FOR A GOOD INVESTMENT? THESE VICTORIAN ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES ARE
BEST BUYS? We
hate to say "I told you so," but putting together an
impressive \1\1 collection of Victoriana gets harder all the time. Many
of the W IT nostalgic touches associated with this era, carved oak side
tables, tasseled door curtains and stained glass transom panels were
still reasonably priced only a few years ago. Now all three cost a
fortune! But bargains are still out there if you know what to look for.
Study this list of under-valued items and focus on a few of your
favorites or keep this list handy when you haunt antique shops and tag
sales just in case you come across an unexpected item at a great price.
You never know what lurks on the discount table awaiting an open-minded
Calling Cards: These petite treasures are far more elegant than today's prosaic business cards. Among the least expensive of Victorian keep- sakes, calling cards often feature fanciful artwork or tiny poems. Prices range from several dollars to about $50. Cards from Victorian-era "persons of note" cost far more.
Ladies' Fans: The best examples are not for the budget-minded, but some hand-painted, double-sided fans still go for under $100. Slight damages can be disguised by placing the fan in a shadow box as part of a collage, draping a dainty glove over the imperfect area. When you consider your fan as wall art, $100 is not a bad price!
Button Hooks: Once used to fasten the button loops of high-top boots or elbow-length gloves, button hooks come in large (for shoes) and small (for gloves) proportions. The price tag depends on the embellishment—those inlayed with mother of pearl will cost more than simple silverplate ones. Buy up whatever you can afford, now!
Hat Pins: Often six inches or longer, Victorian hat pins were required to keep large and elaborate millinery garb in place on a lady's head. Look for simple metal- work, jeweled pins or carved ivory. Gather a "bouquet" of hat pins in a porcelain hat pin holder but beware—these vintage fashion accessories are sharp enough to be considered weapons!
Madison, Ohio was little more than a village when the Loparos happened upon it. Today it is a more enhanced and even more charming village—and it seems to be stepping farther back into the Victorian era every day. The couple's first acquisition—and the home of the yearned-for Tea Room—was built in 1875 as the Exchange Bank of Madison. The Loparos have turned the landmark into a Victorian masterpiece. As many as 40 "tea-totalers" can be sumptuously accommodated among the expansive ceilings, lace- draped windows, dark paneling, brilliant chandeliers and fine china. Classical music wafts throughout the room and the century-old mottled windowpanes, looking out over the Village Park, mute the afternoon sun. With the addition of a large gar- den area, where guests are seated among trees, plants and an elegant fountain, His Majesty's has become a favorite venue for elegant lunches, bridal and baby showers, club meetings and anniversaries. Larger events, such as wedding receptions, may spill out onto the Village green and take advantage of the stately central gazebo there. The couple has also expanded their vision to include an Emporium across the square. It offers a mixture of antiques, gifts, art and almost anything Victorian—or, just plain charming—that you could want to purchase to bring a touch of history back to your home. His Majesty's Tea Room adheres quite strictly to English tradition, The fare includes the finest of teas—premium blends by Harney & Sons—and scones, crumpets, tea breads and tartlets as well as more substantial offerings of sandwiches, homemade soups and salads. So, the dream has been realized, the stage has been set—and your table is waiting. We can think of no finer location for a Victorian wedding, a weekend trip for a garden club or, perhaps, a gentle adventure for two. The Victorian era is alive and doing quite well, thank you very much—in the lovely village of Madison, Ohio. Editor's Note: To contact His Majesty's Tea Room, call 888- 606-6036. It is located at 63 West Main Street, Madison, Ohio 44057 and you may visit their website at www.tearoom.org