Last Wednesday If you were tuned into my Twitter feed, you may have noticed I attended an auction while the Flog It team were in residence. I was at Tamlyns auctions in Bridgewater, Somerset by mere coincidence. It all started with some Enid Blyton Books, but ended with a great day out at an auction.
While doing our shift at Watchet harbour antiques and collectables, I got chatting to the “book man”. He had been trading in books for over £20 years, so I told him about some Enid Blyton books I had that I wanted to sell. I had been building up a small collection of what I thought were first edition Enid Blytons. He seemed interested in them, so I took them in for him to see the next time we saw him. He wasn’t interested in them because they were all in pretty bad condition. He did give me some advice. He told me to head on over the Tamlyns in Bridgewater and see if they would sell them for me. He had been at a few of their auctions and seen Enid Blyton books sell well there. On his recommendation, I took my books to Tamlyns to get their “book man’s” opinion. I left the books with them and thought nothing about them until we got a phone call from the auction asking whether I wanted them included in the next sale. I responded to them later than I should have, hence my books were put into the June antique and collectables sale instead of the May one. While handing over my books, the lady did mention Flog It were going to be there in the future, but I assumed my items would be in a different sale. It wasn’t until I research the Flog It filming dates, that I realised that the June auction would probably be when they would be filming.
It was on the morning of the sale, that we finally knew for sure that they would be there. We had decided that we would get there early to get a good chance to look at some of the items we were interested in buying. Even though I was selling an item at the auction, it didn’t stop us buying items to sell on later too. We got to the auction and bought a catalogue, and then proceeded into their sale room. We were greeted by paper notes everywhere telling those attending that Flog It were in residence, where you could stand if didn’t want to be filmed, and who to talk to if you had any concerns. Me and my dad looked around the auction’s lots and ticked off some items were interested in buying. A few items were researched the night before, but were in poor condition so were crossed off, while other items we hadn’t noticed were suddenly the lots we wanted the most. After coming downstairs from the second viewing room, we walked back into the main auction room to see it full of camera men and women with plenty of other stuff set up too. I was keeping an eye out for the stars of the show. My dad obviously wasn’t, as he walked right past Paul Martin without even noticing. With presenter Paul Martin already there, the question was who would be the experts? I was hoping for some of the ‘better’ experts that appear on other shows too. Thankfully we did get an A team. Thomas Plant, James Lewis, and Elizabeth Talbot all arrived ready to film. As someone who watches a lot of antique programmes, these people are proper celebs to me and probably to a lot of OAPs too. It was surreal standing in an auction with some of the best in the business there as well. To top it all off, the auctioneer was BBC expert Claire Rawle. I knew I was in for an unforgettable auction experience that day.
The filming started before the auction, with Paul Martin doing a lot of presenting segments in and outside the auction. Once the auction started Paul, the member of the public selling their item, and their respective expert all got ready to talk about their item before it went under the hammer. There were four cameras being used that day. One to film the auctioneer and the back of the bidders, one to film the bidders and those bidding, one to film the presenters and experts talking with the seller, and one more camera to film the internet bids coming through. As you can imagine the auction was a hive of activity with the cameras, experts, and members of the BBC crew milling around. Claire got the auction underway by selling the first lots. My dad had marked down a vintage railway lot he wanted to buy. Considering our pitch in Watchet is about 100 yards from the Somerset railway, we like to buy up as much vintage railway stuff as we can if the price is right. We had this marked down from the night before, and after looking at it, were pleased to bid on it. It turned out it was one of the Flog It lots! the gentleman whose item it was was chatting with Paul and James about his stuff. As my dad was bidding the cameras were fixed on him. Once the item had been sold, I could overhear Paul Martin saying that my dad must have been a railway enthusiast. Sorry to disappoint, but it was only to sell on, Paul. After the item had been sold, a BBC assistant came over to my Dad to take down his details, and ask him whether he didn’t mind appearing on telly. I was standing right behind my dad so I will be on telly too. To be honest we were stood right in the filming area for most of the day, so we will probably be there throughout the whole show.
The auction carried on like nothing interesting was happening. Everyone got on with what they had to do without disrupting the flow. Every 20 or so items it was a Flog It lot. It was easy to know that the items were for the show, first of all the production assistants would write down the lot numbers on a post it to put in front of the camera to help with editing, Paul and the expert would start talking, and the Flog It items, expect the one we bought, were much better quality and much more valuable than all the other lots. It was weird hearing Paul Martin talking behind me. Without thinking I would have thought it was just a TV tuned into BBC 2. I think the BBC were making at least 2 shows if not 3 from the footage they were shooting that day. With the three experts there, they had to make it worth their while coming down to do it. The thing that impressed me the most was the sheer professionalism of Paul Martin the presenter. He had to do so many shots and takes, and yet he never got cross, angry, or upset. He genuinely seemed happy to be there and pleased he had the opportunity to do the show, and didn’t want to mess it up. He had to do the same take over and over again at least 10 times and he didn’t swear or curse once. I can’t think of many other presenters who could do that.
All the cast and crew were so friendly. There was one lad who had drawn a picture of Paul. Paul seemed really pleased to see the picture and chatted with him about it and the lad’s love of antiques. James Lewis also spoke with him for a good while about coins and collectables. It was a great atmosphere during the whole auction. Because my books were almost at the end of the auction, we were in the building for a long time. It had got quite hot inside, so we decided to go outside and get some fresh air to cool down. This was also around the same time all the BBC lot were leaving. I saw James Lewis leaving a commission bid on an item and also paying for one he had already bought. Sneaky James. It was good fortune that Tom and James came out at once and I was able to ask for a picture. They were both very friendly and probably though I was a bid odd to want a photo. As I said earlier, these guys are on the same level to me as Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Well not quite the same level, but to be honest I would be happier with a picture of two antiques dealers than two pop stars. I really enjoyed the day with some famous faces milling about. A fun time for any wannabe dealer.
My books did sell eventually, but I’ll tell you more about them later. Spoiler alert, they sold badly. I will also provide you with some info on what we bought from that auction. When the show airs on BBC I will be sure to let you guys know.