Fall events, from antiques to Zuberi
Antiques, while strictly defined as objects of value more than one hundred years old, have always inhabited a grey area in many peoples' minds. Just how far can we push the idea of value added to an object, simply by virtue of time?
This month's feature story about the Brimfield Antiques Show aims to help separate the treasures and trash. Of course, each dealer would like consumers to believe they alone have the real deal. "No reproductions, no junk." Talking about their wares, however, it becomes apparent that much of the value lies in the eyes of the beholder. The line between mere collectibles and real antiques seems to blur with the prevailing winds.
I'm not sure I would pay much for dolls or kitchen utensils from any era (or military insignias, or glass bottles, or ephemera for that matter).
But finding, buried amid a box of nothings, a tarnished brass button that some general allegedly wore at a famous battle may be worth the time spent rummaging. Possibly, among a pile of watercolors, lurks a Monet, or at least something worth money.
For those who've already purchased their treasures at Brimfield, a renowned antiques expert is also coming to the area, who may be able to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Tukufi Zuberi, the lyrically named TV personality from the PBS show "History Detectives" is scheduled to appear in Deerfield Sept. 26 for an antiques appraisal fair. His expertise could prove worthwhile when trying to decipher the dollar value of your family heirlooms.
In my own family, my wife and I have been talking recently about refinancing our 100-plus-year-old home. I suppose that qualifies as our single biggest investment in antiques. Around each corner, we see constant reminders of the quality workmanship and attention to detail of a bygone era.
Our home has narrow, oak plank floorboards and leaded-glass windows. Everything seems hand-wrought. There's a comfortable patina to the place, with layers of antiquated furniture. Returning home often feels like taking a trip back in time; maybe to a better time. I guess that's the definition of nostalgia.
Finally, your trusty PRIME editor is also celebrating a birthday this month. I'll probably be feeling the changing of seasons slightly more than usual. Maybe I'll take the day off work and spend some time perusing the two-dozen acres of tent-strewn grassland that is the Brimfield Antiques Show.
Looking for what? It doesn't really matter; it's all about enjoying the value of time. One thing I've learned through the decades is that the best way to appreciate the ceaseless drumbeat propelling each day is to slow down and enjoy it. If only for one fleeting moment.