Thursday, 8 March 2012

It's Antique

 
Roger Noons
 
Coffee with a splash of Cragganmore
 
 
 
 
 
‘It’s antique!’
‘How do you know?’
‘The man in the shop said.’
‘Said what,’ sighed my father, forever pedantic.
‘He said it was over a hundred years old,’ I replied trying to hold my temper.
‘Ah, and I always taught you that a true antique is something made before 1830.’
‘Yes, and you also told me that irrespective of whether it’s old, to only pay what it is worth to me, which is what I did.’
There was a silence while he turned the spoon over and over in his fingers.
‘How much did you pay?’
‘Thirty,’ I paused, ‘euros.’
‘Ooh,’ he sucked air in through his teeth, you would have thought I’d said a hundred pounds. ‘What’s that in proper money?’
‘About £25.’
‘Well at least that doesn’t sound so bad,’ he grudgingly allowed, reaching for his loupe. ‘What year do your reckon?’
‘I think it’s Chester, 1890, it’s a capital G.’
‘Any thoughts on the maker?’
‘I doubt it’s anyone of note, could well have been an apprentice. After all it’s only a spoon.’
‘Yes, but it’s attractive, I’ll give you that. Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad buy after all.’ He removed the magnifier and blinked half a dozen times, smiled and added. ‘I taught you well.’
‘So you agree with the date?’
‘Certainly looks that way.’ That was as definite as you ever got from  Dad, even in a good mood.
 
*
 
It was two weeks later when I visited my father again at his cottage by the lake. After the preliminaries, I handed him a presentation bag, the type that you put a bottle in, for a gift.
‘What’s this?’ he frowned.
‘Look inside.’ He withdrew the bottle of malt whisky.
‘Cragganmore, my favourite and eighteen year old too. Thank you son. Have you won the lottery?’
‘No dad, but do you remember that spoon, the one I showed you the last time I was here?’
‘The Chester one?’
‘Yes. Well I took it to a fair, in Stratford upon Avon. I sold it for £250.’
‘You never did! Was the buyer blind, or American?’
‘He is a collector of individual silver spoons, he has more than a thousand, he told me. When I showed him the date mark for 1825, a capital G, he agreed to my valuation.’
‘That was never 1825, we decided it was around about 1890, didn’t we?’
‘Yes, but when I explained to Harrison Jeffers, from Chicago, that I wasn’t sure whether it was the G of 1890 or 1825, he assured me that he was an expert, and insisted on paying the higher price.’ I grinned.
‘Well I’ll be damned,’ he said. ‘I taught you even better than I thought.’
 
*
 
As the old man pulled the cork, on a Cruise ship departing Barcelona, Mr  Jeffers was handing the spoon to a well known millionairess.
‘Oh Harrison, is this for me? How kind you are. It has my initials on it.’
‘My dear, that’s why I bought it for you, and it’s antique.’
 
BIO - Roger Noons began writing in 2006, when he completed a screenplay, for a friend who is an amateur film maker. After the film was made, he wrote further scripts, then began short stories and poems. He occasionally produces non fiction, particularly memoirs from his long career in Environmental Health. 

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