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Antiques Trade Gazette 59 fairs & markets Window on a new life

■ How glass collecting transformed day-to-day living for a retired teacher

Joan Porter reports

AS has been mentioned before in this column, more people are changing direction from being avid collectors to committed dealers standing at fairs and markets.

One such is a former teacher,

63-year-old Sarah Ovans, whose landmark birthday in 2008 sent her off to a Red Cross fair, where she exhibited some of the pressed glass she’d collected since she was at university. It went so well that Sarah now does three or four events a month, including an occasional appearance at Spitalfields weekly antiques market, where a Guardian photographer took a picture of her stand for a “style” piece in the paper. A couple of top-end clients followed

and Sarah was off, selling online and expanding her range of antique glass

Above: retired teacher Sarah Ovans, who went from glass collector to full-time dealer, with a display of her glass. Sarah will be at the Cambridge Glass Fair on Sunday, February 26.

and contemporary studio glass, sourced from antique and junk shops and markets in and around London, where she lives, and also in the West Country. Next month is a new challenge for

Sarah, the Cambridge Glass Fair. “I’ve always loved markets and now

that I have retired from teaching, plus my two children have left home and my husband endorses me in what I’m doing, I have the time and space to embark on my ‘chapter 2’,” she tells me.

“Starting a business is not easy and

traders tell me how difficult times are, so I’m aware that it will take time and determination, which fortunately I have. But I’m utterly invigorated by doing something new.” That feeling will strike a chord with

many new dealers on the fairs circuit.

Cambridge Glass Fair is on Sunday February 26.

BBR’s very tasty plaque at £3500-4000

AN 1870s Crosse & Blackwell white- glazed ceramic advertising plaque is described by the ever-enthusiastic Alan Blakeman of BBR, as “in every way as visually spectacular a Pratt- type plaque as we’ve ever seen; extremely rare is this in one piece”. It is for sale at the auction on the

same day as BBR’s Winter Antique Bottle, Advertising and Pot Lids Fair at the Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley on Sunday, January 22. Alan runs four of these fairs

annually, linked to BBR’s auctions, and he fields 150-plus dealers at each with many more at his two-

day summer national fair in July. This continues to be an admirable turnout for a niche market – one which is boosted by a steady stream of specialist bottle books published by BBR. “Last year was the best ever both

for the shows and auctions with new collectors appearing for the high- priced, rarer pieces at both,” Alan said. “The strength of the show’s

success is its very success. Every year the numbers of dealers standing here edges up, with new exhibitors appearing, many selling off collections built up since the ‘60s and ‘70s, the heyday for our market. Also, exhibitors want to stand at the bigger shows; there are only two more in the country of this size.” Tel: 01226 745156.

Left: a rare 1870s Crosse & Blackwell white ceramic advertising plaque, 10¼ x 8in (26 x 20cm), for sale at BBR’s auction at the Antique Bottle, Advertising and Pot Lids Fair at the Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley on January 22. It is estimated at £3500-4000.

Above: a cover image from one of a complete set of six issues of The Quest, a rare periodical from the Arts & Crafts movement, published by the Birmingham Handicraft Guild between 1894 and 1896, with contributions from luminaries of the movement. From Kent bookseller Michael Kemp at £2250 at PBFA’s Oxford fair at Oxford Brookes University on January 21-22.

Two restoration dates for Swallow

NEWS from Richard Burgoin of Swallow Fairs about his two new weekend Home, Restoration and Salvage Shows this year at Ripley Castle, near Harrogate. The first is on May 19-20, the second at the Cheshire Showground on August 18-19. Richard tells me he is limiting exhibitor

numbers at each to 100 and has had plenty of interest from both salvage and decorative dealers in the North of England, with full support from Thornton Kay, organiser of Salvo, the UK’s only other architectural salvage fair. Contact Richard on 01298 27493.

send fair s and mark ets information to joan porter at

Peter’s got it covered

Hampshire bookseller Peter Hill, organiser of one of PBFA’s top fairs of rare, antiquarian and secondhand books, has a straightforward take on his market: ”There simply is no substitute for handling a rare or valuable book,” he says. Peter, whose two-day annual fair at

Oxford Brookes University is on Saturday and Sunday, January 21 and 22, tells me: “We have 82 dealers this year, 12 more than last and in general, numbers for book fairs seem to be holding up.” Highlights include Temple Rare Books

from Oxford with the first illustrated book on the city, David Loggan’s Oxonia Illustrata, published in 1675, which is priced at £8500, while Stephen Dick, of Holybourne Books of Alton, has a first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale of 1953, in its scarce first issue dust jacket, on sale at £28,000.

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