When a burglary of antiques from a large house is reported through the media where particular items of value are stolen, it would suggest that the thieves either know the house and its contents well, or can make quick decisions on what are the most valuable, portable and saleable items to take.
The stealing of antiques does not therefore seem to be the spontaneous act of a passing thief, but in all probability that of a burglary ring, where the choice of items stolen has been the basis for plenty of preparation and thought. The uniqueness of the antique, whether it is a small valuable antique desk or clock, would make it difficult to sell on through local auction houses where these items would be (more…)
The credit crunch has meant reduced circumstances for many of us, so venturing into the auction room may be something that we are experiencing for the first time in our lives and perhaps with a certain amount of trepidation.
Most large cities in the UK have local auction rooms where antique furniture and other items of value can be put into the sale. The first thing to do is to find out when the valuation days are. Ring the auction house and make an appointment with an expert who can give you an idea of what your items may fetch. There will usually be a reserve (with discretion) attached to your item so that it cannot be sold for less than that amount.
At this stage you will make the decision as to whether you want to attend the sale or not. If you do attend the sale and want to bid for anything, you will need to register your interest beforehand and will be given a paddle with a number on it. This is your unique bidding number for the day which you will (more…)
When watching programmes like Cash in the Attic and Flog It!, when an item doesn’t reach its reserve, how often have we heard Paul Martin or the expert of the day say, ‘perhaps it should go into a specialist sale’?
Most auction rooms will have weekly general sales and perhaps monthly or bi monthly antiques and fine art sales, the latter catering for the higher end of the antiques market. So if the local expert feels that your item is worthy of more specialist attention, he will suggest that it be entered into one of their specialist sales. However, caution here. If the item does not reach its reserve and therefore does not sell, the charge (more…)
The Rococo style came originally from France, the word being a combination of rocaille (shell) and the Italian for baroque (barocco), and came into fashion during the reign of Louis XV. The flamboyance of Rococo at that time was in stark contrast to its predecessor, the Baroque which was far more symmetrical and dramatic. Rococo designs of shells and waves flowed effortlessly around the legs and arms of chairs and the frames of mirrors and the whole took on a light hearted, organic quality.
Rococo was introduced to Britain from the 1740s onwards but its light flamboyance, via the designs of Thomas Chippendale transmuted into more symmetrical Chinese and sober Gothic styles that eventually paved the way for the disciplined Neo-Classicism of the Regency period from 1780 onwards. An English exponent of the more whimsical French Rococo style was (more…)
For a country that always seems thirsty to soak up anything cultural that Britain and Europe can provide, the USA, or Middle America in particular, seems to be turning its back on the diminishing supplies of European antique furniture. The buying and selling of Eurocentric antiques has always been the preserve of the very wealthy. However, the opening of new antique galleries across America has created a readiness for the US citizen to embrace its own culture and an opportunity for home grown antiquarians to wax lyrical about American antiques.
An example of the worm turning is the opening of a new antiques auction gallery in Ohio that wants it first live auction to concentrate on what Ohio and the houses of its residents have to offer. Its main focus is on Ohio’s tradition of glass making where a large gold coloured punchbowl is advertised for sale, plus other forms of carnival glass that have become quite rare due to (more…)
From the 1950s until quite recently, increasingly large numbers of country houses were being demolished because their owners could not afford to run them. An incredible statistic of one a fortnight in 1955 meant that country house sales were very common during this period where the contents of the houses were auctioned off prior to their being demolished. These sales were also very popular with local communities and dealers alike. The sale would take place over a few days and would take on the atmosphere of a country fair. Many people would make a day of it, and although pieces of antique furniture from these large houses were often too costly or too cumbersome for people’s homes, generally there was a souvenir from the big house that (more…)
The untimely and controversial death of superstar Michael Jackson has created a resurgence in the collection of pop memorabilia, and anything linked directly to him in particular has taken on iconic status. An example of this was Jackson’s black fedora hat valued at £25,000 recently by an Antiques Roadshow team at Somerleyton Hall. He had famously thrown the hat from the window of his Mayfair hotel. The eventual owner of the hat had won it in a tabloid newspaper competition in 1991 and had no idea that it was worth so much until she had it valued at the Roadshow. She also said that everyone at the show wanted to (more…)
In the past, the antiques dealer was often regarded as a pretty shady character that came knocking on your door asking whether you had any old furniture to sell. If you had anything of value and were foolish enough to invite him in, the item sold would almost certainly be for a lot less than it was actually worth.
However, Lovejoy televised between 1986-94 embraced the idea of the dodgy dealer. He aligned himself to a member of the aristocracy, brought in other shady characters to assist him to solve antiques based mysteries, created the mystique of the divvie who had the knack of recognising a treasure just by looking at it and made us all fall in love with him. Added to the mix were the brooding good looks of Ian McShane which ensured that the programme (more…)
With the scrap value of silver and gold at it’s highest for years and a general slump in the desirability of large brown antique furniture, is the term ‘antique’ itself becoming quite loose, and if that is the case, what will become the investment of the future?
Fiona Bruce from the Antiques Roadshow has been reported recently as criticising the term ‘antique’ as being too narrow in today’s modern world. She was referring to her own mother’s clothes of the 1970s where she felt that second hand clothing generally could be included under the antique banner.
The now retro chic of Breakfast at Tiffany’s has certainly managed to retain its iconic status down the years. Many photo reproductions of the gamin Audrey Hepburn now fashionably adorn (more…)
The name cabriole comes from the French word cabrioler and means to leap like a goat. The leg itself originated in ancient China and Greece, but came into fashion in the early 18th century during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14). Hence the merry quip ‘Queen Anne’s legs’ which never sounded altogether complimentary. The convex and concave shape of the leg, the upper part bowing outwards and the lower bowing inwards made it somewhat bandy in appearance and the claw or hoof placed on a ball at the foot of the leg gave it an animalistic quality. However, despite its bandy rather bizarre appearance, this style was to form the basis for (more…)