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Tom Hurst, a dealer in African and Oceanic art.

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At 18 years old, Hurst (above) is at the start of his dealing career and is evidence that a new generation of dealers is coming through.

Hurst is pleased with the spears and Ethiopian Oromo shield he has purchased elsewhere at Newark. As he haggles on the mull with Flintlock Antiques, stalled out in the stables on the Newark & Notts Showground’s perimeter, Hurst gets a lesson from the older generation.

At Flintlock’s stall there are militaria, marine and commemorative objects. As owner Fred Tomlinson, a dealer for 50 or so years, accepts Hurst’s offer of £60 on the snuff mull, he advises the youngster not to push dealers too far on price.

“He’s done all right on that mull,” Tomlinson says, as he counsels Hurst on the benefits of exploring the stands on the entire span of the Newark fair’s 84 acres of stalls and stands. “I’m happy to do the discount, as so many young people don’t buy or trade antiques.”

Young guns

Drawing in a younger crowd of buyers is an issue which IACF is addressing, in particular at Ally Pally. Groups such as Pop Up Vintage and the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association were invited to have stalls this year, says Rachel Everett, IACF operations manager, “to bring a different, often younger clientele”.

Surely now the challenge is to get younger buyers interested in classic antiques, as Everett stresses. Ally Pally’s emphasis remains “focused on traditional sought-after quality antiques”.

At the same time, though, IACF is happy with Ally Pally’s tailored formula for a London consumer fair.

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