John Bly
Dealer John Bly, who recently became a director of

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1 What is one great discovery you’ve made?

A large silver bowl engraved with a crest containing sutures and scalpels below a portrait of a man with sideburns and the name Valentine Mott. I found out that he was a New York surgeon and the first to successfully amputate at the hip.

The bowl went on loan to The New York Historical Society and was then sold to The Milwaukee Art Museum, resulting in lifelong friendships with both institutions.

2 What has excited you about the trade this year?

Meeting the next generation of dealers. They add more enthusiasm and energy into the market and are capitalising on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to engage with new audiences.

It’s a new breed, one that will raise the benchmark for future generations, but is learning from older members of the trade too.

3 Why should buyers visit fairs?

Fairs are a must for any budding collector as they are a great opportunity to gauge market values and assess the current taste in period and style.

4 What is something you wish buyers would ask more?

I wish a primary question would be ‘how do you know how old it is?’ All items from the past are documents of our social development, reflecting changes in style, etiquette and economy.

Their shape and material indicate the period in which they might have been made and their provenance makes each one unique.

5 Sky is the limit – what is one object you’d love to have in your home?

The Kimbolton Cabinet which my father sold to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1949. It would be more than a little incongruous, but I would put up with that…