Interview: Clyde Terry, Antique purveyor

more than a year ago
Clyde Terry is the owner of Clyde on 4th Antiques and Collectables in Melville. He is also the person behind Gauteng's top Antique Fairs. He describes himself as a small-town boy who followed his passion and found joy in every moment of what he has achieved and done — an entirely reasonable stance for someone who's been featured in Forbes for his achievements! He took over the Nelson Mandela Square Antique Fair, the largest monthly antique fair in South Africa, 28 years ago and started the National Antique Fair 15 years ago. Clyde also started Brooklyn's Antique Fair in Pretoria, a bespoke antique fair with 15 top traders. 

Clyde has successfully run these iconic Gauteng Antique Fairs monthly with the support of antique association members only. We chatted to Clyde to delve deeper into his antique collecting history ahead of the Brooklyn Mall Antique Fair (first Saturday) and the Nelson Mandela Square Antique Fair (First Sunday) taking place at the start of each month. 
Clyde Terry, Antique Purveyor and lover of beautiful objects.  Image courtesy of Forbes magazine

What was the first antique item you ever fell in love with and had to have?
My first antique purchase was a pair of pique Edwardian Rosewood beds with incredible inlay. They travel with me with every move. 

What do you love to collect?
Jan Dingemans' art.

Tell us a bit about current trends that you are seeing at your markets? 
The younger generation is looking for items they can use and enjoy, number one being candlesticks and number two being silver or Porcelain tea sets. The antique industry still sets trends in many ways and always will.

"I love to find future custodians for the treasures of the past..."

What would you advise someone who wants to start collecting antiques?
Collect what you love and buy from the experts who can offer you sound advice. 

What’s the most bizarre antique item you have had land in your hands?
A few years ago I had a rare easel desk, with only four of them known in the world at the time. 

Does every object have a story?
I believe antiques can talk to you — so yes they do have a story. The stories vary per item. Some of course, have historic stories and others are personal to the families that owned them. 

Your job must lead you to interesting places?
When you are a collector the word antique can stop your car before you put on the brakes. I have been to many places that have had me in awe. More recently, I went to the Tiffany Exhibition in London and was blown away by the beauty and craftsmanship of this iconic brand. The displays were young and trendy and the experience of seeing the famous Tiffany Yellow Diamond was something to remember forever.
The iconic Tiffany Diamond on display at the 'Vision & Virtuosity' exhibition at the London’s Saatchi Gallery

What is the most satisfying part of what you do?
I love to find future custodians for the treasures of the past — these items are so amazing, they need to be preserved for furtive generations — every generation has some thing that will be the antiques of tomorrow. 

"I always hoped my parents would be late to pick me up so I could wonder around Mrs Quary's antique shop. Her stories inspired me and planted the dream of hidden treasures."

What shaped your interest in collecting?
I grew up in a small town called Ramsgate where the bus stopped outside a small antique shop every day after school. I always hoped my parents would be late to pick me up so I could wonder around Mrs Quary's shop. Her stories inspired me and planted the dream of hidden treasures. 
A Blue Tiffany Dragonfly lamp and the 1894 Fabergé Renaissance Egg image courtesy of the Forbes Collection

Why should people be interested in collecting antiques? 
Antiques vary so much from the items from early history to today's 1970’s collectables — I believe people are fascinated in antiques on many levels but mainly I find people get inspired to collect items that remind them of their childhood home. Collecting antiques and going to the shops and fairs is exciting especially when you spot “the find” that you have been hunting for. Of course, to me the main reason is to collect and enjoy, and to preserve these items from the past. 

You must have come across some interesting collections – tell us a bit about these?
Recently I had a man who collects yo-yo's come in from Australia. This was a first. And I am also intrigued by people collecting miniature pieces of silver. There's always a rarely seen item that takes time and effort to work out what it was used for that comes my way.

If you could have any antique object in the world — what do you wish for?
I would love either or both, actually both, a Tiffany Dragonfly lamp and a Fabergé egg.

The Nelson Mandela Square Antique Fair takes place on the first Sunday Monthly
Brooklyn's Antique Fair takes place on the first Saturday monthly

Related Events

Saturday Jun 1 09:00–15:00 …
Brooklyn's Antique Fair
Sunday Jun 2 10:00–16:00 …
Nelson Mandela Square Antique Fair


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