What’s “trending” right now in antiques?

James Farmer

Ask the Expert: What’s trending right now in antiques?

Thanks for your question! I get this one a lot. In fact, this is probably my second most frequently asked question next to last month’s, “How old is an antique?” I have to kind of chuckle because the short answer is that what’s “trending” right now in antiques is to not buy antiques….. and that’s why it’s actually such a great time to buy them!

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Ask the Expert: How old is an “antique”?

Question: How old does a piece have to be to be considered an antique?

A Handsome English George II Walnut Veneered and Oak 5-Drawer Chest 1

Answer: Thank you for your question! I get asked this almost every day and yet I never get tired of giving an answer. The definition is both simple and complicated and can vary depending on who you ask. Let’s start with the simple.

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Ask the Expert: Antiques for Kids?

Question: Hey there! I really enjoyed your post a few years back on the “antiqued nursery.”  Could you give any tips or ideas on using antique pieces for kids’ rooms?  In particular, a little boy’s room? We just found out we are having our first (a boy) in the new year and I am looking for some unique pieces to start a collection for him.  I want to create a nursery that can double for a “big boy” without changing too much decor. Thanks!

Caroline in San Marco Continue reading

Ask the Expert: Antique Pewter

51e19802f3982671692338e8591871f6Question: Hi! I have just inherited a large collection of pewter from my grandparents. Is antique pewter even worth anything? Any thoughts or ideas on how to display it if I decide to keep it? Thanks! – Anne Marie in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Answer: Thanks for your question. I love pewter! Let me see if I can help you. Some people think of pewter as “a poor man’s silver”, but that is not the case at all. Pewter is an alloy consisting predominantly of tin, but alloyed with other metals, like copper or lead, to make it stronger. So, it’s not exactly cheap to make.  Continue reading

The Man Behind the Maps: Exchange w/ Expert, William Cawood

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Eliot

One who understands the sense of journey and place is Rome, Georgia-based dealer, Mr. William Cawood of Heritage Antique Maps.  For the past few years, we have grown very fond of Mr. Cawood and are so excited that he will be returning with his wide array of collectors maps to share with us at his booth in 2014 Art & Antiques Show.

Many who have had the pleasure to meet Mr. Cawood can attest that he has such a breadth of knowledge when it comes to collecting maps.  His expertise extends from when he started collecting these vintage and antique relics 30 years ago.  We were not timid in asking him questions about his collection; for his masterful and organized displays are enticing and effortless to parade through. His enthusiasm for both novice and seasoned collectors is infectious.  We highly encourage Show participants to visit Mr. Cawood at his booth this year.

We called Mr. Cawood and asked him some simple suggestions to collecting and to learn a bit more about the man behind the maps.

Q: How long have you been a dealer at the Art & Antiques Show?

A: This is my 3rd year.

Q: What would you say to an eager and early collector of antique maps?

A: The more you spend, the more value of a map.  Take pride in your map.   It should send a message to others about you.  People purchase maps for a wide variety of reasons: life experience, a place closest to your heart, a favorite place, a sense of meaningful family heritage.

Q: When we met you last year, you were explaining a bit about what to look for in maps.  How do we know what to look for in a good map?

A:  American maps are relatively new because America is a newer country.  American maps became more readily available after the civil war during the mid 1800’s. Pre-civil war maps are more rare.  There were three well known mapmakers during this time of government commissioned work and they include Johnson, Colton and Mitchell.  These names are prevalent to the average map collector.

Things to look for in earlier maps are the hand coloring maps and attractive borders.

Look for the dates on maps, they are the official copyright.

Q:  What can we look forward to in your booth this year?

A: There will be a number of maps of Southeastern United States, early Jacksonville, North Florida, South Georgia and the St. Johns River.

Here is a sneak preview:

cawood florida

Florida, 1864 by Johnson

cawood england

England, 1609 by Mercator

cawood france

France, circa 1590 by Ortelius

cawood ireland

Ireland, 1584 by Ortelius

cawood british isles

British Isles 1749, by Homann Heirs

Finally, we wanted to share some short stories from local Jacksonville residents who have purchased maps from Mr. Cawood and we asked them to share why their purchase is important to them or the loved one they gave the map to.

St. John’s River

D Wallace map

St. John’s River, 1856. Purchased for Mr. John Wallace.

Attached is the map I purchased last year for John, an avid fisherman.  It’s a map of The St. John’s River from 1856 and includes the City of Jacksonville from that time.  John loves it because it details some of his favorite fishing spots in Jacksonville.  While the city has changed and grown in remarkable ways since 1856, the river is the same now as it was over a century and a half ago! – Mrs. Deena Wallace

Map of the Carolina’s

NC SC map

Johnson’s Map of North & South Carolina, 1865

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Purchased for Mr. Michael J Young

While searching for Christmas gift for my husband that was unique and something he could treasure for many years, I kept hearing the buzz about the Antique Map booth while volunteering at the 2013 A&A Show.  Earlier maps from Mr. Cawood’s collection did not show the county for which Michael spent his adolescence and early adulthood, Davie County, NC.  Mr. Cawood was able to find this beautiful, colorful map from 1865 that included Davie, places where my family heritage dwelled and lived, as well as the town for which my husband and I met while living in North Carolina. We both love the detailed original border and the mini vignettes’ of Carolina that surround the states. – Mrs. April Blackwood Young

Graham Family Collection

Graham GA FL

Map of North Florida & S. Georgia, Gulf of Mexico, 1864. Purchased for Mr. Alex Graham.

 There is rarely a friend or family member that my husband and I cannot find the perfect map or chart for when visiting Mr. Cawood’s booth. Since 2012 we have found maps for two of our sons’ Godparents, my husband, and our oldest son. One was a map of west Florida and the Gulf of Mexico that included Dog Island. The Godparents of our youngest son, Adams, have a family home there and it is a treasured area for all of us. It turned out that they collected antique maps of the area! Two were maps of railroad lines for the Godfather of our oldest son, Luke. He had recently taken a job with Union Pacific. One was an 1864 map of North Florida and North Georgia where my husband grew up hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather and will soon continue the tradition with our sons.

Graham celestial map

Celestial Map from 2013 Young Collectors Booth.

I also often remember the maps I did not purchase! In 2012 my husband and I spied beautiful celestial maps in Mr. Cawood’s booth. To my surprise they were still with him in 2013 and we jumped at the opportunity to display them in the Young Collectors Booth. A waiting list of patrons anxious to purchase them quickly formed and not only did they sell, but another set sold as well. I hope that he will bring more this year and just maybe I won’t pass up the opportunity again!

Graham national emblems

Johnson’s Chart of National Emblems, 1868. Purchased for Mr. Luke Graham.

We found the chart for our oldest son, Luke. It is Johnson’s Chart of National Emblems from 1868. Luke has a mind that will lend itself to memorizing these flags and we are sure many discussions about the world will stem from this map… once we actually have it framed. – Mrs. Caroline Graham

Weber Family Collection

Last year I bought a few maps from William Cawood.  My favorite purchase was the map of Spain that I gave my husband as a Christmas gift. He lived in Spain for several years while his father was serving in the United States Marine Corps. We have this map proudly displayed on our wall in our family room as a reminder of his time abroad and all the wonderful memories his family shared. When friends come over to our house, we are able to point to map and show them exactly where he lived. Please support Wolfson’s and add one of his beautiful maps to your collection! – Mrs. Patton Ellis Weber

Weber maps

Weber Family Collection of Maps

spain map

Map of Spain purchased for Mr. Larry Weber

Visit Mr. William Cawood’s website at http://www.heritageantiquemaps.com and stop by the 2014 Art & Antique to share and exchange with the man himself!

Man-tiques: 10 Gifts for Him


With the holidays approaching, and being the token male on this blog, I thought it timely to suggest 10 gift ideas for men that can be found at this year’s Art and Antiques Show. As much as your husband probably loved the Louis XV chandelier that you and your decorator picked up last month in Atlanta….you know, the expensive one you gave him for his birthday….some of these pieces might be a little more up his alley this Christmas.

1. Dogs

You can’t go wrong with man’s best friend. If the man in your life has a special dog in his life, why not find items that remind him of his favorite canine, or can serve as a reminder of a childhood pet? My wife, mother, and mother-in-law have added greatly to my dog collection over the years and I always love receiving a new addition to that collection. Here’s a lovely patinated bronze piece from the late 19th century.

dog 2

Here’s a set of twelve Wedgwood plates from the 1940’s.


Here’s a rare Italian bronze from the Napoleon III period.

bronze dog

These are some of my favorites from my collection.

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1. An early 20th century, carved Golden Retriever, given to me on my seventh birthday to accompany a real Golden Retriever puppy. This piece will always remind me of my parent’s generosity and our family pet. 2. A Royal Dux porcelain retriever from Czechoslovakia, circa 1940. 3. A Baccarat Lab. 4. A needlepoint Chocolate Lab pillow. 5. A collection of Spode’s Woodland dog plates (I fell in love with these a few summers ago when I saw them in every designer showroom and antique store in Cashiers, NC). 6. A Bernese Mountain Dog print, circa 1925 (It’s one thing to collect labs and retrievers, but finding an antique Bernese Mountain Dog anything is pretty near impossible. So when I found a dealer that had a collection of National Geographic dog prints from the 20’s, I quickly grabbed this one). 7. Last, but not least, these contemporary, English salt and pepper shakers reminded me of Lord Grantham’s faithful pup in Downton.

2. Shaving Mirrors

Okay, so he probably won’t use this to shave in, but they can serve a number of other functions and add so much character to a room. I have mine on my dresser and the drawers make a great place to store all your “junk”.….receipts, change, etc. My shaving mirror was also on my wife’s dresser for a time and she draped necklaces over the top of the mirror and stored make-up in the drawers. Here is a lovely, diminutive, English mahogany shaving mirror from the 19th century.


And a very fine Irish one, circa 1840.


3. The Biscuit Barrel 

Elegant timepieces of a bygone era, these little gems emerged in Great Britain around 1860 and were popular through the 1930’s. Ranging from sterling silver to the more rustic oak and brass like those pictured below, biscuit barrels were used at tea time to store biscuits.


Okay, so maybe don’t get him a pink one, but you get the idea.


To be honest, I keep picture hanging hooks and screws in mine. We are constantly hanging things in this house and I got tired of going to my tool box all the time. Now most of what I need is easily accessible and hidden right in the living room.

biscuit barrel

4. The Tea Caddy

These guys don’t need much of an introduction. Once used to store tea, these timeless classics make a great place for a guy to keep his personal items. You can throw your wallet, phone, and keys in here right before a dinner party or keep on your desk for important receipts and correspondence.

tea caddy 782362_l

5. The Decanter

If your man likes to come home and fix his nightly cocktail like I do, this piece will save him a lot of time and add some class to his bar. For those of a more modern bent, check out this sleek Deco style decanter, circa. 1913.


For those a little more old-school, take a look at this Anglo-Irish Edwardian magnum, circa 1900.


You can never have too many decanters…..a much more tasteful way to serve liquor and wine, especially around the holidays.

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6. Tortoise Shell Boxes

Men’s dressers get messy. This ingenious little box is a great place to throw loose change. They are also invaluable in storing those bothersome little pins you get from various civic and fraternal organizations…..the ones you will never wear, but feel bad throwing out. A quintessential object for the gentleman of the 19th century, as well as of the 21st.



7. The Barley Twist Candlestick

I guess it’s the Englishman in me, but I love these so much that I bought a pair for myself, wrapped them up, and gave them to my wife for Christmas last year. The form is so masculine and heavy, yet intricate and airy. These versatile little guys can fade into the background of any room or make a bold statement.



They even make for a captivating table setting.


8. The Box on Stand

Many times 19th century lap desks, campaign chests, and humidors have been put on stands to make excellent side tables. These pieces are invaluable to those design conundrums where you need a place to set a drink or give balance to room, but have very little space. This is the perfect gift to accompany a guy’s favorite leather chair…..just big enough for a scotch and his favorite book or magazine.




9. Antlers 

Believe it or not, ladies, you will love these, too. They finish off a room so well and are what I want for Christmas (a half dozen, please, Mrs. Nash).




10. Dead Things

Properly referred to as Game Paintings, my wife calls this type of art “dead things”. These still life paintings of killed and prized game were particularly popular in the 1800s.



I absolutely love this signed, 19th century watercolor that I found for under $100. My wife almost relegated it to the mancave, but I made a good sale and got to put it in the kitchen (well, close to the mudroom).


Whether it’s for a husband, boyfriend, brother, son, son-in-law, or grandson, why not consider some “man-tiques” this year? These timeless pieces will add class and character to any home.


Ask the Expert: Commemorating 500 Years of Florida

Question: “2013 marks the 500th anniversary of Ponce de León’s landing on Florida’s east coast. A momentous milestone, especially for us northeast Floridians. If I am trying to achieve a look that shows pride in this heritage, what type of antiques, decor or furnishings can I incorporate into my home?” – Heather Houston

Answer: What a great question! As a fourth generation Floridian, I am so glad you asked me this! Where do I begin? Florida is a rich and diverse state, and there are so many great things that reflect “Old Florida”. The first thing that comes to my mind are cows. The Spanish brought cattle, horses, and oranges to La Florida. You know, Jacksonville used to be called Cowford because they forded cows across the river. The first cowboys were in Florida and the middle part of our state is still big cattle country. Cows are not only a unique piece of our northeast Florida history, but in décor they are also so English. If you are looking for a neat iconic piece of Florida history that also overlaps into a traditional, English Country style….think cows. Here are a few ideas.

If you like Black Forest carvings, which you can always find at the Wolfson Show, these Black Forest cows would be an excellent addition to any collection and fit with any style.

Old Florida Post II

 Old prints and lithographs stacked on a wall can be a dynamic focal point in any home. You could frame them rustically for a den or mat them and dress them up for your living room. Of course, the classic bovine oil painting is always a staple. Here are a few from 1stdibs

Old florida III

 Although most of these are English, sometimes the landscape looks just like Ocala to me.

fl post 5

 The other piece of Florida history that comes to my mind are the Native Americans, particularly our very own Timucuans. Consider some of these antique lithographs as a way to honor those who were here first.

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Here’s a den that has incorporated this collection very well.

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Here is a piece depicting the Timucuans hunting alligators. It was done by the French artist, Jacques le Moyne, while staying at our very own Fort Caroline, when it was controlled by the French. Le Moyne’s drawings of the Timucuan Indians were first published in Frankfurt, Germany in 1591. Finding reproduction prints of Le Moyne’s ‘Timucua’ series would be another unique way to celebrate northeast Florida history.

florida post 8

For those of us who love the beach and the ocean, but don’t want our homes to look like a beach house, using an antique clam shell is a fabulous way to embrace Old Florida. These little gems are hard to find and not cheap, but are a beautiful addition to any home.

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 Shells, like nautical prints, also harken back to our coastal roots.

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clam shell

 Ballard Design makes an excellent reproduction for those of us on a bit more of a budget.

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 If you are looking for something on a smaller scale, maybe a stocking stuffer, be on the lookout for little vintage remnants of Florida’s bygone days. Old-school souvenirs and postcards are a great start for the young collector.

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A grouping of framed, vintage postcards can make a statement in any small corner and allow you to celebrate your favorite pieces and places in Florida’s history.


 Here is one of my favorites from my stomping grounds!


Manatees, dolphins, alligators, and cows have all been iconic animals for our state. Flags, maps, and other artifacts are also great ways to incorporate all the different cultures and countries that have influenced our neck of the woods. And no one captures our northeast Florida landscape like Jacksonville’s own C. Ford Riley. Take a stroll through the historic streets of Fernandina or St. Augustine and you’ll be flooded with inspiration. Whether it’s a Florida Territorial map, an Audubon flamingo, or a piece of Spanish Mission furniture, this year’s Show is the perfect place for those seeking Old Florida in their homes and collections.

Our northeast Florida coast has had so many dynamic influences. Throughout 2013, it has been fun to reflect back on our Spanish, French, English, Native American, and Southern roots! To learn more about Florida history and efforts to mark the 500th anniversary of Ponce de León’s landing, visit vivaflorida.org.

Thanks for the question! Hope this helps!

The Antiqued Nursery

The Antiqued Nursery

I love nurseries. I don’t think I will ever get tired of nurseries. So far I have only gotten to do two…..one for a boy and one for a girl. In this post, I would like to show how well antiques can be used and incorporated into the nursery, while still maintaining that soft, clean feel you desire for your little one. The “antiqued nursery” is not one that is stuffy or impractical, but one of timeless elegance that blends the old, the new, the vintage, and the comfortable.

My wife and I got married our senior year of college and were pregnant a month later (Yes, I know….what!?). As we were eight months pregnant, studying for final exams, and packing up our house in Athens, there was little to no time to plan for the nursery of our June arrival. Much of the nursery décor and planning was done by my mother, as she prepared our apartment for us back in Jacksonville. It was, of course, lovely and you can see a glimpse of it here, but five years later with the impending arrival of Baby # 2, my wife and I were excited to get to do one ourselves….and we’d had plenty of time to think about it.

As you know if you read my last post, my wife doesn’t always appreciate my hunter-gatherer skills and as she puts it, “the way I invent new corners in our house to put things.”  So, when we found out that we were going to have a boy, William V (I’m just a little proud), I could sense the fear in Leanna about what I might do to the nursery. I wanted it very masculine, while she was hoping for something clean, soft, neutral, and sparse. I think she was afraid I was going to go all Gaston on her and put antlers everywhere. Or want something like this….

 Baby Nursery  neutral 1

Truth be told, I was actually thinking more Versailles for the little guy. Sort of like a more masculine version of this…

glam nursery

My wife reminded me that she was going to be spending the most time in there and that I should go focus my attention on somewhere like the hall bathroom. One thing was for certain….we were both determined to try and use what we had and incorporate antiques into his nursery. Then we found A Country Farmhouse and received our inspiration from this room. 

Blog Nursery-CFH

We were able to compromise on the idea of creams and whites, complemented by more primitive, rustic, and dark, masculine furniture. This was the result.




A plain, 19th century oval mirror from my mom’s first apartment (one of her first purchases from the good old Lamppost Antiques) is centered over a rustic, pine sleigh bed with a waxed finish. The mirror over the bed not only helps to open up the room but will serve as great fun for a bouncing toddler after bath time. Four vintage illustrations from Beatrix Potter’s stories are stacked on the wall and matted in a soft brown to complement the brown floral drapes. (She got her flowers…I got my brown). I finished the drapery rods in a warm English chestnut and gave them a waxed finish.


I found this primitive American, black walnut side table circa 1840 and immediately thought it would make the perfect bedside table. I can also see a little boy doing his homework here one day. I bought this pair of Alabaster lamps circa 1940 and dressed them up with box-pleated shades. My wife indulged me in my love of dogs and let me weave a subtle English, hunting dog theme through the room.


This little country Sheraton style pine nightstand, circa 1820 was perfect for the small space between the closet and the bed and centered perfectly in the very narrow window of this Avondale house.


I painted an ugly 1960’s dresser in this quail egg color and distressed it with a dark, English paste wax to make the perfect changing table. The lowness of this mid-century piece actually lends itself to changing diapers. I also replaced the modern hardware with antique Hepplewhite style pulls. I painted the old, nondescript pine mirror above in a soft grey blue and applied a coat of the same dark English wax to antique it. I think my favorite part of this nursery may be the 19th century French carriage lamps on either side of the mirror. We had a ton left from my dad’s old inventory and I’m always looking for cool places to use them.


The blue and white chevron pillow modernizes the room just a bit and the chocolate lab will remind him of the one that lives in this house

To me antiques are not just something for living rooms and dining rooms and your grandmother’s parlor. They are things to be used and appreciated. They’ve been through everything. They can handle your kids. By incorporating antique pieces into your nursery, you not only give it a unique and special look, but you give your young children an exposure to them. You invest in something that lasts. How special to be able to one day present your children with some nice pieces from their childhood for their children’s nursery, as opposed to a cheap pine glider and particle board changing table. Expecting a little one this year? Why not consider the 2013 Art & Antiques Show in your quest for the perfect nursery.