Frightful Fortunes Flog It!


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Frightful Fortunes

Paul Martin looks through the Flog It! archives for a collection of unbelievably ugly items and proves that even eyesores can reach high scores at auction.


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Hello and welcome to another series of Flog It! Ten of the Best.

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From the stunning surroundings of Syon House, here in West London.

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Now, this place is home to some truly magnificent,

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breathtaking antiques.

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Everywhere you look, it's pure quality.

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But I think it's pretty safe to say over the years on the show

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when we've travelled around the country,

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we've had our fair share of garish objects

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flooding through those valuation day doors.

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So, for today's trip through the archives,

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I've picked out ten of the ugliest items I could find to show you.

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I know it sounds awful,

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but whatever you do, keep watching, because, as I found out,

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even the ugliest of items can command the prettiest of price.

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Just take a look at this.

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First, we're off to King's Lynn where, in 2007,

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Elizabeth Talbot had a certain amount of sympathy

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for Ken's porcelain devil.

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I don't know why I'm drawn to this chap,

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but I'd like to know all you can tell me about him.

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Well, this is the reason I've come to see you

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is because I didn't know what it was or what it was used for, really.

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So, how did you come by it?

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Well, in the early 80s, I was at a little sale,

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and it was in the box with odds and bits.

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It was the other stuff I was more interested in,

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but it happened to be there.

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I think it's curious, but I never had it on display.

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-It would frighten the neighbours too much.

-That's true.

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I've never seen anything like him before.

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But I certainly think he scores 10 out of 10 for novelty value.

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-So, he's been locked away...

-25 years in the loft.

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Right, OK.

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-And you suddenly had a Spring clean and decided...

-Well, I'm downsizing.

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I'm moving into a flat.

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And it was in one of the boxes and I thought, oh!

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-There you are again!

-He's reappeared again.

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Well, what we have here is a piece of porcelain

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-which I believe is German.

-Yep.

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The mark underneath is a blue capital N

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printed beneath the Crown, and several factories used that.

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It could be one of the Nymphenburg factories.

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It's a very white, glassy body of porcelain,

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souvenir-wear that Germany was so very good at producing circa 1900,

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give or take a few years.

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So, he's not academically from a good source,

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from that point of view,

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but the features and the modelling are fantastic.

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-Very strong. Very bold.

-Yeah.

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He's got inset glass eyes,

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so a bit like the Staffordshire pottery dogs of a similar period.

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-Oh, I know!

-And also a bit like some of the teddy bears,

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and gives a really eerie stare, a sort of hypnotic look to him.

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Now, what adds to the curiosity, as I'm sure you've seen, is,

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at the back here, we have these two holes.

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And I would suggest they were intended to take an electric flex.

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Yes.

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-And a small bulb would be placed inside.

-Yep.

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Then, also curiously, at the top of his head, he has a large hole surrounded by little holes.

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If you look up his neck,

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there's a chamber inside his head

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which would take some sort of scented oils or something.

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-So, from the heat of the lamp, aromatherapy was issuing.

-Oh, I see.

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I think the larger hole would be where you'd pour in the liquid,

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-and then you'd have lots of holes, like an atomiser.

-Lovely.

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The light source inside would shine through

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this semi-translucent porcelain

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-and then, of course, through the eyes a little bit.

-Lovely.

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-You'd never sleep, would you?

-No.

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It would be nice if something smoked, wouldn't it?

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Yes, it's sort of quite eerie.

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It's quite a niche market, I think.

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Would it appeal to Goths or devil worshippers?

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It might, absolutely. A lot of those in the Stamford area.

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-You've probably seen...

-A little chip. That's always been there.

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-It's got a hairline crack just to his top lip.

-Very fine.

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Have you any guesstimate as to what you think he might get?

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Got to be worth 20 quid or 25 quid, surely.

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I would think £25-£35, that sort of region.

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A few pints down the golf club.

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So, did that devil make work for idle hands?

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We'll find out later.

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Next it's over to Derby where in 2004 I met John

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and was shocked to discover just how desperate he was

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to flog his stunning Blue John glass bowl.

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How did you come across this?

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It's been in my garage for some years.

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I used it for...not knowing that it was Blue John,

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I used it for petrol, for washing car parts.

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Do you know how valuable this is?

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I hope they'll tell me it is.

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And you've been putting oil in there,

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and putting your brush in there,

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and cleaning the nuts on the motorbike?

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Right.

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I don't believe it!

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It's perfect. There's no chips in there.

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Actually, that's quite nice. It's beautiful.

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-Well, you know, this mined locally, don't you?

-Yes.

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It's almost got that beautiful deep purple to it.

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Yes.

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Isn't that stunning?

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So, how long have you had this?

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-10 years.

-10 years?

-Car boot.

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A car boot?

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How much did you pay for it at a car boot?

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A few quid, probably £3, I should think.

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At maximum, that was.

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OK, well, look.

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Last year, I saw little bits of Blue John being mined,

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polished and cleaned up like the pendants,

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the little brooches, rings, small pieces.

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And they were making £30-£50 each.

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Sometimes £70 if the colour was right.

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Now, the colour is bang on here.

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Chatsworth House is full of this stuff.

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-Right.

-And a piece recently sold at auction last year,

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it was a tabletop.

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A little bit smaller than this.

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And I think it made somewhat in the region of about £170,000.

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Right.

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I would like to put an auction value of this,

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-bearing in mind you only paid £3 for it...

-Yes.

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..I think this is worth £300-£400.

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Right.

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-Would you be happy with that?

-Yes, I would.

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Have you got any more in the shed full of oil?

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I shall have a look now you've said that.

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And now you know it's worth £300-£400,

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don't you want to keep it?

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No.

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It doesn't light me up.

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It doesn't light you up?

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-It doesn't float your boat?

-No, it isn't a pretty thing, is it?

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-Oh, I think so.

-You do?

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Yes, especially if you can get the light on it.

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Put it on a glass shelf and underlight it,

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maybe in a sort of contemporary setting...

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It doesn't go with anything else I've got.

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I think this is quite special and we should protect it with a reserve.

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Let's put £300 reserve on at the bottom end of the estimate.

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-OK.

-And hopefully watch it fly away.

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I still can't believe that John was so underwhelmed by that bowl.

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I thought it was beautiful.

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Over to Tenby now, where in 2008,

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Kevin and Karen's extraordinary desk tidy caught Philip Serrell's eye.

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Kevin and Karen. Whose is this?

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-It's mine.

-It's yours?

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-And you want to sell it?

-I do.

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So it's his, but you want to sell it. How does that work?

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I'm just getting my own way again.

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-Again?

-Again.

-Is this the story of your lives?

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No, not really. Well...sometimes.

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-So, this is yours, yes?

-Yes.

-Where did it come from?

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It was my grandfather's, and when I was a kid,

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it was always in their house in the entrance hall.

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Some hooligan over the years... I wouldn't say ruined it,

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but, boy, have they done some damage to it. Do you know how?

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-I think that my be my fault.

-What, you're the hooligan?

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Well, as a child, it was my job to clean it with brasser.

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Why didn't you go the whole hog and use the scratch brush?

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I was 10 years old at the time. I knew no better.

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Can you remember cleanings this initially

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-and all of this was silver?

-No.

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-It never looked silver?

-It never looked silver to me.

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Well, let's start from the beginning.

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-These are rams' horns.

-Yes.

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And a lot of these are Scottish,

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and you see them with big snuff mulls

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or a centrepiece to a adorn a big sort of baronial Scottish dining table

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from about 1850s through to about 1900.

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This is quite late, actually.

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It's probably around 1900-1905.

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The fittings, and we start off

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with this sort of quite sweet little circular clock up the top,

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and then we've got our...

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-BELL CHIMES

-..our bell.

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And I wonder whether that's to ring someone

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to come and collect my post,

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-because this is actually a desk tidy.

-Yes.

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So it would have sat on your writing desk.

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And your inks would have been in here.

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And can I just show you something?

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You know you said you never remembered this being silver?

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Can you just see there?

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That's silver.

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Or it's the plate.

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You're not entirely guilty, but you haven't improved it.

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-Can you imagine all this in bright silver?

-Would've been fantastic.

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Magnificent. Absolutely magnificent.

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And so these are your inkwells.

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Pen tray here.

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A magnificent dolphin mask.

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It's a really good looking thing.

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I think it's quite a nice thing,

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and I think it's quite a funky thing.

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But the reason why I couldn't live with it

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is because of what you've done in the past.

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I think if all of this was beautifully silver-plate,

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it would look a whole different proposition.

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And then could be worth £1,000 or more.

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I think, as it is, this is worth £300-£500.

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That's my view.

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I think you need to put a reserve on it of £300,

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an estimate of £300-500.

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You might have a result in the saleroom with two people...

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You've got to want to own it.

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Oh, yeah.

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'So, did this truly vile item make a fearsome fortune in the saleroom?'

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'Now it's over to Hartlepool where, in 2007,

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'I was given the heebie-jeebies when I had to put a price

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'on Dorothy's rather gruesome surgeon's kit.'

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Dorothy, thank you so much for coming in

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and bringing me some wood, some mahogany, it's a bit of tree,

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or is it Pandora's box?

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Is there something frightening in here?

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You'll have to open it and see.

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-There is, isn't there?

-Yes, indeed.

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It's a bit of a horror movie. Here we go.

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Da-da!

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Look at that.

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Now that really does put the creeps up you, really.

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Just a bit, yes.

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It's a field surgeon's kit.

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Oh, is it?

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Wow.

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This is definitely early 20th century,

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I would say around 1910, 1920s.

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It would have been used in the First World War.

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Oh, right.

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Although I'm beginning to think,

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after looking at it a few minutes,

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that, well, I'm hoping,

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I'm really hoping that it was never used.

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It's all still very sharp.

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The tools are very sharp and they're very clean.

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I don't think it's seen a lot of wear.

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Many things haven't been taken out.

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It's not had that wear you'd expect from something in the 1910s, 1920s.

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I think it was taken on campaign in the First World War

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and hopefully not used.

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Brought back,

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put in a cupboard somewhere and forgotten about.

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I really do. Until it surfaced with your husband.

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How did he come across it?

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He got it from a colleague, who gave it to him

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because he knew that he would be responsible for this small mortuary.

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What did he do for a living, your husband?

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He was the chief environmental health inspector for the city of Ripon.

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Would he have used any part of this equipment?

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No, I wouldn't really like to think about what they've been used for.

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Not very nice.

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No. It's going to give you nightmares,

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don't think about what they used for.

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I wouldn't even say what I'd brought in case they got

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fazed out by it.

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Let's pick up the most obvious one, shall we?

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-The most gruesome one?

-Yes.

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This is definitely for amputation, isn't it?

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Oh dear.

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That is sharp. There's about seven teeth to the inch there,

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that would rip through anything. There is a maker's name.

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It's an English maker, and it's Allen & Hanbury.

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It's not the best quality surgical instruments I've seen and handled.

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Yeah. I presume it's all stainless steel so it could be sterilised.

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Yes, and it won't rust.

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Gosh.

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It does make me feel slightly queasy handling these. Oh.

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Not the sort of thing every house should have?

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It's not, but I tell you, a lot of collectors

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will be interested in this.

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So what have you done with it for the last few years then?

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It was in my husband's office until he passed away.

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Then it was put in the dining room under a table.

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But I have grandchildren now.

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You didn't want to let them find it?

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No, I don't want them to go and find it.

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Value. What do you think they're worth?

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I've no idea.

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I'd like to put them into the auction with a value of £100-200.

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-Right.

-I don't know if you're happy with that?

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Er, yes, I think so.

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-Can we do that?

-Yes, I would, yes.

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-Hopefully we'll get the top end. Shall we flog it?

-Yes, please.

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'We'll find out if Dorothy's kit cut it at auction soon.'

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'But first, let me give you a quick summary

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'of my first line-up of ghastly items.'

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It turned Elizabeth's head, so we'll see if there was hell to pay

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when Ken's devil head came up for auction in King's Lynn.

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John couldn't stand his Blue John bowl,

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but did it catch someone's eye

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when it went under the hammer in the saleroom in Matlock?

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Kevin and Karen's ram horn desk tidy was the stuff of nightmares.

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But, for one plucky bidder at auction,

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it was their dream come true.

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Dorothy's field medical kit would have given Dr Crippen

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a run for his money.

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So, was there anyone at auction brave enough to chase after it?

0:14:050:14:09

'First, let's see how Ken's demonic head fared

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'when it entered the saleroom in Stafford.'

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Coming up right now, a little devil.

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And it belongs to Ken.

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A bit of fun, this, £20-30 hopefully, hopefully a bit more.

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-That's what we looking for.

-Whatever.

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You'll either love this or hate it.

0:14:290:14:32

I had a chat to Kate, the valuer, and we both thought, it's funny,

0:14:320:14:35

we laughed at it, but wouldn't have it in our house.

0:14:350:14:37

It's a quirky thing.

0:14:370:14:39

We talked about this on valuation day, saying,

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there is a section of the market who would have it in their house.

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Fingers crossed they'll be here.

0:14:440:14:46

I think goths or devil worshippers.

0:14:460:14:48

Hang on, let's just check the saleroom for goths

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or any devil worshippers or goths in here!

0:14:520:14:54

569 it is the grotesque porcelain model of a devil's head.

0:14:540:15:00

That is so spooky, I don't like it.

0:15:000:15:03

Five quid. Five, I'm bid. At five only.

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I sell at five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. 10.

0:15:050:15:09

12. 15. 18. 20. 22. 25.

0:15:090:15:12

It's gone. It's not going home, Ken.

0:15:120:15:14

38. 40. 45. 50.

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55. 60. 65.

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You don't look traumatised, owning it for the last few years,

0:15:190:15:22

that's a good thing.

0:15:220:15:23

At 85. 90. At 90.

0:15:230:15:27

Hold it up higher, the lady can't see.

0:15:270:15:29

95, madam.

0:15:290:15:31

I sell the little devil's head then at £90.

0:15:310:15:33

Are you bidding?

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All done at £90.

0:15:350:15:38

It surprised me.

0:15:380:15:40

You are very surprised.

0:15:400:15:42

90 quid. What are you going to put that towards?

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I did say that I was going to buy the lads a drink at the golf club.

0:15:440:15:48

It's a big drink.

0:15:480:15:50

Mind you, the way the lads drink, that won't last long anyway!

0:15:500:15:55

'An awesome result.

0:15:550:15:56

'Almost trebling is this estimate.

0:15:560:15:58

'Next, it's over to Matlock to see

0:15:580:16:01

'whether John managed to find a loving home for his unwanted bowl.'

0:16:010:16:06

We came up to Derbyshire and found some Blue John, brought in by John.

0:16:060:16:09

A gorgeous little bowl. And I had a chat to James earlier.

0:16:090:16:12

I put three to four on this.

0:16:120:16:15

And, thankfully, James, the auctioneer, agreed.

0:16:150:16:18

-Right.

-We're hoping we're going to get mid estimate.

0:16:180:16:21

-Right, yeah.

-Excited about that?

-Very.

-Very!

0:16:210:16:26

This very pretty little Blue John bowl,

0:16:270:16:29

got a lovely vein going through it.

0:16:290:16:31

Good colour. And, £300 for it, please?

0:16:310:16:35

300?

0:16:350:16:36

250 if you want to start it.

0:16:360:16:39

250 bid, sir. With you at 250. 270.

0:16:390:16:42

270. 290.

0:16:420:16:44

300. 300. 320.

0:16:440:16:47

320. 340. 340.

0:16:470:16:49

360. 360, 380.

0:16:490:16:52

Let's watch it fly.

0:16:520:16:54

420. 420, 440.

0:16:540:16:57

440, 460? At 440, sir.

0:16:570:16:59

460 is it?

0:16:590:17:02

At 440.

0:17:030:17:06

440. Are you happy with that?

0:17:060:17:09

-Very. Yes.

-£440.

0:17:090:17:11

Yes, that's very good.

0:17:110:17:13

'He may have thought that bowl was ugly,

0:17:130:17:15

'but the £440 it made topped my estimate.

0:17:150:17:18

'So I'd say that was a pretty good result.

0:17:180:17:21

'The my head's on the block once again,

0:17:210:17:24

'as we go over to the saleroom in Newcastle

0:17:240:17:26

'to find out if Dorothy's medical kit managed to lure in the bidders.'

0:17:260:17:31

Right now, we've got a field surgeon's kit coming up for grabs.

0:17:310:17:34

£100-£200. I'd like to see it do that £200 like I said,

0:17:340:17:38

plus a little more.

0:17:380:17:39

We're keeping our fingers crossed.

0:17:400:17:42

It's going under the hammer right now, this is it.

0:17:420:17:45

I'm bid, straight in at 240.

0:17:470:17:52

240. 250. 260.

0:17:520:17:56

Carving up the saleroom.

0:17:560:17:57

At £260, anybody else?

0:17:570:18:01

260. 270. 280.

0:18:010:18:05

At 280. I'll take a fiver.

0:18:050:18:07

At £280, for the last time. 280.

0:18:070:18:12

Yes, £280.

0:18:120:18:15

Guess what the money's going towards?

0:18:150:18:17

It's a dormer window, that's what you want.

0:18:170:18:21

I like a window.

0:18:210:18:22

You've got a lookout on a good view, haven't you?

0:18:220:18:25

-It puts the value of the house up.

-Does it? Don't tell the council!

0:18:250:18:29

'At £280, that surgeon's kit delivered a razor-sharp result.

0:18:290:18:34

'It's truly vile, so let's see if that desk tidy

0:18:360:18:40

'managed to cut a dash in the saleroom in Carmarthen.'

0:18:400:18:44

It really did catch his eye.

0:18:440:18:45

I totally agree with his valuation as well, £300-500.

0:18:450:18:50

We're going to find out exactly what Carmarthen

0:18:500:18:52

thinks of the desk stand. Here we go, ready?

0:18:520:18:55

Start with 500? Four? 300?

0:18:550:18:59

Three? Two? Two I'm bid. At £200.

0:18:590:19:01

At 200, 200 bid.

0:19:010:19:02

At 200. 220. 250 to the lady. 250.

0:19:020:19:06

280. 280. At 300, £300 I'm bid.

0:19:060:19:10

Well, we've sold it.

0:19:100:19:12

At 320. 350. 380. At 380.

0:19:120:19:17

Four, is it? 400, £400 I'm bid.

0:19:170:19:20

And 20, 420.

0:19:200:19:21

This is good.

0:19:210:19:23

480. 480. 500.

0:19:230:19:26

500 bid.

0:19:260:19:28

At 520. 550.

0:19:280:19:30

550. 580.

0:19:300:19:32

I can't see who's bidding but this is great fun.

0:19:320:19:34

At 580.

0:19:340:19:36

They love it, absolutely love it.

0:19:360:19:38

At 580. 600 on the telephone.

0:19:380:19:39

At 600. 620.

0:19:390:19:42

620 bid. 620. 650.

0:19:420:19:45

680. 680 bid. At 680. 700.

0:19:450:19:49

Fantastic price.

0:19:490:19:51

720 bid. At 720. 50.

0:19:510:19:53

750. 80. 780.

0:19:530:19:56

780. 800.

0:19:560:19:58

50. 850. At 850. 900.

0:19:580:20:03

900 I'm bid. And 50. 950. At 950.

0:20:030:20:09

Against you there, at 950, in the room.

0:20:090:20:11

Are you all done? It's going to be sold at £950.

0:20:110:20:15

Crack!

0:20:150:20:17

Big massive great big wallop down with the gavel.

0:20:170:20:20

£950.

0:20:200:20:22

I have to say, I'd rather have 950 quid.

0:20:220:20:26

So would I!

0:20:290:20:31

These guys would as well!

0:20:310:20:32

Those ugly antiques ended up

0:20:370:20:39

making their owners a frightful fortune at auction.

0:20:390:20:42

But all that's nothing compared to what I'm about to show you.

0:20:420:20:45

On a visit to Woburn in 2003

0:20:450:20:47

I saw some really eye-watering antiques.

0:20:470:20:49

In fact, every time I think about it, it still gives me nightmares!

0:20:490:20:53

Here in Woburn, behind these pretty exteriors,

0:20:560:20:59

lurks something a little sinister!

0:20:590:21:02

And it's not for the faint of heart.

0:21:020:21:04

Be afraid, be very afraid.

0:21:040:21:08

Christopher Sykes and his colleague Sally have built a business

0:21:080:21:12

selling small, functional and often eye-watering antiques.

0:21:120:21:16

But what they specialise in is enough to make a grown man wince!

0:21:190:21:23

Oh, you'd better come in.

0:21:230:21:26

It's a case of "don't try this at home" with most of these items.

0:21:350:21:39

This is not for the faint-hearted collector, really.

0:21:460:21:48

It looks like something that Dr Crippen

0:21:480:21:50

or even Jack the Ripper might have used.

0:21:500:21:53

And they look gruesome.

0:21:530:21:54

But they are part of our social history

0:21:540:21:56

and they are precision instruments.

0:21:560:21:59

Now, how did all this start?

0:21:590:22:01

We've always dealt in scientific instruments.

0:22:010:22:04

Telescopes, microscopes.

0:22:040:22:05

And the medical instruments just came along with them because they are,

0:22:050:22:10

as you say, precision instruments which collectors adore.

0:22:100:22:14

Have you become an expert on these? Do you like this sort of thing?

0:22:150:22:18

I do like them. Yes, I do. Because they were beautifully made.

0:22:180:22:21

They were made for a job, and a job they did very well.

0:22:210:22:25

Who collects this sort of thing?

0:22:250:22:27

Doctors, museums, all sorts of people.

0:22:270:22:30

Well before I ask you for any sort of demonstrations on how they work.

0:22:300:22:34

Yes?

0:22:340:22:35

Are they highly collectible?

0:22:350:22:37

What sort of prices would somebody be paying for these things?

0:22:370:22:40

Oh, the price range is right across the board.

0:22:400:22:43

Ranging from something that's probably £10,

0:22:430:22:45

going up to this wonderful surgeon's box which is £6,500.

0:22:450:22:50

It was made around the Crimean War, about 1850 in date.

0:22:500:22:55

And was owned by a surgeon.

0:22:550:22:58

His name is actually on the top of the case here,

0:22:580:23:02

and that is Hugh Eccles Walker.

0:23:020:23:04

Beautifully made, isn't it?

0:23:040:23:06

It is, even down to the serrations in the saw

0:23:060:23:09

which stop the saw clogging when they were amputating an arm.

0:23:090:23:14

But, it is really complete.

0:23:140:23:17

Which are the top names to look out for? Who should we collect?

0:23:170:23:20

There is Weiss.

0:23:200:23:21

They really were marvellous instrument makers, makers to royalty.

0:23:210:23:27

And there's Moore as well who, again, made for royalty as well.

0:23:270:23:32

Those are just two of many of them the medical instrument makers.

0:23:320:23:36

Talk me through this tool and tell me what it was used for?

0:23:360:23:39

That one, literally, you have the spike to start the hole.

0:23:390:23:44

The spike goes into the skull. And you literally turn it.

0:23:440:23:47

I can see it, like a corkscrew.

0:23:470:23:49

Yes. Like a score corkscrew.

0:23:490:23:52

This is what's known as a Japanning instrument.

0:23:520:23:55

And, if you had a problem with your head,

0:23:550:23:59

they would actually use this

0:23:590:24:01

to withdraw a small portion of your skull.

0:24:010:24:05

But, a lot of pain.

0:24:050:24:08

Ooh. I'd say.

0:24:080:24:10

No anaesthetic.

0:24:100:24:11

I've got to show the viewers this.

0:24:140:24:16

Look at this tool roll.

0:24:160:24:18

Now this looks very familiar to all of us.

0:24:180:24:21

Sheer pain. Tell me about these?

0:24:210:24:24

They are American dental tools, obviously.

0:24:240:24:27

And, they are, as you say, gruesome.

0:24:270:24:31

They'd make your eyes water. But they are complete.

0:24:310:24:34

And obviously the dentist rolls them up,

0:24:340:24:36

-puts them away at the end of the day.

-How much would a set like that cost?

0:24:360:24:40

They would be about £80, those ones.

0:24:400:24:44

Talk me through this then?

0:24:440:24:46

Well, these are forceps for helping give birth.

0:24:460:24:50

And, as most women who are watching the programme will know...

0:24:500:24:54

-Be cringing!

-..cringing and their eyes will be watering!

0:24:540:24:57

But, collectible.

0:24:570:24:59

And made around about 18... no, sorry, about 1920, 1930.

0:24:590:25:04

And a price tag of £48 on them.

0:25:040:25:07

That's right, yes. Not something you'd hang in your sitting room.

0:25:070:25:10

-It certainly isn't.

-No, it is not!

0:25:100:25:13

But interesting for a collector.

0:25:130:25:15

Sally, there's a corkscrew on the table, what's this all about?

0:25:150:25:19

Well, now, if you were feeling a little under the weather,

0:25:190:25:23

the doctor would come along, and he'd say,

0:25:230:25:25

"There, there, dear."

0:25:250:25:28

"I think a glass of champagne each day would do you good."

0:25:280:25:32

So you didn't want to open a whole bottle each day.

0:25:320:25:35

So you had your champagne tap,

0:25:350:25:38

which you put the spike in the bottom.

0:25:380:25:42

You literally put it through the cork.

0:25:420:25:45

The spike falls to the bottom of the bottle,

0:25:450:25:48

and you could then draw off, tap off one glass, two glasses at a time,

0:25:480:25:54

without losing the fizz for the next day.

0:25:540:25:56

How very clever. And that is £95, and it's circa 1890.

0:25:560:26:02

I'll stick to keeping a silver spoon in the neck of the bottle.

0:26:020:26:05

I'll stick to drinking a bottle!

0:26:050:26:07

I should have said that, shouldn't I?

0:26:070:26:10

From chilling to charmless, as we go now to Warrington

0:26:210:26:25

where, in 2006, Nigel Smith went potty

0:26:250:26:27

for this peculiar-looking Padfoot pot.

0:26:270:26:30

Coming to this part of the world, I thought, we might see this pottery.

0:26:340:26:38

This is the only piece that's cropped up today.

0:26:380:26:40

-That means it must be a bit rare, mustn't it?

-Right.

0:26:400:26:44

-Tell me how you came across it?

-It was always at my grandma's.

0:26:440:26:49

And, just after she died,

0:26:490:26:51

I just thought, it's really old and really ugly. I can't stand it.

0:26:510:26:54

You can't stand it, good!

0:26:540:26:56

So I just thought it must be valuable.

0:26:560:26:59

It's reasonably valuable I suppose.

0:26:590:27:02

It's had quite a short life, this factory.

0:27:020:27:05

-It was actually made in Birkenhead.

-Right.

0:27:050:27:08

This is made by the Della Robbia Pottery,

0:27:080:27:12

art pottery, in Birkenhead,

0:27:120:27:14

which was founded by a chap called Harold Rathbone in 1894.

0:27:140:27:19

It finished in 1906. So there wasn't an awful lot of it made.

0:27:190:27:23

They really concentrated on classical majolica finishes, glazes.

0:27:230:27:29

OK.

0:27:290:27:30

So it's a mix of art nouveau and 15th, 16th century majolica.

0:27:300:27:36

The name, Della Robbia comes from that 15th century,

0:27:360:27:40

early 16th century family of potters.

0:27:400:27:43

Turn it over, and we can see the mark.

0:27:430:27:46

There's a little ship there. "DR" for Della Robbia.

0:27:460:27:49

And then the date, 1896.

0:27:490:27:52

One little point to note, it's got a little chip,

0:27:520:27:55

-someone's been careless with it.

-Yeah. Not me.

0:27:550:27:58

There's a little knock on it. It is made of earthenware

0:27:580:28:01

with quite a thin tin glaze on it.

0:28:010:28:06

So it's quite a soft and vulnerable pottery.

0:28:060:28:08

But very, very collectible now.

0:28:080:28:11

So, amazing, isn't it?

0:28:110:28:13

Yes, very.

0:28:130:28:15

In terms of value,

0:28:150:28:16

I think we'd be a little bit cautious because of the damage,

0:28:160:28:19

-and say maybe someone around about £150, maybe £200.

-OK.

0:28:190:28:24

-Would you want a reserve on it?

-Yes. 100.

0:28:240:28:27

-100?

-Yes.

-Well, I'd certainly buy it for £100,

0:28:270:28:29

so we must be safe with that because I'm mean.

0:28:290:28:32

So, I think it's going to make a little bit more than that.

0:28:320:28:36

-OK, fingers crossed.

-It's sought after and very collectable,

0:28:360:28:39

so I'm glad you brought it in

0:28:390:28:40

-and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

-Good.

0:28:400:28:42

But before I bring out the next part of my grotesque collection,

0:28:440:28:49

I've one or two truly unsightly items for you to feast your eyes on.

0:28:490:28:53

This majolica was in a shocking state

0:28:560:28:59

but it tickled Michael Baggott's fancy.

0:28:590:29:02

I think this has to take the biscuit.

0:29:020:29:04

What have you been doing to this wonderful bit of ceramic?

0:29:040:29:08

Not a lot, really.

0:29:080:29:10

Sadly, its condition did let it down at auction

0:29:110:29:13

and it failed to tempt anyone into taking it home.

0:29:130:29:17

Rosemary hated her Victorian wall mount

0:29:180:29:21

and begged Mark to help her get it off her hands.

0:29:210:29:24

I don't like it.

0:29:240:29:26

It's been wrapped in bubble wrap under my bed.

0:29:260:29:29

That's a shame, isn't it?

0:29:290:29:30

Because it's meant, of course, to go on the wall.

0:29:300:29:33

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder

0:29:330:29:34

and it managed to double Mark's estimate,

0:29:340:29:37

flying out of the sale room with a fearsome £200.

0:29:370:29:41

And Cheryl's Punch and Judy figures were hideous enough

0:29:420:29:45

to give everyone at Bangor valuation day the blues.

0:29:450:29:48

Nobody likes them.

0:29:480:29:49

-And you don't like them either?

-No, not really.

0:29:490:29:52

But at auction, they certainly cheered Cheryl up,

0:29:520:29:55

with a double estimate result of £190.

0:29:550:29:58

Back to my next rogues gallery of revolting objects

0:30:030:30:06

and we're over to Weston-super-Mare

0:30:060:30:08

where Michael Baggott was clocking up the value on Fred's unwanted

0:30:080:30:12

Victorian redwood timepiece.

0:30:120:30:14

You might have done yourself an injury today

0:30:160:30:18

bringing this into Flog It.

0:30:180:30:20

It's a hefty beast.

0:30:200:30:22

Can you tell me, where did you get it from?

0:30:220:30:24

I brought it at auction about five years ago.

0:30:240:30:28

Are you a clock collector, or is it something...?

0:30:280:30:31

No, just took my fancy on the day, really.

0:30:310:30:34

Well, I've got to be honest,

0:30:340:30:35

it took my fancy when I saw it on one of our valuation tables.

0:30:350:30:38

We've got, to all intents and purposes,

0:30:400:30:42

if we do that, a standard marble mantle clock.

0:30:420:30:47

And if we look at the name there,

0:30:470:30:49

we've got "Charles, Nephew & Co, Calcutta."

0:30:490:30:52

That's interesting to me

0:30:520:30:54

because they're actually a firm of silversmiths.

0:30:540:30:57

And they were set up around about 1820

0:30:570:31:00

and carried on through 1850, 1860.

0:31:000:31:03

But, as I say, it's quite ordinary,

0:31:030:31:06

and it's quite sad with that little bit of metal holding the hinge in,

0:31:060:31:10

until we move down to this dial here

0:31:100:31:12

which is something you really don't expect to see on a mantle clock.

0:31:120:31:17

And we've got a full calendar dial with a moon phase.

0:31:170:31:22

And it can be reset at the back, so you can basically tell the day of the week,

0:31:220:31:26

the day of the month,

0:31:260:31:29

which month it is, and the phases of the moon.

0:31:290:31:33

I haven't seen another clock like this,

0:31:330:31:36

so I'm assuming...there were probably others made,

0:31:360:31:40

but they weren't either popular or they weren't viable to produce.

0:31:400:31:45

They were just slightly too expensive.

0:31:450:31:47

What made you, struggling with it today, to bring it in?

0:31:470:31:51

Well, basically, this morning my wife said,

0:31:510:31:53

"Are you going to take the clock?"

0:31:530:31:55

Is it not something that your wife particularly likes or...?

0:31:550:31:58

Not too keen, I don't think.

0:31:580:32:00

I think you're probably under instructions to sell it, are you?

0:32:000:32:04

-Certainly am.

-Right.

0:32:040:32:06

I think...

0:32:060:32:08

if I can be rude, what did you pay for it at auction?

0:32:080:32:11

I paid 300 for it.

0:32:110:32:13

Now, it does need a little bit of work,

0:32:130:32:16

just a little bit of cleaning up.

0:32:160:32:18

But it's a very interesting piece.

0:32:180:32:20

Mantel clocks traditionally are very hard sellers.

0:32:200:32:24

-60, 80, £100 for a Black Slate.

-OK.

0:32:240:32:28

I think this has got enough things going for it

0:32:280:32:31

for us to get you your money back and maybe a small profit on top.

0:32:310:32:36

-So if we put it into auction at 300-500...

-OK.

0:32:360:32:40

put a fixed reserve of £300,

0:32:400:32:43

and hope that the clock and watch specialists are there

0:32:430:32:47

and are as enthralled by this calendar dial as I am,

0:32:470:32:51

-and it could go on from there.

-OK.

0:32:510:32:54

-So, are you happy to do that?

-Very much so. Thank you.

0:32:540:32:56

We'll be back in a tick to see how that monstrosity went down.

0:32:560:33:00

First, we're off to Bury St Edmunds,

0:33:020:33:04

where Brian's plates gave David Barby quite a scare.

0:33:040:33:08

I'm so intrigued by these, Brian.

0:33:090:33:11

Where did you actually get them from?

0:33:110:33:14

Well, they were given to my mother about 60 years ago.

0:33:140:33:18

Her neighbour didn't like them.

0:33:180:33:20

So my mother took a liking to them, and my mother died,

0:33:200:33:24

and, of course, I kept them, but I've never liked them.

0:33:240:33:27

Did you hang them on the wall?

0:33:270:33:29

No, my mother did.

0:33:290:33:31

So, where did you keep them?

0:33:310:33:34

-In the loft.

-In the loft?

0:33:340:33:36

So, you must have covered them up

0:33:360:33:37

because they're not encrusted with dust.

0:33:370:33:40

Oh, no, I covered them up well in a box.

0:33:400:33:42

That's the problem with these.

0:33:420:33:44

If you have them out on display, they do get rather grimy with dust.

0:33:440:33:49

And they're hard to clean.

0:33:490:33:50

Well, I think they're absolutely super.

0:33:500:33:52

They look devastating from a distance.

0:33:520:33:54

Some people say, "Oh, they're ugly."

0:33:540:33:57

Why I like them is because it's the potter's art.

0:33:570:34:00

He was able to replicate nature in such a detailed manner.

0:34:000:34:05

-Were they handmade?

-All handmade.

0:34:050:34:07

All handmade. The actual pots were made on a wheel.

0:34:070:34:11

Then all these were modelled individually

0:34:110:34:14

and I love all the detail, particularly the sliminess.

0:34:140:34:18

You can almost have a sensation of them being wet and moist.

0:34:180:34:23

Particularly this one here, with the fish and eel.

0:34:230:34:26

Extremely well done.

0:34:260:34:28

Then you've got the lizards there. Beautifully coloured.

0:34:280:34:30

Well, it must have took a lot of time.

0:34:300:34:33

For a skilled potter, probably not too long,

0:34:330:34:37

but the end product is incredible.

0:34:370:34:39

Also, when you look at this sort of grass or seaweed effect,

0:34:390:34:44

that was all hand produced and it's shredded clay.

0:34:440:34:48

They had to apply that by hand, the creatures on top.

0:34:480:34:51

Then the coloured glazes were painted in by hand.

0:34:510:34:54

Those glazes are very similar to majolica glazes

0:34:540:34:57

which were popular during the 19th century.

0:34:570:35:00

These are 19th century.

0:35:000:35:02

They're copying a French potter by the name of Palisse

0:35:020:35:06

who produced ware similar to this in the 17th century.

0:35:060:35:11

That's going back.

0:35:110:35:13

17th century. There was a revival by Portuguese potters

0:35:130:35:17

in the 19th, and they were selling to well-off tourists.

0:35:170:35:21

They would bring them back as novelties, to hang on the wall.

0:35:210:35:25

I think they're super, they're very fashionable now.

0:35:250:35:27

In the last month, the people I've shown them to

0:35:270:35:30

have said they'd never seen anything like them.

0:35:300:35:33

They should watch Flog It!

0:35:330:35:34

Well, yeah.

0:35:340:35:36

We've had several come up for sale.

0:35:360:35:39

Before I tell you about the price,

0:35:390:35:41

I would point out there is certain damage.

0:35:410:35:43

Yes, I understand that.

0:35:430:35:44

But I think they could be done.

0:35:440:35:47

That's termed as a nibble. It's quite a big nibble,

0:35:470:35:50

it's a huge bite. This one's nibbled on the edge here.

0:35:500:35:52

I note when I felt this one,

0:35:520:35:55

there's been restoration on the corner and also on the head.

0:35:550:35:58

The overall effect is there, they're not split in half.

0:35:580:36:01

You've got to expect that, the age they are.

0:36:010:36:04

Absolutely.

0:36:040:36:05

I'm sure if you hadn't put them in the loft, they'd have got worse.

0:36:050:36:08

-Oh, yes.

-Yes.

0:36:080:36:10

If these go up for sale, I would like to see a price range

0:36:100:36:13

in the region of about £300-400, that sort of price range.

0:36:130:36:18

and I think the auction house might say, because of the damage,

0:36:180:36:22

that they want a reserve at 280.

0:36:220:36:24

-Would you be happy with that reserve?

-Yes.

0:36:240:36:28

You just want to get rid of them.

0:36:280:36:30

Well. They're no use to me.

0:36:300:36:32

Before we see how this line-up of atrocious items performed

0:36:340:36:37

when they went to auction, let me give you a quick recap.

0:36:370:36:42

This little Padfoot pot was old and ugly,

0:36:420:36:46

but did it make big bucks at auction?

0:36:460:36:50

Fred's wife hated this Victorian redwood clock,

0:36:500:36:53

but at auction you will see that more than a few bidders

0:36:530:36:56

were struck by its allure.

0:36:560:36:58

Brian thought his ornamental plates were unsightly

0:36:580:37:01

and a total nightmare to clean,

0:37:010:37:02

so let's see if they mopped up a good price,

0:37:020:37:05

as we head over to the saleroom in Diss.

0:37:050:37:09

'He might not have loved them

0:37:090:37:11

'but Brian still wanted to protect them with a higher reserve.'

0:37:110:37:15

Go on, tell us what you've done, because David doesn't know.

0:37:150:37:18

I went into the library and looked at the book,

0:37:180:37:20

and it says £600,

0:37:200:37:24

£550 each.

0:37:240:37:26

As a price guide, each plate, £500.

0:37:260:37:30

So what have you left on each plate now then?

0:37:300:37:32

Or on the whole lot, we've got four plates?

0:37:320:37:34

-£600.

-£600 as a fixed reserve.

0:37:340:37:38

I think they're startling. I love them, as Paul does, because

0:37:380:37:41

-they're a potter's delight.

-They're quirky. They're Victoriana.

0:37:410:37:44

A wonderful example of a potter's art.

0:37:440:37:46

We'll just have to see if somebody else here gets the same sensation.

0:37:460:37:50

-It's basically down to the people in the room.

-Absolutely.

0:37:500:37:53

I'm afraid there has been a change of estimate.

0:38:090:38:13

They are now estimated at 600 to 800. I'm going to start at £380,

0:38:130:38:19

Where's 400? 400, 420.

0:38:190:38:22

450, 480.

0:38:220:38:24

480, where's 500? 480 now, where's 500?

0:38:240:38:29

500, 520.

0:38:290:38:31

550, 580.

0:38:310:38:33

600 and I'm out!

0:38:330:38:36

On the left at 600, do I see 20?

0:38:360:38:38

For your money at £600, do I see 20?

0:38:380:38:40

I'm selling for £600!

0:38:400:38:44

-The hammer's gone, we didn't have to worry in the end.

-That's true.

0:38:440:38:48

And you haven't got to cart them home, clean them and wrap them up.

0:38:480:38:52

-All's well that ends well, really.

-That's right.

0:38:520:38:55

Not a shocking result,

0:38:550:38:57

but at least Brian managed to shift those ugly plates.

0:38:570:39:01

Next we're off to the saleroom in Knutsford to find out

0:39:020:39:05

if Raynor's unsightly Padfoot pot stamped out a good price.

0:39:050:39:11

This next lot has got to go because it is so ugly.

0:39:110:39:14

And, I didn't say that, it's owner, Raynor did.

0:39:140:39:18

There's a bit of local interest

0:39:180:39:20

because it's Birkenhead, just down the road.

0:39:200:39:23

A Padfoot pod, if you had the choice right now, 200 quid or the pot?

0:39:230:39:28

It's got to be the 200 quid, hasn't it? Me, as well.

0:39:280:39:31

What would you do, Nigel?

0:39:310:39:32

-I'd have the pot.

-You'd have the pot.

0:39:320:39:34

-See, he'd have the pot.

-I like it, it's scarce stuff.

0:39:340:39:37

It is, actually.

0:39:370:39:38

-It was grandma's, wasn't it?

-It was, yes.

0:39:380:39:40

What are you going to do when you replace this pot?

0:39:400:39:43

I'm either going to put it towards my wedding dress

0:39:430:39:46

or I'm going to buy a picture I like.

0:39:460:39:48

-OK.

-It's definitely going to be something.

0:39:480:39:50

So you're getting married?

0:39:500:39:52

-Next year, yeah. Well, soon-ish.

-Soon-ish.

0:39:520:39:54

356, Della Robbia vase.

0:39:540:39:57

150 to start me...

0:39:590:40:01

Is bid, 160, 170, 180. No, 180 with me.

0:40:010:40:05

Any more? 190 on the phone.

0:40:050:40:08

At 190, is it 200? 200 here, 210.

0:40:080:40:12

220, 230.

0:40:120:40:15

240, 250.

0:40:150:40:18

260, 270.

0:40:180:40:21

280, 290.

0:40:210:40:24

300, 320.

0:40:240:40:27

340... 360.

0:40:280:40:32

-This is fantastic.

-380, 400.

0:40:320:40:35

420? £400 on this phone.

0:40:370:40:39

At £400, at 400 and we're all done, are we?

0:40:390:40:42

At £400, any more at 400?

0:40:420:40:46

-Yes, the hammer's gone down, £400! How about that?

-Fantastic.

0:40:460:40:50

You've got to put that towards the wedding dress.

0:40:500:40:52

You've got to look so gorgeous on that special day.

0:40:520:40:55

Thank you so much for coming in.

0:40:550:40:57

-Thank you.

-I've just got to ask Nigel one question now.

0:40:570:41:00

Would you take the Della Robbia pot or the 400 quid in cash?

0:41:000:41:03

400 in cash, I think.

0:41:030:41:05

That was one outrageous fortune, doubling Nigel's estimate.

0:41:060:41:11

We're heading over to Somerset now for our last lot,

0:41:130:41:16

Fred's unwieldy, Victorian clock.

0:41:160:41:20

I've never seen the perpetual calendar segment in a clock before,

0:41:200:41:24

so it's pretty much a guess in the dark for me.

0:41:240:41:26

What attracted me to it was the retailers,

0:41:260:41:28

who are Indian-Colonial silversmiths, that's why I had to do it!

0:41:280:41:34

What it makes is anybody's guess.

0:41:350:41:37

We'll just have to see when it comes under.

0:41:370:41:39

We'll find out right now, Good luck.

0:41:390:41:41

Lot 360 is the perpetual calendar mantel clock.

0:41:410:41:47

Quite a mouthful there, what can we say? A lot of clock.

0:41:470:41:50

-A lot of clock, Fred.

-Not half.

0:41:500:41:52

300 I'm bid. 350 I'll take.

0:41:520:41:55

-350, 400.

-It's gone straightaway.

0:41:550:41:58

450, 500, 600, 700, 800.

0:41:580:42:01

-What?!

-900, 1,000.

0:42:010:42:03

1,050, I'll take 1,100.

0:42:060:42:09

1,000 in the room. And 50?

0:42:100:42:13

1,200?

0:42:130:42:15

-Fresh bidder in at £1,150. 1,200?

-Incredible.

0:42:150:42:19

All done, selling at £1,150.

0:42:190:42:24

Unbelievable! Yes!

0:42:240:42:27

-1,150! That's just amazing.

-It's fantastic.

0:42:270:42:31

Gosh, you're right, Michael, quality always sells.

0:42:320:42:36

If you'd have known it was that rare, would you want to keep it?

0:42:360:42:39

-No, I think we were keen to get rid of it.

-OK.

0:42:390:42:43

-So, very happy with the result.

-And spend the money on the house.

0:42:430:42:46

-Spend the money on my wife, actually.

-Oh, right, OK.

0:42:460:42:50

A little present for her.

0:42:500:42:52

Now I know Fred's wife thought that clock was very ugly,

0:42:570:43:00

but I bet she found the price it sold for at auction very attractive.

0:43:000:43:05

It just goes to show, eyesores can sometimes mean high scores,

0:43:050:43:08

especially when it comes to the saleroom.

0:43:080:43:11

If you've got any ugly antiques that you don't want,

0:43:110:43:14

hiding in your attic, or in your cellar, we'd love to see them.

0:43:140:43:17

Bring them along to one of our valuation days and we'll help you

0:43:170:43:20

find a new home for them.

0:43:200:43:22

Sadly that brings us to the end of the show.

0:43:220:43:24

Thank you for joining me on our little trip

0:43:240:43:26

through the Flog It archives.

0:43:260:43:27

Do join me again soon but, for now from Syon House, it's goodbye.

0:43:270:43:31

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:310:43:34

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:340:43:37

Paul Martin looks through the Flog It! archives for a collection of unbelievably ugly items and proves that even eyesores can reach high scores at auction.

A hideous ram's horn desk-tidy stops expert Philip Serrell in his tracks - but makes its owners an outrageous fortune, and an unwieldy Victorian timepiece clocks up a great result at auction in Somerset.

Paul also heads off to Woburn to check out some truly eye-watering antiques.