Speaking of Antiquing – September 2015

These three words are heard as often as they are misspelled and misunderstood!

knick·knack: a small worthless object, especially a household ornament.

cu·ri·o: a rare, unusual, or intriguing object.

tchotch·ke: a small object that is decorative rather than strictly functional; a trinket, a small bauble or miscellaneous item.

Knick-knacks or Tchotchkes are souvenir items from the town or country you are visiting. The words may refer to free promotional items dispensed at trade shows, conventions, and large events. They are also sold as cheap souvenirs in tourist areas, sometimes called “tchotchke shops.”

A cup with “Oregon” written on it will remind you of the time you spent exploring its many rivers, lakes, mountains, and natural wonders. Perhaps it will evoke different memories each time you use it.

Items from the World’s Fair in St. Louis and Chicago probably marked the beginning of our nation’s selling of souvenirs. Bringing home small items of remembrance and interesting pieces of history was a means of showing your family and friends what was happening in the world. Collectibles from these fairs have become rare and valuable. A button, bottle, tapestry, spoon, or ephemera can bring collectors swarming. Who would have known the tiny prizes found in Cracker Jack boxes since 1912 would be collectible?

Curios differ in that they are objects of curiosity—items of greater value that hold respect enough to be placed in specialized furniture. Curio cabinets and shelves, valuable themselves, were created to hold these treasures for the owner in an out-of- reach area where they’d remain safe.

Figurines from Asia, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, or France are typically high-quality, hand-painted items, artistically made using fine porcelain or glass. Carvings from Germany, Austria, or Japan were done with craftsmanship rarely seen in today’s marketplace. Sterling silver cups, trinkets, vases, or spoons also will be found in a well-loved curio cabinet

At Pickety Place, we have many collections including Hummel, Lladro, Capo Di Monte, Occupied Japan, and many others. And, if you are looking for Trench Art or Tramp Art, we have some examples along with a myriad of other interesting selections that will pique your interest.