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Tips from the
Antiques Pros
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Tips from the Antiques Pros

"What advice do you have for collectors, especially beginning collectors?"

If beginning collectors ask me for advice on which linens to collect, I tell them to collect the finest quality they can afford because the best is what always increases in value. I also tell them to focus on hand-done embroidery and lace, since the quality of the old far exceeds the quality of the new. I emphasize that availability of these items lessens each year.

When shopping for monogrammed linens, collectors need to be wary of newly-done machine monograms being done on old linens. If collectors are seeking original, hand-done monograms, they need to examine the work carefully and ask the dealer offering the linens for sale if the monogram is original to the piece. The collector also needs to be wary of new linen being offered alongside old linen. If the collector is a purist who wants only old pieces, close examination is important.

If a customer came to you at the Show and indicated that they wanted to start collecting antiques or art and asked for your advice as how to start or what to collect, what advice would you give them?

I have been approached at many shows by people who love antiques and want to collect something but are not sure what. I always tell them that they should collect something that intrigues them and is plentiful enough for them to form a collection. Many people are restricted by space or I suggest small things that there is lots of literature available for snuff boxes, small silver or porcelain boxes, lead soldiers, etc......Reading the available literature on the subject helps build your knowledge base and your self -esteem so that you feel comfortable approaching dealers and asking questions. Good dealers will be happy to answer questions, point you towards good books on your subject and direct you to people and museums who have collections to share with you. The most important thing I tell new collectors is to buy things that YOU like...don't be influenced by trends or pushy dealers. A good collection is one that you enjoy, enjoyed putting together and enjoy enlarging.

My best advice on knowing "your stuff" is to handle as many objects as you can that are of interest to you, asking all the questions you need to satisfy yourself that you know what you are looking at and what it is worth.

Collections are about the thrill of the hunt and the enjoyment of the find. As the collector becomes more knowledgeable he tends to upgrade his collection by trading, selling off the "mistakes" and pursuing that one object he just has to have.

If you are not patient enough to form a collection find someone who already has what you want and propose marriage!”

Do you have an “Antique Buying Tip” that we can share? What should new buyers and collectors be wary of or watch for?

Be aware of REMANUFACTURED, those that are original however have been cut up and married together with new, blades. Examples are spaghetti servers, pizza cutters, cake servers............. on and on. They use the original hollow handle in these items and put the new blades on them. Another example would be salt spoons. These are stamped out by the thousands in Mexico. The original salt spoon is purchased and sent to Mexico where the make a die, then they stamp them out. These sell for $5, $10 each (Some dealers sell the as ORIGINAL at very high prices, to the consumer.) If you see a bowl or basket with lots of these in it, your can bet they are reproduction. Ice cream spoons are another item that is altered in many patters. These are all Sterling or even Silver Plate. The list goes on and on.

If the dealer will not give you a written guarantee and a receipt with the dealers company name, address, and phone number, think twice unless you just do not care.”