Don’t tell my boss, but I took the day off to do some shopping with a fellow member of the South Florida Depression Glass Club.
He had stopped at an antique mall in Fort Pierce on a trip from Orlando to Broward County and bid on a set of uranium glass lemonade. The salesman accepted his offer, so I traveled with him to St. Lucie County to pick up the set.
On the way back, we stopped at antique and thrift stores in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Stuart and Jensen Beach.
My friend is fairly new to glass collecting – he loves mid-century barware – so it was interesting to see his picks and offer a little advice – solicited or unsolicited. He envisions the years to come, when he can retire and pay for his hobby by hosting specialist glass shows to cull his collection.
With that in mind, here are my thoughts for beginning collectors:
¦ Look for the rare. I have friends who enthusiastically send me pictures of Imperial Candlewick Glass Divided Relish Trays. Pieces like this are usually a dime a dozen in most glassware designs. When it comes to collecting glass, try to find the pieces that people don’t buy in abundance – finger bowls, shakers, shot glasses, etc. Likewise, the floral pieces of Roseville pottery that were once so popular with collectors are not as desirable as the earlier, sometimes unmarked vases, bowls, and urns. The fact that you don’t see these pieces every day is part of what makes collecting fun – and it adds to the thrill of the hunt.
¦ Buy the best you can afford in your particular genre. Think high-end brands – Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermès, Tiffany, Steuben and others. They were expensive to begin with, simply because of the quality of the materials and the craftsmanship involved in creating them. They remain expensive now for this same reason. You didn’t buy them by the dozen at Woolworth back then. Experienced collectors seek out these items precisely because of this. For example, even though most silver is sold by the ounce these days, high-end brands like Tiffany still command a higher price per ounce. That said, there’s nothing wrong with collecting the ordinary, as long as you don’t pay high prices.
¦ Think about the state. Look for the best original condition – most other collectors don’t want repaired, refinished or refurbished pieces, although there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t pay full price for it. them. You deserve the best, don’t you? Shopping for it will reduce clutter.
¦ Look for it. A little knowledge is dangerous. But a savvy shopper knows when to buy and when to hold back. eBay and other online sites are great teaching tools. Click on the “advanced search” tab at the top right of the eBay screen to search for completed sales. The asking price is wishful thinking; the sales made give you an idea of what the market will bear. You can often do the same with a simple Google search. I also have an account on LiveAuctioneers.com. Yes, I sometimes bid (and lose!) on auction items. But I can also log in and use it as a great tool to search for results.
¦ Join the club. Want to know more or share your findings? Then join a specialized club. I am a member of the South Florida Depression Glass Club on the east coast of Florida (www.sfdgc.com) and a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs (www.ufdc.org). But there are also doll clubs and train clubs and groups for collectors of stamps and political memorabilia along both coasts.
And, as Naples Reader Elizabeth Gordon reminds me, there is a national group called Questers, which has chapters throughout Southwest Florida and the Treasure Coast (visit www.questers1944.org for more info). ). They are dedicated to the study of antiquities and wish to preserve the past for the future, promote education in the fields of historic preservation and restoration, and award grants for the preservation and restoration of historic artifacts, existing memorials, historic buildings and monuments, according to the website.
Careful! You might learn something and make some friends along the way! ¦