Loving What is Real
Written by Guest Columnist: Lyn Andeen
Like the famous Velveteen Rabbit, some of my antiques are now real. It is not that they can talk and take on a living form, but rather it’s the stories and meaning they have brought to me.
Some of my favorite things in my collection are not necessarily the most valuable, but are those that have an association or story that goes along with them. It isn’t even their condition but the story behind, the history of, or my personal experience when finding the treasure.
One of my favorite things is a blue Shaker bucket with chrome yellow interior. That description alone should put it at the top of a list. But that is not really why. It is the fact that on what must have been one of many tedious antiquing jaunts for my then 4th grade daughter she spied the illusive prize and encouraged me to buy it. She is now a mom of her own with three little ones in tow. She also prizes this bucket not for the beautiful craftsmanship of the Shakers or the beautiful form and color, but for the wonderful memories of childhood.
Another of my gifts came from a dealer friend. I had been on a great vacation all through New England. I loved buying something special, always an antique, as a ‘souvenir’ of my trips. We had traveled thither and yon and I hadn’t found anything on which to spend my not-so-plentiful cash. I had pretty much given up, then, one town away from home at a shop I frequented often, a friend pulled a beautiful gameboard from behind the counter. Over the next 20 years Paul would remind me of the great gameboard he sold me. I treasure this because of the memories of a great trip, the motto of looking in your own backyard, and the years of friendship I had with this now passed dealer friend.
There are many that put the value on a piece by its condition, but we all concede that “good wear” is a good thing. It isn’t just that it shows authenticity, but testifies to its history: the hands that held it or child who loved it.
I acquired those first two antiques over 20 years ago, but it’s never too late for something to come to the forefront. On a recent trip back to Massachusetts, my husband and I were visiting old friends and I spied a poor rag doll faded and dirty from years of neglect. My friend had found her in the corner of an old barn. “Isn’t she wonderful, poor thing” Pat said. She was so dirty that I had to shake her out before even undressing her to wash her faded, barely colored, dress. After turning her dress inside out to show color and a good cleaning, she is absolutely adorable and sits proudly alongside other tattered friends. I love that she came from a cherished friend who also loves the well loved.
I could go on and on. We all have these stories and should share them. It isn’t the ownership or value that makes our ‘treasures’ just that… treasures, but the connections we make with our ‘treasures’ past owners and the relationships and history we build in finding them.
In this season of giving and loving it is important to remember what makes us all ‘real’: the love and stories we share.
I would like to thank my mother for my love of beautiful things and my husband and daughter for their support; my friend Tom for encouraging me to become an antique dealer over 25 years ago; my friend Sue for the miles of antiquing trips; and the rest of my friends for sharing their stories and love.
About Lyn Andeen
Lyn Andeen has been an avid collector and dealer for the past 28 years. She has been in group shops, setup at countless antique shows and has a true artistic eye. Lyn's passion is for quality 18th through early 20th century Americana, decorative arts, Shaker and folk art. You can find Lyn online through Andeen Antiques.