Getting to Know You: Timothy & Angela Swift
Angela and Tim Swift spend their retirement collecting rather than selling. Tim collects vintage vinyl records, and writes on his antiques and collectibles blog; Angela collects pottery. They buy at the usual places: yard sales, antique dealers, estate sales and auctions.
Cruising on a warm summer night with the top down, listening to a favorite tune; smelling the musty, acrid odor of a full-to-the-ceiling antique store; the thrill of pulling up to an already crowded yard sale at 7 a.m.; these are the “hooks” that we hang our memories on. Our senses wrap around our experiences, and when those experiences carry with them strong emotion they become locked into our brains and become the stuff of “the good old days.”
For Timothy and Angela Swift, the good old days are firmly ensconced in their present. The hobbies they cherished in their youth have been carried into adulthood. And, fifty-plus years of buying, selling and collecting have generated a supply of wisdom about “the process” that they willingly share.
Tim and Angela hail from Escondido, Calif. Both now retired, Tim spent his career as a sales representative for a school supply company; Angela was a middle school special education teacher. Together, they founded the North San Diego County Antique and Collectible Show, and operated the venue from 2007 through 2012. The monthly show, known for its auction and appraisal events as well as cross-promoting among dealers, featured dozens of vendors and sizable crowds. The San Diego Tribune reported that the Swift’s event, held at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, was “considered one of the best venues in the county for antique dealers.”
The Swifts were well known for the effort they put into helping their dealers sell; so much so that they were featured in a May 2012 Antique Trader Magazine article titled “Four Tips to Improving your Antiques Show Sales.” The Swifts passed the baton to new show operators in 2012.
These days, Tim and Angela spend their retirement collecting rather than selling. Tim collects vintage vinyl records, and writes on his antiques and collectibles blog; Angela collects pottery. They buy at the usual places: yard sales, antique dealers, estate sales and auctions.
Angela Swift likes to look for pottery, and has developed a fondness for California, Roseville, Shawnee and Weller, such as this Weller four-handled matte green vase, circa 1905.
Angela traces her love for pottery to her mother. For decades, she and her mother combed area shops and sales for treasures. Along the way, Angela developed a fondness for California, Roseville, Shawnee, and Weller. Having made pottery in college, she’s not deterred by minor damage to a piece that she likes.
“I rescue art pottery” she says. “An occasional chip or scratch doesn’t bother me; if it’s beautiful, I’ll buy it and find a way to display it in my home.”
Tim’s passion for vinyl records is easily understood. He grew up in the 1950s and came-of-age in the 1960s, so he was around when the seeds of Rock n’ Roll sprouted. Unlike many of us who grew up in the same time period, Tim didn’t abandon his vinyl as new technologies came along. When Boomers ditched their copies of “Introducing The Beatles” on Vee Jay, David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” or Frank Wilson’s 1966 hit “Do I Love You (Deed I Do)” in favor of easier-to-manage compact discs, Tim was there to buy up the discards at bargain prices (if he didn’t already own it). The soundtrack of Tim’s life is within easy reach, any time he needs a little nostalgia.
Despite decades of experience as collectors, the Swifts rely on WorthPoint to keep them up-to-date on pricing and provenance.
“You can’t be an expert on everything; that’s why WorthPoint is so valuable” remarks Tim. “I can’t always find comparables on eBay or replacement.com, or other sites for an item I’m researching” he admits.
Solving the “information gap” is the primary focus of WorthPoint. Collectors and appraisers alike rely on thorough, multi-sourced information to determine points of connoisseurship and arrive at reasonable values. Quick checks of 30-day eBay sales simply aren’t enough; that’s why dealers build reference libraries going back a decade.
Tim has always had a passion for vinyl records and he didn’t abandon his vinyl as new technologies came along. When Boomers ditched their copies of “Introducing The Beatles” on Vee Jay or David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” he was there to buy up the discards at bargain prices (if he didn’t already own them).
WorthPoint cuts research time without cutting relevant information. WorthPoint’s Worthopedia is a huge database of pricing information gleaned from over 350 brick-and-mortar and online auction houses such as Cowan’s Auctions, Heritage Auctions, Rago Arts and, of course, eBay. The 300 million items and billion photographs listed are made easy to find by dividing them into 23 categories of art, antiques, and collectibles.
Angela finds detailed catalog of maker’s marks in WorthPoint MAPS product especially helpful. “Marks on pottery aren’t always clear, and good photos make a big difference.” WorthPoint’s library of price guides from leading publishers assists with identification factors. Best of all, research can be accomplished from a search bar, rather than thumbing through the table of contents of dozens of books.
The Yogi Berra quip “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be” certainly doesn’t apply to Tim and Angela Swift. They are happily surrounded by the collectibles of their youth, and have the wisdom, experience, and resources to explore their hobbies throughout their retirement.
Wayne Jordan is a Virginia-licensed auctioneer, Certified Personal Property Appraiser and Accredited Business Broker. He has held the professional designations of Certified Estate Specialist; Accredited Auctioneer of Real Estate; Certified Auction Specialist, Residential Real Estate and Accredited Business Broker. He also has held state licenses in Real Estate and Insurance. Wayne is a regular columnist for Antique Trader Magazine, a WorthPoint Worthologist (appraiser) and the author of two books. For more info, visit Wayne Jordan Auctions or Resale Retailing with Wayne Jordan.
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