One time I was in a Goodwill in Toronto and I came across a large hand-carved wood mirror made in Mexico for $10; it was very rough and crude but I loved it. My boyfriend at the time hated it, said it looked like a child made it, and we left empty-handed. On the drive home, he saw how bummed I was so we went back, but it was gone. Only 8 minutes had passed but 8 minutes was enough time for another woman to snap it up. I saw it in her cart and I stalked her through the store in hopes that she would put the mirror back but she never did. I've always regretted that decision because I have yet to see another piece like it since, even on the internet.
I also highly regret not buying a box of Amate paintings at a swap meet when I lived in Joshua Tree.
They were $4-$20 per sheet, depending on the size. I didn't have a lot of money on me so I bought a small one for $4. They are, of course, worth more than that. The next weekend I decided I was going to purchase more but the vendor was no longer there. I have bad luck with Mexican home furnishings.
But then I found this piece at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store the other day.
Stamped Hecho en Mexico, which means Made in Mexico. $100.
It was hubby's and my first time going to one of their retail stores and we couldn't believe our luck finding something so great on the first go. When I got hom, I did a quick google search of Mexican coffee tables and a whole bunch of contemporary stuff popped up that looked identical to it, which made me nervous.
La Fuente Imports, US$395
San Carlos Imports, US$359.99
Mine definitely had more in common with older pieces. Perhaps not antique, but still older.
This guy's going on Kijiji in Guelph for $100.
There are also a lot of new pieces that used naturally aged hardware so I was on the hunt for more unique pieces and older wood.
Off-centered metal band and medallion latch
Much older oak piece but similar round latch
I should've known myself, everything speaks to me of handmade: it has non-symmetrically forged handles, the hinges aren't lined up, the latches are also asymmetrical and kind of wonky, the wood is incredibly thick and there's build-up and scunge in between the grain, and the patina of the metal is substantial and solid - petrified - the way organic substances are when nature and time erodes it over the ages.
It lacks a uniformity of newer pieces.
I'm having a Rachel in Friends moment, when she believes that hers and Phoebe's apothecary table is the original piece of furniture on which the Pottery Barn repros are based. "Ours is the real one."
I can only hope that mine's legit.