Antiques Traders Gazette, the trade magazine for the antiques industry, recently erupted in anger over the TV program Antiques Road Show. Subscribers vented their fury over the high discounts offered by traders to the show’s contestants, which can see over 50% wiped off the price of an antique chest in Lancashire. They said it manipulated the true cost of buying stock, and gave the impression traders could routinely afford to give big discounts on items like Victorian dining chairs and antique desks.
Preston’s angered readers may now be forced to eat humble pie, however. The production company has denied accusations that deals were manipulated, and claims the programme aims to raise the profile of the antique trade, especially in rural areas like the Ribble Valley, where Victorian balloon back dining chairs are unlikely to sell in large numbers. The producers have said that, while the show’s format is for contestants to use their bargaining skills to haggle down prices, so items can make a profit at auction, this is strictly between them and the traders – who often turn down their offers. Naturally, only successful transactions make it into the final edit.
In preparation for the new series, the production company is talking of building an accompanying Antiques Road Show website, featuring the antique centres and shops used for filming, together with their stock. This is good news indeed for antique dealers in Lancashire and Cumbria – two counties featured on the show – bringing the Victorian oak partners desks of Preston and Penrith to a much wider audience.
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