Sunday, December 14, 2014

In Need of a New Year's Resolution

The thing is - I come by my compulsive collecting habit honestly.  Both my parents set horrible examples for me in my formative years.  Both had a thing for glassware.  I inherited a closet full of assorted glassware, a good portion of which is what I'm selling in the booth I've rented at a local antiques store.  Some I can price and transport to the booth without a second thought.  Other pieces are stuck in something of a limbo stage.  We would pull out the pretty glassware at Thanksgiving and Christmas and some of the pieces evoke memories of family gatherings long ago.  The memory of those holidays in a simpler time makes it a bit more difficult to part with some items, even though I don't really like them all that much. Still others I immediately put on the "not going anywhere" shelf.  This includes china that my grandmother acquired in my behalf, the china Mother bought with the Christmas money received from the church, the punch bowl that was another Christmas present from the church, and certain pieces that have been in my peripheral vision since I was a toddler.

At one point my parents decided to collect a single goblet from their various antiquing sojourns, of which collection I am now in possession.  The only goblet I am truly emotionally bound to is the single goblet that passed down in the family from my great-great grandmother Mobley, the sole survivor of a set she brought with her when the family moved from post-Civil War Georgia to McDade, Texas, in the early 1870s.  That one has a position of honor behind the glass doors of my antique bookcase.  The other goblets are a variety of patterns and colors and, while making a great display on a shelf, really don't have any sentimental value to me.  I got all of them down a couple of weeks ago and washed them and started to price them…..and hesitated.  They ended up back on the shelf in limbo status while I try to decide how I really feel about them.  The same thing happened when I started sorting out Mother's collection of toothpick holders.  I can always sell them later.  Better safe than sorry.

Because sorry is how I feel about some of the things Mother discarded when we made the major move from Smiley to Bastrop.  She had several sets of dishes, some given to her and some she acquired at various stages of married life.   She gave a complete set of Fiesta dishes to a church member that I would dearly love to reclaim.  They were nothing special to her.  Fiesta ware was what everybody her age had lived with and owned at some point and nobody knew that it was going to become collectible a few short years after she passed them along.

During the packing process (which she was doing on crutches, as she had torn a ligament in her ankle just as the move was getting into full swing), she made the decision to dispose of the various sets of dishes and keep just a plate or two or maybe a bowl from each set as a reminder/souvenir.  As I was beginning to sort out all the various glassware with an eye toward selling some of it, I ran across the stack of odd plates.  Most of it I had no qualms at all with slapping a price on and toting it out to the booth.

But there were a few dishes of one pattern that gave me pause.  There's nothing really special about them, but I just liked them and hated to let them go.  I don't remember ever eating off this set, but I seem to remember that we had a big pile of the various pieces that all carried a scene of buildings or items that fit into the Victorian England time period.  Mother had kept a cake plate with a snowy shop scene, two plates with a different view of the shop, a saucer with a teapot and a small plate with a clock.  The dishes were produced by Royal China and the pattern was called "The Old Curiosity Shop".

I finally told myself it was silly to hang onto a few odd dishes and I popped prices on them and carted them out to the booth, where they've been on display a couple of months with nary a nibble of interest.  Every time I would shuffle them around to fresh up the booth, I would have that twinge of regret.

Then yesterday I stopped briefly by an estate sale that was right on the way as I made my way to Austin for a little Christmas shopping and later some Christmas cheer at little brother's house.  The sale was held in multiple rooms of a church annex, with proceeds going toward some needed remodeling of the church.  As I walked into the second room full of odds and ends, my eyes fell on a stack of familiar green and white dishes.  There were 12 pieces wanting a new home and as I told myself repeatedly that I did NOT need to get involved, one of the folks I know who was running the sale walked up and slapped a price on the whole lot for a price I couldn't resist.  So I came home with the beginnings of a new collection and this morning I retrieved the 4 pieces I've had for sale and brought them back home.  I have this serious affinity for rescuing strays, and this is how I'm ending up with multiple sets of flatware and multiple sets of dishes.

The Old Curiosity Shop - Cake Plate with handles
I now have two
The Old Curiosity Shop - Dinner Plate
I now have three
The Old Curiosity Shop - Soup Bowls (top left with lamp picture, I now have five),
Serving Bowl (bottom left with work bench picture)
Saucer (top right with teapot - I had one and now I have two)
Bread dish (bottom right with clock)
Not a bad start and I've about made up my mind to try and assemble a whole set.  Like I don't already have enough dishes to feed a small army, but what can I say?

Well, one thing I could say is I should be a little more careful.  It turned out that the pile of dishes I bought weren't all from the same pattern.  Of the twelve pieces I bought, four of them were from a different set of dishes, also produced by Royal China.  A little research online revealed that these were  the "Colonial Homestead" pattern and mostly depict items or rooms or buildings associated with an Early American Home.  One of the smaller plates has a spinning wheel and the pie dishes (see picture below) also include a bit of a spinning wheel at the bottom edge.  I like spinning wheels.  I think I'm in big trouble. 

Colonial Homestead
Bread & Butter Dish (at top, with grandfather clock and table/bench)
Platter (at left)
Pie Dishes (at right, two of them)

Well, in my defense, I can always decide to sell them later on.  Once you become an antiques dealer, half of the fun is acquiring what you like and using it until you tire of it and then passing it along to the next person.  

I guess there are worse things you can inherit than the collecting gene.  And as vices go, antiquing isn't really all that bad.  


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