Killer Stuff…

…And Tons of Money.Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

If you are into the whole flea market, estate sale and Brimfield Antiques Show scene-as Coach and I are- then this book, penned by Maureen Stanton, is a great read and this week’s High Five for Friday! Of course, if wandering through miles of pop-up tents in blistering heat looking at old stuff leaves you bleary-eyed and and bored to tears, then this is definitely not the book for you! For those of us who fill our homes with the old and the new, enjoying the hunt as well as the find, this book is a tell-all expose, focusing on one particular dealer (his pseudonym is Curt Avery, but he is never identified in the book, apparently to protect his livelihood). It’s entertaining and filled with valuable information about the deals and dealers that work the antiques and collectibles circuit for a living (and yes, apparently you can make a living doing this- but you have to know what you are doing!)

Killer Stuff Hardcover

Each chapter is an essay on a nomadic way of life that seems, at first glance, pretty stress-free and easy, but is really quite strenuous and fraught with disaster. The author cites so many instances of dealers (these are the people that are supposed to know what the heck is going on!), losing thousands of dollars by purchasing faked pieces, or selling a piece at an undervalued price, only to have it turned over 2 or 3 times, with the price doubling each time. This is the seemy side to the world of antiques and collectibles. Who knew that unscrupulous dealers would figure out how to age colored glass or recreate perfectly turned wooden legs on an antique chair, only to sell them as original and intact? Well, I guess I did assume that this happens, but not nearly at the frequency and by so many reputable dealers cited in this book.


The author spent seven years following Avery around to flea markets and shows, spending weekends sleeping under the stars in Brimfield, no showers or bathrooms to be had. Hours and hours spent waiting in line, pitching the tents, unpacking and setting up, only to turn around and re-pack everything that isn’t sold in a weekend- this is the life of a dealer. It is interesting to note that Avery, the dealer featured in the book,  got his start as a kid collecting bottles- the kind you find when you are digging in an area where old homes are still standing. Like this collection on my windowsill that we found down behind the barn while digging for garden and fence installations.  Not worth a lot, but still fun to learn the origins of Kikapoo Indian Oil.

Antique Bottles

The takeaway from this book? Buyer beware. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Because it may have been altered. Buy something for its charm and beauty, not because you think it is a good investment. (How many times have you seen an episode of Antiques Roadshow where some unsuspecting guy drags a supposedly priceless piece of artwork all the way from Timbuktoo thinking that it’s worth a million dollars, only to find out what he has is essentially worthless?!) And if you happen to venture out to the next Brimfield Show (it’s coming in May), look for the guy with the curly dark hair and the collection of bottles. He’s honest, extremely knowedgable and respected in his field.  Happy Friday everyone! Susan


  1. LOVED this book.


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