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A collector of anything connected with cycling, Lorne Shields, called on our stand this sunny Saturday in November 2018. He showed me a Regency mug cir 1830, with a woman riding one of the earliest type of bicycles with three wheel at the back and one at the front. He also told me about the skirt lifts made to hold skirts in place, that failed to secure the skirt owing to the impediment of the cross bar on a woman's bike. We have all heard of the rare bicycle thimble by James Fenton, now worth lots of money. There are more interesting overlaps if you can visit 'Historic Bicycling & Cycling photographic archives & museum' correspondence to 298 John St Post Office box 87588 or visit 2315 whirlpool St suite 218 Niagara Falls, NY 14305. USA

It has been over 30 degrees some days, so it has felt like a holiday every day, except if you had to travel. Then it wasn't fun, crowded transport with go-slow trains because of rails buckling, must have been hard on our visitors. In spite of travel delays, Portobello Antiques Market has rarely been so packed. It must be the weak pound that encouraged so many tourists, obviously having a great time, and buying antiques to take home as presents full of happy memories of London. There was the Sewing Tools Sale to enjoy up in Warwick, where prices seemed decent to good, achieved in the delightful old 17th century Hospital. It must be heart breaking to sell your collection built up with love, learning and time. Downsizing happens to most of us, but I would advise allotting your items over several sales. None of us have deep enough pockets to buy as much as we would like in one sale.

If you compare prices achieved in the recent Corkscrew Sale, where rare items fetched £12,400, not items of great beauty or outstanding workmanship, we see men are prepared to pay enormous prices to get the item they want. You can feel the competition in the sale room, the telephone lines crackle and internet bidding fast and furious.

It is the reason that many women's collections-fans-embroidery-sewing tools-scent bottles have been dropped from the most important international sale rooms.

The most famous Art and Antiques Fair opened at Olympia this June. The fair opened Wednesday 20th and closed on Wednesday June 27th, problematically, the entire week coincided with an unexpected heat wave in Britain, following a late wet and cold spring. According to exhibitors the fair was not as well attended as usual and in some publications there was an error printed in the dates of the fair. The general feeling was certain production details need to be reconsidered, such as the entrance to the fair, the upper gallery where antiques were mixed with food stands and advertising seemed at a minimum. It is also the age old problem of expenses rising while sales decline and the hot weather did not help. However, a solution may be on it’s way, in that the fair managers are considering re-introducing the ‘Rat Run’ into the next Olympia fair. That was a line of cheaper specialist stand holder [the Thimble Society among them] along the back of the fair. When the fair opened, there was always a stampede to the ‘Rat Run’ where the interesting bargains were to be had. Fingers crossed it will happen again.

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