I must confess to being a bit of a hoarder, if I haven't done so already. So any activity that involves hunting for treasure and rifling through rails of vintage clobber is right up my street. Back in June I had my first experience of Newark International Antiques & collectors Fair. I arrived at the Newark show ground to meet up with TWC friend and Contributor Matthew Cook who had offered to tutor me in the ways of antiquing. Matthew has an incredible eye for vintage bargains and is friends with many of the collectors so I was in good hands and certain not to be swindled.

Things I learnt from my first day antiquing...

  • Start early if you want to catch the best bargains.
  • Cash is the only currency, set a spending budget and only take as much as you want to spend (Sound, solid advice from Matthew, it would be quite easy to get carried away!)
  • Go with a clear idea of what items you would like to purchase, with so much to see one can easily veer off track.
  • The fair is enormous, the largest in Europe, it took us around two and a half hours to stroll round.
  • Larger items can be purchased then left with the dealer for collection later,  just be sure to remember which stand you purchased from!
  • Bartering is acceptable, most dealers will be prepared to cut you a deal if you wish to purchase a couple of items from their stand.
  • That being said, try not to fall in love with the most expensive product at the fair, some items really are unique, rare and special. 
  • Beware of impostor products- a week before my visit to Newark I'd taken a trip to The Range and purchased a large glass vase for a very reasonable price. I saw the same product on one of the stands being sold at a tremendous uplift.
  • Look for signs of authenticity- hallmarks on silver, branding on ceramics, it's all about the finer details.
  • Don't be put off by years of grime- tremendous beauty can be revealed through a bit of scrubbing and you're giving products a new lease of life.
  • However, do avoid rust, cracks and scratches.

Needles to say, i'm clearly a natural when it comes to antiquing (Or adding to my hoard, depending on which way you look at it.) by the end of our trip my treasure included three cake knives, one vintage mirror, five cake stands and one vintage Hovis loaf tin. Not bad for a morning's work!

Newark antiques fair is on this week, Thursday 18th to Friday 19th August at the Newark showground. Do let us know if you have any antiquing tips to share!