THE hammer came down on a day of auction excitement as TV show Flog It! visited an icy Sheffield, writes Sarah Crabtree.
Heirlooms given the once-over at a Cutlers’ Hall valuation day last month arrived at a packed saleroom at Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley, and many went for well over their estimates with storming sale prices.
Meg Scott, aged 64, from Stannington, slipped on ice on the way to the auction and cut her knee - worth it when her chipped and cracked Staffordshire pearlware ‘moralising mantelpiece ornament’, valued at £80 to £120, sold for £600.
Meg bought the 19th century pottery, inscribed ‘Prepare To Meet Thy God’, from a Broomhill charity shop two years ago for just £14.99.
“I’m shaking!” laughed the retired Hallamshire Hospital nurse. “It had so much damage. I will of course be giving the shop a donation.”
Retired headteacher Pat Hall, 74, from Bradway, made £980 when excited phone-bidders competed for her George III silver tankard, valued pre-sale at £300 to £500.
It belonged to her late partner Ellis Solomon, who lived in New York as a boy with his parents. They lost everything in the 1929 Wall Street Crash, Ellis was shipped back to Britain alone, and was given the tankard by his Boston auctioneer uncle before he set sail.
“He told him, ‘Sell this if you ever need money’,” said Pat. “Ellis kept it all his life, and it was part of his estate when he died this year.”
Susan Turton, 63, from Wadsley, made £1,500 from a set of Beatles, Small Faces, The Hollies, Cilla Black, The Searchers and The Tremeloes autographs she collected as a teenager.
“I’m a bit tearful,” said the retired clerical assistant. “I’ve had them since I was 14, that’s a part of my life that’s just gone under the hammer.
“I used to go to all the concerts, then get up early next morning and wait outside the hotels for a glimpse of the stars. The Beatles were lovely - they recognised us outside The Grand Hotel in Barker’s Pool in 1963 and invited us in to speak to them.
“I can’t believe how much they’ve sold for.”
Jane Taylor, 52, from Hillsborough, made £580 from a bizarre electronic funfair advertising figure, found in the cellar of her new house in Hillsborough.
“My partner Keith Ashton wanted to skip it!” she said. “We didn’t really think it had any value. Our friend Mick Ward went to the valuation with some other things, and he showed expert James Lewis pictures on his phone. James asked how quickly he could bring it in! If it had been working it could have been worth £3,000.”
Kath and Alan Varney from Lodge Moor made £165 from an engraved silver tray belonging to Alan’s late mother Freda.
She worked for 30 years as housekeeper to city alderman Sir Stuart Goodwin, and the tray was a gift from the Goodwins to Freda and husband Ernest for their silver wedding anniversary in 1965.
“The Goodwins were very generous employers,” said Alan, 67, a company director. “Their house on Manchester Road in Crosspool is offices now but it was fabulous inside. As a child I used to sweep their leaves, and Sir Stuart would pay me with a crisp 10 shilling note. He had his own supply at the bank.”
Show host Paul Martin said the day had been ‘brilliant’.
“We’ve had some great results, one or two surprises, and it’s been an experience for quite a few people who’d never been to an auction before,” he said.
“My highlight was the £14.99 pearlware sold for £600. That’s what Flog It! is all about - making people aware what to look out for. There are some incredible things out there.”