Monday, March 30, 2009

Please comment! Continue the dialogue!

Folks--we're sorry. Blogger's default setting is to require folks to be registered users in order to post comments. We have corrected this--now ANYONE can comment, even anonymously. We'll still be moderating, but I can't imagine what you would say that we wouldn't post!

So....let's get discussing!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Get Involved!!!

In our upcoming column we talk about the dire straits many museums and libraries find themselves in due to the current recession. And Congress came very close to specifically excluding museums from receiving any of the moneys doled out as part of the recent economic stimulus package. Public institutions like museums and libraries are the repository of our shared culture and we, as collectors, dealers, and auctioneers, need to make it known that we value them. How can you help? Contact your representatives and urge them to help ensure adequate funding! Check out the following sites to find the various elected officials that represent you:

U.S. House of Representatives:

U.S. Senate:

State Governors:

Various other state officials:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

February Means Nashville

When we first started in the antiques business, each February there was a veritable Lalapalooza of antiques in Nashville. Heart of Country, Tailgate, and Music Valley...three great shows, in essentially one location, consisting of hundreds of dealers and loads of great stuff. And it always involved a couple of nights at the Opryland Resort, which is, frankly, a real hoot. Now, however, the Nashville shows take place over two weekends and now on opposite sides of town. So, is the magic gone?

Well, certainly Nashville in February isn't quite the "experience" that it use to be. The bright lights of Heart and the bedroom dealing (literally) of Tailgate are still there, but it's a very different set of shows.

First up were the original Jenkins shows, Tailgate and Music Valley, now both at the state fairgrounds. Present were a strong group of dealers, including a number of dealers who had immigrated from the Heart show, and they did bring lots of good stuff. And the good news...many dealers were making sales. Fellow Ohioans David and Carol Swope reported the sale of not one, but three drop-leaf tables (if you've been to an auction recently, you've probably noticed that drop-leaf tables are hard to give away). The healthy number of red stickers proved a happy reminder that things are NOT as bad as the 24/7 barage of doom-and-gloom news would have you believe.

Two weeks later, it was time for Heart of Country, as well as Fiddlers, a new show attempting to take the place of Tailgate (formerly held at the Fiddlers Inn). Honestly, we weren't expecting much...Heart had about 50 dealers and Fiddlers not too many more. Though much smaller, the quality of Heart was as good as any other year, and it included many new faces, as well as some old friends. One long-time Heart dealer reported more sales than ever before. Granted, he brought different and less expensive antiques than he is known for, but you can't argue with sales! He seemed to prove once again that the dealers who are adaptive and economy friendly are still selling (in other words, if you are trying to cling to your 1998 business model, you are probably not enjoying life in the trade these days).

Probably the highlight was our discovery of a rare eastern Ohio watercolor fraktur in the booth of a couple of Virginia collectors. When we spied it from across the floor, it had no price. The booth was staffed by show promoter Pat Garthoeffner, who was busy with her own booth. When we finally connected, it was discovered that we had forgotten our checkbook! However, despite a few additional setbacks, Pat worked did what it took to make the sale. Thanks! We appreciate it!

Hollie's highlight was probably taking this photograph of Andrew on Delta Island in Opryland.

Yes, we miss the old Nashville weekend with all three shows at the same time and place, but the new version, I'm sure, will grow on us. Today's market is about doing adapting...doing what it takes to get the attention of the collectors even when the economy, and other factors, are not cooperative.

Next up....Ohio Country in early April, followed by Fairhaven and Richmond in June.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More on the "Middle Market"

We're sorry for our recent deadlines and trips to 2 sets of Nashville shows (full report coming soon) have kept us very busy.

But as promised in our current column, here is the small-medium-large clip from the movie Role Models. We're not the only ones who think this trend is ridiculous!

If you have a comment or thought on the middle market, let us know via "comment"! We're convinced that the lack of young collectors and the demise of the middle market are inextricably linked. If we want to solve one problem, we're going to have to solve them both, so let's hear your thoughts!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Buy what you like!

It's such a simple statement, but it pretty much sums our collecting philosophy. Just buy what you like...what makes you smile. It's YOUR money and YOU have to live with it, so don't let anyone tell you what you should collect.

Take, for example, the thing pictured here. It's, um, a huge bracket fungus that someone 100 years or so ago decided was not only worth keeping, but was worth decorating! And whoever painted this was pretty darn good.

We've seen lots of decorated odds and ends--butter paddles, bowls, bottles, and even other fungi--but this one is the best we've seen and absolutely our favorite. It sits on the top of a cupboard in our dining room, and every day as we descend the stairs, we look at it and smile.

What'd we pay? $225. So it was cheap too!