1 What is your family’s relationship with antiques?
My grandfather started collecting around 50 years ago before turning to dealing and the bug passed to my father. He began his life as a dealer at the age of 12, trawling local auctions and markets developing and honing his knowledge and skills.
I can’t honestly remember a time when I wasn’t surrounded by antiques – the old longcase clock standing in the hallway or the full-size brown bear standing on its hind legs at the bottom of the stairs.
2 How did you get your start?
From the age of five I would do little jobs for my grandfather and in return he would give me little trinkets and oddments as payments. The real payment was the stories he would tell about the pieces, passing on his knowledge and cultivating my interest. At the age of 18 my grandfather and I set up together and started stalling out at antique fairs and markets in all weathers; eventually renting spaces in antique centres as well.
3 Why did you decide to open a shop in the age of online buying?
It was an idea my father and I had thought about for a while. We thought there must be people out there who like to go out and physically see the items they wish to purchase – especially in the world of antiques where it is not a conveyor belt of the same goods.
How can one really get a feel for a piece by looking at a picture on a screen? It may give you an idea of an object, but to actually see and touch it gives you a much better perspective. We opened our shop together back in November 2021.
4 What is your specialist field?
From the first I always bought and sold silver-plate. A large portion – cutlery, trays, teasets and cocktail shakers etc – would go to hotels and bars.
But it was and remains the fascinating forms and unusual articles that hold my interest. Instead of going down the niche or specialist route we stock anything unusual or decorative of good quality. More and more we are finding that this is what our customers want.
5 One great discovery you’ve made?
While on my way to visit my grandparents on a Sunday I pass a little car boot. One morning I came across a crowded stall with a little wooden box filled with old photos and postcards for £2. They looked interesting enough at a glance and for only £2 I paid the gentleman and continued on.
It wasn’t until a couple of days later I had a proper look through the box. I soon recognised the smiling face in a few of the photos: it was Edward VIII practising his golf swing on the front deck of a ship out at sea.
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