Every person has a special memory, hobby or quirk that could make for the perfect gift-giving idea. It could be a childhood love of a certain TV show, a beloved vacation spot, a certain type of collectible item, or a favorite sports team. It could also be, as one antique store owner found, a devotion to something as weirdly specific as donkeys.
Sherrie Welchner of Picking’s Antiques in Pacific Grove discovered this two months ago after she displayed a collection of around 600 donkey figurines in her store window. Over an entire lifetime, a woman had collected the statues and mementos of all sizes and colors in ceramic, wood and metal – and then they sat boxed up in a great-nephew’s garage for 40 years after the collector passed away. Welchner got the call to come look at the massive collection of Equus asinus likenesses and offered to sell them on consignment.
She had no idea if anyone would be interested, but suddenly Welchner had people coming into the shop overflowing with donkey stories and purchasing keepsakes. One woman came inside to say her best friend’s beloved donkey had passed away just the day before. She picked out a donkey figurine to give her friend as a gift. Welchner has helped other gift-buying customers over the years, finding some knick-knack, postcard or other item that will have a special meaning to a friend or loved one.
Life magazines are a popular request as gifts, Welchner says. The magazine is sought-after by people looking for specific issues that maybe someone they know appeared in, or that correlates to when the person they are buying for was born or a city they lived in or visited.
Welchner’s customers appreciate that the things they purchase can’t be found in any other store, and don’t come mass-produced from overseas.
Welchner’s advice to gift buyers is to walk through a shop, take a look and don’t hesitate to ask if looking for a specific item or category. “Someone will come in and say, ‘I’m looking for something military,’” and she will lead them around the store pointing out potential items, she says. Gift buyers should keep in mind that all purchases are final, so it’s a good idea to gauge how much the receiver will enjoy the treasure for years to come.
PICKING’S ANTIQUES is at 221 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. 747-2175, pickingsantiques.com