Paul Martin is joined by experts Catherine Southon and Adam Partridge in Yorkshire. Amongst the treasures brought in is an amazing collection of pristine Dinky toys.
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We're in an area which can lay claim to one of
the world's most famous literary families.
Today, "Flog It!" is in Bronte Country.
'We're holding our valuation day here in Todmorden,
'which lies at the foot of the Pennines,
'just a few miles away from the Brontes' hometown of Haworth.'
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of people
have visited this area to get a little insight
into this incredible family, and later on in the show,
I get the opportunity to explore the Brontes' home.
'But right now, the main attraction is "Flog It!"'
What a magnificent turnout today!
Hundreds of people queuing up outside the town hall.
The queue stretches all around the corner.
Into the building and we've got hundreds of people in here,
all wanting to know the answer to that
-very important question, which is...
-ALL: What's it worth?
'And helping them find out is our team of experts,
'headed up by our very own Cathy, Catherine Southon.'
'And Heathcliff, Adam Partridge.'
-It's something you want to sell?
-Yes, I want to get rid of it.
Brilliant! Give us a kiss!
You're first in the queue. Walk up the aisle with me! Come on.
Let's get down to business.
'Coming up, the locals gang up on Adam.'
-I would like you to be embarrassed.
-Yes, I'm sure everybody...
Everybody in Todmorden would!
'And Catherine gets nervous.'
-Do you think your grandmother would mind?
And I love Tod!
As you can see, everybody is now safely seated inside,
except for young Daniel here,
who's looking for his mum, who I think is over here.
Here you go. I've got to be on top form today,
because I think he's after my job. Aren't you?
Give him a round of applause, everybody.
It looks like Catherine Southon is our first expert to the tables.
Let's take a closer look at what she spotted.
John gets us off to a galloping start
with his collection of comical figurines.
-So, who do these belong to?
-I bought them for the wife, my wife, Anthea.
Right. These are quite modern, as you probably know.
They're 1980s, and designed by Norman Thelwell.
And they're all rather cute, these little figures...
-That's why she loved them.
-..on ponies. Is she a horse-rider?
Oh, no. She's not into horses, but she took a fancy to these.
So you bought one for each birthday, or...?
Something like that. Christmas, birthday, and just got up the set,
back in the, as you say, the early '80s.
-What a nice man you are!
-Oh, I know. I'm brilliant, aren't I?
Well, as you know, Beswick is very collectable,
as long as they are in perfect condition,
no breakages or anything like that, no cracks.
For example, I'm looking at this one in particular,
because there is a slight little fault on the jacket.
It's hardly worth talking about, but it's there, isn't it?
But even so, they do pick up on these little things.
-With Beswick you have to be...
-You do have to be spot-on.
The thing is about Beswick as well,
people look at the marks very carefully,
and see whether they are an earlier mark
or perhaps whether they were redesigned
at a later stage, because you might get one that was done in 1981
and then again they remade it in '82,
perhaps with a slightly different colourway, for example,
a slightly different colour jacket, something like that.
So that really depends on the price.
But you do get a lot of people going for these,
even though they are still very modern.
Now, the big question value-wise. I would have thought, in the '80s,
-you paid quite a lot for these.
-I know it probably broke my heart.
Probably about 20-ish, I think, maybe even...
I know it was a lot. It was a treat, a good treat for my lady wife.
So how does she feel about you selling them now?
They've been on the cupboard for a long time,
and we've come along to see all this, and yourself...
Oh, thank you! You're so kind.
And it's been lovely just to see how it goes on.
We nearly watch every antique programme going,
so to a certain extent we've got a fair idea what they're worth.
-I think the thing to do for this is to split them in half...
..and sell them as two separate lots at £100 to £150 each.
-How does that sound?
-That sounds pretty good!
-Happy with that?
-Yeah. We've been here and seen you,
and all the rest of it. And it's been gorgeous.
Let's hope they gallop away!
'Adam is looking at an unusual pair of slippers brought in by Susan.'
-How are you today?
-I'm fine, thank you.
-How are you?
-I'm all right, enjoying being in Todmorden.
So how have you come to own
these very pretty little Chinese embroidered silk slippers?
My mum sadly passed away a few months ago
and it was amongst her possessions that I inherited from her.
Right. And do you know how your mother got them?
I think it might have been at a jumble sale.
But she loved anything Chinese
that was silk embroidered. She loved things like that.
Well, a lot of people watching,
I think, are going to think, "What a pretty little pair of slippers."
-Don't you think?
-They're not really, no.
You don't like them, do you?
No. Because they're actually Chinese lotus shoes,
and they're for little girls
that had their feet bound at about three years old.
That used to be the custom in China.
-To restrict growth.
-To restrict growth. The foot was bandaged
and the toes pulled back towards the heel,
so it made a very tight bundle on the end of their foot.
So these shoes were made specifically for that.
So, very pretty things, but hide a bit of a barbaric past, I suppose.
-Which is possibly the reason
-you're not that keen on them.
-No, I'm not.
Well, you've certainly done your research on them.
I'm very impressed.
Not bad condition considering
they're made from silk, which is easily damaged.
-We've got a bit of fraying on here.
-But, overall, they're pretty good.
-I would typically estimate those at £20 to £40.
Which is pretty cheap, but I think it's quite accurate.
We'll see what the market does.
I believe your mother
-was a fan of the show, as well.
-Oh, she really was, yeah.
She used to watch "Flog It!" all the time.
She would be pleased that her possessions are on the show.
-Excellent. Thanks for coming.
-Thank you very much.
Anne, this is an amazing collection of Dinky Toys.
Thank you for bringing them along to "Flog It!" and really making my day,
certainly brightening up my day.
It's a wonderful collection. Where did you get these from?
Well, my parents used to have some shops,
and when they sold the businesses, all the old stock went up our attic
and it's been there ever since.
So, this was the surplus stock that was never sold.
-No, that's right.
-And it's just been in your loft.
Obviously very well protected
in bags and boxes, because it's in absolute mint condition.
And this is a Dinky Toy collector's dream!
I mean, every single one is just totally mint and boxed!
And the boxes themselves are just superb.
They're really in lovely condition.
-So, are you a collector yourself?
Not really interested in them.
I mean, I've kept them all these years cos, really, they're sort of sentimental,
because I can remember, as a child,
-seeing them in the shops.
-Did you used to play with them?
I played with some of the toys, on the quiet.
We used to ride the bicycles round in the attic.
This is particularly interesting for me,
because my dad used to have a toy shop.
-And used to sell Dinky and Corgi toys.
But, stupidly, never kept hold of any of them
which, now, would be worth a fortune.
But these are just fascinating to me.
So colourful and in lovely condition.
Just pick out one of them, for example, this one here,
and this one is actually a lovely Jaguar,
and these two different colourways of the grey and yellow.
Dinky made these in lots of other different colourways
and some are more collectable than others.
This one just by itself is worth around £150.
There are others that aren't so collectable.
Some of them are only worth £50, £60.
Something like this, for example. But the racing cars,
these ones here, they're more desirable and more collectable.
Some of my favourites, though,
are really these lovely vans, the Royal Mail van here
and also the lovely Nestle van here,
which I just think are real icons of their period.
I mean, these date from the '50s.
Do you have any one that's your favourite?
-The Royal Mail van.
-You like that one, too.
It is nice, isn't it? A nice little thing.
Now, my feeling would be, when it comes to valuation,
to separate them into two separate lots,
so that you've got a nice selection in each lot of different items,
each with a pre-sale estimate of £500 to £700.
-And a reserve of £400.
However, I think we should also leave it
to the auctioneer's discretion,
so if he wants to pick out some lots
which he thinks he may be able to get more for,
-we should leave it up to him to do.
And I hope that they make big money, because they really deserve it.
-They're a lovely selection in fantastic condition.
-Thank you so much, Anne. It's been a pleasure.
I thought I'd have a quick chat to Ken here about
his advertising poster in the balcony,
far away from the madding crowd.
-It looks good down there, doesn't it?
Everybody is working their socks off, including me.
Now, I very much like this. How did you come by it?
I salvaged it. It was going to be thrown on a bonfire.
It cost me a couple of quid to give them to get some fireworks.
Unbelievable! This is the great thing about "Flog It!" and antiques.
It doesn't get any greener than this show.
-And what a lovely thing it is, as well!
-It is fabulous.
-What have you done with it since then?
-I've had it
stuck in the loft for about 15 years
and I didn't know what to do with it,
so I seen "Flog It!" and I thought, "Why not?"
Why not? I think, with a little bit of gentle TLC,
if someone had a small sponge and just gently rubbed off
some of this dirt and grit,
it would start to glow. It really would.
And he's a handsome fella, isn't he, Sir Christopher Wren? Look at that!
Nice hair. Mind you, that was a wig, wasn't it? But isn't that lovely?
"Wren gave us St Paul's. Give me Oxo to build myself."
Oxo is an iconic brand and it's going to be highly sought-after.
I think we put this into auction with a value of £100 to £200
-and hopefully get the top end.
-Happy with that?
-Thank you very much, Paul.
-That's all right.
This magnificent building in the centre of Halifax
was once home to the largest carpet manufacturer in the world.
It's been refurbished now and is now a complex of design studios,
offices and galleries, and today I'm here to see the work
of one of the 20th century's greatest graphic artists.
Abram Games was born of Latvian parents in Whitechapel, London,
in 1914, and was effectively self-taught.
His career spanned six decades, and he was responsible
for some of the most remarkable graphic images
ever produced in Britain.
It all started in 1936.
He left St Martins School of Art after only two terms,
his only formal art training, so he really was self-taught.
He went to work as a junior in a graphics department,
and helped his father as a photographer's assistant,
but his breakthrough came in 1936. While still working as a junior,
he won a competition to design a poster for London County Council.
This was the launch. It gave him the confidence
to start what would be a flourishing career.
He went on to design for Shell, and as you can see in this poster,
introducing airbrush technique for the first time in his work,
which he developed from his photography background.
The 1940s, the war years, and an important period in Games's career.
To date, he has been the only official wartime poster artist,
and between the years of 1941 and 1945,
he designed 100 posters for the War Office.
There are hundreds here I'd like to talk about,
but this one has caught my eye - the ATS.
It's the Auxiliary Territorial Services.
It's designed to get women involved in the war effort,
working on the home front. This one's known as the Blonde Bombshell,
and I don't have to explain that, with luscious red lips
that you just want to kiss. Games' philosophy was
"maximum meaning" with minimum means",
less is best. You can see why, can't you?
It's so impactive.
The 1950s, a very prolific time in Games' career.
There was a feel-good factor going on in the country.
Not only had we had the Festival of Britain,
but also the government was encouraging people to go out and spend money, get out on holiday,
and what better way to do it than by train? Look at this!
Maximum meaning. You don't really need any text.
Just look at the picture! You're seeing Britain by train,
and if you look out the windows, you see all the counties.
Absolutely love that. And then on to the '60s, '70s and '80s,
bringing art to the masses, and this is where I can remember him,
growing up in London, touring the Underground,
and seeing all his posters as I go up and down the escalator.
This stunning touring exhibition, comprising of over 70 posters,
sketches, and other product designs,
was curated by Games' daughter, Naomi.
You've got to be so proud of your dad.
He was head and shoulders above everybody else in the game.
Thank you for saying so. We're very proud of him,
-my brother and sister and I.
-Did you ever get involved
in his artwork, try and do some doodles for him?
He worked in a studio in our house, and we grew up with his work.
And when he designed a poster, he would show the children,
and if we didn't understand it, he would tear it up and start again.
-Because if children didn't understand,
-So you were one of his biggest critics!
-And my mum.
-And your mum!
Tell me about those early years. Why did he only spend two terms
at St Martin's? Because they've turned out many great artists.
He didn't believe in art schools. He realised, after two terms,
that the students were much richer than he was - he was very poor -
and they lost their individuality. They didn't think for themselves.
-They looked at magazines, and they didn't think.
-And he became very anti-art college.
-It's probably a silly question,
-but did he have a favourite poster?
-He was often asked,
"Which are your favourite posters?" He designed 300 posters at least,
and he said, "They're all my favourite. They're like my children."
But one was the war poster
for "your talk may kill your comrades",
that actually had a self-portrait
on it that Abram airbrushed.
And that's the talk
spiralling out of control.
I know he wanted to go off and fight, didn't he?
But he ended up being the official war-poster artist.
Well, the Second World War was a war that Abram believed in.
He was Jewish and he was a Londoner, and he wanted to fight.
He went to his superiors and said, "Send me back to the front line."
And they said, "No. What you're doing is very important."
-Too valuable to the nation.
-It's too valuable,
and that was a great source of pride to Abram,
because he didn't realise his posters were doing a good job too.
Fighting with a pen rather than a gun.
-The pen is mightier than the sword, isn't it?
-Did you follow in his footsteps at all?
I was trained as a graphic designer, but I couldn't compete with him.
That was the problem. A very hard act to follow, so I gave up.
But you've helped put this exhibition together.
That's what I do now. I look after his work.
SHE TALKS UNDER BACKGROUND MUSIC
Seeing students make notes and look at things and copy things...
Abram would be smiling down now. He's left a fantastic legacy.
-Oh, he has.
-And I'm so proud of him.
-It doesn't get much better than this.
-Thank you so much for meeting me.
-My pleasure. Thank you. Thanks!
This is my father-in-law's,
I got this going for him before I married his daughter.
-That was the test of skill, was it?
-That was it.
-"Get this going, you can marry my daughter."
Well, we are chugging along nicely.
We are now halfway through our day,
which means it's time to put our valuations to the test.
We're going to make our way over to the Calder Valley
and leave you with a quick rundown of all the items
that are going under the hammer before we...
And the items we're taking with us are...
those Chinese silk slippers which Susan's keen to get rid of...
that amazing collection of pristine Dinky Toys complete
with their equally pristine boxes....
the Thelwell Beswick figurines John bought for his wife...
and the Oxo advertising sign dating from the 1920s.
And this is where we're putting all of our owners' antiques
under the hammer - the Calder Valley auction rooms.
On the rostrum, the man with all the local knowledge, Ian Peace.
Hopefully it's a full house and we get some great results -
'Before the auction got under way, I had a chat with auctioneer Ian Peace
'as it seems one of our lots has shrunk in size.'
What fabulous condition. I mean, these are in mint condition.
There were 16. It seems a few are missing.
When I came to do the cataloguing, I rang the vendor and asked
how she would like them dividing, she said she had made up her mind,
-she wanted to keep ten back.
So her instructions were that she now wanted six to go through.
We've got an estimate of £500 to £700.
Just the six of them hopefully will get £500 to £700?
I hope so. I don't think I've ever seen them
-in such fine condition.
-Make you smile.
'We'll find out how they do in just a moment, but first up,
'Susan's hoping to get rid of her slippers.'
Susan, good luck. That's all I can say.
There's not many other textiles.
It's those wonderful Chinese slippers.
They're about to go under the hammer. £20 to £40. Not a lot of money, but real quality.
-Yeah. And Chinese.
-Why do you want to sell them?
-I don't like them. They give me the creeps.
Really interesting, weren't they?
And we don't have many pairs on the show.
-We've only had one other pair of slippers before.
Fingers crossed. Here we go.
A pair of early 20th century Chinese silk embroidered slippers.
There we are. Look at the tiny size.
What am I bid? 30?
20? Open me at 15? 15 I'm bid.
£30 bid there. At £30.
All done at £30, then, on my right?
Spot on, mid-estimate! He's good, isn't he? Knows his slippers!
'Good result. Now, how will those cars go down?'
Next up, something for all the toy collectors.
It's those marvellous Dinky Toys belonging to Anne here.
You look absolutely gorgeous! Look at that. Don't you look smart?
-And who's this?
-This is Derek, my husband.
-Pleased to meet you.
-What do you think about these cars, then?
-We've had them there a long time and...
-Boys and their toys!
You obviously didn't let him play with them,
they're in mint condition.
The boxes have hardly even been opened. Absolutely fascinating.
-But you've since taken ten away.
-Because you only wanted six to go to auction.
-I just want to test the market.
-Which is a good thing.
Just drip-feed the market bit by bit.
-If you flood the market, the prices go down.
-I don't have to tell you that, do I?
-She's done her homework.
Marvellous things! Ever so pleased with them.
The best Dinky cars I have ever seen on "Flog It!"
in nine years of filming. The best.
And they're going under the hammer right now.
We've now got the Dinky Toy collection in lovely condition.
Superb condition for their age. They obviously haven't been played with.
There's six in total. So what will we bid on this one?
£300 to open? 250?
200 anywhere? £200 for the six. £200?
150. 175 do I see? 150. 175. At 175. Do I see 200?
At 175. At 175.
200. Are there any further bids? At £200.
At £200. We're off the mark at £200.
Are we all done for the six Dinky Toys?
Didn't sell. Well, I'm so pleased they didn't sell at £200.
-They had a fixed reserve.
Nobody here today wanted Dinky Toys.
They'll be there for my grandson to play with. HE GASPS
You can't say that!
-He wasn't allowed to play with them, were you?
-No, you'll devalue them.
-The money was going to go to him, anyway,
so he might as well just have the cars.
-I don't know about that.
Well, I'm amazed by that. Our bidders today obviously weren't in the mood to play.
Now it's John's turn to find out if his figurines will romp away
with a top price.
Something to brighten up the day! I'm surrounded by red.
I've just been joined by John and Catherine. Good luck, John.
We've got the Beswick horses going under the hammer,
-two separate lots, each bought for your wife.
-Yeah, they were.
Why have you decided to sell, or why has she decided to sell?
We've both decided to sell. We're downloading again,
like everybody else, but also we wanted to meet you lot.
-Oh! What a nice excuse!
-What more can you say?
Had a chat to the auctioneer earlier.
He said should get the top estimate, plus a bit more.
As you know, the dapple greys always fetch more than the bays.
Interesting, that, isn't it? So you bought well.
-I think so, yeah.
-Well, the dapple greys, obviously.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
Let's hope they don't fall at the first fence.
the Beswick Thelwell bay equestrian figures,
Kick Start, Pony Express and Angel On Horseback.
Charming little group there, lot 319.
Might be going home with lots of money!
-I'm going to open this at £70.
-I thought he said £7.
-So did I. So did I.
-I have 70.
And 80. Do I see 80? And 90. At 100.
At £120 on my right.
£120. Are we all done at £120?
130 at the back of the room.
140. At 140.
At 140, then. He says no.
£140 on my right. All done.
£140! That's good news, cos that's the bays.
The dapples should fetch more. They're up right now.
Three more Beswick Thelwell figures.
Again, the same subject matter. These ones are in grey.
The three dapple greys.
I'm going to open this at, er...
at £90. At 90.
At 110. 120.
120. 130, sir. 130.
At 150 in the middle.
All done at £150, then?
Hammer's gone down. £150. That is a good result!
-Really good result. Happy?
-And Anthea? Where is she today?
-She's just across there.
-Anthea, give us a twirl.
-Nice to see her, to see her, nice.
-To see you, nice.
What will Anthea do with the money? Treat herself?
We could do with some new boots, cos we go walking a lot.
-Oh, do you?
-Yeah. Walking in the Dales.
Oh, lovely. And they're starting to leak, are they?
They let water in when you're going through wet grass.
It keeps you fit and healthy, doesn't it?
It gets you out and about, from the towns into the valleys and hills.
-Thank you so much for coming in.
You're a star. Thank you.
Next up, will Ken leave with a smile on his face?
Well, one of the things I discovered back at the valuation day
was the most wonderful Oxo advertising sign.
And I've just been joined by its owner, but hopefully not for long,
-because here we are in the auction room, ready to sell it. Hi, Ken.
-You salvaged this from...
-Going on the bonfire, literally!
Sending it up in smoke. I just hope there's somebody here
that wants a massive Oxo sign, that's all.
The large advertising Oxo sign here.
What am I bid for this lot?
I've got a phone bid. Are we connected?
Phone bid! That means it's going to sell.
105. 110. 115.
115. 115. 120 if you like. 115 in the room.
-120 here. 125.
-Back on the phone.
135. 140. 140. 140.
-Ooh, they're keen.
£150 I'm bid. At 150 in the room. We're going at £150.
£150. The Oxo had the X factor, didn't it? It really did.
'Thank goodness Ken rescued that poster from the flames.
'Now someone else can enjoy it.'
That is a stunning backdrop, isn't it?
The secluded hills and moorlands of Yorkshire are absolutely beguiling
and it's no wonder that that has been a source of inspiration
for many great works of literature over the years.
But, of course, there's one exceptional family with whom this landscape
will forever be associated. The Brontes.
'When you come to the pretty town of Haworth,
'everywhere you look, you're reminded that it was once home
'to this incredible family.'
It's a place of pilgrimage for literature fans from all over the world
who flock here, desperate to get a little insight
into the private lives of these incredible writers.
And it's been like that for a long time, ever since the 1850s
when the success of the novels shot the Brontes into the limelight.
'Things were very different when the family first came here in 1820.
'It was the height of the Industrial Revolution
'and the town was a very unhealthy place to live.
'The Reverend Patrick Bronte brought his wife, Maria,
'and the six children to live here in the town's parsonage.
'Yet barely a year later, Maria Bronte died,
'and within four years, she was followed by the two eldest children.'
'For the remaining family, this would be their home
'for the rest of their lives.'
This house provided the family with a simple but comfortable safe haven
in which their imaginations could simply flourish
to produce some of the most progressive and important works in English literature.
This is the very first time
that I've ever set eyes on the Parsonage Museum,
so it's going to be a real thrill
to cross that threshold and step back in time. Here goes.
'The Reverend Bronte was a self-educated man
'from very working-class roots in Ireland
'who managed to make his way to Cambridge University.'
Now, like every father, he wanted the best for his children
and he encouraged them to educate themselves,
which they did to a very high standard.
But what's not known is how aware he was of his daughters' literary ambitions.
Every night at nine o'clock,
he would walk up these stairs and wind up this old longcase clock
and then suggest to his three girls that they not stay up too late.
But after their father retired upstairs,
it's said that the girls, Charlotte, Emily and Anne,
would walk around and around this table reading their prose
out loud to gauge each other's opinion.
So it's quite safe to say that their masterpieces
were created right here in this very dining room.
It certainly makes your heart beat faster.
'In 1847, all three sisters had works published,
'Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights
'and Anne's Agnes Grey.'
But, sadly, within two years,
Charlotte would lose both her sisters to TB,
and soon her identity would become widely known.
People would come from far and wide just to try and catch a glimpse of her.
The Bronte phenomenon had just begun.
Things started to gather momentum
after Charlotte's own passing and the death of her father.
Their objects became the desire of fortune-hunters,
including one of the most infamous Victorian forgers of all time.
I've come here to talk to Anne,
who's the head of collections here at the Parsonage.
So, what happened to all of their personal belongings?
After the deaths of all the Brontes,
their personal items, mainly the manuscripts and letters, were taken by Charlotte's widower
back to Northern Ireland, where he'd come from.
And Ellen Nussey, who was Charlotte's oldest friend,
she had a large collection, about 500 letters.
She was constantly being sought out by biographers and scholars,
all wanting access to her hoard of letters.
-Was she duped into selling them?
-She was. She was.
Thomas J Wise was a very well-respected book collector.
He persuaded both Nicholls and Ellen Nussey to part with their collections
on the understanding that they would be deposited in a national collection,
but he sold them to the highest bidder.
-He was a master forger, wasn't he?
-He was a master forger.
Old rogue. Let's have a look at some of the items
you've shown me today. This little book.
This is a tiny little book by Charlotte Bronte.
-Written in 1829.
-Why did they make them so small?
Because, originally, they were intended for toy soldiers.
Oh. So the toy soldiers had to read them, they had to be to scale.
Yeah. It all just sparked their imaginary world.
-I presume that's written with a quill.
-It would've been, yeah.
-Can you make that out?
-No, I can't.
-Let's have a go.
"On the great something..." The glass town...
-The glass town's their imaginary kingdom.
-Oh, was it?
They were actually in their early teens
when they started producing these
and I think a lot of the things
-they were writing about were probably unsuitable.
-If their father came across...
-They could hide them.
-He couldn't read them.
-This is an example of what collectors,
and Wise in particular, did when they acquired manuscripts.
-They had these handsome bindings produced.
Leather-bound, gilt-tooled and you've got...
-Look at that filigree work.
-..one of the little books.
This is a poem by Charlotte Bronte.
Look at that. Incredible.
When you think of the thousands of pounds
that have changed hands for these manuscripts
and how little the Brontes ever made from their writing...
Now, these are a collection of Charlotte's letters.
This is the very first letter that she wrote to Ellen Nussey in 1831.
Very formal and schoolgirlish.
-These are quite faint.
-These are actually the very last letters
that Charlotte ever wrote to Ellen Nussey.
At this point in her life, she was actually dying. In fact, there's actually a note on the back here
in Ellen Nussey's handwriting.
"Dear CB's pencilled letters from her bed of death."
-Very important document.
Because virtually nothing was known of them during their lifetime.
-They didn't really make any money at all, did they?
-You must be a real expert on the Brontes.
-I'm very privileged.
You are, aren't you?
Well, that was a real thrill for me,
to have the opportunity to see the house
where the Brontes wrote their incredible novels
and to see some of the original writing
and lovely personal items, as well. Very tasteful ones.
We are so lucky in this country that organisations exist, like the Bronte Society,
which help protect our literary heritage,
so it's not just tucked away in private collections,
so that we can all see it and enjoy it.
'Back at our valuation day at the town hall in the heart of Todmorden,
'the crowds are still pouring through the door,
'bringing along a huge variety of weird and wonderful things.'
Looks like Rusty's falling asleep.
Wake up, Rusty! You can go home soon!
We get all sorts of things turning up at a "Flog It!" valuation day,
but I've never seen a couple of donkeys.
Time to go back inside and catch up with our experts.
Hopefully Adam Partridge isn't making an ass of himself.
'Adam is surprised to have come across
'his second Chinese item of the day.'
-Well, it's Barbara, isn't it?
So, how does a jade pendant from China end up in Todmorden?
About 30 years ago, I was sent it.
Some people I knew moved out to Hong Kong
and they sent it to me as a thank you.
I didn't think I'd done anything particularly for them, but they sent it to me
and they put the paperwork in it,
-saying that it was...
-Let's see paperwork!
It was to come through customs,
of course, and it just said that it was over 100 years old.
So our receipt here says it's "old jade pandent".
Pendent. They spelt it wrong. Their English wasn't so good.
Over 100 years old.
Well, I think it's about 100 years old, a touch more,
but I don't think it's an ancient piece of jade.
-When was the last time you wore it?
-Oh, 1979, 1980.
So soon after you got it.
-I had a Chinese dress, you see?
-So I wore it.
When I went to parties, I put the Chinese dress on and the pendant.
You've got to marvel at the skill involved in carving jade,
-which is very hard stone to carve.
-And it's been done rather nicely.
You do see jade pendants out there quite often.
And they vary in terms of age and quality and intricacy of carving.
-And this is sort of middling, without wishing to be rude.
You get them a lot better and cruder, too.
-Have you got any idea what you think it might be worth?
-Nothing at all.
-The Chinese market is a little bit scary at the moment, because it's very, very strong.
And anything Chinese tends to get people quite excited.
A lot of the Chinese buyers from abroad now,
from China and all over the world,
-wherever they've settled, are buying things back.
And some early jade can make frightening sums of money.
But I'm pretty sure this is quite a later one,
so I'm going to be cautious with the estimate.
-My view is it's worth £50 to £80.
-Ah, right. Not very much at all.
-Hopefully, a bit more.
-You look a bit disappointed.
-Well, it would've been nice to be more.
-It would be!
Sometimes, jades can make fortunes.
So I could be really embarrassed here.
I'd like you to be embarrassed.
-That'd be wonderful.
-I'm sure everybody here would.
-Everybody in Todmorden would.
-Thank you, Todmorden.
-We might have all the flights coming in from Hong Kong to buy it.
-You never know.
-Leeds Airport could be as busy as ever.
There's Walter Langleys here! Newlyn School!
-Everybody enjoying themselves?
Hello! That's really nice. That's a little pepperette.
And that was the man that bought it?
Yeah. He's my grandfather. Isn't he nice?
Oh, he's got your eyes. Yes, I can see!
He'd gone all through the war. He lost his right arm.
-You're not selling this?
-That's a treasure for life!
-I'd never sell.
Hopefully, we've made your day today. You made mine, anyway.
-Do you say that to everyone?
'Gloria had a vase by a famous designer,
'but can you guess who it is?'
Before we even come close to this, we can see from a distance
that it screams Charlotte Rhead.
Have you had it in your family for a long time?
I've had it a long time and I used to have a plant in it
and then one day, a niece came and said, "Nice piece of Charlotte Rhead"
so the plant came out and in a cabinet
it went and that's where it's sat.
No sentimental value whatsoever.
So, as soon as you knew it was by somebody in particular,
you chucked out the plant and preserved it in the cabinet.
-I like that. Great story.
But it's interesting that your niece picked up on it straight away,
because this is so characteristic of her in every way
and you can spot it from a distance,
you can see that it is Charlotte Rhead.
It's the colourways, first of all. That sort of murky brown on the top.
You don't mind me calling it murky brown? But that's what it is.
And then the greens here and the bright oranges.
And just the whole pattern, which is know as Tudor Rose.
We know that she did quite a lot of this, what we call the tube lining,
which is where the decoration here is individually outlined,
almost as if it's squeezed through the icing tubes,
it's got that slightly raised relief feel to it.
Let's just have a closer look,
and we can turn it over and we can see there her signature.
Charlotte Rhead. And this, to me, is definitely a 1930s piece.
Charlotte Rhead's designs are very popular at auction,
but often it's the big chargers or the large vases that really command the high prices.
Something like this I would be happy to value at £60 to £80,
-with a reserve of £40. How does that grab you?
-Are you happy to sell at that?
Not bad for something you just had your plant in.
-That's right, yeah.
-OK, I shall put it in the auction in a couple of weeks
-and we'll get together and hopefully it'll make a bit more than that.
-Thanks, Gloria. Good to meet you.
'Kate has brought along another 1930s classic
'for Adam to have a look at.'
-Kate, are you from Todmorden?
-No, I'm not.
-How far have you come?
I've come from Halifax, but I actually live in Norwich,
but I'm visiting a friend in Halifax.
-And you knew it was on?
-You just happen to have your Clarice Cliff?
-I had it about my person.
I'm quite interested to find out more about it,
because it's quite an unusual pattern
-and we've been searching for the pattern and can't find it.
-And I just thought it was a nice shape.
-So I was quite interested to know...
-It's a classic deco shape.
It's the Bonjour shape from the Clarice Cliff range
and I'm sure this is the biscuit box,
what they refer to as a biscuit container.
I thought it was a vegetable dish,
cos I've got it as part of a dinner service.
Well, the last one I had of these
was certainly referred to as a biscuit box.
I don't know if you could get that many vegetables in here.
Probably not. More biscuits, really.
Well, this is a slightly later piece of Clarice Cliff,
as we can tell from the bottom,
because it's the Biarritz range, the Royal Staffordshire range,
which was a later revival of the good shapes from the high years.
With regards to the pattern, we've had a good searching ourselves
-and so far, we haven't come up with it.
If you were optimistic, you'd think, "Isn't that great? A rare pattern!"
but I think it's probably not the case,
-it's just a pattern that isn't instantly recognisable.
-I would expect that to make about £100.
-I was waiting for that reaction.
No, no, no. That's kind of what I was expecting.
-Happy with that?
So the classic 80-120 estimate and see what it makes
on the day. Hopefully we can find the pattern.
That would be good.
Patricia has brought in a projector with slides to show Catherine.
Tell me, where did you get this from?
-I bought it from a farmer near Haworth, the Bronte Country.
And he was clearing an old barn out, and I paid £30 for it.
You paid £30 for it. Right. OK. Let's just have a little look at it.
Made in Germany. Probably dates from the early part of the 20th century,
1920s, that sort of date. Now, the glass slides here...
-Let's just have a look.
Let's just put them in front of our special light we've got here,
and we can see here, these cute little figures
of gentlemen playing instruments and ladies dancing,
really quite nice scenes. Are they all quite similar?
-Yes, I think they are.
-Right. So, we'll put that here.
-Windmills and things...
-All of a similar sort of nature.
Sometimes these are hand-painted, but I think these are transfers.
-Looks like there should have been another couple here.
-We're missing a couple of slides.
-Have you ever had this working?
-Yes, I've had it working once.
There was smoke coming out of the top of it,
and a white screen up on the wall. We got gassed with the fumes,
-so we stopped using it.
-Right. Because the way that it works is,
you would put some paraffin inside and then light it,
and then you mentioned that the smoke all came out of the top.
And you would put your glass slides in here.
There are people who collect magic lanterns.
It's actually got a really big following.
-There is the Magic Lantern Society.
-Oh, is there?
People go crazy for lanterns,
but they're really interested in collecting novelty ones.
I've sold on in the shape of an Eiffel Tower...
-..Buddhas and things like that.
But this is really, you know, a small example,
-a child's toy, really. It's probably a child's magic lantern.
-Now, you say you paid £30 for it.
That's probably quite a lot of money to pay for it,
as I wouldn't expect it to make a lot more than that at auction.
I would suggest putting a pre-sale estimate on of £40 to £60.
-Thank you for coming along, and I hope it does well at auction.
-So do I. Thanks very much.
-Does anyone fancy a biscuit?
Give us one of your mean stares.
-Now, our experts are normally on the money, aren't they?
-Who's your favourite?
-Ohh! And Catherine on this side.
You see, it's a nation divided.
Let's see what happens right now, shall we?
Here's a rundown of all the items before they go under the hammer.
'And our remaining lots are Barbara's Chinese jade pendant
'that she's hoping will sell for rather more than Adam's estimate.
'The lovely Charlotte Rhead vase that Gloria used as a plant pot.
'The 1920s magic lantern, with slides.
'And lastly, the Clarice Cliff biscuit barrel with the unusual pattern.'
This is where all the action starts, the Calder Valley auction rooms,
and everybody is in good spirits,
the sun is shining, optimism is in the air.
But for our owners, it's a roller coaster ride.
For you at home, it's an armchair visit.
Sit back and enjoy this. Someone's going home with a lot of money.
'First up, it's the Clarice Cliff,
'and further research has revealed the pattern.'
-It's called Grill.
-Which is a boring name.
-I've never heard of that.
-So I've been looking for 20 years for that.
-Does that change the valuation?
-Does it make it anything special?
-No, it's not a significant design.
-Well, let's put it to the test, shall we?
-It'll make its money.
-Let's see if the Clarice buyers
are here, it's going under the hammer right now.
The Art Deco Clarice Cliff lidded terrine
decorated with a Grill pattern.
Good-looking piece there.
What am I bid for this lot here? 100? 80?
£50, thank you. £50. At £50. At 50.
And 5. 60. At 60.
And 5. 70.
£70. And 5. At £75.
Are we all finished at 75? The Clarice Cliff at £75.
One further bid will do. At £75. Are we all done?
-There's always a first.
-I can't believe that.
-I can't believe that.
-Would you have let it go at £75?
-No, not really.
-It's worth £80. It's worth 80 to 120, surely.
-I trust my expert.
-Thank you, Kate.
'What a shame. Just £5 off. Still, Kate seems quite relieved.
'Finger crossed we get a better result for Barbara.'
Right now, something from the Orient has come to the Calder Valley.
Can you remember what it is?
It's that lovely bit of Chinese jade belonging to Barbara.
Not a lot of money, but hopefully,
we'll get the top end of Adam's estimate.
And I know what the money's going towards,
because you want some underground heating,
not under-floor heating, we're talking real eco-friendly here.
-You're the greenest person I've ever met in my life.
We have our own wind turbine for electricity,
our own water supply and our own sewage system.
-It puts us to shame. I try to be as environmental as possible, don't you?
And we have little smallholdings and things,
but we're nowhere near up to Barbara's level.
It's just recycling and feeding the chickens with the leftovers!
THEY LAUGH We have all those going on, as well.
Well, this is a little part towards it.
Fingers crossed we can get the top end, around £60.
Chinese circular jade pendant.
14-carat gold mount.
Right, we have a phone connected.
-And I'm going to open this at £100.
-£100 bid. 120.
-That's a great start.
-120. 140. At £140.
Any advance on 140? 160 if you like. 140. 160.
-180. At £180.
-This is excellent!
Against £180. 180. 200 if you like. At £180.
£200 on the phone. £200. 220 on the commission bid. 220 against you.
-240. I have 260.
-This is incredible.
They are falling in love with this.
-£280 on the phone.
-That is a surprise.
-Are we all done? 320.
-Yours at 320.
Any further bids? At £320 then on the phone.
How exciting was that? Chinese artefacts are so sought-after
because their economy is so strong right now,
-they're buying everything back, aren't they?
-And it's so unpredictable.
-Yes, it is.
Another jade will make 20 quid,
and the difference between them is very hard to distinguish.
-There was something about it.
-You've got to be so happy!
It's a start towards the borehole.
I hope you get it, I really do.
Next up, it's the 1920s magic lantern.
On the preview day I caught up with auctioneer Ian
to discuss its prospects.
It belongs to Patricia, she bought it from a farmer.
We've got a valuation of £40 to £60.
She rang me up and said, "Ooh, look, I've found these additional slides,
children's slides." "Ooh," I said. "Bring them down."
And in my opinion it's actually well and truly enhanced that lot,
possibly by double. There's a new auction estimate of 80 to 100,
and I think the reserve is now 75 with slight discretion.
Very pleased that this lady took the trouble to come across on the bus
all the way from Burnley, in the rain, to bring this.
-We took her back to the bus stop.
-Did you? That was kind of you.
That's what I call an auctioneer earning his commission!
'We're about to discover whether those new slides will make all the difference.'
-Thank goodness you found them!
Have you spent many hours looking at them?
-No. I've had them about 20 years.
-Did you ever look at them?
Not in detail, but I have seen them on the projector.
-We did have it going once. We did take them out.
-Thank you. I'm so pleased about the slides.
-So am I.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
Plenty of collectors would love to get their hands on this.
We're going to find out right now.
The early 20th-century German portable magic lantern,
plus ten boxed slides, Three Little Pigs, etc.
-Rather nice little lot, this.
And... Right. Let's have an opening bid, please,
of £50. 50. £40.
Thank you. 40 I'm bid. £50. £50. 55.
55. And £60.
And 65. And £70. 70.
I have £70. And 70.
Any further bids? 75?
At £70, then, the back of the room. We're selling at 70.
Are there any other bids? At £70. At £70, then,
back of the room...
The hammer's gone down. £70. You've said goodbye.
Oh, are you a bit upset about that?
I thought it would've gone for a little bit more.
So did I, to tell you the truth.
'I loved that lot. Shame it didn't make a little bit more,
'but Ian used his discretion and sold it.
'Now it's time for our last lot to go under the hammer.'
-Good luck with your Charlotte Rhead vase, Gloria.
I wonder if it would make any more money than the
£60 to £80 that we're looking at
-if you'd kept the plant in it.
-That was so funny at the valuation day!
-Brilliant story, wasn't it?
But I guess you use things like that. They're practical.
If there's no sentimental value
and you don't really like the thing, why not use it as a planter?
-That's what I thought it was for.
-Well, it is. It is a vase.
Charlotte Rhead signed vase.
It's the orange and beige Tudor Rose pattern.
-Am I bid £40 to open? 30? 20, thank you.
At 20. And 5.
30. And 5. 40.
And 5. 50. And 5.
60. And 5.
At £65 bid.
At 65 at the back of the room.
70, fresh bid. £70.
Lady's bid at £85. Are you all done at £85?
It's going for £85.
-Yes! £85! Spot on.
-I'm pleased about that.
And I'm pleased for you, as well. Somebody else is going to enjoy it
but you can enjoy the £85.
Don't forget, there's commission to pay, 15 percent plus VAT.
So you've got to factor that into what you receive in the post,
-but this was your first auction experience, wasn't it?
Sum it up, first auction.
-Going to come back?
-Going to sell some more things, or coming back to buy things?
-It's that buzz, isn't it?
Don't get carried away, though!
'What a fantastic roller coaster ride it's been today.'
That's it. It's all over for our owners and, sadly,
it's the end of another show.
We've had a fabulous time here in the Calder Valley,
and I can't wait to come back to Yorkshire.
But for now, it's goodbye.
This edition of the antiques series comes from the impressive surroundings of Todmorden Town Hall in Yorkshire, where presenter Paul Martin is joined by experts Catherine Southon and Adam Partridge. Amongst the treasures brought in are an amazing collection of pristine Dinky toys, a superb quality Chinese jade pendant and a 1920s advertising sign rescued from a bonfire. Paul is delighted to be able to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Howarth and see some of the famous family's personal papers.