Paul Martin is joined by antiques experts Tracy Martin and Charlie Ross in Oxford. Tracy finds an arts and crafts candlestick, while Paul admires Oxford's old gargoyles.
Browse content similar to Oxford. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Today, Flog It has come to the home of the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Let's hope our experts score top marks when they value antiques brought in by the people of Oxford.
Our valuation day is being held in Oxford University's magnificent Sheldonian Theatre.
It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1668
as a venue for graduation and degree ceremonies.
Nowadays it's also used for music concerts and lectures.
Today's crowd is here to learn more about the antiques they've had at home.
Leading our team of experts are Tracy Martin and Charlie Ross.
Let's hope they graduate with honours later on when we put them through their paces at auction.
Tracy's an Essex girl...
Wow, look at that.
..with a real passion for vintage clothes, handbags and shoes.
She's relatively modern. She's not antique.
I appreciate that.
Charlie began his auctioneering career selling chickens
and progressed to turkeys before he was let loose on antiques.
Look a bit like a curtain ring, this one!
But we've certainly no turkeys in today's programme!
Coming up, Charlie thinks Cynthia is going to cross swords with him
over his valuation.
I hoped you weren't going to say, "It's at least £1,000!"
A candlestick brought in by Brenda
make a bit of Flog It history.
That's never happened before in nine years of Flog It!
We like to provide a little surprise now and again!
And Charlie comes up against an item that's to be rarer than any of us thought.
Fancy coming into the Sheldonian in Oxford with these!
Everybody is now safely seated inside the Sheldonian.
What a fabulous interior! Looks like we're going to have a cracking day.
Let's join our experts at the tables. Tracy is first to spot something.
She's been joined by mother and son, Jill and Nathan,
who have brought in something pretty special for her to value.
I love it when I get a postcard album come in
because you never know what's inside, what visual treats and wonderful postcards.
So let's have a little look
just to see if I'm as excited as I should be.
Look at that. Isn't that lovely.
I love old postcards like this.
Who does this actually belong to?
-To you. Is it a family piece?
It belonged to my father's godmother.
-From her and her friends as they corresponded to each other.
Then that was passed down to you.
-I love this, that they are actually written on.
You've got some postmarks there. I think that's 1907, isn't it?
It's over 100 years old.
Let's pop that back in there. Let's whizz through and see what else we can see.
Postcards, as you possibly know,
-are very, very collectable.
It's got some lovely local history ones.
That's of interest to anybody that lives in Oxford.
And this "Greetings from Oxford". I love the colours of the roses and everything on this.
Just have another little look.
Bless. The album's seen better days, hasn't it?
-It's been well thumbed through.
-Have you flicked through it?
-Have you got any favourites? Anything that appeals to you?
They're all very interesting in their way.
Places in this country and abroad.
Aren't you going to keep it in the family and pass it down to Nathan?
It's all very interesting, but it means nothing to me in that respect.
-They could be worth a fortune.
-You could be spending his inheritance.
I could tell you they were worth thousands. Would you sell them, then?
Right. They're really, really lovely. And I did notice,
when I was flicking through this earlier,
that there's some lovely nautical ones, steamers.
I'm trying to find them. Here we go.
Anything nautical. Cruise ships, tall ships, steamers,
are very much collectable and they can command a premium.
-So have you got any idea what you would like?
-You looked into it, didn't you?
I don't know, but around £100, I would imagine.
I think £100 is a bit top-heavy to start.
Purely because with auction they like it to be lower
to encourage people to bid.
-I'm thinking really in the region of 60 to 100.
I'm hoping it will go for a bit more.
-So if you're quite happy for me to put a reserve of 60 on?
Hopefully, it'll fly, and there'll be loads of collectors there that want it.
-Thanks very much.
What marvellous pictures. A wonderful snapshot of another age.
Jill and Nathan seem quite happy with Tracy's valuation.
Charlie, on the other hand, better be on his guard
as Cynthia looks like she's ready to do battle with him!
-Cynthia, what an amazing amount of history you've brought in today!
-I have. Yes, I have.
Why have you brought it all along today?
-Because I don't want to keep it.
-No. Where did it come from?
-A cupboard at home. It's my husband's collection and he died five years ago.
There are some really interesting things here. Do you know what any of them are?
-That's a bayonet, I know. And the badges...
-That's a German bayonet.
There are various cap badges. This took my eye.
-Do you know what that is?
It's a plate off a tank.
It's got "Fear nought" on it, which is the motto of the tank regiment.
-I think that's come off from the North African campaign, probably.
There is a General Service medal here.
-Interestingly a 1918 war medal.
-One that was given to everybody, but nevertheless, still has a value.
Quite a lot of buttons here.
And funnily enough, a button cleaner.
Not worth anything, but highered the buttons so you could polish these wonderful buttons
-without ruining your khaki kit.
-And, should you be misbehaving...
-..what we have here, Cynthia, are some handcuffs.
-Have you got the key?
We did have that once but I think it was played with and then it got lost.
They're not that sophisticated, the keys for those, so somebody could get one made.
What about a value? Any ideas?
-No. No idea at all. Not a lot.
-It's not an easy one.
-I don't think there's anything here of any huge value.
You have a German bayonet worth ten to £15 in that condition.
A medal worth, again, ten to £15.
You've got cap badges worth a few pounds each.
I'm beginning to think there's probably 150 to £200-worth here.
-Oh, well, that amazes me!
-You're happy? Oh, goody!
Goody! I was hoping you weren't going to say, "At least £1,000."
-It amazes me.
-I think 150 to £200 is pretty safe.
You don't want them back, so we won't put a high reserve on.
-But we need to put a reserve on to protect them.
-You think so?
-We'll put a very safe reserve of £100.
I don't think there'll be any problem exceeding the reserve. Hopefully
we'll get between 150 and 200, the estimate.
-Thank you very much for bringing them along.
Just great. Charlie didn't have to fight Cynthia over his valuation.
In fact, everything is so amicable, perhaps I need to spice it up a bit.
Wendy, we've seen these on the show before.
Spice towers. How did you come across this one?
-This one, I got it in a local jumble sale.
How much for, dare I ask?
It was five pence!
5p?! Were you there as well?
-What jumble sale?
-It was a local one.
-This is treen. This is worth a fortune! I love treen. You know that.
It's very, very tactile.
It's a turned bit of sycamore.
Obviously it is a spice tower.
Each one of these would have contained a lovely spice, possibly nutmeg,
cumin, you name it, spices brought back from the Far East and Middle East.
What's great about this is it's been used.
It's been used so much that the paper labels have rubbed off
with the sweaty, greasy palms of just turning it.
Isn't it lovely? You need the lid. Where's the lid for the top?
I'm afraid I think that was why it was five pence!
-It didn't have a lid.
-In good condition with a lid
with the lettering still on there,
these little sycamore spice towers fetch around, the top end,
I'd say £200 to £300.
They polish up beautifully.
I'd say this is around about 1820.
Now, in this condition, possibly about £100.
But I think you picked up a real bargain for 5p.
If you can find, or get somebody to turn a top up for you,
just to finish it off so architecturally it's got a capital to it,
and it would cost about £40, maximum, including the sycamore.
-Thank you very much.
-That's what you could do.
-A birthday present for Mum!
Find a wood turner and get a lid made.
How's that, a valuation and present advice!
Can't be bad!
Now, Brenda's brought in something special to show Tracy.
But will it light the room up on its own?
What a lovely thing.
Very, very stylised.
Shame there's only one and not a pair.
-Where's the other one?
I picked it up in a rummage sale 20-odd years ago. 25 years ago.
Gosh, the amount of people that are telling me this!
I never find anything like that.
-How much did you pay for it?
-It wasn't more than £1.
-Not in those days!
-What attracted you to it?
I liked it at the time. I thought it was unusual.
-I'm not very keen now.
-You've gone off it a bit.
It's very stylised. It's got this wonderful shape to it.
And this swirled decoration at the bottom.
It's very, very reminiscent of a very well-known designer
called Archibald Knox.
Archibald Knox was a very, very talented designer
that produced a lot of things for the store Liberty's in London.
-I'm not saying this is definitely Archibald Knox,
but it's very much of that Arts and Crafts style.
-It's taken a bit of a battering, though, hasn't it?
It's not laying flush, as it should.
-Could something be done about that?
-To be honest, I wouldn't bother.
-It does add character. It is a piece that has age.
-What age would it be?
I'll tell you now. We'll turn this over
to look on the bottom.
Can you see there's some markings there.
"Tudric". T-U-D-R-I-C. Tudric ware,
Liberty's, so that's round 1910.
Now, it's made of pewter and very much of the style of Archibald Knox.
-It's a lovely thing. Is it something you would be happy to sell?
-You didn't pay much for it.
-I didn't realise it was that old.
-And you don't like it?
I'm thinking put this into auction with a reserve of...
-Better than I thought.
-You seem quite happy with that.
A bit of discretion on there.
The auctioneer has 10% discretion, so he could sell it for about 55.
Pre-sale estimate, 60 to £80.
-Fantastic stylised piece. I think it should do OK.
What a stylish candlestick!
If only Brenda owned a pair!
Right now, it's Jean's turn to confess to Charlie
about her painted piece of porcelain.
-Jean, what have we got here?
-Well, I think it's a very early inkwell.
-Yep. Do you know who made it?
-I haven't a clue.
-Do you know what it's worth?
-I know what I paid for it.
Or I know what my husband pay for it.
-And what did your husband pay for it?
-Where did he buy at?
-In a Northampton house auction.
-Tell me more.
-Well, we went to the old house auction.
And he wanted to buy a particular picture.
So he put £400 down on this picture
-but we couldn't stay because I had to go back home...
..so, in the morning, I phoned up and I said,
"Did we get lot number 123?" or whatever it was.
And they said, "Yes."
I said, "How much?" And they said, "£400."
So, we drove up to Northampton to get it.
When I got it, they presented me with this. And I said, "No, no.
"We bought a picture."
So, they looked up on the paper,
and they discovered that instead of saying lot number 480, it was 488.
And, so, we bought this instead of the picture. And that cost us £400!
Fancy buying a picture and it turning out to be this. It's marvellous!
Now, this is Worcester. It's got no markings on it.
I've had a look at them bottom of it.
It's early 19th-century, so it's jolly nearly 200 years old.
And it's really in pretty good condition.
You can see, these panels are hand-painted,
as befits the best Worcester. Peacocks. Beautifully coloured.
Lift up the lid, and we've got the inkwell inside.
-Badly crazed, isn't it?
But I don't think that is terminal, really,
-because that's not the bit you see, is it?
If the crazing had really been throughout the piece, I'd have been more worried.
There is, of course, some crazing in some of these panels,
but, by and large, not too bad.
-So, this cost £400.
-Even though you thought it was a picture.
-I'm afraid I don't think it's worth £400.
-I think it's worth about 250-300, so it's not too bad.
You never know, with two people on a good day with the wind behind them,
-you might get your money back.
-Or someone making a mistake.
Or someone making a mistake like you did. Yes.
I'd like to put a reserve on it at 200. And estimate it at 250-300.
-Thank you very much.
Oh, looks like Jean and her husband might have made a costly mistake.
While in Oxford, I've come to find out about a book which
we all take for granted, yet, which, in its original form,
took 70 years to complete, and ran to ten volumes.
Today, we know it as the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Oxford English Dictionary was a great feat of Victorian
ingenuity and determination,
as great as any engineering achievement of that age.
And it still remains the ultimate authority on the English language.
When it was first published, in 1928 by the Oxford University Press,
it listed over 400,000 words,
and included not only their meaning, but their historical root, too.
To hear the story of this monumental undertaking, I've come to meet
the Oxford University press' head of archive, Martin Moore.
So, how did the idea of the dictionary come about, then, Martin?
Well, the dictionary was the idea of a group of academics in London
in the 1850s.
And they were called the Philological Society.
And to mark Queen Victoria's reign,
they decided to make a dictionary that was bigger
and better than any made before,
such as the great dictionary by Samuel Johnson in the 18th-century.
The problem with Samuel Johnson's dictionary was that it only
listed 43,000 words,
and it was tainted by definitions that reflected his own prejudice.
Most famously, he defined oats as
"a grain given to horses in England,
"but which, in Scotland, supports the people."
It is perhaps ironic, then,
that the great genius of the Oxford English Dictionary was a Scot,
James Murray, who took over as editor in 1879.
So, how did the project change under the leadership of James Murray?
James Murray was a remarkable man. He was a schoolteacher from Scotland.
He never had the money to go to university
and get a formal degree, but it's quite clear
he had a mind that would put most Oxford professors to shame.
Among many other accomplishments,
-James Murray taught HIMSELF about 40 different languages.
He could speak, read and write them all.
And he sees that the dictionary requires far more organisation
and resources than the Society had first thought.
And it's Murray who puts out an appeal to readers
in the English language to come forward
and to read texts for the dictionary.
We begin to talk about hundreds and hundreds of readers
sending in information to Murray and his colleagues.
The readers worked as word detectives,
scouring every possible type of printed text,
from Medieval literature, to scientific journals,
from song sheets, to recipe books,
even wills, collecting words and their meanings.
They then sent quotations to Murray and his team
on half sheets of notepaper, and,
within a short while, over 1,000 quotations slips a day
were arriving in an outbuilding in Murray's back garden.
And you had obviously check every single form that came back.
They have to take every piece of paper,
they have to go around libraries in Oxford, or beyond...
And then check that everything written out by hand matches
the printed version down to the very last full stop.
So, you can see here at the top left of this slip,
there is the word "emperorship" has been written out.
This is what dictionary makers call the head word.
You'll see a sentence written out showing how the head word,
"emperorship," has been used in a certain text. And, then, you can
see a piece of information telling you where that sentence occurs.
It's mind-boggling, isn't it? It really is.
So, all the people that actually wrote in with these little forms
were obviously academics themselves.
I guess at that time, half the population of the country
couldn't read or write anyway.
Literacy wasn't as widespread as it is now, certainly,
but not everybody who contributed these slips of paper
to the dictionary was a professional academic.
And one of the largest contributors to the first edition was a man
called William Minor. Minor was an American surgeon.
He served during the US Civil War, and became very disturbed
as a result of the experiences he went through there.
He came to England to try and recover but, in fact, he got worse.
And murdered somebody.
As a result of that, he was incarcerated for life
in Broadmoor Hospital.
And, of course, Dr Minor had nothing else to do with his life but to read.
-Put pen to paper.
-And indeed he did.
-Is one of these slips his?
And, as we can see here, this is one of the slips he would send to Murray.
My gosh, look at the tiny writing.
He's one of the great invisible architects of the dictionary,
as it were, one of the main people behind the scenes contributing
information to this amazing text.
Minor wasn't the only unusual contributor to the dictionary.
Murray had 11 children
and they earned pocket money sorting the 3.5 million quotation slips
that Murray and his team had to deal with.
Even so, it was obvious that the enormous task of cataloguing
every word used in the English language would take longer
than anyone had thought.
How long did it take him?
Well, it even surprised Murray, for all his genius.
The first little part of the dictionary took five years
to appear in print. And that went from the letter A
-to the word "ant."
This is just a tiny, tiny part of the language.
Other bits of the language proved to be easier.
The dictionary picks up speed as it goes along.
But, even so, sadly, James Murray did not live to see
the end of the first edition of the dictionary.
James Murray died in 1915.
And, by that time, the dictionary had got to the letter T.
So, he could see the winning post,
he just didn't live long enough to get to it.
And it was left to other editors to carry on the work.
And, so, the first edition of this amazing piece of scholarship
is finished in 1928.
It does not take ten years.
-It takes over 40 years to assemble this single text.
Today, the complete Oxford English Dictionary contains
over 500,000 entries.
And 100 new words are submitted for inclusion every month.
So, it looks like the job Murray dedicated his life to
will never truly be done.
Well, what a good start to the day.
We've now found our first items to take off to auction.
This is where it gets exciting. This is where we put our experts' valuations to the test.
Anything can happen, let's get straight over there.
We're taking our items to Jones and Jacobs sale rooms in Watlington.
We've got two key ingredients for a tremendous sale.
A packed room full of bidders and some really tempting lots.
Going under the hammer are Nathan and Jill's evocative postcard album,
Cynthia's unthreatening collection of military items,
Jean selling her inkwell that her husband thought was a painting,
and finally that wonderful Arts and Crafts candlestick,
which could be by Archibald Knox.
Auctioneer Simon Jones is just the man to know.
This belongs to Brenda. She bought it 20-odd years ago for a pound!
-That was a good investment.
-It was! We've got about 60 to £80 on this.
It's so Archibald Knox.
Yes, it's actually in the book, down as him. Down to the great man himself.
It has suffered a bit at the bottom.
-A bit of bending. They'll sort that out.
-Something's gone on there.
It was used as a hammer!
And we have someone who has the pair to it.
-And they're very keen to own it.
And if it goes too expensive, I'm to offer the successful purchaser
-the option on the other one.
-Gosh! That's never happened before in nine years of Flog It!
We like to provide a surprise now and again!
How much would this be worth as a pair?
As a pair, it takes an individual one to more than double its top estimate.
Is it likely we'll get 250 to £300?
Probably get 200 to 250.
There's a bit of damage to the bottom.
-I'll look forward to this.
-It'll be an exciting day.
Sharing the rostrum with Simon is Francis Oggley.
He'll be auctioneering some of our lots today.
First up, it's the postcard album brought in by mother and son Jill and Nathan.
-Do you watch Flog It?
-You must have seen a few collections going for 300 to £600.
-Hopefully there might be one or two rare ones, Tracy?
-I hope so.
The collectors know what they're looking for.
Did you, by any chance, take out one or two favourite ones and take them as a keepsake?
-Was there one that caught your eye?
-Yes, the one of the boats and ferries.
-Did you keep that one?
-Yeah, I did.
We talked about that last time.
It was probably the rarest!
That might be one worth £80!
-It probably is!
-Good for you.
That's the kind of thing I would do.
I'd take one or two out, sell the rest.
Good luck. Hopefully there might be a surprise, you never know.
-Collectors are fussy, but if there's one or two in that collection, they'll find it.
You can guarantee that.
Let's find out. It's going under the hammer now.
188 is the album containing postcards, mostly topographical.
60 to £70 for these?
£50 start me, then.
50 I'm bid. 55 anywhere? All happy at 50? 55.
60. 65. 70. 75.
80. 85. 90.
110. 120. 130.
120, then. Seated at 120. All done
-Wonderful. £120. That's good.
-They always find buyers. It's incredible.
Most people think, "They're rubbish. Black-and-white postcards."
That's documenting social history.
And that's quite rare.
-Good things to have.
Enjoy the money. Enjoy the spending.
We've enjoyed being on the show, meeting you all.
It's been really nice. Thank you.
What a marvellous way to kick off our Flog It sale.
I hope Cynthia can be just as lucky.
Next up, the collection of military memorabilia belonging to Cynthia
who's feeling really, really nervous, aren't you?
But you've got your daughter Jackie for moral support.
Fingers crossed we'll get the top end of Charlie's estimate.
-There's a lot here.
-A huge amount.
I did ask for the sale room to check there wasn't anything particularly rare and valuable.
I don't think there was. So we're quite safe, I think.
-But there are a lot of collectors for this kind of thing.
Yes. You get specialist sales, solely dedicated to military memorabilia.
-Yes, I am.
-You haven't had time to look around.
-There's too many people.
-We came early.
-We did. We did.
-Bit of a squeeze, isn't it?
-It is a squeeze.
-Have you seen anything you want to buy?
-No! I'm getting rid of stuff now!
-Good on you. Good luck, it's going under the hammer now.
Lot 111 is the German bayonet, another bayonet and some others.
150 for them?
£100 I'm bid. 110? At £100, then. All happy at £100 for the assorted blades at 100?
-Sold at 100.
-That's not bad, is it?
-It's all right.
I want it to go to the British Heart Foundation.
-That's where the money's going?
-My husband had a heart attack.
-Four years ago.
-That's a good contribution.
-It is, yes.
Jean's up next, with her inkwell mistake.
OK, the inkwell.
-It wasn't the picture you wanted. You paid £400 for it.
-Charlie, you put a valuation of 250-300.
Now, I had a chat to Simon just before the sale started.
He thinks it might struggle. So, you had a word with him, didn't you?
You've now lowered the reserve to £100.
I'm sure it's going to go for a couple of hundred.
-Let's think positively, OK?
-We need to!
-We do. Here we go.
Lot 46 is the porcelain inkwell there, nice bone China one.
Couple of hundred pounds for it? 180, I am bid 190. £180.
-With Alan at £180 for the inkwell, all finished?
-Hammer's come down, straight in.
-I wasn't that far out.
-You weren't, were you?
-You've got to be happy.
-I'm pleased with that.
-I know you've lost
-a little bit of money.
-Oh, yes, that was years ago.
But you haven't left a bid on anything today, have you?
No, no, no.
I think Jean's now learned her lesson
to check the right lot numbers.
Brenda, I've got some news for you.
-And you, Tracy.
We're talking about this pewter candlestick. It is Archibald Knox.
The auction room's done some research. That's good.
Because we had a value of 60 to £80. So it puts it right up there.
Hopefully a bit more. But you'll never guess what.
The auctioneer said to me before the sale that somebody has an identical one to it.
They've only got one. So it makes up the pair!
And there's always a premium on a pair!
Can you believe it? There's another odd one. There's probably loads of odd ones.
But that person was looking through the catalogue and found it in the sale today.
-So they're on the phone trying to buy it.
-Great news for you.
-It means the price will go up!
-But what a name, Archibald Knox.
Arts and Crafts, very stylised. Should do OK.
The collectors will be here because they look for that name.
It's going under the hammer right now!
Lot 422, the Art Nouveau pewter candlestick.
Style of Archibald Knox.
170 I've got.
At 170. 180, anyone?
170. On commission at 170.
All done at 170? 180.
190. Still on commission at 190.
-That's brilliant news.
-That's very good - isn't it?
-Twice the value!
-It was worth the effort of coming over.
-It was. Thank you very much for all your help.
OK. The nice thing is, that's going to meet up with its other half.
-It'll look striking, won't it?
-Mmm. Thank you.
Gosh, way over the reserve.
That shows that sometimes you can find the perfect partner at auction.
We'll be back at the auction later in the show
when we find out that African shield valued by Charlie is causing a global stir!
-Shall we say there's been interest from its homeland and at the New World.
But before all of that,
I'm exploring the secrets of Oxford's skyline.
Oxford's long and distinguished past has resulted in such a stunning city
with a myriad of architectural styles.
You can find examples from almost every period throughout history,
dating right back to the Saxons.
But as you wander around, everywhere you look, you're being watched.
Dragons, demons and a whole array of other mystical creatures
and quirky characters stare out from the buildings.
For 1,000 years, gargoyles have stood guard over Oxford.
And you can't help but admire them.
One of the finest collections of "grotesques" adorns the walls of the university's Bodleian Library.
Being so high up, these fantastic creations are constantly under attack from weather and pollution.
In 2007, while doing restoration work on the roof,
the university discovered a row of grotesques had crumbled away beyond recognition.
They wanted to replace them, but had no historical records to work from.
So a competition was launched among local schools asking pupils to come up with new ideas.
There were 500 entries from which nine were selected
to be immortalised in stone.
The sensitive task of translating the original drawings into the finished stone carvings
was given to local sculptors Fiona and Alec Peever.
They began by making clay models and I'm at their studio to find out more.
-This is fabulous, Fiona.
-What challenges did the children's designs give you?
Transferring their two-dimensional drawings
into something that will work three-dimensionally
and also very high up, at an angle on the building.
Have you got some examples of what they originally looked like?
-Here are the original children's drawings.
This is the one for Narnia.
I was about to ask, what does the N stand for?
Aslan the lion, and it's Narnia.
All the winning designs were based on Oxford literary themes.
Once you get the depth and the relief, with those dark patches, it does look good.
That's what gives it impact when it's on the building.
But also, when you're carving, you have to make sure that you don't have areas where water will settle
-and crack the stone.
-Yes, the frost would crack it.
What are these lines dissecting it for?
-Is it to get measurements?
-That's where we measured off the clay model
to carve it in the stone.
The interesting thing about using clay is that it's a process where you build the model up.
You add on to it.
And you can take it away again, as well.
But when it comes to stone, you're just taking it away,
just removing the stone, so you can't get it wrong.
-Do you get involved in the stonework, or just modelling?
-I carve them as well.
-You do both.
The new designs for the Bodleian aren't, strictly-speaking, gargoyles.
Gargoyles have a spout to gargle water from the gutters clear of the walls.
These are grotesques, which are purely decorative
but with a character of horror or humour.
That's beautiful. What else were there?
This is lovely. This is Three Men in a Boat
which is a really great Oxford story.
-And you've got some photos, too.
-I have, yes.
-These are the clay models.
-Isn't that fabulous?
Here's the final clay model.
Oh, that's very clever. Look at the dog's leg, just about to jump out.
-We've also got Gimli.
-From Lord of the Rings.
-That's that one. Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
-There they are.
-Then we've also got Thomas Bodley. I gave him rather baggy eyes.
-Why did you do that?
I imagined him that he'd sit up reading books all night for his library.
They're beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
What do you do with these now you've finished with them?
-Find them a home?
-Throw them away!
You can't do that!
No, because they're made in just ordinary clay
not with the intention of firing.
We just made them so we could measure up for the stone.
o find out more about the actual carving of these wonderful grotesques,
I met the other half of this talented partnership, Alec Peever.
He's working on something of his own.
What are you working on?
-This is a head in Portland stone.
-Is this the same principle as the grotesques?
Um, this is more direct carving.
With the grotesques, we went through a stage of modelling them in clay
and working from the clay.
This is a slightly more risky process
where I'm just taking off a little bit at a time
without taking any measurements, just discovering whatever's inside it.
As Michelangelo is famous for saying.
When you choose that block of stone, do you look at it from all angles to check for fault lines?
-Yes. The thing you always have to do is to tap it.
If it has a ring, like that, it's fine.
If it has a dead noise, like that, you know there's a flaw in it
and so you don't touch it!
And the chisels you use are the same on the grotesques
-as on this?
These tools have not changed in 5,000 years.
It's exactly the same tools as the Ancient Egyptians used,
as the Greeks, and so on throughout the centuries.
So it's an absolutely basic process.
Can I watch for a while? Start on the mouth, cos that's quite scary!
-Do you know what kind of mouth you're giving him at this stage?
I might ask you to model for me, in a minute!
Must be a good feeling, knowing that you're following in the footsteps of great craftsmen
-that lived around Oxford.
-It's not why I went into it,
but once you've made something and you see it go up there,
you think, "Gosh, that's going to be up there for hundreds of years.
"My little boy, who's nine, his grandchildren will be able to say,
"'great-great-grandfather made that.'"
It's tremendous to see such continuity between the past and the present.
For hundreds of years to come, those brand-new grotesques
will sit neatly alongside their ancient cousins
on the Bodleian Library, for all to marvel at.
That's a testament to the skills of Alec and Fiona
and the people whose footsteps they've followed in.
Right, it's back to our valuation day in the Sheldonian Theatre.
Our experts Charlie and Tracy are marvelling at the vast quantity
of antiques that have been brought in.
It looks like Charlie has, once again, found someone to do battle with!
Nick, you look absolutely terrifying!
Fancy coming into the Sheldonian in Oxford with these!
Tell me about them.
Well, my grandfather went to - I thought it was Sudan -
-in the 1880s, 1890s.
And we believe he brought them back. He wasn't in the services.
-Was he not?
-So he didn't win it as a trophy?
-At Rourke's Drift?
-Not as far as I know!
-He never mentioned it.
It's from South Africa, a Zulu shield.
I think that dates from 1880, 1890, which is the time pre-Boer War, the Zulu wars.
-It's an extraordinary part of history, really.
And in remarkable condition.
This looks like a zebra skin. I'm sure it is.
-But being 100 years old, we're happy to talk about it.
-A working tool.
Obviously if this was modern, we wouldn't want to know, for obvious reasons.
By the lattice work of weaving more skin into it, which also has a functional purpose as well,
it provides the handle, which is really interesting.
-Just leaving out a couple of notches forms the handle.
-It's incredibly hard, isn't it?
You'd think... All right, it wouldn't have stopped a bullet,
but if you chucked a spear at it, it would have to be thrown pretty hard to get through it.
And they attacked by bashing the spears against that.
-If you imagine a few thousand people doing that, it's a terrifying sound.
The spear is also Zulu. Beautifully made,
actually, and in pretty good condition.
Quite light. It's like a cane, isn't it?
Then we've got a leather strap here
which is strengthening the join between the metalwork and the shaft.
Look at the age on it. It's amazing, isn't it?
It's become rock solid and hard.
Value. Any ideas?
-You hoped it was worth something when you brought it.
-I think you've got a value here of between 100 and £200.
-That has surprised me.
Sometimes we get people on the show who almost hit me when I say what things are worth!
-I won't do that!
I would say 100 to 200. We're not talking about £100, it's not worth selling.
-I'm sure that the shield is of that order.
-And the spear will add to it.
We're happy to go to auction with an estimate of 100 to £200.
-With a reserve of £100.
Perhaps a bit of auctioneer's discretion.
But I'm confident about the lot. Thank you for bringing them to Oxford!
Nick seems happy with that valuation. But tribal artefacts are very sought after.
I can't wait to see what happens at auction.
Not everything that comes to our valuation day is for sale!
What have we got here? What's she worth? 80 to 120, Mum?
She isn't worth giving away!
Well, hopefully we don't give anything away on Flog It!
Next up, David has brought a stylish teapot for Tracy to value.
Have you ever used it to make tea?
-I didn't think you would have!
-So is this something you've inherited?
-Just inherited, yes.
-Who did you inherit it from?
-From my brother-in-law.
Do you know any history, anything about it?
Yes. It was bought as an inheritance so they handed it to their daughter.
Right. OK. So if your brother-in-law bought it to hand down to his daughter,
how come you ended up with it?
-Because sadly the daughter passed away.
-Passed away. Oh, I am sorry.
-So then it came to you.
-It came to us.
-Right. I see.
Have you ever thought about where it dates from,
-or who made it?
-I did, at one time,
-because we happened to get a book of hallmarks.
I didn't bother, really, after that.
-You obviously know it's silver because you've looked at the hallmark.
Quite right, too, it is silver.
So if we have a little look at one of these...
We've got the E for Elkington & Co.
The Birmingham anchor.
The date letter to 1893.
And the passant lion.
-So you're quite right. It's silver, a good maker, nice year.
-It's a very decorative piece, isn't it?
We've got some wonderful flower decoration and leaf decoration.
Quite naturalistic, around the body of each of the teapot,
the sugar bowl and the milk jug.
It's a really, really attractive thing.
Silver's doing really well at the moment whether it be in scrap or as an item.
The thing with this is we're going to sell it as an item.
-You wouldn't want to scrap such a beautiful piece.
I think if we took this to auction
we could put a pre-sale estimate of 250 to 350,
with a reserve of 230.
-Would you be happy with that?
Yes, we have talked about it, and the grandchildren will benefit from it.
That's good. How many grandchildren do you have?
-At least they'll all get a bit of money, won't they?
These valuation days are such fun.
Sometimes I feel like playing around!
All hand-forged, made in Scotland.
That's a nice little set, isn't it?
Back to business. Charlie's getting personal with Margaret!
Margaret, have you been rummaging around your drawers at home?
Definitely! Rummaging in the drawers.
-What made you come along today?
-Because it was Flog It!
and these are cluttering up the drawers so I thought I'd bring them along.
-Fantastic. Are you a fan of Flog It?
There's a real mix here
-of quite nice and not so good.
-No. A bit of rubbish?
Rubbish. I'm glad you said it and I didn't.
-Do you know where it all came from?
-They belonged to my mother-in-law.
You've got three rings, two earrings, a cameo -
not a good quality cameo brooch -
and this is not gold, this chain.
And these are simulated pearls which are losing their colour rather fast.
-So, by and large, we can forget most of these items.
But the wedding band here is 22-carat gold.
-I'll have a look.
-The best you can get is 24.
Most gold items are nine-carat.
And you have a nine-carat gold ring there.
Now, purely in scrap value today, gold is worth a lot of money.
-We also have a little three-stone diamond ring.
-But it's illusion cut, if you know what I mean.
-I've never heard of that.
You look at it from a distance and think, "That's a whopping diamond."
And the closer you get to it, the more you can see
that the actual setting is engraved cleverly and bright-cut
to give the impression of a diamond.
So when we actually get into it, the diamond itself is a tiny little chip.
-So we don't have a huge value there.
When you pulled them out of your drawer, did you think, "I'm going to win the pools today!"
No. I'd no idea how much they were worth
but I'd be interested to know if you know the date.
The date of the wedding band
-and the engagement ring is 1930 or thereabouts.
-Would that ring true?
-That would be my mother-in-law.
-Can you remember when she got married?
-Yes. Maybe early '30s.
-Yes, that's about right.
I think that fits in with the dating of them.
Value. Have a guess.
£50. Well, I think it's worth at least twice that.
Well, I'm sure that this gold ring is worth the best part of £100.
-So that's good news, isn't it?
Sadly, we can't add a great deal for the rest.
But we can certainly add 30 or £40.
-I'm thinking if we put 100 to £150 as an estimate.
-With a fixed reserve at 100.
-That sounds excellent.
-That would be good?
-That would be great. Yes.
And you can go and spend some money on something. What would you spend it on?
-I think I'd put it towards the New Zealand fund.
-Are you going to New Zealand?
No. It's on my list.
Well, they often say you've got to have quantity or quality
and Evelyn's got lots of both with her cigarette card collection.
It includes some highly desirable cards from the tobacco manufacturer
Taddy & Co.
In my line of business,
I quite often see collections of cigarette cards, Evelyn,
but you have got the most amazing collection here
and some of them in their original boxes and everything,
so how did you come to own such an amazing collection?
-They were my father's.
-He's died, and we've been helping
my mother sort through the stuff that's left behind.
-And all these cards were there.
-He was obviously an avid collector.
-A lot of these are from his childhood as well.
So I presume they were his father's, cos this is only a sample of...
Really? Just a sample? So how many have you got?
-There are hundreds.
-Hundreds and hundreds.
Are there any particular sets that you like or...?
-I like this one, this Cries Of London.
-Oh, Cries Of London.
-And that's John Player as well.
Let's just pop one out. They're just wonderful pictures, aren't they?
-This is the sellers and the people who are working on the streets of London,
so just really, really lovely.
I've got a favourite too cos I've had a little browse through them.
I love this Safety First.
There are 1920s and '30s cars and I love fashion,
anything that's fashion-orientated and the great thing about these
is you can look at them and you can see what they were wearing.
You can see the ladies in their little fur-trimmed coats
and just a lovely collection and I know that there are more than this,
-so what sort of price did you have in mind?
-I really don't know.
You don't know? Well, I can tell you that what we have here are Taddy's.
And Taddy's, depending again on the imagery on the front,
whether it's a full set, whether there's a rare card in it.
can make pretty good money.
Here we're probably talking sort o9f about £5 a card.
-Yeah, so are you quite pleased with that?
These are fab because they're in their original boxes.
I haven't personally seen a huge collection of cards like this in their original boxes before.
But I want to put a fairly conservative estimate
on it to encourage people to come along and have a look,
-so I'm thinking of a region of £100-£150 for the lot...
..in the hope that that will encourage people to come along
and cigarette card buyers or collectors, they like to have
a really good look and look at each individual card, look at condition,
and things like that, so I think these could fly, so if you're happy,
-we'll put them in at £100-£150 and see how they do.
We're only going to be selling this small part of Evelyn's collection
but it should give her a good idea what the rest of the collection could be worth.
Right. Now it's time to go off to auction with Margaret's unwanted jewellery,
we're also taking David's silver trio,
Evelyn's got an awful lot of cigarette cards to sell,
and the zebra skin shield and spear.
Let's see what Simon has to say about those rare tribal pieces.
This is absolutely fabulous and fascinating.
Ethnic artefacts fly through the roof, don't they?
-They really love them.
And with a bit of history, and something like this which is unusual,
it's a rare skin, cos being a zebra skin, it's not a standard weapon one.
It's not for fighting with. It's for special occasions.
So it lifts it. Cow hide is the normal one.
There's plenty of those about for 300 to 400 quid.
-Has there been much interest?
-Enough to get the old auctioneer quite excited!
-Which is unusual for auctioneers!
Are you going to let me in on this, and the viewers?
I might just do that.
-Shall we say there's been interest from its homeland and in the New World.
But how much for?
I think rather more than four times top estimate.
OK. Someone's going home with a great deal of money.
That's really exciting.
First, Margaret, who's selling her jewellery
to raise money for a trip to New Zealand.
-Who do you want to see out there?
-Well, New Zealand was on the cards,
-Changed your mind?
We've booked a cruise on the Queen Victoria.
-So that sounds... Next year, in the winter.
-Oh, how lovely! So this is a bit of spending money.
Gin and tonics. Gin and tonics on the deck!
-As the sun's going down.
-Oh, can I come?
You could do your antiques lectures, Charlie.
I could, yes!
On miscellaneous jewellery!
Anyway, it's going under the hammer now. Good luck.
Lot 422. The 22-carat wedding ring,
a diamond ring and other jewellery. Mixed lot.
100 I've got. 110 anywhere?
At £100. Selling at 100... 110.
130? At 120.
All done at 120?
Selling at 120. All done?
-Right on estimate. That's good, isn't it?
-That's good, yes.
That's a few nice bottles of wine!
-Yes, it is.
-Not many on that boat! They'll be expensive!
Margaret's happy with that. Let's see if Tracy can do even better
with David's silver trio.
We're talking about that silver tea service. It's Victorian, it's Birmingham, late 1800s.
-You haven't had it long?
-No, only a few years.
-It's a good time to sell silver.
-Very good time.
-The prices are up.
Exactly. And it's a beautiful thing as well.
-It's a really gorgeous thing.
-Yes, I think so.
-I think I've been conservative again!
Oh. Is it a "come and buy me"?
-I hope so. I really do.
-Let's watch this.
-I hope so!
Let's have a nice surprise.
The three-piece silver tea service.
An Elkington one.
250 for that?
200 to start me.
At 200. 210. 220.
At 230. 240.
250. At 240.
All done at £240?
Selling at 240.
-Bottom of estimate. It's OK.
-A good price.
-Yeah, it's OK.
It's what we said at the valuation day.
-As long as you're happy.
-I'm happy with that.
Well, Tracy was spot-on with her reserve for the trio.
Now we are selling a small part of Evelyn's
cigarette card collection.
I know there are, how many, 10,000?
-We haven't put 10,000 in.
That is a lot of collecting, isn't it? That is Grandfather and Father.
-You had so many, it was physically impossible for me
to go through every one. They are so particular.
-There's probably just one in there that could be worth...
A lot of money. The missing one to somebody's set.
-Yeah. I think you should easily...
The collection of Player's, Wills and other cigarette cards,
all sorts in there.
£80-£90, start me for these. £80 I am bid. 85. 90 anywhere?
90. 95. 100. 110. 120.
120. 130. 140.
150. 160. 170. 160 seated, at 160. It is yours at 160.
All done then at £160, all done.
-You were spot on.
-It wasn't bad.
-Complete guess! £160. Well done.
-You happy with that?
-Yes, very happy.
Does that give you a kind of gauge for what the others might be worth?
Yes. Hopefully there is a very relevant one.
A rare one tucked away somewhere, yes.
What will you do with the rest of them?
I am not going to keep them permanently, no.
Maybe put them into an auction at another time.
You have tested the market and it works. Good luck.
Based on that sale,
the rest of Evelyn's collection could easily make four figures.
Now it's that exceptional Zulu shield and spear,
brought in by Nick.
I'm looking forward to this one!
It's great to meet Nicholas. I saw you at the valuation day
and I admired Charlie walking across the room with this wonderful zebra skin shield,
and I thought, "Ooh, very nice!"
-Were you happy with the valuation, 100 to 200?
-I thought it was good.
I had a chat to the auctioneer and he said it could do a bit better.
-A little bit.
-That would be pleasant.
-It would be.
-If you make 14,000, I'll buy you lunch!
I don't think he hinted that much money, though!
No. I mean, Charlie, a brave move.
These things are so hard to put a price on.
Yes. You've seen one and you think you've seen them all, but they're all different.
-It's beautifully made.
Why are you selling it? It's been part of the family for a long time.
I have a modern house and it's a bit small. I can't put it on the wall.
It's heart-rending to get rid of it, but...
Let's hope you get the top end of the estimate. £200. What would you do with that?
We were going to buy our grandson a premium bond with some of the money.
-The rest will probably go to a lunch.
-Did you hear that, Paul?
-What if you got £800 for this?
-I know, but hang on, you never know!
Strange things happen in auction rooms.
-What would you do with £800?
-It would help towards a holiday.
-OK. Let's hope you get a holiday.
-It's lunch for you and me and a holiday for him!
I love auctions, I really do!
Let's find out what happens. It's now down to the bidders.
The zebra skin shield, a Zulu one.
What can we say for that? £200 to start me for it?
500 I'm bid. 550 anywhere?
Eight. 850? At £800, then.
Coming to you now, Pat, at 850.
I can't believe it!
1,100 I'm bid.
£1,100, then, with Alan.
All done, then? It's with Alan at £1,100.
All done at £1,100? All finished?
I told you something fabulous was going to happen!
Not 100 to 200, but 1,100!
How do you guys manage it?
-Who do you pay?
Who are the BBC going to employ next, cos I've got the sack!
You were saying £800 would be a wonderful holiday.
You've got a lot more than 800. That's 1,100, Nicholas.
-Take my daughter with me.
-Oh, bless you.
A cracking end to a marvellous show. I hope you enjoyed the surprise! Auction rooms are full of them!
Until the next time, from Oxfordshire, it's cheerio!
Paul Martin is joined by antiques experts Tracy Martin and Charlie Ross in Oxford. Charlie and Paul get very excited about a Zulu shield and spear and Tracy finds a rather lonely arts and crafts candlestick. Paul admires Oxford's old gargoyles and meets the makers of more modern stone creations. The magnificent Sheldonian Theatre is the venue, still used today for lectures and music recitals.