Friday, December 14, 2012

Whining About Knick Knacks: Lovable Or Clutter In An Antique Shop?

Should Owners Of Antique Malls Read Their Dealers The Riot Act? No More Bric-a-Brac

Is it me or do you all agree that there is a lot more bric- a- brac (worthless knick knacks) out there mingled in with a few decent items when you go shopping for antiques and collectibles?

Is The Internet Gobbling Up All The Good Stuff For Online Selling Venues?

I have been hearing for years that the internet and all the online selling venues have gobbled up all the good stuff leaving the left overs in the brick and mortar Antique stores.

Antique Stores Cluttered  With Tschotskes

I'm now seeing more and more of some of my favorite antique haunts cluttered with a lot of tschotskes and "smalls'. And the truth is, many of these "smalls" are the kind of things that I often would find at Goodwill.

 Antique Dealers Come And Dealers Go Each January

As January approaches, there are a lot of dealers who will pack it in and decide to leave their booths at a group Antique shop or close their stores after the holidays. This happens every year and the changeover usually brings new booths, new stores and new dealers. They arrive with a fresh bounty of STUFF and do very well at the beginning. But the trick is being able to keep up quality of your inventory and to attract new customers  throughout the year.

What Comes Around Goes Around

My husband jokes that all of the dealers just buy from each other and sooner or later your junk ends up back to you. There is some truth to that, but I even hear dealers telling me that they are buying less from other dealers in the very same  group shops where their booths are and that they visit regularly. Friends tell me they used to come home with more goodies than they brought into sell, but now they leave  empty handed.

Are You Seeing More Bric-a-brac For Your Vintage Comfort Zone?  

So I would like to hear from my readers.....are you seeing more bric a brac in Antique stores that you like?
Should owners of these stores read their dealers the riot act? Or is the economy so poor that the owners of large (and small) group antique shops lucky to have filled thier booths?

Top photo courtesy of

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at Visit my website, Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists


  1. I don't mind knick knacks, if they are vintage. Some of that stuff does sell! But I do wish the shop owners would make the dealers rotate their stock. There is a shop that I visit periodically looking for dolls, and one dealer has had the same doll in his or her showcase for at least five years, no exaggeration. That is not only ridiculous from the dealer's standpoint (they are paying a high price for what is essentially storage) but turns away customers as well. Why would you keep going there if all the have is the same stuff?

  2. This is a very good question and for me, difficult to answer. Many antique dealers would consider the items that you promote from the 30's, 40's and 50's not applicable for an antiques store. There is also the question that the store owners must take into consideration: "are people buying these items?". Just because one person does not like them located in the mall/stores that they visit or sell from does not mean that others feel the same. I think that dealers who are concerned should be sure to get it in writing in their contracts just what the qualifications are of the items to be placed for sale in their location from the owners and if the owner changes that policy they should give sufficient warning for dealers to move their items to another place. Since the owners receive their livelihood from the dealers, they, in the end will go with what the dealers want or go out of business. Buyers are left to decide just where they wish to shop and what they wish to buy and should be, in the long run, the persons that rule the roost in the end.

  3. My answer is: Yes. I am seeing way too much of what I would never go near--tackiness that needs at least another 40 years for it to appeal to anyone, and even then, not so sure...

    As a result of the poor offerings I find in many shops, I find myself drawn to higher end locales, even though the prices match the quality. Time is too precious to be weeding through mug trees from the 70s when I really want to seriously consider items that are worth my time. I also tend to gravitate to shows, although even at recent shows I have found little of interest to come home with.

    Why is this so? I am sure the internet is big part of it. It could also be that good stuff out there is just not as plentiful as it once was and it is also harder to come by. When I lived in upstate NY in the 70s, high end antiques were everywhere. Those were the days! Now, even up in NH where I spend a lot of time, shops are closing al over the place.

    Barbara Johansen Newman