The dapper one who won’t get out of bed for less than a grand — hence the reputation for not really buying much — but who also often claims he just wants to find pieces good homes in museums.
What was your best deal of the series?
The piece I felt the most excited about was the Concorde nose cone. It had the lot – beauty, history, design, iconic status and extraordinary function. The most enjoyable deal was the Gilbert and George “drunk”, partly because I enjoyed sparring with the owner and because she had such a good story to tell – it’s so enjoyable to have a work of art’s context like that.
Was there a piece you desperately wanted that you didn’t manage to get your hands on?
I was very disappointed not to buy the Francis Bacon. It was the start of a series-long battle with a pair of foxy leather trousers!
Have you made a decent profit on anything you’ve bought during the series?
Profits are between me and my accountant. I can tell you I have sold all but one thing.
How do you know so much about such a wide range of subjects? Do you take advice?
It’s simply not possible to have an intimate knowledge of every subject, and I am sure that every dealer is well aware that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It is usually possible to make a call to a specialist who will give the lowdown, or who may have a client. The internet is, of course, useful and at lunchtime during filming most of us are hunkered down in front of a screen. Add that to experience and it will equate to a “gut feeling” on price.
And finally, what will you offer me for a collection of leatherbound volumes of every single Radio Times since 1923?
Is that around 2,300 volumes? Hopefully beautifully bound in Moroccan leather with gilt tooling? They belong in the British Library as a fantastic historical document. Going to be worth a fortune in 2511.