One of dad’s side-gigs was antiques dealer. Although he had a state sales tax permit and an assigned area of the basement to display his small vintage and antique items, he only occasionally sold very many antiques. Dad also acquired and flipped vintage cars. In one instance, he purchased a 1929 Buick convertible, repaired the mechanical features, had the interior reupholstered, and the body repainted with factory original paint. He often brought the Buick to area car shows and drove it in parades. Approximately 25 years ago, he sold the old Buick to a collector who lives in Sydney, Australia.
Meantime, dad served one term as president of the Nebraska Numismatic Association due to his avid interest in antique and ancient coins. He always set up a booth at the state coin collectors’ club convention each year. Dad bought and sold vintage and antique coins and currency at those shows. After dad’s death, his coin collection garnered the most attention during the estate sale. The remainder of his antiques sold at an auction that required one day to liquidate everything.
I resisted the urge to bid on anything; but I did observe the buyers. Most of them appeared gleeful about their purchases. Several people remarked where and how they planned to display the antique items. I know dad would have been pleased to see the reactions of people who bought his things.
Meantime, I’ve collected some old stuff. Most of which are vintage and near-antique flower vases. There are also a few vintage table lamps that I use as everyday lighting in my small antique house. There are also a couple of antique alarm clocks that I partially wind a couple of times each year to prevent their works from seizing up. Meanwhile, I did not adopt dad’s obsession about antique coins because I don’t want to risk burglaries; nor do I want the hassle of trying to sell them because coins are not readily liquid assets.
My old stuff consists mostly of things I can and do use. Of those, flower vases are far away my favorites. Just this week, I brought out from storage a true antique Cleveland Glass cornucopia flower vase. Instead of filling it with a bouquet, I simply examined the vase while polishing the dust and film from the glass and the silver base.
I wondered about who originally owned it. Was it a special gift? Was it used very often? How long did the original owner keep the vase? I marveled at the quality of materials and the craftsmanship that went into the vase’s manufacturing processes. I felt pleased with the simple elegance of this small artifact from the nineteenth century. Later, I searched for the photograph I shot of the vase when I first acquired it several years ago. I decided to use it for today’s short article.
I recommend that people take a few moments to appreciate something vintage or antique. The item might be a family heirloom. Perhaps you picked up something old at an estate sale or an antiques store. If not, you may wish to plan visiting a museum located in your area. To cherish an antique, whatever it might be, is one way to appreciate our civilization’s past.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the late author and former BBC conservationist, Mark Shand . “My flat is a bit like an oriental bazaar. It’s filled with the oddest objects from all my travels, and you can’t really move in it. I love collecting antiques and often spend weekends driving around bric-a-brac markets.”