Deborah Hartman's Reviews > Random Treasure: Antiques, Auctions and Alchemy

Random Treasure by Roger  Stewart
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it was amazing

This book is a treasure! If you like antiques and hunting for treasure (in thrift shops, charity shops, auctions and the like), this book is for you. Roger Stewart takes you along as he goes in search of "lost and forgotten" antiques. He tells the story behind some of his precious finds - one key example is a wooden carving of a Saint he won at a local auction. He paid a few hundred dollars (well, he's in Scotland so its pounds) but in the end we learn it's worth many many times that. I won't give it away. But you will learn more than just the monetary worth of these special objects. The author describes his explorations as he investigates each object - what it is, when and where it was created and by whom, its historical significance, and what may have happened to it from the time it was made to how it ended up in a the back of a charity shop or auction house.

Roger Stewart examines many aspects of antiques buying and selling. Is there such a thing as an "Eye" for antiques - or for any fans of the series Lovejoy - a "divvy"? How do you research your finds when you have little idea of what you have found? How do you buy and sell antiques at auctions? What are the ethical and moral dilemmas that may arise in selling antiques?

This book also looks at the differences between being a collector, dealer, hoarder, connoisseur and dilettante. How do you make sure your hobby collecting antiques doesn't morph into an overwhelming obsession and compulsion.

There's so much more I could say to recommend this book. His writing is charming and funny. I'd say the only thing that would be better than reading Random Treasure would be to walk along with the author as he hunts for treasures in his favorite shops and auction houses. Or to see his latest finds in person and to hear their histories over cups of tea.

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Reading Progress

2018 – Started Reading
June 20, 2018 – Finished Reading
June 21, 2018 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Roger (new) - added it

Roger Stewart Hi Deborah.

Thank you so much for your very kind and perceptive review! Next time you're in Scotland, please do get in touch and I'll be absolutely delighted delighted to take you on my rounds of the local Edinburgh second-hand shops and salerooms. And then we can discuss our findings over as many cups of tea as you care to drink.

Best regards.


Deborah Hartman Thank you so much! I would love to do that. Long long ago I studied in England for a year of university and went to Scotland as often as I could. I would love to return someday. Hope to take you up on this!

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