Friday, 27 July 2007

Life and times of a comic genius

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in passing about eccentric Edwardian artist Harry B. Neilson (pictured right) – the man who painted those charming watercolours of foxes dressed as huntsmen riding foxhounds. As far as I was concerned, the artist was something of an unknown.

I said I intended to learn more about him and added that I would appreciate hearing from any reader who could help me give Harry his rightful place in the roll call of gifted local artists whose lives and work should be memorialised. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the response.Read more »

Labels: ,

Glass with class

This story is a bit convoluted, so you'll have to bear with me. We were visiting one of those grand, two-day collectors' fairs, a bit like the ones you see on the telly where people buy things and then try to sell them for more than they cost. That's not why we were there, but in the course of our meanderings, we found a pair of nightlight stands that would have beaten all-comers on any Bargain Hunt!

"Excuse me," says I meekly, "but how much are those glass candle stands?" "Oh, you can have those for £6," says the stallholder. The cash came out of my pocket quicker than wink!Read more »


Climate under pressure

Hurricane Charlie batters Florida, Hong Kong reports its heaviest rainfall ever, ruinous hailstorms rattle China and we here in the North West had our share too. There's so much weather about -- I've never seen so much rain fall in one place for such a sustained period -- I really could have done with that barometer.

Sadly, however, it wasn't to be. It was a good looking thing and I was keen to own it. An aneroid barometer dating for the 1920s, it caught my eye at a local collectors' fair with a price tag of £75.

The circular dial was framed in oak, the wood carved to represent rope, and although it was plain and businesslike, it was hopefully reliable. After the traditional round of bartering, it was mine for £60.Read more »

Labels: ,

The tricksy trio who still make us smile

It wasn't much to look out, but the little round lapel badge we found lying in the bottom of a box of knickknacks at our local collectors' fair had a fascinating background.

About the size of an old sixpence, the badge was decorated with blue enamel, picked out of which were the initials W. L. O. G.

The only other decoration was what we later learned was a pair of oversized ears -- an image that was once the trademark of a cartoon rabbit, and no, I don't mean Bugs Bunny.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Dresser - daringly different

Admirers of his work reckon that Christopher Dresser was one of the most talented designers of the High Victorian era. Others are less charitable, one art market commentator once describing a Dresser kettle as more like a model of the Russian Sputnik!

The same acid writer is about to find himself in a minority as a new exhibition elevates Dresser to one of the new darlings of the day

Opening at the Victoria & Albert Museum next Thursday (Sept 9) and running until December 5 is the first UK retrospective on Dresser, an exhibition which marks the centenary of his death.Read more »

Labels: ,

Pleasure from hidden treasure

In these scary days of hijackings, hostage-taking and international terrorism, the words metal detecting take on an altogether different and much more sinister meaning. What follows has nothing to do with the security measures to be found at airports and left luggage depots.

No, the metal detecting that interests me is the type that keeps grown men (and women) occupied for hours at the beach, on old rubbish dumps and forgotten pathways with little trowels and big hopes of finding something valuable that might otherwise be lost and gone forever.

Personally speaking, I've only ever used a metal detector once. I borrowed one from a neighbour and spent an unpleasant -- and ultimately unrewarding -- hour combing through the rubbish strewn across the back yard of my sister-in-law's semi.Read more »

Labels: ,

Taxing times

The Beatles were right. According to the song Taxman: “If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat, If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet”. So, with the deadline looming for the return of self-assessment income tax forms (September 30) just be glad this isn’t the 18th century.

In 1792, owners of houses with seven to nine windows had to pay a tax of two shillings (10 pence), while those 10 to19 windows paid four shillings.

This so called window tax was repealed in 1851, to be replaced by a tax called House Duty, presumably a forerunner of council tax. So now you know why you see Georgian houses with windows that have been bricked up – the advent of tax planning, maybe!Read more »

Labels: ,

Buying for love

The poor lass stood on the doorstep like a waif and stray trying to sell us pictures from a folder under her arm.

She said her name was Miya and in perfect English – but with perhaps a Polish or Croat accent – she explained that she was from a group of young artists who were setting up a not-for-profit gallery in Liverpool.

They needed funds and were going door to door to try to raise capital by selling some of their art.

It got me to thinking how great it would be to have the ability – and spare cash – to be able to talent-spot up and coming young artists and buy their paintings?Read more »

Labels: , ,

Wonderfully weird

Michael Collins OBE and I have something in common, but sadly it’s not the gong he was awarded in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee birthday honours, or that he’s just published his first book.

No, it’s how he and I both started to get interested in antiques and collecting: down a hole in a Victorian rubbish dump.

For me, it was the discovery that an area of my home town, romantically called Fol Hollow, was actually a derivation of Foul Hollow, because a century or more ago that was where the residents dumped all their waste.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Hooked on collecting

When was the zip fastener invented? Apparently, one Elias Howe came up with what he called "an automatic continuous clothing closure" in 1851. He patented the idea but it never came to market, possibly because he was too busy with his other invention: the sewing machine.

It was a further 40 years before another American, Whitcomb Judson, patented a similar "Clasp Locker", but even that was only ever used for fasting shoes, seen from the first time at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

The zipper we know it today, based on interlocking teeth, was invented by an employee of Judson's, Swedish scientist Gideon Sundback in 1913.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Meaty collectables

It might not sound very romantic, but today's collectors of Victorian and Edwardian printed ephemera should be grateful to the manufacturers of Liebig's "Meat Extract", or Oxo as it was later reincarnated.

Founded in 1868, the company soon realised the importance of good marketing and promotional material and until 1975, they published an astonishing array of beautifully printed lithographed cards which was probably never matched by any other business. And that holds true even today.

Not a trade card and 10 times better than cigarette cards, the so-called chromo cards printed for Liebig, issued in around 2,000 different sets, could keep a discerning collector happy for a lifetime.Read more »

Labels: ,

Buying on tick

Like several million other collectors, we watched the Antiques Roadshow last Sunday, amazed the value of the wonderful, early but sadly anonymous longcase clock that was judged to be worth £30,000 plus.

That was enough to cause us to gasp in wonder, but to hear that the owner omitted to wind the striking chain so that the thing was silent on the hour and half hour left us speechless.

What, pray, is the point of having such a beautiful timepiece in your home if you don’t enjoy listening to it mark the passage of the hours?Read more »


Speed your way home

I've always fancied owning an old county map. You know the kind of thing -- olde worlde place names printed in gothic text on paper that's turned brown with age.

Nicely framed and hanging in the dining room, such a thing amazes guests when you tell them it's 300 years old.

But I've never dared to take the risk of buying one for fear of being duped by a fake or reproduction.

For every real 17th century map on the market, there are probably a hundred that were made yesterday.Read more »


On the lace trail

Fate found us in Devon for a few days last week and while we were there, dodging the storms that put parts of the county under water, we spent a few happy hours in Honiton, home of lace-making.

As luck would have it, there was a textiles fair in progress in one of the public halls -- a sort of flea market for anything involving fashion, sewing and of course fancy lace -- so you can guess where we spent most time ... and money!

Honiton lace achieved a national reputation for quality in the late 18th century and in the 19th century, it became a fashion item with mass appeal.Read more »

Labels: ,

Love tokens from the Front

Standing knee deep in mud, deprived of sleep and waiting for the next whistle to go over the top are images we recognise as being part of life in the trenches, but what our fathers' fathers endured in the Great War, we cannot imagine.

That was two generations ago. I wanted to bring to this column some images of a sweeter nature from the war to end all wars.

They come from the covers of cheap and cheerful silk postcards sent home by our boys to mothers, wives and sweethearts who were sitting at home praying for the safe return of their loved ones.

It has been estimated that 10 million of the cards were produced between 1914 and 1918. Amazingly, many survive and they remain among the most affordable miniature works of art often produced entirely by hand.

There was a time, perhaps five years ago, when a First World War silk postcard could be had for £1. Now they cost at least a fiver a piece and often dealers want to least double that.

But even at that price, they make a charming collection.

The postcards have several common features. Generally speaking, they were hand-embroidered, usually in silk, on strips of silk mesh and the resulting image sandwiched between two cream-coloured cards.

The face of the card had a cut-out window framing the image, which was usually embossed with decorative designs often in the Art Nouveau manner.

The reverse of the card was either blank or printed with spaces for address and message as you would expect on the back of any postcard.

Tradition has it that the cards were embroidered by Frenchwomen and children working in their homes to earn a living while the men were at war.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Highland gems

If you don’t know about “bickers”, “luggies”, “spongeware” or “hookies”, read on. Before 19th century industrialisation brought mass-produced consumer goods within the reach of everyone, communities relied on artisan craftsmen for their household tools and decorative knickknacks.

Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Scotland which has a long history of traditional crafts that are highly sought after today, particularly among tourist collectors looking to find objects related to the auld country. Perthshire dealer Becca Gauldie had all the answers.

Treen – the collective term for domestic items made from a tree – is plentiful throughout Scotland which is sometimes surprising, considering the lack of native forests.

Bickers, piggins, luggies and quaichs are all treen bowls made by tinker families, many of whom travelled around the country selling their wares from door to door. A bicker is a two-handled small, straight-sided bowl with flat handles. A piggin is similar but with upright handles, while a luggie is slightly larger and with one splayed upright handle. ll have an intricate "feathered" construction which picks them out as being Scottish.Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Monart magic

When I wrote here about collecting antiques from Scotland, I didn't anticipate seeing a collection of glass like the examples pictured here up for auction recently in my local saleroom.

They were made in a glassworks in Perthshire and such is the universal appeal of antiques and collectables, I felt I needed no excuse to stay north of the border with this week's column.

In the event, telephone buyers from Scotland took three pieces, a Hampshire collector had travelled to the sale to buy two, while the remainder was shared between three local buyers.

The most valuable piece was a circular fruit bowl in purple, shading to green and amber with aventurine flecks, which sold for £280, more than twice the top estimate.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Piggies can fly

In this, the last in a trilogy of columns about collecting Scottish antiques, I though I’d try to discover why these two pot pigs sold recently for £34,800 – each!.

It surprised even the auctioneers, who were expecting winning bids of around £10,000, not a new world record auction price. Interestingly enough, I once watched one sell for £90. Who told you antiques weren’t a good investment?

That said, you should probably not buy this stuff to make money.

Fashion being what it is, the gaudy, cabbage rose-bedecked pottery made from the late 19th century onwards at the Fife Pottery in the Gallatown district of Kirkcaldy is most definitely an acquired taste.

Buy it by all means, but only if you love it. There is no guarantee the price spiral it has enjoyed in recent years can continue.Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Money on trees

Congratulations! Now, stand back and admire your handiwork. You manoeuvred the ladder up to the loft, you scrambled around in the dust and cobwebs, you found the old suitcase containing the Christmas decorations and the tree looks fabulous.

But stop and take another look. Those baubles, knickknacks and trinkets that you remember when you were a child might actually be highly desirable collectors’ items.

And that means hard cash to pay the credit card bill which arrives when Christmas is but a distant memory.

The thought occurred watching Coronation Street the other night. Ken Barlow probably didn’t realise what the Bakelite crib ornament was worth as he hung it on his tree, but it was not lost on me.Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Annual treats

There’s no shortage of choice: Barbie and Sindy, My Little Pony and the Brownies continue to have mass appeal for the girls, while us boys go for Thunderbirds, Spiderman and relative newcomer Bob the Builder.

All are on sale this Christmas and so it was –admittedly with a different cast of characters – since the 1820s, which means there’s a rich collecting vein for lovers of children’s annuals.Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Postcards with plenty of sauce

&Britain was at war and we stood alone against the might of Nazi Germany. Food and petrol were rationed and laughs were in short supply ... unless you were on the receiving end of a saucy seaside postcard like the ones pictured here. And in the 60-odd years since they were printed, their humour is not diminished.

Blushing Tommy (with arm around shapely redhead) to spluttering general: "I got her with a parcel of soldiers' comforts, sir!"Read more »

Labels: ,

Hot property

We watched enthralled as Bill Oddie fed robbins from the palm of his hand and hidden cameras filmed badgers and blue-tits in the recent Britain Goes Wild TV series. So, on the next trip to the garden centre, we dutifully stocked up with peanuts and wild bird seed and even lashed out on rather smart gothic-style bird bath. We were all set to turn our back yard into a wildlife haven. Now we learn that if it's not screwed down, the stone birdbath is going to get nicked.Read more »

Labels: , ,

The rock of ages

I’ve always fancied owning a crystal ball, not just because it would be useful in sidestepping horrible things that were about to befall me -- and let's face it we've all had enough of those thank you very much -- but also because a genuine fortune teller's crystal ball is a perfectly spherical, perfectly clear piece of natural rock crystal, not glass as is commonly thought, although it's hard to tell the difference.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Merseyside’s forgotten artists

Learning about antiques and fine art continues to fascinate me and I feel like I'm on a never-ending journey. Two things happened this week to set me off in a new direction. Both involve the work of local artists.

First, I heard I talk by a museum and art gallery curator about the life and work of the Herdman family of painters and second, an auction catalogue dropped through my letterbox with one of the most amusing front cover illustrations I've seen in a long time.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Worth their salt

I'm not fond of salt, unless of course it's stuck to the rim of a glass of tequila. The news from health watchdogs that I might unwittingly be eating pounds of the stuff in my daily diet does my appetite no good at all.

But there was a time and we couldn't get enough. Before the advent of refrigeration, pasteurisation and pressure cooking, packing food in salt was the only way to stop it going bad. Apparently, salt destroys the bacteria in meat, fish and vegetables, making its importance as a preservative vital to the community.Read more »

Labels: ,

Sales of the centuries

House contents sales are dead. Long live house sales. Time was when the chattels of homes, big and small, rich or poor, were almost without exception sold on the premises but sadly, not any more. The once rich source of bargains for the amateur collector and the professional dealer alike are now rarities that are marked by much blowing of trumpets and banging of drums by the auctioneers.

I had the pleasure of attending one of the biggest to be seen in recent times when the contents of Sunlight Soap magnate Lord Leverhulme’s home at Thornton Manor, Wirral, were dispersed.Read more »


Gothic proportions

Lovers of anything gothic should rush to their nearest cinema and revel in the latest horror blockbuster Van Helsing … "A shrieking bore” according to Peter Travers in Rolling Stone magazine, "[A] disaster of gothic proportions..." said MaryAnn Johanson in Flick Filosopher.

But forget the unlikely storyline (or lack of it), Kate Beckinsale’s amazing hydraulic teeth and the bloody special effects. Go and revel instead in the glorification of everything gothic. And if there isn’t a modern day revival in interest in gothic antiques, I’ll eat my bat!Read more »

Labels: ,

Rich pickings on a plate

We have two plates in our collection, commissioned for us by family friends and presented to my wife following the birth of each of our children. They are treasured possessions and because each is marked with their names and times and dates of their respective deliveries, they are of value only to us.

Of course, if I was to go on to become one of the country’s richest individuals, and if my children were to marry into the upper classes, joining families whose power is second only to royalty, then things might be different.Read more »

Labels: ,

Schuco’s toytown charmers

It was love at first sight and you could tell instantly that the woman standing starry eyed at the end of the collectors' fair stall was never going to be able to resist the two plush Teddy bears waiting to be taken home. The deal was struck and money swiftly changed hands, but it was what happened next that was the most intriguing.

The stallholder handed the woman her purchases, having shoved them somewhat haphazardly into a plastic shopping bag. One Teddy was up, the other one was down with his head somewhere at the feet of his companion. Clearly for them it was going to be an uncomfortable journey home.Read more »

Labels: ,

Sugar-coated collectables

Things We Take For Granted, Chapter 41: Sugar. No, I'm not writing a book but if I was, there would be at least 40 chapters of other things we take for granted and no doubt more. Fact is, in the 18th century, sugar was a great luxury and as such, it was awarded a prominent place both in the kitchens and the dining rooms of only the very wealthy.

Forget white, refined, granulated sugar, though. In the 1700s, sugar was bought in huge conical loaves weighing as much as 18lbs, although small loaves of about 3lbs were more common for domestic use.Read more »


Pipe Dreams

With the wave of public opinion breaking ever closer to these shores – Ireland recently became the first country in the world to have a complete ban on smoking in the workplace – the days are numbered for the drunk who stood in the corridor of my train home the other evening having a crafty drag.

So, it’s an equally crafty collector – and auctioneer – who turns his attention to the accoutrements of smoking as the next Big Thing.Read more »


Fantastic plastic

I knew a man once who collected plastic shopping bags. He had examples from some of the most famous department stores and high-class shops from all around the world. He was a security guard and got himself sacked for petty pilfering ... presumably the bags came in handy for carrying home his booty!

He came to mind to the other day as I walked around an Art Deco collectors' fair. One stall was doing a healthy trade and wrapping customers' purchases in the most stylish carrier bags I've seen in a while. The bags aren't collectors' items yet (they surely will be one day), but the 1930s plastic knickknacks being sold on the stall have certainly become so.Read more »

Labels: , ,

Keeping time for the military

Okay, enough at all this mamby pamby collecting stuff like Wade Whimsies and little models of rabbits made by PenDelfin. This week’s subject is much more manly. It's all about one of the tools of the trade in wartime sabotage, espionage and derring-do: the military wristwatch.

Mention the subject today, and first thoughts turn to the cheap and nasty fake "Swiss" Army watches found on market stalls the length and breadth of the land. What follows is about the real thing.Read more »


Hunting for Bunny Money

I’m all for buying cheap collectibles and seeing them rise in value. That's why last week's column was all about Wade Whimsies. So, continuing in the same vein, this week's missive is all about another kind of whimsical figure: the durable "stoneware" models of cute little rabbits made by a company called PenDelfin.

Love them or hate them, the little things are everywhere and again like Whimsies, children love them.

Actually, although PenDelfin is best known for its rabbits, it's the rare earlier wares made by the company that are most sought after by today's collectors. But we'll come to them in a moment.

The story of how PenDelfin came into existence is a romantic one. The company was formed in 1953 in the shadow of Pendle Hill, just outside Burnley, in Lancashire.

Its founders were Jeannie Todd and Jean Walmsley Heap, who first met at an exhibition of paintings being staged by Burnley Artists' Society. The two worked together at a building society in Burnley. They became close friends and decided to go into business.

Pendle is perhaps best known for its famous witches. The historians among us will know that King James I, who hated witches, wrote a book about how dangerous witchcraft was and stirred up hatred among the populace to the point where no one was safe.

In Pendle, a young beggar woman accused of witchcraft had done nothing more than ask for some pins from the pedlar. He refused and she cursed him, whereupon sometime later he fell ill.

He later accused the woman of bewitching him and the ensuing investigation brought 19 more suspected witches to the courts. One was found innocent, the rest were hanged and Pendle passed into history.

The first piece made by Jeannie and Jean was a deep relief wall plaque, called the Pendle Witch, suitably modelled as an old hag complete with cat on her shoulder riding a flying broom stick across a full moon. She became the company logo.

PenDelfin was born, the name coming from Pendle and the elfin-like figures the company produced, and the two women never looked back.

Each contributed £5 as working capital and with the garden shed as company HQ, the entrepreneurs began by making Christmas gifts for friends. Jean modelled the figures from clay and Jeannie boiled rubber on the kitchen cooker to make moulds.

Soon the hobby became a full-time business. In 1954, Doreen Noel Roberts joined the company and the foundations of the design team - JWH and DNR - were in place.

The family of mischievous rabbits first appeared the following year. Father Rabbit was first and production continues to the present day creating a steady stream of attractive and highly collectable creations that were soon sitting on mantelshelves and in bedrooms around the world.

As more and more rabbits were introduced to the family, and demand increased, the company bought Cameron Mill, in Burnley, where production continues today.

The models are made from a durable stone-based compound which is the ideal medium for reproducing the sharply detailed features of the various characters.

Each rabbit figure is produced entirely by hand by skilled workers and each is hand-painted by specially trained artists capable of the shading, tinting and highlighting demanded by the designers.

A final coat of varnish is applied and only after strict quality control are the models packaged in their familiar turquoise and black boxes and dispatched internationally, more than a thousand flying out of the door every week.

Of course, it is those models that have ceased production which today's collectors crave. For example, if you can find one, the Pendle Witch plaque changes hands today for £800 or more.

Rare, early wares included nursery rhyme characters, ducks, Romeo and Juliet plaques (one of these has sold for as much as £2,200) and Manx kittens.

Interestingly, the kittens started life with a tail and were in production between 1956 and 1958. However, the tails were prone to been broken off, so the moulds were altered and the Manx kitten was created instead.

The kittens were made in only a short production run and only small numbers survive. An example coming up for auction today would have an estimate of £1,500 to £2,000.

Another rarity is the Aunt Agatha figure, produced for only two years between 1963 and 1965, which is also worth more than £1,000.

However, it is the PenDelfin rabbits that melt collectors’ hearts most. Father Rabbit appeared in 1955 and today is worth between £700 and £1,000.

He stands about eight inches in height and has large ears and the bottom to match. He wears dungarees and as a result, collectors refer to him as Dungaree Father.

His wife, Mother Rabbit, appeared in 1956 and the two began to breed, well, like rabbits! Children Robert, Margot and Midge appeared within a year but it was all too much for Dungaree Father.

He had a tendency to fall over because of his large bottom, so in 1960, he was remodelled and took the name of Kipper Tie Father. Not surprisingly, this was the result of his particularly eye-catching neckwear.

Kipper Tie Father was "retired" in 1970 and the Father figure was not seen again for another seven years. A third version of Father followed, the figure wearing a frill shirt and carrying a walking cane. He is worth up to £400 today.

Car boot sale collectors should also keep their eyes out for Cha Cha, introduced in 1959 and retired in 1961, and Aunt Agatha, introduced in 1963 and retired in 1965. Both of these can fetch £700 or more.

It is these retired, or withdrawn from production, figures that make them potential investments. The same could be said for the figures painted in varying colourways.

Like Royal Doulton collectors, buyers of PenDelfin bunnies set great store by seeking out the different and the unusual. Uncle Soames, for example, is among the most collectable of rabbits because of the numerous ways in which his outfits are painted.

In the earlier examples, his cravat and waistcoat were in brown and black respectively, but when the ladies who hand-painted him were given a free hand, he was turned out in all sorts of bright colours and various designs.

The diligent collector might enjoy searching out all the various combinations, but since he remained in production from 1959 until 1985, it might take him or her many years.

At auction, he can fetch anywhere from £80 to £250 depending on the colourway. Find an example with brown trousers and he could be an early example worth up to £500.

Megan the Harp (1961-67) and Squeezy (1960-70) are also worth picking up, given that they can fetch £100 or more.

Not surprisingly, there is an international collectors' club devoted to the figures. The so-called PenDelfin Family Circle was founded in 1992. Membership costs £20 a year and includes a free exclusive members' model and three issues of PenDelfin Times.

Few auction houses hold sales devoted entirely to PenDelfin products. One exception is Potteries Specialist Auctions who are based at 271 Waterloo Road, Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs (01782-286622).

Labels: ,

Go where the Whimsie takes you

It was a charming sight: two little girls standing at the end of the collectors' fair stall while each agonised over which "antique" they would purchase to add to their respective collections.

Each child clutched a £2 coin - either pocket money or perhaps a bribe, I thought, so their parents could spend unhurried time of their own at the fair on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Fortunately their mother was a patient woman too. The girls were spoilt for choice and the process took a good 10 minutes while each potential purchase was handled and inspected for its suitability.Read more »

Labels: ,

Collecting a nest egg

eggTHESE days Easter is all about sofa sales, chocolate eggs and propaganda designed to transfer cash from your pocket to shop till with not a huge amount to show for it, except a big credit card bill.

If you're a Russian billionaire, you could do like prominent Russian industrialist Victor Vekselberg and spend some real money investing in a nest egg by master Russian goldsmith Peter Carl Fabergé.Read more »


The sound of music boxes

If you've ever heard an antique music box play, you'll know how delightful the clear, delicate tinkling sounds can be.

Fact is, music boxes were an immensely popular form of home entertainment in the 19th century, not surprisingly, perhaps, because short of playing it yourself, they supplied the only means of having music at hand.

As a result, the music box occupied a place of honour in the Victorian parlour, where it enchanted everyone with its tinkling rendition of airs, arias, hymns, overtures, folk songs, and patrotic marches as well as the latest "pop" waltzes and polkas that inspired the audience to roll back the carpet and dance.Read more »


Thursday, 19 July 2007

Trading up is on the cards

Perhaps it's because as a junior reporter, I was indentured to a newspaper publisher who was also a jobbing printer.

Perhaps it's simply because my writing for this column gets turned into reading, so to speak - smart pages with attendant images that are easy on the eye and (hopefully) worth something more than a cursory glance.

So, I collect long since defunct wooden poster type; printers' type cases (perfect for displaying small knickknacks); wooden printing blocks and printed ephemera - arguably the cheapest of all collectables.Read more »


Monday, 16 July 2007


Do not edit this page