The late Tony Coakley.

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He traded in collectables, Art Nouveau and Art Deco from The Georgian Village in Camden Passage; and throughout the 1980s from his prominent stand in the Chenil Galleries, King’s Road, Chelsea, where he specialised in Franz Hagenauer sculptures, Lalique glass and early 20th century motoring collectables.

Tony’s early post-war career included owning a chewing gum factory in Cricklewood and introducing collectors’ cards for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Over the years he added further series featuring The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Monkees, footballers and cricketers.

This enterprise allowed him to travel to the US where his life-long affection for burgers and hot dogs, relish, sticky ribs and fried onion rings began.

During this period, he also developed a love for car racing, rallying and building cars – he built two Lotus cars for racing, and met Graham Hill who worked as a mechanic at the Lotus factory in Hornsey. He and Graham would become lifelong friends, even competing in the RAC Rally together.

Tony later bought a garage and car showroom so he could prepare his cars for racing. He loved cars, famously he had one of the first E-Type Jaguars, a Range Rover and a Mini Moke. He also owned and loved boats and motor homes, in which the family travelled for getaway adventures.

Family life

Tony married twice, first to Fay with whom they had three children – Sheridan, the man behind the furniture store SCP in Shoreditch; Mandy, who created her London based agency representing extraordinary and talented hair and make-up artists; and Sian, who has a catering business specialising in delicious vegetarian and vegan food, also wonderful cakes some of your readers may have enjoyed at the Battersea Decorative fairs.

His second wife was Joanna Bailey, a journalist and film promoter, with whom they had Victoria, recruiter for the NHS, and Annabel who succumbed to cancer in 2018.

It was Jo who sometime around 1976 introduced Tony to what was to become his new career in antiques and the up and coming field of Art Nouveau and Deco, travelling to flea markets in London and Paris.

Tony was close to and well liked by his peers such as Dan Klein and Michael and Jackie Pruskin. Michael, with whom Tony enjoyed playful bantering, shared this memory: “Tony was fun because he was so grumpy… and so English… I remember having a pasta with him (in the café) at the back of Chenil, and Franco put so much salt in it was impossible to eat. I wanted to complain, but Tony wouldn’t let me. He ate it…”

Eventually health concerns caught up with him, mostly his eyesight, then hearing loss and mobility. Being a truly generous family man, Tony instilled how important a family life was and encouraged all his children to be close and caring. He also taught to forgive and forget over any disagreements.

Both Fay and Jo passed away before him, as did Annabel. He is survived by son Sheridan, daughters Mandy, Sian and Victoria, and seven grandchildren.

Jacqueline Pruskin on behalf of the family