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 …

Read More

I’m delighted and excited to announce that I will be co-presenting a new primetime, evening show for BBC2 in early 2013. The subjects are collecting and collections – both are so close to my heart, they’re probably a rather large part of it, and the blood that it pumps around me! In three one hour shows, Collectaholics focuses on the stories and passions that lie behind Britain’s collectors and collections. Certain objects and themes will then act as springboards for us to look at the fascinating social history or story behind them. I’m lucky enough to be co-presenting it with the utterly wonderful, witty and warm Mel Giedroyc, of Mel & Sue fame, who most recently presented three hit series of The Great British Bake-Off. And we need your help – if you’re a true Collectaholic, we want to hear from you. If you’re worried that the aim is to have a laugh at your expense, or not take you and your collection seriously, I can assure you that this isn’t the case. As a diehard collector with …

Read More

Interview on Preloved

A little while ago, I was interviewed by the team behind Preloved, one of Britain’s largest and fastest growing alternatives to eBay. Celebrating ‘the joy of secondhand’, the company is right up my street and is a great place to search for retro, vintage, and antique, bargains. Anyway, click here to read my interview. I hope you enjoy it!

Read More

Antiques Roadshow in Manchester

As soon as my talk at Sunday’s Isle of Wight Studio Glass Collectors’ Day was over, I hopped in my car and sped off to catch the ferry back to the mainland. The reason for the unusual rush? The next day was the first day of filming for the 34th series of the Antiques Roadshow, and I had to get to the venue in Manchester. As I arrived after dinner and the tour, my jaw hit the floor as I walked into Manchester Town Hall early on Monday morning. The richly coloured and ornate Victorian Gothic interior is nothing less than splendiferous, and the Ford Madox Brown murals are the crowning glory. And not only of the interior, but of Madox Brown’s career too. Of course, as regular readers of my blog will know, I always enjoy these days immensely. Tiring, yes, but so very rewarding. There’s nothing quite like them. I was also lucky enough to film twice, although you’ll have to wait and see what they were, if they make it through the editing process! Amongst …

Read More

Cracking Antiques – A BBC2 Series

Cracking Antiques is on a myth-busting mission to prove that people can add style and glamour to any type of home by investing in second-hand, vintage and antique furnishings – without breaking the bank.

The prime-time series, which aired on BBC Two from 7th April to 12th May 2010, is presented by interior designer Kathryn Rayward and antiques expert Mark Hill.

Kathryn and Mark want to take the pain and shame out of buying old. From town houses to terraced houses, 18th-century French Rococo to shabby chic, they want to show that antiques and vintage furnishings can help create a stylish, fashionable home and are often the better buy.

Cracking Antiques shows that spending wisely on second-hand objects can be a cheaper and unique alternative to much of what the High Street has to offer, and in comparison, antiques are well-made and built to last so are also a much more environmentally sound investment.

The nation loves nothing more than trawling for trinkets and treasures at the thousands of antiques fairs, car boot sales and auction houses up and down …

Read More

Woman’s Hour

Yesterday I was honoured to be asked onto BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’, to speak about Jessie Tait and her 1950s-70s designs for Midwinter. I was accompanying Professor Cheryl Buckley, who had been lucky enough to meet Tait herself during her research into the role of woman designers in the ceramics industry. If you want to listen to what we discussed, led by presenter Jane Garvey, you can do so by clicking here.

Read More

Radio Waves

They say radio is growing in popularity, and it’s certainly been an increasing part of my life recently, with three interviews in the past two weeks! Up today was BBC radio Cambridgeshire, with another phone-in valuation that also helped promote the excellent Cambridge Glass Fair this Sunday, at Chilford Hall. Here I am in the studio with my trusty companion – my Miller’s Collectables Price Guide. I was lucky to be joined by eminent Lalique and Art Nouveau glass expert and dealer Mike Moir, who makes the perfect accomplice. Along with cheery presenter Sue Dougan, the banter, information and valuations just flowed out. Callers rang in with everything ranging from an Art Deco opalescent vase, which will be brought to the fair for proper appraisal, to a 19thC chemist’s carboy bottle, to a 19thC gilded and cut rummer, and a Mary Gregory type bud vase. Values ranged from £30 up to over £500! If you missed the phone-in, don’t miss the event itself. It’s undoubtedly one of the best fairs in the country, with an enormously …

Read More

BBC Radio London

I’ve just got back from an extremely enjoyable one-and-a-half hour long phone-in valuation for BBC Radio London. Hosted by the lovely Lesley Joseph, I was invited along as a guest with my friend Tracy Martin. Lesley is best known for her character Dorian in hit BBC TV sitcom ‘Birds of a Feather’ but, unlike her snobbish TV character, her natural, funny and friendly charm just beams out over the airwaves. The lofts and drawers of London’s residents certainly didn’t disappoint this morning. Items listeners called in about included a boxed Parker 51 pen and pencil set valued at £50-70, a set of six late 19thC Coalport handpainted cup and saucers valued at around £30 each, an Edison phonograph valued at over £200, and a set of Royal Doulton ‘Snowman’ figurines that could fetch up to £800!

Read More