and the nation mourned.
But these feelings of despair soon gave way
to a strong sense of determination
and the very next day the decision to rebuild the cathedral was made.
It was most important and monumental of all the postwar buildings
and it came to represent the hopes and aspirations
of a war-torn population.
At the time, the minister for works said,
"We cannot tell how many people are waiting in this country
"and abroad for this church to rise
"and prove that English traditions live again after the blitz."
200 architects drew up plans and after months of deliberation,
the winning submission was chosen.
Basil Spence's design drew him into the media spotlight
and he became a household name,
which was unprecedented for an architect.
But his design came in for a lot of criticism.
The traditionalists found it too modern
and the modernists thought it wasn't modern enough.
Ironically, it is probably this middle ground
that made this building such a huge success.
The work took under seven years to complete
and Her Majesty the Queen attended the consecration
on 25th May 1962.
Everybody flocked to see what was dubbed Britain's first space-age cathedral.
And walking in here today through these glass doors,
I can only imagine what the public must've felt
when they were presented with this.
What a stunning vista. It's so overwhelming.
These windows were decorated by the artist John Hutton,
beautifully etched with images of saints and angels.
But it's that glass wall that you look through
that gives you an uninterrupted view of the ruins of the old cathedral.
And radically, Spence left them there in their entirety
as a constant reminder of the destruction of war.
It also offers a powerful connection between old and new,
traditional and modern,
a sentiment Spence has continued throughout the building.
The great thing about the design is, wherever you are in the cathedral,
your view of the altar is never spoiled.
One of the other key features of the cathedral
is the use of that most traditional of materials, stained glass.
In these and other works of art in the building,
Spence gathered together the foremost artists of the time,
including John Piper and Graham Sutherland.
It's a real celebration of British arts and crafts from that period.
To this day, it remains an important place of pilgrimage
while continuing to be at the spiritual heart of the community.
Lay canon Heather Wallace is with me
to explain why she thinks it's such a special place.
-Heather, thank you for talking to us today.
When was your first connection with the cathedral?
I came to the area in '58, so the building was going up,
the staff were being appointed.
There was a lot of controversy.
Some people thought it was right, some thought it was wrong,
-but I think it's all right, it's worked.
-It's done a good job.
-I think he's done a tremendous job.
-It has worked.
-There's a wonderful atmosphere, a warmth in here.
-What do you think everybody's impression is as they walk in?
-If I take a party around,
I ask them to be quiet and to feel the silence, feel the size.
And of course they're moved by the ruins very much.
Yeah, there's a nice dichotomy.
You come down the steps out of the sadness, if you like,
into the hope, which is very important.
That really does work for me, seeing that, seeing the ruins.
-It's quite a poignant reminder.
There was a lot of argument about whether they should keep the ruins
but Basil Spence came up with this idea and it was the right one,
to have the whole cathedral, part of it ruined and part of it new.
And we've had people from all over the world come
and really come to terms with the fact of their own problems with the war
and you realise that there is always an answer to war,
there's always an answer to pain
and you can come in and you can feel that there's hope, really,
and this is what the new cathedral is, it's hope for the future.
-Lots of special memories for you?
-Lots of special memories.
We had a Songs Of Praise with Dresden
and it was out in the ruins
and it was a very powerful Songs Of Praise
when you realise that they were then in East Germany
and the bombing of Dresden and the bombing of Coventry is very much linked
and we are very close to Dresden.
The 50th anniversary of the bombing, when we had the Queen Mother
and the President of West Germany.
And the codename for the bombing was Moonlight Sonata,
this is what the Germans used as a codename.
Our organist played the Moonlight Sonata
and we had autumn leaves falling onto the altar...
-..one for every person who had died in the bombings.
So, yeah, lots of memories and lots of happy times, too. Yeah.
MUSIC: "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven
Let's see what our first lots will make at auction.
And here's a reminder of what we're taking. First was June with a trio of trinkets for Michael to value.
Will they combine to create a great price? Kathleen brought in a German helmet which Will took a look at.
It's not in mint condition. But these items are very collectable.
Next up was another Kathleen, whose set of six chairs have been in the family for 101 years.
But it's time for them to move on to a new owner.
The Stevengraphs might not be Nic's thing
but Will thinks the Midlands connection will help them fly.
And finally, it was back to Michael
who looked at Valerie's gold watch, Swiss, beautifully decorated, guaranteed to go, you'd think.
But nothing's certain in the saleroom.
Today's auction is in Bigwood. Not that big wood, but this Bigwood.
Bigwood Fine Art Auctioneers is in Tiddington, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon.
The big names here are auctioneers Chris Ironmonger and Stephen Kaye.
The sale is about to begin, so time to find out if Michael and Will's valuations strike the right note.
You certainly wouldn't want to sit down on this lot if somebody left it on a chair, would you, Kathleen?
-God, it would hurt.
-We've got a German Pickelhaube helmet with a big spike on the top.
-Yes, it was just a bit misshapen, I think.
-It had a bit of cracking on that leather cover.
-The chin-strap was missing.
-So how did you come by this anyway?
I thought that my mother-in-law used to have a German lodger.
-But my friend who's here says he doesn't remember it.
-The mystery deepens about this German lodger.
We go to Lot 415, which is the Pickelhaube helmet.
-I've got some bids here on the book. I can start here at £80.
95. 100. And 10. 120. 130. 140. 150.
160. 170. 180.
190. I'm out. Anybody give me 200?
All done at 190.
-Yes! The hammer's gone down. £190.
-Bit of a "come and buy me".
-A little bit. It was just the condition.
-But it was nice and original.
-It's a lovely thing. Don't forget there's commission to pay.
-Of course, yes.
There's a bit of spending money.
-Unless the German lodger's watching and asks you for his cash back.
-He's got a point.
Good luck. Valerie's little gold watch is just about to go under the hammer. It's Swiss, 14-carat.
-Sounds good, Michael.
-Where can you buy a Swiss, 14-carat gold pocket watch for £80?
-Well, you can't. But hopefully we'll sell it for 200.
-I hope so.
Good luck. Hopefully, we'll get the top end of the estimate. It's going under the hammer right now.
Lot number 100 is the gentleman's hunter cased pocket watch.
And I can start here on the book at £75.
Good, we're in, in the room.
90. 5. 100. And 10.
-130. 140. 150?
-140 with the gentleman at the back.
-That's more like it.
-All done at 140.
-That's a good result.
-Well done, Michael.
-Well, you're happy. The chap that bought it is smiling. So it's a win-win situation.
-Valerie's shopping later, so she'll be happy as well. Good luck.
I've got 40 here. 45. 50. 55, madam? 55. 60.
We've got some local interest. The Coventry silks are about to go under the hammer.
They belong to Nic who unfortunately can't be here
but we've got our expert, Will - he's put a no reserve on this.
Another no reserve. Good job Nic's not here.
They could go for a fiver and she won't tell you off.
No, I'm confident in these.
As you say, local interest, with the Coventry connection.
-We've put £30-£50. They've got to be worth 30, they could make 50.
Lot number 485 are the two Stevengraphs,
regarding the city of Oxford and Coventry.
-Erm, I've got some bids here on the book.
-That always helps.
-And I can start at £35.
I'll take 40 from anybody else.
I'm on the book at 35. Anyone else?
All done at £35...
GAVEL BANGS I'm pleased with that.
-That's what they're worth.
-Yeah. We'll get on the phone to Nic.
And 20 and 2... I'm out.
We've got Kathleen's six chairs just about to go under the hammer. I hope we get you top money today.
They're just about to go under the hammer. This is it now. Good luck.
Lot 535 - six late 19th, early 20th-century Windsor kitchen chairs.
Good solid little chairs there. And I'm bid £100. 110. 120.
130. Is it 140?
140. 150, if you like?
For a set of six, they're no money at all at 140. Do you want 150 now?
At £140. Are you all sure? All done.
-I don't know if he's sold.
-No. 150 was...
-150 was the reserve, wasn't it?
-I don't want to take them back.
I think we might have to find the underbidder
and see if the auctioneer can let them go to him at 140.
'Afterwards Kathleen decided to put the chairs back into Bigwood's next auction
'with a slightly reduced reserve.'
-June, £200 to £300 riding on a nice little lot, isn't it?
-Oh, it's so interesting.
-A bit of treen.
-And a bit of this and that.
-It's the most fascinating little lot.
-A collector will love these.
-You'll just muse over them. There's lots of fascinating stories. Your mum had a good eye.
-She certainly did.
-Anyway, we're going to flog them. They're going under the hammer now.
335 is a late Georgian, early Victorian perfume bottle set
and also the German nutcracker and seal box. 100 for this?
Get me started at 100? I'm bid 80.
It's a bit of a low start there.
110. 120. 120. 130. 140.
-It's getting faster.
180, is it? It's 170 in the far corner. At 170.
At 170, I'm going to sell it. Make no mistake. In the far corner at 170.
-Yes. He's sold it.
-He sold it.
-Just under that.
-Yes, just under that.
-And someone will really enjoy that lot as well.
-A very tactile lot.
-The nutcrackers in it were fantastic.
-I wanted to get them. I couldn't. But just to polish them.
-Because once you put a bit of wax on them, they'll just spring to life.
-Thank you for bringing them in.
-Thank you for looking after me.
-Thank you, Michael.
-You couldn't be the only one to get a kiss, Paul.
Before we go back to Coventry, I'll take a trip to a picturesque village just down the road in the Cotswolds.
It's home to a museum I've been wanting to visit for a long time.
These are the original drawings of one of the most important
and influential designers of the 20th century. He was a very passionate and talented draughtsman.
And he had a profound impact on the development of modern furniture and how we relate to design today.
And his name was Sir Gordon Russell.
This was his original workshop. It's now a wonderful museum dedicated to his lifetime achievements.
And it houses the most fabulous collection of furniture designed and championed by him.
Gordon Russell's furniture and designs tell the story of his life.
A life that went through distinct and often contrasting phases.
But throughout his life, he focused on one common goal
and that was to design, conceive and construct well-made furniture.
In his own words, "decent furniture for ordinary people". And that would become his mantra.
To understand Russell's work, we need to travel back to his childhood,
and how a family move would influence the rest of his life.
The museum's here in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds.
And it was to this very building that the Russell family moved when Gordon was a 12-year-old boy.
Russell became a weekly boarder at Chipping Campden School.
And it was there that he got fascinated by local craftsmen and what they made.
He got a first-hand experience of an artistic and social movement, Arts and Crafts.
The Arts and Crafts Movement originated towards the end of the 19th century.
Its focus was on hand crafts and it celebrated the workmanship of design and production.
It was about simplicity and honesty, taking pleasure from construction as much as the end product.
The Movement opposed mass production, machine manufacturing and industrialisation.
When Russell was growing up in the Cotswolds, it was the very centre of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
This was to have a profound influence on Russell's entire life's work.
This has got to be my favourite piece in the museum.
And here is the original stencil that Gordon Russell drew to give to the cabinet-maker
to use as a template for the inlay.
He's copied it absolutely beautifully. The more you look at this, the more detail you can see.
On the stand, you see these lovely octagonal legs.
Look at these bog oak-inlaid chevrons moving all around the leg.
That really is a joy to behold, that piece.
Although Russell was heavily influenced by the ethos of the Arts and Crafts Movement,
he was also realistic about the cost of his designs and how it limited their mass appeal.
He wanted everybody to enjoy his furniture and his design.
The only way to achieve this was to adopt machine-led production,
something that wholly opposed his Arts and Crafts roots.
But it didn't deter him though.
Russell believed that the machine could be tamed and taught manners and work in harmony with Man.
By the late 1920s, Russell was beginning to realise his dream
and was in the most productive design phase of his life.
However, a downturn in the global economy threatened the business.
A chance phone call would change his fortunes for ever.
It was from an Irish radio engineer called Frank Murphy.
Murphy wanted well-made, modern-looking, precisely designed bodies for his new radios
and Gordon Russell responded immediately.
Here are a few of the designs. Look at these lovely radios!
It's no wonder they were an instant success and they moved the company into a new phase of prosperity.
The radios showed that there was a market for modern, well-built furnishings.
It also proved to the company that they could successfully engineer in wood,
producing items for the mass market,
whilst preserving the design principles the firm was built on.
Just as the company was expanding,
Gordon Russell stepped back from its management and suddenly and completely stopped designing.
He was approaching his 50s and I guess he saw his professional life drawing to a close,
but little did he know that events on a global scale were about to set his life off on a different course.
'This is London. You will now hear a statement by the Prime Minister.
'I have to tell you now this country is at war with Germany.'
With the outbreak of World War Two, there was a sudden and profound need for general use furniture.
Many people's possessions were being destroyed and there wasn't the raw materials or technical ability
to continue general production.
What was needed was simple, functional, well-built furniture that could be mass-produced.
To his surprise, Russell was asked to join the team
overseeing the design and manufacture of utility furniture.
It was a vital part of the war effort,
but also a perfect opportunity to continue his lifetime crusade
to produce decent furniture for ordinary people.
Russell's role working on utility furniture led to other management positions in the design community.
However, as the decades passed, Russell was to retreat
from public life back to his beloved Cotswolds.
At the ripe old age of 84, Gordon Russell's life came full circle.
He started to put pen to paper and design again.
Even though he hadn't drafted a single thing for the last 50 years,
he still had a far-reaching impact on the design world,
a profound influence.
But in his heyday, he just threw himself into the things he loved
and what inspired him most was the Arts and Crafts Movement.
This little yew wood occasional table is one of the last things he designed and it was done in 1979.
Sadly, three years later, he died.
But what a wonderful legacy he's left! Incredible.
Welcome back to the valuation day at Coventry Cathedral. Still people are pouring in.
Everyone who comes to one of our events is guaranteed a valuation, so we should be here for a while.
Tracy, I don't often get to see a lot of furniture on Flog It because it's not very portable,
but for me it's a nice change because I specialise in furniture.
-Where has this come from?
-It's my grandma's and it sat in her hallway for as many years as I can remember.
Has she got any other bits that are similar dotted around the house?
No, this is the only piece.
Originally, it would have been part of a salon suite, as we call it,
so there would have been a couple of single chairs, a couple of armchairs and this settee.
-Any idea of how old it is?
I would think you're looking at late 19th century, early Edwardian.
-Of its type, it's actually a nice one.
There's a nice bit of carving on the back here.
We've got these acanthus scrolls that are carved in.
It shows a bit of quality in the manufacture, shall we say?
Have you ever been tempted to put it into your home?
No, never. It's quite sad cos it's just sat there all these years. Nothing's been done with it.
That's the trouble with these. How do they fit into the modern home?
They're not exactly primary seating any more.
You're not gonna put one of these in your sitting room or TV room
and chuck out the comfy three-seater sofa that you can really relax in,
so they're a little bit formal and upright for today's living.
Have you thought about how much it's worth?
No, it's just sat there. I haven't given it a thought at all.
It's not gonna be hugely valuable,
but of its type, it's got just enough detail that just helps lift it up from the norm.
We've got a little moulding along the edge, then these acanthus-leaf carvings here,
which again was that sort of Georgian revival of the scrolling acanthus.
And that's nicely echoed again in the arm supports.
So it's got just enough that...
It's obviously taken someone a little bit more effort to make this example
than one that's just thrown together without any carving and so on.
So, value-wise, I'm thinking of about 100, that sort of level, 150.
-Would you be happy with that sort of money?
-Yeah, I'd have thought so.
-You want a reserve of 100?
-You want it back if it doesn't sell?
-No reserve then?
-No, put a reserve on it.
-You want a reserve on it, but you don't want it back!
-We'll put £100 on it with discretion. How's that?
-Hopefully, on the day, we'll get it away and someone else can enjoy it.
-I hope so.
-Shall we see if it's comfy?
-It's not bad, actually.
-It's not too bad.
-I could get used to this.
I don't think I've ever seen a dog with such a surprised expression before. What have you done to him?
-It must've been all the tugging around as a child.
-So he was yours as a little girl?
-Did he follow you everywhere?
-He did when I was learning to walk.
-It was more my own dog.
-Where has he been living the past few years?
-The past few years, he's been in my mum's cupboard.
-Oh, dear. It's no place for a lad like that.
-Even with that... Oh, dear me. ..with that expression.
-Do you know when and where he was made?
-I think Germany. When I was a child, my father was in the forces.
And my mother bought him. She tried to buy me a dog... a frame to teach me to walk,
but in Germany at the time, they didn't have any, so she bought me this for Christmas instead.
So it was the Alsatian or the German shepherd on wheels?
-You have to look in the ears of these things, especially when you say "Germany".
And sure enough, we've got the little Steiff button.
If you need reaffirming that it's all genuine, all of the wheels are marked "Steiff" as well.
And I think it was probably new or slightly second-hand when you had it.
It's certainly a dog that would have been produced from 1950 up until the late '60s.
-It's a bit of fun. This ring does something, doesn't it?
-Let's give it a go.
-FAINT BARKING SOUND
-It wouldn't be terribly good as a security dog.
If you heard that, you'd be encouraged, not put off.
-The all-important buttoned ear has had a little bit of restoration done to it.
-Because it's actually on the wrong way round. Any idea of what it's worth?
-I haven't at all, no.
It's not a fortune, unfortunately.
Had it been 50 years earlier, it might have been a small fortune.
-But as it is now, I think at auction, it's £50 to £100.
And hopefully, somebody will be looking for a little dog to teach their little one to walk
-and it will find a good home. Are you happy to sell him now?
-Yes, I'm ready.
Get him out of the cupboard, give him a new lease of life?
Let's hope he doesn't bark too loudly and put everybody off!
-Thanks for bringing him in.
Christine, what a menagerie you've brought in for us today!
Has this come out of a love of all things animal or are you particularly interested in Beswick?
-Well, we've just got interested in collecting them over the years, you know.
-Have you bought most of these from fairs or sales?
-No, from Coventry shops, like, you know.
We've seen a lot of Beswick on the programme, Flog It. There's only so much you can say about it.
-It was established sort of late 19th century.
Really as a reaction towards the Doulton and Worcester figures
that were at the top end of the market, shall we say, the Doulton and Worcester figures.
These were mass-produced. These were produced in large numbers,
though some models were limited and rarer than others.
-Exactly. As special editions or such like and they can command good prices even today.
I've had a quick look over what you've brought in and I'm not pretending to be a Beswick expert.
It's not really my field, but a lot of these I have seen before.
You've got the bird figures which we've seen before, the foxes are quite common.
The dogs again are quite a popular series of Beswick.
They are so popular.
-This chap here's not Beswick, but he's sneaked in.
-The little poodle.
But why not keep him with the others?
Then these are rather later, these more matt finishes.
The market for Beswick is not as strong as it has been.
I would suggest, just totting it up in my head...
-I don't want to go over the top on the valuation.
-You've decided to sell.
-Let's put a sensible figure on them.
I'm thinking of putting a figure on these, as a group, as one lot.
-The more in the lot, the more interest it's gonna generate.
I'm thinking of putting £200 on for the lot.
-That may not sound a lot.
-I think they'd be worth more than that.
I hope I'm wrong and someone watching is screaming at the TV,
saying, "That's a rare example, it's worth £100 on its own!"
I hope that's true. Let's reserve them at 200 to make sure they don't make any less.
-No, otherwise it wouldn't be worth selling them.
-We'll put 200 fixed reserve on them.
-Hopefully, the money will go towards collecting something else now?
-No, towards a new carpet.
-What's happened to the old one?
-It's worn out.
-At least we know it's going for a good cause.
We're going for a new carpet for Christine and we're using the Beswick to raise the cash.
-£200 minimum, but we hope for more.
-We'll see you on the day, Christine.
-Thank you very much.
Karen, you've made my day today
bringing this little collection along.
Can you tell me where they've originally come from?
They came to me via my father and from his father.
-Acquired before 1918, which is when my grandfather died.
Well, I'd say your grandfather had quite a good eye
when he was buying these.
-As you might know, most of these are ivory.
-They're actually all from Japan.
And the earliest one is this one here
and funnily enough, he isn't ivory.
And you can tell that because you've got that very coarse, open grain.
And that is a netsuke. If you were a Japanese gentleman,
-you wore a robe with no pockets...
-..and a wide sash round your waist.
So everything you needed was carried in a series of small pouches
and they're secured by a cord that goes through the sash
and then to stop it slipping down, you have a toggle or a netsuke.
After about 1870, Japanese dress was banned,
so the netsuke carvers thought, "What are we going to do for a living?"
And they moved on to little carvings like this.
-Technically, this is still a netsuke.
It's got two carved holes for the cord
but they're just a vestige of what it used to be.
It's really a little three-dimensional carving.
We've got a little turtle or a little devil
being caught under a cabbage leaf
and it's beautifully and sensitively carved.
That's a lovely thing. Going on from that,
this is really super quality.
And that's a little chap cutting the divisions in a comb.
-He's a comb maker. We're left with these four...
..which are little okimono, little carvings,
but they're of less good quality.
And I would imagine that we would put all of those together
in one lot at auction
whilst we treat these as separate entities.
-So we would say £80-£120 for those,
-with a fixed reserve of £80.
These are a little more speculative and would be individual lots.
This, because it's bone, even though it's early, £60-£100
with a £60 reserve.
It could do a little bit better.
These two are the stars for me.
-The oni grasping the little turtle under the leaf, £150-£250...
-with a fixed reserve of £150.
And this little comb maker,
even though he's got a slightly broken comb, again...
Actually, £200-£300 for him,
with a fixed reserve of £200 because he's so delightful.
Well, I think.. I normally say I hope these do well at auction,
I'm sure they will do well at auction
-and we'll be there to see how well they go.
-Thank you for bringing them in.
-It's a pleasure.
That's all from Coventry's splendid cathedral.
Here's a reminder of what's going under the hammer at the auction.
Will and Tracy might be getting comfy on her Edwardian-style sofa, but will the price put her at ease?
Linda's dog's bark might be about as harmless as its bite,
but that Steiff name alone should warrant some interest.
Michael's convinced Karen's Japanese carvings
will race out of the auction room.
And finally, Will took a look at Christine's Beswick zoo - quality and quantity!
Let's hope someone has an ark on stand-by to take this lot home.
Things are moving along nicely. You could say so far, so good.
-I could say that again - sofa, so good! Tracy...
-I like it.
-Do you like my gag?
-Took me a long time to think of that!
We've got £100 to £150, it's Edwardian-looking...
It's a cracking little seat. If you want a good seat to sit on for £150, that's a bargain.
We find them in the bedroom, end of the bed, somewhere to throw your clothes at the end of the day...
-I chuck mine on the floor.
-So do I.
-I'm from the same school as you two!
-Good luck. Here's the sofa going under the hammer.
Lot 520 is a Victorian, Edwardian mahogany parlour settee.
-I can start this off at £100 with a bid on the book.
That's good, straight in!
110. I'm clear. 120 anywhere else?
At 110. 120. 130. 140, sir?
-It's the room against the commission bidder.
130, I'm gonna sell it. Last chance at 130...
-Great. Good. Mid-estimate. Are you happy with that?
-What will you do with 130 quid? Bit of commission to pay.
-It'll all go towards Grandma's care.
-Gran's gone into care?
-So, to look after her?
-What's her name?
-Barbara, I hope you're watching this, and good luck.
-Good luck to you as well.
-Thank you. I was pleased with that.
Right now it's time to find out... # How much is that doggie in the saleroom? #
-It belongs to Linda and he's a good pedigree, isn't he?
-Oh, he is.
Will you be sad to say goodbye because you've used this little doggie as a walking aid?
I did. He was lovely to grow up with, but he's been in a cupboard for 30-odd years.
-A bit of daylight might do him a bit of good.
-As breeds go, he is "best in show".
-Top name. The bark almost went on valuation day, but we got it back.
We did a bit of resuscitation and for £50, it's a piece of Steiff, isn't it?
-Yeah. Hopefully for 100.
-I hope so.
Lot 470, this is a pull-along Steiff dog.
50 quid for the dog?
Thank you. Anybody give me another fiver? Thank you. And 60?
-And 70? 65 at the very, very back.
Anybody give me 70? Are we all done...?
-And hopefully, it's gonna go to someone who is gonna learn to walk with it.
-It would be lovely.
-The ideal finish.
-It would be lovely.
Next up, we have a Beswick zoo for sale.
Not quite, but it is 31 animals which have been split into a dozen or so lots.
They belong to Christine. Let's find out what it's all about.
OK, were you a big collector?
-Well, my husband started collecting them.
-He started you off.
-You bought one or two every year and built up a collection?
-That's right, yes.
-Why are you selling now?
-I want a new carpet for my living room.
That's a fair exchange. I'd swap my Beswick for a carpet!
I'd swap my Beswick for a rug!
Let's hope it doesn't get pulled under our feet today.
-They have been divided up into lots of different lots. Some figures are more collectable than others.
At the valuation day, we put it all together as one lot,
but the auctioneer knows his market and decided to split it up into smaller lots.
-Let's start off with the first lot. It's a Dalmatian followed by a fox. Ready?
15, madam? 15. 20?
15, lady's bid. I'm gonna sell at £15...
-Good start, 15.
-25 with me. 28.
Any advance on £30?
That's £30. The next is a collection of animals.
And 307, some more Beswick - the mouse, the donkey, etcetera.
I've got 35 on my right. At £35, I'm gonna sell it.
-Yes! And now we've got an eagle. Let's watch this one fly!
Starting at 30 on the book. 5 in the room?
35. At 35. It's yours, sir.
309, we've got the Spirit of Fire this time, the grey horse.
I've got 30 here. 32. 34. Any advance on 34...?
-Now the horse, the palomino.
55. 60. 65. 67. Any advance on 67...?
Yes! We've got some birds.
With me on the book at 50. 60. 60. And I'm clear.
60. 70 now? At £60...
-I meant to bring a toby jug!
The kestrel, the song thrush and an owl. 70 with you, sir.
-5, anywhere? £70, thank you.
-We're in the money!
We've got the stag family.
66. 68. 70.
£70. The lady's bid at 70...
-So far, so good. We've got a woodpecker, a kingfisher.
85. 90? 85 it is. By the door here at £85.
Going at 85. All finished and done...?
That's the last lot gone. That's brilliant.
-We've sold absolutely everything.
-The collectors were really here today.
-I make that a total of...
-I make it £501.
-Just over 500 quid. That's fantastic.
-That's a quality carpet.
-Thank you so much for bringing them all in.
Next up, Karen's netsuke. It is a touch of the Orient.
Lovely Japanese carvings.
-The detail is superb on some of these, you've got to agree.
You must've looked at them and mused over them.
-Unfortunately, they've always been hidden away.
-In a box.
-They've never been on show.
-You've split them into four lots.
-Talk us quickly through those.
-The little monkey bone netsuke,
which you can tell because it's flecked,
that's the most esoteric of the four and that might struggle.
But the other three are fine, Japanese ivory carvings.
I had a chat to the auctioneer before the sale started
and we both loved the carpenter, the guy with the saw.
-Yes, the comb maker.
-He's making combs.
And lot 365 is the carved bone netsuke,
fashioned as a seated monkey wearing an overcoat.
40, I'm bid, 40 and 5. 50, is it?
50 and 5, do I hear? 60.
And 5. On this phone now, at 60. I'm going to sell it to them.
The first's one sold for 60. Here's the second.
20th-century Japanese ivory okimono,
the man with the body of a monkey and three seated figures.
Who's got 50 for this? 50.
50, 60, 70. 80?
70, over there. At 70. Back of the room at 70.
-80 on that phone.
80. Would you like 90? At 80. On this telephone at £80.
Last chance. I'm going to sell it at 80.
-The bid's up here.
-Just made it.
-Here's the third.
Lot 367, an ivory Japanese carved okimono, an artisan,
a seated worker with his saw on a block.
150? 150, I'm bid. 160, is it?
At £150. At 160. 160, 170. 180?
180, 190. 190, 200?
At £190. Are we all finished?
Are you sure?
-Fourth and final one.
A little monster pulling a turtle.
Who's going to start me at £100? Straight off at 100. 110.
120? 120. 130, now.
-Come on, come on.
140, 150? 150. 160?
-180. Will you go 200, madam?
280? 280. 300?
-300. 320? 320.
-340 on the top phone?
340. On the top phone at 340. Any further advance on 340?
-A fantastic result.
-I tell you, Karen,
-you've got £670.
-That is fantastic.
-Quality always sells.
-Yes, that's the mantra.
Remember that. Quality always sells.
What a fantastic day we've had at Bigwood's auction rooms.
I think that was the final act from Stratford-upon-Avon,
so from all of us here, it's cheerio until the next time.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Members of the public try to make money out of their antiques with the help of experts by taking a risk at auction. Coventry Cathedral is the grand setting, and presenter Paul Martin is joined by experts Michael Baggott and Will Axon.