Kovels on Antiques & Collectibles Latest Trends

Decorators like to follow the latest trends. A recent list suggested these: “In” are dark interiors, “Out” are all white walls. Taxidermy birds are “in” but antlers are “out.” Throne-like wood chairs are “in,” and modern plastic furniture is “out,” etc. I wonder where these trends are followed, because none appear where I live. Is it really true that the “Dark Ages” or the “Medieval look” is replacing “white and minimal”? I am happy with “hodgepodge eclectic.” My house is filled with furniture and accessories found one-at-a-time at flea markets and auctions.
Mailboxes with personality are becoming more popular in the suburbs. We have a brass hotel mailbox, the kind that was used near a drop-down chute next to a hotel elevator. A home builder near here gives his customers a special new mailbox, shaped like the house, when they’re ready to move in.
One way to date mid century jewelry: white gold was first used in the early 1940s. Pink gold also became more popular around that time. An iconic piece from that era was a bow-shaped pin in yellow and pink gold with small rubies set to look like the ribbon that forms the bow.
Tool collectors seem to change focus from decade to decade. Hand-wrought iron tools were popular in the 1950s. They represented the early history of tools and looked great in the then-popular room with the “Colonial Williamsburg look.” Coopers’ tools were wanted in the 1960s for Arts and Crafts rooms. Braces intrigued the 1970s collector, and wooden planes were hot in the 1980s. Now it’s tiptop condition that attracts tool collectors (see Warman’s Tools Field Guide)
The fabrics of the 50’s are coming back in style and are even being reproduced. Barkcloth with traditional patterns is back.
Frisbee collectors want advertising Frisbees made in the past 25 years. Look for frisbees that have ads for McDonald’s, Kodak, Keebler, Coppertone, Tony the Tiger, movies and the Olympics. Prices for mint Frisbees range from $20 to $30.
Uniforms are becoming popular with companies and schools and the look is becoming fashionable. Vintage clothing stores report brisk sales in low-priced uniforms from service station attendants or delivery personnel. Military uniforms have always been in fashion.

Save your broken dishes, vases and other decorative china to make mosaic stepping stones or tabletops for your garden. Chipped vases can still be used for flowers, or turned upside down to make toad homes.
Never store an iron pan while it is damp. To be sure it is dry, heat it on a stove burner for a minute.
If a thread in a woven fabric, carpet or sweater pulls or tears, do not cut it. Get a crochet hook or large pin and weave the thread into the fabric.
If you are buying a safe to store coins, jewelry, valuable papers, paper money, rare sports cards or other valuables, don’t forget that a thief can just carry the safe away if is is light and not bolted to a wall or floor. We laughed at the full-page ad in our local newspaper that shows a mailman carrying a boxed new safe to the buyer’s front door. A large safe, however, may be too heavy to put anywhere but in the garage or basement and too big to fit through a standard door.

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