Paul Martin, along with experts David Fletcher and Mark Stacey, uncovers a variety of interesting items in Dorchester, including a 1938 autographed cricket bat.
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We're in the heart of Thomas Hardy country in Dorchester.
Hardy was born just three miles away from here,
and the fictional setting of Casterbridge
was inspired by the town.
It remains to be seen if we'll be inspired by the antiques
and collectables our crowd have brought along to "Flog It!".
This is where it all starts - a "Flog It!" evaluation day.
Today, we're in the heart of Dorchester.
As you can see, it's a busy little town.
Our venue for the day is the Dorford Centre.
We've got hundreds of people queueing up in the rain.
Somebody in this queue is going home today with an awful lot of money.
They don't know what they've got in their bags and boxes.
Our experts will let them know later on when they get inside,
and then we'll put that valuation to the test,
so keep watching, cos there's going to be one or two surprises.
Leading that team of experts are Mark Stacey and David Fletcher.
Mark started out on his career in antiques in his 20s,
selling silver from a stall at fairs.
David got hooked on antiques even earlier,
thanks to watching the great Arthur Negus on Going For A Song.
So, with over 50 years of experience between them,
they should know exactly what to look for.
Well, I certainly hope so, or we could be in trouble.
Let's have a look at what's coming up on today's programme.
Mark uses all his charms to get his own way.
I'm so pleased. I'm really excited.
Les and Marion get asked a sporting question.
Was she a cricketer herself? Oh, God, no.
And Mark's worried that Chris has been subjected to noise control.
So, you've offended all your neighbours
with your Sherlock Holmes impression.
And Mr Stacey is not wasting any time.
He's quickly plucked Daphne out of the queue.
Where did you get such a lovely looking object?
I inherited it from my grandparents. When was that?
Ooh, about 25 years ago.
And obviously you keep everything spick and span in your home,
cos it's beautifully clean. I cleaned it last week.
I knew it, I knew it. I could tell. It was my daughter getting at me.
So, tell me, where has it been living for the last few years?
Just in the cabinet. Just hidden away, not really looked at?
Not really any notice taken of it until I cleaned it
and I thought, "Oh, I must know more about that."
I think the important thing to look at this is the date on it.
It's clearly hallmarked for 1908/1909
and it's got this really appealing architectural side.
Actually, the silver is very easy...
They cheat a lot of these things.
It's moulded, it's pressed out in a mould, really,
and then applied on,
but it does give a rather nice dramatic look and it makes it
look a lot more expensive than it actually was to make.
Unfortunately, you haven't been very good with it, have you? No.
You've broken it on the corner there. Was that you?
No, I didn't do the break,
but the little pins came out when I cleaned it one time and I lost them.
Oh, no. Well, that's destroyed the value. Has it?
No, I really like it. I mean, it will appeal to a certain collector.
The style of it is very nice.
If we were putting it into auction,
I would have thought it's going to fetch the sort of ?100 mark. Really?
Yes. Does that excite you? Oh, yeah, I'm excited. Oh, good!
I would like to put an 80-120 on it.
But with a reserve of 80, and hopefully, on the day,
we might get up to sort of ?120, ?140.
Oh, wow. I'm so pleased. I'm really excited.
And what's more, time will tell at the auction.
Oh! Very good. I look forward to seeing you.
That's right, Mark, we'll certainly find out at the auction
if all that excitement is warranted.
David's hoping there's just as much enthusiasm for his cricket
souvenir that Les and Marion have brought along.
Thank you for bringing in this cricket bat.
Or at least quarter size cricket bat, with some very juicy
autographs on it, if you're interested in cricket, as I am.
I say it's a quarter size bat.
I suspect it was made in order to be autographed. How did you come by it?
It actually belongs to my landlady.
And she asked me to bring it along to find out about it.
So, you've communicated with her and she's happy for us to sell it?
Was she a cricketer herself, do you think? Oh, God, no. No.
It can be quite boring, cricket, actually.
As much as I love it... I must say, I tend to like test cricket
more than Twenty20 cricket and this sort of thing.
And this cricket bat relates to a test match.
And it is autographed with the signatures of both sides
who took place in this test in 1938, at Lords,
and this was the last Ashes Test before the war.
Most notable of all, of course, is Don Bradman.
Now, by his standards,
Don Bradman didn't score a huge amount of runs in this match.
He got 100 in the second innings, but Wally Hammond, I think
I'm right in saying, because you've done a bit of research yourself,
scored a double century... 240.
240. And it was a high-scoring draw.
It was very high scoring, yeah.
It's a very collectable thing, of course.
Sporting memorabilia has come on a lot, really, in the past few years.
I've done a bit of homework on this
and we think that it's going to make somewhere in the region of 250-350.
The bulk of that value lies in these autographs that we've discussed.
My opinion would be that we offered it
with an estimate of say 250-300,
and a reserve of 220.
Just tuck it in under the bottom estimate.
Now, it belongs to your landlady.
Do you think that reserve should be fixed? Definitely, yeah.
She's rather careful with her money.
Oh, good for her, and we don't want you getting into trouble,
getting thrown out, that would be awful.
OK, 220 fixed, then. OK. Excellent.
Yes, it's always better to stay on the safe side.
We don't want anybody to be homeless on this show.
Now, not everyone who turns up wants to flog it.
Oh, look at that.
In original box. Yeah, original box.
I've had that when I was eight year old.
Have you? Yeah. In 1922.
Is this something you're thinking of selling? No, I just want to know...
You just to know what's it worth. Yes. You're not going to sell it? No.
Do you know, there are a lot of people out there that collect
toy tractors and farm vehicles. Yep, there's a big market for it.
There really is.
Chad Valley is a great make.
And the condition... Well, it's almost perfect, isn't it?
I think, if you put this into auction, because of its box
and its very good condition, you're looking at around ?200-300.
Am I, really? Yeah.
That's what the collectors want. The collectors want the best.
They are the fussiest people on the planet.
And one of the other fussiest people in the world is Mark,
although that should come in very useful for Chris's valuation.
Now, we don't get any prizes for knowing what's inside this box. No.
But before we have a look at it,
can you give us a little bit of the history?
Well, I believe it belonged to my grandfather,
and then my mother died and we found it in the house.
I took it over and I got it restored.
The restorer said it was a very good one. Even he couldn't afford it.
Oh, really? So... But I thought I wanted to play, but I can't.
So I put it in the cupboard until I heard you were coming
to Dorchester and decided to dig it out.
Oh, wonderful, so you've offended all your neighbours
with your Sherlock Holmes impression?
..playing the violin... But it's wonderful.
Let's have a little look, because I'm not a violin expert,
but the name was quite interesting,
cos obviously a lot of the violins we see
have got Stradivarius inside them
and we know they are sort of Korean or German or Austrian fakes.
You know, they're not worth very much money,
they're quite good for children to learn on.
See if they have an aptitude for playing the violin.
But this one immediately struck me just because it's got the maker's
name of Buthod inside, which I think is the right way of pronouncing it.
The last half of the 19th century.
So I think, from the mark
and from what I've been able to do, limited research wise,
it's about 1870, give or take, you know, ten years or so.
Which makes it a lot more interesting.
What's your feeling about price? About ?500 to ?700.
I think I would agree with that.
I mean, I'd like to say that we're being realistic on that.
I think it just will depend on the day. Yes.
You know, I think it's sensible to put a reserve of 450 on it.
So we don't sell it below that and actually, you know,
it could do rather well.
The other reason I was quite interested in doing it was because
I do another show for the BBC, which you might watch,
called Bargain Hunt. Yes.
And I had a very fun pair of students once,
up in Grimsthorpe Castle,
and we were walking round in the pouring rain
and we found a violin for ?150 and it later sold for ?580. Very good!
So it was one of my highest profits, if not the highest profit for me.
But hopefully, if we put that estimate on with that reserve,
we might end up making sweet music at the auction.
Are you happy to leave it? I am, yes.
And are you going to spend the money to buy another musical instrument?
No, I'll probably go on holiday with it. I think that's a good idea.
Thank you. Thank you.
Sweet music indeed.
You're not only using your Bargain Hunt experience,
but also, using their puns...
I do love a good pun, though!
Next up, Molly has brought in a pair of items for David's attention.
It's a bit gloomy outside, so I hope you won't need these to get
home when it comes time to go, because you decided to sell them.
Yes. Good, OK. How did you come by them?
Well, when my husband and I moved to Cornwall, in 1969,
we started going to the auction room looking for things that would be
used for decoration in our hotel, which was this 15th-century hotel.
And you retired from there and came up to this part of the world?
Oh, yes, a long time ago, we left there and so,
these have resided in the garage for quite a long time.
OK, I love Cornwall and it's tempting to say that these
might have something to do with smuggling.
The smugglers were reputed to have been around our area,
we were only ten miles from Jamaica Inn, but I know that's a story.
What a wonderful book, by Daphne du Maurier.
Yes, you can see the smugglers, can't you, bending to the gale,
holding these lanterns creaking backwards and forwards? Exactly.
I don't honestly know what type of person they were made for.
I suspect probably road workers.
I don't think they're railway lamps.
I think if they were railway lamps,
they'd have had the name of the railway on them.
So they're utilitarian items, they're made, I think,
well, to give it a grand title,
they're made of Japan steel, which really means blackened.
And they're made for candles and, of course,
they could be used here and now.
It's not as if you're going to wire them up or anything. Absolutely.
I know, and I thought this is quite interesting,
they're made by a firm in Birmingham, Griffiths Sons.
And at about the time these were made,
which I would suggest was the late 19th century, Birmingham was
a sort of power house of not only Britain, but the Empire.
And today, we would expect items like these to be made in China,
of course, but items in the late 19th century of this nature
were made in Birmingham.
And they went round the world - India, the Far East
and even down to the far West, in Cornwall.
So they didn't all go abroad. And from that point of view,
I think, they're very interesting.
I mean, I think they're great fun.
They're not fine antiques, but you know that as well as I do.
It was a long time ago, but can you remember what you paid for them?
I think they might have been in a lot,
which my husband would have paid perhaps about ?3.
Yes, we like job lots, it's amazing what you can find in job lots.
Well, you're going to make a profit.
I had in mind a figure of somewhere in the region of ?40 or ?50
and I was going to suggest an estimate of 30 to 50. Yes.
And if I could twist your arm and say can we sell them
without reserve, I'd be delighted.
Yes, I think so, yes, yes. Good, OK.
So we'll go ahead on that basis and, all being well,
they'll make more than that, but that will be our estimate.
Certainly more than I paid for them. Indeed, indeed.
You'll make a profit, that's the main thing. Thank you.
Oh, David, you are a devil persuading Molly to send her lanterns
to the saleroom with no reserve on them.
Well, we'll have to cross both sets of fingers and hopefully,
there should be some buyers in the saleroom for them.
I want to share one of my favourite parts of the country with you -
the Jurassic Coastline of Dorset and right now,
I'm standing on the island of Portland Bill and over there,
it's Weymouth, but what I really want to show you is over here,
look at that, that's Chesil Beach and it is absolutely breathtaking!
Now, from standing up here, it looks like Chesil Beach is actually
all lovely and sandy and soft, but it's not.
It's actually made up of trillions and trillions of pebbles.
And it's a common misconception that it is man-made, but it's not.
It's made by the powerful forces of nature - geology.
And in turn, Chesil Beach has created the UK's largest lagoon,
which is home to some very special wildlife
that I'll be investigating later.
But first, I'm heading down to ground level
to speak to Sam Scriven,
a geologist from the Jurassic Coast Team,
who's going to enlighten me about the unique creation of Chesil Beach.
Just being up here, on this great mound of pebbles,
it's pretty obvious how powerful the sea and the tides are. That's right.
I mean, the formation of Chesil Bank is a relationship
between the sea and the tides and storms
and the geology that we find along the coast, sort of 15,
18 miles down the coast, in west Dorset there,
you have a tremendously big coastal landslide that'd bring
thousands of tonnes of material down onto the coast every year.
All that material was picked up
and thrown down the coast towards Portland
to create this enormous Chesil Bank that we see today.
I mean, it's acting as a natural barrier now. It's a protection.
Yes, it's a very big example of what's known as a barrier beach.
It takes the full brunt of the southwesterly storms
and protects all the landscape behind it.
You can see the Fleet Lagoon there and the settlements and towns of Portland.
So all those benefit from this enormous natural coastal defence.
It's, in fact, one of the largest and most impressive natural
barrier beaches certainly in Europe, if not the world.
The natural sorting action of the sea means that the
pebbles of the West Bay end, which is one end of the beach,
are much, much smaller than the ones at the Portland end.
And I've got some examples for you, so there you go.
That's a baked-potato size pebble from the Portland end.
So the fishermen know where they are at night...
Well, that's the local folklore, yeah, that they'd be able to know.
And that's the West Bay end.
Look at that!
So tiny pebbles, aren't they? Yeah.
And this is basically from the fact that the strong currents are always
from the southwest, so pushing the pebbles down in this direction.
So the big stuff and everything else gets picked up
and thrown down here, but the weaker currents, that can pick up
the small pebbles but leaves the big pebbles behind, which is
why there's this spread of sizes, yeah. Absolutely fascinating.
So there you have it,
the sea on this side of Chesil actually formed the beach.
Now, I'm going
to turn my attentions to the vast expanse of water on this side.
It's called the Fleet and technically, it's classified as a lagoon
and it starts from about here
and it ends up eight miles in that direction.
It is the largest lagoon in the country
and it provides a wonderful habitat for wildlife
and over 300 different species of bird have been recorded here.
But I'm going to focus on one particular type that's very special
to the area and find out a bit more about them.
At the farthest end of the Fleet Lagoon from Portland Bill
is Abbotsbury Swannery.
It's protected from the worst ravages of the weather and the sea
by the barrier of Chesil Beach, so it provides a peaceful habitat.
I'm meeting Dave Wheeler, who holds the unique position of Swanherd.
He's the only person left in Britain to have this title.
Shall I do something with you, Dave, or what's the process?
Yes, please. If you'd like to take a bucket. Yeah.
And spread it really well in the water and they'll find it. OK.
So you are the Swanherd here. What does that mean?
Well, my job is to head a very small team. We're responsible
for managing the swans, caring for the wildlife, the site itself. Yeah.
Swans may have been here for a few thousand years,
that's very likely the case.
Earliest records go back to the 1300s. OK.
And at that time,
the monastery of St Peter's in Abbotsbury were using the swans,
they were taking swans for feast days... Right.
..until Henry VIII destroyed the monastery. Yes, yeah, yeah.
And am I right in saying this is the only colony of nesting swans
that we can actually walk through and be involved with in the world?
There are a few other colonies, but this is very different.
And it's the only colony that's been managed
and it's still managed.
So there's nothing like it anywhere in the world.
So this really is unique, isn't it? It is, it is.
It's a wonderful sight as well.
How many swans are here?
Right here today, in front of us, there are 400-ish. OK.
There's another 400 farther down the lagoon.
They're making their way for this feed now, there's a few coming. Yeah.
I know we all think that swans mate for life but recently,
I read an article in the newspaper that once one...
brought a lover back to the colony.
Yes, they are not perfect.
We do find that there are one or two that at some point,
may swap partners, no doubt they have a reason.
And some that lose a mate may be lucky enough to find
another mate at some point, yes. I'll tell you what though,
there's an awful lot of interlopers, isn't there? Absolutely.
There are a lot of ducks over there. Yeah. These look like coots. Yes.
So, obviously, they understand the pecking order,
they stay away from the swans... They do.
When they move, some of the ducks will come in
and see what they can take, yeah.
Of course, this is absolutely marvellous.
I envy Dave and his job, looking after 400, 500 swans!
When you look out there, it looks so artistic,
it's almost like watching ballerinas perform.
We've all heard of Swan Lake,
but this is the real thing - swan lagoon.
Abbotsbury Swannery is definitely well worth a visit, it's so unique.
I'm keen to find out whether the experts' valuations
are on the money, so let's get the first batch off to auction.
Along with Chris's violin is Les's signed cricket bat.
Will it bowl over the saleroom?
Molly's late 19th-century steel lanterns have been
brightening up her hotel and should grab the bidders' interest.
And finally, Daphne's simple but architectural clock.
We're selling all of our lots here, at Duke's Auctioneers,
where Gary Batt and Matthew Denney will be taking turns on the rostrum.
Commission is charged at 15% plus
VAT for the sellers and the buyers.
This can vary from saleroom to saleroom,
so have a flick through the catalogue to find out
how much your fee will be before you buy or sell at auction.
In a moment, the auction is just about to start but,
before it does, I had a quick chat with the auctioneer
about one of our items. Let's see what he has to say.
I know absolutely nothing about violins. It's all I can say.
Mark Stacey is a brave guy, he's our ceramics expert
and I trust him with my life on ceramics.
I don't know how good he is on violins,
but Chris found this in his mother's house.
He believes it was his grandfather's,
so it's been in the family a long time.
And Mark has given it quite a punchy estimate of ?500 to ?700
believing it to be Victorian.
Now, my gut feeling is I think this is early 20th century, so...
Well, I think you're probably...I would feel the same.
I think if it was a piece of furniture, it would be easier
for us all to date and identify.
Violins are an enormously difficult area,
it's a very, very specialist subject.
I would feel, just from the look of it and the way that it's constructed,
it's probably more early 20th century.
I do think that the case is contemporary with the violin.
They're of the same age and when you look at the case,
the case does give it away slightly. The case is very 20th century.
Yeah, a Victorian case... Would be more wooden, varnished...
Angular, wooden... Exactly, yeah.
So, nevertheless, the valuation still might be right.
Well, it might be, I mean, this is the essence of auctions.
This is a very good example of how you can never really be
sure in an auction. And your gut feeling?
My gut feeling is the ?500 to ?700 is...shall we say hopeful?
And I HOPE that we will get there, but I'm not entirely confident. OK.
Well, you've heard what Mark had to say slightly earlier on
in the programme, you just heard Gary's and my opinion as well.
You've probably made your own minds up,
but I'll tell you what, this is going to be quite exciting.
Will it hit the high notes? We're going to find out.
The violin will be up for grabs shortly, but first,
let's see what the bidders make of Daphne's silver clock.
Going under the hammer right now,
we've got Daphne's little clock, it's an Art Nouveau one,
?80 to ?120, and it's still working.
I think that's a bargain. And it's silver. Why are you selling it?
I don't want to clean it. No-one wants to clean silver. No...
Or copper or brass. It's a good item.
Yes, all to do with cliches and estimates, of course, 80 to... 120...
But I hope it makes 100. OK.
Split the difference. Good luck, Daphne, this is it.
It's this very pretty, little neoclassical silver mantel clock.
The architectural surround, Sheffield 1908 hallmark.
Small and pretty lot, give us ?50 to start me, please.
60 for you, sir.
60. Any advance on 60? Someone in the room over there, look.
At ?60 on the side. 60 out. At 60.
80? No, at ?70. 80, anyone like?
Disappointing, this, at 70. Come on.
At 70. Five, I'll take.
Five, anyone like? Five is bid, reluctantly.
Thank you, sir. ?75. 80, anyone now, then? We're done.
I'm selling at ?75. It's going.
?75. Only just.
Just. A bit of discretion. That was close, wasn't it?
It was. You're happy, though?
No more polishing!
That was a close shave!
This next lot really fired up my imagination.
Molly, it's good to see you.
I know this is your son Gareth.
You were at the valuation day but we never saw you - you were too busy
feeding parking meters. That's right.
Watching out for traffic wardens! Which is so sad, really.
Two lanterns going under the hammer. I know you used them, didn't you?
I bet they had the look, the flicker.
Hopefully, they'll be flickering away in somebody else's house,
especially at ?30 to ?50. For that sort of money, two decorative items.
As you say, usable too.
I know originally there was no reserve,
but you changed it to a fixed reserve.
I don't blame you, actually. No?
You had second thoughts! Yes.
Auctioneers love no reserve lots. Of course they do!
Good on you. Here we go. Look, it's going under the hammer.
Rather handsome candle lanterns.
I've got interest in these. Who'll start me? At ?30?
?30? 30, anyone?
30 for the lights? Let there be light. 30 bid.
35. 35. Oh, come on. 40 commission.
Five. 50. Five.
At ?55. Out in the room. Beats the book.
?55. 60? Anyone like to join in?
All done and clear, we sell at ?55...
That's it. They're gone. Well done.
Hard work for ?55.
It is. But he got there. That's right.
Well done, David.
That was above estimate and lit up Molly's face.
Hopefully, our expert Mark Stacey will be pulling all the strings!
Well, not literally, of course, because we've got Chris's violin just about to go under the hammer.
?500 - ?700 is riding on this.
It's a lovely instrument, and I think it's a cracking piece.
I did have a chat to the auctioneer earlier. You know what he said.
If it goes, it will go, hopefully, at the bottom end.
Well, it is a general sale, it's the only musical instrument in the sale.
But we did look it up, and we protected it with that reserve, because we have found ones that
made in excess of ?1,000. You've got to be realistic about these things.
And at least you've done your price comparables.
And you've protected it with a reserve.
Many experts say, "Oh, no reserve," don't they? They do.
Don't play with fire like that. Not with something as valuable as this.
Good luck. That's all I can say. Here we go.
This is a rather nice violin,
with a paper label and a Paris maker and two bows therein.
Interesting lot, bit of a speculative lot here.
I've got ?200 to start me.
200 with me. And 20s I'll take if I can.
For the violin, at 200. And 20. 240.
260. At ?260. At ?260.
Any advance on 260? No, I don't think it's going to go.
Going then, at ?260. No interest at all?
Are you all done?
He didn't sell it. Didn't sell it.
Oh, what a shame. Yes, that is a shame. What's going to happen now?
I'll take it home, put it in the cupboard again!
How about start practising? Go on, try and get a tune out of it!
I might be able to, yes! Go on, try it!
Maybe it's meant to be. Mmm.
So, that could lead to a new hobby for Chris, rather than a holiday.
But perhaps this autographed cricket bat
stands more of a sporting chance.
Well, let's sock it to them, David! I think that was a six, don't you?!
I think you were caught at long on, myself!
We're talking about that little quarter-sized cricket bat,
signed by the 1938 touring team.
Wonderful, wonderful series.
Unfortunately, Les and Marion can't be with us today, right now.
But hopefully we'll get that ?350, that's the top end.
I hope so. There are some great names on that bat.
Bradman's the one that everybody wants.
Yes. But Edrich is there,
Compton as well.
Every serious cricketer of that period is on that cricketing bat.
It's the Valhalla of cricketing gods, really!
Are there many of these bats about? I think there probably are.
But they are by no means plentiful. And they are eagerly sought after,
so when they come up, they get snapped up, that's the thing.
The condition is very good on this one. We're going to find out
exactly what the bidders think right now. Here we go.
Quarter-sized cricket bat, with all the initials.
England v Australia, 1938. What shall we say for this one?
Start me at ?50 for it. For the old cricket bat, there, ?50.
Who'd like it? 50, I'm bid. Thank you. I'll take 60 next.
At ?50 only, 60. 60 at the back. 70. 80.
A long way to go.
100. Could be a long innings!
It's got to make 220, that's the fixed reserve.
180. We're getting there. 190. 190.
200. 220. 240.
260. 240, far corner.
With two bidders in the room, you don't know where to look.
I'll take 260.
A phone bid now. 280. 300.
Go on! A cracking price! 320. 340.
360. This is the series Bradman scored 364 in.
At ?380, on the telephone.
You're out at the back? Yes! ?380.
Howzat? What a cracking result!
I wish they were here to see that!
Gosh, if you see anything like that on your travels, do pick it up and buy it
if you can pick it up for next to nothing.
It just goes to show, doesn't it, these things are out there?
That's fantastic. And coming up later on the show, we make some more exciting discoveries of our own.
Clarice doesn't do anything for me, but this little plate does!
And I gather, Marie, that it's one of your favourite pieces at home?
Just a few miles away from our valuation day is Bovington Tank Museum.
It's a state-of-the-art building which houses the most wide-ranging
collection of tanks and armoured vehicles anywhere in the world.
The museum is set in the grounds of Bovington Camp, a tank crew training facility
that was established in 1916 by the British War Office,
and it's still very much in use today.
The tank, as we know it today, was born out of the need to break out of the stalemate of trench warfare.
Winston Churchill, who then was the First Lord of the Admiralty, backed the development
of some kind of armoured vehicle that could be developed, that could
go off road, over trenches and break through barbed wire.
The very first prototype tank was called Little Willie, and here to tell me all about it
and take me on a guided tour of the evolution of tank design in the 20th century is warden Ron Anderson.
This is where it all started, Paul.
This is Little Willie, the very, very first tank in the world.
It is literally held together by big nuts and bolts.
Oh, yes. It does look like an agricultural vehicle, doesn't it?
Oh, yes. Very much so. Having said that, unfortunately, it was a bit of a failure. Why?
Well, centre of gravity, too far forward.
So when the vehicle was going up to a trench, it would just drop in.
Literally nosedive first? Exactly. Well, it's wonderful that it's here.
Oh, yes. It's the only one in the world.
It's a shame it never got used.
No, and they had to get cracking
and get the next tank up that would be far better than this one. Yes.
Using Little Willie as a starting point,
British tank design progressed rapidly throughout World War I.
Next came the Mother tank, followed quickly by the Mark I
through to the Mark IV, which had thicker armour
and a number of other improvements on its predecessors.
So, we've gone from Little Willie to this tank, the Mark IV,
in the space of a couple of years. That's right.
I'm surprised at the space in here.
How many crew? Eight. Eight?
The commander, the driver, two gunners, two loaders
and two gears men at the back. So, not a lot of space in the end.
Plus, extra supplies, food, water, munitions, machine gun.
Yes, you'd be pretty limited even then.
Hm, it must have been noisy.
You had a lot of things to put up with.
But the most horrible of all would be heat.
You can consider 150 degrees Fahrenheit, which is tremendous.
I'd hate to think of the smell.
Almost pitch darkness as well.
If you want to do your toilet, you'd keep one or two empty shells back...
That's what you'd have a pee in?
That's right. And you'd throw them out through the side.
I guess you had to do something. Oh, yes.
The Germans didn't have tanks at this stage. Just machine gun fire.
That wouldn't penetrate this.
You could get a bullet.
If you consider 5,400 rounds hitting the front of this vehicle,
you're bound to get some bullet
hit the seams and come hurtling in here and take somebody out.
And if they did get a strike in these vehicles, the roof would shoot off,
the sides burst to bits and everybody inside would perish.
Having said that,
once you're up onto enemy lines, you could flatten out their barbed wire,
which was what it was all about.
Once you flattened the barbed wire, your troops at the back could
walk over the barbed wire instead of getting slaughtered on it. They could make good ground. Exactly.
Shall we take a trip outside and get some air?
At the end of the First World War, technology continued to progress quickly.
Instead of a mechanised battering tool,
the tank became an armoured cavalry and a weapon in its own right.
The names of Panther, Tiger and Sherman found their place in history
but it was a small Russian tank that would take everyone by surprise.
What are we looking at here?
This is a Russian tank? This is THE Russian tank.
THE Russian tank? Oh, yes.
What was so special about these tanks? Their speed or their cannon?
Deflective armour for a start. If you notice the armour, it's at a slope.
It's almost 45 degrees around the body.
Yes, but not only that - you could turn them out very quickly.
If you look at it, it's crude.
You can see the welding
but it's not been grinded off and then polished and painted.
This vehicle is welded.
It's all meant for productivity -
get these vehicles out, get them to the front,
push back the Germans that are now on the borderlines
of Stalingrad and Moscow, and eventually these vehicles
did push the Germans way back out of your area back into Berlin.
Am I looking at the Russian tank that won the Second World War? Without a doubt.
When you've ten of these against one Panther or Tiger...
They outnumbered them. Literally outnumbered them.
Built out of scrap metal, the T-34 has been described as the fastest,
the best and the cheapest tanks of their day.
Although as warfare began to rely more on sophisticated technology,
the development of tanks continued dramatically over the years.
And this is a British tank which brings us bang up to date.
This is Britain's current main battle tank, the Challenger II.
How many crew? Four.
And would you do a 24-hour shift?
Yes, up to 46 hours. Gosh.
You'd have to do just about everything.
How do you go to the loo?
It's got its own toilet arrangements.
Yes, they don't have to do it in an empty shell casing and throw it out.
It's far more up to date.
Do you know how much this weighs?
About 53 tonnes.
That's about 50 small cars, isn't it? You could double that.
About 80 Mini Coopers.
That's some weight, isn't it? Oh, yes.
The Challenger II is likely to be
the last British heavy main battle tank
and it's currently expected to serve until 2020,
then probably being replaced by a lighter, air-portable vehicle.
Until then, this is still THE state-of-the-art tank.
When you consider the First World War tank which would have a gun sight...
Or stick your head above the turret with binoculars.
That's right. We're now talking about high-tech.
We're talking of a 99% strike hit. Wow. First time. First hit.
Over two kilometres.
That's some distance. Oh, yes.
Tanks have played a remarkable role in 20th-century warfare
and with technologies changing at an alarming rate,
it'll be interesting to see where the evolution of the tank will go.
Our valuation day is being held here in Dorchester.
It's been a busy day but we're still finding some beautiful pieces
like these cat musicians Heather has brought along.
You've brought along a little band of musicians.
Are you a musician yourself? I'm a musician, yes, a professional musician. What's your instrument?
Piano. And a little bit of organ.
How did you come by this little band?
Well, it was always in my mother's display cabinet.
I remember seeing them.
And was your mother a musician?
My mother was a professional musician as well.
And tell me why you're thinking in terms of selling this.
I thought it would be lovely for a young lady or child to have these
and I want them to be on display and for someone to like them.
Let's talk about it.
It's manufactured by a factory called Beswick.
I used to call this factory Bezzick but we now have to call it Bes-wick. It confuses me.
I live in Bedford near a town called Flitwick which is spelled Flit-wick.
People pronounce that Flit-wick. We tell them off and say it's Flittick.
When I pronounce this as Bezzick
I get told off, and they say it's Bes-wick. Let's call it Bes-wick.
I think the band itself, which comprises four pieces,
is based on the Meissen monkey bands of the 18th century. Right.
One of them... I think two of them - we'll pick up this one first -
is marked Beswick. Yes. Bes-wick.
Right. And we have the conductor with the sheet music. That's right.
A violinist... I think that could be the viola
because it's rather big for the poor little cat.
A viola and not a violin.
You know more about these things. It's slightly smaller, the violin.
And you've got this sax. Well, I suppose it's a saxophone.
And then the double bass of course. So, we're actually...
It's quite a good little jazz band, really.
There might possibly once have been... Might have been more.
The modeller, we think, is someone called Kitty MacBride
and she worked at the Beswick factory in the 1960s.
So, in the great scheme of things, they're not that old
but that doesn't make them any less collectable. No.
They're going to appeal to musicians like yourself
but also of course to people who collect cats.
And the expressions are so good as well.
I don't think they're going to make a fortune. No.
Have you any idea what they might make? No idea at all.
I've never thought about the price at all.
OK. The little chap here has got a chip in the back of his ear.
Just a tiny one. It is a problem. Condition does affect... I know.
I'd be inclined to say we'll end up somewhere between ?20 and ?30.
That's fine. How do you feel about a reserve?
No reserve. No reserve? That's what auctioneers love to hear.
Jolly good. I'm confident they'll sell and who knows,
they might make a little bit more than that.
Thank you for bringing them in.
Most enjoyable. I look forward to seeing you at the sale.
From one well-known make, even if there is a debate on how to pronounce it, to another.
I bet you can't guess the maker of this plate, although I'm sure you'll
recognise this lady's name when I say it.
Lorna, I've gravitated towards this plate
because it looks like the white chalk horses
of the Pewsey Vale. That's what it is, isn't it?
I think it is. It's Clarice Cliff.
It is. Clarice doesn't do anything for me but this plate does.
Tell me, how did you come by it?
We bought it at an auction in Southsea some time ago,
and I liked it. It's different.
It's Clarice Cliff, I knew that because I looked at it, obviously.
And it's different, it's not like any of her others.
It is unusual, isn't it? And I'm not a big fan of
the whole Bizarre range, it doesn't do a lot for me,
but I love this, absolutely love this.
I could live with that, and I'm sure you could and you could as well.
And of course I live right in the Vale.
I live surrounded by half a dozen white chalk horses.
Let me just look on the back. The condition is very, very good.
And there you can see it says Clarice Cliff,
and, of course, designed by John Armstrong.
Now, Harrods had a tableware exhibition
in 1934, and it was a raging artistic success.
You had Dame Laura Knight...
Yes. OK? You had Duncan Grant...
Vanessa Bell from the Bloomsbury school - big names.
And of course Mr Armstrong. Not a lot was known about him.
This was a big break for him. He was a theatre designer and he kind of
followed and worked in the school of Paul Nash and Ben Nicholson.
You can imagine the Shell posters of the day, can't you?
And that's very much like that.
Now, I say it was a big artistic success,
but it was also a major flop, financially, for Harrods.
And the reason why you haven't seen a lot of those around
is because they didn't sell.
I see. So they didn't commission any more. Right.
That's why it flopped. But to get those four artists together in 1934
was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
And how much did you pay for this?
About ?40. I think you paid the right money for that.
If you want to put this back into auction
and try and get your money back,
I was going to say to you ?50 to ?80,
and we'll have a ?40 reserve. Yes, that sounds fine.
And we'll see if it is that good investment, shall we? We will, yes.
It might have been a flop back in 1934,
but let's hope that works in Lorna's favour at the auction.
Mark is on safe ground with Marie and John's ceramic vase.
You're going to fill us in on the history of this.
Yes, as far as I know it came from my maternal grandfather,
who was a master baker in Smethwick, Birmingham.
The vase was made in the Ruskin Pottery in Oldbury Road,
which is also in Smethwick.
Yes. We think, we're not sure, that possibly William Howson Taylor
gave the vase to my grandfather.
Oh, right, as a gift? As a gift.
It's been in the family all my life.
More than that about it, I don't know.
It's wonderful, of course, when we get the family stories,
because it really does tie the history of the piece together.
And I gather, Marie, that it's one of your favourite pieces at home?
No, I'm afraid not. What don't you like about it?
I don't know, I just don't like it.
It's Art Deco. I don't like Art Deco, no.
Well, you're quite right, it is very Art Deco. It's very of the time,
this sort of drip glaze you get produced by Shelley
and a lot of other factories.
But it has typical Ruskin elements
with this sort of dripping and this sort of souffle-type glaze to it.
When we do look at it underneath, we have the mark
"England, W Howson Taylor, Ruskin",
which is quite an early mark.
Normally you get that on the earlier pieces, sort of 1905.
These later pieces from the '20s and '30s
are normally marked "Smethwick",
which ties in with what you're saying.
It is quite a difficult thing to value because it's not one
of the earlier pieces, it's not one of those sang de boeuf, oxblood glazes.
It's not going to be the most commercial piece with the colour,
even though I like the colour.
Did you have any idea of what you thought it might be worth?
We didn't have any idea at all.
I think, you know, as a piece of Ruskin,
we're looking under ?100 in my opinion.
We'd probably be looking at around ?70 to ?80. Yes.
Maybe 60 to 80 as an auction estimate.
Obviously, we'd want to put a reserve, I think,
because you wouldn't want it to go for ?20. Oh, no, no, no.
But you've obviously had it a long time.
Has it not been in pride of place in your home?
No, it hasn't, I must admit.
You've had it hidden away? No, not really.
We keep it out. If I hide it, you'll never find it.
You're determined. My safe place will never be found.
You're determined to get rid of it, aren't you?
Yep. I've got a granddaughter coming and...
Much more important than an old vase. She is, yeah, of course.
Neither of our children like it either.
Tell you what, let's hope the auction house doesn't put it in a safe place and can't find it.
Let's hope it makes a lot of money. We actually won't be at the auction.
What do you mean?
Unfortunately, we'll be in France. So who will be representing you?
I've got a pottery buddy. I go to pottery, and she's going to come.
Are you going to make a replica of the vase? She might.
I won't, but she may. I won't.
Well, have a glass of wine on us, won't you?
We will, yeah. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you.
No doubt someone will love the Ruskin vase.
Next up, David is examining Wendy's little ceramic pots.
Tell me a little bit about these.
Well, the white one I bought in an auction lot
back in Bath in the late 1980s,
and it was sold as a Worcester inkpot.
Yeah. Then in the beginning of the 2000s,
I saw that in Blandford in an antique centre and I thought,
"Oh! Matches my Worcester inkpot." Then I discovered in
a Miller's catalogue
that it was a Chinese water pot.
Do you have a particular eye for items like this?
Have you ever dabbled a bit?
Well, I had a partnership in a bric-a-brac shop at one time
for a short time
and I used to do antique fairs.
Did you make lots of money? No, no, it was a paying hobby
which I enjoyed. A paying hobby.
Well, you've been very clever here.
Let's start with this one first.
This was made in the Royal Worcester factory
and this bears the figure 75, which means
it was made in 1875. Not 1975, of course. 1875.
This is entirely unmarked
although it has quite an interesting label on the base of it.
And it's Chinese.
Now, what interests me most about these
is that they demonstrate the influence of the Far East
on the decorative arts of the West,
and it's very unusual that we see
examples like this, which we can so directly compare.
And this quite clearly derives from this.
So tell me why you're selling them.
Well, they've been sitting in the cupboard for a long time.
My family aren't interested in them
so I just thought I would... And I wanted to come to this programme.
Come and see what goes on. Good for you. OK, then.
Now, tell me what you paid for them.
Well, the lot came to ?80
that the Worcester pot was amongst,
and I paid ?11 for the Chinese pot. OK.
I think that the Worcester pot
is going to be worth between ?100 and ?120,
and this little chap is worth another ?30 or ?40.
Now, auctioneers don't always like to mix categories.
Strictly speaking, here we have an Oriental and a European item,
but I think, in this instance, we should break that rule
and sell them as one lot, for obvious reasons.
And I suggest a reserve of ?140...
Yes. ..and an estimate of ?140 to ?180. Yes.
So, they're not going to set the world alight... No, no.
..but you're going to show a profit.
Well, yes. And as a retired dealer,
you'll appreciate that.
All dealers like a good turn, don't they? Definitely. OK.
Thanks for bringing them in. Thank you. I'll see you at the sale.
Right, we're ready to take our last few lots off to auction.
Going under the hammer are Wendy's beautiful little pots,
one Worcester and one all the way from China.
Marie might not have to put up with the disliked vase much longer.
And I'm convinced the Clarice Cliff plate could do well
because of its unusual design.
We are also hoping the interest of the collectors creates a bidding war
for Heather's cat band.
And now for my favourite part of the show.
Let's head straight to the auction and see what the bidders think.
First up, it's the Ruskin vase.
Coming under the hammer now we've got a fabulous studio piece.
It's by Ruskin, it belongs to Marie and John.
But unfortunately they can't be with us. But we do have Philippa.
So how did you meet them, in your pottery classes?
Yes, in pottery classes.
Marie and I do pottery together, but not as good as Ruskin.
No, but I bet you've studied the lines and some of the principles.
Yes, yes. No, it's a nice piece.
Is it something you fancy yourself? Would you buy it?
No. Why not?
I'm sorry, no. You wouldn't?
No. Who do you aspire to, then?
Clarice Cliff, I suppose. And I love Art Deco.
Will we get top end, do you think?
?60 to ?70? I don't know. I always find Ruskin quite unpredictable.
The high-fire glazes are fine,
but these softer glazes can be very hit and miss.
That's why I put a modest estimate on it.
It is a small piece. And the colour's nice.
If you haven't got a lot of money it's a good thing to invest in.
Absolutely. OK. All the talking's over with.
Let's find out, shall we? It is down to this lot, isn't it? Here we go. Indeed.
It's a stylish Ruskin-ware vase, square form, unusual glaze.
Who'll start me off with this at, say, ?40 to get on with it?
?40 to start. 40 bid, the Ruskin.
45, if you will. 45, 50.
Five? 60. Five?
At 60 only, then. At 60.
Anyone want? Come along.
I've got 60.
It's sold. Only just, though.
Sells, then, at ?60, right at the back of the room.
It's gone. You'll have to ring them up and tell them. Yes, I will.
And I'm sure there's a gin and tonic in it for you, don't you?
I hope so. I hope so.
Marie and John should be happy with that, and I hope Lorna feels
the same, as the Clarice Cliff plate that I fell in love with is up next.
It's never let us down before.
You know what I'm talking about - Clarice Cliff.
It's my turn to be the expert.
It's that lovely plate belonging to Lorna,
who's joined me, looking fabulous. Thank you.
Have you seen it in the cabinet? I have.
Doesn't it look good? It does, yes.
Do you want it back now?
Really? Yeah. Oh, really?
You think you might... It's a bit late now, isn't it?
It is, yes. No, I'll be happy if it goes.
Especially at ?80. Yes, definitely.
OK, OK. Well, if it doesn't sell, you'll be happy, then, won't you?
Maybe not. Anyway, it's going under the hammer right now.
Stylish, Art Deco-y John Armstrong for Clarice Cliff Bizarre tea plate,
decorated with a prancing horse.
It's gone quiet. It always goes quiet on my valuations.
That's easily ?50. I've got ?50 to start me
for this collectable item.
?50 to start me, take fives if I can.
At 50, five with me, commission, 60.
Five. 70. Five. 80.
On the telephone, 85?
Exciting again... I'm feeling happier.
90. Five. 100?
At ?95 on the telephone. It's not worthwhile ringing him up.
At ?95. If we reverse the charges. ?95.
All done. Probably can't do that nowadays, can you?
Selling at ?95, we're out.
Ever so happy. I'm pleased, ever so pleased. That's good, isn't it?
Yes. Don't forget, there is commission to pay,
but that's a nice treat. Yes. A meal out. Or would you reinvest in antiques?
Probably reinvest in antiques. Would you? OK, what tickles your fancy, then?
Anything in the room here? Not really.
I like the Art Deco figures. Do you? Dancers and that. They're nice.
You'll have to save up for those. I know.
It's good to plough the money back into antiques,
and Lorna's off to a good start with a healthy profit.
Good luck, Wendy, that's all I can say.
We're looking at ?140 to ?180. Mm-hm.
It's an interesting lot,
because one is a copy of the other. Which came first? The Worcester.
The Worcester one is based on the Chinese. That's right.
You paid ?80 and ?11.
Yes, that's right.
We can easily beat that today, surely? There's a bit of profit there for you. I'm sure.
I sold the other things in the lot too, that the Worcester pot was in
and just kept that. So you're already quids in? Yes.
OK. We're going to find out. Good luck.
Nice quality little pieces of a similar nature,
the Worcester chinoiserie inkwell
and a little Chinese example of a similar nature.
OK. Two pretty little items. Good little lot.
Who'll start me, please, for these,
Worcester and Chinese, at ?50?
50 is bid. 60 I'll take.
A long way to go. Yeah. 50. 60. 70.
70. 80? 80.
?100 is bid. We're getting there. 110. 120.
120. 130 will you?
140 bid. 150?
No. At ?140 bid. Standing near me at 140...
Any further bids in the room at all? Going at ?140... I'm selling...
Hammer's gone down. Sold. That's good. Happy? We're happy.
What are you going to start collecting now? I don't know.
I collect little pots for the bathroom, sort of cure all pots.
You're going to reinvest your money. What a good result.
A spot-on valuation by our expert.
Lastly, we're selling that jazz-playing cat band.
Cracking little lot,
the four Beswick cats, the little orchestra belonging to Heather.
That's right. After Kitty MacBride.
Why are you selling these? You're a big cat lover.
I'm selling them because I have so much in the display cabinet.
Do you? Do you, really? Is it taking over? Yes, that's right.
So are you downsizing or just sort of sorting out?
No, I'm just sorting out. Sorting out, OK.
Will we get more than 50 quid, do you think?
I hope so, yes. They're good fun.
They're based on a Meissen original.
If you were trying to buy a Meissen original monkey band,
you'd be spending a fortune. So this, by comparison,
looks very reasonably priced. And they are sweet.
And thanks for pointing out to me that it was a viola, not a violin.
I tell you what, though, I had a chat to the auctioneer
just before the sale started, and he said
there are a lot of people that are interested in these.
Excellent. It's the sort of thing that sells really well.
It's a collectable that everybody knows about and wants. Lovely.
They are sweet. It's the right place to sell them.
You've upped the reserve to ?50. Hopefully we'll get more than ?50.
Fingers crossed. Here we go, this is it. Lovely.
There they are, fiddling away.
And the drums. Collectable lot. I've got overlapping bids with me
to start. I've ?40 to start. I'll take five for the Beswick.
Yeah, somebody's waving down there, look. 50? 50. Five?
No, at ?60. And five, anyone like?
And five, anyone want?
65. There's a late bid on the phone.
70. Five on the phone?
International telephone bidding for the cats. Ooh!
?75. This could be from America, or possibly Puddletown. 75?
This is good, isn't it? Excellent.
Five. 100. And ten?
Come on, cat collectors. Got ?100.
And ten. At ?110. We're out against the book on the telephone.
Could almost be exciting.
But perhaps not. GAVEL BANGS
Yes, ?110. Excellent! I'm really pleased with that. Fabulous.
I hadn't anticipated any telephone bidding. Thank you, David.
No, thank you. You valued them, really, not me. Well, there we go.
So are you stripping any more from the cabinet? Not at the moment. Not at the moment?
So a standing ovation for the musical cats,
and that's it for today's show.
If you think you've got anything at home
that people would fight over in the auction room,
bring it along to one of our valuation days.
Flog It comes from Dorchester, the county town of Dorset. Paul Martin, along with experts David Fletcher and Mark Stacey, uncovers a variety of interesting items, including a 1938 autographed cricket bat and an unusual Clarice Cliff plate. Paul takes a tour around Bovington Tank Museum, where he explores the evolution of the tank from the First World War right up until the present day.