Collecting

Collecting: For Pleasure or Investment

Looking to start a collection but don’t know where to start? We love working with individuals, families, businesses, and private and public institutions to source and curate antique collections, tailored specifically to your interests and budgets. Whether you're looking for signed first editions, WWII propaganda posters, or rare maps, let our trained team of experts assist you in building your dream collection. We know these items are important investments. From private sourcing, to archival framing or binding, and delivery, we will help you navigate the world of antiques to build your own private collection.

Perhaps the most important thing in collecting is to ensure that you, the collector, are buying pieces that you enjoy to find and collect over the years. Remember that our team is made up of professionals that are ready to answer your collecting questions at any time. We can help you track down the pieces that you are looking for, or make suggestions to help you start a true collection of your own.

Collecting Rare Books

In book collecting, buying from reputable sellers and checking details of publication history and condition are key factors. Knowing your editions, publishers, publication years, and dust jackets will go a long way in ensuring that your collection will stand the test of time. There are almost always tell-tale signs to first editions, and while some “stated first editions” clearly print the words First Edition on the edition page, many other first edition books are determined purely based on the publisher and publication year, the board cover art, or even just small typographical errors.

According to Wealth Daily, “Books — especially rare first editions — are a risk-free way to preserve wealth, in good times and bad. While it is a rather whimsical type of investment, there are many advantages to starting a collection of rare books — including safety, growth, and the overall tactile enjoyment that you simply can't get out of stocks, bonds, or other types of investment.” Books can increase, or decrease, in value for many reasons. Over time, as author popularity changes and books come out of private collections and into the limelight, rare books can fetch very high price tags. One point that can make books exceedingly rare is an error or mistake in the publication history. 

 

When you’re on the search for a first edition, limited edition, or just rare printing in general, we do our research to ensure that the pieces you're stepping away with are guaranteed authentic. Details like the publisher that printed the book, the year and location in which it was printed, and other tell-tale notes specific to the edition itself are crucial to prove authenticity and provenance. Sometimes the tiniest detail like a misspelled word can be the determining factor between a first edition, first printing and a second printing!

Collecting Original Maps 

Whether they’re large world maps or small folding pocket maps, originally designed for the traveler on-the-go, antique maps hold secrets of history in their folds.

Embrace nostalgia. For many, maps that show a hometown over different periods in time are the most desirable. Follow the evolution of your city and country and see just how much it has changed. Many collectors are interested in the age of exploration and use this as the driving factor in finding old maps. During a time when much of the world was unknown, these maps are often quite experimental and unique, and show an interesting perspective.

Antique maps can be some of the most interesting to collect, and continue to increase in value over time. Collecting items that were published in small publication runs, which will be infrequently found on the market, are worth holding onto.  If you are looking at your pieces as investment opportunities, the key to seeing a return on your investment is to start off with pieces that are well researched and come with lengthy letters of authenticity (like ours!). Then, you’ll need to ensure that the maps maintain the best quality and condition possible, making sure that no further damage comes to the pieces. We highly recommend that collectors buy items that have been artfully framed according to conservation standards, or that they have access to do so when needed. Buying from reputable sellers ensures that these pieces have been stored properly up until you get your hands on them.

Collecting Authentic Autographs

Just like all of our antique items, our autographs are authenticated by our in-house experts. If you are interested in collecting autographs, we can help you search for items that will fit into your collection. We often assist our collectors in their research, to discover what a famous individual’s autographs looks like, the signing history of said individual, and the style and shape of an autograph.

Understand that oftentimes signatures are made out to other individuals. More often than not, these inscriptions give more context into the signer's life and history, than a simple signature on a white sheet of paper will. Signed checks, letters, or other correspondences often provide the date, the location where the document would be sent, and other crucial details that prove provenance.

Autographs are tangible, enjoyable investment pieces. Autographs are best enjoyed when they are on display. We frame most of the autographs that we acquire, oftentimes creating a collage look with photographs and sometimes other elements to give some context to the signature. Other times, we work with master bookbinders at Felton Bookbinding Ltd. to create custom, archival cases.

Collecting Vintage Posters

Vintage posters are collected for many reasons; they are both beautiful to look at, and a fairly accessible collection item.

Understanding rarity is key. Since posters were printed as lithographs on very thin paper, they were not normally intended to last very long. Just as informational flyers are used today, these posters were often torn down after they served their purpose. Even though these advertisements were not necessarily seen as "art" as we consider them today, many of them were designed by famous artists of the time. The poster companies enlisted the expertise of famous artists such as Norman Rockwell, Howard Chandler Christy, and others, in order to draw attention to their cause. Pieces that remain today are now seen as art for the dynamic and alluring designs, which have lasted past their intended lifespan as cheaply printed ads.

Condition is a very important part of poster collecting. Due to the very brittle nature of the paper that was used to publish these posters, even slight damage can hinder the overall look and feel of the poster’s design. You’ll want to buy pieces that have very little, if any, damage. To ensure that your new acquisition will provide a decent return on investment, we recommend buying framed posters that have been framed according to conservation standards. This means that the poster will remain in the same condition as you found it, even in the face of sunlight or years of age. Conservation framing, which really only came about in the ‘80s, is the technique of utilizing conservation materials such as UV protective glass, linen backing, and acid free matting to preserve a piece. Shop our collection of framed, authentic posters on our website or in-store.

Collecting Antique Flags

Perhaps one of the most up-and-coming collecting genres today, antique flags are incredible pieces of American history. With flag prices skyrocketing at auction, this collector’s item is surely a unique and profitable investment piece. 

Statehood dates have a very strong influence on the style and look of the flag. In some years, when multiple states were admitted at the same time, the flag jumped in star count significantly. This had a significant impact on the styling of the canton; styles that were popular with fewer stars may not have been possible with such a drastic change in star count. 

There are primarily two types of flags: hand-sewn and printed. Hand-sewn, or handmade, varieties were homemade by individuals. Many times, these individuals lacked any kind of formal training, and instead designed configurations that they were interested in designing. Following the simple parameters of 13 red and white stripes and white stars against a blue canton, these artists and seamstresses had the liberty to experiment. Hand-sewn flags of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries are frequently considered pieces of American folk art, rather than purely patriotic memorabilia. Printed flags are a different story. Produced primarily by the U.S. government, rather than private individuals, these flags were often quite symmetrical and orderly, in comparison to handmade variations that included hand-cut stars and patch work. Even though these flags were printed, it does not mean that the star counts were not experimental. Produced across the country, these flags did not follow a single pattern until the official flag order in 1912. Even flags with the same star count did not necessarily look anything alike. Finding printed flags in very good condition can be difficult, which makes these two flag varieties equally as desirable.

Where the antique collecting world used to be centered around first edition prints, flags are taking over auctions and rising to very high prices. This may be due to an increased interest among a new generation, patriotic motives, or simply a desire to invest in a previously untapped market. When buying flags for investment, we suggest searching for pieces that have been well maintained. Flags that were folded for a long period of time and were sitting somewhere without proper attention can become brittle, moldy, or may deteriorate. Preserving your flags is half of the job, and we suggest framing, or buying them framed, according to conservation standards to ensure that your flag can be resold. Right now, we see all kinds of flags fetching high prices at auction. The market is consistently growing, and flags of all shapes and sizes are desirable. However, many auctions are seeing the highest numbers for flags with unique cantons, rare rare counts, and large sizes. If possible, look for pieces that match these parameters and hold onto them with the intent to resell at a time when the market hits its peak.

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