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Reyne Gauge

Reyne Gauge: Antique flea markets abroad

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Written by Reyne Haines   
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 14:46
Visitors to Helsinki can attend a flea market every day, May through September. Photo Credit: Marko Kareinen. If you are an antiques enthusiast like I am, you search for shops and markets to visit when traveling to other cities. What about when traveling abroad? I have acquired some of my best finds overseas. The merchandise tends to be completely different than what we typically see at American markets. Treasures that are hundreds of years old sold out of the trunks of cars, spread on blankets in fields, and in stalls that span city blocks.

Over the years many exciting things have turned up in flea markets overseas. For example, several years ago in a flea market in France a painting was purchased for approximately $2,500 that turned out to be an original Vincent van Gogh valued at around $3.5 million.

The following are a few of my favorites, and tips on what you can expect to find at each:

Tokyo, Japan

Togo Antique Market – This is the biggest of all the antique markets in Tokyo. Open every first, fourth and fifth Sunday.

Vintage kimonos, woodblocks, Imari and even American products such as antique toys, Barbie dolls, radios and movie posters.


Helsinki, Finland

The Hietalahti Flea Market – Also known as Hietsu. Open from May to September, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

A lot of Mid-Century Modern Finnish design, some Scandiavian and Russian products. Dealers are prohibited from selling new products. Lots of tourists frequent this market.


Vienna, Austria

Naschmarkt – Vienna’s most popular market. It has existed since the 16th century and is open every Saturday 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. There are over 200 dealers selling every type of antique imaginable. Furniture, collectibles, books, sculpture, art and more.


Tongeren, Belgium

Veemarkt Square – The largest flea market in the Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg region. It opens at 7 a.m. and closes at noon, so you want to arrive early.

Just about anything can be found here from furniture to glass, chandeliers to vintage hardware.


London, England

Portobello Road – England’s largest flea market. Open every Saturday beginning as early as 5:30 a.m. Most stall dealers are there by 8 a.m. Over 1,000 dealers offering some of the finest trash to treasure each week.

Arts and Crafts Period, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern are the mainstays of this market, though you can find Old Masters paintings, early architecture and books.


Berlin, Germany

Strasse des 17. Juni – Named for a major thoroughfare, this is the most popular and classy flea market in Berlin. Open Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

There's less junk at this flea market. This is a more upscale antiques market where you are less likely to find a bargain, but certain to find fine quality goods.


Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:27

Reyne Gauge: How to have a successful garage sale

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Written by Reyne Haines   
Thursday, 12 May 2011 08:28
Photo by Jim Lefever.

The weather is finally warming up across the nation and you're ready to get spring-cleaning started. That can mean only one thing – garage sale time.

Many of us look forward to having a yard sale this time of year to rid the clutter we accumulated over the past year and to get our homes organized.

It’s not like you haven’t had a sale before. Sometimes they have had great turnouts, and other times you’ve called a donation service to come haul it all away.

What is the formula for a great garage sale? I took my ideas and posed the question on my Facebook wall to see what my friends would suggest. I must say their ideas are helpful.

Let’s talk about advertising. You place an ad in the Friday classified section. You want people to know you have good stuff. Don’t be too wordy but sprinkle some spicy keywords that will grab attention and make customers want to stop. Antiques, collectibles, modernism, jewelry and couture always work.

You need proper signage for people to find your sale. Big black letters, arrows – even colorful balloons to get the attention of drivers who are unaware you are having a sale. Put signs out in the wee hours of the morning or the night before.

Call your friends. The bigger the sale, the better. Have them bring over things to sell that day. It also helps having extra bodies there to take payments, answer questions and help set up.

Cash is king. Make sure you have lots of coins and singles for making change. Speaking of cash, consider taking alternative methods of payment. If you are selling items that are more than $10, people might want to pay with a credit card or a check. PayPal offers phone-in credit card services now.

Price items in advance. Many people who won’t ask the price, especially if you are talking with another customer. If they are in a hurry to get to the next sale, you might lose a customer. Also, ask for more than you were hoping to get and be willing to accept a lower offer. Realize that haggling is the nature of the garage sale business.

Consider using the dot system in pricing. Have a poster board illustrating a red dot = $1, a blue dot = 50 cents, etc. Colored dots having adhesive backs are available in stores. Using this method might reduce the time spent pricing – especially smaller items. If you do price items individually, use a fine point Sharpie brand pen on the price stickers. Make sure the numerals are large enough to be read easily.

If you are selling electronics, make sure batteries are fresh and have a power cord available so people can test items to see if they work properly.

Don’t place merchandise on the lawn. Scattered on the ground, they are not visible to drivers, and it gives the impression they have no value. Use tables and shelving, and hang ropes from trees – whatever you can to showcase merchandise.

Group similar things together to make them more appealing. If you have jewelry, put it all in one place. If you have porcelain, display it like you would if it was on the dinner table.

Get the family involved. Kids love making money too. They can sell their old stuffed animals, clothes and toys they no longer want, which helps keep closets unclutterd and gives them extra spending money. If they have nothing to part with, let them set up a lemonade stand.

Music puts people in a shopping mood. Find something upbeat, and have it lightly playing in the background.

Food! Who says you can only sell clothing and knickknacks? Make finger foods – cookies and other snacks that are light but keep the shopper energized. Chances are they were up early that morning and have been on their feet or in the car since their first stop. They will be happy to see an affordable snack on the table.

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Photo by Jim Lefever. Photo by Jim Lefever.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 May 2011 22:06

Reyne Gauge: The art of Tiffany windows

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Written by Reyne Haines   
Thursday, 21 April 2011 13:17
Image courtesy Allen Michaan, Private Collection By the time Louis Comfort Tiffany began designing windows, the art of window making had been alive almost 500 years.

The earliest windows were a mix of colored glass, all handmade, and filled with imperfections which added to its unique character. The glass pieces were small, and put together like a puzzle with broken lead.

Stained glass windows would be the next phase artisans would create in window design. Larger pieces of glass were used and they would be stained with a color or enamel to create detail. Many of the stained glass windows found in churches in the United States in the 1800s were produced in England. Most stained glass artists in the United States found it necessary to import glass.

In the late 1800s, two American’s began to lead in window design: John LaFarge and Louis C. Tiffany. Both began experimenting with different types of glass, and different ways to create the scene of the window without painted detail (except in figures, faces and hands).

In the 1870s there was a large demand for windows in America. Not just in churches, but in schools, political buildings and mausoleums. Tiffany and LaFarge were no longer the only players in this field. In the New York area there was Heuser & Hausleiter, Lamb Studios, Francis Lathrop, and H.W. Young. There were other Midwest firms producing as well.

In the early years, Tiffany did not manufacture his own glass for his windows. He purchased it from several East Coast glasshouses, and also from a new manufacturer called Opalescent Glass Works in Kokomo, Ind. When Tiffany finally began experimenting with glass production he had the misfortune of his first two glasshouses being destroyed by fire. In 1893 he opened a new glasshouse in the Corona neighborhood of Queens.

In his constant striving to be the best, Tiffany traveled abroad to find the best glassblowers and chemists to bring back to the Corona factory. There would be no color of glass he could not create.

Tiffany windows were not designed strictly for commercial buildings, but for private residences of the rich – from the Vanderbilts to the Havemeyers and even Mark Twain.

Tiffany’s windows were expensive. He would lose the option for many commissioned works simply because of the price. The cost of a mid-size window was $700, the equivalent of $15,000 today.

As times and tastes changed, so did the love for all things Tiffany. As the Art Deco movement began to take hold, more people began to remove their Tiffany windows and either pack them away or discard them. Geometric lines and crystal colors defined the Art Deco movement. Tiffany’s brightly colored lamps and windows were thought to be garish and out of style.

Today Tiffany windows can still be readily found gracing residences, churches and public buildings across America. A few of the better-known in the Los Angeles area are the windows at First Presbyterian Church, First Methodist Church and at the Ginter Mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery.



Image courtesy Allen Michaan, Private Collection Image courtesy Allen Michaan, Private Collection Image courtesy Allen Michaan, Private Collection Image courtesy Allen Michaan, Private Collection
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 April 2011 15:21

Reyne Gauge: Collecting and rock stars

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Written by Reyne Haines   
Monday, 21 March 2011 17:07
Auction Central News columnist Reyne Haines in Houston with the visiting American Pickers Mike Wolfe (left) and Frank Fritz (right). Image courtesy of Reyne Haines. Recently I got a call from my friends Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, stars of the History Channel’s American Pickers. They were finally coming to Texas to tape a few episodes of the show and wanted to know if I could hang out and show them around Houston.

Happy to oblige, I headed over to their hotel and off we went shopping. Mind you, it hadn’t rained in Houston for months, until the day the boys arrived. We had a freak torrential thunderstorm that day which produced severe lightning, earsplitting thunder and buckets of rain. Hey! Everything is big in Texas so why not the storms too?

We visited numerous stores in town, but found nothing to write home about. These guys are used to “rusty gold,” not cleaned up with a retail price tag type of gold. Yet much like me, they like to see what kinds of things are available in different towns. We did hit one shop that had a restored bumper car from a carnival or amusement park that was interesting, a few coin-op games, and a mannequin – without the clothes, of course.

One of my favorite things as a dealer is seeing what catches the eye of others. Mike explained that he really likes finding items that are obscure and have a great “look.” Many of his clients are interior designers that are not always looking for things with historical importance, but yet make a statement in the room in which they are placed.

We talked about a book I’m working on that showcases designers that incorporate antiques and collectibles into their clients’ homes/offices and how the next big thing in TV will probably be just that – shows that follow decorators working their magic.

Sadly, we came back empty-handed, but had a great time looking at stuff including vintage clothing. Mike loves great leather jackets. We also enjoyed talking about the different things we collect. I got to see Mike in action going after a vintage Harley Knucklehead motorcycle. Unfortunately for him, the would-be seller decided to hang onto the bike a while longer. If any of you reading have one, Mike’s in the market!

I also learned that Mike is opening a store in Nashville this summer. I can’t give away details, but from what I heard, it’s going to be mind-blowing. Don’t fret: The Iowa store will stay open. Stay tuned to Mike’s Facebook wall or his e-mail newsletter for updates.

Back to my day: If you think that was enough excitement, hang on to your hats. Not only do the guys and I have collecting in common, but we also love good music.

They had backstage passes to see Kid Rock that night at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and invited me to come along. I’ve met Kid Rock before. He and I had a mutual friend, and we’ve been at the same parties in the past. He’s always friendly, and this time was no different.

Not only is Kid Rock a great performer, but he’ also a collector. He has a passion for vintage cars – seemingly all American – and also motorcycles. Try telling Mike Wolfe about your passion for motorcycles and expect him to sit still. No chance! Wouldn’t that be a gas to see Kid Rock on American Pickers?

If anyone ever tries to convince you being in the antiques business isn’t cool, they’re crazy. How often in the insurance and stock brokerage world did I go shopping for out-of-sight stuff during the day and hang out with rock stars at night? Never.



Auction Central News columnist Reyne Haines in Houston with the visiting American Pickers Mike Wolfe (left) and Frank Fritz (right). Image courtesy of Reyne Haines. Kid Rock and Auction Central News columnist Reyne Haines. Image courtesy of Reyne Haines. Kid Rock performing at the Houston Rodeo. Image courtesy of Reyne Haines.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 13:25

Reyne Gauge: Making a statement with wristwatches

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Written by Reyne Haines   
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 12:45
Rolex Stainless Steel Submariner watch, $3,500. Auctioned by Clars on Dec. 5, 2010. Image courtesy of Archive and Clars.

It is not uncommon for the success of a man to be judged by the quality of his suit, the kind of car he drives and the neighborhood he lives in… but the watch on his wrist is often another indicator.

Wristwatches date back to the late 1800s, a time when they were thought of as jewelry for women only. Originally, they were worn by a clasp on a woman’s lapel. Later, a silk cloth was wrapped around a pocket watch for ladies to wear on their wrists.

The wristwatch as we know it today was first designed by Patek Phillipe in 1868. It wasn’t until World War I that wristwatches became a timepiece for men. Pilots found it too difficult to reach into their  pocket to retrieve their pocket watches, therefore, wearing a timepiece on their wrist made more sense.

Ironically, what was once thought to be “women’s wear” is now predominately collected by men. Men often collect wristwatches because they offer more than just a way to tell time.

For the traveler, there are watches offering numerous time zones. For the athlete, chronographs are the preferred option. Divers must have watches that are waterproof.

Not only are there different mechanical options, but you can also collect by maker or time period; or, you can collect different types of movements, such as manual wind, automatic, or electric.

Perhaps you’d like to follow in the footsteps of your favorite celebrity. Breitling watches are worn by John Travolta, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Matt Damon and Dane Cook have been seen wearing Tag Heuer, and Paul Newman was known to wear his Rolex Daytona.

Not only are watches small, meaning you can accumulate many without requiring a lot of space to house them, but they also come in a variety of price ranges. Early manual-wind watches can be purchased for as little as $40-50. Asymmetrical Hamilton Electrics can be bought for a few hundred dollars.

It’s not just the lower-end brands that are affordable. If you’ve been eyeing the latest Rolex watch, chances are you can buy one for a lot less if it’s “pre-owned” or vintage. The current “DATEJUST” model in gold and stainless retails for about $4,500. However, a pre-owned model can be had for as little as $2,800.

Regardless of how much you invest in a watch, though, it’s an opportunity to make a statement about your unique sense of style while investing in a collectible that boasts both form and function.

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LeCoultre Mystery Dial watch. Auctioned for $750 on Nov. 21, 2010. Image courtesy of Archive and William J. Jenack Auctioneers. Gentleman's 14K yellow gold Bulova watch. Auctioned for  $300 on Dec. 15, 2010. Image courtesy of Archive and Skinner Inc.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 12:49
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