Mark Hill Portrait

Welcome to Mark Hill's Spring 2014 Newsletter

Even though we've only had a couple of months of it so far, the start of this year has been one of the busiest yet, with plenty going on in all sorts of areas. In this issue, you'll be able to learn all about an exciting new BBC2 TV series which I filmed with Mel Giedroyc from 'The Great British Bake-Off', read about details of my new book 'The Canny Collector' and about an exciting new book on a newly-researched glass company. There's also news about a wonderful discovery at an outdoor antiques market and details about the last chance to buy part of the historic archive from one of Britain's best-loved and most popular glass companies. Enjoy!

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Best wishes,


I'm delighted to announce that 'Collectaholics', BBC2's exciting, warm, witty and fun new series on collecting, collectors and collections will air from 8-9pm on Wednesday 12th March! I'm lucky enough to be co-presenting it with Mel Giedroyc, comedienne and star of the BBC's 'The Great British Bake-Off'.

There'll be something for you, whatever it is you collect, from Star Wars toys to taxidermy, railwayana to fine art, and dolls to what most people might call ‘rubbish’…! Each of the three hour-long episodes features three very different collectors, each of whom have an issue that Mel and I help them solve. It might be perennial problems of space, help with displaying their treasures, or seeking out that special, hard to find piece of their dreams.

We all know what can happen when an obsession with a collection goes one step too far. What does the family really think? Are there trials and even tears behind it all? Specially filmed 'social history' segments cover areas in more detail and add context to a collector's collection. Every collection is valued too, so prepare yourselves for some surprises!

All collections are personal. They’re deeply revealing – in this ridiculous age of consumerism and mass production, a collection is a declaration. It says, ‘This is who I am, this is my story.’ Tune in and discover the fascinating stories behind some of Britain’s best hidden collections.

Click here to find out more.

Click here to watch the BBC's trailer for episode 1 on the BBC's website.

The Ideal Collectaholics Companion

The Canny Collector is the perfect read for every collector, and covers a vast range of topics from what really drives the market today to how to spot the ‘next big thing’, to how to display your collection.
You’re sure to find plenty that’s fascinating and helpful, as well as learning something new, regardless of what you love to collect or whether you are, or someone you know is, a new or an experienced collector. Crammed with practical and useful help and advice, it’s divided up into thoughtful yet easy to read chunks, a little like today’s social media. You’ll find plenty of opinions, hints and tricks of the trade drawn from my personal experience that can’t be found elsewhere.
Chapters including ‘Buying’, ‘Selling’ and ‘Fakes, Copies & Reproductions’ are joined by charming illustrations by artist Simon Watson, quotes about collecting from the rich and famous, and special features on key topics such as nostalgia, identification, specialist terms, and historic and celebrity collectors.

The Canny Collector is a special individually numbered hardback limited edition of only 1,500 copies - click here to order your copy now.

Reviews so far include...
"Your latest publication is adorable... There is a serious amount of information in this book, it is a compendium in the true sense of the word."
Gail McLeod, Antiques News & Fairs.

A handy and amusing guide to newly identified phenomena and other useful information…a good-looking book of hints, opinions and other snippets... This is the sort of book that you can dip in and out of… far from heavy academic tome...light-hearted and palatable in tone, peppered with quotes…a personal favourite section is that on collector types; as Mark points out, a collection says a lot about how a person sees themselves and how they want to be seen by others. He picks out types that we’ll all recognise… more interestingly he also identifies a couple of generational phenomena.
Anna Brady, The Antiques Trade Gazette

Amazing Glass Exhibition at the 'Antiques For Everyone' Fair

If you love 20thC glass, you really can't miss the first Antiques For Everyone fair Birmingham's NEC in early April. I'm organising the exhibition which will be a real ground-breaker as it has NEVER been seen in public before.

The display will include pieces selected from two private collections of glass by the Czech factory Skrdlovice (pronounced ‘skerd-luv-itz’ah’). Founded in 1941 by Emanuel Beránek and closed in 2008, the company and its products have floated at the edge of collectors' attentions for years. Most of its designs are usually mistaken for Murano glass and can be picked up for a song if you look hard enough.

The scarce 'spear vases' shown here were designed by Emanuel Beránek around 1960 and are typical of the innovative designs the factory produced. In addition to my usual selection of stunning postwar Czech glass from major factories and designers, I'll also be selling a selected range of Skrdlovice designs with prices ranging from £30-£800.

To learn more about Skrdlovice and the exhibition, click here.

To download a complimentary e-ticket allowing FREE entry, click here.

The exhibition will be (later) accompanied by a book, Beránek & Skrdlovice: Legends of Czech Glass, which has been written by expert collectors Robert Bevan-Jones and Jindrich Parik and will be available by mail order and via all good bookshops from late April. More details will follow, but register your interest now by sending me an email by clicking here as I'm publishing it in a strictly limited edition of only 1,000 numbered copies! A large format 'coffee-table' style hardback, it will cost £45, have over 160 pages and be illustrated with over 150 specially commissioned, full colour images. Reserve your copy now before they sell out!

10th-13th April 2014

Antiques For Everyone, The NEC, Birmingham
Open: 11am-6pm, but times vary, see website below.
For more information, please visit

'Young Guns' of the Antiques Trade Campaign

Last Part of Whitefriars Archive For Sale

The name Whitefriars needs no introduction. With its origins under the name of James Powell & Sons in 17th century London, the company became a leader in Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau style glass. From the 1950s-70s, the company was a pioneer of Scandinavian-style coloured glass which culminated in the legendary 'Textured' designs by Geoffrey Baxter such as the 'Drunken Bricklayer' and 'Banjo'. Collectors will know that anything rare and unusual is always highly sought-after.

Fielding's auctioneers in Stourbridge, West Midlands, have recently announced the sale of what is almost certainly the last part of the company's archives. The other parts are in the Museum of London, or were destroyed some years after the company closed in 1980. Included across some 80 lots are original moulds including the amazing 'Suncatcher' shown here, original design drawings and working drawings by Geoffrey Baxter and others, paperweight canes, and bundles of fascinating paperwork. 

Click here to view the collection on Fielding's website.

If you feel that the entire archive, or parts of it, need to be bought and given to a museum for preservation, Chris Woolman of Haybarn Glass is helping to organise a fund to acquire as much as possible with this noble end in sight. To find out more, please contact Chris at, or else visit the Glass Association's website by clicking here.

Mark's Mystery Mark

Okay, so it's not just a mark this time around, there's a signature to. I've collected prints ever since I was at school, when I spent money from my paper-round. Following the golden rule for collecting, I only buy what I like, and I'm not fussed whether it's important or valuable or not.

At a recent (very wet!) visit to IACF's Ardingly outdoor antiques fair, I spotted a signed print that I loved the look of but knew nothing about. I couldn't quite read the signature (below) and didn't recognise the rather marvellous monogram above. Busting my usual budget and taking a risk, I forked out £50 for here to see if I made a mistake...!