AT Inbox: Readers respond and share favorite antique memories

Series sparked another favorite find memory

Dear Editor,

I will start by saying I enjoy Antique Trader very much. I really enjoy the Favorite Finds [CLICK HERE to read the results of our first-ever Favorite Finds Contest. –Editor]. Here’s my favorite find.

Back in the early 1960s a friend and myself had worked part of the day on a Saturday. As we were on our way home, we passed a public sale. My friend asked to go back to the sale. When we got back to the sale, there was only two boxes left to sell. My friend bought both of the boxes for $1.50 a box. I dropped him off at his house. I had no more than  got home when my friend called and asked me to come back to his house. Down in one of the boxes was a small metal box. It was full of old coins. One was a 1793 large penny. The rest were all coins that were used before our country started to mint our own. I did not count them but there were probably 100. The 1793 penny was very nice. A month or two later I asked him if he checked the coins out. He told me he had given his neighbor the 1793 penny and $15 to plow his garden. I was speechless.

About two years ago I called my friend’s daughter to ask if they found this box after my friend had died. She said they never saw the box or any old coins. This is a true story. I was there when my friend bought the two boxes and I saw the coins.

Alan Moxley
Hagerstown, Md.

More research needed in online auction listings

I am appalled at the number of items on various on-line auctions that are innocently or intentionally misrepresented.

It would seem to me that if you were a store-owner that you should know your merchandise.

I sometimes come across items that, though I know what it is, I am not sure how to price. I like to check the Web to get an idea. I would like to be able to mark an item with a warning to tell buyers to check the facts. If a piece can be red-flagged then both the buyer and the seller can go back and do some research.

I know dealers can’t be expected to know about every piece they want to sell, but if you can’t verify a piece, don’t say anything. At least list with a disclaimer.

I have a piece of unmarked South Dakota pottery in my shop. I tell people what I think it is and can even show them a picture in my Dakota pottery book. But I don’t say I know for sure. The item is also priced accordingly.

The funny thing is that sometimes the seller is the one getting ripped off. This too is the fault of the dealer.

Cheryl Kimberley
Kimberley’s Keepers
Buena Vista, Colo.

P.S. On the problem of finding “future collectors.” I have a play basket in my shop so that children have something they can handle and play with while parents shop. I have fast food toys, Hot Wheel type cars, and other trinkets. Of course they get to select one item to take with them. I always try to include a hint about finding treasures and maybe selling for more and saving for something special.

Dealer should have honored store’s hold

Regarding the article written by Karen Knapstein on holding merchandise [CLICK HERE to read the article. – Editor], the dealer obviously was satisfied with the price that he/she placed on the advertising sign that Karen wanted held for two days until she could pick it up. The dealer should have given Karen the opportunity to have the sign at the original price. If she did not pick it up in the two days then it should have been offered to the second buyer at the stated price. If the sign were about money it should have been sold on eBay or at auction if they wanted to get the top dollar out of it. We are talking about ethics here and if there were rules that the antique mall had to follow they should have been made perfectly clear at the time of the first phone conversation.

We have all sold items that were worth more than what we received but that is life and we live with our decisions. I am not a dealer, just an avid collector and have dealt with many dealers over the years. The ones I respect are the ones who will price an item according to what they paid for it and adding a reasonable profit, giving the collector the chance to add to their collections without breaking the bank.

I began collecting when I was a teenager delivering newspapers. One of my customers had a button collection that fascinated me. She gave me the beginnings of a life long interest in antiques and collectibles. My college term paper was “Button Collecting Provides an Interesting History  Lesson,” on which I received an “A.” I went from buttons to salt dips to postcards – we all know how the bug bites. Our house was a small one growing up so I was restricted to smaller collections. I now have my own place and my main collections include Hull Pottery, of which I have more than 250 pieces, and bears, which number in the hundreds.

I enjoy the Antique Trader because of the vast amount of information one receives from it as well as so many articles of interest for the common collector.

Keep up the good work!

James Abshagen
Decatur, Mich.

No price tag = a business in trouble

Regarding “phantom prices.” Unless I really have to have the item, I am not going to go to the trouble of tracking down the price.

Also, the talk of “re-arranging” items in a booth or showcase – how about re-adjusting your prices? We can’t hit a home run all the time as dealers. And besides, most of us are in it for the intangibles.

George Reed
Pottstown, Pa.

No price means no sale

When you’re out there shopping, and something attracts your attention, the obvious thing to do is examine the item and look at the price. If the item has no ticket, I look for prices on other merchandise the dealer is selling. Price tags can come off in handling and sometimes customers intentionally take them off. If everything is unticketed – I walk out.

I was in this situation more than once – the dealer gives you a once-over and then quotes a price. I always got the distinct feeling the price depended on how I looked. If felt that the dealer was thinking … you look like you can afford it so I’ll quote a price I think I can get from you! One time, I was bold enough to question a dealer about their unticketed wares.

The answer was: “Oh, I have way too much stuff and don’t have the time to do that.”

My philosophy now is: No ticket — no sale!

My sister and I were dealers, mostly in smalls. We had locations in five different cities. At any given time, we had over 2,000 items on our books and every single item was ticketed. Whatever we purchased, whether it was one item or 101 items, we immediately inventoried and ticketed everything. We were never overwhelmed with unpriced merchandise.

On another subject – When I’m out antiquing, I dress for comfort first and then looks. I don’t look like a street person, nor do I look like Mrs. Astor. I leave my fine jewelry at home. The only piece of jewelry I wear is a sport watch. How can you ask for a better price and strike a deal when your diamonds and gold are blinding the dealer!

Joan Turco
Lakeway, Texas

Letters Policy: Letters can be addressed to Editor, Antique Trader, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990, or e-mailed to All letters and e-mails must be signed with a first and last name, and include a return postal address. Antique Trader reserves the right to edit letters or not publish letters.


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