Abit of Vintage: What do you collect?

I can’t count the number of times I have been asked that question from a shop keeper as they glanced up from a crossword puzzle, paperback novel or computer screen. The little bell on the door has just finished its last hushed “ding” and the question from obscurity rings out….“what do you collect?”. Often, not even knowing where the voice came from, I reply, “nothing”.


The fact is…neither my husband nor I collect anything! We have been in this business since the late 1970’s and we weren’t collectors then. It’s a difficult concept for most people to understand since almost everyone collects something, especially antiques dealers. Even non-“antiquers” end up collecting something….something they walk into shops seeking out. Often, I have replied to “the” question with something I would like to find because it has recently gained interest in the marketplace where I sell or I have a specific client for. But often that approach back fires because the shop owner thinks I am being too picky if what they show me doesn’t fit my criteria. I am generally better off leaving them scratching their head when I tell them that I really don’t collect anything.

I have to be honest, there have been many items that we have bought over the years, thinking we knew what the trend was, that we ended up owning so long that one might think we did collect that type of item! But we have never consciously or deliberately bought for a collection and ultimately all of the items we’ve bought have been for sale.

I have to admit that there have been items that I look back at in thought and hesitantly wish I still owned, but reality is, having owned it was really good enough. There’s the first external, mahogany, wood horned Victor phonograph that we painstakingly restored and the one pint ice cream freezer that made two flavors at the same time. The pair of salesman sample oak and leather glider rocking chairs and the heart shaped peridot and gold necklace that were wonderful pieces. But as much as I enjoyed owning these items and regret that I don’t see this kind of quality or uniqueness very often, I enjoyed immensely the joy that the new owners received when they added these treasures to their collections. That is the real pleasure of finding wonderful items.

What do I collect? I collect memories of the collectors that have crossed my path, that have added something I felt worthy of owning and that they are happy to add to their collections. What better collection can I have?

Debra & Robert Helton
check out our on-line antiques and collectibles shops at:
Ogee's Antiques @ www.rubylane.com/shops/ogees and
ABit of Vintage @ www.rubyplaza.com/shops/ogees-rp

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Vintage Begins Here: Explore the exciting world of Ruby Lane. Discover thousands of independent shops showcasing quality Antique & Art, Vintage, and Jewelry items from the world's largest curated marketplace.

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