Killer Stuff & Tons of Money
A Great Book About the Underbelly of Antiquing...
photo: Candida Höfer
In my opinion, books should have pride of place in any home. At my house they are stacked nearly everywhere. I have probably 5 on the go at all times. Speaking of which, if you are looking for something new to add to your own personal library, I have been meaning to recommend this one to you for a long time...
To tell you the truth I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Maureen Stanton's book Killer Stuff and Tons of Money ($26.95) for the first time. The title is certainly intriguing, and as vintage enthusiasts at Pure Green I'm always looking to know more on the subject. But Maureen's book had me from the moment I began reading. If you are familiar with Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, you'll know exactly what I mean. Maureen invites you into the underbelly of the antiquing trade on the coat tails of her long time friend Curt Avery, a professional dealer who spends his days chasing every collector's dream—finding that gem, buried among the junk, that you spend twenty bucks on and sell for six figures after which you promptly retire. But it isn't an easy life. Camping out on the grounds of Brimfield, waking at 3am to unpack and packing again at the end of the day, picking the fields endlessly and haggling with customers are all part and parcel of the trade. Curt draws on a deep knowledge of the past and shares tips and tricks on how to spot your own treasures. You'll learn the history of flea markets, visit America's most prestigious and famous auctions and shows, frantically peruse vintage markets, get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the insanity that is the Antiques Road Show and pick up a ton of antiquing esoterica along the way. You'll meet an eccentric collector of shrunken heads, dig for bottles and learn a little about the ethics of the antiques biz. Curt also shares how antiques were once a booming business that has been decimated by economic problems, generations that aren't intersested in 'old stuff' and the flood of fakes dilluting the market. We also loved that the book discusses how green antique and vintage can be, touching on things like enduring quality and re-purposing.
All in all, this book is quite a read, often hilarious, well written and a great mix of trivia and storytelling. It's an eye-opener for anyone who hopes to strike it rich searching for arcane treasures and illuminating for those who enjoy walking the fields at summer antique markets such as Brimfield. Visit Maureen's website for more on the book and definitely check out her 'Tips for Treasure Hunting'. You can nab a copy online from Amazon.
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