Thursday, May 1, 2014
Antiques in Florida...
But as you know I am an avid "Vintage Shopper" or Antiquary, and my car seems to find those out of the way places where collectible curiosities can be discovered.
Mondays being my day off, they are usually when I go searching hither and yon for what have you. Monday last, I went over Oviedo way. Now, there are one or two places where my face is well-known as a returning customer, over that way, as you motor eastward from Longwood through Winter Springs and continue along till you are nearly to UCF. But this time, I found someplace new, at least, new to me. The Oviedo Antique Mall.
Friends! You have got to go. Even if "thrifting" is not your bag. You have to go, if only to see the greeters. Now Wal-Mart is famous for its greeters, and I have noticed other places like Firehouse Subs and Walgreens, where greeting the patron is also quite an art. But good as those folks are, you have not been truly greeted until you have been greeted by the greeters at the Oviedo Antique Mall. Because they are roosters. Yes, real live feathers and beak roosters. In fact, when I pulled up outside the Mall, one of the roosters was crowing, as if to send me a cheery greeting. It certainly was not to announce the dawn, because yours truly does not get up that early on his Day Off!
Having now experienced it first-hand, I think it is fair to say that being greeted by a rooster is the sine qua non of antique shopping.
And then one enters...and finds it is a perfect rabbit's warren of stands, the kind of place you can wander in to your heart's content, and see the expected and unexpected treasures. What do I mean by expected? Well, since I have been collecting vintage American Art Pottery since the mid 1980s, I expect to see in most antiques shops of any size at least one of the ubiquitous vases I call the "ears pot". No that is not their official name. They were made by McCoy in the roaring 20s and were called the "Fawn Vase" and had what McCoy coyly termed its "Art Vellum" glaze. These pieces were extremely popular. I would love to know how McCoy marketed them. I have a theory that they were Larkin Soap premiums but perhaps some other national chain such as Sears or the A & P sold them. At any rate, they are stout sturdy pot shaped vases with two handles that are filled in so that they look like...ears. In fact, at certain angles theses pots look a lot like someone I know but discretion prevents me from saying just whom.
I have found the ears pot attributed to every maker from Grueby (ha! wishful thinking!) to Rookwood (perish the thought) to Teco (no, the glaze and heft are all wrong). And of course, when mis-attributed the price is usually sky high for these very nice, well worth collecting but pretty common pieces of American Art Pottery. I can tell a lot about a dealer if she or he has such a vase listed as something it is not at a price that could pay for dinner for four at an upscale restaurant. Because if you pay more than about $65 for this item, "You Paid Too Much!"
I am not really digressing. I am happy to report that over at the Oviedo Antique Mall on Monday not one but three different dealers had an "ears pot" and all three of them had it priced right. One had a mis-attribution but it was for a similarly modest Art Pottery maker, so no harm, no foul. Or, considering the greeter, "No Harm, No Fowl"...
(That is your bad pun for the day.)
It was one of those hallmarks that say to me, "This is a place where reasonable prices may be found on the items offered," and that proved correct. Now in addition to the Mall Itself, there is an Annex and a Coop, which may mean Co-Op or it may mean where those roosters hang out. Not really sure. I will soon post photos so you can see some of the delights, from antique cane chairs that have been re-seated using men's vintage silk ties (so clever and pretty!), to all white stands (a look that always makes me think of the Olde South, Zelda and magnolia blossoms), and wonder-of-wonders, "Wood Box Heaven" (see the photo). Since I am fond of old boxes, this was a true eye catcher. They also have "Bling" and you can see the photos to prove it.
If you do not enjoy Antique Shopping, you had better drive on by, because if you are with someone who does you are sure to lose an hour or two of your life in this place. The proprietor is a gregarious fellow who makes you feel right at home and his staff, likewise. His staff being the cane his friends gave him on a significant birthday (well, they are all significant, but you follow my drift). It is decked out with a horn, a rearview mirror and a 1950s coin purse, for any eventuality.
To read about some of my other antiquing recommendations in Florida visit: ANTIQUING IN FLORIDA