With tongue firmly in cheek again (we think), Satirist and Antique Collector Michael ‘Atters’ Attree casts his wry eye over the world of Antiques Fairs – collecting and dealing, giving us an insight into his singularly unconventional, whimsical and occasionally naughty view of the subject.
Please note that all views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the organisation and its management.
From millennia, “Dominus” Atte Ree, relic diabolist and Lord of the Manor begot a perverse legacy; “All Attree’s as yet unborn must crave antiquities, objet de arte and Wade Whimsies on a pitiful budget.”
Thus I, “Atters” Attree, prostrate my dark affliction, expertise and ongoing cash flow problems at your disposal.
WTF! aka; Whata Terrific Find!
Video clip above: This cinematic treat reveals a rather macho item I spotted at London’s Alexander Palace fair last month; a turned wood truncheon with a hand painted decorative gilt and lacquered motif surmounted by a large Royal crown. The dealer knew little about the item and quite evidently neither did I. The tag label had it down as a King George III item (1760-1820), however, its monogram stated: “GIIIIR” (King George IV). An easily made mistake so it is wise to self-evaluate your potential purchases and not just rely on a label as dealers are only human too (having said that, have you ever tried sharing a taxi with one?). My wistful imagination transported this weapon back to those heady days (literally) of “impressment” where baton-wielding military “press gangs” legally coerced “rogues and vagabonds” into their bloody campaigns as Royal cannon fodder. Though this tradition continued right up to the early 19th century, my flights of fancy proved to be total rubbish (nice idea though I thought). Later research proved it to be an (almost) equally fascinating Regency law enforcement truncheon. Police during this period were still privately hired and run. Its value would have been greater if it were in fact 18th century however for its price; £150 (possibly £125 with a haggle) it still proved to be a charming example of early British policing history and rather a bargain I thought. At auction, examples of this period and condition often fetch £250-300.
Pictured Above: ‘Policeman, Scarborough’, circa: 1830, by William Dempsey, depicting a formidably unintelligent looking Regency fellow vacantly displaying his highly sort after antique of the future.
Alexandra Palace’s next iacf fairs: Sunday 20th May, Sunday 2nd September, Sunday 2nd December 2018
The Unscrupulous Vendor’s Polari
The Antiques Trade very much has its own patois, and it’s always valuable to know a bit of it, in order to avoid embarrassing oneself.
Vernacular: “Real old-un that Boss. You won’t see one like that again trust me. Good honest piece that-un and just-ah pony to you… Wot? Can I do somfink on it? Wot do you want? A F***ING pirouette?”
Translation: It’s not antique (or even mine). I loathe it. I loathe you. Give me your wallet.
The Atters Ruse: Fop, Skip and Junk
What alchemical marvels skip containers are… during the sobriety of daylight, toilet rubble, asbestos, semi-digested pizza and one dead pigeon are hurled in. During the insobriety of post last orders “Voila!” its all transformed into gold. A chum of mine secured six months worth of antiques fair stock with enough left over to equip his Mazda Campervan. Though how the fellow hangs a tuxedo in a rusty ‘Baby-Belling’ cooker and dines upon a Corby tie press is beyond me. Indeed I hope your quest for refuse treasure-trove bares better fruit than mine. Not so much as a sachet of salt have I found within one of these pedestrian savoury snack packets.
Antiques Fair Joke (BADA Unapproved)
Customer: “Do you sell memorabilia?”
Trader: “I can’t remember.”
ATTERS ANTIQUES: We Are NEVER Closed…
Michael “Atters” Attree is a veteran satirist writer, television producer/director and actor with a penchant for antiques, the supernatural and all things British.
More of Atters via: www.atters.com
and Antiques, vintage objet d’art & sartorial delights by AttersAntiques