Guides...........and blogs

BBC and Paul Martin have got together again for a new antique and collectables programme but how good is it?

FORMAT
Two wannabe dealers tour an antiques centre, where they select possible buys and Paul opines on their choices. This is the practice bit.

Then they are given an auction catalogue, and online access, to pick items to buy at an auction, each having a self chosen budget. As the budget is largely ignored this seems a redundant feature!

At the auction they have to buy 3 items for onward resale, and this is the first part of the programme that almost works. When buying, there is always a danger of overbidding on items just because they have been selected. It is always… view more »

Bought on Sunday, collected on Monday, listed on Tuesday, sold within a few hours.

We may well have underpriced this rare black and white colourway!

The design was reworked by Wedgwood for the 1953 coronation, Ravilious having been killed in WWII.

This colourway is seldom found. view more »

Sometimes you start to investigate a piece of ephemera and it suddenly becomes emotional.

That was the case when we started researching this page from an autograph album and realised the tragedy behind the signatures, and the later sad signature of a friend, Seymour Hicks.

Here is the listing for the autographs:

Autograph Lawrence Irving 1871-1914 & Mabel Hackney 1880-1914 Empress of Ireland

Wiki excerpts: "Laurence Sydney Brodribb Irving (21 December 1871 - 29 May 1914)[1] was a well known English dramatist and novelist. He died along with his wife in the RMS Empress of Ireland disaster. Irving was married to a fellow performer, actress Mabel Lucy Hackney (1880-1914)

Laurence and Mabel were on a tour of first Australia and then North America from… view more »

One of our favourite recent purchases was an old autograph book with theatre and stage signatures from the WWI era.

This is the autograph of Pauline Chase, who played the lead role of Peter Pan and adds "I'm youth, I'm joy"

J M Barrie wrote, re Peter, "Either he must be the whimsical fairy creature that Nina Boucicault made him, or he must be the lovable tomboy of Pauline Chase. there is no other way"

She retired from stage in 1913.

Presumably Edward Compton is Edward Compton Mackenzie, actor-manager, whose daughter Fay Compton starred in several of J M Barrie's plays. The "I'm Nobody" reference is intriguing, might he have played or understudied for Captain Hook? (if the Nobody calls Peter… view more »

In a large ephemera lot we found motorway and trunk road plans from the 1970s.

This extract is from a 1978 map that we shall list on eBay.

Would life be better or worse without the M25? view more »

If you are faced with a large quantity of potentially interesting film negatives, and you want to produce prints, what do you do?

First we made a light box, which was ok..ish in viewing the negatives to try to see if they might be of interest. A better way of viewing the negatives was to use a white screen page on my Android tablet. But it still took a real effort to interpret them, so the next step was to photo the negatives and then use a software inversion programme.

Trouble is, the quality was sorely lacking and it was a long-winded process.

So finally, after research, we invested in a scanner, the Epson Perfection V550, which we bought from Curry's eBay… view more »

That was the rather underwhelming catalogue entry for a recent auction lot.

But we went to the preview with this as the main item of interest, only to find out that the plans were of sewage works! Still, where there's muck there's brass, so we bought these and an associated lot of royal ephemera that had many photo negatives. Time will tell whether we were right but at time of writing these have sold already and illustrate the diversity of items to be found in such a lot:

So Bracing: 1971 Skegness Leaflet and Accommodation Guide
Austin Motor Company "Longbridge Today" 1930s Company Booklet
Post Office 1974 Guide to New County Names
Dudley Zoo 1937 Opening Year Guide
Merseyside's New Railways Leaflet 1970s
Mersey… view more »

A recent Antiquer's forum post featured a pile of reference books bought for AU$50. While reaction was generally positive, and in some cases envious, one responder said that they were getting rid of their books and using internet resources instead.

So we thought, is it feasible to rely solely on the internet for researching antiques?

The internet certainly has some major advantages that we would not wish to lose:

Forums can be excellent for bringing together a wealth of far flung knowledge that can greatly assist identification e.g. Antiquers

Google can be invaluable at finding other examples of a piece.

Wikipedia has become an indispensable research aid

And there are many other sites that are important sources of information. We show several of these in our… view more »

Reading the Times recently, I was reminded that KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky had said that Jones provided intelligence to the Soviet Union and received payment .

These allegations resurfaced in The Spy and The Traitor by Ben MacIntyre

At the time these reports first emerged, Jones denied this and claimed he had been working for British intelligence. Separately allegations were also made about Michael Foot.

Whatever the truth of the matter, and whether either man was guilty of spying for the Soviet Union, in this autograph of Jack Jones there is a little slice of history for sale! view more »

We buy lots of ceramics and inevitably we have accumulated many items that we cannot identify. Sometimes we seek help from online forums but, all too frequently, the item remains a mystery

This is the latest to go in the box, a kind of porcelain Room 101:

Polychrome Chinoiserie plate, looks to be porcelain and possibly British. 8 1/2" diameter, pronounced foot, outline transfer print with extensive hand painting.

We have two of these, one has no markings, the other has an impressed 6 or 9. Looking at an angle one can see that features were originally painted but they have worn, as have many stems.

But what age and pattern is it, never mind who made it?

We now have so many mystery ceramics… view more »

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