Dealers and customers alike were united in their praise for the organisers of a three-day Antiques and Fine Arts Fair at the NEC in Birmingham this month which marked the return of the popular event under a new team.

Classic Antique Fairs is the brainchild of Ceramics collector John Andrews of Scottow Antiques in Kent who turned his disappointment at the news there would be no such fairs in 2023 into action by running one himself.

Not only did his event attract some of the best and most respected names in the business to exhibit but it also inspired collectors and bargain hunters who turned up in droves, despite the threat of roadworks and rail strikes.

“I must admit it was pretty nerve-wracking running an event like this for the first time, but I had a strong support team and so many people who told me they were pleased we were doing it that I just pressed on,” said John.

“Seeing the pride the exhibitors took in their stands and the excitement on the faces of the visitors as they came in made it all worthwhile, plus of course some favourable trading taking place” added John who said the response had given him the confidence to look into more dates and venues for next year.

One dealer, who was invited onto Sunday with Michael Portillo on GB News to promote the Fair, was Tom Smith of Staffordshire based Dovecote Antiques. He said the event had lived up to his expectations and there had been a great atmosphere.

Clocks and watches expert Richard Price – a regular on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow – echoed Tom’s observations and said: “It really was wonderful to be back at the NEC at such a prestigious and well-organised event. Having a classic antiques fair run by a dealer, for dealers, is something I am certainly delighted to support and it was pleasing to see so many visiting over the three days.”

Keith Ellis from Ellis Fine Art in Yorkshire was on trend, with the City’s cinemas showing the blockbuster Napoleon, having brought with him an exquisite pair of hall or library chairs designed by Georges Jacob who supplied furniture for the emperor’s residences. Keith said he had wanted to come back to the NEC for a long time.

Especially for the return to Birmingham, Levels Antiques from Somerset brought two rare Arts and Crafts brooches with connections to the City while Midlands based Andrew Muir brought an Arts and Crafts mantle clock by Jesson, Birkett & Co. of Birmingham. Andrew said the event had filled a void in the industry.

Attending their first major Fair as exhibitors, Matthew Coles and Brittany Heckford from Coles Antiques of Wells and Weston-super-Mare said they were delighted with their first experience of the event in such a prestigious venue and hoped to be back next year.

Visitors Frank and Joan Postlethwaite travelled from Southport to attend and said they had been coming to the Fairs at the NEC for years and were delighted to be able to do so again.

Dates for Fairs in 2024 will be announced shortly. To find out more, visit