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Young antiquers appear at show

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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- When it comes to paintings -- whether new or antique -- some are more desirable than others. For example, Americans tend to avoid subjects captured in that most antique costume, birthday suits. Religious themes, except Russian icons, cater mostly to museums or the pious.

Some themes bring more money than others. As an appraiser, I am constantly researching sales and have concluded that works showing chickens, sheep and cats proportionally sell for more than landscapes, portraits or other subjects. One particularly pricey type of art usually revolves around our best friends: dogs.

On Nov. 18, Skinner's of Boston, Mass. will auction artwork capturing Pug dogs.More than 21 lots of Pug artworks, including oils and several pastels, are in the sale.

The breed originated in the Far East and then appeared in Holland. According to 19th-century canine writer John Henry Walsh, the name comes from Latin, pugnus, meaning fist, "because the fist was considered to resemble the dog's profile." "The Swarland Pugs," by Wilson Hepple (British, 1853-1937) from 1898 is expected to fetch about $6,000 to $8,000. It is always fun to see if paintings sell as expected. For information go to

Older antiquers are constantly bemoaning how younger people are not into antiques. My day spent at the Chicago Antique Market proves this hullabaloo wrong. While doing a book singing for my new book, "Antiques 101," I encountered myriad under 30-year-olds snagging goodies.

Couples brought along children, all destined to become future antiquers. The Windy City's fresh collectors reinforce that antiques will become even bigger in upcoming decades.

Another perk from antiques was very evident. Antiques, like pets and music, are part of the international language of friendship.

Among the crowd were collectors from a wide range of backgrounds and countries, all smiling and clutching newly found treasures.

The Chicago Antique Market also revealed that Chicago is a Mid-Century town when it comes to collecting. Those semi-antiques dating from the 1950s and 1960s seemed to be the most popular. A Mid-Century display reminded me of my mother. To mom's credit she insisted (often awful against great opposition) that Frankie receive some heirlooms such as great Aunt Nana's silver spoons. But she was no antiquer until I saw some pieces that mom would have loved.

Enthroned in a display sat a three-piece curved Mid Century sectional sofa. The orange fabric was original, thanks to a pre-Scotch guard technique that mom also used.

As kids we were never allowed in the living room, reserved only for holidays and guests but my sister, Debbie, and I did not care.

Why? Our sofa and chairs stuck to us when using them. Every upholstered piece in that trophy room had been slipcovered in clear plastic slipcovers, but no more.!

If a Mid-Century piece maintains its initial plastic slipcover that is considered a plus according to the dealer. It is a bonus; just like an intact finish on furniture is more desirable. I was told the price for the sofa was $1,500 and would have been about half without the original slipcovers. How the definition of antiques keeps revolving.

Frank Farmer Loomis IV is an independent appraiser of antiques and author of "Antiques 101: A Crash Course in Everything Antique." If you have any antique questions, write to him at Middletown Journal, Attn: Frank Loomis IV, 52 S. Broad St., Middletown, Ohio, 45044 or e-mail:

c.2005 Cox News Service

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