Hands up who loves the Quest show, Salvage Hunters? For those of you who haven’t seen it, it features the antiques and salvage dealer, Drew Pritchard and his team, scouring the UK unearthing wonderful treasure to sell. They travel far and wide, to anything from stately homes to other salvage dealers, in search of antiques and 20th century furniture, lighting, curios and more. What makes this great viewing isn’t just the hope of finding wonderful gems, but also learning how the team will restore each item to make it’s maximum profit.
How did you get into salvaging; were you a collector first or an antique dealer first?
I was definitely a salvager first. From the age of around eight, I was scouring local tips – which there are a lot of in rural Wales – for anything that people had thrown away but especially push bikes and car badges. A particular highlight was going to the scrap yard to find pieces for my father’s vintage cars and finding items that people had thrown away that I would keep in little tin boxes in my bedroom, boxes my parents are still discovering today.
We also spent hours with my father in his mini-van touring farmyards in the North Wales valleys looking for vintage motorbike parts and entire summers were spent beech-combing in the estuary next to our house for oars and boat paraphernalia which Tee and I would drag back to my house. We’d sell them on the side of the road by our house – this is the first time I made money out of things people threw away but I saw as treasure. It all started from there really.
Why do you focus on the things you do? Was this a particular style you loved or did you grow into it for its commercial value?
I just decided to concentrate on selling pieces I loved, that reflected my own taste, whether commercial or not. I absolutely love 19th century industrial design furniture and early Georgian painted furniture and most things from the aesthetic movement.
How did you find your team and how long have you all be together? And your wife: was she interested in antiques/collectables before she met you?
I’ve been very lucky in recruiting the team I have today with our newest employee having worked for me for a year and the longest serving for thirteen. I met Rebecca when she came to my shop; she was involved in the fashion industry as a buyer so has always had a good idea of the aesthetic.
What can we expect from the new series?
Fun! and lots of it. This was the most fun series to film so far. Particular highlights for me was the shoot in Germany and Northern Ireland – we bought fantastic amounts of great pieces with some mega finds amongst them!
What’s been the highlight of the show? Any sales you wish you had kept?
A highlight for me was standing in the roof of a fairy-tale, Bavarian Castle in Germany buying bronze swan lights from a Count and a Baron. They sold almost immediately!
What is the one thing you have never found but want to?
A piece of furniture designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
And finally did you keep the life-size Elvis figure?
No we donated it to a hospice so that they could raise much needed funds.
Make sure you set your video recorder so you don’t miss the first episode! And share your thoughts and love via Twitter using #salvagehunters
p.s. A huge thank you for everyone who voted for me in the Amara Interior blog awards. I am not sure if I have been successful but I appreciate all the love anyway!
p.p.s. Love what Drew unearths? Check out some of my favourite pieces from previous years here. And tell me which one is your favourite!!