Sometimes One Thing is Just Right...

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There are weekends, like a couple past weekend, when I buy a ton of stuff. Then there are weekends like this last one when I buy just one thing… As per usual, I headed out to the New York City flea market bright and early on both Saturday and Sunday. Arriving to the flea market as the sun was coming up on Saturday, it soon became clear that picking would indeed be slim. I mean really slim. There were four vendors set up. One. Two. Three. Four. Ugh. Gone are the days when 100's of folks would be chomping at the bit to sell at the NYC flea market. It is for all intents and purposes a shadow of its former self. A really slim shadow at best. Yet, still I persist ;-) So with an open mind and eyes ready to spot something fabulous I headed in to the fenced off parking lot that now serves as the flea market. As the sun made its way across the sky, it further illuminated that fact there were no finds to be had. That was until a favorite dealer colleague of mine arrived. I waited by his van as he unloaded. He informed me that he didn't have anything for me, but we made some jokes and I reminded him how he tells me that every weekend. The unpacking went quickly and he was down to the last box. I knew he was waiting to say, "I told you so". But then he unwrapped the last piece in that box. And a smile crossed my face. He said, "Oh, right. I just got this out of a house. I thought you might like it." I quickly paid him and placed the sculpture in my bag. It is abstract and brutalist at the same time. Figurative, if you look at for a long time. But isn't that what folks always do, try to see the human in the inanimate. When I brought it home, I noticed that it was signed on the back of the wood frame / support. Valeska. There's a Lette Valeska, a Valeska Jasso Collado, a Valeska Campion and a Valeska Soares. And, I'm sure that a little more Googling will turn up even more. But which is the artist of my new piece of inventory? I don't know. Yet. So, you'll have to stay tuned. But in the meantime… In addition to the buying (and soon to be selling) I'm also planning for Brimfield, you know the incredible outdoor antiques fair that happens in Massachusetts. Shop with me this May in both Dealers Choice and Heart O The Mart fields! Oh, and before I forget, I want to remind you about the two projects I'm working on right now. One is called Jean Georges Bois (click here to see the site as I'm building it), it is a new line of jewelry. The other is called Fishtown Pop Up (click here to see the site as I'm building it), it is a new gallery and retail space in Philadelphia. Fishtown Pop Up will be debuting with a one man solo exhibition and sale of paintings by New York City artist Clintel Steed! Oh… and one more thing. If you're looking to liquidate an estate in New York City, click here to be connected to Big Apple Antiques! I'm super happy with planning for Brimfield and both of the projects - especially the upcoming exhibition! Mark your calendars for Friday April 7th to attend the opening night exhibition of Clintel Steed at Fishtown Pop Up. Picasso is quoted as saying, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." So friends, let's work!

Ten Tips, Tricks and How To's for Flea Markets

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As you know I'm getting ready for the thrice yearly event that is Brimfield. Those in the know find their way to the gorgeous fields of the Quaboag Valley every May, July and September for a full on antique and vintage shopping extravaganza. But wait, you say… You need the low down on how to get the best deals in town? Look no further, for I have put together a fun list of tips, tricks and how-to's…

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1.) Arrive Early… yes, the early bird does get the worm and the best picks too. Dealers are ready to sell and sell they will. Don't wait till the last moment (see number 8). I do some of my best selling when the gates open.

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2.) Bring Cash… you've heard it before, cash is king and the other old stand by, money talks (you know the rest). Dealers will be happy to give you their best price when you're paying in greenbacks. FYI, most will also take checks and some even credit cards. I, of course, am more than happy to accept all three.

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3.) Have a List… you'll be focused and ready to tackle your design desires (see number 5). Plus, it will keep your mind free for those moments of inspiration. I like to think that my booth is both a place to buy those items from your list and to find those things you didn't even you know you needed.

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4.) Be an Educated Consumer… know what you're looking for and about what they're selling for in the marketplace. Check recent auction prices of what you're in the market for so you'll know if you're getting a good deal, or a great deal. I always have great deals. Just saying'.

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5.) Size Things Up… bring along a measuring tape, plus a couple of foldable nylon bags that you can carry in your pocket. You'll know if that credenza will fit and then you'll be able to carry those candlesticks for on top of it. You'll always find a great supply of both case goods and tchotchkes in my booth.

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6.) Don't be a Debbie Downer… your smile and a kind word will go far with dealers, so be sure to have a few nice comments about their inventory - remember, if you don't have anything nice to say (you know the rest). I love to give a discount to folks who are friendly.

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7.) You're Not a Sherpa… hire a porter to schlep that high boy to your SUV (you've already measured so you know it will fit). There are plenty at flea markets, plus the folks who run each of the fields at Brimfield will certainly have a few contacts. I too have been known to make deliveries, so just ask!

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8.) He Who Hesitates… is lost! All you need to do is check the back of my business card, 'Nothing Haunts Us Like The Things We Didn't Buy'. Enough Said.

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9.) Buy the Best… you'll only cry once! Look for quality workmanship, ask the dealer if there's any provenance (history) to the piece, signs of age and patina are good things. You'll be buying something great and since you have such amazing taste, your heirs will definitely fight over it!

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10.) Get The App… the app, you say? Yes, the Brimfield Flea Finder App. It's an ingenious idea run by a couple friends of mine. They have the inside scoop on this world famous flea market. P.S. you really can find me on there! D25 in Heart-O-The-Mart!

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Buying Antiques and Vintage in New York City

Sounds impossible? It's not. And I'll prove it to you. You just have to know where to shop. Come along with me and I'll share a couple of my favorite finds from yesterday's shopping in New York City…

Yesterday morning I hopped on the Q train and headed downtown. I wanted to spend the day outdoors because I knew that Stella was on her way to the Northeast and would bring with her rain, snow, sleet and strong winds - you know the ol' saying, 'March comes in like a lion…'.

My first stop was a great one with signs of Spring in full abundance - well those signs were more like finds in verdant greens. This 1970's era tabletop pedestal mirror designed by Olaf Von Bohr for Gedy Italy is as fresh as a daisy. Olaf Von Bohr was born in Austria in 1927. He studied in Munich and moved to Milan in 1953 where he worked at Gio Ponti’s office. In 1960, he established his own office and worked in collaboration with Sergio Asti, Franco Albini, BBPR.

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My next stop was just a few blocks away and yielded another colorful find. Even though I almost walked right past it. It was turned around and facing the wall, luckily my curiosity got the better of me and I went in for a second look. Glad I did too. I bought a beautiful abstract, hard edge style print by artist and graphic designer icon Ivan Chermayeff. Born in London in 1932, Ivan Chermayeff studied at Harvard University, the Institute of Design in Chicago, and graduated from Yale University, School of Art and Architecture. He is a prolific designer, illustrator, and artist, who has created memorable, iconic images for literally hundreds of clients. This work is signed and dated 1975 and it fits great with the mirror. ;-)

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This one might lack color, but if you look up the definition of white (well in additive color theory) it is actually the presence of all colors. Okay, I might be reaching a bit, but I think you'll like this Eriksen and Falk enameled magazine holder just as much as I do.

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So, as you can see, there are plenty of great deals out there - you just have to hit the shops, search high and low and always be curious! ;-) hkv