Shopping for antiques, vintage and collectibles can be fun and educational, but if not pursued deliberately and wisely, it can become exhausting and time consuming. I have compiled advice, helpful hints, and resources to assist you on this journey of learning more about antiques. I hope this editorial will encourage you to become interested in a special genre of collectibles, while giving you some tools on how to best shop in the marketplace. I recommend starting at a local antique show such as the one shown below in East Hampton this past July. It was a quiet part of the day (I attended at the end of the day, just before closing) and I was able to stop by each vendor's tent, ask questions and inspect the goods. This is the best way to learn about a particular type of antique that you want to start collecting. Of course, researching and reading about the history of a style you are interested in collecting is the first order of business before hitting the estate sales, antique shows and auctions. There are many resources available on collecting antiques, from antique shops to online sources. An entire sophisticated business has grown out of online shopping. I have sampled several online shopping resources, which I list in the sources section, and I found the results to be surprisingly reliable. However, I do not think there is any substitute for handling an antique, inspecting it up close, and talking first hand with the dealer who purchased it, so I recommend starting out by shopping in person for collectibles.
Auctions are another way to purchase antiques, and I have taken many clients over the years to auctions and I have even found a bargain here and there, but I warn to proceed cautiously in the beginning. The auction houses are filled with experts and the bidding moves quickly, so one must really know the market well. Be careful about getting swept up in the enthusiasm of bidding, and always stick to your original budget and plan to bow out if the bidding becomes frenzied. Once you feel savvy enough to attend auctions, always get the catalog ahead of time and attend the viewing a day or so before the actual auction so you can closely inspect the quality of the antique. And, finally, do your homework: research the piece you are interested in and learn the book value based upon the quality of the individual piece.
For now, let's begin by visiting a local antique show in your area...
The 2009 East Hampton Antique Show TO BENEFIT THE EAST HAMPTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY Mulford Farm East Hampton, New York July 11-12, 2009
Hunting for antiques is in my blood. For as far back as I can remember, I tagged along with my Father on his quest for the next big bargain. My Father was an art, antique and collectibles dealer when I was growing up, so I spent much of my youth hanging around flea markets and antique auctions. My Mother had a less commercial point of view. She loved antiques for the beauty they possessed, and she almost always preferred something old and wobbly to furniture that was sparkling new. My Mother appreciated the historical value of things with a past, and that is just how I became instilled with a lifelong love of hunting for antiques. As a trained decorator, I have come to understand the value of balancing old with new, because let’s face it, many people don’t want to live with only older furniture and belongings. I believe that it does create a lovely balance in a home to have both, and even if you are a modernist, adding the special touches of older pieces gives a feeling of substance and history to your life. It takes a lot of education and training in art history to even begin to scratch the surface of the knowledge needed to become truly adept in this field. I believe that when collecting antiques and vintage pieces, it is best to buy what you love as opposed to primarily focusing on what is a good investment, like a professional collector. That does not lessen the requirement to do our research when collecting. I have listed below books and resources available to help you understand some of the stamps, markings and provenance on various furniture and accessories made awhile back.
People who work and live in the antique and collectibles business are in it “hook line and sinker”, and their lives revolve around their love for and expertise in these timeless possessions. Many of the vendors I have met travel year round from one antique show to another. I feel a bit reluctant to write this, but I believe that antique dealers are one of the most well informed groups in the design industry, and often are more knowledgeable than decorators, architects and builders. If you hang around the booths long enough at some of the high-end markets, you can really learn a lot. Most of these vendors not only have a plethora of information, but they usually are quite willing to share their knowledge with others. Although they are hawking their wares, they will usually linger if sales are slow to chat about their collections and share with you a tale or two of their hunt. You will soon learn that what drives these folks to pursue this career choice is usually a passion for history and collecting. Some of this may seem a bit overwhelming, so I have outlined a few collections that I adore and I have added a touch of historical background on each category to help you understand the genre. Hopefully this will get you started on attending antique shows and appreciating the goods, and may even encourage you to collect a specific type. It would take volumes of writing to fully explain the antique marketplace, so I am giving you an abbreviated version. I hope to inspire you to hit the next antique show when it rolls into your town. I am covering Majolica earthenware, American pottery, vintage and antique linen and fabric, porcelain and glass, and a general outlook on Folk Art. I hope you enjoy!
VINTAGE and ANTIQUE PRINTS and SKETCHES
Above are handpainted antique seashell and botanical prints from Lisa Whitney Prints at the East Hampton Antique Show. Some of her prints were taken from books dating back to the 1800s through 1900s. The seashell motif prints were handpainted with a touch of gold. Antique prints are relatively inexpensive compared to many other decorative art forms. They can be found from most countries, but I particularly enjoy the French prints for their attention to detail and use of unique colors and detailings.
Whitney Antique Prints in Marion, Massachusetts has a great collection of antique prints. You can reach Lisa T. Whitney at (774)283-0239. The shell prints pictured above are in a custom painted French mat and are 18th century, and unframed retail for $295. Lisa can do all frames and mats custom painted to match any fabric or wallpaper!
PORCELAIN AND GLASS
1950s glass sets, spode plate, blue & white pottery, lusterware tea set from 1940s all at Newberry Antiques in Saugerties, NY
Limoge pink set with birds; spode green porcelain set at East Hampton Show
Antique porcelain is such a complex and huge category that it is difficult to become a true expert in all of the brands, types and periods. There are many vintage and antique patterns to collect. I happen to love anything made by the French company, Limoge, but I adore the history of Spode patterns as well. I love Danish and English porcelain, and of course, the vintage American styles have a simple elegance that is truly unique. It is fun to mix and match newer styles with older sets.
I have been collecting Blue Willow for over a decade and at almost every shop or show I attend I am on the lookout for the distinctive blue and white pattern in the hopes of grabbing a piece to add to my collection. Many countries have made Blue Willow, and although originally made in England in the 1700's, those earlier styles are the most pricey, so I often look for Johnson Brothers collections which can be more affordable. Some of my Blue Willow is Danish, some American from the 1940s, and a few items are from the early 1800s, but I am a more careful with my older collections. Almost every porcelain house made their own version of this style, but there is a distinct look to most of this pattern, and there will always be two doves gracing the top. See below for the history on the significance of these birds and accoutrements. I love to mix and match my antique and vintage plates and even have several hanging on my kitchen wall for display. I try to hang the older or chipped plates to preserve them.
The Willow Pattern: History and Lore adaptation from story -http://foodhistory.com/foodnotes/leftovers/willow/o1
Thomas Turner first designed Blue Willow and brought his factory into prominence, introducing the pattern in 1780 in England. His body and glaze soon rivaled Worcester, where he had learned his trade. Turner made a specialty of Chinese designs in blue under-glaze; and introduced the famous “willow pattern,” which was engraved for him by Thomas Minton. The original copper plate, worn to the thinness of paper, the first and earliest rendering of this celebrated design, is preserved at Coalport, a treasured relic. Thomas Minton (born 1765), later to be a famous potter, was at first an engraver. He was apprenticed to Turner at Caughley, and afterward to Josiah Spode. The Caughley willow pattern was introduced by Spode into Staffordshire in 1784, and it was taken up by Adams, Wedgewood, Davenport, and Clews, and at Leeds, Swansea, etc., with differences, particularly in the fretted border and fence in the background. THE TRAGIC, ROMANTIC STORY BEHIND BLUE WILLOW The story is of two faithful lovers. On the right hand side is seen a large and magnificent Chinese dwelling, by the side of which rare trees are growing. It is the home of a mandarin. His secretary, Chang, had fallen in love with the mandarin's daughter, Koong-see. She loved in return, and they met clandestinely.The mandarin, on discovering the affair, forbade the youth to come near the house on pain of death, and confined his daughter within the dwelling, also building a high wooden fence from the wall to the water's edge. He also betrothed his daughter to a rich viceroy, Ta-jin. The wedding was to take place when the “peach tree shall blossom in the spring.”
Koong-see watched with apprehension the budding of the tree, whose branches grew close to the walls of her apartment. One day half a coconut shell floated on the waves. She found in it a paper containing a verse. It was from Chang. He threatened suicide. Koong-see wrote an answer, “The fruit you most prize will be gathered when the willow blossom droops upon the bough,” and told him to come for her. The mandarin now brought Koong-see a box of jewels from Ta-jin, who soon arrived with his suite, and the nuptial ceremonies began. In the confusion Chang slipped into the house, and the lovers eloped; for “the willow blossom already droops upon the bough.” They gained the foot of the bridge by the willow tree. The mandarin saw and pursued them. To represent the story there are three figures on the bridge, — Koong-see carrying a distaff (emblem of virginity); Chang carrying the jewel box; and the irate mandarin with a whip. Chang and Koong-see took refuge in the humble house of two of Koong-see's former servants. This is represented at the foot of the bridge. Here Chang and Koong-see were solemnly betrothed. The mandarin, having now issued a proclamation offering rewards for the return of his daughter and the person of Chang, soldiers came to the gardener's house to read it. Chang jumped from the window into the river and returned with a boat. Koong-see jumped into it, and the lovers were soon borne away on the rushing tide of the Yangtse Kiang and lost in the great mass of boats in that river. Chang bought an island with some of Ta-jin's jewels, and the lovers settled upon it, building their house themselves. The island is shown on the plate with its small trees. Several years elapsed. Chang had prospered by tilling his island, and now turned to literature. He wrote a book, which attracted the attention of Ta-jin. He discovered Chang's residence. He vowed revenge. Had not Chang stolen his bride and — still worse — his jewels?
With a military escort Ta-jin sallied forth to attack the island, to seize Koong-see, and to kill Chang. The peaceful inhabitants were not prepared. Chang was run through the body and mortally wounded; his terrified servants fled; and Koong-see, in despair, set fire to the house, perishing in the flames. The pitying gods now transformed Koong-see and Chang into two immortal doves, emblems of the constancy that united them in death. From the top of the willow plate, therefore, Kiing-see and Chang survey the scenes of their romantic lives.
Mercury glass collection of Mercury Glass lamps from the 1940-1970s; vintage prints from Gary Gandelman Antiques collection at East Hampton Antique Show on August 1 - 215/962-7222
Mercury Glass is pretty and reflective, and is often referred to as "poor man's silver" because historically it was offered as an alternative to heavier, more costly silver. It can be fun to collect and is common at many shows, shops and even flea markets.
Manufacturers of mirrors started producing this silvered glass using many different silver colored compounds including tin, bismouth, and mercury. You will hear dealers sometimes refer to Mercury glass as "varnished" or "silvered glass" and as "double walled glass" with a layer of silver nitrate or mercury trapped in the cavity between. Because of the thin layer of silver color, this produces a rich, almost irridescent tone. Because the silver layer is sealed into the object at the base by a round disc seal, it is important that the seal remains intact. So, carefully inspect the item for the seal, as the value will be reduced if it is compromised.
In 1849, Hale Thomson and Edward Varnish created a patent for silver. Initially, they created a limited amount of Mercury Glass product, and therefore the earlier pieces are very sought after. They put on a display of their wares for the first time at The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851. Thomson & Varnish were retailers and dealers in glass only and did not manufacture the products themselves, but some were made by James Powell's Whitefriars glass works.
When shopping for Mercury Glass, look at the disc seal on the base for inscriptions: E Varnish & Co Patent London or Hale Thomson's patent London. The more expensive pieces were 'flashed' or cased in a colored glass and cut through to the silvering beneath.
Mercury Glass kerosene lamp, probably Sandwich circa 1830. This item would fetch between $1200-1800 in the marketplace. You can find vases, cachepots, cups, candle holders, and more in Mercury glass and prices can vary from a couple of hundred dollars into the thousand dollar price range depending upon the stamp and quality. See below Mercury Glass detail. I often see details, such as doorknobs or drawer pulls, that were produced in this pretty glass and these smaller pieces can add a nice detail to an otherwise boring peice of furniture
the quest for unique garden & lawn furniture and adornments with character and some age
Having a beauful yard and garden often takes lots of hard work, determination, creativity and thought. Adding interesting aged pieces to your garden is often the crown jewel needed to complete your space, and one statue or older adornment can add a lot of character to well conceived landscaping. Some of the most beautiful gardens I have seen often have interesting aged furniture mingled within the gardens. My favorite interior designer is Bunny Williams and she possesses a unique talent for mixing outdoor garden furniture and accessories with inside design. She creates a warm and eclectic environment with her unique style that has influenced the field and helped to change how we view our outside environment. I happen to adore her shop in Manhattan called, Treillage, and their new location is on Lexington Avenue and 73rd Street. For interiors, adding an unexpected touch of the outdoors can help to create a warm, yet sophisticated feeling while dispensing with the fussiness of more formal design. I sometimes like to add outdoor aged lanterns as sconces over fireplaces, or in an entryway of a home- this adds an unexpected rustic charm.
At the East Hampton antique show I spotted this white tin set below that would look great mixed in with more traditional teak furniture in a garden. I think it is particularly interesting with the faux-bamboo legs and the unpainted, natural tin finish. A pair of stone owls, seen below, would add charm to a garden or flanking a doorway or walkway. The black dogs are striking and the stone swans are unique as well !
This cast aged mermaid holding up a conch shell, although stunning, has various points that are damaged, but with some repair she could be mounted on a stone slab to help preserve from rotting and added into a flower garden by the sea.
French Folk Art - bust of lady; sheep sign w/family name, possibly yarn merchants or busines. This sheep sign has beautiful muted colors and is listed for $5200. with Jim Hirsheimer Vintage Art and Design from Erwinna, PA at 610/417-0334
The Wikipedia description of Folk Art - encompasses art from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring trade people. In contrast to Fine Art, Folk Art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic
Folk Art has evolved into one of the most sought after styles of antiques, but ironically, it was created by the world's laboring people and the utilitarian style of the art reflects this. Prices for American Folk Art has skyrocketed in recent years, and collectors are rabid in their hunt. It has taken me awhile to appreciate, but I now enjoy the primitive looking furniture and objects because of the simplicity and beautiful colors, as well for the appreciation of the hand made care it took to create these items. I recently learned that American Folk Art prices are very expensive so many collectors look to European Folk Art, which can sometimes be a bit less expensive and easier to find.
Taken from the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan
CHEST OVER DRAWERS - The painted scenic decoration that embellishes this Chest over Drawers is more commonly associated with interior wall frescoes found through New England from about 1790 until the mid-nineteenth century than with typical ornamentation on furniture. The chest itself was probably made around the middle of the eighteenth century. The painted embellishment was added later, at the height of the taste for interior scenic views. Each of the three sections of the facade -- top chest and two drawer fronts below -- is covered with a light-colored ground and has received a painted frieze of tall and short trees that rise from a rolling pale green ground. The different trees are rendered freehand in a semitransparent paint using a variety of techniques, including sponging and sweeping strokes. At one time, the painted decoration was credited to Rufus Porter, but it bears a closer resemblance, perhaps, to the work of the unidentified Bear and Pears Artist, who painted floor, walls, and fireboards in several New Hampshire locations. In addition to the decorative elements from which his name is derived, the artist's work includes a similar handling of sweeping hills, palm trees, and attenuated lines that taper to pencil-thin points. Whether or not the Bear and Pears Artist embellished this Chest over Drawers, it is likely the work of an itinerant decorative painter because of its close similarity to wall painting of the same period.
See below excerpts from Trampart.com on The Crafts Movement, which lead to appreciation of Folk Art as a true genre -The Crafts Movement in 20th Century America Tramp-art.com In the waning years of the 19th century - economic, technological, cultural, educational, international and aesthetic forces were creating new movements in the visual arts. One movement encouraged the rejection of artists' conformity to traditional academic and artistic rules. In this "rewriting" of the rules "Modern Art" was born. Another movement was a rejection of industrialization and commercialism, a movement that put a high value on handiwork and artisan based economies for social change. As rural America witnessed its decline, as workers sought city jobs and lifestyles, as urbanization was on the rise, a return to aesthetics of NATURE and an appreciation of folk art and crafts found adherents in the intelligentsia and among the common man. This "Crafts Movement" crossed economic lines and among many became a shared value. The Crafts Movement's roots were in England and the movement spread to Europe and the United States / Canada. As an international movement the various countries shared common values, yet uniquely nationalistic traits appeared in the "art popular" of the early 1900s.
MAJOLICA EARTHENWAREWhat is Majolica? from Spanish origins, Majolica is a lead and tin glaze creating an opaque white film that is painted on the surface. The process of making Majolica consists of first firing a piece of earthenware, then applying tin enamel that upon drying forms a white opaque porous surface. Majolica is colorful and bold. While attending Parsons School of Design, I worked at a lovely antique store on Lexington Avenue that had an extensive collection of Majolica, specifically English. It amazed me how all the interior designers and collectors would pay such high prices for this pottery, but after dusting off these pieces day after day, I also became enthralled with the distinct styles of this unique earthenware.
Above pictures taken at East Hampton Antique show, a Morgan Mac Whinnie Event, at Mulford Farm Museum on August 1 - all green Majolica oyster plate - Lawrence Farms Antiques & Interiors at majolica, plus plate baskets, from Wildgeraniums Antiques & Design
Wildgeraniums Antiques has an extensive collection of various periods of Majolica as well as a large selection of vintage platters and porcelain and antique wire baskets. They have been featured on Martha Stewart as well as design magazines for their interesting collections. Mimi Swaney and Pam Konopka gave me helpful hints about collecting Majolica and wire baskets. They hangs their plates attached to wire baskets, (a popular way to present this earthenware during the Victorian era.) They explained that Majolica was used with these wire baskets to serve fruit, at a low or high tea, and after dinner with cheese, crackers or cakes and wine. Most Europeans did serve fruit as a dessert after the main mean, and fruit was a luxury due to a lack of refrigeration. The designs of oysters, lobster and other extravagant food details reflect the opulence of the social gatherings during the Victorian times. Their clients enjoy hanging these plates on the wall or in display cabinets, and at the show, they had a large selection hung on the wall as seen above.
Etruscan Majolica made in United States
Majolica pottery was first produced in Staffordshire, England, beginning around 1850. Its name was taken from the earlier tin-glazed Majolica ware made in Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Majolica pitchers and tea sets were made in various shapes, from fish to cauliflowers. Umbrella stands and fountains are teh most voluminous and available. This brightly colored, coarse tin-glazed earthenware became very popular by the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. The craze spread to the United States and after production started here, many Victorian housewives collected Majolica across the country. The American Majolica is often referred to now as Etruscan Majolica. Many of the pieces were made using adornments of animals, crustacean, seaweed, seashells, flowers, vegetables and fruit, all of which were applied as tiny sculptures layed on top of the bowls, dishes, pitchers, plates, cups, giving it a very unique appearance. Almost every country, from Italy to Portugal has their own form of Majolica Earthenware. In the United States, the shell and seaweed pattern became the most popular and helped to establish Griffen, Smith and Hall as the primary American makers of Majolica. The company closed in 1893 due to a combination of fire and changing consumer tastes. Ironically, the American Majolica fetches the steepest prices of all this earthenware due to a limited amount of products in an exerpt about the introduction of Majolica pottery from ANTIQUETRADER Majolica On BothSides of the Atlantic by Marilyn G. Karmason MARCH 29, 2000 Minton & Co. In 1851, Herbert Minton and his French ceramic chemist, Leon Arnoux, presented "majolica" to the world of ceramics. It was well received at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London. The excitement generated by the richly colored majolica inspired Minton artists to develop art revival styles parallel to those of the Renaissance, Palissy design, Gothic revival and medieval styles, naturalism (by far the most prolific), oriental and Islamic styles, and figural pieces, both human and mythological. Minton's lead and tin glazes were impermeable to damp English weather: many pieces, in the shapes such as cache pots, urns, fountains, umbrella stands for large birds and animals, were made for the garden or conservatory. The Victorian dinner table highlighted the growing Victorian interest in culinary variety: oyster, crab and lobster plates and fish platters were made in great numbers. There were game designs illustrating the contents of the game dish, humorous and bizarre tea pots made for conversation at tea parties, cheese bells with placid cows as finials, and strawberry serving dishes and spoons used at strawberry-time. Pitchers of every size and every naturalistic design poured water, milk, and cream.
ANTIQUE & VINTAGE AMERICAN POTTERY
I enjoy collecting American Pottery, and specifically McCoy because of its distinct look and almost modern appeal. It is relatively less expensive than some forms of antique accessories, and you can fetch a “real McCoy” in price ranges between $50. and $100.
American pottery went through a renaissance in the United States during the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. During this time period Ohio-based companies such as McCoy, Roseville, and Hull started out by producing wares for daily use, then began making art pottery. Vintage planters, cookie jars, and art vases are sought after by collectors.
The McCoy brand of pottery was established in 1910 by Nelson McCoy,his father and several stockholders in Roseville, Ohio. They started making their goods from 1929, and by 1933, they were referred to as Nelson McCoy Pottery Co. The McCoy family operated the company for 57 years but in 1967 it was sold, keeping Nelson McCoy, Jr. on as acting president. After his retirement in 1985, the company was sold one more time. During their eighty years of business, McCoy produced a much of what are collector’s items today.Common marks from 1939 to the present include the word McCoy, often in combination with USA. There have been many knockoffs and fake McCoys, so it is wise to take a close look before purchasing higher-priced items. McCoy produced many varied styles and colors, but I enjoy collecting the all cream-colored versions to keep it all in one color scheme.
Paula Cohen has an eclectic collection of American pottery, including these McCoy pieces, were on display at the East Hampton Antique Show on August 1. Her company is "Your Grandma Had It". She has a large selection of white ironstone pitchers, mostly English and all 1900. She also carries American Yellowware and currently has a wonderful and really hard to find Yellowware Pitcher and Bowl set and a matched set of three yellowware milk pans ranging from 9 1/2" to 13 1/2". She has lots of American Art Pottery, mostly McCoy is another specialty as well as early and interesting Tole pieces.
ANTIQUE FABRIC & LINENS
linens from Michelle Fox's booth at East Hampton show; orange framed bird 18th century listed at $295. from Whitney prints
Parna is a good online source for quality European vintage linens. Vintage linen and hemp is good for upholstery and the muted colors works with both contemporary and antique interiors.
Antique linens can be interesting to collect. I have had a collection for many years, and I certainly have a tablecloth for every occasion. Keeping them freshly laundered, ironed and properly stored away is important in order to preserve them over a long period of time. I sometimes keep rows of rice paper in between them and always keep them in a dry, cool linen press or closet. I am particularly fond of Irish Linen because they can be quite weighty and the laced edges are often hand stitched with great detail. I also enjoy collecting dish towels and tablecloths from the 1920-1950s and some of my towels came with the department store tags still attached and had never been used before. The linen towels from the 1950s have fun motifs of fruit, vegetable or household items applied. The colors are punchy and fun to keep in my kitchen. I have recently become interested in the antique grain feed bags that are made with heavy, unbleadched linen, usually with a blue or red stripe down the center, and can make great cushion covers for day beds by simply adding buttons.
See below pictures of a vendor at the East Hampton Antique Show who used vintage imported fabric from South and Central America and made European square covers for pillows (left picture). The pictures on the right and middle are Michelle Fox's fabrics for sale by the yard, and her ticking in whole pieces. Ticking is a tightly wound cotton that was used under fine linens to hold feather duvets. These striped whole peices can be found in Michelle's collection and are for sale in their entirety. Check out Michelle Fox's website for detailed information on her extensive collection of ticking and fabric, Michelle Fox American Antiques in Tappan, NY at 914-954-8559
Susan E. Oostdyk Antiques uses antique textiles, feedbags, ticking and homespun linen to make pillows and cushions and she can make custom designed sizes as well. She also does hand rolled french wool mattresses made to measure. at 973/472-4435
THOUGHTS ON FLEA MARKETS,
ESTATE SALES & YARD SALES....
ESTATE SALES & YARD SALES....
This can be the most time consuming activity of all the shopping, but "the early bird gets the worm" philosphy is very appropriate when attending estate and yard sales. I recommend getting the local paper a day or so before, highlighting your route and making a plan for your day. Once you start paying attention to the classified section of the paper, you will be amazed at how many people attend these sales, and it is a weekend hobby for many novice collectors as well as professionals. I often see the same people on the route from house to house, and sometimes they are antique dealers so I pay attention to what they are spotting. You may be driving through unfamiliar roads in search of the next yard sale, so I recommend you bring a partner, and one of you can drive, the other navigate. I usually do a "drive by" to glance at the wares quickly if I can, because the newspaper description can be a tad inaccurate at times. However, pay attention to how the sale is promoted and the language that is used, and remember that you would rather attend a sale with "collectibles" rather than old discarded toys.
If you spend a Saturday and Sunday shopping at early morning estate and yard sales, you will find that it is "hit or miss" but take this time to learn about what you are collecting. Handle the items, turn them over and inspect the stamps on the bottom, and always ask questions about where they came from. If I really want something, I never act eager and give my offer with the best intentions of walking away. I almost never offer the asking price, because let's face it these folks had dragged these goods from possibly an attic or other inconvenient place with the best intentions of dispensing with them. Sometimes I will offer a lower price on two seperate items, because the promise of taking two items off their shelves can be tempting. Either way, if you see something that you are interested in adding to your collection, but you are not sure of the value, head back to the car to check out your book value (Kovel's)....be discreet because although you may be learning, you never want to let on that you are a novice. Or worse yet, that this old, dusty object on the seller's yard sale table could actually be a valuable collectible listed in Kovels. On the flip side, many collectors and well informed decorators try to blend in at estate sales, hoping this will give them an advantage. I remember on a few occastions seeing famous designers at Brimfield, hiding behind hats in an effort to keep a low profile while they scooped up valuables. While antique shows are filled with sophisticated vendors who have incredible knowledge on their wares, yard and tag sales tend to be the opposite, so the potential of finding a bargain is quite high, and this is what keeps people motivated in the hunt.
important books and periodicals
KOVELS PRICE GUIDE 2009 -If you plan to only have one book, Kovels is a virtual "bible" for those wanting to know the value of particular items
ANTIQUEWEEK NEWSPAPER-a very informative weekly Antique & Collectibles newspaper
MY FAVORITE ANTIQUE SHOPSAndrew Spindler Antiques in Essex, Massachusetts
Treillage Antiques in Manhattan, Lexington Avenue in Manhattan great for unique antiques and garden artifacts, owned by interior designer, Bunny Williams
Shandell's - lampshade & vintage lighting studio at 5916 North Elm Avenue in Millerton, New York (housed in a newly renovated century-old buildiSusan Schneider is a longtime collector of things vintage with a passion for recycling them into things that make you smile. Call her at (518) 789-6603
Beal & Belle Antiques at 430 Main Street in Greenport, NY phone -631-477-8239 - set in the Masonic Temple in Greenport this antique shop has an eclectic mix of styles and time periods. Very decent prices too!
Newberry Antiques Co-op at 236 Main Street, Saugerties, NY phone - 845-246-9106 - set in an old five and dime store, the space is large and right in the main town of Saugerties (near Woodstock). They have a unique collection of mid-century and other time periods of antiques and accessories.
upcoming antique shows
NEWPORT ANTIQUE SHOW- To Benefit the Newport Historical Society and The Boys & Girls Club of Newport County at St. George's School, Pergatory Rd., Middletown, RI on August 8 & 9, 2009
MARION ANTIQUE SHOW at TABER ACADEMY IN MARION, MASSACHUSETTS AUGUST 14-16
ANTIQUES & DESIGN IN THE HAMPTONS on Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton- a benefit for the Bridgehampton Historical Society on August 15 & 16, 2009
BRIMFIELD ANTIQUE SHOW One of this area's largest antique shows in Brimfield, Massachusetts it host hundreds of vendors from around the country three times per year for quite an event. Catch the upcoming show on September 8-13, 2009 The show at Brimfield is a collection of over 20 individually managed shows, all working together in one large space. J & J Promotions is the oldest and founded by auctioneer Gordon Reid who originally invited 67 dealers in 1959 to exhibit their antiques on his land in Brimfield. It started out small and local, and has now morphed into one of the largests and most well regarded antique shows in the country. Brimfield usually puts on three shows a year, and September will the third and last one this year.
THE WORLD’S LONGEST YARD SALE Stretches 600 miles along highways from West Unity, Ohio, to Gadsden, Ala., This is basically a huge tag sale on August 6-9
MAINE ANTIQUES FESTIVAL Been in existance for 27 years in Union, Maine, attracts dealers and collectors of early Americana furniture and folk art, among other items. August 7-9;
ROSE BOWL FLEA MARKET One of the country’s most famous flea markets, and held in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on the second Sunday of each month and is a favorite of fans of midcentury modern. August 9
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