Paul Martin and experts Kate Bliss and Will Axon visit Nantwich Civic Hall in Cheshire. Paul tries to hit a six with a celebrity-signed cricket bat.
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This is what I love, a town full of character.
Lots of distinctive old buildings,
some dating back to the 16th century.
I'm in south Cheshire, in Nantwich,
and we're all ready to Flog It!
Nantwich has managed to preserve many of its fine old buildings
despite a terrible fire back in 1583.
That was then, but this is now.
Here at Nantwich's fine civic hall,
we've got a couple of intrepid explorers.
Kate Bliss and Will Axon.
Their job - to spot the most intriguing items
brought along for us to see.
Everybody in this massive queue will have a free valuation.
But only a few will have the cameras focused on them.
Who's it gonna be? We'll find out shortly.
Let's see what the good people of Cheshire have decided to bring to our attention.
It's great to see a bit of Clarice Cliff. Are you collectors?
-No, we're not. I'm a Moorcroft collector.
We've been collecting Moorcroft for four or five years.
My interest is antique English silver.
-That's what I collect.
-You're a man after my own heart.
-Is this your only Clarice Cliff vase?
-It is. We bought it on a whim
-at an antique fair at Bingley Hall in Staffordshire.
At the time when Clarice was really quite a name
and we thought, "Let's buy a piece of Clarice."
But it doesn't really go with all the Moorcroft I've got.
-Time to sell. Time to flog it!
-Time to flog it. Sounds good to me.
You're right, you've bought when Clarice Cliff was a household name
and that's what she became, in fact,
-when she was designing pre-war in the 1920s.
What we've got here is an example of the "Bizarre" range.
It should be marked on the bottom here. There we have it.
"Bizarre. Clarice Cliff."
I've just noticed that we've got the name of the pattern.
It's quite unusual to have the pattern name on the bottom there.
There we have it. Gayday.
It's not an unusual pattern in her output. It was quite prolific
but it's these lovely sunny chrysanthemum-like flowers
clustered around the centre here,
set off by the familiar banding that you see on the Bizarre range.
The thing you've got to be careful about pieces like yours
is that they're not restored.
You've got to feel around the edges when purchasing a piece like this
just to check that nothing has been restored
and often cracks, if they're restored, on the honey glaze show up most easily.
So look inside. That's quite a good tip. Also when buying Moorcroft!
I've had a very good look at this piece
and I can't see anything so I think you've got a really good buy here.
Do you mind me asking how much you paid for it all that time ago?
Well, it was advertised almost £400
-but it came down to about 300, 310, something like that.
But we appreciate that was when it was at its peak.
Yes, and you were paying a retail price at a fair
which is a fair price when it was at its height.
I think we have to come down quite a bit to sell it at auction.
We're quite realistic.
If we put a nice "come and buy me" estimate on it,
-such as 80 to £120...
..I think it would generate interest.
It would be in reach of prospective buyers
and we might find prices climbing above that to 150 on a good day.
We would put a reserve on it as well of £80
so it wouldn't go for less than that, certainly.
-Happy with that?
-Yes, I think so.
-Yes. The idea is we want to sell it.
-We'll find something else to replace it.
-Put the money towards silver or Moorcroft.
-OK. Excellent. Thank you for bringing it.
-Alan, hello, there.
-Thanks for coming in today.
Taking "the time", shall we say, to come to Flog It!
An interesting little group you've brought in today.
I suppose if I was gonna look at it critically,
I'd say that we've got one, two, three, four different items here.
But rolled into one, shall we say.
Now, it's obviously a pocket watch on a chain.
Tell me about it. How have you come by this?
It was originally my granddad's.
He bought it for his 21st birthday.
They say that the gifts you buy yourself are the best ones!
Now, obviously, the watch itself is silver-cased,
which helps me to identify where and when it was made.
So if I turn it over here,
we've got the typical engraved back here,
a little cartouche where he may have had his initials engraved,
in this case not.
We open up and we've got the silver marks there
for Chester, 1890.
That's the inside.
And you've got this nice Roman numeral dial here
with a subsidiary second dial, which is running.
-You've got a rather fine 9-carat gold chain here, also.
Has that always been with the watch or is that a later addition?
I'm not sure of the history of the chain or the two sovereigns.
Yes, you've got a full sovereign and a half sovereign
also mounted onto the chain
which can sometimes detract. The important thing is they can be taken out of their mounts
as the collectors like to do.
Looking at it, I think it's just a simple job of opening that frame
and that'll soon drop out.
It's unusual to see a gold chain with a silver pocket watch.
You'd expect to see the theme of silver running through.
when it comes to value, have you had a think about value?
-No idea, to be honest.
The value for the silver case pocket watch I'd estimate at maybe 30 to 50, 40 to 60. Something like that.
-Then we move on to the gold chain.
I popped the chain onto my scales earlier
and you're looking at about an ounce there.
-So 9-carat gold, you're looking at just over £200 for the ounce.
So we're probably looking at 200 there for the chain in itself.
And we haven't even included the sovereigns yet.
Sovereigns generally make between 80 and £90 for a full sovereign
and half that for a half sovereign.
So if we look at valuing the whole lot around the £300 mark,
I think we stand a chance.
-How do you feel about that?
250 to 350 as an estimate.
I'll twist your arm and put £200 on as a reserve. How's that?
-Fine, thank you.
we'll see you on the day and hopefully raise some money for you.
In your grandfather's tradition, you can buy yourself a gift.
-Not for your 21st, though!
-I'll think of something.
-See you on the day, Alan.
-Thank you very much.
-Eric, that is a fine bat, isn't it?
-It is, indeed.
Made by Duncan Fearnley, one of the best.
That was a six!
The thing is, it's a cricket bat
but it's been signed by the Manchester United squad of 1974.
-And Stoke City.
-And the Stoke City squad.
How come all these footballers signed this cricket bat?
Um, it was in aid of a charity.
-And it was auctioned off at the Man U supporters' club.
-I'm a United supporter.
-And you got it?
-I got it, yes.
-I put the last bid in. £100.
How long have you had this?
Let's just look at some of the Manchester United players.
-Yes, he was there.
-He played for Scotland as well.
I don't know any of the Stoke City footballers
apart from Sir Stanley Matthews.
-He played for Stoke in the early days.
-Yes, but this is a bit later.
-Would you like to sell this?
-Well, yes, I would.
-I've got two sons and I can't pass it down to one and not the other.
-And you can't cut it in half!
-Not at all, no.
I'll tell you something. I think this is worth between 100 and £150.
-You can get your money back quite easily.
I don't want to put a reserve on it
because if I took it back home, the problem is...
-You've still got it.
-I've still got the problem at home.
-No reserve, then.
All right. That's brilliant.
Well, you've brought in today something that is right up my street.
A delightful little portrait miniature, pencil drawing.
Is this a relation of yours?
Not a relation of mine, it's a relation of a friend of mine,
who gave the portrait and the daguerreotype to him in 1980.
The lady married this gentleman.
Right, so that's the connection between the two.
And this gentleman was an admiral in the Royal Navy
at around about the time of Nelson.
So, just to get it straight,
-this young lady in this portrait is the wife of this gentleman.
So he was an admiral in the Royal Navy, obviously very well-to-do.
-Would have, perhaps, I suspect,
commissioned this portrait miniature, maybe to take on the ship with him.
-I mean, it's beautifully drawn.
The detail is lovely.
But if we look down at the bottom,
-it says Miss Wa... And that's where it stops.
-It's a mystery.
If we look closely at her face, when I first saw it,
I thought perhaps she had a rather large patch on her nose.
A little beauty spot, or perhaps, a mole.
But if we look closer, that is actually a small drop of ink.
-And I suspect this will be
late 18th century, from around 1800 is generally
-where they date from.
-So, I'm being kind to her.
-Just five years before Trafalgar.
-And this is a daguerreotype. You haven't got the original, have you?
-My father has.
So this is a copy that you have to keep with the portrait,
to keep the story going. Value wise, have you any idea?
Well, we have been told about £100.
I don't disagree with your valuation, I think reserve it at £100
and I think on the day, with a bit of a write-up
and a bit of history behind the catalogue description, I'm sure we'll get it away for you.
-Is this a family piece? Where's it from?
-It was my mother's.
I think she bought it from a small antique shop at home.
-That's all I know about it.
You remember her having it as a child?
I think it was bought in the 1940s, somewhere round about there.
-When my mother died, I took it, with a lot of others, cos she was very fond of pottery.
I really have got a houseful!
Well, you've come to the right place!
That's it. I just thought it was a bit of a different Moorcroft.
I have other pieces of Moorcroft.
-With it having so much white on it.
-You're absolutely right.
Are all your other pieces this lovely ivory creamy colour
-or are they the darker?
-No, darker colours.
I think this is slightly more unusual
and I'm very glad you brought this piece today to show us.
Of course, it is distinctly Moorcroft because of the pattern
but also because of this lovely raised slip decoration on here
which Moorcroft really helped to develop.
It was one of the signature characteristics of his art pottery.
-What age do you think it is?
-What we've got here, if we look at the bottom,
and you can see that impressed signature,
we've also got "Made in England" on the bottom here.
-So we're looking at late '30s, early '40s.
-So I thought.
In the 1920s and '30s, instead of using very English flowers
like poppy and cornflower,
he began incorporating a few exotic flowers.
This is what we've got here, the lovely orchid.
That's on the outside. But he also paid attention to botanical accuracy.
-They're very tactile.
-It fits in with what he was trying to do.
He wanted to produce a piece of art and the ivory and cream is much warmer
-than the dark blue and green glazes.
What about value? Have you any idea?
I haven't, really.
Well, although it is on this lovely cream ground
some people do prefer the darker glazes. It's not everybody's cup of tea.
Having said that, it's in lovely condition.
It's a lovely late '30s, early '40s example of Moorcroft.
I think at auction you ought to expect somewhere between 150 and £200.
-Yes, that's fine.
-OK? Does that sound fair to you?
-It does, yes. Yes.
-You ought to put a reserve on around the £150 mark.
We'll make sure that that is the worst scenario, if you like.
-It can only make that or a little bit more.
-I would hope the top end of the estimate.
-We'll keep our fingers crossed!
-Lovely. Thank you for bringing it.
It's been busy at the civic hall and we've found some great items
to take off to auction.
Moorcroft and silver-lovers Janet and Mike are keen
to clear their collections of a rogue piece of Clarice Cliff.
-Is this your only Clarice Cliff?
-It is. We bought it on a whim.
Alan wants to auction his granddad's 21st birthday present
as it's been in the wardrobe for decades.
Eric's hoping his celebrity-signed cricket bat will go for a six
because he can't give it to his children.
-I've got two sons and I couldn't pass it down to one and not the other.
-You can't cut it in half!
-Not at all, no!
Will the bidders sniff out Morris's miniature portrait of a lady
with an ink spot on her nose?
Shirley's cream vase doesn't fit in with the rest of her Moorcroft collection.
You've seen all our items and now it's time to sell them.
We've travelled north to Adam Partridge Auctioneers
just outside Congleton.
Now our fate is in the hands of this lot, the bidders!
We always say if you want to invest in antiques,
put your money into quality, a good maker's name, and condition.
This lot has the lot. It's Moorcroft and it belongs to Shirley.
We have a valuation of 150 to £200.
-I think you'll be flogging this right now.
-Ceramics are going well here.
There's a lot of Moorcroft in the sale, which brings the buyers in.
-Why are you flogging this?
-Because I've got other pieces.
-Are you a collector?
I like that answer. Sort of. It's options open, isn't it?
Why are you flogging this one?
It would be nice to get the money and give a present to my new grandson.
-He'd rather have the money than the Moorcroft.
-When he's older, yes.
I think he would, don't you?
Well, good luck. The auction room is absolutely jam-packed.
-Fingers crossed for a good result.
Lot 183. There we have it.
Orchid design on a cream ground. Lot 183.
The Moorcroft pottery vase.
I'm bid 100 to start. Take ten. £100 I have.
110, 120, 130.
-Got some bidders in here!
160. 170. 160 over here.
At 160. 160. Any more now? At £160.
This will be sold at 160. Are you all finished? At £160.
This Moorcroft vase at 160. And we're done.
It's gone. Well done. It's gone.
-Shirley, say goodbye!
You could say there's no pressure. We've no reserve on this cricket bat.
But it would be lovely to see it do the 100 to £150 which it deserves.
-We're bang in the middle of Stoke and Manchester,
two famous cities, two great football clubs.
-Ideal situation, isn't it?
Lot 516, the cricket bat.
Signed by Man United and Stoke City footballers in 1974 and 1975.
Some good names on there. What do we say? £100?
£100 the cricket bat.
-It's got to be sold. What's it worth? £50?
Now's the test. £50, surely?
-30? Well, we'll start there.
Take you at 30. Who's going 35?
30's a start. £30. It's worth a bit more than that, isn't it? £30
is a start. £30. Take five.
45. 50. And five?
£50 I'm bid. At £50.
50. Any more, then?
-Gone. But we've sold it.
-We have sold it.
What I plan to do with the £50
is I'm gonna treat the family out to a meal.
-Everybody will be equal then.
Even if it's a fish and chip meal and a bottle of champagne.
Yes, of course. I've a feeling it'll be more than that.
Bless you, Eric. Thank you for bringing it along.
Well, I'll take 500 here, take 20 now. That's 500 I'm bid.
Next up is a lovely miniature, it's an 18th-century pencil drawing and
it belongs to yacht surveyor Morris here, who looks absolutely dapper.
-Look at this! Where did you get this jacket from?
-It was a present, actually.
Tell me more about the pencil drawing.
We've got £100 on this, can we do any more?
Hopefully. I've had a look at the sale this morning
and there's a few other miniatures there, which always helps when you're selling amongst other pieces.
And it's a lovely pencil drawing, it's gorgeous, it's unfinished and it's a little bit quirky...
-Why are you selling this?
-It actually belongs to my father.
He was given it. It's sitting in a drawer, he doesn't like it.
It doesn't have any family connections.
My father, I think, would like to buy some more antiques.
OK, well, let's send him on his journey.
Let's hope we get more than £100.
Good luck! Here we go. It's going under the hammer now.
Margareta Waddington. Here we are,I'm bid £100, take 10.
£100 is bid on this, is there 10 now?
At 100, 110, 120, 120 here.
-120, any more, now?
-Let's see some hands going up!
I'm selling at... 140, online at 140 now.
140, we've got an online bidder here at 140. All done?
-Online here at £140.
-Happy with that?
What will your dad invest in? What will he go out and buy?
First of all, I think we'll buy
all our friends at the Black Horse a drink.
And if there is any money left, I think either a piece of glass,
he loves glass.
-He likes glass, does he?
-He does. And also...
Snuff boxes, things like that? That's quite affordable, £100.
-Snuff boxes, old cameras...
-An eclectic mix!
45 bid, is there 50 now? 45, seated down here. 45, any more now?
Well, it wouldn't be Flog It without Clarice Cliff
and here's Janet and Mike.
We've got a lovely bit of Clarice. 80 to £100 Kate's put on this.
The bad news is, you paid £300 on the day.
-That wasn't a good day's buying, was it?
-No, it wasn't.
Well, unless we can get £300 back?
-Slim chance, I think.
But in fairness, you paid a retail price.
And at that time in the market, that was a fairytale price.
We're selling it at auction, which is lower than retail.
Why have you decided to flog it now?
-We're both collectors. I collect Moorcroft.
-I've got quite a lot.
-I collect antique silver.
You're gonna split the money. You buy silver, you buy Moorcroft.
No? It's all going to Moorcroft. I get the picture!
Good luck, both. Good luck, Kate.
Let's hope we can get you as much back as possible.
Lot 213, a Clarice Cliff Gayday vase. There we are.
-I can come straight in at £160 bid.
160 bid. 170. 180. 190 and 200.
All done at 200? Anyone else?
At 200. All done. Selling now.
£200 and we're finished.
-We'll take that! We'll take that!
-More than happy. Great.
This is a great lot. A lovely pocket watch with chain. Time's up, Alan!
-It was Granddad's?
-It was, yes.
250 to £300. It's still working. It's absolute quality.
I have to say, I wouldn't sell this if this had come from my family.
-I love it to bits.
-Yes. It's nice when you have a family tradition
-that it's been used through the generations.
-It's working well.
I'd sell the sovereigns, but I'd keep that watch.
And the chain is included, where a lot of the value is also.
Can I ask why you're selling?
It's been in the wardrobe for the last 30 years.
-I'm never going to use it, so...
-You don't fancy a waistcoat one day?
-It's not my style.
-Not your style.
710 is a Victorian hallmarked silver pocket watch.
It has a 9-carat chain with a Victorian sovereign
and Edward VII sovereign.
-I can come straight in at £400. And 20 as well?
420. 440. 460. 480.
In the room now. 480. Is there 500? 480.
480 bid. At 480. Any more?
480. All done.
-Better than that 200!
-I'm just covering myself there!
-That's exciting news.
-That's very good, yes.
-Quality always sells.
-It always does.
Now, how about this for the perfect gentleman's residence?
Sure to impress the visitors and the neighbours!
'This is Arley in north Cheshire, a big estate with a wonderful house in the middle of it.'
OK. So what period does the architecture suggest?
You're probably thinking it's got an Elizabethan feel about it.
You're right - in appearance it has.
But in fact, this dates from Victorian times.
Managing an estate like this can be a huge responsibility.
While there are inevitable financial demands,
many owners feel a strong duty to preserve their inheritance for the nation.
The man who shoulders this responsibility is Lord Ashbrook.
He's keen to maintain his family heritage
and share it with the public.
He's offered Flog It a guided tour. How could I resist?
There has been a house on this site since the 15th century
but the present structure dates from 1832
when Lord Ashbrook's ancestor, Rowland Egerton-Warburton and his wife Mary
commissioned a home by local architect George Latham in the popular Elizabethan style.
Lord Ashbrook, many thanks for the privileged tour. We're starting here
in this wonderful drawing room. Why here?
This room's interesting because it's very much Rowland and Mary's room.
That is Rowland Egerton-Warburton
who is my great-great-grandfather
and his beautiful wife, Mary.
She was Mary Brooke from Norton Priory, another house in Cheshire.
Rowland and Mary made an enormous impact
here at Arley in so many different ways.
The architectural detail is absolutely fantastic.
You can't help but gravitate towards the heavens in this room.
We're talking about a period, sort of 1840,
which was the high point of high Victoriana
-when they were copying...
-Elizabethan and Jacobean.
It's quite interesting, if you look at a Jacobean house or Elizabethan house,
you can absolutely see what the Victorians were driving at.
They went a bit over the top, some of the decoration.
-It's very fanciful.
-It is fanciful.
When I was a child, this sort of architecture wasn't greatly admired.
Now, this is very much admired.
Local architect George Latham estimated the cost, the whole undertaking,
to be around £6,000.
The entire build, at the end, cost nearly £30,000.
That's builders' estimates for you!
In today's money, that's equivalent to eight million pounds.
And once the house was built, it needed furnishing
with appropriate contents.
Things like this wonderful inlaid ebonised cabinet on a stand.
This was brought back from Italy on the Grand Tour
and was an acquisition which every wealthy young man would want to bring home
to show off to friends.
If you look closely at the face side,
all these fitted drawers have been inlaid with an image, and that image
is made from very finely sliced pieces of marble of different colours.
Superb detail. That technique was developed in Florence.
Little images like this alone, on a panel, that size,
today would cost around £600 in auction.
So work the price out for yourself.
A lot of money.
To have a staircase this grand in a provincial house built in the 1840s
is very unusual.
The problem is supporting the very high walls when you look at the height of this.
And of course the roof on top of it. Almost impossible.
But architect Latham was an early exponent of iron girders.
So he was able to create this internal bracing
so that this stairwell, this beautiful carved feature,
could sit in.
And it's lit by daylight from the most wonderful dome. Look at that!
As well as housing stunning pieces of furniture,
Arley has also had its fair share of famous guests.
As a young prince, Napoleon III of France stayed here.
But for the present Viscount Ashbrook, it's the memories of his own upbringing at Arley
which are most poignant.
This is a magnificent library.
It's the room that when my parents lived here all the time, which they did until 1981,
this was the room we used to use as a sitting room a great deal.
-Lots of memories.
-A lot of memories.
-Wonderful fireplace. Nice centrepiece.
Of course this very intricate carving and woodwork
is very much a characteristic of the house.
Most of the materials are local
but that was made in London because of the craftsmen
and it's amazing, really, the detail that they achieved.
Generally, the house is in very good condition.
-You've maintained it beautifully.
-I've been lucky in a sense.
There was a very big restoration done about 20 years ago.
A lot of money was spent. It needed to be because we had outbreaks of dry rot and so on.
But you're right, it is in good condition now
but it's no good being complacent
because every now and then you have to erect scaffolding and replace things.
But the sheer size of it means that the upkeep challenge is quite great.
Yes. And it must be really rewarding for you being here.
-It's got to be, surely.
-Of course it is.
I get a kick out of the fact that an awful lot of people come here and enjoy themselves.
So you feel the place is earning its keep, not necessarily in the financial sense,
-but it's earning its keep in the social sense.
The visitors get something as well cos they can take away a sense of history,
a sense of connection. I can vouch for that cos it's been a great day out for me as well.
-It's been a real pleasure to meet you.
-Very nice to see you.
Thank you very much indeed.
After that wonderful trip to Arley, we're now back at the valuation day in Nantwich.
Well, I can see from what you're wearing that you like wearing gold.
-Is this a piece that you've worn quite a bit?
Not a great deal, no, because it's a bit heavy.
So that's why I've brought it today.
I thought I'd see what it was worth, being as gold was good.
So where did it come from?
I think, originally, I bought it in this hall at an antique fair.
-So how long ago was that?
-About 30 years, I think. A long time.
-Originally, I think it was a watch albert.
A gentleman would have worn it on his waistcoat,
with, perhaps, a watch on one side
and often a little vesta case, to hold matches, on the other side.
But here we have it, still got the little fob on the end,
and that's marked clearly 9C, for nine carat,
as opposed to 18 or even purer gold, 22 carat.
I love these sort of rectangular links
that are interspersed within the design,
-which are almost art deco in style.
-A bit different.
So did you have it transformed into a bracelet?
Yes, I thought I might wear it a bit more often.
-But I haven't, really.
Gold is selling very well at the moment
so I think you've actually bought a very commercial piece,
and very commercial in that somebody would wear it
as a bracelet. Twice over, like that.
-And the weight of it, of course. It's pretty heavy, isn't it?
There's quite a bit of gold in there.
Well, I haven't weighed it exactly but I would think, at auction,
that's going to fetch you between £300 and £500.
-How does that sound?
-That sounds fine.
Can you remember what you paid for it all that time ago?
200 or something like that, so it was quite expensive at the time,
but because it was so heavy, we thought, "Well, maybe an investment."
Well, I think you'll find it's been quite a good investment,
-and how funny that it's come back to where you originally purchased it.
-That's what I thought.
Barbara, you've brought Ellie, your niece, with you today.
-Who does this belong to? Is it yours?
-It's mine, yes.
I think personally it's great. It's a wonderful piece of fun.
How have you come by it? Is it something you've kept your pennies in?
Not really. I used to work with a lady that became a good friend of mine.
She asked if my husband would like to buy it. I've had it ever since.
-These are cast iron American money boxes.
What's fun is when they're these mechanical money boxes.
You've got moving parts. This one here is just as fun in my opinion.
We've got the soldier who's aiming his rifle at this tree stump
-with this aperture in the tree stump to take the coins.
Are you not tempted to use this to keep your pound coins in?
Well, she needs more money than I need it.
Ooh, imagine that! "She needs more money than I do"! How kind of her!
-Why don't we have a look and see how it works, shall we?
I've got some 1ps there. So...
we need to cock the soldier's rifle, as it were.
So we push this back and his head comes down, doesn't it?
Looking down the barrel.
We'll load him up with one of my precious one p's.
And to fire it, why don't you press that... Good shot!
Look at that! Annie get your gun! Well,
-it's a great bit of fun. A real conversation piece.
Now, as far as the market for these is concerned,
-in about the 1980s, a lot of these were reproduced.
In quite large numbers and imported from the Far East, India.
Now that had the effect, I'm afraid, of really diluting the market
because buyers lose confidence, you see.
Now, we've had a closer look at it.
It's got plus points that are erring us towards
the fact that it is late 19th century rather than 20th century.
The market is still a little cautious, so we have to reflect that in the estimate.
I'm looking to maybe get it in the sale at 80 to 120.
Now, if it's not right, I think it's nice enough to sell at that.
-If it is right, it'll make more than that.
-You're not going to put a last-ditch claim on this, are you?
Auntie needs the money!
So, 80 to 120.
Before we say goodbye to him why don't we one more time fire off another shot.
-I'll donate another one of my precious pennies.
Barbara, you do the honours this time.
Ooh! Good shot. Well done.
-I'll see you on the day.
-Thank you very much.
I haven't seen a honey pot like this for quite a long time.
-Do you like it?
-I love it, but it's never used.
It's been in a cupboard for 60 years!
60?! That's a long time to be in a cupboard!
Yes, but it's untouched, it's unbroken.
-Where did it come from?
-It was my grandmother's.
-It was passed down through the family.
-And come to you.
Why do you want to sell it now?
I'm moving to a smaller house. Down-sizing.
People don't use these sort of things these days, do they?
They don't, you know.
Honey pots, I suppose, are viewed as being a bit old-fashioned nowadays, and jam pots.
Now we just spread it straight from the jar!
-Or squeeze the honey from the tube!
What do you know about this type of porcelain?
-I know it's Belleek. I've no idea of the age of it.
Belleek, of course, is perhaps the most famous factory in Ireland producing pottery and porcelain.
What we have here is typical Belleek porcelain.
Quite thin porcelain and the porcelain was poured into the mould and poured out very quickly.
So you'd almost get a sort of eggshell-like depth to it.
And the basketwork moulding is typical of this type of porcelain.
It is quite robust as a piece of Belleek goes.
The later works were very intricate, almost rope-twist pierced work.
Marine motifs were incorporated in the decorative designs.
-This one is quite...
-..a solid design by comparison.
I love the rustic base it's on
and these three little supports.
It's beautifully moulded to give every detail.
So let's tip it up
and see how old it is.
There we go, we've got the black printed mark here.
Now, the history of the factory is divided into periods.
This mark dates from the third period
where this Celtic knot motif was added to the main mark.
That tells me exactly that this was made between 1926 and 1946.
-That would fit in.
-That would fit in with its history?
-I thought about 1920s, yes.
-There we go. OK.
So, what about value? Any ideas what that might make at auction?
I don't know. I really honestly don't know.
-I'm going to say two to three hundred.
-It's a nice thing.
I hope it certainly makes the top end of that
-if not a bit more for you. Would you like to put a reserve on it?
-What, for 200?
-Yes, I think so.
-I'm glad you've unearthed it and brought it along.
-Thank you very much. Thank you.
-I must admit, when I first saw the box
that you brought out of your bag, I thought, "Here we go again!
-"Bog-standard service medals." But no, I was wrong.
When I opened it, the first thing that struck me was a good-sized silver medal
with the all-important words, "For courage".
What can you tell me about this medal? How's it come to be in your family?
A friend of the family gave it to me
about 20, 25 years ago
and he was very proud of his brother. It belonged to his brother.
-So it was...
-He gave it to me cos he knew I would look after it.
You have. It's in very good condition.
Before we get into the detail I noticed there was a repair to the top
which has a bearing on the value.
Let's look at the medal itself.
It's a medal that was first issued in 1918.
-It's for dedication or bravery or devotion in duty.
-It was awarded to the RAF.
-To those in the RAF. Pilots.
-Because I understand he was a pilot?
-He was a Spitfire pilot.
-And did he survive the war?
-No, he was shot down over Germany.
-I think about 1941.
-Right. Cos I see you've also brought in
some interesting paperwork here as well.
We've got the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
-who have provided you with a photograph of his grave.
-His grave, yes.
-So we've got Squadron Leader Farmery.
Squadron Leader Farmery with the DFM after his name,
which is the Distinguished Flying Medal that we see here.
-He's buried in a Berlin cemetery, I see.
So we've got that, again a nice tie-in when dealing with medals,
it's all about history. That's what the buyers are buying into,
-the history surrounding this medal. We don't know why he was awarded this.
But somewhere that will be recorded. And that is probably what the buyer
will be doing after this.
He'll look into the history and research of it.
-Where does it live now? Is it...
-It's just in a drawer at home.
-It's sad, really.
If you sell medals like these, they go to specialist buyers who are interested
-and they're going to...
-They're going to look after it.
Any idea of value? Have you ever...
No, I didn't really think it would be worth anything, really, no.
-You almost didn't bring it in.
-I thought there'd be loads of them. I nearly didn't bring it.
I would say that at auction, a sensible estimate for a medal of this type,
-put it in with an estimate of 400 to 600...
-400 to £600.
-Not bad for something languishing in the drawer.
Now, I'm quietly confident that it will make more than that.
Shall we put a reserve on it at the bottom figure of 400?
I'd hate for it, on the day, to go for any less than that.
I think you should be looking forward to it almost having a new lease of life.
-In a fresh pair of hands.
-Yes. Somebody to love it.
That's the end of our valuations at Nantwich.
We've got some interesting items going off to auction.
Today, Knutsford is a busy, modern, bustling town
which has many upmarket bars, restaurants and shops,
but it still retains much of the charm and architectural features
it boasted nearly 200 years ago,
when it was home to the town's favourite daughter.
I am, of course, talking about Elizabeth Gaskell,
the Victorian authoress - a contemporary of Charles Dickens
and a great friend and biographer of Charlotte Bronte,
whose works have survived today to give us hours of reading pleasure,
and it's clear to see the people of Knutsford had a soft spot
for Elizabeth Gaskell, because her name has been immortalised in stone
in this tower, which was built in 1907,
and it's aptly named the Gaskell Memorial Tower.
Mrs Gaskell was born Elizabeth Stevenson on 29th September 1810,
in Chelsea, London.
She was the daughter of William Stevenson,
a Unitarian minister, and his wife Elizabeth,
whose father farmed at Sandle Bridge, near Knutsford.
Tragedy struck young Elizabeth's life at the tender age of 13 months,
when her mother died.
Her father was left bewildered and unable to cope
and young Elizabeth was sent to live with her mother's sister,
Mrs Hannah Lumb, in the town of Knutsford.
Aunt Hannah was like a mother to Elizabeth
and they both lived here very happily,
in this very impressive townhouse. Just look at this.
What an architectural delight.
Back then, it was called the Heath but it's since been renamed Heathwaite House.
Look over there. The aspect.
That hasn't changed that much.
The cars and road wouldn't be there
but that was one vast tract
And to find out more about Elizabeth in the early years,
I've come to talk to one of the Gaskell biographers, Shirley Foster.
Shirley is a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield
and has written extensively on the subject of Mrs Gaskell.
Shirley, thank you very much for meeting up with me today
and talking about Elizabeth, here in the garden she grew up in,
which is lovely, isn't it?
What sort of childhood did she have here, growing up?
Well, as you know, she came here from London.
She was virtually orphaned, although her father remarried.
She was brought up by Aunt Lumb and I think she had a very warm and...
-..embracing sort of family.
-..embracing family around,
and other families close by.
What inspired her to become a writer?
Well, I think partly because she read so much.
In Manchester Library, they have what's called her commonplace book,
and she copied out folk songs and stories and things.
What sort of age are we talking about? As a teenager - 12, 13?
Yes, she was about 13, 14, 15.
And then between 16 and 19 she did visit back in London,
but we know that when she was at school she went to visit
a house called Clopton Hall.
-In Warwickshire. It was a school visit.
She wrote about it. It was published later, in 1840,
and it's a great account, full of lovely grisly detail, about a girl who was buried alive.
-So she had a great imagination?
-A great eye for good stories, yes.
A brilliant writer. The people of Knutsford in the past
have obviously embraced her, taken her to heart.
How does Knutsford feature in a lot of her work?
It's the background to quite a few stories. Obviously Cranford, but...
-That's the big one.
-That's a big one,
but also it's Duncombe in Mr Harrison's Confessions, a novella.
It's Hollingford in Wives And Daughters.
It also appears in a short story called The Squire's Story,
which is about a highwayman who lived next door. I'm not sure which side.
-Yes. And she has some lovely stories about Cranford old ladies
and obviously she had a real ear for picking up gossip and details,
little details that were going to be interesting.
What do you think of Cranford? You're very close to the Gaskell...
I enjoy it very much and I think it did bring out the way in which...
It's a light touch but it's a serious book.
It deals with some serious issues but it's got a lovely light touch.
-It's stood the test of time, hasn't it?
It's not just a dated old-fashioned story,
and I think you really do sympathise with the people.
-She's done it very well.
-It's a classic.
It is a classic. Absolutely, yes.
In her adult life,
Elizabeth devoted much of her time to helping the poor.
She married a Unitarian minister and moved to Manchester,
a city worlds apart from the quaint, sleepy town of Knutsford.
Her early upbringing and religious beliefs equipped her
with the compassion she needed to take on this new role.
And this is where Elizabeth worshipped as a young child,
when she grew up in Knutsford.
It's the Brook Street Unitarian Chapel.
Shall we go inside? After you, Shirley.
What was particular to the beliefs and doctrines of the Unitarians,
let's say compared to other Christian dominations of the day?
Apart from the fact that they didn't believe in the divinity of Christ,
it was really a religion of what you might say rational benevolence.
They believed in the essential goodness of everybody
and the potential for everybody to be good,
and also rejected the idea of damnation.
How did religion shape her novels?
Well, you find an emphasis on love, compassion, again, and forgiveness.
There are several novels in which characters work out their own
salvation, and that includes learning to forgive other people
-and forgiving themselves too.
-She was compassionate towards the poor.
In life but also in her novels, especially in Ruth. The fallen woman.
Of course. It is a novel about a young girl who is seduced,
becomes pregnant, but then is allowed to be redeemed by her own good life,
but what was so shocking was that people felt it was something that shouldn't be written about.
It was something that they all knew about but they didn't really want brought out into the open.
And of course, by doing that, she was doing a very brave thing.
-It was very progressive.
It was very radical, yes.
And how was that reviewed by the critics of the day,
and also the readers?
Well, some readers really responded well,
and people like Charles Dickens, I think it's important to note,
did think very highly of it, because he much respected what she'd done,
but there were those who were deeply shocked.
Some members of the congregation, the Unitarian Church in Manchester,
burnt it, and a famous instance is a librarian who took it off the shelves
because it was not fit for family reading.
So I think that was one of the things...
-It's very hard to understand today.
On 12th November in 1865, at her retirement home in Hampshire,
Elizabeth Gaskell suddenly died in mid-sentence
and it later transpires she died of heart failure.
Elizabeth was only 55 at the time.
Her body was brought back here to Knutsford, to the town she loved
in her formative years
and she often wrote about in her more gentle novels.
Elizabeth would never have thought that she'd end up
being one of the most highly regarded Victorian novelists,
and some 150 years after her death,
people are still enjoying reading and looking at her works.
Let's have a quick reminder of all the items we're taking off to auction.
Kate's sure that June's gold watch chain
will catch the bidders' attention.
Remember Barbara's mechanised money box?
Did Will upset her with that £80-£120 estimate?
Oh! I've been shot. Well done.
Jill's Belleek honey pot has been in the cupboard for 60 years.
Will the bidders be buzzing round it at the auction rooms?
Olive had no idea how sought after her Distinguished Flying Medal was.
-You almost didn't bring it in.
-I thought there'd be loads of them! I nearly didn't bring it.
Now, since Will valued that medal,
there have been developments with the story,
as I found out from auctioneer Adam Partridge.
Well, Olive's been in touch with us and she's found three more medals.
As good as this?
No, these are more standard World War II medals.
This one's a good one, the Air Crew Europe Star.
That's worth over £100 on its own, thereabouts.
These two are standard World War II medals.
Which everybody was issued. Yeah. OK.
So that's a bit rarer, but this is the really important one.
It's so nice to have this extra information
about Squadron Leader CJ Farmery.
Are you putting the four into one lot or splitting them?
-We thought it appropriate to include those with those.
-Assuming they came from the same recipient. It's acting on her information.
-We had four to six on that.
-We've upped it to five to seven.
I see where you're going! Yeah!
That one makes them worth a bit more but those two not so interesting.
-Has there been any interest on this?
-Yeah. A lot.
Are we going to see more than £700?
Yeah. Fasten your seatbelts!
-It's going to fly!
-They are going to fly and I would expect four figures.
-That's what we like to see. Well done, Adam.
-Thank you very much.
The auction house is linked to the internet so there could be plenty of interest from all around the world.
Now it's time to sell the gold chain. Fingers crossed.
There's a lot of gold here, June, isn't there?
It's that chain which can be worn as a bracelet, which Kate has valued at £300-£500.
You actually bought this at a fair where we held the valuation day,
so it's all come home again.
It's on home territory. Let's see how it goes in the room.
It's all now down to this lot, the bidders. Here we go.
735 is the nine carat gold chain and bracelet.
Chain-cum-bracelet, about 57 grams, this one.
And I'm bid 320, 340, 360. Is there 380 now?
-360's bid. 380, 420. 420, I'm out.
420, front row.
Any more now?
At 420? All done, then, £420.
-Gosh, that was quick.
-420. It just flew, didn't it?
-Straight in, straight out. You've got to be happy.
-15% commission, don't forget.
-Adam's got to earn his supper.
-He has. Bless him.
-Bless him. He's doing a fantastic job.
-What are you going to put the money towards?
-Maybe a balloon flight.
-Have you ever done that?
-I have done one. It was brilliant.
It was very good.
35, 40, 45.
35. All done, 35.
This is quite rare. It's a money box. How many people save nowadays?
We've got £80 to £120 on your money box, haven't we, Barbara?
-And this cost about £40 some 30-odd years ago.
-Yes, it did.
-Did you manage to save much in it, or was it just a novelty?
-Just a novelty.
-It's great fun, though, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
-It caught Will's eye, that's for sure.
-You've put £80 to £120 on this.
The only doubt we had on the day was period or not because a lot of these were reproduced
which had the effect of making the market a bit unsteady
because people weren't sure.
But having had a good look at it,
-I think it's right.
-It's got the right patina,
good colour finish on it, the paint's nicely worn.
And great fun. I might save a few pennies if I had this!
It's great fun. Brilliant.
-Let's see what this lot think. Good luck!
It's down to the bidders. Here we go. It's going under the hammer now.
590. There we are. I'm bid 95.
And 100. And 110. Is there 120?
-110 is bid.
£110. Are you all done on this one? At 110. Any more now?
-Sold it. £110.
-That's great, isn't it?
-It is, really, yes. I'm happy about it.
-Happy with that?
Jill, the auction room is jam packed.
Look at it. There's certainly a buzz about this next lot
cos it's a Belleek honey pot. £200 to £300. Why are you flogging it?
It's been in a cupboard for 60 years, so I mean...
-That's why it's in good nick! Really?
-Tucked away safe.
-Belleek is so delicate. It's a real technical thing to put together.
It's a particular type of porcelain that gives that distinctive look.
That lustrous glaze that it has.
-These are popular pots, the beehive.
-They always sell well.
The Belleek honey pot in the form of a bee hive.
Lot 340. It's very nice. Lot 340.
Who'll start me at £200?
-100, then. Let's get on.
-Come on! Get in there.
You're not going to bid 100 for it? 100. Ten.
120. 130. 140.
180 bid now. At 180. Is there 190? At 180.
At 190, then.
Anyone else now? 190.
-I'm afraid that just falls short.
You had a fixed reserve, didn't you?
Yes. It'll go back in the cupboard!
What, for another 60 years?
This next lot about to go under the hammer is so rare and is one of the nicest things I've seen on the show.
It's got great provenance. It belongs to Olive
who's selling this medal. £400 to £600
with the right paperwork which Will saw at the valuation day.
Since the valuation, I've had a chat to Adam Partridge and we've all discussed it
you've found three more medals, we're putting them all in as one lot
and we've revised the estimate £500 to £700.
But that particular medal, the Distinguished Flying Medal, could do really well.
Were you aware how valuable and rare this medal is?
-Not at all, no!
-Adam got really excited about it.
-He said there's been lots of interest.
And he is hoping, it's only a hunch,
but he's hoping it could do four figures.
-That would be nice.
With the other three medals added in, just could do four figures.
We're going to find out right now. Here we go.
470 is the medal group to Sergeant,
later Squadron Leader Clifford John Farmery, RAF,
including his courage medal, a lovely medal group indeed.
-Lot 470. An awful lot of interest on this.
I can start straight in at £1,050.
-1,100 next, please?
1,050 bid. 1,050. Who's going 1,100?
-There are two phone bidders waiting to come in!
1,700 on this phone. Is there 1,750 now?
-New phone bidder.
You'll have to pick me up off the floor soon!
2,300 on Mark's phone there.
2,300. Is there 2,400?
2,300. Are you all done now? At £2,300. We sell at 2,300.
-The hammer's gone down.
Did you get that? £2,300!
-Would have been cheap at estimate!
I hold my hands up there. That was brilliant.
-Anything to do with bravery, courage.
Like I say, it's a slice of history.
-I'm thrilled for you.
-I am as well.
I'm so excited. OK, there is 15% commission to pay here.
-What are you going to put the money towards?
Well, we just said a holiday.
-A holiday. Might be a better holiday now!
-A nice holiday now!
I'm just so shocked. It hasn't really sunk in yet.
Go and have a cup of tea. Sit down.
-A brandy, I think!
-A brandy, yeah!
What a day and what an auction!
It's all over for us, but Adam's still weaving his magic.
All credit to him. He's done us proud and so have our experts.
But seeing the smile on Olive's face
as she walked out the sale room
with a whopping £2,300 for the medal.
We fought our own personal battle here today and we won.
Join us next time for many more surprises.
Until then, it's cheerio from Cheshire!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Paul Martin and experts Kate Bliss and Will Axon visit Nantwich Civic Hall in Cheshire.
A quirky money box nearly delivers a fatal blow when Will puts money in it and Paul tries to hit a six with a celebrity-signed cricket bat. But it is a distinguished flying medal which takes the room by storm.
Meanwhile, Paul visits nearby Arley Hall to find out what it is like to run a stately home, and he tells the story of Knutsford's favourite daughter, the author Elizabeth Gaskell.