Allan Blackburn column: Starting a new antiques collection

Allan Blackburn
Allan Blackburn
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Plenty has been said about the ever-changing scene in the antiques trade. Minimalism, white walls and an over exposure of television programmes have dented the trade badly.

The most common question I am asked at the moment is “What should I now be collecting?”

If I had a crystal ball, I would be able to answer questions like these accurately but I haven’t, so all I can give is advice.

There are certain golden rules to think about when starting a new collection.

Inspect items thoroughly before purchasing.

Do your research – arm yourself against mistakenly buying reproductions by doing loads of research on the internet and in books, to get some insider knowledge of your would be collection.

Don’t get carried away at auctions – it’s often exhilarating bidding on a piece, but know your limit and stick to it.

Get the relevant insurance.

Think – have I got the space to house my collection once it starts to grow?

Some people collect thimbles, hat pins, coins and stamps for the sole reason that they are small and easy to store, but if you’ve got the room (and an understanding partner!) why not sets your sights on something a bit bigger?

Finally, the most important piece of advice is only buy what you honestly like and not what is popular at the moment.

You want to enjoy your investment and not keep it in a box in the attic.

Display it, look at it, add to it, show it off and enjoy it.

If you go for popular antiques, you will probably have to pay heavily for them and markets are forever going up and down.

You may find that you have bought at a peak and not a trough.

Remember, don’t be swayed by trends unless you have a passion for the items that are en vogue.

I keep up to date with trends in antique buying and at GB Antiques Centre there is a constant turnover of items.

At the moment there is a lot of interest in painted furniture, glass, old tools, kitchen memorabilia, tea sets and porcelain.