Buying & Selling Antiques - Exciting Finds & Regretful Sales

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It's 'Blog Post Monday' once again!  Where does time go...!?

Having found some rather exciting pieces of late, it got me thinking about my most treasured finds throughout my antiques career and the absolute regret I've felt when I've sold them.  There have been some pieces which were just so unusual, rare or damn right fascinating, that to this day, I'm still haunted by the regret of letting them go.

I suppose the burning question is, as a dealer, does everything have a price and do you feel obliged to sell?  I've heard some dealers say that a piece is only exciting until the next one comes along.  I've also heard some say that you are only a proper dealer if you are willing to sell a piece, regardless of any emotional attachment....  This week's post is about where I stand on the subject and I'll be having a look back at some of my most regretful sales.

So, as always, get that kettle on, make yourselves comfortable and let me spill my heart out to you as I reminisce about my biggest regrets...



I'm an antiques dealer, first and foremost, and selling interesting pieces is my bread and butter.  I can't keep everything, my Wife would kill me!  So, I suppose most interesting pieces do have a price and I will sell.  It doesn't mean that I don't sometimes look back fondly at some of the super finds I've had. 

For instance, this scratch built 'Bradford Brewery' beer delivery wagon.  I remember being super excited about this find.  It oozed charm and I know damn well that I won't ever find another one.  This sold pretty quickly and I suppose, whilst I didn't have a full on, heart wrenching connection to it, I did sell it for a quarter of what I probably should have, and I suppose that's what pains me the most!  You live and learn.


Image:  My Bradford Brewery beer wagon find


This next find is a prime example of everything having its price.  I bought this antique early 20th century silver Suffragette pocket watch with the intention of keeping it.  I love Suffragette pieces and the historic message behind each piece.  So, this was staying with me.  That was, until I began receiving ludicrous offers for it.  It just shows that if the price is right, you will sell... or should it be I will...!?


Image:  My Suffragette find


This piece was something that sold so quickly that I didn't realise I loved it quite as much as I did, which, I suppose, is quite a good thing really...  An utterly charming 1920's Sterling Silver "Here I Stopped" Bookmark.  I've searched and I've searched, and whilst I've seen mildly similar ones, I've not seen another as nice as this or with such fabulous wording.  This is probably the perfect scenario for a dealer.  An instant sale without the time to fall in love with the piece.


Image:  My Bookmark find


This next find was probably one of my luckiest finds and quickest sales.  I think it was bought, photographed and sold within the space of an hour, and that included a 30 minute walk home.  This Rare Boer War intricately carved briar pipe was my luckiest find because I found it for £2.

The pipe was carved with the wording “BRITON ZAR BOER WAR” at the top and “MAAKT EENDRAGT MAGT” to the bottom, along with “THE ROYAL WARWICK” beneath another insignia.  To the rear was another insignia and the wording “CLR SGT MCDONALD TO SGT MAJ SHEPPERD.  It was obviously a gift from a Colour Sergeant McDonald to a Sergeant Major Shepperd of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

I suppose my biggest regret with this one was that I didn't take the time to research the names involved and also that I didn't have more time to enjoy it.  But, once again, it was a case of when the price is right...


Image:  My Boer War briar pipe find 


This find was similar to the one above, but because I'd learnt my lesson from the pipe, I researched this piece until I knew it's entire life story!  This handsome leather cigar case, once belonging to a William Francis of the Norfolk Regiment, was another lucky find.  I was in the right place, at the right time.  William had hand written all of his military postings from 1891 to 1904 on to the case.  I conducted some thorough research into this piece and found William's full military service records.  What's even nicer about this story is that I made my second ever YouTube video about it and that is how it sold.  So, whilst it pained me to let it go, I will always have my YouTube video to remember it by.


 Image:  My military Cigar Case find


However, when I look back to my first proper exciting find, I was in the mindset of buying and selling no matter how interesting an item was.  It wasn't until I sold it that I felt the tug on my heart strings and it was then that I realised just how special a find it was.  I've searched for another, but to this day I've been unable to find one.  This special item is one that you've heard me rattling on about for the past couple of years.  Yes, my WW2 model spitfire which was made from the windshield of a Spitfire flown during that time.  This was the piece that I went on to sell on BBC1's antiques show, 'The Bidding Room'.  I just don't know what it is about this piece.  Maybe its the fact it's made from the windshield of a Spitfire.  What did that windshield witness?  It really does fill me with a lot of different emotions.


Image:  My WW2 model Spitfire find


So, to conclude.  I think I can say that most pieces I find do have a price.  However, if the model Spitfire has taught me anything, it's that some things are worth more than money.  So my advice is, hold on to them, treasure them and enjoy them.  I'm sure every dealer out there has at least one item that no amount of money can buy.



Well, that's it for this week folks!  I hope you've enjoyed this instalment and that you'll learn from my mistakes.  As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments below, particularly, if like me, you are haunted by the regret of selling something very, very special.

Remember, if you enjoy my posts, please do show your support by subscribing to my blog, which you can do here or via the 'Home' page.

But, until next week, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!




Owner Source Vintage

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