ANITA MANNING is a well-known TV celebrity, with regular appearances on Flog It and Bargain Hunt. Here she shares her passion for antiques and auctions with a little light-hearted look into her world.
Anita Manning gave us this insight into her thoughts: Antiques can be fine and beautiful and show artistry, craftsmanship and wonderful design. They can be weird and quirky and of little monetary value. But they, their story, and their passage through time are always interesting.
The excitement of bidding
At Great Western Auctions in Glasgow we handle quantities of objects on a day-to-day basis. Even after many years in the business, I still take great pleasure from looking at them and organising their sale.
The auction is a wonderfully vibrant environment. It’s both a moveable feast and a piece of theatre, with the buyers as part of the cast. There is no certainty, and until the hammer falls, no predictable outcome.
The thrill of the chase, the excitement of bidding and the joy or disappointment of success or failure is all part of a day at the auctions.
How to value an antique
Have you ever looked around your house and wondered if you had anything that was worth a bob or two? Have you ever bought anything at auction in the past and wondered if it might have increased in value?
Have you ever looked at Aunt Jessie’s rug, tucked away in the cupboard, and thought of taking it to the Antiques Roadshow?
Many of us might have unassuming objects boxed in the attic which could be of considerable value – but where do you start?
Age, rarity and quality
There are three things we must weigh up: age, rarity and quality.
In jewellery or silver, we are looking for hallmarks. They will tell us the quality of the metal, where it was made, and, in many cases, who made it.
Porcelain, china and pottery have a backstamp which will give us information on the factory and date of manufacture. The style of furniture should give you an idea of its date.
If you have a picture which you think is valuable, it’s always worth getting an expert to look at it for you. Every day people bring items to the auction for assessment.
My particular favourite this month was a beautiful Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre vase designed by Daisy Makeig-Jones.
The Wedgwood Company was established in 1795 by Josiah Wedgwood and is one of the most famous names ever associated with pottery. Most of us will recognise the distinctive Jasperware produced by this factory with matt blue body and classical figures in relief.
Our little vase was part of the Fairyland Lustre range produced after the First World War. This range featured fairies, butterflies, dragons, elves and other fantastical creatures in rich colours and high lustre, often resembling illustrations by Arthur Rackham.
The impact of Fairyland Lustre on the public at that time was phenomenal, offering a welcome relief from the drab war years.
Today it is highly collectable and our little eight inch vase could reach four figures – an astonishing surprise to the owner. What a lovely job I have. Anita Manning.