Temptation must be conquered.
When you’re in an antique shop looking for a Christmas gift, please remember that this isn’t about you.
“Your tastes may be very different from what the recipient might want. I know it’s difficult to do because we have so many lovely things here,” says Flic Trott, a 50-year volunteer at Things Antiques and Gifts. Yes, 50 years of volunteering with the Women’s Committee of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, purveyors of this Corydon Avenue shop.
Shop co-manager Judy Fields adds that sticking to a budget may also help narrow your choices and finally make a selection. “We really do have price points for every customer. If you don’t mind buying something that someone else has had, you can really find some bargains.”
There are delightful turquoise rings and elegant glass bowls in the $25 range. And then there are more substantial selections such as the 59-piece set of Birks sterling flatware, priced at $1,800. A new set of this quality would easily cost twice of three times as much.
Things Antiques and Gifts accepts pieces on consignment as well as outright donations. The proceeds go to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The shop has a loyal following of regulars who are always on the hunt for pieces to add to their collections, whether it be tiny Hummels or cream and sugar sets, but only of the sugar bowls do not have lids.
“People buy for themselves and they buy for others, and every interest is so unique. There are things I am not remotely interested in that others absolutely love,” added Trott.
Both Trott and Field agree that the joy of working in the shop is hearing the stories of the pieces that come in and perhaps learning a thing or two.
“Some customers come in and say I want a piece of silver. We ask if they want sterling or silver plate, and sometimes they don’t know. Then we have other customers that know a great deal and we love learning from them,” Trott said.
Take one look at this 1959 mug and you’ll soon see it bears a striking resemblance to Errol Flynn, who would forever be associated with the bandit after his appearance in The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938. If someone on your list is a Royal Doulton collector, this is a must-have.
Just for fun, I checked out the price of a single piece made by Waterford Crystal, perhaps the most well-known name in the fancy stemware business. The Lismore white wine glass sells for about CDN $72. That’s why this set of four, six ounce glasses from the equally well-know Edinburgh Crystal is such a fantastic deal. And yes, they make that lovely ping sound when you flick the lip.
$60 for four
Shelley Demitasse China Set
Imagine serving espresso after dinner in this charming set. Shelley china hasn’t been made since the 1960s and there’s a big following for these lovely English pieces. The 16-piece set includes cream, sugar, a coffee pot and six cups and saucers.
Is there a little girl on your list with a penchant for all things princessy? You can’t go wrong with this sparkly tiara. It’s the real deal, studded with dozens of rhinestones (and not one missing). $116
Things Antiques and Gifts, 913 Corydon Ave, 284-7331
Mon. – Sat. 10 am – 4 pm