Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Better year ahead

Here's hoping (and expecting) a better year in 2010 for the antiques and collectibles trade.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Smart holiday move

River Market Antiques (Kansas City, MO) is doing what just about every antique mall and shop should be doing during the holiday season — extending their hours.
From Friday, Dec. 18 to Wednesday, Dec. 23, the mall will be open 9 am to 9 pm, then open back up Dec. 26-27, 10 am to 6 pm, and on Dec. 28-30, 9 am to 9 pm. For more information, go to

As they say — can't make a sale if you ain't open.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Upcoming estate sale

Brickhouse Antiques in Topeka, KS now has an Estate Service business. Their next estate sale is set for Dec. 11-12 at 1328 SW 37th St. in Topeka, Friday from 7:30 am-1 pm, and 8 am until whenever on Saturday, the day everything is half price.

Call 785-266-6000 or go to for more information.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Taylor Swift goes antiquing

Dealers and organizers of the Music Valley and Tailgate Antique shows in Nashville are debunking the theory that younger people don't go antiquing after Country Music Award winner Taylor Swift and family spent time shopping at the two shows in October.
"In between looking and shopping for antiques, Taylor and her family stopped at many of the 300 booths to sign autographs and pose for pictures with the dealers," said Gail Taylor, publicist for the shows.

Taylor Swift is shown here with antique dealer Marilyn Halen (l) and Bea Starr (r). (photo courtesy Gail Taylor)

The next Antiques at Music Valley and Tailgate Antique shows will be Feb. 11-13 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. For more information, go to

Friday, December 4, 2009

West Palm Beach show

Reports are good in terms of turnout and meeting dealer expectations at the Vintage Show & Sale in West Palm Beach, FL, held Nov. 21-22. Chicago jewelry dealer Brett Benson was quoted as calling the show "fantastic" and having met his personal sales goal within a few hours of the doors opening. In addition to clothing, artwork, furniture, jewelry and other items from the 1930s through the 1970s, show featured booksignings and a fashion show.
Next year's show is scheduled for Nov. 20-21 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Organizing antique dealer association

Michele Stanley, owner of My Granny's Attic in Lenexa, KS, is talking about beginning work on organizing a greater Kansas City antique dealer association. (Yes, in this economy, there is strength in numbers.) Check out the Refurnished Thoughts column in the December issue at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Indian art book release

The Chickasaw Press, part of the Chickasaw Nation Division of History and Culture, which publishes books on Chickasaw history, tradition and culture, has released Uprising! Woody Crumbo's Indian Art. Written by Robert Perry, it's the story of Potawatomi artist Woody Crumbo and his struggles as an artist. The book contains many images of Crumbo's paintings and sculptures.
Windle's Jewelry Shop in Bartlesville, OK, will host a book signing on Nov. 21 from 10 am-5:30 pm. Author Perry is a member of Elders that advises on tribal council issues. For more information on the book signing, visit

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ticketing an open house

Merchants in Greenwood, MO aren't happy that the local police issued parking tickets during the town's Christmas Open House last weekend. For some merchants, the outrage was compounded considering a parking ticket cost a supposed violator $60. One merchant, who owns two shops in town, has yet to hear from the mayor after being asked why the police were so heavy-handed.
The antique shops on Main Street Greenwood are a big part of the small town's identity besides an obvious revenue source. I guess the lesson here is: Watch where you park in Greenwood!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reason to hope?

Credit card companies are reporting an uptick in retail sales using credit cards even as some analysts and economists are forecasting holiday sales as the same as last year or slightly worse (New York Times, Nov. 4, 2009) Still, for October, apparels sales were up 3.4 percent compared to a year ago, luxury goods rose 6.5 percent, jewelry 7.2 percent, with an increase in e-commerce to 18.7 percent. Reuters reports that economic forecaster Forrester Research predicts online sales to increase 8 percent this holiday season.

One thing we've noticed among some regional antique dealers is that less of them seem to have ignored the Christmas season as has been the trade's bane in the past. Some shops are even instituting Holiday layaway plans! Is the antique trade in the Midwest finally getting a clue?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Louisville show

One of the best shows in the country, Louisville Antiques & Fine Living Show, opens Nov. 12 with a Preview Party, 6-10 pm, at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Tickets are $125; weekend passes to the show are $7.50 for all three days. Produced and managed by Nagel Productions, demonstrations and tastings add another dimension to the show. The annual event benefits the Heuser Hearing & Language Academy. For tickets, call 502-515-3320.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Combined Discover MId-America issue

We're going to experiment a little for January and February 2010. We're combining those months into one Discover Mid-America issue, which we'll start distributing right after the New Year's. Admittedly, it's a self-interest move considering those months are usually are slowest of the year. Also, we're looking at discounting some advertising rates for that combined issue. Deadline for ad and editorial copy is Dec. 15 instead of Dec. 10. We plan on restocking the issue at selected distribution locations and upon request.

We know for some advertisers and readers this may be an adjustment, which means any feedback is welcomed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Egypt trip

The St. Joseph Museum and Missouri State Western University are offering a 12-day trip to Egypt in 2010. Led by Dr. Jimmy Albright, an Egyptologist, participants will travel to Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Included will be the temple of Ramses II at Abu-Simbel and the Temple of Horus and Kom Ombo. Cost of the trip is $3,479 for museum members or $3,579 for non-members. Space is limited. Call 816-232-8471.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Antiquities website

A beta version of was launched this month. The site claims to have pieces dating back to 500 A.D. "but the majority are much older with cultures dating back to the ancient Greeks, Eyptians and Romans." Prices can be a low as $200 with "investment pieces in the $40,000 range."

Go to for a look-see.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Rock n' roll has infected the International Nippon Collectors Club. The organization is holding its 28th Annual Convention, July 30-Aug. 2, in Cleveland, OH, home of the Rock n' Roll Museum. This year's convention has been aptly named "Nippon Rocks."
The 230+ membership collect fine porcelain made in Japan from 1891 through 1921. For more information go to

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dealers Wanted

The Bel Air Fall Antique Festival in Omaha, NE, to be held Sept. 12, is seeking dealers. Call 402-514-7999. This show has all the makings of being a quality event. Go to for more info.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

advertise or die

An Ad-ology Research study, "Advertising's Impact in a Soft Economy," finds that more than 48% of U.S. adults believe that a lack of advertising by a retail store, bank or auto dealership during a recession indicates the business must be struggling.

Our experience with our advertising base shows that usually is not the case. It just means the antique shop owner has decided to save a little money by not advertising and will generally start advertising again once the economy appears to be improving.

Still, the results of this study should give shop owners reason to pause and wonder if negative public perception is worth saving a few dollars.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Books on silver

The web site claims it has "uncovered over 8,700 pages and 30 rare, privately published and out-of-print reference books and research manuals and museum works on antique silver and the silversmith trade." The web site has a list of titles and for $125, they will send you a DVD of the material. An address and phone number is listed on the web site.

As of today, silver was trading around $15 per ounce.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chicago Pride Show

Chicago's Prairie Avenue Gallery will host a Pride Show with opening reception Sunday, June 7, noon-4 pm. The Gallery is located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District in the Keith House, 1900 S Prairie Ave.

The Prairie Gallery, known for ground-breaking shows, hosted the first AIDS art show in the mid-1980s, a showcase for black photojournalists and shows featuring emerging Chicago artists. Call 312-326-2923 or find them on facebook.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Overland Park show

Shawn Hastings of Shawn Hastings Productions, who took over from Willowrush Productions, based in Indiana, the respected Overland Park Antique Show, has been scrambling to get the word out. The spring show will be March 20-22 at the Overland Park International Trade Center, 6800 W 115th St.. Admission is $6 for all three days.

This is one of the best shows held in the Kansas City area with scores of quality dealers from the Midwest.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spreading broadband via the 'Stimulus"

According to Megan Tady from the web site Free Press, in her report "Five Days on the Digital Dirt Road," more than 14.3 million rural homes across the country – 61 percent – are not connected to high speed Internet." As she notes, in practical terms that means millions of people can't apply for a job online, take a class, start home-based businesses, get news and information and, I may add, prevent antique shops from selling online through their web sites that are uniquely created for their business. In short, lack of broadband inhibits the growth of the antique trade.

Below is the March 2009 Refurnished Thoughts column I wrote on the subject.

The ‘Stimulus’ effect on antiquing
by Bruce Rodgers

As a group, antique shop owners and dealers, aren’t a very high-tech group. (Considering the use of the words “antique” and “high-tech” in the same sentence, I know there’s a joke in there somewhere.) Sure, thousands of shops nationwide have tied their ecommerce functions to operations like Ruby Lane,, eBay or WorthPoint, and some are going it alone in selling antiques and collectibles online through their website.

But my experience as publisher of DMA has revealed that many shop owners in the Midwest — especially in small towns — consider a fax machine and dial-up email the peak of their high-tech experience. Though some might blame age or a generation gap as the factor in this avoidance of the high-tech world — as if everyone who likes antiques uses the word to describe their longevity on the this planet — the fact is the Internet is slow in coming to small town American because not many telecom companies thought there was money to be made in bringing broadband to the hinterland.

That fact is born out by the United States being 17th worldwide in broadband penetration compared to other developed countries. Yet, of the active U.S. Internet users, 89% use broadband. The qualifier should be “where available.”

Regardless of how you feel politically about the $787 billion American Reinvestment and Recovery Act signed by President Obama, it’s going to expand broadband availability and through that get more antique shops online and in ecommerce.

Some $7.2 billion of the legislation is set aside for broadband access and adoption, and directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to come up with a national plan.

A good chunk of that money ($4.35 billion) will be distributed through a temporary grant program distributed by The National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The requirement is that such broadband projects must be completed within two years of the awarding the grant and must adhere to Internet nondiscrimination and openness principles established by the FCC.

All this is good news to those shop owners who want to have a website that doesn’t take 15 minutes to upload, and, at least, begin to consider selling online.

I don’t think the brick and mortar aspect of selling antiques will go away. Though I do think small shops will have increased difficulty staying afloat without going online and taking on the basic aspects of Internet marketing.

The personal dynamic wrapped into the conversation about bidding on or buying an antique will always be an essential and attractive factor in the business. And it’s something that can’t quite be duplicated through shopping on the Internet though blogging can help alleviate the dryness in the exchange.

And where does that leave print as an advertising vehicle? Daily newspapers aside, publications that focus on a particular subject will survive. But as a reminder, Discovery Publications builds small business websites and we know a little about ecommerce.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book on Missouri lures

Dean Murphy, who is mentioned in the cover feature, "Love of old lures" in the February 2009 issue of Discover Mid-America, sent us a copy of his book Fishing Tackle MADE IN MISSOURI History and Identification.

At first glace, Murphy's book in interesting, well organized and a sure attraction to collectors of fishing lures and those interested in the history of fishing.

In a note Murphy included with the book, he mentioned he was looking for a place to house his collection for public viewing, hopefully something along the lines of The Karl and Beverly White collection at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK – part of the Feb. '08 cover feature.

"I would like to fnd somewhere in Missouri to get it displayed after I pass on. I am 86," said Murphy.

If you're interested in his book or have any ideas for him to display his collection, email Dean at

Monday, February 9, 2009

More stats has released a report from data collected showing which countries are responsible for the most online sales in 2008 of antiques and collectibles. The report is based on data from, and No surprise, the United States accounted for 91.3% of online sales revenue. The United Kingdom amounted to 2% of sales, "but the average order amount was almost double that of every other country including the U.S.

By states, California led with 12% of total U.S. sales, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington and Virginia.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Year-end list #2

Kovels has also released their 2008 Collectors Searches – top 20; Occupied Japan is #1, up from #7 in 2007; Jewelry fell to #2. New to the list include Cookie Jars, #11, Shawnee, #15, Hutschenreuther, #16, Bavaria, #17, Royal Bayreuth, #18 and Josef Originals, #20.

For more information, go to

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Year-end list

TIAS.COM has released their top 30 searches for 2008. Cookie Jar remains number one, unchanged from 2007. New to list for 2008 include transferware, bird-related collectibles, Hutschenreuther, brass collectibles, lamps, figurines, Westmoreland, Bakelite, plates and paperweights.
Searches for Fire King, Nippon, pitchers, Depression Glass and Blenko have fallen significantly from 2007.

Go to for more information.