Steele: So many different items, so little time

This dove-tailed wooden Winchester small arms ammunition box was a favorite of mine, but I also found someone who appreciated it more than I did.

I truly do not know where the time is going these days. I have been a bit under the weather lately. It does not seem I am making very much headway on all the stuff I wanted to do in the next few weeks before the Christmas holiday arrives.

I try to start early, but then something seems to make me change my so-called schedule (really, I don’t think this Jude has ever been on an actual schedule in her whole life) or I get veered off into too many other directions. I think it is called “Getting sidetracked way too easily.”

Anyhow, with Thanksgiving behind us and the Christmas holiday approaching, I wanted to touch base on a few things we may have talked about through the past 28 years I have written this Trash & Treasures column: Another anniversary has bit the dust. Definitely time does have a way of going way too fast and leaving people like me sitting in the dust.

I remember when I first started my classes, I would have to do even more research than I do today — and maybe I might be a bit more educated on a few subject areas now, but there are just way too many for one person to know everything. Just a reminder: On the “Antiques Roadshow,” for every item brought in, they may have several experts available as well as hotlines and whatever else they may feel necessary. So, I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad when I have to grind a few more hours out in order to do a bit more research for the following week’s worth of antiques and collectibles brought to my “What’s It Worth” antique classes held on Tuesday evenings at Wild Bill’s. I don’t believe I have an actual favorite item that has been brought into my classes through the years, but I bet I have a hundred or more items I would have loved to keep for my own collections. The stories behind these beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) items can become overwhelming, and are quite the show-stopper.

This is also a time of year when I start reminiscing about all the items I have received as gifts at Christmastime from special friends and family. I was always going to keep track with photos and a paragraph about each one, but I failed at that after about the first year of antiquing. I have tried to tag a few items — and have made a few lists for my kids to know from whom a special gift came or how I acquired it and when. But after moving several times — and into much smaller homes each time, now down to a two-bedroom apartment and storage space — things have a tendency to stay boxed up and I really do not get to enjoy them like I really would like to do. I keep saying “when the weather warms up” or “cools down” — pretty much all year right there. I am going to have to make a pretty hefty try very soon as I can tell the old girl is truly slowing down.

The fantastic old dove-tailed wooden Winchester small arms ammunition box in my photo this week was an item I had full intentions of keeping but the bottom was pretty well gone. However, the advertising on the sides and the fun dove-tailing on each corner was somewhat a big plus for a collector who was really into the guns/hunting theme and this box was a rather unusual one at that — in decor as well as in condition and information available regarding Winchester. I decided to go ahead and put it into my shop and it did not take long for that cute little puppy to walk out the door. (Always makes me happy to see a rather neat item go to someone who admires it more than I do, and appreciates what they have.)

“Condition, condition, condition” is what I tell people makes a difference between a collectible being worth a few bucks or worth a few hundred. As I always have said, it depends on the admirer as to what they think they might be willing to pay to have it for their own private collection. That was always a good feeling when you make a match — finding an item that you think is special and matching it up to a new owner. That makes the world go round for me. That is when I miss not having my own shop any more — but I am too old to do it any longer.

Back to my picture in my article: The uniqueness of each inch of that box makes you want to know more about where it came from: Who had it? Why is it in such tough shape? And on and on. Just seeing it sell tells me that I was right and a compliment to me when I see it walk out the door.

Since there are lots and lots of holiday open houses this time of year, you are being welcomed to the Bushel & A Peck, Antique Boutique, at 510 E. Sixth St. here in North Platte from today through Saturday, which will be the last day of the open house celebration. However, some dealers have sales going on throughout the rest of the year. Take a walk through a nostalgic area with old and new sitting side by side — and each piece is tugging at your heart strings because it hits a bit of home. Please remember that different inventory is being brought in daily for so many different dealers in there — and many things you may have never seen: beautifully handmade greeting cards, chalk furniture, advertising items, vintage glass, children’s clothing, antique furniture, all cleaned up (or not) but ready for your home and your creativity. There are also porcelain dishes, graniteware, dolls, doll furniture and decorative baskets, and creations for everything imaginable. The list goes on and on and on, practically forever, and it is always changing.

Please take time out of your busy schedules and stroll through all of our neighboring shops — we aren’t but a short walk from the downtown strip, and close to eateries and ice cream and all the other stuff. Please make the rounds this December. Stop in to say, “Hi.” Please tell them that Judy Steele sent you. The Garden Glove is having a Christmas Holiday Sale Saturday with various vendors attending their own booths. There is lots going on in our hometown, North Platte. Happy holidays, everyone! Enjoy every single moment of it. God bless you all.

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