Bagging a Bargain in Birmingham

As a nation we Brits are fascinated with history and antiques and rightly so. This article looks at the 21st Century infatuation with the past and highlights the diverse array of activities on offer for those interested.
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May 16, 2012 - PRLog -- We Britons are antiques crazy.  Whether it is the Antiques Roadshow effect or the inspiration provided by the beautiful sets of Downton Abbey, television has certainly been a contributory factor in fostering our love of almost anything which pre-dates black and white sets. There are programmes on bargain hunting, browsing, auctions, conservation, valuation, vintage looks and all things antique.

Even eccentric and ultra-modern pop diva Lady Gaga has declared herself addicted to Antiques Roadshow and insists on DVDs of the show being played on her tour bus. According to tabloid newspaper reports, she loves watching: “old people who think they have a bit of tat” discovering they own a Rembrandt or a Chippendale worth a fortune. And that may well go to the route of our fascination with antiques; even the experts can be pleasantly surprised, or occasionally horrified, by that junk shop find.

In these throw-away times an increasing number of people of all ages are buying antiques for investment or pleasure and there seems to be no end to our enthusiasm.

Thanks to our rich history of invasion, Empire, trade and invention Britain one of the best places in the world to hunt for antiques. This gives a rich vein of material for the collectors, dealers and bargain hunters and today they have a huge range of places at which to indulge their interest or hobby.

Where once there were just junk and antique shops, now we have weekly auction sales in most towns, exhibitions and, of course, antique fairs.

One of the biggest fairs is held three times a year at the NEC in Birmingham. Antiques for Everyone covers everything from ceramics, porcelain and glass to silver, jewellery and fine art. Surprisingly, one popular section for the amateur collector is treen – small household functional wooden objects e.g. needle cases, plates and snuff boxes.

To get the most from the next four day show, which features more than 350 exhibitors from Europe and America, book one of the NEC Birmingham hotels for a night or two. It will be on at the NEC from July 19-22.

The show features experts and events as well as stands for you to browse. With perfect timing which coincided with the sinking of the Titanic, one highlight of the April show was the sale of a napkin from the doomed ship. There was also a special section devoted to “Downton Abbey style” based on Highclere Castle in Berkshire where the award-winning television series is filmed.

Wherever you decide to shop for antiques and collectables according to the experts there are two golden rules: know what you are buying and make sure you like it. After all, if that treasure turns out to be worthless and you’re stuck with it that “bargain” could be staring out at you from your mantelpiece at home for an awfully long time!

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