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London Calling

Once-in-a-lifetime treasures arrive at GEARYS Beverly Hills every year, but it takes about 6,000 miles and a keen eye for English charm of historic proportions. In this case, it is none other than that of our President & CEO, Thomas J. Blumenthal. For the better part of twenty years, Tom has been traveling across the pond in pursuit of the finest, most interesting antiques that the ages have to offer. He takes us behind-the-scenes of this year’s ‘London Calling’, as we redefine concept of the antique with the coolest cocktail shakers of the last century (and the next), silverware fit for a modern Downton Abbey, centuries of vintage opulence from Victorian picture frames to luxurious coffee and tea service sets, and everything in between.

Become a part of history with this year’s London Calling antiques.


How long has ‘LONDON CALLING’ been a GEARYS tradition?
‘London Calling’ has been a GEARYS tradition for over 25 years. I made my first trip to buy antiques about 18 years ago and I have been going every year since.

What’s the antique shopping experience like?
Antique shopping is part of our work but it is also a very fun, social experience. Over 18 years and countless dealers, you get to know their families and they get to know you as well.

Take us through the antique selection process.
I always start off by taking a quick walk-through through the whole shop without selecting anything, just to get an overview of what they have and my eye will then go to some very special pieces. Then, I start pulling. It’s all about the aesthetics and in many cases, finding pieces with certain clients in mind.

Some people like antiques with a worn-in charm, others are turned off by signs of use. What’s your opinion?
Scratches don’t bother me, but I stay away from dents unless it is fixable. But I always say like to say that you’d have a few scratches and dents too if you were a hundred years old! It’s part of the charm.

What are some of the most popular antiques and eras?
Distinctive Art Deco and Nouveau Riche pieces are popular, but people tend to gravitate to the traditional, Empire and Victorian pieces. Baskets, biscuit barrels, sweet dishes, candelabras, trays are all very popular. Personally, I love tea sets. Some of these pieces, even though most of them are functional, it’s about the beauty. It is about entertaining in a grand style.

Rarity is part of what makes antique shopping exciting. Have you ever had an once-in-a-lifetime find?
About five years ago, I purchased an enormous eight piece candelabra set from the late 1800s. This was something that looked like it was meant for Versailles. Each piece was three feet tall, expensive, and going to take up a lot of room in the store. I had customer in mind that I called when I got back and he ended up buying the piece. That was a special moment because it was such a risk, but I knew that his house could handle it!