Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Hill reveals his tricks of the trade
PUBLISHED: 10:47 19 May 2014
As Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Hill looks forward to an appearance at Wellers Auctioneers & Valuers in his hometown of Guildford, here he chats to us about the antiques scene in Surrey...
He may be one of the country’s best-known antiques experts, but Mark Hill first developed an interest in antiques back in the days when he was still a schoolboy in Guildford where he attended the Royal Grammar School.
“It sounds a bit precocious, but a school friend and I adored visiting National Trust properties and, once we could drive, we would set off at weekends and explore,” says Mark. “We were lucky to have three magnificent National Trust houses nearby – Polesden Lacey, Clandon Park and Hatchlands – and these were the inspiration for my first interest in buying prints.
“There were some wonderful antique shops in Guildford back then, and I would always be scouring them for interesting prints and antiques.”
Today, as well as being a resident expert on BBC One’s The Antiques Roadshow, Mark, who is a specialist in ceramics and glass, also appears on BBC2’s new programme Collectaholics.
And, whilst he acknowledges that there might not be as many antiques shops in the area as in days gone by, he says that Surrey is still a great place to hunt for treasures.
The Surrey scene
“I love the antiques scene here in Surrey,” he continues. “The Sandown Park Antique and Vintage Fairs on Tuesdays and Sundays, Wellers Auctioneers & Valuers in Guildford and, of course, Dorking’s famous West Street are just a few of my favourite haunts.”
Back at Wellers, he says he can’t wait to take part in their special charity evening later this month in aid of the Sam Beare Hospice in Weybridge, which will see him and leading antiques author Judith Miller (of Millers Guide fame), herself a regular on the Antiques Roadshow, taking to the stage for ‘an audience with…’ style evening.
The TV pair, who will be familiar faces to many, will be giving advice on how to tell a real from a fake as well as highlighting some of their best finds and worst misses. The duo will then be on hand with Wellers experts for free valuations, so scour the house and attic… you never know, you might just be sitting on a fortune.
“I’m really looking forward to returning to my hometown for this special event at Wellers,” says Mark, “and to be able to help raise money for such a great cause makes it even better. I look forward to seeing you there!”
• In Conversation with Mark Hill and Judith Miller takes place at the Guildford showroom of Wellers Auctioneers & Valuers in Bedford Road on Wednesday May 21 from 7pm to 9pm. Doors will open at 6.30pm. Tickets cost £5, including wine and nibbles, and should be purchased in advance by calling 01483 802280. All ticket sale proceeds are being donated to the Sam Beare Hospice in Weybridge, which provides a palliative care service to the residents of North Surrey.
Tricks of the trade...
Here, Mark Hill shares his three top tips when it comes to buying antiques…
1. My top rule is to buy what you like. You might be living with it for a long time, so whatever the item is, you need to be able to enjoy it. Never buy antiques solely for investment reasons; there’s so much more to them than that. Value has many meanings – there’s social and historical value as well as financial value.
2. Think of the future. The antiques world isn’t the dry, fusty and staid world many think it is –it changes with fashion. What are tomorrow’s buyers likely to like? For example, consider that the 1980s are as far away from us now as the Art Deco period was when canny collectors began buying it up in the 1960s. Nostalgia is also a key driver for collectors.
3. Look again at ‘traditional’ antiques, even if you’ve been told they’re ‘out of fashion’. Prices for many low to mid-range pieces have plummeted as modern and mid-century modern design has risen and eclipsed them in recent years. As such, many have never been better value and there has never been a better time to buy. They can offer great value for money, certainly in terms of craftsmanship and longevity. Why not use a Victorian mahogany chest of drawers that’s already lasted for over a century instead of a flat pack from a Scandinavian megastore? The future is in mixing and matching – creating your own unique look from all periods and styles that reflects your life and loves.
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