'Mantiques' could be a ticket to more cash

Published: Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:35 a.m. MDT

Christine Ishmael, right, looks through the "mantique" section of antiques at Abode in Salt Lake City on May 16, 2013.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — With warmer weather comes de-junking, de-cluttering, and spring cleaning.

For many that means finally going in the garage and parting with that thing that’s been sitting around for years and years, “just in case.”

Getting rid of those items is about to pay off.

"If it's got some steel and some wood on it, there it is," said Dennis Baker, editor of the New Century Collector, which covers the Utah antique market.

Barker has been in the antique business for 25 years and previously owned his own store. He said mechanical items, things made of steel, old tools, hunting collectibles and old sports equipment are popular and bringing cash to those willing to part with it.

"It's the whole 'man cave' kind of idea," he said. "There are a lot of things in people's attics or garages that are only 30, 40 or 50 years old that are widely collected."

Monica Zoltanski, owner of the Capital City Antique Mall, said now is the time to cash in on your “mantiques.”

She said antique items that appeal largely to men are among the hottest items in the antique and collecting world. This includes industrial pieces, old signs, automobile parts, tools and things made of metal.

Zoltanski says shows like AMC's "Mad Men" depicting typewriters, metal desks and chairs and anything from the 1960s helps bring interest to the market.

For example, a manual Royal typewriter in working condition is priced at $250 in Zoltanski's store.

Zoltanski said the History Channel's "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars" have made antiquing more popular. Nielsen ratings for Utah and nine counties in Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming showed that "American Pickers" reached an average of 14,000 homes each episode during prime time for the past three years and "Pawn Stars" reaches nearly 17,000 homes.

She said besides the TV popularity, people are drawn to these items because of their stability.

“We just came through a period of financial instability and it gives people a sense of being anchored to something,” she said. “Having something substantial is important, and people respond to that.”

She also said men are making room for these antiques in their homes, particularly as adornments for their offices or garages.

“Somehow guys can find a little extra in their budget for those things,” she said.

Lark Mason, founder and president of iGavel Auction and regular guest on PBS’s "Antiques Roadshow," said objects created from the World War I era to the 1960s fall into the mantique category and are on the rise.

“The definition does have this kind of masculine appeal,” he said. “Metalware and ceramics are primarily selling on their decorative appeal because it is a style that fits in with our contemporary living patterns.”

Mason said items made of silver, gold, or that have precious stones are also selling well because of their material value. This is particularly true if an internationally known maker like Tiffany and Co., Cartier or Georg Jensen made the item.

He said people generally decide to part with items because of a major life change, like moving or getting married.

“(When that happens) there’s not a lot of choice in trying to time the market,” he said. “Which is always hard to do anyway.”

His advice for sellers regardless of timing is to get several quotes from people you can trust.

On the hunt