National Antiques Week aims to promote antiques, vintage and collecting. Over the past year, a growing number of young people have seen the value and individuality of antiques, and the thrill of the hunt, and begun to buy antiques and vintage pieces for their homes. Furthermore, a report commissioned by the antiques trade from industry experts Carbon Clear has found that an antique chest of drawers is 16 times more eco-friendly than a modern, flatpack equivalent. Antiques really are green!

This year you can benefit from a number of FREE special offers and events:

Enter a free competition to win: – First Prize: An Edwardian mahogany mantel clock, courtesy of Antiques Are Green – Second Prize: Over £200 worth of Miller’s antiques and collectables books, courtesy of Miller’s – To enter the competition, please click here.

FREE entry to selected antiques fairs during November 2010 – To download a free ticket, please click here – To see a list of participating fairs, please …

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Although the weather was nowhere near as good when I went in June with my Cracking Antiques co-presenter Kathryn Rayward, I still had a cracking day out at Ardingly antiques and collectables fair in Sussex this Tuesday. This time around, I accompanied my sister and my new brother-in-law, as they were de-Ikea-ising their flat to add a little more character and individuality to their home. Although she’s my sister, so very used to hearing me babble on about antique, retro and vintage, my eyebrows raised a little when she said she wanted to go for Victorian and Edwardian furniture. Having said that, looking around, she wasn’t alone – plenty of people in their 20s and 30s could be seen speeding from stand to stall that chilly morning. After an hour or so of dashing around with the two of them, I began to ask myself why I was there. She didn’t need me! Putting me to shame, she made her first purchase within minutes with the purchase of an early 20thC mahogany framed …

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Canadian Chalet Glass Exhibition

Research into ‘new’ areas of collecting is always an immensely valuable activity for so many reasons. When I first went out to Canada six or so years ago, my eye was caught by a number of extravagant and elegant glass bowls and vases in a rainbow of vibrant colours. You can see an example here. At first glance one may think that they were made on the Venetian island of Murano, and many of the shop labels confirmed that. However, some claimed that they were by a Canadian company called Chalet. Even though this name is new to our eyes and minds, they were correct – as marks and labels on some of the pieces testified to. Now, an exciting new exhibition promises to blow the lid on this exciting and rapidly developing market. To be held from this Saturday 30th October until 2nd December 2010, the exhibition contains over 200 examples of stunning Chalet glass sourced from a dozen private collection across Canada. Called ‘The Art & Artisans of Chalet Glass’, the venue is the

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I’m a big believer in synchronicity – if you come across something three times, then it’s worth paying attention to. When our Art Director came over this morning to ask me if I had come across Munny dolls and a shop called Kid Robot, that was strike three. I first came across these cult toys around 5 or 6 years ago, when I stumbled across the above-named shop on a walk through Haight Ashbury in San Francisco. I was hooked! Colourful, cool and collectable. I came away with a small badge, and a rather fantabulous tripod roboty-type thing by a Japanese designer, who had also signed the box. A year or so later, I stumbled across the British version of Kid Robot, a place in Soho called Play Lounge. No, despite its name and location, it’s not what you’re thinking! That time I came away with a few amusing Christmas stocking fillers for my sister and her artist fiancé, plus the odd present for myself. You can see one of them here – …

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Arkonaplatz Fleamarket in Berlin

I sped out of the church, where I had been to a very charming and delightful, if a little long, christening and Sunday church service. Rushing right, right again, and then north up to Arkonaplatz in the heart of Berlin’s trendy Mitte district. I’ve been here before, and there are many larger better flea markets in town, but with only an hour to go before I met the other guests for a delicious lunch after their walk, I needed somewhere small, nearby and with a good potential hit rate. It really isn’t that big, with three aisles of around 20 stalls, plus a rather untidy agglomeration of stands at the bottom. But, under the autumnal trees, it is pretty – and it’s very busy too. It’s well worth looking out for the lady who sells German postwar glass. Her stand is pretty sparse by lunchtime as her prices are very low in my opinion. And clearly in others’ opinions too, given she starts the day with a laden table. There are also some …

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No, it might not be pretty, but….

Okay, it’s not pretty, but I think it’s an important thing. It looks like a basic attempt at working with glass, even thought it’s way better than I’m sure I could manage. I’m always intrigued by chunky pieces like this, and make a point of picking them up when I see them, hoping they turn out to be early examples from the birth of studio glass during the late 1960s. Although the ‘hit-rate’ is low, this is even more important when visiting great fairs like the last Cambridge Glass Fair, and especially important if such a piece is being sold by an eagle-eyed and sharp-minded dealer like Paul Anderson. And I wasn’t disappointed this time around, as the base on this 7.5in (19cm) high piece is signed ‘Jiri Suhajek London 1970’. Arguably, few would know his name, making recognition hard, and indeed Paul told me that he had found it in an antiques and collectables centre in the North of England, lying dustily forgotten at the back of a shelf. Much as I appreciate it’s charming …

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I know it’s not the usual sort of thing I write about here, but I felt I must tell you about Judith Miller’s new book on Costume Jewellery. Judith’s first book on the subject, published in association with DK, rapidly became a landmark bestseller – and I can see this one doing exactly the same. This glorious book is literally bursting with sumptuous pictures – as well as being a comprehensive reference source, it’s a visual feast to flick through and a real celebration of the this amazing, creative and unique jewellery. Prices have blossomed since the first book was published, and vintage examples are regularly worn by stars of stage, screen and catwalk. But, according to Judith, bargains can still be found…

“Last week I bought these fantastic unsigned 1950’s multi-faceted blue and aurora borealis crystal rhinestones earrings (below), which were probably made in Austria. They cost me the princely sum of £4.99 and are a timely reminder that, although of course I love my signed pieces by Christian Dior, Miriam Haskell, Joseff of …

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