Today's Specialist Auctions interview is with Sara, owner of Yesterdays.
Viviene: How long have you been selling antiques and collectibles and
how did you choose vanity items specifically?
Sara: I have been a dealer in the antique & collectables trade for just over 15 years, but I started selling vanity items purely by accident. I was already trading at fairs and had been for about 5 years, and buying at auction, and was always on the lookout for something different. So when a job lot of girlie stuff turned up, I decided I HAD to have it so I bid and I won. I must have priced them way too low as the next fair I was at I sold ALL 15 compacts, ALL 10 perfume bottles, and various other powder boxes, dressing table sets etc. I thought hmm I'm onto something here, so picked up a couple of books, trawled the internet (although there wasn't much there 10 years ago!) and started paying real attention to the vanity sellers whilst I was at fairs etc. Then there was no stopping me!
Viviene: Once you learned more about your area of expertise did you join any
groups that pertain to your area?
Sara: Eventually I joined the BCCS (British Compact collectors Society) and I attend their annual convention, which is compact heaven for collectors and dealers alike. Their website is http://geoffpowell.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bccs02 . Before I knew it I was a specialist!
Viviene: Do you recall a piece that you bought for sentiment alone and if so
what happened to that piece?
Sara: I once purchased a rather sad specimen of a compact, and most dealers said "that won’t sell its damaged" as it was a silver & guilloche enamel example which was chipped. I didn't pay much for it, but I loved it because it had an inscription inside "To my darling Florrie - I will always remember Cairo - forever Yours Freddie 1940". Anyway, about a year later a young lady came to my stand and we were talking about compacts and she mentioned that her grandfather had given her gran one years ago but it got lost. She said she would love to find one like it to give her and on she went to describe what she was looking for. Well, I got my box of "also rans" out and pulled out the damaged compact which she thought looked like what her gran had described. Then I showed her the inscription and she nearly passed out as they were her grandparents names and her grandfather had been posted in Egypt during the war where he met her gran! I happily reunited her with the compact for what I had paid for it as the story was profit enough.
Viviene: Once the bug bit you did you expand your business into other areas?
Sara: I also branched out into barber shop collectables, so I could appeal to the men too, and I get some strange looks and comments when I am out buying at trade fairs etc when I ask the "best price" on a cut throat razor, or shaving set. I am now fascinated by the variety and beauty of some of these rather mundane items.
Viviene: Do you attend fairs and other shows in your area with your items?
Sara: I sell at various fairs around the country including Magnum Fairs at the Grange Midhurst - 1st Sunday Bi monthly (I am there this Sunday) and their fair at the Leisure Centre on Bank Holidaysin Winchester. I can be found at DMGs weekend fair at the Kent county show ground at Detling, and Shepton Mallet Flea Market at various dates throughout the year. I also do the odd fair up in Lincolnshire where my folks live so I do get around!
Viviene: How long as this been a passion for you?
Sara: About 10 years. So 10 years later a bid for something different has become a bit of an obsession - I love what I sell, as not only is there a vast array of items but they are all usable too (although I probably wouldn't use a vintage perfume!) and the bonus is I get to look at them and enjoy them all before I sell them.
Viviene: Where do you sell your vintage vanity and barbershop items?
Sara: I have a store called Yesterdays at Specialist Auctions where I am also the Moderator in the vintage vanity and barbershop category. I have my own web site http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/sara_compacts. I also have a unit at Dolphin Quay Antique centre. http://www.dolphin-quayantiques.co.uk/ . In addition I am also the Consultant for Vintage Powder Compacts for DK Collectables yearly publication.
Viviene: So come check out Sara's store at Specialist Auctions and Sara Compacts.
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