“Come on, it’ll be fun. You might even learn something.” So began, with these words from my wife, my foray into the world of antiques. I like learning things as much as the next guy but as an “un-initiated” I was pretty sure antiquing would not soon become my favorite hobby. We headed off to the Del Mar Fairgrounds to have a couple of pieces accessed and to browse. Shortly after arriving and beginning our stroll through the event pavilion, my day took an unexpected turn as two veteran traders found it absurdly entertaining that I knew next to nothing about hand-carved, hardwood, saddle horns from Middle America circa 1900. Soon after, while still recovering, a fellow patron offered me twenty dollars for the “vintage” t-shirt I was wearing. I felt this was rather nervy since my precious Bad Company souvenir had been bought just seventeen short years earlier. Are there not age standards for antiques? Needing to regroup, I suggested that my wife and I step outside and find a refreshment stand. With my inhibition now lowered by a $7.50 can of luke-warm Heineken Lite, we returned to the antiquated maze. This second go-round went smoother as I worked to keep a lower profile. I also began to make a couple interesting observations.
First, the things that some people choose to collect are rather bizarre: thimbles, cigarette lighters and lampshades. These in no way compare to the treasured items I, myself, value such as baseball cards, shot glasses, and newspaper clippings… Second, there is an excellent reason why many people bring wagons and hand-dollies with them to these shows: ANTIQUES CAN BE VERY HEAVY! I realized this only after the set of cast iron bookends we’d brought along to be accessed began to pull my shoulders and elbow joints out of place permanently. Finally, after looking around for several hours it became painfully clear to me that many of the things I played with, ruined, or threw away as a child were now worth thousands of dollars. Yes, my inaugural antique adventure was rough but I felt proud I made it through. As my wife and I rode the shuttle to the outskirts of the parking lot, I admitted to her that I couldn’t wait until the year 2045 when I could start selling off the stuff in our garage!

                                          Daniel J McAuliffe
                                          Scripps Ranch

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