I've just spent the past four days at the wonderful Antiques for Everyone Spring fair at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. This is the largest quality antiques show in the UK, taking out the higher-end Olympia fairs in London. Living up to its name, there truly was something for the thousands who attended (see the opening day entry queue above), from shipwreck cargoes, to Staffordshire, antique drinking glasses, Meissen and a wonderful array of fine Georgian and Victorian furniture at prices ranging from as little as £10 to over £10,000.
The four days kicked off with a short talk to an antiques group who usually meet in a countryside pub owned by a couple of antique-loving publicans. A couple of radio and TV interviews followed, as did a lot of talking and enthusing about the wonderful items on display. It was great to catch up with friends who were exhibiting, such as Mike & Debbie Moir, who sell fine Lalique, Daum and Gallé glass, and Sue & Alan Poultney of Scarab Antiques, who sell a superb selection of great quality glass, silver and jewellery amongst other items. Visiting friends it was great to see included Joy McCall of Christie's, Michael Jeffrey of Woolley & Wallis, and Nigel Benson of 20th Century Glass.
I was, of course, representing Miller's at the event, as well as selling the full range of Mark Hill Publishing books. Positioned at the end of an aisle, our stand (shown above) was busy with a constant stream of visitors coming to buy books and chat. And we weren't the only ones - the fair was packed, particularly on Thursday and Saturday. In fact, I was told by Tiffany Pritchard, the show director, that the opening day saw a record number of visitors! So much for the recession damaging the trade...in fact it only seems to have helped it. With banks offering record low interest rates and more people looking to beautify the homes they find themselves spending more time in, antiques and collectables look to be firmly set as a favourite purchase - and perhaps even an investment.
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