Our Antique tours are tailored to meet the requirements of our clients which is as vast and varied as the possibilities. You may want to spend a day touring the various shops and dealers in the Cotswolds, or you may want help navigating a large fair of 500 + dealers in search of a particular accent piece for your home or collection. We can also host buying trips to the continent which may be something you have considered but do not know where to begin; we do. Although our UK base is located in the Cotswolds, we travel far and wide in our quest to shop large events and shows which is all part of the networking and learning process. Some of our clients often want to spend a relaxed day scouting through dealer shops and warehouses, where as others enjoy the thrill of standing shoulder to shoulder with other like minded treasure hunters at daybreak at large fairs and exhibitions in their quest for the unique special something.
We manage everything from transportation to and from these events, and can even help with pick up and delivery, restoration, export, and brokerage, if required. All tours are customized to meet the specific needs and expectations of each client. We continue to actively buy and sell antiques and decorative arts internationally, and have for 45 years, and continue to work on behalf of several dealers and collectors in North America and Europe.
If you are considering a trip to the United Kingdom, or the South of France and are interested in securing our services for a day or longer, please reach out to explore the possibilities. We believe we hold the key to making your dream a reality.
Antique Shops & Dealers
Although many things about the business of buying and selling antiques has changed over the past few decades, (with internet, auction and dealer platforms); one thing has always remained constant; knowing the right person to ask. CONTEXT DESIGN has relationships with a variety of specialty dealers and collectors whose reputations are based on experience and integrity, not the distorted optics of heavy marketing hype and self promotion. Finding and qualifying these sources often takes years of digging and networking but in many cases their knowledge and expertise is well worth the effort. After decades of doing, we have established relationships with trustworthy contacts that can help you "cut to the chase", making better use of your time and producing quality results in an efficient timely manner. If you are interested in acquiring something in particular, and would like to discuss integrity, rarity, design, proportion and condition, we believe we can assist you through our network of dealers and private collections.
Guided Show & Fair Tours
Knowing when, where and how to look for certain objects is really what it is all about... but not always. There will always be the "luck" factor, or being in the right place at the right time, yet knowing how to increase your odds is where we can help. In many cases simply understanding the mechanics of this business can help increase your chances of finding that treasure by competing on a level playing field with the pros; or possibly even stacking the deck in your favour. As with many businesses there are rules too follow, however grey areas always exist that can be leveraged to increase your chances of success. We know what these are and would be more than happy to share them with you, so you can experience the thrill, excitement and success in the process. Our years of experience also provide our clientele with immediate real time assessment and identification as to what things are, once they have found them. We help answer questions like, is it period? ( old), heavily restored, a reproduction or enhanced to fool an unsuspecting buyer? With our assistance you will always have the answers. You will discover what it feels like to purchase something rare and beautiful before it is " discovered" by a professional runner / picker/ dealer and makes its way into the up market tony shops on the high street?
Tour Private Collections
Some dealers make better collectors than sellers; which is the foundation of the old adage " keep the best and sell the rest", the message being self evident. Another aspect relative to buying and selling certain items has allot to do with understanding and respecting the attitude towards items in personal collections. In many cases the privilege of owning includes the responsibility of care and preservation which can be more significant to the owner than the price they can sell the object for. I have spoken to many dealers and collectors who see themselves as temporary custodians, only willing to pass along this responsability and ownership to the appropriate party.
Gaining access to what is in these private collections rather then what is on display in the shop, often yields opportunities and access to material seldom seen by the public. We can help you gain access to some of these collections and the treasures they contain.
Pre- Auction Consultation
Auctions have always been an excellent way to acquire quality material, and today more then ever as the markets appear to be in a state of turmoil, the opportunities have never been better. That being said there is allot to know about how this aspect of the business works, and the associated risks involved with making purchases at auction. The expression "caveat emptor" or buyer beware is best applied to circumstances where the interests of the consignors and auction houses run at cross purposes to the interests of potential buyers. Understanding the problems associated with various categories (ceramics, metal wear, furniture and art) vary greatly, and how issues like damage , restoration and alteration impact value and market desirability is a difficult thing to navigate, which can vary greatly depending on the motivation of the potential buyer.
Our ability to provide an objective, knowledgeable and professional assessment in person, or in some cases by engaging with the auction house on your behalf helps you avoid costly mistakes. We know who to ask, what to ask and when to proceed and when to walk away. These services very greatly and are generally dictated by the circumstances and the needs and expectations of our clients, and usually include photographs ,a written report a lengthy description of the item (s) merits, condition and any other specific restoration or damage that may not be part of the lots catalogue description. Please contact us should you be considering us for these services.