A two-day antiques fair run by Grandma’s Attic made its 14th appearance in Bournemouth on 9 February 2013 with a strength of 80 different stalls.
This year’s stalls offered a variety of antiques and collectibles, from old and rare books, stamps, Anglo-Indian arts and crafts, restored antique furniture to signed and unique memorabilia from celebrities all around the world.
However, the trade in antiques has undergone quite a change over the past few years, according to many dealers showcasing their acquisitions at the fair.
“The business has definitely changed. The economy and recession has had an affect, especially on the popularity of restored antique furniture,” said Nicola Dean, who has been presenting the pieces along with her husband at the fairs for two years now.
Nicola’s husband, Paul, has been an antique furniture restorer for the past 25 years and decided to extend his business to fairs to increase his presence in the market.
Another husband-wife team, Adrian and Amelia Holt of Level Antiques, who have been dealers for ten years but have been collecting antiques for much longer, shares their sentiments.
“Economy is definitely making an impact on the business, however the world antique trading is changing in other ways too. Internet is playing a major role,” said Adrian.
The dealers are considering the internet as much a boon as it is a bane. Lack of “tactile experience” and the “immense knowledge base present on internet” affect the dealer’s authenticity and their authority.
“Internet has increased the exposure of our pieces and it is much cheaper to sell the stuff on Internet. But, it robs the tactile experience of dealing in antiques. It is much different when someone touches and feels the intricate carvings on a piece than seeing a picture of it on the internet,” said Amelia.
“We are self-employed. Our knowledge of antiques is our income. But due to information present on Internet everyone is privileged to information, that was originally unique to just dealers. It affects our business a lot,” said Adrian.
Keith Ellis of Nostalgiagraphs believes that it is not only the economy or the internet that are impacting the business. It is also the “trends.”
“People’s interest change. Trends go up and down. Restored antique furniture is not as popular now, but it won’t always be on a down. If you consider my specialty, my goods become popular when a certain person dies. There is an instant demand for their autographs, rare pictures and memorabilia,” said Ellis who deals mostly in original autographs of celebrities.
No matter the changes that this trade has seen over the years, it does not deter many of these dealers from coming back again as many of them have already booked slots with Grandma’s Attic for the next fair.
They all have different reasons though.
“It is the passion that drives us, passion for history and culture behind each piece. You are always looking for a new find,” said Holts, who went on a tour of India in a bid to study the history behind their pieces.
“I like coming to Grandma’s attic fairs because they are not only professional but also choose to give back to the community. They are dealers themselves and understand us,” said Dean.
If you think, you missed these dealers and their unique wares, do make it to the next one in October.
Main Image: Rachitaa Gupta