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Author Topic:   How did you catch the silver 'bug'?

Posts: 239
Registered: Jan 2001

iconnumber posted 12-26-2007 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carlaz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am very proud to say that I have been 'involved' in the industry since I was in my early teens (25 plus years). My mother, who was a dealer in silver (as well as other items), started bringing me (perhaps dragging is more appropriate) into antique shops and shows since I can remember. Most weekends were spent setting up and disassembling her booth while she 'hit the floor shopping'. My first big silver purchase on my own was a Sterling Gorham Martin/Olive Stirrer (with 2 - 3 dimensional olives on the center of the handle). Not quite the average purchase of a 14 year old in early 1980's! Today, at shows, I have starteed to notice a definite generational trend from the dealers whom I have known for years, to new dealers who seem to fall into the business out of love of the product and the ability to make a living at it. I also see the younger versions of myself, young girls assisting their parents in their booths and holding their own with most customers. I had to giggle when I heard one such 'young' dealer's roller-skates were no longer allowed at a certain antique show. Will this young dealer follow into the business or will the dealers of today slowly retire as the wear and tear of the shows finally end up as a stay at home business primarily done on cyberspace?
And yes, I still have my beloved Gorham Martini stirrer, safely tucked away and every now and then, I pull it out to remind me that this delightful little piece of silver was the spark that has helped me get to where I am today. Do other dealers have that one find...that one piece of silver that made them realize how much fun this business can be the one piece you would never sell? And will that young girl in roller-skates end up 'in the business'?

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Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 12-26-2007 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1952 I was 12 years old and walked to school past an antique shop every school day. Matty Booher was, to me, an old lady who probably took a bath once every two weeks whether she needed it or not. Well, Matty is long gone as is her antique shop. On the way home from school one day all the other kids dared me to go into 'the dirty old ladies shop' which I did and son of a gun she was the nicest old lady next to my grandma. She never allowed me to buy anything because of my age until I was 18. The first thing I bought was a Martele ladle for the outrages sum of five dollars and sixty five cents plus tax and that wiped out my savings. She told me I should not buy it as my mother would probably not want to polish it all the time. At that time silver was around ninty cents per ounce. When I visit my parents grave I every now and then stop by Matty and say thank you. Kids can be so dumb.

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Posts: 728
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 12-26-2007 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Your story and mine could be the very same (except that in my case it's a bit more like 30+ years). My mom was an antique dealer, too, and I spent weekends working in her shop or helping her do shows. My first piece of silver was a baby's cup that I purchased at an outdoor show in Quebec. I was not that sentimental, however, and I put it in my mom's shop and promptly sold it! But that started the hunt.

My dad also had a hand in it; when he would accompany my mom, he would pick up coin silver spoons, particularly Maine makers. His goal was to have a piece from every maker/retailer in the Fredyma book, and he kept a list in his wallet of the makers he did not yet have. I started buying with him. When they retired and moved, he sold off most of his collection at auction, but he gave me a box of spoons whose makers he had not been able to identify. They have kept me busy for 12 years now (although I have been able to reduce my own list substantially with the help of wev's fine research).

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Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 12-27-2007 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I inherited my mother's love of books and gardening, but not her dislike for silver. I never minded polishing. But I didn't think much beyond matching wedding silver until I was given a few orphan pieces. They turned out to be Watson floral teaspoons, a Whiting Lily of the Valley rice server, and later a Wood and Hughes oyster server, beautiful, useful objects which open a window on the past, the first of a whole new world of intricate patterns and shapes to discover and research.

I am grateful to have found a place to talk with people who love silver and are so knowledgeable. Thank you all.

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Posts: 1627
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 12-29-2007 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm another of those who came to appreciate silver from helping my mother who was an antiques dealer. We will have to form a club and get funny hats and a secret handshake or something. smile

Like the others I started when I was a teenager helping my mom at antiques shows, setting up, taking down, manning the booth while my mom hit the show to try to buy a few things. I would go to auctions with her to help scout out good things to buy - not only silver but also other antiques. I would also help her to clean up and prepare items for sale. After a while I learned what she knew about silver and went on to learn even more on my own. I did not follow her footsteps into becoming a dealer but I appreciate silver and do some modest collecting.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 12-29-2007).]

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Clive E Taylor

Posts: 450
Registered: Jul 2000

iconnumber posted 12-29-2007 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Clive E Taylor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just lucky I guess

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Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 12-29-2007 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My story is a little more convoluted. After working for several years with show horses, I worked for a time with a blacksmith in Georgia, learning the farrier's trade. When I moved back to New Orleans in 2003, I took a part-time job with a silver dealer doing minor repair and restoration work, citing my previous metalwork experience. In time I grew fascinated with the skill and craftsmanship of objects I handled, and through much study I became familiar enough with the various patterns and period styles to hold my own on the sales floor. My first piece of sterling was a gift from my employer, appropriately a Blackinton Co. ashtray in the form of a horseshoe. My first silver purchase was a set of coffee spoons from late 19th C. Russia, pictured in the Russian spoons thread.

Through handling thousands of pieces, I have developed a taste for rarer and more unusual objects and styles which evidence meticulous workmanship and design. My favorite memories on the sales floor are the enthusiastic conversations (or sales pitches, if you prefer) that I would have with like-minded customers, about Aesthetic/Japanesque items, Russian niello or enamel objects, chased Art Nouveau designs, hand-wrought Arts & Crafts items, and other exceptional pieces.

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Posts: 418
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 12-30-2007 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for adelapt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I showed interest in a silver item in his shop about 37 years ago (!), the kindly proprietor recommended I read "Silver" by Gerald Taylor (a Penguin/Pelican p/back). I have been reading books on it, and looking at the stuff, ever since...

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