• 5 Jun
    2013

All Covered Up: The Art and Lexicon of Upholstery

While in my shop one day, I had a phone call from an obviously agitated man. Actually it happened more than once but that’s another story. With some desperation in his voice, he wanted to know where in town he could find someone to replace all the cloth on his chairs. I calmly told him […]

Read More
  • 4 Jun
    2013

America’s Early Antique Stores: When did the Industry begin in Earnest in the U.S.?

Having lunch with friends from the U.K., we discussed our afternoon spent browsing through antique stores. “Why aren’t there more antiques in your antique stores?” questioned Nigel. “There aren’t enough real antiques in America” chimed in his wife Susan, “except those that are imported from Europe, of course.” “America has a thriving antiques business” I […]

Read More
  • 4 Jun
    2013

Rinker on Collectibles: Our Future Relies on Kids Collecting

On Saturday, May 25, 2013, Linda and I drove from Kentwood to 1350 West Randolph Street, Chicago, home of the Randolph Street Market Festival. It was the 2013 season opening day and marked the 10-year anniversary of the market. Known simply as “Randolph Street” in the trade, its promotional literature bills it as “America’s Largest […]

Read More
  • 31 May
    2013

A Chair by Any Other Name: How Some Sitters Got Their Monikers

There are at least three categories of furniture that are so important to us in our daily activities that they have special names. These titles describe a particular characteristic, function or purpose that goes beyond simply specifying a style. There are lots of kinds of tables—dining, game, tea, end, parlor and lamp—and there are lots […]

Read More
  • 24 May
    2013

Q & A with Harry Rinker: Arcade Cast Iron Farm Toy, Uncle Sam & Hitler Button

QUESTION: I own an cast iron, Arcade blue corn planter toy. I acquired it as part of a boxed lot at an auction. What is its value? – J, West Bend, Wis. ANSWER: Edward H. and Charles Morgan founded the Novelty Iron Works in Freeport, Illinois, in 1868. In 1885, Albert Baumgarten, Edward H. Morgan, […]

Read More
  • 24 May
    2013

Antiques Auction Forum Podcast: Repurposing with Cari Cucksey

In this week’s installment of the Antiques Auction Forum podcast, Martin Willis speaks with Cari Cucksey of HGTV’s “Cash & Cari,” whom he caught up with recently at the Brimfield Antique show. So see some of the items Cari has repurposed, visit her Repurpose Shop. Listen here: Martin Willis is Worthologist, auctioneer and director of […]

Read More
  • 23 May
    2013

Walking the Dog leads to an Epiphany: Antiques can be a Form of Time Travel

I was walking my dog the other morning on the property of the 1790 House, which is a fine colonial structure in Woburn, Mass., that houses an auction company’s office. The property is right next to Route 128, which is always very noisy, with a constant stream of traffic flowing north and south. The historic […]

Read More
  • 10 May
    2013

The Collector’s Minute: Wegner’s Wishbone Chair

The 1960 Presidential Debate played a role in this country’s history, but it also helped establish a Danish modern icon: the “Wishbone Chair,” also known as the “Y” or “CH-24.” It was designed by Hans Jørgensen Wegner, (April 2, 1914-Jan. 26, 2007), who began his career as a cabinetmaker in 1931 and trained at the […]

Read More
  • 9 May
    2013

Who Watches ‘Mad Men’ Just to Check out the Cool Furnishings? I Do!

I am guilty of this and I am sure many others out there are as well! My wife enjoys the storyline of the hit AMC television series “Mad Men,” but I scan the screen for period items that coincide with the correct years of production, country of manufacture, scarcity and condition. I must say, the […]

Read More
  • 1 May
    2013

Furniture Style and Form: What’s Wrong With a ‘Period’ Coffee Table?

In the world of antique furniture, the word “period” has a very specific meaning. To say that something is period means that it is from the time when the style of the piece was first popular. For example, to say a Queen Anne chair is “period” means that it came from the first half of […]

Read More