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Miami Beach’s “treasure cave” opens with antiques to suit everyone

Miami, Jan 20 (EFE) .- The Original Miami Beach Antiques Fair, with 58 years of history, opened its doors this Thursday as a treasure cave packed with furniture, decorative objects, paintings, watches and jewelry of all vintages and prices. “Here you can find anything from 10 dollars to more than 100,000,” Michelle Orman, press officer for OMBAS (Original Miami Beach Antiques Show), told Efe, which since its foundation has only missed a year of her appointment with the public. In 2021, the covid-19 pandemic forced the fair to be canceled and this year there may be more appetite to buy among those interested in antiques, especially among collectors, some exhibitors at the Miami Beach Convention Center told Efe. Paul Haig, owner of the company Haig’s of Rochester (Michigan), is among those who are optimistic about the results of the event. A PRE-COLUMBIAN FIGURE, AMONG THE OLDEST OBJECTS It has reasons. According to his account, the day before he did business before the opening of OMBAS and added to those that he completed in the first hours of the fair, his sales exceed 35,000 dollars. Haig has for sale one of the oldest objects at this event: a small jade figure that comes from Guatemala and dates from 1,200 to 900 BC. “My best price is $25,000,” he replies when asked how much he is asking for that object, which is not the only pre-Columbian he has brought to Miami. In another showcase there are several objects from different cultures of what is now Peru. One of them is a strange whistle or ritual wind instrument made of clay that represents the figure of an animal and that Haig blows at the request of an interested party. In this case, its “best price” is $12,000, but that’s just to start talking because haggling is institutionalized in OMBAS, like almost everywhere antiques are sold. Another stall, called Mantiques and run by New Yorkers, specializes in antiques for men’s tastes. All the objects that are shown stand out for being “bold”, an adjective that means bold or intrepid, Grant Steinhauser, one of its directors, tells Efe. In the exhibitors there is nothing that resembles a porcelain figurine. A roulette wheel with all its accessories, the sculpted head of a man or the advertising claim of a doctor from the first half of the 20th century are offered to visitors. JEWELRY DOMINATES THE FAIR The space that houses the fair is huge, so much so that there are small motorized vehicles available for those who cannot walk or who get tired. The layman will be surprised by the amount of antique and “vintage” jewelry that is displayed in almost all stalls, even those dedicated to paintings, decorative objects and furniture. The glitter of gold, silver and precious stones of necklaces, rings and earrings is only rivaled by the shine of antique cutlery, some with so many pieces that they could serve a palace. It is also surprising to see so many watches and women’s bags from luxury brands such as Hermès or Louis Vuitton. Old models in exotic skins and with prices of more than four digits. When Efe asks them if they have bought a lot from two visitors equipped with carts like the ones used on ships to bring belongings ashore, they say no, because, they say, at these fairs “there is nothing anymore, just jewelry.” “The same thing happened to us in Palm Beach,” says one of them, who does not want to give his name. “It is the easiest thing to transport and store,” the OMBAS press officer told Efe when asked about the omnipresence of jewelry. To a question about the profile of the visitors, Michelle Orman says that there is not just one: local individuals, tourists who are passing through Miami, interior designers in search of unique pieces to decorate mansions and luxury residences and also owners of antique dealers from the United States and other countries. THE SWAP OF LIFE AND THE FAIR It is well known that changing hands is the fate of antiques. Here there is to choose if one wants to participate in that exchange. Next to a Swiss army knife the right size for a giant and with mother-of-pearl handles, two 19th-century Italian stone lions are on display, and not far away a pelota player and a fisherman look at the visitors from two oil paintings by the Basque painter Angel Cábanas Oteiza ( 1883-1964), who emigrated to Argentina and died in that country. The owner of these paintings, the Uruguayan antiquarian Isaías Kolender, tells Efe that they belonged to a Polish ambassador in Uruguay who lived in Barcelona when he retired and were part of his succession. Many of the objects that will be on sale at OMBAS until Sunday come from estates. With 35 years of presence at this fair, Kolender longs for past times, like when before the doors were opened “there were queues of eight or ten blocks”. “Business is difficult. Big people don’t buy anymore and young people aren’t interested in antiques. Give them an Ikea chair and if it breaks they throw it in the trash and buy another one,” he stresses. Ana Mengotti (c) Agencia EFE

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Luis Miguel reappears in Miami much younger and thinner