Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why do people purchase high-end antiques?

I get asked this a lot, especially since our antiques at C. Mariani
are some of the finest and, yes, some of the most expensive in the world.

Well, for some people, it's the desire and means to live "like a queen". And owning important antiques reflects their station in life, status and prestige, like Queen Elizabeth II:
In this category, it's important to distinguish between people who live like a queen and people who just act like a big queen. That's an important yet subtle difference that every urban sophisticate should recognize.

An Italian giltwood and pietra dura 18th c. center table truly fit for a queen:
List price: $321,000 USD

Then there are clients who buy antiques as investments that not only add beauty to their home but also represent a legacy that can be passed down to their children to secure their financial security, like Joan Crawford forgot to do with Christina, shown here in happier days (note the smart matching bonnets):

Ok, maybe that was a bad example. A better example would be Leona Helmsley who generously left all her antiques along with $12 million to "Fluffo", her oh-so-adorable pooch seen below (Fluffo is the one on the right):
An open letter to Fluffo from The Buzz on Antiques:
"Dear Mr. Fluffo,

I'm a dog-loving antique dealer who could soon be widowed (you never know) and I thought you might be as lonely as I am.

Being a bitch yourself, I'm sure you desperately miss Mama Leona. I know I definitely miss her $12 million. Not to mention her antiques, which I suspect you tinkle on frequently. Yes, I understand we're different species, but I've developed a refined palette for kibble and always order Pupperoni on my Round Table pizzas. So there IS COMMON GROUND for us as a couple.

And, in the category of looks, I know you'll fancy me since people frequently call me a "total dog" and one young lady in a bar recently told me to "Take a hike Fido," so that's a plus.

Finally, "Fluff" (may I call you Fluff or is it too soon yet?), I'd be more than happy to be create a custom Italian Palazzo dog house for you right next to my modest 20,000 square foot villa filled with the finest antiques a dog could buy. We might even get a spread in "Dog Fancy" magazine showcasing our treasures like this pair of 19th c. English Staffordshire Spaniels, list price: $55,000 USD:
Warm regards,
Then there are those who purchase the best antiques simply because they want them, they can afford them, and they always get what they want, like Amy Winehouse who surprisingly joneses for luxury goods in between her rehab stints:

For others, buying a 250 year old antique is a chance to own something that's actually older than they are. This group would include fossils like myself as well as others like Brooke Astor:
Another great example would be New York Socialite, Glamour Puss and the winner of the coveted title "Miss Deb of the Year 1938" (I was first runner-up), Brenda Diana Duff Frazier, shown below in later years doing what she does best:

And finally there are the few who buy antiques because of their financial privacy. For them, antiques are a way to amass and store value that they conveniently forget to report to the IRS. This is called laundering, it's illegal and The Buzz cautions against it unless you look REALLY good in stripes. Kind of like Bernie Madoff:Fashion note to Bernie: go with the vertical stripes next time, they're more slimming.

OK, Buzz, this was all semi-hysterical but is there a moral to this story? Yes! And it's simple dimple: The best reason to buy fine antiques is because you love them and they enrich your life. They really do.


Anonymous said...

So good! I'm still laughing about "Fluffo". Thanks for the info!

Rebecca Corvese said...

I just found your blog through Jane Antonacci's blog. I'm a new designer in the South Bay and I absolutely adore your blog! You are hilarious! I'm putting you on my daily must-reads and adding you to my blog list! Hopefully one day I'll have a rich and famous client (or just rich will do) to bring to your shop to purchase something! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks Rebecca. I look forward to meeting you one of these days. We actually have quite a few affordable pieces as well as the ones I feature on my blog. Plus you're always welcome to just come by to say hi (even if you're not shopping for a specific piece)!