This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shopping at J&L Antiques

I noticed a sign in the window of J&L Antiques in downtown Rensselaer announcing that prices for antiques not scheduled for auction were reduced 25%, and that the store was reducing the amount of space given to antiques.
It turns out that the antique business is very depressed, which makes some sense. When people have tight budgets, antiques are an item that can be cut with little effect on standard of living. After all, most of them do not do much except take up space. For example, who would actually use this stove below? If you want it, you will have to buy it at auction on June 21 in Lafayette. You might get a great deal--J&L does not have reserve prices.
In the front of the store is an even older stove, a wood burner. I do not think it is going to the auction. J&L will keep some antiques, but not carry as many. They may also expand their selection of used furniture.
They have a really energy-efficient washing machine, unless you take into account the energy of the operator. It is very old and in outstanding condition. My mother used an old wringer machine when I was a kid, but it used electricity.
This little kid must have had a bad day when this picture was taken. Or do you think it is cute? I love antique stores because you can never tell what you will find in them, and often you can learn something just by looking.
My candidate for the most useless thing in the store was this antique wheel chair. Someone had sat in it and broken out the bottom. If you need a wheel chair, do you really want one like this? If you do, it is part of the auction consignment for June 21.
The owner has a collection of old bottles from the Rensselaer bottling company. There are very few of these bottles still around. They were returnable--remember those days? I recall that when I was a kid, pop bottles could be returned for two cents (which given inflation, had the value of a quarter today). We sometimes would walk the highway looking for bottles. If we found two or three, it was a pretty good day. One day we found a stash of them behind a neighbor's house, but he did not take kindly to our appropriation of his bottles.

If you want to see this bit of Rensselaer memorabilia, stop in at J&L Antiques.
By the way, this may be a good time to be buying antiques. Buy when others are not buying and sell when others are buying. It is the way that speculators get rich.

(J&L also operates a new furniture business in the old Murray Department Store building which is adjacent, and sometime in the future I will write about it. The antique part of the business is in an antique building. Up at the top you can see a stone that says: A Leopold Erected 1881.)

Sure, you can find some great stuff online at a good price, but it is not the same experience at all as it is browsing through a history-packed antique store.

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