Decorative furniture dealer John Read Smith had just sold a 1970s pod chair, similar to that made famous by the film A Clockwork Orange, to “a major trade buyer from Belgium” when ATG catches up with him at his marquee stall, shared with two other dealers.
“Newark is an international trade fair, in that it attracts lots of South Korean, Japanese and Chinese buyers, and Irish and Continental buyers too,” Smith says. “Today, the ones filling the containers seem to be buying Art Deco, English oak and Ercol furniture.”
You’ve got Seoul
In the fair’s overseas buyers’ lounge, ATG chats to one such buying group from Seoul, South Korea: antiques shop owner Won Yong, his business partner Yoomi Choi and their Nottinghamshire-based shipper, Mike Chromj of MIK International.
“My shop stocks all periods – Art Nouveau, vintage, retro, Victorian,” says Yong. “We come to the UK, start the week at Lincoln (Arthur Swallow Fairs’ Lincolnshire Antiques & Home Show, December 3-4) and now Newark, to buy English antiques – Victorian pine and oak gateleg tables and the like – that aren’t so fashionable here anymore.
“For us, French is a bit too shabby. Most of our clients want English antiques, traditional in form and with a history.”
Chromj accompanies his clients of 20 years to advise on logistics. “Victorian antiques are great value now and these buyers know what they want. Before long they have a container load,” he says. “We then take purchases back to our warehouse, wrap, pack and prepare them for shipping to Seoul.”
Elsewhere, ATG meets Japan-born Kenji Morishima, up from London for the week to buy Edwardian and mid-century furniture and objects for clients with shops in Japan. “We’ve been doing Newark for years,” he says.