Finds of the Fair 13th August 2017

Morris Minor, £1,200.00, unknown seller:

Getting to the Vintage Village is one thing but getting there in style is entirely another matter.  In my head this vintage Robinson’s Brewery truck is a highly practical option for the dealer on the go.  In reality I wasn’t really dressed for it.  An alternative among the numerous vehicles encircling the market hall was this Morris Minor that was for sale at £1,200.00.  One careful owner required but that wasn’t me.



Hat block, £140.00 from Elephant Story Antiques:

There were many eye catching pieces on offer from Stephen of Elephant Story but I’m a hat man and the pith helmet hat block, used for forming the piece, was particularly good.  I’ve not seen one of these in The Hat Works, Stockport’s dedicated and rather super museum, that’s for sure.  Great display piece (unless you have an abundance of Aeschnomene Aspera growing in your back yard, in which case you can start your own production line) and on offer at £140.00.



British Rail jacket and dungarees, £30.00 and £28.00, from Em’s Bygones:

Entering 20th Century stores and straight into Em’s Bygones I immediately spotted the clothes I would need to make the Robinson's Brewery truck thing work.  Alas they were not in Sir’s size, Sir being rather partial to a pie.  I have quite a bit of vintage workwear though and the 1960s British Rail combo of jacket and dungarees would certainly have been considered if they were larger or I was smaller.  No point in waiting for either of these outcomes so I pressed on.



1900s enamelled ash tray, £25.00 from Jim and Keith:

“It’s been dug up” I was told when holding this enamelled ash tray.  Featuring a picture of Lord Roberts - who was referred to in his day as ‘Our Bob’, his day in this case being around 1900 - this would have been a constant reminder, perhaps 20 times a day, of the power this local press had in relaying the news first regarding the various goings on surrounding the Boer War.  Though it has suffered from being in the ground it’s an uncommon survivor and worth the £25.00 asking price from Keith Simcock and Jim Wilson.  Someone else agreed with me because next time I went past the stall it had gone.



Victorian mourning brooches, £22.00 and £60.00, from Sue Booth’s Sparkle:

Sue Booth of Sparkle had a very nice selection of jewellery on offer but it’s the memento pieces that tend to take my eye.  Several nice examples on offer and all at reasonable prices, especially some of the hand painted portrait brooches.  The examples that appealed to my tastes though were the gold tone picture locket (on the reverse) at £22.00 and the larger hair display at £60.00.



1950s shoe repair sign, £?? from Hobson’s Choice:

I’m particularly drawn to the written word and signage is one area that can enthuse me.  The most desirable, that wonderful painted ‘ghost sign’ facing 20th Century Stores, was clearly out of the running but inside I found a fabulous example.  Good quality British folk art is hot right now and the three figure asking price of this shoe repair board did not put me off.  Simple design, basic construction, graphically strong and just the right amount of wear – bullseye.  Maxine of Hobsons Choice, thank you!



1930s celluloid butler toy, £15.00 from TinTrunk:

Standing with a lip as stiff and upper as befits a fantasy British butler was this lovely little celluloid figure who was standing discreetly with items in the jewellery cabinet at Tin Trunk in 20th Century Stores.  I was reluctantly told it was £15.00 and I can take a hint.  Besides, he does such a marvellous job of quietly overseeing the excellent selection of cufflinks and other trinkets that it would be shame to retire him.



1920s trade catalogue, £8.00 from Graham:

Graham’s Eponymous Ephemera Emporium (“it's just Graham” he said but his stock deserves a better build up) was absolutely stacked with a great range of interesting paper products.  Regency period mortgages sat alongside 1960s football magazines, 1940s menus and 1910s music hall programmes.  This is the type of stall I can spend a lot of time at but I managed to quickly spot this 1920s trade catalogue within a couple of minutes.  Packed with illustrations of everything a watchmaker, jeweller or silversmith would need for their business it’s a terrific reference manual for the collector of today.  An easy £8.00 purchase.




“It’ll be interesting, seeing as you don’t really like vintage” was the gauntlet shaped invitation to become Finder of the Fair.  Well, I consider vintage to be a broad church and as long as I don’t have to worship at the altar of flower emblazoned cookware, gingham bunting and plastic ornamental monstrosities, then I’m in.  My name is Mick Stephens and I’m an antique dealer, trading under the business name Brown Bowler.





Edwardian ‘Hustlemee’ game, £8.00 from Garbo Antiques:

I am very fond of Victorian and Edwardian parlour games and Garbo happened to have a box that included a couple of examples.  The games themselves are often rudimentary but collectors are mostly drawn to the artwork.  The one I purchased, Hustlemee, only needed a gentle clean to reveal a punchy colour lithograph capturing all the excitement of the game.  It’s fair to say that the bits of tangled string and metal shapes within may remain in that state for some time.  Soon be Christmas though…



First World War magazines, £5.00 each from We Used To Have One Of Those:

“I picked them up from a market in Waterloo, Belgium” I was informed when browsing at We Used To Have One Of Those.  To be honest he had me at The Infernal Sausage.  My French isn’t really up to much but that’s okay as its the cover artwork of these WW1 issued pulp magazines that persuades folk to part with a five pound note to own one.  They’re evocative of the Boy's Own style in which the war was often portrayed and, as nearly everything from this war is now officially an antique, they got my seal of approval.



1960s Mary Quant rag doll, £50.00 from Dabber Decades:

People bandy the word ‘rare’ around far too often.  This Mary Quant rag doll was a rare exception and I’ve certainly never seen one before.  To be fair I’ve never looked but, after digging around the internet when I got home, I can confirm that the asking price at Dabber Decades was more than reasonable.  Great vintage piece and in my opinion far better to purchase a single adrenaline inducing item than several cheap thrills.



Jazz albums, £15 and £22, from Eye Wood Vintage:

Flicking through the numerous vinyl albums available at Eye Wood Vintage I ended up spending most of my time with jazz hands.  I prefer my jazz on the Latin side but the Gerry Mulligan (£15.00) and Stan Getz (£22.00) albums were two of the more appealing ones.  A good selection of well-organised and sensibly displayed 33rpm & 45rpm offerings.



Cake Fish & Chips, £3.00 from Stuart Thornley Cake Design:

I’ve had a Scotch Egg chocolate delight from Stuart Thornley Cake Design before and it’s good to see that the novelty – but essentially tasty – range now includes Original Cake Fish & Chips for £3.00.  Mushy pea sprinkles please.



Late 19th century fish servers, £20.00 from The Side Room:

Lots to look at on the tables set out by The Side Room but it was this late Victorian fish serving duo that caught my eye.  Made by Elkington & Co – the name in top notch silver plate – they once graced a dining table in the Central Hotel in Carlisle.  That opened in 1881 and the set is in the Art Nouveau style so probably ‘souvenir’d’ in the 1890s.  Far more impressive than a towelling dressing gown and significantly easier to secrete away in your vintage baggage.  Modern equivalents of this quality simply could not be purchased for the £20.00 ticket price.



1950s Nu-Silver polish, £1.00 from BRG Collectables:

I had to wait patiently whilst BRG Collectables No.1 phoned BRG Collectables No.2 to get a price on this but after a while he returned and confirmed that it was a pound.  Sold.  The 1950s product claims seem to be somewhat dubious – they have long since stopped trading so in fact I will go further and say that Nu-Silver is a harmful sham, a snake-oilsome concoction that in no way will add a fresh coat of silver to your worn silver plate items.  File under ‘makes me smile’ and ‘curio’.








For a vintage sceptic, Mr Stephens has done exceedingly well in plucking some worthy gems from our fair, not to mention presenting them with such charm and engaging wit.  Our fervent thanks, Mick! 

Please note that you can - and you really must - follow Mick on Twitter @brownbowlerhat.  He's even more amusing let loose without a stringent brief to follow.

And if you would like to have a go at being our Finder of the Fair, please do get in touch.  All you need is a camera/smart phone, paper and pen, and an opinion!