The plan of this website is schizophrenic. One theme, using the vehicle of a thirteen chapter book (along with a rather verbose Introduction), is to recount experiences with collecting over the last forty or so years. A second is to provide some guidance on how to approach the search for treasures – the pitfalls of auctions, the opportunities for finding gems by scouring antique shops or flea markets and the agonies and joys of traveling the estate sale route. Finally, in the last five chapters, we survey how a novice collector should approach collecting within a variety of categories of Americana including samplers, quilts, coverlets,  kitchen collectibles, furniture, portrait paintings, and so on ... This introductory chapter, though, looks at what we find special about Americana and might properly be titled "The development of the US economy in the 18th and 19th centuries as reflected in the things we collect today."

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Chapter One: Beginnings

Now in our mid-70s, I look around our house and wonder how we got here … how we developed a compulsion to possess more antiques of various sorts than any normal person would or should contend with. I count...

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Chapter Four: Flea Markets

Judging by what you find on the news bylines of any of the usual internet provider websites, it happens about once a month: Someone buys something for two or three bucks and learns subsequently that its worth thousands...

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Chapter Seven: A Shop of Our Own

Let it not be said that insanity can’t suddenly manifest itself in a family that by all outward appearances seems quite normal. We didn’t hesitate when the opportunity to move to Texas with a considerable increase in...

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Chapter Ten: Evaluating Antiques, Accessories I

Painted firkins, bowls &  pantry boxes

Burl bowls

Game boards

Trade signs


Oil portraits

Tole trays

Miniature furniture



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Chapter Two: Estate Sales

Regardless of whether you’re a dealer, collector, retail buyer or all three from time to time, there’s one thing everyone needs to understand about the buying and selling of antiques: It’s a marginal business ...

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Chapter Five: Auctions

Ahh, the stories I can tell about auctions. Actually, I’m sure that anyone whose attended two or more of these mainstays of the antiques business has already begun to develop their own collection of experiences. As noted earlier, auctions are…

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Chapter Eight: Westward Ho

Frankly, upon leaving Texas and heading to the Golden State, the last thing that concerned us was antiques. Our inventory had been largely disposed of and what survived were things we chose to live with. Besides, ...

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Chapter Eleven: Evaluating Antiques, Accessories II

Historical Staffordshire

Currier & Ives prints


Coffee mills

Coin silver flatware


Saltglaze stoneware

Early wrought iron

Butter prints

Sandwich glass

Copper Food Molds

The Past We Cannot Ignore

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Chapter Three: Shopping The Shops

One of the aggravating realities in the hunt for antiques is that you can’t be everywhere. Others will get the bargains at the sales you miss, and they’ll even often get things you want at the sales for which...

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Chapter Six: Acquiring Antiques

It may be possible to run an antiques business buying solely at auction or relying on the occasional flea market or estate sale find. I know people do it, but frankly except for those with deep pockets or a catalogue of ...

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Chapter Nine: Evaluating Accessories, Textiles



Needlework samplers

Cotton quilts

Amish quilts

Silk & wool quilts

Hooked Rugs

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Chapter Twelve: Evaluating Antiques, Furniture

Is it American?

Country farm tables

Work or side tables

Stepback cupboards

Case pieces

Rope beds

Blanket Chests


Refinished pine & poplar

Furniture repair

More on "Is it Old"


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Chapter Thirteen: Things Common and Uncommon

When scouring estate sales and flea markets, in addition to such questions as “How old is it?”, “Where’s it from?” and “Who made it?” you’ll oftentimes have to ask yourself “What is it? Or “Why in hell did they make it?” In other words you’ll encounter things that catch your fancy but leaves you utterly mystified as to what it is you’re looking at, and thus little idea as to value.

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Recent additions to Inventory

We are, of course, continually searching for goodies, and since we can't keep everything, I'll try to bring some of our latest acquisition to your attention. So check out our offerings at Dig Country Antiques although a good share of what I find that fits in a box heads directly to eBay under my ID there, pco2000.