Antique Abcs: Explore Before Investing In Antiques

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So, you want to collect antiques. Which kind? Antiques can run the gamut from buttons to behemoth pieces of furniture.

The first rule: Collect what you love. If you would love to do a room or a whole house with antiques, decide what you need and what you can spend.

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Barbara Kroeger shows off some of the pieces featured at her shop, Cedar Lane Antiques. The buffet can be used for a variety of things and the Fenton art glass is highly collectible.

"Antique furniture is very practical for living," said Barbara Kroeger of Cedar Lane Antiques. "It is made from solid wood, it's sturdy and well-made and can take a little more abuse than furniture being made today." It can also be refinished.

She said pieces made in the 1940s have those qualities and are still relatively affordable.

"A lot of people worry about having antique furniture in their homes if they have children. There were five of us in my family. We grew up surrounded by antiques and learned to appreciate them and hold them in regard," Kroeger said.

She said the buyer should decide if they want to go eclectic and mix in just one or two pieces of antique furniture with what they have, use antiques as accent pieces or have a collection.

The second rule: Make your first purchase an inexpensive one, then research it, and items like it, on the Internet, in books and at antique stores.

"By comparing your item to those in books, on the Internet and in shops, you are educating yourself," Kroeger said.

One of the books she recommends for novice collectors is "Furniture Detective."

"It helps you learn how to age and date furniture," she said.

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Fenton art glass, a highly collectible decorative art, comes in all sizes and price ranges. The toothpick holder in Barbara Kroeger's hand is less than $40.

If antique furniture is not your cup of tea, then perhaps teacups are, or decorative and practical serving pieces, or those items, such as Fenton art glass, that are predominantly decorative.

The rules are the same, Kroeger said.

What are some of the most popular furniture pieces in the antique business? Kroeger said sideboards and buffets are especially popular for the extra storage they provide and the multiple uses they have. Pointing to a large sideboard in her store, she said it could be used as a stand for a wide, flat screen television. Other cabinetry pieces are popular too, again for the added storage they afford, accent tables and chairs are big sellers, and so are lamps.

"If I see a cute lamp, I will snap it up," Kroeger said.

Sets of antique china are not selling too quickly anymore, neither is silver.

"If it can't go into the dishwasher and microwave, people don't want it. I like silver, but it has to be polished and people don't polish silver anymore."

Kroeger had a few cautionary suggestions for people just beginning to collect antiques.

"Know with whom you are shopping. There are a lot of reproductions out there."

Cedar Lane Antiques, at 111 East Cedar Lane, Payson, is one of many of the wonderful antique and collectible stores throughout the Rim Country. Stop at any one of them and pick up a brochure on these special stores, their locations and hours of operation.

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