Lost and Found – Regrets While Antiquing

Another Blog from Anti-quips – the Collecting Couple

Pick: Have you ever looked back and said “boy, I wish I had bought that!”

Grin: You’d run out of ink in the cartridge before I could print out that list.

P: Oh, really, that many? Give me an example.

G: How about that hotel ice bucket we saw in Chicago. It was silver with the name of the upscale establishment on it. Sure it was way too expensive, but we both really liked it and it sure would impress the guests.

P: Oh, yes, I remember it well. I also recall a Roseville vase that we passed on. It seemed too costly at the time so we drove off, then talked about it and circled the block. When we pulled up in front of the house, we saw a lady carrying it to her car. What were we thinking?

G: I can’t seem to forget a solid brass telescope we saw at a flea market. It was tagged $25, just lying on a table. I have no excuse for not buying that one!

P: Well, I can top that one. How about the guy at the flea market in Kentucky? He had a table filled with jewelry, said it was his late wife’s and he needed to sell it all. I picked through it and found a lapis azuli necklace (which I still have), but we were anxious to view more of the sale and I just moved on. There could have been a treasure trove there, but we were inexperienced and did not spend enough time checking it out. DUH!

G: Well, we have learned better since then. We now know that it is OK to stay put at one booth at the flea market if there is potential. If there are items of interest, we should stick around for as long as it takes. You never know what the next vendor will offer, it could be a lot less quality and the booth you’re at may just be the best game in town.

P: We have left estate sales that had treasures too – we should have known better, but when you are new to the business, you are anxious to “get on to the next.”

G: As long as we are “self-bashing”, I guess we should talk about the things that we should not have bought too.

P: OK, but first let me admit to the biggest faux pas of our history together. The famous “passing of the wrought iron railing.”

G: Oh, dear, I have mentioned that one for over 10 years and hate to let our readers know about it, but since you brought it up. There it sat, in the basement of the crinky antique store in northern Wisconsin. A long, ornate railing, made of wrought iron and (we were told) formerly in a local bank lobby. It was a railing from around the teller’s windows. We stood by it a long time, and I was deciding if it would fit in the van, you were deciding if we had enough money set aside for this “high-level” purchase. The end result is that you told me to step away from the railing, it was not going to happen. We talked about it in the van and you won. Well, actually, we both lost. We returned there about 4 months later and, of course, it was long gone. Since then, we have seen other, less fancy railings, in smaller sizes, with fewer sections, selling for many times the cost of that one. But I am quick to forgive.

P: If that is the case, how come every time we are in a shop or mall, you mention it to anyone who will listen?

G: Well, now that the secret has gone world-wide on the “web”, I will drop it from my spiel.

P: Now, back to your idea of discussing items we should NOT have purchase. Of course, I personally never made that mistake, but several of your buys come to mind. For example, how about the bunch of bottles you bought. They are still gathering dust in the basement. I believe you are responsible for those.

G: Well, maybe you should ‘fess up’ to the purchasing of numerous framed art prints. They are too large to ship if sold on the Internet, and awkward to carry to the flea markets. They take up a lot of space. But on a lighter note, you do get to change the décor in our home regularly.

P: Yes, I just shop in the basement boutique!

G: Another item that we have WAAAYY to much of is the restaurant ware. For a while it was hot and we’d pick up every piece we could find. While there are still collectors out there, we have nearly cornered the market and soon they’ll have to come to us for examples.

P: But, dear, we never paid much for any of it, and many pieces came in box-lots at auctions. We are getting older and our income has become less ‘expendable.’ We may just be serving guests peanut butter and jelly sandwiches off these restaurant plates some day.

G: Or maybe we could find a sharp-shooter who wants to use them for target practice.

P: Some of those heavy-duty Shenango plates are so tough it would take a 44 magnum!

G: In our defense, many items were bought before we became well-informed, or the market trends did an about face. You’ll note that on the TV antique shows, they often state “If you had sold this 10 years ago, it would have brought $5,000, but today, the market has changed and you’d be lucky to get $500.” That’s not our fault.

P: I hate to admit it, but you are right. We have learned from our mistakes and rarely make the same ones. Having said that, let’s head out, rummage season is starting and I saw a few green signs yesterday.

G: OK, but let’s only buy things that will make us rich.

P: Yes, dear. The kids will like that some day when they view the basement and there are only money-makers down there.

Grinin’s Tip To Collectors:   When we started to refurbish our home with antiques, from door knobs to stained glass windows, i always had a clip board in the car with every possible size and item I would need. I also have pictures of antique drawer hardware with the clipboard so I can someday match what i need. If you have a space that needs filling on a wall or shelf, have the size with you where ever you go.

I have seen other collectors with record collections, post cards and bus pass collectors pull out their lists to confirm what they have or need.

Introducing Pickin & Grinin, The Collecting Couple

Antiquips Pickin & Grinin

Pick: This is going to be our first article for Inherited Values so let’s show off some of our unusual collectibles.

Grin: How about your hand mirrors? You are always bragging to anyone that will listen, just how great you think they are and how well you display them.

Pick: Oh, I’d like to but I’d have to polish them all before we let a whole group of people in to see the collection.

Grin: Well, what’s your idea then? Or are you just Picking on me because it was my idea?

Pick: Why don’t we start with the smallest room in the house and show readers what can be packed into a tiny area with a little imagination.

Grin: Are you referring to your jewelry box? You sure know how to pack that thing full.

Pick: Boy we’re real smart today. No I’m talking about the powder room at the back entrance, the one that started out with a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling with a pull chain for decoration. Let’s show off our antique finds in that room first. I think we managed to accent the room nicely with some unusual pieces in a space of seven foot by four feet. Plus we did our “green piece” by recycling some items.

Grin: Five feet, it’s no longer than five feet.

Pick: Well, whatever, the important thing is we get to display the oddities within. But just to keep my reputation intact, how about a quick measure to see who is right. I say it’s about seven feet by 3-1/2” feet. What is your best guess?

Grin: I think five feet, maybe by 4-1/2 feet.

Pick: What was the measurement?? Oh, guess you were closest. Now, let’s change the subject. How about we start with the egret, the old screen door decoration. You know, the one I dragged home from an auction and had to listen to your questions like “Now, WHERE can we put that old thing?”

Grin: In this instance, you were right. It fits in flush, right over the toilet, a pun intended!

Pick: Well, if you’re giving me credit, I must say, your cold air return register was a perfect fit. It’s a radio speaker grill from a Pontiac Straight 8, probably from the early 1950s. And it squeezed right into the space.

Grin: I also recall where we got the old tin sheets that we needed when I dropped the ceiling to update the electricity to enable a wall switch. We had to purchase the full lot of sheets, but only needed a few and sold off the rest at a flea market. Then you found that marvelous iridescent chandelier at a local antique store. You discovered it just in time, too, because we had not decided on the color to paint the room and the green shade enlightened us.

Pick: Dear, you are funny today – you should be “pun-ished.” And you kept your promise to let me have some stained glasswindows in the house. That was something you committed to when we left our other house that had so many! And you did a super job finding the black and white tiles that are so “1930s”, it really completed the look we wanted.

Grin: Well, let’s continue in another area in our next blog. There’s hardly room for two of us in this room!