Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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144
THE FURNITURE SWINDLE
CH. XV
an ignorant peasant fifteen shillings for an article which they know to be worth as many pounds. But suspicion of the plausible furniture collector has, I am glad to say, begun to spread, and the palmiest days of the spoliation of the country are probably over. It must not, however, be thought that the peasant is always the under dog, the amateur the upper. A London dealer informs me that the planting of spurious antiques in old cottages has become a recognised form of fraud among less scrupulous members of the trade. An oak chest bearing every superficial mark of age that a clever workman can give it (and the profession of wormholer, is now, I believe, recog­nised) is deposited in a tumble-down, half-timbered home in a country village, whose occupant is willing to take a share in the game; a ticket marked " Ginger-beer; sold Here " is placed in the window, and the trap is ready. It is almost beyond ques­tion that everyone who bids for this chest, which has, of course, been in the family for generations, is hoping to get it at a figure much lower than is just; it is quite certain that whatever is paid for it will be too much. Ugly as the situation is, I like to think of this biting of the biter.
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