Elliott Cass who runs Elliott Cass Antique Jewellers.

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1. How did you get your start?

In 1984 I stumbled upon an antiques guide book and went through it, contacting the various auction houses in turn about potential openings. Several of the ones I tried to contact had already ceased trading years before.

Eventually, though, I managed to get a position with Phillips auctioneers in London.

As a dealer, the first sale I remember making was probably a 9ct bar brooch that I purchased for £20 and managed to sell for £30. I like the big profits.

2. How has the market changed?

Enormously, and it continues to change. For instance, in my early days as a trader people could trade nicely in their own patch.

Nowadays we are all chasing the same goods and the competition is really very hard. Many items at auctions are far too expensive for dealers to invest in.

3. Fairs vs shops vs online?

I enjoy visiting shops all over the UK and Europe as you never know what might turn up.

However, fairs in this country, excluding the large ones, tend to have too much reproduction aimed at the general public. I take a peek online only occasionally.

4. Advice for collectors/dealers starting out?

Stay away from the pack and try looking further afield. Never be afraid to keep trying. One rule I live by is: trust your instincts. I use this to apply both to goods and to people.

5. Dealer you most admire?

My dad, of course, who helped me get started. And Julian Goode of Good & Son Fine Jewellery, a man so positive he could charge up an old battery.


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