Published: August 15, 2000
British Fair Attracts 26,486 Visitors
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – A Seventeenth Century life-sized carved wooden figure of St Francis of Assisi, a fossilized dinosaur egg and an early Sixteenth Century miniature portrait were among the interesting offerings to find keen buyers at the summer Fair, which ran from August 3 to 6 at the National Exhibition Centre.
Featuring more than 600 dealers from across the UK, the fair proved to be as popular as ever with an attendance of 26,486. Many exhibitors enjoyed a successful showing, notably Wheeler-Vine Antiques and Interiors from Worcester, specializing in early oak furniture who sold, among many other pieces, the carving of St Francis for £3,500 to a local private collector, and Lynne Elliott of Millennium Antiquities from Lancashire, who sold a dinosaur egg for £280 to a member of staff from the NEC who read about it in a national newspaper.
Regular exhibitors Judy and Brian Harden from the Cotswolds, specializing in ceramics, bronzes and miniatures, enjoyed record-breaking August business selling across the board to new customers from American and London, including their mostly highly-priced miniature portrait.
Similarly, Blue and White specialist Gillian Neale from Buckinghamshire described business as “the best ever at the NEC” while Cynthia Walmsley from Nottingham also enjoyed extremely good business, selling to private customers from across the UK.
Ceramics and glass were widely popular with the majority of specialists reporting strong sales across the board. Many exhibitors noted the strong demand from Japanese private buyers who are regularly in attendance in the August fair.
John Howard from Aberystwyth, exhibiting as part of the GBH team of dealers in Section Two, was delighted to sell to a number of important pottery collectors and described business as equal to that at the best London fairs.
Jupiter Antiques from East Sussex were sold porcelain to new and regular collectors every day, so too were Quarry Antiques from the West Midlands, Parkland Antiques from Kidderminster, and Patricia Anne Antiques from Bramhall.
Participating fine art dealers included Baron Fine Art from Chester, Manser Callaghan from Shrewsbury, Cambridge Fine Art from Cambridge, Rowles Fine Art from Oswestry, Prestwich Fine Art from Lancashire and Steve Marsling from Lancashire. These exhibitors recorded strong sales to private collectors.
In other areas, small silver and decorative objects were selling well. Alan and Sue Thompson from Surrey described business as the best ever at the NEC in 15 years.
Oak and country pieces proved to be the most popular area among furniture buyers. Adams Antiques from Nantwich sold a fine Welsh dresser to a private buyer for a substantial five-figure sum, in addition to a number of other important pieces.
Doveridge House Antiques from Wolverhampton were also pleased with sales, finding a lot of interest from local clients and looking forward to substantial follow-up business. Peter Bunting from Bakewell, exhibiting as part of the GBH team of three dealers, had a number of important pieces of English oak purchased by trade buyers.
However, most dealers with English town furniture noted that sales were generally slow, perhaps due to the time of year, although a few commented how the market for English formal furniture has been generally unpredictable for some time.
Organizer Fran Foster was particular pleased with increasing popularity of the lecture series, which was expanded this time, and the overall presentation and quality of the fair, which she described as reaching new heights for a fair of its size and scale.
The next Fair takes place at the SECC, Glasgow, from August 25 to 27; the next NEC Fair takes place from November 23 to 26.
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