Love what you sell – the benefits and pitfalls of Antiques Trading-Charles Cundall 1

It only happens very rarely during your trading year.  You are secure in your knowledge.  You can talk both appreciatively and passionately about the items you sell.  Having researched all your silver carefully and knowing your stock and pricing inside out, as well as applying the same expertise and passion to the ceramics and period jewellery in your stock, sometimes an item comes along that just blows you away. It sets the senses tingling and your mouth goes dry, you just want it so badly – it is rather like the first flushes of youthful love, but this time there is a price to pay, as you are a responsible grown up, you are not having an affair, you just have to buy it.

This is just how I was struck on the 26th May at Bowman’s wonderful fair at Harrogate Showground #YAAF when passing a stall…..  I espied a small, perfect lustre bowl and my mouth went dry.  I then salivated.  Paused to still my racing heart and gain some control.  Speaking to the stallholder, Wayne Chapman, who is also a trading friend, I asked him about the bowl.  He gave me the history and importantly the price (gaping hole in business bank account, pitfall number one).  At this point I walked away.  (Pitfall number two – Oh hell and damnation, how could I, will it be there if I go back now?) And so on and so forth, beating myself up about it until I know I have to go back, hoping against hope it is still there.  It is.

I enquire as to terms, and Mr C is wonderful, and the deal is done.  In head: hoppity hoppity skip-skip.  In hands walking as though I am carrying the most delicate and rarest of things.  (Pitfall number three, I know I am going to keep it, as I have never seen another, in three years of trading, justify it on the grounds it will form part of my son’s inheritance).

So what is it that has moved me so?  A Charles Cundall lustre bowl, with cipher for 1910.  Oh how simple that sounds.  It is not: it has emotive as well as aesthetic appeal, it is tactile and compelling, and evokes such a response, that there is no reason to sell.  It just belongs with you, not to you.  I hope you agree.