Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Handle With Care

 Just the way it is: 

Touch, its your first education in this antiques business.  I started working on my education when I was just a little toddler. Though, I don't remember it, my Grandmother Richter often said that, as she held me in her lap, that with much passion, I would try to reach my foot out to knock off a beautiful Nippon bowl she had on a display. The family often laughs over this still.  But I don't think that I was trying to destroy it.  I think I wanted to touch it.  As I grew up, I did touch it, in secret, as its moving would have been frowned upon. Far beyond the toddler stage, I would reach out and touch its heavy, embossed gold edges. I would gently rub my finger tip over the pink and yellow roses painted in the bowls bottom.   I think that that was the start of my education and how important that touch is to this business.  I was encouraged to touch things.  Carefully so as not to break them AND to ask first if I could touch items.  I can remember the thrill of touching pieces of  Fenton glass. The velvety satin glass that was showcased and spotlighted at Brits Department store in Danville. 

Nippon bowl.
I never passed up the opportunity to touch, feel, hear and even smell an item. We'll cover using your other senses with antiques in some future blog posts. You have to, you can't just rely on static sight in measuring up an antique.  Oddly, I have many people who come into the store and just stare and look. My first response is "Feel free to handle anything you want."  Its always been strange that you see dealers post signs in their stores that say,  "Touching is fun but break it you buy it", I think that is just negative. You know legally, you really don't have a leg to stand on anyway, as accidents happen. Besides, if its that fragile, expensive and precious in needs to be behind glass.  Now, granted some people are naturally clumsy and they, as adults, should know their limits.  There are also children who have issues with being destructive with things. In my opinion, some of this stems from the parents lack of regard for property, theirs or others.  But any child old enough to handle an Iphone can begin to touch and handle antiques.  Touch will give you a lesson, far beyond that of a book or magazine.  Now granted, I don't think that you need to hand a seven year old a $8,000.00 piece of Tiffany glass
. But maybe they could touch it as you hold it or touch it as it sits on a shelf. My grandmothers nippon bowl sits in a cabinet in the living room today. I treasure it and though I'm very gentle and reverent with it, I touch it and handle it and think of her. People who are taught not to touch are often preordained not to buy or collect.    

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