Michael & Liz started in the trade 8 years ago, after LIz's mother, who was a dealer in Victorian and early 20th century handbags, retired from the business.
They sold her remaining stock, and enjoyed the experience so much that they diversified into general antiques and collectables. Over the last 2 years they have specialised in glass, after finding that they were selling much more of it than anything else. Whilst they also buy & sell ceramics, they tend to limit these items to makers like Dresden, Meissen & Royal Dux.
When they exhibit at iacf fairs they try to have an eclectic mix of both new and old items, with glass from exciting contemporary makers such as Adam Aaronson (for whom they are an authorised retail agent), along with older items, and other exotic glassware from a variety of locations around the globe.
1. What is your specialist area?
Antique & Contemporary glass from all over the world
2. What kind of items, from which eras, are collected?
We buy & sell mostly vases, as they adapt to any home or work environment; but we also have dishes, bowls, paperweights, and drinking glasses which are very popular at the moment. We recently had hollow stemmed French champagne glasses which we did not keep for very long as they sold almost immediately. We will buy anything that we think would suit the rest of our glass that we have acquired. Glass is a fantastic medium, and changes with what ever light or surroundings it is in.
3. What are the types of object that might appeal to the entry-level collector?
It really depends on your pocket, as with most things which are collected, the prices vary greatly. We have items from about £40, but depending on what the object is the price will rise. Our most expensive item is a rare piece of Chinese glass. There were only 75 made and we have number 49, so for collectors this piece is a rare thing. The cost also depends on the price that we have to pay, but we try to turn over our stock, rather than have a large mark up, so that our regular customers can see new stock when ever they visit the fairs that we attend.
4. Are there useful publications/websites/public collections that you can recommend?
We highly recommend the annual glass fair held at Knebworth House & at the National Motorcycle museum. Glass dealers from all over the country exhibit, and the choice and quality is stunning. This is a good place to meet the glass blowers too who exhibit. We also attend all IACF fairs in Newbury & Alexander Palace.
5. Can you give some idea of the range of prices that collectors in this area might expect to pay?
From £40 upwards, depending on what you like and whether you collect a certain glass blower. Some highly regarded blowers do charge a premium price for their work; we try to buy pieces at a reasonable cost so that we can retail them on likewise.
6. Starting out, should would-be collectors go to fairs, auctions, specialist dealers - or take their chances online?
As we have said before, the Specialist Glass Fairs are well worth a visit, so too are general fairs as you can be lucky and pick up a bargain. Online is a bit more tricky, as we firmly believe that to buy glass, you have to touch, feel and see the item for yourself
7. Are there traps and pitfalls? Are fakers at work in this area?
Yes, unfortunately there are fakes out there. Always be aware that like some other things today, glass is being copied in other parts of the world, and although they might look like the real thing, there are tell-tale warnings that would prevent one from buying. Remember that most glass is mouth blown, if glass claims to be mouth blown, and it has seams, or looks moulded, it is just that, and not mouth blown. That is why being up close & personal when buying is the best solution. Touching, feeling, and judging for yourself if there is the right quality present.
8. Do you have a personal favourite era, or style, or individual maker? What makes them unique?
Since we started in the business we have changed our stock from general antiques and collectable's to glass sellers. We just love the way it looks. We always try to have an eclectic mix of old & new glass to suit most tastes; our motto is if we would put it in our home, we buy it to sell on, then we can enthuse about it. We currently retail the glass by a glass blower called Adam Aaronson, who we met at an 20th century fair. After some discussion we agreed to sell his glass, and it has proved to be very popular with our customers. But we buy most artists work, it just has to be the right priceand wonderful to look at.
Liz & Michael will be exhibiting their Glassware at Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair this Sunday 21st May & Newbury Antiques & Collectors Fair on Friday 4th & Sat 5th August.
To contact Liz & Micheal Flatter email: email@example.com
For more information go to: www.iacf.co.uk