Talking Antiques With Bargain Hunt's Very Own Gary Pe

Industry Interviews


Hello there and happy Monday to you all!

If you're a frequent flier with Source Vintage, you'll know by now that I have been busy approaching industry legends for advice on the antiques trade. I have been finding out how they got into the trade, their favourite finds and their biggest regrets, and there are some words of advice for anyone thinking of getting into the trade.  These little interviews have and will continue to come out over the course of the next few months, depending on who I can persuade to take part.

So far we've chatted to 'Dickinson's Real Deal's' very own Tim Hogarth and 'The Urban Vintage Affair' and 'The Bidding Room's' Natasha Francis.  So, remember to follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (or even better, all three!), to be notified of my new posts.

This week I was lucky enough to chat to the delightful and ever so charming Gary Pe from popular BBC antiques show, 'Bargain Hunt'. So, as always, get that kettle on and let's find out about Gary and his love of antiques...



Q.  How did you get into the antiques trade?



I grew up in the Philippines where there is a strong storytelling tradition. Often, these stories would revolve around objects that have been passed on from generation to generation. And there was no better weaver of tales or keeper of old objects than my own grandmother. She kept everything, because they were full of 'recuerdos' (memories), she said. And her memory was elephantine! The older the object, the more vivid the memories, the more fascinating the stories. Often, they would turn into epic reminiscences. Now what child doesn't love a good story? From that point, I began to look at old objects as keepers of secrets, of tales just waiting to be unlocked.  I was hooked.

So I guess going into antiques was, for me, a natural, if predictable, progression.



Q.  What is your current genre or speciality?



I'm a generalist. Everything old interests me. Why limit yourself? In this business, more is more!


Q.  Who or what has been the main influence on your style?



The places I've lived in and visited. I've lived in three continents, visited hundreds of cities and towns, some repeatedly. Each has left a mark on my style, which is never static, always evolving


Q.  What has been your favourite find?



That's like asking who's your favourite child. But I'll never forget the day I found a Picasso ceramic wall plaque in a junk shop in Sweden. That ended up being sold by Christie's in New York. More recently, I found a Lucie Rie vase in an open air flea market in Copenhagen. I'm hanging on to that one, for now!



Q.  Has there been an item that you have regretted not buying?



Wrong question. The question should be what I've regretted selling. When I was living in Montreal, I amassed a large collection of Moorcroft ceramics, which included rare and early patterns, many with Tudric pewter mounts. A enormous quantity ended up in the city before the war, probably brought in by British expats who settled there. I was buying them at garage sales (a great North American weekend tradition) for almost next to nothing. I sold them all before moving to the UK in 1992, fearing breakages if I took them with me. Big mistake.


Q.  Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into the antiques and vintage trade?



For starters, you'll need to have the PASSION, the DRIVE, and the ENERGY, all in big capital letters. If you don't, you're in the wrong business. And you'll need to build up knowledge. Visit museums, fairs, markets, auctions. Read trade publications, catalogues, books, articles. Read some more. Never stop learning. Knowledge is power. Engage with people in the trade. They are your tribe, your support group. Keep good records. Start small. You will make mistakes, there will be disappointments. Learn from them.  Build a good reputation with the buying public. Their trust and continued custom is key to growing your business. Smile. Have fun!



Well, that's it for this week folks! I hope you enjoyed my chat with Gary as much as I did. Remember to follow my social media channels for notifications of my weekly blog posts and I'll be seeing you again the same time next week... "For more Bargain Hunt...Yes!"  Sorry, I just had to say it...

And as always, 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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  • Frank on

    Hello Stephen,
    Thank you for the extra information on Gary Pe and passing on his regards.
    I wish him well in all his fiture endeavors.
    Just enjoyed your articles on The Bidding Room dealers, Adi and Natasha.
    The interviews make them relatable to the television viewers.
    Keep well,

  • Stephen - Source Vintage on

    Hi Frank,
    Many thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it.
    Gary was an absolute pleasure to chat with. I have contacted him on your behalf. He asked me to pass on his regards to you and explained that, unfortunately, he doesn’t really trade anymore, not in the traditional sense anyway.
    I have some more interviews lined up, so I hope I can persuade you to continue following my blog.
    All the best to you!

  • Frank on

    Thank you for the informative article on Gary Pe. I always enjoy his appearances in Bargain Hunt. Would you know if Mr. Pe has an antique shop in the UK? Or does he wield the gavel in one of UK’s auction houses? More power to your site.

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