Experts celebrate 50 years of Antique Collectors’ Club

As we celebrate the joint 50th birthday of the Antique Collectors’ Club and Antique Collecting magazine, we asked some leading experts to share their thoughts on what the milestone means to them.

BBC Antiques Roadshow's David BattieDavid Battie, BBC’s Antiques Roadshow porcelain specialist and author
“I was a cataloguer at Sotheby’s Belgravia when I first met John Steel in the early 1970s. He asked me to write a number of articles for this magazine and then my
first book: The Price Guide to English Porcelain, in 1975. Many of the books published by the ACC have broken new ground and I have bought many myself as they were clearly going to stand the test of time. They have proved invaluable for checking facts outside my area. I have contributed to a large number of articles on a variety of subjects since then, and Diana Steel has shown me around both the old and new printing works on more than one occasion. Fascinating; small is indeed beautiful. There are many large international publishers who could take a leaf out of ACC’s book.”

BBC Antique Roadshow's Andy McConnellAndy McConnell, BBC’s Antiques Roadshow glass specialist and author 
“Put simply, the Antique Collectors’ Club is a British national treasure; a rare gem, sparkling brightly in the gloom of antique specialist publishing. It has published over 650 titles, including many that have examined the most arcane subjects, and always with quality paramount. The ACC is unrivalled in modern publishing, and its management and staff a pleasure to work with. Besides, who else would publish my minority interest stuff?”

BBC Antique Roadshow's Christopher PayneChristopher Payne, BBC’s Antiques Roadshow furniture specialist and author
“Congratulations on your anniversary! The ACC will always be in my fond memories. It was in the late ‘70s that John Steel suggested, to my astonishment, that I write a book, an opportunity that took me further than I would ever have thought possible. I will always be grateful to the ACC and Diana for their hospitality and continued encouragement to myself and so many others.”

Vernon G SwansonVernon G Swanson, American art expert and the author of Soviet Impressionist Painting and Soviet Impressionism
“It’s been over two decades since this poor colonial boy first visited the offices of the ACC in Suffolk – full of expectations and excitement about meeting the ACC’s notorious Diana Steel.
“My dear friend Christopher Wood warned me saying, “Now Vern, she is very formal and distant, so don’t be familiar.” But what I found was a kindred spirit, a friend who valued me, and I trusted her and loved her in return. I think the reason was that in my brashness I would scoop her up in my arms and give her a big kiss; not many authors did that I suppose.
“Then there were the books – wonderful books. They were lavish, stunningly beautiful, and scholarly. The greatest accolade I can give for any book is that I would “linger” over every page. Nietzsche once said, “All great ideas come from reading books—- slowly.”
“With ACC books I always like to caress each page with my hand; feeling its messages, colour and positive energy. I daresay that very few other publishers have produced the volume of life affirming, gorgeous, and enlightening books that the ACC has. And who made it that way? Diana, of course. I am honoured to be one of ACC’s authors and a FOD (Friend of Diana’s).”

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