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Best Things First: Rare Vintage

William Kissel

When you think of James Robinson (212.752.6166, www.jrobinson.com)—a 91-year-old New York antiques shop specializing in 18th-, 19th-, and early-20th-century silver, porcelain, and glassware—the term haberdasher does not immediately leap to mind. Yet, stationed in a corner of this organized, family-owned jewel are mahogany and glass cases filled with a rare assortment of antique cuff links, blazer buttons, watch chains and fobs, magnifying glasses, vintage pipe holders, letter openers, and other desk accessories recalling a form of artistry rendered nearly obsolete by the automated production that followed World War II.

Chief among the offerings is owner Edward Munves’ personal collection of enamel, platinum, gold, and stone cuff links by makers such as Wiese and Cartier, which are all kept in leather boxes and available for preview upon request.

“I’ve had a thing about cuff links all of my mature life,” says Munves, a nephew of company founder James Robinson. Munves’ daughter, Joan Boening, now manages the 3,500-square-foot shop.

“We spend a lot of time choosing our cuff links, money clips, tie clips,” Munves adds. “They are very hard to come by in the quality level we’re after, because our criteria are as high as the moon.”

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Photo by Agence Pustetto