Thomasville Times

Start collecting antiques now

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We collectors seem to be on the edge of a new trend. Every new home and decorating magazine I pick up talks about decorating with vintage pieces and that rooms should look like they just evolved. There are a lot of us who have always done this with our decorating. Some of us were lucky enough to inherit things from our families and then there are those of us who just love old things and a bargain.

Speaking of antiques, many things are cheaper now than they used to be. When I set up housekeeping, round oak tables were all the rage. Everybody wanted one. When I went on a quest for one, they were a hundred dollars. Today they are about the same price. When I went out looking to buy one, somebody had a table for sale in the ads in the paper. I went to see it. It was not the round oak table I was looking for. It was one of those red formica topped chrome dinette tables everybody was getting rid of at the time. In fact, Mama had one that she had discarded in favor of some fake wood and metal thing that fell apart in a few years.

Of course, I would have no part of the red formica topped thing which today would be worth a lot today as a midcentury modern collectible. It might be worth more than the round oak table now.

Nobody much collected antiques when my parents were keeping house. There was one man in town that had a little junk store on Wilson Ave. My brother referred to it as BJ’s Gyp Joint. He was so wrong I found out later because he would go to New Orleans and pick up bona fide antiques to sell at a reasonable price. One lady bought a lot of things from him. One thing I remember in particular seeing in her house was an intricately carved four poster bed. After she died, her son married an unstable woman who put all the antiques in the yard and sold them so quickly that none of us local collectors even knew about the sale. I wonder what happened to that bed I so admired.

When I was young and collecting, we had the idea that antiques were rare and precious. I didn’t inherit many because both sets of my grandparents came from large families so there were not enough things to go around.

I learned a little about antiques from a sweet childless old lady here in town who looked like Oliver Cromwell, the Puritan ruler of England for a few years between kings. He had a nose like a potato and bad hair. This lady had fine antiques all over her house. The thing I remember particularly was a set of knife boxes that sat on her dining room sideboard. They were made of mahogany and had a slanted front. They were worth a lot in my childhood. Like everything else, they have not increased significantly in value.

I am a devotee of the Antiques Roadshow. Every week they appraise and value antiques and collectibles. Apparently, there was a real depression for collectibles beginning in 2008. Now is the time to start collecting if you haven’t. Another thing that has affected the market is that as people get old and break up housekeeping, there are a lot more things coming on the market. If you are looking for bargains, vintage is the place to start. Not to mention the fact that furniture was better made in the past than it is now. It was built to last.

I read somewhere years ago to invest in furniture. It will be with you for a lifetime whereas a new car that costs a whole lot more begins to depreciate the minute you drive it off the car lot.

You can always find something you like in the vintage category if you look hard enough. People collect everything. Some of the most valuable finds seem to be very strange like old movie posters. Things that were meant to be disposable but some how got saved like baseball cards and sports memorabilia are very collectible. There is plenty of beautiful artwork that can be had for less than people initially paid to have it framed. In fact, I know some artists that buy vintage artwork just for the frames to put their own creations in.

Now is the time to start collecting. There is something out there in the vintage market that is calling your name. It’s fun and right now it’s very stylish. Get in on it before the rest of the world catches on.

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