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In This Issue
- Under the Hammer - Forthcoming vintage auctions in London and Bristol By Stella Lyons
- Wedding Free-Styling - A guide to buying at Wedding Fairs by Keeley Harris
- Investing in Vintage Fashion By Jo-ann Fortune
- Many Happy Returns - Become a vintage homeware wheeler dealer with the help of Mark Hill
- Lighting the Modern World - Kaiser Idell desk lamps by Jez Speed
- Falling for Fornasetti By Karyn Sparks
- Random Year: 1958 By Alan Ashby
- My Mantiques - Boy's toys by Michael Delage-Pandeli
- Scooter Mania - Lambrettas and Vespas galore!
- Superior - The Rolls Royce of motorbikes – the Brough Superior
- Man on the Move - Manbags by Karyn Sparks
- VE News - A round-up of what's happening in the world of vintage
- Your Nationwide Guide to Vintage Events
Welcome to our launch issue. For those of you who’ve not met me before, let me tell you a little about myself as Editor of Vintagexplorer.
A fearless Capricorn born in the year that marked the start of the digital age, and the same year both Jim Morrison of The Doors and designer Arne Jacobsen died.
Has amazing parents that fed her confidence, creativity and kindness and three brothers who taught her all about being competitive (and how you must spoof for everything)! Happiest when it’s warm and sunny; loves the smell of newsprint and the feel of worn leather. Chooses vintage clothing where possible – has a huge collection of vintage hats, handbags, coats and Scandinavian jewellery; prefers Wellies and wedges over Uggs and Crocks. Loves music, from Billy Holiday to Rage Against the Machine; thrives on deadlines, and prefers cats to dogs.
Expert at chilli-con-carne using Flying Phil’s ‘Killer Chocolate Chilli’ recipe (Classic American Magazine c.1990); loves the burn of horseradish and hates flip-flops in the rain; dreams of owning a Karmann Ghia one day (soon?) and has always fancied taking her ‘bike test. Married to a keen collector and restorer of anything old and interesting; has a house bulging at the seams with interesting stuff others have discarded; prefers Mac’s to PC’s; Nikon’s to Canon’s and Top Trumps to Monopoly; still watches cartoons, loves Ealing classics, Carry On films and Come Dine With Me! Too busy to be bothered with FB, but loves all that the Internet has to offer.
I’ve also been writing about ‘vintage’ for 12 years as Editor of our sister publication Antiquexplorer, and have been buying and selling vintage since I was knee-high to an anglepoise! I live the vintage dream. Pretty much everything in my house has a key word - even the cat dish is Denby Arabesque!
Having always bought the best I can afford at the time, has proved a sound investment, and has gradually enabled me to upgrade along the way (you certainly can’t say that when buying new stuff).
My tea sets change regularly; I use vintage Copco cast iron and stainless steel – most of it is dishwasher safe – and serve meals using Midwinter Sienna with Alveston cutlery. Buying replacements for any of the above is easy and still cheaper than High Street prices, especially when you consider the difference in quality. I also have a penchant for cotton bed sheets, which my textile dealer Auntie (Marlene) squirrels away for me.
And the ethos doesn’t change for the office either... I love old buildings, and by pure chance have rented space in two old glove factories, one old paint shop and the current abode is an old yarn mill!
Inside, I have an old ‘Engaged’ sign that lights up, we use an old set of scales for weighing our post, Anglepoise lamps grace every desk (mine’s vintage), we all sit on elephant grey fibreglass Eames chairs, and old enamel signs such as the News of the World and the Daily Express furnish our walls; we even use ‘Utility’ towels in the office loo! My philosophy is if you love it, buy it and use it.
Anyway, that’s enough about me! I want to hear from you. If you’ve enjoyed your complimentary first copy and have any comments on what you’d like to see covered in the next few issues, please get in touch. And if you’d like to guarantee yourself a copy every other month, we’re offering a special introductory subscription of just £21 for six issues; plus every subscriber will be placed into a trilby and some lucky person will win this fabulous 1930s Kaiser Idell desk lamp worth in excess of £200!
So, if you, like me, can’t be pigeonholed into a style, then Vintagexplorer is the mag’ for you!
He was a motorcycle racer, a world record holding motorcycle and automobile manufacturer and a showman - George Brough is the man who created the first ever Superbike – The Brough Superior!
In a lifetime which spanned three important phases of motorcycle development, veteran – up to 1914, vintage up until 1930, and then post-vintage, George Brough became a legendary figure throughout the world as founder and leader of the exclusive cult of the Brough Superior.
The real measure of his achievement was that by life long dedication to the cause of perfection he raised the status of the luxury motorcycle to the point of acceptability by nobility, aristocracy and even royalty.
TE Lawrence, immortalised as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, had an unceasing passion for motorcycles, and, like so many other men of his generation, began riding during the First World War. There can be no doubt that Lawrence was besotted with his Brough and the exhilaration it afforded him.
Lawrence was famed for giving the Speedo plenty of exercise in his high-speed dashes along the lanes of England. It was; “The silkiest thing I have ever ridden” he said. “At 50 she is a dream. She is extraordinarily fast, with a following wind and downhill I got over the hundred on Easter Monday in the New Forest.”
Lawrence owned a number of Broughs in his lifetime and died from injuries sustained while crashing one, his fatal accident happened on May 13th, 1935.
Brough Superior motorcycles have always been rare and expensive. Prices for these motorcycles ranged from £130 to £180 in the 1920s and 1930s. Since the average weekly salary was £3 per week, only the wealthy were able to afford them. The same applies today; just look at this fabulous example coming up for auction this October with an estimate of £240,000 to £280,000!
Bonhams hold two auctions at the Staffordshire Showground each year. These are probably the most important sales of collectors’ motorcycles worldwide, featuring a diverse selection of the finest machines and attracting an international audience of enthusiasts and collectors.
Investing In Vintage Fashion
Jo-ann Fortune talks to four discerning experts and casts an eye over potential money making design classics
With period fashions now a prominent feature on the catwalk, high street and small screen, increased demand for vintage clothing, coupled with that of collectors and museums eager to snap up original pieces, confirms that the market is a healthy one to invest in.
Last year a Hermes Birkin bag went for a hammer price of £14,000 at Bonhams’ Distinguished Design sale, and pieces at vintage fashion specialists Kerry Taylor Auctions frequently fetch five figure sums.
Yet you don’t have to visit an auction house to make a profit. In 2010 a black Hermes Kelly bag sold for £1,600 on eBay, and the number of dealers selling through personalised online stores has grown rapidly over the past five years. Platforms such as ASOS Marketplace make it easier than ever to set up shop.
So what exactly should we be investing in, or rooting for in our mother’s and grandmother’s closets? Which vintage items are worth spending the money on, and what is likely to become valuable ‘future vintage’? Article continues in the magazine...
Falling for Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti, the man who designed a magical world, saturated in image and colour and filled with whimsy and wit. By Karyn Sparks
Fornasetti was a man of many talents: Milanese painter, sculptor, interior decorator, engraver of books and a creator of more than 11,000 products. In terms of variety of decoration, Fornasetti’s production of objects and furniture is one of the largest of the 20th century.
He’s celebrated as being among the most original creative talents of his time, and during his career he created a visual vocabulary that is instantly recognisable and unceasingly engaging.
A couple of years ago I bought a lovely Fornasetti magazine rack. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but just loved the kitsch ‘50s look of the piece. If I only knew then what I know now, I’d have kept hold of it. In 2010, the same metal magazine rack sold for a pulse-racing £1,500 at auction...well, you live and learn! Article continues in the magazine...
Tinplate toys, model trains, aeroplane propellers, pinball machines, watches, cufflinks, desk lamps, soda siphons... an eclectic mix of items, yet they do have something in common. These are the intriguing and distinguished curios that men buy at antique and vintage fairs - they are Mantiques!
Until a recent conversation with the Editor of Vintagexplorer, I hadn’t really thought of Mantiques before, but looking around my house I see evidence in every room; some items so Mantique that my wife hates them to the extent of putting them in dark corners (or left, still wrapped up in a box)!
So with a gimlet eye, I wander around fairs and antique shops scrutinising potential Mantiques that will not only have longevity and appeal, but also some investment value. As a watch dealer myself, it seems a good place to start. Article continues in the magazine...
Man On The Move
After all the macho motors on the previous pages; what you need now is a good, old-fashioned man bag!
The burgeoning travel industry of the early 20th century meant luxury brands could capitalise on a demand for status symbol luggage, hence the rise of monogrammed, custom-made trunks and cases. Today these objects conjure a bygone era of luxurious, leisurely travel for the affluent classes, in which designers catered to the niche demands of explorers.
Luggage is also a rather solid investment, as they are low maintenance objects to keep, and appear to be continually increasing in market value. Aside from the brand and size of the luggage, the main factor that determines the value of a piece is aesthetic – if you think it’s a handsome piece, then the chances are that others will too.
When it comes to condition, scratches or dents shouldn’t put you off an attractive piece as these are seen to add to its character – instead pay attention to functional elements like broken locks or busted handles. If you buy a trunk in decent condition there should be little upkeep, just ensure it doesn’t get wet or too exposed to direct sunlight.
Here we feature three good examples of travel luggage, some readily available on the market, others rare beasts, with prices to reflect!