What I love about Antiques for Everyone is the concentration of quality. It is much more an antiques and fine art fair than a vintage fair, but there is time to chat to people and time to handle things and ask questions.
The quality comes in part because the organisers vet everything for sale. They have their own experts who’s job it is to check that what the seller says it is, it is.
This also means that sellers describe things in great detail on their labels. So as a place to learn, it’s fantastic. (Tip: if you buy something ask the dealer to put the same description on the receipt, that will help protect your consumer rights if it turns out that even the vetting was wrong)
I was taken this morning with these two early Worcester blue and white coffee cups – the one at the right for £75 and one on the left for £595. The pricier one from c 1756 – only five years after John Wall and William Davis started the “Worcester Tonquin Manufactory” – and is a finer and “uncommon” design. It’s normally furniture that catches my eye, but both (from Jupiter Antiques ) were beautiful and I could see the allure of the earlier one.
Another reason for the concentration of quality is that all the dealers are specialists Whether it’s painting, prints, antique jewellery, furniture, ceramics or silverware: there is a huge range of incredibly well informed people with wonderful wares. Prices are not as terrifying as you think. It is quite easy to buy something here in good condition and vetted as genuine, for £20 or £30. Of course other prices are much higher, but you can always bargain.
This time there’s also a specialist exhibition on Lace – written about by Birmingham Living.
Antiques for everyone runs until Sunday 10th April 2016. I don’t think you can book online anymore for this event (they do others in Summer and Winter). If you just turn up a ticket is £15. I think I did pay for the my first ticket a few years ago, but since then the organisers have sent me a free ticket for two. You might also find free tickets at antiques dealers, on their websites or in magazines.
So if you’re at all interested in antiques and live anywhere around the NEC, gwoan.