School Releases Top Selling Antique & Vintage Trends from Past Year

March 2023

Feature Article

School Releases Top Selling Antique & Vintage Trends from Past Year

Submitted by Charles Green


Press Release

New York – For industry insiders, the wait is finally over. Now in its 14 year, the Asheford Institute’s annual survey of top decorative arts buying trends from the past 12 months has just made its way onto both digital and paper newsstands across the country.
The international survey/poll of past students and graduates from the Institute has become a staple to many in the antique and vintage industry for its unique ability to look into the current state of today’s decorative arts marketplace, as it relates to overall sales trends for dealers working within the collecting community.

Anthony Harper, the school’s lead researcher, says the key to getting meaningful survey results that businesses and people can actually use to help plan their inventory buying strategies for the upcoming year is based on receiving actual sales data, alongside item-specific requests from buyers, which can then be used to indicate interest within a particular collecting genre.

As with virtually all business this past year, Harper says ongoing supply-chain issues continued to have an effect on almost every segment of the economy – including certain genres within the decorative arts field. “In 2021 we were all still recovering from Covid, but this past year, buyers, dealers, and collectors were out en masse, in-person, and were literally snapping up everything in sight.” Harper says that by the end of summer many dealers were complaining about a lack of available and affordable inventory. “It wasn’t just one category of collectible,” says Harper, “it was virtually anything, from folk art to baseball cards.” Similar tales have surfaced in previous years, but Harper says those scenarios were not even close to the severe shortage of available stock that many antique and vintage dealers faced in 2022. Harper believes that some collecting categories in this years poll may have risen or fallen not necessarily because of a lack of popularity, but because of a lack of stable inventory.

However, he does acknowledge one upside to all the market uncertainty – for most dealers, sale prices rose sharply.
For Amber Shole, who’s been compiling survey statistics for over 11 years now, the most striking change in poll results this year was also related to price. “Item listing values skyrocketed in virtually every area,” she said, “and dealers took advantage by holding firm on prices.” Fan favorites like Art Deco and Textiles continued to boom says Shole, while other perennial favorites such as Mid-century modern began to show signs of weakening. “There’s definitely a shift,” she says, “it’s just a matter of being able to pick up on those markers before they become full-fledge trends.”

In other areas of the survey there were also some pleasant surprises, as once again an unexpected (but familiar) era of collecting shot back up the charts to a respectable placement for the first time in over 25 years. The cause? Well, according to Shole, it’s all about a younger generation that’s turned frugal-collector. “Young people are looking for inexpensive eco-friendly choices and sustainability,” says Shole, “and the antique and vintage market is giving them that.” Shole believes that the creation of new trends in the decorative arts market is more of a symbiotic relationship than anything else. “Millennials and Gen-Zer’s need something, and we›re able to supply it to them,” she says, ”and it’s that practical aspect that›s driving the creation of some of these new trends.”


Gingerbread cookies

Trends that took off in 2022

For readers seeking the complete 2022 listing of all the best-selling antique and vintage genres and categories contained within the school’s yearly poll and survey, you can find the full results (including this year’s winner) by visiting the Institute’s website at:

To learn more about the antiques and appraisal study program being offered by the Institute, you can contact them directly at: 877-444-4508,, or visit their website at:


News release provided by Charles Green of the Asheford Institute of Antiques.
Contact Charles at 877-444-4508 or email to:

The sweet story of gingerbread men

December 2022

Feature Article

The sweet story of gingerbread men

by Corbin Crable


Run! Run!
As fast as you can.
You can’t catch me,
I’m the gingerbread man!

The late author Jamie Gilson’s famous rhyme about this cute confection has been recited in elementary schools since its publication in 1981, but Christmas revelers with a sweet tooth have been eating gingerbread men for centuries.


Gingerbread started as small cakes with honey – they didn’t contain ginger and they weren’t considered a type of bread. Historians believe the honeycakes were invented by the ancient Greeks or Romans, according to a Dec. 22, 2018, article on A recipe for “gingerbread” in a 15th-century English cookbook had a chewy consistency, not unlike toffee. The recipe read, in part: “Take a quart of honey and seethe it and skin it clean. Rake saffron and powdered pepper and throw them on the honey. Take grated bread and moisten it. Combine honey with spices. Add cinnamon and cloves and make them into squares. If you want it to be red, color it with red sandalwood.”

Cookies in little men’s shapes

The cookies have been shaped like little men since the reign of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I in the 1500s. The queen had in her employ a royal gingerbread maker, who baked the cookies meant to represent members of Queen Elizabeth’s court. He then served the cookies at Her Majesty’s elaborate royal dinners. By the end of the century, bakers began using sugar in gingerbread instead of honey.
According to the Time article, around the same time, some who practiced folk medicine gave out cookies to young ladies in their village.
“If they could get the man of their choice to eat the gingerbread man that had been made for them, the idea was the man would then fall in love with the young woman,” Carole Levin, a historian with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says in the article.

According to another historian, Michael Krondl, gingerbread began to be associated with the Christmas season because of the belief that the cookie’s spices heat you up throughout the winter months.

By the 1700s, bakers began to add butter and cream to gingerbread recipes, and thus, the cookie started to resemble the gingerbread we know and love today.


Gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread cookies are the quintessential Christmas treat, and they’ve existed in some form since the ancient world. (Image courtesy of Country Cupboard Cookies)

Gingerbread houses

And who can discuss gingerbread men without a mention of gingerbread houses? According to the queen of homemaking, Martha Stewart, they are likely inspired by the tale of Hansel and Gretel, written by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s and which included a wicked witch’s house made of candy and cookies.

Gingerbread houses became popular around the same time thanks to German immigrants in America, who decorated their Christmas trees with gingerbread.

Today, of course, you can buy gingerbread house kits from your local grocer or merchant, allowing you to customize your delectable creation with your own holiday spirit.

News release provided by Tom Snyder of the St. Louis Gateway Postcard Club.
Contact Tom at 618-531-4189 or​

Vintage cookie cutters won’t take a bite out of your Christmas gift budget

December 2022

Feature Article

Vintage cookie cutters won’t take a bite out of your Christmas gift budget

by Corbin Crable


The Christmas season

The Christmas season is a feast for the senses – watching the twinkle of colored light displays, the sound of tearing open wrapped gifts, and the smell and feel of a freshly decorated fir. And one affordable collectible helps bring the taste of Christmas to every kitchen – cookie cutters.

The tool found in every baker’s arsenal can be traced back roughly 700 years, to the 1400s, when they were invented in Italy and known as “imprint cutters.” Like many Christmas traditions, the imprint cutter evolved to become used widely in Germany and Holland, where housewives used them during the Christmas holiday to bake cookies in the shapes of doves, eagles, and human figures, according to Collectors Weekly. Those earliest cookie cutters were made of wood.

When they immigrated to the New World, those same German settlers who worked as tinsmiths crafted cutters made of cheap tin, and the shapes in which they were produced now included stars, spades, and hearts, as well as reindeer and clowns.

“Old tin can be identified from modern metals as it is relatively heavy and thick, usually darkened in color. These cutters make 3/4-inch to 1 1/8-inch-deep cuts,” according to Collectors Weekly. “The back of antique cutters are flat and may or may not have strap handles. Because tinsmiths tried to conserve every possible inch of metal they could, older backs are more or less cut to the shape of the cutting edge. These also have ‘air holes’ or ‘push holes,’ which helped detach the cookie dough from the cutter.”

Cookie cutters

Those cookie cutters made for the Christmas season were also made to be decorative, writes collector Kate Miller-Wilson for the antique blog Love to Know.

“As the idea of Christmas cookies spread throughout the Colonies, tinsmiths created Christmas-themed cutters that created cookies meant to be hung on Christmas trees. It wasn’t until the 1930s that the tradition of leaving cookies for Santa was established,” Miller-Wilson writes. ”Antique Christmas cookie cutters vary in value from a few dollars to over $100. In addition to the condition and age of the cookie cutter, size can also play a role in the value. For example, an extra-large, German-made Santa cookie cutter sold for about $80.”

Metal cookie cutters made in the 19th century can be found in antique stores and online – they were easily mass-produced, thanks to technological innovations made during the Industrial Revolution. These cookie cutters had handles made of metal or wood.
Aluminum cutters began to be produced around the turn of the century, with the most common coming from the 1930s.
“Metal cookie cutters with ‘bullet’ handles are especially sought after by collectors,” Collectors Weekly states. “In general, figurals like chickens and elephants tend to be more valuable than geometric shapes.”

These cutters weren’t just for cookies, however; in the early 20th century, they were made in the shapes of diamonds, hearts, spades, and diamonds – the four suites of playing cards – and made for sandwiches served at poker or bridge games.

holly leaf cookie cutter

Holly leaf cookie cutter

A vintage aluminum cookie cutter in the shape of a holly leaf. (Image courtesy of Love to Know)

Tin and plastic cookie cutters

Tin and plastic cookie cutters came in a variety of colors in the mid-20th century. British company Tala revolutionized the market by designing cookie cutters of different sizes that nested within one another. Major American companies that manufactured similar cookie cutters, meanwhile, included Midwestern Home Products, Ekco, and Kansas City-based Hallmark. Those cookie cutters sold by Hallmark in the late 1970s and early 1980s are especially collectible, Collectors Weekly reports.

“Recently, collectors have gravitated toward plastic cutters that advertise businesses,” the site states. “The vintage American cutters are marked ‘Made in the U.S.A.,’ while new ones are generally made in Hong Kong.”

Gift vintage cookie cutters

Still, according to Miller-Wilson, those wishing to gift vintage cookie cutters as stocking stuffers shouldn’t expect to pay too much for these culinary tools.

“These little treasures are easy to find in antique stores, and they’re affordable to collect,” she writes. “They often sell for only a few dollars.”

News release provided by Tom Snyder of the St. Louis Gateway Postcard Club.
Contact Tom at 618-531-4189 or​

Do old postcards have value?

August 2022


Do old postcards have value?

by Tom Snyder


n a single word, yes. In most cases vintage postcards are relatively inexpensive, making them ideal for beginning collectors. But in some cases, postcards, especially some produced between 1893 and 1950, can be worth a great deal of money. The question is, how does one know? The best way to determine the value of old postcards is to have them evaluated by an expert. On Sept. 2 & 3, at Collinsville, IL, 20 professional postcard dealers from seven states will gather for the annual postcard show and sale hosted by the St Louis Gateway Postcard Club. This is a great opportunity to bring in those old postcards that have been lying around the closet and have the cards appraised by professionals. While most old postcards have minimal value, there are some that can run into the hundreds of dollars each. It’s not just something that you want to toss into your next garage sale or recycling as you could easily be throwing money away.

This year the St Louis Gateway Postcard Club, with members in Missouri and the Illinois Metro East, will hold its 46th postcard show and sale. The show is usually held on the Friday and Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Due to a scheduling issue, this year the show will be Saturday, Sept. 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Club members get in at 9 a.m. on Friday. The show will be held at the convenient, spacious, and well-lighted American Legion Hall at 1022 Vandalia St. (Hwy 159) in Collinsville, IL. The show is easily accessible from Interstates 270, 70, 55, and 64 and is only 15 minutes from the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

This show is one of the largest shows of its type in the Midwest. It is also one of the few that offers free admission, free parking, free appraisals, and daily attendance prizes.

There will be an excellent mix of friendly dealers from Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, and Alabama, bringing thousands of cards, enough to cover nearly 100 tables, to fill empty places in collections whether you are a veteran collector, a beginner, or just someone who wants to know about our great postcard hobby. With all the postcards that will be available, you are sure to find something to your liking in all price ranges, whether it be a topic, holiday greetings, state view, real photo, or foreign card, with prices ranging from a quarter to many dollars.


Cozy nook in camper

Vintage Linen era postcard

Vintage Linen era postcard. (Image courtesy of Michael Smith,
St. Louis Gateway Postcard Club Facebook page)


As show chairperson Tom Snyder explained, “people collect postcards for many reasons. Some collect postcards relating to family history, such as the college where dad met mom, while others collect themes such as trains, ships, motorcycles, sports, famous people, expos, holidays, and postcards drawn by specific artists. Postcards are an excellent way to document social history, and are of interest to both collectors and local historians. Some people collect postcards because they are pretty and everyone collects them because they are fun.” You can find out more about the St Louis Gateway Postcard Club and the upcoming show by calling Tom Snyder at 618-531-4189 or by email at Many dealers cannot bring all of their cards to each show so if you are planning to attend and want to make sure that the dealers bring your collecting interest, please contact Tom so he can alert the dealers before the show.

News release provided by Tom Snyder of the St. Louis Gateway Postcard Club.
Contact Tom at 618-531-4189 or​

Kansas woman makes vintage camper all her own

May 2022

Feature Article

Kansas woman makes vintage camper all her own

by Corbin Crable


Everywhere Cyndi Swall goes in her vintage camper, she attracts attention.

“It’s impossible to drive down the street without everybody honking and waving,” the Mission, KS, resident says. “Anything that small and old gets attention.”

Swall’s small wonder is her 1967 Oberlin Spot, a mobile treasure she bought four years ago from a former neighbor in the hip, bustling Kansas City suburb of Brookside. The man, who was considering turning it into a wine store on wheels, was more than happy to sell it to a friendly face.

Saw Potential

Where others saw lots of work to be done, Swall saw nothing but potential.

“The first time I saw her, it was the cutest thing I’d ever seen,” Swall recalls. “I knew I wanted to see this through. I wanted it to be something I could live in.”

To Swall’s delight, most of the camper’s original features were intact, but there was plenty to do in order to get it road-ready.

“It was fairly original, which I know a lot of people prefer, but nothing functioned,” Swall explains. “It still had the brown cabinetry, which I kept, but I painted it. The basic structure was there; it was mostly cosmetic. You could’ve camped in it, but it wouldn’t be very comfortable.”

Cozy nook in camper

Cozy Nook

A cozy nook to relax and enjoy a glass of wine.

pink Vintage Camper

Vintage Look

Pretty in pink… Cyndi used touches of a pale pink (inside and out) for a soft, vintage look. (photos by Cyndi Swall)

Swall rolled up her sleeves and got to work – no easy task because, in addition to the care the camper required, she also was taking care of her daughter.

“I knew I needed to take out anything that needed to be taken out, so I took the stove, refrigerator and the sink out. I took out everything that didn’t work and I put in (electrical). I had a friend come over and they wired the whole thing backwards. It was only working intermittently, so I called in an electrician.”

As Swall continued her renovation work, the re-quests for updates came from friends and family: How’s it going? How much more needs to be done? When can we see it?

Facebook page about Renovation

Eventually, Swall created a Facebook page in which she traced her path of camper renovation.

“I never tried to market it; I just started doing it because so many people asked (about the project),” she says. “It’s easier to say, ‘Just go here and watch me.’ I was tired of sending people pictures. They got excited about it with me.”

After two years of hard work, Swall wrapped up the camper’s renovations just a couple of months ago, and it has been a refuge for her, a place where she can go not just to relax but also to create (Swall has written a book in the camper, in fact).

“When I’d get writers block, I’d just go out there and write,” she notes.

Writing Desk or Table in camper

Writing Desk or Table

A table that can be used for meals or as a writing desk.

In addition to her writing, Swall also works as an executive coach, organizing and leading leadership retreats and women’s retreats.

“When I bought it, my original thought was I would do it for my business,” Swall says. “If I have WiFi, I can work in my camper. I think that’s why people are ditching their houses and buying their RVs. It has changed the way people work.”

The end product is a testament to Swall’s creative mind, the exterior a vintage pink (“I feel it’s simple and elegant”), and the interior warm and cozy, with a small electric fireplace and a wooden table in place of the original linoleum.

Like-minded Hobbyist

Swall also has found a community of like-minded hobbyists in a group called Sisters on the Fly, a group for women who are outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom own vintage campers themselves.

“People with these old campers make it an extension of their family,” she observes.

If others have read Swall’s tale and feel similarly in-spired to get into vintage camper renovation, she says she has some advice for them.

“Know what you can do yourself and what you should hire for,” Swall advises. “There might be things you think you can do. But there is so much to learn. “

See the evolution of Swalls’ camper renovation by searching for the page “Cyndi’s Vintage Camper Renovation 2019” on Facebook.

Contact Corbin Crable at​