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I only have to say to you roundabouts and concrete cows
and most of you will know what I'm on about.
Today, Flog It is in Milton Keynes.
It's hotly debated exactly
how many roundabouts there are here in Milton Keynes.
Some say there's a mere 300.
Others say it's closer to 1,000.
But whatever way you look at it, you have to look around and see there are loads of them!
As for the concrete cows,
they were a leaving present to Milton Keynes
in 1978 from the American artist Liz Leyh.
For works of art, they've had a rough time.
A couple have been stolen.
Pranksters have painted pyjamas on them, and some have had to be rebuilt
after they were beheaded!
The Mona Lisa didn't have this sort of trouble!
All of these good people have been queuing patiently outside the venue,
the Jurys Inn, in the heart of Milton Keynes.
They're not here to see modern sculpture.
They're here to chew the cud with our antiques experts Anita Manning and Kate Bateman.
It's time to get the doors open and see what they've got to say.
Everyone, follow me!
Inside we go.
Anita's spotted some plates. But I don't think anybody will be eating off these!
David, Tina, welcome to Flog It.
I'm so happy that you've brought us along these wonderful big plates.
Who do they belong to?
-All right. Where did you get them, David?
I inherited them from a great-aunt.
She lived in Sweden for 40 to 50 years,
having taught English to Swedish schoolchildren
and got the MBE for her services.
-So these arrived with me about 11 years ago
in what was a living will.
I imagine they're Swiss/Italian.
Could be from the Zizino region of Switzerland
or northern Italy
or even a bit further south on the Italian Riviera
around Portofino, that area.
-You're very good, David. Are you after my job?
-I like the geography of Europe.
-Tina, what did you think of them when they arrived?
-I thought they were beautiful.
I still think that. If we had a high enough ceiling
and a big enough room to put them in, then we would keep them.
David, I think you're absolutely right in the geography.
These are Swiss plates.
They're from a Swiss factory.
These would have been the type of items
that would have been bought by people on their Grand Tour.
-They date from the late 1800s to the early 20th century.
They were made over a reasonable period of time.
We have these hand-painted scenes in the centre.
Both different scenes and probably from Switzerland.
We have these high snow-clad mountains,
the beautiful lakes
and we have some little figures in boats.
They are hand-painted. Not signed.
They would have been done by artisans rather than artists.
What I like best about them
is this wonderful border.
With these almost asymmetric bands
of embossed flowers.
they're in good condition.
They were never fine items. They would be made in large quantities
and they still have more quality
than you would get from production items of today's age.
So I would like to keep the estimate conservative.
-I would like to put them in
with an estimate of 150 to 250.
-That sounds fine.
-I would like to put a firm reserve of 150 on them,
-with no discretion.
-Now, how do you feel about that?
-OK. They're your plates.
-That sounds fine.
-Both of you happy?
-Good. Let's go for 'em. Let's flog it.
Next is our new girl, Kate, who's found a glamorous little sparkler.
So, Sadie and Leah, you've brought in this lovely ring.
-What can you tell me about it?
-It was my nan's ring.
I just had it in a jewellery box. My little girl, Leah, used to play in the garden with it.
In the garden with it? Just to take it out and pretend it's yours?
Did you ever drop it?
-I dropped it and, um...
-I found it.
-In the garden.
-We had a tub of flowers.
You are a lucky young lady.
-So you don't know much about it?
-You inherited it.
OK. Well, it's a really nice ring. Art Deco.
Sort of like a dress ring.
It's got lots of diamonds!
Very sparkly, as you can see, and a central oval ruby.
Date-wise it's about 1920s, 1930s.
-Have you ever had it valued?
-I took it down to my local jeweller's.
He just gave me a valuation to insure it
between two and three.
But he obviously said
to take it to a proper auctioneer and let them have a look.
-So he wasn't interested in buying it?
Two to three thousand for an insurance valuation is right.
You'd normally insure it at twice the price
-that you'd expect to get at a sale.
And the problem is not a lot of people
-are going to be able to wear it.
-It's not something you'd pop down to the shops with?
No. Not when I found out it was... I'd assumed it was a dress ring.
I didn't assume it was real diamonds.
It didn't look like that when we first had it.
He cleaned it all up for me.
-OK. So quite surprising to see it shining?
That's why you got to play with it!
So, if we were to put it into a sale,
you'd probably expect maybe an estimate of 1,200 to £1,500, something like that.
A reserve somewhere just below that, so £900 as a reserve.
-Is that the sort of figure you'd sell it for?
because it's just sitting in a box.
What would you do with the money? This is your inheritance, if they sell it.
-Don't want to inherit it? Rather get the money?
-We'll get another car.
-Another car. Fair enough.
-If you're happy, we'll try and get you a new car. We'll flog it.
Cliff, it's great to see a drum on Flog It,
being an ex-drummer. I have a drum kit at home and still love to play,
but wasn't fortunate enough to have a Ringo Starr drum!
-How old were you when you got this?
-Mid-'60s. This is definitely '64, '66, somewhere around there.
Did it inspire you to take up drumming?
Afraid not. I was never a Beatles fan.
Either one or the other. The Beatles were the good guys
and the Rolling Stones were the rock'n'roll bad guys, got into trouble.
The only use it really had was me trying to wear out Ringo's face!
I'm pleased you didn't cos this is the original skin.
It's got the Ringo Starr signature with his little face on it,
as you can see.
-These skins are very good, almost like professional skins.
This is a standard 14-inch snare drum. Although this is made
completely out of plastic,
it is actually modelled on a metal snare drum
which Ringo would have used. This is made by Selco in this country.
Ringo would have used a metal-shelled version, in chrome,
with ten tuning lugs. His drum kit was a Ludwig, an American drum.
Now, what's missing on this is a set of snares.
-I noticed that.
-Wires soldered together on a strap.
There's about 24 of them that run the length of the drum.
They're held on with string which goes into those two holes.
If you do that, it tightens them up
and pulls the snare wires onto the bottom skin
and makes it sound as if it's a marching drum.
Military side drums. It goes...
I wish we had some drum sticks!
Tell you what, we've got some spoons.
I don't know what I can do with spoons, but...
-You can actually get something out of this
-and I think this is a good starting-off instrument.
-It's a bit more than a toy.
It's more than a toy. Now, we've sold Beatles guitars on the show.
I think one achieved around £300 or £400.
-Have you any idea what this is worth?
-I was hoping 150 to 200, along those lines.
I could say I think you're bang on!
Pardon the pun!
If this was in mint condition,
if it had the stand and original sticks and those snare wires,
museum condition, you'd be looking for £600 to £700,
-Cos not many have survived.
-I can imagine.
-They really haven't.
If we put this into auction, we'd put it in with a value of £200 to £400.
A fixed reserve at 200.
-Yes, very. Very happy.
I think it's fantastic and a Beatles fan will love this,
especially with Ringo there!
Jill, welcome to Flog It.
And it's lovely to have that gorgeous piece of Victorian jewellery here.
Tell me, where did you get it?
My grandmother gave it to me when I got engaged in 1974.
-Did you wear it?
-I've never worn it.
-Left in a drawer.
-Did it belong to your grandmother?
I think so, but I don't know anything about it.
-No pictures of her wearing it?
Why haven't you worn it? Is it not to your taste?
Because I knew it was a mourning locket
and it's big and dark-coloured.
Although I knew it was beautifully made.
-So it's a bit sort of sombre?
OK, let's just have a closer look at it.
The case is not marked for gold.
Very often when a piece was made specially for someone,
by a jeweller, if it had been commissioned,
then they would not have hallmarked it.
But the touch of it, the colour of it, the weight of it,
all these things indicate to me that it is gold.
The front of it
has this beautiful banded agate oval on it.
And we have a gold and enamelled starburst here
and a beautiful pearl.
So it's a lovely thing.
It's a quality item.
I like it very, very much.
Let's open it
and have a little look inside.
-Now, do you know who this...?
-Afraid I don't, no!
-He's quite a sombre looking chap.
-Could he have been a boyfriend or a fiance?
-I just don't know.
-You don't know?
And we have the hair whorl here,
which is typical of mourning jewellery.
When Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria went into mourning.
And mourning became a fashion.
-I would date it
from about the 1860s, 1870s.
Although these aren't popular as things to wear,
they are collectible. Price-wise,
I would put an estimate of 120 to 180 on this locket.
-Would you be happy with that estimate?
Let's put it to sale, Jill, but we'll put a fixed reserve
-Yes, that sounds good.
-Shall we sell it at that?
-I'm hoping it will go much higher.
Irene, you've brought in this truncheon.
What can you tell me about it?
Just that my mother owned it.
It used to be her uncle's, many years ago.
She just kept it and one day said, "It's something you can have."
-And I thought, "Ooh! Nice!"
-You were thrilled to have it as a gift?
It was nice.
When you were younger, you never asked questions what it was about.
-Now she's long gone, it would be nice to...
-Wish you'd asked.
-Was someone in the family a policeman?
-Yeah, my mother's uncle.
-OK. And was that fairly locally?
-Round Wolverton, which is in Milton Keynes.
It's a late 19th-century policeman's truncheon.
Have a look here. It's quite nicely decorated.
All these hand-painted things on the front.
You've got a crown
and a VR for Victoria Regis cipher.
And you've got constable, for a police constable,
with a turned fruitwood handle and you have a bit of string here,
but it would have had a leather strap for the wrist strap.
So quite a highly decorative thing,
as well as a highly effective thing if you're going to hit someone!
-Do you like it?
-I think it's nice, but it's in a cupboard in a box.
OK, so it's quite hard to display.
Sometimes they have wording on them like where it comes from.
So you'd have the county or something. This just says constable.
But you've got the VR cipher, so it's Victorian, pre-1910.
-Price-wise for auction, do you have any idea what it would go for?
-Not at all.
I would think probably for an auction estimate, you'd put £80 to £120 on it.
-They are quite collectible.
-So you want it to sell?
What would you say to a reserve of £50?
-And an estimate of 80 to 120?
In the '60s, Britain was hit by far-reaching cultural changes.
People tend to think of "Swinging London"...
the mini skirt, pop music, but at the same time,
technological advances were having a huge impact on people's working lives.
While man was walking on the moon,
here in Milton Keynes a new university like no other was born...
A university of the air, and some 40 years later, it's now
Britain's largest university, with over 180,000 students,
and these old RAF huts is where it all started, back in 1969.
It now has an extensive campus with 3,776 people working here,
but less than a quarter of them are students...
That's because I'm at the home of Britain's first virtual university...
the Open University.
The OU was founded on the belief that emerging new communication technology
could bring high quality, degree-level learning to everyone, without the need to attend
a traditional university campus, and that would give working people, especially,
a chance to get a better education without having to give up work.
The idea of distance learning gained momentum in the early '60s when Harold Wilson,
the then Prime Minister, appointed Jenny Lee as Minister for the Arts.
I was a kind of last resort,
so he comes to me and he says, "For God's sake, get this thing going".
Jenny Lee passionately believed higher education should be an
opportunity open to anyone and she successfully triumphed in September 1967
when a crucial Cabinet decision was made to work out a comprehensive plan for an open university.
It is designed to provide an opportunity for those who for one reason or another
have not been able to take advantages of higher education now to do so.
The scheme was an instant success.
The OU received 43,000 applications in its first year, and Harold Wilson
claimed it was the "greatest achievement of his Government".
In the early years, teaching was done through lectures broadcast on the BBC...
And we've chosen our scales carefully...
These programmes were supplemented with correspondence material and study groups.
The OU's range of courses were also limited to traditional subjects,
like Maths and Social Science, but over the last 40 years,
it has diversified into many teaching areas.
Now it offers both degree and non-degree programmes
and practical courses like Creative Writing and Nursing.
I met up with Linda Cramer, who is one of their most recent graduates.
So how did you find out about the Open University and get involved with it?
I was working in a hospital environment
many years ago as a Ward Aid, and a sister on the ward encouraged me
to become a Healthcare Support Worker...
-She saw the potential in you?
-She saw, yes.
I became a Healthcare Support Worker by getting an access course,
getting A Levels, and then shortly after that
the Open University provided the opportunity for me to become a Student Nurse.
You've qualified as a nurse because of the Open University?
-Yes, because of the Open University.
How much studying did you have to do a week?
Hours and hours. Every spare moment, after work or days off, every spare moment.
-Has this changed your life?
-Oh, yes, indeed, yes, immensely.
From becoming a Ward Aid to a Healthcare Support Worker to a Student Nurse,
I can now proudly say that I am a qualified Staff Nurse.
And has the pay got better?
I've yet to receive my first month's pay...
I'm only brand-new qualified, so that's to come.
-And what do you plan on doing in the future? Will you do another course?
I now plan to eventually take a degree with the Open University
and see how I go from there.
-Good for you.
-You're a very dedicated person and I'm sure you'll achieve it.
I hope so. I plan to.
The success of students like Linda has also been helped by the OU's willingness
to continually embrace new technologies.
Open University coursework is now sent out through DVDs and CDs
and downloaded from the Internet as podcasts, so it's all very up to the minute.
These new computer-based tools have consigned the once-popular,
late-night TV lectures to the past,
but the Open University hasn't abandoned television altogether.
It's now gone into partnership
with the BBC on some of its landmark educational programmes,
like the Fossil Detectives...
The OU's ability to harness new communication technologies has
allowed it to reach out to people from all over the world and now,
in its 40th year, it continues to look to the future.
Since its opening, the Open University has given
hundreds of thousands of people the chance to access an education...
something they probably wouldn't have had, and quite interestingly,
the amount of students that have enrolled recently under the age of 25 has dramatically increased.
It's probably due to the fact that
a course here costs less than a third of a conventional
university, so it's a great way of avoiding those student debts.
Let's refresh our memories, with a look at the first batch of items
on their way to the auction.
David's hand-painted plates originally came from Switzerland.
They've got to sell today - they're too heavy to carry home!
Even Leah agrees that Kate's exquisite Art Deco diamond ring
is much better off in a sale room than in the garden!
Beatles memorabilia sells well,
so no reason for me to bang on any more
about the value of the Ringo Starr drum.
And the Victorian mourning locket may not be the height of fashion,
but it's quality - and you know what I always say about quality.
And the decorative Victorian policeman's truncheon
is so beautiful, the bidders are bound to find it arresting!
Today's sale comes from the heart of Woburn
and today's venue is the Old Town Hall.
For years, this has been owned by Flog It favourite Charlie Ross.
It's been taken over recently by Jasper Marsh, also an auctioneer,
but he's using Charlie's talents today on the rostrum.
Let's go inside.
We've seen plenty of these on the show, a Victorian police truncheon.
They make cracking money if dated and in great condition.
This one's condition is superb. We've got £80 to £120 on it.
It belongs to Irene here, possibly for not much longer.
-Who have you brought along?
-My husband, Ed.
Cracking, cracking item. How did you come across this?
It was my mother's uncle's.
I wonder if someone was in the police force in the family?
-I wish I knew.
-Let's hope you're right, Kate.
The condition, as you say, is great.
So it should sell pretty well.
You're right, if it had been dated, or a warrant number on it.
-Or name of a place.
-Name of a place.
You could attribute it to a local police station.
-Wow, you're looking at £400 to £500.
Lot 577 is a Victorian constable's truncheon.
Impressed maker's mark, Parker.
In fantastic condition. £50, I'm bid. Five.
60. Five. 70.
Five. Your bid. 85 on my left. 90. Five.
100. And ten.
120. Your bid in the back, standing.
At one hundred... 30.
40. 150? 140 in the back, then.
-That was like a game of table tennis!
-That's really good.
-What are you going to put the money towards?
-Well, we're going to Norfolk.
-We like Norfolk.
-We take the pets with us!
-What have you got?
-A border collie and a dog.
-A cat, sorry!
-A collie and a cat. "Border collie and a dog"!
Can't take me anywhere!
You know those moments when I say credit to our experts, they were spot on?
Well, it could go horribly wrong now for us.
We've got Cliff and the Ringo Starr snare drum.
A lovely bit of retro 1960s plastic.
But unfortunately, the auctioneer didn't agree with my valuation.
He didn't know what planet I was on
and he's too young to understand The Beatles.
I'm just hoping the room's full of Beatles fans. Spot any?
There's a lot of bald heads!
The circle Newbeat snare drum.
A Beatles promotional drum. There it is.
And I'm bid £110. 120, anywhere? At 110.
130. And 40.
150 and 60. No.
160. It's not your bid.
At 150. All done?
Any more bids? All done?
At £150. One more?
Come on, one more.
Can't be done, I'm afraid, ladies and gentlemen. We move on.
We got it to 150 in the room. Put it in a specialist music sale.
There were no other instruments here.
-Just a few old violins.
-I'll take your advice.
-Thank you. I'm really sorry it didn't sell.
Next up, two beautiful hand-painted plates.
They're quite large, from the 1800s, and belong to Tina and David.
Great to see you. You look absolutely fabulous!
-They've been in the family. They were your aunt's...
-Lots of memories?
-Originally, Anita, we had a valuation of 150 to £200.
Fixed reserve at 150.
We decided that at the valuation day.
Since then, David's done some research.
He's put the reserve up. It's not 150 any more, it's now 250.
These plates may well do 250 or more.
A low estimate doesn't jeopardise the price.
-It's more of a "come and buy me".
-It encourages the bidding.
Where did you do your research? How did you come by the price?
Some of these plates, a lot smaller, are selling for 1,500 US dollars.
-They're for sale at 1,500 dollars.
-Whether they get that.
-Not selling at.
You have to be really very careful.
You think you can do the research on the internet, but it is limited for the private person.
It's going under the hammer. Good luck!
A pair of Swiss earthenware chargers,
each centrally decorated with figures in boats
on a lake with mountains beyond.
Within a broad band of floral panels.
The reverse each signed "Toon".
And I'm bid
220 to clear commissions.
240, now? 220.
240 here. 250.
-It's on my right, now. Selling at 260.
£260 to my right. All finished
at £260. Done and selling
260. Just over reserve. Well done.
Sadie and Leah, we've been waiting for this for a long time.
Is it exciting? Not only a day off school, but a day in an auction room.
-Have you been in one before?
You can't see a lot at your height, but it's all going on at that end.
Charlie Ross is on the rostrum, selling all our lots.
Hopefully, this little ruby ring - we've got a value of 1,200.
-Yes, just over 1,000.
-Just over £1,000 is coming hopefully your way.
Ruby and diamond ring
in an Art Deco mount.
Bid 650, 700. 50.
At 750. 800 now.
At 800. I'll take 20 if it helps you.
Bid's at 800. And 20 now? Say now.
You're all out seated at 800. And 20 is it, now?
At £800. Any more bid?
All done at £800.
No more? At 800 it is.
Can't be sold, ladies and gentlemen, at £800.
We had a fixed reserve of 900 and I'm pleased you protected it with that.
-You don't want to give it away.
-No. I don't think the jewellery dealers were here.
It's a stand-alone piece in the room. There's no other diamonds or gems here.
-OK, we'll take it home, Leah.
-It's got to go home!
-I'm so sorry!
-That's OK. Thank you, anyway.
The good news is that, after the auction,
Sadie accepted a private offer of £750.
So she'll be able to buy that much-needed car after all.
Let's hope this isn't a sad moment. It's a Victorian mourning locket.
It's Jill's and has been in the family a while.
But you've decided to sell this now
because you want to put the money towards a new addition.
We've just had our first grandchild, called Isobel.
It's easier to sell it, because this was a special present to you.
When we got engaged, my grandmother gave me this, 33 years ago.
A long time. It's hard to sell things people give you as presents.
But in this case, selling it because of a new addition to the family,
I think is wonderful.
It's such a lovely thing and it's in perfect condition.
You haven't worn it. It's been in a drawer.
I think if you don't like it, it's the time to sell it.
I think it might be to today's tastes. It's a big chunky piece.
It's of beautiful quality.
Does that mean we'll get the top end of the estimate?
I don't know, Paul. We'll have to wait and see.
What are you looking for secretly?
150 would be very nice.
But the market will determine.
A gold, pearl and enamel pendant,
circa 1880. Late Victorian pendant.
I can start that at 85. 90. Five.
110. 120. 130.
-This is good.
200. And 20.
-A lot of money!
Are you taking instructions? 380.
380. You're out on the stairs. 380 in the middle of the room.
At £380. All done?
Selling at £380.
And I was right. I thought that it might be to today's tastes.
-A big chunky piece.
-And also a "Come and buy me..."
-"Come and buy me" valuation!
-I can be a bit like that.
-I'm really pleased.
-You've got to be pleased with that! Wow!
I'm feeling hot over that one!
-That's going to be put towards the christening funds.
-A bank account.
-Lovely nest egg, yes.
Fantastic. Thanks for coming in.
-Well done. That was marvellous!
Roald Dahl, what a legend!
Is there anybody
who has grown up over the last 50 years
who can imagine their childhood without the BFG...
James and the Giant Peach...
These are just some of his classic and much-loved children's stories.
And this big blue building here couldn't be anything else but the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.
Amanda Concay runs the Roald Dahl foundation
which is also based here. That's her office by the sign on the first floor.
She can remember him reading her bedtime stories.
Sounds absolutely fascinating, so let's have a chat with her.
Let's hear Amanda tell us her story about Roald Dahl.
I grew up in the village we are now, in Great Missenden,
and this is where Roald Dahl lived and spent most of his adult years
and where he wrote all his children's books.
As a child, our families were friends.
I was in the same class as his second child, Tessa.
Roald did the morning lift to school, my mother did the evening.
We certainly stayed in each other's houses, had sleep-overs,
so our lives were pretty interlinked.
Was he good fun to be with?
Yes, he was very imposing.
He was very tall, six foot five,
so he seemed a giant when you were a child and I think he hoped he was the Big Friendly Giant.
Do you have any fond memories of him?
He always wanted to take that bit of childhood fun a bit further.
So midnight walks are something that children talk about, and fantasise about,
but generally they don't happen.
But he would get us up in our pyjamas and say, "We're going for a walk."
And he would take us down the road to this tunnel
and he would tell a story under there.
It could be about anything,
the stars, witches, foxes, anything.
So that was just completely magical and different.
When Amanda started working at the foundation,
she had no idea what a huge and lasting success
Dahl's children's books would turn out to be.
Roald was the first one where there were signing sessions,
where there were author visits,
and boy, did the kids like to meet him!
You're not frightened of me, are you?
They're all sort of funny and nice.
Better than the other people's books.
The amazing thing is, for example,
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is Penguin Books' best-selling book of all time.
You're in publishing yourself,
so can you sum up why he was such a successful writer?
It is hard to say what makes somebody take off in this way,
to become part of the popular culture.
There's nothing old-fashioned about Roald Dahl. He's contemporary.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was written over 40 years ago,
but it still feels very contemporary.
They're nearly all moral tales, in one way or another.
Um, and the child is generally the hero.
At least the good children win and the bad children get their come-uppance.
Talking of Charlie again, what happens to the horrible children?
They all end up going down the chute.
The Oompa-Loompas get rid of them.
But we know Charlie is a good boy.
Nasty things happen but out of those, people either get punished
-or good people get rewarded.
So out of the dark comes good.
It's hard to think of Roald Dahl without thinking of his long-term working partnership
with illustrator Quentin Blake.
I think The Enormous Crocodile just shows how well
the combination of the two talents worked.
-Children can identify with that.
-Here is a crocodile that eats children.
But he has huge teeth.
But somehow, they're funny. There's something amazing about the combination.
In this book, Revolting Rhymes, for example,
here's a great thing when the prince chops off Cinderella's sister's head.
"What's all the racket?", Cindy cried. "Mind your own biz", the prince replied.
Poor Cindy's heart was torn to shreds.
"My prince", she thought.
"He chops off heads."
-That is so funny.
-This is a great example, isn't it?
-Look at her face.
-Yes, her face. It's not ghoulish, it's just funny.
I can have lots of people killed
but they won't be killed in a conventional way.
You can't have them shot
or chopped up or anything like that. It's just straight.
I'm quite prepared to have them killed in the most grizzly possible way,
like having little boys from Eton pulled out of the windows
and eaten by giants.
Bones crunched up and everything.
Or a child falling into a chocolate-making machine
and coming out as fudge.
That's fine, as long as there is a whopping great laugh at the same time.
He always said it's got to be fun. The books have to be funny.
And that came to him naturally.
He had the whizz-popping giant
in George's Marvellous Medicine
where he describes the granny as having a mouth like a dog's bottom.
-That's very creative!
-You only have to say that,
you only have to say it and you laugh, but no-one else would write it. But he did.
I understand he said, or he disliked anyway,
beards, museums and speeches.
What would he have made of the museum downstairs?
One has to remember he would have been 92 had he been alive now.
He said those things when museums were quite stuffy places.
The great thing is, we've been able to create the museum and story centre
at a time when museums can be really good fun.
They can be very interactive. I think you'll find when you see the museum
that it really lives up to him and his books
and it's a great fun place.
So that's exactly what I did
and Amanda was right. The children were having a scrumdiddlyumptious time.
But the final word should be left to the great man himself
who'd have been very at home in the museum.
'Most adults have forgotten how children are thinking.
'And I certainly see myself totally on the side of children.'
Back at the valuations, Anita has found some playful Clarice Cliff.
Clare, Clarice Cliff was one of the leading ceramicists of the 20th century.
People either love or hate her work.
-What do you think of it?
-These, I think, are hideous, really.
That's a word that my father described them as, "hideous".
Indeed. Tell me, where did you get them from?
They were given to my grandparents as a wedding gift.
I think that was in 1936.
Then my mum's always had them on the shelf in the kitchen.
That's where I remember seeing them.
Then Mum and Dad brought them over this time last year
and said, "Get rid of them. See what you can do with them."
Well, if we turn them up and look at the back stamp,
we see the magic name, Clarice Cliff.
Now, Clarice made a wide range of goods
and some of them are more collectible than others.
We have some very rare patterns that go into the four figures
and are highly sought-after.
Now, these are not the top-of-the-range Clarice Cliff.
They're from the series "My Garden" series.
So-called because you have this wonderful handle,
which is a band of flowers.
A fairly common, a fairly ordinary pattern,
it was very popular in its day.
They were made in the 1930s.
Because they were popular, they made a large amount of them.
So they weren't rare, and in today's market, that brings the price down.
-I would estimate them between £100 and £150.
About £50 each. Now, they might go a little higher
than the bottom estimate,
but you're not going to go to £200, £250.
I would love it to happen!
I think my dad would, also!
-So would you be happy to sell them?
-That would be good.
We'll put a reserve of £100 to protect them
and we'll hope they'll be very well fancied on the day.
-I hope so.
-Clare, shall we flog them?
-Go for it!
-Let's go for it!
So, Steve, you've brought in this bizarre, rather large, animal.
It's an elephant and a tiger. What do you think about it?
Um, I like it. It's just gathering dust, really.
I've had it in the loft. I inherited it from my gran,
but I've got nowhere to display it.
And if the little 'un knocks it off, it would be quite upsetting.
Ah, you've got a young child that might break it into pieces.
-Does your wife like it?
-Yeah, she likes elephants.
She'll be sad to see it go, but if it gets broken, she'll be even more gutted.
Do you know anything about it? The maker, or...?
It's got on the bottom it's a Beswick. I've nothing else to go on.
I know it's from my gran's cos I've seen it since I was young.
Yes, Beswick is the mark, an English maker.
It's fairly modern, 20th century.
But they make quite a lot of these animal models - cows, sheep and things.
They also do a series of wild animals, of which this is one.
They do this model in various sizes, a small, medium and large, and this is the large.
You've got a big bull elephant being attacked by a tiger.
So quite a violent theme to go on your mantelpiece!
It's really nicely modelled.
You can see the detail in the hide of the elephant, the face on the tiger.
Also, Beswick bits always get broken off.
So whenever I see one, I think, "It'll have a break on the trunk
"or the tusks always come off.
"You get chips on the legs or the ears."
But this is remarkably good condition,
considering it's been kept in the loft!
-It didn't cost you anything.
-Any idea as to value?
I've got no idea. As far as I'm concerned, it's more sentimental.
There are lots of Beswick collectors out there.
But it means nothing to them in terms of sentiment.
It's, "Is it one of a number that were produced and how rare is it?"
But the condition's great. For an auction value, you'd put £150 to £250 on it.
-Better than I thought.
-More than you thought?
-So for that kind of price, you'd be happy to sell it?
The estimate for the catalogue is 150 to 250.
I would suggest a lower reserve of £100.
But you can make that discretionary so the auctioneer has a chance to sell it.
-OK with that?
Gladys, when I saw you in the queue I knew you were a woman of taste...
And I wasn't surprised when you brought out this piece of Poole Pottery.
I think that it is absolutely wonderful.
Tell me, where did you get it?
I bought in 1960 or just turned down at Poole Pottery,
the pottery itself.
I've always been interested in ceramics and pottery because
in the late '30s I worked with Henry Moore but that was on sculptures.
-So you have an artistic background?
Apparently it was detected from the age of ten that there was artistic talent in me,
and my art mistress at school pushed me.
I went into the LCC in London
and won a scholarship for five years to go to Chelsea
and that's how I was under Henry Moore and there was also Barbara Hepworth there
-and John Piper and Graham Sutherland.
I just heard all these artists' names mentioned, how wonderful,
-and you've worked with them?
-I worked with them.
Barbara Hepworth didn't really like me - she was jealous...
because Henry Moore, he was older than me,
and I was very, very young and I worked in a room on my own with him.
-Did he fancy you?
-He did, he did!
Only Anita could ask that question!
And I'll answer it truthfully.
Yes, he did have a soft spot for me, I don't know why...
Because, Gladys, you are still a good-looking bird!
You're both a couple of stunners, aren't you? And here's another bonnie wee lass as well!
I've always been interested in art. I love it.
I mean, I just love this plate.
Why do you want to get rid of it?
Because I've gone more modern.
You see, when I bought that at the beginning of the '60s,
it was very modern.
You see, there's an interesting point here.
-You bought it in the '60s because it was bang up-to-date.
And if we look at the pattern and the colours of this plate...
-It was the colour that attracted me...
-These things are typical of what the Poole Pottery was putting out...
In the '60s. They were so '60s...
-they were modern, abstract...
They were hip, the thing that people
of style and taste, like yourself, would buy.
Now, Gladys, I've chosen this item
because I really like it, I really love it, as you have.
Well, I loved it, yes.
But I'm afraid I'm going to have to estimate fairly low
because there is some damage and restoration on the edge here...
-So we're having to ca' a wee bit canny.
Now, I'm going to put an estimate of £20 to £30 on it, with a reserve of £20.
Would you be happy to sell it at that?
Yes, I would, although to be honest,
-I thought it might have gone a little bit higher.
Let somebody buy it and let them have the pleasure that I've had with it.
But I'll tell you something,
for your performance we should be adding a series of zeros after that!
So, Jan, you've bought this mysterious box here. What's inside? Let's have a look.
-Ah! Scent bottle.
-What can you tell me about it?
Well, I bought it from an antiques fair, about five or six years ago,
and I was looking to buy some powder compacts, which is what I used to collect at the time,
and I walked past a stand and I just saw it and thought I've got to have it, just loved it.
-An impulse buy?
-Absolutely an impulse buy, yes.
I mean, do you know anything about age or...?
I think it's Victorian.
I spoke to the person who sold it to me and
-she thought it was about 1886.
She would've got that from the hallmark,
it's clearly marked up and that's great from my point of view as
it tells me the maker who made it, and tells you the year...1886.
What's nice about it is this maker - SM,
is quite a well-known maker...
He's one of the better late Victorian makers of scent bottles,
and this is a really nice example.
Over-wood body, it's an overlay, so it's a glass body
and then over-painted with glass and then refined. Right.
You've got a silver gilt, so silver covering gold-plate mount.
It's a really lovely thing. Why are you selling it?
Well, I've done my compact collecting now and I'm now collecting '50s things,
and I'm decorating a room at home and I want to buy a '50s lamp,
one of these tall lamps, and so I need to get some money, basically.
So, a one-in, one-out policy? You can't buy something till you get rid of this?
-So it's here to sell?
For auction, I'd probably put an estimate of £300 to £400 on it.
-Is that the sort of price you'd be happy to sell it for?
Yes, yes, I think so. That sounds fine.
What you would do is put a reserve on it to make sure it doesn't sell for too little that you'd be
gutted on a very quiet sale day. What's the least you'd take for it?
Um...I wouldn't want to sell it for sort of less than £250.
OK. Well, that's below the low estimate, so what you could do
-is put a reserve at £250 and make that a firm reserve.
And then the estimate in the catalogue would be £300 to £400.
It's got a really good chance of selling at that. If we can get you enough money for a lamp,
-that would be a good result.
-That would be brilliant.
Time to have a final look at what is on the way to the sale room.
Luckily, not everyone shares Clare's low opinion of Clarice Cliff!
I'm sure these jugs will soothe a new owner.
The Beswick collectors will love the condition of Steve's elephant and tiger.
Anita loved Gladys' stylish pottery plate.
It may have been made in the '60s
but it's the height of fashion right now.
Janeane brought her Victorian scent bottle from an antiques fair,
which is slightly the wrong way round of doing it,
but it's in great condition so it should do well.
First up, those Clarice Cliff jugs.
Clare, good to see you again. You've brought the kids here?
I've got Joshua. He's four. And Rachel, who's 16 months.
Wow! First time on TV. Lovely. The jugs, do you...
-Do you like them?
I like Clarice Cliff. I think it's very cheering.
-It's lovely in a kitchen.
Hopefully, we'll get around £100 to £150.
-You're flogging their inheritance!
No? What does Rachel think, I wonder? Hey, Rachel?
Oh, she's bidding. You just bought something!
A pair of 1930s Clarice Cliff jugs
of cylindrical tapering form,
each decorated with streaked orange and grey glaze
with moulded floral loop handle.
Bid 65 to clear commission. 70 I'll take.
At 65 for the pair. 75. 80.
90 bid. Five now?
At 90. And five. 100.
100 elsewhere? Bid's at 95. May I say 100, sir?
95 is the bid, then. At 95.
All finished at 95? 100 now?
At 95, then.
I'm afraid, ladies and gentlemen, we are one bid away. Not sold.
I just don't believe that. One bid.
We just needed a little prayer there. Rachel,
one bid away. So close!
-But Mum and Dad set the reserve.
-They did, yes.
We've seen plenty of Beswick on the show before, but nothing like this.
A tiger on the back of an elephant. It belongs to Steve, not for much longer.
It's in good company. Have you seen the amount of Beswick in the room?
-There's a lot.
-I'd say there's about 300 lots there.
So the collectors are going to be here. I think they'll snap yours up.
-Do you think it'll get top end?
-It'd be nice if it did.
It's unusual, not the normal thing people go for.
But I think so, yeah.
I had a chat with the new owner of the sale room, Jasper.
He kinda liked it. He said he wouldn't give it house room
but it will do mid-estimate. So we're pretty safe.
Lot 65 is a Beswick elephant and tiger.
Large group. 50 bid. Five. 60. Five.
No? At 70. Five now. 75 in two places. 80.
80. 90, may I say? 90.
Your bid at 90.
Make no mistake, I'm selling at 90 in the front row.
Anybody make it 100? And 100 I'm bid.
And ten, sir? Pipped at the post. 110.
120? No? 110 your bid.
Front row. All done at £110.
Yes. Nice work, Charlie Ross.
-Good, isn't it?
-Better than something collecting dust
and breaking in a few weeks' time.
Who's getting the money?
Um, I dunno, really.
Take the girlfriend out for a meal, I suppose.
-Treat her. Something special.
-She'll hold you to that! It's on camera!
Right, got to sort myself out. I'm surrounded by very stylish women.
I've got Anita and Gladys next to me.
And we've got some Poole Pottery going under the hammer.
£20 to £30 is not a lot of money.
I'm going to give it to my good friend, Mike, to give to his
-And what's that?
Well, he does a lot for Willen Hospice, Milton Keynes.
OK. Nice local charity.
Gladys is a star!
She was wonderful.
And it's not a big, pricey thing and there is a wee bit of damage
which you repaired yourself?
I did myself, yes.
I didn't make a bad job of it, did I?
Gladys was irresistible!
-Well, she is now, isn't she?
-Oh, thank you!
Fingers crossed. Let's raise as much money as possible, OK?
-It's going under the hammer.
-It's for charity.
A Poole Pottery charger, decorated with spheres and swept bands of
orange, caramel and black on a mottled ground.
£30. £20. I'm bid £20.
Ooh, we're in.
-Chap down the front is buying it!
For nothing. Try 22.
£20, one only bid on my left.
22 anybody? Last chance at... Is that a bid?
£22, 24, sir. 26 now. 28, £30...
-Ooh, nice work, Charlie Ross!
-28 on the left here.
At 28, all done?
Aah, well done!
-£28! Good result!
Spot on estimate, as well!
Well, all the money is going to charity.
That's right and I'll add...
I'll double it up for him.
We've got some real quality for you right now. I know Kate fell in love with this.
It belongs to Jan, possibly for not much longer.
Gorgeous little scent bottle in immaculate condition.
-Who are you with? Who is this?
-This is my sister, Carol.
So, do you both jointly own this? Was this something from the family?
-No, it's mine. I actually bought it.
-Oh, did you?
About seven or eight years ago, yes.
Right, and how much did you pay for it? Can we ask?
Just over £700...top end. I know!
-But that was retail, so that was a fair price.
-Yes, it was.
-We're looking for £300 to £400 here, aren't we?
-I hope it will do better... I love it.
-Could it do seven?
-On a good day. It's a good day in the saleroom.
If two people really want this, you don't know what's going to happen! This'll be exciting!
The Victorian smoked glass scent bottle.
Bearing hallmarks for 1886.
And I'm bid £340...
-OK, well, it's sold.
360 I will take. At 340, 360 now.
At 340, the bid's with me.
350, 360, 380?
This is more like it, isn't it?
440, still with me. 440 commission bid. At 440.
-I'm liking this!
-This is nice.
At 480 then. The bid's here with me at £480.
The hammer's gone down really sharp, then, at £480.
That's nice. I'm pleased with that.
-So will you reinvest the money back in the antiques trade?
I need to buy a 1950s lamp for one of my rooms at home
-or if I I can't find one, a coffee table...
-..something like that.
-That's half the fun, isn't it?
Just going to the antique centres and the auction rooms and simply have fun days out shopping,
-because you can learn so much.
-Well, good luck.
-Thank you very much.
We've had a great time at Woburn. Until next time, cheerio!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Paul Martin and experts Anita Manning and Kate Bateman are in the sixties new town Milton Keynes. During the day they unearth some real treasures - a dazzling art deco ring and a mourning locket which get the bidders buzzing in the sale room later.
Paul also drops in on a local museum celebrating the life and work of famous children's writer Roald Dahl and talks to a group of very excited youngsters.