Gabriel Constantine, an Ulster County, New York native, had an interest in antiques and old paper and took a job with JMW Auctions in Kingston when he was 18, working as jack-of-all-trades, lumping and organizing upcoming lots, then preparing them to ship. Every auction house uses intelligent muscle. Along the way Gabe started to follow photography and in time became a bidder. At JMW Auctions, he became a bidder using the identity - “college boy” and it stuck. These days he’s 45 and partners with Tarah. They met in New Paltz and went on to explore how to make a career together focused on their shared love of collectibles.
In the years that followed, Gabriel set up as an eBay seller and began, among other things, to sell photography, much of it local to the county where he was going to school. As a collector from New Paltz living in San Francisco, I began to encounter College Boy on eBay and in time became a regular bidder for his Ulster County photography. We had a mutually beneficial relationship, I wanted early Hudson Valley photography and he didn’t have a significant following. In time, I regularly bought between 10% to 30% of his images until his stock shifted toward other kinds of things. For me after, the trail went cold as their business model incorporated an antique shop with Tarah offering a wider variety of old and interesting things.
Still restless, they became “show” dealers, following the show circuit both as spectator-buyers and sellers and, as well opened “Outdated, an Antique Café” on Wall Street in Kingston to nourish the collecting impulse and the yen for light fare and something fresh baked.
About a month ago, while running searches on Live Auctioneers, I encountered an auction house in Hudson, Public Auction and started to look at it carefully. Who are these folks?
It turns out they are the poster children of the emerging generation of the new auction world, now organized as Public Auction on liveauctioneers in Hudson on a busy road in a history soaked area full of transitioning families down-sizing and new families open to the unexpected at auction.
They had an upcoming sale that was deep in Hudson Valley history and I found it necessary to create a plan for the sale as there were about 100 lots I wanted to pursue. Among them, single lots included as many as 10 city directories, all of them pure Hudson Valley, running from the mid-1870’s to the 1950’s. County histories were in the mix as were some early manuscripts, all of them useful to me. Even a 1923 Sanborn Atlas of Hudson was in the mix and I subsequently bought that too.
The sale completed, the next day I called the firm to arrange payment and I heard Gabriel Constantine’s name and remembered he had been College Boy when I was buying from him on eBay [from the shipping labels he used when he sent photography]. In a quick conversation we realized we were aware of each other and I mentioned Rare Book Hub and he mentioned he still had Ulster County images to sell. Three weeks later I sat with Tarah and Gabe in Hudson and bought their private collection of photography. It’s a remarkable experience.
The past and future of collecting has always resided at the cutting edge of finding and selling. They are living that future.
90 Green St.
Hudson, New York 12534
Outdated, Antique Café
314 Wall Street
Kingston, New York 12401