TV auctions star Thomas Forrester snaps up a Midlands bargain

Television antiques expert Thomas Forrester has snapped up a real bargain for himself in the Midlands.

SHREWS COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 08/08/2020 - Bargain Hunt filiming at Shrewsbury Flea Market based at West Mid Showground in Shrewsbury..
SHREWS COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 08/08/2020 - Bargain Hunt filiming at Shrewsbury Flea Market based at West Mid Showground in Shrewsbury..

The Bargain Hunt favourite is busy expanding his business interests by buying up Aston's Auctioneers.

It is the latest investment Thomas has made in our region. His wife Jessica is from the Black Country and they now live on the Shropshire border near Newport.

He was at the auction house in Tower Street, Dudley, which had been run by father and son Phil and Chris Aston, to shake hands on the deal.

Thomas says he loves the area and is already active in his work as an antiques dealer across the West Midlands, Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Chris Aston passes over the gavel to Thomas Forrester outside the auction house

And he is still busy making new programmes of Bargain Hunt, a programme that has spawned a number of similar shows on TV.

He said: "I married a Black Country girl and she brought me up here and I soon fell in love with the area.

"I have been doing regular valuations in Wombourne at Connolly & Co. I love being up here – the people are so friendly.

"When this opportunity came up in the trade press, Jessica and I had a chat with our business partner and decided to go for it. It seems like a lovely fit."

He said he still loved appearing on BBC 1's Bargain Hunt on which he first featured 20 years ago. It has opened up the world of antiques to a new audience and has also turned Thomas into an unlikely celebrity, along with other shows like Antiques Road Trip.

Fun

He said: "It is great fun. I was 26 when it started and the show is still great to be involved in.We were filming only last week in Shrewsbury when the rain was pouring down."

Aston's, which specialised in auctions and valuations of collectable toys and model railways and film and music memorabilia, was set to close down after 15 years in the town before Thomas's Special Auction Services of Newbury in Berkshire moved in to buy it and expand their business.

It follows SAS's successful move and growth to a brand new purpose-built premises in Newbury.

The acquisition of the Grade II listed Baylies Hall will provide a second auction room in the Midlands.

Special Auction Services, of which Thomas is director, started auction life 15 years ago holding six auctions selling around 4,000 lots in its first year and today holds at least 50 auctions annually and sells more than 40,000 lots.

The aim is to continue to grow following the acquisition of a second auction room premises.

Thomas said: "It is a beautiful building steeped in history and the name and reputation Aston's have made for themselves is a mantel we are keen to carry on."

Both SAS and Aston's as specialist toy auction houses have always had a very positive relationship between the two.

The other SAS director Neil Shuttleworth explained: "Although perhaps a bit sooner than we would have envisaged growing our business further, Aston's was too good an opportunity to miss."

Consultant

The auction calendar and format at the Tower Street auction house will remain largely the same with SAS keen to keep Phil Aston on as a consultant one day a week for as long as his retirement enjoyment permits.

Phil's son Chris is moving to France where he has lived part time for the last five year but may now work as a European consultant for SAS as well.

The final online only Aston's Auctioneers sale of toys and collectables is on Thursday, October 29 at 10am and will include a rare Star Wars action figure that was found in a bin bag in a Stourbridge garage.

Chris said: "It will be the last lot in our last sale. The Vinyl Cape Jawa is one of the most collectable of the original Star Wars figures. It is likely to make £20,000 which would be the most expensive toy we have ever sold – and a fitting way to go out.

"Our main specialisation has always been toys. It was the reason we go into the business."

He said the Stourbridge garage had also had several other Star Wars figures that were worth thousands of pounds.

"When we got there they were getting ready to put them in the skip," added Chris.

The business will close after this auction with all lots to be removed from the premises by November 20.

Special Auction Services, which will be opening in Dudley in January, is currently taking enquiries for valuations in the area by appointment.

"We are planning monthly auctions and will continue to sell toys, collectables and film posters. It is going to be very exciting. We will be doing whatever we can to employ local people," added Thomas.

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