1 What is your focus?
Candle extinguishers. These small conical objects were held over candles to put them out, and I was intrigued to discover the characters they depicted. Since then I’ve paid as much as £10,000 for leading examples and written two books on the subject.
2 What led you to write these books on candle extinguishers?
The knowledge I obtained from researching factory records needed to be shared with collectors and auction houses. Even manufacturers, in some cases, had no idea what they had produced as the records were so bad so it was also a resource for them. Distinguished Extinguishers 1 (1999) was aimed at encouraging collectors to join the field. Distinguished Extinguishers 2 (2018) has more than 450 pages of colour illustrations and covers all the British porcelain factories that produced extinguishers from about 1830 to the present day.
I’m launching it at the upcoming NEC fair [see story on facing page] and copies are available for £45.
3 How did you get started in the trade?
I was introduced to some friends who had a wonderful collection of Royal Worcester around 40 years ago and was hooked. One of the earliest sales I remember making was a 10cm (4in) vase which I bought for £400, a huge amount to me at the time. I told myself off all the way home for being so stupid – then sold it for £500.
4 What is one rule you live by as a dealer?
Neither a borrower nor a lender be. Pay as you go.
5 What is your best advice to new collectors?
Aim high with your purchases – but always buy what you like.
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