Good Life

Art & antiques: Kid Collectors know what’s trending

Lori Verderame
Lori Verderame

At my public antiques appraisal events, many audience members are kids. Some of them remind me of my childhood. I spent many weekends touring local flea markets and yard sales with my dad. My dad liked to look for old tools and military objects, and he taught me about them. But the kids who come to my events collect all types of objects from fine art to movie memorabilia and more. Young people are very keen collectors. They know what’s hot, what’s not. They learn to become good negotiators, and they know how to spot a bargain and how to use their technology skills to sell and trade online.

I often feature kids and their collections on my antiques appraisal tour. They share their knowledge of a collectible category and talk about diverse collections ranging from “Star Wars” toys to vintage pottery.

Here are a few of the kids who follow me and are at the core of my Kid Collectors programs.

During the early years of my tour, I met Carly, 5, in Lancaster. She brought a medal that she found in her grandpa’s button jar to one of my events, accompanied by her mother and older sister. What Carly had found was a Native American peace medal that Lewis and Clark gave to the Native Americans during their expedition under the auspices of the Jefferson administration. My evaluation of her valuable piece of Western history was the impetus for a childhood filled with the joy of collecting. Carly returned to my program years later to show me a Frederic Remington sculpture of a bucking bronco that she bought at an auction, which she added to her growing Western art collection.

Asaya, of Virginia Beach, Va., bought an autographed poster of Pete Rose from a thrift store. He loves baseball and although the 6-year-old was unfamiliar with the Cincinnati Reds slugger, Asaya liked the piece so much that it started him on his way as an autograph collector.

I met Ethan, 11, at my show in Baltimore. He told me that he and his older brother collect “unusual objects” from flea markets and thrift stores. He explained, “If there is something that I have never seen before, I buy it and then search online to see if I can find something similar. It’s like solving a mystery.” I thought that was great for creative learning and as a fine collecting method. Ethan brought me a medieval revival base metal relief sculpture of an equestrian from the 1870s worth $500. The architectural object was interesting and unusual.

Emily, 12, brought a painting by a well-known regional artist to my appraisal event in Tulsa, Okla., and we became fast friends. I asked Emily why she collected paintings and she commented quite intelligently and enthusiastically about the composition, brushwork, execution and formalist properties of the painting like a true art historian. I was so impressed with her command of the field’s vocabulary and knowledge that I asked how long she was collecting. She said that she studies art in school and has been collecting for a few years. When she is not helping out around the farm, Emily adds to her growing art collection.

Lori Verderame is an antiques appraiser, nationally syndicated columnist and author, and award-winning TV personality with a doctorate in the field. She presents antique appraisal events, keynote speeches and lectures to worldwide audiences. Visit Follow her on DoctorLori or call 888-431-1010.