I entered adulthood at the height (late 70s) of something of a craze (in parts of the USA, at least) for restoring and living in old houses. Old House Journal was a useful monthly newspaper instead of a glossy House & Garden (HG?) competitor. Many of us filled those houses with bric-à-brac and “antiques” often lovingly refinished by our own hands. Now what to do with it all? Nobody wants that shit anymore.
I hear ya! For a time we we’re antiquing a lot, snapping up vintage oak dressers, plant stands, coat stands, side tables to put in our restored 1908 colonial revival Then the in-laws downsized and we got their Eastlake spoon carved dresser and bed.
Then we moved to a cottage sized ranch house and prefer showcasing our mcm pieces. The Victorian antiques I’m not so fond of anymore. We have a small hutch that my so’s grandmother picked out of a trash heap in 1939 that she refurbished. It’s cute but I’m over it, I want that space back.
Well, are they collections, or are they utilitarian? If you have a 100-year-old chair, and it’s still in good shape, then that’s probably a sign that it was exceedingly well-made, and so it’s likely that it’ll remain in good shape for another hundred years. And so it’s of value as a chair, and you have it because you want something to sit in.
But if your antiques serve no purpose other than cluttering up shelves, then they’re just clutter. Maybe that particular sort of clutter pleases you to look at it; in that case, so long as it continues to please you, then keep it, and if it no longer pleases you, then get rid of it. If, when you decide to get rid of it, you can find someone willing to pay you for it, then all the better, but even if you can’t, there’s no reason to keep something that you’re not using and that doesn’t please you.
My mom was a yard sale junkie for a lot of years, and she got some neat stuff. But she’s in her 80s and apart from not wanting to dust a lot of crap, she’s thinking about downsizing so her offspring don’t have to deal with the assorted miscellany.
But most of her offspring are in our 60s (youngest sis is 56) and I, personally, have been trying to get rid of my own crap accumulated over the years. My daughter has a small house - she doesn’t want my junk. But the local thrift store is getting a lot of it.
Fortunately, (I guess?) none of our stuff is particularly valuable and the sentimental value dies with the owner (looking at the framed print over my desk that I love and my daughter will probably trash…) I am pretty sure my granddaughter will want the Singer treadle sewing machine that I got from my grandmother. But beyond that, I can’t imagine anything being worth much of anything to anyone. So why did we accumulate it all??
Your opinion, please: certain of my mother’s “friends” were into antiques and claimed if you so much as wiped the dust off a cabinet with Pledge one time, you killed whatever antique value the piece had. Personally, that’s horse hockey.
My parents passed away a few years ago. House full of furniture that had been passed down through several generations. Was always told how “valuable” this stuff was.
Lining up the estate auction (we kept some pieces) and discussed potential prices. Auctioneer said 10 years ago we would have seen those prices, now the market is “literally and figuratively dead”.
He was correct, the older antique furniture brought close to nothing, some items he couldn’t even get a bid. The people who wanted these items are dead, downsized, or in a care center/retirement home and do not have the room.
It’s true that refinishing a valuable antique will kill its market value but if you don’t plan to sell it, you’re not obliged to give a crap about the market value. If refinishing it makes you happy, refinish it.
This. A million times this. Nothing pisses me off more than the crowded house, with the “front room for guests” that is covered in plastic, with things that exist only to sit there. If you buy something to be pretty, use it. The fancy china in the cabinet? use it.
Twenty years ago, I let my sister talk me into painting my walls a neutral shade of white, because if I ever chose to move, “think of the resale value!”. I’ve hated those white walls for 20 years. Should have painted them the color that I wanted.
Unless you manage to find a very special buyer, building a pipe organ in your house will probably not have a positive effect on resale value. Nevertheless, I’m in awe of this guy.
Love hearing this when thinking about buying a house… I’m buying for me, not for some possible future buyer.
And, yes, if you have it, use it! My MIL has a set of Wedgewood china that she packed carefully over many, many moves. It was displayed in a cabinet everywhere they landed, till their current house which is too small for a big display case. Over the years, pieces have broken. I’ve been part of this family for 37 years - I think we ate off that china once. She’s offered it to me a few times and I’ve declined. It’s not to my taste, and I have perfectly good Corelle - I don’t need fancy china. It’s going to end up at Goodwill after she dies.
Antiques you like are fine. I’m writing this on an antique desk just like one I saw on Antiques Roadshow. We eat dinner on wooden chairs from the 1830s, and the table in the laundry room is from the 1820s.
My wife grew up in a house from the 1880s. Had an outbuilding which used to be a small barn, and push bottom light switches. We rented half a house from the 1850s or so. (We found a photograph of it.) Replacing the screens in the windows was a custom job, but since many houses in our town were old, the hardware store was set up for it.
What is antique is relative to your location. My parents took us to what was considered a very old house in San Diego which was newer than the one my wife grew up in.
All in all, I like our antiques.
Paint isn’t that expensive, you know. You can’t really blame your sister for 20 years of white walls in your house.
I’m wonderfully petty :).
Yeah, I know. Its just painting walls is a lot more involved once there’s years of crap in the house, and the drapes and couch and carpet were then picked to match. And plus, inertia and my fat ass just doesn’t want to actually work up the energy to re-paint them another color.
But I’d prefer to blame my sister. Because.
Taste schmaste that’s some quality stuff! What pattern? @FairyChatMom save it for the Rox Star!
In the 60’s my MIL returned from Italy with a tall porcelain urn/ footed vase and fancy chamber pot she kept dusted and prominently displayed until this year when it came unsolicited to my house. So okay. It encouraged me to an area of clear clutter and now I have them on display. I laughed and rolled eyes when they arrived but now I think they class up the joint.
90% of the attraction antiques had for me was the challenge of the hunt and thrill of discovery. The Internet has pretty much eliminated both of those things. You can find almost anything ever made for sale somewhere with a few keystrokes. You can also quickly discover that those prized treasures are not nearly as rare or unique as you thought.
I have the same problem; my mother has complete sets of Wedgwood, Lenox and Mikasa. We’ve used the Mikasa china a few times a year but I believe the Wedgwood and Lenox china have never been used. And she wants me or my brother to take one of the china sets. Like you, though, I have Corelle dishes, which are fine. There’s other stuff in the house but except for a very small number of things I want for sentimental reasons, I don’t want it.
I have a lot of old furniture pieces. Most I bought when the Antique Guild was still in business. It was a time when people in Europe (most of the stuff they had came from the UK) wanted modern and were basically dumping their old stuff. I got wonderful quality solid wood furniture for less than the particle board crap you’d see in furniture stores. I have a few collections, but two (bears and dachshunds) are their own display cabinets and the other (Heintz Art Metal) have a display “window” built into one of my bookcases. I love looking at them. Occassionally I rearrange pieces, and it’s surprising how things can look so differently in different configurations.
That said, I don’t buy any more. But if I find that one great perfect piece…it’s one comes in; one goes out.
I dunno - something green?? I just looked on a replacement site and I didn’t recognize any of the patterns, tho a few were candidates. Like I said, I think we ate off those plates once and since I don’t much care about china, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to them on display. And since my MIL is 90 and in failing health, Roxy probably won’t remember her great-grandma, so the china will have even less significance to her; so, no, I won’t store it for her…
Speaking of Lenox, my mom has several pieces that had been given to my dad over the years - business gifts (he was a bit of a big shot in his business) and she keeps offering them to me. I see something that needs to be dusted. And since they were given to Dad after I was out on my own, there’s not even a sentimental memory attached to any of them for me.
China is a different matter. We have three sets, one from my mother, one from my wife’s mother, and one from an aunt. None go into the dishwasher so I’m not interested. We managed to dump one on a daughter, the other daughter saw through our tricks. We also have two sets of good silverware, not counting the one we use and the miscellaneous stuff liberated from MIT dining halls 50 years ago.
I’m not sure any of it qualifies as antiques. I do know they are taking up space. I should look them up at Ebay some time, way too good for Goodwill.
I wouldn’t go that far, but beyond very gentle cleaning NEVER do anything to antique you wish to resell unless you are an expert. If you aren’t worried about the value, do whatever the hell you want.
OOTOMH Goofus Glass with the original paint is very rare. This is because the manufacturer used water soluble paint. Goofus glass is rather common. But, in all my yard sales, antique shows etc before the internet I saw only a single piece with the original paint intact.
I own the Dragon’s Eye. It’s a piece made by a felllow Doper (Either they didn’t make the move to discourse or I have their screen name wrong). Vaseline glass contains uranium. When exposed to UV light, it glows. My friend took a few Vaseline Glass marbles and surrounded them with UV light emitting diodes. You just plug in a square nine volt battery, the diodes flash on and off in sequence, and the Vaseline glass glows and flickers like a dragon’s eye. There is no question, the dragon’s eye would command a higher price than the original marble. Of course you can have it when you pry it from my cold dead hands. I currently have it set into the green suede cover of a Necronomicon I made.