Printer Friendly Cheap as microchips; NET'S THE NEW WAY TO CASH IN ON OLD VALUABLES.


THOUSANDS of us now rummage through the attic in search of valuable heirlooms, inspired by antique shows such as Bargain Hunt and Flog It!

And if you've been tempted, take time out to visit the shows' home on the net -

As ever with the Beeb's sites, this is an excellent, comprehensive resource, with pages dedicated to all its antiques-related shows, including the venerable Antiques Roadshow and current hit Cash In The Attic.

There are details of intriguing items which have been featured on TV, along with invitations to take part in the shows and sign up for a regular newsletter.

There are also buzzing message boards where you can ask the experts for advice or discuss the relative value of the slightly aged Bargain Hunt host David Dickinson and his more modern rival, Flog It! dealer Paul Martin.

David, by the way, also has his own official site at www.david-dickin where you can order his new autobiography, David Dickinson - The Duke: What A Bobby Dazzler, and read fans' accounts of visits to the Bargain Hunt set. Sadly, the recent holiday photos of DD showing off his mahogany exterior are nowhere to be seen.

But the BBC site has even more to offer - there is a fabulous illustrated collectors' guide, advice on caring for antiques and keeping them secure, a glossary of specialist terms, from acanthus - a decorated leaf motif - to X-frame, the construction of some chairs and stools. There's also a list of fairs, auctions and antique centres in your area and even a set of games and brain-teasers to help you sharpen your skills.

If all this has whetted your appetite, you'll find the net simply brimming with superb sites about antiques. is an extremely impressive site with an astonishing 4,000-plus links to every nook and cranny of the antique world.

There are guides to the best books on a range of specialist subjects, including curios, silverware and clocks and watches, an A-Z of British attractions and the antiques they contain, and explanations of the various ways of buying and selling.

But best of all is its webguide, which lists thousands of shops, sites and other resources in around 50 different categories, including 15 sites dedicated to corkscrews, 74 celebrity memorabilia sites and even six concentrating on razors and other barberania. (Yes, that really is a word.) Other good general sites include www.antiquesbull which has the latest news headlines, from stolen paintings to firms changing hands, auction calendars and reports, an A-Z of dealers and an art prices index, and uk which contains a very useful basic guide to essentials such as hallmarks and porcelain dating.

It also explains strange furniture terms such as gadrooning - a style of ornament - and splat, which is apparently part of a chair back.

There is also an expert's view of fairs and a host of links to everything from fair organisers to pertinent publications.

Antiques magazines are busy establishing a web presence, too, and www. antiquestrade is a bustling site with up-to-the-minute news, links to illustrated catalogues you can view online, a comprehensive calendar of forthcoming sales, a features archive and a link to its American equivalent, There is less content at www.antiques and you have to subscribe to the magazine to access its database but its calendars of fairs and auctions are useful.

If you have managed to unearth some valuables, do you reckon you know what they're worth?

You can hone your skill by matching items to prices in the quiz at www.

MORE seriously, this site, home of the National Association Of Valuers And Auctioneers, offers some brief but sensible advice on getting a valuation.

Or try the British Antique Dealers' Association, at which directs you to reputable dealers.

When it comes to comparing prices, comes up trumps again, with a free, fully searchable guide to more than 100,000 objects, while at the huge resource you can browse through hundreds of auction catalogues or, for a fee of pounds 15 a month, have your collection appraised by online experts. If you are confident of its value, one of the easiest ways to flog your family cast-offs is to do it online.

At auction sites such as www.ebay. there are constant sales of antiques and art in a wide range of categories, from antiquities to woodenware.

There are also a number of sites dedicated to classified ads. For instance, at it costs a flat fee of pounds 4.99 to place your ad until your item sells.

But perhaps you just can't bring yourself to part with granny's china collection or that ancient teddy bear you've stumbled across...

Whatever the object of your new-found affection, visit www.antiquesbrit or www.antiques- and you will find others who feel the same way.

There are clubs across Britain dedicated to collecting everything under the sun, from badge lovers at and pewter fans at, to hatpin fanciers at and lovers of delightful 50s Muffin the Mule memorabilia at


POPULAR: Paul Martin; CLUB: Muffin the Mule; GRIN AND BEAR IT: Bargain Hunt has sparked an antiques boom - and turned David Dickinson into a TV sex symbol
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 6, 2003
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