Paul Martin is joined by experts Mark Stacey and David Fletcher in Dorchester. Mark examines some trench art from World War I and David looks at a 19th-century pistol.
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Well, our team of trusted experts are already valuing the antiques
and collectables brought along to our Dorchester venue today.
We'll be taking the best items off to auction later on in the show.
But all of this lot here have come to ask that all-important question, which is...
..what's it worth?
One of Dorchester's claims to fame
is that its splendid High Street, as you can see here, boasts over 70
listed buildings, more than any other street in Britain.
I just hope our experts are having such a variety back over at the Dorford Centre.
In fact, it's a packed house over at our valuation day,
and our team of experts are already hard at work valuing the crowd's antiques and collectables.
Leading our team of experts are the ever-reliable David Fletcher
and Mark Stacey, both of whom work as independent antique valuers.
Antiques run in David's blood.
In fact, his first ever job was working in an auction house, and he's been hooked ever since.
He's very fortunate that he absolutely loves his job.
By contrast, Mark first started work in the care profession and came to antiques a little later on.
He began his foray into the business as a dealer and later went on to work for various auction houses.
You might need this as an umbrella!
We have some real treats coming up for you on today's show as we try to
unearth the hidden stories behind people's possessions.
They were modelled on a character called Toby Philpott, who literally drank
-16 pints of ale a day.
-Well, I don't like them, anyway. No.
I'm with you!
But before all of that, David Fletcher is having a look at Lorna's collection of silver spoons.
-Soon be time for tea.
-Actually, I think they're probably coffee spoons.
I thought they were, yes.
Anyway, the important thing about them is that they're made of silver,
and they were made to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.
And each one of the bowls of these spoons bears the name of an action during the Battle of the Somme.
They are French and, being French, the standard isn't quite as high
as it would be on a piece of English silver.
-And these tiny, tiny marks on the top right-hand side of each bowl tell us that.
There's an equally tiny mark on the left-hand side of the top of each bowl
-which tells us who the maker is, but I haven't been able to distinguish that.
The finials are each dated 1914/1915
and are enamelled with the flags of the Allies.
-And can you trace them back to the Battle of the Somme?
Yes, because my great-aunt
was a Queen Alexander nurse and she actually was nursing in the front.
But she gave them to me as a wedding present in 1951.
-And how did she acquire them?
-Well, I can only presume on an off-duty moment
from the field hospital, she went off to local places and picked them all up.
That's lovely, because it means we can provenance them right back to
the time when they first saw the light of day.
As a wedding present, you must be a bit sad to see them go.
Yes, I am. I like them, but I've got to downsize.
My family aren't interested, so I thought going to someone who might appreciate them...
You've got to move on, as they say, haven't you?
And you can be sure that these will go to a person who understands what they are,
-appreciates their social significance. So that will be good, I think.
-I think so.
As far as the value is concerned, they're affordable, really.
I think, optimistically, we could expect them to make £10 a spoon.
-Conservatively, I would be thinking in terms of an estimate of £30 to £50
and, all other things being equal, would suggest a reserve of £30.
It's not going to change your life, but it's going to help,
so let's go ahead on that basis, 30 to 50 with a reserve of 30,
and I look forward to seeing you at the sale.
-At the sale, yes.
-Thank you very much.
With a history like that, we shouldn't have any problem finding a new home for Lorna's silver spoons.
But it's the real stories we're after,
behind all the antiques and collectables being brought in
before we take them off to auction.
Hello. That looks interesting. Is that Keswick or Newlyn?
-Yes, you can see the stamp.
Quite nicely stamped.
So, what's the story behind this? Are you a big Arts and Crafts fan?
Yes, I'm really into Arts and Crafts.
I bought this, along with another piece, about ten years ago,
and I've had them at home, using them ever since.
But I now have a new partner,
and she's not too keen on Arts and Crafts,
so we're looking to remodel the house!
So this is one of the things I'd like to try and sell.
That's the name of the game! That's why you're here to flog it, I guess.
Good luck, hopefully we'll see you later on.
Next up, Mark Stacey is talking to Michael and wife Jo,
who've brought in two Toby jugs.
Now, you get no prizes for calling these Toby jugs
or "Toby character jugs", but where did they come from?
Well, my mum bought this one many years ago.
I think I was nine or ten.
-And I liked it,
so I decided to buy Mum the small one for a Christmas box one year.
So you found another one that matched in with that?
And I think I paid about ten shillings and sixpence for it.
Gosh, that's quite a lot, actually. That's quite a lot.
For those who don't know what ten shillings and sixpence is,
-Is it about that much?
-Ten shillings, that's 50p. Yeah, 55p.
I think the interesting thing is that character jugs, or Toby jugs,
really are 18th century pieces.
The earliest ones are made in lovely creamware and pearlware
by firms like Ralph Wood.
And they're modelled on a character called Toby Philpott,
who was a really larger-than-life character
who literally drank 16 pints of ale a day.
-Of course, in the 18th century, it was safer to drink alcohol -
gin, ale - than it was to drink water.
And in actual fact, ale was an upper-class drink,
-whereas gin was for the working people.
Reversed completely now, of course.
But the interesting thing about these is they're not 18th century.
-They're not that old. They're about 60 years old, I suppose.
And some of our viewers who see this name very regularly will not
recognise that these have got the mark of Clarice Cliff on the back.
-"Newport Pottery, England."
Now, I'm not sure that they had very much to do with Clarice Cliff.
I mean, the colours are quite bright, and they're quite vibrant.
He's quite rosy-cheeked.
I suspect they were probably made just after the war.
And this is actually a jug, of course.
And this, I think, would have come - it's Clarice Cliff again -
the same mark would have come from a little tea set.
This would have been a little sugar bowl, I think,
and you would have had a little creamer and a teapot to go with it.
So, in terms of value,
what do you think your ten shillings is worth today?
Would you be very disappointed if they weren't very valuable,
or have you decided, "Well, we don't like them"?
-Well, I don't like them, anyway.
-I'm with you!
I'm not bothered, actually, whether they sell or not.
I think you've got to be realistic. They're a little bit of fun.
-And I think we put them in with maybe an estimate
of £40 to £60 for the pair.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Would you be happy with that?
-Yes, that's fine.
What about reserve? Are you just happy to have them sold?
-We'll just let them go.
-Have a bit of fun on the day.
They should make that and hopefully a little bit more,
because they are marked and they're sizeable pieces.
-So fingers crossed.
We might have a pint afterwards!
-Or several gins!
-Or several large gins.
Might not be good to drive home after several large gins.
It sounds like Jo will be glad to see the back of Michael's Toby jugs,
so we'll keep our fingers crossed for her
at the auction later.
Now, remember when I was looking
at that fabulous Keswick tray belonging to Andrew?
Well, David is talking to him now,
but he's far more interested in Andrew's copperware plate.
What can you tell me about it?
Well, I think it's Arts and Crafts from around 1900, 1910.
It does have a mark on the back, which is Beldray,
and I had a look on the internet,
and apparently they were a Birmingham company of that period.
I would absolutely agree with the dating.
I think 1900, 1910.
It's broadly speaking in the Art Nouveau style,
which, as you probably know, is characterised by
these sort of whiplash lines, sort of naturalistic lines,
quite unlike the Art Deco style which followed it,
which was to do with geometric shapes and geometric lines.
As you say, Beldray,
and they were a firm producing slightly more commercial things
than the true Arts and Crafts workshops at the same time.
So this, with the best will in the world, isn't a piece of Newlyn,
which I think is probably everyone's idea
of what good Arts and Crafts copperware should be like.
But on the other hand,
it's not something that was just stamped out by the thousand.
There is an element of design here, an element of quality control,
if you like, and it's a stylish piece.
Was it always made to hang? I assume that's original.
I think that's exactly right. Yeah, that is original.
Tell me what you think it depicts.
Well, I think it's a winter scene.
Obviously, it's a woman in the cloak,
-and you've got the bare trees in the background.
-Yeah. You're right.
I think it's winter.
I'm sure it's winter, which suggests that it's one of a series of four,
each one representing a different season.
-So, are you going to miss it?
It's sort of been hanging no the wall in my study,
but we're having a change of decor at home,
and this and the tray as well have to go, I'm afraid.
Right, so, what's it worth?
-I would suggest an estimate of £50 to £80.
You don't look exactly thrilled by that.
-No, that's a bit less than I was hoping for.
-You hoped more.
What did you pay for it?
Well, I bought it together with a large Keswick tray,
-and that was £300 for the two.
But obviously, the Keswick tray would have been worth...
A substantial part of that.
And we have to accept that the market's probably gone down a bit
in the last few years anyway.
-This was ten years ago.
You're being very philosophical.
If you can be even more philosophical
and agree to a reserve of £45, I'd be delighted.
-Jolly good. OK, Andrew, £45 fixed reserve, estimate 50 to 80.
I'll see you at the sale.
-Thank you very much.
Oh, dear. I do hope that Andrew isn't too disappointed
with David's estimate.
Well, I think it's about time we upped the tempo, don't you?
We have been working flat out here,
but we're going to put our experts' valuations to the test right now.
You've seen the items.
There's a few cracking ones there and hopefully one or two surprises.
We're making our way to Duke's,
leaving you with a quick recap, just to jog your memory,
of the items going under the hammer.
And stirring things up right now, it's time to find a new home
for Lorna's collection of silver coffee spoons.
Jo will be glad to see the back end of Michael's Toby jugs,
but will we be able to find a bidder to take them off her hands?
And finally, Andrew's Art Nouveau copperware plate
is going under the hammer.
Let's hope we can get him a good return.
And we're still in Dorchester, at Duke's salerooms,
and auctioneer Matthew Denny is on the rostrum.
The first of our items to go under the hammer
are Lorna's silver spoons.
Lorna, good luck. We've got our fingers crossed.
This is Lorna's first auction.
We're about to sell the silver coffee spoons.
-That's right yes.
-There's a lot of silver here today.
This is a nice lot. I find it very interesting that one of the bloodiest
and most important battles of all time, the Battle of the Somme,
should be commemorated by these finely crafted spoons,
wonderful quality, in complete contrast, really,
to the nature of the battle itself,
a significant battle, and significant things.
Good luck, then. Here we go.
World War One period commemorative spoons.
These are interesting things.
I've got commission bids at £30 to start, I'll take 5.
At 35. 40. 5. 50. 5. Take 60 next.
60. 5. 70. 5.
At £70 on the side. I'll take 5.
At £70. 5, if you like.
On my left at 70. 5 anywhere?
Yes, £70! That was short and sweet, wasn't it?
Blink and you'll miss that one! £70. Are you happy?
Yes, I am,
because I thought originally they weren't valued that much.
No, I thought they would, so I'm thrilled.
I'm glad you're pleased too, Lorna.
-I am, yes.
-Two people really thought them quite special,
and that's the beauty of auctions, really.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Lorna's spoons have got us off to a really good start.
They went for well over the estimate.
There's been a change of auctioneer now,
and Gary Batt is on the rostrum.
Serving up right now we've got an Art Nouveau copper plate.
It belongs to Andrew, with a valuation of £50 to £80 on this.
Hopefully, we'll go at the top end,
-because it's very affordable and looks good.
-If you're starting to collect
and you perhaps can't afford a piece of Arts and Crafts by Newlyn,
something like this will get you going.
As you say, 50 or 60 quid, really, it's not a lot.
It's nothing. It's absolutely nothing, no.
And I think that's what this saleroom's built on, really.
We'll find out what the bidders think.
Rather nice Arts and Crafts wall plate, a cloaked woman.
-Landscape, quite a stylish piece.
-It's gone quiet.
I've got overlapping bids at £30 to start. I'll take a fiver if I can.
At 30. 5. Thank you.
At £35. 40 bid.
45. 50. Yes, madam, 50.
At £50. Any advance on 50?
50. Take a fiver from anywhere.
Selling, then, at £50.
Everybody finished? Clear at 50.
Good. It's gone. Well done.
Thank you so much. Well done.
-Thank you, Andrew. Thank you.
Well, that one just scraped through.
I think it was right on the money, though.
Next up, it's time to test Mark's valuation
as we see what those two Toby jugs go for.
OK, we've got some Clarice Cliff going under the hammer.
It's a pair of Toby jugs. That's quite unusual, I think.
Not seen those before.
They're quite local, Paul, of course.
-Right, OK. Well, I know they were your family's, weren't they, Michael?
-Do you like these, Josephine?
-You don't like Toby jugs?
-I don't like Toby jugs.
-Don't like Clarice Cliff?
-Not really, no.
-But I'm sure somebody out there will love them.
Well, I'm not sure how much Clarice Cliff had to do with these Toby jugs.
-The printed backstamp could be put on anything by the factory.
But they're certainly quite colourful.
-Well, good luck, you two.
-This is it.
Clarice Cliff Toby jug. And another.
Here we are, two Toby jugs.
Very decorative. I've got what for this lot?
£30 to start me?
-At £30? 30 bid. 35, anyone like? 35.
-Dubious. The bidders are dubious.
-40 commission. 5. 50.
-Oh, we've got 50.
-We've sold them.
"Go on!" said Josephine!
We're out now. You're in at £75.
80? 80. Well done, sir. 5.
90. 5. 100.
At £120. Near me, against you at the back, then.
Going at £120. Are we out and clear and sure I sell?
-Yes! They're gone!
-Very good! Thank you.
-That turned out to be a very good combination.
Yes, it did!
That was a brilliant result.
Michael's Toby jugs doubled the top end of the estimate.
I just love it when that happens.
And coming up later in the programme, Mark Stacey and I
are lucky enough to examine some collectables that just ooze history.
..little pieces of trench art, where the soldiers
used the spent cartridges and shells to make themselves practical things.
I tell you what, that's a
proper engineer's toy, that, isn't it?
So don't go away!
I'm on the island of Portland Bill, which is on the Dorset coastline,
which is south of Dorchester, because I want to show you something that I've been fascinated by
ever since I was a young lad, and that's these buildings, lighthouses.
As I grew up on the Cornish coastline, I've always been fully aware of the important role that
lighthouses play in helping to keep our sailing vessels safe all around the British Isles.
Trinity House is an organisation which oversees all the lighthouses
on the coastline of England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar
as well as providing other key services which are very important
to help keep our navigators safe.
The first lighthouse built by Trinity House was in 1609 in Lowestoft.
Today, Trinity House has 69 working lighthouses, which have been automated since November 1998.
That's when the UK's last manned lighthouse,
North Foreland in Kent, was converted to automatic operation.
Today, I've come to see this lighthouse on Portland Bill.
There's been a lighthouse here ever since 1760.
The one I'm looking around today was opened in 1906.
And to give you a measure of just how important these buildings are,
this is the fifth lighthouse to be built on the Bill.
I'm thrilled to be getting a personal tour from Larry Walker.
He was the last principal lighthouse keeper at Portland Bill
before it was automated, and he still keeps a watchful eye on it today.
-How do you do?
-Hi. Pleased to meet you!
-I'm pleased to meet you, Paul.
I'm looking forward to my tour.
God, that's a strong handshake you've got!
How long have you been the lighthouse keeper here in Portland Bill?
On Portland Bill here, 32 years.
-You must love the job.
It's a vocation, not a job.
-Have you worked in any other lighthouse?
This is actually my 22nd lighthouse.
You've been in 22?
Yeah. The last lighthouse before I came here was Eddystone Lighthouse.
Plymouth Hoe. I've been up that. Did you know when you get to the top of that one, that one actually wobbles?
-Yeah, that one quivers.
-I don't like that. I really don't like that. Does this one wobble?
A little bit. A little bit.
-Well, I'm really excited to get up this one.
-So, we'll start at the top.
-Yes, we are going to start at the top, Paul, up in the lantern.
But before we get there, you've got a long climb to go.
-How many steps are there?
-There's 153 steps.
And I'll bet you know every single one.
-By a rude word, yes, I do.
And 20 years ago, I was able to do it in 42 seconds from the base of the tower into the lantern.
That's not bad going. Shall we try and beat it?
Well, you can, but I'm not. Right.
Well, this is obviously the main light, and I know that rolls on a bed of mercury, doesn't it?
That's correct. This is technically what we call a mercury-float light-revolving system.
It is doing one revolution every 20 seconds.
And if you look at the lens, you'll see that it's made up
of four lens panels, and there's one just coming round to you now, and one ginormous big reflector behind it.
And because the lens is revolving one revolution every 20 seconds,
the character of Portland Bill lighthouse is four flashes every 20 seconds.
Every lighthouse in the UK has its own distinctive character.
There's no other lighthouse in the UK that's got the same character as Portland Bill lighthouse.
How far away can that light be seen?
On a good night, Paul, it should be in excess of 25 miles you'll see this light.
-That's a fair distance.
-It is, yeah.
-That's the beacon of hope.
That's right, yeah, you see four white flashes every 20 seconds,
-it's got to be Portland Bill.
-And then we're going home, yeah.
It must be kind of a solitary life.
It certainly was out at sea, but here at Portland Bill, it is what we call
a family station, so you would be here with your families.
But there's only one keeper on watch at any one time, so therefore yes, you are on your own. But as far as
not being lonely as such, but some people like being on their own, you know, and it's not too bad,
especially if they've got a nagging wife at home.
That's not for the camera!
Would you like to go and have a look on the gallery there and have a look around the gallery?
Oh, this is good.
I tell you what, it's not until you're up here you realise how high we are.
-What height is it, anyway?
-You're about just over a hundred feet here on the gallery, Paul.
Look, that's choppy out there.
-That's the Portland Race over there, and that's where two of the tides meet.
-It's lovely up here.
Well, it's fresh.
It's fresh. Come on, then.
Back in the warm, Larry takes me down one level, to the nerve centre of the lighthouse.
This is the service room, Paul.
The room below the lantern is always the service room.
And this is where the lighthouse would probably be run from.
In here, the keeper would have spent most of his watch-keeping.
I was going to say, it's really the hub of the building.
Yes. This is where the radios would have been, this is where the communications equipment
would have been, and he would come up here on the start of his watch.
He would have to make sure that his journals were OK, he had enough paraffin in the tanks that were
behind me here, the air pressure was correct, and then he'd spend his watch-keeping hours here,
other than checking the light upstairs and checking the light near the base of the tower.
We're heading all the way down now to ground level, to my favourite bit of the lighthouse.
Here we have two fog-signal air compressors.
-These compressors were actually used prior to 1995 to power the old air-type fog signal.
Now, since 1996 and automation, we have an automatic fog signal, and it's a squeak.
-It's a high-pitched squeak.
-And it's only meant to be heard about a mile to two and a half miles maximum.
Can we hear the old sound? My tour wouldn't be complete without nostalgia.
-It will be loud.
-OK. I've heard them before.
Right, so what I suggest you do is go out to the west door there and wait for it to be put on.
Do you know, I'm so glad it's got dark since I've been inside,
because I think this is the perfect ambience for listening to a foghorn.
Well, I've thoroughly enjoyed my trip here
at the Portland Bill lighthouse, but it wouldn't be fitting to leave this wonderful scene without hearing
that nostalgic blast from the foghorn, so any second now... Let's just wait for it.
Great! Absolutely fabulous!
Back at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester, there's been
no rest for our team of experts, who've been hard at work valuing the locals' antiques and collectables.
Mark Stacey is busy valuing a collection of World War One
memorabilia which was brought in by Barry and his wife Betty.
You've brought in a fascinating little thing.
This is the real fun of being in the antiques world
and the collectors' world, because you think you've seen everything...
..then a story comes along which is both very, very sad and actually quite humorous at the same time.
-Oh, it is.
-Very funny, yeah.
-Because on first glance, we've got a bronze plaque here that was
issued to everyone in the Great War, 1914-18, who died in active service,
and they were presented with a nice scroll, which is in the box here, and that's one part of it.
And that's worth anything from £50 or £60, I suppose.
Then you have these lovely little pieces of trench art, where the soldiers in the trench have had a
lot of time on their hands when they were doing nothing, so they
used the spent cartridges and shells to make themselves practical things.
And here, somebody's turned what looks like a pair of boots into a pair of lighters.
And that's a cartridge?
And this is from old bullets and cartridges. And they've decorated all these by hand...
-..you know, which is absolutely charming.
But having said that, we then have a letter.
Basically, Gunner Fred Symes here, who is your...
..great-grandfather, of course, has been lost, he's had his letter.
His wife, Mrs Symes, is heartbroken, writes to his commanding officer asking his whereabouts.
She then gets a handwritten note
telling the sad story of his death, which was accidental.
-He fell down a cliff...
-..having left his post to go looking for rabbits.
But it doesn't say how many rabbits he caught.
No rabbits for tea!
But I think...
history, isn't it? I mean, how on earth
can you not be sad on the one hand
but then on the other hand find the irony...
-Tells a human story.
-Because he sounds a right character,
does Fred Symes.
It could have been Dad's Army, couldn't it?
Has it passed down the family?
Er, yes! You could say that!
You can be honest with me.
Nobody's watching, Betty.
-No, I'm sure!
-But I just love it.
When you look at the consistent parts, you might say this is worth £50.
Those are worth, you know... This is damaged. £20 or £30.
But when you put the whole thing together, you've got to look at a history collector, a military
collector, who would be in heaven to be able to tie all that together.
And so what is it worth then?
Is it £200? Is it £300?
We honestly don't know. And you've saved it from the rubbish dump.
It was going out with the rubbish, yeah.
Can you imagine? That would have been terrible.
You know how enthusiastic I am and the team are here at "Flog It!"
to have a bash at it, but we do understand the difficulties.
No, I agree.
It comes to a time where the decision is yours, as they say.
-We can't take it with us, can we? So...!
Would you like me to give it a try?
Thank you. And I do think we'll protect it with a reserve.
If it can't get 200,
then you must protect it, and we'll talk after the sale and we might find something else to do with it.
I think it would be lovely. Thank you so much.
So Mark has put an estimate of £200 to £300 on Barry's collection of World War One memorabilia.
We'll see how that estimate fares shortly.
Next up, I'm wondering where everybody has gone!
Don't worry, I'm not turning into a cameraman.
I'm not checking the white balance or anything, I'm just waiting for one of our crews
to come back from lunch, because they have been working flat out.
-Hello. What's your name?
-Nigel. Pleased to meet you.
-I was just wondering what you thought of that.
-I like that!
That's nice. Is that meths-driven?
-It is meths-driven.
-Cor, there's quite a weight to it.
I thought it was going to be one of those lightweight Mamod ones,
-the ones that I had when I was a little boy.
Still tin-plate, but I tell you what, that's a
proper engineer's toy, that, isn't it?
-So the meths heats up...
-Yeah, the hot air rises, pushes the piston up, and that starts it going.
-This one's not steam-driven, though.
-No, it's not steam-driven, no.
Isn't that lovely? And had you played with this as a young boy?
I did. It must have been 50 years ago the last time I played with it.
I always remember when I was younger, I was slightly disappointed when I was given it because it didn't move.
It took me some time to get the mental adjustment that it was a stationary engine, not a moving one.
Well, you were a young lad 50 years ago, and this was a very expensive toy then.
-Yeah, it was handed down to me by my father...
-You lucky thing!
..and I think by his father as well.
I'd put this around the early 1900s, wouldn't you?
Well, certainly I've had it 55 years, my father had it before me,
so that's got to date it about 95 years at least.
It's beautiful, it really is.
There was no way of controlling the speed, though, was there?
Once this heated up, that was it.
-That was it, you either had to remove the...
..you had to remove the flame or turn the flame right down.
Yeah. Do you know, I think everybody will go absolutely crazy for this.
All the engineers in the auction room will, all the old boys that like tinkering with things.
It's a nice thing to have and hold.
And I'm quite surprised you want to sell this.
Well, as I say, I enjoyed it as a young boy...
Yeah, but this was your dad's. Don't you feel guilty? If this was my dad's, I'd never sell it.
Well, I feel more guilty on the basis that it's never used, never run.
We've seen the Mamod ones on the show before, and you know they fetch
around £80 to £120, maybe £150 if they're in good condition. I think this is far superior.
It's much earlier. I think we could be in for a surprise, both of us, in the auction room on the day.
Let's put it in with a cheeky £200 to £300 valuation.
-OK? It's going to do that any day of the week.
-But we'll put a fixed reserve of £200.
And hopefully the auctioneer will agree with me.
Do you want to hold it for one last time and say goodbye?
I'm going to make you feel really guilty here!
And that was Dad's and... Yeah, give it a kiss. Yeah, say goodbye.
I'll take that from you now!
-And I'll see you at the auction.
Well, we'll find out how Nigel's model engine does later.
But before that, David's examining a 19th-century pistol which has been brought in by John.
-Do you collect these?
I did think I was going to collect them a few years ago, then I went on to firing real ones, and now I've had
-to stop that, I've got rid of the real ones and I'm now getting rid of the display ones as well.
So shooting was a hobby of yours.
-It was, yes.
-And were you a good shot? Don't be modest.
No, I was never as good as I wanted to be.
Right. OK, well, this obviously is a firearm from a different era.
The first thing I would say is that it was made in the first 20 years of the 19th century.
This is borne out by the fact it has a crown, and beneath that are the initials GR, George Rex.
We can take it that it's late George III or early George IV, somewhere between 1810 and 1825, I would say.
The next thing to think about is the way it actually worked,
and what one did was to remove this part here.
You would put a little bit of powder down the barrel first, then a shot,
then you would push that home with this. Now, on a rifle, this would be called a ramrod.
Do you call it a ramrod on a pistol?
Er, yes, I think we would.
OK. And then, when you've loaded it, you push this back.
The next thing I think one would do would be to place a little bit of powder on the outside of the barrel.
And there's a tiny little hole there,
and by tilting this part back here, by lifting the cock back and pulling the trigger,
the flint, which is contained in this part here, scrapes on this part of the steel here, produces a spark,
and Bob's your uncle, there's an explosion and the bullet comes out of the end.
Now, you're a shooting man.
-How accurate were these?
-Not that accurate.
Above 30 or 40 yards, you'd be lucky to hit anything.
Well, I suppose you could do quite a lot of damage at ten yards
on that basis, but it would be something you'd use in almost hand-to-hand conflict, really.
Flintlock pistols of this type at auction
generally come down between £200 and £300, as I'm sure you know.
You've got an idea of what it's worth.
You do occasionally see slightly a fancier one with chased brass detail
and sometimes a bit of chasing here, and they can make a lot more.
But I think it's true to say that this is a fairly standard-issue piece. We need to discuss a reserve.
I don't want to hold a pistol to your head, but I would suggest 180.
-Just a little bit below 200.
-You'd hoped for more.
-I would have liked more, but...
Well, let's hope it makes more. I mean, we can't really make them pay more than they're expecting to pay.
-So we'll go with that.
-And I look forward to seeing you on the day.
-Thank you, John.
Well, that's the last of our items for the saleroom, so it's time
to get over to the auction house and see how our valuations fare.
Barry and Betty's collection of World War One memorabilia will be going under the hammer.
Hopefully, there'll be some engine fanatics at the sale, as Nigel wants
his model engine to go to a good home.
And finally, we're here to find out if there are any takers for John's 19th-century pistol.
Before we see if John's pistol sells, I caught up earlier
with auctioneer Gary Batt to get his opinion.
It looks like you're in the firing line. In fact, I should do that.
-There we go!
-I'm a bit happier now!
Early 19th-century George III flintlock pistol in very, very good condition. Standard issue.
We've got £200 to £300 on this.
Well, we HAD £200 to £300.
-That was the original estimate from your valuer.
-The vendor has asked for a specific fixed reserve of £250.
-So John's been on the phone to you.
Yes. And I think that makes it a little more tentative, really, whether we sell it or not.
I think at £200, you'd be very confident.
At £250, it might just be a bit close.
Well, unless two people were in the room prepared to buy it at £200,
in which case the price would get automatically pushed up to 250, 270, 280.
-We'll do our best.
-I think this is going to go. I think it will sell.
You've probably got your own opinion, but that's a bit of quality. That should sell.
I hope that the fact John has put up the reserve won't put the bidders off buying this pistol.
Still, I can understand he doesn't want to sell it for too little.
First, though, it's time for me to feel nervous, as it's my valuation being put to the test.
I love this next lot, obviously - it's one of my valuations!
But it belongs to Nigel here, and it's that lovely meths-driven little live engine, which is great fun.
And we've put a fixed reserve of £200 on this.
-We're not giving this away.
-I just hope we've got a few enthusiasts out here that like tinkering with things.
That's what we need.
-You need at least two, don't you?
Two tinkerers. Here we go.
This rather fun little working engine. All go.
Hours of innocent amusement.
Lot 178. Who'll start me off with this, then?
-For the mechanical amongst us.
-We need a guy that loves tinkering.
100 is bid. And 10 I'll take.
£100. And 10.
-Good, look. There's someone in the room who's keen.
130, anyone say? 130.
140. 150. 150 bid. 160. 160.
-Yeah, 170. 180. 190.
-Proper boys' thing, this, isn't it?
-190. 200. And 10.
No? At £200, then. Standing at the back at £200.
Are we all done with this lot?
-Done it! We've done it!
-Put it there.
-I am ever so happy.
Thank you. Thank you.
Nice thing to hold and talk about.
It was, yes, and as I say, I thought when I came to the valuation about a hundred.
-So that's double what I was expecting, so...
I think owning that model engine will make the buyer very happy,
and that's what it's all about, classic recycling.
Next up is Barry and Betty's collection of World War One
memorabilia, which is being auctioned by Matthew Denny.
Lovely story. I think it was the story that fixated us on the day.
-It was, Paul, it was.
Quite unusual, yeah!
Why have you decided to sell these items now?
Well, we keep moving house, and they're quite tiny, and I'm sure she'll move again...
-They're going to get lost.
-And we've a daughter, and it's better that they go to someone who'll appreciate them.
I suppose so. It's a boys' thing, really, isn't it?
It stands alone in the auction room as a piece of militaria or World War One memorabilia,
-but nevertheless I think Mark's right on the money.
-I hope so, Paul.
We've protected with a fixed reserve, because I just think this is such a wonderful story.
Well, it's your personal history, as well, so you need to protect this.
-You know that, don't you?
Good luck. Good luck, both of you. OK, this is it.
We come to the death plaque for Fred Symes. Nice thing.
Memorial plaque there and a collection of related ephemera and some trench art.
Nice little lot, and I've got £60 to start. Do you want to take 70?
-80 here. 90.
-There's someone in the room.
110. 120. 130. 140. 150.
160. 170. 180. 190.
No? 195 here. I'll take 200.
At 195. 200, if you like.
At 195 with me. 200 anywhere?
No? With me at 195, then.
-No. We just missed that one.
-We missed it.
-What, by £5?
I don't know what's happened!
By £5. We were short of £5, and the auctioneer didn't sell.
Because we had a reserve of 200, didn't we?
-Don't they have any...
Well, they should have done. I mean, did you have a fixed reserve?
We had a fixed reserve of 200, but I think they could have used a little bit of discretion on that.
Obviously, the auctioneer is acting on your behalf, as your agent, so if
-you say a fixed reserve of £200, he's got to get you £200.
If you say £200 with discretion, he can take it 10% down.
I just think, really,
for the sake of £5, common sense...
He would lose £5 just to sell it at 195.
-But you wouldn't mind getting 195?
-Not a bit. Not a bit.
Well, maybe they can find the underbidder. That's all I can say.
And then hopefully we can sell it.
But at the moment it stands as not sold.
It would be a shame to take it home, cos it may get lost!
Oh, that was so close to the reserve!
At the end of the sale, though, Mark Stacey arranged with the auctioneer
for Barry and Betty to sell their collection to the nearest bidder, and everyone went home happy.
It's time now for our final item of the day, as we test David's valuation of John's pistol.
John, I've just heard from the auctioneer you've upped the reserve.
-We're talking about that wonderful pistol, that George III military issue.
We've got £200 to £300 on this with a fixed reserve of 180, but now it's gone up to 250. Why did you do that?
I just felt if there was no-one here who was interested in that sort of thing...
And a lot of your other stuff was
china, porcelain, that sort of thing, there might not be a pistol person here,
that it might not have gone for a sensible price.
OK. Fair enough. That's fair enough.
I'm still a bit concerned, Paul.
I think an extra £70 on my original estimate - we might just have priced it out of the market.
But we'll hope for the best.
And if it was going to sell, it was going to sell anyway,
so hopefully there was no need for you to do that.
Let's find out.
Tower flintlock pistol. This is a lovely thing.
-Nice order, good-looking lot.
-It's in exceptional condition.
-Start you at £120, and I'll take 130.
At £120. I'll take 130.
Good, we've got a phone bidder.
160. 170. 180. 190.
-Pleased to be proved wrong!
340 bid, it's commission.
I'll take 360, if you like.
At £340. I'll take 360.
On the telephone, then, at 340. 360, if you like, in the room.
We're selling at 340.
No? At £340, then.
Yes! Top end and a little bit more!
Well done. No need for raising the reserve.
That's good. You've got to be happy with that.
-That was quality. Good gun.
I'm pleased. It's a good result.
Well, that went with a bang! £340.
What a fabulous result for John.
I think he's going home very happy.
Now, do you have any unloved antiques or collectables lurking at the bottom of a cupboard?
If so, we would love to see you, so please check our website
to find out where we're planning to be for our next valuation days.
Just go to:
Click F for Flog It and then follow the links to find the list of towns we're coming to very soon.
Well, that's it. It's all over for our owners.
As you can see, the auction is still going on, but at least everyone's gone home happy.
That's the name of the game, and all credit to our experts.
But there were a few close shaves there. That's not good for your nerves, is it?
But that's what auctions are all about.
So, until the next time, from Dorchester, it's goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Presenter Paul Martin is joined by antique experts Mark Stacey and David Fletcher in the Dorset town of Dorchester.
Mark examines some trench art from World War One, and David looks at a 19th-century pistol.
Paul takes a break from the antiques and heads to the Portland Bill Lighthouse where he gets a personal tour by the last lighthouse keeper to serve there.