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TV celebrity buyers meet their match

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

TV STARS: Fiona Phillips, Uzella Court Antiques owner Judith Carrigan, and Charles Hanson. : Phil Carrigan

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ANTIQUES traders Mike Dobbie and Judith Carrigan were the real stars when two celebrities visited Lostwithiel this summer.

Celebrity Antiques Road Trip aired on September 4, with celebrities Fiona Phillips and Richard Madeley hunting down hidden treasures in the South West with the help of experts Charles Hanson and James Braxton.

Mike, of Nanadobbie, and Judith, of Uzella Court Antiques, opened their doors to the BBC crews on May 21 but they did not let down their guard.

"Some of the professionals tried to beat down the prices, but they won't do that with me. I can stand my ground when I need to," said Judith.

Mike thought that the concept of the show was the wrong way around: Buying from dealers to take to auction was flawed, as antiques were usually bought at auction to be sold in shops.

However everyone was happy to play along and the two dealers enjoyed their interaction with the celebrities.

Mike said: "It was really nice; Charles Hanson is a smashing bloke, I've met him before. The whole thing was good fun."

Judith was equally complimentary about TV presenter Fiona Phillips:

"She was the nicest person you could ever wish to meet, and understood how things work."

The celebrity entrepreneurs purchased a 1964 poster for the film Zulu from Nanadobbie, and a porcupine quill box, cigar humidifier and silver pen from Uzella Court.

At auction, all the items were sold at a loss but Mike and Judith were both happy with the resulting interest in their respective businesses, and with the good publicity Lostwithiel has received.

Mike said: "The next morning I had a stream of enquiries online. The programme showed the town in a positive light and we need to attract visitors."

Judith said that one of the buyers at auction subsequently came to visit the shop to see where the antiques had been bought from.

"We've had a lot of people in." She said. "One of the reasons I did it was because we need the advertising for Lostwithiel, and the town was portrayed as a lovely place.

"If we can get more people into the town everyone benefits, cafés, restaurants ... I think it worked well."

Despite being camera-shy, Judith remained open to a further visit from the BBC: "I think I would do it again but I won't change my tactics – they pay what I say or go away."

She also envied the lifestyle of the celebrity antiques dealer: "If someone wanted to pay me to drive around the country in a vintage car looking at antiques, I'd say 'bring it on.'"

Lostwithiel holds an antiques fair on the second Saturday of every month.

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