Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Looking For Treasure

Noticing that my favourite field had been cultivated when I drove past a month or so ago I decided to hang up the metal detector for the year. It was a great year for me in the hobby - the highlight being this gold Henry VI quarter noble that I found in September. I found plenty of other very interesting bits and pieces and duly took them to the Finds Liaison Officer in Bury St Edmunds for recording under the Portable Antiquities Scheme. I'll probably get them back some time in 2017.

With detecting off the cards and my novel complete and sent out to potential agents in the hope of finding a publisher I needed to find something else to occupy the bit of spare time that I have. I decided to turn back to my old favourite - eBay. It's over seventeen years since I first discovered the eBay site and started to use it to build up a collection of antique ceramics and, after three or four years' absence I wondered if there might still be treasures to be found. I started my routine trawl through page after page of rubbish in the hope of finding a pearl. And lo and behold I spotted this.

It cost £6 in total and arrived promptly. The seller had missed a small crack but I was happy to win it for that price and decided to put it back on eBay with a correct description and full details. I had high hopes of it reaching around £100 but it has just sold.

Which is a decent profit I suppose but, after shipping, eBay and Paypal fees is less than what I hoped for. Maybe the market is a little flat for Moorcroft pottery.

The problem with antiques is that they are addictive and, as soon as I spotted the jug, I was hooked on trying to find more bargains.

I had to laugh when I saw this piece of porcelain described as having "minor restoration". 

Sure enough I spotted a few more "sleepers". Sadly I wasn't the only one and I was outbid but I was then  delighted to find this lovely and rare Spode porcelain honey pot which the seller had not identified. 

The seller described it thus "This has a hairline crack from top to bottom,but still very attractive. Maker not known."

This too arrived very quickly and very well packed but when I opened it I felt that "hairline crack" was something of an understatement.

When I pointed this out to the seller, he responded"Sorry about the understatement, John. It must be because I'm a very elderly laconic Lancastrian. Takes a lot to impress us!" To be fair I could have sent it back for a refund but I've put it up for sale and hope that a Spode collector can accept the damage. In perfect condition it would be worth around £350,with a hairline maybe £175, like this?  We'll have to wait and see.

The hunt is the fun and on Monday the bug got hold again and we went to Marlesford Mill Antique Centre where I found this lovely pair of vases designed by the major 20th century ceramics designer Charlotte Rhead. 

With Christmas around the corner and holidays coming up I will have to wait until January  to find out if I've made a good buy or a loss. 

I went around to my local farms at the weekend to give them a Christmas card and some wine as a thank you for letting me search their fields. The farmer whose field I had thought was cultivated told me it isn't planted yet so I've missed about five weeks of detecting. Doh! It was a bit damp today but I went to have a quick try. Here's what turned up.

Sorry about the poor focus - a Tudor period spectacle buckle
Bits of medieval cooking utensils including a pot foot
A Georgian fob seal - the impression is a griffin above a crown
And, of course, lots of lead. I sold a huge box of lead to the scrap merchants recently. I can see it filling up again very quickly

In other news, Marion and I have had a hectic time. It hasn't helped that Marion has been poorly with a cough but, hopefully, she's starting to mend now. We've done all our Christmas shopping using a combination of local shops, the internet and Bluewater shopping centre. We pass Bluewater en route to our son's house in Kent so we thought that we might as well use it. It's a good shopping mall and not as unpleasant an experience as you might think.

We've also been helping out a few old people here in Framlingham under the Framlingham Hour Community scheme and I've done my Suffolk Chamber Business mentoring in between visits to Kent for our granddaughter's nativity play and to do a stint of baby sitting there. 

On Monday night we had the Framlingham Liverpool Supporters Club round for the Everton match in UHD - great result. Last night we went to The Station in Framlingham for a Christmas get together with friends - great food and service at The Station.

I may not be blogging again before Christmas so I'd like to wish any friends and ex-colleagues reading this a very very happy Christmas (whichever way you voted). Look out for my new novel in the spring.