This Weeks Ramblings (Blog)
Need some Ebay lessons from Ruth!
Merry Xmas, Roller Skating Rink Operators Association of America
Ruth doesn't like the phrase "Latest Ramblings" as she says I do enough of that at home, so from now on this section is simply called Blog. (I know who's boss).
14th April 2023
Back to Black.......
If you scroll down to 22nd July 2018, you'll see that I talk about the 2 blackbirds that live in our garden (Mr Black and Mrs Brown). Well I suppose that it should come as no surprise that they have returned for yet another season chez nous. It's a bit like they're an old married couple who have found a nice hotel they like and keep returning every year. Our recent moving of the birdbath seems to have gone down well with them as they are now like annoying teenagers who spend forever in the bathroom. We've even seen one of them queueing up while the other one makes the most of the facilities.
We have now moved into selling other peoples' collections and it's keeping us really busy, so if you have something tucked away, we'd be glad to get involved!
11th November 2021
"Then one day a strong rain came and washed all the crops away...."
You know, I've been waiting years to find an excuse to use those lyrics (yes, you are right, they are from Patches by Clarence Carter). Why now? Well because we have just received what is probably the country's largest collection of US Police patches, that's why, and if you take a stroll over to Rare Vintage Collectables, you'll find over 800 of them. (We don't do things by halves here at The Stamphouse). It's just one of 3 large collections in this week, the other 2 being coins, which we are also featuring on the same page. And I have to say that whilst my knowledge of coins is pretty limited, I'm amazed at the condition of a couple of the Charles 1st coins from 1633!
2nd October 2021
"Have you got a pen?"
"Well can I borrow it?"
"Doing the crossword"
"Because it's worth £1500"
I wish I did own a pen worth that much money (come to think of it, no, as I'd prefer to spend the money on something else). So let me start off by saying that I know nothing about pens, but thankfully I know someone who does, so when we were asked to help sell the collection that you'll see on the new tab (Pens), my first call was to Stef at Grandmia pens (thanks Stef), who helped us wade through them. It's a fabulous collection of Mont Blancs, Montegrappa, Pelikan......I'm just showing off now because I know some fancy pen makes......anyway if pens atre your thing, check them out and give me a call. And if they're not, have a look at the graet 1966 Omega Constellation that's just come in.
9th June 2021
"It's not like I've bought you an orthopaedic hat......."
Do you really want to know what that's all about? Let me know if you do, it's just something that was said to me this morning! Anyway we both hope you are all well and busy and enjoying life as we crawl our way out of lockdown. I must admit that I have been really lazy, which is why I haven't updated this for a while. That's not to say that we have been idle, au contaraire monsieur, so take a look at the fabulous Cartier and Tiffany clocks that we have for sale (Rare Vintage Collectables page) along with the lovely Dunhill Facet on Other Vintage Watches. All just the finest quality and very collectable. And if you do come across an orthopaedic hat let me know, I'll make you an offer.
14th April 2021
Zippin' up my boots.....
Yep it's the old Odyssey hit as we are going back to our roots and diving back into the world of GB stamps. It's where it all started for us over 50 years ago, when we specialised in 1840 to 1940 GB stamps. I've always had a passion for stamps, particularly on the Edward 7th issues, so I've added another tab and will try and busy myself filling it up from our extensive collection. Which means that the vinyl will have to go on hold for the time being!
20th January 2021
Blimey, is it 2021 already?
A very belated Happy New Year to you all and we hope that you are keeping safe and well during these extraordinary times. Like most people we know, we've been pretty quiet with no fairs and little of interest in auctions, it's been a great time to stay in and do some housekeeping. So every drawer, cupboard, shelf and storage unit is now so well organised, we can't find a thing!
It's looking like there won't be too much action on the antiques and collectables scene until at least Spring, but we will be making some changes, including a new section of collectable vinyl (please see the new tab "Collectable Vinyl" (predictable eh?) which I will update over the next few days.
Stay safe & Well
12th October 2020
"You have 24 hours to complete this mission, and your time starts......now"
I know. I should have done so much more updating over the last few months, but to be honest, I've become quite lazy (some would say that I was really lazy already and that I've just got worse). With most antique fairs now cancelled until 2020, we've been re organising and de-cluttering and doing all that good stuff that everyone does during lockdown.
And it's all been pretty good really, but then we were set on a mission. One of our valued clients and a serious watch collector suddenly decided to part with his entire collection. We were honoured to deal with such fine watches, the majority of which were RAF issued military ones and all in the finest condition. The only problem was that we were given literally one day to sell the lot (which we did, because we don't hang around here at The Stamphouse).
That's my excuse for the photos on the Other Vintage Watches and Omega tabs not being the most professional. So if you fancy drooling over some fabulous military watches, you know where to go.
26th June 2020
"That's a shame"
"I've just finished this 1,000 piece jigsaw and there's a piece missing"
"How do you know?"
"The dog ate it"
Well how are you? I know, I should have posted a million updates during lockdown, but to be perfectly honest, we've been busy doing nothing and loving every minute of it. Well not really nothing, the shed has now been painted three time, locks mended, DIY jobs done, garden overhauled and so on and so on, leaving me no time to do any antiquey things. But as we slowly emerge from lockdown, we are gradually getting back into the swing of things, so expect plenty of photos and witty (not Chris Witty) text over the next week or so as I have a lot of stuff to list.
The jigsaw reference? It's true . What's even more annoying is doing a 1,000 piece jigsaw, finding that there are 3 pieces missing, but strangely 3 pieces left over that don't fit
14th February 2020
"Scorpio........And my name is Charles........"
Yes, we're back, and a very happy new year to you all. You don't need me to tell you that that's an adapted line from "Float On" by The Floaters. With the vinyl revival well and truly underway, we have jumped on the bandwagon (or should I say the Johnny Johnson and his Bandwagon) and acquired a huge collection of vinyl. What's your taste in music? Beatles, Stones, Motown, Funk, 60s, 70s, 80s, we now have hundreds of LPs including some nice rarities. We've been busy re-building our own collection too, following my admission that I took all our down the tip a few years ago. (Well you couldn't give them away then could you?). Which also means buying a nice new turntable and all the palaver that goes with it. I'll post some photos and info, so dig out those flairs and platforms and head over to the Rare Vintage Collectables tab. see you there!
31st October 2019
"Err, can I have one of those Italian Meat ones please?"
"Err 6 inches please"
"Hot or cold?"
"Err yes please"
"Err yes, peppers please"
"Sorry, the coffee machine's not working"
Subway is great, and the sandwich was excellent, but there's just too much choice! Now anyoine who knows me will tell you that the worst thing you can do is put a menu in front of me, unless you have all night.
24th July 2019
"Your name please?"
"Dealer in antiques and collectables"
"And your chosen specialist subject?"
"Edward 7th GB stamps.... No, wait a minute, Art Deco ceramics.....no, vintage Omega watches....no, bakelite....no, Dutch cigar bands from the 1960s......
The simple fact is that you can't be an expert on everything, although the internet does help. We have a small army of people who are considered experts in their own field, for example vintage Rolex watches, postcards, vintage toys and so on. But as you might also know if you are a regular reader is that we do sell a lot of collections and are frequently asked to sell some pretty interesting stuff.
This week there's a huge (and I mean HUGE) collection of vintage cigar bands and labels, Victorian Christening gowns and rare Doctor Who collectors cards, to name a few. Unfortunately it seems that there's little info on any of it, so maybe we should just stick to what we know, but then life wouldn't be as interesting would it?
3rd July 2019
Me; "Have you ever wondered how they make paint?"
I have, along with wondering how they make lots of stuff, and I'm not alone as those programmes on the telly like "How Do They Do That?" or whatever it's called are really popular. Sometimes an object that we come across begs the question "Why on Earth did anyone make that in the first place?" Every so often on Dragon's Den you'll hear them say that someone has invented a solution to a poroblem that didn't exist in the first place. Maybe an underwater camera for dogs or an edible mug. Recent things we've come across include a coat rack made from gun parts, early Japanese drumming toy man with no hands (we bought and sold it anyway) and a collection of toilet themed ephemera (which we didn't buy). So we try and stick to what we know, but the market changes, so our focus is less on ceramics and watches, more on collectables and ephemera. And tinplate railway track. And TV autographs. And a 1970's Star Wars jigsaw. And.....oh I give up, how do they make paint anyway?
15th June 2019
"Fancy a holiday?"
"Where do you fancy?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe Croatia? Spain? Chernobyl?......"
As strange as it may sound, I did get invited on holiday to Chernobyl last night, but I don't think it's Ruth's cup of tea. According to my good friend Anthony, who has been before, it's a really fascinating place and well worth a visit. I'm sure you'd come back with a good tan, but maybe not from the sun.
Anyway, down to business. OK, guilty. I should have stuck to that resolution and updated the site more often, but other issues have taken priority, but the good news is we are back! With collections of Ocean Liner ephemera (excellent), Kitmaster models (excellent) vintage costume jewellery (I'm told it's excellent and who am I to argue) Vintage beer labels (excellent) and so on and so on. If I can drag myself away from the cricket, I'll start updating and posting some photos, promise!
29th January 2019
Happy New Year!
Did you have a good Christmas and New Year? We do hope so. Every year I seem to make the same New Year's resolution, which is to keep the website up to date and as you can see that this is the first update of the year, I'm already failing miserably. But to be honest we have been exceptionally busy recently with 8 fairs in January and lots of online activity and private sales.
2019 being the 50th anniversary of the moon landing (oh yes they did) means that we are expecting something special in the form of a commemorative Speedmaster from Omega as well as the re issue of the 321 movement. I'll get in the queue but I won't build my hopes up. Speedmasters must be in demand more than ever because the 861 that wev had in attracted 3 offers in one day! Better find some more then.....
12th November 2018
"Sprechen Sie Englisch?"
"Yes, that's why I said Good Morning"
"How do you know I'm not German?"
"Because of the way you said Guten Morgen........."
So went the conversation with the concierge in our hotel in Berlin (well I tried). Berlin was amazing and we had a wonderful time, thanks for asking. But we're back and raring to go again, on the look out for the next great find. We've recently sold the Ocean Liners collection (and lots of other stuff too), so back asap with more lovely stuff
16th October 2018
A mushroom a day keeps the doctor away
Here's how the conversation went;
Me; "nice apple?"
Ruth; "no, not really"
Me; "why not?"
Ruth; "it tastes of mushrooms"
It may have something to do with the fact that I'd been cutting up some mushrooms with the same knife and may not have washed it, but who knows? (Don't tell Ruth that bit, let's hope she doesn't read this).
Anyway, following on from the blog entry below, I was right (it does happen now and again). The Ocean Liner ephemera collection lasted with us for less than a week and now has a happy new owner.
On to the next big thing then and we are now on the trail of some rare Titanic memorabilia amongst other things. You just never know what's on the horizon, so we hope to wow you again shortly with some more great rarities.
Better go, need to do some washing up.......
5th October 2018
Here today, gone......today!
Sometimes the stuff (stuff? is that the right word? - Ruth) that we come across is just so rare and collectable that it only stays with us for a matter of days. Take the case of the Emma Peel doll (Rare Vintage Collectables tab). Within a couple of hours of me listing it on the website it was on its way to its new home in the USA. Same with the Carlton Ware Tutenkhamen bowl that we only had the pleasure of owning for one day before being snapped up. Of course not everything moves so quickly (including me these days) but we only tend to buy what we really like, so are happy to be stuck with.
When we do find something irresitible, we just have to have it, as is the case with the fantastic collection of Ocean Liner ephemera that you can see on the Vintage Books and Ephemera page. I'd be very happy to be stuck with that, but I suspect that it won't hang around for long.
10th September 2018
"You'll never see another one....."
Is a phrase that gets quoted to us quite a lot, usually from vendors who are keen to promote the rarity of a certain item, in an attempt to convince us that it's the only one left in the World. "It" can range from ceramics to jewellery, from watches to any sort of collectable. Of course it doesn't mean to say that the item in question is necessarily that desirable. Not all rare things are. Over the years we have come across so many "one offs" that are exactly that for a reason; they proved so unpopular that the manufacturer simply never made any more because nobody wanted them.
Of course that's not always the case and we have had the pleasure of dealing in some truly great things that you will never see another one of, and believe me, when you find that treasure, you realise why you do what we do. Oddly enough, I did find myself using the title phrase the other day, when dealing with someone who was interested in purchasing the Tuck's transfers (see below and Vintage Books & Ephemera), which was true as you probably never would see another one. But as we had over 300 of them, I did feel a little uneasy about saying it. Not so the case with the Christmas card at the top of the page). You almost certainly never will see another one, but I'm not sure you'd want to anyway.... (PS We both love it!)
5th September 2018
She sells seashells at The Stamphouse....
Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness! Some of you may recognise that as a phrase often used by Adam Richman, in which case a gold star is on its way to you! We've had a few Oh my goodness moments recently, from finding the Omega paperweight desk clock that you'll see on the Omega Vintage Watches tab (not surprisingly this sold within just a few days), to our latest acquisition of rare collectables.
Every so often you'll hear stories of "barn find" cars that have been discovered after decades of storage and the same applies to surprise finds of antiques and collectables. Our latest find is quite extraordinary.
The story is that an old shop was being demolished, and a room was discovered that had been locked for decades. In that room was a hoard of old toys, advertising signs and ephemera, including the Raphael Tuck issued Father Tuck's books of childrens transfers, so we just had to buy the lot of over 300 books. Incredibly rare and sought after, you can find them on the Vintage Books & Ephemera page. (Update 8.9.2018; Unsurprisingly these have now all sold within 2 days!)
The seashells bit? Well it goes to prove that we deal in the weird and wonderful, the rare and collectable and never know what we are going to be offered next. We recently acquired a large collection of rare South Sea Island seashells which have proved so popular that I didn't even get a chance to photograph them for the website!
22nd July 2018
Mr Black's playing dead in the garden again.......
It's been a while! Our Summer break has involved lots of DIY, decorating, de cluttering and trying to source those goodies that every home should have. But to be honest we've been a bit lazy on the antiques & collectables front, but with a busy fairs schedule we are back and raring to go.
Mr Black? He's the blackbird that has nested in our garden for several years (along with his other half Mrs Brown). But we think he's losing the plot a bit. It's not unusual to come downstairs, open the blinds and see him flat out on the grass (with the state of it following the recent heatwave, I wouldn't dare refer to it as a lawn) or even lying on his back with his wings fully extended. At first we thought he'd had it, but try and help him and he just rolls over and flies away. Anyway what's all this to do with antiques and collectables? Well not everything is what it seems to be at first glance. We recently took in a box of rather scruffy looking books, only to find that they are sample albums of Christmas cards from the 1930s and they are fantastic. When I've got a minute I'll put thyem on under Vintage Books and Ephemera. I could bore you rigid with tales of the unexpected finds that we have come across, but that's all for another day.
Meanwhile Mr Black is serenading us from the top of our apple tree, so I'll go and enjoy the free concert.
24th May 2018
"Waiter, there's a fly in my pizza....."
Well it was only a tiny one, and we were eating outside whilst on holiday in Italy, so I suppose that's to be expected. Better than a fly in the ointment? Not if it's your pizza. Italy was fantastic, but we are back and raring to go. And what an assortment of goodies we have to deal with, from signed books by Dick Cheney and Margaret Thatcher to rare cameras and superbly carved boxes, along with the usual good stuff.
The market for good watches continues to grow and we were delighted to find a good home this week for our client's Breitling Montbrillant Legende, with lots of good watch chat on many of the other fine timepieces we are helping to sell. One day I'll find time to update the website properly, but in the meantime it's back to the jigsaw / watches / grindstone. Back soon.
16th March 2018
"Stick your hand out, there's one coming....."
Sometimes it seems that finding good vintage watches is like waiting for a bus to come, nothing for ages, then 26 turn up all at the same time! Being the accommodating people that we are, I was only too pleased to help a friend sell some of his vintage watches, and you can drool over them one our Omega Vintage Watches and Other Vintage Watches pages.
There's some pretty rare ones in there, so whether your taste is for Omega, Rolex, IWC (Ok, I could go on listing watch brands but I'll stop there) there's bound to be something to whet your appetite. What you'll see is just a small part of a huge accumulation, so there's plenty to go at.
Jigsaw to one side then and Omega books out.......
22nd December 2017
The curious case of Lady Penelope's missing leg......
When I'm not out hunting for scarce and unusual collectables, I like doing jigsaw puzzles (it must be an age thing). But not just any old jigsaw; my preference is for Thunderbirds ones, so imagine my eager anticipation when the latest Falcon "Thunderbirds Iconic Vehicles" one came my way recently.
Brand new, sealed and the last one in the series, I couldn't wait to get started. But (and you knew there was going to be a but, didn't you?) things did not go according to plan. Over several days I toiled over the 1,000 pieces and consumed more cuppas than is probably healthy, until I got down to the last 3 pieces.
One of these must be Lady Penelope's left leg I thought. But no. Lady P was destined to remain limbless as all 3 remaining pieces were sky. Sky that I had already completed. 3 short and 3 left over.
I checked the box, the bag that all the pieces came in, the floor, the chairs, in fact just about everywhere. There was only one thing to do; phone the manufacturer.
"Oh, it happens quite a lot" said the very helpful lady at Falcon. "I'll send you another one in the post".
But I'd just spent days completing it, so didn't want the same one again and left it to her discretion to find me a suitable replacement, based on what types of jigsaws I like doing. Just nothing with animals please.
So now I am the proud owner of "Zoo animals in the wild". Oh well, it could be worse, at least I have both legs intact.....
Have a wonderful Christmas and our best wishes for a great 2018
Charlie & Ruth
21st October 2017
Here today, gone the day after tomorrow....
I'm trying to get the message across that we don't just deal in old watches. In fact, we have had some quite amazing pieces offered to us recently, as can be seen on the Books & Ephemera and Unusual & Different pages of our website. A good case is a small collection of Regency period Silhouette portraits that we acquired this week. Incredibly detailed and in their original ebonised frames (see Unusual & Different), they sold to the first person that I showed them to 2 days later.
Our buyer, a gentleman of impeccable taste, was stunned by their quality and just had to have them. And of course, we are delighted that they have gone to a good home.
Some things just don't hang around and sometimes it's a race against time to upload photos and descriptions to the website before they are sold. You never know what you are going to be offered and recent "attic finds" have proved to be just that, from dusty collections of Viewmasters to models of the Queen Mary and vintage ephemera. So grab some old clotrhes, dust off the loft ladder and let's see what you might find up there...
14th October 2017
"Pass me a tissue will you?....NOT THAT ONE!"
Regular visitors to our site (and to the fairs that we do) will know that we regularly have the most bizarre and unusual items for sale. This week's odd object can be seen shortly on the Books & Ephemera tab, namely a souvenir tissue.
Commemorating King George V and Queen Mary's visit to Crewe and the Potteries in 1913 it's amazing that it has survived for over 100 years. Made of extremely delicate tissue or crepe paper, it must be the only one out there, so is extremely rare if not extremely valuable, and no doubt the lightest thing that we may ever have to put in the post to someone!
Finally, very sad to hear of the passing of my friend and Carlton Ware guru Tony Wood (aka Ebay Masterspy for the carltonwareworld.com website), he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. If you want to acquire some of the finest Carlton Ware available, Tony's collection will feature in Fieldings Auction, part one on 21st October.
18th September 2017
Put a bit of powder on it Father
Anyone getting that reference has my full admiration. It's a song by Billy Williams and just happens to be the title of one of our Edison cylinders (see Unusual & Different). What Father was putting a bit of powder on remains a mystery, but as it was over 100 years ago, you'd have to hope that it cured whoever it was as they are unlikely to still be around to let us know.
Anyway, you know how things are. You don't see something for decades, then suddenly you find lots of them. Viewmasters in our case. We started with one collection and now have several, and when I get some time, I'll add some photos of the numerous viewers and hundreds of reels. It's great fun reliving your past, so this week Ruth bought in over 50 children's books (see Books & Ephemera) from the 1950's and 60's, many of which she had herself, and great they are too (except for Rupert books, which I've always found scary, don't ask me why).
So whilst Ruth was busy acquiring books (and a big collection of vintage dolls; see Unusual & Different), I thought I'd better join in and couldn't resist the Chad Valley 1930's model of RMS Queen Mary (again, see Unusual & Different).
Well I'd better crack on because there's always a lot to do here at The Stamphouse and this cushion is making my back itch. Any ideas anyone?
17th August 2017
5.....4.....3.....2.....1.......Thunderbirds Aren't Go.....
Or I could call this one "Don't you wonder sometiiiiiiimes about sound and vision?"
The other day I picked up my best ever purchase from Ebay, "The Complete Thunderbirds", surely the most comprehensive book ever written on the subject of my favourite childhood TV programme. If, like me, you are a Thunderbirds fan, it's an absolute must have. I've even started re-watching all the episodes from my DVD boxset. (Yes, I know, I should find more constructive things to do).
Of course these days, if you wanted to own any of the original 1960's merchandise, you'd have to dig deep. Very deep in the case of some pieces.
But it's not all bad news. We have just acquired a Viewmaster collection from the mid 1950's (and it's really great fun; I'll list it on the site under Unusual & Different when I get 5 mins). There's a bakelite model C viewer, projector, reels, album and lots of Viewmaster epehemera and it's all just excellent. What's the connection? Ruth reminded me that our son had one many years ago, including some Thunderbirds reels. It's just that I can't find them, and buying replacements isn't cheap. But being a pretty determined sort of chap, I have vowed not to sell the Viewmaster until I can see some Thunderbirds on it.
Will I get away with turning the house upside down to find them? Probably not, but I'll make a start while no-ones looking....
13th July 2017
I spy with my little camera.....
We do come across some really weird and wonderful stuff on our travels, and comments such as "who on Earth would have that in their house?" and "isn't that just the coolest thing you've ever seen?" are pretty common when we visit big antique and collectors fairs. From vintage magician's props to scary stuffed animals, we've seen it all. Most of it never makes it on to these pages, but just occasionally we find something that we (mostly me) can't resist.
I mean come on, who doesn't need a miniature 1950 spy camera under a dome? Obviously every home should have one, and if you haven't got one, then here's your chance. Check it out on the Unusual & Different page. With the ceramics market not what it was, we are increasingly looking for the stranger collectables out there. Having said that, we did bid a fond farewell this week to one of our favourite pieces, the Clarice Cliff Tralee pattern Daffodil bowl, and I'm not sure that the spy camera is a suitable replacement, but how can you say no?
I just hope it doesn't take miniature photos, as with my eyesight, I've got no chance.....
3rd July 2017
But everybody's like Crystal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece....
(Royals by Lorde; love that song). Neat little intro into today's rant about watches, being when is a watch not a watch? When it's a piece of jewellery with a dial on it. As some of you may know, I'm not a massive fan of bling. Give me a good, well made watch anyday, rather than a diamond encrusted one.
If you've ever seen a rainbow Rolex, you'll know what I mean.
I know a few people who, when given a watch to look at, pay little attention to the dial and head straight for a case opening tool to swoon over the movement. Can't say that I'm quite as bad as that, but for me a great watch has to have the full package of attractive dial, right shape and a great movement. (Oh, and at my age being easy to read is always a plus point).
There are some watches that I just couldn't wear, the Omega Flightmaster being a good example as not only do they weigh a ton, but it's also like wearing handcuffs they are that big. Every so often a watch comes along that just makes me smile. Really smile. And we have one in; the IWC Fliegerchronograph. Someone had better buy this watch soon before it finds its way into my own collection, as it ticks every box. You'll find it on the Other Vintage Watches tab.
I'm just off to admire it some more, before I finish this glass of Crystal, then head off in the Maybach to the jewellers.......
2nd May 2017
Here today, gone tomorrow.....
Back from another great fair at the Macron Stadium Bolton and nice to see so many familiar faces. Today's theme? Well it's odd that some things you have in stock seem to hang around forever, some only stay with us very briefly. Very much the case yesterday where the 1930's jackdaw bookend and Streamline Speedway (see Unusual & Different tab) sold immediately, the Speedway staying with us for just one day. On the other hand we sold some items that we seem to have had in for ages.
Anyway never mind all that; what's going on with the photo I've added above? Having given Ruth a lesson on how to sell on Ebay, it seems that she's taken over and needs to teach me a thing or two! Here's her listing that finished last night with over 1,100 views. Mine normally get about 4. Better stick to watches then (I know my place).
21st April 2017
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
Yes, I know you know it's Soft Cell, but it fits in nicely with this weeks theme. We've just said hello (again) to our wonderful Dueber Hampden pocket watch, back from an overhaul, and waved goodbye to the fabulous Omega Speedmaster Soccer Timer, which found a great home.
It's getting busy here at The Stamphouse as we ramp up the activity at the fairs and deal with more and more watch enquiries from around the World. As I spend most of my time researching Omega watches, Ruth has just bought something to keep an eye on me to stop me switching to playing solitaire on the laptop. Check him out as the latest addition on the Unusual & Different tab.
We also saw the arrival of the Bijoux Shakespeare books (Books & Ephemera tab) this week, an amazing box collection of the complete works dating from c1910 in unbelievable condition. We know you like old things in great condition, so this collection should be just As You Like It. (see what I did there?)
13th April 2017
Rachel; "Fancy doing a quiz?"
Me; "Yes, OK, what is it?"
Rachel; "It's to see if you have 20/20 vision"
Me; "so what do I have to do?"
Rachel; "Just follow the instructions on this screen"
Me; "I can't see any instructions"
Rachel; "Think you've just failed the test then......"
D'Oh! I know my daughter is much cleverer than me and I promise you it wasn't a trick, I was hoping to do it without these stupid new glasses I got recently. I always get caught out when the optician says "how far away are you from the screen that you normally use?" It varies every time, as without the screen actually being in front of me, I'm just guessing (and always guessing wrong it seems).
The last pair of glasses I got meant that I could only see the screen clearly if I was too far away (like at the other end of the garden). With these ones I have to have it virtually rammed in my face, but thankfully my new laptop has solved the problem. Those clever people at Dell have come up with a combined laptop / touchscreen, so it's easy to change the size of anything on the screen. Now I just spend all my money on screen cleaner for those greasy finger marks.
What's all this got to do with watches and antiques? Nothing at all, so I'll update the website a bit and come back with something a bit more relevant asap.
Happy Easter all.
13th March 2017
Scene from a Cotswolds cafe.....
Ruth; "see those Laurel & Hardy figures over there?"
Ruth; "why have they got no trousers on?"
Charlie; "put your glasses on"
Ruth; "Oh, I see"
Continuing the theme that things aren't always as they first appear, we had this conversation a few days ago. Messrs L&H's trousers were just in fact pale coloured. Later that day we came across a couple of curious Carlton Ware bowls, which we were told were soup bowls.
Now don't get me wrong, we like a bit of luxury here and there, but we wouldn't use highly glazed Mother of Pearl lustre bowls for soup. Further investigation proved them to be grapefruit bowls and very nice they are too (you can see them on the Carlton Ware tab). Come to think of it, we wouldn't use them for grapefruit either...
2nd March 2017
Baby you can drive my car....(Or at least sit in it)
I have a new claim to fame! Ok, it's a bit tenuous, but the other day I got to sit in George Harrison's car. It's a Porsche owned by the great man and is in the upcoming Beatles sale at Omega auctions, run by my friend Paul. Where do they find these things??? It may be me getting old, but it took some getting into (and a bit more getting out), but what a find.
I love discovering really rare and unusual items, so we were delighted to take delivery of a unique piece of memorabilia recently, namely a dossier of the Empress of Britain Round the World Cruise itineraries from 1931 to 1932, detailing the entire cruise with some fascinating insights to the World as it was then. (You can see it on the Books & Ephemera tab).
We always try and bring you something different along with our staples of great vintage watches, ceramics and vintage costume jewellery.
So if you know anyone who has a giant shoe horn, I may be interested, then I could put a bid in on Mr Harrison's car, knowing that I might stand half a chance of getting into it...
17th February 2017
Oops, I did it again.....
Whilst we were doing a fair on Sunday, someone asked me how I manage to find all these Omega watches with all the boxes and paperwork. Then 10 minutes later someone brought one in (which you can see on the Omega Vintage Watches page when I find time to upload some photos). And very nice it is too, purchased by us from its original owner. For most people, finds like this are rare to say the least, but it seems our reputation is growing and we are coming across them more frequently.
But you must never take these things for granted, it could be months (or even years) before we find another one, that's why we spread ourseleves across the whole collecting spectrum. This week we have taken delivery of over 1,000 autographs and 15 volumes of mint British stamps to sell on behalf of a lovely Yorkshire lady. Which is keeping us both very busy. Far too busy to put the kettle on (apparently). (Don't tell Ruth I wrote that!)
Oh, and Bon Voyage to my friend Ebay Masterspy from the Carlton Ware World website!
See? You can have your cake and eat it......
Now those of you who know me and my tastes in watches will already be aware of a couple of things;
1. My favourite watch is the Omega Speedmaster
2. I love a watch dial with a bit of colour to it
3. (OK, I know 3 isn't a couple but I get carried away) If really pushed it would be hard to choose between the Speedmaster and the Omega Seamaster Soccer Timer with the coloured roulette bezel.
I've had (and still have) quite a few Speedmasters, but have never been lucky enough to own the soccer timer. (Or rich enough).
Just imagine if there was an Omega that combined my 2 favourites.
And there is! And I have one! And it's brilliant! And you can buy it! Just check out the Omega Vintage Watches tab and you will see the best looking Speedmaster that Omega ever made. Very rare, very desirable, very colourful!
Just in case I don't get around to more updates soon, a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all.
9th November 2016
You can't feed steak to a one legged seagull......or can you?
I'm sure that my life is becoming increasingly bizarre. It turns out that someone we know (friends of the family) recently took pity on a one-legged seagull that visited their garden (believe me, this is all true). As they had some left over braising steak, they decided to see if the seagull would like some. Apparently it did and for several days returned for more at exactly the same time.
And then it stopped coming back to the garden. My mother in law (who told me this tale) said they couldn't understand why it was no longer turning up. My suggestion of "perhaps it turned vegetarian"
didn't help. So if you do see a one legged seagull, maybe try him with some pork. He's probably fed up of beef.......
21st October 2016
"due palline de gelato caffe per favore" (2 scoops of coffee ice cream please, as sort of read from the poster advert)
"Would you like a cone or a cup?"
"err..... no comprende...."
Ruth and I are just back from our holiday in Ischia (Italian island) and a very nice time we had too.
Whilst I can get by in a couple of languages, I'm always a bit flumoxed when people speak back to me in English. (Hence the conversation above). My mind simply can't switch that fast between the two, so when the young lady responded to my pathetic attempt at Italian in a heavy local accent, I was a bit lost.
Of course Ruth thought that this was very funny and pointed out (on several occasions) that I should just ask for things in English, rather than just adding an "e" to every word, thinking that it was the Italian version of the English word. (It turns out that "cushione" is not Italian for cushion for example, there are plenty of others).
Anyway, we're back with loads to do, so better crack on and be back soon. Soon as I've had a coffee ice cream...
27th September 2016
And after it rains there's a rainbow
And all of the colours are black
It's not that the colours aren't there
It's just imagination they lack
Of course it's Paul Simon's "My Little Town", you don't need me to tell you that, do you?
Well it's certainly busy here at The Stamphouse with more vintage Omegas than we've seen in a very long time. Checkout the 1971 Speedmaster and 1956 Geneve that we have on the Vintage Omega Watches page. I still find it incredible that these things have survived in such remarkable condition for so many years, unlike some of us who are now feeling their age (plus a few years at times).
When I get around to inventing a time machine, I have decided to go back in time and do 3 things;
1. Buy up all the vintage Omegas that I've always wanted to own
2. Buy up everything in the shop window from the photo on the Other Vintage Watches page
3. Put my beloved Triumph GT6 in secure storage, so that no one can nick it in the future (which they did).
Of course there are lots of other, more worthy things that should be on this list, but when you've spent a whole day writing about Omega watches, you tend to become a bit obsessed. So it's time to put the kettle on and listen to some relaxing music. Maybe My Little Town?
16th August 2016
Love Bolton, Hate Hitler.....
Every time I go to Bolton I see this sign. It actually says
But the first time I saw it I did a double take and was convinced that it said Hitler. (I thought maybe it was a relic from the Second World War?) Now every time I drive past it I only read it as the title above. It has sort of got stuck in my mind. You know when you find out that the song lyrics aren't actually the ones that you always thought they were, but can't help sticking to your own version?
Well it's like that. Bit like Old Tupton Ware looking like Moorcroft, Crown Devon for Carlton Ware or certain watches looking like their more expensive counterparts. If you want a Rolex, you have to buy a Rolex and so on. And if you want a genuine Omega shop display to show off your prized Omega, you'd better look at the new tab I've just added; Omega Shop Displays!
22nd July 2016
3 things you need to know.........
1. Dr Oetker is not a real doctor
2. Justin Timberlake is not from Azerbaijan
3. I'm not a glue sniffer, I just like the smell.....
Where shall I start? Well I think you already know that Dr Oetker isn't really a doctor, which comes as a bit of a blow, because now I can't claim their delicious pepperoni & salami pizza as one of my 5 a day.
Justin Timberlake is from the USA, but my daughter Rachel did manage to con her twin sister Laura into believing that he was an Azerbaijanian (or whatever the word is). Unless you are reading this Mr Timberlake (I think that's unlikely, don't you?) and want to persuade us otherwise.
As for the glue sniffing, you may recall that I have had all sorts of shenanigans with my car air fresheners (if not, see below). I replaced my sour apple with cherry. Lasted for about a day. Then Rachel told me it smelled awful. But I have solved the problem! On the way back from Lyme Regis last week Ruth noticed a crack in the windscreen and by the end of the journey it had all but made it over to the driver side. New windscreen courtesy of Autoglass and a pungent aroma of glue for about 2 days (the glue smell was great incidentally, but I did eventually give in and buy a nice new cherry air freshener). Just wish they did one in glue fragrance.......Superglue, Bostick, Uhu, the possibilities are endless. Maybe I should give up antiques and watches and start my own Men's car air freshener company.....Now there's a thought......
Back in a couple of days with some proper updates.
7th June 2016
"Is this your Serrano ham?"
"It could be, why?"
"Because it's just landed on my head"
Ruth's always said that I'm too clumsy to be an antique dealer, and here's the proof. We've just come back from our favourite haunt in Lanzarote. One of the things that we like to do when we are there is to visit a small beach bar, where a nice cold beer and a plate of freshly cut Serrano ham are the order of the day. Sat by the wall, overlooking the beach about six feet below, a somewhat irate French gentleman engaged me in the conversation you see above. He accepted my profuse apologies in good spirit. (A bit of a breeze had lifted a piece off my plate and landed on him). Goodness only knows what he was thinking when I later caught my foot in the plastic chair and sent it over the edge heading towards his wife. We didn't hang around long enough to find out!
If you feel inclined to click on the NEWS tab above, you'll find my latest thoughts on the current market for vintage watches....
27th April 2016
"You know that new air freshener that you've got in the car?"
"I think you ought to throw it away and get another one"
"Because it smells like manure"
Honestly, I can't win sometimes. That conversation really did take place in our house last week. Anyway, I'm keeping it (it's supposed to be sour apple).
You'll notice that I have posted a new photo above. Yes, that really is my iphone with over 25,000 unread emails on it! How many emails there are in total? Haven't got a clue and I daren't look. But I have started the process of clearing them out. In the last 2 days I reckon I have ditched about 1,000 but there's a very long way to go.
So if you have been in contact via email and haven't heard from me, you are somewhere in a very long queue. But at least I'm on top of the recent ones and now check them every day. Hmmm, come to think of it, I seem to recall a New Year's resolution a few years ago about clearing out emails. Hang on, I think I may have sent myself an email as a reminder.....
6th April 2016
"I can't stand that woman"
"The one with the musical hair"
Too cryptic? Let me explain. Ruth & I are quite partial to watching Four In A Bed (the one where the B&B owners take it in turns to visit eachothers places). But there's a really annoying advert at every break, featuring, you've guessed it a woman with musical hair. We have these strange conversations in our house!
Anyway, there's a distinct Greek theme to The Stamphouse this week, having been for a Belgian beer or two with my Greek friend (hello Menelaos!) then dealing with another Greek friend who has the most amazing collection of Omega watches. Omega being the last letter of the Greek alphabet, it seems appropriate don't you think? I have started to post some of his amazing watches on the Omega page, so have a good look, oh and there's plenty more to come.
Got to dash, having been denied Quavers as part of my 5 a day, I'm off to see if Big Soup qualifies....
23rd March 2016
She was collecting quarters in a paper cup, she was looking for change.......and so was I...
Clever eh? Ariel by Dean Friedman (but you knew that didn't you?). Just happened to be listening to it in the car the other day, but annoyingly that track skips due to the CD being worn out. Ruth & I saw him in concert in Southport a few years ago in a small thaetre and he was just great. like Ariel, I collect all my loose change and eventually get round to paying it in at the bank. But the other day it occured to me that the container I use is actually quite good. Tudric pewter no less.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not at all posh, it just never really occured to me that it was as good as it is. Bit like the guy I met some time ago who kept his loose change in an Omega Constellation box without realising that it was very collectable in itself. Proves the point that you never know what's out there.
Oh by the way, the comment made in our house yesterday ("Are Quavers part of your 5 a day?") met with the sort of response that you might expect. OK, I confess. I said it....
8th February 2016
Stick to the caviar, it's cheaper......
"Two sausage rolls please"
"That'll be fourteen pounds"
"Sorry, I thought you said FOURTEEN pounds then"
And so it was that Ruth and I enjoyed the World's most expensive sausage rolls. Not in Fortnum & Mason's or Harrods, but in our local market. The thing is that they actually looked nothing like sausage rolls anyway; just a huge chunk of sausage meat wrapped in pastry and each one the size of alf a brick. The Greggs across the road was what I really had in mind and I couldn't help lingering for a few moments outside to take in the aroma of their freshly cooked sausage rolls.
I know what you're thinking. How is he going to make the connection from sausage rolls to antiques?
I'll give it my best shot.
You see sometimes things aren't what they seem. Take Art Deco. There are so many items out there that are in the "Art Deco style", ie modern reproductions or new takes on an old theme. I look at a lot of things and think "how can you possibly describe that as Art Deco?". We prefer to stick to the original 1920's and 30's pieces and this week we have some wonderful examples. Look at the Art Deco Clocks tab; I've just added some amazing examples. But don't stop there; Unusual & Different and Other Fine Pieces sections both have some great original Art Deco pieces. Or be lazy and look at the Recent Additions.
Either way, we have some wonderful new stock to tempt you all. Got to go, it's lunchtime and I fancy something savoury. Any ideas?
18th January 2016
And if the homework brings you down, then we'll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown.......
So sad to hear of the passing of David Bowie. I vividly remember buying Hunk Dory from a schoolfriend in the mid 1970's and playing it until it wore out. One of my good friends was obsessed with Bowie to the point where he was sent home from school for having a bright orange Ziggy Stardust haircut. No doubt we'll have some Bowie memorabilia auctions due then....
We've just had our 15,000th website visitor! Busier than ever here at The Stamphouse with vintage Omegas, costume jewellery and ceramics all finding their way to different parts of the World in the last week or so. Also, more unusual items being offered to us (maybe people think I'm going a bit doolallly), so I've added a new tab "Unusual & Different" which I will be adding to over the next week or so.
18th December 2015
Guidance me brethren, is wha' you have in a dat dere bag?
Yes of course it's from Dat by Pluto Shervington, but you all knew that didn't you? One of my favourite songs of all time, and one which I played several times on my marathon one day trip to London on Wednesday to deliver the Vitascope automaton clock to its lucky new owner.
Oddly enough, my buyer was located at Clapham Junction, the spiritual home of The Stamphouse, where it all started in the back room of my great uncle's sweet shop nearly 50 years ago. Golden Cup, Spangles, Butter Snap or Bar Six (my favourite), he had them all. I was like a kid in a sweet shop! Anyway, now you'll see why I use the term ramblings above. New pieces to list this week including a very rare Lladro figurine signed by Juan Lladro; check them out.
And a very Merry Christmas to you all, from The Stamphouse!
2nd December 2015
Every antique dealer's dream.....
When I invent a time machine (I'll get around to it one day, it can't be that hard) I plan to go back and buy up a whole shop of great things. At least that's the plan. Well dear readers, this week I have actual proof that dreams do come true. As some of you will know, Ruth has a passion for vintage costume jewellery, so blow me down; this week we acquired the contents of a shop (not a big shop, but still a shop). The thing is that this shop ceased trading in 1979. And all of the contents were put in storage. In 1979. And now we have them! A huge collection of fabulous vintage jewellery dating back to the 1930's including some wonderful Art Deco pieces. So feast your eyes on the new tab "Vintage Costume Jewellery". So far I've only managed to put part of it on, there's plenty more to go. That's a good excuse for putting off the Christmas shopping then........
10th October 2015
Aye,Aye (or should that be I, I?)
Just the other day I was looking into putting a map on the website, showing all the countries that we have sold to. (I'll get round to it soon). The thing is, that this week we picked up buyers in Iceland (Clarice Cliff) and Indonesia (Swatch). So that's 2 more I's to add to Italy and India then!
4th October 2015
If there's a bustle in your hedgerow don't be alarmed now...
Of course it's Stairway to Heaven, how could you not know that? Anyway there's been quite a bustle in my hedgerow recently (see what I did there?). Not that I'm quite sure what this particular lyric is on about, but I'm putting my own spin on it and saying a bit frantic.
Just back from hols in Lanzarote where I played this track every day (and sometimes more than once), so sorry for the delay in any postings, but now we are back with a vengeance and loads of updates to the website planned for this week. If I get time this week I'll update you about the diving monkeys in the submarine........ (it's worth waiting for).
12th March 2015
"Ooooh, it's a good paper..........."
Now you should all get that one.......No? Alan Partridge. I know that Mr Megginson will, so there's one at least. Anyway, here's the thing. Every so often I come across something that just takes my breath away. Not often, but Monday this week was the day.
I don't know about an increasingly paperless society, I seem to be handling more of the stuff than ever. If I ever wanted to annoy Ruth (Why would I?) I'd just need to leave some bits of paper lying about on the breakfast bar. Lists usually. Even worse, lists that contain items from previous lists of things to do that I haven't done yet. (And needless to say the previous lists are there as well). So I'm not a big fan of paper, with the exception of the odd nice bit of ephemera.
Which brings me to Monday. I was at the excellent Omega Auctions in Warrington chatting to Paul, when he showed me the best piece of paper I have ever seen. An invitation to attend Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE dated 1965, addressed to The Beatles, with all 4 Beatles autographs on the back. Wow. One of, if not the best set of Beatles autographs there is. Their Beatles sale on 24th March is amazing:
but to me this is the star of the show. Estimate? £8,000-£10,000.
Will I buy it? Not sure, just off to buy the lottery ticket now.......
25th February 2015
"I bought one of those on a car boot sale for £2!"
I don't think so. One of the more frustrating things about doing an antiques fair is that you'll quite often hear that said. OK, not quite often, occasionally, but even once is annoying enough.
"So you got a Royal Doulton flambe vase signed by Charles Noke for £2?"
"Well it's the same colour, but I don't know who it's by......"
That's why it's so nice to deal with you guys (that sounded a bit American didn't it? Perhaps I should have said y'all.) In other words people who know quality when they see it. Our fair at Macron Stadium (was the Reebok) was great and we met loads of people who really knew what they were talking about (and one who didn't). Isn't it easier to think of something witty after the event? Perhaps I should have said "I think you paid too much, this one's only £1.50".
5th December 2014
"Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? .............Did she die in vain?"
Yes, I'm back, and about time too. The quote above is from Hancock's Half Hour (but you should have known that).
So what's your game then? Isn't a chap allowed to take a few months off without receiving complaining emails from Australia, USA, Italy (numerically in that order) and so on? No? OK, it won't happen again!
Been really busy, particularly on the watch front, but also all the usual stuff (ceramics, Art Deco etc etc). I'll get on with it then (updating other parts of the website) and report back shortly.
If I don't post something new by this time next week, you can all email me a reminder!!!!
14th April 2014
"Moles can't stand the sound of the Javanese Ear Flute"
(It's a quote from one of my favourite sitcoms, Ever Decreasing Circles, which I was watching last week). For the uninitiated, Paul Ryman is constantly pulling Martin Brice's leg, and Paul is trying to explain why he has no moles in his garden, whilst Martin's is full of them.
It's not a million miles removed from the antiques business, whether it's a seller trying to persuade a buyer that the item is something it isn't, or someone trying to persuade me that they are doing better than they actually are! Being an antique dealer is certainly not for the feint-hearted and not as easy as they make it look on the telly!
It's why I've turned away quite a few Omega watches recently, as they are either not nearly as good as the seller says they are, or have too many replacement parts. I always insist on the best, and so should you. (If the price is right, which it always is at The Stamphouse!)
So it turns out that honesty really is the best policy.
Now where did I put that Javanese Ear Flute?
27th March 2014
New, Old, New Old Stock
"New Old Stock" or NOS as it is sometimes described is always something to be wary of. Let's get a definition (mine). For something to be classed as "New Old Stock", it must be as it was issued. No restoration, no cleaning & polishing, no replacement parts, ie all totally original. NOS is the new thing but you have to be careful. There are lots of watches out there that are described as NOS, but read the description in more detail and you'll find replaced parts, refurbished parts and so on. To actually find a true NOS item from, say the 70's is really rare. Obviously the older, the rarer. So keep an eye out for the Omega Seamaster Cosmic 2000 I'll be listing in the Vintage Watches section shortly!
11th March 2014
She came in through the bathroom window.....
.....Is the track I've just been listening to on my way back from visiting one of our buyers (The Beatles, the Anthology version is the best). An odd title I know, but a great track. Speaking of odd things (yes, we were), I sometimes play a little game when feeling bored at auctions.
Try and find the strangest lot in the auction. The sort of thing that makes you think "who on Earth would want that?" Even better, I like it when 2 totally unconnected things are included in the same lot. You know the sort of thing; when the auctioneer says "Lot 64; a vintage television and a collection of hairbrushes. You can brush your hair whilst watching the telly!".
Every so often a combination comes up that stumps even the quickest and wittiest. Such was the case last week. As the auction wasn't going well, it was the highlight of the day, and I'm still at a loss to understand how or why it ever came up in the saleroom. Try it yourself next time you're waiting for your lot to come up.
The lot in question? "Lot 182; A photograph of Clint Eastwood and a map in a shoe". Honest!
15th January 2014
The curious case of the M2.6 20mm machine screw........
I'm back! Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!
The thing is, I needed some M2.6 20mm machine screws, 3 to be precise. Could I find any?
They absolutely had to be that size and nothing else would do. After a week of trawling every likely shop and the internet, I found a machine screw manufacturer that agreed to let me have 3 free of charge (their minimum order is 5,000!).
Talk about specific I know, but then at last week's fair, I myself received 2 very specific requests;
1. Did I have a Beswick model of the Duke of Edinburgh on horseback?
2. Did I have a Ruskin high fired vase in green with a green glaze?
Sorry no. Do you know where I can find one? Sorry no.
You see the more specific our requirements are, the less likely we are to ever find them. A bit like my lifelong (seemingly) search for a Wedgwood Fairyland vase (in colours and pattern agreeable to Mrs C) that I can actually afford!
But it's buying season and if there's one thing that gets me out there and looking it's the thought that today's the day for me to grab that bargain that you all want. Oddly enough, the other day I did. A matching pair of Royal Crown Derby vases dated 1918 in perfect condition.
Didn't even have time to photograph them, as they sold within 15 minutes of the Reebok fair opening. Perhaps I should have asked for more? Oh well, there's one New Year's resolution down the drain; stop being so generous!
6th November 2013
24 Hours from.........The NEC
It certainly seemed like it on Friday as it took me forever to get home from the Antiques For Everyone show. I'm still not sure about the "For Everyone" bit. For "Every Lottery Winner" maybe! There was some good stuff on show as always, and it was nice to see some familiar faces, but I left with my funds intact.
Website updated (it's an ongoing, never-ending process believe me) and lots of activity as usual. We try and bring you the unusual, odd, sometimes bizarre, harder to find things that you all seem to appreciate, so take a look at the New arrival page for this weeks goodies.
Some pieces came and went so quickly in the last couple of weeks that I never even had the chance to photograph them! Carlton Ware is back in, with 2 fabulous Armand Lustre vases selling in 24 hours, as did a great collection of comic postcards and early cigarette cards.
Promise something more witty soon; just too much to do!!
23rd September 2013
Las Vegas is the only place I know where money really talks--it says, "Goodbye." Frank Sinatra
I'm back! After a fabulous break in Las Vegas it's about time I got down to some work. Vegas is the most amazing place where everything is just huge; the hotels, the shows, the food portions, my gambling bill, you name it! I even managed to visit the antiques shop where Michael Jackson bought most of his stuff! (there's a video posted on YouTube of him shopping there).
Although Vegas isn't known for its antiques, there some great shops selling the very best in entertainment memorabilia, an area that I have a real passion for and something I'm hoping to feature a lot more of soon.
Anyway, enough about my holiday, hope you are all OK. Winter's coming and that means some serious attention to fairs over the next few months. We've got a busy schedule ahead and some updating of the website to do, so I'll go and get on with it and be back soon.
22nd August 2013
I'm gonna make him an offer he can refuse.....
Do you like being put on the spot? Don't think many people do, but I'm afraid it goes with the job when you are an antique dealer. Every so often someone will offer you the chance to buy their prized collection and will ask you to name your price. I suppose it's a bit like being a builder really. Give someone a quote and hope for the best. Of course these days prices are much more transparent, what with Ebay and realised prices quoted by most auction rooms, but that works both ways.....
"I saw one just like this on Ebay and it went for £100"
"They had one just like this on the Antiques Roadshow and they said it was worth £500"
And so on. So I give them the winning smile, turn on the charm and do my best to offer a fair price. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I must say that I've never actually insulted anyone with what they consider to be a low offer (well no-one has ever told me so), but it can be really hard to pitch it just right. There also comes a point where sentimental value is greater than commercial value, as in "This has been in our family for 100 years and I'm not letting it go for less than £XXX".
In the last few weeks I have encountered all of the above and survived unscathed. I have bought some wonderful things at mutually acceptable prices, and better still have found good homes for some outstanding items that deserve to be admired and appreciated by genuine collectors.
But I'm still waiting to hear on a few offers that I've made recently. Come to think of it I'm still waiting to hear on a few offers that I made some time ago. Hope I didn't insult them then....
Come on down, the price is wrong.....
The kitchen painting is coming along slowly as I am successsfully managing to find enough distractions to keep me from having to do it. Oddly enough I was quite looking forward to doing it, but once I'd started I remembered why I'd been putting it off for so long. So I moved into the garden and built a planter instead. And very nice it looks too. I might even post a photo!
Anyway, down to business. After much deliberation I have finally given in and have started to quote some prices; just click on any of the many photos of items for sale and you will see the price. All negotiable of course, and some marked as POA in an attempt to put you off, so I can keep them! (Which inevitably means that either);
- I have vastly overpriced certain items in an attempt not to have to sell them, or
- The item is so rare that there is no precedent for the price as nothing similar has been sold before.
As they say in Big Brother......................you decide!
I can't get no satisfaction......
Is there a theme developing here? Song titles? No? Oh well please yourselves.
Anyway, it's been a funny old week here at the Stamphouse. A few private sales and visits to see collections, but I've been feeling a bit lazy, so I've gone back to my old motto "if in doubt, paint something". No, not anything artistic. Doors and skirting boards. Oh, and after much deliberation (about 3 months actually) Ruth has decided that the colour she wants for the kitchen is........the same colour that it is now. I'm sure that I could make up a huge tin from all the sample pots that we've accumulated over the last few weeks. And the worst painting job ever??? Re painting something the same colour.
And I forgot to dry the brush in between painting sessions, so now one coat hasn't taken at all.
And my laptop keeps failing. And The Lions didn't win on Saturday. And I managed to spill some cleaning fluid on my best jeans...........
So what's all this got to do with antiques? Not much really, but, being really tenuous (have I spelt that right?) I'm going to put an "Art" tab on pretty soon as we have some really interesting original artwork on the horizon, so watch this space (well actually the space at the top).
The Stamphouse cat.....
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Dogs for me. Must admit I've never really been a cat fan, until now... every so often something crops up that you just have to have. This week it's a fantastic Art Deco cat. Now you know I love Art Deco, so when I saw the cat featured on the New Arrivals page, I had to snap it up for you. Never seen anything like it, and my guess is that its Royal Cauldon (there's a label underneath that's virtually indecipherable, but looks like it says that) although the glaze is very Beswick like. See it! Love it! Buy it!
We've gone all Scandinavian this week as I just couldn't resist buying a big collection of Royal Copenhagen and B&G Danish porcelain, along with a few very decorative pieces. I could just eat a Danish; wonder if the bakery is still open.....
It all sounds a bit fishy to me.............
Take a look at the New Arrivals page and you'll see some Dartmouth Gurgling Fish Jugs.
Great aren't they? As is sometimes the case, I love them, Ruth hates them. But there's a growing band of collectors out there. I spoke to one this week (Hi Max!) who has over 300 of them!
I know this might seem like the World's smallest claim to fame, but here at The Stamphouse we probably hold the Ebay record for selling them, both by volume and for selling the most expensive one (a Charles & Di commemorative one which fetched £78). And this week we went into overdrive with the latest collection that I bought in selling out in just a few days.
David in Elgin is using his as a water jug for his whisky collection which sounds just perfect to me. Others just sit and admire them, and you should too because they are quirky and different. And they gurgle.
I'll leave you with this thought;
Never marry for money. It's far cheaper to borrow it elsewhere.
Take a walk on the Mild side......
Hmmm mild. Not strong, a sort of middle of the road thing. A bit weak. "Not violent severe or extreme" according to Cambridge Dictionary. Bit boring? Bit ordinary? well here's the thing....
I've already gone on about my liking of bright 1970's type colours (see below) and this week I had the pleasure of visiting an old friend's house to view his collection of Carlton Ware. There sat before me were some fabulous vases from the Parrot pattern. Can you guess what's coming? Yes, bright orange, lime green and bright blue all on one vase. Love it!
Sadly though not everyone does and the current taste seems to be more for rather bland colours to fit in with the pastel thing (magnolia walls, cream carpets etc and yes I'm guilty there too). So I'm starting a one man crusade to bring a bit of colour back to brighten up everyone's day a bit.
From now on I might just only buy things that are, well shall we say, not mild. I might not make any money, but at least it will keep a smile on my face..............
Fifty Shades of Green......
Take a look out of the window and you are surrounded by it. Grass, leaves, hedges, Asda signs...
but the chances are that you don't have much green in your house (houseplants don't count). I read a survey once that stated that green is the most unpopular colour for internal decoration.
I've got some here and there and no doubt you have too, but offer me a green vase and you're likely to hear a sharp intake of breath and comments such as "unpopular colour that".
In our house it's dark blue. I can bring home the most beautiful Carlton Ware piece you've ever seen but if it's dark blue, it won't ever make it as far as the lounge. Ruth doesn't like dark blue.
It's a taste thing and these days people tend to go more for subtle pastel shades. So my passion for the 1970's is confined to a corner of my stockroom, where bright orange mingles with deep purples and yellow. Green stands a very good chance in there.
Sticking to one colour, or variations in subtle shades is fine. The lounge is actually home to our small collection of Carlton Ware Chinaland, vivid orange backgrounds mixed with just about every colour you could imagine. Why? because they are very Art Deco.
Someone asked me recently "what is Art Deco really". Well to me it's a style, a mixture of sweeping lines and geometric patterns, sunbursts and Oriental or Egyptian influences. This was a time when the World was gaining a new optimism. The discovery of Tutenkhamen's tomb, the Western fascination with The Orient and a sunnier post-war outlook with hopes of a new beginning. There are numerous objects that epitomise the Art Deco movement, and hopefully you will find many fine examples dotted around our website. Take a look at the fantastic Ladies Tallboy in our New Arrivals section and you'll see what I mean. It's a wonderful example of style and craftsmanship.
Try typing "Art "Deco" in Ebay and you'll see a million things that simply don't belong there. Just because something was made in the 1920's or 30's, doesn't qualify it as Art Deco. It's a style, or taste. It's also a matter of personal choice; there are some things that I simply would not buy or have in the house. But then some pieces just jump out at you scream the words "Art Deco" and you know that you would just love to own them. Even the green ones.
The Yanks are coming....
An old friend (well he's older than me so he must be old) joined me on auction day recently. Highlight of the day was a pair of large Wedgwood Fairyland vases in the pillar pattern. Estimate £4-6k they were destined to hit £14k + commission. Somewhat inevitably, (as is the way with these things at the moment) they were bought by an American bidder.
I did my best not to look too disgruntled, and was amused by my friend's comment; "That's because they don't have any history of their own, so they have to pinch ours". Ouch. But I still don't understand why so much of the best Fairyland is finding its way across the pond. Or do I?
Let's look at the facts;
- It is without question the most ornate, decorative and beautiful porcelain ever made.
- With prices soaring, surely it's only the really wealthy that can afford the very best pieces
- I can't think of a single American pottery manufacturer.
There; it's actually no.3. You see there's some truth in what he says. Don't get me wrong, I love the place and to me New York is the greatest city on Earth, but the bottom line is that we seem unable or unwilling to keep hold of the stuff. Even dealers in this country admit to buying for the American market as they simply don't have anything to offer in the world of porcelain.
So sometimes it is better to settle for second best, as several of our buyers will tell you. Go for Wedgwood Lustre. In fact go for the piece that's just come in it's fantastic. I'll put a photo up tomorrow. Fairyland's overrated anyway............