Founded by the indomitable Pat Hier in 1991, the National Glass Fair rapidly grew to become a firm favourite fixture on the calendar of any glass collector worth their salt (or sand). When Pat retired last year, the event was unsurprisingly taken over by glass fair supremo Oxbridge Fairs, run by my good friends Paul Bishop and Christina Glover. Best known for founding the immensely popular Cambridge Glass Fair, they both weaved their magic once again at the latest event held yesterday at the National Motorcycle Museum near the N.E.C. in Birmingham.
Divided across three rooms, one could literally progress from Roman glass in the first to studio glass produced last year in the third. That is, once you got there - the fair was packed! Although I was still firmly in the land of nod, I was told that the early morning queue to get in stretched around the block. Even when I did arrive, there was a lively thrum of activity, with the odd crowning sound of cheery laughter. Us glass collectors tend to be a friendly lot!
I enjoyed the fair immensely, as ever. I caught up with plenty of friends, ranging from studio glass dealer Richard Bebb, to the much respected Peter Elliott and Danny Walker. I bought very well and, judging by the number of bags being carried out, so did many others. Hardly surprising really, given that prices range from £10 to £10,000, and items date from the from 1st century BC to the first year of the second millenium! There really is something for everyone.
I also spent some time with Ron & Ann Wheeler of Artius Glass, who specialise in the designs of Michael Harris for Mdina and Isle of Wight Studio Glass. They have been asked by a private individual to sell the 'holy grail' for Mdina collectors - a rare Crizzle Stone signed by Michael himself. Only the second one I have ever seen (and the first isn't for sale!), offers are invited at sums in excess of £2,000. Remortgage now, as it'll be years before you see another - if you ever do. Contact Artius Glass to place your bid before tomorrow (5th May) by clicking here. Good luck!
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