Now’s the time to invest

This week’s issue had a few articles devoted to ‘affordable’ collections as well as a column on how to collect without cash.
The two themes were the subject of this week’s editor’s note. They reminded me of our current economic crisis and how it should not deter veteran and novice collectors from getting out and enjoying the hobby.

You can’t escape the economy no matter how hard you try. Unemployment. Rising prices. Store closings. It’s to be expected that people are worried more about their mortgages than they are about adding a new gem to their collection.

This week’s issue is devoted to the idea that a quality and interesting collection does not require a seven-figure bankroll. Now more than ever collectors need to be reminded that the precious objects in their home are a source of escape, education and excitement.

As Mark Roeder explains in his column on page 14, to be a collector is not synonymous with being a ‘horder’. Being a collector means to be inquisitive, a researcher or an aficionado of fine design, among other things. Nor should ‘affordable’ be translated as ‘cheap.’ Many important collections were started with rather modest means. Important collections are built by people willing to spend time learning about their collection and preparing for the next purchase. That means reading reference books, talking with experts and inspecting items you already own.

“Most are so busy seeking out new additions that they don’t pay attention to what is right there in front of them,” Roeder writes. “Enjoying what you already have can not only be just as enjoyable as adding a new piece.”

Rearranging your collection or putting others away to make room for long forgotten treasures is a fulfilling way to get reacquainted with your items. Everyone has an item or two (or more) that could use a bit more research. Perhaps it’s time to weed out a few items.

Our cover this week focuses on two diverse, yet similar, collecting areas that are seeing ‘green shoots’ among collectors.

Nostalgic ceramicware items from the 50s and 60s can be found at most every antiques show, country auction or flea market. As you’ll see in Walter Dworkin’s piece, excerpted from his book “Price Guide to Holt-Howard Collectibles,” every collector can afford many vintage pieces.  While it is true values for Holt-Howard’s Pixieware collectibles are on the rise, an afternoon at any one of the nation’s larger flea markets or antiques malls will result in a find. Remember to take Dworkin’s advice when shopping: Never pay top dollar for a chipped or damaged collectible.

Melody Amsel-Arieli’s article on canning labels is an interesting look at the history and art of a relatively new collecting genre. Most labels can be found in every price range and a majority of them are valued at $10 or less.

Canning labels are just now entering an era of their own. Amsel-Arieli writes that collectors are charmed by their beauty or historical value. Like vintage ceramicware, can labels can be found here and there however an Internet search will generate many more leads.

No matter what your collecting passion may be, don’t let a temporary economic downturn steal your enjoyment in antiques and collectibles.

Get out and enjoy the hunt.

Eric Bradley