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Saturday, June 17, 2023

Bear's Choice

I am an art and antique dealer. While I do have a physical gallery, the lion' share of my income is made at different antique shows around the country. In order to survive in the business for over thirty years I had to have a certain attitude. Basically it was to use my eye and brain and find the best merchandise available and that somewhere, somehow, somebody would be willing to pay a little bit more for it.

Cutting to the chase I would say that a person in my world is quite narcissistic about their inventory, and eye for that matter or should be anyway if they are to be successful. We all want the best stuff. If I can make a stretch, our self worth is tied up to the quality of our merch. Or mine is anyway. 

When I ride into town I want my saddlebags full and both six guns blazing. But it is not always meant to be. 

I am on my way to Santa Fe to do a Cowboy/Indian western show. I have done the promoter's show in both Ft. Worth and Mesa and have done well in the past. But I am a little nervous about this one.

I have some wonderful art work, as usual. An incredible collection of Lawrence Murphy paintings 1872-1947, freshly framed. But I sold my last great native weaving last week. Have exactly one good basket. Some decent jewelry. No good pottery. I simply am not finding the material. What I lack in quality I do make up for in volume but most collectors want the best of the best these days so it might prove challenging.

I hate it when I feel outgunned!

What I do have is great silver, rare Tiffany, Whiting and Allan Adler. But it is not exactly western and am not sure it would find a clientele at a western show. Sometimes it pays to be an outlier and sometimes it doesn't.

Augustus Owsley Stanley III

I sat in my shop today and pondered what to bring to a relatively small space as I packed. Always the 64K dollar question?

And thought of something an old friend I knew named Stanley would tell me when he saw me, over and over again.

Stanley was a genius, a chemist, radio engineer, jeweler and soundman. He operated about ten levels above me in a cerebral sense. Very smart guy. He was known as the Bear, quite the strange cat.

He would say, "Robert, your problem is that you always want to play pinochle at a poker game."

I tried to take what he told me to heart. I think what he meant was that I wanted to change the rules of the game to suit my own strengths and wishes. And that is not how the game works in this world. You have to speak the same language as the other guys at the table.

I think I will listen to the Bear for once and leave the stuff that is not strictly on message at home. Will see what shakes down pretty quick now.

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