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How treasuring for a hobby becomes a profession for Canberra region collectors

27 July, 2015

Vintage telephones and cameras at Old Bus Depot Markets Theme Event, Portobello RoadEver wonder how people start collecting things? Be it vintage clothing, antiques, kitchenware or rare typewriters and cameras. How about the people who make a good living out of collecting and then selling their pieces?

Philip Chapman is one man who makes a living out of collecting and dealing in restored and found vintage items. With a background in retail and design, he started his business Charlie Foxtrot together with his wife Julie around four years ago. They mainly collect old typewriters, telephones, vintage cameras, vintage home office equipment, letterpresses and the like.

“We mainly source the items out of our home base in Mittagong in the southern highlands, shipping many from England, especially the typewriters and cameras. We also buy the old British phones and remodel them so they work on Australian landlines,” said Philip Chapman.

He started his own typewriter collection but now trades, buys and sells through his online business, and also through regular appearances at Canberra’s Old Bus Depot Markets.

“In Australia we throw a lot of stuff into garages and sheds and our weather just really gets to the old stuff. In Europe people use attics to store things so some fabulous and valuable items stay in the same condition for many many years,” Philip, originally from Wilshire in England himself, continued.

So what does he look for in these old items?

“We are passionate about the 1930s, 40s and 50s. We’re chasing things in the best condition we can get them. We restore and service all our typewriters so that they are good working order before being shipped all over Australia,” Philip continued.

Philip takes a great selection of his collection to the Old Bus Depot Market’s Portobello Road markets where he said he loves talking to people. He says the elderly people want to chat about items which is great as they can impart lots of knowledge. The younger people, he says, are just fascinated with the old analogue technology. He says he often buys items as well as sells them through the markets, always keeping a keen eye on growing his collection.

Vicki Perkins can relate. She has been collecting on and off for most of her life, originally collecting items from the Franklin Mint. Previously living in Sydney where she ran an eBay site for repurposed furniture and had a shop in the Balmain Antique Centre, Vicki relocated to Berridale south of Canberra and now regularly attends the Old Bus Depot Markets with Portobello Road being a favourite.

Vicki’s business Vintage 4 U Vicki, deals in kitchenalia, light fittings, antique travel cases, crockery, glass ware, small furniture, jewellery, linen and more.

“Experience has taught me that it’s more successful to have a huge range,” says Vicki.

“I am fortunate to come from a family that passed antique pieces down. I gained an appreciation of old things from a very early age.”

“I have built the collection over time. I source a lot of the pieces myself, and I have a lot of friends who know what I like and scout and source items for me as well. My sense of style and taste changes constantly, I am always thinking about if an item will suit the marketplace, or if I can live with my decision if the piece doesn’t sell,” Vicki continued.

She says as a collector she loves the thrill of the find and that collecting truly makes her heart sing.

“We are selling memories. People come to us at the markets and say their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties had that particular item and they really must have it. If one of my pieces evokes the right memory, I’ll always make a sale,” Vicki concluded.

You can see Philip Chapman from Charlie Foxtrot, and Vicki Perkins from Vintage 4U Vicki and their collections at the upcoming Portobello Road event at the Old Bus Depot Markets, Sunday 16 August 2015.

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