A couple of weeks ago, Tracy and I purchased from his a large, wooden cabinet made in the 1880s
. Herr BŁel explained to us the probable significance of that particular piece, why it was made, and the different components of it. He also showed us a few ways to spot fake antiques, by pointing out wood textures, saw marks (hand saw v. machine), how panels of wood are glued together sometimes, and other aspects. Tracy and I are very pleased with our cabinet, which some of you have seen. I will post a photo of it here.
Today, Tracy and I went to his store outside of Idar-Oberstein to look around. We are in need of closets (Schrank, in German) and thought we might find a good one there for a good price. We ended up purchasing one made in the border area between Germany and France (SaarbrŁcken) sometime around 1760-1780. I will post a photo sometime after he delivers it to our house on Wednesday. It is exciting to own a piece of furniture as old as our country.
We look at these antiques as investments, as they will only go up in value, most likely. They are much more prevalent in Germany (probably in all of Europe) than in the United States for obvious reasons. Thus, they are less expensive. Tracy and I are looking forward to a long, lucrative relationship with Olaf's Antiques.
Olaf BŁel began his trade in antiques out of concern for American soldiers (and others) ignorant of the antique business. He explained to us at a Christmas Bazaar, a common venue for local merchants to barter their goods, that he became aware of some tradesmen hocking cheap pieces of furniture made in Indonesia as European antiques. Olaf thought he could do much better selling genuine European antiques while educating his customers (if they wanted to listen) on the pieces he sold them. Herr (Mr., in German) BŁel buys at estate sales, where families are often eager to get rid of old furniture. While these are probably sad situations for the families selling the furniture of a lost relative, there is business in it. Because he buys in bulk (entire estates), Herr BŁel gets very good prices on what would be already tremendously under-priced furniture.