5 FOFs share their secrets for finding vintage treasures:
Owner of Jane Grant Antiques
An “antique” isn’t an antique unless it is over 100 years old.
“Everything these days is labeled an “antique” but those in the business know it’s not one unless it’s over 100 years old. This comes from U.S. customs rules. You don’t have to pay duty on any item you import that is over 100 years old because it’s considered an antique, but you do have to pay duty on items dating back less than 100 years.”
Her Fave Resources: Antique fairs and markets especially: the biannual Round Top Antiques Fair in Texas (where she just scored a pair of 17th century Spanish doors and a 19th century Italian ceramic platter), the triannual Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, Mass., Marché aux Puces de Clignancourt in Paris, Lovers Lane Antique Market and The Mews in Dallas. “Antique fairs can be overwhelming,” she says. “Get as much information as you can before you go. Learn about the dealers, look at maps, and read the show magazine if there is one. For instance, Round Top’s magazine is Show Daily.”
Design Expert, National TV Host and Syndicated Columnist
Palm Beach, Florida
Just because something has a “Sold” sign on it doesn’t mean you can’t buy it.
“I found a very, very old antique pine kitchen table that I loved at a yard sale, but it had a “Sold” sign on it. I asked the woman running the sale for the phone number of the person who bought the table. She gave me the buyer’s contact information, I contacted her and said, ‘I know you spent $125 dollars on this table. I’ll take it off your hands for another $50.’ She agreed. You’d be surprised how often this happens. I had it appraised and it was worth $2,800.”
Her Fave Resources: Thrift shops such as Jupiter Medical Center Thrift Shop, Hospice of Palm Beach Resale Shop and the Animal Rescue League Thrift Store in Palm Beach. Flea markets and yard sales such as the Renningers Antique Market, held weekly in Mt. Dora, Florida and The World’s Longest Yard Sale which spans three states: Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. A few years ago, Kathy scored an antique chair at The World’s Longest Yard Scale which she revamped into a a “bridal chair” for her daughter-in-law’s bridal shower and featured on HGTV.
Antique Expert for About.com, author of Buying & Selling Antiques and Collectibles on eBay
If you see an item you like, even if you are just considering it, pick it up and hold it as you continue to shop.
“My mother taught me that at a young age. I can always put it back, but I’ll kick myself if I go back and someone else has snatched it up. You can also tell if you’ve got something good if other shoppers, especially dealers, are hovering around waiting for you to put the item back!”
Her Fave Resource: www.RubyLane.com. I’m a dealer there and browse it almost daily. It has a great variety of antiques and collectibles in all price ranges. The dealers are experienced and professional. RubyLane shops also have a three-day return policy which is useful when buying online because it can be hard to get an idea about the color, size and feel of many items through a photograph.
Don’t underestimate the Internet as a resource for great antiques.
“I’m in meetings 12 hours a day and have to do my searches in the wee hours of the night. One of the best designer resources for antiques is online: www.1stdibs.com. It is 24/7.”
Her Fave Resource: www.1stdibs.com. It features resources from top antique dealers all over the country/world and is organized well. You can look by period, style or any category of furnishings, all price points, etc.
Owner of Jackie Talmo Décor
New York City
Look for antique accent pieces instead of antique furniture.
“I suggest to my clients, to use antiques as accessories and décor rather than as furniture. With smaller antique pieces you can add lots of character to a home and they are easier to mix with contemporary elements. You can also switch them out easily…the feel of a home can look fresh by adding new pieces from time to time or changing around the layout.”
Her Fave Resources: Antique stores such as Olde Good Things, Suzanne Golden Antiques, Knollwood Antiques, Eileen Lane Antiques, Vidal’s Antiques (for lighting) or the flea market on 39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues in New York City.