The Centre of London, the Home of Collecting

Long regarded as the very centre of London, Charing Cross also enjoys a distinguished position as the only weekly Collectors Market in the UK. Stamps, coins, militaria, postcards, ephemera and antiques of all kinds can be found here every Saturday from 7am till 3pm. Experienced collectors, dedicated amateurs and curious first time visitors all rub shoulders in the exciting hunt for their next big find. Come along this weekend and discover your passion!

A Safe Pair of Hands to Carry the Past into the Future

Visiting the market from Torquay with his Dad last Saturday, 11 year old Zach is normally looking to add more decimal currency to his collection. On this occasion though, it was a Freemason’s Chronicle on one of the ephemera stalls which caught his eye. Some might wonder what appeal such an esoteric old volume might have for a young lad just starting secondary school but Zach’s answer spoke volumes about his maturity. “It’s not the actual monetary value. I just love the history of the item” – clearly a young man of taste and discernment! We look forward to seeing him again.

It’s all here…

Whether it’s a (defused!) WWII grenade, a set of Italian stamps commemorating the international gymastics competition of 1951, a silver tetradrachm from the third century BC or an Eagle comic from 1983 featuring Dan Dare taking on the evil might of the Mekon….chances are we’ve got it.

This is just a sample of some of the treasures on offer every Saturday at Charing Cross Collectors’ Market. Add to your collection (or start one!) this Saturday in the heart of Central London.

Medal That Cost Engraver His Sight

Smaller than a penny but minutely engraved with the profiles and (names!) of 21 European royals, this medallion is a touching tribute from one old man to his colleagues at a Birmingham die sinking factory. Approaching the end of his working life and with his sight failing, the man (whose name we don’t even know) spent every spare moment working to create something for his workmates to remember him by. The intricate work took seven years’ and hastened his blindness. He used the die to cast just five examples and then broke it up, retired and died within a few months completely blind.

Although Queen Victoria is the central portrait on one side and the (then?) Prince and Princess of Wales on the other, this is very hard to date. Various other nobles, the Duchess of Connaught and Princess Louise among them, can be seen round the outside. The only source we have is the Daily Mail article seen here but if anyone knows any more please get in touch.

Lone Star State Visitors

Cementing Texas’ reputation as ‘the friendly state’, Paige Henderson and Karen Preece paid us a visit last Saturday. Old hands at sightseeing in the UK and veteran antique market enthusiasts, they were delighted to find Charing Cross Collectors Market in the heart of London. Both left with special souvenirs of their visit: Paige, on the left, found a Victorian silver spoon while Karen picked up its Georgian vintage counterpart. “We’ll definitely be coming back and we’ll bring our husbands next time – they’ll love it!”

A Parting Gift from Dear Old England

Dating from the mid-nineteenth century, these buttons form part of the uniform worn by prisoners sentenced to transportation to Australia or Tasmania. The buttons and uniform remained property of the Crown but one can only imagine how rigorously that was observed on the other side of the world. In any case, new arrivals quickly found that they could be used as currency in their own right since buttons made in the colony were very plain in comparison. The smaller button sewn onto the black silk rosette formed part of a bicorn hat and the uniform as a whole was cleverly designed to allow prisoners to get dressed and undressed while still bound in chains joined at the wrist and ankle.

Starting them young

Like this young family, many passers by find us by happy accident and are always amazed by the variety and interest of what our dealers have on offer. No doubt these two budding collectors pestered their parents to visit the market before passing out with exhaustion when faced with so many collectable coins, stamps, postcards, antiques and military items. See you again soon!

Buttoned up generation who wouldn’t back down

Hand-made silk buttons are ten a penny if you know where to look – even ones that are over a hundred years old like this one.  But few are a subtle reminder of a movement which galvanised women across Britain in a bid to win the right to vote.  A Venus symbol picked out in the suffragette colours of purple, white and green, this was one Edwardian woman’s show of support for Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union.  The more moderate suffragists fought under a different organisation and a different flag so this suggests real conviction on the part of whoever wore it.

‘Deeds not words’ was the suffragettes’ motto – chaining themselves to railings, disrupting meetings, breaking windows and, of course, most famously, Emily Davison throwing herself under the king’s horse at the Derby in 1913.  A measure of their success is that when we think of the women’s movement of the time it is images of their direct action which come to mind first rather than letters to the Times, petitions or public meetings. But all gestures play their part, even this small button – a discreet memento of a fascinating battle in the struggle for gender equality, not to mention a perfect complement to International Women’s Day 2019!