Bargain Hunt came to Rye on Friday 15 October and set up camp at Rye Auction Galleries where they put out one of their programmes ‘live’.
Tim Wonnacott fronted a BBC team. Presenters, Directors, Experts, Cameramen, Sound Men, Lighting Technicians, Make-Up Girls, Outside Broadcast People, Editors etc. etc. They even had their own security people.
Auctioneer Andrew Paine was filmed with Tim Wonnacott doing the ‘estimates’ section of the programme. Here he put the Rye Auction valuation on each article the Red and Blue teams had purchased at Newmarket Antique Fair and was then told how much they had paid for each item. Judgement would come when he later put the hammer down on these lots and found the only true valuation – the amount the bidders were prepared to pay!
By an amazing coincidence a cloak used by Elton John in his 1967 American Tour and sold by Tim Wonnacott in the famous Rock Star’s Auction at Sothebys in 1988 was being offered again at the Rye Gallery for this sale. Tim mentioned this in the programme while wearing it Superman style.
Tim Wonnacott discovered a Rye Pottery Pig among the lots and decided to feature the “won’t be druv” inscription on the neck in the programme. He explained to viewers that the pigs were used at weddings for toasting the bride & groom and because of this particular pig’s age and rarity it would make between £300 and £400. He was proved exactly right in the sale, the little pig, manufactured at Belle View around 1900, realised £340.
The Red Team, Joe and Dean, a father and son partnership, were up against the Blue Team, mother and daughter Paulene and Meleena. Each team purchased three items at Newmarket with the help of experts Colin Young and James Braxton. These purchases were forwarded on to Rye Auction Galleries for inclusion in their October Mid Month Sale. The six lots, plus two the experts had purchased at the same Antique Fair, were lotted up and included in the Auction Catalogue. The Blue Team were the winners making a small profit of £6 against the Red’s loss of £8.
The programme went out for an hour starting at 11.30 am. The whole event was controlled from the Galleries and sent via satellite to the broadcasting studios. The BBC team, from presenter Wonnacott down to the Chief Gofor were faultless and the whole event went off in fine style.
Auctioneer Andrew Paine, already a star from previous appearances on another BBC programme, Flogit, further enhanced his reputation as a television performer. The staff and customers at the galleries were highly praised by the BBC Director for their willing co-operation.
The Rye Galleries are becoming a favourite for television presentations, there are already rumours afoot that another antiques programme will be visiting Rye in the winter.
The two ‘Flogit’ programmes made recently are due to be screened in the new year and a repeat of this Bargain Hunt will probably be shown around the same time. The BBC have promised to furnish the Rye Galleries with times and dates as soon as they become available. These will be published in “Rye’s Own” and included in the relevant Auction Catalogues.
From “Rye’s Own” November 2004