Guest speaker Matthew Denney told members of Crewkerne & District U3A that “the antiques market is as vulnerable as everything else to changes in fashion,” at the organisation’s January meeting in the George Reynolds Centre. The senior valuer at Lawrences Auctioneers addressed a full audience, where extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the high numbers present. Matthew said: “If you are offered a tenner for brown furniture then grab it as you can’t give away beautiful old mahogany furniture and it costs more to transport than it is worth at an auction.”

Matthew explained that what was once the pride and joy of our grandparents parlour, is no longer in fashion as with smaller rooms in houses, no one wants big heavy furniture. Very few people have the time or inclination to clean copper or dust Doulton figurines and prefer a minimalist look. When asked what objects are selling well, Matthew said old garden tools like the galvanised watering cans in the photo with Matthew and new U3A member Carolyn Shaw, are fetching a good price for decorative use.

Members were interested to know what other types of antiques were currently in demand before clambering up into their attics. Matthew said: “The super-rich want celebrity associated items with solid provenance, for example film star Paul Newman’s everyday Rolex watch was sold for £17.8 million.” The Chinese remain keen to repatriate porcelain, especially from the 18th Century, treasuring it like the Europeans do the works of Van Gogh or Rembrandt.

Items that have become collectable more recently include postcards featuring railway stations and shunting yards, as well as ye olde scenes from villages and towns. Medals whose recipients can be identified are also sought after in the antiques market. Matthew suggested that antiques of the future will include the early Star Wars toys and the first edition of the first Harry Potter book. Chairperson of Crewkerne & District U3A Sheila Seymour said: “Matthew was a very witty speaker and his talk made an excellent start to the New Year.”


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