We've talked about this before, but we are continually confronted with the issue, so we thought it worth putting out there for discussion: at what point did the antiques that people have hunted, loved, and lived with turn into mere dollar signs? More and more, we are talking to folks who tell wonderful stories of their decades of collecting, of getting to the flea market at 4:00 am and finding that great treasure, or nabbing an overlooked gem at auction. But now that it's time to sell their collections, they become rigidly fixated on money. No one ever told them that the antiques they purchased would be worth anything down the road, and back in the day, they wouldn't have cared...they just loved the stuff and wanted to take it home. Now, however, they are convinced that every antique they purchased should be worth at least what they paid for it, and they sometimes get visibly upset if you point out that the market has changed and this object or that object is less desirable, and therefore less valuable, than it was in 1980.
It almost feels like a betrayal. It's like the hippie who spent the 1960s attending anti-war protests and then shows up to his 30-year high reunion having become a corporate lawyer who doesn't know how to recycle. What happened? When did these antiques that you proclaimed your love for become mere commodities? At what point did your passion for history and art turn into a stubborn desire to squeeze every last penny out of your collection? And with that attitude becoming more and more prevalent, are we really surprised that younger folks aren't developing a love for antiques, a passion for living with historical objects??