Many many years ago, before my son was even born, I was treasure hunting with my Mom when I came upon the dishes in the photo above. They were individually priced but I didn't take the time to add them all up, instead I went up and asked the dealer "how much for all of them?" She thought for a minute and replied, $80. I said, I'll take them.A few months later I saw them in Barbara Milo Ohrbach's book, Antiques At Home.
You can imagine my excitement to have my treasure and my eye confirmed in this gorgeous book! I always buy what I love but many times I haven't a clue of it's origin or provenance which is the best part.
For example, just the other day I was out with my friend, Lisa, when I came across another treasure. I was in love but again clueless as to exactly what it was.
As I brought it to the register I showed it to her and she said, "what a fabulous biscuit barrel!" I said, "you know what this is?"
She said, "it's Treenware and still has the porcelain liner intact. That's a great find!"
I knew it was lovely but I was thrilled to know what it was. OK, I admit, Lisa is pretty knowledgeable and a great friend to take on a treasure hunting adventure but I went on to test several other shoppers to see if they knew what it was. You guessed it, they were just like me, although they did come up with some good guesses like a humidor.
Several years later my Mom and I took some things to be appraised at the auction house Butterfield & Butterfield in San Francisco. At the last minute I grabbed a few of my dishes off the shelf and tucked them in my bag.
When the appraiser came to them she immediately perked up and exclaimed, "Ohhhh, do you have more of these?" I replied, "yes" and she asked, "what else do you have?" I told her and she told me they were Arts & Crafts lettuce leaf Majolica made about 1870 in New Milford, Connecticut and were worth $800 to $1000 at auction.
I was pretty young at the time and was shocked that I had found something that turned out to be so special. I'll never forget that day.
My dear friend, Ron Morgan, the man behind LOOT, who I blog about frequently and who has the absolute best taste and most fabulous eye in the world, is completely smitten with them and teases me every time he comes over about wanting them, which of course makes me want to keep them even more!
So, the moral of the story is...
Always buy what you love, trust your gut, and don't be afraid to ask for a group price!