Used Church Items, Pittsburgh, PA

"Used Church Items"

... a humble name with a surprising inventory of liturgical antiquities.

Over the last 50 years, my father acquired our supplies from churches, convents, monasteries, retired priests, and anywhere possible. Soon after the second Vatican council and continuing for years to come, much of the physical history of our church was replaced or discarded around the world. My father was surprised to see so many of these items he grew up with being sold to the highest bidder, and felt it his duty to preserve what he could. Since most items were considered insignificant and out of fashion, their value was petty -- just the weight of the sterling was what many of these items would bring being sold in auctions.

My father didn't have much money, but kept saving and buying what he could, then storing them safely away for a later date, when he was certain the church or clergy would acknowledge their historical value once again. He saved every item he could. Being an antique dealer, he instinctively knew quality and sought out the best things being discarded. However he endeavored to preserve as much as he could from small or large seemingly worthless items to whatever he could afford. He's said on numerous occasions that had he been wealthy, he could have purchased 100x more than he was able, and was saddened knowing most was either melted down or trashed.

Over the years he provided countless items to local churches and priests who needed or wanted them. In the 90s, he had a"church organization" group of people who were taking advantage of his kindness by purchasing stuff from him dirt cheap then reselling prime historical pieces of his collection for insanely high prices. He hadn't realized this fact until I introduced him to the 'virtual world' of ebay years later, and recognized the types of items he saved were being highly sought after and being bought for far more than he'd ever ask. He knew his collection of items were impossible to find, and he had a warehouse full of them. The few available for sale were bringing incredibly high prices, and was shocked to see some being reproduced and sold as "old".

Of course now there's several popular companies / sites claiming to have old or 'museum quality' church supplies, yet the vast majority are new cheap knock-offs -- everything from tabernacles, monstrances, chalices, censers, missal stands, you name it. Even statues these days are plastic fiberglass, not quality plaster of the past. There are still some companies in Europe who will consign to make custom quality items , but they cost 4x what we typically ask. Almost all church items in general on ebay and catholic supply websites are reproduced copies from India or China, yet falsely advertised as being made in Holland, Poland, Italy etc to sound like better quality. For instance, chalices can be made (and look great) for about $150, then sold for $5000 to the unsuspecting seminarian or priest. It's the test of time they won't pass, and by then it will be too late to do anything about it.

Anyway, after being dismayed at what he was seeing, felt he could make a business to help the church by offering the true Christian art pieces back without ripping anyone off. So he built our company "Used Church Items" officially – a humble name with a surprising inventory of liturgical antiquities that were not to be found in any gift shop or ebay store. He offered fair prices for unrivaled quality, with the effect of the church reclaiming important bits of it's history. It was rewarding to him, and it's rewarding to me. The items we have are historical and their value is in antiquity and craftsmanship – the stuff made for the church 50+ years ago had an expected and desired quality that nothing produced today can compete with.

And that's where we are now. The items he saved over the years are difficult to find, and we offer them to you at a fair price. We're not flashy, our advertising is word-of-mouth, we don't toot our horn or misrepresent what we do or have to offer, and we shake hands. We stand by that tradition of the time-honored handshake or verbal agreement, and with those agreements expect a certain level of understanding. In an age of 'sign and date', and 'read the many pages of small print', we hope you'll appreciate being treated as a responsible Father, Mother, Brother or Sister of our faith, and not just a signature on a legal document. We believe you, our clients, are the most genuine and trustworthy individuals anyone could hope to work with.

Thanks for taking the time to read our history.