I think it was Martin who left me a comment the other day wanting to know how I got into Antiques and how I learnt about them.
I gave a short reply as only you can when replying on the comments page, but it did get me thinking of all the things Ive collected over the years.
To say there have been a few have been an understatement!
I think I must of been a Magpie in a previous life!
As a kid, I collected fossils, anything that looked remotely like a fossil, including a piece of concrete with a metal bar sticking out of it! Glass bottles, which I would go digging for at the various old Victorian tips around Shaston.
I collected stamps, coins, snails, butterflys, old bits from bikes, match boxes, you name it I would collect it.
This was briefly interrupted by spending time in the Army, where it wasnt so much collecting, more of sampling all the wonderful German beers on offer!
Once I left I think my first collection then was of old sewing machines, I must of had around 20 or so, all working, and cleaned up. They looked pretty impressive, but they did take up rather alot of room!
Whilst living up north, I then combined two of these hobbies of mine of collecting and drinking! If you ever look at all the real ales in the super markets, you will see that some of the labels and bottles look pretty impressive. So, I started to collect them! Not only that but the pump clips as well! Which I then attached to the bottle necks.
I had a high ceiling in the kitchen which allowed 3 or 4 tiers of the bottles to be displayed on top of the kitchen cupboards. The tops of the cupboards had up-lighters so all in all with just over 300 different beer bottles it looked pretty impressive! Must say it was hard work collecting the bottles! Not!
Once back down to a warmer climate the only thing that I collect now is anything to do with my beloved home town of Shaston.
All though, I do have a couple of thousand books, loads of sheet music, many, many postcards, plenty of old 78's and enough vintage clothing to cloth a small village in Africa!
Ive always had an interest in anything old, and being ex-forces obviously old military items interest me. I found myself working for a guy who dealt in old military and colonial items. This I found immensely enjoyable and I learnt alot whilst working with him.
I then set up on my own, and working with a couple of other antique dealers Ive found myself doing what I do now!
How do you learn about antiques? well Im a bit of a sponge when it comes to soaking up information, when Im looking at something that Im not sure about, 9 times out of 10 you can find something out about it by hitting google! There is just so much information available.
Unless you specialise on a paticular subject, such as Meissen for instance, then I really dont think you ever stop learning! Its just to greater subject to know everything!
You are helped by the china/porcelain manufactuers, identifying their pieces on the bottom, and they can also be date stamped, some simply by the year or others with a code, which can then be looked up and dated.
Silver and gold can be hallmarked, depending on which country it comes from. British silver is fairly easy to read as long as the hallmark is clear. Chinese and Indian silver tends not to be marked, but you can tend to tell by the feel and the colour if its silver or not, the age usually by the quality! The better quality the older it is.
If you ever have any old silver or gold that you would like to cash in on, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org a picture and the weight of the item would be good. I can bet any money you like Ill give you a better price than any of these TV gold and silver buyers!
Yesterday was spent, describing antiques ready for auction. They ranged from silver tea caddy spoons, tea leaf strainers and dishes, proof coin sets, masonic jewels, Victorian scent bottle cork screws, a miniature painting just to name a few items. Always interesting and you learn something new everyday.
Not sure I could do a job where you dont learn anything!
So dont forget dig out all your old jewellery and Ill give you a good price, the price of silver and gold is at an all time high, so if your going to do it, do it now!
I think that with the love of collecting old and interesting things and the enjoyment of selling which is what I did for a number of years then doing what I do now is the perfect mix.
Mind you if you looked at my resume, you would wonder! Maybe thats for another post!!!!