BBC antiques expert Catherine Southon to auction Bromley's hidden treasures
PUBLISHED: 11:34 08 November 2012
A Persian dagger, rare photographs of The Who and an intricately designed ivory playing card case - these are just a drop in Bromley's previously undiscovered antique ocean.
The decision of television antiques expert Catherine Southon to set up her own auctioneers has seen her discover some of the borough’s rare and lesser spotted items.
Unearthing gems was relatively easy during a series of valuation days around Bromley, partly because the area has been devoid of auction houses.
“When I do various talks around Bromley, people are always coming up to me and telling me they have this and that and asking where can they sell it,” said Catherine.
Three experts, including Catherine, cast their eyes over family heirlooms and treasured items brought in by residents during a recent valuation day in Bromley, which will be auctioned off in Croydon later this month.
Many of the so-called antiques were turned away and anything valued at more than £60 was selected to be sold, with Catherine taking a commission from the sale.
She said: “They would come to our desk with plastic bags of things bursting open. There’s so much we had to choose from.
“We’ve got an eclectic mix which include high-quality jewellery, artworks, toys and musical instruments to name a few.”
The items include a pencil drawing titled Brutus by Sir Edwin Landseer – creator of the four lions which guard the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. His work is valued at between £800 and £1,200.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are collectable toys, such as a 1960s milk lorry that is priced between £40 and £50.
Though she submerses herself in items from the past, Catherine herself is not a keen collector, though she does admit to owning a small amount of auctioneers’ gavels.
The thought of picking up the hammer again is a welcome one after spending so much time in front of a camera as part of the team of experts on BBC shows such as Bargain Hunt and Flog It!
“I have been away from it for years and have missed it, so it will be nice to get back up to the front again,” she said.
“The pressure has been immense and I feel a little like I’m going to explode, but once that first hammer drops it will have all been worth it.”
Catherine learned her trade at world famous auction house Sotheby’s in Bond Street and it was there that she first applied to become a television expert.
A decade after her first screen test, she is now a regular face on the daytime screen and has learned to spot trends in the industry.
She added: “At the minute furniture is really struggling, especially brown, wooden furniture.
“People just don’t want it – they’re going to shops and buying things new that are double the price and half as striking.
“Preserving British antique heritage is really important and an investment. It’s far more exciting and rewarding to own a rare Georgian tea service than stocks and shares.”
One of the most expensive lots for Catherine’s first auction is an Elizabethan silver spoon.
It was made about 1600 and expected to reach a price of £2,500.
The auction of Bromley’s treasure trove will take place on November 15 from 11am at The Chateau in Coombe Lane, Croydon.
Items will be available to view on November 14. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.