Paul Martin and the experts delve into Liverpool's musical heritage, from the classical to the Fab Four.
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Still buzzing from its richly deserved success as the former
European capital of culture, welcome to Flog It!
from the city of Liverpool.
Liverpool is more than just a place with a big reputation.
In 2004, it was designated a world heritage city,
placing its city's waterfront alongside Stonehenge and
the Great Wall Of China as one of the world's most important places.
With its success in football, the arts and music, Liverpool is universally admired.
The only English city outside London with a collection of national museums and galleries.
It also has more listed buildings than any other, outside the capital.
And one of those fine listed buildings is this one,
St George's Hall, with these magnificent fluted columns, rising up to the heavens.
It also houses the third largest organ in the country and later,
I'll be finding out how it gets from this...to this.
Up until 25 years ago, it was home to the crown and civil law courts
and a lot of people do say it's possibly the only building
where you can get tried for murder, have a ball or attend a concert,
all under one roof.
And on top of that, it's also doubling up as today's Flog It! venue.
Talking of multitasking, here are today's experts, Kate Bateman
and Mark Stacey, eager to see what's in all those bags and boxes.
Well, they don't have to wait any longer because it's 9.30, it's time
to get the doors open and get this wonderful Liverpudlian queue inside.
So as the crowd gathers in the magnificent Great Hall, Mark is keen
to make a start with an Art Deco lamp.
-Ruth, Margaret, hello.
Now, you've brought a rather risque lady in to show us, haven't you?
-Looks like it.
Has this been in your house, or are you going to tell us
-where you got it from?
-No. It's been donated to our charity.
-We're here on behalf of an animal rescue based in Merseyside.
-Animals In Need.
We have very loyal supporters and they donated this for us to sell
-but we're often unaware of the value of them.
-What we've really got here
is a rather nice piece and unfortunately, it's not bronze.
-And when we look at this type of Art Deco figure,
we really want bronze and ivory and marble.
What we've actually got is spelter and alabaster.
And this is a spelter body which has then been coated
in the sort of bronzed finish. Having said that, it is period.
I mean, it is from the 1920s and she's actually quite well done.
There's a lot of detail in the face here and in the hair.
And, of course, the bonus is that she is not wearing anything,
-or very little.
Cos that's what collectors of this type of figure like.
The more you show, the higher the value.
-It's like life generally, I'm sure.
-We'll remember that.
-And of course, she's missing the globe lamp, here.
But I think she's rather nice. Now, how much is she worth?
If it had been bronze, it would have been worth
quite a lot of money. It's still worth some money,
and I would probably suggest something around £80-£100.
-And maybe put it with a reserve at 50 or 60,
something like that. How would you feel about that?
-Yes. That sounds fine.
-Are you happy to put it in?
She's a bit dirty.
You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment, Margaret.
Whenever we come to a valuation day in different regions,
we're always looking for something that little bit special that belongs
to the area and I think I've found something here, today.
It belongs to Carole. It certainly belongs to the hearts of Liverpool,
-Yes. I think so.
-It does. How lucky are you?
-The Fab Four, all on one piece of paper.
-All signed by the band.
Now, it says...
"To Carol from the Beatles."
And it says, "George Harrison." So, obviously, George wrote that.
-Yes, he did. Yes.
-Did you get these autographs?
No. A friend of mine who I used to work with.
She was a friend of the Beatles, her and her husband.
And I think they spent quite a lot of time with them.
And you said to your friend... "Go on, get me their autographs."
I did. And she came in on the Monday morning with it.
Obviously, she got them all to sign
there and then on that day with the same black pen.
It got to the stage when they were world superstars, they were probably
quite fed up of people badgering them for autographs, and I do know
on certain occasions, the roadies, who looked after the equipment,
would take something from the young girls waiting backstage, take their
notebook and pencil, run into the dressing room and instead of
actually getting one of the guys to sign it, they'd scribble it down
-themselves and run back out.
That's how there's lots of fakes around, with people thinking...
"I actually got it, I was there outside and someone went in and got
-"it for me."
-They're the ones that you've got to look out for.
-I think this is genuine.
-I think it is, as well,
-because there's no reason to fake something in 1963.
So, that's the real McCoy.
What does devalue yours is the fact that it's signed "to Carol".
-I know. Personalised. Yeah.
-You never know.
A Carol might like to buy them but it's got to be Carol without an "e".
And I'm very adamant about my "e".
-You're a Carole with an "e", aren't you?
-So George got that wrong, didn't he?
-He did, unfortunately. Yeah.
Value. This is the all-important question, what you want to know,
-isn't it, really?
-I'd like to.
OK. I think we'll put a fixed reserve on this.
This is not going to be given away. Fixed reserve of £2,000.
-And a value of two to three.
-See what happens.
-Lovely. Thank you very much. Yes.
-I hope this is going to be
pick of the pops and a smash hit later on,
-when we get to the auction.
-Oh, dear, Sue. It wouldn't be the same without Troika, would it?
I think we've relaunched the factory so many times over the years, haven't we?
-I think all us experts are really fed up with Troika
-But it keeps surprising us.
-It keeps selling.
We keep getting interesting shapes in and you've brought yet another
version of one of their sort of slab-type vases.
This time with quite nice decoration again. The horseshoe design and the
sparse blocks of colour, with this typical sgraffito decoration to it.
Tell me, I bet it's been in pride of place in your china cabinet?
-No. It hasn't.
-Where's it been?
-It's been in my downstairs loo.
Well, downstairs cloakroom, but it is a loo.
And what's it doing in your downstairs toilet?
-It has some flowers in it.
-Good. You haven't put the loo brush...
It was after one of your programmes that my friend said...
"I'm sure that vase in your toilet is Troika,"
so we got it out and looked at it. It was, and I thought next time
Flog It! ever comes to Liverpool, I'm bringing it.
Quite right, too. And that's why I said yes, I'll film that with Sue.
I thought if she's rescued it from her toilet, then it deserves to be
-on the show.
-But where did you get it from, originally?
Originally, it belonged to my late brother who collected everything,
and I don't like it but I thought, "Well, it was his and I'll keep it." I've got much nicer
things which I do display in very prominent positions. But this has
-been in the downstairs loo until today.
-Poor Troika in that case!
Now, in terms of value, I think an estimate of maybe 100 to 150.
-That's very good. Excellent!
-With maybe an £80 reserve?
-Happy with that? Very happy.
-Hopefully, there are two collectors
who will want it and we'll will push it up to the £100 mark.
It'll be lovely for the family to know that something of his
actually got an auction on Flog It! which I'm sure he would have loved.
It's amazing, all sorts of generations like Flog It!
They get hooked on it. The combination of seeing
-the value and then seeing it go in an auction.
-It's lovely to see all the different reactions.
-And they'll start collecting, themselves, I hope.
Peter, welcome to Flog It!
You've bought in these five tiles. What do you know about them?
Well, they were on a hat stand or hall stand.
Given to me by a Jewish lady, and like the fool I am,
I threw the whole stand away and just kept those, you see.
-So they appeal to you. You couldn't throw these away?
Do you know much about them? Do you know the age of them?
Somebody said the artist was 1843, MS. I thought it was Marks & Spencer!
It's an artist called Moya Smith, who designed for the Minton factory.
-And the hall stand must have been the same age?
You're talking early Victorian, so it was probably an oak hall stand,
but that's long gone. So what we're left with is these tiles.
You can see where they were put in the piece of furniture.
You've taken them out. They're not brilliant condition.
You have a few little nicks and problems with the glaze on them,
but they're very attractive, and stylistically quite collectable.
Moya Smith did lots of these biblical scenes
and this is what you've got here. You've got Adam and Eve being
-thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
-Abraham offering his son.
In terms of value, because they're taken out of a piece of furniture,
they're not particularly saleable but should make between £40 and £50 at auction.
Would you want to put them into a sale for that figure?
-Yes, fine by me.
-Would you want to put any kind of a reserve on them?
-No. Just let them go.
-No reserve means they might just make £10.
If that's all, are you happy with that?
-Take a chance.
-It should make between 40 and 50.
-I think they'll go cos
-they're so nice.
-We'll hope somebody likes them as much as you do.
-All right, thank you very much.
Well, we've been working flat out all morning and I don't
know about you, but I think we've found some real gems.
So right now, let's put those values to the test.
We're going to make our way over to the auction room in Mold.
We'll leave you with a quick recap of all the items that are going under the hammer.
Ruth and Margaret are keen to see
what their naked Art Deco lamp base will reveal in the saleroom.
-She's a bit dirty.
-You might think that,
I couldn't possibly comment, Margaret.
Will Sue's Troika leave her flush with success?
I bet it's been in pride of place in your china cabinet.
-No. It hasn't.
-Where's it been?
-It's been in my downstairs loo.
Can Peter's Minton ceramics produce enough
for a night on the tiles?
And finally, Carole is hoping that her
autographs from the Fab Four will top the bidding charts.
-How lucky are you!
-The Fab Four, all on one piece of paper,
-all signed by the band.
And now for my favourite part of the show.
This is where it gets exciting.
We're going to up the tempo so whatever you do, don't go away.
It's now auction time. We've come to Dodds, in the heart of Mold,
to put our valuations to the test. Fingers crossed, we're on the money.
Auctioneer Anthony Parry is raring to go. First up, Sue's Troika vase.
I love Troika but I'm from Cornwall, really, and this is decorated by
Ann Lewis, so it's a nice piece. But if it wasn't for Hilary here,
who's just joined us, you wouldn't be here, would you?
No. Not at all. You said, "That vase in your downstairs loo is a Troika,"
and I said, "Is it?" We picked it up, looked at the bottom and yes, it was a Troika.
I'm glad they didn't keep the toilet brush in it!
No. No. We didn't. We did keep flowers in it.
It's the right shape, actually!
-But it is a lovely one, it's nice and crisp.
Fingers crossed, it's going to travel well and the people
of Mold will love this... and put it to many uses.
It's going under the hammer now.
251. A rectangular vase.
A Troika one. 50, thank you. 50.
Five. 60. Five. 70. Five. Thank you.
80. £80. 80. Five. 90.
Five. 100. 10. 120. 130.
130. All done at... Five.
140. 140. 140. Five, is there?
All done at 140, then?
-That's marvellous. Thank you very much.
It doesn't let us down, does it?
Good spot, Hilary, as well.
-The money's going to the grandchildren.
-You'll have to buy Hilary a drink.
-Buy her lunch.
-Good luck, Peter.
-We're just about to put the five
-Minton tiles under the hammer. We did have a valuation of...30 to?
-40 to 50.
-£40 to £50,
-but you've changed the reserve.
We had no reserve. It was a come and buy me.
-But now you want to a fixed reserve of 25, or is it £30?
So we're not giving these away. If they don't sell, I think you
should take them home and utilise them, build them into something,
cos they were originally in a hall stand which I know
-you pulled apart, didn't you?
-I'll have to buy a hall stand now.
-Or set them into a frame or something?
-Have some faith. They might sell. Come on.
-I think they will sell.
Let's see what the bidders of Mold think.
148. Five glazed earthenware tiles. Biblical scenes. Adam and Eve.
All sorts of people in the Bible.
A £10 note. Ten. 12. 14.
16. That's nice clear bidding. 18.
20. 22. 24. 26. 28. 30.
There's two people in the room.
-30. 32. 34.
Are you bidding, Ian? 36. 38. 40.
Two. 44. 46. 48.
They love them.
50. Five. 60. Five. 70.
70. £70. 70. Missed anybody?
75. A fresh bidder. 80.
-His hand goes down.
-Oh, back up.
90. 90. Another five?
Sure? 90's over here, then.
£90. All done at 90?
That's what we like to see. Over the top end of the estimate.
-A good result. Thank you so much for bringing them in.
-Didn't matter about the hall stand in the end?
-Ye of little faith!
Margaret and Ruth have been working flat out for many
years now for the animals charity, haven't you? It's Animals In Need?
-That's right. Yes.
-All the money for this sort of bronzish-looking lamp,
it's not bronze but it's spelter, of a near-naked female.
Hopefully it's going to fetch lots of money for the animals and
I guess you're both animal lovers. I bet you've got cats, haven't you?
-Oh, don't even talk about it.
-Why, how many cats have you got?
-I wouldn't like to say.
-We've got quite a few.
-They're coming and going all the time.
Three figures. Nearly 100, 150. Yes, we have.
And this is in the charity in North Liverpool?
It is in Melling. Yes.
There's over 100 cats here that need homes.
-And dogs. Over 200 animals are on the site. Yes.
-Good for you.
Good for you, both of you, and I'm so pleased and proud and honoured
-to try and raise some money to help.
-OK. Thank you very much.
Pressure's on, Mark Stacey.
Look, it is what it is. It's an Art Deco figurine lamp.
It's not got its lovely globe shade, unfortunately, but she is revealing
enough, I think, to tempt the bidders, here on a cold day in Mold.
-And it's a really good-looking object.
-It's very nice.
We've set the reserve very low at £50 because we wanted to get
something that was kindly donated to the charity,
so anything over 50 will be a bonus, really.
It looks the part and the decorators will absolutely love this.
Let's hope they're here, today, right now. Here we go. Good luck, everybody.
133. An electric table lamp of a gilded spelter figure
of a near-naked female. Right.
And the proceeds for this are going to Animals In Need. Right.
What shall we say for the lamp?
20, I'm bid. £20. 20.
20. Five. 30. Five.
40. Thank you, Mr Ellis. 40. 45.
Have another one.
50. 55. It's going to charity. 50.
£50. 50. And five, is it?
52. 52. Here he is, here. 52.
At 53. 53.
No. Definitely no. 54.
54. All done at £54, then?
-It should have been more.
-It all helps.
-It's all meant to help.
-It all helps.
-It really will.
Let me give you £50 as well towards that. OK?
-I'll write a cheque for £50.
-I was rather hoping for 100.
-Yes. I was, actually.
Coming up later, has Carole got a smash hit on her hands?
Right. What shall we say for them?
We're coming back here to meet up with Anthony Parry later on,
so fingers crossed, many more surprises, but right now,
I'm going back to that very impressive building in Liverpool's
St George's Hall, and it's going to be a lot quieter because
it's not the valuation day. I've got a little surprise for you.
That is so loud.
It is such a full sound.
-It is, indeed. Yes.
-Ian Tracey, now, you are the Liverpool City organist.
-You're the best person to tell me about this amazing instrument
-and its association with this building.
The organ was put here as the great sort of feature of the building,
which was really built to house a music festival which went on
every three years, not even every year.
And the organ was central to that because thousands of schoolchildren
would sing to the organ accompaniment and Mr Best, who was
the first city organist, had a series of organ recitals here for a week,
which one finds from the city archives,
that were with packed audiences each time. He would literally play
all the great orchestral repertoires, single-handedly, on this instrument,
so he was just a one-man band.
-It is colossal!
-It is. It occupies the whole north end
-of the hall.
-How many pipes are there?
No two the same. They're all different and all handcrafted.
So what makes a Henry Willis organ so special?
There's an opulence in the sound, I think. And we have,
at the Anglican cathedral, the largest organ in the country
also Willis, and the second largest organ in the country,
at the Albert Hall in London, is also Willis. The city, obviously,
was quite opulent in those days and had plenty of money so we have two of the greatest in this one city.
Henry Willis & Sons were regarded as the leading organ builders of the Victorian age.
A time when civic and religious commitment led to the building
of many town halls, palaces, cathedrals and churches.
These days, the firm occupies a location in the centre of Liverpool
and the order books still remain full as the company continues to handle commissions worldwide.
Henry Willis is a family business, dating back to 1845.
Founded by Henry Willis, it went on to be run by three generations
of Henry's until 1997, when David Wyld took over the business.
How do you go about making one of the pipes?
Everything's done by hand, entirely by hand. We start off with
ingots of tin and lead. That's then cast into sheet on a stone bench.
The metal then has to be scraped.
And that does actually improve the way that the pipes speaks
cos it means that the waveform up the inside of the pipe,
is not going to be interrupted by the surface of the metal.
That's what I was trying to get at, if it was bouncing around.
-That's on the inside.
We go from this to the rolling up of the body.
-So this is a set gauge, that you can work and form around.
-We have a set of steel mandrels.
These are ground steel mandrels. They're Victorian. They have always
been in the firm, as far as we're aware.
And we still have the original burnishers that actually go with the mandrels.
We start off just by forming it to the mandrel.
It's quite soft. There's a lot of lead content in that.
Lot of lead in that. That's about 40% tin so there's actually quite a lot
-more lead than tin in that.
And then we take a burnisher and we can actually just smooth it out.
-So you just draw it along.
-Just draw it along and that
will actually form the shape.
So here we are, Paul. This is where we do the soldering.
Before we can actually solder it, we have to size the edges
-which we paint on.
-And that's to keep it clean?
It also stops the solder going where you don't want it to go.
-Are you going to start soldering now?
-Yes. So we take the iron
and we start by putting a tack on the joint.
-Right. Just to keep it together like a little stitch.
-You'd be good at plumbing at home.
-I'm not good at plumbing at home.
That was very clever, very good. Then we start filling in.
That's very clever.
We then go on to the next stage. Here's one I prepared earlier
where this is the foot of the pipe, the new pipe.
And the next thing is then, obviously, to solder on the body to the foot.
At this point, the metal hand would actually open a slot in the mouth to
make the mouth so that when it goes to the voicing shop from the metal shop, the voicer can actually get
the end of the knife in to cut the pipe up because we have to cut
the mouth up in order to make it speak.
We're getting there, aren't we? It's getting quite exciting.
So we're now in the voicing room. Show me how you make this speak.
This is a pipe we're going to voice and we would start by
marking where we're going to cut up the mouth to make the mouth higher.
-You've put these two little phalanges on.
-Those are called ears.
-It actually strengthens the pipe, there.
-Cos you're weakening it by cutting the mouth.
-Yeah. This is the voicing
knife which is quite short and therefore quite strong.
It's very stiff. We put this in the chuck,
And we start just cutting away.
HE SOUNDS A NOTE
So do you know, at this stage, exactly what note that's going to be?
Yes, because when they come out of the metal shop, they would actually
be stamped with the note on them. And then, at the voicing stage, here,
we cut them to length to a predetermined rod.
-Right. So it's the length that gives you the note.
HE SOUNDS A NOTE
-Now we have to move over
-to the voicing machine.
-It sounded a good note to me.
-It's fairly good.
HE PLAYS THE SAME NOTE
Are you happy with that note now?
I'm happy with that in the context of it being a single note.
If that were a complete stop, we'd now have to work on each note
next to every other note and make sure that the blend is right
-and the graduation of the tone is correct.
The rest of the tonal finishing will be done once it's in the organ.
I'll leave you to do that. That's a lot of work.
-Thank you so much for showing me around.
-It's been a pleasure.
It's been a real eye-opener for me and it's been going for
-centuries and long may it continue, as well. What a tradition.
-Thank you very much.
Over at the auction house, the Beatles autographs
have left Anthony quite nostalgic.
OK. Well, were you a Beatles fan or a Rolling Stones fan?
-A Beatles fan and I remember them coming to Mold...
-Did they play here in Mold?
-They played here in Mold.
-I was a big Beatles fan, as well.
-Really was. Yeah.
Carole came into the valuation day and she showed me this
-and I just went, "Wow!"
All four signatures I've put £2,000-3,000 on this.
Yeah. I would err on the lower side. I've sold them before at £2,000.
We've got phone lines booked on it as well.
If there's two or three phone lines booked and they're all prepared
to pay the lower end, they might just...
-They might just creep up.
-Nudge each other up.
I'll try and nudge them along a bit.
You're going to do your best. I can't wait for this.
Whatever you do, don't go away.
The Beatles are just about to go under the hammer.
I've just been joined by Carole and hopefully
-we're going to be top of the pops in a moment.
The Beatles signatures are just about to go under the hammer.
We're looking for £2,000-3,000.
Love them, and I know you're a big Beatles fan.
-Hopefully, all the collectors are here.
-Good luck, Carole.
232. Who remembers them coming to Mold?
-Heard about it.
-No. You're too young, you are.
Right. Carole went to Llandudno where they appeared in the Odeon.
Right. What shall we say for them? Who's going to start me off?
Deadly silence. £1,000. Thank you. £1,000.
1,100. 1,200. 1,300. 1,400.
1,500. 1,500. Pardon?
-What did you say?
Cor, nice job.
Do you want your knee rubbing? 2,000. £2,000. 2,000. 2,100. 2,100.
-2,100. Are you coming back?
-Are you shaking?
What about your client? 2,500.
And 50, anywhere?
2,500. Is that all there's to be?
All done at 2,500, then?
Yes. Fantastic. You were right, weren't you?
£2,500 for the Beatles autographs.
-What a fantastic day we've had here.
-Thank you very much.
-Oh, the journey
just goes on for you, doesn't it? Now you can spend lots of money.
-Thank goodness you saved it and kept it safe, though.
-That's what it's all about, isn't it, really?
-If we'd known then, what we know now.
Hang on to anything that's valuable for at least 30 or 40 years
and who knows, you know, you could get £2,500 as well.
Sadly, we've come to the end of our show today.
We've had a fantastic time here in Mold. All our owners have gone home happy, all credit to our experts.
We're coming to a town near you soon so look out for details
in your local press but for now, from Carole and myself, cheerio from Mold.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd