Sunday, October 25, 2009

New domain name!

We are pleased to announce that we have made this blog more "official" by giving it a new name: Update your links and bookmarks! (Don't worry...your links and bookmarks to will still work.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coming in February 2010...

We are pleased to announce that we will be participating in the festivities surrounding the Heart of Country antiques show in Nashville, Tennessee February 18-20. Stay tuned for more details...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why do you collect?

Everyone collects for different reasons. A while back, we offered an encyclopedia of sorts of the various types of collectors out there. From trophy hunters to bargain hunters, we covered them all. Of course, that was tongue-in-cheek (sort of). There are, in reality, a wide range of reasons that folks collect, and why you collect is, in many ways, as important as what you collect. In fact, we believe that you should think long and hard about why you collect, or want to collect. Knowing the why can help you better develop the what and can help make collecting more enjoyable.

For example, I (Andrew) am a history collector. In other words, I look for objects that have a story, a known past, a connection to an important event or person. Or I look for objects that help me fill in a piece of the puzzle in my research--identifying a stenciled motif on a Midwestern German blanket chest or a type of inlay on a southern Ohio chest of drawers.

Hollie, on the other hand, is more of an aesthetic collector. She looks for objects that, quite simply, she likes to look at. Age, origin, etc. don't matter as much to her, so long as she likes how it looks. She regularly tells me that our house would look a whole lot different if she were filling it by herself. From William Gedney photographs to Vermont painted furniture, Hollie wants to live with things that make her smile just to look at them.

In my work at Garth's, I usually try to determine why a potential consignor collected what they did. It can help me establish a good rapport with them, and often makes the consignment process more enjoyable for all involved.

In our upcoming firearms and militaria auction, there is a collection of 20th century items (uniforms, patches, buttons, etc.) that come from a central Ohio collector. Honestly, it's not big dollar stuff...not the rarest stuff, but I was immediately struck by the encyclopedic nature of it. There are complete field AND dress uniforms from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Additionally, there is a darn near complete collection of headgear (helmets and hats). Hundreds of patches, dozens of medals and badges, and, though some might not like it, a thorough assemblage of Nazi armbands. Clearly this is a collection that was put together carefully and thoughtfully. But, of course, I wondered why?

As it turns out, the collector was an addict. Fortunately, he got help and completed his 12 steps and got sober. But he found that he needed to keep himself occupied to stay that way. So, he threw himself into collecting 20th century American militaria. Flea markets, surplus stores, antique shops...a patch here, a helmet there, probably never spent more than $100 at a shot. But over the years, he amassed an impressive collection. But now, 20-some odd years later, he's still sober and has decided to move on and sell his collection.

The "why" of collecting is different for each collector, just like the "what" is. And that's okay. If we all collected the same things for the same reasons, auctions and shows would be pretty boring. Diversity is a good thing; it keeps the marketplace interesting. And an ever-widening range of motives for collecting can only help bring more collectors to shows and auctions. And that's a very good thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Deerfield...a Review.

We've said it before--the ADA Deerfield Antiques Show is probably our favorite show. That it always falls near our anniversary and that it takes place in the fall in New England certainly both contribute to that. Deerfield generally has about 50 dealers, which means that it's small-ish, manageable, and even intimate. And those 50 or so dealers are some of the best in the nation so you are sure to see some great stuff. But (there is always a but, but this time it's a good but)...but it's not New York. It's not Philadelphia. It's not what you could call "the big dance." That means that the prices are not like those in NY or Philly. We saw great things well into six figures, but we also saw things for less than $100. How cool is that?

This year, we added a number of stops (mostly consignment pickups for Garth's), so the trip was long....Wednesday through early Monday. Pickups in western PA, coastal Mass, and central CT, stops in VT (that included a stop at the Bennington Museum, one of the best little museums around - more on that soon...), and, of course, a couple of nights at our favorite inn in Amherst (The Purple Gables, though we've already booked it for next year, so don't even try!). We logged something like 2000 miles, and we finally arrived at home Monday morning at 4:00 am. Did we mention that we were driving a big honking van AND dragging a big trailer the whole way?

We also tried, for the first time, the Deerfield Tavern Night. Fortunately, they had some great chocolate treats, otherwise dinner would have been a bit of a disappointment...but not necessarily their fault...being vegetarians, buffets are always hard for us, especially with just one side dish. Great rum punch, though. And a wonderful time getting to know Arvin, Fran, and Christopher, a young family from Long Island who were newbies to the show.

But back to the show. We only had time for a precious few hours there, but it was enough to offer the following summation: things were selling! As we've noted for the past 12 months, those dealers that are trying to be economy-friendly by bringing interesting stuff that is priced reasonably are making sales. Heck, Gary Ludlow and Ted Fuehr were even selling brown furniture!

But those dealers who are still setting up the same booths with the same prices from 2004 tend to sit alone and grump about it.

A few of our favorite things were a great VT painted tall clock offered by Jewett and Berdan, some great boxes from David Good and Sam Forsythe, and Steve Powers had a wonderful series of drawings by a 19th century West Virginian who had relocated to southern Ohio (since H. is from WV and A. from OH, it was, of course, a fav from the show). Our good friend, Sumpter Priddy, as always, had some neat stuff, including a wonderful MD carved piecrust tea table (okay, it was one of the top prices was slightly more than we spent on our house, but it was gorgeous).

Folks, the market is alive, and, we think, has turned a corner, or at least is peeking around a corner. Auctions have been good lately, and the Deerfield Show saw many happy collectors leaving with bags and loaded vehicles.

We'll be at the Delaware Show in November, and if you're in the Midwest, the Ohio Country Show is this Saturday...great show with something for everyone.