Published: April 4, 2017
Ohio residents Andrew Richmond and Hollie Davis are vital sources of information on antiquing in the Midwest for those of us who live elsewhere. Trained as a librarian, Hollie recently acquired the database Prices4Antiques.com, with which she has been professionally affiliated since 2004. A Winterthur Fellow, Andrew worked for Cowan’s and Garth’s before launching independent consulting and appraising firms in January 2016. The couple helped organize the Midwest Antiques Forum and contributed to the exhibition “Equal in Goodness: Ohio Decorative Arts, 1788-1860,” among other museum projects. Parents of Nora, 6, and Nat, 4, Hollie and Andrew here share details of their demanding but fulfilling lives.
What’s the view from Ohio these days?
If you have passion for old stuff and a willingness to be flexible and creative, it’s a great time to be in the antiques business. There is so much going on in the Midwest. Great auctions, great shows, innovative research, and, we think, growing interest in antiques among folks under 50.
What do you love about the Americana world?
We love the objects, sure, but it’s the people who make this business fun. We’ve found friends who have become like family. It’s a gift to be surrounded all the time by people who are excited about what they do. And the stories! We’re going to have a great memoir.
Where will we see you in the next six months?
In June, Andrew will be lecturing on Ohio pottery at Historic Eastfield’s annual ceramics symposium and in July he presents at the Association of Midwest Museums annual conference in Des Moines. Also, we’re moving to Marietta from Sunbury, Ohio. We fell in love with the town and its history when Andrew was researching the area’s furniture as a Winterthur student. Marietta also happens to be equidistant between our families.
Hollie, how you do you plan to develop Prices4Antiques.com?
P4A has been on a pretty consistent path since its inception in 1999. I hope to continue offering the most useful pricing resource, while adding features and content to the site so it’s more than just an auction sales archive. Since Andrew is a former auctioneer, and now is an appraiser and dealer, he’s a big help with user feedback. When it began, p4A was unique. Now, it’s one of many databases, some of which are free. We work hard to make p4A better than the rest. We do this by adding “findability” and original content. It’s not just a simple keyword search in an ocean of raw data.
Andrew, can you tell us about your two businesses, the Ohio Company Art & Antiques and Wipiak?
Wipiak is my appraisal and consulting firm. The Ohio Company is the buying and selling part of my business. I’m mostly a private dealer, but do set up at Bruce Metzger’s Ohio Country Antique Show twice a year in Wilmington, Ohio. I’m also selling on Facebook, a surprisingly good venue. I keep Wipiak and Ohio Company separate. When you call me to appraise, I don’t buy so as to avoid conflicts of interest. In addition to appraisals, I offer advisory services to collectors. Some of my favorite customers are people who need help deciding what, where and how to sell. I spent more than a decade in the auction business, so I know how the process works and can help my clients navigate the system. I currently have three associate appraisers in Michigan, Indiana and North Carolina, which expands Wipiak’s geographic reach. I hope to add more appraisers. We work independently, but often collaborate and are able to review each other’s work for quality assurance.
If we were venture capitalists, in which of your enterprises should we invest?
Do our kids’ college funds count? We promise it’ll be a great investment! Seriously, the answer is p4A, or rather, the exciting plan we are developing to create a new online antiques resource that will complement p4A. It will likely be of great use to current and future subscribers. You’ll hear more on this in the coming 12 to 18 months.
Where do you two see yourselves in 20 years?
As proud parents of employed and student-debt-free children? Walled in by our Midwestern-German wardrobes? We’ll be in our 60s, so retirement will definitely be on our mind. But do folks ever really retire from this business? By then, perhaps we’ll be less focused on building businesses and more attuned to research and travel.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm