Memoires Of An Antique Dealer

I used to have a stall in what was optimistically called Camden Passage Antique Market.

This meant that I had a long table two chairs and a wall with a sort of set of narrow shelves in a long space full of dozens of identical set-ups, and the idea was that we would all sell our “antiques” to the clamouring hordes from these tables.

Well lets get one thing straight to start with, not a one of us was there to sell antiques, even though some of the stuff that was being offered might be called antique if your only definition of that word was “old” and worn out.  Real antiques in the sense of very old, but beautiful and well preserved objects, were very, very few and far between in that market.  On the very few occasions that one or other of us actually turned up with such a real antique, the fighting among us to buy it before the market opened was terrifying.    This was a sort of pre-opening ritual in the market, we all used to walk along inspecting all the other stalls in the hope of finding something that we could sell on our own stalls.  We would then bargain like mad, to ensure that we only paid about half the price we reckoned we might be able to sell it to the regular punters for.

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It was a strange life, one spent at least half of every week standing beside one’s table, having laid out one’s wares in the hope that someone would buy all of it, or at least a decent proportion of it before the day ended.  Given that for the most part, my collection of “antiques” consisted of objects of such dubious attraction as plastic ear-trumpet, broken toys, odd mugs and plates, and occasionally odd bits of militaria this was extremely optimistic.

The other half of my life was spent going hither and thither in an endless hunt for junk to try and sell on my stall.    Going to other junk markets, country auctions, especially the sort where the entire contents of a house were sold and anywhere else where I might find yet another plastic ear-trumpet for my stall.

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