Monday, February 19, 2007

Antique Repros & 10 Good Reasons to Choose Vintage

Upon attending the San Francisco Gift Show this weekend, I was quite surprised at many of the vintage items that are being reproduced. Mercury glass vases, French crowns, Santos statues, French chandeliers, French tole...the list goes on and on. A discerning collector of vintage can spot the repros right away, but it's scary to see what's being mass produced. There is nothing like the look and feel of vintage. The patina, workmanship and history. We can all help save the environment by buying vintage. Not to say that I don't occasionally buy new vintage-inspired items, but they can never replace vintage.

Anne of Lulu's Vintage has coined the Ten Top Reasons to Give Vintage Gifts

10. It is the ultimate eco-gift! No landfill packaging. No new use of resources or labor.

9. Craftsmanship. Vintage items were made out of high quality materials and feature unique design details.

8. History. You are buying an item that has proved to be fashionable throughout history.

7. History (part 2). It is fun to own something vintage and think of how a person from a whole other generation appreciated it as well.

6. Uniqueness. No chance of hitting the streets with a new scarf only to see three other people with the same one!

5. Supporting a small business. Instead of lining the pockets of big box stores, you can support an independent business owner.

4. Authenticity. Why buy rip-offs of old designs, when you can get the original.

3. Authenticity (part 2). Why buy something that has been "distressed" to look old when you can get something that has genuine patina.

2. Save some cash. Vintage items are often times much less expensive than new.

1. Don't participate in the mad rush to the mall. Vintage is easy to find off the beaten path.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Tips on Collecting Hotel Silver

  • Mix and match – All of my silver is assorted. I buy pieces that I like, so most of the teapots, creamers and pitchers in my collection are strictly decorative, not for serving purposes. If you have a piece in your collection that you want to use for serving, but it is corroded on the inside, take it to a silversmith and have the interior re-plated. For the true collector, it’s all about the provenance and design.
  • All about design – This is especially true with teapots. Often the pieces with the most charm, even from unknown hotels, sell fairly quickly. People also love side marks, crests and logos. I personally have many pieces from the top hotels, but also unusual pieces from unknown establishments. It’s just a matter of what you think is pretty.
  • So personal – Some collectors strictly want hotels that have personal meaning, others go for design alone, and some just want to use pieces for serving and want the hotel quality and grade. My friend has a store in Oregon and a lot of the hotel silver she sells doesn’t bear a hotel name. These customers simply want large hotel grade bowls and platters for serving. So, it really depends on what you like. My advice would be to collect whatever appeals to you. There are no rules!
  • Age doesn’t matter – Age should not be a factor in collecting hotel silver. If the piece is well made and by and old manufacturer such as Gorham or Reed & Barton, it’s highly collectible. Avoid limiting a collection to certain time periods or geographic location of the hotel. If you were ever to sell the collection, it would be a lot more interesting to another collector to have pieces from a variety of hotels, including San Francisco and New York. The detail and workmanship is great and they don’t make things like this anymore.
  • You like? – Go for what you like and what strikes a cord. Raised crests, cute shapes, monograms and more are always good.

I have a really plain teapot with no side marks or crests from a famous club in San Francisco called Bimbo’s. It’s from a great establishment and is a wonderful piece for my collection. So, I buy what I like and disregard age, condition, etc. This makes for a diversified collection.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Vintage Hotel Silver

This is part of my collection of vintage hotel silver. I have over 300 pieces. An incredible amount of time to polish it all!

Vintage Hotel Keys

My fascination with old hotels includes a collection of vintage hotel keys.