Lancashire readers of Antiques Trades Gazette have seen conflict break out over the TV program Antiques Road Trip. The argument concerns the high discounts offered to the contestants, which can see 50% or more knocked off the price of an antique oak partners desk .
Lancashire featured on Antiques Road Trip earlier this year, when the show’s antiques specialist contestants visited dealers in Chorley, Blackpool and Preston. antique dining tables, Victorian balloon backed dining chairs and antique mahogany pedestal desks were in plentiful supply. However, with a budget of just £200 each, the contestants had to haggle hard as the point of the show is to see who can make the most for the products they’ve bought at auction.
It is this element of the show which has caused conflict among ATG subscribers, many of them dealers themselves. Some say the program’s format has dealt a serious blow to the antique trade, making it look as if shops in Cumbria get their Victorian dining chairs and other antiques for next to nothing, and so can afford to give generous discounts. They say it has also pressurised dealers into offering the same discounts to regular customers as those offered in the show: if Jonathan Pratt can get 50% off the price of a Victorian balloon back dining chair in Preston, why can’t they? Supporters, on the other hand, say it’s good for business, bringing customers to less well frequented places like the Ribble Valley, where an antique mahogany partners desk might otherwise remain unsold.
In Lancashire, antique dealers are generally prepared to haggle. If you see a Victorian mahogany partners desk in Preston, ask if the dealer will accept a lower offer.
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