Happy 2009. May the new year bring you all you wish for yourselves. I start the year with great hope for our collecting field. This may seem strange at a time of economic gloom....but truthfully something else has been worrying me even more. The declining number of young people with an interest in and passion for old things is bothersome to those of us who hope our treasures will pass to others. I admit to dismal failure with my three children. When I am 'called', expect rapid delivery of my wonderful figures to the nearest charity shop, or, worse yet, a yard sale! And I truly don't know any other collectors whose children share an interest in their parents' Staffordshire figures....so contemplating this issue always leaves me feeling gloomy.
But last night HOPE was born in my heart. Late afternoon as I was readying to go out and celebrate the new year with friends, my phone rang. A delightfully charming lady wished to order a copy of my book. A book sale is always good news--but as we chatted, even better news followed. This lady has two daughters and both share her love of Staffordshire figures. They collect them too! Clearly, this lady has succeeded where I have failed, but she left me with Hope. Firstly, there are indeed younger collectors building new collections. And secondly, her daughters' interest emerged as they matured--so perhaps patience will be rewarded after all.
I have bounced through the first day of 2009, filled with Hope that this is the year when even more people will be enchanted by the figures that never cease to amaze me.
Staffordshire figure symbolizing Hope, circa 1815. About 8 inches tall.
Hope is one of the theological virtues. Traditionally it is portrayed in art in female form, looking heavenward with an anchor at her side. The anchor originates from St. Paul, which describes hope as "an anchor of the soul." (Heb. 6:19)
And there is yet another reason for Hope in 2009. CNBC's investment guru, Jim Cramer, recently noted that art and collectibles are holding up so well in these tough economic times. Cramer, who believes there is always a bull market somewhere, recommends that everyone have a portion of their portfolio in art/collectibles. Diversification makes good sense. Perhaps Cramer will be the next collector of Staffordshire figures!