A THIRST FOR THE PAST

By: John Hogan

Are antiques of the past and for the past? With the rapid paste of present day society, many young people do not understand antiques nor do they have the time to really appreciate them.

ENGLISH VICTORIAN TANTALUS SET, C. 1860-1870

ENGLISH VICTORIAN TANTALUS SET, OPENED

ENGLISH VICTORIAN TANTALUS SET, C. 1860-1870

ENGLISH VICTORIAN TANTALUS SET, CLOSED

What antiques are about other than that they are old things supposedly found in grandma's attic or at a roadside flea market or yard sale is the general opinion held by uninformed or novice buyer that has to be changed. Granted such is the case on occasion but as one learns more regarding antiques, his thirst for bigger and better will bring him to higher end places such as auctions, antique shows and antique shops in order to quench the thirst for great quality pieces.

Each and every potential customer is different. Some customers come to us with an avid desire to discuss and find antiques of yesteryear. Well what does the term "yesteryear" mean to most people in general? As we approach some clients in our store environment, we may refer to a piece of furniture, glass, silver, etc as being not antique and not terribly old when giving information about an article from the 1950-1960 period. Many responses are "that's antique!" Well, it is 50 or more years old but as a purist, technically an article should be at least 100 years old or thereabout in order to qualify as an antique. Otherwise it is termed as a collectible. Some people reply "I really don't care as long as the style, quality and price appeals to me."

As an antique store in present day society, whether urban or rural, we all must strive to have a certain decorum of presentation and quality of  inventory that appeals to the modern day consumer. Not all potential consumers are antique literate. After all, it is a business. What that actually means is a pleasant blend of old and more contemporary items of collectability that are properly described and circa dated accordingly. Some consumers think that because something is very old it is going to be very pricey. Quite the contrary! Many times, depending on the item, something that is several decades old can be much more pricey than a real antique object. Pricing is all about the quality, scarcity and rarity of an object. In that, we can also include provenance and importance of manufacture whether it be a glass company, furniture manufacturer or artisan. All such ingredients along with artistry of craftsmanship, attractiveness and desirability help establish a fair market value.

Do antiques fit into a modern environment? Of course they do! Some younger people say "Oh, I do not like antiques" and yet fall in love with a piece of furniture that is 150 years old or a piece of glass that is 100 or more years old. Why is this the case many times? Well they begin to realize visually the appeal and quality of that piece as compared to the overpriced contemporary look-a-like that is less than half the quality for double, triple, or often more price-wise in a modern or reproduction shop.

We have found over the years that Art Deco pieces have mass appeal because of their clean and modernistic execution. Art Deco glass, furniture, sculptures, etc. blend well with contemporary settings. Because an object has an air of elegance or sophistication does not necessarily mean "pricey". This is a misconception held by many who do not acquaint themselves with beautiful things. Misconception about antiques over the years has led many to believe that there is a fortune in a junk pile. Quite the contrary! Most of my best buys have been in top quality antique stores over the years.

Do not be intimidated about a posh looking antique store! Always enter for a gander. Politeness and an air of class will always deliver you a treasure far better and faster than breaking your manicure in a pile of rubble. As a rule of thumb, a pleasant hello and acknowledgement of the proprietor upon entrance to his or her premises will always spark a good rapport and transaction. It may also be your introduction to learning and appreciating antiques and collectibles for what they really are. One is never too young nor too old to learn something new. With knowledge comes appreciation.


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