Monday, May 6, 2013

An Interview with the Next Generation of Auction Hunter

Jonah Martin age 12 loves auctions. Every time he comes to an auction he has a smile on his face and is always enthusiastic. His energy is contagious. So how did a 12 year old get interested in auctions? We had his mom interview him to find out:

Q: Why do you like to go to Auctions
A: “I like to meet new people and find lots of cool treasures that tell about the past.  I once bought a stock receipt from 1849 and I also purchased fractional currency there. We went online and learned the history of fractional currency after that”
Q: What is your favorite part of the auction experience?
A: “I like the bidding, the satisfaction of winning a bid, and learning about the history of items being sold.”
Q: What have you learned from going to auctions?
A: “I learned about fractional currency, Japanese “Mickey Mouse” money (Japanese government issued Philippines Peso). I've also learned a lot about the business side of selling things. I want to own a store someday
Q: What would you say to someone who has never been to an auction?
A: “Come out to an auction even if you just want to watch because it’s fun to watch and meet new people. I would also tell them not to spend all their money”
Q: Why should people go to auction?
A: “You can meet new people, learn a lot about history, and get things cheaper than they are in stores”
Q: What were the  best things you ever bought at auction”
A: “My favorite items were 1837 fractional currency, my knight’s shield, and a gumball machine”
Q: What made you want to start going to auctions”
A: “I like to watch auctions on TV and it’s more fun to be there in person. My favorite auction is the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction- I hope to see it in person someday”

Our thanks to Jonah! We love seeing him at our auctions and hope that he will be an avid auction fan for years to come!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Food for thought

These past few weeks have been incredibly busy, back to back to back auctions make for long weeks and little free time to update the blog. When we experienced some “technical difficulties” with our server this week, I found this to be a perfect time to tackle an issue that is always in the back of my mind.

This issue is embodied in Ron Lawson’s blog post on Antique Auction Forum (which you can read here)  This article was written almost a year ago to the day. At that point, I had really just begun to get a handle on working in this industry and didn’t really know enough to agree or disagree. One year later, I revisited this article while looking through a folder marked “blog ideas”.  After reading it again, I was offended.  Perhaps, it’s because I’m a 20 something, or because I care about preserving antiques and their historical value, maybe I’m an anomaly… but I don’t think so.

The type of antiques Lawson expects  20-40 somethings to collect, or have interest in include Baroque and Nouveau period items, as well as, Tiffany and other high end antiques. Is this really practical for someone in their 20s starting out? Is it practical for a young family (also in that 20-40s range) to own Baroque period furniture? (Talk about a baby-proofing nightmare). Not to mention that many of those period antiques are out of our budget, while many turn of the century and mid-century modern items are well within our grasp.

I agree with Ron that the “Ikea mentality” is something that is pervasive in most of the “20-40” something generation. However, I think he tends to gloss over the fact that vintage has made a real comeback in the past 10-20 years. I think far more people care about “vintage” than Lawson gives them credit for. Vintage is IN. Have you planned a wedding lately, or looked at home décor? Things that are labeled as “vintage”, “rustic”, “antique” are always highly sought.

I would argue that the move to an “Ikea mentality” is not a lack of appreciation, but a lack of opportunity and education about buying antiques. Not all antiques worth collecting are Baroque or made by Belter. Although Lawson may not be an elitist, as he claims, it is this elitist attitude that is dangerous to the next generation of collectors and it’s one that our industry should fight against. The “Ikea mentality” is a default because many 20 something are unaware about the quality of items that can be found at a local auction or flea market. They go to Ikea because it is inexpensive and convenient—not because they are looking for an item they can replace in a year.

Lawson’s argument is toxic to the future of the antique industry because it perpetuates the stereotype that collecting antiques is only for the wealthy who can afford to buy high end big name items, and that simply isn’t true.  What we should be looking to do is change that perception and then I think you will see a greater volume of young people interested in collecting antiques, attending auctions and taking an active role in the preservation of history. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Auction Hunting: No License Necessary

Required to carry a license while hunting? Not so if you’re auction hunting; especially for collectible hunting and fishing licenses which date back to the 1940s and earlier or paper licenses dating from the early 1900s.


More than 500 of these collectibles will be sold at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 23 at Gateway Gallery Auction, 643 Kriner Road, Chambersburg.

This collection, amassed over a life time by one gentleman, includes hundreds of Pennsylvania hunting and fishing licenses, vintage shotshell boxes, as well as Winchester Prints. “This auction is a one owner lifetime collection of Hunting & Fishing Licenses including some rare pieces you don't see in other collections. The auction will be a fine opportunity for the collector or dealer to add to their inventory. These items are fresh to the market!” Said Bob Abraham, Jr. consultant for Gateway Gallery.

In addition to the licenses, the auction will feature a large amount of various hunting and fishing related items and uncataloged traylots.  The auction will also be available on Auctionzip Live for internet bidding.
Doors open at 8 a.m.; preview is from 4 to 6 p.m. March 22 at the auction. For more information, visit

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Auction fit for a Wedding

If you read our blog with any regularity you have probably figured out that I am getting married soon (hopefully, if all goes smoothly), and I have weddings on the brain.

So now I am thrust into wedding planning, and unlike most little girls I really had no vision about how my wedding should be. I keep hearing the words "vintage chic" thrown around when referring to wedding style. "Vintage" style weddings seem to be all the rage these days with budget savvy brides everywhere. Just take a look at all these real wedding that come up when you Google "Vintage Chic Weddings"

Inspired by modern thrift store trends, these weddings all seem to have elements of vintage mixed in with modern contemporary styles to create almost a soft romantic feel. Some feature vintage items, calligraphy, mason jars, etc. Pinterest is full of ideas of how to use those vintage and upcycled items in your wedding.

I know if I decide to go the "vintage chic" route for my wedding, I will definitely be looking in the secondhand market for some of my items. Mason jars for example have become big time decor items.
Lucky for me we sell the by the box full, and adding a little home made decoration can give you a truly one of a kind touch to your wedding. 

Another thing we always have is milk glass. I actually really like these milk glass centerpieces (although Better Homes and Gardens has it listed under Christmas decor) 
Via: Better Homes and Garden 
So as far as my wedding decor, I know where I'll be looking. These items and many other great ones will be available in our January 21st auction. As the wedding planning progresses I'm sure I will inspired with many other vintage and antique ideas with items I see come in the door every day. Has anyone else used a secondary market for the wedding? We'd love to hear your stories. Feel free to leave us a comment below. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top 10 Repurposed Gifts you can Find at Auction

Tis the season to be jolly, or if you are like most of us, tis the season to agonize over what to give that one person who is so hard to shop for. I agonized and agonized like I do every year (my mother is SO hard to shop for)! Fortunately I work at an auction house so unique and interesting gift ideas are always right in front of me. There are many ways re-purpose the things you can find at auction with normal stuff you might have lying around your house. 

So here is my top 10 list of the best re-purposed holiday gifts ideas from things I see come into our doors all the time.

10. Turn this dresser into an extra special accent piece. I see great furniture come through our doors all the time. Auctions are a great place to pick up something that with a little love can be a master piece. 
For example here are a twelve ideas. Here is another idea, but instead of buying the dresser from a big box store, buy it at auction and give new love to something that already exists.

9.  Mason Jar Upcycle. We see mason and ball jars come through the doors all the time. These are some of my favorite ways to reuse them for holiday décor and gifts like a soap dispenser or holiday candle

8. What about those old mirrors and frames? We get plenty of them… have you ever thought of making it into a statement piece? A little paint and viola! Here are some more ideas with repurposed frames .

7. Button Crafts! As anyone will tell you I am just mad about buttons! We sell them by the thousands! Here are some button project ideas! I know someone who would LOVE a button bouquet for their wedding (ahem)! Here's another one that combines the frame and the buttons. Don't for get button bobby pins 
Did I mention I LOVE buttons. You can read my post about them here ­

6.  And for that person in your life with a green thumb? I love these teacup planter ideas. We sell teacups by the case full and this is a great way to use them!

5.  Personalized Mugs. I can’t even begin to tell you how many mugs we sell. We sell the by the box. Why not make a personalized mug for someone?

4. Decorated Tins. I have them on my desk at home to keep my stuff organized. They can be repurposed to match just about any décor. They would also look great in kids rooms.

3. Maps. We all have them. I probably have all 50 states stuffed into my car somewhere here are some great ideas to reuse them. I love the idea of making hearts out of places that are special to you and framing it! I might be doing that tonight when I get home! Italy anyone?

2.  Okay, I’m slightly wedding obsessed, I am in the middle of planning my own, so I had to throw this in. I love using the vintage keys for a guest book. But I also love the idea of putting a key on a chain and making a really great unique necklace.

1. And what to wrap all your creations in? Maps, newspaper, recycled grocery bags, old posters, comics. The possibilities are endless  

All of us at Gateway Gallery Auction want to wish you all a very happy Holiday and a happy New Year! We are busy getting set up for our auctions beginning in January 2013. As always be sure to check out our upcoming auctions for more great upcycled and re-purposing ideas as well as vintage and antique items! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vintage Pinterest

If you are alive today (and are computer literate) chances are you have heard of Pinterest. I have often called it "stumble upon for ladies". If you're a young 20 something and planning a wedding (ahem)... you practically live on Pinterest. Frankly I often wonder how people got things done before its existence. If you are at all into vintage it is also a wonderful portal to explore your interest. If you haven't used or heard of it here is how Pinterest describes itself:
"Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse boards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests" via
Heres a picture of the front page:  
As you can see we have recipes, exercise routines, fashion, quotes, and photographs all represented. 
This concept is nothing new. People have been sharing recipes, decorating houses, planning weddings, and getting before Pinterest burst on to the scene. Scrapbooking was there long before the internet (and still is for many dedicated hobby-ists out there). When we think of scrapbooks I often think of picture albums, but this is a common misconception. Scrapbooking was popular long before the photograph. People would often clip out items from magazines and news papers, greeting cards, calling cards, quotes etc. Working in museums, I have even seen recycled books turned into scrapbooks where clippings were pasted right over the page. I've also seen scrapbooks dedicated to pressed flowers and hair jewelry  Photographs in scrapbooks didn't become that common until the mid to late 1800s and after.

Over the years I've seen many different incarnations of the scrapbooks. These pictures are from scrapbooks  we are featuring in our December 10th auction. Just like today, celebrities and fashion were hot topics... looks pretty familiar right?.

Now here are some items from my Pinterest page.

Not all that different eh? Interests span time and generations. Sure, most of us aren't literally cutting and pasting (or are we via our computers)? Although Pinterest isn't a physical scrapbook it still is a visual representation of things that inspire us. As we move forward in the digital age, its often nice to stop and take a step back to consider what the predecessor is and how we got to the current incarnation. Technology changes fast, but the idea of saving important things never goes out of style, especially in the auction business.

For more information on our upcoming auctions be sure to visit our website! Happy cutting/pinning! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Civil War Diary sheds new light on African American Troops During the Last Year of the Civil War

The diary of a young officer of the 42nd U.S.C.T. sheds light on obscure regiment

Chambersburg PA- African American troops made up only 6% of the total troops who fought in the Civil War making accounts of their units scarce, but Gateway Gallery Auction hopes to change that by selling the Civil War Diary of First Lieutenant Adoniram Judson Hastings of the 42nd U.S.C.T.  on October 22, 2012.
The diary of Hastings recounts the closing events of the Civil War including the fall of Richmond, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, the assassination of President Lincoln, and the shooting of John Wilkes Booth. 
“This diary gives us an insight into the everyday life of the unit as well as how people were feeling about the events of the time. By 1865 many folks were weary and ready for the war to end, this diary reflects that.  This unit, stationed outside Chattanooga, was in a perfect position to watch the fall of the Confederacy.”  Lee Kalfon, Assistant Auction Coordinator and researcher at Gateway Gallery Auction said.
The diary also tells of the daily activities of the regiment made up of African American troops and includes descriptions of meetings among the enlisted men.
 “This was an obscure unit formed late in the war, It is rare to find primary source information on any African American unit, but since the 42nd wasn’t formed until 1864 and performed mostly garrison duty most of their stories have been lost to time.”  Kalfon continued.
In addition to the Civil war diary, Gateway’s  October 22nd auction will also feature vintage items, clocks, toy tractors, furniture and more. Gateway Gallery Auction holds bi-weekly estate auctions as well as specialty collection auctions. For more information visit  or call (717) 263-6512.