A massing antiques has been a passion for centuries. Collectors find joy in discovering and preserving items from the past, whether it’s furniture, radios, paintings, ceramics or cars.
Tulsa Antiques and Bottle Club
The appeal of antique collecting lies in the stories that these objects tell. Each item has a unique backstory, and collectors like Henry Tankersley can delve into the past and discover the item’s secrets.
“I was a banker for nearly 50 years … and caught the antique bug from a co-worker who restored antique furniture,” he says. “I began acquiring Victorian-era furniture for my house. I searched for Coca-Cola items and became intrigued by early drugstores, relating to their soda fountains, eye-catching signs and total quackery.”
For some, the thrill of the hunt is the most exciting part of collecting. Scouring antique shops, flea markets and estate sales for hidden treasures is a challenge that many collectors relish.
Tankersley is the president of the Tulsa Antiques and Bottle Club. The club has about 60 members who collect everything from bottles and jars to antique advertising, postcards, toys, lamps, art deco items, ceramics, stoneware, insulators and tools.
“I have been a club member for about 25 years, and for the last 35 years, have been assembling an entire latter 19th/early 20th-century American drugstore,” says Tankersley. “It occupies every room of my house, which I call the 1910 Drugstore Museum.”
According to Tankersley, collecting should not be solely about financial gain. People should appreciate the beauty and historical significance of the acquired items.
“These days, relatively few people earn significant income from dealing in antiques,” he says. “The operators of antique shows, auctioneers and a few antique shop owners are among the few who do. Most dealers in antiques earn little in net income from doing so; they do it because they love it.”
Oklahoma Vintage Radio Collectors
Some collectors, like Tankersley, specialize in a particular era or style; others, like Jim Collings, focus on niche items like radios.
“There are numerous varieties of radios and equipment made since World War I days,” he says. “Most collectors focus on one aspect of the type of radio after collecting everything when they start out. This is usually due to space considerations.”
Collings has a little of everything but mainly sticks to rarer items. He’s also the Oklahoma Vintage Radio Collectors president and says the club has about 90 members. They host a biannual swap meet on the second Saturday of April and October. Swap meets include a silent and verbal auction, raffle of a donated radio, and an equipment contest with about 14 categories. They also have monthly meetings and a newsletter.
Antique collecting can be a fascinating and rewarding hobby that allows individuals to connect with the past and preserve its beauty and history for future generations.
Whether for personal enjoyment or financial gain, collectors should approach their hobby with passion, knowledge and reverence for the stories these objects tell.