Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Buyer Beware

On the weekend, I took IronMan on a whirlwind tour of some antique shops around Toronto. He calls anything previously owned “junk” and does not understand why anyone would buy something with another’s cooties on it. He is a good sport about it though and after touring a 20 000 sq. foot warehouse in 5 minutes waited patiently for another 30 or so for me to finish.

I got very excited at ‘Of Things Past….’ when I came across a Leather Top Secretary (mind your comments Kitkat and Papi). It was beautiful – compact, sleek and would one day tuck neatly into the corner of my retirement home room with my apple snug inside and serve nicely as a bedside table.

Checking the construction, I noted the drawers were all dove tailed, the long slender legs did not appear to have been broken and the leather was all there. In my mind, a charming, witty dandy of a Victorian gentleman had composed untold correspondence from this charming piece and I had to have it!

$2400 price tag aside, I was shocked by just how perfect it was. My dandy was clearly a teetotaller as there were no water rings in the leather where he set his gin and tonic down in summer or hot tottie by winter. I could spy no burns from where he had carelessly rested his pipe as he wrote to his lover. Having just seen Sherlock Holmes, I knew something was amiss. If it looks to good to be true…….

IronMan was less than pleased when I dropped to my knees (now now boys) to investigate further. Imagine my surprise, when on the bottom of MY Victorian I spied a bright yellow manufacturer’s label. My peepers not being what they once were I had to squint to make out the details. ‘Theodore Alexander’ it read. Promising I thought. Perhaps this Theodore was ahead of his time and wanted people to know who he was! Bright yellow was clearly the way to go.

The absence of any tape or pin to hold said label in place should have been my next clue. Squinting again, I saw the proverbial fine print – “Made in Vietnam”. Crushed is the word my pretties. Crushed.

Wouldn’t $2400 in Vietnam buy me a house or a cow or something? Like a puff of smoke from his pipe, my Victorian was gone. I was outraged and convinced that this had to be a mistake. Another buyer was trying to throw me off the scent and waiting for the price to drop so they could have it for themselves! No no no!

Well folks, Google never lies. In about 2 minutes I found the Theodore Alexander webpage and in about another 30 seconds, found my desk. And one e-mail later, to my local dealer identified via Mr. Alexander’s landing page, found out this desk retails NEW for $1805. Which means it is worth about $700, so I’ll give you $500.

I still find the little desk charming, and maybe, just maybe, a little note will find its way inside warning people about the high price. And then, as this particular consignment shop works its magic and the price drops, I will be able to snap it up.

Having recently been introduced to Kendrick’s Gin by Papi, I am sure I will manage a plethora of water rings all on my own.


Anonymous Papi said...

does Vietnam have cows? water buffalo i'm sure, you could probably get two for $2400 if you haggle

Leather Top Secretary ... giggle

10:17 PM  

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