Antiques series. Experts Mark Stacey and Adam Partridge join Paul Martin at Bangor University in north Wales. Finds include an exquisite early tea caddy.
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Welcome to "Flog It!" -
the show that values your unwanted antiques and collectables
and then whisks you off to auction,
and today we're in the most stunning part of the world.
We're in North Wales, and this auction room is where we're
putting our valuations to the test a little later on in the show.
But first, we need some antiques to sell, so it's off to Bangor.
Bangor lies on the coast of North Wales, near the Menai Strait which
separates the Isle of Anglesey from Gwynedd.
It's one of the smaller cities in Britain, but that doesn't stop it
boasting a cathedral, a university and a rich cultural life.
Well, for such a small city, I'm delighted to see such a large crowd
gathering here outside Bangor University's Prichard-Jones Hall.
And I can't wait to see what's in some of these bags and boxes
because hopefully there's going to be something really interesting
and it's going to bring some big results for our owners
when we put them under the hammer later on in the show.
Our team of experts are here in force and are led by Mark Stacey,
who enjoys both the antiques and the tales behind them.
-Where did you get this from, then?
-That's a long story.
Is it? Do tell.
And Adam Partridge, a tenacious auctioneer who searches high
and low for the right item to take off to auction.
Normally this wouldn't be right, would it?
Rummaging in a lady's bag like this.
Coming up, Mark spots something rather enjoyable.
It's really rather grand, isn't it?
You've got this wonderful sort of classical scene
revolving around it in sort of silver-plate.
They're having a really good time, aren't they?
And fortunately, most of them are clothed, which is a bonus.
And I find something top rate.
Well, I like that a lot. Oh, I do. Yes. Yes, I do. Isn't it super?
It's a lovely example.
We also take the opportunity to visit Portmeirion
to find out about pottery designer Susan Williams-Ellis.
One of our reps was rather intelligent.
He said, "What we want is a very smart coffee set."
So I thought, "All right, I'll try and do one."
Mark's up first with Dora, but not at the table because she's
brought in an old family trunk which is full to the brim.
-Is it going to be a treasure trunk today, Dora?
-I hope so.
-Shall we have a look?
I can't resist any longer. Well, we open it up here. There we are.
Well, now, tell me about this lovely set.
Well, my cousin bought it for my boys.
And it was second-hand.
She brought it off somebody else whose children had all outgrown them.
Your sons were very well-behaved children, weren't they?
They had to be because we've got a small house.
So once they were finished playing with it,
they all had to go back into the boxes.
Well, I mean, it's lovely because this is what collectors really want
-to see, is these original boxes.
And, you know, there is a few bits of scuffing on this,
but, you know, at the end of the day, it's 50 years old or more and,
you know, it's going to be. It's going to have that sort of damage.
And when we open this up... we've got the locomotive here.
And some of the carriages in its box there.
And I particularly like seeing these sort of boxes
because you never know what you're going to find in them, do you?
Now, what are we going to find in here, do you think?
I hope there's no mice. SHE LAUGHS
I hope not. Are you squeamish? Should we risk it?
Should we have a go?
Oh, that's wonderful, isn't it? One of the little station units.
What have we got here? The goods depot.
And in really quite good condition, because these are printed on here
and when kids play with them,
they get scuffed and they get chipped and scratched.
And this is really rather good condition. It's nicely made there.
And we'll just have a look at one more.
There we are. Shell's oil.
Well, thanks for struggling in with it, Dora.
You've obviously had it a long time.
Why have you decided to sell it today?
Well, I have three boys.
I couldn't give it to one without to the other, so I said I'll keep it
and I'll sell it one day and they can have the money.
It's not the earliest type of train,
but there's a lot of it here and I think we should be looking
at an estimate of somewhere in the region of £150-£250.
-Now, would you be happy with that?
-£150? More than that.
-More? Well, we'd always like more.
-How much more do you think it's worth?
-Well... I don't know.
-Over £500, I'm sure.
-Oh, well, it...
It might be at that, but I think we've got to be realistic about it.
We could try at maybe £200 to £300 and put a reserve of £200,
because then we won't sell it below that figure.
And hopefully we'll, you know, chug into the station in first class.
I hope so. SHE LAUGHS
It's a lovely collection, but I think Mark is right to be conservative.
-Looks like a watercolour.
Adam has found some nice-looking silver belonging to Jim and Eileen.
Tell us about this little cruet set.
Well, we bought this about ten years ago in an antiques fair,
and we saw it and we thought it very attractive.
We were rather taken with the design.
It has a number of nice qualities to it, doesn't it?
Very attractive design
and these are not engraved with initials on any of them, are they?
-No, that's right.
-The shields are blank. All nice, matching hallmarks.
Good condition for the blue liners.
And most unusually, really, the amount of these
we get through the sale rooms that have got the wrong spoons.
-Oh, right. Yes.
-They've lost the spoons.
And the hallmarks on these are the same maker,
same year as everything else.
So everything matches, doesn't it?
I wonder if once it might have been in a fitted case.
That's the only other question I'd have.
Perhaps originally you do see them in those fancy fitted cases.
-But it's a lovely set, isn't it?
-It is. Yes.
-Have you dated it?
-I think it's 1907.
-That's what I looked up. I've checked it as well.
And there's initials CEW on there, which is CE Williams
of Birmingham, who was in operation from 1901 to 1909, I think.
I had a quick look, anyway.
Well, I think most people will agree with us that these
-are pretty nice, aren't they?
-And what did you pay for them?
-Do you mind if I ask?
-I think it was about £150.
Right. Well, that's not too bad for a fair. Um...
-You always pay top whack, really. Even if you twist their arm.
-You tend to.
I'd suggest a lower estimate, but not much lower.
I think we should put a reserve of £100,
as long as you don't mind potentially losing £50.
But that's what the name of the game... Name of the game, isn't it?
And an estimate of £100 to £150.
And I think there's every chance of us getting the £150 you paid for it,
-which would be quite nice.
-That would be good.
What would be extra nice would be a small profit
so that after your commission, you end up with what you paid for.
Yes. Yes. Or that we've broken even. Yes. That's right.
Now, why are you selling them?
Because we've moved on now to collecting silver pincushions.
-And they are quite expensive.
-They are very expensive.
In fact, we bought two in the Portobello Road about...
..a month ago. Six weeks ago.
-Have you got a pig one yet?
How much did you have to give for that?
-The pig wasn't too bad. I think it was £120.
-Oh, that was all right.
-I sold a muzzled bear one once.
Anyway, I'm always digressing. We'll put these in the auction.
£100 to £150.
I don't need to ask you what you're going to do with them, I think.
I know you're going to spend it on either small silver,
silhouettes, pot metal, Staffordshire figures.
-Thank you very much for coming.
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to see you.
I'll have my fingers crossed that they do break even.
Liz has brought in an interesting piece of jewellery which has caught
Now, you've brought this rather nice brooch in. Is it a family heirloom?
No. Um, I actually bought it in a charity shop about 10, 12 years ago.
-Yes. And I just thought it was really pretty.
It is. And dare I ask you what you paid for it?
I think I paid about five pound for it. £5.
That's not bad, is it?
This is really rather nice.
We've got a sort of shotgun here and then you've got a pointer or
something like that. A hunting dog.
-And it is actually nine carat gold. Did you know that?
-No, I didn't.
I knew there was a hallmark on the back,
-but I didn't know what year or what...
-Yeah, I know.
It's stamped 375 at the back, which says nine carat gold.
And it's just... I mean, it's a quirky item.
It appeals to those people who are into hunting and shooting, I suppose.
Not the most politically correct subject these days,
but, you know, there are a lot of people who like country pursuits
and I think a lady would like that on a sort of hunting jacket or whatever.
-But I think also as a tiepin, maybe.
-You could use it as a tiepin.
I have no idea what it is or it was used for.
Well, it's a brooch, really, I think.
A little bar brooch, but certainly you could use it as a tiepin.
And it's quite well modelled.
The little dog has had his body chased,
so you can see the texture of the hair on there.
And there's someone engraving on the hilt of the gun,
which is quite nice.
Is all this gold or is some of that silver?
No, I think it's a mixture.
Certainly the butt here is gold,
but then it does go up to this white metal, which is not marked.
It could just be that it was silver-gilt originally
and some of the gilding has come off.
But I think we've got a value it as a decorative piece of jewellery.
-It's not going to send you to the Bahamas, I'm afraid.
-You might get to Prestatyn.
-I quite like Prestatyn, so that's fine.
Well, you've had it for around ten years. Have you worn it?
-What have you been doing with it?
I bought it because I liked the dog.
I didn't really think any more about the hunting/shooting part of it
and it's unfortunately just been in the box in the drawer.
I haven't worn it. It's not the sort of thing I would wear.
I bought it because of the dog. I like the dog.
Well, yes. I mean, people do go mad for their little dogs.
I used to have King Charles spaniels,
so I love pictures and images of King Charles spaniels.
People get nuts over those sort of things, don't they?
The dog is really cute.
And after all this time,
why have you decided to bring it along today to sell it?
Um, because I've never worn it. It's just been in the drawer.
I'd like somebody to buy it and actually wear it.
And enjoy it.
Somebody maybe, as you said, that shoots guns or, you know,
does the hunting or shooting that would actually appreciate it
and wear it. I think it's a shame. It's very, very pretty.
Well, certainly I think somebody would appreciate it.
Somebody living in the country who likes that sort of thing would appreciate it.
In terms of value, I would probably say roundabout £70-£90.
£70 to £100. Something like that.
And we'd need to put a reserve on it,
because we don't want to sell it for nothing,
so maybe a £70 discretionary reserve which gives the auctioneer
sort of 10% leeway on the day.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Yes, I would be happy with that. Yes.
I just really, as I said, I don't wear it.
-I would like somebody to buy it and wear it and appreciate it.
It's not really the money.
It's just that I think it's such a shame that it's just stuck in a drawer somewhere.
Well, all I can say is I look forward to seeing you at the auction
-and let's hope we get a lot of hunters on the day.
That's a very bad joke.
We always expect the unexpected at the valuation day.
Are you ready for this?
And the next item, brought in by Irene and John, is no exception.
This is lovely. I can already see it's an Attaboy, isn't it?
Which is a type of hat make.
So let's have a look at it. Let's get that lid off there.
-This is the sort of salesmen sample, I think, really.
And a saleswoman would take it out, because it's small enough to
carry around and say, "Well, you know, believe it or not,
"this miniature Attaboy is half the size of an ordinary Attaboy hat."
So you've got an idea of what it will make...
-What it would be. Yeah.
-Isn't that cute?
And it's got the Attaboy label in there. What a cute little thing.
-It is lovely, isn't it?
These were introduced in the '30s. Attaboy, I believe, started in 1930s.
-Oh, you said the '30s, didn't you?
And I think they carried on for quite a while after that.
It was quite a popular thing, this type of trilby hat.
The Attaboy trilby hat was quite well known.
I think that's dead cute and also it serves a purpose for me because,
of course, now I'm getting on a bit, I've got one of these bald spots.
That would cover it just nicely. How did you get to own it, then?
A gentleman gave us this, didn't he? One of the neighbours.
And how did he own it?
-Well, he had a gentleman's shop, didn't he?
-Like an outfitters?
So he may have got that as a sample or, um, as a shop display article.
It's just my kind of thing, really.
So what's brought you to come and sell it? Where does it live at home?
-Do you have it out or...?
-In the loft. With lots of other things.
-Like everyone else.
-Yeah. You put it in the loft, you forget about it.
-Yeah. You just think of looking at it, do you?
-And yet it is cute, really, isn't it?
-It's lovely. Yeah.
You've got the box and everything and it's all made exactly...
-That's still the same tissue.
-I think it's excellent.
So why are you selling it? I suppose because it's in the loft.
Yes. We're trying to get rid of quite a lot of things, actually.
Well, that will free up a load of room, won't it?
No, I know. This is it.
-Um, it's not worth a lot.
-I know. We know that, but...
-Great fun, though, isn't it?
-I know! It's a novelty thing, isn't it?
-It's a curiosity.
-It's about what you've got
and, you know, the story that you can tell.
-So I think it will make £20-£40.
You never know. You never know.
I think we should put a reserve on it, though. 20 quid.
-You don't want to give it for less than 20 quid, do you?
We'll take it home and look at it again.
So let's put £20 bottom limit and then hopefully two people will fall
in love with it and it will find a new head.
Thanks for coming up. Really enjoyed that.
Beautiful Gwydir Castle.
In my view, one of the finest Tudor houses in Wales.
Nestling in the glorious Veil of Conwy in the foothills of Snowdonia.
It is a true delight, a fantastically romantic place.
Just the sort of house that I absolutely love.
A house like this just echoes of the past. The walls permeate history.
You can't help yourself. You want to touch them and soak it all up.
It was once a fortified house.
The castle was the ancestral home of the powerful Wynn baronets -
a significant family in North Wales throughout the Tudor
and Stuart period.
Today, as you can see, the house has evolved over the centuries.
But inside, it's full of character and charm and atmosphere.
All the perfect ingredients for a fairytale.
This modern-day fairytale started in 1994 when a young couple,
Judy Corbett and Peter Welford, followed their dreams.
Throwing caution to the wind they bought Gwydir with the money
they raised from the sale of an inherited cottage and a bank loan.
It was totally dilapidated at the time, a crumbling ruin
with a wild, overgrown garden.
With the help of the Welsh Historic Monuments Agency,
they started what will probably end up being their lifetimes' work -
A restoration project of this size is a huge undertaking.
In fact, I'm going to rephrase that. It's a mammoth undertaking.
But Peter and Judy are totally focused and committed.
They love architecture, they love history, and with that combination,
they've succeeded so far.
It's a beautiful, beautiful castle.
I'm going inside to catch up with Judy to find out all about it.
I've got to say, I'm full of admiration for you both.
What was it like when you first came here?
Um, it was pretty derelict. Yeah. Roofless in part.
Horses and chickens living in here.
-Really? In this particular room?
Yeah. So it was really quite bad.
Obviously no plumbing or wiring to speak of.
I had a walk around the grounds before I came in
-and they're beautifully landscaped now.
-We're not gardeners.
Peter calls himself a chainsaw gardener.
And that's really what we needed at the beginning.
Just to cut back through the wilderness.
But, yeah. It's been a lot of clipping.
A lot of doing clearing just to find that...really get back to
the bones of the garden and the gardens are Grade I listed.
Are they? Well, it's beautifully planted up this way.
Perfect symmetry, isn't there?
Yes. Yes. Lots of, you know, formal plantings.
Lots of clipped yew and box.
And gradually, it's all coming back together again.
There's one particular tale I know you haven't mentioned yet,
and that's how you managed to do a bit of detective work on your dining room.
Yes. That's been a very interesting...
..very interesting journey for us, really.
It began just after we moved into the house.
As I say, we were really buying a sort of a wreck, really. A ruin.
And a neighbour turned up with the sale catalogue.
-For the contents of this castle.
-The contents of the castle from 1921.
Basically, to cut a very long story short,
it transpired that William Randolph Hearst, who you will know as Citizen
Kane in the famous film, had bought two rooms at the sale here in 1921.
The rooms had been destined for San Simeon in California,
the castle he was building for himself there.
And we started doing some detective work and gradually traced the room
to the Metropolitan Museum in New York and that is where we found it.
Was it on display or was it just in storage?
No, it is actually still in its packing crates from 1921.
-So he'd never done any thing with it?
-Never done anything with it.
So were they pleased you sell it back to you, then?
Well, it took us two years to negotiate with them
and we went over to New York to see the room, in fact,
and went to this extraordinary warehouse in the Bronx.
-This whole new world was opening up for you.
There, in the middle of it, was our panelled room and they literally
just gave us a hammer and chisel and said go ahead and open the crates.
And the most astonishing thing was when we started opening the crates,
we saw this amazing room -
it still smelled of Gwydir after all those years. 75 years.
Well, only you know what that smell is, really, don't you?
Yeah, well, it moved us enormously, just to have a piece of...
-Did you have a tear in your eye?
-I did, I'm afraid. Yeah.
-Can I have a look? Do you mind?
-Yes. Here is...
Of course all the furniture, all the contents were sold as well.
-All the contents went.
-Why was there big house sale?
Hard to say. 1921. Just after the war. Money was tight.
Same old story. It was happening all over Britain.
And was the start, really, of the decline?
Yes. In Sir John Wynn's day the estate was huge.
You know, the deer park alone was 36,000 acres.
It was a massive estate.
So this is Lot 88. The remarkably fine 17th-century panelling.
How much did it sell for back then? Do you know?
Well, quite a lot of money, actually.
I think something like 1,000 Guineas, which is a lot of money.
But it attracted a lot of attention.
You know, Hearst, obviously was introduced to it by his friend
who owned the house then and started to asset-strip, basically.
So after two years of negotiation,
it got packed away back in that box again and shipped back over here.
It came back. Yes. Yes.
After 75 years of exile, it came back to Gwydir.
Was it a puzzle putting it back together or was it all carefully
marked joint to joint?
Well, unfortunately not.
So that's why it made our job that much more difficult, really.
It was very hard because they came in great big sheets of panelling
and they had very loose markings on the back,
but we were really working from just the sale catalogue.
These sepia photographs.
Whilst we were working on the room, we hardly left the place for two years.
It just was that intense, really.
Just making sure that everything went back together again.
-You really are living and breathing this, aren't you?
We're very passionate about it and love it very much.
Have you broken the back of this now?
I think so. I think the end is in sight.
And actually, last year, we finished our roof,
so that was a cause of great celebration.
Yeah. Now you're sound.
Everything really starts at the roof in a way, doesn't it?
We're wind- and watertight. That's the main thing.
-Can I have a look at the dining room?
-Which way is it?
Gosh. Here we are. Wow. I love the carvings.
I love the trailing ivy with the grapes.
Yeah. They're very intricate and very elaborate.
When was that carved? When was this made?
Well, the panelling was made for the space in about 1640
for Sir Richard Wynn, and then it's been embellished
and played with a little bit over the centuries.
But really, yeah, 1640.
-And this echoes what's going on around the doorway, doesn't it?
These twisted columns. They are called Solomonic columns.
Lovely, deep relief on the carving.
And then in the middle, we've got the coat of arms of the Wynn family.
OK. This is what we've got to look out for now.
If we find anything like this we know where to bring it to.
Exactly. The three eagles of Owain Gwynedd
and the three lions of King Cynan.
Was the leather panelling part of the package
-out of the crate as well?
Everything came back except the movable furniture.
So, even the window shutters came back.
And this leather frieze up here is actually quite important.
When it came back from America, it was completely black.
We took advice from the V&A
and they said the best thing to clean it with is spit.
So we spent six months, I'm afraid,
and a lot of spit later, it now...it now shines.
But we both ended up with very bad sore throats at the end of it.
Oh, dear. I can't imagine you spitting at that.
Spit and polish, I guess. You know, that's where the saying comes from.
-But it's in remarkable condition.
Well, that's the amazing thing about this room.
I think because it's been in its crates for 75 years,
it hasn't been exposed to daylight
and it really is in wonderful condition.
What a wonderful tale. It's a great detective story.
Well, another little piece is that if William Randolph Hearst hadn't
bought this room, it would have burnt in a fire the following year.
So we're very grateful to him also.
Is there anything else you're looking out for?
Yes. We're now looking for a second missing room,
and William Randolph Hearst bought two rooms from Gwydir in the 1921 sale
and we're now looking for the oak parlour, which is also missing.
But sadly, we just...
We think it's in America somewhere, but we just don't know...
-It obviously got sold to a different owner.
It was disassociated from this room, which is the dining room. So yes.
-Fingers crossed. Indeed. Yes.
Let's hope it's not in some ranch house in Texas.
I know. That would be a disaster.
And a sadness for Gwydir. But I hope we're able to get it back.
-Thank you for showing me around.
Right. This is where we up the tempo.
This is where it gets exciting
because we are now going to put our valuations to the test
and we're doing it right here in this building,
Rogers Jones's auction room in Colwyn Bay.
Now, right now I know our owners are feeling really nervous or really
excited. That's auctions for you.
It's a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
So I'm going to go inside and make sure they're feeling OK,
join up with them, settle their nerves
and leave you with a quick rundown
of all the items going under the hammer.
Dora is hoping to get a good figure for her Hornby train set,
so we need the toy collectors on the day.
Jim and Eileen's collecting has moved on to other things,
so the little silver cruet set will go to the highest bidder.
Irene and John have big hopes for their small hat.
And finally, there's plenty of countryside around here,
so we have a good chance of finding a new owner
for Liz's gold hunting brooch.
It's always a good sign to see plenty of browsers at the auction house.
Start bid, £100.
£100, I am bid. £110.
There's quite a buzz in the sale room.
Our auctioneer on the rostrum is David Rogers Jones.
First up, it's Dora with her wonderful Hornby train set.
-And boxed up as well, isn't it?
-A good collectors item.
-I think so.
-£200 to £300? Good luck, Dora.
It's going under the hammer now.
-Ladies and gentlemen, it's the Hornby clockwork train set.
Lovely selection of boxed rolling stock in lovely condition.
Station accessories. There's a water tank, a large quantity of track.
Everything is here for the model railway enthusiast.
It's a great lot for somebody to sort of invest in
to start a collection.
The Hornby clockwork. Lovely condition. Come on.
They're not battered and flaked. Mint to good condition. £250.
Push me off at £200.
£140, I am bid. £140. At £140. £140.
£140. £160. £160. Is there £180?
At £160. £160.
£180 anywhere? At £160. Is there £180?
-We want a bit more money than that, don't we?
At £160. I would have thought that this was a very, very cheap lot.
£170. £170 bid. At £170.
Struggling badly. At £170 online.
-He's not going to sell.
-I don't think so.
Sell it subject to approval or otherwise.
-No, we don't want to sell it.
-No, I'll keep it.
-At £170 online.
£180, anybody? At £170.
-Final call. But it has to be with owner's approval if at all.
£170. Doesn't want to sell? OK. £170.
Any advance? Pass on at £170.
The auctioneer is calling for £170. We didn't get it.
We had a reserve of £200 and I think you were right.
I think so, don't you?
Yes. Yeah. Good on you for bringing that in, Dora.
All right. I might see you again.
You live to fight another day in the auction room, though.
If you need to get rid of it.
'That's auctions for you. And it's not worth giving things away.
'Now it's Irene and John with their unusual display piece.'
I love this little...
-Well, it's almost like a tailor's sort of advert, isn't it?
-It is, yeah.
-It's a miniature.
-A little hat.
It's the sort of thing that if I saw it at a fair or something
-I would definitely...
-You'd have to buy it, wouldn't you?
And you wouldn't really want to sell it for £30 or £50.
Well, I don't know if it's worth hundreds, though, is it?
Well, let's hope it goes to a good family.
-Be nice to see it make 50 quid, wouldn't it?
You never know what's going to happen in an auction, do you?
Bright little thing, isn't it?
Hats off to you two for bringing it in.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
Now, I know that my opinion counts for nothing
but I think this is one of the most delightful lots in today's sale.
It really is.
It's the cardboard-boxed Attaboy velvet trilby hat.
It won't fit any of us here. I don't think it really matters.
Original labels to the box and to the hat. It's a real little gem.
You wait. We won't be far away when we finish.
£50. £40. I am bid £40. £40 bid. £40.
A real little beaut at £40. £40, I am bid.
£60. £60 bid. £60. And again now. Is there £70?
£70 with me. £70. Five again now.
At £70. A delightful little lot.
-That sounds good. This is good.
-It's great, that, innit?
-Are you coming back?
£80 only. With me now against you.
At £80 on the book. £80.
-On the book. £80.
I didn't think we'd get that. I thought I was going home with it.
-£80. The hammer's gone down.
That was in museum condition, wasn't it? It really was pristine.
Well done, you two.
Next, Jim and Eileen with the silver cruet set.
Here we go. Let's find out what the bidders think.
We need someone with a posh bed and breakfast sort of thing
-who want to show it off.
-Or a castle.
-Or a castle.
-That's right. That's what I said.
Four-piece silver condiment set. All with Bristol blue liners
and the nice twist handle salt spoons.
The right spoons as well, wasn't it? The right spoons.
They often come without the right spoons.
With me at £70. £70 I am bid.
£80. £80 bid.
At £100. Is there £110?
£100 seated in the room. At £100.
I'll take £110. Anybody new?
£100. Everybody done?
I'll take £110 before they go. Anybody coming in?
Final call at £100.
Well, we got in way within estimate, that's the main thing.
And hopefully someone's going to use that as well.
Cos it is a practical thing to use for £100.
It's showy, but it's practical.
Good. Well done. I'm glad it didn't sell for too little, anyway.
-Hopefully it's gone to the castle down the road.
I'm sure you use yours all the time, don't you?
-There's about ten castles within 16 miles.
-We live near one.
-In Beaumaris, we live.
-Thanks for coming.
Here comes Liz's hunting brooch.
She's had a little crisis of confidence
and has dropped the reserve to £50.
Liz, fingers crossed. It's going under the hammer right now.
Let's hope there's some dog lovers here as well, shall we?
-Because that will put the price up.
Nine carat gold bar brooch.
Very nice bit of novelty jewellery
in the form of a shotgun with a gun dog.
Lovely bit of novelty jewellery.
It starts with me at £60. £60, I am bid.
At £60. £70. £80.
£80, I am bid. £80. £90 anywhere?
-Come on. Come on.
-At £80. Come on.
You've got to have this if you're a sporting type.
At £80 only. Is there £90? The final call.
£85. £85, I am bid. £90.
£90 bid. Do you want five again?
It's going, then. At £90. Everybody done at £90?
-Thank you very much indeed. Thank you.
-We're happy with that, aren't we? Well done.
-I am very happy.
Well done, Mark. That sold at the top end of the estimate.
Now something for all you pottery fans. I'm off to Portmeirion.
I've come to the village of Portmeirion,
just down the coast from Bangor,
to find out about a remarkable woman called Susan Williams-Ellis.
Susan was an imaginative and multi-talented designer.
She's most famous for being the creative force behind Portmeirion Pottery, which hit the big time
when Susan launched her Botanic Gardens range in 1972.
Her inspiration may well come from her love of horticulture.
Her father, Clough Williams-Ellis, the creator of Portmeirion Village,
had nurtured Susan's gardening ambitions.
And to find out more about Susan, the woman and the artist,
I've come to have a chat with her son, Robin Llewelyn.
Robin, thanks very much for meeting up with me today,
especially right here, your mother's favourite spot.
And I can see why it's rapidly becoming one of mine.
What did this mean to her?
Well, this was where she enjoyed putting a bit of her
creativity into Portmeirion.
She was very heavily involved in the gardening
and in developing the formal gardens within the village.
And it's without doubt that her love of gardening inspired her
She was an enthusiastic plantswoman with an intense love of nature.
Her father gave her the responsibility for landscaping large
areas of the gardens.
She made her mark by adding oriental features, which she designed herself.
She studied at Chelsea School of Arts under Henry Moore
and Graham Sutherland, so shapes were important to her.
But she didn't really want to become an artist who simply produced
She wanted to become an industrial artist who could design elegant
and functional pieces for daily use.
SUSAN: One of our reps was rather intelligent.
He said what we want is a very smart coffee set,
so I thought, "All right. I'll try and do one."
It was something that nobody had done before
and that was a tremendous success.
I think it's terribly important to be absolutely in straight contact with
customers, with real ordinary people and see what they like,
and what my father's motto always
was about Portmeirion - good design is good business.
And so that's what's been my motto ever since.
This desire to make useful artworks led Susan to establish
the Portmeirion Pottery brand with her husband Euan in the early 1960s.
When they first started out,
they were producing innovative patterns such as Cypher and Totem.
Those striking shapes are now iconic, but it was the Botanic
Garden design which made Portmeirion a household name.
Susan found its huge commercial success a mixed blessing.
That was in 1972, I think, and it's never stopped.
And it's bunged up our factory.
We just didn't have enough room to make anything else.
And that is why I'm really sad about all these things,
which I like much better.
The Botanic Garden is a classic and it's continued to flourish,
but that was when she wanted to do other things.
I was just about to ask you that. Was she proud of that legacy?
She was proud of it, but she always thought, "Well, why can't people
"forget the Botanic Gardens, and now I want to design something else."
40 years on, Botanic Gardens is still a top seller,
but thank goodness its success didn't dampen Susan's creativity.
What was she working on in her final years?
Well, her passion during the last decade or
so or more of her life was underwater painting.
-Really? She took up snorkelling?
-Well, she did.
When we were very little, my mother asked me
and my sister, "If you could choose what sort of animal you would like to
"be, what would you like to be?"
And my sister, I thought rather sensibly, said a giraffe.
I, for some unknown reason, said a lady oyster.
I can't imagine that.
But I don't think I should.
I mean, if you've got to be a shellfish, be a scallop,
because at least they've got eyes.
At times, she felt more at home underwater than
she did on the surface.
It was another world and she invented a method of drawing
underwater using a special crayon and a board.
She didn't actually colour underwater, but she
-would make detailed notes of the various colours.
And then come on land to colour it in
and my father Euan would then also look up in the books the exact names
of all the fishes, the corals and annotate the drawings.
So it was quite a scientific process as well.
But that was her passion, was the underwater painting.
On November 27 in 2007, Susan Williams-Ellis sadly passed away
here in Portmeirion, the village she dearly loved,
leaving behind a wonderful artistic legacy for all of us to enjoy today.
Our experts are deep in their studies at the
Prichard-Jones Hall at the university in Bangor.
Coming up, one of our owners gets more than just financial
reward at the auction.
Condition made that sale, you know. It was in perfect condition.
-Your luck has changed forever now.
-I hope so.
Alan and Gwyneth have brought in a little treat for Mark.
-You've brought in a spectacular cup.
Now, is it a treasure of your family's?
No, not at all. I'm representing here today St David's Hospice in Llandudno.
And this has been donated, really. It came in a box with lots of other
items in this last week or so to our distribution centre.
So my staff there were looking at it and they thought,
"Well, this might be an item for Flog It!"
Wonderful. So you thought, "I'll come along and see whether it's worth anything."
And were you as excited as Alan when you saw this piece?
-Oh, I love the cup. It's beautiful.
It's a remarkable-looking object, actually,
because it's really rather grand, isn't it?
You've got this wonderful sort of classical scene
revolving round it in sort of silver plate.
I don't think it is silver.
And then you've got this sort of gilt bronze, I suppose.
Or gilt metal which forms the rest of it.
I'm a little bit concerned about one thing.
There's a little rim just underneath here, which is plain.
-I think that would have sat on a bigger base.
And I think it's copying an old Roman or Etruscan drinking cup.
And I think this was probably done in the 19th century.
It's very much in the style of the early 19th century.
The Empire period in France.
-But I think it could be a little bit later than that.
And I wouldn't be surprised if it's English.
-And possibly by a firm called Elkington's.
There are very few marks underneath.
Some scratch marks
and there's a little mark which has been partly obliterated that says B.
But a very nice quality piece.
You know, the quality of the casting is very exciting.
-And what a lovely thing to have donated.
-That's right. That's right.
And obviously it would be better turned into monetary value.
Cash for the hospice, for the care of the patients that we look after.
And I tip my hat off to your colleagues as well, to recognise
it as something of interest.
And rather than putting it in the shop or the stall for £20 or
something, you know, saying, "Look, we ought to check this out."
Yourselves, have you thought of how much you'd like it to be worth?
Well, I think one would have sort of thought we'd try it
initially at about £80, £100 in one of our shops.
Particularly a little shop in Rhos on Sea,
I think that item would go quite well.
Yes. I'm sure. I'm sure.
And it's just lovely, this whole almost bacchanalian scene
going along there, with all these figures in various positions.
They're having a really good time there, aren't they?
And fortunately, most of them are clothed as well, which is a bonus.
We're not going to get offended by them.
If I was putting it into auction, I would suggest a realistic
-estimate of something like £150-£200.
-And we'll put a reserve on it of £150.
With 10% discretion, if that's OK, for the auctioneer.
And I think if he catalogues it well and puts it on the internet,
-we should get quite a lot of interest.
Well, Alan and Gwyneth, it's a pleasure meeting you.
And I look forward to seeing you at the auction.
Let's hope we can really raise a good
-amount of money for your hospice.
It's always nice to hear of a charity benefiting from the auction.
Next, Adam is enjoying examining a scientific item belonging to Gillian.
-This is an interesting collection, isn't it?
-Yes. I think so.
How have you accumulated all of this?
The man who had the factory next door to my father collected microscopes.
He had a big collection of them.
-And he knew I was interested and he gave me all this.
-How long ago was that?
-About 40 years ago.
Well, I think this is a nice little collection.
Firstly, you've got this mahogany-cased microscope which is
a lacquered brass microscope.
A nice quality instrument.
-About 100 years old now.
-Getting on a bit. That's right.
And retailed by Baker of High Holborn in London.
A good-quality thing. And you've got the case.
It's fitted, of course, with your extra bits and pieces.
Accessories and lenses.
But what people find of particular interest these days -
I mean, these are fairly common, but the slides.
-People are really getting much more interested.
-I couldn't imagine.
-I nearly didn't bring those.
-When the microscope slides come up,
they're getting much more enquiries about them.
They've improved the value of this fairly significantly, anyway,
because this one on its own, you know, without being rude,
-it's a fairly ordinary, as they go.
-Yes. Well, I thought that, yes.
Still quite a nice example.
But you've got a whole load of slides here
and they're from all around the world, aren't they?
Yes. There seems to be different countries on them.
In this one, we've got insects. Quite easy with that one, isn't it?
Lots of flies and bees.
Bees and butterflies and all that sort of thing.
This one looks like... little microorganisms of some sort.
These are privately prepared ones, so they're not going to be...
-I think there might be one or two.
-..of great value these days.
No, I think most of these are the man himself.
It's mainly in these ones and these ones that were purpose-made.
And this one's from Santa Monica. From Venice. From Colombia.
Coast of Dalmatia. Sweden.
So there's a whole geographic selection here.
-Have you got any idea what it might be worth?
-No idea at all.
I've never valued, looked at them or anything.
Well, based on the fact that this is worth £60, £80,
maybe £100 and I would think these are worth a similar amount.
-Oh, very good!
-So £150 to £250, probably.
And it might go on from that.
Wouldn't be surprised if it went on a little bit longer.
-So does that sound all right to you?
-That sounds very good. Yes.
I wasn't thinking they were worth anything at all.
Pleased to hear you so positive, Gillian. Now, why have you decided to sell?
I don't have time to look at them now
and they've been sitting at my mum's house for years now.
-Right. So time to get rid.
-I think so.
-They'll go to a collector, I'm sure.
It would be nice if they were...
If they made a few hundred pounds, would you have any plans for that?
-Um, doing things in the garden, really.
-Are you a keen gardener?
Well, I bought an old house with a field behind it and I'm making
a vegetable plot and doing, you know, my own little allotment in the back.
That's great to hear.
Thanks for coming in, and I really hope that they take off and I think
they probably will. We'll put a reserve at £150, just in case.
Lovely. All right. Thank you very much. Thank you.
What a fascinating collection of slides.
Someone's going to really enjoy looking at those.
It looks like Valerie
and Gary have brought in one of our old "Flog It!" favourites.
-Hello, Valerie. Hello, Gary. How are you doing?
-Fine, thank you.
Well, you've brought a "Flog It!" favourite on, haven't you?
It's a Clarice Cliff.
A rather nice biscuit barrel.
Are you a collector of Clarice Cliff?
-We'd like to be.
-We'd like to be, but not these days.
-It's too expensive, isn't it?
-Yes. It is these days, yes.
-So where did you get it from?
-Well, um, some time...
In '74, '75, we went into a car boot and we saw this on the table
-and as it happens, we knew the people that were selling it.
And I said, "Oh, how much?" you know.
And he said, "Well, to you, 50p."
And she said, "No, 30p."
You didn't. 30p, you paid for it? Good Lord.
Mind you, in those early days of car boots, you really could get a bargain.
People just went mad and took everything.
Cleared auntie's house out.
-You know, didn't know what they were selling.
Well, good on you. You spotted a really nice shaped piece.
In some ways, I love and loathe Clarice Cliff,
but I do like unusual shapes.
Though, the pattern is rather boring on this one
because it's the Spring Crocus pattern.
But the shape is rather nice.
This shape is known as the Bonjour shape. Because of these loops.
And it is very morning-looking, actually.
It's got that rather fresh look about it.
This is the original handle, of course.
And underneath, we've got the usual Clarice Cliff mark.
So we're looking at maybe the 1935 period. So a nice period to be in.
There is a small chip.
Very small chip on the corner, which I have to point out to you.
Now, how much do you think it's worth?
Because I have a feeling you've done some research on this.
-Well, we thought £300 to £400.
But I don't know.
Well, you know, I think you should stop thinking, Gary.
Several of these have come up recently in more exciting patterns,
I have to tell you.
And the more exciting patterns have been making £300, £350, £400.
As much as £500 or £600.
But I think because this is the crocus pattern,
we've got to think a little bit less than that, really.
I mean, ideally, I would say around £200 to £300.
And then you might find that it pushes up towards the £300.
If you put it in at £300-£400,
it might not encourage the bidders on the day.
Would you be happy with that?
-I think we are.
Well, then we'll put a reserve of £200 on it,
because we don't want to sell it below that.
Valerie, you've knocked it down from a grand total of 50p to 30p.
You've had it all these years. Why, oh, why are you selling it now?
-Um, to help raise some money, really.
-Because we're buying a new car.
-A new car.
So you're hoping to turn a biscuit barrel into a car.
-Well, part of a car.
-Part of a car.
-It will help. It will help.
-Well, thank you so much for bringing it in.
-Well, thank you very much.
Jill and Peter must have had me in mind
when they decided to bring in this next item.
I just love it.
Tea caddies are so collectable.
They come in all various shapes and sizes and different materials.
I've seen them in pewter, I've seen them in silver,
I've seen them in sort of...
..pottery items. But my favourite, obviously, are wood.
And this is particularly nice because it's a Regency one
and it's got a lot of paper scroll work on it.
-Quilling, isn't it, they call it?
-Yes. Yeah. Can you see that?
All the paper is folded up very neatly. Well, I like that a lot.
-You like it?
-Oh, I do. Yes. Yes, I do. That sort of 1815, 1820s.
-And that would have been used in this country.
-Oh, yes. England.
Oh, yes. It's English. Made in this country. Oh, yes. Yes, yes.
Someone with a lot of money and a lot of quality
and a very good eye would have owned this.
Looking at this,
I suspect this has been gilded slightly at a later date. See this?
This gold leafing. It's not...
To me, that doesn't look like gold leafing.
That looks more like gold enamel paint.
Which is probably put on in around the '40s or '50s by somebody.
-And then inside, you've got this...
-Yes. Well, that...
..that would have sat on a little recessed rib there.
So the lid wouldn't drop down. And that would then house all your tea.
This is a single-blend caddy.
Now, some tea caddies are double blend, so you can have green tea and black tea.
You can have a large one, with a bowl in the middle
and mix the two blends together if you want.
"Caddy" comes from the Malay word "kati",
which is the amount of weight the tea was sold in.
And can you see there's traces of tinfoil there and there?
Well, that was all lined in tinfoil to keep the tea fresh.
So that would have sat there. That would have kept the tea fresh.
A single blend. Maybe a green tea or a black tea.
The lid would shut down and it would be put under lock and key
because tea was so expensive.
It was such an expensive commodity.
Only people in the sort of upper echelons could really afford it to
start with in the 1600s.
Whoever made this was a master of his genre, put it that way.
There's a bit of restoration here.
Whoever buys this has to spend a couple of hundred pounds on it.
-Do you know that?
-Yes. We did.
-They have to spend £200 on it.
If they get it at £400 in the auction room and they spend £200 on it,
it has cost them £600.
They're going to be wanting to sell this for £1,200, maybe.
And it will probably be worth that after a lot of TLC.
Well, I think the collectors will love this. They really will.
£300-£400 is the valuation. Reserve at £300, but not a fixed reserve.
Use a bit of discretion. So he can use 10%. So it might sell at £280.
-That's fine. Yes.
-Is that OK?
-Yeah, that's fine.
And we'll let them fight over it and hopefully one of them will be
a good restorer, pay top money for it, which benefits you.
-And cuts the middleman out.
Even needing restoration, it still looks fabulous.
Let's have another quick look at our items before they head off to
the auction house.
The silver-plated trophy cup is stylish,
so it should raise a reasonable amount.
It'll be joined by Valerie and Gary's Clarice Cliff biscuit barrel.
Gillian's microscope is of little interest to her, so it's time to move it on.
And finally, my choice, the early 19th-century tea caddy, which is
pure quality and a beautifully crafted thing.
Alan and Gwyneth are first with the classical cup.
Let's hope this next lot is a real winner.
It should be, Alan and Gwyneth. It should be.
It's a trophy, for crying out loud.
We want to hold it up high and say, "Yes, we won."
-£200 top end of the estimate.
-Well, that's the top end.
We know you like to get the top end each time, but I just don't know. It's a speculative thing.
-But I think it should make £150.
-I can't imagine who'd want it.
Look, there's no accounting for taste.
Somebody here in this room will absolutely love it
and they will display it beautifully and it will be in the right place.
We hope so. We need the money for the hospice.
-Proceeds to the hospice anyway. All of it.
-Something very, very good quality about this.
The quality of the figuring is brilliant. Six inches high. £200.
It smacks of quality, doesn't it? £150.
£100, I am bid. £100. £100 bid.
£100. I hope you're lucky. It's at the bottom, though.
At £100 bid. £120 anywhere?
-Now just go up.
£140. Is there £160?
At £140. £140 bid. £160 anywhere?
£140. £160 now?
At £140. I'll go £150, even.
At £140. £150.
Well, we've got £150, so we've made the reserve.
-£150. I am selling at £150.
-Just on the reserve.
£160. A new bidder.
At £160. Worth every penny of £200, in my view.
At £160. All done. £160 and going.
-It's gone. We're happy.
-It's gone within estimate. Yes, it has.
Well, that's £160 towards the hospice.
Now, Gillian has been holding on to the next item for about 40 years
so let's see what she gets for it.
Gillian, good luck.
We're talking about the microscope with the three boxes of slides,
which are absolutely wonderful. So interesting.
You must have had so much fun looking through those.
We could have sat there for hours.
It was a shame we had other people to deal with.
In a way, the interest is in the specimens, really.
Yeah, for the collector nowadays as well.
I mean, microscopes appear a lot, but a lot of interest in old slides.
Especially the named ones. Especially produced ones.
-I guess it's harder to pick up these early slides now.
And always a great demand for them, so I'm quite confident today.
Also it's a named instrument as well, so that's in its favour too. So that'll put the price up.
I'm not good at selling things.
Did you not win things like raffles and lotteries and things like that?
-Actually, I don't either.
-Neither do I.
-But now is the time for Gillian's luck to change.
-Here we go.
We're going to find out. It's going under the hammer right now.
This is by Baker. Lights, lenses and a very nice parcel of mixed slides.
Bid me £200.
-Got to be.
-It's gone quiet, hasn't it?
Start me at one and a half.
-£120. I am bid at £120.
-You pitch it at £100 and build them up.
£150. £180. £180 bid. £180.
Well, we're back up there now. £180.
£190. £200. £200 bid.
Online, the bidding now. At £200. £200 bid.
Is there £210 there? £200.
-£210. Still online.
-And again now.
-£250. £250 bid. Online.
At £250. £250 bid. £250. Again?
We've got an online battle here.
Is there £270? £260 online the bid.
At £260. £270 if you like.
-£270. £270 bid.
I think there might be a little tickle in this yet.
It's gone very, very quiet. At £270.
-Chewing it to get more meat off the bones.
-They sit there and...
-I've never been to an auction before.
£280. And again now. You could hear a pin drop.
It's a baptism of fire, isn't it, for you? In at the deep end.
Final. Final call at £280. All done. £280.
Yes! That's a good result.
Top end of the estimate. We're really happy with that.
Condition made that sale. You know, it was in perfect condition.
-Your luck has changed forever now.
-I hope so.
I'm glad that Gillian's first trip to auction has been so successful.
Biscuit barrel. OK. £200-£300 put on by Mark.
We're going to find out exactly what the bidders think right now
up here in North Wales because it's going under the hammer. Here we go.
The Clarice Cliff Bizarre Crocus lidded biscuit barrel
with basket woven handle.
-Not perfect, but still...
-There we go. He had to say that, really.
-£210. Bid me £200.
£180. I have £160 on the book.
At £160. £160 bid. £180 if you like.
At £160. £160.
Is there £80? At £160.
£180. £180 bid.
£180. £180. Is there £200?
At £180. £200, I'll take.
We've got a £200 fixed reserve. We're one bid away.
£180. Everybody done? At £180.
It can be sold on condition, that's all. £180's in the room.
Do we take it?
£180. It can be sold on condition, that's all. £180's in the room.
Final call at £180. £180.
-Well, he has sold it.
-He's used a bit of discretion.
I think that was wise, to be honest with you, because of that chip.
-Are you happy?
For the sake of £20, yes. Exactly. That's a good result.
That's a very good result for a damaged Clarice Cliff.
That was just under the reserve and our auctioneer
use his discretion, on a nod from Gary, and sold it anyway.
I'm quite confident about this tea caddy that belongs to Jill
and Peter. Hopefully for not much longer.
-The auctioneer liked the lot as well.
So there's a great deal of work that's gone into this.
I know it needs a little bit of TLC. That's why we've got £300-£400 on it.
It's a wonderful thing.
-Have you had second thoughts?
-No, it's going towards our anniversary.
-We're going on a trip for our 50th anniversary.
50 years together. Wonderful. Where are you going?
-On a cruise. Not far, though.
-Oh, OK. Not around Anglesey. A bit further.
Oh, a bit further.
-Little bit better.
-Hey, look, good luck.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
Very nice quality early tea caddy with the filigree scrolls
and filigree decoration.
OK, it needs a bit of attention, but it is a lovely rare piece.
£300, I am bid. At £300.
At £300, I am bid.
£450. £475, if you like.
At £450. £475, anybody?
-That's a good price.
Final call at £450. Once again.
-Yes! £450. Oh, I'm very pleased with that.
-Thank you very much.
Good tea caddies always sell well, and that's quite a rare one.
Even though it had a bit of damage, you know, that could be sorted out.
-And that was on you. You take the credit for that.
-Oh, no. Not at all.
I've just seen them sell for that kind of price before, you know.
The more you go around the block, the more you get to know, really.
Well, that's it. It's all over.
All of our owners have gone home and they've gone home happy.
OK, there were one or two sticky moments,
but that's what auctions are all about.
You get lots of highs and lows and lots of surprises.
And I hope you've enjoyed today's show,
because we've loved being here in North Wales.
And all credit to our auctioneer and our experts.
Everyone was on the money today.
Till the next time, it's goodbye.
Experts Mark Stacey and Adam Partridge join Paul Martin at Bangor University in north Wales. Among the items valued are a microscope with original slides and an exquisite early tea caddy. Paul finds out about the creator of Portmeirion Pottery, Susan Williams Ellis.