Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Stop Rolling Your Eyes

One aspect of the antiques trade that has always aggravated me to no end is dealer snobbery.  The idea that because one dealer carries a stock that has larger initial inventory investment, and through that, makes the items better or more desirable than lesser priced items is nothing more than arrogance.  Or that purchasing "Pilgrim Century" items makes you more high brow than Heywood Wakefield.

I don't know any antique dealer who did not start out as a child with an interest in history and a curiosity for "neat old stuff" that cost very little.    I remember attending auctions with my grandma and parents when I was single digit age. My friend Rebecca and I would pour over Goodwill's book offerings in the store next to a Chinese restaurant that was more often than not an after church lunch spot for our two families.  We often came away with a 50 cent or $1.00 treasure.

Dealers whine whine whine and  wish younger people would become buyers. Well folks--this is not rocket science--GIVE THE YOUNG CUSTOMER WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR!  Stop trying to put the round peg in the square hole and bemoan that you can't sell the fabulous quality inventory you own--and can't get rid of--because--wait for it--NO ONE WANTS IT ANYMORE.
While more modern furniture by classic designers is serious money--good quality, quirky modern things can be had reasonably if you look hard.

Dear One and I decided some time ago--show the young buyer an eclectic mix.  If they like mid century modern furniture--pair it with a more traditional piece--or an asian style lamp or art from ANY era.  Oriental rugs look fabulous with mid century.  Try putting an industrial shelving unit on a traditional rug.  A modern painting next to a victorian sideboard.  It WORKS!!

If some dealers would stop rolling their eyes at 1950s and 60s furniture and accessories and spend time giving buyers what they want instead of what they SHOULD want--their bottom line might improve.

A Sweet Little Book

On my last day on earth--I hope to spend a part of it enjoying a good vintage black and white movie from the 1940s or 50s.  Maybe it will have Olivia de Havilland acting in it.  I was highly anticipating receiving my copy of the book Every Frenchman Has One, which is the reissue of the humorous memoirs of de Havilland first written in 1953.

The 143 page small scale book was re-released this year to honor de Havilland turning 100 years old.  One small chapter is added at the end that was not in the original release.

The book contains anecdotes of the humorous and sometimes nerve wracking challenges of de havilland when she moved to Paris in the early 1950s to marry her second husband.

The book tries too hard to be funny.  Maybe it is just dated or old hat to read snippets about Paris traffic, or visits to doctors, social etiquette or women's fashions.  Foreign countries are just that--foreign to your homeland. Her stories are not that unusual or humorous.  De Havilland has embraced France and has lived there ever since--but it just seems that reading about her "misadventures" just does not strike a clever cord today.  It was written for a post war audience of Americans who most probably had never been abroad.

De Havilland is a brilliant actress and forever etched in iconic movies to be enjoyed for many future generations.  Please explore her films if you have not before--you can pass on the book.

Thanks to Blogging for Books who provided me with a copy to review.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Jefferson's America

Julie Fenster's new book entitled Jefferson's America is a refreshing change of pace from the usual books about Thomas Jefferson.  Haven't we read our fill on Jefferson's personal life--from the did he or didn't he story about Sally Hemmings, to the crazy collector of books and natural history to the he died bankrupt with Monticello in disrepair kind of thing.  This book focuses on his brilliance as president and his incredible foresight in choosing explorers and their exploration of America's undiscovered frontier.

Fenster does a good job setting the political background of the age--giving just enough information to set the stage of all the countries vying at the time for a piece of America's natural history and territorial riches.    We all have heard about Lewis and Clark--but Fenster weaves the tale that also included Zebulon Pike and William Dunbar and others.  She is a good story teller--this is not a simple book to read--but if your history of that time is a bit fuzzy--she does a good job of bringing the reader up to speed.

Fenster tells the riveting tale of the American adventurers, and also tells what Spain, Great Britain and France are doing at the time in a sort of race around the clock.  Who will come back first--and which map will be correct?    Her stories of the explorers' travels are written with good descriptions without getting bogged down in excessive historical details.

This book was not a fast read--but was a compelling read.  Sometimes we can forget what a really remarkable and exceptional country the USA is.  Well worth your time.

Thanks to Blogging for Books which provided me a copy to read and review.

No More Concrete or Cast Iron Please

Dear One  and I spend many good hours wandering around looking for quirky things to sell.  There is nothing that makes a dealer smile more t...