SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
NAADA 2017

naadaGetting bitten by the Collecting bug

“Collecting art and antiques means you can fill your life with huge joy and every day you can admire your collection. Not only that but collecting can offer you great financial returns and the tangible enjoyment of admiring your collection.”

Antique dealer Clyde Terry, owner of Clyde on 4th Antiques in Melville and the owner of all the Gauteng antique fairs shares his insights of the trade after a life-time as a dealer in South Africa.

“It is always a special feeling when I walk into a house full of art and antiques; I am always awestruck by something in the collection. It is at this moment that I remind myself why I love what I do and why I love to inspire people to collect. Over the years I have changed so much as an antiques dealer and I have learnt to appreciate the beauty in every collection I have been involved in.

The stories of procurement intrigues me and the reason for the collection even more so. At first I used to be horrified by the more abstract collections but then the more I got to speak to the collector, the more engrossed I became and I soon realized this is not a game for ‘narrow mindedness’. It is an individual joy to each collection procured over a lifetime and its beauty is in the eye of the collector. Above all, it feeds their souls with joy each time they find an item they love and every time they walk through the door. In an ever changing world, some collectors start their own museums such as the Character Jug Museum and the WMODA Ceramics Museum in the USA, and the recent Chinese collector who has now opened up his collection to the world in China. Join me on my journey of antique exploration. Lets start at the beginning.

 

CAN YOU COLLECT INCORRECTLY?
I believe as long as you buy what you love, you can’t go wrong. However, it is those buying for investment purposes that need to buy differently. Research and getting to know what you wish to collect is a must. Buying purely with your bank balance without getting to know the artist or the antiques you are looking at is not always wise unless you have done your homework. It is not unlike any other investment – it needs to be looked after and the markets and trends need to be watched. Imagine your collection, know what it is next you want to find, then make sure you get the message out there.

 

THE ROLE OF THE ANTIQUE DEALER AND AUCTION HOUSE
Both these entities are important to your collecting quest - don’t be afraid to talk to both the owner of the auction house or the antique or art dealer. Make sure they know what you like and are looking for. Take the time to join respective mailing lists with links to new stock, next events and websites. Check with the business owner on their terms and conditions. Getting to know your dealer is important.

A collection is fun and the same time hard work. Buy from ethical traders and members of associations that offer your back-up for your purchase but don’t let this be your only place of purchase – this will take the fun out of building a collection. Stop in at every shop or gallery you can find and have a good look around. As a young boy I always aspired to being a member of SAADA – I had no idea I would help to found the National Antique Dealers Association (NAADA) much later on in my life. Both these associations offer specialist dealers in a range of fields of collecting. A visit to their website as a collector or a seller is a must. My strongest advice before driving all the way to a listed antique shop is to call them in advance to make sure they are open and ask them what they specialize in – especially if they don’t have a website. Ask the manager to sms or whatsapp you some images of the shop in advance. Make a fun day of visiting those shops and choose an area and ask one of the shop owners where to go for tea or lunch. Always leave your contact information with the dealer in case they get in what you collect. Most collectors say no one calls them but, in my experience, many shop owners and auction houses do return calls and follow up.

 

ART GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS ARE PLACES I LOVE TO VISIT
My days in the Louvre in Paris and in the Metropolitan Museum in New York are priceless and precious to me. So often I am astonished by the beauty of those collections. On road trips through South Africa every little town amazes me with its unique little museum that is full of treasures. I spot the word ‘antique’ a million miles away whilst travelling and will drive the long and winding road to find an unusual place. Often I am surprised, sometimes irritated but without having taken the journey I would never of known. Gallery or museum collections are a must-visit as it is on these occasions that I meet the most interesting people and expose myself to other artists and other collecting fields.

 

ANTIQUE FAIR EVENTS
Wherever I am in the world, I seek out these events – even planning my trips around them. I am not alone in this... there are many of us compulsive collectors out there that are up at 4am with a torch looking out for that elusive treasure. South Africa has a wealth of antique fairs. My journey to Johannesburg for love took me on a journey of discovering the wonders of these fairs. My meeting with Michael and Vanessa Prior, founders and pioneers of antique fairs was one that would change my life. Soon I was trading at the Sandton Sun Hotel Antique Fair and loving each moment and living each second of it. As a young man walking into the Sandton Sun foyer I will never forget that first visit and the feeling I had in my heart – my heart wore a smile on my face the whole day and my soul was indeed overwhelmed by the beauty. I somehow knew my destiny in that moment. RIP Michael Prior who inspired me forever.

 

SOUTH AFRICA IS RICH IN ANTIQUE FAIRS AND MARKETS
South Africa has been blessed with antique fairs going back over 30 years - from street markets to annual fairs. As times change so does the profile of the collector and the challenge is to encourage younger people to appreciate the value and beauty of antiques. To be able to reach a wider audience, the trend is to showcase antiques & collectables in public spaces open to all. Following the fairs on facebook and receiving emails from them is imperative to a good collection and successful buying at fairs. Gauteng has, by far, the largest selection of antique fairs with monthly, annual and bi-annual fairs happening at: Nelson Mandela Square Antique Fair – first Sunday of every month (except January) –the largest fair in the country on two levels. Hyde Park Corner Antique Fair – last Sunday of every month except for January. Brooklyn Square Antiques Fair – last Saturday of every month (the Saturday prior to the first Sunday of every month except January). The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria has a long-standing collectors’ market. Uncle Tim’s Cabin Antique Fair on the east rand has its own group of dedicated dealers and collectors. Bi-annually (May 1st and December 16th) the grounds of the historic Melrose House Museum in Pretoria is transformed into a bustling antiques & collectables market. The annual National Antiques & Decorative Arts Faire will in future be featured both as week-end events in top malls as well as niche Prestige Fairs around the country. Visit www.naada.co.za to be kept up-to-date. South African Antique, Art & Design Fair (SAADA Fair) annually – visit www.saada.co.za for details.

In the Western Cape choose from the long-running Milnerton Market every Saturday and Sunday or the Alphen Antique Fair in Constantia. An annual Antiques Fair is held at Swelco Auctioneers in Constantia in aid of the Riding for the Disabled and the SAADA Antique Fair takes place annually in Cape Town in February each year. In Durban the Umhlanga monthly Antiques market services the Kwa-Zulu Natal collectors. In recent years art fairs have taken centre stage and offer those with a keen eye opportunities to see new and up-coming artists as well as vintage collections. I can spend hours at these events as you get to meet the artists and share in their stories and inspirations behind what they have created.

 

AUCTIONS
I was at first intimidated by auctions as a young kid but it soon became a hobby I shared with my mom and we both got very excited when an auction came up in Margate. I think my dad dreaded our auction days when the bill arrived but later on in his life when he needed the money I think he realized what great buys we had found. In those days it was the era of the household estate auctions on site with treasures aplenty. My fondest find was purchasing a silver picture frame and a collection of photographs. Behind the picture was a letter to a family member from Hitler and the photos had his stamp on them. The history behind this collection intrigued me and how it ended up in a small coastal town like Margate. Needless to say the photos were patriotic but I soon learnt the value of the story behind the letter and the photos and during my journey I met a collector who made me an offer for the collection. Sold my first sale and I was only nine years of age! Later on I discovered art and antique auctions and realized that this was a place I could learn so much from the experts – where I was free to ask questions and handle items at my leisure. Getting up close to feel the porcelains and know them is so important in our trade. As a collector you should never miss an auction or an antique fair – they both provide you with opportunities to complete your collections.

 

ON-LINE COLLECTING Buying on-line is a relatively new trend in South Africa and should not be overlooked. Many traders have great websites and once you get to know them follow a due process of asking about condition and delivery costs. Once you have all the information you need to find a secure payment form and process the transaction. Vendors these days cannot do credit card transactions without a card holder being present so be sure to investigate these avenues. Most traders in international sales will accept PayPal. Get tracking numbers from your shop owner and make sure they have a good reputation for packing. Look at feedback on their websites. Collecting groups are a world-wide trend and sharing experiences and photographs of collections is inspiring. I get huge joy watching collectors post their latest find on a group. Trawl facebook for new collecting groups.

 

WHAT TO COLLECT?
To my astonishment I recently met a couple who collect beer bottle tops and a year or so ago a man came into my shop from New York who collects yo-yo’s. Then of course there is what we all think of.... art, silver, gold, furniture, art glass, Lalique, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, LLadro and so much more. Most collections have a trigger – a memory from childhood or an introduction from a friend.

 

COLLECTING TRENDS
I have found collectors want to admire their collection and see it on a daily basis – such as silver tea sets and cutlery. There is nothing like a dining room table set and shining with antique splendour. Art antiques in a home give daily pleasure. Heritage homes and hotels in most of our towns and cities are fun to visit to view and enjoy their opulence. In Johannesburg there is a Parktown heritage trust that does regular tours through different homes. When in Cape Town many collections are housed within estates these days. My favourite visit is to Casa Labia in Cape Town which has been recently restored and the attention to detail is amazing. A few hotels also offer unique collections such as the Cape Grace, the Cape Dutch Hotel and the Matjiesfontein Hotel in the Karoo.

 

ABOUT CLYDE TERRY, ANTIQUE DEALER AND LOVER OF ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL
He is responsible for organising all the monthly antiques fairs in Gauteng and the annual Naada Faire. He is also Editor of The Collector Magazine and owns Clyde on 4th Antiques in Melville. Clyde was born into a travelling life with a father from New Zealand who, whilst on contract for work, found love in then Harare and promptly eloped. They travelled extensively between New Zealand and Africa before falling in love with Margate in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Although Clyde’s parents were not collectors, Clyde found a passion in a local antique shop called Ramsgate Relics which was right at his school’s bus stop. His mom got used to arriving at the bus stop to fetch him and Clyde could not be found. He was always listening to Mrs Quaries’ stories of travelling the globe for interesting items for her shop. Never would he have imagined the journey his life would take and the doors that would open to inspire him into a trade he loves. His journey into organising antique fairs was one he never imagined as a young boy but he embraced the opportunities each and every time. Later on he became inspired with Giuli Osso to create The Collector magazine and The Collector TV series that ran for three years on the Home Channel. Clyde remains inspired by the ever-changing canvas of the collector’s world. For information on collecting, events, fairs and auctions visit www.thecollector.co.za – events section.

 

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