Three generations

By
Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 PA License - AB067198

I grew up in England, my father and grandfather were both antique dealers handling ceramics, basically anything that broke they dealt in it. As I progressed through school my first choice was to go in to the British Army as an officer, going to Sandhurst and serve in the Devon and Dorset Regiment. I passed my exams, the interview and the physical and mental challenge selection day. However, the day before i arrived at Sandhurst I threw my back out, and the physical demands of the training with a bad back and prior broken neck from Rugby put me into hospital and a release from the service. I was very disappointed.

I had missed university entry as Sandhurst started at the same time, so I found myself a job in the City of London working for Norwich Union at Llloyds of London as a management trainee learning about aviation insurance. Whilst it was interesting, wondering why anyone would think to ask for insurance when driving hovercraft over exploding dynamite, it was a little too slow for me.

I next thought to go to Israel to work on a kibbutz but my parents had other plans as my father needed help in his shop, so he could send my brother to the USA to open another shop there. So, I drifted into the antiques business. There was plenty to learn and lots to do. It kept me busy and I basically enjoyed it. But I wanted to stand on my own two feet so was thinking of goingto work in a hotel and learn the business. My father died suddenly, and I got dropped into running the London end of the family business. 

It took me a little while to get my confidence to spend the large sums required on pieces, but I remember the turning point at an antiques fair in Holland, in Delft. I had walked around twice and was about to leave, not having found anything to buy.Suddenly I look up and on the top of an armoire was this most amazing set of Chinese 18th century famille rose jardinieres, for holding flowers or plants. They were decorated with pheasants and flowers and were absolutely beautiful. I knew I had to buy them, after some negotiation we settled on a price. We sold them for several times what I paid for them and that gave me the confidence that I knew what I was doing.

Soup tureen and cover

Well my brother and I found it hard working together so we ended up splitting the business apart, and I ended up moving to America as this was where our clients were mainly. I settled on Philadelphia and no sooner were we here than my bank at a routine meeting I had flown back to the UK for on the eve of the first Gulf War called my loan. We lost everything.

I tried different things here but my visa did not allow me to work for anyone. I worked as a sub contractor for a friend to make ends meet. Then I acted as a broker finding things for some select clients. Whilst I was doing this we got our Green Card in the Green Card Lottery, that is another long story in itself.

I ended uyp working for a magazine in Boston in the antiques and fine art world, and from there was asked to run a new Antiques and Jewelry Show in Palm Beach. After six months I realized one of the partners resented me taking his job and having acheived what I was hired to do, selling the show out, something he had not been able to do, I left and came home to Philadelphia.

I decided to try real estate, my wife was already an agent and I thought my skills of identifying people's needs, negotiation skills etc. would help me in the business. I had a wonderful first year and the rest is history, having been doing it for 15 years now.

I miss the antiques world, and although I run some antiques shows for local charities I am looking for a new way to be involved so I can travel and buy things again.

 

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Rainmaker
3,636,382
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Nick. It was good to read your story. I understand the need to buy things and stay engaged.

Oct 02, 2019 05:28 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,789,041
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Nick - your journey to your present-day real estate career is very interesting. I suspect you have many more tales you could tell about your various ventures. 

Oct 02, 2019 08:03 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Nick - I enjoyed your story and it, like so many in life, is a work-in-progress.   

Oct 02, 2019 09:38 AM #5
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Peter Mohylsky it is all a journey and every day is an adventure to enjoy.

Norma J. Elkins thank you, so far so good.

Sheila Anderson I enjoy organizing the local antiques shows but I also know I was very good at sourcing good items.

Like all our lives every day brings something up Lottie Kendall 

Michael Jacobs it truly is and if I think back to a year ago, I would not have thought I would be where I am today. So, as you say a work-in-progress.

Oct 02, 2019 09:46 AM #6
Rainmaker
4,491,482
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Nick,

Enjoyed reading your post, I have always had an affinity to pottery and majolica in particular.  I am not a collector!  I have a couple of pieces we inherited from Ron's grandmother made in England, and a German piece someone gave us as a wedding present.  A

Oct 02, 2019 10:50 AM #7
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Ron and Alexandra Seigel I expect I will be seeing much more German items in my travels in the coming year.

Oct 02, 2019 10:57 AM #8
Rainmaker
3,636,382
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Hello again Nick. I believe you are good at most things and the enjoyment only enhances it.

Oct 02, 2019 11:06 AM #9
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Sheila Anderson I did enjoy the hunt for items and stepping outside what we bought to try new lines. I am looking forward to doing this again and trying new ways to sell what I find.

Oct 02, 2019 11:09 AM #10
Ambassador
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Nick- it would seem that antiques and selling are in your blood. There's something about the "hunt" isn't there?  I really loved reading your story!!!

Oct 02, 2019 06:44 PM #11
Rainmaker
3,133,625
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Nick... I knew some of your story regarding the antique business, but not all of it... and I enjoyed reading this and getting to "know you better" through this post.

Oct 03, 2019 12:39 AM #12
Rainmaker
2,945,280
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Nick.

Sounds like you would have fun working for the Antiques Road Show. 

Oct 03, 2019 12:56 AM #13
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Kathy Streib I like buying things, I like the quest to find something, and out of necessity you need to sell them so you can buy more things.

Nina Hollander I think we all have parts that others know, but these types of contests are interesting to find out what we might not have known.

I have been on The Antiques Roadshow James Dray many years ago now. It was fun, and interesting to hear the stories that go with pieces, they don't always make sense.

Oct 03, 2019 04:48 AM #14
Rainmaker
2,581,961
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Wow, you have been through so much in your life, but your resilience definitely leads you to success!

Oct 03, 2019 07:58 AM #15
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Brian England what doesn't kill you makes you stronger right!

Oct 03, 2019 08:17 AM #16
Rainmaker
349,586
Brenda J. Andrew
ULTIMA REAL ESTATE - Corpus Christi, TX
Professional Realtor in Corpus Christi, TX

Good morning Nick.  You were the first one to post on this subject so I just had to read.  I love your story and wish I could have seen some of the beautiful antiques you and your family had at your families store.  There is a place in Texas called Warrenington and Roundtop. They have antique shows twice a year and my husband and I purchased a table from overseas-I can't remember where it is from, but it is like nothing I had ever seen before - absolutely beautiful.  I hope you have the opportunity to get back into the antique business - you have an eye for it!  Have a great day!

Oct 11, 2019 05:28 AM #17
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Brenda J. Andrew I have never been to Roundtop but I have heard a lot about it, may have to come visit someday soon. I am looking forward to using my talents again soon.

Oct 11, 2019 06:29 AM #18
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Nick! I love this story - it's a shame you weren't the one sent to the states to start the business here - you would have even had deeper roots here! 

I knew about your Dad but, didn't know you and your brother were working together - he here and you across the pond. It's tough for siblings to work together but, I know you're glad you got into real estate - the by-product of dissolving the family business. Now, you can do a little of both and be quite satisfied!

Funny but, I bought a set of china at an auction on Friday - negotiated one heck of a price on it and may just turn around and sell it! I wanted only one piece of the set but, they wouldn't break it up so, I bought the whole set. We'll see!

Hope you're feeling well and having a wonderful weekend...

Oct 13, 2019 09:51 AM #19
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Debe Maxwell, CRS the funny thing is he has been here way longer than me, but he only has a green card, he never got his citizenship, so in a way,my roots go deeper, but I really miss Europe and the way of life there. Good luck with the china set. You can always post it on eBay. There is a shop in Texas I think that buys parts of services as replacements, that may be what it is called actually Replacements.

Oct 13, 2019 05:47 PM #20
Rainmaker
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Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

When antiques were popular. Dealers go to England bid on older oak furnitures the younger generation wanted to get rid of. There are antique trips go there bid on a container of furniture and sell in the US.  I went to Carmel, CA look at the real antiques at display recently they are like 40-50% off from what I knew. Apparently Yankees are not into antique furniture etc anymore. Gone are also many antique stores. The waldrops, Victorian furnitures are replaced by Ikea in Europe. I have mostly stuff collected from decades and some old timers enjoy looking at my house.

Oct 19, 2019 08:50 AM #21
Rainmaker
785,101
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Sam Shueh everything goes in cycles, there has been a period where furniture has dropped in value, but everyone talks about the climate, and buying antiques is a great way to help the climate and not have more stuff made which doesn't last.

Oct 19, 2019 09:38 AM #22
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Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line
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