The Malden Historical Antique Society’s 2017 Antique Show provided citizens, antique collectors, and auctioneers with “an opportunity to share knowledge of good, interesting items of yesteryear.”
Held at Anthony’s in Malden on Saturday, March 11th, various dealers, collectors, and everyday individuals from in and around the city of Malden met to display items, and ultimately sell “older, vintage, and eclectic items.” The entire event space was packed with collectors eager to sell and tell recount the histories of the items they came by.
Auctioneer Tanya Cameron, owner of TAC Estate Auctions Inc., located in Wakefield, described how the Malden Historical Society always holds “great shows [with] lots of good friends and new friends.” Cameron has been involved in auctioneering ever since she was a kid. It was an activity she began pursuing with her grandmother. She continued on with the career by working with a high end auction company and eventually started her own company, TAC Estate Auctions Inc.
Cameron finds antiques mainly through public auction, flea markets, online, and yard sales. She also explained how people downsizing, moving house, or holding estate sales can help collectors come by rare and valuable items. Additionally, Cameron said how a public auction is one of the most crucial parts of her process of finding items. Public auctions are held in halls where people bid and the last card in the air wins. Cameron specifically looks for “sterling silver, paintings, books, military items and over down to the 60s and 18th, 19th, and early 20th century.”
One thing Cameron has noticed about the antique industry is that it lacks a lot of involvement of young people. “Life has gotten very fast,” Cameron elaborates. “Antiques involve more time and thought and [the] younger generation is more tech savvy; instantaneous.” She explained that an approach to getting more young people interested in auctioning would be to introducing them to items that hail from eras they grew up in. “It has to be items they can relate to,” she added.
Cameron is apart of an ongoing project in which she currently working with a school in Colorado to bring more people of color and particularly women into the antique business by offering them a scholarship especially as the industry tends to be male-dominated. Students who are granted the scholarship would only have to pay for transportation and all they have to do is apply. To get more information on this, Cameron can be contacted via her website https://www.tacauctioneers.com/. Cameron passionately adds that it is important for young people to give back to their community. [They] can’t just go through life and take and take and take.” She feels that the antique business itself is a “marvelous industry.”
Another antique collector at the Antique Show was Eric Schwartz who based in Revere. Schwartz specializes in wristwatches and was introduced to the craft by his uncle whom he inherited many items from. He has been in the industry collectively for about 12 years. Schwartz enjoys the art of antiques because “everything is different. Some things have great value, some things not so much.” He said that he tends to gravitate toward wristwatches because “they don’t take up a lot of room.” He usually comes across his items by word-of-mouth, yard sales, trading, eBay, flea markets, as well as some auctions. “People go crazy about the hunt,” Schwartz explained. He has seen sales in his wristwatches increase a lot over his career.
A large component of what makes antique items so valuable is the history behind them. Collector John King described how some items can be dated by style and others by the type of manufacturer. At least every antique item will have some type of indicator, such as a name, logo, and/or date, revealing what eras and people they belonged to. He explained how years and years ago items were passed down amidst family members and they ultimately end up in the hands of people today. King said that “families have so many things they like. Items lose their meaning [and] other people get to enjoy them.” Many of these items tend to come from estate sales in which entire houses are cleaned out despite the fact that the may be filled with items of intrinsic value such as “semi-precious metals.”
Despite it not being apart of the modern day zeitgeist, antique collecting offers a new perspective on art history while helping to bridge together families, education people on historical narratives and help people give back to their communities.