Such was the excitement of Gordon Brockman speaking to Bath WI last night, that I forgot to take any photos of the evening.  No doubt Sue D will have words with me when I next see her! Sorry Sue.


Gordon was entertaining, knowledgeable and full of useful tips and advice.  He certainly inspired me to think of what I class as ‘rubbish’ in a different light.

Gordon worked his way up in the auction business.  He gained antique experience by sifting through boxes to where he is now – auctioneer.  He told us tales of finds he has made over the years including a rare candlestick that paid for an elderly couple’s new cooker and left them with cash to spare.

We all failed the ‘spot the fake’ test with flying colours.  perfume bottleGordon showed us an array of 9 items, including an Art Deco perfume bottle, and asked us to put them in value order.  We had 2 minutes – no pressure.  It transpired that only 2 of the items were genuine.  The other 7, including the scent bottle were fake!

Gordon passed on some useful tips:

  • avoid house clearance as some may try and pull the wool over your eyes regarding the true value of a house’s contents
  • be wary of anything that is portrayed as old that is in mint condition
  • check old glass for air bubbles
  • an old glass turned upside down on a table will be uneven ie wobble
  • always obtain a written receipt when buying 2nd hand and ensure it contains a description of the item as it was marketed ie 19th century silver broach, not just silver broach
  • examine goods in natural light
  • walking round a table and feeling the underneath to ensure you can feel wear and tear
  • take a photo and research the item before buying it
  • use Chippenham Auction Rooms to value an item and then sell it for you – such common sense!

At the end of the evening we all headed home wondering if that ‘piece of costume jewellery that Aunt Myrtle left us’, might just be the answer to our dreams – well, if lucky, it might pay for our WI subs later in the year!