La Rentree Giveaway with Paris Apartment iPhone Application

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 314px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>All across Paris, s tore windows and restaurants are celebrating. “C’est La Rentree!” announces “It’s the Return” from vacation!

In Paris the entire city goes away for their summer “holiday” in August. As my husband works for a French company, we too take August for a month away. This year my darling niece visited us for her Grand Tour and August was awhirl with travel – trips to Paris, Prague and London book-ended nearly a month away in Italy visiting Tuscany, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice and Rome. You’ll be reading about our summer holidays over the next month as I catch up on my blogging, but today the French sentiment of “La Rentree” is my word-du-jour as I return to life post-vacation!

As I am always a fan of combining work with pleasure, I wanted to start this Fall Antiques Diva Season off with a special giveaway in conjunction with the fabulous Claudia Strasser, author of the beautiful Paris Apartment blog.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 265px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Claudia is a professional shopper, French flea market guide and author of The Paris Apartment: Romantic Decor on a Flea Market Budget. And she’s created something Diva Readers need to know about – an iPhone application called”>”Keys to the Fleas” the first in a series of mobile application guides for navigating the flea markets of the world.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 294px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=” to+the+Fleas.jpg” border=”0″ />This application for iPhones is an insider’s guide, written as a trade resource for flea market lovers. For those in the know, Paris is full of treasures. The key to finding them is knowing where and when to look, and with this iPhone application the information is just a click away. The app is a wealth of information for buyers, decora tors, Francophiles and is the perfect companion for all travelers, from the armchair to those planning serious buying trips. It has everything you’ll need to shop like a pro and includes maps, shippers, Métro s tops, bus routes, hours, and of course, local haunts where you can kick back and admire your treasures over a café au lait!

While you can order your to-the-fleas/id380432477?mt=8#”>“Keys to the Fleas” for only $1.99, this week we’re offering a special Antiques Diva – Paris Apartment Giveaway so that one of my fabulous readers can win their very own “Key’s To the Fleas”.
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment telling why you love Paris. Next week on Wednesday 29 September I’ll put all the names in a hat and draw one winner!!!
Bonne Shopping,

The Antiques Diva™
(seen right with Claudia Strasser of Paris Apartment)

June Open Door Dates – Dutch Dates

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

Get ready, get set, mark your calendars – some of my favorite Dutch antique dealers are opening their doors for special fetes this June and you’re invited to shop your heart out diva-style all around Amsterdam!

June 4 – 6 June and 11-13 June from 12-8pm

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Join Johan de Feijter for his special theme “Viva La France” at his shop Chambre des Amies! While I’ve written frequently about de Feijters sensational shop, I recently discovered that he’s also been in Travel+Leisure magazine and I simply have to share what T+L had to say about Chambre des Amies:

Owner Johan de Feijter founded Chambre d’Amis by accident. “I used to fill my house with things I’d find at flea and Belgium,” he says. “A few years ago there was an art fair in my neighborhood, and someone asked if she could show her paintings in my house. As they walked through, people kept asking to buy my things, and I thought, Maybe I should go into business.” These days, in his front room, kitchen, and courtyard garden, you’ll find all the flea-market treasures you’ve been too impatient to hunt for — vintage mercury-glass bowls ($190) and candlesticks ($125), creamy ceramic French, Belgian, and Dutch tableware from the 1800’s, turn-of-the-century photographs. Since the exquisitely edited store is a sideline for de Feijter (he’s a sexologist), he keeps eccentric hours — usually Thursday through Saturday, noon to six.

Chambre d’Amis
58 Bloemgracht
By appt +31-20 623 6204.
June 4-6, 2010 from 11am – 6pm

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 260px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Next up, is another all-time Amsterdam favorite – Brederode Kunst & Antiek – ran by the effervescent Annette Brederode in her own home! When you arrive at the address Lijnbaansgracht 56 D in Amsterdam’s Jordaan you might think I’ve lead you astray for you’ll find yourself standing in front of an apartment building rather than a typical antique shop. Never fear, ring the buzzer marked Brederode and mount the stairs to step into a typical French brocante! You must click around my blog to read more about this sensational shop and to see more pics of the type of inventory Brederode specializes in! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Brederode Kunst Antiek
Lijnbaansgracht 56D
By appt + 31 20 6236 236

June 12-13, 19-20 from 11am-19:00

to 10px; WIDTH: 350px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 244px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Speaking of things guaranteed to impress, I can’t gush enough about Robert Schreuder AntiquairRobert hosts a fascinating collection of antiques that are not only of special artistic or art-historical value but also very decorative, gracing modern as well as classical interiors. One of his specialties is Grand Tour souvenirs, with their echoes of the journeys of travelers from the 18th & 19th C. Meanwhile his collection of library accessories is down-right diva worthy dotted with a variety of writing boxes, inkwells and paperweights. Throw in tea caddies and tea boxes, sewing boxes, specially shaped thermometers and miniature portraits as well as an interesting period perfect collection of furniture and you might never want to leave chez lui! Join Robert’s Open Door Days June 12 & 13 and June 19 & 20 from 11am – 7pm or make an appointment to view his collection!

Robert Schreduer Antiquair
Ceintuurbaan 368
By Appt + 31 6 2428 9550

Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva

The Grand Tour & PAN AMSTERDAM

to 10px; WIDTH: 197px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 88px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

to 10px; WIDTH: 200px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 267px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>A heavy card stock envelope came in the mail this week – return address Holland! It was an invitation from Robert Schreuder Antiques to attend topDefault.aspx?tabid=1&lg=en” target=”_blank”>PAN – Amsterdam, Holland’s most important national art and antiques fair and a must for every art lover! A few months ago I posted a blog describing my personal style, saying that The Antiques Diva Style is all about antiques juxtaposed with modern art. Well, PAN Amsterdam subscribes to this same mental school of decorating. At the fair you’ll find contemporary , modern art & designs going hand-in-hand with objects that have a long history—a beach scene by Cézanne, a 16th-century Madonna, a spectacular glass chandelier or a 17th C Grand Tour souvenir!

to 10px; WIDTH: 220px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 200px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Robert Schreuder, perhaps the most charming antiques dealer in Amsterdam, included some pictures of items he’ll be presenting at PAN with his invite and he had me at Goedemiddag. The inventory in his eponymously-named, by-appointment-only shop on Amsterdam’s Ceintuurbaan is in a word, “To-Die-For”. Okay, make that 3 words, but you catch my drift… The concept behind his collection goes straight to my heart – Robert sells Grand Tour Souvenirs.

to 10px; WIDTH: 145px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 350px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />The concept behind The Antiques Diva Tours is that we travel, we shop, and we buy souvenirs to remember those travels. An antique souvenir is so much better than a cheesy T-shirt and so on Antiques Diva Tours we buy European antiquities and memories, returning home to put them on our mantle for all our friends to see! But in the 17th – 19th C during the tourframe.html” target=”_blank”>Grand Tour, young men and ladies were doing the same thing as we on Diva Tours do today! They were traversing Europe, visiting Italy and France, learning the most important developments in language, arts, court etiquette, legal and political systems, science, culture and refined European taste. They visited France and Italy, Austria and the Low Countries and while they were out “getting cultured”, they SHOPPED, Antiques Diva Style!

to 10px; WIDTH: 350px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 237px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />“They bought souvenirs and these souvenirs became known as Grand Tour Souvenirs” – purchases made with an express purpose Robert explains, “of illustrating their knowledge and symbolizing their refined tastes. On their return home, these travelers exhibited the souvenirs as objects for study and discussion”

to 10px; WIDTH: 261px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 350px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Don’t we do the same thing today when we antique shop abroad? A tour through my Berlin apartment is to tour through my travels. I sit in a bergere bought in Paris, sit my drink on a side table picked up in Budapest, Holland contributes the lighting, while the object d’art is pure Italian! Germany, Czech and Austria come into play in other rooms, as does Spain and Portugal, Tunisia and Greece… Each room I display souvenirs of where I’ve been which is a direct correlation with who I’ve become – the more I see and do, the more I train my eye, the more I change as a person. I’m slowly amassing my own personal grand tour collection….. and perhaps that’s why I’m so enchanted with Robert Schreuder Antiques – their Grand Tour collection isn’t just about my own personal memories, it goes beyond them, creating layers to the story, weaving through the annals of time.

to 10px; WIDTH: 280px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 263px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />On my antique shopping tours, I always ask clients why they buy antiques. The responses are often the same: they buy them because they think antiques are better made than modern pieces, because they like their lines or their patina, because they want to have home décor different than their friends, for eclectic style and because they transport us to another place and another time. The common denominator among all my clients is that they buy antiques because they are buying stories, pieces with a past and a personality. In Robert Schreuder’s Grand Tour collection, the past comes to life, bringing “black and white” to true “Technicolor”, vividly layering my present passion for antique “souvenir” shopping while living abroad like a delectable gateau “millefeuille” over centuries past, mingling my life with other-like-minded shoppers from the past.

When buying Grand Tour Souvenirs, for Antiques Diva clients the world comes FULL CIRCLE with the past and present uniting at Robert Schreuder’s Antiques!

I encourage you, if you’re visiting PAN Amsterdam, to stop by Robert’s booth and get him talking about his passion – THE GRAND TOUR. You’ll see his eyes sparkle and he’ll smile an infectious grin as he transports you to another place and another time, taking you along with him on a Grand Tour! And I dare you to walk away, out of his booth, without buying a memory from another place and another time…. Should you succeed in doing so, you’re a stronger person than I when it comes to giving into temptation!

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Nov 22-29, 2009

Amsterdam RAI-Parkhal

What Time:
Daily from 11 am-7 pm

Thursday 26 and Sunday 29 November
11 am-6 pm
Visit Robert Schreuder Antiques at PAN AMSTERDAM BOOTH 55.

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™
(Seen right with Robert Schreuder last year at AFSH)

Living La Dolce Diva – Part 1

So, I lied. I didn’t mean to, but I did.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />top: 2px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Last month, I wrote a blog telling about our upcoming trip to Italy. I waxed on about how for once in my life I was going to slow down and smell the roses. That rather than attempting to crunch a Grand Tour of Italy into a week and a half of vacation, that my husband and I had decided to visit just one location – taking it easy, lingering over the sights of Florence, absorbing the culture and romancing the moment. But this intention towards slow traveltowards only studying one site – was a fallacy in my mind before we’d walked out the door, rolling our luggage behind. You see, what I forgot to mention in that particular post was that before we even arrived in Italy, we were taking another trip to visit friends for 4 days and that we allowed an extra 3 days worth of time for taking detours on the 11 ½ hour drive each way from Berlin, Germany to Florence, 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />The plan was quite simple, really, and though we saw lots more than just Florence as I proclaimed, we really did take time to linger as long as possible at each site visited. The vacation started one day after work, driving late into the evening, arriving at our friend’s front door in Stuttgart Germany as the coo-coo tweeted twelve times and the station wagon turned into a pumpkin. Herr and Frau Stuttgart were waiting “chez them”, dressed in PJ’s and we kissed hello, laughing over a glass of wine before slipping under the covers and awoke to the smell of freshly baked bread the next morning.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />For the next two days we lingered at “The Stuttgart Family” house, sitting in their garden, admiring their view, their vineyard and 10,000 rose bushes. On a lazy afternoon we went into town, meandering the Stuttgart Flea Market stalls and visiting antique shops and then spent the evening at a nearby Schloss, listening to music at the regional music festival.

to 10px; width: 320px; cursor: hand; height: 320px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />The next day we drove our black Benz to the Mercedes Benz Museum – a tour that while very interesting to me later came back to haunt WG when I asked him to join me in Florence at the” target=”_blank”>Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. Then the next afternoon the 4 of us hopped in our car and drove to the border where Austria, Germany and Switzerland meet at Lake Constance, taking the funicular to the top of the mountain enjoying the wonderful, panoramic view.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Perhaps it was that very view that inspired our detour for the next day as WG & I departed on our drive towards Italy. As we crossed into Switzerland, I pulled the Europe atlas from the pocket behind my seat to look up the route our GPS was guiding us on, and realized that with a slight detour we could visit St Moritz, a place I’d never been but always wanted to see. As it was June, the roads were clear from snow and ice for the season and the great glacier pass was open for traffic, though around us as we crested the mountains snow still rested on the ground. From St Moritz, we continued our journey south crossing into Italy and arrived just in time for dinner at Bellagio, on Lake Como.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />The next day we arrived in Florence, just as planned, checking into our “oh so humble” hotel, marveling over it’s great location and noting that a mention in 1,000 Places To See Before You Die doesn’t guarantee the hotel won’t have mildew in the shower. Perhaps it was because the room was less than inviting that we found ourselves meandering the streets of Florence, leaving early in the day and returning late at night.

to 10px; width: 300px; cursor: hand; height: 400px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Mornings were started with a jolt of liquid personality, saddling up to the bar at cafes dotted on the Ponte Vecchio, ordering half-priced cappuccino or espresso (discounted because you drink whilst standing). Sufficiently caffeinated, we dashed to and thro across one of the most amazing cities in Europe. Florence – the birth place of the Renaissance – seeped into my soul, causing a rebirth of my artistic sensibility. We visited the Uffizi, the to/home.html” target=”_blank”>Galleria Dell’Accademia, Il Duomo, and the Medici Chapels, not to mention the Palazzo Vecchio and Mercato Nuovo and Mercato San Lorenzo and” target=”_blank”>Church of Santa Croce alongside its famous leather school.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />We took a walking tour with Art Vivia that was the best walking tour I’ve ever taken and we ate copious quantities of gelato, shopped relentlessly for Italian silk ties and purses made by Florentine leather designers.

In a fit of channeling Fitzgerald, WG purchased a silk ascot for those crisp, fall days we lunch at Lutter & Wegner on the Gendarmenmarkt back home in Berlin. And I worshiped at the altar of Ferragamo, visiting Salvatore’s’ namesake museum dragging WG along in a tit-for-tat moment as he drug me through the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart a few days prior. Naturally, I can’t visit a city without checking out the antique scene so we strolled through the antiques district and spent an afternoon shopping the Piazza dei Ciompi Flea market.

to 10px; width: 300px; cursor: hand; height: 400px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />And we reconnected, my husband of 13 years and I, on this trip celebrating our anniversary. We held hands and made public displays of affection, kissing on street corners and snuggling on park benches, rubbing one another’s feet at the end of the day when we’d walked too much. As we took our car from the valet to start our return drive to Berlin, we were delighted in knowing that we’d be back to Florence next summer when we take my niece Tessa on a Grand Tour for her 16th birthday. When asked what she wanted to see while abroad, Italy topped her list, much to our delight, and we’re already planning next summer’s odyssey to Venice, Florence, Milan and Cinque Terre.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 345px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />In the meantime, with Venice on our mind, we detoured there on our drive home, spending an afternoon in Venice and taking in an early dinner before hitting the road yet again, cutting through the Alps and Austria before returning home to Berlin.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />We may not have stopped and smelled the roses, but it was indeed a sensational vacation. One you’ll be reading about for weeks on end these coming months as I post hints, tips and addresses from our trip, telling tales and sharing divalicious photos of Living La Dolce Diva!


The Antiques Diva™

(Seen Right rubbing the brass porcellino which legend says will ensure a rapid return to Florence)

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Robert Schreuder Antiquair – July Open House

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Open Dagen! 18-20 July and 25-27 July
Robert Schreuder Antiquair – Zomer in Amsterdam!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>You’ve heard me wax poetically about Robert Schreuder Antiquair at least twice before, so it won’t come as a surprise that I’m sending you his way again. Robert calls me “Princess” and that alone is reason enough to escalate him towards the top of my “best kept Amsterdam secrets list,” but he also happens to have an incredible collection of top quality antiques, specializing in Grand Tour Souvenirs. I’m all about tourframe.html” target=”_blank”>The Grand Tour, and have in fact devoted the last decade of my life towards living it in full pomp & circumstance, with a Baccarat champagne glass in one hand and Karl Lagerfeld draped on the other.

Robert’s “open by appointment only” antique shop provides the perfect backdrop for living the life I’ve always dreamed of living! In his upcoming secret sale, he has a few sensational items that I can’t help but give you advance warning of. Strange choice of words, “warning”, but “be warned” indeed for your self-control & monetary restraint will fly right out the window when you lay your eyes upon what I consider to be the piece de la resistance of his new collection. I fear I might be about to start a bidding war!

to 10px; CURSOR: hand; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ /> Et voila – the piece I’m clamoring to buy is an inkwell in the form of Napoleon’s tomb! Open the lid and you’ll find a little statue of the big man inside! (Given that my husband’s nickname for me is “Little Napoleon” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is the piece I adore). Alongside the tomb, Robert’s collected two “presse-papiers” – one with a bronze lion at rest yet alert as only the king of the jungle can be and the other is adorned with a small roman theatre mask. Both pieces are made in lava-stone and date from the middle of the 19th century.

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You won’t be able to help falling in love with his bronze statue of cupid sharpening his arrow or his beautiful bronze statue of a bearded man, signed “Barbedienne”.

to 10px; CURSOR: hand; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />A final item to wet your appetite for Robert’s Open House is his gorgeous large Neapolitan gouache of the view of the Gulf of Baia (dated around 1830-1850). With intense, beautiful colors such as these I can already see it hanging nearby my red matted lithograph of San Marco’s square!

Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™

Open Dagen – July 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 & 27
Friday 3pm – 10pm
Saturday & Sunday 11am – 7pm
Robert Schreuder Antiquair
Ceintuurbaan 368

Doing it Diva Style – Art & Antiques Fair – ‘s-Hertogenbosch

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Earlier this year I was chatting with Amsterdam Antiquair Robert Schreuder about the vision behind The Antiques Diva™ weekly blog, the proposed series of books, and my antiques shopping tour business, when I explained, “My goal, as The Antiques Diva™, is to make antiques accessible. People view antiques and art as stuffy and serious and people fear making purchases when, in fact, antiques should be fun and extraordinary daily delights! They add a dose of F. Scott Fitzgerald to an ordinary life. “

Robert exclaimed, “You must go to AF’sH!” This said with a flourish of hands, reminding me he speaks Italian & French (in addition to English & Dutch), and has had great opportunity to practice the romance languages while searching secret Mediterranean sources for the tourframe.html” target=”_blank”>17th – 19th century Grand Tour Souvenirs which stock his open-by-appointment-only antiques atelier. “Art & Antiques Fair ‘s-Hertogenbosch happens to be the oldest art & antiques fair in Holland – having run for 40-odd years,” he continued, “and it enjoys an incredible reputation for the quality and diversity of the objects on offer as well as a warm and, dare I say, “gezellig” atmosphere! But this year AF’sH is doing something different — they’re doing it diva style.”

And “doing it diva style” they certainly are! Last week on Thursday April 10, 2008 AF’sH opened for a pre-preview with bottomless “coup de champagne”, tiny hors d’oeuvres and black-tie waiters – all of which, though fantastic, was to be expected for a premier art & antiques fair opening. However, the real surprise came during the Grand Opening of the fair when The Hague Couturier Frans Hoogendoorn paraded a dazzling assortment of curvy, pearl-clad models and kicked off this 42nd Kunst-en-Antiekbeurs with a fashion show, presenting his summer collection in a show so beautifully choreographed with such spunk that I suspect “toute de Paris” stood up and took notice!

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Hoogendoorn, a Dutch fashion designer whose personal portfolio contains photos of his dresses gracing “” target=”_blank”>The Royals“, creates designs for the modern-day diva, combining traditional, Jackie O type elements with Grace Kelly hats against more current 21st century designs. In fact, this combination of past and present seemed to be an undercurrent running through the halls of the Brabanthallen where the fair is being held this week – April 11 – 20, 2008.

to 10px; CURSOR: hand; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Modern Art juxtaposed against the fine lines of Louis-something furniture or propped against chateau-chic 17th century Southern European chests & commodes was a feature of numerous vendors. I particularly liked topDefault.aspx?tabid=10&tabindex=9&dealerid=1076&curidx=115&back=name” target=”_blank”>Remco Van Leeuwen Antiquair’s collection of Gothic, Renaissance and Modern Art. No one, however, did this “Modern + Antique” combo better than Jan Roelof whose stall simply stole the show! Perhaps Roelof’s premier booth design and presentation doesn’t come as a surprise, as Jan himself is the Chairman of AF’sH. He has worked in the “traveling antiques business” for 30 years, his name becoming synonymous with some of Europe’s most prestigious international art & antiques fairs.

If Jan Roelof stole the show with his gorgeous presentations of the past and present, then Bruil & Brandsma Antiquairs takes the award for the most spectacular item for sale at the fair — a 17th century Dutch red tortoiseshell curiosity cabinet which caused me to swoon with desire and reminded me of a similar piece I had coveted just a week ago while visiting the toinette-” target=”_blank”>Marie Antoinette exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. Perhaps what makes this cabinet such a curiosity is that the dark brown & red tortoise veneer practically sparkles within the expo halls, hinting at how it might glimmer with less industrial lighting. When the savvy B& B vendor recognized my interest he leaned over and whispered in my ear, with just a quiver of excitement, “It’s gold plate beneath the tortois
e that is causing that effect, Madame!”
and I responded in turn, “A real curiosity, ‘Meneer’!”

Curiosity cabinets such as these were often used to house a vast range of objects such as plants, fossils, zoological specimens and exotica from colonial cultures, however they would have also been used to display treasures collected during the Grand Tour in the 17th – 19th centuries. The Grand Tour was intended to round off a gentleman’s cultural education by exposing him to the art, sciences, court etiquette and languages of “the continent”. But I think London’s Time Out Author Ossian Ward has it right when he writes, “it was also an excuse to fill enormous traveling trunks (carried by servants, of course) with souvenirs, artifact’s and picture-perfect vistas of Venice painted by Canaletto or Guardi, and many rich aristos returned to London laden with enough art to form their own museums.”

Thankfully these Grand Tour Souvenirs haven’t all been gobbled up by the museums and are still on the market today for private collections. Enter Robert Schreuder Antiquair, who specializes in tourframe.html” target=”_blank”>Grand Tour Souvenirs in addition to Neoclassical, Empire and Biedermeier furniture and study objects. Robert’s booth at AFsH was as intriguing to me at this fair as it was when I first became acquainted with him at the Naarden’s Kunst & Antiek Weekend. Another vendor who impressed me equally at both fairs is S. Van Leeuwen from The Hague.

A vendor at AF’sH I wasn’t yet familiar with – Galerie Bianca Landgraaf – has an atelier in Laren, which happens to be one of my favorite shopping towns in Holland and I’m baffled that I hadn’t stumbled upon her gallery before now. This, I can assure you, is a mistake I’m set to remedy as I was enamored with one of her artists, a young Venezuelan man, Karim Borjas, whose expressionist abstract art would pair perfectly with any of the offerings around the fair. Perhaps the piece I’m most likely to purchase from this fair is a silk and wax statue designed by mixed-media sculptress Rebecca Soethoud, displayed at the Gallery Van Loon & Simons. Meanwhile, Wim de Boer Kunsthandel’s booth housed so many striking paintings that I contemplated simply moving into his stall as I couldn’t decide which of his delicious pieces I might want to take home.

There is one last item I’m considering purchasing from AF’sH and, believe it or not, it’s not for me! Simons Juweliers had a collection of jewels fit for a diva, thus it is an example of my supreme self-control that I didn’t find a present for myself but instead a birthday gift for my darling husband. Simons Juweliers offers both an impressive inventory of modern accessories as well as the largest collections of antique jewelry & silver in Holland. Such is their collection that they are now a guest exhibitor at Amsterdam’s recently reopened Tassenmuseum – The Museum of Bags & Purses – located on the Prinsengracht nearby Amsterdam’s Antique District. Though their assortment of cuff links on display at the fair was not large, it was a top-notch collection. Next time I visit the fair it will be with my husband on my arm and I am quite certain, should Simons still have them in stock, that we’ll leave Den Bosch with a gorgeous pair of lapis lazuli and diamond cuff links pinned into WG’s ton.html” target=”_blank”>French blue Cafe Coton dress shirt.

Tot Straks,

The Antiques Diva™

Don’t forget – there is still time to visit AF’sH! The fair runs through this weekend – April 11 – 20, 2008.

Mantiques: An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy – Part 1

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>First up in The Mantiques Series is “An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy”. The Pelikan Pen Guy is a real man’s man. He happens to be one of my husband’s best friends (both a mentor and a menace) and we couldn’t imagine our life in Europe without he and his wife, The Swiss Miss. He is a fascinating fellow, to be sure. Born & raised in Germany, he came of age in America where he resided for 20 some years before returning to Europe to reclaim his youth and wallow in opportunities to speak his native tongue. He’s a world traveller extraordinaire and also a collector – thus, his home is a virtual treasure trove of Louvre-esque antiques picked up from a lifetime devoted to tourframe.html” target=”_blank”>The Grand Tour. A few weeks ago, he & I had an opportunity to sit down in Paris in the posh Petit Zinc restaurant where he regaled me with details of his fountain pen collection. But don’t take my word for it… lets go straight to the street in an exclusive Antiques Diva Interview!

Exclusive Interview
An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy: Part 1
Antiques Diva:

While your name might be explanation enough, why don’t you begin by telling The Antiques Diva’s readers what you collect?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

I collect a multitude of things. Primarily, I started off with just fountain pens. Specific lines of pens – makes – and I evolved into ink wells, dip pens and then became interested in” target=”_blank”>the history of writing instruments. I also have a collection of novelty pens with corporate logos, stuff like that.

Antiques Diva:

How long have you been collecting and what was it that got you started in the first place?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

It goes back to 1963. All German grade school students learn to write with a fountain pen. So I got my first Pelikano – a big brand of Pelikan pens made for school children – and the teacher then taught us how to write correctly with a fountain pen. (Side note – the Pen Guy’s daughter, The Little Swiss Miss also does this in the Swiss school system).

Antiques Diva:

So you learned to use a fountain pen as a child and then developed an interest in them?

Pelikan Pen Guy:
top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;margin-left:10px;font-family: Arial,Helvetica,Georgia;font-size:22px;line-height:18px;color:grey;text-align: right;”>Pens are useable jewelry

There is a certain amount of skill that goes into writing with one – how you hold it, etc. I have an American friend who wanted to buy a fountain pen. He went into a German department store, went up to the counter and the lady handed him a fountain pen. As he began to write, she slapped him! He wasn’t holding the pen correctly and could potentially damage the nib. She was assuming that in the USA, like in Germany, everybody correctly knew how to write with a fountain pen. If you don’t know how, it can be a little difficult.

Antiques Diva:

Honestly, I’m horrible at writing with a fountain pen! I tried and I know I’m probably ruining nibs – it’s safe to assume you shouldn’t rip the paper when you are trying to write, right?! By the way, how many pens are in your collection?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

If you added all the pens, including ones with company logos, it is probably upwards of 1,000. If you are counting just the pens that I really consider to be collectible fountain pens, I’m thinking it’s about 400. I’ve actually stopped counting. Years ago, when I was doing this, I would actually inventory everything – where I bought them, what I paid for them, what their names were – they all do have names, but I just don’t have the time for it anymore.

Now most of what I buy is at brocantes and I bring them home, put them on a shelf and they just sit there. It’s a huge problem because when you first start out, you put together a display case, etc. Well, over the years, that has grown tremendously. I’ve got two cherry wood multi-drawered boxes and each has 64 pens. I’ve added a couple smaller wooden boxes and my wife, who is an expert at cartonage, made me a box which holds 24 pens. At
some point I got lazy and purchased, over the internet, what looks like 3-ring binders but they are actually nylon cases with the rings and plastics inside, specifically made for pens. I’ve got two or three of them I guess.

Antiques Diva:

Is there a pen website that you frequent to purchase these supplies?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

For supplies and stuff, the best place to go is probably eBay. If you search for fountain pens and supplies it’s incredible how much you’ll find.

Antiques Diva:

In your 400 pens that you consider collectible, what is your preference?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

There are probably 400 different types of Pelikan pens and my goal was to have one of each type. It’s probably not an achievable goal because they come out with 5 to 10 different models each year and I just don’t collect that fast. I have the very 1st type of Pelikan pen ever made. From the late 1920’s. The reason I know it’s one of the 1st is because the 1st series of Pelikan pens were made with Bakelite. It’s very hard, but it also fractures quite easily so the pens would get leaks very easily – not a good thing for a pen – so they only produced them for one year. After that, they switched to true celluloid as is used today.

The other thing you find out is that – just like with stamp collectors – if there is a defect or material changes, they become another collectors item. Pelikan pens were made originally by a German company and they sold licenses to make Pelikans in different parts of the world. So, for example, you have Dutch Pelikan pens which were a limited series made right after the 2nd World War. And they didn’t follow the design exactly the same so you could have a Pelikan 120 pen and you could tell whether your pen was a Dutch Pelikan pen or a German Pelikan pen or from some other country. Shape of the cap, where the logo was – all the different variations. Of the 400 in my collection that I consider collectibles, probably 200 are Pelikans.

Antiques Diva:

Clearly you have a preference for Pelikan. Are there other makers that you like?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

Without a doubt. And, you know, a large part of collecting is what I was just mentioning – you collect a certain make like Pelikan – but at the same time, there are pens that you look at and just fall in love with. Because of the beauty. Pens are useable jewelry– that’s a definition. For example, there is a series of pens that Omas has put out. Omas is an Italian maker – there are quite a few Italian makers that I like – Omas would be one, Aurora would be another and Visconti would be a third one. They just make incredibly beautiful pens. Visconti, years ago, put out a pen called the Titanic – a limited edition pen.. It was a huge pen – was actually uncomfortable writing with it. But it’s a beautifully designed pen and it has a piece of porcelain actually from the titanic – it’s a true collectors item. There are other companies – smaller – that many people might not be aware of. Ancora is another Italian pen company and they have a series made out of sea shells, actually. They have an exclusive resin in order to reproduce the richness of pearls of the south seas.

Sometimes you get lucky – for example, a company will make a limited edition series – only make 400 pens – and getting one of those 400 in and of itself is pretty cool but what’s even cooler is if you get, for example, #41 and #42 in that series. And you’ll see that there are people who try to collect a series – try and get as many in a series as they can.

Antiques Diva:

Tell me about the price range of pens.

Pelikan Pen Guy:

On average, a good quality fountain pen is going to run you about $350. That’s a good everyday fountain pen. You can certainly find good pens that are considerably cheaper. Typically the ones I collect I don’t write with everyday. There is a company called Rotring and another called Lamy, which are both German companies. They both make outstanding fountain pens that are, on average, considerably cheaper – more in the $100 range. And yet the quality and penmanship is outstanding, particularly Rotring. It is one that I highly recommend to people because of it’s solid brass barrels, even though they are steel nibs, they are very well-made steel nibs, flexible. There is a premium for gold nibs, but the manufacturing has gotten s
o good for steel it actually creates a very nice writing pen with a steel nib.

Antiques Diva:

What are a few things in your collection?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

There’s a series of Pelikan pens. I love Pelikan. There’s some beautiful Omas pens, also the Aurora Optima, a blue one, that my wife bought me for Christmas. If you really want to write comfortably with a fountain pen, Namiki (a Japanese designer) makes a retractable nib. It’s push button – you push the button and the nib comes out – so you can wear it in your pocket. The nib is fully enclosed so it can not leak. The Japanese are known for the quality / manufacturing of their nibs. They’re also known for this particular way of making fountain pens. Most fountain pens in the West are made with celluloids, and different colors or swirls . In Japan, they have a process called Maki and they use it for boxes and other things and Namiki uses it for fountain pens. It involves lacquers. They put layer after layer after layer of lacquers and intricate designs – it’s a piece of art.

Antiques Diva:

Whenever someone talk about pens, I always think Mont Blanc.

Pelikan Pen Guy:

Mont Blanc probably leads the industry in terms of taking the fountain pen and making it a piece of jewelry. And they have a caché – certainly they command much higher prices as a result of that caché. In terms of the quality of the pen, however, I like to say that I write with Mont Blancs, but I collect better fountain pens.

Antiques Diva:

With a provocative quote such as this one, perhaps its best to end here today. Readers come back in a few days for the conclusion of “An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy” as we discuss the differences between pens from different countries and receive advice on starting a pen collection.

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

Click here for Part 2 of this interview.

PS. Should you, or someone you love, have a Mantiques Collection worthy of discussing on The Antiques Diva™, email me at