After finding the buried cache in France, I headed back to the UK and called a friend who trades antiquities, giving him details of what I had found. I also sent him an email with some pictures.
He has contacts, and he’s moved a lot of the stuff I’ve found over the years. He phoned me a day later with details of three potential collectors, all eager to see what I had found, one of them saying he’d beat any price offered by anyone else. But there was a condition: that I did not tamper with an unopened letter that was part of the cache. No sweat, I had the jewelery, notes and coins, and while I’d have been interested in these papers if they were WWII-vintage, as I’d thought they would be when I was digging them up, an envelope not even a decade old doesn’t get me twitching. So my trader sets up a meeting with the guy.
As it turned out that weekend was mad, loads of drink and craziness – this is the weekend of the 3rd-4th we’re talking about. By Sunday lunchtime I was nursing a major hangover, staggering around town, taking pictures in a hazy frame of mind. Everything was a blur and a lot of it still is. I met up with this collector at the Churchill Arms in Kensington, the only place in London that does a decent Thai meal in a pub atmosphere. The guy was pretty persistent about “doing the deal” as soon as possible, as if there was a degree of urgency about meeting me.
He introduced himself as “Vic”, he was tall, European looking, and pretty nondescript in a menacing sort-of-way. After going through the pleasantries I showed him what I had, and he said what he would pay – a big surprise for me, as I got more than £900 more for it than I had planned. The only snag was he went through my camera and deleted all the pictures I had taken of the documents, saying he was paying for exclusivity and anonymity and all that bollocks. Fortunately he wasn’t bothered about the jewelery and money shots(!)
I’ve got no way of contacting the guy myself, and my trader mate won’t give me any details about him – “protecting his client base” – or even pass on a message. I think the documents I sold him may be linked to this whole debacle, and I want some answers! Anyone got any links into the world of collectors or leads I could follow?