1970s - The Advent of Containers

Relevant categories: DINING SETS , TABLES

In the 1970s the advent of containers to ship antiques around the world really influenced the business in a positive way. The introduction of sealed metal containers made it easier to send large consignments to the USA which previously would have had to be crated using wood - often an expensive and time consuming process. 

One of our first major US clients was the late and great Bill Peyton from Houston Texas and it was his regular custom that really coincided with the growth of containers as a successful means of shipment. We first met Bill in the late 1960s on a cold Wednesday morning when we unloaded our lorries fresh back from buying trips up and down the UK. There was around 10-15 people queuing up (in a line) outside the shop. One particular man was very patient. We spoke to Bill and he told us he was an auctioneer from Houston, Texas. I asked him whether he would accept consignments and he jumped at the opportunity and said he would be delighted.

London - Canonbury Antiques

He initially bought a third of a container as a tester. We filled the rest of the container with draw leaf tables that cost £5 each at the time which finished the box off. Eight weeks later Bill flew back over to London and we met him in his hotel in Muswell Hill. We were gobsmacked when he handed over a certified cashiers cheque for £4500 for goods that cost us £1200. This was a dream for us to be achieving such big profit margins (if only it was still true today!). Mr Peyton was as happy as I was as he made money on his commission.

Canonbury Antiques Hertfordshire showroom


This was the start of a long relationship that lasted for a decade 1968-1978 as we supplied his three auction houses in Dallas, Houston and Austin as we sent 2-4 containers per month to this one customer. The growth of the business - aside from the luck of meeting Bill - was also helped by the technological development of containers allowing us to regularly ship a high volume of goods. We are perhaps one of the first dealers in the UK to sieze this opportunity and we were even featured in Barclays Bank magazine as one of the best New Entreprenueurs for Export in 1975. 

Please come and visit us in our North London / Hertfordshire antiques showroom. We are located just where the A1 meets the M25 in leafy Herts. It's only 25 minutes north of London via train and we have visitors from all over the world as we are near Heathrow, Luton and Stanstead airports. We specialise in English dining furniture, art deco, continental antiques, bronzes, architectural and the world of interiors. Please let us know if there is anything else you need or are looking for.


Hertfordshire antiques


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