I just got off the phone with Wayne F. a man who has a talent for finding vintage jewelry at auctions. He’s been collecting vintage art, antiques and jewelry for over twenty years. He tells me the story of the day he bought his house, how it had all these empty rooms until he started buying rooms-full of art and furniture at auctions for a song, to fill them. His real passion however is buying vintage jewelry that he gives to his love and muse, Melanie.
Now that the house is furnished Wayne scours the auction counter for vintage jewelry. Once a month on Sunday mornings he makes the trip and reviews the collection early, picks what he likes and signs the bid form. The day of the auction he gets a phone call and places a bid. “I was in Batesville Arkansas and I was bidding on 2 things at the auction. I left dinner (if you can call it that in Arkansas, deep fried everything) and went back to my room. I got the the first call and passed based on my rules. Fell asleep waiting for the second call, which came late. I missed one call in twenty years.”
His secret to getting a great deal on vintage jewelry at auctions? “Never pay more than the appraised value. By the time you pay your taxes it isn’t worth it.” He claims to have purchased a $10,000 ring for $2300 this way.
“The best time to go to auctions is the summer because people are away on vacation.” Wayne’s formula is simple “When you bid at an auction it’s the Kenny Rogers thing” – noting to the famous line ‘know when to hold em…know when to fold em’
Wayne doesn’t mince words, when asked what his method was for finding vintage jewelry “I look for something unique and different and I buy it.” The jewelry collection he has amassed for Melanie is somewhere in the range of 50 pieces, various rings, bracelets, necklaces and broaches. All unique and different. Wayne occasionally purchases antiques if they stand out like a Tiffany lamp he found for their kitchen. “Ed Mervish bought them all up at one time and put them in a warehouse so you couldn’t find them. I bought mine from an artist in Vancouver.”
His best vintage score? The black diamond flower-ring he found for Melanie. She wears it proudly, along with the other scores. Lucky girl.
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