Luke Shropshire is one of the new generation of antique dealers who are carving out a name for themselves on Instagram. Under the guise of Praise the Hoard, Luke has build up a strong following for his curated collection of ‘not your usual unusual’ antique and vintage items.
What is the unique appeal of antiques – why buy them?
I love owning (and selling!) items that have developed their own character, patina and charm – this can only happen over a period of time. Finding one-off pieces is the buzz for me and you’ll find me rummaging and searching wherever I go!
What areas/items are currently selling well/in demand?
Anything that’s priced well, but to achieve this you need to buy well! (and this is the art of selling antiques.)
What antiques do you have at home/collect and why?
I only buy what I love, so a lot of my stock ends up in my home for a period of time… until my wife decides it has to go, or even worse (for business!) decides it can stay.
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
Future antiques? Now there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one! I suppose, inevitably, all things end up old (myself included), and develop character and wear. As to what shall become popular and antiques of the future I really couldn’t say.
How is the industry changing and are you optimistic for its future?
Always optimistic, you have to be in this trade as structure is not something in an antique dealer’s calendar. No two days are the same (which I love!), so being optimistic is important. Sustainability is big on everyone’s minds at present, so I’d say there’s never been a better time to be a seller of previously owned goods!
Is new technology good for the trade and buyers/collectors?
On the whole I’d say technology has really enhanced the trade. From a selling point of view you can instantly sit your pieces under the noses of 1000s of prospective buyers. But, from a buying perspective there is nothing quite like the interaction you get at a fair, the thrill of the chase, early mornings, hustle and bustle, and the ‘haggle’… Something that shall never be recreated via social media!
Tell us some trade secrets – what key questions should buyers ask?
I always go with my gut instinct, if something grabs your attention there’s a good chance it will someone else… My eye is my biggest asset, you have to be quick, too, theres nothing like the
feeling of not buying only for the very next person to purchase gleefully! Enjoy what you do, a smile goes a long way!
What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?
If money were no object I’d have a full van on most buying trips! I love statuary but it’s an area I feel I need to learn more about. Most of what I know is through my failures and I think statuary failures could be costly. If money were no object I’d certainly buy more!
Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations and why?
Off the beaten Track!! Having said that, you can’t beat the early morning buzz of Kempton.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
If you buy what you love, I don’t think you can go far wrong. You can’t sell something you don’t like yourself.
What do you consider the high point of your career in antiques?
Everyday is an adventure, buying trips, selling to clients, fairs, the places it takes you, the characters you meet… If you come out of it with a few quid at the end of the month, that’s a high point!
Are antiques attracting younger buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach out to them?
I believe so. I think there is a big trend now to mix the old with the new. It’s too easy to buy yourself an interior the same as next door – buy yourself a one-off piece, reuse and add some soul!
What advice would you give to people new to antiques who want to learn more?
Get out there and get involved, there are no rules and buy what you love!