Capsule upgrade

Westminster, St John’s

Boston Manor

London bridge (part six)


Henry Moore (1898-1986), Seven seated figures before ruined buildings

St Bride's Fleet Street

Sword from the armoury of Tipu Sultan (1750-99)

Palmerston gold chocolate cups

Welcome to Portobello

Cloisonné jar

Finchley Road

Bronze group of a bull and acrobat


Golders Green

News from our friends
Into the future
Elizabeth II HAS REIGNED in a world moving swiftly through political shifts, cultural change and technological advances. Traditional institutions of law, religion and politics have suffered loss of ...
Elizabeth II (1952 - )
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 17 Bruton Street, London on 21 April 1926. A happy childhood was spent with her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, and younger sister Margaret Rose. ...
Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)
Edward VIII (1936) Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, was known to the family as 'David'. Charming and informal, he was a popular prince, touring Britain and the empire, ...
George V (1910 - 1936)
Edward vii's eldest son Albert died at the age of 28, and so it was his second son, George, who followed him as king. George had learned the navy's traditions of duty and. Blue-eyed, blunt, and ...
House of Windsor
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she left three generations of heirs. They, it was expected, would reign as monarchs of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In fact, the name survived only 16 years. In ...
Most Popular
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Isabella BrantThis famous portrait drawing is of Rubens’ first wife, ...
Waterloo suicidesFor centuries people have been committing or attempting...
The queen of vintage - Hilary ProctorThere's only one thing more fabulous than Hilary Pr...
The Blues and RoyalsIn 1969 The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) were amalgam...
London Oratory (Brompton Road)The Congregation of the Oratory was founded in Rome by ...
Clocks and watches - Martyn Stamp"1970s watches are very popular right now, whereas...
London bridge (part twelve)After the opening in 1836 of London Bridge station, the...
Guy's Hospital ChapelThe benefaction by which Thomas Guy founded the well-kn...
How to spot a bargain
 (голосов: 0)
How to spot a bargainWhether you're after a fine antique, a gap in your collection or a yet to be discovered masterpiece, the same basic rules apply, advises Angela Linforth, editor of BBC Homes & Antiques magazine. So read her ten-point plan and brave the throng...

Most dealers have a good idea of the value of what they're selling and price accordingly. But they're rarely all-knowing. Your surest route to making a killing is to be more knowledgeable than them. The best way to do that is concentrate on one particular area. Read a specialist book, magazine or catalogue to gear up for your bargain safari and 'get your eye in'.

For the real bargains, try to get there first thing. It's when the dealers scour the stalls and when you'll have the best chance of spotting a hidden gem before they do.

Bringing a pocket guide (to hallmarks, makers, periods, styles etc) can offer instant expertise and clues to authenticity or value. Similarly a crafty web-check or comparison via your iPhone or Blackberry while you are on the move can be invaluable.

When you see something you like, pick it up or touch it to judge its authenticity. Look for makers' marks and signs of wear - if it's old, it should show it. If it is a pair check the pieces match and reflect each other; if it's a set, it's worth taking the time to ensure that it is complete.

In antiques and collecting, condition is everything. The right patination on metal and furniture can make a huge difference in value. Damage - even tiny chips on enamel or glass, cracks in porcelain - can have a devastating impact on value, as can poor restoration. Ideally all parts should be original, toys should be in their boxes and books in their dust jackets. Never forget that Provenance always adds value to an item.

The more popular a style is, the less chance you have of coming across something special, so think outside the box. It's well known that Steiff teddy bears are valuable. But other Steiff animals - squirrels, monkeys, dogs, mice, elephant pin-cushions - can be overlooked. Similarly, we know vintage Rolex and Omega watches are expensive, but what about Tudor, which are watches made by Rolex under a different name?
"The phrase 'What's your best price?' is indispensable"

For most of us, pieces by the great names in any arena are beyond our purchasing power. But the next in line - especially contemporaries of the greats who also sum up the era in which they were made - can be surprisingly affordable. In Georgian furniture, for instance, while prices for Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite are stratospheric, they spawned many contemporary imitators whose pieces represent very good value today.

Financial giants Deloitte recently tipped antique furniture as a recession-buster. Ian Stewart, chief economist, said that prices have been falling for years but are now bottoming out and beginning to look undervalued. "The best argument is that antique furniture is better made and cheaper than new furniture," he said. With hand-crafted antique pieces retailing at half the cost of mass-produced new these days, there's never been a better time to buy.

The phrases 'What's your best price?' and 'What have you got on this?' are indispensable to the hardcore bargain hunter. Most dealers are happy to discount by five to eight per cent (and even happier to pocket the full price if you're too shy to ask). Anything more, you'll have to work hard for it - charm is usually more effective than bluster. And if you are refused then just smile.

Wherever possible, buy the best you can afford but never forget that poor condition can also be an opportunity - if you're willing to put the time and effort into a restoration project. Most important of all is to buy only pieces that you adore yourself. That way they'll always keep on giving - regardless of the vagaries of price and fashion.

Посетители, находящиеся в группе Гости, не могут оставлять комментарии к данной публикации.