One field of collecting which isn’t perhaps somethings you’d think of, when you think of antiques is Seasonal collectables. There are many people who come into our centre looking for holiday memorabilia and things connected to the changes of the seasons. In November we see visitors looking at fireguards. In December, ladies (especially) come browsing for that perfect Victorian Christmas decoration. In the spring, it’s the gardening collectables, pretty planters and ornaments that sell well, and finally in the summer months we see a surge in holiday memorabilia. Saucy postcards, luggage and picnic hampers are on the wanted list!
As the winter months draw in, spare a thought to the Victorians who all huddled round the open fire on winter evenings.
Widely used since the 17th century and throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the fire screen could be found in most parlours of well to do homes.
Nowadays, there is little practical use for a fire screen. However, they still make an interesting feature and can cover an empty corner or decorate a fireplace. As a result, the more decorative or unusual the screen is, the more appeal there is for potential buyers and collectors.
Forward wind to the warmer months and the picnic basket springs to mind. However, the term Picnic was used originally to describe a dining experience that was actually indoors, not out doors, so the picnic basket really wasn’t necessary. It was expected that each person would contribute a dish for all at the table to share. The change in the meaning of the term, from "everyone bringing some food" to "everyone eating out of doors" seems to have been in the 1860s.
The first hampers were made of Wicker or tin. The tin ones were just meagre containers for food that were often used for a traveller, whereas the wicker baskets were used for more leisurely lunches. A wicker basket from the 1800’s in good condition could be worth big money as they indulge our passion for nostalgia and simpler times, not to mention leisurely outings and good food!
Finally collecting old suitcases isn’t a very popular hobby as they are so cumbersome and hard to store (unless you are lucky enough to be able to find cases that fit inside one another).
However, there is a market out there for vintage cases, especially the old sturdy leather ones or wooden ones, as many people are now using them as pieces of furniture or to decorate their living spaces. A strong trunk makes a stylish coffee table, side table and of course the ideal storage solution.
Postcards from the past 100 years or more are now appreciated once again by tens of thousands of collectors, as they not only allow us to reminisce, but are easy to store and most are inexpensive too. We have hundreds on sale at GB Antiques for under £1.