Monday, February 21, 2011

Real American Pickers

Had a text from Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show dealers Becky Chapman and Mary Jane Schooley that they are shopping for the show in a freezing Pennsylvania. See here the lamb's tongue rug they found today, in such a modern black and white.

Cheeky Mare Antiques

TrueLuck Design -Andrew Church

Others roaming the world include Tammy Strop of The Cheeky Mare Antiques, who just packed up a container in England of 17th, 18th and 19th century finds. The Dolly Johnson Show will get the first pick. 

Mary Brady of English Rose Linens is also due home from shopping in England for textiles, lighting and whatever else she can get to Texas. Erik Yang just returned from buying a collection of mid-century modern and retro jewelry in New York. Janet Waldrop of Skip 2 My Lou is somewhere in Paris, likely on her knees, digging through boxes at flea markets while Andrew Church is packing a tight load of all the art and industrial antiques that have come from a season of searching in California.

These folks are out there, living a bit on the edge, in pursuit of antiques and art.

I’m pleased by how many Americans have seen and enjoyed the History Channel’s show, “American Pickers” about two men who travel America, buying and selling antiques from their Sprinter van (they copied me). 

 A few months ago in Kansas City, I bought a huge industrial metal shelf that needed the bottom straightened out. After it resisted my efforts, I drove this monster over to our local high school and found the Ag-Shop where kids learn to use tools and work on repairs like the one the piece needed. “Sure,” said the teacher, “leave it here and I’ll let the kids hammer it straight.”

So about six young guys climb into my Sprinter and heave the thing out. Off it goes to school. As I’m closing up the van, a couple of them come back and look at me and at the Sprinter----“Are you a picker? Like those guys on TV?” 

Well, yes, many of us in the antiques business work as pickers, finding things that are available in one place and taking them to another place where they are harder to find and highly desired. My husband calls it a trucking business.

Now that they had a real live picker, the boys wanted to know more. “What are those?” one boy asked about a pair of polyester vintage pants with the Eiffel Tower printed on them that were hanging on the wall inside the van. I had bought them in, of all places, Oklahoma City. “You like those?” I asked. “If you fix my shelf, I’ll give you the pants.”  OK, you got a deal! they all shouted.  

Two of the quieter boys hung around and one me asked me, “Do you ever run in to alternators?” Well, as a matter of fact I had seen a fine alternator at a yard sale the weekend before, priced at $30. I didn’t tell them that it was my father’s well-cared-for alternator, but they gave me their phone number and I promised to call if I could acquire the alternator for $25. “Why do you need an alternator?” I asked. They stood up very straight and said, “We’re going to build a windmill.”

When I returned the next week with the $25 alternator, they paid for it all in quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. The group shoved the much-improved industrial shelf back into the Sprinter and I presented them with the Eiffel Tower pants. In what other line of work could this possibly happen?

So, 75 dealer-pickers are out there somewhere right now searching for the best that they can bring to you at the Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show, which will soon be here. They may even find some Cowboys and Indians. Take a peek and tell a friend.
Fit for a Cowboy!

American dresser and folk art from Paul Ashby

Estate Jewelry with David & Sheila Stallings

Indian figure from Tenny & Al Roche

Now that's an Indian! from J.Compton Gallery

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jan
    I am so sorry I did not reply to your email yet, but I love this story! I will post again about your show, and will try to think of other ways to get the word out about the " new Dolly Johnson show"!! I am sure Dolly would be proud.
    Wish I could be there. Best wishes to you and all of your dealers!!


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