Experts Mark Stacey and Kate Bliss uncover some super finds in St Albans and presenter Paul Martin discovers The Natural History Museum at Tring.
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Today, Flog It is in St Albans which, even now, is based
on the medieval town that grew up around the abbey.
Many of the medieval buildings still exist and at its heart
was the market which has continued since those times, giving the town
its lively atmosphere.
There is no market today - the bustle you can hear behind me is this magnificent Flog It queue.
-You ready for this?
Thumbs up. An excitable bunch.
We've got two great experts, today. Kate Bliss and Mark Stacey.
They'll be setting their stalls up inside, valuing all the wonderful
antiques that are brought into the splendid Georgian town hall.
Kate's up first and it looks like it's tea for two.
Sue, we're all set for a rather grand tea party.
-Just need the cucumber sandwiches, eh?
What can you tell me about this?
Really, that it's been handed down in the family
-and I'm the last one to have it.
So, really, we now just don't have any room for it.
The boys don't want it.
-Yes. I've asked them.
-Not quite their sort of thing!
-Definitely not their thing. No.
-They're very minimalist.
-Are they? So you're sort of having a declutter.
I'm definitely having a declutter. Yes. This is the start of it.
Well, I have to tell you, unfortunately,
tea sets and coffee sets have gone down in value, I'm afraid,
in the auction market in the last few years,
whether they're in porcelain or in pottery or in silver, cos people just
really don't want to use them anymore, at the end of the day.
This is a lovely period part set.
I would put it probably at early Victorian, late 1830, 1840, probably.
And it's hand-painted decoration, so all the flowers on the inside
is all done by hand and then the gilt is overlaid over the top.
Now, you're going to ask me what factory this is, aren't you?
-And I'm not going to be able to tell you.
There were all sorts of factories in England,
producing this sort of thing in the early 19th century.
The best quality botanical painting is normally signed.
And you see it at on the top class factories like Chelsea and Derby.
This isn't quite in that league
-and I have noticed we've got quite a bit of damage, haven't we?
-So we've got the little finial here. It's been reglued?
-On the coffee cups, we've got a bad crack there and another here.
-And the sugar bowl's had a bit of a knock?
-Just a little.
There's a nasty crack there.
So all that, I'm afraid, is going to bring it down. It's also incomplete.
So we've got, I think it's three teacups?
And one, two, three little, four little, coffee cans.
I would have thought there would have been six of each...
or even more.
But, nevertheless, it's a lovely period part tea set.
The sort of thing that should go in a cabinet, really, on display.
-That's where it was living.
So, have you any idea of value?
-None at all.
Well, I think the major thing is the damage, I'm afraid.
That's going to affect it quite a lot and I think several years ago,
this would have made several hundred pounds.
Unfortunately, today, I'm going to say, at auction, anything from £80
to perhaps 150, on a good day.
-The milk jug is probably one of the nicest pieces.
Undamaged. And just looking at that on its own, you can see
it's a really pretty thing, isn't it?
Typically Victorian. Quite elaborate, really.
-It's quite an eyeful, isn't it? Perfectly...
-A little over the top.
-So, do I take it it's not quite your taste, Sue?
No. So will you be quite pleased to see the back of this?
To flog it? Yes. I think that would be a very good idea.
-Well, we'd better get a good price for you.
-That would be nice.
Now, we see a lot of pocket watches on the show but none quite like this.
-Where did you get it from?
-Well, it belongs to my mother
and has been in my mother's family for a good number of years,
but quite its origin, we're not absolutely sure.
-Now, you've looked the hallmarks up cos it is silver?
-What have you found out? It's hallmarked.
-The case is hallmarked Birmingham,
1828 and the watch is Birmingham 1840.
So it's obviously a bit of a marriage, there.
-Yes. I think so.
-Maybe the original case broke
and they put it in to one that was hanging around the house.
The nice thing about this is we've got this very nice sort of enamelled
face here, which is The Society of Oddfellows.
-Have you found out any information on it?
-Not a lot, really.
I did look up the Order of Oddfellows on the web and it seems
to have American origins, probably Salem and New York.
It's very nicely done, actually.
You've got some masonic symbolism, there.
Unfortunately, we have got a little bit of damage on the enamel around the rim, but not too much.
And also, we can see that the movement, itself,
was made by Richard Sullen of Nottingham.
And you've got this lovely chaste, nice fusee movement.
Now, what about value? Have you got any ideas, yourself?
Well, not really, other than that I did see one on your programme
a few weeks back and I think it was valued around the £100 mark,
but it made about £400 when it was sold and I think that was probably
because of the interest that somebody had in the Masons, really.
I'd still be tempted to keep it lowish - I didn't see that one
and it might have been something particular about it.
-Maybe a complicated movement or it was signed by the right maker,
or something like that, you know what I mean, which can often
change the value. I would still keep it around the £100-150 mark.
Why have you decided to sell it now?
Well, as I say, it belongs to my mother.
It's one of those items that sits in a drawer that nobody looks at.
We don't really know the history
so it's no real sentimental value to us, so we might as well just convert
-it into the cash, I think.
-Have a bit of fun.
We'll put it in with a 100 reserve, so we don't give it away.
I look forward to seeing you at the auction and time will tell.
Time will tell whether it's worth anything. Thank you very much.
-Les and Geoff, you're interested in all sorts of antiques and collectables?
-It's a bit of a hobby?
-So what do you most like doing of a weekend?
Normally, we'll find our way out to the boot sales on a Sunday morning.
-Geoff, is it pottery you're interested in, or do you have a specific area?
Myself, I collect carnival glass, but Les here, he collects Wade.
-But you've also got an eye for a bargain.
Tell me about where this came from.
Right. We was walking round the boot sale about two years or so ago, now.
It was quite late in the morning.
I looked down in the grass and saw it laying there.
-In the grass?
-In the grass. Yes.
I thought, it looks like Troika but it can't be.
Somebody would have bought it by now. So, when I picked it up and saw it was Troika,
I asked the gentleman how much it was, he said he didn't like it,
said I could have it for £2. I said well,
if you don't like it, what about £1 and he said take it away now.
So when he said £2, you even bartered him down to half price?!
That's right. That's a boot sale.
You have to make a bargain.
So what about you, Geoff? Did you know it was Troika?
Straightaway. As soon as we saw it, we knew exactly what it was.
-Bargain of the day.
-I should say! Cor, I wish I'd been with you.
Well, yes, it is Troika, but it is what's known as a mask
which is slightly more unusual among the Troika wares that you see
available on the market today at auction.
And they are purely ornamental, but they show
the influence, really, of the very architectural
forms that some of the wares took.
And really, the forms of a very early civilisation, similar
to the Aztec empire in South America.
You can really see this here in the face.
I have seen them with a slightly more interesting kind of glaze,
with the bluey-green glazes, whereas this, for me, is slightly duller.
We've got this, sort of, beigey-brown and lighter green, so there isn't
a huge contrast. Well, not until you turn him over, anyway,
and you've got this striking orange
picking out what looks like this abstract nose, doesn't it?
-Which is quite striking.
Again, the same beige and green.
And also, if we turn it over, we can see the mark in the base here,
just as it should be, but we have got a little monogram.
-Did you notice that?
Just by the name, there.
And I'm pretty sure it's the monogram for a lady called Honor Curtis,
who was actually head decorator at the factory,
so she had a pretty important position and was highly respected,
so that's going to give it a bit of help for a collector to have that.
So, do you like it?
To be honest, not really, no.
-You liked it for £1!
-Well, I like it for £1. Yes!
And there's obviously people out there who do like it.
It's hard to come by now. So you look at it and think,
let somebody have it who likes it.
So, what would you like to get for it?
-You tell me.
-£7 or 800.
I think I would value it, conservatively, at 6-800.
-I can see it making 800, 1,000 on a good day.
So, what a find!
-Just hope it can go to some nice home, somewhere.
What a nice object you brought to show us? Have you had it a long time?
It's been passed through the family,
-back to my great-great grandmother.
-Where did she get it from?
The family'd descended from the Comptons.
And one of the female members ran away with the coachman.
-And she brought that with her.
-So she ran away with the coachman and that?
It's a very interesting object. Where does it live at home?
It's been wrapped in bubblewrap under my bed.
Oh, that's a shame, isn't it?
-Cos it's meant to go on the wall.
-And then you'd put dried flowers, or flowers, in here.
What I particularly like about it, that distracted me in the queue,
-actually, are these wonderful posureness colours.
You know, this iridescent, this lovely, sort of, ruby lustre.
The blue, very much copying that, sort of, Middle Eastern style
of several hundred years ago.
-They've wrapped it in this wonderful sort of Persian shawl, as well.
Now, in terms of dating this, it's very highly Victorian.
I suppose we're looking at maybe 1860, 1870, something like that.
It isn't marked so it's difficult to decide where it's from.
I think it might be continental, but it's a lovely object.
Sadly, of course, over the years, it's had a bit of a bash.
We've got several little chips and a bigger one on the edge, here.
Yes. I think that's where grandmother had it in the fireplace.
-She had it in the fireplace?
-And she kept flowers in it and it dropped over?
But none of the family like it now? Is that why you decided to sell it?
Well, mum hasn't got room for it anywhere.
I don't like it.
-So you decided to flog it?
We should put it into auction with a sensible estimate.
If it had been in perfect condition, it would have been more desirable.
-But with the damage, I think we should put the estimate somewhere
-With an 80 discretion reserve on it. Would you be happy with that?
-Yes. That's fine.
I think it's got great visual appeal.
-And if you want something quite unique on the wall, this is it.
-And you won't be sad to see the back of it, then?
That's good. I look forward to seeing you at the auction.
-Thank you very much for coming in.
-OK. Lovely. Thank you.
So many people and so many wonderful items,
but right now, it's time to up the tempo.
It's time for our first visit to the auction room,
so here's a quick recap of all the items we're going to be selling.
Even with the damage, I love Susan's hand-painted 19th century tea set,
though she can't wait to flog it!
It's time, too, for Philip's Birmingham silver pocket watch
to head off to the sale room.
Kate spotted this unusual Troika mask.
I think Les and Geoff are going to make an excellent return.
They only paid £1 for it.
Mark is showing his taste for the exotic
with this Victorian wall pocket but will the buyers agree?
Next stop, Tring, which is the location of today's sale room,
with auctioneer Steven Hurn on the rostrum.
He knows the crowd well here at Tring Market Auction.
Fancy a cup of tea, Steven?
I think that's too good to drink a cup of tea out of, Paul, don't you?
It's not just a 19th century tea service.
It's in fact a bit of fine art for sale.
Well, yes, it's very interesting. It's not easy to identify
the factory, but I think by the shape and the handle shape, as well,
and the quality of the decoration, I think it's late New Hall.
And it's one of the tea sets that are presently doing quite well.
It's very decorative and it's one that the trade could split.
-That's where its value lies.
-Into little trios.
Into little trios. Selling them off.
-I can see it, actually. I can see that.
-Sure. That's right.
Do you know, we've got £80-150 on this.
I think there's a lot of people that would like to buy it between 80 and 150.
But you'd like to sell it for a lot more than that!
I think it will fetch quite a lot more than that.
OK. Let me ask you to stick your neck out because I know
you want considerably a lot more.
I'd like to see more and so would Susan, cos she's decluttering
so the money's going to come in very useful.
Well, I'm going to, as you say, stick my neck out
and I'm going to tell you that that will fetch over £300.
Right, time's up. No, it's not the end of the show.
Time is up for Philip's pocket watch and we've got £100-150 put on this?
-Should do this quite easily. Bit of quality.
It's been in a drawer. You don't want it?
-A long time. The family don't want it, so let's hope we can sell it.
-It's going under the hammer.
If we had a key, we could test if it was working or not.
Oh, yes, but I think the collectors will know that.
And it's lovely with the masonic cresting on it
which is great. That should really help boost it a bit.
It's going under the hammer now.
Good watch. Richard Sulley. It's also decorated with the arms to the face.
What shall we say for this one? Shall we say 150 for it? £100. £80.
90. 100. 100, I'm bid.
Ten, I've got.
20, I'm bid. 30, I'm bid. 40.
Are you 50, 60?
160 I'm bid. 70 now.
£160. 70, is it?
At £160, then.
Yes! Top estimate.
-All right, I think.
-Hammer's down. Happy with that?
-Brilliant. Less the commission. That's not bad!
-No. It's very good.
I've been waiting for this one, the Troika mask.
We've got £8-1,200 on this.
I've just been joined by Kate, our expert and Les and Geoff.
Originally we got an estimate by Kate of £6-800, but these guys have
upped the reserve to 800.
Do you do this all the time, buy stuff at car boots
and put it into auction?
-No. I collect Wade and he collects carnival,
so we just look for what we want, but we saw this thing and well,
you're not going to leave it.
And here we are on Flog It!
What a great story. You see, it is out there.
You've got to get up early and go shopping for it.
Right now, it's going under the hammer.
Now this important piece of Troika. The mask, this time, lot 242.
We ought to be looking somewhere around 8-900 for this,
I would have thought.
What about 500 for it, then? Shall we say four? Yes.
Madam says 400. Thank you.
400, we're bid for it. At 420 now.
At 450 bid. 480 bid.
500. 520, I'm bid for it.
550, I'm bid for it. 580.
At 580. £600. £620.
At £620. At £650.
80 now. At £680. 700, is it? At 680.
At £680, £700, is it?
At £680, then?
Down we go, then. At £680.
We're just a few bids away from selling it.
We've got a fixed reserve of £800.
I think that just two more bids away,
-we'd have had it.
-I think so. Yeah.
-With a bit of discretion, that would have gone today.
But you wanted a fixed reserve.
-Win some, lose some.
This wall pocket is Rosemary's. It was her grandmother's.
And it was gran's, wasn't it? It's been right through the family.
-It's not going to be yours for much longer.
Not with the valuation Mark's put on it!
I think it will exceed that.
We're got to do well over 150, haven't we, surely?
Well, there is a bit of damage on it, Paul,
-this is the thing.
-I didn't see that.
And also, these sort of things, I mean, it's very highly Victorian.
I mean, I'd love to see it making 200 cos I think it's worth it. It's a lovely piece.
-That's what I'm rather hoping.
-I think this is a classic
decorator's piece and it's hard to put a value on that, isn't it?
-You're flogging it because of what?
-I don't like it.
You don't like it! Well,
that's a damned good reason, isn't it, to sell it, so good on you.
Let's hope we get top dollar. Going under the hammer now.
That's certainly a different shape, isn't it, that one?
There you are. Lot 365. What shall we say for this piece?
I think, possibly, we might ask £200 for it.
£200 for it.
£50. That's a start, then.
£50, I'm bid for it. 60, I have now.
70, I'm bid. 80. £80.
90, is it? £90. £100 is bid for it.
110, I have. 110. 120. 120. And 30.
And 40. 150. And 60, I have now. 170.
80, is it? 180. 90. 190. And 200.
At £200. And 210, now? At £200.
No more? OK, then. 200, I shall sell.
It's going, I sell then, for £200.
Yes! I'm loving it.
-That's so good, isn't it?
It really deserved 200. So quirky.
-Quirky, the better.
It's gone. You've got your £200, less a bit of commission.
-What are you going to do with that?
-Give it to my mum.
Right. Susan's tea set.
We've got a fixed reserve of £50.
Top end 150, hopefully. Be happy with that, wouldn't you?
-It's beautifully hand-painted and decorated.
Had a chat to the auctioneer just before the sale and he said he can
-see this doing upwards of £300 plus, so what do you think of that?
-Yummy. Yummy. Yummy.
You're buying a bit of fine art, here.
Every single little panel is so different. It's so uniquely painted.
Bit of damage, of course, but might put the collectors off.
Well, we set the reserve low cos Susan just wants it gone,
But I have to say, I think that's pretty optimistic, 300,
looking at the damage. Cos if you look carefully, it's quite difficult
to find a piece that is perfect.
There's some tiny chips and tiny cracks.
We've got a feeling it's going to be split up,
not kept as a set and sold in trios.
It is beautiful.
-Oh, well. We'll wait and see.
-What's the money going towards?
-A tap. Well, I think you can get a complete bath suite.
We're going to find out right now,
-because I'm quite excited about this.
-That'll be nice. Me too!
Now we come to something very interesting. There you are.
A pretty part service. Now, where do we start on those?
Are we going to start at £200 for it?
It's a very pretty one. £200 for it.
150. I'm bid 150 for it.
150, I'm bid for it.
Thank you. 160 I'm bid now.
170, I'm bid for it. 180.
190. £200 is bid for it.
210, I'm bid now. £220. £230.
Surely you're 50? Thank you. 260.
Reserve. I want to see a big smile!
And 10 now. 310, is it? Yes. 310.
And 20. Are you 30?
330. I want 40.
Yes. This is good!
£340. One more? No?
At 340 then, I shall sell. It's going down and I sell.
For £340, then.
-That's great, isn't it?
Hand basin, couple of taps. Plumber can fit that for you!
-Well, well, well.
It was quality, through and through, despite the damage.
You're buying a work of art. Lovely little hand-painted panels
and that's so unique.
Maybe somebody can restore it.
It'll get split up. It'll get split up into trios.
That did exceed my expectations. That's a great price.
That's the beauty of auctions. You can't put a price on something!
If you come to Tring during the school holidays,
you're going to find this building full of excited schoolchildren.
And they're absolutely loving this place.
They've been brought here by family that are in the know,
because this place, it's a real hidden gem.
It's part of the Natural History Museum.
Coming here to the Natural History Museum at Tring,
is like stepping back in time and visiting a museum straight out of the Victorian era.
The museum was built in 1889 for the second Baron Rothschild,
Walter, who turned out to be one of the country's greatest
collectors of natural history.
Walter had been obsessed by the natural world from an early age
and by the time he was ten, he had amassed a collection of insects
and birds large enough to start his first museum in a garden shed.
But before long, his collections were filling rented rooms and sheds all over Tring.
The museum was built as a 21st birthday present from his father,
to provide a permanent place for them all to be housed.
For the next 18 years, under duress,
Walter went to work for the family's banking business,
but during that time, he spent all his money, his energies
and his enthusiasm on this place, creating possibly
the greatest ever natural history collection ever assembled
by one man.
His collections included thousands of mammals, reptiles and fish.
It had everything from gorillas through to hummingbirds
and even a group of domestic dogs.
I'm here to meet Katrina Cook, who's a curator here
at the museum's ornithological department,
whose passion with animals also started when she was really young. Pleased to meet you.
So, when and where did it all start?
It was my mother's fault! When I was very, very young,
she'd bring me here to the museum
at least every week of every school holidays.
I can't remember the first time I came cos every time,
as you walk in the door, there's that great wow factor, when you walk in
and see the polar bear. Even now, I've spent a lifetime coming,
there's always new exhibits to see that you hadn't noticed before.
But also, I draw and I was obsessive about drawing. In fact, at 11,
I tried to draw all the birds on the British list.
-Oh, wow. Did you get through them?
-I've got about halfway. Not too bad.
Always obsessed with animals. My room was a museum.
It was full of skins and wings and pinned insects and things.
-I stuffed my first bat at seven.
-Did you really?
-I did. Yeah.
-What did your friends think of you doing this,
cos they're all into their dolls, probably?
I don't actually think I had many!
Most young girls get into ponies and horses.
You got into bats and taxidermy!
Walter must have been quite an incredible man.
Possibly, slightly eccentric, don't you think?
I think all natural historians have a slight tendency towards eccentricity
and Walter had the dangerous combination
-of, sort of, money with the madness.
-He's got a lot in common with you!
-If only you could have met!
-We would have got on like a house on fire.
# Wild thing... #
Walter was a complete eccentric.
He had kept an extraordinary menagerie of exotic animals
at his home in nearby Tring Park. Among them were kangaroos,
a tame wolf, 64 cassowaries and a giant tortoise.
He could often be seen in his coach, being drawn by zebras, both locally
and on the occasional trip to the capital.
Some of the animals which Walter brought back, both alive and dead,
from his travels and the collecting expeditions that he financed,
you know, had never been seen before.
It's really important to remember that not only was he an
eccentric scientist and a man who did crazy things, but he was also a very
very, very serious natural historian and made an enormous contribution
to the understanding of science at that time.
Your department, the ornithological department, that's not open to the general public,
so can I have a sneak behind the scenes, please?
-I think we can arrange that.
-OK. This way?
The Natural History Museum moved its ornithological collection
from London to Tring in the 1970s.
There are 17,000 specimens preserved in jars. And 16,000 bird skeletons.
Most impressively, there are almost 700,000 bird skins,
95% of the world's species.
How do the birds vary from the mounts, then?
What's the difference in stuffing them?
Well, these are what we call skins as opposed to mounts. So they're all
prepared just lying flat.
They've got just cotton wool for eyes. They don't need glass eyes.
They don't have to be wired into a lifelike position.
This way, they're easier for scientists to look at and measure and compare one with another.
Can I have a look at that? Is that a parakeet?
That certainly is. That's not just any old parakeet.
Why? What's different about it?
This is a Carolina parakeet, which is now extinct in the wild.
And this is also prepared by the famous artist, John James Audubon,
who produced a mammoth book of the birds of America.
-And you do this as well here, don't you?
-Actually prepare specimens?
-Part of your job remit?
-Oh, yes. It certainly is. Yep.
We're adding to the collection all the time. Nowadays, we're not going out and shooting.
We rely on people to bring birds in to us that they found dead.
How do you go about preserving this bird?
OK. When the bird's freshly dead,
you make an incision from here, mid-sternum,
down to the vent and then prise the skin away from the actual body.
Some of the bones stay in. The bones of the legs and the wings.
-Skull, that's the original skull in there, as well.
So you're literally just taking the skin off the carcass of the bird
and then when it's all off,
-make a false body the same size to go back into the skin again.
It's not as gory as people think.
Now, I believe in this section somewhere,
there's something quite special you're going to show me?
-They're all special.
-To you, they are, aren't they?
I think you're probably referring to these little chaps.
-These are Galapagos finches.
Some of these were actually collected by Charles Darwin, himself.
Is that his handwriting, as well?
No, none of these bear Darwin's original labels,
but I can show you a bird, not a Galapagos finch,
but it is one of Darwin's. Most of Darwin's specimens
don't actually have his own labels on, anymore. They were taken off.
-But this chappy, this is a bobolink, an American bird. It's...
3374, in Darwin's own fair hand.
Absolutely incredible. It is such a fascinating place, Katrina.
Thank you so much for showing me around and especially behind the scenes.
You're welcome. My pleasure.
Back to St Albans Town Hall now, where Mark is getting very excited.
-You've bought this absolutely
exquisite piece of porcelain in. Tell me about it.
Well, my father-in-law was a polo pony trainer
and he was employed by a wealthy man
in the south of France, in the 1930s.
And he married a local French lady
and they lived down there quite comfortably until the war.
And at that stage, all English people were advised to get out
of the country within 24 hours.
When they knew they had to get out of France,
they decided to hide a few things,
-cos you couldn't take it with you.
So they dug a hole in the garden, put that in it,
-but obviously with packing, of course...
-And buried it.
-In 1946, they went back for a holiday, dug it up.
So between burying it and digging it up,
that's where the damage occurred.
There is a little bit of damage to two of the legs and also to some of the beading.
If we actually look at the piece,
it's like a jewelled golden egg, isn't it?
-You know, with this wonderful finial on the top and this wonderful
turquoise enamelling, forming these graduated beading decoration with
tiny, tiny bits at the top to larger bits at the bottom.
All this decoration behind it.
And then these, sort of, almost pearl-like beading down the side.
And when we open it up, we've got the mark
of one of Britain's finer porcelain makers, Worcester.
This is the Kerr and Binns mark for the last quarter of the 19th century.
But it's a lovely object.
It just screams quality.
I know. It does. Yes.
The whole thing is fabulous.
It must be worth a fortune.
They all say that, don't they?!
I think it's a very difficult thing to value.
I think in perfect condition,
-we could be looking for something like 500, £1,000.
The damage will hold it back, so I think what we've got to do is put
an estimate at auction which reflects the fact that we know it's damaged,
-but it won't put off the buyers.
I would like to put, maybe, 150 to £200 on it, with 150 reserve.
-It wouldn't surprise me if it doubled.
Cos I think there'll be a lot of people who are saying, well,
-actually, I can have that restored better.
Have you had it out on display all these years since you've had it?
It's been on my wife's dressing table all these years and it hasn't
come in the way of any damage or accidents,
-but you never know. And I would hate to knock that over.
-Your wife is happy to sell?
-That's why she sent me along today.
Our experts are working flat out upstairs at the Flog It blue tablecloths and downstairs,
there's still 100s of people sitting waiting patiently. And one of them
is Thelma, here, who's clutching, I believe, an accordion.
-Is that right?
Squeeze box, my dad called them. Can I have a look? Is this yours?
-No. It's my son's.
-It's your son's.
And where is he today, then?
-Is he on holiday, is he?
-No. He lives there.
Oh, nice. Why hasn't mum gone out to join him, then?
-Somebody's got to sell it, haven't they?
-Oh, I see.
-Do you know much about it?
-No, not really.
-Where did he get it from?
-I have no idea, cos when
he moved out to Spain, he just left it behind at home.
I phoned him last night and I said
to him where did you get it and how much?
-"I'm on my way to see Flog It!"
-He can't remember.
He didn't think it was worth anything.
Wow. The box is rosewood.
-Yeah. So this is quite a nice instrument and it needed protecting.
-That's quite fortunate you've still got this little case.
The first thing to check on these accordions is the bellows.
You can see they're in pretty good condition.
There's one little split there, but that shouldn't deter too much
from the value, cos there's only one.
It can be repaired, probably, yes.
Yes. Yeah. Again, we've got rosewood here, with pierced fretwork.
That's quite nice.
-There's a bit of damage.
-Can that be repaired?
-That can be sorted.
That's not too much trouble.
And, that's what I was looking for, a maker's label. Rock Chidley.
135. High Holbourn. London.
So it's a good London maker. Yes.
Yeah. And I'd put this at the turn of the 1900s, about 1910, 1920.
I wish I could play them.
-So do I.
Sadly, I can't play. But I've valued a few of these on Flog It before
and to my surprise, they do quite well.
-And a little trick I learnt about valuing them was,
count up the little pegs.
-Yeah. We've got 24 there.
-That's a pretty good one.
One recently sold in auction
and I think it had something like 32 pegs on it.
-And that got £1,200, in auction.
-My goodness, me.
Yes. Lesser ones will fetch around about £80-100. If I said
that's half decent, despite the bit of damage,
I'm pretty sure we're going to find a collector that will want that.
-I was surprised when I valued my first one
and I put £80-120 on it and it was a speculative sort of estimate.
I'm surprised it sold for £200.
-That was jolly good.
-Yeah. So you might get that, Thelma.
-That would be rather nice!
-Yeah. Shall we put it
into auction with a value of £150-200 and see what happens?
-That would be super.
But I wouldn't be surprised if it made somewhere around
-the 200, £240 mark.
Marion and Jim, a lovely little period jewellery box.
Always nice to see jewellery in its original case. But what's inside?
Let's have a little look.
We've got a super little dress ring there.
-Now, tell me, is this a family piece?
It was a family piece of my mother's at one time, we possibly believe.
So, do you remember your mother wearing this, Jim?
I remember my mother wearing a ring similar to that.
Because it was so long ago, I can't swear that was the actual ring.
-So I'm now thinking that is too large.
So we're not sure whether this is her engagement ring or not?
-No. We're not.
-OK. Well, certainly, looking at it
from a jeweller's point of view,
it certainly could well be an engagement ring.
I would think, probably, between the wars. Possibly 1930s.
Maybe a little bit earlier.
We've got old cut diamond, what we call old cut.
These ones are slightly duller.
And diamonds are also graded according to their colour.
These are slightly tinged with a browney colour,
so that they're towards the lesser good quality end of the scale.
What you would expect from stones of this sort of size
in this sort of quality ring.
And then we've got a sapphire in the centre.
And the sapphire is called trap cut, or step cut.
You can see why with that square
shape and then the step up to what we call a table, the top of the stone.
And that's actually quite a good cut for an engagement ring.
It's in a rubover setting so it doesn't sit too proud.
So you could wear it every day as engagement rings were designed to be.
Even do the washing-up in that one. Having said that,
I think this one has been worn an awful lot as an everyday ring,
cos you can see the facet edges of the sapphire are really worn down.
You can see it with the naked eye.
-So it's been much loved, I think.
It's a lovely combination having a sapphire and diamond.
Typical combination for an engagement ring.
Sapphires vary a lot in their blue tone.
Sapphires from Burma and Sri Lanka and India tend to be
slightly lighter in colour and you can see that in mine.
That much lighter blue colour.
And that we call the more inky stones are generally from Australia
and from Thailand. What about value?
-Haven't got a clue.
I think the condition of this sapphire will affect the value quite a bit.
At auction, I think we've got to be looking at probably 150 to 200.
I would hope it would make the 200, possibly 250 on a good day,
if two people like it.
It would be sensible to set a reserve at 150, if you're happy with that.
-So no regrets about getting rid of it?
-No. Don't think so.
Right now, let's jog our memories of our final three items
before we head off to the sale room.
First, the fabulous Worcester egg with its unforgettable story
of being buried during the Second World War.
Then Thelma's son's Rosewood accordion,
which I tuned into the moment I saw it. I've a feeling it'll do well.
Or will Kate's choice,
the sapphire and gold ring, turn out to be the real jewel in the crown?
Let's find out.
Jim and Marion, Kate, good luck.
It's just about to go under the hammer.
It's that gold and sapphire ring. We've got £150 on this.
You never thought of wearing it, did you?
-Too small. Wouldn't get past the knuckle.
With jewellery, you have to wear it.
-There's no point sticking it in the bank.
-No, no. No.
So, hopefully, someone's going to fall in love with it.
It's going under the hammer.
Good-looking gold, sapphire and diamond ring.
Are we going to bid £200 for it?
£100 bid. 100, I'm bid there now.
10. Thank you. 120, I've got. 130.
And 40, I'm bid. 140. And 50 now.
At 150. And 60?
A bit more. A bit more. A bit more.
No more? £160, then.
I'm selling at £160.
Yes! £160. The hammer's gone down.
Good valuation. It's a hard pitch, isn't it?
Yeah. I think it's cos that sapphire is really quite worn.
It's obviously been worn and loved and the wear on the stones
is going to count against it, but it's a fair price.
Robert, I don't know. How could he sell this after
that story we've just heard back at the valuation day?
This little egg has been through hell and high water.
The story's wonderful.
It's just so touching and it's lovely. It's absolutely lovely.
-It really is.
-It's a pity it's damaged but otherwise,
-it'd have been triple the figure, I suppose.
But it is Worcester at its height of opulence.
The wonderful quality of that pearl beading.
And everything is decorated. I love it to bits.
Every little facet of it.
Any way you look at it, it just smacks quality.
Let's find out what this lot here in Tring think of it, shall we?
Because here it is, going under the hammer.
Lot 290, this time.
This is interesting, this one.
Worcester jewel ovoid vase and cover, there you are.
I think we ought to be looking for £200 for this one. At £200 for it.
200. At £100. Are we a £100 bid? 100, I'm bid for that one, then.
Thank you. 110, I'm bid for it.
120. And 30. 140. And 50.
Are you 60, sir?
160. And 70, is it? 180.
£180. At £180. At 190, now.
No? 180, I'm selling then. At 180.
90, is it? I'm selling at 180.
-Yes? £180, then.
-Happy with that?
Oh, absolutely. Yes.
-Will the wife be pleased?
What the buyers have taken
into account, of course. they've got to get it restored.
That will take a bit of money, but it's a beautiful thing.
-A great story and it's wonderful to have something like that.
Guess what's up next. If I went like this -
give you a quick clue, wouldn't it? Thelma's accordion.
-This is exciting, isn't it?
-Isn't it just exciting!
What does your son think? Have you phoned him?
Yeah, when you gave me the estimate. Yeah. He had to sit down.
-Did he? Did he really?
Have a couple of beers, putting his feet up in the sun out in Spain!
Yeah. I don't blame him, really.
Let's hope we do you both proud
and he treats you for sorting it all out, Thelma.
-Oh, yes. That'd be lovely.
-He'll get you out to Spain?
Well, of course. That's it.
Going under the hammer now.
This is it, Thelma. Good luck.
Interesting one. There you are.
Rock Chidley. Not too many Rock Chidley concertinas there.
There you are. Where shall we say?
Are you going to bid 200 to start me for it? 100, then. 100 is bid.
Thank you. 100, I'm bid for that one.
120 is bid for it. 150. At 150.
At 180. 200. 200, I'm bid for it.
220. At £250. 280.
300, I'm bid. 300.
At 320, I'm bid. 350, I'm bid.
380. At 400. 20. Is it?
No. £400. 20 now.
No more? At £400. You lose it, sir.
At 400, then, I'm selling.
Yes? At £400, then. Thank you.
-Oh, Paul, that's super!
-Isn't that good?
Yeah. I got a tingle out of that.
Instead of 100.
-Cos that it was, the other one, wasn't it?
Well, we hedged our bets, didn't we?
-We did, indeed.
-We were hoping for 250.
-Well, they loved it.
-I can't wait to get home and tell him, now!
-I bet you can't. I bet you can't!
-I think we made Thelma's day there...
-You have indeed!
..and I hope we've made your day, as well.
We thoroughly enjoyed being at Tring. Everyone's gone home happy.
There's plenty more to come on "Flog It!" in the future,
so join us next time.
For more information about Flog It, including how the programme was made,
visit the website at bbc.co.uk
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Experts Mark Stacey and Kate Bliss uncover some super finds in St Albans and presenter Paul Martin discovers The Natural History Museum at Tring.