• Gabriel Donio

Antiques take us back to the times of our lives


A firetruck from JH Antique Mall. (THG/Gabe Donio. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

Nostalgia sells.


They brought back Tom Cruise as Maverick in Top Gun after, like, 36 years, didn’t they?


I’m sure people will go see the movie, especially people who saw the first one in the theaters back in the 1980s.


Once a month in The Gazette, we run an Antiques page featuring antiques from local stores. Many of the items featured on the pages during the years have been purchased and are now decorating someone’s home or office. The page has developed a good following.


There are three main places to purchase antiques in Hammonton: The Antique Marketplace of Downtown Hammonton, located on 12th Street; JH Antique Mall located on Central Avenue (Ronald Reagan Drive); and Vintage Betty’s, located on the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Second Street.


Farther afield, Elwood Antiques in Mullica Twp. is located on the White Horse Pike (Route 30).


Walking through the aisles of these stores feeds the head of every person who likes history, popular culture, art, music or items that evoke most the decades between the late 1800s and the early 2000s.


They say nostalgia reigns when things aren’t going well in the present day.


Right.


Frank Mazza, owner of Antique Marketplace, told me his store did on May 11, when approximately 1,200 high school students from throughout the county came downtown for the Atlantic County Teen Arts Festival (read the May 18, 2022 digital edition for photos and article). It was the perfect meshing of creative people and a store that spurred that creativity. I’m sure the other antique stores downtown saw more customers than usual that day as well.


For generations, people have collected items from previous eras. Some—maybe most—older items didn’t have significant value; their value was more sentimental in nature. Others had some value. A few were prized possessions that wound up being worth thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars.


People who watch “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS (usually broadcast Mondays on WHYY Channel 12) have seen the faces on people who bring in an artifact that has long been owned by the family, only to find out it is far more valuable than they think. Some back episodes reveal how an item has gone up or gone down in value since the show originally aired. It’s a fun show, both because of the antiques that are profiled and the history the appraisers give on each of them, and because of the cash involved.


I bring up the show because it is mentioned in a press release that was sent to me by the Historical Society of Hammonton (HSH), which said: “Do you like watching “Antiques Roadshow” on TV? The Historical Society of Hammonton is excited to welcome Bruce Dooley from Elwood Antiques to the June monthly meeting. The meeting is open to the public to view and enjoy, and will be held at the Canoe Club on Thursday, June 2 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.”


The release also said both members of the HSH and the general public are welcome to bring one or two portable items to be reviewed and appraised by Dooley.


It’s an outstanding time for antiques, and with our three local stores and the HSH welcoming in Dooley on June 2, the interest in the subject seems to be at an all-time high locally.


If you like history, pop culture and antiques, visit Antique Marketplace, JH Antique Mall, Vintage Betty’s, Elwood Antiques or any antique store in the region. Whether you’re seeking sentimental value, dollar value, or a bit of both, you’re sure to find something that fits your tastes when you stop by an antique store.



Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.