Talking Antiques With Myself - Stephen Wells

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Welcome to another instalment of ‘Blog Post Monday’.

This week I received a couple of messages from people who had read my interviews with some of the industry legends.  They both enquired about my background and suggested that I interview myself to give readers a bit of an insight into me and my life.  Seeing as I was struggling for any other ideas, I thought, why not!  If all else fails, write about yourself…right…?!

I’m not really one for being centre of attention and I always feel slightly awkward writing about myself, unless, of course, I'm poking fun.  Defence mechanism…?  Probably…  Nevertheless, I've decided to give it a go.

So, as always, get that kettle on, take a step into my world and let me tell you, about me, writing about me, for you…




Q.  How did you get into the antiques trade?




Good question.  Well, I suppose I’ve always had an interest in old items.  I started my collecting habit with vintage clothing and vinyl records.  In fact, Source Vintage did, in fact, start out as an online vintage clothing shop.  Anyway, I digress… 



I’d attend local car boot sales and search for treasures.  Then, when I moved out of home and had my own place, vintage/antique furniture and homewares became a thing.  I suppose I’ve always been a bit style conscious and I’d want my home to look cool, but things did begin to get a little crowded with my collecting of so many big things. 

I suppose the day I bought an entire vintage shop’s stock was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I happened to be in the right place at the right time when a vintage shop in Glasgow was closing down.  With a price too good to be true, I purchased all of their stock, including the industrial rails it all hung on…  My girlfriend (now Wife) was thrilled when I bought all of it home, as you can probably imagine…!  That’s when I decided the time was right to start a vintage clothing shop of my own and Source Vintage was born.  I built a website and began doing fairs.  In fact, I started my own fair in a little town on the West Coast of Scotland, which proved to be rather popular.



Then came a move from Scotland to York, where I continued with Source Vintage.  And, then, one day, I stumbled across a job ad in the window of an antiques centre.  I couldn’t help myself.  So I applied and got it.  I began selling my vintage wears in the vintage room there and while talking to dealers, collectors and customers, I began learning a hell of a lot about other antique items.  And this is where my collecting habit increased and my passion took a slight turn away from vintage clothing.  The rest history.  I’m now a full-time antiques dealer, Source Vintage is now an antiques shop and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, doing a job I love!




Q.  What is your current speciality or interest?




Another good question, Stephen.

My current interest is in antique miniature or novelty items.  I like pieces which are conversation starters.  Completely out of the norm and the Victorian era was pretty good for this.  They certainly excelled at the weird and the wonderful.  But I do also have an interest in militaria pieces, mainly because a lot of the time they contain information which allows you to research and trace it back to a person, and get an insight into their life.  It really does bring it all to life and that’s what I love about this job!




Q.  What is your most memorable find?




These are some cracking questions, Stephen…

Those of you who follow my blog will know about the perspex model Spitfire that I found which was made from the windshield of, I think, a Spitfire flown during WW2.  I won’t pipe on about it, but if you don't know about it and you're interested, you can read more about it here.



However, another item which is a close second is a recent find, which, again, I’ve been piping on about for the past few months, so I won’t go into it too much.  But if you’re interested, you can also read more about it here.  It’s an early Victorian glass tumbler which has a fascinating engraving all over it.  My research into this piece took a very interesting turn and I’ve discovered that it was in fact engraved by Naturalist and Artist, William Pennington Cocks, whose work is held in the British Museum and was respected by people such as Charles Darwin.

I’ve had many favourite finds, but these two are probably standout ones, so far…!




Q.  What is your favourite part of the job and why?




Great question, Stephen…

My favourite part of the job is definitely the buying and the researching.  I absolutely love it!  That glass in the question above, for example… You never know what you’ve found until you research it in in depth.  As many antiques dealers will tell you, it is an illness…  You just can’t stop looking for that next interesting buy.  You basically sell to buy more and if you’re lucky, you can actually make some money out of it too… Which I hope to be able to do at some stage…!  *laughing hysterically*



Q.  What is your funniest trade story?




Another good one, Stephen…

I think I probably told my funniest trade story in one of my recent blog posts (here).  It involved a drunken eBay purchase, a very large and extremely heavy vintage cash register, a very long walk to collect it and an even longer walk back with it…which included a shortcut across the grounds of a school…!!  Basically, the long and the short of it was, I think people were convinced I’d stolen a cash register from a shop…! 



Q.  What would you be doing if you weren’t an antiques dealer?




Hmmm…this is a tough one, simply because I love antiques so much…  Maybe something involving beer.  I do love beer.  Perhaps brewing or marketing beer…?  Or one of those guys on the beach who rents out sun beds…somewhere warm, of course… I quite fancy that.




Q.  What advice would you have for someone starting out in the antiques trade?




Well, you WILL make many mistakes, good lord, I have.  But just remember that everyone does and that it’s all part of a massive learning curve.  I think, like anything in life, you have to have a passion for it.  It’s hard work.  You will find yourself working every hour of everyday and for very little reward in the early days.  Start off small (price wise), otherwise you can quickly find yourself in a bit of bother.  Do thorough research on your items.  Don’t just take what the seller says as gospel, everyone makes mistakes.  Read lots, network, build up your contacts book and most importantly, have fun!



Well, that’s it for this week folks!  I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into me.  If you’ve read this far, thank you so much!  As always, let me know what you think in the comments section below.  Let me have your words of wisdom and your funny stories!  And, 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.

So, until next week, 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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  • Jules Carter on

    Looking really cool Stevie x

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