Philip Serrell drops into Ely to find a bargain or two for the BBC Antiques Road Trip
- Credit: Archant
Ely antique dealer Peter Warwick was both surprised and delighted when the BBC rang for the second time in two years to host a visit from the Antiques Road Trip crew.
On Saturday it was Philip Serrell who turned up on the doorstep of his St Mary Street shop to begin haggling for bargains.
Not that Peter expected Mr Serrell to negotiate for some of his more expensive items – he has watches worth tens of thousands of pounds.
And some rare coins would bust not only the show’s budget but the channel’s annual budget!
However, Peter was confident of striking a deal – that we were not allowed to see or eavesdrop on to avoid spoiling the fun for when the programme is broadcast.
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Having tried to tempt Peter to allow me to buy some old banknotes for a pound and offered a more realistic (but futile) bid for some silver, I can only hope the more accomplished Mr Serrell fared better.
St Mary’s Antiques & Jewellers has been owned by Peter and his partner, Christine Newstead, for four years.
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But Peter’s knowledge and experience goes back many years and embraces the decades he spent owning shops including one in Cambridge.
A diamond setter by trade, he spent many years in Cambridge restoring silver owned by colleges.
“I suppose you could say I’m semi-retired,” said Peter who opens daily from 10am to 3pm but is often out providing valuations and advice.
And retirement is not really an option since “in our trade you never sell everything” so there is always a deal to be done with someone, somewhere.
He is also keen to let people know they can turn to him for advice or for free valuations.
And if he cannot sell it then “I can place most things with other dealers or collectors round the country”.
Peter says there is still the daily thrill of helping people to discover what their items might be worth, and often what they were used for, and of “putting stuff on shelves to help educate those who pop by”.
By coincidence it is a year this month that the last visit by the BBC to his shop aired. In 2019 when it was filmed it was auctioneer Charles Hanson striking the deals with Peter. He filmed the entire show in the shop, too.