16 Apr 2021
November 28, 2012 - Filed under: Antique Desks,Antiques on TV — Harriet

In Lancashire, the heirloom hidden away in an antique oak partners desk might be worth more than the desk itself, as a recent Flog It! episode proved.

Now in its eleventh series, Flog It! was in Greater Manchester on Friday 23th November, where it was the turn of the people of Stockport to empty their antique cabinets. Ribble Valley viewers were posed an intriguing puzzle by presenter Paul Martin at the start of the show: which out of three items would “score a belter” and sell for more than four times its estimate at auction? The choice was between an Italian shell cameo brooch, a walking cane with white metal (unmarked silver) detail, and a careworn Victorian inkwell shaped like a policeman’s helmet.

Valuation expert, Philip Serrell, was being playfully attacked with an antique truncheon at the time, which should have been a clue, because the answer was, of course, the inkwell. While both the cameo and the cane barely reached their lower estimates of £50 and £80 respectively, the intriguing antique desk toy, as Paul Martin described it, was the focus of a frenzied bidding session, eventually selling for £230 against Philip Serrell’s estimate of £30 – £50.

While Serrell had seen a similar inkwell with a price tag of £150, it was in mint condition, so his estimate reflected the fact the “well used” helmet would originally have been decorated. However, as Paul Martin pointed out, collectors can push prices sky high if they really want something, irrespective of an item’s condition.

A novelty inkstand adds a quirky touch to a Victorian oak partners desk , but Lancashire collectors can end up paying inflated prices at auction. Often, antique dealers are cheaper.

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