Thursday, 29 March 2012

Peterborough Antiques Fair

I hadn't had a good rummage round a boot fair, charity shop or antique fair for ages and was getting severe withdrawal symptoms and so last weekend we took ourselves to the Peterborough showground for the twice yearly event. We hadn't been to this one before so weren't sure what to expect. It was a glorious day and everyone was out.

Spot Andrew treasure hunting
We had a bit of a wish list and headed first to the outside stalls, usually best for furniture and house clearance stock. It may be this particular fair but there wasn't much of the clearance stuff about, I think that with auction fees being so high and pitches at fairs being quite expensive a lot of these dealers now go to boot fairs. I was particularly looking for a long foot stool, an office chair and a bedroom seat, all to re-upholster. Sadly everything I found had already been restored and so was over budget.

More tat treasure
It's amazing what you see for sale. Some people just have a bit of everything while some specialise, like this stand

Spotlight collection
Celebrity spotting
With so many antique programmes on television it wasn't long before we saw our first T.V crew, this one was filming 'Bargain Hunt' with Tim Wonnacott and Thomas Plant.

Tim Wonnacott
A lot of stall holders didn't want to be filmed as it could take up to 45 minutes to shoot just a minute or two of t.v. time and that's a lot of missed selling opportunities.

Anyway Andrew found our first bargain of the day with some vintage light shades. We always look out for lighting as it can really bring individuality to a room. Andrew spotted three very grubby glass shades on the grass and after some heavy negotiating (40% off the asking price) they came home with us.

They're a very fine ribbed glass in a golden yellow colour and are destined to go over the island unit in the kitchen.

 Next purchase was a whole £3.00! You may remember I collect Observer pocket books and found one, Zoo Animals, that I didn't have. I really must do something about selling my duplicates.

Our final purchase caused much deliberation. We inherited a very heavy 'Wise Man" that has sat on the floor for the past two years as we hadn't found anything suitable for him. Walking around we both spotted an early 20th century Anglo Indian table. This was quite unusual as it had a flat back and a five sided front, I assume it could sit in a corner if you wanted. Beautifully carved and with no damage it was perfect but the price tag, although not expensive, was higher than we had wanted to pay for a stand. So Andrew started negotiations.

A tip about negotiating -smile and be nice. I had an antique business for several years with my father and there is nothing more irritating than people saying:

'well there's one nicer than this one over there' - well buy that one 

'it's not really want I want" - so don't buy it then

'my Grandmother had one just like this and threw it out' - as did every other Granny which is why they're now rare

'I bet you bought it for nothing and are trying it on' - sometimes but rarely, dealers would rather take a small profit on lots of items than hold out

and please don't start to negotiate unless you really want to buy.

You will get a much better price if you are seen to genuinely like the item. If it's over your budget then say so, most dealers do want to sell and actually appreciate objects that they've chosen  going to someone who will enjoy them. We did love the table, it was worth the asking price, but with so much to do on the house we had to stick to a budget. This is what we told the stall holder who asked what we would be prepared to pay. Andrew acted flustered and said he couldn't possibly say because he didn't want to offend the lady (he can have a charming smile when he wants!) but she insisted and so he gave a price of 50% off the asking price. She agreed it was too low but was prepared to drop - 25%. Andrew looked at me and I did the old tight purse strings bit, muttering about how much I loved it but would also like new plumbing in the bathroom. Andrew went up a bit and the deal was done at a third off and everyone was happy.

So here it is, not yet in the right place but...

At last a resting place

Detail of carving

And just in case you think that we've just been out enjoying ourselves, I give you....

The Office

Until next time



  1. Well done: That table's lovely. I simply CAN'T negotiate over money, and it drives my husband, who enjoys it, mad. I just shake my head regretfully and move on.

    1. I confess I do have to be in the right frame of mind - but Andrew's brilliant

  2. That's my idea of an excellent day out.

    1. You'll have to come visiting in October :-)

  3. Sounds like you had a great day out and were so lucky with the weather! I absolutely adore the yellow vintage shades.

    Thank you so much for the neogiating tips, I, like Margaret am not a big fan of haggling, but it shows that a bargain is there if you are prepared to work for it. You have inspired me to look out for antique fairs in my area.

    I look forward to seeing the shades in situ!

  4. Thanks for dropping in Kelly (love the blog btw!) Give the haggling a go - you could always start small at a boot fair, you'll be amazed what you can snaffle!