All about the ‘hunt’ at antiques centre

TREASURE ISLAND: Iain Anderson of 3 Pieces of Eight Antiques at Baytree Garden Centre, Weston.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG300417-182TW.
TREASURE ISLAND: Iain Anderson of 3 Pieces of Eight Antiques at Baytree Garden Centre, Weston. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG300417-182TW.

Iain Anderson’s destiny to set up 3 Pieces of Eight Antiques in Weston can be traced back to his youth when he and his grandmother visited car boot sales.

What started out as an online business which also traded at antique fairs, Iain has taken 3 Pieces of Eight Antiques to a shop inside Baytree Garden Centre where he has been since December.

Specialising in different, unusual and rare items, the dad-of-four from Spalding came up with a name for his business after watching a movie.

Iain said: “I was watching Pirates of the Caribbean and there was mention of ‘nine pieces of eight’.

“At the time, me and my wife had three children so I said out loud ‘three pieces of eight’ which sounded better than ‘Iain Anderson Antiques’.

“Since then, we’ve had another child but I’m not changing the name of my business.”

In just four months, Iain has managed to attract customers and dealers from Essex, Dorset and Bedfordshire to his “treasure trove” at Weston.

He admitted that some hard work on social media during the four years he has dealt in antiques paid dividends in building up a following to his shop at Baytree.

Iain said: “I try and mix the traditional with quirky just to let people know that if you live in a Victorian-styled house, you don’t have to stick with Victorian antiques.

“I’ve been doing this professionally since 2013 after deciding to work for myself when I got injured in a motor cycle accident.

“But I’ve been buying and selling goods since the age of 14 when I started going to car boot sales with my nan.

“We’d meet at 7am on a Sunday morning and then go to a big car boot fair at Springfields (Festival Gardens) where we’d walk around looking at antiques.

“The first thing I remember selling was toys which I liked having because I didn’t get all the toys I wanted as a kid.

“I kept collecting toys until I was 20, then I sold them off when I moved in with my wife.”

No town or city is too far, no website too remote and no item too rare for Iain to buy for his shop.

The challenge for him is to hold onto those antiques that he likes himself, including items he doubts anyone would want to buy.

Iain said: “I started off with a very small budget, buying things for £10 and then trying to double my money with the sale.

“Even though my wife hates antiques, she could see that I fancied having a go at running my own business so she said ‘do it and see how you get on’.

“I’ve built the business up from a small, £300 pot to become one where once people have found us, they seem to like what we’re doing.

“On one occasion, I bought a leather chair from a court in Leicestershire which I had for a year.

“It was a solid oak chair, very heavy, which I took to different antique fairs but never sold.

“So I put it in the shop and, within a month, a customer saw it, fell in love with it and bought it.

“Every time she comes into the shop now, she still tells me how much she loves the chair.”

Iain has company at Baytree Garden Centre, with vintage collectables and upcycled furniture shop Funked Up Furniture and Vintage Wares, to be featured in the Spalding Guardian next week.

Run by David and Ann-Marie Carter, Iain said: “I didn’t know them until we decided to all go into Baytree.

“But over the four months we’ve been there, we’ve gelled quite nicely and they’ve become really good friends of mine.

“We attend auctions together, we help each other out and if there are things that we know each other likes, then we’ll get them for each other.”

For Iain, the secret to antique dealing is passion and good customer service which he claims has resulted in “a lot of people saying that 3 Pieces of Eight Antiques is one of the best shops at Baytree”.

He added: “People love the hunt and finding things that other people don’t have.”