Secrets to Savvy Collecting: How to collect like a rock star on a garage band budget, Part I

> The ultimate guide to the antiques you own, what they’re worth and what you can still find (on the cheap)!


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Vintage advertising memorabilia continues to hold its value and poses an attractive genre for budding collectors. Items are colorful, familiar and full of fun design. This Orange Crush neon light-up sign is reverse painted on glass. At 18 1/4 inches in diameter, this example is considered one of the most beautiful soda-related lighted signs ever made. As such, it sold for $26,500 in a Dec. 11, 2010 Morphy Auctions sale.

Introduction: More Dash for Your Cash

“When Secrets to Affordable Antiques was published, the response was wonderful, but never did I dream that my book would be serialized in Antique Trader. In the antiques world, that is akin to being on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Kudos to Eric Bradley, Dan Brownell, Paul Kennedy and Wendell Garrett, the editor-at-large of The Magazine Antiques who wrote the original foreword.

William Shakespeare stated in “Romeo and Juliet” that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Nevertheless, we recast the title of the book to “Savvy Collecting: Loomisms for more dash for your cash.” Our goal is for a relevant reading for folks like you and me, who love to collect items of endless variety as well as updating the topic to appeal to a new generation of future collectors.

In an upcoming chapter about woods, a Loomism calls walnut the “blue blazer” of woods since, just like that wardrobe essential, walnut is a furniture staple. Just by adding a new tie, a blazer remains contemporary, and thanks to 2011, Loomisms “Savvy Collecting” will get you more as you perfect a great joy in life — one right up there with walking and dogs.
 

— Frank Farmer Loomis IV

A new way to look at ‘antiques’

Have you been flirting with antiques, but been hesitant to commit to a relationship? Do you gasp with horror at the astronomical prices quoted on antique shows? Have you decided not to become a collector because you’re afraid of being snookered? If so, you’re not alone! With the cost of trendy, museum-quality pieces skyrocketing, many of you are complaining, “I love antiques, but I can’t afford them!” My response to your frustration: relax.

Although you may think your dreams are futile, you really can afford antiques. As your frugal antiques coach, I’ll explain how you can buy beautiful pieces without drowning in debt. I’ll teach you practical and fun techniques to purchase inexpensive, first-class antiques and semi-antiques/collectibles.

In essence, I am going to show you how to shop for champagne-quality items on a beer budget. All types of antiques — furniture, china, glass, retro finds, textiles and paintings — will soon be within your reach.

How is this possible? First, I’m going to change your misconceptions about antiques; in doing so, I’ll free you from the limitations you’ve placed on yourself. You will soon know all the secrets to affordable antiques — what to look for and what to avoid, the best time to shop for antiques, and how to negotiate.

As for your concerns about being taken for a ride, fear not. I’ve outlined tips for safe shopping and included antiques price ceilings (to be explained later.) My goal is to help you gain the expertise you need to shop with confidence while staying within a reasonable budget.

Most importantly, you’ll bring home the antiques of your dreams — beautiful pieces that will enrich your life with lasting delight.

To date, scores of books have been written about antiques, but this one is unique. I know, because I’ve been reading or thumbing through so many through the years. Some antique books focus on museum-quality pieces that are photogenic but extremely costly. Although these upscale albums adorn many coffee tables, they have a serious drawback.

No $50,000 antiques here

Those gorgeous publications that claim that prime spot in front of the sofa could be downright disheartening to most of us, because few of them actually focus on the needs of the everyday collector. So before we go any further, I want you to know that this primer will break some rules. That means you won’t find information about a $50,000 chair that once belonged to the Duchess of Somewhere.

Also, never forget that for every antique that’s worth a fortune, thousands of others are available at very reasonable prices. Television shows featuring antiques may make it seem that all antiques are expensive, but that’s because the costliest items get the most attention when the cameras are rolling.

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Identification and Price Guide

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More Images:

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Smoking memorabilia is actually gaining in popularity for the simple fact that fewer and fewer people are taking up the habit each year. This Russian, circa 1900 silver and gold enameled cigarette case, with a hallmark of Nicholai Kemper (St. Petersburg, 1898-1908) sold for $1,400 in a Jan. 11 sale held by Stephenson's Auctions.

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