A view of the IACF fair at Alexandra Palace.

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Nathalie Mergue, a buyer at IACF Alexandra Palace on Sunday, December 1, summed up the widespread appeal of an event held in such an impressive venue.

She had travelled from France to buy vintage jewellery.

Though targeting the public rather than dealer buyers, Ally Pally does have some aspects in common with Newark’s trade fair including buyers from the UK, France, Korea, China and Japan.

The event’s many antique, vintage and modern jewellery stalls seemed to draw the biggest crowds of overseas visitors.

Hall venue

The two events differ vastly when it comes to size, of course. Ally Pally hosts 350 stalls in one hall, with only four slots unfilled in the December 1 edition. Private buyers would “have to do an awful lot of walking to see that many dealers away from the venue,” says Rachel Everett, IACF operations manager.

The trade still got a look-in, being given one hour’s grace ahead of general entry at 9.30am.

With changes in taste and collecting, most of Ally Pally’s 20 furniture stalls were 20th century-themed. ATG bumped into James Lewis, founder and director of Bamfords Auctioneers, exploring stalls before hosting a valuation clinic at the fair. He mused how Ally Pally “has evolved beyond recognition to attract interior designers as well as the general public”.

When it comes to stallholders, IACF says three-quarters of them at Ally Pally are also IACF regulars at either Shepton Mallet, Ardingly or Newark, with many attending Newark as either dealers or buyers.

Court Lodge Antiques, selling fine porcelain, glass, clocks and lamps, had a stall by the wall at Ally Pally – “worth the extra cost for an electricity supply and for the fact that buyers tend to do their first lap around the wall stalls and then work inwards,” says owner Mike.

He was then happily packing to head up north to Newark, for a specific indoor patch at the Lady Eastwood pavilion.