Talking Antiques With Industry Legend David Harper

Industry Interviews


Happy Monday and welcome to my final blog post of 2020!

I thought, what better way to finish the year than with some more expert advice from another antiques great...

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I've caught up with a few industry legends this year.  I hope to continue these short interviews next year, as they've seemed very popular, but it will all depend on if I can persuade more of these legends to take part.  I'll see what I can do for you!

Nevertheless, this year has been a real start studded turn out.  We've managed to chat to 'Dickinson's Real Deal's' very own Tim Hogarth, 'The Urban Vintage Affair' and 'The Bidding Room's' Natasha Francis, 'Bargain Hunt's' Gary Pe'Hoof Brocante' and 'The Bidding Room's Adi Higham and 'The Antiques Road Trip's' Isabel Balmer.

This week, for our final interview of 2020, I had the good fortune of chatting to David Harper, whom I'm sure you will all recognise from popular BBC antiques shows, 'Bargain Hunt' and 'The Antiques Road Trip'.  I know some of you got in touch with me to request this interview, so here you go, a gift from me to you.  Merry Christmas...!

So, for the final time in 2020, get that kettle on, settle in and let's see what arouses David's curiosity in the world of antiques...


Image:  BBC


Q.  How did you get into the antiques trade?



From as early as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with old objects and their connection to the past, real people and events.  I was brought up surrounded by antiques.  I used to believe as a kid that these items could transport me back in someways, I still do!


Image:  Somerset County Gazette


Q.  What is your current speciality or interest?



As is normal in this business, my interests change regularly.  A couple of areas have always been a passion for me though and that’s classic cars (I was brought up with them too) and Oriental objects.




Q.  Do you think it’s better to specialise in one specific subject area of the trade and if so, why?  Or is it possible to deal in everything and anything?



For me, I’d describe myself as a generalist.  I’ve built up knowledge in most areas through my interests waxing and waning over the decades and I know that I could never specialise in one area.  I love the variety.  However, those that do specialise in one particular field are often the ones that make the most money...they spot the special pieces before the rest of us!


Image:  David Wood 


Q.  Do you have a favourite all time find?  If so, what is it, where did you find it and did you keep it?



There have been so many of he years, from a pair of Ming Dynasty Chinese bronzes to a Georgian miniature painting of a lady with a romantic note hidden behind the frame...I was the first person to read it in 200 years.

But, one I’ve been thinking about recently after I handled a lovely collection of classic cars for a client, was a 1969 Ford Capri I bought when I was 20 in 1987.  At the time, it wasn’t thought of as being that special, but with it being one of the first Capris off the production line, in mint condition, low miles and one owner, I knew it would come good one day.  Everyone has stories like this, but it’s one of those things that I should have kept.  I loved the thing and only only paid a few hundred pounds for it (sold it on quickly) but it would be worth a few tens of thousands today!


Image:  BBC


Q.  Is there an item that you regret not buying that still haunts you now?



Yes, in 1998 I almost bought an Aston Martin DB6 for £35,000, but bought a modern Porsche 911 instead.  911‘s haven’t done badly, but the DB6 would be worth ten time’s the money!


 Image:  Matthew Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo


Q.  Do you have any advice for someone starting out in the antiques trade?



Buy only the things you love personally.  That way, you’ll maintain your interest and enjoy what you do.  If you do this, you’ll also become expert in everything you buy, because it’s easy to learn about something you’re fascinated in...and when you know everything there is to know about an item, you’ll find you can sell it on easily.  People will buy into your passion and knowledge as well as the item.


Image:  Newcastle Journal


So that's it for this year folks!  I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a little more about David, I certainly have.  But as a lover of colourful trousers myself, I just wish I'd asked him where he gets his from...

I'd like to take this chance to thank you all for supporting me this year.  It's been a strange one and a risky time to decide to go self-employed, but your interest in what I do and your messages of support have really helped me through and meant that I can continue to live my dream!  I really couldn't have done this without you all.

I hope you have a fantastic Christmas and Happy New Year, and I'll be back again with my Monday blog posts in January 2021.  So, for the final time this year, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!



Owner Source Vintage

Shop from Source Vintage here

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