Unless you’re the type of guy who has a wardrobe that includes at least one white seersucker suit and enjoys saying things like “how droll…” in casual conversation, telling your buddies that you plan on spending the weekend “antiquing” is bound to raise a few eyebrows. But it doesn’t all have to be doilies, drapes and Louis XV curio cabinets. Eric Bradley is here to tell you that collecting old timey thingamajigs can be a manly pursuit. And if you have any doubts about that claim, his new book, Mantiques: A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff, aims to set you straight with a firm, calloused hand.
First off, the book is gorgeous (in a hairchestedly macho way, of course.) A striking cover sets the stage for 175 glossy pages filled with vintage collectible items that are categorized in chapters such as “Bottoms Up: Collecting Vintage Barware,” “Sweet Wheels: The Vintage Garage,” “NSFW: Racy Art, Pulps and Novelties,” and “Gamer Cave: Vintage Video Games.”
And that’s just a sampling. Hunting, surfing, music and sports memorabilia also feature prominently. There’s even a chapter for that fellow in the seersucker suit called “Whore House Meets Grandma’s House: Collecting American Gothic.”
According to our research team (and a blurb in the back of the book) Mr. Bradley is a public relations associate at Heritage Auction (the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer) and the editor of Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide. In addition to just showing off the wares, he gives readers the opportunity to research more on their own by listing websites and magazines which tackle a particular specialty in more depth.
For instance, say you wanted to deck your place out like a 1950s bachelor pad. The book points you towards a publication you’ve surely never heard of called “Atomic Ranch Magazine” that tells you how to do it, and even shows what a house would look like with all the mid-century accoutrements in place.
While many of the items on display are ridiculously expensive (Eva Braun‘s panties on pg. 71 were apparently too priceless to even quote), Mr. Bradley provides plenty of cheaper ways to add character to your man cave. Like, say there’s no way you could possibly pony up $131,450 for one of Kurt Cobain’s guitars. You could always buy Rudy Sarzo of Whitesnake’s rattlesnake guitar strap for just 400 bucks.
And were you aware that there are antique stores that actually cater solely to men? When you first hear of such a thing you might expect something weird, like some disconcerting hybrid between a Bass Pro Shop and Star Trek convention. But it’s apparently something that’s rapidly increasing in popularity, with at least 15 stores across the U.S. Mr. Bradley gives us a history of the phenomenon, as well as a glimpse of some of the personalities that run the businesses.
I honestly have nothing bad to say about this book, aside from the fact that on pg. 34 he presents a dried-out rostrum of a “swordfish,” when it clearly in fact belonged to a sawfish (family Pristidae). Hey, call me picky, but imagine telling a car collector how pretty his “Porsche” is when he’s sitting behind the wheel of an Aston Martin.
Anyways, there’s something to suit just about every taste in this book, and for anyone at all interested in personalizing their habitat with unique and fascinating whatsits, it’s an invaluable resource. Now if I can just convince the wife that there’s sound investment potential in purchasing WWII-era women’s underwear.
E. Reid Ross would appreciate it if you stopped undressing him with your eyes. Feel free to friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @EReidRoss, and/or check out his supple body of work over on Cracked.com.