Lichfield cutlery firm joins us for the Real Deal with David Dickinson on ITV1
TWO family-owned Lichfield businesses have appeared on the same episode of one of Britain’s most-watched television programmes.
The 19th series of Dickinson’s Real Deal is currently being broadcast on ITV1.
The show sees members of the public initially bring their antiques and collectables to a Dealer Day for a free valuation before deciding whether taking a cash offer or gambling at auction will be the Real Deal.
The episode which aired on Friday, January 19, featured auction scenes with Richard Winterton at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Fradley, and celebrity antiques expert David ‘The Duke’ Dickinson talking to Simon Price, CEO of cutlery manufacturer Arthur Price.
Simon visited the Fradley Park saleroom because of a personal connection with one of the lots featured on the programme – a Titanic souvenir signed by Millvena Dean, the last living survivor of the sinking and, at two months old, the youngest passenger onboard.
Founded in 1902, Arthur Price supplied cutlery for the White Line, Titanic’s owner. Arthur Price cutlery has been found in the wreck and been verified by deep-sea explorers.
Arthur Price has since produced limited edition silver-plated spoons modelled from the original die on the pattern used on the Captain’s table.
Number 1 of 89, bearing Millvena Dean’s signature on the bowl of the spoon, and commemorating her 89th birthday in 2001, was brought to a Dealer Day at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull in May last year by Tom Reeves.
Tom’s framed spoon included a certificate with a personalised inscription – “To Tom and Gail, with every good wish from Millvena Dean, youngest survivor of the Titanic” – dated September 19, 2001.
“I used to work for the company that supplied all the cutlery for the Titanic,” said Tom.
“The spoon is made from the genuine dies that made the cutlery originally in 1912.
“The company did 89 of these on Millvena Dean’s 89th birthday.”
He added: “I acquired replica newspaper articles over a period of time to put with it along with a copy of the posters that they did at the shipyard in Belfast before Titanic came to Southampton.”
Dealer Fay Rutter offered £80 but Tom opted for the experience of auction, with David Dickinson adding: “I think they’ve got something here that just titillates the public imagination. I think it’s desirable.”
By a quirk of fate, Tom worked for Simon’s grandfather Frederick Price at Parkfield Rolling Mills in Saltley, Birmingham, a manufacturing firm used to produce Arthur Price cutlery.
When auctioneer Richard Winterton found out about the connection, he invited Simon to meet Tom and watch the auction together.
Fast forward to the auction day in June 2023 and Simon was interviewed onscreen by ‘The Duke’ discussing the Titanic cutlery and a letter from an explorer who in a submersible visited the wreck at the bottom of Atlantic Ocean and recognised the Arthur Price cutlery in the ship’s copper dishwasher tanks.
Going under the hammer with Richard Winterton, Tom’s lot sold well at auction and he took home £82 to put towards a holiday – definitely the Real Deal.
Simon said: “It was tremendous fun going along to the auction and meeting David, and it was a fantastic surprise to meet Tom, who worked for my grandfather.
“It was also a special moment being able to share the story of Arthur Price’s involvement with the Titanic on TV.”
David Dickinson also signed the We Love Lichfield celebrity t-shirt of which Simon is the patron.
The Community Fund, which raises and distributes grants across Lichfield District, hopes to auction the t-shirt, which has more than 40 signatures, to raise further funds in the future.
Simon said: “My thanks to David for taking the time to sign our We Love Lichfield charity shirt. He wanted to know more about the work the fund does and the people it helps.
“By signing the t-shirt, he adds to the amazing list of celebrities who have put their name to the fund, and in doing so helping others.”
Richard Winterton added: “I have known Simon for many years and when Tom came to the Dealer Day with his history linked to Arthur Price, it was a perfect connection and so I had to invite Simon along to meet him.
“Not only are our firms Lichfield companies each more than 100 years old, we are both committed supporters of We Love Lichfield and I also wish to say a big thank you to David Dickinson for his kind support.”
Series 19 episode six of Dickinson’s Real Deal, ‘Solihull 2’, can be viewed on demand here.