Collecting antiques is an addictive hobby and the longer you keep your treasures, the more valuable they may become and in an upcoming episode of TV’s The Yorkshire Auction House, the staggering proof of this is there for all to see.
In the latest episode of the series, which airs on Monday, June 6 at 9pm on Really, Angus Ashworth, the star of the show who runs Ryedale Auctioneers in Kirkbymoorside, was amazed at the result after he put one collector’s items under the hammer.
Angus was called by grieving sisters Deborah and Janet after the death of their brother Kenneth. In the ordinary house he shared with Deborah in Norfolk was an extraordinary amount of antiques, including silverware, clocks and artwork, all carefully boxed.
“Kenneth died from a blood clot to his heart when he was just 52 years old,” Deborah says. “I think we’re all finding our own way to deal with that loss and the void that it leaves. Kenneth had a real passion for silver, for bits of gold, anything that sparkled, anything that had sentiment and history. We don’t have that passion and it felt wrong to keep his collection in boxes.”
With reminders of their brother everywhere in the house, Deborah and Janet agreed that the time had come to sell his collection.
“It is very strange with him not being around and then coming into a room and seeing a box of this and a box of that. It just brought us down and it’s not the right memory for Kenneth, so we’d much rather let him move on so that we can move on,” says Deborah.
Angus Ashworth is amazed by what he discovers. “My word, every box is full, isn’t it?” he says. Starting in Kenneth’s bedroom, he discovers an antique silver tray, several ceramic pots and much more. Among the assortment of items is a spirit kettle, which catches his eye. Spirit kettles are estimated to fetch between £500-£800 so it’s no wonder Angus is excited by the find.
Working through the house, the auctioneer trawls through box after box with his two trainees, Harriet and Charlotte, finding more gems as they go. A keen collector of timepieces, Kenneth’s carriage clocks are also stand out items, especially the Victorian era regency urn clock. “Very, very nice. Just an elegant piece. Kenneth really did have an eye for quality,” says Angus.
The property’s summerhouse is also filled to the rafters with collectables. With his van filling up, it dawns on Angus that Deborah and Janet could be looking at a very handsome profit once the items go to auction.
“I can’t even count how many lots of silver there are but there’s a lot of money here. It adds up,” he says. “There’s going to be potentially an excess of well over £10,000 just in silver.”
But for Kenneth’s sisters, allowing The Yorkshire Auction House team and the film crew in to take their brother’s collection for auction in Yorkshire was about more than money. “Today is about a tribute to Kenneth, to celebrate his life,” says Deborah. “The only sad thing about it is he would have loved today.”
Three weeks after collection and with all Kenneth’s antiques itemised, the auction day in Kirkbymoorside gets underway with Janet and Deborah there watching. Among the 451 lots are 41 stamp albums, which Angus expects to fetch a good price. “The stamp collection, I think, will be the big surprise,” he says.
Making an early appearance is the late Victorian urn clock, one of Angus’ favourite pieces, which brings a handsome £500. Off to a strong start, the popular auctioneer breathlessly works his way through each item, the bids come in and the pounds begin totting up, including £1,600 for a silver tray, £560 for the silver spirit kettle, £240 for a silver tea set, and on it goes.
With hundreds of lots sold, Angus swiftly moves onto the stamp collection and each album goes for in excess of hundreds of pounds with a set of turn-of-the-century Indian stamps attracting £500. Overall, the 41 albums bring in £7,096.
Eventually, after six breathless hours, Angus sells the last of the 451 lots, a painting, Man of Sorrows, which brings £1,600.
After a marathon day of auctioneering, Angus joins up with Deborah and Janet to reveal how much Kenneth’s items sold for, and they are in for a surprise. He says: “I know this was never about the money for you, it was about finding homes for Kenneth’s items but you’ve got £44,560,”
Despite being over £44,000 better off, for Deborah and Janet, it was never about the money, but about cherishing their late brother’s memory and passing on his collection to others who will appreciate the items he invested in. “It makes me happy knowing that what Kenneth collected has been really appreciated,” Deborah says. “I think we’re lost for words, actually,” Janet adds, close to tears.
For the sisters, a day at the auction house was the perfect way to celebrate their late brother’s life. Deborah says: “The auction went really, really well and Kenneth’s collection was really well received. If Kenneth could have been here he would have loved it.”
*This moving episode of The Yorkshire Auction House airs at 9pm on June 6 on Really, and available to stream on discovery+