Friday, August 31, 2007

VOTE or No VOTE? - That is the Question

We are approaching the political season, and I think this will be one of the most interesting times in our political history. The President's numbers are below forty, and the Congress has approval numbers even lower than the President's. There are already scandals, and up for grabs is a presidency that could be won by the first woman or minority candidate in history. We also have a gentleman running that is of the Mormon faith. The reason this is important is that I can remember when John F Kennedy ran as a Catholic, and how big a deal was made of that. We could have a first gentleman and the first couple to both be elected president in the White House.

This is going to be a hay day for political collectors, and you should get a head start on the market. Political memorabilia has always commanded high prices for the rare pieces, and as this season begins, you should stock your shelves with as much of it as you can. Most of it will be free, so you have nothing to lose. I would visit the campaign headquarters of all the candidates running for office -- national, state, and local because you don’t know what is going to happen in the future. Try to get, at least, duplicates of each item you acquire and if possible, even more.

As the season progress the value of these items will go up, and as they do, sell off some of the items that you have amassed until your goal is reached. Then it is okay to store the rest for a later day. If I were going to start a new collection and was younger, I think it would be the Political Memorabilia. There are pieces from past campaigns that command hundreds of thousands of dollars. It really doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are on politically -- there will be a lot of money on the line this election. Just for the record, I would like to say that I am on the side of Pro Life. In my younger years, I was for a woman's right to choose, but later, my conscience told me the unborn child should have a say. I am not campaigning but just sharing myself with you so that the decision will be yours to join me in this endeavor or not.

You can find older campaign items at most garage and house sales. There are guides for these collectibles, and you may find them on or on ebay. If you have pieces of political memorabilia that you would like to share with us please do. As I stated in the title, we should all vote, but if you don’t there is still money to be made during this political season.

Not Where You Begin - But Where You End

The best advice that I have ever given someone is to deal in the areas where they felt comfortable. This means both in knowledge and price. Until you have the knowledge required to buy a $100,000 painting, you will never feel comfortable buying it. Also, if paying a $100,000 for something makes you uncomfortable, you aren’t ready to buy it, even if you have the money.

This doesn’t mean that if you come upon a bargain that you don’t act, it simple means at those time you seek help from someone that is comfortable at those levels. You won’t make all the profit, but you also won’t take all the risk when you're not prepared to do so. I have made friends that have been in the fine art business for nearly a hundred years, and I seek their advice often. They have assured me that they will be available if, and when, I find something that makes me nervous.

You should be finding these people before you discover something. By doing so, you will be prepared to act when the opportunity presents itself. One good way to find these people is at antique shows. The dealers will be more than happy to share information with you, and as your relationship with them grows, they will trust your judgement and then will become your partner if need be.

A second place to look for people to partner up with is the antique shops. Spend some time in your local shops and get to know the proprietors, so that if the time comes that you feel the need for information or money to help in the purchaser of some treasure, these people will be prepared to help you.

The third place I would explore would be personal friends that might like to make some extra money. They usually can’t help you with the knowledge, but they can be a great place to find help with financing. With these three avenues, you should never find a treasure that, combined with others, can’t be bought. Now all that is left to do is go out there and find your treasures. Hopefully, in the future, your 31 Club will be able to fill this need for you. Can you tell us of something you pass on because of price or lack of knowledge?

Thursday, August 30, 2007


What do Jessie LaVon, Mari Tirabassi and Doug Odom have in common? You guessed it. They are all Outsider Artists.

The story of Jessie is very interesting, and it can be found by putting her name in the Google search. She had a very serious accident, and this changed her approach to art. I think that her pieces might become as famous as Grandma Moses paintings in the future. I know a person that aquired two of her pieces at a garage sale for $75.00. The largest one should bring $500.00 today, and in the future, who knows?

Maria is a new friend of mine. I met her at the Chicago Antique Market where she was set up. As I passed her display, it stopped me in my tracks. Wow, this painter is something special, I thought. After I talked to her sister for awhile, Maria showed up, and what a pleasent surprise that was. She is a very down to earth lady that will never know a stranger. We talked for some time, and then I decided maybe I should let her get back to work. In my opinion, her work is priced very reasonably, and anyone that purchases it today will be well rewarded in the future. Be on the lookout for her paintings, because the world is going to hear about her. I will be listing some of her pieces on our site very soon. Be sure to visit her at the next two Chicago Antique Markets in September and October. If you wait till next year, I think the prices for her pieces will be much higher. You can visit her website at She is presently represented by several Galleries in the Chicago area.

Last but not least, just being a gentlman, I will share my friendship that has developed between Doug Odom and me. I have talked about Doug in previoue blogs, but much has happened since then.

Doug is the best known Outsider Artist in the country. He was picked to spend several hours with the Bushes in their home. That's right, George and Laura as in President Bush. They also choose him to do the annual Christmas tree ornament.

Doug was in the Chicago area this past week doing a show in Highland Park, Illinios, and I helped him set up. Not being able to stay for the show because Josh and I were appearing at the Chicago Antique Market, I was only able to return to his show as he was tearing down. You know me, I just had to ask how he did. His answer was that the piece in the back of his booth, which was his center piece, had to be delivered and there were several other pieces missing from his display.

Doug no longer does cheap pieces. He ask me which one of the paintings I wanted, and of course, there before my eyes was this painting that said Churchill Downs on it. So guess what? It is hanging in my family room as I speak. Doug will be back in the Chicago area in December and will be staying in my home. I hope many of you will be able to visit with him then.

This blog has been rather long, but it will be well worth it to you. I will be keeping you up to date about these wonderful artists and hopefully, many more. I think this venue will serve us well in our pursuit of our goal. Please share with us your stories of local and outside artists you know.

GOING HOME - Maybe it will be There

The 31 Gang [ Daryle, Cindy, Clarke and Chris ] will start their race with you tomorrow. I will be leaving for Owensboro, Kentucky, at noon to attend my wife's reunion. Along the route, I will be searching for that special treasure that will launch us from the starting gate toward that pot of gold at the end of our journey. I will be reporting back to you Monday night on whether we were successful or not. There is no doubt in my mind that by then you will have emailed me many stories of fabulous finds.

During next four days I will be making every effort to use the knowledge that has served me so well to search out that first step in the plan that we are beginning together. Pottery, Art Glass and Paintings will be my targets, but don't be surprised if I return with something totally different than those items. That is what makes the treasure hunt so exciting. You never know what you will be returning with. I will travel with my books, jewelers loop, tape measure and all the other things that might come in handy in the search.

The best part about this venture is that if I return empty handed after four days, it will only heighten my desire to go back out there on Tuesday. Remember, as I said before, this isn't a sprint.

I have been talking to members all day who are just beginning to get the treasure fever. What are my paintings worth? Does this crock or bowl have any value? I have my dad's old campaign butons -- are they worth selling? Can you feel the excitement building?

Already, I can't wait to return from my trip so that we can talk. I have prepared blogs to be posted while I am gone, and if you have any questions please email me, because I will be checking in. I have been a little disappointed on the number of comments on the blogs, so let me hear from you. This keeps me motivated. Thanks for all your support and patience as we move forward.

Getting Up To Speed. - Are You Prepared?

Have you done the training necessary for our big race?

First, you should let everyone that you know in on your secret. That you are in the business of buying and selling antiques & collectibles.

Second, have you posted flyers that say you are a buyer? Usually you can do this at places like Pet Stores, City Hall, Grocery Stores and many other places.

Third I hope you have spent some time in the library or book store just brushing up on things to look for in your search. Visiting antique shops, malls and going to as many auctions as you can will get you in racing condition.

I very seldom show up where everyone else is hanging out, like the estate sales that have been advertised for months. For me, my time is better spent looking where others my not have been. I go to garage sales and estate sales that have only a brief listing. This elimates most dealers from visiting them.

Also be prepared to travel to areas that aren't covered by the normal gang of dealers that play follow the leader. I have found some of my best finds at thrift stores. But you must check them frequently because if there is something good there, it won't be there long. Flea markets are great and you should always start outside were the dealers set up just to sell what they have bought that week. Inside the building you will find dealers that are trying to get retail for their items and they tend to be more knowledgeable. Always go through the buildings however, because I have found bargains even among these dealers.

I hope that you are beginning to feel empowered and, as your knowledge grows, your self confidence will also. I am waiting for those exciting stories that are sure to come from you as members of the 31 Club. Don't forget to email us with any question at This club is growing ever day. You soon will be getting the blanket of roses for winning your race. I bet you can tell that I am from Kentucky, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gathering at the Starting Gate - Steady Now

I am so amazed at the reaction that our blog has received today.

I knew that people could be encouraged and that they would take action if they believed in something, but never to this extent. I have been busy all day answering emails from people that are ready to go. We are going to have participants of all ages in this race from elementary school students to senior citizens. I am already worried that I may not be able to keep up, but I said it didn't matter, right. I am very competitive so I may have to eat my own words.

We are working on the members only section of the website - You should be sure to view it every day for information that will be needed for this race. You, the members of the 31 Club, have gotten me so excited that I will have to rein my thoughts back in. I will get back to sharing informatiom with you that is necessary to assure your success.

I have been viewing the Maine Antique Digest, Antique Weekly and the Antique Trader today, finding that this is the best time in history to begin this race. Record prices are being recorded everyday for paintings, pottery, art glass, furniture and collectibles in general.

The quicker each one of us can come up to speed in our knowledge of the rarities in this market, the sooner our successes will show. Over the next few months I hope to provide the information you will need plus other resources for you to use. This will keep you at the head of the pack. Be sure to get plenty of rest because this isn't just a sprint but more like the Kentucky Derby! Please share your thoughts about the race with us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Million Dollar Race - Are you in?

This is going to be the start of THE MILLION DOLLAR RACE this week, and it's going to start right here.

In my book 31 Steps to Your Millions that can be found at, you will find how to enter this race and perhaps become the winner.

It won’t be the easiest thing you have ever done but, unlike most races, there won’t be any losers if you enter. The book also can be purchased at Amazon, Bookhitch, Theonlineauction and eBay. Daryle, Cindy, Clarke and Chris, the 31 Gang, will be starting in this race before this week ends. We hope to see you at the starting line, where many lives are going to be changed.

We will be documenting each step we take in our blogs and a chart of our progress will be posted in the Members Only section of the website. As we hear from you about where you are in the race, your information will be posted also. A list of the first ten leaders will be kept current, and any other wonderful stories that you share with us will be featured.

We will be looking for you to be a Super Star- but in our race, it is okay just to be an "also ran." The only way you won’t win in this race is to not enter it.

This blog will continue to provide information that will allow you to swoop pass the other contenders as you head to the finish line. We will be answering all the emails and phone calls for information you might need, and will be waiting for reports of your successes, so they can be posted.

I hope we have to hire a person just to stay in contact with you as the money rolls in. We have told many about my successes, but they keep asking, "Can it be done now?" Hang on, because this trip around the track is going to be exciting. We look for you to be right beside us, as we take this challenge. I have already heard from some that say we will have to get out of their way or get run over. Always remember, a race starts with that first step.

Silver - Is it Sterling [ excellent ] ?

I have been interested in Silver from a very young age.

As many of you know from my book, I was influenced by the book Treasure Island. All those stacks of Silver coins in a treasure chest have never been erased from my mind. Coins have been minted from silver for many, many years. Even in Christ's day there were gold and silver coins.

Perhaps the best known use of silver was when the Czars of Russia commissioned Faberge to create the Easter eggs made of gold, platinum, silver and precious stones. We hear about these quite often.

The Faberge Eggs began in 1884 by the Czar of Russia as a gift to his wife Czarina Maria. Easter was celebrated by exchanging eggs and three kisses. The Czar had Faberge to make one of these special eggs each year, and when presented and opened, there was always a surprise inside.

This continued for 12 years until the death of Alexander the III. Then, his son, Nicholas the II, picked it up and it was continued. Faberge then began to make eggs for coronations, anniveraries and special events. These eggs contained precious gemstones, wonderful enameling and valueable metals.

Fifty six eggs were made for the Czars collection, and each one is worth millions of dollars today. If you search on the internet, I am sure that you will find pictures of some of the eggs, and they are exquisite. Faberge made many other pieces and some can be found today. The quality of the workmanship by this company will never be surppassed.

There have been many fakes made over the years so be aware. True Faberge artwork will have the metalsmiths mark as well as the Russian assay mark showing its purity. There will also be a mark for the city or region. You can find these marks on the internet also. There are many small pieces of Faberge, and if you are at a estate sale or garage sale, always be looking for silver items that have Russian writing and other marks on the bottom. Watch to see if the mark is too clear, because the real ones were applied before the piece was finished, so often the marks are faint or partially missing.

Not all Faberge is worth thousands of dollars, but its value will always surppass that of ordinary pieces. In this country, silver companies started about 1842. However, in the USA we didn't have any offical stamps or date letters. There also was no guild hall to keep records. Coin silver, especially American, has become very collectible and you still can find a piece of it in your search. Coin silver is 900/1000 fine with 100/1000 copper.

This was silver that the early silversmiths used when they could not find sterling. Often with coin silver, there will only be the city of origin or silversmiths mark. America had some of the best silversmiths that ever worked because they were fleeing horrible conditions in their home countries. You will often find pieces marked Boston or Massachusetts. Coin silver is sought after in the south because of the war, and you will find a lot of it was made in Kentucky. Silver can be polished without damaging the value like most antiques. Silverplate should be passed by, unless it is super rare and I do mean super. Can you share srories with us about your silver finds?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Where is the Bottom? - Royal Doulton

You may remember that I have told you in the past there is always a right time to buy and a right time to sell.

I was once one of the largest collectors of Royal Doulton in the Midwest. But as the company paid less and less attention to the collector and decided that quality wasn't important, I decided that it was a great time to sell my collections.

Wow was I correct.

First went my 500 lady figurines, followed by one of the best animal collections that could be found anywhere. I now could, over time, replace my enter collection for about 25 to 30 percent of what I sold them for! The pieces that I sold are still available, and I am beginning to think that it might be a good time to step back into that market.

Figurines that were selling for $1200 now may be purchased for as little as $350.00. Aand the Doulton dogs that I sold for $600 to $700 surface today at prices as low as $2oo. They may have been discounted enough... what do you think?

I would suggest that you obtain a Ruth Pollard Doulton Price Guide on eBay or Abe's books because it is out of print. Start to watch this market. It will be best to stay with the upper end pieces. In Pollard's book you will find all the information that you will require to spot these.

In todays market, because of the drop in prices, it seems that the the market is just throwing all of Doulton to the curb. They are throwing the baby out with the bath water and it may be time to step in. Even the mugs look attractive at these levels.

So you will have much to choose from. You will have to stand firm and not get swayed by the few that are still over pricing pieces just because thay say Doulton on them. Most of the Doulton pieces that are earlier than 1970 will still have the quality that Doulton was know for. But I would still shy away from the later pieces. You may even find Doulton Lambeth and Burslem that are under priced today. Hannah Barlow pieces have drop noticeably.

You be the judge but the bottom may have been put in for this collectible. If you have any great Doulton stories please share them with us!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Day of Rest

I am writing this at twelve o'clock this evening and I just wanted to thank you for giving me this day of rest. I attended the Chicago Antique Market again today and I again was impressed with the excitement that was generated there. I have many stories to tell about the week but they will have to start tomorrow. The tip for tonite is to buy Russian Silver and we will talk more about that. See you on Monday.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Smiles all Around at the Chicago Antique Market

The power just came back on this morning as I headed to the Chicago Antiques Market.

It was still raining and windy so I doubted that it was going to be a great day. As I passed the guard, he looked as if the day was going to start off very poorly, but I requested that he pray for better weather and he promised to do that.

The dealers were just beginning to set up because of their fear of the weather and the food hadn't begun to be cooked when I arrived. Entering the building, I could see that the dealers were worried - but there was Sally and Kathy acting as drill sergeants in a good way to see that all would be ready when the doors opened to the public.

I am not sure that Kathy believed the weather forecast I gave her because she wore a yellow poncho - expecting the worst. The dealers were at least down 10% in numbers from the last month but the room felt full. The day seemed to start off with a little less foot traffic than last month but it was steady. I began to sell books and noticed that the other dealers were getting action and the bags began to be filled.

One dealer sold 8 pieces of Russian Silver, another a carpet and so on. Sally cranked up the music and the place began to seem friendly and inviting. I noticed dealers talking to one another as the day progressed. How could this be possible? The weather was horrible. There was tough competition in the Chicago area and there were fewer dealers present.

First, the dealer's attitudes were terrific and they were cheerful and encouraging to the customers. They also were asked to bring their better sale items because of the expectation of fewer dealers and they did.

Second, the spacing was better but still the room still didn't seem empty.

Third, the music put people at ease and in a buying mood. This just proves that if you give the people what they want they will buy. This month, the dealers will be talking about the great show they had and in September I hope that there will be room for all that want to set up for that show.

"Nothing succeeds like success." Isn't that the way the saying goes? As the dealers were leaving, I saw all smiles, a few hugs and even some high-fives. It was a totally enjoyable day for me and I think for many others.

I want to thank Sally and Kathy for all their hard work when I know that, at the beginning of the day, it seemed as if it might be a wasted effort. With troopers like them and the energized dealers I know that the rest of this season is going to be terrific at the Chicago Antiques Market. I discovered some gems at the show that I will be sharing with you next week. If you are in the Chicago area tomorrow I would suggest the you consider visiting the Chicago Antique street market on W. Randolph Street. You may just find that special piece that has evaded you for so long. Could you share a story with us where lemons were turned into lemonade for you?

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Good Old Days - You be the Judge

As a child, I remember spending the summers at my grandparent’s farm.

The first morning there, as I jumped from the feather bed, which seemed to be two foot thick, my feet would hit the cold floor, and out the door I would go. Being still only half awake, I would walk across the chicken yard to the outdoor privy and then back to the house where I would find the wash bowl, with water collected from the rain barrel which caught the water from the roof. I’d wash my face and hands before I entered the house for breakfast. Now came one of the best part of the day: breakfast.

My grandmother would awake about four o’clock and start preparing breakfast on her wood burning stove. We would sit around a large wooden table for twelve, pray, and then dig in. First there was Kellogg Corn Flakes, out of the biggest cereal box that you have ever seen, followed by eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, country ham and red eye gravy, fried potatoes and fresh milk from their cow, because there wasn’t a refrigerator, or electricity for that matter. After eating our fill, off to the work fields we went.

In the tobacco plot, we would hoe the weeds and pull the tobacco worms. My cousins always made me bite off the worms’ heads to kill them, because there weren’t pesticides then. Then, I had to break off the part of the plant that wasn’t wanted, called suckers. Then, on to the corn field where we did more hoeing. After that, if there was still daylight, all that was left to do was bale hay.

I can tell you that nothing is as itchy as leaves of hay on a sweaty body. In between some of this we would stop for dinner. There granny, as we called her, had prepares a feast of roast beef and potatoes, pork chops, fried chicken, and as many as six fresh vegetables from her garden. All the meat came from the smoke house where it had been hung since last fall. The chicken was fresh, usually hens that had stopped laying. The potatoes and onions came from the cellar, which was a room underground to keep them cool. They churned the butter, and my grandfather’s favorite part of the meal was buttermilk with cornbread crumbled in it. The flour and meal were ground with belts attached to the tractor. I never saw my grandparents buy anything at the store with the exception of salt, sugar and Kellogg Corn Flakes.

About one hour after dinner, back to the fields until dark. At night we would listen to the battery radio to shows such as the Shadow Knows, The Green Hornet and Roy Rogers. Then off to bed I would go, jumping back in that feather bed and sinking out of sight. The oil lamps were turned off and the pot belly stove in the middle of the room was stoked. The only day that wasn’t like this was Sunday, when we went to a one room church in Hancock County, Kentucky in a small town called Gatewood, where we spent most of the day.

You are probably asking yourself by now why is he telling us this.

Well, yesterday afternoon a storm came through Chicago knocking out the lights. My life became paralyzed. No computer, no TV, no stove, no news. Yes, the car would run but to where and for what? My son and I waited for my wife to get home, and when she did, we found a couple of small candles which we lit. Then, we ate cold cereal and sat back and stared at each other, with nothing to say. We then proceeded to spend a restless night in bed.

This life is so different than my grandparent’s life, because if they encountered a storm, they just went to the barn and worked on their equipment for the next day.

We sure handle things differently now, don’t we.

I just want to thank you for allowing me to journey back to those wonderful times, not having to think about making money, antiques or collectibles for a while. Now the lights are back on so I am sure that tomorrow I will have something more informative for you. Thanks again. Daryle

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Fossil Wakes Up... Antiques & Collectibles

It's a bit scary, but this old fossil has come to life in the world of the internet.

Did you know about MySpace, YouTube, OnlineAuctions and free web advertising? I thought these were only for the young but have I've gotten an education these past few months. I didn't know what a blog was and now I am hosting one!

This has opened a whole new world for me and it can for you too. I have spent thousands of dollars on advertising over the past few years but, over a short period of time, I have received more free advertising than all the paid ones I bought put together.

You can join my new group on MySpace under Antiques. It is called Dollars in Antiques and Collectibles. Who would have thought I would ever be posting on My Space?

If you are in this business and not using the internet, I think you are fighting a battle with both hands tied behind you. There are other sites such as,,, and hundred of others just waiting for you to discover them. All these sites offer something that can be of benefit to you.

I just sold a painting to a gentleman in England for a considerable price by listing it for free on Trade America Online. I would never have reached this person without that ad and it was free, And there is no commission.

Be brave- get on your computer and maybe, if you are an old fossil like me, you too will come alive. This is the wave of the future, and nothing is going to hold it back. So your only decision that must be made is to get on board or get left behind. Share with us how the Internet has affected your life??

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Power in Numbers-the Antique and Collectible Gang

When I started in the Antique business it was as if the whole world was against me.

Other dealers didn't want to share their information with me because they considered me competition. And sellers were leery of me because I was new in the business.

There were no computers to give me the information that is available today and the books that were in print were limited. It was a different world back in the sixties. Today their is more information than a person can absorb. With the many articles in Maine Antique Digest, Antique Trade and the Antique Weekly you can stay on top of todays trends and current auction prices almost on a daily bases. Books such as The Kovel's Antique Price Guide and Dictionary of Marks prove to be invaluable to me.

Still there is a need to have people that you can work with on a personal level. This may have a solution in the formation of a new club called [ The 31 Club ] that will put people in contact with each otherso that needs can be met. If they are selling or buying antiques or collectibles, they can share information and ideas with the group.

They will have their own marketplace that will be advertised for them on their website. I think that this is the wave of the future where people will join together and take control of the market. This community might be like the farmers co-ops developed in years past. There always has been strength in numbers and that is no different today. I am very thankful that this idea is coming of age and I was able to help develop it. I think that it is here to stay. Please let us know your feelings pro and con on this new approach to the business.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's Not Easy- Treasure Can Be Hard to Find!

Today I'm going to talk about finding treasure.

I have told you in the past that I have gone dumpster diving, climbed around in dusty attics and rummaged in musty basements in my search of treasure. There have been times when, regardless of my efforts, I have come up empty handed. I have driven thousands of miles to find nothing.

So has it been worth it? You bet it has!

I have been able to fulfill my childhood dream of being a treasure hunter. The stories such as Treasure Island are still alive and well in my mind. Where else can you have so much fun, meet so many wonderful people, share your testimony with others and at the same time make enough money to retire on? If you know of one I would like for you to share it with our group.

But it isn't always easy- if it were everyone would be doing it and the opportunity wouldn't be there for us. Where else can you involve your wife and children in a activity that is fun and rewarding, plus being a way to keep the family together? I don't know of any other one, so I will continue to share my stories with everyone I meet.

Warner Smith, a friend and business partner, tells a story of our adventures together and now I want to share it with you.


I will never forget the two road trips that we made together out to Baltimore. A woman responded to one of the ads that we ran and told us that she inherited hundreds of pieces of Rookwood pottery. Daryle first flew out to assess the situation and upon his return told me that we would need to go out there and see what was what – there was just too many boxes packed up and it would take hours and hours to go through it all.

Knowing how Daryle loves a good story I was pessimistic about exactly how much work it was going to be. On our drive out there together (a 700+ mile journey each way) Daryle kept going on and on, telling me “You’re not going to believe it”. I’m quite a bit younger than Daryle and figured that I’d get my young able body there and dig into whatever boxes she had and we’d be out of there by nightfall.

After driving 11 hours through the night, we arrived at our destination. When this lady opened her garage door, which is where some of the boxes were stored, I was a little bit taken back by the scope of the job at hand. The garage was full from floor to ceiling with moving boxes. Still trying to maintain my optimism, it wasn’t until we were a couple of hours into unpacking these boxes that I realized that we’d hardly dented the job at hand.

We worked until we were simply too exhausted to do anything more (and for the record, Daryle can keep up with this young guy no problem!). This was really a treasure hunt, as most of the items that were packed were not even worth what the packing paper cost. I’m talking about baby food jars, pickle jars, plastic plates– total JUNK. But then every hour or so we’d find a piece of Rookwood or Roseville pottery packed in with that same junk and it was rejuvenating!

We ended up renting a 12 foot U-haul trailer and towing it all the way back, completely overloaded and towing it through the mountains in the dark – like I said, a real adventure! I told myself I never wanted to do that again, but in the back of my mind I knew that we’d made it through less than half of what was there in the 2 days we spent working.

I started thinking (and I know Daryle did too, although neither one of us would admit it to each other right then and there because we were physically drained from what we had done) that the “good stuff” might still be packed away in those boxes we left behind. Having been bitten by the treasure hunting bug in the worst way, it wasn’t more than a couple of days before Daryle and I came clean with each other and admitted that we had no real choice but to make another trip out there to finish what we started.

In a couple of weeks we were headed back out there for another grueling session. Those trips will be permanently etched in my memory forever. We worked extremely hard and at the end of the day we made a enough money to reach our goal. I still remember what Daryle said to me when we were pulling away from her house after our second trip out there. Sweaty, dirty, tired, and knowing that we had a grueling 12 hour trip ahead of us Daryle looked over at me and with the most serious look on his face asked me, “Would you do that again for another 10 thousand dollars?” I had to think real hard about that..before I could answer Daryle answered his own question, “I wouldn’t”.

“I wouldn’t do it again for 10 grand more”.

The task had finally gotten to both of us. It was something we survived and something we’ll remember forever. Over the years Daryle and I made several road trips and traveling with Daryle was (and still IS) one of my most favorite things to do. I’d rather go on a road trip with Daryle than take a luxury vacation. It’s THAT much fun! Just two guys spending time away from our families and day-to-day life on an adventure.

I guess it’s like what a fishing trip would be for some other guys, but in the case with Daryle I know that our chances of “catching” something are much greater! The time and knowledge that I’ve gained from Daryle has made a difference in my life, both financially and in the ways that I approach different situations and deal with people. He has been a very positive influence to me and through our initial meeting we have become the closest of friends.

I would recommend for anyone that wants to be in the Antique and collectible business Daryle S. Lambert is a person you must know.

-- Warner Smith

Copyright 2007 - 31 Inc. - All rights reserved.

As you can see, this is a way to enjoy the company of those that share your interest. Please share with us stories of your hunt for treasure.

Monday, August 20, 2007

American folk Art - Who is the Judge?

I have noticed that, as of late, the Folk Art Auctions are bringing huge money for pieces that a few years ago would have been of little value.

Slotin Folk Art Auction realized some outstanding results at their recent auction. Bill Taylors painting "Blue Cat" - 7" by 11", sold for $42,550.00 while a Meader face jug brought $16,100.00. You can see the results of this auction in the Maine Antique Digest on page D-6.

Most of this art was sold at art fairs or flea markets in the past for very little money. Now they may be found in estate sales or garage sales for reasonable prices. By purchasing these, you can often make a huge profit.

There was a group of Florida artists that sold their paintings on the roadside to tourists and their paintings now are bringing thousands of dollars. You should always be looking for the unusual because often that will be your greatest treasures when found. I have become a friend of Doug Odom, a leading outsider artist, and he has helped me greatly in my knowledge of outsider art work.

Doug's work is now being displayed in the finer art galleries and the last I heard some of his pieces have exceeded $15,000.00. He has just finished a showing in Chicago and will be back next month. The reason that I like this type of merchandise is that there are still only a few people that realize the value of these pieces. If you become knowledgable in the folk art field, there is plenty of money to be made. You would be well-advised to research this emerging market. Happy Hunting!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Posters Rock! - Prints Are Hot!

I was talking to my friend in Kentucky the other day and he was almost giddy.

He asked if I had seen the latest Maine Antique Digest. My reply was I had it but have been to busy to open it up. "Be sure to look at page 23-d," he said and I asked him why?

"Because there is a print that sold for $28,800.00 at auction and I have three of them still in the tubes they came in!"

He found a treasure and this is just the start of the story. I then started looking at the Antique Trader and what did my eyes discover on the front page but a story about Posters. Where have I been? I must have been sleeping as this tidal wave hit us.

I should have know something was happening when my client was offered over $35,000.00 for her Andy Warhol print "The Witch." I have been thinking about this all morning and have come to the conclusion that original artwork has become so expensive that people are beginning to buy Prints and Posters as their second choice.

Believe it or not I even have a few Posters stashed away. But you can be assured that I will be finding them and seeing what their value is today. The clue for you today is while you are searching for treasures, be sure to look in those long cardboard tubes that contain Posters and you may find a treasure yourself. If you have posters that might be of value would you please share them with the group and also where you aquired them?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Where We Were - Our History is What We Collect

The old tin Allied Van Line truck on the self with the Owensboro Kentucky Logo on its side. The Coca Cola bottle that says Owensboro on the bottom that sits in my window. My wife at church cropping photos during Craft Morning for her many photo albums.

What do they have in common?

I think as I sit here that we are all longing for the great memories from our past: our home town, the schools that we attended or our friends that we seldom see that made our lives so wonderful. We hold those memories dearly and we are searching to regain them through these objects.

This makes a special opportunity for us in this business of antiques and collectibles because we can provide these things to others and allow them to recapture those wonderful times. When you are out there searching for your treasures, it might be important to ask yourself, "Is this a part of someone's life that they would like to aquire?"

I often see where relatives of an artist buying back their fathers, uncle's or other family members' paintings. One example that comes to mind is the families of the painters of Pickard porcelain. I have sold them pieces for their collections. I love to see the expressions on peoples faces went I am able to sell them a piece that brings back wonderful memories for them. This market will never disappear whether we are in good times or bad.

Can you share with us where you made some one happy by selling them something from their past?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Markets Are "A- Changin" - Antiques, Collectibles and paintings

I remember certain things from when I was a young boy in the South.

Whenever the local men would get together, they would always say "the market, its a-changin". Of course they were talking about the tobacco market in those days. But you could feel the change in the air.

I sense that same change in the wind for our markets today. The market will always correct any swing if it is too far in any direction. And I think that we have gone too far in expecting people to buy our things just because we have them for sale. Also, many auction houses seem to think that the market will accept any commission that they want to charge the buyers and sellers. I think that the markets are "a-changin" and the customer is getting more selective. That is why things are sitting in the malls longer. The auction houses are getting fewer good pieces to sell so they are increasing their commission to make up for the drop in quality. Both of these decisions are fatal in today's market.

Gary Hendrickson, of the Auction Rebel, might have put it best in his blog.

"Once a flea market falls into a “the only way to increase the bottom line is to increase vendors” mentality and starts adding as many new tool guys as possible they are in trouble. Attendance begins to fall. Since many of them charge for admittance, revenues start going down and, in an attempt to bring revenue back up they start selling space to the t-shirt/sunglasses guys and look the other way regarding whether their presence adds to, or detracts, from the value of the market.

Once the t-shirt/sunglasses guys show up, the market starts to die. It may take two or three years before it no longer exists. Some may hang on for a few years more, but it’s an irreversible death spiral. The few that do survive long-term do so by surviving on greatly reduced revenues consisting of vendor fees from a t-shirt/sunglass guys and a few low quality antique and used tool guys who can’t afford to pay for the gas to go anywhere else along with the attendance fees they charge the browsers who stumble upon the flea market and decide to take a look. The serious buyers are long since gone.

In reality, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, eBay is nothing more than one large flea market and they face the same problems and challenges that a growing flea market does."

You can find Garys blog at and I think you will find his insight quite refreshing.

As I have stated before in my book, lets try to increase the value of what we do to the customer and he will reward us by being a continuing customer. Value will always last but some of the time we have to be patient to find the value. I would like to hear from you on what you think the state of the market is?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Its Not to Late - Antiques as Security


The stock market has been taking a beating lately. My wife is in the commodity business and she sent me this e-mail yesterday."[Sentinel Management Group on Tuesday froze assets in a $1.5 billion fund, saying too many investors are trying to withdraw their money".

Sentinel Management, which boasts on its website that no client has ever lost money in its fund, makes money mainly by betting on overnight interest rates out-pacing yields on short-term Treasury bonds].

That type of news doesn't sound good to me and now I know why we are having record prices being paid for good art and collectibles. It is during times like this that I am so happy to just sit and look at the beautiful pieces of art on my wall or hold that special Rookwood vase. It is reassuring to know that my art investments are not only retaining their value, but probably increasing daily.

It is not too late to begin. Start buying the best pieces that you can find, whether for resale or to hold for security. Get ready because this is going to be a great ride for all that are in the business of Antiques, Collectibles and Paintings.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The One That Got Away: Coca-Cola Memorabilia

I told you yesterday I would continue talking today about advertising. So here we go.

Several years back I recieved a call from a member of the Fulton family in Kentucky asking if I might be interested in buying some Coca Cola collectibles. They were one of the first distributors for Coca-Cola in Kentucky.

Back then I was just starting in the business. So when I asked what they were asking for the collection, the answer knocked me off my feet. $25,000 dollars!. At that time they may as well asked for ten million dollars.

But I made a huge mistake. Rather than trying to see what they had and what it was worth, I called a Coca Cola collector friend and told him to contact the Fulton family. You see, if I knew then what I know now, I would have come up with the money.

The collector called a doctor friend and they bought the collection together. It took several trips with a truck to pick the collection up.

There were tin signs from the forties and fifties still in the original boxes- each containing 12 or more per box. Later I was told that they took 10% of the collecation to the Atlanta Show. That small piece of the collection gave them all their money back plus a substantial profit. Can you imagine what the rest was worth? I'm sure they kept the best for their own collections, too.

There is always a way to make a deal work if what you are buying has enough value over its cost to you. So please remember that. Can you share a story where you didn't buy something you should have?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yesterday's News - Gold in Those Ads

Do you have any idea of the value in Tin Signs, Cardboard Standups, Tin Cans or other forms of old advertising?

Let me help you: these items command some of the highest prices in the antique and collectible market. I want to share a great story with you.

Once I was called to a house to pick through the possessions of a elderly woman that had gone to be with God. Her family was cleaning out the house so it could be sold. They took me into the house and, after they had taken the things they wanted, there wasn't a thing there for me. But as I was leaving I asked, "What is in the dumpster?" I was told, "Just the things we have no interest in."

My inquisitive nature demanded that I take a peek. My eyes almost jumped out of my head! There in the dumpster were some of the best antique "Advertising" pieces that I had ever seen. I asked if these were going to be throw away and was assured that it had no value to them.

You have heard the term "Dumpster Diving" and that is what I did– head first into that dumpster. I filled my pickup with hundreds of pieces. After many months of selling these treasures I tried to figure what the total was of what I had sold. I stopped at $25,000.00.

That old saying "One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure" was sure true in this case. I have thought about this many times and asked myself if I should have given the owners a part of the monetary gain from the sales. But because of the length of time it took to sell the items I lost track of the owners. I would like to continue about advertising in tomorrow's blog. Will you please tell us of where you found treasure in someone elses trash?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Store up for the Winter - Antiques and Collectibles

Now is the time to start storing up the items that you will sell for the rest of the year.

It sounds like something from a nature book doesn't it? But people are already thinking about having their end-of-season garage or estate sales, and this makes the picking wonderful.

Take advantage of the weather now and stock your shelve with treasures. At shows and flea markets you may find that dealers are more willing to bargain at this time in the year. Research on your computer or get snuggled up to a stack of reference books about your favorite antiques or collectible. Your time is best spent searching for those pieces that are just waiting for you to find them.

I have found this year to be one of my best and I will be sharing these stories with you later on the blogs. But for now I want to encourage you to spend your time wisely in the search. I just noticed were a five dollar Casino Chip from the 1950's was worth $25,000.00 and that sure sent me to my desk to check my collection. I know that almost everyone that visits Las Vegas brings home a chip or two and never thinks of them again, so good hunting. I am still waiting to hear of some treasures that you have found please share them with the rest of us.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I met John Wayne - Antiques and Collectibles

John Wayne is another name for [Gary Hendrickson] he has a website at where you can be encouraged that the sky isn't falling. He does most of his teaching about selling on ebay, but I believe that he is a real John Wayne at heart. On his website, he set out to make $10,000.00 by going to garage sales and other places and reports to the people watching his site about his weekly progress. I have intended to start a "Daryle's plan" on our site were I would show how I completed the steps in our plan over a period of time. I am hoping that Gary and I can join up to share things to our watchers that will provide them with insight and a very fruitful life. John Wayne never tried to do a cattle drive by himself so we are looking for cowboys to help us corral this market and we hope you are ready to sign on. As you can see, your club is searching every day for ways that will assure you that the steps in your journey will be completed. Over that next hill will be your reward of financial independence. We need your input and advice on how to get the word out - so share your ideas and suggestions with our group.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Up Up and Away - Rare Antiques & Paintings

I have been astonished at the prices that are being achieved today for the better Antiques and Paintings that are going across the auction block.

By reading the results of auctions in The Antique Trader, Antique Week and The Maine Antique Digest, you would think that prices had gotten out of control. But is that true? With many pieces going four or five times their estimates and more, you may be saying where is it going to stop?

Perhaps the picture is beginning to clear as we see what is happening in the financial markets around the world. The question seems to be where are people going to put their money in times such as this when their fear of losing what they have is becoming so real to them. All through history the answer has always been invest in items that you can physically own, that have passed the test of time. I feel that if the current situation continues in the financial market we my not have even seen the start of this move up in values in the finest Antiques and Collectibles.

Sit back and enjoy the ride because this is our time to shine. But remember, this money is going into the best that can be found. Keep that in mind when you are searching for items. Can you give me examples of where you see this happening?

Friday, August 10, 2007

On The Lighter Side - Antiques, Collectibles and Kids

I got up this morning and looked at my little guy, Joshua, and thought this is my future market. You can see him and his collectibles on his web page..

I have had the great treat of attending the Chicago Antique Market with Joushua for the last two months. What a thrill for me watching as his eyes glistened when he raced from booth to booth looking for that special piece to add to his collection. It was wonderful seeing the dealers explaining each piece to him as he watched and listened in amazement. You can bet that we will be at the market when they open their doors later this month.

The experience doesn't stop there because when we get home there has to be time to examine each and ever treasure. The newly acquired rock, magic trick, race car, foreign coin, snow globe all contributed to a wonderful day spent with my son. No pottery, jewelry, depression glass, paintings or other collectible things were as importat to me as these little things that made my boy happy.

There is a message there somewhere and I think this is it: in the future, this little boy will be buying the Tiffany lamps, Grueby pottery, Daum Nancy of his day. I would encourage you to spend time with those little one that pass your booth and it could prove to be the future success of your business. Do you have Kids stories that you would like to share with us?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

GO GO GO & Never Say No - Paintings & Lalique Await you

I have recommended that you tell others that you are searching for treasures. When you get names or if someone phones you after a friend has told them your hunting, be sure to visit that person. The quicker the better.

You always want to be the first to look at what people have for sale because the "great" stuff doesn't last long. Recently I got a call and it would have required traveling for about 90 minutes to get there. I tried to talk myself out of going in every way that I could. "There won't be anything there," I thought. "All the good stuff is already gone, I don't have the time," and so on.

My better sense won out and I made a appointement for that afternoon. Upon arriving at the house I began to get excited. This house was sitting on about five acres and contained about 8000 square feet. I couldn't wait to get in and see the treasures that I knew were just behind the door.

As I entered the house my eyes told me that I had just entered a treasure trove. The house was filled with wonderful paintings, Lalique pieces and Bronzes by some great artists. I took a inventory and over the next several weeks was able to acquire over $150,000 worth of these treasures. My goal is to always compound my investment and in this case I was able to accomplish that several times over.

Share with us your stories aboutfinding the mother load!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

When to sell and not be sorry - Antiques & Collectibles.

Yesterday I was thinking about when is a good time to buy and sell, so here are my thoughts.

You should be buying things that people feel will complete their lives because everyone else is buying them. At the present time there seems to be a unlimited reservoir of buyers for Andy Warhol Art. We just received two offers for one of his prints that was posted on our website for over $30,000.00. This print, "The Witch", sat around for months, but now everyone wants one. So I think that it is the time to sell.

I remember when people just HAD to have Hummels, Royal Doulton and LLadro figurines. But if you kept them they are only worth about a half of what they were several years ago. Why buy them now and tie up your money? The buyers simply aren't there; they just collect dust on your selves.

We should only be buying things that are currently hot and not fill our inventory with things that are cold. We may not buy as much but we will turn our item much faster and see our profits soar. I would like for you to share with our readers what you think is hot and whats not?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Small Treasures - Hot Wheels Ride Again

I was going to garage sales earlier in my career and was amazed when a BMW or Mercedes would pull up and the children would run to look at the toys and then leave. I wondered why because I knew that the parents could buy their kids what ever they wanted. Whats up with that I would ask myself. Then I found out, they where looking for Hot Wheels and especially the one that they call Redlines. This was even more confirmed to me lately when a VW Bus with a surf board sold for I think over $17,000.00. I might even start looking for those little car at that price. Can you tell me about some little treasures that you have found and would like to share with the club?

Check out this article, I think you will find it very interesting.

Collector's Corner: Vintage Hot Wheels - Hotter Than Ever
By David Espino on
July 01, 2001

"Mattel's Hot Wheels toy cars burst on the scene in 1968 as a California Hot Rod answer to the staid and utilitarian Matchbox cars. These fanciful replicas of '60s Muscle Cars were an instant hit and featured "chrome" mag wheels, independent suspension, brilliant "Spectraflame" paint jobs and realistic body and chassis detailing. What more could a young hot-rodder want?"

More here

Monday, August 6, 2007

Can Lightning Strike Twice??

I had a article published in an Owensboro, Kentucky newspaper recently about what I wrote concerning my friend Cecil. The story is in my book, "31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles".

Cecil acquired a Kentucky Derby glass for $12.50 and two weeks later sold it for $12,500.00. A Dealer wrote that this was a fantasy. I was able to inform her that, not only was this true but Cecil had found another very rare Derby glass just this month and sold it for several thousand dollars.

I talk to people almost every day that are finding treasures and it can be you. Please let me know of stories where lighting has struck twice for you!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I stated in my book, "31 Steps To Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles", that the market always corrects itself. I wonder if you, like me, think that this time has come true.

Auction houses have gone from a total of 5% commission to 20%, plus up to 20% buyers premium. Add in insurance, photos, and expenses on top of that and the total to them is 40% to 50% of the total sales price! The online auctions are raising different parts of their fees almost every month. Now the online auctions charge nearly as much as regular auctions but the buyers don't get to touch and feel the things they are buying.

I see a new wave coming. One example of it is They are charging $8.00 a month for unlimited listings. If this catches on and they get more listings and hits, this could change this market. What do you think? And do you see any other changes coming?

-- Daryle

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Who are you ?

Are you John Wayne - " We're burning daylight..."
or Chicken Little - "The sky is falling!"

My hope is that you are the John Wayne type. I know for sure Sally and Katie at the Chicago Antique Market are because I spent last weekend with them discussing the exciting up-coming events for the Market in the future months. Their thoughts are that the way to change the malize that has fallen on this industry is to do something positive rather that complaining about how things are or precieved to be. I congratulate Sally and Katie for their forward thinking about the future of their business. Let me hear from you about what your ideas are for the future of the Antique and Collectible business?

-- Daryle