Peartree Collection features in the Daily Telegraph

It’s fair to say I don’t always agree with the Daily Telegraph but on this occasion their advice is spot on……this is extracted from a full page spread in today’s Telegraph.

Daily telegraph peartree collection

Daily Telegraph jewellery feature with Peartree Collection

Antiques Trade Gazette features The Peartree Collection

Guild of Handicraft mirror, Charles ashbee mirror

Guild of Handicraft Ashbee hand mirror

This week’s issue of the Antiques Trade Gazette previews BADA, including The Peartree Collection’s very special Ashbee hand mirror for the Guild of Handicraft.

Those on the look-out for museum-level purchases might also seek Anthony Bernbaum of The Peartree Collection, who offers a Guild of Handicraft silver and enamel hand mirror by Charles Ashbee.

It features striking peacock enamel to the back and is hallmarked for 1903. Until now, the only other known example was in Cheltenham’s Wilson Museum.

The mirror is one of a number of pieces Bernbaum will exhibit by Ashbee and Archibald Knox, whom he describes as “two of the most collectable designers from the Arts & Crafts period around 1900”.”

A calculator to see if your silver with ivory meets the 10 per cent de minimis test

In a matter of months the UK government is likely to introduce legislation that will restrict the sale, import or export of any (silver) item which has, by volume, more than 10% ivory (excludes musical instruments).  The detailed legislation is still to be worked out but I have built a simple spreadsheet you can plug in your silver item’s weight and measurements of ivory components to calculate whether the piece meets the likely de minimis rule.  If you would like a version please contact me.

New research into early Guild of Handicraft work

In the early 1890’s the Guild of Handicraft exhibited some of their earliest metalwork at a little known exhibition at Armourers’ Hall, home of the Armourers and Brasiers Company in the City of London.  I have, finally, found an article on the 1891 exhibition which included a sketch of a door or finger plate the Guild exhibited.  This won a competition the Exhibition was hosting to design a finger plate for the Hall and the design was subsequently made up and fitted, where it can still be seen today. The article is in the attached pdf  The-Armourers-and-Brasiers-Exhibition-1891. The designer and maker of the finger plate is given in the article as John Williams, with a total of six plates ordered for the Hall in total.  Separately, Alan Crawford notes that Hardiman and White both designed prize winning exhibits for Exhibitions at this venue in 1890 and 1892 respectively.


Guild Handicraft finger plate, Armourers Hall

Guild Handicraft finger plate at Armourers Hall

The Peartree Collection letter published in the ATG, 23rd July

ATG letter: Why I waved bye-bye to Online Galleries

MADAM – I wanted to add to the discussion (ATG No 2344) on the recent fee increase by Online Galleries (Anthony Bernbaum of The Peartree Collection writes).

I chose not to continue with Online Galleries (or its parent, 1stdibs) as a result of a subscription increase that, in my case, was from £175 per month to £400 per month and in the middle of what I considered an annual subscription agreement (a case of ‘always read the small print’, it seems).

Coming off Online Galleries will, without doubt, cost me valuable referrals, and according to Google analytics, has already reduced traffic to my own website. When I Google relevant search terms like ‘Archibald Knox silver’ I have the galling experience of seeing my images as previously listed on Online Galleries linking to their home page.

My analysis of the direct value of Online Galleries to me is that it is indeed worth over £400 per month, generating well over £10,000 of sales per year.

Squeezed on costs

So why come off it? Well, I believe that the internet will become an increasingly dominant channel for antiques and design galleries and so control of that channel is critical.

With this in mind, I cannot envisage partnering with an internet site for the long term when there is such a breakdown in trust. When my sales are, say, 50%, not 5-10%, through Online Galleries, what then?

Will I be asked to pay £4000 per month, or, as for 1stdibs, well over 10% of sales?

Physical galleries are being squeezed by increasing rents and now we have intermediary listings providers trying to recreate an online equivalent.

More than this though, it is important to ask what is the valueadd of an intermediary like Online Galleries? Just 10 years ago the answer was ‘quite a lot’.

Building workable websites was expensive, listings sites even more so, and that warranted high fees. With the emergence of HTML templates however, it is inexpensive and easy to create very effective websites.

Longer-term gain

So, what are we, as dealers, paying for? The reality is we are paying an intermediary to promote itself at our expense. My images on Google from Online Galleries are there for a reason, indirectly I have paid for it. So why would I pay to become more and more dependent on an intermediary whose value-add is to a large degree a function of my expertise, my products and, in fact, my money?

So, it’s bye-bye Online Galleries and hello to BADA and LAPADA, who have created listing sites empathetic to both the consumer and industry, and also to Instagram.

With increased investment in my own site I am confident that what I may lose in the short term will be more than gained in the longer term.

Anthony Bernbaum
The Peartree Collection, London