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Vintage fashion setting a new trend at auction…

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From the decadence of Downton to swinging 60s style, fashion continually looks to the past for catwalk inspiration. However, the popularity of original vintage items of clothing and jewellery also seems to be on the rise – local auction house Cuttlestones, which has sale rooms in both Penkridge and Woverhampton – has noticed hammer prices for vintage lots are on a definite upward trend.

 
Debbie Curtis, Vintage clothing and costume jewellery specialist at Cuttlestones, says:
 
Vintage clothing has always had its fans – but it’s always been rather a specialist area, with people tending to be really authentic in their recreation of the look of a particular era. Recent sales, however, suggest that buying vintage is becoming far more mainstream, with people picking up on the fact that they can drop on real designer bargains and one-off items. Costume jewellery is also performing really well; as are more stylised pieces of fine jewellery that may once have been seen as being outdated.”
 
In terms of what’s proving particularly popular, Debbie says:
 
Although Retro & Vintage is peaking, older clothing is still performing well if they are good condition – eighteen items of 60s & 70s clothing recently sold for £75, whereas only a year or so ago we’d have expected to fetch about £20-£30.
 
Designer labels from various periods also sell well – we recently had an Ossie Clark for Radley evening dress, guided at £60-100, which sold for £180.00. There are, however, still real bargains out there – we sold a Crombie Gent’s overcoat in fantastic condition for £55 which, when you consider that a coat by the same designer of similar style starts at £500 new, is a real steal.
 
Costume Jewellery, especially related to the ever-popular 1940s and 50s eras, is doing very well indeed. A box of mixed gold and costume jewellery recently came into the sale room, on top of which sat an enamelled butterfly brooch that the vendor commented she didn’t think much of and was considering throwing away. It caught my eye, however, and on further investigation I identified it as a Charles Horner butterfly brooch, which went on to sell for £190!
 
For anyone who is considering selling vintage clothing or costume jewellery, Debbie’s advice is:
 
For clothing, especially if it’s heavily embellished, avoid cleaning as it can damage delicate fabrics – instead, hang the clothing out in a good breeze and it should help get rid of the ‘old’ smell that is sometimes associated with vintage clothing. Also, if you don’t like it, don’t assume it’s worthless – as with the butterfly brooch, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there’s every chance someone will love the item you can’t wait to be rid of. Finally, it’s well worth asking the experts – bring your items in for valuation and we can help identify what is likely to sell – we discovered a set of amber beads in a tray of screws, loose beads and curtain hooks once that went onto sell for over £2,000. Likewise, items of gold jewellery should always be checked out for desirability – as well as the intrinsic  gold scrap value, many items can be of a much higher value in relation to the maker, period and styling.”
 
To arrange a ‘vintage valuation’ appointment at Cuttlestones, call 01785 714905 or email [email protected]. For further information, including sale dates and catalogues, visit www.cuttlestones.co.uk 
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