Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow
We try very hard to be a FUN antique center, not one of those stuffy snobbish elitist Centers where you feel like you should whisper and tiptoe, and where the staff follows you around to make sure you don't steal anything if you're not dressed in a $1,000 suit or dress.
We maintain a very high standard of quality in our antiques, but we define antiques as the every day artifacts of our own parents and grandparents lives - not just the century old detritus of the rich and famous. Not everything has to be an 18th century Chippendale Chair or a 1890's Hawkes vase to be a proper antique. The antiquing public defines what we carry at our shop - not the Madison Avenue interior decorators.
There are millions of people who just love antiques for what they are - because they reveal the everyday lives of previous generations. The farm implements, the kitchen tools, the textiles, the bottles, the everyday china, the dog-eared almanac's of the past are time capsules that we can hold in our hands and feel the lives of their past owners.
The dichotomy between "antiques" and "collectibles" with the latter being beneath the dignity of a proper Antique Center is a false one that the real marketplace does not accept - and neither does Coxsackie Antique Center. The antiques elite tries to insist that it's not an antique until it's 100 years old and no respectable antique dealer would dream of having such an item. Of course that's nonsense. There's no moral distinction between victorian pattern glass and 1930s depression glass. We don't see any difference between an 1898 Spanish American War item and a 1900 Pan-American Exposition souvenir.
We are very strict about reproductions and deceptive items. They aren't allowed in the center. If we find them, we take them out. If we inadvertently sell them, we'll take them back. We also limit our items to the period before the mid 1950s, with only a very few exceptions.
So come to the Coxsackie Antique Center in your blue jeans, pick up and look at anything you like, reminisce back to the warm glow of Thanksgiving Dinner at your grandparents house, feel free to ask questions without fear of a disdainful reply, and enjoy! You won't even have to whisper.
We're often confronted with the dilemna of deciding whether an item is appropriate merchandise to offer for sale at Coxsackie Antique Center.
The tax man decided many many years ago that an item had to be 100 years old to be an antique. There were provisions in the tax laws that allowed people owning antiques to use them to get tax breaks. The government was loosing money. Presto-Chango! They solved the problem by issuing a decision that severely limited what could be deducted as an antique.
That bureaucratic revenue-driven decision has become a sort of hoary old tradition in some antique circles - the reason for the dating has been long forgotten but the timeframe lingers on. Many old-time antique dealers still insist on that date - even though it makes Gustave Stickley Settles and Art Nouveau dresser sets and Teddy Roosevelt pinbacks and St. Louis World's Fair Postcards, etc. etc. etc. something other than antiques. A few months ago, Spanish American War items were not antiques... Now they are. But all the 1899 books about "Our New Territories" etc. will have to wait for several more months before the "respectable" antique dealers will condescend to allow them into their inventories.
The "something other than antiques" are often called "collectibles." The term "collectible" sounds dismissive and mimimalizing (which is certainly the way many of the "old line" dealers intend to use it!) It seems appropriate when applied to recent mass marketed items (like Beanie Babies, Avon bottles, or Barbie Dolls) but absurd when applied to Roseville or Rookwood.
The antiquing public does not have such a narrow and rigid idea of what constitutes an antique. We think most antiquers consider anything from their childhood or earlier to be legitimate fare. That's certainly what many of our customers are looking for when they come into the Center.
This leaves antique centers with the dilemna of deciding what to offer for sale. At Coxsackie Antique Center, we've declared the cutoff date for merchandise to be the mid 1950s with occassional exceptions for more recent heavily collected items such as Liberty Blue dinnerware. That's still a somewhat arbitrary cut-off date, but at least it's market generated. That's the way it should be. The customers decide what we carry. If people are buying crackle glass and Haeger Pottery and 1964 World's Fair memorabilia, then we want to carry it at the Center. Many more customers are pleased to find such items than are offended by them.
We'd really like to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please drop us a note or tell us the next time you come in. It will help us make Coxsackie Antique Center a better place to shop.
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