Every Christmas when I was a girl a pair of nutcrackers and a corkscrew made their annual pilgrimage from the back of a kitchen drawer to the sitting room table. For me, it was quite the festive highlight. This was, after all, the ‘70s when, much like today, everyone was hard up. (I remember one year Santa bringing me a new school skirt.) So any deviation from the humdrum, no matter how slight, was a cause for celebration. I spent hours sending the pair on yuletide capers, each foray into the nut bowl more exciting than the last.
Years later, of course, I realised I’d not been alone in anthropomorphising the Brazil bashers. Tchaikovsky had gone a step further, put the whole thing to music and it later became one of the greatest ballets of all time. And it turns out the Russian composer’s work was, itself, based on a story-telling tradition going back centuries.
The nutcracker’s long history is explored on page 18, in a feature where we also catch up with the owner of the world’s largest collection of the culinary device.
We are in similarly nostalgic mood (it must be the time of year) on page 30, when we look back at the equally noble history of the humble marble. Here, Jerry Burley recalls how discovering a favourite 'jumbo' after 45 years kick-started a new collecting obsession.
I’m not sure I ever knew the rules of marbles (did anyone?) but I well remember the hypnotic effect of staring into their glassy loveliness.
And, talking of games of which the finer points elude me, the final of the World Cup takes place on December 18 and, at the time of writing, I have no idea of the fate of our national squad. But I do know one thing about the sport: the market for collecting football shirts has soared in recent times (ever since the jersey worn by Diego Maradona for his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal sold for £7.1m in May). On page 44 we consider the clubs, players and games whose shirts attract the heftiest prices.
Finally, if you are still stuck for a Christmas present for the antiques lover in your life, why not take inspiration from our gift guide on page 34, or make the most of our festive book offers on page 56?
From all the team at Antique Collecting I wish you a healthy and peaceful Christmas and a very happy new year.
IN THIS ISSUE
ROSA ASSENNATO Meet the Antiques Roadshow’s
latest recruit, page 8
THOMAS JENNER-FUST A day in the life of the Cheltenham
auctioneer, page 39
GREGOR KLEINKNECHT Reveals how to avoid the pitfalls of
buying at auction, page 53
Georgina Wroe, Editor
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We love this mixed case of Champagne including six half bottles of 1966 Moët
et Chandon which has an estimate of £250-£400 at Lyon & Turnbull’s sale
on December 7
Previews a very poignant upcoming sale, page58
THE TEAM Editor: Georgina Wroe, georgina.
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