Mrs. Moore and I both grew up in a world of family heirlooms and antiques. We understood what it meant when our parents said they were going “antiquing.” Both families had inherited large collections of wonderful paintings, silver, carpets, porcelain, and furniture, but that did not stop them from adding to their already-overcrowded houses. That was the world I knew as a child. My mother loved to wander through antique shops, not so much to find a bargain, but rather to find something rare, charming, and having a history. I can still hear her say things like “where are the real antique dealers?” and “I love the pickers.” I grew up with those attitudes as well, always searching for real antique dealers, many of whom were real pickers who loved to sweep the countrysides looking for items to fill their vans to take to the antique markets in London and in the States. On Monday morning, early, I enjoy going to Jubilee Market when the dependable well known picker empties his boxes and baskets as mobs of people fight for a spot where they can grab the goodies as they tumble onto the table. I know the fun because I am right there very often, and always when I am in London. The heart starts to pound, and my trained eyes survey the piles of the tables. This is far from the fashionable antique shops where magnificent and rare pieces gleam in the elegant cabinets. But, having grown up loving the “markets,” there is no thrill more fun than finding a wonderful, old-fashioned dealer who is himself a picker as well.
I was on Portobello Road last week having my wonderful time talking to the dealers I have known for years. I was determined to enjoy myself and meet new dealers rather than zeroing in on items in the stalls which I had no room for in all our luggage. We had gathered five old leather “Flanigans” filled with clothes which never seem to come back to the States because our luggage is always filled with those bobbles we have found in the Markets. So this time, I decided to enjoy the atmosphere. I wandered down some of the side streets where I have met several new dealers who haven’t yet found a stall on Portobello Rd itself. Sure enough, there were the old fashion picker-antique dealers whom I love so much. Stephanie was chatting to a dealer with a beautiful 18th century silver teapot, when my eyes caught “the vision” of a stall filled with the most amazing old ivory and bone fine pieces. Believe me, I did not expect to find these items in the market.
I immediately struck up a conversation and found that his name was Franz and he travels all over Eastern Europe collecting 18th century ivory and fine works of art like very old ivory figures, mirrors, and tea caddies. He told me that he just likes to find and buy and brings the fine items to the market for sale. I knew I had made a friend–my kind of dealer. He showed me the most fabulous pair of 18th century ivory mirrors made in Dieppe, and then an ivory 18th century box, and finally the most wonderful 18th century bone/ivory tea caddy with the tea containers still in place. Actually, I have to say I could not believe my eyes! We exchanged cards and greetings, and I left with the most wonderful stories about his wandering throughout Europe looking for his favorite European ivory carvings and inlay. When he showed me a traveling box with numerous drawers in ebonized wood inlaid with ivory, I really got excited.
My suggestion to my readers who are real antique collectors, head to Portobello Road but head to the side roads where I have found the most amazing items. Mrs. Moore and I had a thrilling day. REALLY A THRILLING TIME.
If you wish to contact FRANZ KRASSNITZER, you may reach him in England on 011.44.7768871869; or email him so he can email you images: firstname.lastname@example.org I am happy to recommend this very interesting antique dealer who has a real understanding of what an antique really is and goes “picking.” Nice.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918