Arms and armour specialist Thomas Del Mar.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

West London arms and armour specialist Thomas Del Mar is launching a new fair just round the corner from his auction house hub.

The Olympia Arms Fair is devoted to arms, armour and militaria, with the inaugural edition taking place on September 30 in the Pillar Hall at the Olympia exhibition centre.

“We feel very strongly that London has space for its existing antique arms fairs as well as our event,” says Del Mar, who founded the 25 Blythe Road auction house collective in 2007.

The former Sotheby’s specialist uses a characteristically colourful phrase to sum up his target audience: “Collectors are the DNA of the antique arms, armour and militaria industry and the dealers within the field the mitochondria that power it.

“The event is principally for collectors and, though we are the organisers, we consider it to be hosted by the exhibitors who include some of the leading dealers in the field.”

Del Mar emphasises that the event will not just be a talking shop for militaria cognoscenti but rather “every table will be a place where you can purchase something that day and walk away with it”.

He adds: “We recognise the active collecting community of all ages in this discipline and are keen that this is an event where you can walk in, meet like-minded people and go home with a piece of history.”

The hall is the same venue chosen by organisers of the Antique Doll Teddy Bear and Toy Fair, which launched in November 2016.

Dealer response

Del Mar says: “To date there has been an extremely positive response and we are almost at capacity with tables and stands, involving in excess of 40 dealers in arms, armour and militaria.”

A list of exhibitors will appear online shortly.

Prices should range from £50 to £100,000 and, says Del Mar, “the timeline of objects will cover Bronze Age to the First World War, with pieces from all over the globe”.

The fair will also include some dealers specialising in tribal which the organiser says “will hopefully broaden the event to another collecting category”.

The Olympia Arms Fair promises to add to a vibrant London scene that includes the Britannia Medals Fair (held twice a year at the Victory Services Club in Marble Arch – the next on November 19) and the long-running London Antique Arms Fair at the Hotel Ibis in Earls Court (see separate story).