Antiques series. Adam Partridge and James Lewis join Paul Martin in Yorkshire, where a gold pocket watch catches James's eye and Adam looks at a collection of pipes.
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We have arrived! Today, "Flog It!" is in Richmond in North Yorkshire and hopefully
all the locals will be making their way down there to the market hall,
laden with unwanted antiques and collectables ready to be valued.
Yes, "Flog It!" is in town.
The picturesque town of Richmond is situated on the banks
of the River Swale and is steeped in history.
High above the town is the breathtaking Richmond Castle,
which was built in the reign of William the Conqueror.
Its construction is of stone rather than wood
which was incredibly unusual for its time.
In fact, it is thought to be the first stone-built castle in England.
Well, back down at ground level I am hoping this huge crowd
gathering outside the market hall have got some rather unusual
antiques for our experts to value.
And, of course, let's face it,
they have all come to ask that all-important question which is...
ALL: What's it worth?
And when you have found out, what are you going to do?
-ALL: Flog it!
-That's the name of the game.
It is now 9:30, let's get these doors open
and get this massive crowd inside.
Ready to go in? Yes!
The hundreds of people that are streaming into the market
will all have their items valued by our team of experts
who are led today by James Lewis, who is attracted to a bit of metal.
Surprisingly, under that soft exterior
beats the heart of a fanatical heavy-metal fan.
All the plate has come off, hasn't it?
Imagine what it would have been like if it was like that.
He is joined on the tables by Adam Partridge,
whose musical tastes are a bit different.
Those are quite nice things to own, really,
but don't let anyone catch you framing them.
He used to be a professional violin player.
Everyone knows now.
We've got a great show for you today.
James makes an interesting discovery...
This is gruesome, isn't it?
When you stab somebody it is easier to draw the blade out again.
That's why they are made.
..while Adam is predicting great things.
I think we're going to sell it.
And I'm going to be bullish and say it really should be worth
the four figures that you are hoping for.
And I tread the boards
in one of the most intact Georgian theatres in the world.
Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou, Romeo? Here I am!
Well, as you can see,
we've got a full house which means lots of antiques.
We really do have our work cut out so let's get on with it.
Adam Partridge is the first expert at the tables
so let's take a closer look at what he has found.
-Janet and David. David and Janet.
-Hello, welcome to "Flog It!"
-Thanks for coming along.
This piece needs no introduction, really.
I'm sure everybody knows exactly what that is.
It is a very distinctive shape and design of the Moorcroft Pottery.
How have you come to own this one?
I bought it in a little antique place
within a big department store in Newcastle
-about 25-26 years ago.
-And I just passed by and the colours
caught my eye and I thought, "Oh, that is pretty."
-Do you remember how much it was 25 years ago?
-It's probably, what, 50 quid now?
-Maybe. Getting on for £50 now.
-So why have you decided to sell it?
It doesn't take up much room.
Not at all, it's just that, we didn't know for ten years that it was
-Moorcroft or anything important.
-Or the significance of... Yeah.
But, as soon as I find out the significance of it, I thought,
"Oh, somebody's going to drop it, somebody's going to break it."
-And it nearly did once or twice.
So it has had a couple of lives.
Well, when we first got it I used to let the kids fill it with water
-and paint with it.
-Right, so it could easily have not survived to this day.
-Oh, I just don't know how it's...
-How it's managed it.
-Any idea what it is worth?
-I would like to think it was over £100.
I agree, I agree. I tend to...
I'd say an estimate of 100-150 would be about right, a realistic guide.
I'd like to think it would make 150.
-Because, of course, small is beautiful.
I'm not tall myself. But in collectors' terms also.
The smaller the piece of furniture, generally, the smaller...
Miniature vases make often much more than their great big counterparts.
-So a reserve of 100, would that sound OK?
-Excellent, yes, fine.
And then, Moorcroft, as you know, it doesn't really need...
It sells itself. Anyone can sell Moorcroft.
-Have you done auctioneering before?
-No, I haven't, no.
Well, if you were to start, that would be a good thing to try because
there would be hands everywhere and everyone knows what they are worth.
It is the leaf and berry pattern by the way.
Leaf and berry, which dates to the late 1930s and that
"Potter to HM the Queen" mark there confirms that date
and I think that's probably what you knew as well.
It would be a little bit more if it was under a flambe glaze.
It would be maybe 200-300.
-I hope it goes to a new home and goes very well.
-We hope so.
-Would you reinvest in antiques?
-What we would like to do is,
I've often wanted to go down to the pottery that does it now.
-To the Moorcroft Potteries?
Oh, well, it's quite near me so let me know if you're coming.
-I'll take you out for tea.
Well, that's an invite that would be hard to refuse.
I love having a rummage and chatting to the people
because you never know what you might find.
Pot lids. Oh, look at these.
-Do you collect pot lids?
-I do, yes.
-How many have you got?
85? You're bonkers about pot lids then, really.
Well, I was bonkers but I've been going now for about 15 years
-so we are downsizing a little bit so...
-They've got to go.
-Some of them.
-So why are you downsizing? I'm just being nosy.
We have redecorated throughout because we are retired
and we want to make things easier and everything came off the wall.
-I had them on every wall.
-So now the walls are bare.
-What's going back on them then?
-Not a lot.
-Not a lot at the moment.
Well, good luck. I know there are plenty of collectors
that will want this kind of thing.
We've seen them do really well on the show before
and think that is quite nice that it is just a set of four
rather than all your 80 at once.
It's amazing how well-made everyday items have become collectable and valuable.
The solid silver cutlery set that Sue has brought in
is another classic example of that.
Tell me, Sue, were you born with one of these in your mouth?
-No, not at all.
No, it's quite funny actually,
I got them when I bought when I bought my first house
and a friend of my father's said, "Would this help Sue out?"
Because I got the house but nothing to put in it.
So your first-ever home and there you are with solid silver.
-Can't be bad.
-I know, I know, probably worth more than the house.
Let's have a look.
This is a pattern that is known as old English pattern.
It is just a rounded end, very, very plain,
with a downswept terminal to the end.
In the 17th-century, you have a dog nose,
then a trefid that is split into three all on the end.
Then you get a Hanoverian pattern.
And then that this old English pattern
really came into fashion around 1750, 1760.
This example was made 100 years later...in 1896-1897.
We've got the anchor, we've got the lion, we've got the date letter.
The lion, of course, meaning it is sterling standard silver.
The anchor means it was assayed in Birmingham.
And the date letter in the centre for 1896-7.
Then we have got E & Co Ltd. Elkington & Co.
Elkington & Co, one of the most famous silversmiths of all time.
Makers for the Queen in the 19th century, very good quality.
-We've got five teaspoons. They are worth about £2 each.
-That's all. £2 or £3 each.
-I'm really disappointed.
So, let's forget the teaspoons, this is where the real value is.
Dessert forks like that, a set of six. The tines aren't quite level.
Whenever you are looking at forks, the tine should be level at the top.
These have had a bit of wear,
they've slid around a few plates too many times.
-Chased some peas round.
-They have, exactly.
-So a set of six of those would be worth £60-£100.
A set of six dessert spoons,
they are going to be worth about the same, £60-£100.
We've got 60, we got 60, we got 20, £140 lower end,
-so if we put 150-200 on them...
-..is that all right for you?
Very nice. What do you think...? Because of the make,
will they be melted down or are they likely to be bought to be used?
-They will be probably melted down.
-Right, that's a shame, isn't it?
I hate to think of them sort of going down that road.
-But then again, you know, they are early but...
-Not that special.
They're not that special.
Like I always say, antiques are the ultimate recyclables
and although it is sad for Sue to think they are being melted down,
at least they are going to make something else.
I've been investing in a bit of precious metal myself recently.
See, I've got a flashy silver pen now
-and it shows up on my photograph.
-Thank you very much.
-That's come in quite useful.
We've got all different-sized valuation tables on "Flog It!"
but sometimes people bring their own in, although this beautiful
little table, brought in by Graham, is gracefully hiding its real use.
We're not often lucky enough to see furniture
and especially such a nice object as this.
Can you tell me how it came to be in your possession?
Yes, it was my grandmother's, and on my father's death ten years ago,
-it passed to me.
-So you have always known this piece of furniture.
-I've known it since I was a toddler, yes.
-That's lovely, isn't it?
And what has made you decide to sell it now?
I think, living in a modern house,
it takes up quite a bit of room in our house.
It is a bit incongruous with the rest of the furniture in the house.
Yes, we've loved it, but perhaps it is time to pass it on,
let somebody else perhaps appreciate it as well.
Some people will watch this and think,
"It's only half my size, what's he talking about, 'It's too big'?"
-But I do know what you mean, it is not the most practical thing.
Very decorative and it is in satinwood.
I would date that to the William IV period, 1835 or thereabouts.
This carving on the column is typically of the William IV period.
This is, of course, an elaborate teapoy, a tea caddy on stand.
Oh, there we are.
And it is a beautiful satinwood interior and it is in really,
-really lovely condition.
-Such a beautiful smooth wood, isn't it?
Yeah, it really is.
And these lift out and then they are wonderfully made.
Mahogany and then satinwood.
Just lovely things in their own right, aren't they?
To hold, yes, they are.
And these are the original bowls because there is no give there,
they are well fitted. And it is an object of real quality.
You see the thickness of the brass hinges
and this Brammer-patent lock
was things that was put on furniture of high quality.
It is a dual-lock... I don't suppose you got a key still.
-We have no key,
It is a complicated lock but it is a sign of great quality.
And, of course, tea was a valuable commodity in the 19th century.
-Keep the servants out.
-Yes, that's right, lock the servants out.
Keep your green and black tea separate.
Of course, tea isn't such a valuable commodity nowadays.
-It's a bag of dust in a mug now, isn't it?
But the teapoy is still quite a commercial piece of furniture, I think.
You told me you wanted £1,000, really, is that right?
-It's in my head.
-So, we are going to go with the reserve of £800.
-Are you happy with that?
-I'm happy with that.
And if we put an estimate of 800-1,200,
it's likely when we go to the auction, the auctioneer may say,
"Oh, you are quoting us ten-years-ago prices,"
but I think we're going to sell it.
I think we're going to be all right and I'm going to be bullish
and say it really should be worth the four figures you are hoping for.
-If it doesn't make £800, it's not worth you selling it really.
So it is a good test of the market here.
Next up, James is having a chat with Bruce,
a collector with the foresight to save his toy boxes.
These are just so many memories for me. It's not just toys, it's...
I remember having one of those, I remember having one of those
and I keep thinking, "The last time I saw that was in the sandpit at home,"
and that's the sort of thing that toy collectors are passionate about.
-Which is your favourite?
-I like that one.
I love the Beetles, I've got a VW Camper now, an old 1969 one that
all my friends say I'm never looking happier than when I'm driving it.
These have been a great investment,
I mean, some of them have still got the price tag on.
What's that? Catterick. 16p.
It used to be a local shop then, they sold them, yeah.
-And you bought them all from the same shop?
So back as a boy, what did you do, just wheel them round the sandpit
like me or did you have one of the proper tracks?
I had one of the proper tracks which I have got on the floor down here with me.
-Oh, let's have a look.
-OK. I'll just turn round and get it.
-There we go.
-Well, at least you've got the box. It's seen better days.
Oh, gosh, it's pretty good inside though.
You've got all the bits, all the ramps. Fantastic.
The track doesn't have a massive value so I think the track
-should go with the other bits and sell them all together.
There we go.
When it comes to value...
..the more interesting ones like that in the brighter colours,
Some of the more common ones, and less interesting
like the truck in yellow and red, maybe £3 or £4.
So if we take an average of about £3 each, we've got 50 of them here.
I think we ought to use that as the lower end estimate.
150-250 and if a couple of the specialists get involved
they might make a bit more.
-Let's take them along and see how much we can raise for you.
-OK, no problem.
Wow, just look at that stunning view! Isn't that incredible?
We are so lucky here in this country to have backdrops like this.
I'm in the stunning Yorkshire Dales and I have come here to find out
about one of the oldest industries in the area.
It dates back about 1,000 years and it is the art of cheese-making.
I've come to the town of Hawes in Wensleydale
to find out more about Wensleydale cheese,
the favourite variety of two of the country's best-loved characters -
Wallace and Gromit.
Wensleydale is actually an area within the Yorkshire Dales
and the history of cheesemaking in this region dates back,
well, to the industrious monks, really,
at the time of the Norman conquest.
But, after Henry VIII abolished the monasteries,
the art of cheesemaking passed on to local farmers' wives,
who made cheese from their farmhouses.
Then, in 1897, right here in Hawes,
a local merchant called Edward Chapman
began collecting milk from the local farmhouses
to use for the commercial production of Wensleydale cheese.
And it's been made here ever since.
Now, before I go off to the creamery
to find out how cheese is actually made,
I'm going to take a closer look at the source of the raw ingredient.
And here it is - milk!
Well, it will be a bit later,
when the farmer gets his hands on this lot.
But the cows here in the Wensleydale region
get to graze on limestone pastures,
which is incredibly rich in wild flowers and herbs.
And it's only milk from these cows
that's used at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes.
That's it. It's so simple, isn't it?
That's what gives Wensleydale cheese its wonderful Dales flavour.
And, right now, I'm off to the creamery.
50 local farms in the Wensleydale area
provide milk for this creamery and tankers arrive every morning -
they pull right up here and this is where the milk is pumped in.
Now, the first process is it has to be pasteurised.
This is quite simple, really -
the milk gets heated to 72 degrees for around 15 seconds.
And that will kill off any bad bacteria.
Right, let's go and have a look at the cheesemaking process.
Once the milk has been pasteurised,
1,000 gallons are pumped into each metal vat.
One vat will end up being 500 kilograms of Wensleydale cheese.
Rennet addition is then stirred into the milk.
The mixture then cools
until it sets into what is known as a semisolid junket,
which has a consistency a bit like blancmange.
Next, the mixture is cut into small pieces
by rotating knives and stirrers.
This releases the curds and whey.
Now, the equipment may look hi tech down there
but the basic way Wensleydale cheese has been made
hasn't changed for centuries.
And, really, that is a full-scale, larger version
of what would have been going on in there.
And it's still very much largely a handmade process.
Once the moisture's drained
and the correct level of acidity has been reached,
it's time to pitch the vat.
The curds are moved to one end in order to allow the whey to run off.
Salt is then added to the curd and this serves as a preservative
and, of course, enhances the flavour.
It's then put through the cheese mill and shredded into small pieces
which are then packed into stainless steel moulds, ready for the press.
Well, it looks like backbreaking work in there.
I'm pleased I'm in the viewing gallery, just watching!
Wensleydale cheese is only pressed lightly compared to other varieties,
which gives it that distinctive crumbly texture.
The cheeses are bandaged in muslin
as soon as they are removed from their moulds.
They are put into the drying room, where they are turned over daily.
From here, the Wensleydale cheese may be sent to the maturing room,
where it'll be stored for four to six months
and it will be checked regularly by the cheese grader.
Right, I think it's time
I got myself a piece of Wensleydale cheese.
-Trevor, you work here as a cheesemaker.
-So how long have you been here?
Crikey. Man and boy, really.
All your working life. Cos I know you're a young chap.
I'm going to try some while we're talking to each other.
Which shall I go for first?
The blue Jervaulx's going to be a big seller.
-I never knew there were so many variations.
We do, like, through the samples... If it's a seller, we do more.
Oh, blimey! That is really good.
Hey, I'm surprised you haven't put on weight.
TREVOR LAUGHS It's all the work we do!
-I'm going to have another bit of that.
Cor, that is delicious!
So, in your opinion, what sets this apart from other cheese?
-Why is Wensleydale so good?
We use the milk from cows from Wensleydale, basically,
and it's been a seller for years. It's the way we make it. Um...
People come from all over the country, even all over the world.
I guess this is the best advert, really, for local produce.
-It doesn't travel far.
-And food shouldn't travel, should it?
Who would think that eating grass
turns into something as delicious as this!
That's incredible! That's absolutely incredible.
We've been working flat-out
and it's time to put those valuations to the test.
Let's get over to the auction room. We'll catch you there.
Going under the hammer with Graham's stunning teapoy
are David and Janet's miniature Moorcroft vase,
which they're afraid they might break if they keep it.
And Sue's silver cutlery,
which was a very welcome house-warming present.
And what will auctioneer Peter Robinson think
of the number of cars in Bruce's collection?
Well, take a look at this, Peter.
There's a lot of lot, that's all I can say. 60 or 61 Matchbox cars.
They belong to Bruce, he's been collecting them since the mid-1970s.
But look at the condition - it's brilliant!
-And, also, we've got some track as well.
-And some track, yeah. Well...
I had lots of these.
Well, it's a confession that I'm...
you know, I'm not going to allude to.
Oh, come on, what? What are you going to say?
I played with all mine in the garden,
-they all got dirty and rusty...
-Hey, do you know what?
And, of course, now, when you see them like this,
in their original boxes,
you kind of like wonder how much pleasure was had as toys.
But, of course, they're now great collectors' pieces.
I ran mine into the ground. The wheels came off.
As soon as I got them,
-I took them out of the box and threw the box.
-Well, I did the same.
-Did you do the same?
But, no, this is a nice collection.
I think we've got a reserve of £150 on this lot.
That's about £2.50 a car.
You know, we've got interest in the lot,
we've got one phone line, I think, booked at the moment.
-One or two commission bids.
Interest as well that'll come in the room.
So I think we'll exceed the reserve. By how much? Who knows?
-You are cautious, aren't you?
-I'm a cautious chappie!
Commission is standard in all salerooms,
but the amount can vary, so check the auction catalogue
to see what it will cost you to buy and sell.
Here at Thomas Watson Auctioneers, you have to pay a buyer's premium,
which is commission at 15% plus VAT.
First up is the Moorcroft vase.
Why are you selling it?
Well, because we're downsizing, going to sell the house.
-And I know it's small...
-They all say that, don't they?
-Couldn't take a thimble when they were downsizing.
Exactly! One little picture, a little miniature.
-"Oh, I'm downsizing."
-Every little helps.
It's so small, you see, when you pick it up and dust it,
I keep thinking, "I'm going to break this, I'm going to break this."
-We've had it 25 years.
-Well, look, good luck.
All I can say is Moorcroft is big business.
-They're still making it today, aren't they?
-Very much so.
-Collectors all over the world are buying.
-They love it.
-Let's hope. Let's hope they're here today. OK?
Good luck, everyone. Here we go.
Nice little piece of Moorcroft and I have £50 to start me.
At £50 for it? At £50.
60, second row. 70 in the left. 80, 90, 100.
£90 on my left now. At £90 for the lot.
Is it 100? 100, then, I'm bid.
-Everywhere you go.
130. £120, I'm bid now.
At £120, are we all finished? 130 then? Bid?
It's always a sure thing, isn't it, with Moorcroft?
Bid's on my left at £130.
Being sold now to my left at £130. All done?
-That's good, isn't it? £130.
-It is. Decent profit.
-That's what it is all about.
-It is, yes.
Thanks for coming.
I hope you find a new receptacle for your paintbrush.
I don't want the grandchildren to get a hold of it!
Not surprisingly, the Moorcroft collectors
have put their money where their mouths are
but will the silver spoons have their fans as well?
Now these were really a kind of house-warming present, weren't they?
They were, yes.
It was my first house and I didn't have any furniture
but a friend of my father's thought that these might come in helpful!
A collection of silver. Well, you've to start somewhere, haven't you?
And you obviously use them.
-Oh, you didn't?!
-They've been stuffed away.
-No, no, we haven't.
And it's not straightforward dishwasher stuff, is it?
No, you can't dishwasher them
but you could just wash them under a little bit of warm, soapy water.
-It's not that hard work, is it, really?
No, but we don't all have housekeepers and servants
-to do it for us, Paul. That's the problem.
-I do it myself!
Look, it's a great time to sell silver anyway,
so let's see what the bidders think, shall we? Here we go.
The collection of cutlery.
£100 bid for the cutlery.
At £100. At £100.
Come on, where all the hands?
130, 140, 150, 160, 170.
175? 180, 190? 180 with me, the bid.
190 then on my right now.
At £190, selling on my right at £190.
All finished now at 190 for the lot?
-The hammer's gone down. That was good. £190.
-So are you going to buy something for the house?
Er, possibly use it for spending money on a holiday.
-We're going to Northern Cyprus.
-Oh, Northern Cyprus?
-So, er, lots of ice creams.
That's certainly a great result for Sue
and a spot-on estimate for James.
And coming up in the next lot, there is a lot of lot, 61 in total.
You know what I'm talking about.
It's those Matchbox and Corgi cars belonging to Bruce.
And I've just been joined by our expert, James, as well,
who put the valuation on.
Had a chat to the auctioneer just before the sale started.
And we both thought...
"Wow, what condition!"
And you've managed to hang on to the boxes as well.
What will you put the money towards?
I'm going to take the girlfriend to see Status Quo in November.
-Oh, brilliant! Oh, what a fun night out.
We'd better sell them, I've already got the tickets, so she's going!
Does she know?
-I'm afraid so, yeah, somebody told her.
Well, it's about time we got down to business.
Here we go, it's going under the hammer now.
Matchbox this time, the track in its box
and a collection of 61 vehicles in total in that box.
And...£50 to start for the lot.
That's low, isn't it?
60, 70, 80, 90, 100.
At £100 bid for the collection. At £100.
120, 130, 140, 150...
This is more like it!
150 on my left, at £150.
160, 170, 180, 190, 200,
210. 210 on my left.
At 220 on my right.
230, 240, 250?
Got to say it, they're RACING away right now.
320, 330, 340?
360 at the back of the room then. At £360 for the lot now.
-Now we all done?
-Ooh, it's come back.
400. 410, sir?
At £400 then at the back of the room.
At £400, being sold now at 400 bid.
-Bang! Hammer's gone down. What do you think of that?
What a great result!
-I didn't expect that.
-No, nor did I. Nor did I.
The toy market has blossomed over the last few years.
And lots of auctioneers are trying get into the toy market
and THAT is why.
Well, those cars were a real sterling lot.
I love it when things just fly away.
Next up is the teapoy that everybody has fallen in love with.
I really hope it reaches its full potential.
-Your grandmother really looked after this teapoy, didn't she?
That condition! There's not one stain or chip on this.
Well, you've looked after it as well.
We've looked after it too, yeah.
This is wonderful. I know you fell in love with this as well.
It's got the quality of Gillows about the workmanship, hasn't it?
It's just a splendid piece of furniture
and, if it doesn't sell, it's a travesty.
Had a chat to the auctioneer
and he said it's not a popular piece of kit.
You know, if it was a tea caddie, people want to own it
but, because it's a teapoy,
it becomes a piece of freestanding furniture.
What do you do with it?
Yeah. But, I mean, you could say that with lots of things.
That's the downside.
It should make four figures, really,
-but it's an uncertain market these days, isn't it?
We're putting it to the test. That's what this is all about.
-Let's find out what the bidders think.
-Satinwood's good, isn't it?
At £600, at £600.
At £600 for the teapoy. 650, can I say?
At £600. At £600.
Not exactly flying away, is it?
50, 80, 700.
At £700. At £700.
720? At £700.
No further bidding? At £700...
Looks like it's going home.
Short of the reserve. At £700.
All finished then at £700?
-It's going home.
-I'm not too disappointed.
-No, you've got a lovely spot for it at home.
-Enjoy looking at it as well.
I mean, just musing over the little hinges and the dovetails...
-Doesn't mean it's not worth that, though, does it?
-But thank you anyway.
-It's a luxury item.
And it's a joy to behold and have.
Well, Adam did say that if it didn't sell at the reserve of £800,
Graham should take it home
and I, for one, would be ecstatic to have it in my house.
If you do have some furniture and you want to sell it,
bring it along to one of our valuation days.
And you can pick up details on our BBC website, just log on to...
Click F for "Flog It!" - all the information will be there
and, hopefully, we'll be near a town very close to you soon.
So come and join us.
While I've been in Richmond, I had a look at a local treasure just down the road from the market hall.
Well, I've come to the centre of Richmond today,
to visit a building that holds a very important place in history
and in the hearts of all the local people around here.
It's this very building, the Georgian Theatre Royal.
OK, it looks unassuming on this road right here with these cars going by
but it is a Grade I listed building
and it also has a very important claim to fame.
It's the oldest and the most complete
Georgian Playhouse in Britain - and that's a fact.
OK, all the good stuff is on the inside so without further ado,
let's go in and view the piece de resistance.
In the early 1700s, there weren't any theatres in Britain,
as it was illegal to act for money.
However, plays were performed by travelling companies of actors
who found ways around the law.
From the 1760s, Royal patents were granted to a few leading provincial theatres -
but the biggest change came in 1788
with the passing of the Theatre Licensing Act,
which allowed complete of actors the right to apply for licences
to put on classical plays for 60 days at any one time.
And it was shortly after the Theatre Licensing Act
that a remarkable Yorkshireman called Samuel Butler signed
a 21-year lease with the Richmond Corporation.
And on the 2nd of September in 1788,
this remarkable, unique little theatre was opened to the public.
Isn't it just marvellous?
It really is!
It is so tiny, though, and it's just fabulous!
When it first opened, this venue was simply named The Theatre
and Butler's company of actors played not only here
but at seven other theatres that the entrepreneurial Butler
had established across Yorkshire.
Sadly, in 1830 the lease on this building was never renewed.
The theatre and the Butler Company parted ways.
Over the following centuries,
a few odd performances were played out on this very stage.
But in general, the theatre was put to different uses.
It became a wine vault.
During the Second World War, it was a storage depot.
And, believe it or not, it was even an auction room!
But thankfully, the core, the fabric, of this very building
was never altered greatly.
That's why it's become so important to theatre historians from all over the world -
because it's the best surviving example of a Georgian Playhouse
in Britain and it's an absolute architectural delight.
The dilapidated theatre has been firstly restored in the 1950s
and then again in 2003.
On both occasions, restoration was undertaken
carefully and sympathetically,
so that the theatre appears much the same as it would have been
when the Butler Company were performing all those years ago.
It's actually known as the Courtyard Theatre
because it mimics the sort of space you would find behind a public house,
which is where the touring troupes of actors would have played
before theatres were even built.
This theme carries on to the ceiling above.
If you look up there, you can see this fluffy white cloud blowing along in the breeze,
mimicking the open-air space that the plays were watched in.
The stage itself is typical of the period and is
known as a proscenium arch, which acts as a window to the action.
The stage is raked and it's a foot higher at the back
than at the front, in order to give the audience a better view.
Today, the Georgian Theatre Royal can seat up to 214 people
but back in the Georgian era, 400 eager audience members would have squeezed in.
You can imagine how lots more people were jammed in this small space all together.
But which were the good seats and which were the bad?
Well, up here is called the gallery and these are the cheap seats,
used by the young and the dissolute.
To watch a performance here back in the Georgian period
would have cost you one shilling.
Did you hear that? Well, don't worry - that was me!
This gallery has a unique Georgian feature.
It's known as the kicking board and that's exactly what you do to it.
The Georgian patrons would have used this to show
signs of disapproval if the act wasn't working out properly.
And, of course, I've been told it's still used today -
but only as a sign of approval to encourage an encore.
-Yeah! More, please, more!
I say, who's that talent chap down there?
This whole area is known as the pit.
It's more expensive than the gallery.
Theatre-goers would pay two shillings to watch a performance here
when the Butler Company was in town.
I would have preferred to have sat here, though, in one of these seats.
They're considered to be the best in the house.
To sit in one of these boxes would have cost you three shillings per person.
In fact, this is the royal box.
It's the best seat in the house. Why?
Because it has a direct eyeline with the actors on stage right in front of you.
And up here is another example of a typical Georgian feature.
This is called the Juliet box.
Now, it's not for the audience to sit in and watch the plays -
it's for the actors to use for balcony scenes.
And, of course, it's named after the most famous heroine of all,
Juliet from Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet.
"Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?"
Here I am!
So that's how the Georgians would have watched theatre.
But I'm interested in seeing what went on behind the scenes.
I'm going to tread in the actors' footsteps as I head down underneath,
through the dressing room, to the very guts of the theatre.
I'm underneath the stage right now - there it is, there above me.
This whole area is known as the machine room
and these are the footlights - or the floats, as they were called back in the Georgian period.
Now, these candles would have been alight in troughs of water
and this whole trough would have been winched up by this winch here,
going up to the stage to project light back on to
the actors' faces so you could see them.
And, of course, they were in water because if the candles fell over,
well, it would put the flame out, wouldn't it? Then the whole place wouldn't catch on fire.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the theatre
is operated from right down here, and that's the trap doors.
Now, this enables items and actors
to spring up out of nowhere onto the stage.
There were originally three trap doors here
but now there's only one and this is a reconstruction.
Sadly, it doesn't work either,
so I've got to take the long way back up.
The Georgian Theatre Royal holds such a prestigious place
in the history of theatre in Britain that
many of our country's finest actors feel it's a status symbol to have played here -
Timothy West, Judi Dench and plenty of other legendary actors have graced the stage here.
And I have to say, yours truly is very proud to have been able
to visit this fascinating piece of theatre history.
There are still plenty of Yorkshire folk coming to the market hall
with their antiques and collectables, hoping to "Flog It!".
Welcome back to our valuation day in the heart of Richmond.
As you can see, it's still pretty much a full house.
Let's catch up with our experts and see what else they've spotted.
It's a lovely cup, it's a loving cup!
-Two handles, known as a loving cup. You knew that already?
-What else do you know about it?
-Very little, really.
It took my fancy and I just...
It was about £30 and I bought it.
-30 quid wasn't bad. This is in lovely condition, isn't it?
It's in beautiful condition and what we've got is sort of
lustre-printed colours on the front there with a classical design
and initials on the back there, of...
Is that PMB?
-Yeah, something like that.
-Is your surname a B?
And underneath, of course, where we always look to see the marques,
we've got George slaying the dragon, haven't we?
And we've got six valuers here today and we've all looked at that
and we've all looked through the books and none of us
-can find this "George slaying the dragon" marque.
Don't get your hopes up - it doesn't necessarily mean it's rare or valuable.
It probably means it's quite an obscure factory.
What made you decide to sell it now?
Well, I've just a lot of things in boxes and there's just no room.
-Are you a bit of a collector?
-A little bit, yeah.
Stash it all away in boxes?
Yeah, my grandmother's house was to clear out two or three years ago
-so I've just accumulated a lot of things.
-It's quite nice.
What do we think about it behind?
-Very pretty colours.
Generally positive comments - five prospective bidders already!
-Yeah, we want some bidders.
-We'll see you at the auction!
50 to 80 is what I think it's likely to make.
-So there's a bit of a profit there.
I think that's quite cheap, really, for a mid-19th-century piece,
but that's the way it is these days, so we'll see how it goes at the auction.
So, with a valuation of £50 to £80,
Andrew is ready to send the loving cup to a new owner.
James has set his sights on this pair of Derby figurines
brought in by Harry.
Now, Harry, I have to say I was not expecting to travel
all the way to Richmond in North Yorkshire to find two things
that were made about five miles from myself in Derbyshire!
-Isn't it a small world?
-Isn't it just!
The initial Derby factory, right back in the 18th century,
started making figures around 1750.
And if you turned up an early Derby figure,
you would see three patch marks that would indicate...
Those were the little pads to stop the figure sticking to the bottom of the kiln.
Today, with the new factory, Royal Crown Derby, as it's known,
it's a lot easier.
Turn a figure over, there we are -
a great big marque that says "Royal Crown Derby, English bone china."
Then we have "XLIX", so that's the Roman figure.
"XL" - 40, "IX" - 9, 49.
The first Roman numeral was put on in 1938,
so we add 49 to 1938 and we get 1987.
That's when this figure was made.
We've got this canted square base with the Greek key decoration
around that base and that's harking back to
an earlier period because these figures
that are allegorical of water, allegorical of air, are inspired
from figures that were dug up in Herculaneum, Pompeii, Vesuvius.
So these are very much a modern figure
but with a very traditional past.
So, tell me, why have you got them, how long have you had them
and what are they doing here at "Flog It!" today?
Well, what I'm trying to do is,
-I'm trying to sell 'em for the grandchildren.
-Cos my wife's died...
I'm hoping to split the money.
-I've got a grandson and a granddaughter.
I'm going to give them half and half.
The thing about these is, because they're modern,
and this one's had a... been through the wars a bit...
-It wasn't me!
-Are you sure?
No, no. If I'd fixed that, I think she would have noticed!
-I would've used a lot of glue.
-So, was it your job to do the dusting?
-No, no, I mustn't touch it.
-What, in case you break them?
-You might have had a pair of broken ones!
-I'm too clumsy!
Hopefully, the auctioneers won't be clumsy
-and hopefully they'll do a good job for us.
-I hope so.
So I think, auction estimate - £50 to £70.
Almost all the value is in that one and I'm sure they'll sell.
-Fingers crossed on the day.
-I hope so!
'Everyone's got their fingers crossed today, hoping they've
'unearthed a hidden treasure that could be worth a small fortune.
'And Brian's got a very sentimental reason for keeping his item.'
Tell me a little bit about the policeman's truncheon.
Well, it's my great-grandfather's and he was a detective sergeant in...
-It was in a place called Witton Park, which is...
-Is that local?
-It's local, yes, local.
-This is really nice.
You've got "detective constable", you've got the initials and number 92.
-Yes, which is very nice.
Which is still in very good condition.
This is where the value is, in original paintwork.
A truncheon like this from the Victorian period,
around about £150 to £250, depending on condition.
But because of the police connection,
-you can almost double that.
Police memorabilia is big business.
Ex-policemen from all over the country collect this kind of thing.
-And it makes for a good collection, as well.
I had a friend, an antique dealer,
who had one of those rings that you hang with saucepans from,
you know, with the meat hooks, the butcher hooks?
He's put the butcher hooks through the handle
and in his kitchen ceiling, he's got about 30 hanging from that ring in the ceiling.
-It looks like a chandelier of truncheons.
You've got to be creative with these kind of things but hang on to it
-because that's your social history.
-I certainly will.
'There's still a lot to get through, so we're all working very hard.
'Well, perhaps not everyone.
'Adam has found a magnificent bronze statue brought in by Diane.'
Thank you very much for coming along.
And do you have a name for this?
We call her Ruth, because she was my mother's, my mother was called Ruth.
She's a lady gleaning in the fields,
so we call her Ruth after Ruth and Naomi.
Well, appropriate on more levels than one, isn't it?
-So this was your mother's?
-It was, yes.
Do you know to how your mother came to own it?
My grandmother bought it for her in possibly the late '30s, early 40s.
-Right. Because of the Ruth.
-Because of the Ruth connection.
How has she ended up to be on a table here in Richmond in 2010?
-She's a big girl.
-She is a big girl.
-She's a heavy girl.
She's very big and heavy.
And really, I have nowhere to display her now to her advantage.
-Have you moved house or something?
-Yes, moved into somewhere smaller.
That's often the problem, isn't it? And she does take up a lot of space.
-Because she needs room around her to be shown properly.
She's got the marque here of Fournier,
the French sculptor Paul Fournier, and it will date her
to the end of the 19th century - late 19th or turn of the century.
She's mounted on this big rouge marble base here, which has had
a few... "Nibbles" would be a kind way of putting it.
-It was like that when we got it, so...
-It doesn't really detract because a lot of them
have lost the base altogether.
And she'd still work as a figure without the base.
She's incredibly heavy. But rather nicely modelled.
Well, we can't sell her for any price.
-I would suggest that she'd make £300 to £500 at auction.
-Erm, and you should put a reserve of £300 on her.
Otherwise, erm, she's probably not worth selling
because we don't want her unsold.
No, I'd rather keep her than give her away for nothing.
That's right, then you'd probably have to find
a new home for her, wouldn't you?
Or you could try her again or something.
-Does that sound in line with your expectations?
I'd like to see her really making 500-600, because I think
-she's so big and so decorative that she must be worth that.
Thank you very much.
'I bet Ruth turns some heads when she gets to the auction room.
'Now I've found Carol with an item that has a secret.'
I tell you what, this piece of furniture is the right height
-for an arm rest. It certainly is, isn't it, Carol?
-It is indeed, yes.
At the end of a long day.
In fact, if you put this on the floor, it would make
a wonderful foot stool with a cushion on it.
-Have you ever done that?
-No, I haven't actually.
What have you done with this?
Er, it's just been sitting there in the dining room doing nothing.
Or you could chill your champagne in it.
-That's a very good thought.
-You never thought of that, did you?
I had not thought of that, no. Brilliant idea.
It's got a multiple of uses.
Now people will be wondering, "What does he mean?"
-"What does he mean?"
Well, it's late Victorian, circa 1880,
it's made of Spanish Cuban mahogany.
It would have been owned by a wealthy family in its day.
Are you ready? Here we go!
-It's a little tiny baby bath! Isn't that cute?
-That is so cute. This is probably made by Doulton.
The frame is made by a cabinet maker. It's just incredible.
-Do you know how much this is worth?
-I haven't a clue.
-Well, sadly, only around £60-£80.
And I think it's a shame to put it into auction for that sort of money.
Yes, I agree. It was just a novelty thing I thought would be of interest.
Yeah, you're better off putting a cushion on it
and using it as a foot stool.
-I think that's a very good idea.
-Because it's quite solid.
filling it full of ice, putting a bottle of champagne...!
Putting champagne in it! HE LAUGHS
-And there you go.
There's your cellar-ette.
'Well, that's what I love to find,
'a piece of furniture with a multitude of uses.
'Our last item in the programme is a group of military items that
'David has brought along.'
-You've got a real assortment here, so...
..tell me what you know.
All I know that Sam Brownes are for officers,
-swords are for officers...
-..swagger sticks for officers...
..and binoculars for officers,
and I was a trumpet major, which is a staff sergeant in the army.
Trumpet major? So is that the person that...?
-Yes, I play at all military funerals...
-Oh, do you?
-..of the regiment.
-Hard work but that's my job.
Did that for 23 years.
So these are bits that you've picked up over the years?
-Yes, well, a few bits of military things.
-Shall we start with the Sam Browne?
Erm, this would originally have had a pre-pegged badge...
-It would, yes.
-..with the emblem of the regiment on it.
Absolutely correct, yeah.
So we can say that this is 1935-1950,
-something like that, imperial.
-Yes, maybe a little bit later.
-They still use it in dress parades, don't they?
All officers get issued with them.
Financially, they're not worth a lot of money.
-They're not worth a lot of money.
-No, we still see a lot of them.
-Let's move on to the sword.
-Matches nicely, doesn't it, with the leather scabbard?
-It does, yes.
And let's take that out, and we have a single, straight, pointed blade.
-Erm, this is gruesome, isn't it, but...
-It is gruesome.
..the idea of the fuller down the centre, the fullered blade,
is so that when you stab somebody,
it's easier to draw the blade out again.
-That's why they're made.
-Yeah, so that's...
-And it's a sharp point as well so you can go in quite a long way.
Moving on very quickly...
Never mind on television, you know!
Then we've got what's known as a basket hilt,
pierced basket hilt, and a shagreen grip, wire-bound shagreen grip.
This, of course, is made from shark skin. This is chrome.
-We've got the George V cipher there.
-That's right, yes.
So this would date to about 1920-1930,
-something around there.
We have a pair of binoculars.
-Again, Second World War period, aren't they?
-Yeah, 1943, I think.
-Are they dated somewhere?
-Yes, they are, yeah.
-Oh, yeah, there we are.
Kershaw maker, 1943, typical army officer's binoculars, aren't they?
In fact, you see the chaps standing at the top of the tanks with these
-in the war films, don't you?
And then finally we've got the swagger stick.
On the end there we've got the regimental motto, we've got,
oh, the Royal Corps of Signals!
-And in the centre we've got Mercury.
Erm, and that's a figure of Mercury after a bronze sculptor
called Giambologna, Italian,
and Mercury stands wearing a winged helmet, and on his feet,
he's got little wings on his feet as well.
And he was the messenger god, which is why
-the Royal Corps of Signals used Mercury.
-That's right, yeah.
We've got a hallmark for London 1927,
and there we have a Malacca shaft,
which seemed to be the best material to use as the shaft of the cane.
OK, so when it comes to values,
-I think we've got probably £10-£15 there.
-The Sam Brownes.
-I think the sword is £60-£100.
-I think the swagger stick is probably £30-£50.
Erm, so we're up to about £100 there, and there's another 10 there.
-So I would say probably about 100-150. How do you feel?
-I think that's a good idea.
-And what would be your minimum?
-I would say 125.
-Would that be all right?
That's fine, so what we'll do,
because the reserve has to be around the bottom end of the estimate,
-we'll up the estimate slightly and we'll put 120-180 on them.
-Is that all right?
-I'll be very happy with that.
'And now a quick reminder of what's going off to auction.
'Leading the charge with his military items is David,
'followed by Harry, who wants to give the money from the sale of his
'Derby figures to his grandchildren.
'And Andrew's loving cup, which should grab the bidders' interest.
'And finally Angela,
'and her French bronze statue that her mother named Ruth.
'Thomas Watson's salerooms are buzzing with buyers and sellers,
'and Andrew's loving cup's caught the attention of
'auctioneer Peter Robinson.'
Here's an interesting one, mid-19th century loving cup,
possibly Staffordshire, belongs to Andrew.
He got this 10 years ago, paid £30 for it,
-which I think was quite a lot of money.
Erm, Adam has put £50-£80 on the auction valuation
but not quite sure about the maker's label.
It's sort of George and the dragon, isn't it? George slaying the dragon.
It's a George and the dragon printed mark on the base
and no other information, er, but a bit of painstaking research...
Oh, you've done some, have you?
..and I was able to find the factory, called Baker and Co,
so not too special.
But it's in nice condition and it's got this lustre finish to it.
Now you've got the history of the makers, does that affect the value?
Does it go up now more than £50-£80?
I think it gives a little bit of confidence to people buying it,
so it'll probably help us secure a sale
rather than a non-sale, let me put it that way.
-Oh, it was that close, was it?
-I think so, yeah.
'First up, we've got Harry, with the Derby figurines.
'After the valuation day, he had a chat to the auctioneer
'and changed the no reserve to a £40 reserve.'
We've got some Royal Crown Derby going under the hammer,
two figurines, air and water. They belong to Harry,
-and all the money is going towards the grandchildren.
-How many have you got?
-What are their names?
-Er, Scott and Katie.
And I know initially James put a value of around, what, 60, £40-60...
-Yeah, 50-70, yeah.
-..with no reserve,
-and I know you've had a chat to the auctioneer.
You see, those auctioneers, they like things with no reserves.
-No, well, Ken told me to.
Let's hope we get top money for this, shall we?
-I hope so.
Royal Crown Derby bone china figures at £40.
At £40, two of them. At £40.
50, can I say? £50. £60. 70 now.
All they're worth, at £60, Royal Crown Derby?
At £60, they're being sold at £60, all finished now then at 60.
Thank you so much for coming in, Harry.
-Yeah, and thanks for your help.
-Oh, that's all right.
'Right in the middle of the estimate, well done, James.
'Harry's gone home happy.'
Hopefully we'll get the top end of your estimate, around the £80 mark.
-Do you think so?
-Yes, I do, yeah, it's a nice piece.
-It's a nice piece.
-It's a pleasing object, isn't it?
Loving cup this time, showing on this side,
the Staffordshire Baker and Co loving cup, in nice condition.
And opening at £50, this lot, at £50.
Nice piece of Staffordshire, Victorian.
At £50. 60, can I say?
60, thank you. 70 with me, 80 bid.
At £100 bid.
All finished now at £100. Selling at £100. All finished.
Lovely, nice round figure.
-That's the face of a Yorkshireman that's made a profit.
-And you paid £30 for that, I gather, something like that?
Just over 10 years ago, so, yeah.
-That was a good investment, it was a good investment.
-Trust the eye.
He's got a good eye, he'll be back out there now with that 100.
'The auctioneer's research certainly did the job.
Will Angela be just as happy when her bronze statue,
'nicknamed Ruth, goes under the hammer?'
Coming up next, well, we've got that wonderful bronze, it's titled
-Ruth, and it made the front page of the catalogue, didn't it?
It's good to see you, and who have you brought along with you?
-My granddaughter Emma.
-Hello, pleased to meet you.
Gosh, you're tall, aren't you?
What do you think this is going to go for today?
Well, having spoken just before, I'm hoping it doesn't sell.
Oh, why, what's happening? I've missed out on something.
Well, Angela's got in trouble with her granddaughter
for offering it at Flog It! without checking with her first.
-She had her eyes on it.
This is the inheritance, is it?
-Granny's selling all the inheritance.
What are you doing, Granny?
Never mind, we'll see, she might not sell.
It's quite unusual, isn't it, that we're all hoping it doesn't sell.
I was just about to say the auctioneer has done us really proud.
It's made all the trade press, it's on the front page of
the catalogue, and I think it should do quite well.
I really do. Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
The French bronze this time of Ruth,
open the bidding at £200.
At £200 for the bronze, at £200.
At £200, at £200,
at £200, 220, 250, 280, 300, 320...
380, 400. At £400, being sold now,
at £400, are we all finished?
At £400, bronze, at £400. All done?
Well, that was short and sweet. You were bang on, Adam.
-It's gone, goodbye, Ruth.
-I know, I feel like I'm in trouble.
-I don't know what to say, yes!
-Feel like I've been really naughty.
Would the money come in useful?
Don't know, what are you doing with the money, Granny?
Well, we have got two special birthdays in the family this year,
-so it'll come in handy.
-And neither of them are yours!
I'm sure Granny's got lots of other lovely things
that you'll inherit one day.
Yes, I think so.
'That's a bittersweet result for Angela and her granddaughter,
'but I'm sure the £400 will make up for it.
'Luckily, David is more than happy to sell his collection of
'military items, so let's get them under the hammer.'
Next up, a collection of militaria belonging to David,
who's right next to me, and I can say you can stand at ease now.
-Thank you very much.
-You look very smart.
-Thank you, well, for the occasion.
-What regiment is this?
The Royal Tank Regiment.
-OK, and you were in the services for how many years now?
-23 years. And are you donating some of the money to the regiment?
I'm donating half the proceeds to the Royal Tank Regiment Benevolent Fund.
-OK. I think your items are the only items of militaria here.
But we do have the power of the internet, so hopefully...
-It makes a huge difference.
-There's no excuses for an auctioneer
-any more. There isn't, is there?
We can't say it was the wrong day, no-one was here.
That's one of the big Flog It! excuses out of the window,
-we can't use it any more.
-It's out of your hands.
-It's in his hands.
-Yeah, so fingers crossed.
Collection of military items here, and opening at £100.
At £100, 110, can I say for the collection?
110 bid now, at £110,
120, can I have?
-At £110 now, 120, 120, 130.
-In the room.
170 with me, 180. 190.
-(This is good.)
-It is good!
220 beside me, the bid then at £220,
being sold, are you finished, sir?
Bidding? 230. 240.
No, shakes his head.
240, then, the bid's beside the washroom.
-..selling at £240.
-That's the excitement of the auction room, though.
-Isn't that great?
-It is wonderful, I think so.
Well, it is exciting when it goes that way! When it does well.
It's not so fun when it struggles but that's a lot of money, isn't it?
It is, yes, well, half's going to the benevolent fund anyway, so...
And the other half you're keeping.
-Yes, well, I'll probably give it to my family.
It's been good to catch up with you.
-And you still look so fit and so smart.
-Thank you very much.
-That's being in the services for you.
Well, as you can see, I've always looked fit!
'I'm saying nothing, James!
'But still, that's a good result on our military items.'
Well, that's it, it's all over for our owners, and that concludes the
end of another Flog It! auction, and what a wonderful day we've had here.
A few highs and a few lows,
but that's what auctions are all about,
a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
I hope you've enjoyed the show.
Join us again soon for many more, but for now, it's cheerio.
Flog It! comes from the north Yorkshire town of Richmond, where presenter Paul Martin is joined by antiques experts Adam Partridge and James Lewis. A gold pocket watch catches James's eye, and Adam takes a look at a collection of pipes that were destined for a skip. Paul explores the process of how Wallace and Gromit's favourite cheese, wensleydale, is made.