At 81 years of age, one would think it is time to slow down.
Not for John Wigg, who brought home the ‘Best Display Award’ from the 33rd annual Tamworth Antique and Collectables Fair last weekend.
The award is his ninth from the 17 times he has exhibited at the event, which is considered one of the most successful outside any Australian capital city.
This year, funds raised at the event went to Oxley High School in Tamworth.
Asked about what keeps him going after nearly 50 years, Mr Wigg said it was his passion and not wanting to “wait around for the angels”.
Mr Wigg stopped operations in 2013 when the shopfront on Edward Street closed after four decades.
However, he was unable to sit back and re-opened the store in 2015 – this time in Neslo Arcade on Baylis Street.
“Why give up when I still want to do it?” he said.
“I love it, I’ve done everything else in my early life and have settled into this.”
Similarly, his wife, Barbara, said the latest accolade meant that they were recognised for “the amount of time spent in decorating and sorting out our items”.
“We’re very proud of what we do,” Mrs Wigg said.
“John is amazing at restoring – he does it properly, no shortcuts.
“He’s very well recognised and people admire what he does.”
He’s very well recognised and people admire what he does.Barbara Wigg
While the couple said the award was a blessing, they said the general demand and consumer interest in antiques were dwindling.
“It’s a bit sad in a lot of ways – we’ve been in business now for 50 years, but the younger generations have lost interest,” Mr Wigg said.
“It’s also sad that exhibitions are getting fewer people – we barely covered our expenses [to Tamworth], but we wanted to go because people can’t give up.”
Mrs Wigg said the 70s and 80s were the best periods, saying consumers today preferred to purchase new items from large furniture chains.
“At the moment, we’re struggling a little bit,” she said.
“If we can get some of those in their 30s and 40s back into it, we’ll be right.
Looking ahead, however, the duo plans to enter more exhibitions.
Next on the list is the Hobart Antique Fair in December this year, which Mr Wigg said he had something unique for it.
“I bought a mermaid outboard motor – a bit different to furniture,” he said.
“I haven’t unpacked it, but it’s all restored so I’m sure someone will love it.”