The Daily Mail had some advice for auction-loving Cherie Blair recently. Forget selling your antique desks online – head over to Sunbury Antiques Market instead. One wealthy buyer was so keen to stock up on Victorian dining chairs and other antiques that he arrived with 11 limos to cart it all away! Sensibly, the organisers provided him with a removal truck. The Buyer? No less than the Crown Prince and Heir Apparent to the Throne of Thailand.
Sunbury is the largest and longest running antiques market in the British Isles. Held at Kempton Park racecourse twice a month, it’s a well known haunt of the rich and famous. However, a bulk-buying member of royalty is something of a coup, even for a market whose previous customers have included Stella McCartney and Keira Knightley. It’s anyone’s guess what the Crown Prince of Thailand was doing browsing Victorian dining chairs alongside buyers from Preston and Southend, because Thailand has a fair few antiques markets of its own. Perhaps, in common with other Far Eastern states, he wanted to buy back some of his country’s history – a lot of Thai porcelain and antiques ended up in England during the days of Old Siam.
Sunbury has over 700 stalls, selling anything from vintage cameras to antique desks. A lot of the items are collectibles, rather than antiques – though this doesn’t make them any less valuable to the theatrical designers and fashionistas who peruse the tables. Sunbury has turned up some real gems in the past, and antique dealers from Boston to Preston regularly make the journey to Kempton in the hope of finding Victorian dining chairs or Arts and Crafts cabinets to sell in their shops.
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