Lennox Cato on how he fell in love with the antiques trade

We chat to the BBC Antiques Roadshow specialist and dealer

Antiques Roadshow Expert
Image supplied by Expert for press use or photographed on location at the Antiques Roadshow by BBC H&A

I was adopted when I was two months old and my adoptive parents were involved in the antiques business in Brighton during the ’70s antiques ‘boom period’. It was an ‘old school’ time: one man’s word was his bond and there was real etiquette to dealing.

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I’ve been working with the Antiques Roadshow for 14 years as a furniture specialist, as my passion is 18th-century English furniture. I also help to identify miscellaneous items.

I have an antiques shop in Edenbridge, Kent, which specialises in 18th and 19th-century English furniture and decorative items. We have pieces ranging from as little as £25 up to £60,000, so there is something for everyone! To me, the condition of a piece is always paramount. I only buy items that are perfect.

In the antiques trade, every day is different. I love going to work because I never know who I’m going to meet or what I’m going to buy. I know that if my adoptive parents were still alive they would be very proud of me – I’m living my dream.

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I recently sold a walnut side table (pictured above) that I’d lived with for 20 years in my home. It was 17th-century William & Mary period and eventually I decided to sell it. While it was on display in the shop people used to home in on it. It had a presence and I was sad to see it go.