Well, hello there! I hope your week has been as good as mine! Now, I don't know about you, but I'm always on the look out for the next treasure, no matter where I am. You never know when or what you might find and that is the thrill of this job I guess. Jewellery, miniatures, militaria, toys, novelty items, you name it, I look for it.
This week, I was very, very, very lucky. I found something truly special, and finds like this don't happen everyday. In fact, I'm still so excited about it that I thought I might dedicate this week's blog post to it! So, as always, stick that kettle on, get yoursel' a brew, put those feet up and let me tell you about this week's star find...
It was a pleasant, late September afternoon, the sun was peaking out from behind the clouds and, having been to the Post Office with some orders, I popped into town to see what I could find. People always say to me, why do you bother wasting your time in Charity Shops, because they're just full of tat! Well, I'll tell you why I go into charity shops. Firstly, because I like supporting local charities. Secondly, because I never buy new things, well, apart from underpants, and that's only because I'm still mentally scarred by the bag of used underpants my Grandad once gave me. And, thirdly, because you just never know what you might find...!
Having already had a quick scout around a few charity shops, I popped into the final one on the street. I'm not going to tell you which one, because you'll all be descending on it like flies around poop, as my dear late Grandfather would so eloquently put it! Anyway, during my scout around, I saw something peeking out from underneath some scarves. On closer inspection it turned out to be an old briar pipe. But on closer closer inspection, I saw that it was an intricately carved pipe with tremendous detail.
To the front were a couple of carved insignias and next to these were two figures, one solider and I'm guessing, one civilian. It said "Boer War" at the top and to the rear it said "Clr Sgt Macdonald to Sgt Mjr Shepperd" of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The hairs on my neck instantly stood up!
Now, militaria interests me, and I probably got this interest from my late Grandfather (blimey, he's getting a lot of mentions today!), but I'm certainly no expert. However, having worked in an Antiques Centre for a few years, I did pick up a bit of knowledge from both dealers and customers. And there was one customer in particular, and I'll give him a shout out, just in case he does happen to read this. His name was Les and he used to visit the centre most days looking for items. I remember one day he said to me, "Ste, if you ever see anything linked to the Boer War, it's very collectible, so snap it up... are you listening to me Ste, get it bought...?!".
So, as soon as I identified this piece as being from the Boer War, I could hear Les' voice in the back of my head again, "Are you listening to me Ste... get it bought...!!" So with that, I ran to the checkout, "got it bought", and ran home, cradling the pipe like a new born baby. Once home, I began doing some research, and whilst I was able to find a few Boer War pipes, none of them were anywhere near the quality of this one, nor did they make mention of two Officers. This one was a personal gift from Clr Sgt Macdonald to Sgt Mjr Shepperd. I did some digging to see what I could find out about the two Officers, but, unfortunately, it proved very difficult.
Nevertheless, I wanted to put Les' theory to the test and see just how collectible Boer War items are. So I listed it on Ebay with a starting price and the option to make an offer. Now, within a minute of me putting this piece on Ebay, I received a substantial offer. This guy was not messing around! With it only being on Ebay for a minute, I thought I'd push my luck a little and see just how high this would go. So I counter offered with a much higher price. And after a bit of toing and froing, a price was eventually agreed and I was gobsmacked! My only regret is that I didn't get to enjoy the item for a little bit longer. But my guess is that it's gone to an avid Boer War collector to enjoy and treasure.
So, if you learn something from this week's post, it should be that a) Les was right, Boer War items are very collectible, b) that by being a snob, and not going into Charity Shops, you are missing out on some real treasures, and c) that you should never accept a bag of unknowns from your grandfather!
That's it for this week folks. I hope you've enjoyed this little story. Until next time, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage Love!
Owner Source Vintage
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In loving memory of my late Grandfather, Robin. Always loved and never forgotten. Particularly that bag of underpants he gave me!