Monday, May 23, 2011

The First Midwest Antiques Forum

I'll admit, with only 35 paid attendees, we were a teensy bit disappointed going into last weekend's inaugural event, but once folks arrived and the enthusiasm filled the room, any disappointment quickly dissipated.

We don't want to boast, but I think we can say that the MAF was a tremendous success. The speakers were fantastic, and they showcased some tremendously important objects. (Really, have you ever seen 18th century carved furniture from Indiana?? Or 1890s wardrobes made by Euro-Russian Mennonites in Kansas? Okay, I have a thing for wardrobes, check out the Oldenburg, Indiana example below.) And the crowd more than made up for the small-ish size with their unsurpassed enthusiasm.

Many kudos to our speakers, our gracious host (the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio), our sponsors (, Garth's, Cowan's, Maine Antique Digest, Antique Week, and the Ohio Historical Decorative Arts Association), our conference staff (Jennifer Castle, Mimi Morgan, Cheryl-Lynn May, and Kristin Crump), and everyone else who helped make the MAF such a success. I think we may have started something here....

Monday, May 9, 2011

More television shows....

Apparently, when tv production companies are developing new ideas, they spend much of their time Googling. We've had several folks call us about in-production antiques-related shows after they've found our blog. At first, we were flattered. We even submitted a video to the casting director. But several calls later, we're just getting annoyed.

Back in January, a guy calls looking for someone to act as a buyer in a new show that he was casting for. The premise? They find someone who has "valuable antiques" to sell, get in them in line to send their items to auction, and then bring in "collectors" to see if they could make them an offer they can't refuse. Basically, take the cash now or see what happens at the auction. When he referred to the sellers as "contestants" is when I stopped listening. I pointed out to this gentleman that as an auctioneer, I believe in the auction process and really don't want to be involved in poaching auction consignments.

Then last week, someone else calls, different company and different show. This time, the premise is to identify younger collectors who may be willing to part with some of their "valuable antiques" if the price was right. This guy wanted leads. Seriously, this guy wanted me to hand over names of folks who have stuff to sell. If I had such leads, I explained, I'd be calling them myself.

Dont' get me wrong, and as we've stated in our column before, we readily acknowledge that these programs are putting antiques in front of mainstream America. And we are grateful for that. We just wish they all weren't all gameshows. True, the get-rich-quick model is more likely to elicit better ratings, but isn't there any production company out there with a little more creativity who can come up with an antiques-related program that doesn't focus on the dollars and cents?