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Welcome to the home town of Francis Crick on a rather wet and rainy day.
But that won't dampen your spirits
when you walk through sculpture like that.
And it celebrates his incredible genius. Intrigued?
Well, you should be, so stay tuned and welcome to Flog It!
Some of the antiques that we'll see today
have been handed down from generation to generation.
But we all possess one priceless inheritance
handed down from our ancestors that we cannot see,
and that is our DNA.
Northampton's very own Francis Crick, along with James Watson,
unlocked the future of genetics by cracking the DNA code.
In 1962, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize.
And on this very rainy day in Northampton,
investigating some of these treasures that
have been handed down to you, are our very own prize experts here,
Mark Stacey and James Lewis.
Looks like you've both been Tangoed by Blackfriars!
We're at the Guildhall, and the owners of some of the treasures that you can see
in the queue behind me are getting rather excited.
Wondering who is going to be first at the blue Flog It! tablecloth.
Well, let's go inside and find out.
Annie, it just would not be Flog It! without a bit of Moorcroft.
You've saved the day and brought a bit along.
-Is this a family piece?
-No. It's not.
My brother used to do odd jobs for an elderly couple,
look after the house while they were on holiday,
-and they were throwing two vases away.
-Throwing them away?!
Yes, and he gave them to me, and the first one, I did like.
This one, I've never liked.
It was used as a door stop. It's had the odd flowers in.
-You used it as a doorstop?
-Oh, my goodness.
In this day and age, if you watch Flog It!
or Bargain Hunt or any of the other antiques programmes,
you must know what a bit of Moorcroft looks like.
I do now, yes. It is only down to Flog It!
I realised it was a Moorcroft.
I have had it for about 15, 20 years.
OK, well, this is a classic piece of Moorcroft.
It is one of the most popular designs.
It is the hibiscus pattern.
And this was produced from the 1930s onwards.
It came in different coloured variations.
You had the orange flowers on the green background, which was done later.
This is a much nicer colour variation.
Quite subtle reds and pinks on a pale blue ground. Much, much nicer.
And it has got a good shape, as well.
The ovoid shape.
And that's classic 1930s. Is it something you treasure today?
-Obviously not, because you want to flog it.
The shape's and the colours are not too bad,
but it's just not my cup of tea.
It's just I don't like...Moorcroft.
It's a classic piece.
And this WM is for William Moorcroft.
That's his signature in green.
So there we are, a good vase. What's it worth?
I honestly haven't a clue.
Would you sell it for £30?
-Well, a year ago, I would have given it away!
It'll make more than that.
-I reckon it is going to make between £80 and £120.
Yeah. Auctioneers' favourite estimate, but I think that is what it's worth.
-Is that all right for you?
Let's put a reserve of £80 on it.
£80 firm, so there is no discretion.
If it doesn't make 80, take it home and try another day.
Yes, fine. That is lovely.
-I hope somebody enjoys it.
-We'll take it along and see how we do.
-Hi, Linda. How are you?
-I'm fine, thank you.
Now, you have brought a wily little fox in to show us today.
-I have, indeed.
-Tell us about the history.
I have had it around about nine months.
I bought it at a small antiques fair, locally.
I bought it because I liked the red glaze. I like flambe glazes.
And I liked the shape of it.
It's quite nicely modelled. It is quite stylised, really.
It is a stylised pose.
Whereas a lot of foxes are depicted either sitting or standing.
This is really crouching and stalking something, isn't it?
-So it has got quite a fierce look to it,
particularly with that bright, raw red flambe glaze.
It is quite effectively done.
This is made by Royal Doulton.
And underneath, we have got a full set of marks for Royal Doulton.
The signature of Noke, which stands for Charles Noke.
He designed a lot of pieces in the 1920s and '30s for Doulton.
And we have also got at the end of the toe an impressed number, 298.
-So all in all, a very nice piece.
The mark is very faint there.
We have got the standard mark of a lion above a crown in a circle with the word flambe.
And that was used, I think, between 1902 and about 1934.
-Oh, so it is earlier than I thought it might be.
You do have to be slightly careful with flambe, actually,
because it was originally brought out in the 1930s.
But then was brought back again in the 1960s.
So you have to be careful about that.
-But all in all, it is quite a nice figure.
I think we should try it at maybe 100 to 150.
-With a 100 discretionary reserve, so we'll give the auctioneer 10%.
So, we can sell it for 90 or so.
-Are you be happy with that?
Yes, I'd be fine with that, as long as it's got a reserve on, that would be fine. Perfect.
Are you prone to breaking them?
Absolutely. I've not got a good record.
We don't want that bushy tail breaking off, do we?
-Or the ear chipped.
-The ears are particularly vulnerable, I think.
-They are very vulnerable.
Thank you very much, and I look forward so seeing you
at the auction, let's hope we get a good price.
Chris, if there was an award for bringing the heaviest thing ever
to Flog It, I think you'd have won it.
These are incredibly heavy, aren't they? You can hardly lift them.
The first thing to say is they're clearly cast in solid bronze
and they're plaques of Gladstone and Victoria and are they family pieces?
They look as if they've been somewhere dirty.
They were found in my grandfather's garage.
-18 months ago.
No idea at all of family history?
-How long they've been there, why they were there?
Well, they clearly have a value.
I know this sounds really crude but I think the first thing we need to do is actually weigh them
and make sure we don't sell them at less than scrap value, but these are too good for that.
They really are.
They've survived for 120 years and I'd like to see them survive another 120.
They're marked on the back. I'm sure you've seen it there.
It says, cast by D Smith, 28 Clerkenwell Close, London.
The only thing I can suggest is that having looked on the internet and finding no D Smith at all,
and no trace of a caster,
what I believe these are are probably a commission
to be made as special individual objects,
which is why we have no trace of them.
-You bought them along so you obviously want to sell them.
-Any idea of value?
-None at all.
When it comes to market value,
-they aren't the easiest things to place.
Who would want a solid bronze plaque of Queen Victoria
that would actually probably cause incredible damage
to any piece of furniture it was put on and wouldn't be able to be hung on a wall either?
-Gladstone is probably a little bit easier to sell
because of course there's the political history with Gladstone.
He was one of the most popular prime ministers of the 19th century
and actually was Prime Minister for four terms,
starting in 1868 and eventually out of office in 1894.
And this plaque is dated 1888 on the back there, as I'm sure you've seen.
I reckon we ought to put an estimate of £120 to £160 on them
and if they don't make that, then you might as well keep them.
-They've got to be worth that for scrap.
-That's right, yeah.
-Yeah? How do you feel?
-That's fine, yes.
Lynn and Chris, good to see you, and thank you for bringing some
furniture in, we love to see furniture on the show.
We don't get a lot of it. How long have you had the Davenport?
I have had it probably about five, six years now.
-Did you inherit this?
-It was my grandmother's, and I think it was her mother's.
Walnut is the most expensive and the most decorative wood,
so it has got a bit going for it, anyway.
Captain Davenport, a sea captain, commissioned Gillow,
a very famous furniture maker,
to make him a portable writing desk with a slope
that he could take on board and off board ship with him.
Gillow's was so impressed with his drawings
that they carried on making them, and as a tribute to him,
they called them Davenport.
That was the birth of the Davenport, 1790.
This particular model is late Victorian.
We are looking at 1880, somewhere around there.
Here we have got the faux drawers and they don't open.
But this side,
you can see they do. And that is very, very handy.
And they are all beautifully made as well, all dovetailed and lap-jointed.
I like that. That is a little drawer stop.
That tells you when the drawer has reached the back.
So it finishes flush at the front.
The keys have gone walkabout over the years.
Yes, and there is a bit of damage to the veneer.
It is good quality veneering.
Moroccan tooled leather, I am a big fan of black rather than...
That is why, years ago, I actually took a liking to it
when I was younger and that was the bit that set me off.
I like the black more than the reds and the greens.
So, let's have a look inside.
Another veneer finish inside, which is quite nice, birdseye maple.
It lightens up the whole thing.
Pigeonhole sections there for stationery, a couple of little drawers.
It's really quite cute, actually, isn't it?
I love that you haven't polished it.
-We haven't touched it.
-No. This will take a polish, and this will glow.
-I thought it might, but I wasn't sure.
-This will really glow.
Wonderful golden variegated hues will just burst out of this.
Brown furniture has dipped quite a bit.
And I would like to call my valuation 3 - 5.
But I'm pretty sure it'll make that £400 mark.
-Are you happy with £300-500?
A fixed reserve.
It is not going to sell for anything less than 300.
-Is that all right?
Stephen, what fantastic fun.
We have taken a real step back into Georgian England here
with political and royal caricatures of the period.
These are all dating to the late 18th and early 19th century.
And we've got some really fantastic and famous names here.
They are collected widely, and there is a great market for them in the States.
And there are also very good collectors for them here in the UK.
Each individual one takes a little bit of time.
If you're not a specialist, it takes time to do some research.
And today here in Northampton, we are not going to have the right time to do it properly.
So before we go down the line of value, I can tell you now,
I am not going to put a figure on these.
Because I want to do the research properly.
For example, here, we have got this chap hanging.
It is wonderful, the sentiment.
People obviously don't like this chap.
We have got a little voice bubble coming up from here,
"May our heaven-born minister be supported from above."
What a wonderful bit of fun that is.
Not for him, obviously.
This is dated at the bottom here.
1797, so we are in late 18th century England.
That's probably going to be William Pitt the Younger.
Because he is the main political character of the time, he's looking
young and unpopular, which he was at this period of time.
Then we've got others.
We've got here,
a cartoon by one of the most famous people of the time, and that's George Cruikshank.
Now, George Cruikshank took over as being the most popular character in about 1811.
This one is obviously something to do with the English and the Irish.
We have got the Irishman here saying shillelaghs, but also offering his shoes to the French.
Offering anything to the French in the 18th century,
later 18th, early 19th century, wasn't greatly popular.
Now, having waffled on and told you very little about values,
tell me how you've come to have them.
Well, I picked them up at a car boot sale, a local car boot sale.
In the summertime, for £10.
I had actually been there for about three hours,
and it was about quarter past one, and I happened to see the folder.
It's incredible, isn't it.
It does just show you that bargains can still be had.
When it comes to these caricatures, they vary in value.
Some like this that have been torn and ripped and stuck down, will be worth relatively little.
So, value. I'm going to, as I say, avoid the subject.
Because they can be worth as little as £5, and as much as £5,000.
Now, there is nothing here worth £5,000.
There is nothing of huge value.
I will take them away do some research, and between us, we will come up with
a valuation for you and organise a reserve.
-Is that all right?
-Yeah, that's great.
-Keep hunting at the car boots, you've got a good eye.
-I certainly will!
Now, before we go back to valuation day,
I'm heading to a futuristic landscape, and I haven't had to travel too far.
These stylish new homes here in Oxley Wood went on the market
in 2007 adding colour and vitality to this rather leafy suburb.
They're the result of an unlikely partnership between a building firm
and a firm of architects that brought us such iconic landmark statements
as the Millennium Dome in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Yet choosing to build 145 houses here in Milton Keynes was no accident.
Milton Keynes landed on the map in the late 1960s, born out of
a government initiative to relieve housing congestion in London.
It dared to be different, designed using modernist principles,
which put function before decoration.
The roads were laid out in a grid system.
Straight lines connected areas designed for living, work and recreation.
As the largest of the British new towns it has stood the test of time
far better than most, proving to be flexible and adaptable.
More than 40 years on, this new development keeps that tradition very much alive
and this too was also born out of a government initiative,
but this time the challenge was to build a house
that tackles the ecological and energy efficient demands of the 21st century.
As well as meeting these demands,
the architects also wanted to create homes that were visually striking.
The modernist principles came into play yet again.
Function over decoration, using materials that met the demands set,
but also using a colour palette that makes these homes exciting to the eye,
like the striking red pyramid on each roof.
Now, it might look like decoration, but it's actually a new generation of chimney stack,
efficiently filtering and warming air throughout the home.
But it's the way it all goes together that is key.
To meet the brief of eco-friendly, energy efficient homes
the architects turned to the prefab.
It's a way of manufacturing houses on a factory production line
and then assembling them on site,
and it's an idea that's proved useful before.
After the Second World War, close to 160,000 cement-panelled
prefabricated houses came off the factory production line.
They were bolted together on site to make temporary shelters for the homeless.
They have survived long beyond their intended ten to 15 years,
and some, well, they're still in use today.
Such housing has long suffered from the stigma of uninspired design and shoddy construction.
But in recent years all that's changed.
Architects have taken the idea of the flat-pack, and literally
run with it, creating bold, bespoke homes.
And there's another really big advantage to these new houses.
They go together pretty quick, saving on construction costs.
The main structure is made in the factory in seven days.
Then it's assembled on site in just two weeks.
But this is not just a story about the modern prefab.
These new homes at Oxley Woods might prove very tempting as they reduce carbon emissions by almost 40%
and could save plenty of money on energy bills. So how do they work?
It's all about effective insulation,
utilising natural light as much as possible and, of course,
using energy-efficient recycled materials.
Let me just show you a cross-section of the wall here.
Now, the main construction of the building is made of wood,
and 90% of all the wood on this project
is from responsibly managed forests, which means there's an ongoing planting scheme, which is fantastic.
But just looking at this cross-section of wall here
you can see you've got an inner cladding of plasterboard which can be emulsioned to any colour.
This could be your sitting room, let's say.
And you've got the outer, industrial skin.
Now, 85% of that is recycled materials.
It's very easy to clean, it's completely weather resistant and it comes in a variation of colours.
This one's a sort of off-white but, as you can see behind me, there's a wonderful aubergine colour.
This cross-section shows the cavity wall
and it's filled with recycled paper which forms the insulation.
And, believe it or not, it's recycled telephone directories
which are pumped in afterwards, so this could be your number!
And it's all topped off with a new roof. Let me show you this.
It's made of timber construction, it's quite heavy.
It's got a sandwich there of foam for your insulation,
but it's all covered with this pink waterproof membrane
which is going to last for the rest of our lives, anyway.
And this roof doesn't sit flat, it inclines towards the back of the house, as you can see.
The water runs off and is collected in water butts to be recycled.
It's quite ingenious really.
Well, that's all well and good,
but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
So what's it like to live in one?
So what d'you think of Milton Keynes?
Well, I like it very much. I came down here about 30-odd years ago.
-And what do you do as a profession?
-I'm an architect.
Oh, well, that's great, your head's in the right space here anyway.
-It's an architect's dream.
-The first thing I have noticed, it's a wonderful feel here.
It really is really nice.
Yes, as soon as I walked into the show house when
I came to look at the development I thought, wow, this is where I'd love to live when I downsize.
Has this space forced you to become minimalist?
Very much so. It has done, yes. I had a much bigger house before
and I had to get rid of a lot of things, yeah.
What are the best bits about the house?
I like the space, the feeling of spaciousness,
even though it's quite small.
And the light, I like the fact that it is energy efficient but I haven't actually counted up over the years...
-Have you had your bills yet?
-I've had some and they haven't been too much of a surprise.
They've been quite good. And the eco features, the fact that it was built partly
from sustainable materials, water saving features.
All those sorts of things, they're all an added bonus to actually liking the design of the house itself.
Are there any down sides?
I suppose there is a bit of a lack of storage.
In this smaller unit, I've got a good space under the stairs,
but upstairs there isn't a lot of space for wardrobes and things.
And the house functions as a really good office because upstairs,
in one of your spare rooms, there's a draughtsman's desk.
I'm using it in the largest bedroom actually, I'm using that as a study.
It's great, there's a lovely view. And there's a high-level window
which, on good days, has a superb view of the sky.
Every time you walk in, there's virtually a different picture on the wall.
Now, these homes might not be the answer to all of the questions.
A lot of people say they're hard-looking,
they're too far removed from our love affair with bricks and mortar.
But they're a massive step forward towards environmentally conscious house building.
Not to mention the fact that there's a bit of colour,
there's a bit of vitality about the place.
It puts a smile on your face.
I think they sit right at home here in Milton Keynes as this place continues
to develop as a thoroughly modern forward-thinking town.
We've just crossed over the border into Leicestershire for today's sale
in the heart of Market Harborough where we find Gilding's Ltd.
On the rostrum today's auctioneer is Mark Gilding.
Before we learn the fate of our items,
here's a reminder of what's up for sale.
Off the kitchen floor and into the sale room for Anne's Moorcroft vase.
I'm amazed there's not more damage to it!
Lynda's little glazed fox caught Mark's eye.
And he has high hopes for it at the auction.
How nice to have a bit of furniture on Flog It!
Especially a Davenport desk.
Let's hope, like me, the bidders fall in love with it.
The money is on these bronze plaques winning gold
and not turning out to be a dead weight.
And James eventually decided on a value for Stephen's interesting caricatures,
and they're off to auction with a fixed reserve of £200.
Good to see you again. Who have you brought?
-James, my husband.
-Hi, hello there.
You don't like Moorcroft.
-You've been using it as a doorstop?
-We've heard some odd things on our time in Flog It!
but I think Moorcroft for a door stop is the first! Well look, good luck.
I think it's here to sell. We've got a full house.
Moorcroft is a cracking name.
And there are lots of other pieces of Moorcroft in this sale.
If it doesn't sell, it's my fault!
-I hope so!
-It's going under the hammer.
Good luck, both of you.
Lot number 20. A Moorcroft pottery ovoid vase.
Commissions start here at £85.
On commission. 85 I'm bid.
At 85 here. At 85. At £85. 95.
You are both out. 100. 10.
120. 30. 140. 150, if you like.
Anyone else at 140? 140, it will be sold. At £140.
-It's a good result.
We had 80 - 120 on that, you've got to be pleased with that.
It's really good.
£140. And that was going in the skip, wasn't it?
A friend gave it to you.
What do you prop the door open with now?
We'll have to find something else now!
Now, remember that flambe - that lovely red fox?
We've got that little critter, but we don't have Lynda.
-She can't make it today.
-Oh, what a shame.
-But we have Mark!
-I'll have to make up for her!
-I tell you what, we are in hunting territory here.
We are surrounded by...
Hunting and horse-y things.
-Should this do well, this little red fox?
Flambe is an interesting market.
It's by Noke, of course, and it's a lovely little model.
I think it's captured that sort of fox mid-run.
-The tail is out, the face is there...
And the colour really matches that mood, I think. So, fingers crossed.
320, then. It's a Royal Doulton flambe model of a fox.
Signed as Noke. Commission bids start at £100.
-We're in at 100.
120. 130. 140. 150. 155, on commission. 160,
and I'm out.
Oh, 160 - perfect.
£160! She will be so excited.
Get her on the phone.
Christopher, it's going to be interesting to see
what the bidders think of these two bronze plaques,
they're going under the hammer right now.
We had a chat to the auctioneer earlier. Let me bring James in.
We agreed with your valuation, it's going to do around about that
but what do you do with them?
Do you melt them down, put them in the garden as a bit of garden art?
It's a shame to melt them down, isn't it?
But I have to say there's such weight in them, it's possible.
People are buying copper kettles and things now and scrapping them.
Yeah. Will the new buyer buy them and put them back in the garage?
That's where they end up, in the garden shed again, isn't it?
So these were Grandad's.
-That's right, yes.
-What did your father think of them?
He doesn't think a great deal of them.
That's why he put them in the garage.
I don't blame you for getting them out because they do need a new home,
so hopefully they'll find one and they won't get melted down.
They're going under the hammer.
140 is a Victorian cast bronze portrait plaque of Gladstone,
marked cast by D Smith and a similar portrait plaque of Queen Victoria.
Bids here £55, 55 bid, 65, 75, £80 in the room,
at £80 at the back, at £80, 85, 90, 95, 100.
Your turn, 110, 110, at 110, 120 if you like it.
110, 110, selling at £110.
Yes, the hammer's gone down. £110.
We were thinking along the lines at the lower end, £40 per plaque,
we'll get them away, so 110 is a bonus.
Good for you! You found them, hopefully all the money's going to you and not Dad then?
No, it's going to my children.
I've been joined by Lynn and Chris. And it's my turn to be the expert.
We've got that fantastic Davenport desk.
What's going through your mind? "Oh, I'm not sure. Will it sell?"
I think it will, you know. I had a chat to the auctioneer.
Three to five - sensible money on that.
That's a come and buy me at 300. It's quality brown - that's walnut.
That's not the run-of-the-mill Edwardian mahogany.
-Wait and see..
-It's going to sell! The auctioneer thinks so.
Yeah. That's just winding you up! But how much for?
Well, we're going to find out.
Nice little Davenport there. Some bids. Start me here at £250.
250 I'm bid. 250, you are all out?
£250. 250. 260. 270. 280. 290.
£300. At £300. £300 bid. At £300. 300 now. In the room at £300.
300 with the lady. 300, and selling now
It went. They weren't fighting over it.
Right on the reserve.
Well, it's gone.
We said three to five. We're going to stick to our guns.
-We're happy we got rid of it!
-You got rid of it. Exactly.
We've got a car boot sale lot here which is valued at what, £10?
You got it for 10 quid.
It's good to see you. You brought along a mate with you?
My friend David.
Hi, David. It's so good to see young guys interested in antiques.
It's about getting in the game at a young age and learning the knowledge.
Because there is money to be made, as we're going to prove right now.
Because James, you put £200 - £300 on this folio of caricatures.
Not many people would buy them, but I think they are great.
I really do. Good for you for picking them up.
It's one of the most difficult things I've valued on Flog It!
And really, one or two of these are worth 1,000 individually
if they had been crisp, perfect, with the margins.
But there are sections missing. They are faded, they are cut.
So, fingers crossed.
I don't care - if they go wildly over my estimate, I'm pleased.
I'll be more pleased to be wrong.
-I hope they do sell.
-Good. We find out right now.
-Good luck, guys.
-A collection of 18th and 19th century caricatures.
Bids start with me here, I'll say £130.
130 I'm bid. 140.
-150. 160. 170.
-That's good. There's interest in the room.
200. 210. 220.
-Come on, keep going!
This is good news, Stephen, isn't it?
320 on the telephone.
£320. 340, back in at 340.
Telephone too, then, at 340.
360 on the telephone. At 360.
360, at 360. Looking round the room again. At 360.
360 and selling at £360.
The hammer's going down. £360.
-Thank you very much.
What will you put that towards?
Perhaps put it towards a holiday in the summertime.
I think you should buy James a big drink for that!
That's fantastic, I'm very pleased. Well done.
He's done a lot of research to find the buyers for this one.
Stick half of that into car boot money and invest it.
-I will do over the summer time.
-Brilliant. Well done.
It's all out there if you to get up early in the morning to find it.
Some great results. We are coming back here later on in the show.
I'm going to take a quick break.
I'm going to go round the corner and find out what used to be
the industrial mainstay of Market Harborough back in the 1800s.
Christian Dior once said, without proper foundations, there can be no fashion.
That red brick building in the heart of Market Harborough -
once housed the market leaders in women's foundation garments.
And they were called R and WH Symingtons.
In 1835, James and Sarah Symington set up a workshop to make corsets
for the wealthy women in the area.
The business grew, particularly with the introduction of the new-fangled sewing machine.
This magnificent staircase is all that remains of the original building.
Now, Philip Warren, who now looks after the Symingtons corset collection, is going to show me
a few examples of what would have run off the production line in the late 19th century.
What an incredible collection!
-Philip, there you are.
Thanks so much for putting this together for us today.
They look so splendid!
But my first impressions are -
very tiny! Is that the standard size?
-Well, they do appear tiny, don't they?
For the purposes of the displays, we have to actually have them so that
the corsets are closed at the back, so laced up very tightly.
But most women were perfectly sensible about their corset.
They tended to leave them open slightly at the back.
Partly because it gave you air to breathe.
-A bit more breathing space.
-A bit more movement, at least!
And I think also, there's a little bit about buying a small size
and then leaving it slightly open at the back, as well.
Just to make you feel a bit better in the morning!
They are incredible. They are beautifully made.
There are amazing. Not just as garments, just as pieces of design,
but also as feats of engineering, because they are very complicated.
Lots of different pattern pieces and, obviously, the way that the boning works
dictates exactly how the finished corset is going to alter and change your body.
And I guess women would take pride in choosing the right corset?
It had to look right. It was a fashion statement.
Absolutely. Most people were sensible.
You know, they chose the one that was comfortable.
They chose the one that was obviously going to be beautiful, because, you know, sometimes they were seen.
And you had to be comfortable.
There are lots of stories about people who would over lace their corsets
and that they would pass out or that they'd distort the organs in their body.
But I think most people were actually quite sort of pragmatic about it.
And you couldn't actually get dressed without one.
A dress like this, from the 1890s,
without a corset underneath it,
you couldn't have possibly hoped to achieve the shape that you needed to have.
But these were all corsets that you would buy off the peg.
These different styles all really relate to the different needs of individuals.
This American corset, because the Symington collection
includes different corsets from all over the world.
They were buying in competitors' work and we presume,
looking at how they were made and how they could make them cheaply.
So, this one is actually made... it's supported with preformed steel.
So were the Symingtons making their corsets with whalebone, or were they using steel?
Whalebone I think was the ultimate,
although it was becoming increasingly hard to find and more and more expensive.
And they liked it because it had that flexibility and give.
And if you did need to actually launder your corset, which was quite unusual,
then it didn't rust, obviously.
Whereas the steels did. So that was one of the major drawbacks.
There's one hiding behind this. Should I bring this forward?
Now, this looks slightly simpler.
Well, I think it's one of the most fascinating garments that's in the Symington collection.
It's one of their speciality corsets called the "Pretty Housemaid".
And it evolves in the 1890s.
As a direct response, really, to Symingtons recognising
that there's a massive market out there,
which is working class women who want to have,
not just a supporting garment that helps keep their body upright
during incredibly hard and really dull domestic work,
but also, you know, they want to have a fashionable figure as well.
And feel more feminine and sexy?
Absolutely! You know, it's about having a real pride in your appearance,
as well as doing that whole thing which is to support your body.
And instead of just saying to the customer, "Here's our cheapest corset,"
they actually engaged with the customer by saying, we've got something specially for you.
We called it the "Pretty Housemaid" corset.
It's got the most beautiful box top.
-Good branding there.
-And there she is.
-Admiring herself in a mirror with a pinny on!
Absolutely! She's just stood at the mirror and now she can see herself in all her glory!
So it wasn't just the wealthy women that wore the corsets.
There was something for everyone.
Hard to believe that some of the wealthy women would have changed up to three times a day,
with different corsets for each outfit.
What a relief it must have been to take them off at the end of the day.
These look incredible.
Obviously, marketing and advertising was quite important.
Absolutely. They were in competition with every other retailer
that would have put their goods into a large store, a department store.
And so it was about capturing the imagination.
-It was about establishing brand loyalty and it was about handing over that hard earned money.
A really kind of special moment.
And I think they were as brand conscious and as image conscious as we are today.
I think the advertising was just as sensitive and I think it was certainly just as clever.
They did do one corset where they actually sprayed it with rose water
before it actually went into its box,
so there was that whole different sort of senses that came into play when you were buying it as well.
Not just, did it fit, did it work, but actually, it smelt beautiful too!
That's a nice touch actually, isn't it? These look slightly different, Philip.
Can you talk me through these corsets?
Well, we talked a little bit earlier about each individual woman
requiring something particular from the corset of her choice.
So, these two are sports corsets.
And that was really because at the end of the 1890s,
you've got a whole mass of women who are wealthy enough
to have the leisure time, to start playing active sports.
So you've got the riding, hunting, cycling.
So, you can see that these are designed to fit lower underneath the arm.
-They fit higher over the hip.
-There's more freedom, isn't there?
More freedom of movement and also, there are elements of change in the front of them as well.
So, you can actually unlace these two sides around the bust.
So, you can actually get a bit more movement in there.
And these have got early elasticated panels inset into various different parts of it.
Unfortunately, the rubber in the elastic has started to degrade and they've gone saggy.
But it would have meant that your diaphragm could actually expand
and you could take deep breaths as you were doing exercise.
So, the average woman would have four or five different types of corset, then?
Absolutely. You know, if you were wealthy enough to have that sort of lifestyle,
then certainly, you would have had a corset for the daytime.
You would have had a corset for the evening, a sports corset,
and obviously, as we know, in the Victorian period
you are looking at women having a large number of children,
you would have had a special corset made for the period that you were pregnant and nursing.
And that's what this next corset over here is.
They are all so tiny!
It seems very strange to us, doesn't it? That idea of wearing a corset when you're pregnant.
But you can see that the design of it,
it has these little elasticated lacing sections here.
Which would allow the corset to open slightly
and to grow as your pregnancy was developing.
And of course, it did support your back.
But it's clever, again, in that it gets women to buy another corset.
And I think it shows the brilliance of the design and manufacturing skills of the Symington factory.
Well, it's back to the valuation day
and Mark has found something rather intriguing!
Marion, you have brought in
-the most fascinating object today.
But before we have a jolly good look at it,
give us a little bit of the history.
Well, it was found in my mother-in-law's drawer after my father-in-law died.
We were searching through, just sorting things out,
and came across it along with lots of other bits and pieces.
And I didn't think much of it.
I thought, perhaps it's gold, and it's sat in the drawer ever since.
I haven't done anything with it. We opened it up, we know what's inside it.
So, have you ever had it tested to see if its gold?
No, we've never had it tested.
And it's got no marks as far as I can see on it.
No. Well, it's intriguing.
Because when you look at it like this, it looks like a locket.
And indeed, that's what it is. If we look at it here, we can open it up.
We've got a lovely little interior cover as well,
with a little dove of peace engraved on it.
And when you open that up,
there is a tiny little photograph inside it, which is wonderful.
But intriguingly, on the other side, when we open that up,
we've got this lovely little pierced top here for a vinaigrette.
But, of course, two explanations.
One explanation is that when you were walking around
the streets of London 100-200 years ago, the place stank.
So, of course, sometimes it was so obnoxious
that you kept a little bit of smelling salts in there
to keep your pecker up, as it were.
The other explanation, particularly as this is a ladies' one,
is that during the Victorian period they wore those really, really tight corsets.
Oh right, yes.
And people often fainted because it constricted you so much,
so this was a way of bringing you back round, as it were.
And what's very nice about it,
is if we open the vinaigrette up,
we've got this lovely little lock of hair
which I think belongs to the person in the picture.
Well, the unusual part about it is,
we don't know who this person in the photograph is,
or who the lock of hair belonged to.
It's a lovely little intriguing object.
I think it's fair to say that it's had a hard life.
I think it's been well worn, don't you?
It's been well worn. A lot of the pattern is a bit rubbed and it's had some reinforcement on it.
But I've never seen the combination of a love token
in the form of a locket and the little vinaigrette.
I don't think this is the original chain, of course.
-But a lovely little object.
-Would it be First World War?
-Oh, even earlier than that.
Certainly this is a Victorian locket.
We could be looking as far back as the Crimean War, I suppose.
-But, of course, coming to harsh practicalities that you've never had it valued before.
But I think I'm going to plump for the auctioneer's cliche.
-Can you guess what it is?
-80 to 120!
-You've got it. You've got it. With an 80 reserve.
And then just see where it turns up. Would you be happy with that?
Very happy. As I say, just sits in the drawer,
got no interest in it at all as an object.
Well, let's leave it to a collector, shall we?
I'm sure somebody would enjoy it.
Donald, do you often come out on a Sunday
with a pocket pistol with you?
-It's a special Flog It! occasion, is it?
-It is, yes.
What we have in front of us here are true antiques.
-These are both what we call percussion pistols.
And this one is a little box lock
because the lock is in the form of a box.
And we have a detachable barrel that is rusted solid.
-It is, that's right.
-We can't see the proof marks there
but they're likely to be Liege in Belgium.
Most of these little pocket pistols were made around 1840, 1850.
-That's a standard little one with a slab-sided grip that we see a lot of.
-Oh, I see.
It's a nice example but lots of them about.
-This is the one.
-That's the one, is it?
If we pull the trigger back like that,
there's a little piece there that you push,
push in, and that's a lock so you can't pull the trigger.
But this is what we call an Over And Under Pistol,
so you can turn the barrels like that,
so you can prime both barrels.
As soon as you've fired one, you pull it back to half-cock again,
turn it, and you have a second option.
Now, this would have been carried by a gentleman in a waistcoat pocket
or maybe a lady while travelling on a stage coach or something like that.
And they were personal protection pistols rather than something from military issue.
You can see the name "Pinches" - P-I-N-C-H-E-S.
And this manufacturer was working in London,
in Westminster between about 1825 and 1835.
That is the date of this pistol.
-Oh, I see.
-Walnut grip and this is chequered so you didn't slip.
And the nice thing about it - fold away trigger.
Look at that.
Folds completely flush but then you pull the hammer back
one little bit and you can see a little bit there,
all the way and your trigger folds out. Clever, isn't it?
It is clever.
So there we are. That is a little work of art, really.
-That would be quite sought-after.
-I see, yeah.
And then we've got two powder flasks here
but we're in trouble with these.
Are we? Oh dear.
-Because this contains gunpowder.
-Yeah, black powder.
-And this contains shot.
Yeah. And what I will always do is hand them over to the local police.
So, I reckon that these two are worth fairly little,
probably about £25-30, something like that.
This one, probably worth again £30, £30-40.
So, we've got about 70 there.
This is a good one. This is worth about 150.
-I see, yeah.
-How do you feel?
They've just been lying about for such a long time,
my father had them, grandfather before then.
Really? Where have you had them, lying in a drawer somewhere?
They've just been in the cupboard.
The good thing is, if you've got guns at home,
it is very, very important to make sure you know what you've got
because really they're not things to be lying around in drawers
but this one doesn't need a licence.
-Oh, I see.
-It is important that if you do have a hand gun lying around
to get it checked out. But with these, you're fine.
Now, this is a fascinating item you've brought in to show us, it's really charming, actually.
I know what it is but I've never handled one before.
Tell us about the history, where did you get it from?
-It's from a local Kettering factory that made children's clothes.
The factory's sadly closed down and now's apartments,
and this is part of the clearance from it.
-Did you work at the factory?
-No, no, I had a cousin who worked there.
And they were throwing it out, were they?
-They were just clearing it out, yes.
-What a shame.
And what sort of attracted you to it?
I suppose because it is a nice item but, you know...
-What do you do with it?
Now, I like it because if we look at it now straightaway
we've got this nice ebonised wooden base with a tripod base,
the legs are a little bit heavy, but there's some nice turning here.
Nice turning up here. Nice little fill-in for the arms there.
So, I guess looking at the type of work on it we're looking at 1900-1910 as a date.
Then we've got this nice Parisian maker on the front.
I think it's just a charming item.
I think if somebody's collecting dolls
or is interested in collecting period children's clothes,
or something like this, or just as a nice object
as a piece of work of art if you like,
it's nice just sitting in the corner of a room.
I think it's rather charming.
So what have you done with it since you acquired it?
It's been in the attic for many years. So, that's it really.
That's the reason for bringing it.
"It's surplus to requirements" as they say,
like the factory unfortunately.
-It's a very difficult thing to value
because it could be something nobody wants at all on the day.
On the other hand, it could be several interested parties who just like it as an aesthetic object.
-So I think if we're going to put a value on it, I suppose
-my gut feeling is maybe £80-100, something like that.
-Are you happy with that?
-More than happy, yes.
Wonderful. It's difficult with something like this whether to put a reserve or not.
It depends how much you want it back.
No, I mean I'm happy to run with it with no reserve.
You know there's an inherent risk with that
because if the highest bid on the day is 20 quid,
it'll go for 20 quid.
But it's a bit of fun, isn't it?
So ,I suppose we take a gamble. Dare I ask if we get £80 for it,
would you go out and buy another one?
Sandra, imagine you're in late 19th-century Paris
in one of those wonderful big townhouses that you would find,
and you walk into your living room, this is the sort of thing you'd find on the fireplace.
These are French, these are 1870, and I think they're fantastic.
Really good quality.
-Did you find them in France?
-I did not find them in France.
I found them in Northampton at an antiques and craft fair,
and two things attracted me - the design on them, which I thought was lovely,
and I'm curious about them, I've never seen anything like this.
There was a great fashion in the late 19th century for opalescent glass, glass that's slightly opaque,
slightly different colour, and it came in browns, beigey colour, like this, blues, greens, pinks -
every colour you could imagine, and a lot of these pieces
were made plain and they were then farmed out to cottage industries,
where people would paint them and then sell them on.
Whereas these are a far more classy type of vase.
These are factory-produced,
decorated by a professional artist, and almost certainly French.
And the shape is wonderful.
They're hand-gilded, great scrolling feet on there.
And the aesthetic movement was inspired by the Japanese,
and, of course, the Japanese in the 19th century -
we didn't have trade links with Japan, and Commodore Perry, an American commodore,
went over to Edo, Tokyo,
and signed what we now call the Treaty of Edo.
That allowed trade links to start again between the West and Japan.
Imagine you go into this great big hall and you see Japanese stuff for the first time.
So why sell them?
I'm selling them because my central heating's broke down.
-I want to replace it so I need some money.
And I can't display them anywhere. I'd rather someone enjoyed them.
We need to raise a bit of money for a full central heating system. I don't think we'll get there.
I'm nearly there.
-Just need a top-up?
I reckon they are going to make £70 to £100.
Is that top-up going to be enough? Not quite, probably.
That's it for the valuation day, but before we go to the auction,
let's have a quick recap.
Sandra needs to fix her central heating
so we hope these Japanese fish vases will be a big catch.
Marion's locket isn't hallmarked, but it's so unusual
I think it may attract the bidders.
Let's hope Donald's percussion pistols fire up some interest in the sale room.
And well done, Alan, for rescuing this pretty mannequin
from a lonely life in the attic.
First under the hammer is Marion's locket.
This is quite unusual cos it's a vinaigrette, it's a locket,
not sure if it's gold though.
Well, we couldn't quite tell on the day.
It's a very unusual object, to have the combination of both.
With the locket of hair as well and the photograph.
-Exactly. It's quite an interesting item, who knows what it'll make?
-Oh. Fingers crossed.
We're just about find out. Why are you flogging this?
Well, it was found in a drawer
when we sorted out my husband's mother's effects.
Didn't mean anything to us
so we thought we'd come and see what it was worth and have a go.
Hey presto, here we are on Flog It! Right, let's do our best for you.
Vinaigrette with hinged covers, unmarked.
-I bid here £65. 65.
75. 80. And I'm out at £80.
Come on, we need to double that 60, don't we?
You're right, Mark, it's so unusual.
190. 200. And 10.
-Very keen bidders.
Seated at 220 and selling at £220.
-That was quite hair-raising.
-It must have been gold.
That was really good. Really, really good.
What are you going to do with the money?
We've got some antique fob watches
and we thought we might get them restored.
So, it's going to pay for the restoration?
I think so. You can always have a holiday another day, can't you?
Right, Sandra, two glass vases just about to go under the hammer.
£70 to £100 we've got the valuation on.
I know you've got a very keen eye and you love car booting and all the fairs.
Yes, and I love auctions.
Has anything caught your eye here today?
-Come on, whisper in my ear!
Behind you, that picture.
-Right. Are you going to have a bid?
-I've got to take it home.
I have to walk and go by bus.
-Yes. I just like looking at stuff at the moment.
I think you could be in for a nice surprise with these vases.
I'll keep my fingers crossed.
65 is a pair of opaque glass vases in tapering form
on gilt scrolled feet.
Enamel decoration of carp. I start with commission bids here.
£70 I'm bid.
Straight in at 70.
Five, 80. Five, 90.
Five, 100. 110, 120.
-Are these my vases?
160, 170, 180, 190, 200.
£200 here then, at £200.
210 I'm looking for. Look around.
£200. Selling away at £200.
Yes. That's a good sound, isn't it?
That hammer going down. £200.
-I'll have to go back to Norfolk.
-I think you will, do you know that?
You have got a cracking good eye.
I'm surprised at that. It's really good.
They're quality, aren't they? And the condition was bang on.
I'm going back to Norfolk.
It's all up there in Norfolk.
Take aim, we're just about to fire off Donald's pistol.
Not literally! But I think the auctioneer will soon!
And you've bought along Dorothy.
-The auctioneer has decided to split the lots.
We talked about it, didn't we?
I wasn't 100% sure whether to put them together or split them up.
Perhaps, 150 to 200 on them.
It still adds up to James' original valuation of 260-odd pounds. Fingers crossed.
19th century pistol, percussion cap,
with a swivel breach, over and under barrels, marked "Pinches, London".
-Commission bid starting me here at £150.
-Yes! Yes, yes, yes.
160. 170. 180. 190. 200. 210.
220. 230. 240. 250.
260. Will be sold at £260.
Telephone's out. 260. Sold at 260.
That's excellent. £260.
Let's see if we can double up on the £30 for this one.
19th century pistol, percussion cap, plain handle.
Bids start here at £45. On commission at 45.
50's in the room, £50.
Your turn. 65. 70, you're bidding.
-Right at the end £70.
Selling then, fresh bidder, at £70.
-That's very good.
-That's a good price.
-Totally different buyer.
One more to go.
260 is 19th century shot flask,
embossed with stars and a leather shot flask.
Have to start here at £30.
-5, 40 now, £40.
-We're hoping for 60.
With me at £40. Here at £40. I'll take five if you like?
And away at £40.
I'm afraid the powder flasks didn't sell
but that's not going to dampen our spirits, is it?
We sold the other two lots.
-We got £310.
-It's quite a bit of money.
-What are you going to do with that?
Treat the neighbours?
Eventually we'll go and see my son in Australia.
-Extra spending money.
-How long's he been in Australia?
-Just seven months.
-Has he emigrated then?
-Yes, he has.
-I bet you miss him already.
-I do, yeah.
Next up, a decorator's dream,
and it belongs to Alan here, who's brought along Rose.
I tell you why it's a decorator's dream because if you've got a space that's slightly awkward
and you can't fill with anything, put one of these little mannequins in it
and shove a top hat on it or a scarf around it, and you've created a bit of theatre.
I tell you what, this will sell,
especially as you've only put £100 on it, £80-100.
You're quite right about the decorative feature.
We haven't put in reserve on it
-so I hope that we get a decent price for it.
-It just looks great.
It's a charming object. Better then the full-size.
I think so. You can do more with the child's version.
Child-size mannequin by Stockman.
Have to start on commission at £100.
-On commission here at £100. 110. 120. 130 and I'm out.
-The telephone bidder.
-I told you it would do well on the day, didn't I?
-Yes, you did.
200. And 10. 210 in the room.
I honestly thought it wouldn't make your reserve.
There was no reserve, was there?
Mark said to me at the valuation day, "Paul, what do you think?"
And I said, "Decorator's dream." Size, she's beautiful.
-I had an antiques shop and I'd have paid 150 for that.
-There was nothing small about that price, was there?
-Excellent. Thank you very much.
It's all over, we've come to the end of the show.
The auction is just about to end.
We've had a fantastic day here.
Wonderful contributors and, as you can see, a superb crowd.
So, join me next time on Flog It! for many more surprises.
So, until the next time, it's cheerio.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Mark Stacey and James Lewis value the family treasures in Northampton while presenter Paul Martin sprints off to Market Harborough to find out about the foundations of the corset industry.