Personally I was never fond of antiques shops that also had contemporary gift items. It seemed to me to diminish the “authenticity” of the antiques. I also found it annoying that I had to spend time looking past the contemporary to find the old. I’m beginning to the think I was being a “grumpy old antiques snob.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather spend time in an antiques-only shop. But there aren’t as many of those as in there were in the past, and not as many of us. And for many of us who have a partner, the idea of looking at non-antiques at the same time as searching out an antique may not be so bad in his or her view. Perhaps it’s time to encourage more independent “gift shops” to carry some antiques and for some antiques dealers to consider a broader line of non-antiques.
For the most part “trends” in décor often rise from antiques being discovered and interpreted and promoted in magazines or on cable television. We’ve seen Colonial, Victorian and Arts & Crafts, among others, rise in popularity and become “mainstream” in contemporary revival furniture and furnishings. And then, for some, the popularity fades (and often the prices of the antiques that inspired the trend).
Dealers might consider approaching gift shop proprietors with the idea of supplying antiques to the gift shop. The items could be offered at wholesale or on consignment with an agreed-upon selling commission. Many dealers have inventory in antiques malls, so having them on consignment in gift shops isn’t a great deal different.
Small gift shops should be pleased to have consigned items to boost inventory with no capital outlay and antiques dealers would have the opportunity to show their items at more places to people who may not ever enter an antiques mall or shop.
The grumpy old antiques snob would “demand” these terms. The antiques dealer would provide a clear description of the items (in hopes of inspiring a new collector or at least imparting some knowledge about the piece) and the gift shop would make no representations beyond the description regarding age or future values.
I have to admit, while Linda can enjoy visiting antiques shops (though she has her limit), I’m not quite as enthusiastic about browsing in “her” shops. Perhaps a few antiques among the décor items would increase my patience and ultimately benefit the shop’s owner by extending the time spent in the shop.