Behind Glass Cases

Passed down through generations, from one time and place to another, full of lost history and rare character, the antique and vintage world is much more than your deceased grandmother’s left-behind-items.

(Vintage turquoise squash blossom and an array of rings.)

The sun was shining and the wind gusting on that September Saturday morning when I discovered the difference between vintage and antique. I was in Cheyenne visiting two of Northern Colorado and Wyoming’s top old west and antique vendors, Bob and Michelle Brown. Married and collecting together for over twenty years, the duo’s eclectic collections came from foraging small town garage sales, wagering auctions, and attending estate sales of the deceased- and is worth thousands.

Wrangler jeans, a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and adorned in an array of vintage turquoise jewelry, Bob is the star of a walking vintage series. “They say one hundred years old is considered antique, and vintage is fifty,” Bob said as we settled ourselves at their kitchen table. “If you can find something from the 1970–80s, it’s real big time since almost all of the antique 1920- 30’s has been sold and are in private collections. The other day we bought that Civil War horse saddle and that’s 1860. To find something like that is real rare.” But antique goes back further than just one hundred years.

sparkling raw youngite

As I gazed into their floor-to-ceiling tall oak cases, pearl white youngite and chunks of jade sparkled next to thousand-year-old Indian pottery. “We mined a lot of those ourselves,” Michelle said. “Those rocks are just as antique as the pottery next to it.”

Outside of their home collection, the antiquarian duo has booths at two of Cheyenne’s top shops. Turquoise and coral rings, squash blossoms, and pocket watches glisten behind glass cases, and are anything but the ordinary stuff at your local mall. “It stands out so much and people are attracted to it,” Bob said about the jewelry. “Your knowledge gets polished over the years and you get to know the styles and how it’s made- older stuff is heavier, more detailed, the sets are in real tight, and the colors are better.”

Vintage and antique classics are the lingering beauties of the past, made solid and genuine, and are the priceless pieces always kept behind glass cases

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