I am always asked if it is hard for me to part with and sale the antiques that I scour for throughout France and Belgium. Well, since I never buy anything that I don't love and want to keep..... you betcha!! There have been many times that I have walked around and around my cottage trying to find a place for or to justify keeping a piece knowing that there really is no more room at the inn.
However, sometimes I just can't let a piece go. It might only visit for a while. Or sometimes .......
You never know what your children will grow up to be. Sure, they display their strengths and sometimes even their destinies. But unless its a family business they are headed for, it's a crap shoot.... literally.
My youngest son, Carter, is a professional poker player. A very good one, in fact. We always thought he would be a lawyer. I'm not sure exactly why. There are no attorneys in the family. But, somehow it always seemed to suit him. The good points and the, well, lets just say the "I AM going to win this "debate" sort of kid and I will achieve it using smarts, charisma and belief in my opinion. Playing poker is a business to him. Not a game. He understands the odds.
As an antique dealer, the businesses can be eerily similar You can study and plan and hunt and prepare. But when it comes down it - when that show opens - will everything you have worked so hard for be the draw? It happens so fast. When the ropes drop or the doors open, will the antiques you have so tirelessly and painstakingly collected catch their eye? After all the time, the expense, the effort, have you beaten the odds and bought the treasures they are seeking?
With beating heart and sweating palms ..... you wait. As for the odds, my cards are on the table.
When you ship a container of antiques as I do several times a year from Europe, you have to be prepared or at least resolved to the fact that other than the buying (which is really the only reason to be in the business) almost everything else will be out of your control. You deliver all your precious finds to the packer who then orders a container to be delivered to the warehouse and then, well, packs. A broker then reserves your containers space with the shipping line where it will then spend 14 to 16 days on the water before arriving at port. The container must then go through customs and finally is trucked or sent by rail to you. All total, it takes about 4 weeks......PROVIDING EVERYTHING GOES ACCORDING TO PLAN!!
Sounds simple, huh? Yeah, right! The last container went perfect. That is until I received a call from the trucking company that there would be a delay in the delivery. One of those "Houston, we have a problem" calls. The container had been damaged in the off loading. Meaning?????? Was it dropped, was it crushed ... what? Visions of crushed marble and broken mirrors were just a few of the scenarios dancing in my head.
This time the ship had barely sailed from Antwerp before having to put into port in Rotterdam for repairs. What? Did the propeller fall off?? What now? Delayed again...... to Christmas week. Will it make it here and clear customs just before Christmas or will it arrive just after when I am on a cruise with my family??? I have 2 grown sons and we're all spread out. South Carolina, DC and Vegas. Getting all together at the same time is rare and to spend it together for a week cruising around the Caribbean - priceless.
I had to leave on the 23rd. Ship docked Savannah on the 19th, a Saturday, so the port was closed for the weekend. Cleared on Monday, picked up and trucked to Atlanta for delivery on Wednesday. Cruise left Friday. YES!!! Thank you Santa! And I was off with 2 sons, a fiancee, a girlfriend, the Cowboy and a partridge in a pear tree!
It's 6 o'clock on a Thursday morning and I'm sipping chugging coffee and trying to pry my eyes open. It's load in time at the Scott Antique Market in Atlanta where I ply my wares as one of the 2500 dealers who call this market home for 4 days each month.
Trucks of all sizes, trailers, vans, cars with assorted items tied to roof tops like vintage "Beverly Hillbillies" roll in, manuvering around and through a tangle of furniture, boxes, display walls and props - not to mention the assorted humans and their traveling pets.
Early buyers navigate the choas, poking among the stacks and peeping into unloaded trucks and trailers hoping to feret out the perfect find before the crowds ascend.
Dealers frantically work to unload, ditch the truck (trailer, whatever) and set up and style a booth worthy of any showroom floor in record speed. The pace is frantic and the temperature is either broiling or freezing depending on the season. In a matter of hours tho, the transformation in azaming.
This little corner is mine.
I hope you'll make plans to visit. Stop by for a visit. I'll buy you a glass of iced tea, or a cup of coffee if you're one of the early ones and we'll chat about a common love of France, antiques and the hunt.
I am a: Passionate hunter of French, Belgian and Italian antiques--I love the stories their history tells, real or imagined. Travel affectionado, any excuse for a trip and my bags are packed. Proprietor, Collector, Connoisseaur...... anxiously awaiting the next search.