Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just The Way It Is:

I spent a lot of time Saturday and most of last Friday evening a few weeks ago, enjoying the whirlwind estate auction of a friend. She was well known and much loved and her memory will live on for many years.  Let it be said that she was a ... shopper. A classy way of saying that she had hoarding tendencies.  She was not a picky shopper either. She enjoyed a high end shop as well as a  yard sale. Though she had good taste and enjoyed the finer things, it was tempered with the frugality of a woman who had worked hard all her life for her habits and she remembered the times in her youth and those in her family, the times when the platter was meager and the closets were spare. It was remarked several times, that if she had been at her own auction, she would have relished the thought of buying back her own items.  Now, in my business, I encounter many hoarders.  The vast majority of them are in effect, miserable. They use their purchases to insulate themselves from others and the world.  They use it as a way to always have more than they could use or even want, to protect themselves, protection to the point of strangulation. 

This lady was a rare treat. She was woman who was the exact opposite of a miserable hoarder.  She loved and enjoyed every item that she bought.  Often items would be bought with the thought as a gift for a friend or loved one. I often enjoyed waiting on her as she bought pieces of jewelry for her stylish collection. She concentrated on every detail, What would she wear it with? Was it a good color? Were the stones clear and pretty? She came from a long family line with many nieces, nephews and cousins and an even greater number of friends.  She would gather toys and games for family members, who had long since out grown such needs or desires.  She would simply remark that someone, one day would use and enjoy them.  She enjoyed the things that she hid, poked and stored away. I know that she not only enjoyed buying these things, but she enjoyed  buying them from and thereby helping small merchants.  I was one of those merchants for many years.  Without knowing it, she would pay for one of my dealers booth rent for the month and on more than one occasion, she paid my late water bill or bought groceries for my table. All with her purchases that she collected.

Is what she did right or justified?  No, I'm afraid not.  It was thoughtless and selfish.  Its a problem. Just like someone who drinks too much or someone who is terrified of dogs or someone who bites their nails. They can't help it. They need help and guidance. Just like a heroin junkie needs help and tough love.  They need help in helping establish a collection or household.  Most importantly, they need help in devising a way to dispose of a "collection" when the sun draws low in the sky. It was a strain to her daughter and the many family members it took to sort, clean organize and dispose of her items. Though I'm sure that there were moments of fond recollection and laughter, there were also, an equal number of stressful moments, with the question of " Why did she have so much stuff?" echoing around the room. The happy collector doesn't think of such things.  They think that, "Oh they will be happy to see that I have a set of flatware for everyone in the family." or " They won't have to buy bath towels for years, after I'm gone."  See they still are loving and caring for the people left behind.  Its just that not everyone shares the same giddy feeling over flatware or bath towels.  

 But here is the difference and the key feature.  Yes, it was stressful for her family left behind, to clean up this collection. BUT, at least she enjoyed every moment of her shopping.  This would have been a real tragic situation, if she had gone without food or sanitary living conditions for her things.    If she had lost her family, friends, church or community, all in an effort to gather around her items that would have been damaged or destroyed by their very hoarding traits. Many hoarders give up much for their collections.

I'm glad she had what she had, including all ten or twelve electric coffee pots.   However, I'm really happy that you enjoyed what you did and why you did it.  The way I see it, if you have to eat ice cream, buy what you like, eat all of it and ENJOY IT! However, next time around you might ask for some help if you stock pile too much. .  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Querulous Quandaries: 

 I guess the only thing I can say is that the object must meet the period.  A quirky story and I don't think she ever really did understand.  Her grandmother wouldn't have known what it was either. lol

(me) Hi, Can I help you?

(woman) Yes, I'm looking for something. 

(me) What are you looking for? 

(woman)  I need a butter dish.  I real old one.  At least from the 1900's or earlier.

(me) Ahhh. You know you're the second or third person to ask for a butter dish this week.  Afraid that I don't have one of them, but what kind did you want? 

At this point I'm just making conversation and will direct her somewhere else.   

(woman)  Well I want an old one. 

(me) Well,what kind did you want? 

Then she looks at me kind of funny and in a  really pissy way says... 

(woman) HELLOOO... A... B-U-T-T-E-R dish.

(me)  HELLOOO...  What kind of B U T T E R dish did you want?  A round one for a cake of butter, one for a stick, one for a block of butter?  Did you want one made of metal, pottery, glass or porcelain?   

(woman) Well, I don't know, but I'll know it when I see it.  I want an old one that will hold a tub of Country Crock. One that will look pretty on the table. 

(me)  Well, you won't find an antique butter dish for a butter spread.  Maybe a crock with a lid but not a traditional butter dish.

(woman) I don't see why not! 

She got real pissy at this point. 

(me) Butter in a tub isn't gong to date to the 1900's or earlier. 

(woman) Well I can't see why not!  I mean butter dates back to the bible. 

(me) Yes, it does ( in a way)  but that's REAL butter and not a factory manufactured product like Country Crock.

(woman)  I just don't think you know what I'm talking about when I say butter dish.

(me) I guess I don't. Thanks for coming in. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mean While Back at The Store: 

 The opening of one of the lectures.
Boy, what a great Thursday and Friday I had.  The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) finally came to Kentucky. We've waited a long time too. They had a whirlwind series of lectures, field trips and socials scheduled for this weekend.  A close friend and I went down to check it all out.  I was happy to see that on Thursday, the meet and greet, that there were about 65 - 75 people in attendance. However, I was shocked that there were like 145 to come to the lecture and seminars.  That made me feel great.  For so long Kentucky and and Kentucky decorative arts had been pushed aside, stuck off in a corner.  In fact, we were called the " back country." I guess that that's a nice way of saying, there was nothing here of any scholarly merit.  How wrong they were and they've been wrong for a long time.  Kentucky since its very earliest days has been a breeding and receiving ground for amazing decorative arts, furniture, silver, textiles and of course, pottery.  All praise and acclaim had been denied to us. Why?  Was it because we were considered a frontier region? Or was it because we were segregated by the golden southern coast by a range of mountains and a different economy?  Perhaps, it was because we weren't romanticized as a "moonlight and magnolia" south. Which ever way, those days are over.  Well, we scholars, dealers, appraisers  and historian knew it wasn't true all along, but now its officially over, with this all important visit from MESDA.  In Kentucky, since the 1920's there has been a dedicated band of collectors and dealers,who made great efforts to enlarge the concepts of what decorative arts were, in several fields, in the early days of Kentucky.

The crowd coming in early

I can't stress scholarship enough.   Be it for your hometown or your favorite collection.  There is room out there for more and more discovery.  Explore, discover and SHARE all that you can.  If we don't stress scholarship and if we don't share what we discover future generations will loose out.  I can't say enough about how empowering and exciting it was to see, not only scholars sharing about Kentucky arts, but people from OTHER states, actually interested in what we had to say and show off.  Don't delay.  I guarantee that there is something in your area that needs more scholarship on.  Someone in the future needs your help.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mean While Back At The Store: 

 Reworking the store for the fall season.  Thanks to Sandy Collins an Cheryl Barton for taking the bull by the horns.  The small mantel is circa 1830 with an old white paint with an original green under that. Priced at $450.00.  The screen in the front is Japanese and is circa 1900 and is BONE.  Its priced at $300.00 with some losses.  Contact me for any other questions you might have about other items in this photo.  I'll post more store images up later. 
Fireplace in the front of the store. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Querulous Quandaries: 

This was a past experience but it still makes me smile. 

An older man came into the store today and asked me if to look at some photos on his camera, of furniture he was selling. He fumbled badly with it, but managed to pull up a few images before his gnarled fingers hit a button and sent it veering to another screen.

(me) " Would you like me to help you?" 
Modern technology 

(man) " No I think, I can get it." 

Still he scrolled through several screens for several minutes. Suddenly he said,

(man) "Look at that table! That's something else ain't it?" 

(me) "Yes, it is. Its mine.", I said. 

He looked at my funny.

(man) "Son, that depends on what you want to pay me for it before you called it yours."

 I laughed 

(me)  "No, IT is mine. See its setting over there. You have your camera on video." 

We both had a laugh over that one. No, I didn't buy any of his furniture.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Customers are the Object:

Gene & Nancy D. of Boise,  Idaho
This sweet couple is Gene & Nancy D. of Boise, Idaho. Its this type of customer that I turn that key in the door for everyday. A great joy to wait on and good customers to boot. They loved loved Harrodsburg and all it had. 

On Wednesday, though I'm usually closed, I happened to see a couple looking into my darkened windows.  I came up to them and asked if they'd like to come in. A a treat. Both were from England. Not just England but from Stratford-upon-Avon. But they also had a book store!  I quickly felt insecure.  I was but to rest as they loved the store.  The husband I had a great 30 minute conversation about business.  He remarked that England was also becoming a "motor" country, instead of walking, as town folk has for centuries.  This couple was very interested in Wal-mart and other big box retailers.  Such things were only available in large cities, but in the states they were everywhere.  They also said that in the last 10 years nearly 80% of the smaller mom and pop  book stores had closed in their region.  Fascinating to talk to and I regret that I didn't have my camera on hand to photograph this couple. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just The Way It Is

You always hear this when non-dealers talk about antiques, "That's in a circular file.", they'll say. What they mean is that this item will come back into fashion. Yeah, sure it will, I'm positive that it will. That's one that I've heard for a long time. I've found that people often say that, when they have rooms full of the items that no one wants anymore. They try to justify what they bought or inherited. Once upon a time, I would have believed that saying. However, I think that there are just some things that just won't be back or they'll be so cheap that they'll be considered fodder,  I mean its there now.  This is a short list and this is just my personal opinion. I've give myself a little cushion here, because its my blog.  In all categories, there are the stellar examples. Pieces that are mega rare, choice, valuable and will always, kind of, be desired.  In this little list, I'm honing in on the middle of the road pieces.  Where most of us live.  I'll add to and revise this list in the future.  Like everything, it has the possibility to change.

1. Victorian Furniture:  OK, here goes. Most of it is ugly, fussy and not too well made. People just don't go for it, be it period or the  1950's reproduction stuff. There is still a need for usable pieces, but even that has a lot of short comings. The key is small
Victorian Bedroom Set
but not delicate. Massive pieces really go waiting for homes. Yes, as the years go by, you'll see more and more of it come on to the market.Go to an auction and you'll see what I mean. Face it, its uncomfortable.  People want things that they can use.  However, it currently is hot to "alter" these pieces with paint or decorative finishes or other more drastic alterations.  Look at it this way.  I'd rather see a common piece of Victorian furniture painted hot pink than to have it in the bottom of a junk pile in a dump.  You can strip paint, but rot and breakage are another matter.

Traditional Dining Room Furnishings
2.  Traditional Furnishings: What's almost impossible to sell?  Dining, bed and living room suites or sets, wing back chairs and camel back sofas. There is still a thin market that want these things, it grows smaller every year.  However, there is still some hope.  You'll more likely to see a dining room breakfront in a hallway and a dresser in a mud room.  But the days of mom's matchy - matchy sets is over.  People are more prone to
break up a set and use it in other ways. People just aren't into the formal lifestyle.  Which leads us to...

3.  Large sets of "pretty" porcelain and crystal services.  People rarely set down at a dining room table anymore. Why would they want massive sets of china?  You'll do well to snag a plastic bottle of water, nevermind wine and cordial glasses.  Middle of the road stuff sits on shelves.  BUT, anything that is tea related.  I mean people, women and men, are obsessed with the drinking of tea.  Teapots, tea tiles, cracker jars, cups and saucers, can and do fly off of shelves.  I call it the Downton Abbey Effect, or DAE for sho
Pretty China
I tell people all the time, "USE IT." If it breaks it breaks,  Hell, put it in the dish washer if you want. Do avoid products containing bleach and lower that temperature, if you can.  OK, microwaves and platinum & gold trims are simply not going to work, so don't do that.

I'll leave you with these three and add a few more later.  Hope that these get you to thinking.  And don't feel bad if you love these things.  That' my dear readers is what this business is all about.  Using, enjoying and collecting the things YOU like not a family member or a decorator.

Until next time.

Monday, October 13, 2014

That's a Good Question:

Personal Effects Love Disarmed Feb 2014

Question: Hi J., These belonged to my Mom and we have no idea where they came from. They were found in the sideboard in a felt bag. I have a set of 12 all identical. Are they worth much. I took them to a metal scraper and they offered me $400.00 for the set of 12. But I wanted to ask you first. If they were valuable I'd keep them for the kids. Should I insure them? Love the radio show and the newspaper column. Keep it up. Thanks.

As an act of disclosure, I did do an appraisal for this gentleman on this property and gained his permission to print this in the paper. Names and other personal information was redacted from the original email, for my readers here.

Answer: What a treasure to find! You have a set of twelve large dinner forks, and the pattern is the highly coveted, Love Disarmed by Reed and Barton Silversmiths. Silver doesn't get anymore detailed,storied or sexy than Love Disarmed. Its at the zenith of the Art Nouveau movement. Art Nouveau was an art movement characterized by flowing lines and a riot of patterns and symbolic meanings, circa 1880 – 1915. A set of twelve dinner forks are very good to find. Its a good thing you you sought help in determining value before you sent these pieces to the smelters pot. That would be tragic. Save the scrapers for damaged beyond repair jewelry and and thin sterling from the 1950's. A common set of average dinner forks, would range something in this neighborhood, but a pattern of this quality, won't live in this neighborhood.

Love Disarmed
I want you to look carefully at the workmanship of these pieces. You'll see that there is a central womanly figure, some call her Venus or Diana, the goddess of love and beauty. She's got a little cupid, the god of love, tucked up under one arm. One of her hands holds his little bow. Her other arm is over her head and behind her back, holding, and hidden in the folds of her flowing gown, are what many speculate are Cupid's arrows of love. She's not going to be taken aback by the advances of this small, but powerful god. If you remember your mythology, anyone pierced by one of Cupid's arrow will fall head over heels in love with the next person they see. All of this and a bevy of poppy flowers. The poppy leaves and blooms that surround Cupid have for centuries been a symbol of sleep, the poppies that appear in the Love Disarmed pattern seem to suggest that Venus / Dianna used the drowsy qualities of the poppy to induce sleep then and steal Cupid’s bow and most of his arrows. The details are amazing. There are some reproductions, from the 1980's up til modern times. But you can tell from the razor sharp details, details that are lost on recast pieces, that your forks will date to the early 1900's.

I did a little online research and I found many examples across the board, price wise. A replacement value, a value in which you would have to go out into the marketplace and purchase these forks, would be to the tune of about $300.00.... each! So that would make your recent find have an insurance valuation of about $3000.00+ for the set. Get them out from time to time and use them and think of your Mom! Its OK to polish them but not too much. Use a good polish and a soft rag and never a silver / metal dip. You want to leave the dark patina in the nooks and crannies, that makes the details stand out. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing them with us.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dr. Freud's Sofa
Just The Way It Is:

You know being in this antique, book and appraisal business is like conducting a therapy session. " Now, just relax and tell me how you feel at this."   I learned a long time ago that some people just want to talk.  They want to recall old happy memories and they have little, if any, interest in selling an item or having it valued.  They just want to talk.  I like that, but I have to know when to draw the line.  I mean some people will think nothing of blowing a few hours of my afternoon. With no possibility of any monetary compensation or contacts established for me. That's not helpful for me to buy groceries. Some days I have time for talk and some I don't.

Some conversations can be amazing.  For instance when someone is telling about local history. Technology is great, but nothing beats having a first hand account from someone who was there. Or if someone shares information about a piece of pottery, furniture or silver. I learned some great  things just listening to people talk about genealogy and that stuff that Mim & Pops had in the barn.

 I group this antique talk in the same category, as people talking about the weather or their health.  Nothing will  energize a person like talking about a grandmothers quilt or dads pipe or the bowl that Nana made pudding in.  Some people will tend to dwell too much on the past and it bogs them down.   The past is a great place but you don't want to stay there too long.  Its like a scene, in that movie, The Blue Bird with Shirley Temple.  She travels to this land where her grandparents are  still alive and the old house is still there and the oven is filled with cookies.  Soon, they grow tired of the treats and they discover that its harder and harder to leave and explore some other special land. Finally they break free and the day becomes night and the grandparents sleep again.  I always wondered, "What if the grandparents wanted to be young?",  but I guess this was Miss Temple's remembering of the past and her grands. We can become tired of the same old things after a while.

You know one popular thing that many people concentrate on, when they talk about their property?   What they lost. I've heard that so many, many times just over and over.   I mean really was it worth it loosing your sister in a fight over the picture your mother bought at a yard sale forty years ago? Damn, go out and buy another print and hang it up.  Or better yet hang it up with YOUR sister and talk about the great time you had in finding one just like Mom's.

Many times  I have people come in and just talk non stop. I mean the ask me for help, but they talk so much that I never get to tell them about it.


I often wonder if they really wanted information anyway.

 I think that enough rambling for today.  So, in a nut shell,  talk about your things, but don't harp on sad time or the past too much.  And at times close your mouth and open your ears to hear someone else talk about your property.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Querulous Quandaries:

 A woman comes in the store the other day.

(me) let me know if I can help you.

woman looks around

(woman) You sure got a lot of books here.

(me) Yes, its a book store

(woman) Can I ask you something?

(me) Sure.

(woman) What is this?

(me)  Its a book plate See it had their name on it. People used to put them in their books  So a book could be returned to them. Its more classy than just having your signature scribbled on a page.

(woman) So, is this book stolen?

(me) No, I bought it.

(woman) But it belongs to someone else?

(me) Wellll, once it did.

(woman)  Aren't you going to return it?  I mean they'll want their book back, won't they  It still has their name in it.

(me) No, They won't care.  They're dead

(woman) Ohhh.  When did they die?

(me) I'm not sure but I'd say 70 or 80 years ago.

(woman) Well I swear.  That's kind of sad.

I don't think that she understood the concept of book plates, estate items or even death for that matter. Always something funny going on in the store.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Just The Way It Is: 

"They don't make antiques anymore." I've heard that for just about all my life.  That is absolutely not true. They make antiques everyday. I don't mean fakes, forgeries and fantasies either, but real antiques. Remember an antique is just a thing with a date stuck on it.  Lets explore what the word ANTIQUE means. There are two schools of thought on this.  I'm putting this into layman's terms for clarity.


1.  An object that is at least one hundred years old.

2. An object that was manufactured before the industrial revolution.  (scholars really hang on this one)

The first term is the most commonly found and used term. The time period of the second term is thought to be as early as 1760 to just prior to the end of 1840.  Its just when more and more machines and faster manufacturing techniques were pushing hand work out of the picture. This term really decreases the field to items that are about 174 years old.

Lets throw in a few other terms too.

An item that was manufactured fifty years ago or less.

An item that was manufactured more than fifty but less than one hundred years ago.


 An item in the style of an earlier period by be an original or a reproduction. Most commonly, this term is implied to things that are from the 1940's - the 1980's.  In my book, these are just "collectible" items.  The dates for this term will change as items become older and are moved into other categories.  One day things from 2000 will be deemed "retro."

A view of the St. James Art Fair
So, you see a tea pot made in 1900 is 114 years old. A punch bowl made in 1910 is 104 years old and a chest of drawers made in 1920 is 94 years old, almost an antique. Does that put things into perspective?Antique is just an age NOT a sign of quality.  Junk made one hundred or two hundred years ago is still, what?  Junk.  Antique or age is NOT a sign of quality.

Now, we've got terms out of the way.

I think that people should say, Antiques of the future more often. I witnessed this first hand last Sunday.  I and a few friends went to the St. James Art Fair, in Louisville, Kentucky.  For those not familiar with it, St. James is one of  the most prestigious outdoor art fairs in the country. It celebrated its 57th anniversary this year and the crowds are massive. Vendors from all over the country, vie for a coveted booth. Stalls in the heart of the fair are something that many artists wait for many, many years for.  Even if awarded a space,still they may be eliminated, when their items undergo a strict jury process.  Yes, its that tough.

I stood there in the center of St. James, a magnificent Victorian neighborhood, the largest in the USA, I might add.  I looked around at the vendors selling everything from fine arts, hooked rugs, pottery, jewelry, furniture, glassware and on an on.  I though, "Here are the future antiques." These are the things that MIGHT in one hundred or one hundred and fifty years be sold at Sotheby's or Christies, or the equal for that time. Does that mean that everything sold at St. James will be worth a lot of money in the future?  No, of course not.  But it does stand to reason that with good quality, good materials and well known artisans, that it stands a better shot of being worth more in the future, than a piece sold at Wal-mart today.  Remember, we've also got to add in the factors of economy, supply & demand, taste & trends and just the general march of time. Buy what you love, buy something, when you can, direct from the master who made it. It will enrich your life.  Hey, look at this way, your grandmother thought that her milk glass collection would send her grand kids to college.  Look what happened with that. On the flip side, Van Gogh traded paintings to pay bar tabs and to buy paint.  Just as speculation, I'd opt to purchase good quality antiques or good quality artistic wares and hope for the best.  If it comes to pass that it is worth more than what I paid for it, Hooray!  If not then I still had something in my life I liked and enjoyed. Likely I won't be here to see either outcome.      

Friday, October 3, 2014

That's a Good Question: 

A yellow ware jelly mold of a rabbit

Personal Effects Rabbit Mold 2014

Question: My new grand daughter in law found this in the cabinet the other day. I've not used it since my kids were little. I told her was the Easter bunny mold. My mother many years ago would make those jello salads in it. Some were sweet and some were savory. It used to be a big deal. All of us kids would be so excited to see what kind and color it was that year. Once it was a dessert and was chocolate. This must have been 70 years ago. How old is this piece? Does it have any value? It does have some nicks on the rim. Its heavy pottery. All the best and thank you.

Answer: You have a nice yellow ware gelatin mold. You're right, gelatin dishes were a huge deal on the dining room table. In fact, centuries ago, gelatine dishes had to be made from beef bones and pig skin. It was considered a status symbol, as it was very time consuming, to cook down all of those animal parts. The invention of Knox gelatine in the early 1900's changed everything. Now, suddenly, every household could have a giggling, sparkling treat on the table. The mold you show me is from the earlier period, dating to the 1860's – 1870's, maybe, a little earlier.

Yellow ware is a yellow to buff colored clay that was utilized in the kitchen for centuries. You'll find many, many examples in the market place. You'll find dinner plates, mixing bowls, pitchers, butter dishes and on and on. Almost everything was made in yellow ware. Think of it as the Tupperware of the nineteenth century. There were, at one time, dozens of factories that churned out yellow ware pieces. Its hard to tell who made yours. By the shape, it could even be European. The condition will affect its value. Some leeway has to be given. These things were used frequently and often roughly. Just consider how it was un-molded. It was turned upside down and shook or wrapped in hot towels or thumped on the edges with a spoon, all in an effort to get it to gently plop on a serving platter. Slippery hands make for chips and damage. Collectors will still love it and display it proudly in a home.

In regards to molds, its all about the subject of the mold. At the top of the heap are subjects like elephants, asparagus stalks and dogs. Towards the bottom, are subjects like geometric shapes. Your mold is going to fall in the upper middle of the line up. I have one just like it, here in the store. Those subjects in the upper category are going to be priced for $400. 00 - $500.00 and up! This is a nice one with a full figure and they are always desirable, though not terribly expensive. I did some research and found that one like yours in this condition will be priced in a store for $50.00 - $100.00. You should get it out and use it and let your grandchildren see something that laugh with excitement. Could make some great memories. Thank you for sharing it with us.     

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Just the Way It is:

You know its funny. A person will despise an object, until you offer them money for it.  Then they just LOVE it. Sometimes they want hundreds for a piece and you wouldn't pick it up off the street for free.

Another day at the store:

You know people hide things at the store. Well they do at mine anyway. Perhaps its because of the fact that its an antiques and book store or maybe because its a cool and somewhat mysterious place.  Mostly its books that are hidden.  I guess they plan on coming back and they don't want that $4.00 book to be gone when they get back.  I kind of understand that, hell I've done it.  But more often, they never come back. Thereby, I don't get the sale from some other customer. Books, and I have a lot of them, are one thing.  Its the other things that I get puzzled over. You know, if you'd just ask me, I'll gladly hold back an item for a day or so.   I will not do what one gent requested, who asked me to hold a Maxfield Parrish print for him until next year, AND this was in the spring.  Yeah that was funny, but back to hiding things.

I've found plates, cups and saucers, figurines, letter openers and other smalls tucked away.  I think that some people have other motives, motives that are, shall we say, not  honest.  When they do come back, I think they expect a "five finger discount."Some hidden objects I love / hate to find are   drawer pulls, decanter stoppers, furniture keys and once, when I carried music CD's and tapes, a whole little collection of someone's favorite titles. These types of things that are hidden or that later disappear, are terribly expensive to loose or replace. Keys and eye glasses are another thing that gets left behind.  But as a rule they only last for the day, then someone comes racing in or crawls in with a hang dog look on their faces, asking for mislaid keys or eye wear.

Now, here is the nasty list.  I find lots of used tissues dropped behind books and stuffed into planters.  Once I found an unused but open condom in a vase. What were they planning?  Lots of cigarette butts. Being I have a lot of paper that is scary!  I assume that the actual consumption of said smoke took place in the bathroom.   But if dad or grandma can't kick the habit, even though everyone thinks they did, why not flush it or damp it and put in the trash can.  Damn, don't just grind it out and toss it into some paper.  I once found a syringe under a chest of drawers.  Its little cap was on but it had been used.  I assume that it was from a diabetic person, but the thoughts of it being stuck in a stranger was, shall we say, creepy.

Years and years ago I was a drop center for a young couple. She would leave a note in a book, way back in the book rooms. I just happened to find it one afternoon in a book of, you guessed it, poetry.  Later he would come and pick it up and leave one in its place. I never could figure out who it was.  But it was very Romeo and Juliet like wasn't it?  I guess that it didn't work out as the letters stopped coming. I never bothered the letters when I saw them and enjoyed reading them. They were gushy and sweet, with the flavor of innocent youth. Hey, they were left in my store, so I felt I could do what I wanted!