The Five Coolest Things at This Weekend's Antiques Show

Categories: Spaced City

That mannequin is keeping us up at night
See lots more knick-knacks in our slideshow from the antiques sale.

This weekend we visited the Hada Spring Antique Show, upstairs at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It was full of heirlooms, artwork, one-of-a-kind artifacts and plenty of fragile things that we were afraid to look at for fear our very gaze would render them into dust.

Just two flights of stairs up, a convention featuring all that dumb crap you see inside college bookstores was going on, the Camex 2011, or the Campus Market Expo. The GRB is really something during the weekends, a mass of confused-looking exhibitors, taxis, hotel shuttles and smoking, lots of smoking. People on business must love to smoke away from home because all the designated areas were packed up like a social club.

In the next month alone, the GRB will host conventions featuring the fishing, wedding, robot and medical industries. You know wedding planners like to party. Also, I wouldn't mind attending a convention featuring all four together. Robot doctors getting married on high-powered speedboats sounds exciting. If you can find a way to bust the hatch at a convention, do it. I'm sure there is free stuff involved somewhere.

I initially found out about the Hada through an estate sale warehouse I visit on the weekends looking for music memorabilia. The vibe wasn't quite American Pickers, and not quite Antiques Roadshow. Very sedate, calm, not much noise, and a lot of sideways stares at a guy walking around taking pictures. Basically the exact opposite of fun. As for the exhibitors, I saw a lot of middle-aged couples, gay and straight, who more than likely retired early to travel the world selling their wares. Also, my bowtie allotment is set for the rest of the year.

If you look closer at the pieces in each stall from these collectors, some from around the world, you can find a wealth of history, and oddities. It's always fun imagining who owned some of the oldest pieces, or maybe what kind of lives touched say, a vase, painting or set of silver cutlery. Some blustery aristocrat whipping a servant for not dusting or polishing it correctly, maybe a wedding gift for an arranged marriage, a politician's best gear for swinging votes his way. Who knows, but that's the fun and creepiness factor of antiques.

I picked out five of the best pieces that caught my eye over my visit Sunday afternoon. No, I didn't buy anything. Though the two creepy-eyed Moor statues would have looked cool in my cubicle.

5. Map of United States

Photos by Craig Hlavaty

But, but, where's Houston? Where's Austin? It's all in Spanish!

4. Pro-Bank


It's funny to think that at one point in time, you had to convince people that banks were safe. Now, it's not robbers from Central Casting you worry about stealing your money.

3. Colonial Mannequin


This Colonial-era mannequin is made of a solid piece of wood, has real glass eyes and gave me nightmares last night. She goes for $2,900 and is available at The Antique Co. here in Houston.

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Really, these were the only 'cool things' at this graveyard. My Mrs and I attended this turkey for the first time. A vendor I spoke with said HADA schedules this thing during rodeo/Mardi Gras every year and he wasn't likely to drive this far south again due to declining crowds/profits. It was deads-ville at 14:00.

For everyone of the pieces in this story, there were 3 dozen pieces of over priced 18th/19th century brick-a-brak. Don't know what offended my sensibilities more, the race pieces, (tagged darkie, mammie, or coon) or the 'authentic' vampire-werewolf-killing kit at a jury-paneled-antique event. I thought it was a joke, too, until the vendor told me he couldn't take a dime less than $16,000. It was ticketed for $19,500.

My Mrs was inspecting a linen napkin and the sales slug took it out of her hand, folded it and sat it down. All under a sign that read, 'Come in, touch, and experience.' Instead, we let them keep their $35 hanky. In fact the only sale I witnessed was the $3 Coke I bought my Mrs. While I would say I wouldn't go back, I can't imagine they'll be around much longer anyway.

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