Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: The Penguin Press (June 9, 2011)
An antique dealer’s journey from the populist mayhem of flea markets to the rarefied realm of auctions reveals the rich, often outrageous subculture of antiques and collectibles.
Whether it’s “Antiques Roadshow” or “American Pickers”, the high-stakes world of collectibles has drawn a cult following across the nation. Killer Stuff and Tons of Money by Maureen Stanton offers a new and exciting perspective on what can fairly be called an American obsession, dispelling popular myths to reveal the gritty reality of collecting.
For most, the world of antiques and collecting has the air of a lottery, where a $20 purchase might net you four, five, or six figures. Master dealer Curt Avery, the star of this book, plays that lottery every day, and he wins it more than most. Occasionally he gets lucky, but more often he draws on knowledge of the American past and the odd, fascinating, and beautiful objects that have survived it. As Curt works his way up from low-end flea markets to high-end antiques fairs, we come to see the flea for what it truly is – less a lottery than a contact sport with few rules and many pitfalls. It is also a rich and sometimes hilarious subculture which rewards peculiar interests and outright obsession; one dealer specializes in shrunken heads, another guy wants all the postal memorabilia he can get. In this world, Curt is a guerilla historian, combining deep, hard-earned knowledge of the objects of our country’s past with an intrepid ability to live by and off his wits in one of America’s most ruthless meritocracies.
Killer Stuff and Tons of Money is many things: an insider’s look at a subculture replete with arcane traditions and high drama, an inspiring account of a self-made man making his way to the top of a cutthroat field, and a trove of tips for those who seek out hidden treasure.
Maureen Stanton’s work has been featured in Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Iowa Review, American Literary Review, The Sun, and Riverteeth, among other journals and anthologies, including Best of The Sun, Best of Brevity, and Best Texas Writing. She has received numerous awards, including the Pushcart Prize, the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, and a Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. She teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Missouri.
Maureen’s Tour Stops:
Tuesday, June 7th: Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books
Friday, June 10th: Amused By Books
Monday, June 13th: Mod Vintage Life
Tuesday, June 14th: La Dolfina
Wednesday, June 15th: 52 Flea
Thursday, June 16th: English Major’s Junk Food
Thursday, June 16th: The Shabby Nest
Friday, June 17th: No Minimalist Here
Monday, June 20th: BookNAround
Tuesday, June 21st: hello lovely inc.
Wednesday, June 22nd: Rusty Rooster Vintage
Wednesday, June 22nd: Chaotic Compendiums
Thursday, June 23rd: Books Like Breathing
Friday, June 24th: Freckled Laundry
Friday, July 8th: Gypsy Brocante