AN evening with antiques expert Adrian Mackwell was the subject of Gladestry WIs May's open evening. It was well attended by visitors from the village and other local WIs.

Adrian is an independent auctioneer who has appeared on well known TV shows like Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt and is known as the 'voice of antiques in the Midlands' by Radio WM. He also hosts charity auctions as well as giving talks to groups large and small.

He has built up a wide experience of antiques and collectibles of all kinds, from auction houses to house clearances. He had many amusing stories to tell us.

He began by talking about the history of the current interest in antiques using items he'd brought with him as examples. In the post war period, people bought furniture cheaply from antique shops. This was later discarded when 60s furniture became popular. By the 70s people began to notice that older furniture had value and by the 80's, things took off.

Adrian went on to explain the difference between real antiques and collectibles. A true antique is of very fine quality. Today something can be valuable if people want it, age doesn't matter as much as condition and quality.

The fashion element is key. Currently, First World War and Second World War memorabilia has the greater interest and has therefore become more expensive. Likewise taking two paintings of equal quality, it's the one with the well known name which will fetch more.

Adrian then examined items brought in by the audience. He talked about expectations and the reality although he gave items a value, from virtually nothing to a fair price. Sadly there were no surprises.