Something That’s New…

December 5, 2011

Yes, I’m well on the way to building a new Art of Mourning that should be seen in the coming days. You’ll need to update your RSS subscriptions and bookmarks soon, however, you’ll see the inanimate become animate though letting theses pieces of jewellery live and breathe again! 2012 proves to be a very busy year, so be prepared for wonderment and excitement!

Following on from Part 1 of our little book review adventure, here are a few books that may or may not be essential to your collecting, but they are are great to have!

du Tertre, Nancy., The Art of the Limoges Box, 2003, Harry N. Abrams, Inc (Amazon)
This book certainly isn’t essential to the mourning or sentimental collector, but it does have some wonderful examples and shows the peripherals of what can be found in sentimental objects. The book is mostly pictorial and should really be entertained as such, a great little book for having handy on a lazy day or for referencing.

Evans, Joan., A History of Jewellery 1100-1870, 1953, Faber and Faber
Evans is one of the better writers on the subject of historical jewellery and this book shows why. With an unflinching knowledge of such a broad subject, she traverses the years with ease and shows some of the most intricate historical examples and how they weave into social history. Highly academic and highly entertaining, this book isn’t for the casual or the curious, you have to really look deep into the past for this one. Go get it, scholar!

Frank, Robin Jaffe., Love and Loss American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures, 2000, Yale University Press (Amazon)
Oh, how I adore this book. Frank really selects her pieces for display carefully, nothing seems arbitrary at all, as she weaves a solid, involving and intricate history of American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures. I highly recommend this book to go with British Portrait Miniatures or The Portrait Miniature in England, you won’t be disappointed.

Hinks, Peter., Nineteenth Century Jewellery, 1975, Faber and Faber (Amazon)
There are some wonderful examples and anecdotes in this book by Peter Hinks, he unearths some little known facts about 19th century jewellery and that makes for a good companion piece to other jewellery books on the era.

Knowles, Eric., Miller’s Victorian Antiques Checklist, 2000, Octopus, (Amazon)
No, I don’t really know why this book is here at all, but I did buy it when the collecting beast was wildly prowling Eastern Europe for something shiny and old to buy. It only made those pangs a whole lot worse. Basically, it’s a pocket book that you can keep handy with a few photo references and small blurbs to go with each, as most Miller’s books are. Really quite good if you’re brand new to collecting and need a point of reference, also good if you’re starting out and need to know about other contemporary styles.

Luthi, Ann L. , Sentimental Jewellery, 2002, Shire Publications (Amazon)
Luthi is one of the finest writers and most knowledgeable people on the topic of sentimental jewellery, hence it is only fitting that this book is authored by her. For such a small book, this is deceptively full and quite handy for any collector. A great overview and a great point of reference with a very broad, global slant that covers all the necessary periods of sentimental jewellery. For the new collector, it’s one of the most invaluable books you can own, for the seasoned collector, you should have this anyway.

In Memory of Collecting

The Ballarat Antique Fair is an institution unto itself. This is a fair that has not only endured, but grown with time, one that has become the strongest antique fair in Victoria, due to its size and strength in diversity. Where Park Lane’s (a now closed antique institution in Melbourne) long running Caulfield Racecourse Antique Fair had the best of Australia, the Ballarat Antique Fair feels like its natural successor, having a great mix from around the country in vintage to antique collectables, no matter what shape or size.

Once upon a time, the Ballarat Antique Fair was held in two venues in the main city, with a bus to ferry you in between. This was obviously not the most ideal situation, as for the past several years, the fair has been held in the Badminton Centre just outside of town.

As usual with the fair, the signage was rather poor entering the city. There are four exits into Ballarat and you have to wait until the last one to enter, otherwise you have to navigate the town to get there, so those who don’t know only have small signs to indicate the way, stuck underneath regard road signs. I felt that upon making the right turn in, one sign was rather poorly placed, as the arrows (at a left-right junction) were hidden (you had to turn left), so those new to the fair wouldn’t know where to turn. Nothing horrid, but not the best advertisement for the fair.

As usual, the venue wasn’t well off for air conditioning. The centre is a good size for vendors, but when the weather heats up, the experience can be oppressive. This year, I dressed appropriately in sandals (and rolled up velvet pants) to keep cool, as the temperature was gaining on 30 degrees Celsius. It was a correct move, but a cool change came in later to alleviate the oppressive heat.

Those who read my blog last year heard of it being crowded and rather violent (yours truly found himself being assaulted by senior ladies, including a solid punch to the kidneys and a head-butt that had to be seen to be believed), however this year it was rather a lean crowd, but one to accommodate the venue well. One could walk around, not be pushed aside and generally enjoy the atmosphere. I’ll also recommend the home made jam, preserves and fudge – the definition of heaven.

But this is a jewellery blog and you want to know how it went. I’ll try my best to reflect on that…

I entered and after submitting my door prize, found myself going to the far right hand corner of the fair, where my good friends at Grange Antiques often set up their display and offer me things that I really want to buy. This year, there were two hair bracelets that certainly got my blood racing, but they were a touch on the far side of comfortable in terms of price. More astoundingly were the taxidermy heads (bison, giraffe) that they bought in. I wish I had 12ft ceilings to accommodate such brilliance, but I’ll wait until I can afford a Victorian hunting room first.

I tend to glaze over with most furniture and porcelain unless it really grabs my attention, however, never look over Online Antiques who are one of the best sellers of Art Deco in Australia. The good Lady K is a big fan of Art Deco and I grew up in a family that loves (I’m an anachronistic throwback), so I did have a good look through and the ladies there did not disappoint.

Rather than get caught in details, I will say that Pendulum Antiques, Lanzay Antiques, Le Sande Antiques, Marsteen Antiques and Mudgee Antiques had some real quality in their pieces. Marsteen has a particularly lovely set of brooches with nuggets of gold mined from Ballarat mixed in with the hairwork in brooches and one day I will own them…

So, I passed by two hairwork bracelets, some nice early 19th century brooches (paste/hair/rectangular), a hariwork serpent with emerald eyes (but the hairwork was ruined) that I had to let go. There was a Georgian heart with hair that was cheap and very interesting, but made me think twice, so as with our judicial system, if there’s room for doubt, you must acquit.

Where I ended up conceding defeat was in one stall. The vendors I had met previously (the two gents are from Tasmania), though when I wanted to buy from them at the Avoca Antique Fair, a charming lady occupied their time for over twenty minutes and prevented contact of my credit card to their hand. Thankfully, the same pieces were there and I leapt upon a late 18th century navette brooch. There was another paste/hair/rectangular early 19th century brooch, but I have dozens of them, so I let it go. I did see a blue enamel pinchbeck brooch, but as is the case with much mid 19th century brooches, they can be dinged about and doctored, so this wasn’t as perfect as I’d like.

Next was my love or horology, so I sprung upon some upside-down watches in the back of a cabinet. The size looked right (I have dainty wrists) for a lady and I wanted something in gold. I asked them about it and they bought out one with the most charming face, which reminded me of a watch I used to wear in the last century. It was said to keep brilliant time (and it does), so I didn’t hesitate. Next was the other watch, an early Rolex, once again, with a brilliant face and the most elegant hands. Of course I had to have it. They took out a hairwork fob chain with pearls and garnets in pristine condition and a locket on the end. What’s a Hayden to do except buy these things?

Charming company, great prices and the lack of any pretension = sales in my book, they could almost have put just about anything in front of me then and I would have bought it. So, if you’re in Ulverstone, Tasmania, rattle the cages of the lads at the Leven Antiques Centre at 23 King Edward Street and you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve got to say, it’s days like that which make entities like eBay seem shameful and depressing. Yes, you can get what you like in terms of instant gratification, but interacting with people, discovering treasure within dark cabinets and actually feeling that passion for collecting is in our DNA and thick within the blood that pumps through our veins.

Thank you to everyone who followed my adventures on Twitter (visit the Art of Mourning account here) and I will be heading overseas next month for some time, so if you want to follow me around the world (US first, Europe second), I’ll be giving you updates on all my adventures.

Image Link > View images from the floor of the fair here

Image Link > View images of my odds and ends here

It’s been a wonderful year for us all and I hope that the new year brings you all that you require and desire!

One thing that collecting antique memorial and sentimental jewellery can teach us is to treasure those around us, savour every moment you have with your loved ones and relish those to come. We’re all lucky to have what we do and now is a good time to reflect upon that and learn from what has come before, so we can use the knowledge of the past to apply in the future. I have a feeling that there are some wonderful moments to come this year, so savour the moment and have a great 2011!

Once upon a time I was travelling the continent and happened upon a small shop on the outskirts of an even smaller city.

Being a lad who still has a mediocre grasp of the English language, I was bumbling around this European city with mostly sign language and exaggerated facial gestures.

Nevertheless, I found this small shop that was overcrowded with collectables, dust and dirt. The acrid air hung heavy with mould and dampness. My little heart raced with excitement, as I felt there was a treasure to be found.

After thirty minutes of rifling through cardboard boxes and other assorted bric-a-brac, I was resigned to leaving empty handed. I walked out, rather jaded.

I had lunch in a café not very far away and decided to walk back past the old store. It was shut, but I thought I’d look in the window. And there I saw it. A beautiful neo-classic ring, buried under silverware, broken picture frames and pottery. The piece looked dusty, but otherwise in good condition. It was the unmistakeable weeping widow beneath the willow with the tomb in the centre. The piece looked to be in relief, with the tomb itself built up.

After my heart started beating again, I walked to the door and knocked. No answer. For the rest of the afternoon, I travelled back and forth waiting for them to reopen. I even continued to after sundown.

The following day, I was there at dawn. Still closed. All through the day I continued to stalk the property (I’m surprised the police weren’t called). Still nothing.

The tragedy was that I had to depart that city the following day. They never opened, even after trying to talk to the locals to see if they knew who owned the store.

So, my question is, have you ever lost out to that ideal piece? As collectors, sometimes you have to learn to let things go because it wasn’t meant to be. For you, what’s the one that got away?

Links for Today

November 4, 2010

For your viewing pleasure today is a wonderful article on 19th century morgues and Priscilla Etienne’s new look at funeral photography, which certainly shows the humanity at play during moments of sincere gravity. Both are worth a good look, so set aside some time and click over!

> BBC: The funeral photographer

> Meanjin: The Morgue

The next post is only a few hours away and to make sure you don’t get lonely, here’s some links to keep you company:

> Erotic secrets of Lord Byron’s tomb

> Top 10 Unusual Cemeteries

 

Lord Hayden Peters on The Collectors ABCHelp keep mourning alive and not a forgotten memory!

What am I on about now? Well, I need your help in keeping Art of Mourning rolling along. How can you do this? Well, I urge you all to send out links to the site, post on Facebook or any other of the social networking sites out there, join the RSS feed, mailing list or Twitter and let your friends know about the site and all the hard work I put into writing about this fantastic (and quite lost) form of social culture!

You can use the ‘Share’ button down below or just get in touch with anyone out there, other blogs or if you have a friend who likes this old stuff to come and join in. I do all this work for you and the more people that can enjoy it only keeps the memory of this beautiful art form alive. Hopefully we can spur on new collectors and artists and mourning culture will once again enter the mainstream of modern culture.

And please keep in touch through Facebook, Twitter or post in the comments, I’m always about (being something of an internet boffin) and I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when the time comes when people make up jewellery in my memory.

Once you’ve done all that, come back in a few hours and we’ll spend some time together looking at photography in ephemera and then if you’re lucky, perhaps we can get emotional over a rather magnificent sentimental/mourning pendant.

Link > Art of Mourning on Facebook

Link > Art of Mourning on Twitter

The Modern MournerMy good friend Shirley at The Modern Mourner has been gracious enough to sit down and interview me for her site and I’m very grateful for the privilege! The Modern Mourner is a wonderful website and Shirley is a brilliant artist, I’ll let her speak for herself:

“This project began for me when I lost my mother. As I dealt with my loss, I was surprised at how limited the options were for honoring her memory. At the funeral home, everything seemed cold, expensive and sterile. Nothing seemed to capture the warmth of who she was. I later knit her an urn cozy. I asked myself – why isn’t there anything out there like this?

As a culture, I believe we’ve lost the ability to grieve in meaningful ways. There’s no need to be morbid. And there’s no need to settle for rituals that feel cold and outdated. Just because someone has passed doesn’t mean that they aren’t still part of our lives. It’s my hope that the Modern Mourner will help provide contemporary ways to honor those we’ve loved and lost in positive ways.

I also believe that sentimental repurposing can be part of all stages of life. Instead of hauling that bag of old clothes to the Salvation Army, consider if it’s worth upcycling into something new. Transform a father’s stodgy business shirt into a cute little girl’s dress. Create a memory quilt from baby clothes or old t-shirts. Take a maternity dress and have it made into an apron. Clothing can be laden with memories, and it’s a shame to give everything away. Preserve memories and pass them on.

Thank you for visiting this site. Above all, the Modern Mourner is about joy, humor and happiness. After all, death is just part of life”

Sentiments I believe we can all live by. Thank you, Shirley and I hope you all go over to enjoy her wonderful site and products!

Link > The Modern Mourner

Link > Modern Mourner Interview

As mentioned last week, I spent an all-too-brief weekend in Sydney, where I got to meet a lot of lovely people who all opened their ears to my unstoppable rambling about old jewellery. I’d like to thank the wonderful people at the Victoria & Albert Antiques store at the Strand Arcade for their hospitality and the lovely conversation! If you’re ever in the city, do pop in and have a look, they have some magnificent things. I’d also like to thank all the lovely people who wrote in and gave me some superb advice on where to go treasure hunting in New South Wales, your help was not only brilliant, but invaluable.

But enough of the preamble, you’re wondering what did a lucky lad like myself find? Was there any form of treasure that I couldn’t pass by? Well, I’m an impulsive chap by nature, so I can’t restrain myself sometimes and couldn’t resist the allure of the following brooch and ring:

Garnet Ring, c.1830

(excuse the impromptu phone-photography)

1830s Embellished 3rd Stage Mourning Ring

Similar Style

The ring is 9ct and the beautiful garnet (which is a rather pale/ruby colour, I’ll see if I can get better pictures soon) is a later replacement for the original hair memento. Surrounding the ring and following over the bezel is the magnificent 1830s floral embellishments, which show the evolution of the style from the previous cleaner lines of the Regency period.

Note the similarities to the following piece and see how the design became ubiquitous. Another lovely feature of the ring that is now sitting proudly in the collection is that it shows very little wear at all, for a ring that has design built into the band, there’s very little wear.

Early 19th century brooch with hair and pearlsAs for this brooch, I can’t say enough superlatives to describe how wonderful it is. It has the rectangular shape that was quite common from around 1800-1820 and would date to the earlier side of this. Surrounding, the pearls are in remarkable condition, but it’s also inside where this brooch is the business. Here, we have a border in gold, with triangular patterns etched in (which when magnified look almost Masonic, but one would assume it’s simply the design) and then the dual over-crossed hairwork underneath. What makes the hair so lovely is that the contrast of the brown/blonde hair is so striking, that you can’t ignore it. Furthermore, what is rather unconventional is that rather than using slim glass, there is a heavy, domed piece of crystal covering the hair and magnifying it as well. With so much at play here, the piece is actually physically weighty to hold.

Is that all, you’re wondering? Well, I did see a lovely blue enamel mid-19th century ring with pearls in the daisy configuration and hair compartment underneath that was in stunning condition, but my wallet can only take so much. Yet, there may be a couple more pieces that I’ve seen which may take the flight down to Melbourne in the next few days, but that remains to be seen.

Right now, I’m very happy with the new additions to the family and to everyone who I met and who helped me along the way, my undying thanks!

On ABC2 right now! *Updated

September 20, 2010

Tune in to Collectors / ABC2 right now to re-experience the magic!

Hayden Peters on ABC Collectors

*Update – It’s all over now, but my many thanks to the ABC for their hospitality and for offering me a platform with which to present my wares. It’s not over for Art of Mourning, however, as I have daily posts for a full week of mourning!

Link > Collectors Episode (Australian Only)

Link > Direct Segment (MP4)WMV

Jewellery Historian and Creative / Art Director Hayden Peters on ABC Collectors

Tune in to ABC1 at 8pm to watch! If you miss it, it will be on ABC2 at 6:05pm or you can watch it online at the ABC’s iView!

After a months of living with that rather ordinary WordPress stock design, I’ve taken the liberty of integrating the Art of Mourning Blog to the full Art of Mourning site and the Twitter page as well! This new design brings across the spirit of what Art of Mourning is all about, with the random memorial ephemera elements and symbolism strewn around the page, giving that sense of a Victorian writing desk.

All the primary areas, such as the Memorial Card Mailing List and searching the blog have become a lot easier to find in the right hand navigation, so it’s not only prettier, but is a much better user experience.

So, come along and mourn the past with me in style as we take our daily journey along the path of memorial madness.

There comes a point after collecting over so many years that you feel that you’ve seen it all and you’ve got nowhere left to go.

The unfortunate reality of being a collector is having too much passion for a subject. Certainly, people say that I’m somewhat obsessive (me? perish the thought!), but I find that my focus on old jewellery and items sometimes undulates between being more important than food/shelter and then turns into something that can be dreadfully annoying or in my way.

What’s a lad to do? I often follow this course of action:

Flirt with other items
What? Leave behind the mourning and sentimental for a while? You can’t be serious! Yes, I actually began by collecting Victorian silver and that’s where I often go when I’m feeling a little jaded about all that excessive hairwork around the house. I find that looking at other things makes you appreciate the love for your one and only passion and increases you knowledge of other areas and can also open up your perception to new experiences.

Look into other forms of history
Be it a concurrent history to the items that you’re collecting, this will only open up more knowledge about the society of the time. If you like Victorian, read more Dickens, find old newspapers or academic papers on the subject. Challenge what you know with new ideas.

Abstain
Yes, this is the hardest one. Don’t wear any jewellery, don’t look at any other jewellery, don’t go to antique shops or fairs. Put it all out of your head and dedicate yourself to other pursuits. When you come back, you’ll want more (trust me).

Catalogue your items
Think you have it all? Not even a museum has it all. Think you know it all? I doubt any human ever will. Go to your pieces and catalogue them by age, style or any arbitrary way that will give you new insight and appreciation of them. I guarantee you’ll see holes in your collection and that passion will fire you back into action!

Yes, this is very broad, but I’ve tried all these things and here I am writing about old jewellery every day. Always be the student, wary collector, there are hundreds of years to look upon and time is on your side.

How Far Would You Go?

May 30, 2010

QuestionJust how far would you go for a piece? In terms of distance, of course, I don’t want to imply what sort of limb you’d lose for a piece.

Personally, I’ve travelled the world in search of the ultimate piece, but I’m reminded of a time when one of the hardest moments actually involved a full day of driving, a swarm of dead bees and interrupting an old dealer’s community social gathering.

This may take a while, so go get yourself a cup of tea, come back and click below to read on…

Read the rest of this entry »

The One That Got Away

April 21, 2010

Once upon a time I was travelling the continent and happened upon a small shop on the outskirts of an even smaller city.

Being a lad who still has a mediocre grasp of the English language, I was bumbling around this European city with mostly sign language and exaggerated facial gestures.

Nevertheless, I found this small shop that was overcrowded with collectables, dust and dirt. The acrid air hung heavy with mould and dampness. My little heart raced with excitement, as I felt there was a treasure to be found.

After thirty minutes of rifling through cardboard boxes and other assorted bric-a-brac, I was resigned to leaving empty handed. I walked out, rather jaded.

I had lunch in a café not very far away and decided to walk back past the old store. It was shut, but I thought I’d look in the window. And there I saw it. A beautiful neo-classic ring, buried under silverware, broken picture frames and pottery. The piece looked dusty, but otherwise in good condition. It was the unmistakeable weeping widow beneath the willow with the tomb in the centre. The piece looked to be in relief, with the tomb itself built up.

After my heart started beating again, I walked to the door and knocked. No answer. For the rest of the afternoon, I travelled back and forth waiting for them to reopen. I even continued to after sundown.

The following day, I was there at dawn. Still closed. All through the day I continued to stalk the property (I’m surprised the police weren’t called). Still nothing.

The tragedy was that I had to depart that city the following day. They never opened, even after trying to talk to the locals to see if they knew who owned the store.

So, my question is, have you ever lost out to that ideal piece? As collectors, sometimes you have to learn to let things go because it wasn’t meant to be. For you, what’s the one that got away?

Essential Books, Part 2

April 10, 2010

Following on from Part 1 of our little book review adventure, here are a few books that may or may not be essential to your collecting, but they are are great to have!

du Tertre, Nancy., The Art of the Limoges Box, 2003, Harry N. Abrams, Inc (Amazon)
This book certainly isn’t essential to the mourning or sentimental collector, but it does have some wonderful examples and shows the peripherals of what can be found in sentimental objects. The book is mostly pictorial and should really be entertained as such, a great little book for having handy on a lazy day or for referencing.

Evans, Joan., A History of Jewellery 1100-1870, 1953, Faber and Faber
Evans is one of the better writers on the subject of historical jewellery and this book shows why. With an unflinching knowledge of such a broad subject, she traverses the years with ease and shows some of the most intricate historical examples and how they weave into social history. Highly academic and highly entertaining, this book isn’t for the casual or the curious, you have to really look deep into the past for this one. Go get it, scholar!

Frank, Robin Jaffe., Love and Loss American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures, 2000, Yale University Press (Amazon)
Oh, how I adore this book. Frank really selects her pieces for display carefully, nothing seems arbitrary at all, as she weaves a solid, involving and intricate history of American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures. I highly recommend this book to go with British Portrait Miniatures or The Portrait Miniature in England, you won’t be disappointed.

Hinks, Peter., Nineteenth Century Jewellery, 1975, Faber and Faber (Amazon)
There are some wonderful examples and anecdotes in this book by Peter Hinks, he unearths some little known facts about 19th century jewellery and that makes for a good companion piece to other jewellery books on the era.

Knowles, Eric., Miller’s Victorian Antiques Checklist, 2000, Octopus, (Amazon)
No, I don’t really know why this book is here at all, but I did buy it when the collecting beast was wildly prowling Eastern Europe for something shiny and old to buy. It only made those pangs a whole lot worse. Basically, it’s a pocket book that you can keep handy with a few photo references and small blurbs to go with each, as most Miller’s books are. Really quite good if you’re brand new to collecting and need a point of reference, also good if you’re starting out and need to know about other contemporary styles.

Luthi, Ann L. , Sentimental Jewellery, 2002, Shire Publications (Amazon)
Luthi is one of the finest writers and most knowledgeable people on the topic of sentimental jewellery, hence it is only fitting that this book is authored by her. For such a small book, this is deceptively full and quite handy for any collector. A great overview and a great point of reference with a very broad, global slant that covers all the necessary periods of sentimental jewellery. For the new collector, it’s one of the most invaluable books you can own, for the seasoned collector, you should have this anyway.

If anyone out there is interested in getting their blog link on Art of Mourning, please drop me a line! I’m more than happy to reciprocate a good link.

Anything that can spread the word of collecting is a wonderful enterprise to me, so as this blog evolves, you can have your link right there and waiting for all the readers to click upon.

So remember – sharing is caring!

ebay is the Way?

March 14, 2010

I wrote in a previous post about the decline of the venerable Melbourne antique centres during the early naughties and I think one of the strongest reasons for this decline is related to eBay.

And why not? ebay is a global forum for sellers to compete on prices, it gives the buyer instant gratification (been looking all over town for that Georgian miniature and nothing has come up for years? Check eBay, it’ll be there) and that collector’s bug can be squashed with the push of a button.

So is it right that when you walk into a store and see a piece that you know has an extra digit on the price tag when you’ve just seen it for nothing online? Of course it is, that’s the seller’s prerogative. You don’t have to buy from a shop or eBay, you’re a grown person, you can do what you want.

But consider this; the piece on eBay is being judged by four or five dimly lit pictures and the price is too good to be true. A physical shop will often open the cabinet and let you handle the piece, letting you scrutinise it for yourself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ballarat Antique FairThe Ballarat Antique fair is now over and those lucky enough to attend were presented with some wonderful wares of sellers from across Australia. What are my memories of this event?

Well, let’s just say I have the bruises to last a lifetime. Read on for a breakdown of the event….

Read the rest of this entry »

Shame On You

March 9, 2010

To follow up to my last post ‘Fool Me Twice…‘, I do recall the very same dealer venting his lack of business management upon me again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fool Me Twice…

March 7, 2010

Once upon a beautiful Melbourne day, I was at an antique shop looking for jewellery and a few extra items for a loved one’s birthday gift.

At a known dealer in an affluent suburb in town (whom I’ve been going to for a few of decades), I spotted a couple of miniatures, rings, a brooch and then I saw some enamelled spoons. The spoons were nice, nothing too opulent, but good examples of sterling Edwardian coloured guilloche enamelled teaspoons all the same.

Now, I’d been going to this antique centre and knew the chap well enough. Being young on appearance, I don’t think he ever respected me, but he did respect my money. Usually, the dealers will offer 10% less on items, so it was never taboo to ask, they can always say no.

So, I did the unthinkable and asked for a discount on the spoons, as they were nice, but there were others down the street waiting to be bought as well for less money and I’d rather give my dosh to this place.

‘Who do you think you are?’ he shot back.

Aghast, I replied ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I just thought…’

‘Do you know how hard we have it? Who do you think you are to stand there and ask that?’

‘Gee, has business been going well?’

‘Going well? We’re flat out! Look around you, see how busy it is!’

I looked around and the centre was empty apart from the two of us.

‘Ok, well, I want all these items, please.’

He huffed and stormed over to the counter, red faced and frowning. ‘You’ve got some cheek asking me about business!’

I was really getting angry myself, now, I really didn’t see the insult, or perhaps he had a bad day. ‘So, I take it you don’t want my money?’

‘No, no,’ he said in a way that suggested it wasn’t too much effort for him, ‘it’s fiiiine.’ The sarcasm oozed from his pores.

Well, he’s no longer working there and thankfully the experiences have been good ever since!

Fool Me Once…

March 4, 2010

Once upon a time, a dealer (whom I had known for many years) decided to end a good relationship.

This dealer in a regional area of Victoria offered me to go through a large box of jewellery, odds and ends (which she classified as ‘junk’) with the understanding that I would make her an offer for the box.

After driving there once (a 2hr drive), I arrived, she hadn’t bought along the box like she had said, so I enjoyed the day there. She rang me a few days later and said she would bring it on a Friday. Taking the day off work, I made the trek back there and pulled up a pew with the box. She had set aside a table and a private area for me to spend some time.

Inside the box was quite a lot of costume jewellery, odds and ends of jet, buttons, bits and pieces. Nothing too exceptional, but nice.

I spent a good 3hrs going through the box and sorting it out. I put it all into categories of good to bad. Essentially, I’d pay a premium for the good items and leave the bad, I wasn’t greedy and I’ve never tried to cheat a person from their money.

After I indicated my intentions, she looked at me and growled ‘I’m not selling you anything!’

‘What,’ I exclaimed, ‘I just spent three hours going through all this and I thought we had an understanding? I’ll even give you top dollar for the lot, a lot of it is average, but that’s all right.’

She pointed to the pile with the jet. ‘So, these are the good ones?’ I said they were ,’well, I’m not selling you anything, I’m taking them to Sydney and making my money there.’

And that was that. Much of my time lost and she got free evaluations for her things.

Incidentally, it’s been 6 years and she still has those items in her cabinet. C’est la vie.

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