The biannual event is next held on September 29, offering items priced from £50 up to ‘tens of thousands’, and dealers attending include Runjeet Singh, Patrick Mestdagh, Peter Finer, Rodney Akeroyd & Son, West Street Antiques, Morion Antiques and Magazin Royal.
Brussels dealer Mestdagh is bringing along a Maori taiaha quarterstaff with abalone shell eyes, New Zealand, mid-19th century, which he has priced in the region of £3000.
Meanwhile, Singh hopes to bring a 17th century Indian mail shirt and large Kulah Zirah hood, from The Bikaner Armoury, Bijapur. The Warwickshire dealer says of the Indian armour market: “The majority of Indian chainmail armour that is in Western collections was de-accessioned by the Maharajah of Bikaner (Rajasthan) in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. The best of it went into a handful of private collections, and from time to time the chance arrives to buy something, although those collectors like to keep the best.”
The organisers – the team behind the 25 Blythe Road auction collective based round the corner in West Kensington – say the accompanying fair guide will include “essays by top academics from the world of antique arms and armour”. They include Ian Eaves, former keeper of armour at the Royal Armouries; Herbert G Houze, curator emeritus, Buffalo Bill Center, Cody Firearms Museum; and Stuart W Pyhrr, distinguished research curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The fair organisers sponsor the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, a charity which “funds the training and education of talented and aspiring craftspeople through traditional college courses, vocational training, apprenticeships or one on one training”.