Some Thoughts on the Antiques and Collectables Trade

Monday, 8 December 2003 08:08 PM GMT

Contributed by: Norma Hesketh

Visitors to us aren't always looking for expensive antiques. They are mainly looking for yesteryear collectables and older solid furniture to replace laminated chipboard. Dealers respond to customers demands; Victorian and Edwardian pine chests and furniture are bought, restored and sold. If an item is sold we start looking for similar items and a trend is set.

Older houses and derelict barns have become desirable residences and new occupants are looking for bits and pieces to match the period of their new house.

Our customers require things from every decade not just strictly antiques. Customers look for Belfast sinks, copper kettles, breadbins, mincers, carpet beaters, old scales and all manner of kitchenalia. For the patio they are looking for mangles, weighing machines, cartwheels, old statues, pots, ploughs, romany caravans etc.

Hardboard has now been removed from internal doors and customers are searching for original locks, handles and finger plates.

We provide a service for those of you wanting to get rid of stuff and those who want to buy. We attend auctions trying to find stock at the right price. We never believe what we see at first glance. Many items are falling apart or have been bodged. With chair parts and legs we notice lack of uniformity. 75% of what we buy needs attention before we sell; ranging from cleaning to complete restoration. Work and material costs are reflected in our prices.

Values quoted or expected are often misleading - an item is only worth what customers are prepared to pay. If supply is high then prices are low eg sewing machines and WW1 medals.

The collectables market is growing. We sell spoons, bottle openers, can openers, corkscrews, thimbles, lighters, badges, medals, coins, buttonhooks, bottles, bottletops, pens, instruments, teddies, dolls, toy trains, books, comics and more.

Items don't even have to be old; Barbie dolls, McDonald's toys, pop memorabilia, Starwars items etc are all worth keeping in good condition with original packaging.

In this trade we are continually learning, fashions are continually changing and nobody can call themselves an expert in all the areas we cover. The bulk of our work is outside the shop buying, cleaning, repairing, restoring, book keeping etc.

Come and visit us at Brackley Antiques Cellar, in Northamptonshire, in the Heart of England.


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