Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ya gotta be kidding me...

I just encountered one of the most ridiculous things I've seen in a while.

Know what this is? If you answered "a dingy old tennis racket that you can buy at any yard sale for $2.50" you'd be right. But what a sexy photograph! Who is spending big bucks making used sporting goods look so fantastic? Pottery Barn....ack!!! Described as bearing "the rare character and timeworn beauty of a vintage piece," you can buy their "PB Found Tennis Racket" for the bargain price of $199.

TWO HUNDRED BUCKS??!!!??!! Plus $21 shipping, of course.

The antiques trade needs to find these buyers. Seriously. We could joke about them having more money then sense, but the reality is, anyone who would buy this item from Pottery Barn has a desire for vintage and antique, and they are willing to spend money to satisfy that desire. Their problem is simply that they don't know that we exist. We need to seek these folks out and get them to auctions and and shows and watch their heads spin with excitement. I'm not quite sure how to reach them yet, at least without spending big bucks on advertising, but we're thinking on it. Any thoughts?

Many thanks to our good friend LaGina Austin (from Skinner's Americana Department) for bringing this to our attention (because we don't, thankfully, get PB catalogs.)

(Yes, by the way, the nifty objects next to the tennis racket are simply old books with their covers torn off and bound with string....nice.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shameless plug.

We've mentioned this before here and in our column, but it's worth mentioning again, especially for those of you folks interested in regional material culture. The first annual (we hope) Midwest Antiques Forum will be happening in a little over a month.

When: Friday-Sunday, May 13-15
Where: Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, Lancaster, Ohio (40 minutes east of Columbus)
How much: $245 registration includes lectures and some meals
More info:

Speakers include:

Andrew Richmond, Vice President, Garth’s Auctions
Big, Heavy, and Brightly Painted: The Germanic Furniture of the American Midwest

Trish Cunningham, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University
Ohio Woven Coverlets: Textiles in the Folk Tradition

Emily Pfotenhauer, Outreach Specialist, Wisconsin Heritage Online
Of Every Variety: Wisconsin Decorative Arts 1820-1900

Dean Zimmerman, Chief Curator, Western Reserve Historical Society
Treasures of the Western Reserve Historical Society: 140 Years of Collecting

Francis J. “Bill” Puig, Independent scholar
Creole Furniture from the Upper Valley of Louisiana

Ellen Denker, Independent scholar
Sermons in Stone: Kirkpatrick Brothers' Anna Pottery

Brock Jobe, Professor of American Decorative Arts, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture
Summing Up: What have we learned about the decorative arts over the past forty years?

Panel discussion: Midwestern Antiques and the Marketplace. Panelists include Jeff Jeffers (Garth's), Wes Cowan (Cowan's), Chuck Muller (dealer/scholar), Dean Zimmerman (WRHS), and Susan Widder (collector).

Optional tours of Equal in Goodness: Ohio Decorative Arts 1788-1860, The Georgian Museum, and Historic Square 13.

For more information and to register, visit

Sponsored by: Prices 4 Antiques, Garth’s Auctions, Cowan’s Auctions, Maine Antique Digest, Antique Week, the Ohio Historical Decorative Arts Association, and the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio.