This is the question I found myself asking as I watched one of the many antique shows I love viewing. Antiques Road Show, Cash in the Attic, Flog It, and a few others are full of people who bring their antiques to the experts in the hope of them being worth a few bob.
One lady was auctioning off some of her possessions to pay for massages on the next cruise she was going on. She had a set of lovely paintings which she had won on a previous cruise that fetched a mere £60 or so but as they didn't mean much to her she was glad to get rid of them.
Next up for auction was her grandmother's engagement ring, the lady must have been in her sixties so you could say the ring must have been at least a hundred years old. It was a straight setting of sapphires and diamonds and the presenter did say it was not really a style that sold well. It went for £40, I was horrified, how could she part with her grandmother's ring for such a small amount off money, to pay for a massage? She said she had no children to pass it onto but still It made me feel sad.
Time and time again I watch people being told that items that have been handed down in their family for generations could be worth a small fortune, then the items are sold and leave the family forever.
This is what makes me grateful that the oldest things I have are not worth very much except to me.
I do have jewellery belonging to my mum and aunt, wedding rings, engagement rings, the oldest would be my husband's grandmothers engagement ring,but I would never dream of selling any of them unless I was destitute. I wear some of it sometimes but most of the time they do languish in a drawer, but they're still in my possession if I want to take them out and relive memories of the people who wore them.
Eventually I will pass them to my daughter and granddaughter and if they ever appear on Cash in the Attic I will come back and haunt them.
The oldest non jewellery item I have is a small glass sugar and cream set which was given to my parents as a wedding present so it must be fifty seven years old. I remember it sitting in a display cabinet and it was only used at Christmas and New Year. I occasionally played with it with my dolls but my mother never knew as I always replaced it back in the cabinet.
After writing this I then realised that the photo of my husband's grandfather is the oldest thing we have. It must be at least seventy years old. He remembers it always being on his mum's wall and although it's not very stylish I could never see a time when it won't be kept within our family.
The only pieces of china I have which are valuable to me are these plates which I have used many times.The reason they will never be worth any money at an auction is, they were hand painted by me when I was twelve.
This was my first bible,it was given to me by an elderly neighbour and I loved the coloured pictures inside. It's a bit battered but it is 48yrs old and was very well used.
I have kept this telegram I received when I was eighteen and applying for jobs working abroad as a nanny.
The interview was the following day and I couldn't get time off my job to go. I never did get to Claridges and the nearest I got to working abroad as a nanny was two weeks in North Berwick (two hours by car from home)
The twenty first birthday key on a neck chain a birthday present from friends.
The silver sixpence, I had tucked in my wedding shoe for good luck was given to me by a work colleague, it even has the year I was born on it.
I do like antique shops but I am usually left with a feeling of sadness and wondering the reasons behind people selling items they at one time treasured. While in Turkey on holiday I looked in the window of such a shop, it was filled with men's pocket watches. All of them at one time was someone's pride and joy, a gift from a father to son, a wedding present from a bride to her groom or a treasured heirloom passed down the generations from grandfather to grandson each with it's unique story. I've never felt the need so much to speak Turkish as I did that day. I wanted to ask if the proprietor knew of any history behind those items or be able to read the inscriptions written on many of them, Why so many in the one shop? Sadly as I don't speak any Turkish I will never know the answer to my questions.
Am I too sentimental? Am I just a hoarder who keeps junk that should have been tossed out years ago?
Or do you, like me hold on to items that will never fetch a fortune at auction just for the memories that they hold for you?
|Treasures once loved by their owners. Antique shop in Estonia|
|Same antique shop.Photos from morgue files.|