New Year, New Hobby…?

If you’ve ever wondered about what draws so many people into the magical world of collecting, why not come down and join us for the first Charing Cross Collectors Market of 2022 this New Years Day!

With knowledgeable traders to help you find your niche and tables full of bargains, you’re sure to find something which will spark your imagination. Whether it’s militaria, stamps, coins, banknotes, ephemera, antiques, postcards, autographs, football programmes…on any given day this is just a sample of the treasures for you to browse through. And you’ll always be sure of a warm welcome from Bridget, Jim and, of course, Dougal the Market Dog!

A Collector’s Cornucopia

The UK’s only weekly stamp, coin, postcard, militaria and ephemera collectors’ market is back this Saturday. Where else could you buy genuine military artefacts, some of the most sought after stamps and postcards from all corners of the globe, coins from the reign of Elizabeth I, historic signatures, ancient African ethnography and any number of other unusual and exotic items all under one roof? Every item has its own story to tell and our dealers are all specialists in their field. It’s unlikely that a more eclectic collectors market exists anywhere else in the world… It’s not for nothing that Charing Cross is traditionally regarded as the very centre of London. It’s certainly the home of collecting. So come along this Saturday from 7am to 2pm, browse to your heart’s content and see what our traders have for you this week!

Rodney Bolwell 1934-2021

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of the market’s founder, Rodney Bolwell.

For many years a significant figure in London’s coin and stamp collecting world, Rodney started his first market in 1974 under the arches on Villiers Street. He quickly became known as a man with integrity and someone who could be counted on to act in the best interest of everyone involved as, for instance, when he charged traders nothing at all for the first three months to help get things off the ground.  This certainly seemed to work and word spread quickly – at its peak, there were 150 stallholders there every week. The Charing Cross Collectors Market became a mainstay of the coin and stamp trade across the whole of the South of England and it was not uncommon for dealers from Europe and the United States to arrive at Heathrow on a Saturday and head straight there.

While he would go on to set up other offshoots in Hays Galleria and Tower Bridge, the trading forum at Charing Cross was always closest to his heart. Unfortunately, in the mid eighties, new development forced Rodney to move the operation. His bid for a place in the nearby shopping arcade was thwarted by an – ultimately baseless – counter bid and, well, that seemed to be that. Fortunately, the station master at London Bridge railway was sympathetic and his help was key to the market’s continuation on the station concourse in 1989. Yet he never gave up hope of returning to its original home in Charing Cross and in 1991 he began negotiating with the new managers of the Villiers Street site, Greycoat Accountants. Citing the Royal Charter enacted by Charles II that there had to be a market in the vicinity, he successfully argued that this was a legal entitlement and by April he, and his loyal band of traders, was back. 
And they’re still very much there.

Through rain and shine, the good and the bad, Rodney’s collectors market has survived. Now under the forward looking stewardship of his daughter, Bridget, the ranks of the coin and stamp dealers have been supplemented by traders in militaria, postcards, autographs, ephemera and antiques. It continues to be a place where deals are struck, old acquaintances renewed and the passion for collecting ignited. There is no better tribute to him. RIP

All Roads Lead to Charing Cross

The notional ‘centre of London’ since the early nineteenth century, Charing Cross is still the point from which all distances to the Capital are measured. How fitting then that the six spokes of this junction mirror the principle fields of collecting at Saturday’s weekly market: stamps, coins, militaria, ephemera, postcards and miscellaneous(!)

Originally a vegetable market, the site can trace its roots as a trading place back to the late seventeenth century. Access to its wares was given a further boost in 1845 when the Hungerford suspension bridge was built and the market thrived for over a century before it became established as London’s premier collectors’ market in 1974. So far as we can tell, it remains the only weekly collectors’ market anywhere in the UK.

The Home of Collecting

Whether it’s your first foray into collecting or you’re already an enthusiast, you’re sure to find something to spark your interest this weekend at Charing Cross Collectors Market. Browse to your heart’s content among the stamps, coins, postcards, militaria, ephemera, ethnography and all kinds of other historic items which have found their way down the decades to a stall in central London. Just holding items like these in your hands can summon up a sense of time and place which you may only have read about in the history books.

It’s not every day that you can see such a cornucopia of the unusual and unique. It’s just Saturdays. Between 7am and 3pm. At Charing Cross Market.

News Update

Following the recent government announcement outlining the roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions, we’ve been reviewing our approach to opening up the market again and are pleased to announce that – unless Government rules are changed – the planned opening date for the Collectors’ market is 17th APRIL!  This is obviously great news for both collectors and dealers who will be able to interact face to face when negotiating the best deals. As always though, our priority remains keeping the public and stall holders safe so this is uppermost in our minds when making the decision to re-open. Naturally, government guidelines must still be adhered to with the wearing of face masks, social distancing and keeping gatherings to the appropriate number.

We look forward to welcoming our regular and new visitors to the market!

Neil Tilt

On a more sad note, Bridget and Jim would like to offer their condolences to the family of Neil, a long standing member of the Charing Cross Market community who recently passed away after suffering serious ill health over the past few years.  He has been unable to attend the market for the past couple of years but we were in contact with him to obtain an update on his health.  Despite having much to contend with health-wise, Neil retained that same wonderful sense of humour and met life’s trials with dignity and acceptance.  He really was one of a kind and we know that he will be missed by many at the market.

Cool, calm, collecting

Whether it’s stamps, coins, theatre tickets, records or baseball cards, collecting is actually good for us. Simply being absorbed in a task which is not required of us by work or personal relationships is an excellent way to put the cares of the world to one side and psychologists agree that this is a very real benefit of any collecting hobby.

As we age, it becomes ever more important to keep the grey matter active. Regularly immersing ourselves in the history, provenance and characteristics of a collection is a great way to exercise our powers of observation, memory and judgement.

As a collector, you are part of a distinct social sub-group with a shared interest. Immediately, there is a rapport with any fellow collector and the social benefits of a mutual hobby often lead to lifelong friendships.

Finally, as the world continues to turn at an ever dizzying pace, there’s the nostalgia for a particular period in history. The past isn’t going anywhere soon. It can be a comforting anchor in the eye of the storm that is 24 hour news cycles. Whether it’s the football programmes you started collecting in childhood or finding an unusual coin in your change, collecting often has very mundane, but very enduring, roots. And while the average age of collectors in traditional fields like coins and stamps continues to rise, it has become an even broader church. The bug of collecting is every bit as strong in today’s children and while Happy Meal plastic toys and Pokemon cards might not be everyone’s cup of tea, they just might prove to be a gateway drug.

We’re Back! (Again!)

Yes. Once again the Shangri-La of the collectors’ world will be open to the public tomorrow – not quite as usual because of course we’ll be taking all the usual precautions to keep everyone safe. But the main thing is that London’s second most famous trading floor will once again bring together philatelists, numismatists, deltiologists, militaria buffs and collectophiles of all kinds. Some dealers are packed up by 2pm and early birds will always get the first chance to see what our traders have on offer so make sure you don’t miss the boat. We’re dying to see you – just don’t forget your mask!