Our antiques expert looks at church-related collectables...
Over the years in the week between Christmas and New Year I’ve talked about Christmas collectables such as toys, gifts, dinner services, cards and decorations, but I’ve never mentioned church! How remiss of me. After all, what is Christmas truly about – it’s not all Santa! Whether you have a faith or not, the Christian story of Christmas is delighted in by many people and, for some, Advent and the season of good will to all men will be the one time in the year when they go to church as a family.
Obviously traditional churches are very old, but not the first place you would think of for collectables. Should any antiques be housed in a church, it’s usual that that’s where they’ll stay and it is incredibly rare for us to get any church collectables in the centre, other than things you’d expect, such as candles and candelabras etc.
So, take a look at this beautiful piece of oak furniture. This is an original church pew. It came into the centre a few months ago and we housed it as part of the new furniture extension. So many people have commented on it because of its size, and simply because it is so unusual to see.
I don’t expect it will sell very quickly. Pieces like this are precisely why the second hand furniture market is slow. Nowadays houses are smaller and generally people want less clutter, so are only buying what they actually need (and, of course, what will fit in). A piece like this, no matter how beautiful, is difficult to house, and not something that would be used as an everyday piece of furniture. I certainly can’t imagine sitting in this to watch TV or catch up on some paperwork! Our experience is that they sell better if they are cut down and ends put on them, so that the seat is about four feet.
That said, it is lovely and there is a specialist market for religious collectables.
Although there are many different religions, the most popular collectables seem to belong to the Catholic faith.
From crosses and rosaries to beautiful pieces of stained glass and books, the market for religious artefacts hasn’t waned and looks to be actually increasing.
Rosaries made from both plastic and silver with semi-precious stones have been turned into jewellery for both men and women recently and it’s often items that you wouldn’t think would be popular, that are.