I rarely regret not buying something.
Regret only distracts me from enjoying my hobby of collecting.
Plus: I know I’ll find something just as interesting — if not better — along the way.
Notice that I said “rarely,” and not “never.” After all, there are exceptions to every rule.
I was thinking about those exceptions recently as I stumbled across a couple of interesting items.
The first, a 19th century pitcher, is one of the loveliest pieces of opaque glass I’ve seen in a long time.
I looked at the piece at the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival and thought about buying.
It was priced at $50 — a couple of decades ago, it would have been priced at $300-$400.
I walked away because I really didn’t have a place to display it and didn’t want it languishing in a cupboard.
I left the show, went to lunch, then returned to the show and bought.
I’ve not regretted that at all!
Standing about just under a foot high, the pitcher is elaborately decorated in a fanciful enamel design. The condition is great, right down to the wear marks on the bottom of the piece — those little scratches a piece acquires over decades of being moved across a tabletop or other surface. It had a few marks, but not too many — clearly the piece spent much of its life on display in a cabinet.
The gold trim around the top and bottom rims shows a little wear, but the raised enamel design that’s picked out in the trim is crisp and clear.
And that enamel design? It represents hours of labor as an artisan painted the design of flowers and flourishes in oils.
My first thought when I saw the piece was that it came from the Mount Washington Co. of Massachusetts or Thomas Webb of England — both companies made popular lines of decorated art glass in the middle and late 19th century. But given the shape of the piece and the way the pontil is finished on the bottom — that’s where the glassblower snapped it from his blowpipe, the piece could be Continental — possibly French.
Regardless of where it’s from, the piece tells a story of the hard work that goes into creating an object of beauty.
I could say the same for the solitary Wedgwood dinner plate I saw at a Kofski estate sale in West Palm Beach.
The plate has a blue transfer border and an enameled equestrian motif in the center.
The scene on the plate, depicting a foxhunt, is detailed in colorful raised enamel — the green of the background and the red of the hunter’s jacket contrast with the blue and white of the border.
Online sources suggest there was a series of three of these plates, each with a slightly different scene. It dates from the first half of the 20th century.
Though the plate is dinner size, it probably was intended for use as a charger or as a cabinet decoration.
This colorful plate, priced at $38, was not outrageously expensive by any means. But I didn’t need another plate sitting around the house (which is exactly what I said as I walked away).
Over the course of a week, I thought about the plate and how cool it was.
As with the pitcher, I pondered whether I’d ever see another one.
Kofski reopened the next week and I bought, paying $30 for the plate.
Did I need it? No.
Would I have regretted not buying it? Probably.
I’ll have to find a place to display it — along with that pitcher. ¦
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