London Calling | Antique & Art Exchange

London Calling

The past couple of weeks we have been visited & contacted by some of our most reliable international dealers / buyers. A common theme emerges along with a few surprises. After 30 years of hearing about how nice a piece would look properly restored (an impossibility on the West Coast as far as they are concerned) now our dealer clients …

From Floor to Floor | Antique & Art Exchange

From Floor to Floor

by José Medio When Arisitide Boucicaut decided to embrace unreservedly the new commerce practices rehearsed piecemeal in the local “magasins de nouveautés,” he changed the retail landscape with a bang. This is Paris 1852. The young salesman from Normandy, with experience in Paris boutiques, began insisting on price tags on all goods, free entrance and a larger variety of articles. …

The Original Laptop | Antique & Art Exchange

The Original Laptop

In this era, there is hardly a soul who is unaware of what a laptop is. But would it surprise you to know that their basic idea has roots in the mid 18th century? Often called “lap desks” or “writing cabinets,” these apparatuses started appearing around 1750 and were small fold-over hardwood boxes with a writing slope (usually covered in …

Louis XVI Candelabra | Antique & Art Exchange

Louis XVI Candelabra

[Click here for more detail shots] Every so often something remarkable shows up at the shop. One such item arrived at the shop recently–a wonderful and rare pair of gilt bronze candelabras made in France during the Reign of Louis XVI in about 1770–and I thought you might like to take a look. Originals from this period are made like …

Knowing Antiques: African Artwork | Antique & Art Exchange

Knowing Antiques: African Artwork

“This century will be all about Africa,” my good friend José Medio once remarked to me. If this is true, and I believe there is indeed good reason to think so, African artwork will soon have its day as a highly-valued commodity. This has to do, in no small part to the exceeding rarity of old artwork to come out …

Collecting Prints | Antique & Art Exchange

Collecting Prints

In an era when most people did not know how to read, pictures were used as instructional materials to teach the illiterate about religious stories. Albrecht Durer did some very famous woodblock prints illustrating the life of the Virgin Mary and several saints, including my favorite woodblock print of Saint Jerome. Once the printing press was developed, prints became widely …

Wood in Antique Furniture | Antique & Art Exchange

Wood in Antique Furniture

One of the things I love best about studying and collecting antiques is unraveling the puzzle of where and when a piece was made. One of the best indications of where a piece was fabricated is the wood used to make it. The farther north you travel in Europe the more likely you are to see pine used as a …

Collecting Antique Glass Revisited | Antique & Art Exchange

Collecting Antique Glass Revisited

When I first started collecting, I was concerned with knowing how to tell whether something is old and good. How do I know what something should cost? A brief but expensive education was won at the knees of experts that had many different agendas that usually did not reflect my own. Selling my treasures taught me the value of quality. …

Native American Pottery | Antique & Art Exchange

Native American Pottery

Some of my youth was spent crossing the country in a motor-home. I loved the Southwest and the vivid colors of the high desert, the rainbows, the sweet earthy smell after a cloud burst, and the amazing ancient cliff dwellings built by Native Americans often hidden in the cliffs of many canyons. Every so often a shop would feature native …

Amphorae | Antique & Art Exchange

Grand Tour Artifacts

It is hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by antiquity. One of my earliest quests was to see a mummy. The 1932 version of “The Mummy” had made such an impression on me that I hesitated and held my breath before entering the gallery. Soon I met my first mummy, and once I was convinced …

Examining Antique Furniture | Antique & Art Exchange

Examining Antique Furniture

This week I thought I’d tell another short story about how to examine an older piece of furniture. First, plywood is bad sign. Plywood first appears in the 19th century, but did not take on its current look (i.e. cheap, thin laminated woods) until about 1900. If a piece measures out in inches it suggests that it is American, English …

Early Japanese Trade | Antique & Art Exchange

Early Japanese Trade

Sometime during 1547 the Dutch East Indies ships landed in Japan for the first time. Then began a fairly lively trade in silks, tea and porcelain. For some reason it was agreed upon that Japan fell under the Portuguese sphere of influence. In relatively short order Jesuits arrived hoping to save a few souls. Most of the Catholic conversions occurred …