Collecting is a family affair

Dear Editor,

I am a member of the online-forum “Antiques Recyclers – Salvage Chic” ( where we have a discussion group called GREEN HEIRS. It’s a place where collectors can share their stories of finding treasures that relate to their ancestors and/or family name, as well as dealers sharing stories of connecting someone to their lost heritage, which is another one of the good “green” things about antiques.

Here’s my story:

My mother’s Great-Great-Aunt was a famous actress in the mid-1800s, named Charlotte Cushman. When I started collecting cigar box labels, it was so exciting to come across this gorgeous label picturing my ancestor.

I told my mom, and she instantly became a cigar box label collector too, focusing on theatrical labels.

It took a while, but she managed to acquire a set of new old stock inner and outer box labels. Years later, she gifted them to me, and now they have a place of honor in my collection display.

Here’s an article about Charlotte Cushman ( that mom wrote for the Cigar Label Gazette.

Marianne Dow

Ed.: Ms. Dow’s letter was inspired by an article on collecting Knapstein Brewery memorabilia written by Karen Knapstein for the Nov. 25 issue.


As a shop owner, do you think it is important to rearrange your merchandise on a regular basis?

I rearrange most of my shop at least 3 times a year.  I feel like it gives the customer the incentive to spend more time looking at the merchandise. As a shopper, I don’t like to go into a business and see the same thing, in the same place, every time I go in.

In today’s times I think it is helpful to display items in a way that shows the customer how things can be used today, instead of just sitting on a shelf. My customers will say, “I never thought of using a doily for matting in a frame,” etc.

Phyllis Ary
Via e-mail


Yes it is absolutely necessary to regularly rearrange.

It will keep things fresh looking! Also customers will notice things they did not see before because they are displayed differently.

My store is an antique and home décor and gifts [shop], when we rearrange we get comments from customers about all the new merchandise we “just got in.”

Interesting isn’t it. It is very important to change the level that an item is presented. People are a little lazy, they don’t want to look up or down.

So it is very important to change the viewing level, so people can easily see all the “new stuff.”

Thanks for asking.

Janet DePreter
Via e-mail


Is it appropriate to give antiques as gifts?

I shop year ‘round for gifts – birthday, new baby, Christmas and so forth. Virtually all my purchases are either from brick and mortar antique stores, catalogs and (rarely since paying with checks or money orders is so difficult now) eBay.

My gifts are never duplicated by any other gift givers because I shop with individuals in mind and haven’t shopped at a regular mall in years.

Susan Beshears
Via e-mail


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