If I’m out on ‘official’ business, I usually adorn my lapel with the silver pin (left) that shows my membership and support of the City of London Company of Arts Scholars, Dealers & Collectors. It’s in the form of the head of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts. A similar gilt bronze head is one of Britain’s best known ancient Roman artifacts, and can be seen in the Roman baths at Bath (Aquae Sulis) today. I’m a firm believer that men can wear lapel pins, and the more extravagant examples are an easy way of adding a touch of the dandy or boulevardier to a look. But I think if you’re going to do it, do a good job of it and also make sure it doesn’t look like you’ve stolen it from granny! Last week, I was delighted to be able to buy the rather amazing snake pin below from some dear friends who were clever enough to collect costume jewellery in the 1980s & 90s. Although it looks like …

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Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of the Bath Decorative Fair, held annually in March just minutes walk from Bath’s bustling centre. You can read about my previous visits, one of which included hosting an exciting awards ceremony with Kirstie Allsopp, by clicking here and here. After being run by Robin Coleman for 23 years, the fair has now been taken over by Sue Ede of Cooper Events, who is making what was often viewed as mostly trade fair much more open to everyone. That means that we can all enjoy the amazing stock on offer from many of Britain’s best dealers in decorative antiques. This year, exhibitors include Patrick Macintosh and Richard Nadin of Macintosh Antiques (Patrick below, reclining with his wife), Alys Dobbie of Britain’s Best Retro & Vintage Shop (2012) winner Nannadobbie, Mark Newsum of Newsum Antiques, Sue & Alan Poultney of Scarab Antiques, and of course my Lalique, Gallé and Daum glass dealing …

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Although it’s not something I specifically collect, I’ve always had a fondness for early technology. It must have developed out of working with scientific and optical instruments when I worked at Bonhams and Sotheby’s. If I see something that tickles my fancy and I can afford it, I’ll add it to one of my many different collections. Passing through Amsterdam just before Christmas, the Banker and I stopped by Roerende-Zaken in the famous ‘9 Streets’. As we were just about to leave (unusually) empty-handed, we spotted this portable transistor radio in a cabinet. It wasn’t the radio itself that stopped us in our tracks, but the name – Internet. Transistor radios like this were first released in 1954, and were produced in vast quantities during the 1960s & 70s. This example probably dates from the late-1960s to around 1970, considering the design of the box. This is an extremely interesting date when the name is considered. Nobody knows exactly when the word ‘internet’ was first used, or who coined it, but it appears to have been …

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