Friday, November 30, 2012

Lost & Found - A Post Hurricane Sandy Story

I saw an article pop up on my Facebook news feed today.  It was one of those "long lost item found & returned to owner" feel good sort of story.
With all the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy late this past October (2012), the press will glam on to this sort of story quite readily, which is understandable, and is commendable.  
 It is far better than the "if it bleeds, it leads" attitude that media tends to take when reporting news these days.
Here is the article, in case you wish to read it for yourself:

Lost Military Jacket Found on Post-Sandy NJ Beach

 In case the link ends up eventually "null", or for those of you wishing to just read a "Cole's Notes" version, here it is summed up in 6 sentences. Now, I hope you appreciate this, as I'd prefer to put the whole article out there...mainly because I have a hard time not being long winded & verbally jog the round and about paths of explanatory exercises when it comes to just my own you may already know from reading prior blog posts...or working your way through this sentence!
 Anyway, here goes:
Woman on a beach clean-up  crew finds old, antique looking military jacket in the debris.
Woman/others track down jacket's owner via his last name written in it. It is found that the original wearer/owner of it (the one from 80+ years ago) had passed away,  also years ago. 
Jacket is "returned" to widow of the initial owner. 
Widow was completely unaware it existed at all.
Woman is happy, widow is, joy, joy all around!
Such a perfect story for this festive time of year...
The thing is, I suspect there is a very, very sad story lurking behind this jacket.
One thing that was noted was that the jacket was remarkably well preserved.
Odds are it wasn't ripped out of some dusty attic somewhere. There will be a very good reason it was well preserved. 
It was in a collection.
Quite possibly a lifetime collection of a serious militaria collector.  
Whose entire home, collection and all, was washed into the ocean by Hurricane Sandy.
Or, perhaps it was in a museum, which may have met the same fate.
 In any case, I think it is highly unlikely that the jacket was not already owned and highly appreciated.  More than likely it had even been legitimately purchased, perhaps many, many years ago....maybe even from the widow's husband when he was alive. Perhaps he sold it to pay for an engagement ring, who knows. We could speculate for days.
So, I am thinking there is much more to the story behind this jacket.
 The widow may have it in her possession now, but the credit due for  ultimate preservation may belong to a collector who cherished it as much, or more, than she.  I do hope that if this jacket is found to be from a collection, whether it be a private collection or museum collection, that the widow be willing to return it to the hands that have lovingly cared for it all these years. 
She should be proud to know that a special object from her husband's early military career's history was preserved by someone who cared about history enough to do so.
We can only hope that the unknown collector did not loose their life in the Hurricane.
knowing passionate collectors as I do, loosing their collection may be as bad, or worse, than dying, however. 
 If the jacket is from a private collection, and the collector is alive, I have to wonder what he/she is going through at this moment. 
  Over my many years in the antiques business, I have met and even become friends with many very passionate collectors. 
Sadly, I have also witnessed what happened to these same sorts of collectors at the loss of their collections. Even whenjust some, part of, or their entire collection was stolen, destroyed (by flood, fire, etc), or they were forced to liquidate it due to financial stress/divorce/"insert mental or physical health issue here" the after effects were long and far reaching, and wreaked havoc on many, and sometimes all parts of their lives.
That collector may have survived Hurricane Sandy, but their life has changed, and they will still be dealing with a loss that is more than sadness over loosing a home, personal possessions and keepsakes. That will be hard enough, but what the collector will be dealing with will double that pain. What may have been a life's work, their passion, irreplaceable physical remnants of history they personally preserved/found/cared for, the accumulation that may have been their most proud accomplishment... 
At this point, I have no happy, nor amusing anecdote to close with. 
That is right, no happy ending to close with. 
Maybe there will be yet, only time will tell.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The backgrounds on most  "junk TV" celebs is fairly easy to track down.

 Wikipedia, as an example, is chock full of info, as long as you do some minor searching, and clickin' on links. In this case, however, I have done the searching for you, so all you have to do is some clickin'!

Take "Picker Sisters" as an example.

The hosts are Tracy Hutson and Tanya McQueen.

The names may sound familiar to you because they each were part of another highly popular Reality TV show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  Yes, that is the one with that bundle of seemingly boundless energy that is always bouncing around your TV screen, also known as Ty Pennington.

Tracy Hutson is also an actress, and also started her own design business in Los Angeles in 1999. She ended up as one of the original style consultants on the same show, as well as appeared in a few films and TV shows, including:

 TV Sitcoms: Damaged Goods and Less Than Perfect.
 Films/Movies:  Mixed Signals, Endsville, and Rated X (appearing in the role of noted porn actress,  Marilyn Chambers (who was also an exotic dancer, model and, oddly enough, vice-presidential candidate!)

So, Tracy Hutson is an experienced actress who is also a designer.


Sounds like a match made in heaven for a reality TV show producer, eh?

Tanya McQueen was first noticed by an ABC producer when she appeared with her cousin on TLC Network's reality TV show Property Ladder.

She ended up on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and since then also hosted Hitched or Ditched on the CW Network. 

So, that is the general background of the "Picker Sisters"...who I guess are not really sisters, and I suppose not really pickers,as far as most people's definition of the word goes.

Oh well, it is just TV, after all. 

To further check out the host's other interests, businesses, history, check out the links below:

Tracy Hutson  
Ex Husband Barry_Watson

Tanya McQueen 


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bargains For Me, Bargains for You!


I admit it, I have a heck of a time passing up a bargain.


I can pass up a bargain, but when I see that it is priced well below value, I have to stop and think...

Sometimes thinking about the item much longer than others.

If I am "smart" that day, I will leave many of those "bargains" on antique shop showcases & where they are sitting on thrift store shelves, and yard sale tables.

The reason being is that I end up figuring out that the item really is not a bargain. 

Sure, the item is priced at $5, and well should be worth $50

However, it is only be worth $50.00 once it is sold for that....

And I have to clean it.

And store it.

And haul it around to a dozen antiques shows.

Wrap it.

Unwrap it.

Clean it again.

"Sell" it...IE: market it to a potential buyer, talk up the piece, etc.

And then find out they have one identical and were only interested in pricing out theirs.


And start again....and on and on and on, 

Until such time that someone comes along, and is willing to buy it.

But only at a discounted price....



But only for $30....

And I had to absorb the tax.

Now, did I realistically make any money on my $5.00?


I always need to remind myself that my time is worth money, and so is my knowledge & experience.  I am where I am because I have "paid my dues" over many years.

I have tons and can get tons of inventory. I find stuff where others can not. I find the things at bargain prices, without being dishonest with people.

 I have many sources, connections, etc.  

Add that to my broad scope of knowledge, curiosity, and ability to get interested in vastly different subjects

I can go to an auction where the competition is fierce for the advertising items, and where it seems that there will be no bargains. I will end up bidding on a lot where the auctioneer is desperate to get a bid, and thanks me for taking it away for $2, and people in the crowd think I am nuts for buying that box lot of trash.

I smile and say to the auctioneer:

  "You're welcome...and ya owe me a beer."  

My smile is not entirely due to my joke, it is due to knowing there is a  $500 item in amongst the junk.  It is not an advertising piece, but  Staffordshire Pottery. Despite a couple small chips, it depicts unusual subject matter, and will be a quick flip for $250 to a fellow dealer, after taking some pictures and dropping him an email.

 I am good at what I do. 

And I work darn hard.

I am not rich, cash wise.... heck, I'm not even "well off" financially.

 Life happens, and it has "happened" in such a way that I am not exactly where I wanted/planned to be by now, at my age.

 Then again, being retired by 40 was my plan. 

Yes, I was extra optimistic at 20!

Anyway, the point is I have tons of inventory (literally!), and really do not want to deal with it all. I am tired of the grind of wrapping, unwrapping, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Yes, there is LOT$ of money to be made on that stuff.  However, I like..(wait just a minute...scratch "like")...I  PREFER a "quick flip", a fast sale, a bulk sale, a whole pile of stuff being sold at once to one person, etc, etc, etc....and I don't care that an item/items go out at  wholesale figures. I'm not greedy, I don't need, nor want top dollar for everything.

I have tons of inventory, and really need to get rid of it. I have no time to put it all out on shelves, clean it spic-and-span, package and price it, etc, etc.

It is time to cut my losses....the merchandise is fine, salable, and not junk.  But, all the bargains I bought and really are not bargains once I "do the work." Combine that with my market access. It is tough here, really, to sell many things.   

 I can buy some wonderful art glass at a heck of a bargain, but when it comes to selling it in the shop....well, that bargain is taking up space....and slowly becomes something that is costing me money. Yes, when the item takes up space for things that will sell quicker, that slow seller begins to cost you $$$$.

The odds are I will sell 20 old tin signs before anyone looks at the Orreffors vase.....grossly underpriced at $ one, that is, except the little old lady who looks at the price and gasps...or brings it over to the counter with a toonie ($2) in her hand.
So, my bargain hunting eye and years of buying, bidding & rooting around all over has caused an accumulation of stuff.....lots of  inventory.  
Darn good inventory (heck, GREAT inventory) if it gets to the right market.

What I am getting to here is thus:

 I am soon going to be offering much of my inventory at WHOLESALE and BELOW WHOLESALE prices.  

The catch is, a buyer has to buy a large lot. From a 2' x 2' boxful, to a gaylord container full, to a truckload.

Instant inventory for someone to sell at their store, flea market, auction, on eBay, whatever.  Cash in my pocket, potential profit in the buyer's pocket.  Did I mention I also hate doing eBay sales of anything these days?

PLUS, not only do I have vintage stuff galore, I also have "new" stuff, modern merchandise, army surplus stuff, and more. 

I did say I had a hard time passing up a bargain!  

So, soon you can buy lots bulk from me. 

I did the "heavy lifting"

 The "windshield time"

 The dirty work,

The dangerous work,

The loading & sorting

And not to mention  accumulating it into larger quantities of "like" items...all the stuff you'd spend tons of time doing, when all you want to do is sell, sell, sell!

I make some money for my work, you will make money for your work. 

Let's see how it works out!

  If you are interested in this opportunity, "Friend" me on Facebook.

And keep watching this blog, too!