In the 90's when eBay first started up I used to spend a lot of my spare time visiting junk shops, antique fairs, auctions, car boot sales and flea markets and buying stuff. Some of it I kept and some I resold online. I was fairly successful and I soon registered the hobby as a business to make it easier to sort out the tax position. When the whole world and his dog started selling on eBay things became less successful and I wound the business down and sold most of the residual stock. I had had a great deal of fun, made five or six spectacularly good buys which brought big profits and more than a few spectacularly bad ones which brought big losses (fortunately the good far outweighed the bad).
I've never lost the interest in antiques but in the past few weeks we've found ourselves at home a bit more than usual and with the weather being inclement we've been watching episodes of Antiques Road Trip and Bargain Hunt with the affable and irrepressible Tim Wonnacott. And it revived memories of the caricature I bought for a fiver and sold for over £2,000 and the broken teapot that fetched in excess of £1,300 and it's given me the bug again.
So off we went yesterday to Norwich to the Aztec fair at the Norfolk Showground. There were hundreds of dealers there but we struggled to spot any bargains.
However, as someone with the buying bug, I couldn't go away empty handed and bought this lovely little cup and saucer for £50 to save a wasted journey. It was made in about 1770 at Derby porcelain factory owner William Duesbury's Chelsea factory and I think it's a super little item and in fine condition for 240 years old. I've also bought three or four bits and pieces on eBay and in total spent about £130 that will be my starting stock. I won't buy anything else now until I've sold the bits I've got. Will I build it up or will it be money down the drain? I'll let you know in a few weeks but at least it should be a bit of fun until the weather improves and we can get out on our bikes again.
At least the weather has been perfect for movie fans and today we went to Ipswich to see Dallas Buyers Club at Cineworld. Matthew McConaughty has been nominated for an Oscar for his role as Ron Woodroof a tough and homophobic Dallas cowboy who is shocked to find that he has AIDS and is given just thirty days to live. Unwilling to curl up and die he does everything in his power to try and get hold of drugs and medications that will help him and eventually becomes a crusader on behalf of himself and other AIDS sufferers to distribute unapproved medications by way of a "buyers club". Along the way he comes into contact with plenty of gays and his attitude to them changes as he strikes up a friendship with transgender Rayon played by Jared Leto (also Oscar nominated). It's based on a true story (although I believe that the story has been heavily altered) and it's yet another fabulous performance.
In the last few months we've seen Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street, Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Christian Bale in American Hustle and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Twelve Years A Slave as well as McConaughty today. It's a really close call for the Oscar as all were excellent but I think that McConaughty will just edge it.