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Little girls and money, Part One

A little girl came over to our table at the Wentworth Park antiques markets the other day. Let me rephrase: a mother came over to our table with a family in tow.  Now, the little girl was absolutely fascinated with our wares. This in itself was not particularly noteworthy; little girls are almost always fascinated by anything glittery and glitsy.

What struck me about this particular child, though, was that she had a knack.  You know what I mean by 'a knack'?  She was drawn to and touched the most expensive items I had on offer, completely ignoring the more moderately priced pieces.  Some signed Moser glass - she went straight to it (there was flashier glass there - Little Miss Einstein ignored it).  A hand painted Charles Baldwyn Royal Worcester vase next caught her eye. Again, not a showy piece, just painted with Baldwyn's distinctive style.  But it was when the girl picked up a beautiful signed vase by John Stinton, again for Royal Worcester, that things started to happen.  I rescued it deftly from her fingers just as her mother caught sight of the $3.5K pricetag and began to turn green.

"Leave that alone!  That's expensive!"
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what struck me. Why do we do that, particularly with our female children?  We inadvertently start them fearing wealth from a very early age.

Seems to me that someone was always telling me that something was too expensive.  That's an important message to be sure; children must be taught value.  But if that's all they ever hear, then it seems to me that what they internalise is 'that's too good for the likes of you'.  And that's just not good.

I like to stress that antiques are not just chi-chi items for the super rich.  They are functional, decorative, green and here's the important bit: they can be good investments as well, and you can start collecting no matter what your socio-economic status. That's the message we need to get out to the young.

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