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Valuing antiques is an acquired skill, but after almost two years of working alongside The Hour's expert Anita Manning, Stephen Jardine and Michelle McManus feel they’ve picked up a few tips that might just help them land themselves a real bargain.
So Anita decided to put the pair to the test, and get them to value a box of items she had hunted out, that would really stretch their skills.
The first thing Michelle dug out was a blue vase, which she soon found lots of information on the internet on. “My first item here was relatively easy because it’s really well hallmarked at the bottom, it tells me that it’s Keith Murray and it’s Wedgwood, and when I Googled this one what helped me a lot was the D and the H on there [markings on the bottom].” She added: “There’s an actual replica in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.”
Michelle guessed that her vase was from around 1935 but found it hard to get a good idea of price, because the last auction of a vase like this was held in 1992. She eventually settled on a guess of between £200-£250.
Stephen on the other hand was given a miniature steam tractor, which he also founds lots of detail on. “My first object is a lovely thing, a Mamod steam tractor so it’s a working miniature steam tractor from the company Mamod which was formed I think in 1936 in the West Midlands, the home of engineering I suppose at that time,” he said.
“I’ve seen them at auction today at around £150 upwards, but I think more than that. This is a working model, the packaging is pretty good which you always tell us about, so I would say around £200.”
But it was Michelle who won this particular challenge, with Anita telling her she was “spot on” with the information and the price.
Michelle was slightly less confident about her second item. “This is where it all goes spectacularly wrong for me Anita,” she said. “For this item here I was completely unable to get any information on this on the internet because I didn’t really know what it was, I thought it might be elaborate ashtray or something, or an ornament or something.
“But based on the little dragon here I knew it was oriental so I thought maybe [from] China, I think it’s silver it’s made of because of the hallmark, and I think the dish at the top is mother of pearl.” She continued: “It looks quite art deco to me and it looks like it could just be a lovely ornament to me, I wasn’t sure what it was.”
Unsure of exactly what she was dealing with, Michelle guessed that her item might have a rough value of between £150-£200.
Stephen had more luck with his second antique, however. “These two are Stevengraphs, which were created by Thomas Stevens back in 1876 and it’s a form of silk printing which was in Coventry, I think. These two scenes here, both are the same theme, the start and the finish racing scene, and from 1879 they started producing this particular scene and started doing it right through until the early days of the 20th century,” he said.
Stephen was spot on with his information – but Michelle won the challenge overall, with her knowledge of the value of her items impressing antiques expert Anita, landing her The Hour trophy, which Stephen previously held for winning an archery contest.