Roberts’ Antiques, Lexington, KY
“The collecting began when my father, Lon Roberts, was practicing medicine. He started initially buying brass items at auction, and it grew from there. My parents traveled together to antique stores, auctions, and yard sales all over the country. They lived on a farm called Cherrywood here in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky where he built a number of warehouses to hold the items in his collection. After his workday, he’d open the warehouses to the public who could come shop the collection. My parents also grew asparagus so sometimes people would come to purchase asparagus and then go buy an antique.
He retired in 1993 and moved from the farm to town in 2004, and they had to do something with these warehouses. So he moved the contents into the building where Roberts’ Antiques is. He had a specific interest in lighting, and often would collect, repair and restore vintage and antique lights and lamps. At one point he got involved in salvaging buildings and ended up with a lot of demolition rights, so a lot of the hardware in the store – locks, hinges, lighting – most of it was salvaged from buildings that were being destroyed.
While they loved when they could sell something and make a profit, most of the time it didn’t matter. My father loved to admire, appreciate, and understand things he collected – whether it was an antique farm implement or interesting whale oil lamp lighting. He liked it more than he wanted to make money on it.” – Edward Roberts, son
Victorian Parlor Chair
Power-Loomed Persian Style Wool Area Rug
Chippendale Style Mahogany Highboy
Antique Schierholz Porcelain Oil Lamp with Hand-Painted Baccarat Globe
Antique Victorian Sewing Bird
Antique Hepplewhite Style Walnut Sideboard
Floral Motif Stained Glass Window
Webster Co. and Nussbaum & Hunold Sterling Silver Vanity Collection
British Made Antique Traveling Tea Set
Refinished Victorian Style Fireplace Surround With Mantel
Antique Brass Sleigh Bells
Antique Hand-Painted Bohemian Ruby Glass Mantel Lustres
Tramp Art Vintage Trinket Box
1906 "A Knight of the Cumberland" by John Fox, Jr.
1920s Pressed Steel Ride On Toy Keystone Steamroller
Victorian Oak and Metal Mechanical Shelf
Guardian Lion Bronze Incense Burner
China Waterfall Head Doll
Antique Leather and Wood Shaker Style Boxes
Antique Heywood-Wakefield Wicker Chair
Vintage Briefcase with Paper Litho Alphabet Blocks
19th Century Brown & Marsters Coin Silver Foliate Handle Teaspoons
Antique Rococo Style Wrought Iron Chandelier
Lead Crystal Decanter and American Brilliant Period Cut Glass Pitcher
Antique Gilded Inkwell Set
Antique Victorian Oak Dresser with Mirror
Antique South German Beech Fratzenstühle
Antique Solar Lamp
Antique Victorian Walnut Sideboard with Mirrored Top
1940s Mobo Bronco Metal Ride-On Pedal Horse
Antique Tiger Oak Concert Roller Organ With Cobs
Antique Eastlake Walnut and Marble Parlor Table
Stoneware Jug with Cobalt Daisy Design
Jack Daug Hand-Colored Portrait of Major General George Pickett
Handmade Kentucky Folk Art Whirligig with Man Sawing Log
Antique Dazey Style Butter Churn
Antique American Empire Cherry Footstool
Antique Hanging Converted Oil Lamp Fixture
Antique Maple Hutch
Royal Doulton Tableware, Circa 1912
Vintage Handmade "Grandmother's Flower Garden" Quilt
Handmade Pendulum Mantel Clock
Vintage Tin Dirigible Toy
Vintage Hepplewhite Style Inlaid Mahogany Server
Antique Pine Knockdown Wardrobe
Doug Miller Painted Wood Sculpture "Rich Man"
Victorian Carved Ash Corner Chair
Antique Grammar, Arithmetic and Poetry Books
Victorian Shaving Stand
Antique Framed "Home of Washington" Engraving
Vintage Bronze Tone Andirons
Vintage Camelback Sofa Down Feather Sofa
Antique Draw Shaves
Antique Handwoven Linsey-Woolsey Blanket
Dietz Empire Inspector's Lantern
Vintage Duck Decoy
Mottahedeh Porcelain Tureen and Underplate
Antique Framed Stained Glass Panel
Leslie Ward "SPY" Chromolithographs on Paper from Vanity Fair
Cherub Tiffany Style Table Lamp
How did your collector parents influence you and your siblings?
My father’s collecting strongly influenced and inspired our family. My brother David is a furniture designer and maker here in Mt. Sterling. My sister is an interior designer in Louisville, and my son Alex is a furniture designer in Louisville.
Did you spend much time in the shop as a child?
Yes, and it was very fun. He had friendships that ranged from people who picked stuff at yard sales to thrift shop owners – a wide range and variety of acquaintances. It made it a lot of fun to spend time in the shop where he would meet people and shoot the breeze. Every now and then I’d learn something about an object or item that I didn’t know before.
Which items stand out for you in particular?
I happen to love sugar desks, sugar chests, and sugar boxes. These items were used to store sugar in the South in the early 19th century. Sugar was kept under lock and key because it was so valuable. These boxes were often made out of expensive wood with beautiful inlays, and I’ve always been drawn to them.