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What to collect/invest?


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As well as being a jack of a few trades and perhaps master of one,  Carpet fitter 35yrs + ,I used to have an Antique/Junk and Architectural/Garden ornament  Shop. Anything from £1 -£500 with an occasional,very occasional, piece of four figures ,pricewise that is. My wife and I sold our last shop in 2002 just as the general trade seemed to go very quickly downhill. We were lucky enough to buy all our stock from private sources and the regular visits to Brittany. Poole/Cherbourg overnight,down at St.Malo by 10.30 am and about 10 calls to Depot Ventes on the way back to Cherbourg to catch the evening ferry back,cost about £35-car +2. Never had to buy at Auction and avoided their horrendous premiums+ VAT. Having rid ourselves of the majority of our stock and other collectables,the market seems to have tired of " Collectables" we are looking for inspiration so that we can enjoy the looking and searching element and hopefully make a few bob along the way. Any members any views on the subject? Cash in the bank seems a poor option as interest falls behind inflation ,plus there is not any fun in waiting for the statements any more. We do one V.G. a year but generally it's a clearout and not anything special.good fun and we do get to meet the locals.

Regards.

 

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I understand your point Dog but I put the posting on more in the line of a discussion. Obviously peoples collecting/investing habits depend on their finances. I am thinking more in terms of pleasure without any loss and hopefully a little gain.

To Russethouse, I;m pleased to hear that someone is still surviving .I suppose quality sells but the quality buyer seems to have different tastes to ours. Too old to change how we view Modern Art and the prices that go with it. We used to deal more in the general line of tables/chairs/upholstered chairs/cabinets and general interior pieces.Nothing new or the dreaded re-pro. I do like old carved ivory,netsuki etc but a bit taboo now.Still like marine paintings and old wooden boats.I did have 69 from galleons to pond yachts but being in St.Malo area  they soon sold. Very awkward to transport was their main problem.

Regards.

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My friend sells through a fairly upmarket centre and business has perked up tremendously lately, very odd and quite against the trend.

I suspect that Art deco is the way to go, clean lines are sympathetic to todays minimilist decor and lack of time for dusting, polishing etc. I'm sticking to what I know, French faience, but I could be tempted to start collecting Emma Bridgewater, if I had room....

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Interested to know what your freind specialises in? I never liked Susie Cooper as I thought it was too much like mass produced  rubbish,I thought the main reason so manycollected it was because it was hyped up and buyers could get a book price to compare,a bit like Glass's car guide. I prefered Charlotte Read but that seems out of fashion now. I used to do quite well on my Demo stuff,particularly fireplaces and stained and leaded glass. Living in Bournemouth,there were plenty of quality old houses being demolished to make way for blocks of flats ,so I used to have large quantities to show buyers. Not available anymore though. The DEpot Vents seem to be played out with just pretty grim furniture plus new and very little in the interesting field.

Regards.

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50's to 70's things seem to sell really well, coloured chunky glass and those horrid orange or chrome lights, if it's for pleasure then i guess it has to be something you really like. Rustic garden furnitur/.ornaments are good too, ( I just watch loads of antique collectors progs on the telly!!!!) but I also do go to antique and collectors fairs.
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You cold try spending a few hours on EBay, both France and the UK, to see whats doing well. We used to do a bit of buying and selling back in the UK via auctions then selling on EBay. It was for fun really although we did make a little money along the way. We used to have these great big guide books on prices (I forget their name now - they are the ones the 'professionals' use) but the prices they quoted were seldom met. A reasonable website is THIS which although UK based gives some idea.

You could try jewelry and gold stuff in particular especially in this economic climate, the price of gold I am told has gone up a lot.

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The Judith Miller series is much better IMHO than the previous series of Millers guides (which she was involved with too, but with her ex, Martin Miller)

I have about 12ft of books on Antiques, Collectables, marks etc......can't bring myself to get rid of them though......

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Thats the one, I thought it was Millers but it didn't sound right for some reason but that is definatly it. We must have about 5 or 6 of them for different years. They also do a Modern Collectables (or something like that) version I believe.
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Have been dabbling for 45 years and had 3 shops selling various antiques/collectables etc and used to buy "Millers" as soon as it came out but in all those years I have only had 3 things that were illustrated.One a display cabinet,made up from various other bits that I sold to the trade and was then sold by Christie's South Ken as a quality Edwardian display cabinet on stand,About 2 months old and illustrated.!!! And Art -Deco car teapot,  a Burleigh Ware Pied Piper of Hamelin Jug. Illustrated and priced at £375 and sold last year in a UK auction for £22. Don't believe all you read. In general I used to have the greatest pleasure in finding the odd bit that was missed and best of all when I used to buy all usable bits from Demo Contractors. I used to have to pay up front for everything and then it was down to me to remove what I wanted,any damage,my fault. Great buys where a painted glass ceiling in a 3mtr X 2 mtr iron frame depicting the sun/moon and the Nordic gods,Thor,Rimthusa etc. Also removing 3 very basic cast-iron fireplaces that had been boarded up and papered over,then finding that the panels were tiled with hand painted Cantonese enamel  tiles depicting various European figures including one with an umbrella and bowler hat.With the loss of all the quality houses in the Bournemouth/Poole area those days are long gone and over here they seem to value the buildings a little higher and with more respect.

However I will admit to visiting a V.G. this morning and buying 2 kitchen pots,as in Cafe/Sucre for 2 euros to add to the 250 I have collected over the years and never found a buyer for, My wife,obviously keener eyed than me,bought a silver brooch of a bumble bee for the price of 1 euro!!!

We are selling at our once yearly V.G.next Sunday, near us and in a hall so weather doesn't ruin the day. We usually manage to have a good clear out of all the unwanted and have quite a good day out as well,apart from 6.00am getting ready.

Regards.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't buy anything that books suggest may be valuable - I did own rather a lot of square pianos as are there are thought to be only 2000 left. I have a couple of early ones in my barn.

I buy modern and antique wood engravings and books by Amanda Mckitterick Ros.

I bought a viola for £6 that was made in 1715 in St Pauls Church Yard - still strung in baroque style and bridge - valued 20 years ago at £12,000. My niece now plays it and takes it to school to play.

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About 30 years ago when in my carpet fitting days, I was fitting an upstairs bedroom carpet when I noticed clouds of smoke drifting past the window,looking out I saw 2 chaps throwing picture frames onto a grden bonfire.Having a small Victoriana/Junk shop at the time I rushed next door and asked if I could buy the frames. Apparently the son had returned from America where he had been on some gospel trip to dispose of his recently deceased father's possesions.He did say thay God will provide etc. but eventually accepted my offer of £100 for the remaining pile of frames, one or two of which contained pictures. I said I had to go to my Bank at the end of the road to get the cash,leaving my old J4 van outside. While away he and his friend loaded the van up,packed to the doors!!! It appeared his father had a studio t the bottom of the garden and the son just wanted to get shot of everything and return to the States. When I eventually sorted things out I had 2312 pictures, I kid you not. There were a few watercolours,a few chalk drawings and hundreds of etching and engravings piled up like newspapers. It turned out his father was Leslie Moffat Ward. Member of the Academy of Etchers and Engravers.He was also head of the Art Dept at Bournemouth College and they did a special exhibition and sale of his works at Russel Coates Museum.I still have the catalogue. Most of his drawings were of Old Poole Docks/ Dorset and London Docks with old sailing ships and Thames Bargemen etc.etc. Also a friend of Graham Sutherland and Dame Laura Knight, they used to send each other small drawings to each other at Christmas instead of cards,so a few of these were also in the collection. I had them for about ten years always hoping that I would be able to do some sort of exhibition with them.However, following the usual financial restructuring after a split,I had to sell my remaining share to buy a flat. About the only regret I've had but you have to live and eat. My wife managed to buy 2 back for me for my 65 th birthday and they grace our lounge wall.

There is a large showing of his work at the Poole Maritime Museum

 I did get back the same day to finish laying the carpet without the customer complaining.

Regards.

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Nice one - I love skip and dump finds.

I got half a dozen beautiful oak boxes with brass fitting holding magic lantern slides and early photographs from the tip. The owners didn't realise what they were. My favourite tip was in a new town with London and Birmingham overspill - all the people were moving into brand new houses and just dumping old furniture and stuff that didn't fit in thier new cardboard houses.

I keep in touch and send christmas cards to various wood engravers and I get to keep some very lovely cards they have made.

Bought a chest of draws for £14 at auction and there was £50 under the lining paper in one draw!

I made my first auction buy when I was ten years old I bought a French short sword/bayonet for ten shillings.

 

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No Skip diving over here unfortunately. Years ago re-furbing a Mews house off George Street W,I.  I had a skip on site and returning after the weekend noted someone had dumped a load of bags and boxes. My son worked with me at the time and had the pleasure of beating me to the discovery of a pair of Art-Deco wall plaques,styled as lady's heads and very sought after. Some builders were ripping the insides out of a pub around the corner and dumped all the interior doors with cut-glass and leaded glass panels. I bought 5 for the grand sum of £20. The door with "Office" in coloured leaded glass is now in "The Cricketers" in Springbourne  Bournemouth.In the gerden here are 2 chimney pots off my old school St.John's Boscombe. bought by my wife off the demo men.

I used to read the local paper watching out for the old retailers closing down,Tailors/Ironmomgers/Chemists and used to buy all the old shopfittings/counters/advertising material.

Regards.

.

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  • 2 years later...

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