Celebrity Panel Helps Us Define, "What Is An Antique?"

When it comes making prudent antique purchases and improving your odds of making that historic "hit" while bargain hunting at flea markets, tag sales, auctions and shops in 2003, it's important for you to take a fresh new look at what an antique really is.  Know your quarry before you set your sites.  Toward that end, I've enlisted help. Trying to imagine how a panel of living and non-living celebrities and persons might answer the same question posed to me so frequently: "What is an antique?"

  • Thomas Jefferson: "Excepting the written and spoken word, and accomplishments still serving, antiques represent our only link to our forefathers.  Mankind's noble endeavor toward preserving his past."
  • David Letterman:  "My rich aunt Zelda has a Victorian chair with horsehair upholstery no one's ever been allowed to sit on.  When I was a kid, my aunt would whack my wrist with a ruler if I even looked at it too long.  If I inherit that chair, by God I'm going to sit in it!  Then I'm going to eat buttered popcorn."
  • Bobby Bonds: "My uncle's (Willie Mays) Louisville Slugger."
  • Willie Mays: "Jackie Robinson's bat."
  • Jackie Robinson: "Babe Ruth's baseball bat, the year he whacked 60 homers."
  • Babe Ruth: "Ty Cobb's bat."
  • Ty Cobb's great, great, great grandson, age 8:  Bobby Bond's black maple baseball bat!"
  • Rush Limbaugh:  Bill Clinton's presidency, thank God!  Ha, ha! Just kidding-to my easily offended but ever growing liberal leaning audience. Of course, with talent on loan from God, I can answer that difficult query with one previously-nicotine-stained-hand tied behind my back. What was the question again?"
  • Bill Cosby:  "Personally, it's my favorite chair, a Queen Anne armchair.  It kind of fits me. There's an old meerschaum pipe I like to smoke now and then. And a William Will pewter teapot that just plain looks nice in my pewter cupboard.  I like things broken in."
  • John Mattox: "Anything old with class."
  • Dr. Spock of the USS Enterprise: "Logically, the only means we have of predicting and planning for the future is by preserving the past.  Antiques, therefore, constitute not only what has been, but also what will be."
  • Dr. McCoy of the USS Enterprise:  "Spock, quit being such a haughty-doughty intellectual.  An old wooden ship's wheel, scraps of sail canvas, printed books, a 21st century set of reading glasses , a TV set or a radio with an antenna, a pointy-eared Vulcan with some sense of feeling… those are real antiques."
  • Merriam Webster: "1. A relic or object of ancient times. 2. A work of art, piece of furniture or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago."
  • Ben Franklin: "Any work wrought by artisans like my friends Paul Revere or Benjamin Randolph will certainly be regarded as an antique one day.  A chair or an article of silver or some object not made by a master but well loved and cared for would constitute an antique as well.  Provenance is important.  A lamp employed by a common printmaker like myself will likely be bartered about as an antique in years to come.  That same lamp, owned by General Washington or Mr. Jefferson, will be cherished as a masterpiece."
  • Fred Sanford of Sanford & Sons:   "My boy and I buy junk. And we sell antiques."
  • Shakespeare:  "Well rendered, it graces the homes of kings.  Poorly wrought, it is food for worms."
  • George Carlin:  "In days of old when antiques were bold and toilets weren't invented, we used the outhouse, and not our own house, so smells were not fermented."
  • President John Fitzgerald Kennedy: "I guess it's that stuff my wife is hauling up from the (White House) basement."
  • Andy Warhol:  "Unique objects.  Art that excited the masses."
  • Normal Rockwell: "Things that made a difference in their own respective time, and still do."
  • Press Secretary speaking for Senator Trent Lott: "The Senator has no comment to make on the subject at this time but wishes to add that he believes objects made by all sexes and from all cultures constitute an equal and all-inclusive contribution to society."
  • Vincent Van Gogh: (Who according to most reports sold only a single painting in his lifetime) "My work … someday."


Wayne Mattox Antiques | 82 Main Street North | Woodbury, CT 06798 | 203-263-2899 | wayne@antiquetalk.com
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