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Historic pawnbroker balls take pride of place at Diss Emporium

PUBLISHED: 10:29 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:29 29 August 2018

Owner Alan Knight in the Diss Emporium with the copper pawn shop balls sign. Picture: Diss Emporium

Owner Alan Knight in the Diss Emporium with the copper pawn shop balls sign. Picture: Diss Emporium

Archant

Eye-catching, a real part of South London history, they have already sparked interest from TV’s salvage hunter Drew Pritchard.

Owner Alan Knight in the Diss Emporium, which is hosting a special collectables market this weekend. Picture: Denise BradleyOwner Alan Knight in the Diss Emporium, which is hosting a special collectables market this weekend. Picture: Denise Bradley

Now a set of copper pawnbroker balls that once hung over a shop in Stepney are set to be the star attraction as Diss Emporium holds a special collectables market this weekend.

Located in Vinces Road, and featuring 4,000sq ft of space plus a cafe, the antiques, collectables and bygones warehouse opened in April and is a business venture of Henrietta Lewis and Alan Knight.

It has already become a favourite for collectors and the special antiques, vintage, retro and collectables market this Sunday from 9am to 4.30pm will be packed with plenty of finds.

The event will have more than 20 stalls. “There will be a great choice from the market traders as well as what the Emporium has to offer,” said Mr Knight.

Owner Alan Knight in Diss Emporium, with antique, vintage and collectable items. Picture: Denise BradleyOwner Alan Knight in Diss Emporium, with antique, vintage and collectable items. Picture: Denise Bradley

“There is plenty of parking in the area and we also have permission from Merit Plastics next door to use their car park as well. We will also have a tea tent and be running a barbeque.”

Hanging in pride of place though will be the star attraction. The origins of the pawnbrokers’ symbol of three balls traces back to the Medici family of Florence. Medieval merchants used the three golden spheres representing byzants, which were gold coins at the time.

Mr Knight said: “A guy came to see us who used to have five pubs and we bought from him boxes of pub equipment which is selling really well. Then out of the blue he turned up again and said ‘I’ve got this what do you think?’

“They are amazing. They came off a shop in Stepney in South London. They were taken down in 1890 so I assume they were made mid-18th century. The balls are copper not brass. They are a real part of South London history and are absolutely unique and I believe we will get some really decent money.”

The copper pawn shop sign at Diss Emporium was taken down in Stepney, South London, in 1890. Picture: Diss EmporiumThe copper pawn shop sign at Diss Emporium was taken down in Stepney, South London, in 1890. Picture: Diss Emporium

He has already spent pictures to antique dealer Drew Pritchard, presenter of TV’s Salvage Hunters programme, and is waiting to hear back.

“We have sent some pictures to Drew and had some interest but they haven’t followed it up just yet but in the meantime if they go they go,” he said.

• Diss Emporium is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm with the cafe closing at 3pm each day.

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