Saturday, May 10, 2008

Res Ipsa Loquitor

Today's Yard Sale Find O' the Day

Friday, March 28, 2008

#2 What's a Collectible?

#2 What's a collectible?

Something not old enough to be an antique. But wait there's more.

It also is something to collect. Wait there's more.

Things that were often made as promotions (free Captain Midnight secret decoder badge with five purchases of Ovaltine) or made in limited
quantities, either by intent (limited time offer!) or by changes in taste or technology (nobody's buyin' these eight tracks anymore.)

Or not.

Sometimes things became collectible for their sheer nostalgic value -- I always wanted one of these when I was a kid things. And because they weren't produced just to be collected, many ended being tossed after their novelty wore off or they were destroyed through use and abuse because kids played with them.

That reduced the numbers available to collectors. And that made them desirable.

And manufacturers woke up. Collectibles became things that were made for the sole purpose of collecting. And they were produced in "limited editions." At midnight of March 31st we will stop accepting orders and the molds will be broken! Hurry! Get yours now. Before it's too late!
In other words, they're only going to make as many as people will buy. Duh. That's a pretty good business model.

In the publishing and art worlds, limited editions have a pretty specific meaning: only a set number were produced and each piece is numbered out of that total quantity: #42/350 for example. You know that there are only 350 of these things in the world and that you own number forty-two. With Disney or Franklin Mint or any of the multitude of others in the collectibles business, there's no clue as to how many were produced. Could be millions. Probably are.

So again, if you want it, buy it. Just go into it with your eyes open.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

#1 What's an antique?

I get letters. Usually it's just people wanting to know stuff, and since I'm the expert, I must have the answers.

So question #1.

What's an antique? Inquiring minds want to know. The answer is...who cares?

If you're a dedicated collector, if you're just acquiring, if you're decorating, it really doesn't matter what the definition is, you're finding this stuff because you like it,
because it's pleasing to have around.

The only people who really need a definition are bureaucrats: tax collectors,
insurance agents, customs officers and so on. They live by rules, their jobs depend on them.

So, bearing that in mind...

The most commonly accepted definition of an antique is: something at least one hundred years old.

There, feel better now? But the real question is why. Why this magic "100 years?"

The story goes like this.

In the 1930s, the US Customs and excise people were reviewing tariff rates and
needed a definition for "antique." So they polled the leading dealers of the day, museums, galleries, scholars and the like and the overwhelming response was, drumroll, please, an antique was something that was made prior to the industrial revolution.

Made sense.

And since the industrial revolution had begun making a huge impact roughly about the 1830s, a hundred years prior, that was the number that got picked.

I'm not sure just how true this story is but it could have happened, it's just as likely a story as anything else.

I don't believe that people refuse to buy something because it falls a year short of an "antiques" definition. They may refuse to buy things that are a year short of their own collecting parameters and that makes sense. It's their collection, they get get to decide how they want to collect.

Collectibles used to be things that were collected but weren't old enough to be considered antiques. That's changed too but I'll save that for the next post.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rozaneh Vintage Clothing

...and while we're plugging friends' shops... Rozaneh is a treasure. Marilyn's shop Rozaneh has found a home on Dufferin Street just steps north of the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto's Gallery District. Have a look, it's worth the trip.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cheap Chic

our set up

The Toronto Vintage Clothing and Textile Show took place on March 1st in a new venue: The CNIB Conference Centre, a large, open, well lighted space but unfortunately no Cash Machine on the premises. And there was a major snow snow snow storm, stop me if you've heard this story before...

The show's promoter June Troy explained that she tried to get a date later in the month but there wasn't one
available that would allow for the dealers to do their set-up the night before. All the Fridays were booked. Still, I'm encouraging her to seek a date later in the year, perhaps late April early May, a date that will take us out of the snow storm season.

We had a fairly decent show but a still a sharp drop from previous years.

shop shop shop


While cataloging my library (yes, I have way too much time on my hands, but I found a great program to do it for me, it scans the bar codes and enters all the data...), I found a book on my shelf. This is the book that started it all for me. Published in 1975 by Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy (no relation,) it is, on rereading, both so dated and so very current, kinda what vintage itself is. Although I'm really not so sure what vintage means anymore, and I don't care. As long it's an appreciation of yesterday, I'm happy with that; whether yesterday is 10 year old designer, 1980s haute, 1950s western or 1890s Victorian.
I'm just happy that it's being found, sold, collected, worn, mixed and matched with Gap or Chanel and that it's not ending up in the landfill.

You can still find this long out of print book around if you keep your eyes open, I've seen prices anywhere from the $20.00 to $200.00 range. I'd stick closer to the twenty, It's CHEAP chic we're talking about here, after all.

And a big Thank You to Mailie Raef for her kind words and link on her blog:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Art Deco Weekend 2008

Art Deco Weekend, the annual celebration of all things deco in the home of America's largest deco architecture preserve, kicked off last night with the traditional vintage car parade along Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Cruising is a big thing on Ocean Drive, so much so that some nights the "No Cruising Signs" flash and cars are forbidden. But on this night everyone came out, and the weather, which had been chilly and threatening rain, cooperated.

Doris Eaton Travis, 104, and the last surviving Zeigfeld Girl, sat in the first car, a Cadillac, of course, as The Parade Marshal. Cars of all vintages, many from the South Florida Car Club took part and bringing up the rear were the hunks from the Miami Beach Fire Department.

Vendors set up on Ocean as well and sadly very few of them had anything either vintage or deco. In years past there was quite a bit but what I think is generally reflective of the antique business as a whole, folks just ain't buying' it.

for more info: