Our fascination for junk markets/flea markets and TV shows like Antiques Roadshow and Pawn Stars is now well known to you all. We happened to visit the Interior Show at the Novotel in Vizag in desperate search of book shelves (can’t wait for Ikea to get to India). An unlikely antiques shop from Chandigarh was part of the exhibition, Fatima Naaz and Sons. We picked up a couple of beauties from him. This was also the way we marked the purchase of Fox River.
This candle stand which is incredibly heavy, the seller says is EPNS – Electro Plated Nickel Silver. It has some interesting markings or hallmarks which I cannot seem to decipher or find the meaning of on the internet. They’re always doing it on the Antiques Roadshow but if anyone knows of an antique dealer I’d be really interested to know what these markings mean. There’s a website called ‘Value Your Stuff’ which came to fame on Dragon’s Den but it costs around £7 to have one item valued which is a little steep to me. The only thing I can make out is the word Jordon with a crown on top and Conti Confetteria, which I think is an Italian company.
We also bought this coffee pot with what look like Middle Eastern etchings. The shape is middle eastern as well, although not Turkish. I’m hoping they are hand done etchings and not machine made. The handle is made of horn as is the little bobble on top. The shape and the etchings really appealed to me.The marking below just says 162. There are no other hallmarks.
The handle design seems to appear from way back as 1692 and a paper on coffee pot designs features this handle design extensively. The closest looking to the one we have is this below with similar handle and top, although the spout on this one is more shapely. This is a Wastell Pot 1720-21 design.
Piled up on a table were around 100 stamp duty papers ranging from 1904 to 1950s. Our eyes were drawn to the heads of Queen Victoria (ruled 1837-1901), Edward VII (ruled 1901-1910), George V (ruled 1910-1936) and George VI, Queen Elizabeth’s father (ruled 1936-1952) on the tops of the stamp paper. This means they are all pre-independence. Some had English written court orders on them but most were in an Arabic script. The most recent in English is post-independence, relating to a shop in a market which one man wanted permission to take over because the original owner had ‘evacuated’ to Pakistan. Another spoke of a man found 7 miles from his village, snooping around in someone else’s house and was then apprehended by the villagers. The oldest we have is dated 1904.
The beautifully neat writing and the age of the documents drew us to select these. I sent them to 2 translation companies, who have given me contradictory information on the script. The Indian translator says it is not Urdu but ancient Farsi. The Farsi translator has told me it is Urdu. So the mystery continues. If you know anyone who could read this script, please do get in touch. We’ve since learned from Ebay that the older the stamp paper and higher the value of the stamp paper, the more valuable it is. So the Rs5 with George V seems to be our most valuable although the Queen Victoria dated 1904 for 4 annas is the oldest we have.
While we were going through the pile, a lady asked us what we were doing. When we told her, she asked with bewildered scepticism, “So you want these just for the heck of it?” When I told her it was a part of our country’s history, that documented the ordinary lives of people at time when we had foreign masters, she was only mildly convinced.
Once again an appeal to anyone who thinks they could decipher this script or the design/hallmarks of the candle stand and coffee pot,