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We came across a quote recently that said: “Antiquing is all about the journey, the hunt, the thrill of finding the objects of your desire.” To this, someone had added an extra thought: “Or objects you didn’t even know you desired.” We’re embracing our “Collector” era, and we’d love it if you’d join us!

While there is technically a difference between an antique (anything older than 100 years) and a vintage item (not quite that old but still having particular collector appeal), the idea here is that something speaks to you on a purely spiritual level, saying: “Take me home with you.”

From braving fixer-uppers to maintaining fine, age-related patinas, from investment pieces to adding history to your home, it’s never too late to start your journey in the wacky world of collectible curiosities. 

History Buffs Unite
Imagine having the opportunity to own a part of British history. This is an actual letter, dated 1993, and signed by former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that was sent to the niece of a family friend, strangely about something quite trivial: a cake recipe. Collectors will also get the very same silver-plated coffee pot that Thatcher references in the letter. A non-political subject from one of the most important figures in Britain’s recent history!

A highly collectable piece dating from the 1830s comes in the form of 10 antique hand-coloured prints depicting plants, fish, and animals. These prints would have featured in the famous Guerin Dictionary of Natural History and Phenomena of Nature. They’re already framed, so you can hang them up and add some character to your growing collection.

It’s All About Sustainability
If you’re a fan of BBC’s The Repair Shop, the phrase “throwaway culture” is most likely a part of your everyday vocabulary now. Before mass industrialisation took over, antiques were made to last, lovingly crafted by and imbued with the soul of artisans. Rather than idolising the new, your job as a collector will be to look back and preserve history by giving everyday items a new lease on life.

Take board games, for instance. How many cheap packs of cards have we gone through in our lives? How many others have ended up wasting away in a crammed garage or dusty attic? You can turn gaming into an art form by investing in one of these! A miniature set of hand-carved dominoes dating to the early 19th century is a small item with a big history. Or choose to play in style with a smart vintage black- and red-striped backgammon set from Harrods.

Your New Pet Project
Speaking of sustainability, imagine getting these items back up and running! We’re seeing a great resurgence in vinyl record players, but owning a piece made in the 1940s or ‘50s is something else. If you manage to get this portable wind-up  “His Master’s Voice” gramophone working again, we’d like to think the sound would be an otherworldly experience. The same goes for this Olympia SM2 typewriter from the 1950s. Such unparalleled engineering is waiting for some TLC to bring out the writer in you.

Of course, a vintage piece already has its own value by simply existing, able to complement both classical and contemporary interiors as independent showpieces, but getting to hear music coming out of that phonograph once more, or getting to type out your memoirs through the satisfying clicks of this typewriter, would make any aficionado feel giddy.

Beauty For Beauty’s Sake
There’s no shame in owning something that has no practical function; its beauty should be enough to warrant a place in your home. Some things never go out of style, like this pair of sterling silver filigree cloisonné enamelled birds from the mid-1900s. The ornate workmanship is composed of varying techniques, finished with inlaid turquoise stones and filigree silver mimicking feathers. Certainly a conversation starter, and definitely something to add to your dressing table.

Add to that an Art Deco vanity set and your bedroom will look the part. While this set, consisting of a mirror, hairbrush, comb, nail file, and two containers, technically does have a practical use, we wouldn’t blame you if you never used them for fear of  damaging such delicate items. Even the unusual presentation box is gorgeous!

Supporting The Arts
Can we ever escape the sordid topic of coin? If you owned valuable pieces, you probably wouldn’t want to avoid it! Goodness knows how many of us have dreamt of going on Antiques Roadshow and finding out that the dusty heirloom we never give a second thought about is actually worth a bundle. To learn more about what your pieces might be worth, we’ve got just the thing for you!

You won’t want to be caught without your copy of Judith Miller’s Collectibles & Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2021-2022. Deservingly subtitled as “The Indispensable Guide To What It’s Really Worth”, this will serve as your guide in the collectibles market for both buying and selling. Featuring over 4,000 items, you’ll be in the safest of hands.

Perhaps one day you’ll become so knowledgeable that you’d be able to recognise items with one look, like this Victorian ebonised drinks tray. Dating to around 1850, this black painted papier-mâché tray is adorned with gilt vines and grapes, and depicts a scene of pheasants in a garden. You won’t often find something this rare and unusual!

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