Presenter Paul Martin is in Ashbourne, Derbyshire with a team of antiques experts led by Will Axon and Michael Baggott. A picnic set brings surprising auction results.
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This is Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Derbyshire.
We're filming in the holidays, so the timetable's given over to Flog It!
I think it's time this lot went back to school.
Hopefully, our antiques experts
will give lessons in the geography of the item, where it was made,
the history, why it was made, and also the maths - what is it worth?
Because they want to sell it.
Viv here taught English at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.
You're now retired, you loved your job here but, strangely enough,
almost next to her is Andrew, who was your pupil!
-What was he like?
-He was a nice little boy.
-Did you put him in detention?
-No. Didn't have to!
The bell has gone. Time to go back to school.
'We have a learned team of experts to provide the valuations.
'Top of the class here in Ashbourne are Michael Baggott,
'who started collecting in primary school, with an old coin.'
A lot of very good porcelain comes from Bavaria.
'He's been hooked on antiques ever since,'
-Is that something you were thinking of selling?
-If it's worth selling.
-Is it worth selling?
-I won't tell you now.
'And auctioneer and valuer, Will Axon,
'who's worked his way up from the bottom,
'and learned a few tricks of the trade on his way.'
London touch marks. See how it spins!
'Coming up, Michael spots a clue.'
-Have you ever seen that?
-I just thought it was a mark.
-Along with all the other dents and knocks?
'And Will also turns detective.'
I think, at some stage, she has had a haircut.
-Was that down to you?
-No. I think that was my nan.
'I wonder if that's true.
'Michael's first at the valuation tables with Val.'
You brought this funny little jug in.
-What can you tell me about it?
-It was left to me 43 years ago.
By my aunt, left in her will
as a "silver cream jug".
I don't know whether it is a cream jug, whether it's silver, or what.
-I can't find a hallmark on it.
That's a challenge! 43 years of looking! Let's pick it up.
First thing I can tell you is it is a cream jug and it's not English,
with this roundel attachment to the handle,
this curved ebonised handle
and very low-bellied form.
If you turn it over, an English one would have marks there.
And an English one might have marks on the side.
-But, thankfully, have you ever seen that?
-I just thought it was a mark.
-Along with the other dents and marks?
That is the town mark for Venice.
And it was made between about 1819 and 1825.
That's as far as I can narrow it down from that mark.
It is slightly lower grade than ours but it is silver.
-The good news is...
Venetian silver is not thick on the ground.
Italians love to buy back their heritage.
-So, even though we've got one jug from what would have been
a pretty fantastic coffee set,
it's still quite an interesting and sought-after little piece of silver.
You've had it 43 years. Why did you decide to bring it along today?
I'm getting rid of things. Nobody in the family wants anything so they're going.
-So this has got to go?
-I think we would be safe if we put an estimate of £100 to £150.
And a fixed reserve of £90.
I think it would make that all day long.
If we get two telephones, one in Rome, one in Venice...
-..and they both want a little Venetian jug,
might make a couple of hundred.
We probably won't see more Venetian silver on "Flog It!"
-for ten or 20 years!
-I didn't know it was Venetian.
'Gosh! He's good. Let's hope the Italians spot it on the internet!
'I'm next, with a nice family piece that Jo has brought in.'
Jo, where did you come across this walking cane?
It's been in my family all my life.
I can remember it as a child.
Yeah? Are you into horses?
Not at all. I'm sure it belonged to my grandfather who WAS into horses.
Right. Where did he get it from?
-Well, he was a groom.
-Yes. At the Royal Hotel in Derby.
Where has this been in the house? Lying around somewhere?
-It was in my loft.
-This is silver.
Sterling silver, but I can't find the hallmarks.
Sometimes, they are hidden away in the decorative work.
See around the trees of this little hunting scene? It's the chase.
-Thank goodness! Not the kill.
See the way the horse has been modelled?
See the deep relief of the silver
and the way the hounds are running with extended long legs?
-That is typical of the style from about the 1840s.
This has come off something else.
-Possibly a very good quality riding crop or whip.
It's been adapted to be used on the top of this walking cane.
This is ash. You can see the wood, the grain of the ash.
But it's been painted with a paint effect and then lacquered,
which is typical of the 1880s.
So I think this was put on around then.
-You can see, architecturally,
it just doesn't sit right, does it?
-That's been forced on around the collar.
-That's where the value is.
I'd imagine, if you wanted to sell this, and it does sell,
that'll get taken off
and put back on to a riding crop or whip.
-Because that's just beautiful. Is it something you want to sell?
It's been in the family for so long
but I'm not particularly attached to it.
I think it's worth in the region of around about £60 to £80,
-purely for that part.
-Reserve of 60. Don't give it away.
-Are you happy with that?
If it doesn't sell, everybody needs a stick of some sort.
Even to retrieve something! You always need a stick!
'I'm always intrigued when things have been adapted over the years.
'Will found something for the doll collectors.'
-Is this yours, Kevin or Vicky?
-It was my Nana's.
It's come down through the family to yourself.
Have you not got someone to pass it on to?
I've got my daughter but she thinks it's freaky.
Freaky? Does she? She's quite a sweet little doll,
for the collectors of these types of things, who obviously do like them.
Have you any idea where your Nana got her from?
She got her from her dad, who had a friend in Germany.
Interesting. Well, that's good.
Because the best known maker of these bisque porcelain headed dolls
was Armand Marseille, a German firm who were producing these
in various quantities and qualities.
One way to find out is on the back of the head, the maker's mark.
Without taking off her hair, I couldn't look and it's a shame to pull off her hair.
Though I think, at some stage, she has had a bit of a haircut.
-Is that down to you?
-No. I think that was my nan.
-It does happen.
Little girls get the scissors out from Mummy's dressing table.
They give the doll a haircut
and don't understand it's not going to grow back.
That's an issue to the hardcore collector,
where things like that do matter.
These types of baby dolls are the "bebe" dolls.
Generally, smaller, like this, with the angled arms and so on.
Looking at the head itself, where a lot of the focus is for collectors.
She's... You've got to appreciate that she's quite prettily painted.
The mouth is another area where you can look at the quality.
If they have just a solid mouth,
they tend to be, shall we say, lower league quality pieces.
Once you get open mouths and teeth,
that's a bit more intricate, takes longer to make
and, hence, is a better quality doll.
As with most dolls, if I sit her up,
this really will scare you!
The eyes open and she comes alive!
You said your daughter doesn't like it.
-Are you the same?
-Yeah. I'm not really into it.
If I said sort of round the £50 mark, how would you feel about that?
-Would your mum be happy with that?
-I think so.
-She's not upset you're selling it?
-No. I asked permission first.
You don't want her sitting with a cup of tea. "There's me doll!"
She wouldn't want less than that.
-So, £50 to £80. Discretionary reserve of £50.
-See you both at the sale.
'No, we wouldn't want Vicky's mum choking on her tea.
'We like people to enjoy Flog It!'
When we were outside in the queue, you all wanted to know...
-ALL: What's it worth?
-You're about to find out.
Let's put the valuations to the test.
'The sale is being held by Hansons Auctioneers and Valuers Ltd.
'We have two auctioneers selling our lots - David Greatwood and Charles Hanson.
'Time for a quick reminder of all of our lots.
'It takes an eagle-eyed expert
'to spot the Venetian mark on Val's silver jug.
'So, well done, Michael.
'The silver top on the walking stick caught my eye
'because it's so beautifully crafted.
'Will picked out the bebe doll.
'It's a shame someone's taken the scissors to her hair,
'but at least she has her original clothes.
'Before the auction,
'I caught up with Charles to get his take on the Venetian silver jug.'
This is a cracking little lot. I love the form.
It stands proud. "Look at me! I'm very important."
But the family silver has to go.
It's Continental, as you know.
-Michael has put £100 to £150 on it.
-I think it's quite speculative.
It's an interesting pot. It's got the look of a pot far earlier.
-It's a style that went on and on.
-Because it was such a good style.
-Top end or lower end?
-I think £100 to £150 is quite right.
It could race away. It could stall at the lower part. But I like it.
-It's a quintessential antique. I agree with the price.
-So do I.
'It's the first of our lots, so let's see if Charles is right.
'And we have David Greatwood on the rostrum.'
-Something that Michael and myself wouldn't dream of selling. Valerie is. You're being a daredevil.
-This is a lovely silver jug.
I had a chat to the auctioneer about it.
We both agreed it just looks, "Look at me! I'm SO important."
-It's just beautiful.
-Bella! Bella! It's Italian, isn't it?
If the Italians have seen it,
-it will fly.
-It's going under the hammer. Good luck.
Silver pear-shaped cream jug. Commission interest at £75.
75. 80. Five. 90. And I'm out.
At £90. Any advance on £90? I'll take five. Surely...?
Is someone getting a bargain?
..On the pillar at 90. Any advance at £90? Take five. At £90...
-It's gone at 90.
-Yeah, I am. Yes.
-I'd have hoped for a bit more, for 120.
-I would have done as well. It did look important.
-It looked really good.
-It's a lovely thing.
'I don't think the Italians spotted their little jug.
'It's my choice now, which can be nerve-racking.
'Charles Hanson is taking the sale.'
I'm not sure about this one.
It's that walking cane with a silver top and belongs to Jo with a value of £60 to £80.
-Good to see you.
-Who's this with you?
-Ted, my grandson.
-Hello, Ted. Pleased to meet you.
I love your tractor T-shirt. Little boys love tractors, don't they?
Have you got lots of friends at pre-school? Wave hello to them.
All your friends can watch you now.
-I am a bit frightened about this.
If it has to go home, then enjoy it, won't you?
-Maybe leave it by the front door.
Put it in a big pot, like you do with walking sticks!
-I know you got this out the loft.
-Yes. It's been there for ages.
Mounted walking stick. White metal. Lots of interest here.
And I am bid, away we go, at £40, £50, £60.
-Do I see five now...?
-Get it within estimate.
..75. 85 now.
90. I'll take five. Let's see you all.
At £90, we say sell. At 90.
Fair warning. All out? We say sale.
Just over the top end of the estimate. Pleased, Ted?
That's £90. It's a lot of money.
I wonder who's gonna get the dosh.
Well, yes. The grandchildren. Of course.
'I'm delighted we could help Jo give something to the grandchildren.
'Now for the little doll, with auctioneer David Greatwood.'
-You're putting the proceeds towards DIY?
-Who's doing that?
We've seen these bisque dolls do quite well.
£300 to £500. We had one doing a couple of thousand, but they vary so much.
Well, the first were produced in the 1850s in France.
They're really sought-after.
-We suspect this one's German.
-This one's been in a box.
-Because you didn't like looking at it?
-I don't blame you.
Flashing eyes, open mouth, nicely dressed little doll.
Commission interest here and I must go straight in at £55.
55. 60. Five. 70. Five.
80. Five. 90.
£90 on the right.
95, new place. 100?
110. 120. 130.
Right in the middle and seated at 130. Any advance?
At 130. Selling at 130.
-That was a good result.
We're all happy. It's gone and for a good price!
'Good sale! No point holding on to things you don't want.
'Later, Michael has an extraordinary find.'
-Made my day. Made my year, even.
-Oh, right. Thank you.
'Harness racing, or "trotting", is an exhilarating sport
'which has been practised in this country for over a century.
'Every year, more than 1,500 horses take part in the United Kingdom,
'yet most of us have barely heard of this pocket of sporting history.
'This is John Towe racing at Pikehall in the Peak District.
'His family have been involved with the sport for generations.
'I've arranged to meet him and his wife Nicky at their farm near Matlock to find out more.'
-And who's this?
-This is Merlin.
You're a fine boy, aren't you?
Gorgeous, gorgeous horse.
I'm very excited. I've got my riding hat.
-Expect the ride of your life!
What speeds are we going to do?
-Probably close to 25, 30 miles an hour.
-That's quite fast.
-Your family has been involved in this sport for a long, long time.
Probably since the early 1800s.
My grandfather, great-grandfather, grandfather before him.
-Are you into this sport as well?
-I'm just starting.
-It's so scary!
-At least you love horses. A good starting point.
-But you're bonkers about this.
-Yes. It's very addictive.
What are the origins of the sport?
It started with your butchers, bakers, doctors.
They all had their own horse and cart.
When they went to market, they'd get together
and decide, "We'll race home, see who gets home quickest."
COMMENTATOR OVER P.A. SYSTEM
The carts have changed over the years.
Oh, yes. The basic design stays the same.
-With modern engineering and materials...
-Quite lightweight now.
This one we're using today is what we call a training sulky,
specially modified to carry two.
The myth is they were called sulkies because they only sit one person,
so you could go out on your own and people said you were sulking.
He's been very good. He's quite patient. Sure-footed?
-Put me through my paces.
-He should give you a nice go today.
The biggest thing that you'll find is the speed, really.
From an onlooker it doesn't look so fast.
But when you're bumping around a track, it does seem...
There's going to be a lot of dust
flying in the eyes, grit in your mouth.
-It's all part of the fun.
-Shall we get up on the track?
-Yeah. That'll be fun.
I'm getting quite excited. There's going to be a lot of dust and dirt!
-This is incredible.
-Shall I get on first?
-Let me get on first.
I'm going to come back covered...
Oh, I saw that.
-It's like a gentle swivel.
-That wasn't too bad.
-Yeah. I just hold on?
-Yeah. That's it.
There's a little handle. That's it.
-Do you lean back, lean into the bends?
-Lean back a little bit.
You'll find your balance as you're going.
-Can I have a go?
-Yeah. Now he's settled, you've got your balance.
Good lad. Good boy.
This is absolutely fabulous.
-Good boy, Merlin.
This is fantastic, just brilliant!
John, I'm going to hand the reins back to you.
You can take us round at near on race speed and I'll hang on.
-Yeah. You hang on tight!
-Here we go!
My whole body is vibrating. I can feel my watch vibrating off.
John, that's marvellous.
I'm absolutely exhausted. That was so exhilarating.
Merlin, you are a wonderful horse. You were a wizard out there!
Needs a good drink.
That was exciting. You can feel the horsepower going through your veins, almost making my ribs tickle.
-I'll remember that for a long time. John, thank you so much.
I think you deserve a drink of water. Let's go.
-We'll get him a bath as well.
-Hose him down.
Welcome back to our valuation day at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.
There are hundreds of people here and lots more antiques to value.
'Michael Baggott has found a stylish case.'
Nigel, thank you for bringing this very promising-looking leather case.
The first thing you can tell is it's very good quality leather.
-I'm dying to see what's inside, so if I may...?
-It is a bit stiff.
That's an interior! Let's unpack it.
We've got the little water jug. We delve in there...
Got a little caddy. It goes on for ever.
-It does, actually.
-And we've got a little milk jug.
And we should, finally, have the sugar bowl.
And this lovely surface to mount it all on with a little stand.
The only thing I think we're lacking...
The burner, I think.
I didn't know whether that fitted.
-That aperture there would have been for the burner.
-Oh, I see.
Some little devil's played with that and that's gone missing.
-Have you got any idea when it was made or how old it is?
-It was my mother's. It was given to her.
She was a housekeeper for a family in Derby called Preston-Jones.
They used to go on a lot of cruises and used to take it with them.
Now you say that, we can make sense of the initials on the top.
EPJ for Preston Jones.
That's lovely to have history going to the original owner.
We've got the little retailer's name, Asprey,
which is a good name.
I know that the design of this set started many years earlier
and was produced, initially, by Hukin and Heath
to a design of Christopher Dresser.
It's Asprey thinking, "This is popular. We'll make our own version."
The Christopher Dresser originals are about 1875.
Basically, you've got a travelling picnic set in electroplate...
Sadly! Rather than silver.
..dating to around 1900, 1910.
It's just so compact and so useful.
Why have you decided to part with it?
Just cos I'd like to realise what the value of it is, I think.
Because the burner's missing, let's be cautious.
-Let's say £120 to £200.
-Put a fixed reserve of £100 on it.
Let's hope there are two like-minded people at the auction.
Thanks very much.
'A nice bit of quality. It should do well.
'Adrian's brought in something very unusual.
'We don't see many of these!'
You haven't been walking round with this under your arm?
-You came in the car, not on the bike!
Good work. When I first saw it, it didn't really grab me.
When I had a closer look,
these panels are all hand-decorated.
It looks like pen and ink. Have you inherited it?
-It's what Mum left.
-It's not something you want to put into your home?
It's just stored in the loft.
Well, this is what we would call a decorator's piece.
It's not the most decorative one in the world,
i.e. being highly coloured.
You see those Victorian ones which are decoupage, brightly coloured.
It's going to date from late 19th century.
It's almost Aesthetic Movement, with this ebonised frame.
-The upper half reminds me very much of Japanese wood block prints,
late 19th century.
But if you look at the bottom half, it couldn't be more different.
You've got here, a chap,
who's bludgeoning a fox
while his hounds pounce.
Not everyone's cup of tea -
shooting, fox hunting, fishing - but there is a market for it.
I have seen them do very well, if they're not so "controversial".
Let's pitch this sensibly, put this in at the £100 mark, 100 to 150.
I think you'll have to sweeten the buyers with a low estimate.
-Do you want to take it home if it doesn't get away?
-No. I'd sooner see what it fetches.
-I like your approach. Let it find its level.
-100 to 150 estimate, but no reserve.
-Yeah. Take a gamble.
'That might be wise, with the subject matter.
'Michael has come across something he's pretty excited about.'
Brenda, it's not often I'm speechless
with a piece of pottery, but this is wonderful.
Where did you get this fine fellow from?
In 1989, we were left a farm and that was part of it, in the house.
-Just left in the farmhouse?
Were you delighted when you discovered it?
-Not really. No.
-What have you done with it since?
-Put it in a cupboard.
-From the abandoned farmhouse to the cupboard.
What we're looking at is a class of pottery
that developed from creamware.
Creamware came in about 1770.
It's a pottery body that's covered in a glaze to imitate porcelain.
It was widely produced in Staffordshire
and potteries further north.
It had a creamy tone to it
and to whiten things up
the clay was "blued", and so we get the version on from that, pearlware.
If we tip this fellow over,
we've got that pooling of the blue glaze on the base.
This is a pearlware figure.
And it's a whopper!
I've seen, in my years, very many pearlware horses.
-They're very sought-after. This is the first cow I've seen.
Which makes it very unusual. We have got little bits of damage.
The horns are there. Normally, the horns go and the ears are left.
You've done it the other way round with this one!
I wouldn't date it much before 1820.
And not much after 1830, 1835.
It's a rare thing, a lovely thing as well.
It really has taken my breath away to see this.
-Any idea of what it's worth?
-No. Not at all.
Have a guess.
-At the most.
I never have my chequebook on me when I should!
We will put this into auction and we'll put £1,000 to £1,500 on it.
-And we'll put a fixed reserve of £1,000 on it.
I think that there will be three or four leading English pottery dealers
who would cut each other's throat to own this.
I think it's going to do exceptionally well.
-I might turn out to have been conservative. You're happy?
-Thank you so much for bringing it in.
-Made my day. Made my year, Brenda.
'I think we might have a little treat in store.
'There's just enough time to have a look at what our experts picked out to take to auction.
'I can see people being taken up by the romance of Nigel's picnic set
'from the turn of the last century.
'The 19th-century screen is hand-decorated.
'However, the hunting scene might not be to everybody's taste.
'And all I can say about the pearlware cow
'is if Michael is THAT excited, it's definitely the one to watch.
'It's Nigel's monogrammed picnic set first. Let's see how it does.'
-Good luck, Nigel.
-All we need is somebody in this room with the initials of PJ.
-There's a bit of history, and people use these.
-You want to play with it.
You want to take it all out, look at it, put it all back in...
I just thought of somebody who might buy it. The guy from the Dragons' Den, Peter Jones.
-He could afford it. Anyway, let's see what the bidders think here in Derbyshire.
Very, very fine picnic set. Even better because it's Asprey.
There we are. I will start this at £150...
-Ooh. Good start.
-..Do I see 160 in the room?
150. Do I see 160? 180.
200? 220. 250..?
That's more like it.
..320. 350? 380. 400...
This is keen bidding. This is really keen bidding.
..£500. It's my under-bid at 500...
I wonder if it's Asprey's on the phone buying it for stock!
..At £500. £500. 520.
And out. At 550, all done. We say sale at £550.
We certainly turned up the heat there. £550!
-Without the burner!
Thank you so much for bringing that in. That was something from the golden years of travel.
I'll be looking for one with a burner!
'It sold for over £500, which means the commission drops to 10%.
'Now for that late Victorian screen.'
It's hand-painted, wood block, Japanese influence, and it belongs to Adrian.
Unfortunately, Adrian can't be with us today. I like this a lot.
-A lot of work's gone into this.
-That's what caught my eye.
You think there's not much about it,
but on closer inspection, all the decoration is hand-painted.
Late Victorian ebonised three-fold dressing screen
with hunting rural scenes...
Nice broad panels. Typical of the period.
..£50, £60. Five. 70.
Five. 80. I've got 90.
-Five. And I'm out...
-Near the bottom figure.
-Be nice to get get a round 100.
-..You're in, sir.
£95. Come on. One more do I see? Fair warning. All done.
-I'll get on the phone to Adrian.
'I think he'll be pleased with that.
'Our next lot is the pearlware cow,
'which Brenda found in an inherited farmhouse.
'Let's look what Charles had to say about it earlier.'
This has got to be the largest piece of pearlware
I've seen on the show in nine years.
-It's wonderful, isn't it?
-It's glazed very well. It's huge.
-We've got £1,000 to £1,500.
-For 18th-centure pearlware.
-Yeah. I had a phone call from Brenda.
Brenda said, "Charles, sell it. You get what it's worth."
I think we'll probably, if we get up towards £600, we'll let it go.
-She was happy to have no reserve?
-That's a dangerous game.
-You don't want to sell this, as an auctioneer, for £25.
-You're not going to make any money.
-We feel it's worth 1,000 to 1,500.
-If it only got to £100, it wouldn't go because it makes us look...
-Not so good.
-So you're going to say there's a fixed reserve of £600,
-or it's going back to Brenda and you'll try on another day.
-It is worth £1,000 - we hope!
My gut feeling is this was made for a butcher's shop as advertisement.
-That's a good thought.
-That's not a domestic piece.
-Who's got a mantelpiece big enough?
-That's a butcher's shop.
'Auctioneer David Greatwood is taking this sale.'
Unfortunately, Brenda isn't here. She's on holiday in Blackpool.
We do have her husband, Gordon. You must have seen this all your life.
Yes. It's been in the farmhouse as long as I can remember.
It's the largest model of a cow I've ever seen. You see cow creamers make £300, £400, £500 this big.
-That's a whopper.
-We could be in for a real surprise.
-You ready for this, Gordon?
-It's going under the hammer right now.
Pearlware model of a cow. A very fine specimen. Rare.
-Commissions. I'm opening at £380...
-Oh, dear. That's really low.
-..500. And 20...
-'We have hit £500.
'So it's the lower commission of 10%.'
..650. New place. 680.
700. And 20. 750.
-There are collectors in the room.
1,000. And 50.
1,200. And 50.
1,300. And 50.
1,400. And 50...
-Isn't this exciting?
-Yes. They like it very well.
2,000. 2,100. 2,200.
-It deserves to do this.
..In the room, now, at 2,500.
The hammer's gone down. Gordon, well done!
Thank Brenda for bringing that in. Cheer her up in Blackpool!
-How come you're not with her?
-You can't leave.
-I'll give her a ring.
-She might go on a spending spree in Blackpool!
What a wonderful way to end the show. I hope Brenda's over the moon.
Join us for many more surprises because you never know what's going to happen in an auction room.
For now, until then, it's goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Presenter Paul Martin is in Ashbourne, Derbyshire with a team of antiques experts led by Will Axon and Michael Baggott. A pearlware cow and an Asprey and Co picnic set bring surprising auction results. Paul visits the Peak District to experience the thrills of harness racing.