Vintage gas pumps and porcelain signs are huge in the mantiques world.
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Collecting Mantiques: Being A Hoarder Isn’t Just For Women

Guys like cool stuff. That seems to be the fact for many, and some of those stay on the lookout for just the right “mantique” for that man cave, bachelor pad, mountain cabin, country getaway, office, or just around the house.

An obvious mash-up of “man” (insert your own Tim Allen grunt) and “antique” mantiques offer guys their chance at some real decoration while saying, “a man lives here.” Forget those throw pillows and “hope” signs. Many dudes are turning up the testosterone while still keeping the ambiance cool and fun.

From vintage liquor cabinets and jukeboxes to pinball machines and cola vending machines, more men are turning to mantiques for a bit of nostalgia and to display their own personal styles.

But What Are Mantiques Exactly?

“Men are very serious about what they collect,” Rachel Moreno, a manager with Lula B’s Antique Mall in the Dallas Design District in Texas. “They are always knowledgeable about the pieces they seek out and their values. They’re very serious about the acquisition.”
When looking to design that perfect room, some larger furniture pieces will be essential to set the general mood. Great tunes are always part of the ensemble as well, and vintage stereo components have increasingly become a popular option.

“As always, a comfy couch is nice, along with the super sound systems found with vintage stereo consoles or vintage floor speakers,” Moreno says.

An old jukebox definitely qualifies as being a mantique.
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Setting The Stage

With records gaining in popularity in recent years, a classic turntable, along with a nice vinyl collection, might be an excellent option to add to that music scene. Spin some Led Zeppelin I or a classic George Strait album while enjoying a drink with the boys. Antique jukeboxes are also hot items and an excellent way to spread some friendly vibes.

Speaking of drinking, antique liquor cabinets have become all the rage among collectors, sometimes fetching big money. Whether it’s the popularity of Mad Men or the general interest in vintage liquors and craft bourbons, American men have found a cool stocked liquor cabinet as a key component of a man cave.

Liquor cabinets from the 1950s and ’60s are particularly hot. Designs and sizes differ, with smaller pieces offering compact, wall-mounted setups. More grandiose styles appear more similar in size to large credenzas. Prices range from $500 to $7,000 for more exquisite pieces with excellent craftsmanship. The classic “tiki” theme from the 1930s has also made a resurgence.

Food And Beverage

Other popular collectibles for your whole cocktail scene include antique rolling bar carts, cocktail tables, dry bars, and barstools. Moreno adds that the huge Old World globe that opens up to reveal a bar is always a hit. When doing some “picking” for that perfect bar setup, keep an eye out for some stylish glass ice buckets and drinking glasses that also fill out that home bar.

A vintage cola vending machine is an excellent addition if you’re more of a teetotaler or just want a soda to mix with your favorite spirit.

Collecting things like vintage automobile license pates is high on the list of mantiques.
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Decor and Other Items

With those big items sorted out, adding some personality to the walls and other nooks and crannies can really show what a man is all about. Please don’t overdo it, but a few mantique design elements can really make a guy’s space stand out.

A commercial look is really popular with some men. Vintage company porcelain signs are sought after by many, such as Coca-Cola, Ford, and other authentic, recognizable brands. A little classic Americana can go a long way. A few vintage license plates, hubcaps, or hood ornaments can add some fuel to this automobile motif. These are some stylish items that usually won’t break the bank.

“Vintage automobile or pickup truck license plates are a collectible item that is often found at antique malls as they are within an affordable price range and can be used to add decorative flair to a man cave,” Moreno says. “They portray a respectable knowledge of automobiles through the ages.”

Some vintage framed art pieces are also nice, and an antique wall clock can add some real sophistication. For a little sex appeal, some guys go with vintage pinup girl illustrations (such as those by the artists Vargas, Elvgren, and Petty), hula girl figurines, and vintage men’s magazines.

Passions And Hobbies

When ready to light up a stogie, classic cigar ashtrays or humidors enhance the joy enjoyed by a nice Montecristo. Macanudo, or Cohiba. Attractive vintage lamps, such as the mid-century chrome “eyeball” floor lamp, can also add to a room’s manly look. Older sports memorabilia such as pennants, autographs, and decor signifying a player’s career can make game day even more special.

Mantique decor reflecting a favorite hobby, such as fishing, golfing, hunting, and Golden Age comics also reflect the man in the room and offer some excellent talking points. Skillset readers may like military-themed collectibles such as trench art, helmets, and other gear. A brilliantly engraved shotgun can be a work of art in itself as well. An old flintlock rifle also stands out for gun lovers.

The key to any mantique picking is ensuring these items offer a unique look and reflect the owner’s personality and interests. Make that room your own and a warm, inviting place to relax.

“With a variety of themes to favorite and choose from, there is plenty of all of the above to serve any gentleman’s particular man cave taste,” Moreno says. “Find local vintage shops and antique malls that cater to your preferred style or era – and enjoy collecting.”

1 Comment

  • So when does someone cross the line between being a ‘collector’ and turning into a potential ‘star’ for one of the horde of hoarding television shows? Asking for a friend……………..

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