UPCOMING EVENTS

  • 06/23/17 - Carl E. Ocker...   06/23/17 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   06/22-23/17 - Bird In Hand Auction...   06/24/17 - Rene Snyder...   06/24/17 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   06/24/17 - Milestone Auctions Gallery...   06/24/17 - Zettlemoyer Auction Co. LLC...   06/24/17 - 3 Seasons Auction...   06/24/17 - Bodnars Auction Sales...   06/24/17 - Goodrich Auction Service Inc....   06/24/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   06/24/17 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   06/23-24/17 - Miller & Siegrist Auctioneers LLC...   06/24/17 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   06/24/17 - Leaman Auctions Ltd....   06/25/17 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   06/25/17 - Ron Rhoads...   06/25/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   06/25/17 - Earl Macilwain...   06/26/17 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   06/26/17 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   06/27/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Delaware Estate Sales...   06/28/17 - Allen & Marshall Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Martin's Auction Service...   06/28/17 - Embassy Auctions International...   06/28/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/29/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28-29/17 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   06/29/17 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   06/30/17 - Bostwick Auctions and Gallery...   06/30-7/1/17 - Chesney Auction...   07/01/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/01/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   07/01/17 - Wagner Auction Service...   07/01/17 - Blums...   07/02/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/02/17 - George Gibney...   07/04/17 - Doug & Vickie Hardy...   07/05/17 - Diefenderfer Auction Company, LLC...   07/05/17 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   07/06/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   07/08/17 - Howard B. Parzow...   07/08/17 - Kimberly Hemingway...   07/07-08/17 - United Auctions & Antiques & Rentzels Auction...   07/11/17 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   
  • 06/23/17 - Carl E. Ocker...   06/23/17 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   06/22-23/17 - Bird In Hand Auction...   06/24/17 - Rene Snyder...   06/24/17 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   06/24/17 - Milestone Auctions Gallery...   06/24/17 - Zettlemoyer Auction Co. LLC...   06/24/17 - 3 Seasons Auction...   06/24/17 - Bodnars Auction Sales...   06/24/17 - Goodrich Auction Service Inc....   06/24/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   06/24/17 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   06/23-24/17 - Miller & Siegrist Auctioneers LLC...   06/24/17 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   06/24/17 - Leaman Auctions Ltd....   06/25/17 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   06/25/17 - Ron Rhoads...   06/25/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   06/25/17 - Earl Macilwain...   06/26/17 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   06/26/17 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   06/27/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Delaware Estate Sales...   06/28/17 - Allen & Marshall Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Martin's Auction Service...   06/28/17 - Embassy Auctions International...   06/28/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/29/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28-29/17 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   06/29/17 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   06/30/17 - Bostwick Auctions and Gallery...   06/30-7/1/17 - Chesney Auction...   07/01/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/01/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   07/01/17 - Wagner Auction Service...   07/01/17 - Blums...   07/02/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/02/17 - George Gibney...   07/04/17 - Doug & Vickie Hardy...   07/05/17 - Diefenderfer Auction Company, LLC...   07/05/17 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   07/06/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   07/08/17 - Howard B. Parzow...   07/08/17 - Kimberly Hemingway...   07/07-08/17 - United Auctions & Antiques & Rentzels Auction...   07/11/17 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   
  • 06/23/17 - Carl E. Ocker...   06/23/17 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   06/22-23/17 - Bird In Hand Auction...   06/24/17 - Rene Snyder...   06/24/17 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   06/24/17 - Milestone Auctions Gallery...   06/24/17 - Zettlemoyer Auction Co. LLC...   06/24/17 - 3 Seasons Auction...   06/24/17 - Bodnars Auction Sales...   06/24/17 - Goodrich Auction Service Inc....   06/24/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   06/24/17 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   06/23-24/17 - Miller & Siegrist Auctioneers LLC...   06/24/17 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   06/24/17 - Leaman Auctions Ltd....   06/25/17 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   06/25/17 - Ron Rhoads...   06/25/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   06/25/17 - Earl Macilwain...   06/26/17 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   06/26/17 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   06/27/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Delaware Estate Sales...   06/28/17 - Allen & Marshall Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Martin's Auction Service...   06/28/17 - Embassy Auctions International...   06/28/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/29/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28-29/17 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   06/29/17 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   06/30/17 - Bostwick Auctions and Gallery...   06/30-7/1/17 - Chesney Auction...   07/01/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/01/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   07/01/17 - Wagner Auction Service...   07/01/17 - Blums...   07/02/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/02/17 - George Gibney...   07/04/17 - Doug & Vickie Hardy...   07/05/17 - Diefenderfer Auction Company, LLC...   07/05/17 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   07/06/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   07/08/17 - Howard B. Parzow...   07/08/17 - Kimberly Hemingway...   07/07-08/17 - United Auctions & Antiques & Rentzels Auction...   07/11/17 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   
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June 1, 2017

A "Killer" Book Worth "Tons Of Money"

By Shawn Surmick

Printer

I begin this column admitting that I dislike writing articles about books based on the greater antiques and collectibles trade. In my opinion, there are far more important topics to discuss in the trade than commentary on works that have already been written. Therefore, the fact that I am discussing a book that was published in 2011 should tell you something.
Author Maureen Stanton penned what can easily be considered one of the best books ever written on the overall state of the antiques and collectibles trade. Ironically, what makes this feat even more spectacular is the fact that Stanton does not identify as a collector herself. She fully admits in her musings that she has absolutely no knowledge of the antiques trade and as a result, she wrote her book so that it could be enjoyed and understood by collectors and noncollectors alike.
Titled “Killer Stuff and Tons of Money,” the book was released with little fanfare in June of 2011, while the overall economy was still dealing with the aftermath of the economic crisis that hit in 2008. The book follows ethical antiques dealer “Curt Avery,” whom the author describes in detail while reminding her readers that the name is a pseudonym used to prevent the identity of a real-life man. This allows “Avery” to deliver an honest assessment about the antiques business without fear of criticism from others in the trade. And make no mistake, it is this honest assessment that makes the book so good!
It becomes clear early on in the book that Avery is an antiques dealer that anyone would want to do business with. His ethics, work manner, and true passion are evident in just about every action he takes while attempting to carve out a living for himself and his family in an ever-changing marketplace. The author does an excellent job of painting an accurate picture of the antiques trade following the Great Recession. The book is full of excellent quips and inside information courtesy of the inside perspective of the dealer. Reading about Avery’s love of primitives and his quest to find authentic pieces to sell to his growing customers list is a welcome breath of fresh air compared to reality television shows such as “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars,” which debuted around this same time focused solely on dollar signs. That is not to say that the book in itself doesn’t focus on the monetary aspect of the antiques and collectibles marketplace it surveys. In fact, that aspect is one of the best reasons to read the book. Not only does the book go into painstaking detail about the financial aspect of the antique and collectibles marketplace, but it also takes an unprecedented look at what goes on behind the scenes at auctions and shows. The book is well worth reading just for this commentary alone.
Ironically, pop culture collectors will find a lot of great material here as well. There is an excellent interview with Metropolis Comics and Collectibles founder Vincent Zurzolo, who offers his take on the modern-day comic book collecting scene. Stanton does an excellent job comparing the strength of the overall antiques market with that of the modern-day collectibles market. She even compares and contrasts both markets in a way that has raised criticism from some longtime enthusiasts.
Still, one of the best reasons I recommend this book to fellow collectors and enthusiasts is the amount of inside information. Since the dealer’s identity is protected, Avery freely speaks his mind about specific subjects in the trade that can be considered taboo and controversial to some. I don’t want to spoil or misrepresent some of this commentary, but readers of the book will understand and appreciate what is being discussed, especially if they have an active role in the antiques trade. This commentary also serves as excellent validation as to how hard it is to enter the antiques and collectibles trade.
The book is unfortunately not without some criticism that I want to be sure to point out. It needs to be emphasized that the book was published in 2011, when economic conditions were a bit different than they are today. As a result, I caution casual readers and enthusiasts alike to take the sentiment on the “death of the antiques trade” with a grain of salt. Critics of the book have mentioned that the book is too negative and doesn’t seem to point out that before 2011 when the bulk of the book was written, the economic impact of the Great Recession was directly affecting all markets, and the greater antiques market was not immune. Just to clarify, I got a lot of great deals in the antiques and collectibles marketplace between the years 2008 through 2012 that will be the subject of an upcoming article. As a result, readers need to realize the time frame and circumstances when the book was written so they can form an accurate assessment on why the author and even Avery think the proverbial sky is falling. These tirades add a certain realism to the book and to the misadventures of the dealer, but readers engaged in the book today will quickly realize that most of these quips predicting the death of the antiques trade were mostly overblown.
I have recommended this book to almost everyone I know who has an interest or curiosity about the antiques and collectibles trade. Regardless of the criticisms noted, there hasn’t been another book of this magnitude and scope that captures the essence of the trade so eloquently. And in a world full of biased, internet-based blog ramblings on the trade, the glut of yearly price guides sitting on store shelves, and the ill-predicted death of the written word thanks to the rise of electronic publishing, that alone says something. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Stanton’s book and enjoy. The antiques marketplace may never be the same again, and your perspective may change right along with it.