From the Editor: Exploring holiday wish books, retail technology and Futurist art

My current “wish books” usually have titles that include the names the likes of

1937 holiday catalog page

The 1937 catalog suggested shoppers make this their happiest Christmas with a “Powerful New Silvertone Radio” for $21.95 or $33.45. Photo courtesy WishBookWeb.com

“Hake’s,” “DuMouchelle’s,” and “James D. Julia.” Back in my (much) younger days, I looked forward to the annual Montgomery Ward’s Big Book landing in our rural mailbox. It held countless possibilities: clothes, electronics, household goods (doesn’t every little girl dream of having her own house some day?) … you name it — it was in there. Of course, my favorite subject at the time was the toys. I recall browsing the pages for hours on end; at several hundred pages, there was plenty to dream about.

In this edition’s cover story, Doug Koztoski examines the allure of these wish books as ephemeral mementos of our youth. I was surprised at how much these old catalogs are fetching. I can understand the practical as well as nostalgic value in them; they would be useful in dating clothing and accessories for dealers of vintage fashion, and other popular vintage items, as well. Doug is a new contributor to Antique Trader. We’ve been reading his work in Sports Collectors Digest for quite a while, and think highly of his writing.

Online, we asked, “What is your favorite wish book memory?” which resulted in one of the most moving responses I’ve ever received. It’s from Sandy Erdman. (If you would like to share your favorite wish book memory, feel free to email us ATNews@fwcommunity.com.)

basic-rfid-system

From the nostalgic wish book shopping of yesteryear we time travel years forward to new technology that will help dealers manage store inventory and prevent loss, thereby increasing profits. If you have an interest in profitable business management, you won’t want to miss Wayne Jordan’s exploration of radio frequency identification (RFID) as a shopkeeper’s tool.

We pride ourselves on filling each edition of Antique Trader with a diverse selection of news and articles. You can’t get much further from the “warm and fuzzy” feeling evoked by the cover story when you read Mary Manion’s Art Markets column on Italian Futurism. I find it fascinating, but uncomfortable because of the environment in which it

Gino Severini (French/Italian, 1883-1966); “Al Dottore Mario Giroldini,” signed lower left “G. Severini, 1959,” titled verso, ink, watercolor and marker on paper. In silvered panel frame, matted and glazed. Sight size: 19 1/2 by 27 1/2 inches. $6,500 Photo courtesy Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

Gino Severini (French/Italian, 1883-1966); “Al Dottore Mario Giroldini,” signed lower left “G. Severini, 1959,” titled verso, ink, watercolor and marker on paper. In silvered panel frame, matted and glazed. Sight size: 19 1/2 by 27 1/2 inches. $6,500 Photo courtesy Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

was inspired and produced. When a movement believes “war is an engine for art,” I believe it’s only human to be uncomfortable with it. Ignoring our history will not make it go away; remembering the lessons we’ve learned in our past – both pleasant and painful – are imperative for our success in the future.

These are but a few of the highlights in this edition – the last for the year 2014; I guarantee you it’s a read with plenty of examples of “naughty” and “nice.” There are many twists and turns, ups and downs … and we hope you enjoy the ride.

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