Abit of Vintage: What does Baseball and the Antiques Business have in common?

We're into the exciting final segments of the baseball season and I couldn't help but think about the antiques business. Why? What could baseball and antiques have in common? Basically nothing and yet there is a fine thread that runs between the two.

While watching Ken Burns 10th Inning on PBS recently, I looked at baseball's heroes and the chemistry between fans and the objects of their affections and realized that the antiques business is quite similar.

Over the decades, baseball has had its stars, the shining pitchers, catchers and out fielders that make the game such a draw. The fans flock to the stadiums across the United States to see their favorite players, that is, this years heroes. Some players, the true exceptions, shine for several years, even decades. But often, last years star, perhaps still on the field, may not draw the crowd that a new icon does. Basically fans are fickle and last years heroes may not make the cut in the eyes of the fan.

The same is often true in the antiques and collectibles market. A few decades ago people couldn't get enough of the hot pink and black décor. Beanie Babies and fuzzy talking gerbils have had their run and trolls dolls have come and gone and come back again. Martha Stewart green is still in favor in some areas but it's the collector or fan that decides who or what's in vogue so it's a toss up as to whether it will be country pine, formal mahogany or shabby chic this year. For this reason dealers of collectibles have to be sensitive to their customer base and mass marketing. Grandma's old china was just that, and then an article comes out in one of the decorator magazines featuring a new way to appreciate old dinnerware and suddenly people are flocking to shops and shows looking for Havilland and McLaughlin china again. The bold drapery and upholstery fabrics that were tossed aside and stored long ago made a hot come back for awhile and now some dealers find their shelves heavy with those bolts while many collectors are searching for frilly white curtains.

Don't get me wrong, just as teams will always have their devoted fans, some collectibles will always be sought after in some degree. But just as few players will linger in the limelight of fame, the same is true for many hot trends. Certain players like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio will remain memorable names in baseball just like clocks, dolls, cut class and yes, baseball cards in the collectibles market. But unfortunately most players, like most collectibles, will fade like the fad of the pet rock.

Debra Helton

ABit of Vintage on Ruby Plaza

Ogee's Antiques on Ruby Lane

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