Tag vintage

Moving on along!

As my title line says, 2017 is a weird time to be a private collector. With most of my collection for sale, there are times when things get off to a roll. Yesterday was a great day. It started with a couple small bids on some collectible electronics and a lowball bid on a piece of sculpture. Good start, right?

I went out to go shopping knowing that there was some good money on the backend. It was still the weekend and I live in the city, I think I go to a lot more garage sales than most other collectors. ¬†They’re great once you accept the majority are junk. There was also a historic home that was opened up and I figured I’d pop in to see what was there. Well, it was a good sale. They had the nice stuff, stuff that I wish I had thousands of dollars to buy. So it goesss. One day.

I spent more than I needed to but I got some beautiful stuff to line up for my asian items auction. Here’s a preview of the stuff that’s going in that auction. We’ll see how it goes! Nothing extraordinary on this run. It’s all good stuff, though. Here’s a quick preview:

Well, the day got even better when my wife and mother-in-law came back with fresh cookies and peppers to cook for dinner! That was a great surprise. I had done quite a bit of work with getting new inventory online and we were both getting hungry at that point. Made a vegetarian influenced version of sloppy joes and it turned out quite well. Yum.

After dinner, I went back to some work and got some good gaming time in that I had been hoping for all week. Then eBay lit up. Woop. That low ball offer was replaced by a more serious collector who gave a realistic offer. I accepted because I enjoy moving things out of the collection, even if I am somewhat attached to the item like in this case.

This statue made by Robert Voigt in 1968 will leave a big hole in the house where it was. I’m glad to send it off to a new home. It sure was great to own it for a while. I still have a piece of pottery by Voigt from a near year and some artwork that I believe he did that is unsigned.

Anyway, things are going well. Website isn’t where I want it to be but that’s alright! I have less time because I’m busier than expected and that’s good! Here’s a photo of my top shelf before the Voigt statue heads out. Cheers, y’all!


Trades in Travel – P2 Suburban Illinois

Day two of buying featured a different array of stores. And beyond just telling the tales, I will do item profiles for specific pieces that were bought. I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing with this blog and I think that the antique market is just so poorly catalogued online that maybe that’s where I’ll end up contributing some serious work. I have no shame in telling people what things sell for, not what I think they’ll sell for but what they’ve actually sold for(either by me or through publicly available information) – I’m not big enough to make anyone pay for my info yet! Haha.

Anyway, day 2 featured some garage sales and a great antique gallery that I’ll profile some other time, too! At the first sale we went to, we had to wait in line, which was a bummer. I like to arrive late so that I don’t have to wait but c’est la vie.

The two of us finally were allowed in and we were shocked at the beauty of the house. It was tacky, probably put up in 1968 but it had that real strong vintage rambler feel to it. It couldn’t have been a rambler, though, it was huge. There was a dance-floor in the basement and beautiful Japanese furniture was spread through the house. It was a museum of mid 20th century American taste where everything was for sale.

I managed to grab two prized asian cloisonne and I held them tight to my chest for the rest of the sale. An elderly man was outlining the figures on them with his hands, he muttered, “so unique,” and “very interesting,” a few times. I did see him again leaving the sale with 8-10 other pieces of cloisonne. I took it as a good sign that he had to look at mine before he probably never saw them again. They are beautiful and will get their own profile.

So I’m picking up lovely asian artifacts and admiring a beautiful early 20th century Japanese desk, what could make it a better morning? My shopping partner has managed to find a 60s repro of a Tiffany lamp made in Korea. Retail price for original Tiffany? About $12,000. Retail Price for her vintage repro? About $460. Cost that day? $35. I don’t normally give repros a stamp of approval but I’ll be keeping my eyes out for Tiffany fakes now.

So it’s been a pretty good run so far, I’ve got a new brown 1950s NYC Fedora that I picked up on the cheap, the sun is shining and overall life is good. The day went on in a sort of similar fashion. Got some great stuff at the next sale. Witnessed a true artifact, touched it and pushed the boundaries for enigmatic travels of antique objects. Staring right at me was an antique remake of a Ming dynasty throne chair. It was beautiful. Its long shaped wood subtly announced with its precise craftsmanship that the person in this chair was not like the others.


The Qing dynasty remake of the Ming dynasty chair was marked at $1400. This is the point where I would normally start to sweat. Doing all sorts of ridiculous, illogical maths in my head to reach the sad conclusion… no, it’s not worth the $600 I don’t have to hustle this chair. I thanked it for coming into my life, allowing me to see it, touch it, consider it and walk away from it. I don’t know if I’ll ever touch one of these again. Truly remarkable. Again, when and if we meet again, I hope I am able buy you.

I’ll leave it there for now and pick up at inventorying the trip so far and the wonderful antique mall we visited.

Syndicating a web presence

Antiques, oh antiques. I once worked in a stop that you’d swear it was still 1988. Tickets were written by hand, receipts made on carbon copy paper and the cash went into an envelope at the end of the shift. Being a social media native, this drove me nuts. I couldn’t handle the amount of squandered opportunity that a shop running like this had… the value in digitizing some or even any of its store activities were immense. They were losing money… not because as they think, “People don’t like antiques anymore,” but because they don’t have their goods visible where people are buying them.

These days I’ve got a loose connected network of social media sites devoted to antiques. Most of my selling takes place on a single, online auction site. But that is going to change this fall as I try to move out from just being a lone collector to running a syndicated web presence off my brand. I’m young, how young? Too young to be in the antique market… but here I am. In a different life, I imagine that I’m a scientist of some sorts or a computer programmer. The way the dice landed in this life, I’m a philosopher, teacher and an antique/vintage expert.

So, all this writing is actually a test. What am I testing? Well, I’m going to test embedding my pinterest boards onto this page because of that whole “syndicated” concept that I’m working towards. Links together eventually creates traffic. Traffic is good, traffic means sales.

Here’s my first board, which are my own collections:

And here is my second board. This one is to help people learn more about the top of the antique market:


Make sure to follow me on pinterest, too! :]

Trades in travel – P1 Wonderful Wisconsin

Recently had the opportunity to travel across the midwest for work and I came into some beautiful finds along the way. It was a long drive that I was splitting up by staying with family. That family member is also down to peruse the wares, so I had two solid days of buying before I would be mostly working and exhausted in a hotel for a few weeks. Needless to say, some amazing items were found in those days.

I have been a bit onto a roll with this whole professional collector thing, so that’s the reason that I’m even at this point… too young to ignore my social media instincts and too young to get myself into a shop at the moment. It works, I’m a low overhead type. So here we begin, the first stage of the wordpress for my collection.

The drive took me through Wisconsin, Illinois and minor parts of other US states. Wisconsin was magic. I finally stopped at a store I’ve been looking at from the highway for years, it was amazing. I’ll detail the shops individually. I like the idea of reviewing when I’m on vacation, doesn’t give up my local secrets. Here’s what I saw early in that day I will never forget.

I love thrift shops. The antique world isn’t too fond of the locale but our difference is partly because I’m so persistent. Maybe one day when I’m richer I won’t do thrift shops. Who knows!

Anyway, my first stop was at a thrift shop about 2 hours into the drive. I found a lot of cheap varied china, nothint mind-blowing but great bill payers. An atomic style set of bowls, some 1930s this and that. There’s plenty of room for a strong profit in each of them. Good start.

Making my way a tad further, I found a nice vintage vase made by a California potter at the pictured store and then I made my way to the shop by the highway. Picked up two nice pieces of Roseville, one bad piece and a damaged piece of Red Wing. Damage aside, the prices sure were right and two I plan to keep anyway. One will sell for far more than I paid for all four, nearly 20x the cost of the four. Good buy.

Magic happened outside the antique store by the highway. I went inside and I couldn’t believe it. Not only had I just bought some great stuff but this store was beautiful. It is one of my favorite shops in the world. As a dealer who is very interested in high quality wares, I was in heaven. In the middle of Northern Wisconsisn, there is an amazing museum of objects antique. Residing in the gymnasium of a school built during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency are glass cases full of American art pottery made in the midwest at the same time. The place is stunning. Roseville, Rookwood, Newcombe and so much more. I actually saw a Dakota School of Mines piece there. Next time I go by, I hope to buy it.

The unfortunate thing about my visit was that I was so jittery from all the good buys I had just made that I could not seriously focus. Had a good time with some of the inhouse dealers and then tookoff back on the road.