Philosofy & View Points
Not so distant neighbors
by Bob Alvarado
The commom viewer of Mexico held by some US citizens is that of a country ful of bandidos and potential migrant workers. To the surprise of many of our northern neighbors, Mexico does have doctors, lawyers, musicians, athletes, and yes, even Coca Cola.
Mexico City is home to nearly 32 million of people, followed not by Guadalajara but by los Angeles, California, in number of Mexican inhabitants. By the end of the millenium, the Hispanic population in the US will be the largest minority group on the country. with such a large number of Hispanic citizens, it is amazing how little the average US resident knows about its neighbors to the south.
Mexico has much to give the United States, just as the US has much to offer Mexico. With the signing of the trade agreement, NAFTA the road of communication and commerce between our two nations continues to open. One of our goals here at El antiQuario is to help bribge the gap of cultural understanding between our two countries.
El antiQuario is written for both the US and the Mexican reader. Articles, suh as the interview with Mr. Acapulco, Tedy Stauffer in this issue, may leave some US reader wondering, 'What does this haveto do with Mexican Antiques?' Rest assured, friends, we are not deviating from our path.
Up until the late 1940's few US citizens ventured farther south than the boder towns of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, or Nuevo Laredo; Mexico's interior remained a mystery for most. In the early 1950's thanks largely to Teddy Stauffer, affkuent Americans and Europeans began visiting the resort town of Acapulco. At that time Acapulco was only Mexican resort of international importance, and for many people was their first real Mexican experience.
We hope thet our US readers will realize the influence Teddy Stauffer had in helping bring the people of the United States and Mexico closer together; he was truly an ambassador of cultural good will.
In this new department, El antiQuario Philosophy And Viewpoints, we will attempt to bidge some of the cultural misconceptions between our two countries, without entering into political issues. We feel it is important to our readers from bot sides of the border that there be deeper understanding of the other.
Hopefully, this will lead naturally to a deeper appreciation of our arts and antiques, and why they came to be.
The current trend i the States is towards Mexican primitives, cowboy collectables, and popular arts. In the past year we have witnessed the release of several excellent publicatons on these topics. Unfortunely, most of these books never end up in the hands f Mexican antiquarians, and dealers here remain largely unaware of the movement.
One of the most important aspects of our bussines in investing time in research, so that we know what we are buying and can help educate the person to whom we are selling. It is a snowbal effect, and profitable for all. US dealers should be responsible in keeping their Mexican counterparts aware of the trends upnorth, as they will naturally benefit form letting the Mexican know what exactly it is they want to purchase, and how much they are willing to pay.
Likewise, several, folks from the US have no idea what is hot in Mexico, antique-wise. The answers may be surprising for many. In the past year we have seen a dramatic increase in the interest of Sapnish colonial items; retablos, santos, nichos, etc. We've heard more then one in US dealer remark that they can actually sell such items for money in Mexico than in the States.
Besides colonial items, many Mexican dealers have found the market for European antiques to be very strong here. More and more dealers are visiting US auction houses and shows, not sell old doors and oxen carts, but to purchaseQueen Anne bedroom sets. US dealers should teke a note, there is a huge potential market of Mexican buyers sitting on the doorstep.
With the free trade agreement now firmly in place, importing and exporting of merchandise continues to become easier. It was recently eported in Mexican newspapers that 1997 proved to be a record year for Mexican artesania exports into the United States. We are sure that this market trend will continue intp 1998, and beyond. (The word artesania covers a broad range of items; from furniture, to pottery, leather goods and textiles, and much more.)
It is our hope at El antiQuario that this mewest column will provoke en exchange of ideas and greater dialogue between dealers and collectors form both countries, as we continue to grow together to become closer business partners and neighbors.