What exactly is the ART DECO style?

You hear the phrase ART DECO quite a bit in the world of antiques, but what exactly is it?

Art Deco got its start in France just before World War 1, and the style ran from about 1910 to about 1939.

Philips_930
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

People also call Art Deco just Deco, and it’s short for Arts Decoratifs.  It combined several assorted styles—it was influenced by the lines of Cubism, the bright colors of Fauvism (this was a painting style) and even exotic styles from Asia.  Persian, Egypt styles and even Maya art had some influence on the Art Deco style.

club chair
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Its influence could be seen on just about everything—buildings, furniture, jewelry, cars, fashion, trains and even everyday items like toasters.

You can see the style around today—you can see it on buildings like the Chrysler Building in New York.

chrysler building
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

And you can even see it on the Prometheus Statue in Rockefeller Center in New York.

prometheus

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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What are some things to remember when you go shopping for antiques?

Whenever you go shopping for antiques, there are always a few things that you need to remember.  The first thing that you need to keep in mind is what kind of budget that you have.  What I do so that I don’t go over my budget is to write down on a piece of paper how much my bill will be.

Another thing to remember is to keep an idea (or even a list) on what you are looking for.  It could be a lamp for your living room, a carburetor for your Indian motorcycle or even a Morgan dollar for your coin collection.  I often look in reference books or on the internet to see how much the item that I am looking for will cost so that I know what to expect to pay.

The next thing that I do is to figure out where I would like to go.  You may have several antique stores, flea markets and even swap meets that are pretty close to home, so you could hit several of them in one day.

The last thing to do is to throw a box or a sack into your car or truck.  It might sound silly, but I have one when I go shopping—you may be at something like a garage sale or even a swap meet and need to pack something in it.

The best rule of thumb of all is to have fun!

What are some things to consider when it comes to restoring an item?

When do you restore an item?  Do you leave it well enough alone or do you restore it?  These are questions that you will hear when you are dealing antiques and collectibles, and it can be kind of hard to know what to do.

The first thing to know is how much the item is worth—both in its current form and what it will be worth after the restoration.  An effective way to do that is to get an appraisal on the item.  Ask the appraiser to give you an appraisal on both before and after values to see if it is worth it to restore the item.

If the item’s value will go up after the restoration, you need to keep in mind on what the item is.  If it’s something that you don’t feel comfortable restoring yourself (like a rug or a painting), then you will need to find a good conservator to help you out.

Be careful though—restoring an item could get to be a very expensive proposition.  I’ve seen restorations go from as little as $500 (for a painting) to well over $50,000 (for a car).  To help figure out what it will cost to restore your item, I would contact people who do restorations to get an estimate on what to expect.

The last thing to consider is if you want to do the restoration or to just do a few simple repairs to the item—after all, all the item may need is a good cleaning and one or two new items on it.