Lights, camera, action as Dickinson’s Real Deal comes to Cirencester

8th August 2017

TV antiques expert David Dickinson brought his Real Deal show to Cirencester today (Friday, August 4) – and served up a feast of “bobby dazzlers”, which proved anything but “cheap as chips”.

Chief among them was a silver-plated meat platter, from which royal visitors to Cheltenham Racecourse – home of the prestigious Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup – had been served a race day meal since the late Victorian period.

From around 1880 the platter took pride of place in the royal box at Cheltenham Racecourse. But when the royal box was replaced to make way for the £45m Princess Royal Stand five years ago, the platter was moved into storage – where it has remained ever since.

So when Dickinson put the call out to the people of Cheltenham to bring their treasures to the racecourse for valuation last month, the host venue wheeled out the meat platter, dusted it off, and offered it for sale – announcing all proceeds would go to The Injured Jockeys Fund.

The format of Dickinson’s Real Deal sees antiques dealers offer owners a cash-in-hand sum for their antiques. The owners can decide whether to sell on the spot, or take a gamble at auction.

Having turned down a cash offer in excess of £1,000 from the dealer, the platter was brought to Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester for auction.

And in an auction first, discovering that one of the most determined bidders – a telephone bidder – spoke only French, auctioneer Philip Allwood decided to conduct the auction of the lot bilingually. It paid off, as the French collector placed the highest bid – narrowly beating an underbidder in the room.

Meanwhile, sticking to his native tongue, David Dickinson said of the platter: “It has rarity, it has prestige, it has provenance.”

Viewers will have to wait until the programme screens on ITV in January to find out what the lot achieved – suffice to say it made the top price of the day, and The Injured Jockeys Fund will get the whole sum, as the auctioneers waived their commission and fees.

Elsewhere on Real Deal, Mike and Wendy Booth hoped to strike it lucky with the sale of the matchstick men featured on a limited edition fairground themed print after LS Lowry - ‘Good Friday, Daisy Nook’.

Jean Givens was hoping the gods would be with her as she brought to auction two two six-inch tall Tibetan bronze statues of deities.

And Reece Booth was hoping for a princely sum from the sale of a Franklin Mint doll as Diana Princess of Wales wearing the ‘Elvis’ dress designed by Catherine Walker, worn to the British Fashion Awards in 1989.

Outside of the Real Deal lots there was another royal connection to get bidders excited: thirty five Christmas cards sent – and signed by – the Queen and Prince Philip, and dating from between 1959 and 2001.

The Queen has been sending official Christmas cards to friends and employees every year since her accession in 1952. The cards have created a fascinating record of the Royal Family growing year by year, with photographs taken by The Duke of York, Lord Snowdon, and official photographers.

Sold over 11 lots of three cards, and one lot of two, the cards achieved a total of £1,530, against an auctioneer’s estimate of £850 to £1,100. The top individual lot price was the £280 paid for the earliest cards – those from 1959, 1960 and 1961.

And as the nation marked the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele, another Great War battle was recalled with the auction of a set of World War I medals and ephemera including photographs, letters, and newspaper cuttings.

The memorabilia related to the assault on the Sambre Canal towards the end of the war. German field guns pounded the banks of the canal while machine gunners picked off individual British soldiers. Barbed wire hampered their progress.

Days later the Daily Sketch told its readers how our troops ‘Waded Their Way To Victory’. It pictured hundreds of soldiers who swam or waded the canal to secure the bridge that would be used to advance the British guns. A copy of the newspaper was included in the collection, as was a creased copy of the original photograph.

In a printed letter to those who saw action at the canal – a copy of which was in the collection – General Sir Henry Rawlinson, Commander of the Fourth Army, wrote: “The forcing of the main Hindenburg line on the Canal, and the capture of Bellenglise, ranks as one of the finest and most dashing exploits of the war.

“The attacks of October 3rd and the subsequent operations about Bohain, together with the later advance beyond the Sambre Canal, constitute a record which all ranks of the Division may justly feel proud.”

The lot also contained several portrait photographs of Private Frederick Frost of the North Staffordshire Regiment, to whom the medals had been awarded. A bid of £150 to £200 was expected, so the auctioneers were delighted with a winning bid of £580 – the third highest lot price of the day.

Press release issued on behalf of Moore Allen & Innocent. Property Consultants and Managers. Land and Estate Agents. Auctioneers and Chartered Surveyors. 01285 646050.

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