Friday, January 7, 2011

Antique MALL Shopping with ME

Here is the last of my installment from Sleepy Poet Antique mall in Charlotte, North Carolina , from my last outing there. In this one, I will show you some artwork I saw, some problems with them and some other random silly-fun-sights I saw . Hopefully it will help you decide what to buy or not buy ( my opinion--your choice ), concerning condition , etc. with antiques and art.
Here we go...
Above is a handmade yarn/textile piece of art , that when you pick it  up and flip it over...see this,
A handwritten description ( I can't read Spanish, but assuming that is what this is ), with the artists signature. As I have said before, signed pieces have more value , handmade items are always a smart buy. This is not the type of art I sell or collect, but I do appreciate the work and creativity the artist used.
 This is a beautiful landscape , that I showed in a previous post...that the dealer had marked down. The frame is also beautiful, which increases the value of the piece. I went up front later, asked for an additional discount if the dealer could do so...and got one.
Scored .

 Watch out, because Ms. Pitch-a-fit-about -frames has returned. I know that frames, like the antique one above, are being used for the shabby-chic look in homes. you know what your children are going to do with this when you are gone...chuck it to the curb.
To repair all the broken gesso would cost more than buying an antique picture frame in very good condition.
Beat-up, chipped to bits, damaged -beyond repair decorative frames are a fairly goofy-looking design idea.
To me.
Always remember, I know that everyone's tastes are different. 
à chacun son goût ( French-to each his own taste )
Here is another picture about antique dealers  who can be their own worst enemy, with  sales. This booth is one of my favorites...but it is almost impossible to reach anything, see anything , as stuff is all over  the floor, stacked high, jumbled up. Dealers need to at least make a area for a shopper to be able to walk in to see their merchandise without tripping over things.
 Beautiful pastel portrait, late 1800's of young girl. Too expensive, frame has too much damage, and would be a bear to ship . Passed.
Basic advice...unless you are a restorer, or learning to restore paintings, skip any paintings with this much damage. They are not chic, they have almost no value...unless they were painted by a famous artist. Most art dealers and knowledgeable collectors wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole.
I wouldn't touch it with a one foot pole. 
But, someone looking to learn how to restore...would need a painting like this to practice on.
Gigantic stained glass doors for sale. Smart dealer putting a light behind them to show the colors of the glass.
 Looks like a seamstress used an old horse buggy blanket to make these pillows, or maybe one of those thin carpets from the 1920-30's time frame.
 I have bought a few paintings here, let me show you the back of one,
Definitely looked 1960-70's to me from the age of the canvas.  Always remember to try to look at the BACK of a painting to help determine age. The darker and more crackled the canvas is...the older the art. An exception is if the art has been relined with a new canvas. I say this , because there are so many dealers in antique malls and shops, and they to the best of their ability, gauge the age of something. The more you see of the really old antique art, the more you will be able to determine what you will pay for it.

Needlework art 1940-50's time frame.
 What is shown above is an antique oil painting that someone had either left in an attic, basement..somewhere that had water that leaked down on it and damaged the far right side of it.
That is what water can do to a painting, and you can pay some restorer big bucks to restore it for you. Showing this to reiterate an old post about not keeping ANY artwork in attics or basements or garages. Slide them under your beds to store, better yet..hang them on the wall or give them to someone else to hang on their walls.
Humidity, temperature changes and of course water can start to destroy a piece of art or a piece of furniture.

 Super cool original Art Deco mirrored vanity. 1920-30's time frame.
I don't know if you can see this well enough, but wanted to show you just because a paintings IS old...and this one is...and the frame is old...does not mean it is a good piece of art or valuable. The painting above is not very well done, the frame has numerous areas of missing gesso...all in all...not worth too much. Remember age in a painting does not always equal a valuable piece of art. Now in a person...I think age can increase your value ( to others )...if you have used your time wisely with love and caring.
Not to God , of course, we are all equally valuable to Him .
 Wanted to show our younger audience ( under age 40 ), what a vintage paint by numbers painting is. Back in the 1950-60's, manufacturers made art sets that people would buy and take home, and whip out their little papers out of the box and accompanying paints and paint the number on the container , to match a outlined area on the paper. Without much thought, anyone could paint a paint by number painting.
They are easily recognized by the ' chunks' of color painted on. These are not worth very much, maybe 10.00-15.00 or so. Only the nudes bring a little more. I have seen some dealers believe these are worth 25.00- 45.00 or so, not realizing they have not much value on the market.  Young people decorating in the retro style like to use these.
 Always a wonderful decorating idea, take that old quilt that Grandma made, or mom or someone...and hang it with special hooks to display as a piece of art.

 A dealer who has her items laid out perfectly. All have price tags, all accessible.
Just love this antique mall...on and on. You will get lost the first 2-4 times you come in. One of their helpful staff is usually walking around , they will help you get your bearings or carry some items you are holding up to the front to wait for you.
For the vintage clothes, assessory collector...they will love this ladies booth. I really like her old jackets, the mens..and my favorite thing she sells is here...
Cowboy boots !
 Since I was born in Austin, Texas...and all my relatives are from Texas...I have a soft spot for cowboy boots. If I could I would have like to have tried on about 4 or 5 of these. I did not have time..but will show you one of my favorite pairs. Look at these...
 Boots with serious dandy-attitude. Conchos , metal tips. Way too much fun. I can tell you if I saw a man walking around in these , I would stare a hole into his boots.
Probably the Texan in me still.
Truth be told I would want his boots for myself.
A wonderful original art deco pastel portrait of a sailor in a blue frame , that has ORIGINAL blue paint on it from that time period. I'm sure this young man meant something to someone.
Now this is an old Victorian celluloid dresser box. These were very popular from the late 1800's to 1920's time period. The problem when buying these, is that the celluloid becomes very brittle with age and below.
This cannot be repaired. Too many cracks and breaks decrease the value of these a bunch.
It used to have perfumes or bottles to put perfumes and tonics in for personal grooming.
There is a big crack through the cover piece here.
On top, they used to hold combs and brushes. They are usually lined with silk.

Here is the back, in good condition, morning glories abounding. Again, these are made of cardboard, covered in celluloid..which by the way became illegal to sell in the 1930-40's because consumers found it to be very flammable.
Celluloid was a hard plastic used in the 1920-40's time period. They used it to cover boxes, cover photo albums,and made purse handles and some jewelry. One this large, in very good condition, maybe 85.00-145.00. In fair condition 48.00-55.00, poor condition 20.00 or so. I would say this one was in fair condition.
Look what I found below !

Vintage cowboy chaps , circa 1940-50's , hanging from the sky...or rather a loop a dealer used. Too fun, the guy who buys these has to buy the boots with the conchos as well.
Vintage butterfly tray, 1920-40's time frame. More valuable if the butterflys and the inside decoration, under the glass,  is in good condition.
A tip for collectors and re-sellers, handsome men sell better than unattractive men. Same goes for beautiful women paintings sell much better than less attractive women in art. 
Please note, I am well aware beauty is only skin deep in real life.
I see that more, with time .

There you go, my disclaimer here is I am only expressing my opinion on many of these go out and shop for yourself, enjoy,



  1. Hi Gina...Shopping with you is always an educational experience and fun, too. It's quite interesting to see all of the things one should look for when purchasing old painting. It's obvious that you are quite knnowledgable on antique paintings. Thanks for taking us shopping with you.

  2. I love going antiquing with you.Your knowledge and humor are make for a great trip...I really feel like I was along.

  3. Gina, although I might admire the creative flair of that pair of cowboy boots, I'd truly run a mile if a man turned up in them! Definitely can't be any cowboys in my genepool :)

    I too would have walked past most of what you featured today, but did find the inscribed, handmade, textile picture intriguing - looks like a fertility theme, with either eager tadpoles or sperm featuring prominently :)

    My husband would probably have stepped across to view the old typewriter up close. He has two beauties that he discovered beneath years of dust in a local "snuffelwinkel" (literally: shop that you scrounge/dig about in!) He has a penchant for genuine old artefacts and a nice collection of microscopes and cameras on display in his study.

    Please, for those of us who are uninformed, do translate your caption...I don't even know what language it is!

    Again, a thoroughly enjoyable visit! I know you've said repeatedly, it's a big mall - but I can really get a sense of it now!

  4. Thanks, Gina (for the translation) - really displayed my ignorance, but I can at least confess to not having studied French at school :)
    That should count, shouldn't it???


    Des xo

  5. This was a fun visit! I love to go antiquing - you've given me some ideas for what to pay attention to and what to not waste my time on. I'm partial to the textiles - really like those pillows - I thought they might be needlepoint. I also love the framed needlework and butterfly tray.

  6. I'm unfamiliar with celluloid boxes such as you showed. I sure enjoy your little "asides" and (as always) appreciate the tips!

  7. Looks to be a good mall. What really bugs me these days, are the numerous "ANTIQUE" malls, with far too many booths, full of garbage from the 60's. Sorry folks but I do not consider junk from the 60's to be antiques. It really seems difficult to find a "PURE" antique store anymore, at least in my area.
    I wish you could have looked at a piece of art I recently spied. It was a Vermeer print,which the dealer told me was a chroma lithograph....He said it was around a century.The frame looked it, and the backing... but something just wasn't right. I bet you would have known. I would have purchased it, as it was in excellent condition, but... I needed an expert along.

  8. Hi Gina,
    I want the stained glass panels! I am so jealous of the huge antique malls that you get over there, I would get lost for hours. As always, a fascinating post!

  9. Thanks for sharing the shopping adventures! I love rummaging through a good antique mall; but it is frustrating when the dealers don't care enough about their wares to make their booths accessible. I hate a just throw it in there and slap a price tag kind of booth.

  10. i am going to finally head over to the sleepy poet after all this snow melts! i'll have to plan to stay all day because i'm slow as it is and that place looks huge! what fun - thanks for the preview.


I love comments , please leave one if you like. I try to respond to comments,but if I'm running behind, please know that I read each one before they are published. Thanks much, Gina