Trade vs. Retail

When I started working in the antiques industry, buying at auction was deemed buying at ‘trade’, and buying from a dealer was deemed ‘retail’. And price levels typically matched that. But things were already on the move. An auction was held during the week, you really needed to view the objects before you bought them […]

Daytime Telly & “I lost my job!”

“I lost my job.” is sadly something I hear with increasing frequency when I visit an antiques fair where anyone can turn up and sell. Of course, as one immediately feels bad about their self-esteem, children, loans, bills and the mortgage. But I also worry a little. I worry that all their newly ‘chosen’ profession […]

Sir Osbert Lancaster, Victorianism & Modernism

One of the great pleasures in life is browsing a secondhand bookshop. That joy of coming across a book that you didn’t even know existed, and that raises a smile or piques an interest can’t be matched. The experience can’t be replicated with eBooks either. One of my favourite places to browse is Judd Books, […]

Death, Hype & Collapse?

When an artist or designer dies, or a factory or studio closes, it causes ripples to go through the collecting world and the fairs, shops and auctions of the ‘secondary market’. A form of hysteria often sets in, causing prices to rise rapidly before, as often happens, they crash back down again.It can take some […]

A Hungarian Zsolnay Vase From King’s Lynn

My role as a Patron of the King’s Lynn Arts Centre means that I get to go to visit the town a fair few times each year. Every time I go, I always make time to pop up the road to visit The Old Granary Antiques Centre, on King’s Staithe Lane, as I always seems […]

Hollywood, Liz Taylor & Cleopatra – An Extraordinary Pin

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 […]

An All New Bath Decorative Antiques Fair For 2013

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 […]

Was ‘Internet’ First Used For A Transistor Radio?

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 […]

Collectaholics – An Exciting New BBC2 TV Show

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 […]

‘Young Guns’ of the Antiques Trade Campaign

Britain’s next National Antiques Week will highlight and celebrate younger members of the trade who will shape the future of antiques, collectables, vintage and retro. Far from being a stuffy, staid and stodgy industry that’s dying off, the industry is as vibrant as ever and is changing with the times. A vibrant band of young […]

Fat Lava Reproductions – Otto Keramik

Kevin Graham of the Pottery & Glass Forum has alerted me to the fact that a number of vintage Fat Lava glazes and shapes by Otto Keramik are now being reproduced. So far, the shapes are the UFO vases shown in the image below and the bulls (sometimes called bison) that were originally produced by […]