Trade Talks – Lily Trunfull and George Johnson

Lily Trunful and George JohnsonLily Trunfull and George Johnson are co-owners of George Lily Antiques and Lady Kentmores stocking a range of antique collectibles, decorative furniture and oddities. George is the co-founder of Antiques Young Guns. Lily mainly deals in decorative furniture. The pair source items for a number of private clients and during the winter months are regulars selling and buying at fairs.
What areas/items are currently selling well?
In my opinion, the antiques trade is still in a state of flux. I sold at Kempton Park all this winter and found people still favour a mix of styles and prices. Good quality antiques will always sell.
What do you think are the current ‘good investment’ items – ones to watch?
We are still in a time of uncertainty with Brexit, etc, and many items are not reaching the high values of the past. But saying that, things will change and the market can and will return. It’s more about doing research and watching auction results then picking items which are currently undervalued.

George Lily Antiques at Bath Decorative FairWhat antiques do you have at home?
I live with my partner George Johnson and although we have other business interests we can’t stop buying and selling. It might sound crazy but we seem to build up a lot of furniture and items in our house, then wake up one morning and, without speaking to each other, have both decided it’s time to clear it all. Sometimes even selling the couch from under our bums!

What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
Items are considered more disposable now and the throw-away society is here. Electronics are considered out of date within years or even months. The early iPhones, and even Ikea pieces will eventually become collectible.

How is the industry changing and what will it look like in the future?
George Lily antique hat boxesWith high street rates and rents, shops are getting harder to make work. Fairs will continue but the internet will keep the trade alive.

Tell us some trade secrets – what are your top tips for buying antiques?
Research, early mornings, not being afraid to walk away and of course buckets of coffee!

What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?
Something with a nice big profit, I don’t care for itsy-bitsy pieces, it has to be practical and usable, and I hate ornaments and dust collectors

You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?
Baskets, they always sell.

Kempton Park Antiques MarketWhere are your favourite antique hunting destinations?
Kempton Park, owned by people who are passionate about the trade and the only true trade fair.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
Thinking that dealers sell items quicker than they really do and panic buying off dealers too early, unless an item is rare. Don’t pay over the top.

How does the industry encourage younger buyers?
Until Antiques Young Guns came along, it didn’t! I started dealing with my parents and struggled to find people my own age. Now we have a voice and support. This is great for the future. Also, interiors has become very fashionable and on the back of Instagram it has now became accessible and trendy, so encourages younger people to get involved.

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