“The enthusiasm, the anticipation, the overwhelming sense of excitement from everyone… it was just like being at the Led Zeppelin reunion gig at the O2 in 2007,” said dealer Henry Nicholls.
Not another comeback for aged rockers this time – his excitement reflected the heady atmosphere at the first Sunbury Antiques Market post-lockdown at Kempton Park Racecourse on Tuesday, July 7.
Nicholls, who owns an antiques shop in West Sussex which he runs with his son Peter (currently on furlough), said: “I couldn’t believe the crowds that were already at the gates and more gathering as opening got closer. I’ve never seen crowds like it at any fair, ever.
“At the off it was like a swarm of locusts descending on a fresh crop field. I’d taken 12 boxes of smalls, around 30 paintings, a jewellery cabinet and some small furniture. By the time I packed up I had three paintings, no furniture and two boxes of smalls left. And the jewellery cabinet took a hammering too. Everyone around me reported outstanding sales.”
As an indication of just how much hunger there is out there from both collectors and the trade, Sunbury Antiques director Edward Cruttenden said: “This was probably one of the busiest markets in memory.
“We needed to implement ample room for social distancing and the temporary loss of space at the racecourse meant we lost over two-thirds of our normal trading areas.
“We accommodated inside traders outside for the time being and traders were around the 300 mark with buyers around 2000 throughout the day.”
The next Sunbury Antiques Market is on Tuesday, July 28.