Experts Will Axon and Michael Baggott join presenter Paul Martin at Coventry's magnificent cathedral. Michael discovers an exciting selection of Japanese carvings.
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I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by works of art
by some of Britain's most important 20th-century artists -
Dame Elisabeth Frink, John Piper, Graham Sutherland.
And who knows what other treasures might turn up through the door today
as Flog It is in the spectacular setting
of Coventry Cathedral.
What a fantastic crowd we've got today.
Just look at the queue. It starts up on the cathedral steps
and it comes all the way around here and just goes on and on and on.
And all of these people turned up to put their faith in our experts,
Michael Baggott and Will Axon.
Well, it's now 9:30.
-I think we should get the doors open, don't you?
And get the show on the road. Let's do it.
And it's an item that's a little worse for wear
that grabs Michael's attention.
Anne, thank you. I always love to see a bit of silver, erm...
but not in such a distressed state.
What's happened to this poor fellow?
Well, I'm afraid that was me being very rough. It was fine yesterday.
-Because I was bringing it, I cleaned it...
-It bends slightly and I sort of encouraged it back...
-I wrapped it up very well...
..but it was only when I got to the show this morning
when it had actually completely broken off.
-Oh, good grief.
-So I have to admit I'm guilty on that, Michael.
-And this was done by polishing it?
-By polishing it.
-You didn't use an angle grinder did you?
-I didn't use an angle grinder.
-You must be the strongest polisher in Coventry.
-But it bent a little and you bent it back?
-Yes, it bent a little.
It goes to demonstrate, actually, one of the things about how these candlesticks are made.
When I first saw them, I thought wonderful, 18th-century candlesticks.
But if you look at the bottom...
we've got a set of hallmarks here for Birmingham
and we've got the lion passant and the date letter for 1977.
-I don't have to look that up to know that's 1977
because that was the year of the Queen's silver jubilee, wasn't it?
-Oh, of course, yes.
and at the assay offices, they put this little Queen's head mark,
which is the jubilee mark.
So a lot of silver of that year will bear that particular mark,
-so it told me instantly.
And this is a pattern, a very standard 18th-century pattern,
that we call cast shell and scroll,
because we've got the shells there and the scroll decoration.
And they're made, actually, in four pieces.
So we've got the little sconce here, which is one piece
and then the stem is cast in two pieces.
The thing about cast silver is it's very brittle.
When you hammer a piece of silver and make it,
-you impart strength to it, almost like a spring.
But when you cast it in its molten form and let it cool,
especially if there's a slight imperfection,
it's very brittle.
So I don't think that was superhuman strength, Anne.
-I think that's a little flaw
that simply has made it come across and then by bending it back,
-because it's so brittle, it's just gone ping.
-Which is a shame.
-I don't feel quite so guilty now, then.
You've nothing to be guilty about.
On the upside, it's not a big job to have it done.
A silversmith will repair that for about £25-£30
and you'll never know that it had been broken.
So that's the upside.
Because they're not early... If they were original 1740s
-they'd be £1000-£1,500 all day long.
But being modern replicas makes a big difference,
and the damage makes a little bit of difference, too.
-I think we should put them into auction at £250-£350.
-And put a fixed reserve of £250 on them.
And they'll fall within that estimate.
-I don't think they'll perform dramatically over that.
They're a fixed commodity but somebody might want an example of the jubilee mark.
-Ah, that's a point, yes.
-And they're also good useful things.
-So if you're happy with that?
-I'd be very happy with that.
Splendid. We'll put them into the sale and hope for the best.
-Thanks for bringing them in, Anne.
-Steve, you obviously know what this is.
-It's a tobacco box.
-You've seen them on Flog It before.
There was one just like this that James Lewis found and valued.
So tell me about this one's history and how you came by it.
Well, I'm an avid car-booter and I bought it in a box of odds.
I didn't really know what it was but after watching the programme...
-You got quite excited.
-I nearly fell off the sofa, it was so exciting.
Mind you, that one was a very special one, it was so crisp
-and it was dated...
-Yeah, it was.
..and it had ownership, the gentlemen's name was on the reverse of the tobacco box.
But nevertheless, it is period.
Because sometimes you think, "Oh, it could be a fake."
-How much did you pay for this?
-I paid £14 for four items.
-And that was one of them?
-And that was in the bottom of the box.
It dates from around 1660 to 1720 and it's spot on. It's not a fake.
If you had a dozen, you could date them within five years of each other.
They were sort of in fashion for around 40 years.
So you could be quite specific about this.
-Definitely owned by somebody called IF.
There's IF there.
And there's a little tulip there in wriggle work. You see that?
-That's wriggled into the brass.
-And a little heart there.
They're possibly done in the early 18th century
but not when this was made.
And of course, tobacco, prior to sort of 1720, was very expensive.
-Hence you had to keep it under lock and key
and this one, well, obviously there's no escutcheon, there's no key,
but there's a little code, as you know.
And if you play around with the half moon,
play around with these little arrows...
-And when you get them in the right direction, that opens.
And there's your vessel for the tobacco.
-It's a very, very clever little lock.
-Yeah, it is.
The condition of it is worn.
The one we had on the show a couple of years ago,
you could see the impress marks in the sun's face and on the moon.
-It was a little crisper.
This one is not going to be quite as valuable.
I think James put something like £400-£600 on that one.
It sold for around £500, didn't it? Or 580.
-640, I think it was.
-Oh, was it? Somewhere around there.
Erm, I think we should put this one into auction
with a slightly more "come and get me" of 200-300,
-if you're happy with that.
If you do the 300, it'll topple over that to about 350, 380.
-That'd be fantastic.
-We'll put a reserve on, don't let it go for a penny less
and hopefully, it'll create a bit of buzz in the sale room.
-I'd like to see this do the 300 plus.
-And I shall see you then.
-That'd be superb.
Valerie, thank you for bringing this little treasure along.
I love spoons and you've brought a cracker along today.
Can you tell me, where did you get it from?
My husband bought eleven spoons...
-and this one was er...
-..in the lot.
And he bought them 40 years ago.
Good grief. Were they a lot money at the time?
-I think he paid £15 for 11 spoons.
-Have you any idea where it was made or when?
-I know nothing about it.
This calls for the eyeglass to come out, now.
And we've got some marks in the bowl.
And we've got the standard mark 88,
which is 88 zolotnik and that tells us that it's Russian.
And next to that, we've got a small figure of St George on horseback,
which is the Moscow town mark.
And then we've got the maker's mark, which is CC.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you who that is off the cuff
but I can tell you that it was made in Moscow
-between about 1880 and 1895.
-Oh, that old.
And it's very typical for a Russian spoon.
You get two types of decoration, really, on Russian spoons.
You get niello, which is a black sulphurous material
which they engrave and rub it in and fire it.
Or, and to my mind the better and more decorative ones, are enamel.
And you've got all this wonderful fine enamel decoration.
This is cloisonne enamel
and basically all these little cells are made up of fine silver wires
which have been individually soldered on
to the body of the spoon.
-So imagine starting off with a blank spoon...
..and putting each one of those in place.
It's mind blowing, the amount of work that goes in.
And then they're filled with different coloured enamels
and fired in a kiln.
It's a lovely thing and Russian items have gone up in popularity a great deal
since your husband bought it 40 years ago.
But can I ask you now why you've decided to sell it?
We never look at them. They're away in the safe, so...
-So what do you do with them?
-There's no point, is there?
-So they might as well go...
Well, if he bought 11 at £40,
it works out at about, let's say, £4 each.
It's worth a lot more than £4 now.
Because the cloisonne's in really super condition,
I'd be very disappointed if it didn't make £70-£100.
-And we should certainly put a fixed reserve of £70 on it.
And if two people really fall in love with it
and really want a wonderful example of a Russian cloisonne spoon,
we could do over the 100, maybe 120.
-So I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
-And thank you for bringing me a spoon in.
-June, this is an interesting selection of pieces.
What can you tell me about them? Are these things you've collected?
No. These were things that my mother bought
when she was a dealer in Coventry.
She came from Oxford with my father
and my mother pulled back the net curtain of the rented house that they lived in
and put three items from her wedding presents in the window.
With the pound that she sold those for, she went to her first auction.
-Really? And it grew from there.
-Yes, it grew from there.
Let's have a look at these pieces.
We've got two pairs of hat pins. They're early 20th century.
-We've seen the date marks - 1908.
Now, they're interesting. You've got the hat-pin market
-and then you've also got the golfing collectors.
They're a slightly mad lot, I think.
They say that you either love golf or you hate it.
So I think that's going to appeal to both of those sectors
of the market.
Then we've got this sweet little photograph frame.
Again, late 19th century, I'd imagine, turn of the century.
The only trouble with this is we've got a little bit of damage there,
as you've seen, which does happen with this type of silver
because it's so very thin when they start with it.
Which carries us on neatly to this desk blotter or desk folder,
which is the same technique as the photograph frame
-but on a larger scale.
And I've had a quick look over it and there doesn't seem to be any damage at all on this,
which is nice.
And then we've got this little interesting christening mug,
which I'm going to ask you, what can you tell me about it?
It certainly wasn't my christening, I'm afraid.
I've no idea. I really thought it was Dutch.
-Maybe I'm wrong.
-Well, let's have a look at it.
If we turn it upside down, we can see the mark underneath.
-You can just see an AC...
-..above another stamp there,
-which is the stamp for New York.
-So it's American
and dates from around the mid 19th century, that sort of period.
-So it's an interesting piece of American silver.
You don't get to see that much of it, actually.
-Not hugely valuable, though, but interesting.
And then we've got these two little scent bottles,
one which looks as if it's probably continental,
with a continental silver mount, hence there's no hallmarks,
which can be common on small pieces of silver from the continent.
And then this, I suppose it's a Bohemian glass scent bottle.
I mean, have you had an idea of value?
-Do you remember what they were marked up for in the shop?
-I've no idea.
-How much do you think?
-I suppose if we go through each of them.
-The two pairs of hat pins, they've got to be worth £10-£20 each.
We've got the little photograph frame with the bit of damage.
-That should be £10.
The two scent bottles that we've mentioned,
I think again, £10 for the two, that sort of level.
So we've got 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.
I would perhaps say 40-60 for the christening,
so that takes us up to 100.
-And the blotter's got to be worth 50, 80, maybe £100.
So, I think, as a group, I'd quite like to put an estimate on
-How do you feel about that?
Yes, I'd be quite happy with that, I would.
-Would you like a reserve?
-Yes, I would, please.
-Yes, very wise.
-If we set the reserve at £150 with some auctioneer's discretion...
..I'm confident that on the day,
-we should get the crowd in and get these pieces away.
We'll have to leave this wonderful setting now to see how our items will do at auction.
Will a last-minute polish have put paid to a good price for Anne's candlesticks?
At £200-£300, will the bidders see Steve's tobacco box as a pinch?
It might be little but Valerie's Russian spoon
is certainly big on style.
And June's mum had great business acumen
but will her silver do just as well for her daughter?
From Coventry, it's just a quick trip down the A46
to the village of Tiddington, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon,
where we've come to Bigwood fine art auctioneers.
Hosting the proceedings today are auctioneers Christopher Ironmonger
and Stephen Kaye.
Right, remember those silver candlesticks, the pair?
How could you forget them? They're just about to go under the hammer.
We don't have Anne with us today but we've got her daughter, Tracy.
-Pleased to meet.
-This is Michael.
Our valuation was 250-350, we've also had a chat to the auctioneer.
Christopher agreed with the valuation
but he said you might struggle and if they do go, it's at the lower end.
-So I take it you've had a word with him.
-We did, a little word.
-You've lowered the reserve.
-Oh, that's good news.
-Usually, the reserves are going up.
-What have you changed it to?
Lot number 65 are some candlesticks.
They're the cast ones.
I've got a bid here. I can start at £200.
On the book at 200. I'm going to sell them.
Anybody else interested?
-Straight in and straight out.
-Are we all done at £200?
GAVEL BANGS Blink and you'll miss that one.
-That was an accurate valuation.
-It's a good job we lowered the reserve.
There was no-one here to bid any higher.
Right, it's my turn to be the expert. Fingers crossed I get it right.
-Steve, good to see you again.
-We've got that 17th-century brass tobacco box.
We've seen one on the show before. We've got £200-£300 on this,
as it has had a bit of extra wriggle work done to it,
but it's going under the hammer now, so good luck.
And 560 is the novelty brass tobacco box.
Interesting little item, this. What am I bid for it?
A couple of hundred, surely?
100 for this to get me going.
100. 100, I'm bid. 120, is it?
120, 120. 140? 140.
Will you go 160? At 140 it is.
-It's not selling.
-I'm pleased we put a reserve on that.
-You wouldn't want to let that go at £160, would you?
Well, stirring things up right now we've got Valerie's spoon.
I'm joined by Michael, our expert. Your husband has a very good eye.
I think you could make a healthy profit on this one.
-Michael's quite confident of £70-£100.
-It should do.
-And you've done some homework.
-I promised I'd look up the maker
and I'm not making it up when I say the maker is Strognanoff.
-Not the meal but the silversmith.
I promise you it's that one.
But it's such a pretty spoon, it should do above the high estimate.
Lot number 50 is the Russian silver gilt spoon
with the twist stem.
Er, 50 quid to kick me off?
-50, thank you, 50, I've got.
And 5. 60? And 5? And 70?
At £65, I've got. Anybody else? At 70 and 5?
At £70 to the hand. Anybody else?
Are we all done at £70?
GAVEL BANGS Well, we got it away. £70.
-That's not bad for a car-boot find all that time ago,
-for 15-odd pounds.
-No, very good.
-You've got to be happy with that.
Well, it's June's turn now. We've got a mixed bag here, haven't we?
-We certainly have.
-Lovely little lot.
We need to raise £150-£250, the more the better
-because you're a bit of a globetrotter, aren't you?
-You've just come back from Vancouver.
-Why have you been there?
-We have a son there
-and we have three grandchildren.
-So we go every year.
-It's really wonderful.
-So you're putting the money towards the trip next year?
-We certainly are.
-Shall we put some pressure on our expert?
-Thank you very much.
-They have been split. We've got £150-£200.
Yeah, the auctioneer knows his market.
I think for the later lot he's left the blotter and the christening mug.
-And the earlier lot is the hat pins, the photograph frame
and the scent bottles.
Lot number 80.
Oh, this is a nice mixed lot.
There's some hat pins fashioned as golf putters,
unusual sort of thing,
and there's the little photograph frame
and other little bits in the lot.
-I've got some bids.
-Is that good?
-I'll open at £60.
-Yeah. So it's away.
Anybody give me 70?
At 65, 70. And 5?
At 80? And 5?
80 down here and I'll take a fiver off anyone else.
Are we all done at £80?
-Yeah, that's fine.
-That's only the first lot.
It was estimated at 50, I think.
85, it's the desk folio.
Erm, and there's also a mug with it as well.
How about starting me at 80 quid?
Thank you. Anybody give me another 5? At 90. And 5?
And 100? And 10.
£100 here. 110, 120.
130? Richard, 140?
140 I've got in the front here. Anybody else?
All done at 140...
-So 220 in all.
-I'm very happy.
-That was the top end of the estimate.
-It was, yes, so I'm happy.
-I'll get my cased packed.
-Get the case packed.
-A bit of shopping in Vancouver.
-If you need someone to carry your bags.
Earlier on, we saw Coventry cathedral packed with hundreds of people,
antiques everywhere, with all of our cameras and lights.
But I couldn't resist coming back in a quieter moment,
just to absorb the atmosphere
and reflect on a lot of the architectural detail.
For me, it's one of the most successful and inspirational builds
of its age.
It captured the mood of the public at one of the most important times
in British architecture.
And to understand why, we've got to start outside.
These are the skeletal remains of the original St Michael's Cathedral,
which was built during the late 14th and early 15th century.
It was destroyed during the Coventry blitz
on November 14th 1940.
Tens of thousands of other buildings were damaged or destroyed in Coventry
the same night
and over 500 people lost their lives.
The ruined cathedral at once became a very potent symbol
of the devastation of war.
The scars caused by aerial bombing
were clearly visible in many other cities too,
and the nation mourned.
But these feelings of despair soon gave way
to a strong sense of determination
and the very next day the decision to rebuild the cathedral was made.
It was most important and monumental of all the postwar buildings
and it came to represent the hopes and aspirations
of a war-torn population.
At the time, the minister for works said,
"We cannot tell how many people are waiting in this country
"and abroad for this church to rise
"and prove that English traditions live again after the blitz."
200 architects drew up plans and after months of deliberation,
the winning submission was chosen.
Basil Spence's design drew him into the media spotlight
and he became a household name,
which was unprecedented for an architect.
But his design came in for a lot of criticism.
The traditionalists found it too modern
and the modernists thought it wasn't modern enough.
Ironically, it is probably this middle ground
that made this building such a huge success.
The work took under seven years to complete
and Her Majesty the Queen attended the consecration
on 25th May 1962.
Everybody flocked to see what was dubbed Britain's first space-age cathedral.
And walking in here today through these glass doors,
I can only imagine what the public must've felt
when they were presented with this.
What a stunning vista. It's so overwhelming.
These windows were decorated by the artist John Hutton,
beautifully etched with images of saints and angels.
But it's that glass wall that you look through
that gives you an uninterrupted view of the ruins of the old cathedral.
And radically, Spence left them there in their entirety
as a constant reminder of the destruction of war.
It also offers a powerful connection between old and new,
traditional and modern,
a sentiment Spence has continued throughout the building.
The cathedral is made from sandstone, the same material as the original,
but whilst the outside is stark and modern,
the nave has all the proportions and atmosphere
of a traditional gothic cathedral.
This gothic style is also reflected in the vaulted ceilings
but Spence took a thoroughly modern approach to it.
The folded squares you can see up there
with the slats of wood that are inset inside them
aren't actually attached to the roof.
It's a suspended ceiling, a false ceiling.
It's very light in structure, which means these stone columns
aren't actually load bearing
and I love the way they terminate just off the floor,
just resting on little tiny brass pins.
It's so clever. It's almost as if these stone columns are floating.
But the great thing about the design is,
wherever you are in the cathedral,
your view of the altar is never spoiled.
One of the other key features of the cathedral
is the use of that most traditional of materials, stained glass.
In these and other works of art in the building,
Spence gathered together the foremost artists of the time,
including John Piper and Graham Sutherland.
It's a real celebration of British arts and crafts from that period.
To this day, it remains an important place of pilgrimage
while continuing to be at the spiritual heart of the community.
Lay canon Heather Wallace is with me
to explain why she thinks it's such a special place.
-Heather, thank you for talking to us today.
When was your first connection with the cathedral?
I came to the area in '58, so the building was going up,
the staff were being appointed.
There was a lot of controversy.
Some people thought it was right, some thought it was wrong,
-but I think it's all right, it's worked.
-It's done a good job.
-I think he's done a tremendous job.
-It has worked.
-There's a wonderful atmosphere, a warmth in here.
-What do you think everybody's impression is as they walk in?
-If I take a party around,
I ask them to be quiet and to feel the silence, feel the size.
And of course they're moved by the ruins very much.
Yeah, there's a nice dichotomy.
You come down the steps out of the sadness, if you like,
into the hope, which is very important.
That really does work for me, seeing that, seeing the ruins.
-It's quite a poignant reminder.
There was a lot of argument about whether they should keep the ruins
but Basil Spence came up with this idea and it was the right one,
to have the whole cathedral, part of it ruined and part of it new.
And we've had people from all over the world come
and really come to terms with the fact of their own problems with the war
and you realise that there is always an answer to war,
there's always an answer to pain
and you can come in and you can feel that there's hope, really,
and this is what the new cathedral is, it's hope for the future.
-Lots of special memories for you?
-Lots of special memories.
We had a Songs Of Praise with Dresden
and it was out in the ruins
and it was a very powerful Songs Of Praise
when you realise that they were then in East Germany
and the bombing of Dresden and the bombing of Coventry is very much linked
and we are very close to Dresden.
The 50th anniversary of the bombing, when we had the Queen Mother
and the President of West Germany.
And the codename for the bombing was Moonlight Sonata,
this is what the Germans used as a codename.
Our organist played the Moonlight Sonata
and we had autumn leaves falling onto the altar...
-..one for every person who had died in the bombings.
So, yeah, lots of memories and lots of happy times, too. Yeah.
MUSIC: "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven
And what a wonderful privilege to able to hold our valuation day
in such a remarkable venue, surrounded by the people of Coventry.
Will is delighted
when he comes across a piece closely connected to our host city.
-Well, Nic, thanks for coming in today.
And when I found out that we were going to do the valuation day in Coventry,
one of the things I thought we might get a chance of seeing
were some Stevengraphs and you've brought one in for us,
-together with another.
-It's a good job I did then!
-What can you tell me about these?
-They're just family pieces.
They were inherited.
-Originally they belonged to my great-grandmother.
It was in a book of old Coventry and that's where we found them.
They were in the book. And that was passed to my granddad
and when he died, they passed the book along again...
-So it's come down the family.
-So it's travelled down. They're family pieces.
So the Stevens factory
was originally one of the Coventry silk ribbon manufacturers.
Now, in the late 1800s, the silk ribbon industry came under pressure
-from cheap imports coming from outside.
So they had to kind of rethink their tack
and they started producing these woven pictures in silk.
So they were still using the same technique as weaving silk ribbons
but instead, they were weaving these pictures in the silk itself.
So, really, when we say a Stevengraph, that's what we mean.
-We mean a silk woven picture.
This one here is what we call a souvenir silk.
This would originally have been loose, as it is here, or framed.
These here, there's two here that I think have been stitched together,
-whether they were always like that, I don't know.
We've got a nice touch here in that we've got St Michael's Church,
-which is outside of the window to my left.
-That's right, yeah.
Not looking quite as grand as it does there
but nonetheless, you can still recognise the spire, can't you?
And above that we've got this chap, Rev Widdrington
and he was the vicar of St Michael's, Coventry.
-So lovely sort of local touch to those.
Now, you say they've come down through your family.
-Not something you're interested in keeping?
We don't collect anything like that as a family
and we just thought we'd like to pass them on
and if anybody's interested in that kind of thing or they collect it, it'll come in handy.
Well, they are collected.
Because there were so many different subject matters and designs,
there's a lot there for people to collect,
-so people tend to like that.
-That's the collectable factor.
-So have you had any idea of value?
-Not at all.
-Have you seen similar items sold?
-Well, they're not hugely valuable.
I think we're going to estimate them, I would think, at £30-£50.
-How do you feel about that?
-And would you be happy to go without reserve?
Well, that suits me. We've got a guaranteed sale, shall we say.
You've decided to sell them, so they're definitely going to go.
30 to 50. If they don't make the 30, I might have to make it up myself,
but I'm confident that we'll get them away for you.
-That'd be brilliant. Thank you.
Karen, you've really made my day today,
bringing this little collection along.
Can you tell me where they've originally come from?
They came to me via my father and from his father.
-Acquired before 1918, which is when my grandfather died.
Well, I'd say your grandfather had quite a good eye
when he was buying these.
-As you might know, most of these are ivory.
-They're actually all from Japan.
And the earliest one is this one here
and funnily enough, he isn't ivory.
And you can tell that because you've got that very coarse, open grain.
And that is a netsuke. If you were a Japanese gentleman,
-you wore a robe with no pockets...
-..and a wide sash round your waist.
So everything you needed was carried in a series of small pouches
and they're secured by a cord that goes through the sash
and then to stop it slipping down, you have a toggle or a netsuke.
After about 1870, Japanese dress was banned,
so the netsuke carvers thought, "What are we going to do for a living?"
And they moved on to little carvings like this.
-Technically, this is still a netsuke.
It's got two carved holes for the cord
but they're just a vestige of what it used to be.
It's really a little three-dimensional carving.
We've got a little turtle or a little devil
being caught under a cabbage leaf
and it's beautifully and sensitively carved.
That's a lovely thing. Going on from that,
this is really super quality.
And that's a little chap cutting the divisions in a comb.
-He's a comb maker. We're left with these four...
..which are little okimono, little carvings,
but they're of less good quality.
And I would imagine that we would put all of those together
in one lot at auction
whilst we treat these as separate entities.
-So we would say £80-£120 for those,
-with a fixed reserve of £80.
These are a little more speculative and would be individual lots.
This, because it's bone, even though it's early, £60-£100
with a £60 reserve.
It could do a little bit better.
These two are the stars for me.
-The oni grasping the little turtle under the leaf, £150-£250...
-with a fixed reserve of £150.
And this little comb maker,
even though he's got a slightly broken comb, again...
Actually, £200-£300 for him,
with a fixed reserve of £200 because he's so delightful.
Well, I think.. I normally say I hope these do well at auction,
I'm sure they will do well at auction
-and we'll be there to see how well they go.
-Thank you for bringing them in.
-It's a pleasure. Thank you.
Sheila, what an explosion of colour you've brought in.
I'm glad you like it. It's so misty, though, and soft.
-Yeah, it really catches the eye.
Anyone who's watching who is aware of this earthenware pottery
will automatically recognise it as Poole,
mainly because of this very typical Poole palette,
where you've got these nice strong colours,
the design with this strong geometric banding around the vase.
You've got these geometric, jazzy, stylised leaves and flowers
and sort of a cloudburst.
Here we've got the centre bowl, two preserve pots, shall we call them.
Sugar or marmalade or whatever.
-It's nice it's still got its wicker handle.
-Yes, I rather like that.
-That's rather nice.
And again, good strong colours,
that sort of high Art Deco.
And you must have bought them or did you inherit these pieces?
No, it was the family, it was in the family when I was little.
I don't know where my parents got them.
-So the reason for selling is?
-Gas and electricity.
Two words that I'm not keen on, especially with winter on the way.
I'm not going to say that waffly thing about let somebody else enjoy them.
-I would like the money.
-You want the cash.
-You want the readies. It would be nice to spend it on yourself, though.
-Have you had any idea of value?
-Absolutely none at all.
-None at all.
-Never even crossed my mind to think about it.
Well, I would say these two are the more desirable pieces.
-Now, they're definitely worth £100-£150 for the two.
-That's very good.
-And hopefully they'll make a bit more.
Like I say, they're good strong designs,
they will be desirable, good shape, as well.
-This is nice with the twin handles.
-Yes, it's a pretty shape.
Then here, again, you're going to appeal with the preserve pots
because there are people who collect them.
I would say you're probably looking at £100-£150 for that lot, also.
Very nice, very nice.
So let's split the two. Do you want to put a reserve at 100?
-I would like a reserve, yes, please.
-We'll put 100 on each.
-Not bad at all.
-So we should get a minimum of £200.
-I'll see you there on the day.
-Fingers crossed we get it away for you.
-Keep our fingers crossed.
Well, let's all keep our fingers crossed as we take our last lots
to the auction.
The Stevengraphs might not be Nic's thing
but Will thinks the Midlands connection will help them fly.
Michael's convinced Karen's Japanese carvings
will race out of the auction room.
And Sheila's hoping the sale of her Poole pottery
will make a real dent in her fuel bills.
We've got some local interest. The Coventry silks are about to go under the hammer.
They belong to Nic who unfortunately can't be here
but we've got our expert, Will - he's put a no reserve on this.
Another no reserve. Good job Nic's not here.
They could go for a fiver and she won't tell you off.
No, I'm confident in these.
As you say, local interest, with the Coventry connection.
-We've put £30-£50. They've got to be worth 30, they could make 50.
Lot number 485 are the two Stevengraphs,
regarding the city of Oxford and Coventry.
-Erm, I've got some bids here on the book.
-That always helps.
-And I can start at £35.
I'll take 40 from anybody else.
I'm on the book at 35. Anyone else?
All done at £35...
GAVEL BANGS I'm pleased with that.
-That's what they're worth.
-Yeah. We'll get on the phone to Nic.
And 20 and 2... I'm out.
Right, it's now Sheila's turn. We've got some Poole pottery.
-One large bowl and four little pots, Will?
-We've put a job lot together to keep the value up.
-You split them on the day.
You've got a nice, good-sized bowl there,
a shallow dish and you've got the other bits as well.
-It's a lot for your money.
The first lot, they're nice, slightly earlier ones.
Nice lot, this. £80 for this one.
60, then. 60, I'm bid. The bid's there at 65, at 70, 5, 80, 5
90, 5, is it? At £90, at £90. Are you all finished at £90?
-Are you all done? All done?
-The hammer's gone down but he didn't sell them.
-I don't think he did.
-Didn't he sell it?
-We've got a fixed reserve of £100...
-..as agreed with Will.
Selection of '60s Poole earthenware.
All as described there. Rather a nice lot, this.
There we are. Who's got 70 to get me started?
60, then, come on. 60, I'm bid, 60 and 5, do I hear?
65, 70, now. 75, 80, is it?
80, 85. 85. Will you go 90?
At 85 it is. At £85.
Are we all finished at £85? All done?
GAVEL BANGS They were sitting on their hands.
They've probably got bills to pay as well.
-They're not buying for the reason that you're selling.
It's a confusing old world, isn't it?
Are you sure?
Next up, Karen's netsuke. It is a touch of the Orient.
Lovely Japanese carvings.
-The detail is superb on some of these, you've got to agree.
You must've looked at them and mused over them.
-Unfortunately, they've always been hidden away.
-In a box.
-They've never been on show.
-You've split them into four lots.
-Talk us quickly through those.
-The little monkey bone netsuke,
which you can tell because it's flecked,
that's the most esoteric of the four and that might struggle.
But the other three are fine, Japanese ivory carvings.
I had a chat to the auctioneer before the sale started
and we both loved the carpenter, the guy with the saw.
-Yes, the comb maker.
-He's making combs.
And lot 365 is the carved bone netsuke,
fashioned as a seated monkey wearing an overcoat.
40, I'm bid, 40 and 5. 50, is it?
50 and 5, do I hear? 60.
And 5. On this phone now, at 60. I'm going to sell it to them.
The first's one sold for 60. Here's the second.
20th-century Japanese ivory okimono,
the man with the body of a monkey and three seated figures.
Who's got 50 for this? 50.
50, 60, 70. 80?
70, over there. At 70. Back of the room at 70.
-80 on that phone.
80. Would you like 90? At 80. On this telephone at £80.
Last chance. I'm going to sell it at 80.
-The bid's up here.
-Just made it.
-Here's the third.
Lot 367, an ivory Japanese carved okimono, an artisan,
a seated worker with his saw on a block.
150? 150, I'm bid. 160, is it?
At £150. At 160. 160, 170. 180?
180, 190. 190, 200?
At £190. Are we all finished?
Are you sure?
-Fourth and final one.
A little monster pulling a turtle.
Who's going to start me at £100? Straight off at 100. 110.
120? 120. 130, now.
-Come on, come on.
140, 150? 150. 160?
-180. Will you go 200, madam?
280? 280. 300?
-300. 320? 320.
-340 on the top phone?
340. On the top phone at 340. Any further advance on 340?
-A fantastic result.
-I tell you, Karen,
-you've got £670.
-That is fantastic.
-Quality always sells.
-Yes, that's the mantra.
Remember that. Quality always sells.
What a fantastic day we've had at Bigwood's auction rooms.
I think that was the final act from Stratford-upon-Avon,
so from all of us here, it's cheerio until the next time.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Experts Will Axon and Michael Baggott join presenter Paul Martin at Coventry's magnificent cathedral. It's a busy day as the people of the town turn out in force.
One man in the queue is hoping his tobacco box can live up to the price achieved by a similar one shown previously on the series. Michael discovers an exciting selection of Japanese carvings, and Will finds an impressive collection of silver.