When you walk into Carolyn Antonik's home on Byram Shore Road, you're struck immediately by a theme. On shelves, on walls and on tables are Scottish terriers, thousands of them. There are stuffed Scotties, china Scotties and painted Scotties. A display case is full of Scottie jewelry. There's a Scottie decorated tea set for a child, and there are Scottie pitchers, Scottie coffee mugs and a large Scottie cookie jar. There's a case filled with Scottie Christmas ornaments, a cabinet featuring crystal Scotties, a display case of Scottie salt and pepper shakers and even Scottie pocketbooks.
Antonik, who began collecting Scotties as a child, points out some of her favorites, as her real-life Scottie, Tuppence, looks on. "I love this little van," she says, pointing out a small metal truck with Scotties on it. "It has a sign on it, `Support your local dog shelter.'" She saw one like it at a recent dog show and learned its present value. "It was on sale for $175!"
To learn more about Antonik's passion for collecting Scotties, Greenwich Citizen asked her a few questions.
Q: When did you begin collecting Scotties?
A: When I was a little girl in Marblehead, Mass. I had a Scottie lamp in my room, but I seriously started collecting 30 years ago when I got a little Scottie dog at a tag sale down my street in Byram, and it all escalated. As it grew, my husband opened up two rooms for my collection.
Q: What is it that so attracts you to the Scottie dog?
A: They are terrors to begin with, but once you train them, they are enjoyable, fun and loving. They have a very distinctive look. They are very statuesque. One of my Scotties is from Wales -- it's called Abigail, from Aberdeen in Wales. During the war the Scotties were useful, as they could dig under fences and deliver messages from one army group to another.
Q: Which is your favorite Scottie item?
A: This little cast iron Scottie, because he's so gleeful.
Q: Where do you go to find your Scottie items?
A: I go to estate sales, tag sales, flea markets and also, through friends. I used to belong to the Scotties Club. I have all their folders telling the value of different items. But I'm just looking for old items. This large portrait of three black Scotties has a story. The picture was brought in to the Cos Cob Center Hardware store where I was the manager. At that time I had three black Scotties. The glass on the picture was cracked and needed replacing. I learned the owner's name and called her up and offered to buy the picture from her, and I invited her to visit me to see what a grand home it would have!
Q: What is the rarest Scottie item you have in your collection?
A: I have these stuffed animal Scotties that date from the 1920s and 1930s.
Q: Are you still collecting?
A: I still collect. It's the excitement of the find. But I'm running out of room, so now I have things in my bedroom, my dining room and my kitchen. I'm going to have to start hanging things from the ceiling!