Ah yes, there's nothing like hitting the road for a multi-state TV lamp search. These TV lamp "Round-Up's" (the name inspired by the rather bizarre "rattlesnake round-ups" in my native Texas) are simply recaps of my annual vacation, which typically goes from antique shop to antique shop. For 2004 my wife and I traveled from our home in North Texas into New Mexico and Colorado, poking around in just about every antique store and flea market we could find. Towns like Sweetwater, Texas, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Pueblo, Colorado revealed a wealth of treasures, often in the least likely of places.
One thing that you find out rather quickly is that, in general, the smaller the town the lower the prices you'll find on collectibles. But one exception to this rule are towns that fancy themselves as tourist attractions. Communities that rely heavily on tourist dollars don't tend to be a wealth of bargains. Las Vegas, NM and Clovis, NM are heavily laden with antiques of all types, and the persistent collector is apt to come away with some great finds in these towns.
In Las Vegas we were directed to a shop that simply defies description. Called 20th Century Antiques, it's located at 514 Douglas Ave. Not a mall with numerous independent vendors, this is an "old school" antique shop, who's motto is "If you want it, we have it." The store, located in a huge turn of the century building, has the most extensive collection of the worthless and the spectacular that I've ever seen. Sometimes you'll walk into a shop and immediately know that it's going to harbor a wealth of treasures, and this was such a place. It was packed with old china, glassware, books, bottles, furniture, cookie jars, magazines, figurines, radios, ashtrays and pots & pans all the way to the ceiling. I inquired as to whether they had a website, and was given a look that said, "How could we inventory all this?!" There were '50s amoeba ashtrays and McCoy pottery stacked up in places that would go unnoticed by all but the most observant shoppers. In fact, the biggest problem we had was sensory overload...it would take a week to really see it all. I truly regret not taking photos of this shop, as the scope of what I'm talking about can't be adequately described.
Clovis Antiques in Clovis, New Mexico is another shop that's well worth a look. Rose (the proprietor) is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about TV lamps, and is quite particular about what she offers for sale. Her TV lamps are usually something special, not the more common designs. (I got my Kron "bull and brands" lamp from Rose) Clovis Antiques is located at 1709 Mabry Dr.
One of the most frustrating aspects of antiquing today is the abundance of vendors that confuse crafts for antiques, as we found dozens of shops and malls that didn't seem to contain a single item over 5 years old. But the Platte Ave Antique Mall in Colorado Springs, CO was not such a place. Housed in an enormous two-story building, their 100+ vendors displayed primarily vintage items. They are helpful, courteous and informed, and make your visit a pleasurable one. Located at 3709 East Platte, it's a great place to go when in the area.
My wife and I found too many great shops to cover them all here. Our collection has grown by fifteen TV lamps as a result of this trip, and we're looking forward to heading off in a different direction next time. (And looking forward to going back through NM and CO, too!) Our finds include lamps by Lane, Kron, Fuhry & Sons, Miramar, Maddux, Hollywood Ceramics, Esco-Lite, Royal Haeger and a host of great "unknowns". Photos of them are posted in their respective manufacturer's areas, and a "group photo" is at the top of this page. Until next time...happy hunting!