From the editor: Enjoying your favorite finds

It has been a true delight to compile and read the entries to our first-ever Favorite Finds Contest. The results are so entertaining. All of them give an insider’s view of the sometimes crazy lengths collectors go to add special items to their treasuries.

Some of the stories are certainly sound familiar: browsing the tables of a yard sale when suddenly a rare item is spotted out of the corner of your eye. You pounce, buy your find and work like the dickens to save your enthusiasm for inside the car. Other stories are filled with the luck that only comes to people who shop, shop, shop for their collection and business all the time.

I certainly hope you enjoy the spread on pages 20-21. These are the last of our entries. We hope to hold another contest soon – with bigger and better prizes – so keep sending in your favorite find stories.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find a fascinating story by writer Tom Calarco, who brings us new research on the Underground Railroad. Quality Civil War and abolitionist items grow in value each year. It’s important to remember, however, that as this interest grows so must the research behind the items, people and events that thrust them into our national consciousness in the first place. Mr. Calarco’s article shows there is little to no credibility in the stories surrounding quilts of the era. The popular legend is that the various geometric patterns commonly found in the patchwork quilts were used to convey messages. I imagine many collectors purchasing these quilts ultimately ended up buying a bogus story rather than a historically important quilt.

On another note: A big congratulations goes out to the three winners of August-September Antique Trader Treasure Hunt Sweepstakes. We had more than 11,000 entries to the sweepstakes. Three winners will receive their very own Buffalo Pottery butter pat, courtesy the Butter Pat Patter Association – a collecting club devoted to the research and appreciation of vintage butter pats.

The winners are: Nancy Miller of Bloomfield, Mo., Ronald Holst of San Antonio and Mary Tanfield of Minneapolis Min.

Be sure to enter this month’s contest at for a chance to win a copy of Woodstock: Peace, Music & Memories (Krause Publications).

Eric Bradley

Antiques News, Blog
Karen Knapstein

About Karen Knapstein

Karen Knapstein is the editor of Antique Trader magazine. A lifelong collector and student of antiques, she has written dozens of articles on vintage collectibles and their historical context. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Joseph, and daughter, Faye. She can be reached at