Are you curious as to why and how people become antique dealers? We met up with Jeremy Garner of TwoJays Antiques at the IACF Festival of Antiques at Peterborough to get an insight as to why he became an iacf stallholder and antiques dealer.
‘I’d always been a collector’ he tells us. ‘Starting at an early age with collections of matchbox labels, beer mats, through stamps to coins fuelled by the shiny pennies given to me by my Grandfather.’
‘I didn’t add much to my collections when I started work, concentrating on mortgage payments and bills, but as I began to have money to spend, I became interested in ceramics, in particular coffee cups and cans, and especially Royal Worcester coffee cups of a particular shape called ‘Mocha’.’
This interest in coffee cans resulted in a healthy collection which was fast filling the space available in Jeremy’s one bedroom flat in Hove.
After nearly forty years working for the same company, twenty of those commuting daily to London, Jeremy decided to retire but had some concerns.
‘One of my biggest concerns was the losing of the social interaction, I enjoyed both at work and on the daily commute. I other words meeting people. Having commuted for so long many of my friends were spread far and wide and my opportunity to meet up regularly was going to be challenging’. ‘I needed something in my retirement to get me out and about’.
June Garner, Jeremy’s mother, was also a collector concentrating on Royal Winton chintz pottery in the ‘Marion’ pattern. ‘Both my mother and I were discussing our collections and we both agreed that a bit of ‘pruning’ was needed to refocus on what we were wanting to collect and to move on some of the pieces that didn’t really fit’.
Sadly, June passed away before that decision to prune the collections could be put in to effect. Two more years were to pass before Jeremy, having moved back to the family home in Bedfordshire, actually retired and started to look again at the collections which had now been merged in to one home. ‘Having visited many antiques fairs over the years with my mother to build our collections, I thought that fairs would be the perfect answer to disposing of some of the items that were no longer wanted and the perfect venues to dispel my concern of retiring – to meet people’.
With a professional background Jeremy approached his venture in to antique dealing along the same lines. ‘I wanted a trading style’ he says. ‘As I was originally going to sell antiques with my mother June, and my name also beginning with J, I hit upon two J’s as that style. This soon became ‘TwoJays Antiques.'
The first fair Jeremy decided to attend was his local. ‘I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did have some knowledge of how to lay out the table, as both June and my sister worked in Retail’. ‘So, with a table cloth, two wooden boxes and a small set of shelves and a bit of stock I set up my table’. ‘My fellow dealers were kind and helpful and I was hooked and wanted to attend more fairs’
Having traded for nearly five years now, TwoJays Antiques has grown from strength to strength and now stands at several fairs in southern England including IACF Festival of Antiques in Peterborough and soon the next IACF fair in Alexandra Palace and has its own website ‘Twojaysantiques.co.uk’. Jeremy’s early love of Royal Worcester is still evident with many interesting pieces on his website. ‘I try to keep an interesting mix of fine British ceramics on my website’ he tells us ‘but my affection for Royal Worcester from my earlier collecting habit, is still evident as is my discovery of the beautiful pottery made at Doulton Lambeth’.
And what of those retirement fears of not meeting people? ‘I am so pleased I decided to do this’ Jeremy replies, ‘I’ve met so many lovely people both dealers and customers alike. And now I’m busy travelling to auctions, researching and learning more about ceramics, attending fairs and enjoying every minute of it.'