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The Old That’s New

By Kara Pound
Photos by Alexis Rhodes

From hand-painted ceramics and porcelain pieces by well-known makers Herend, Limoges and Mintons, to Victorian-era cameo lockets and 14-karat gold estate jewelry, Churchill & Lacroix, Antiquaire is the perfect place to search for one of a kind gifts and home décor.

Situated in the courtyard of the Lightner Museum and established in 2009, Churchill & Lacroix is the brainchild of David Geithman, a retired economics professor who has lived a life as interesting as the treasures he covets.

Churchill & Lacroix Antiquaire

“To this day, I don’t consider myself an antiques seller,” says Geithman, from his downtown shop overflowing with rare and distinct items. “I say that I’m an antiques collector. If you don’t run out of money, you run out of space. I literally got to the point where I couldn’t fit a five-inch by five-inch painting on the wall, so I knew I had to start selling.”

Armed with a PhD in Economics from the University of Florida, Geithman, who recently turned 79, spent 35 years as a professor at various colleges along the Eastern Seaboard, Upstate New York and New Orleans. In 1967, he started buying antiques as a hobby.

“As a professor, a bulk of your time is spent researching, writing and publishing, but you get to have a rather flexible schedule,” Geithman says. “So I started buying and selling antiques in Gainesville. In 2000, I gave up teaching to go full-time into antiques.”

After owning several successful antique shops in the Northeast, Geithman decided to move to St. Augustine to be closer to his three daughters. He brought three storage units full of fine art, estate jewelry and antique furniture along with him.

“I thought that I would spend my retirement reading books on the beach, but that bored me quite quickly,” he says. “So I opened a new shop and named it after two people I greatly admire; Winston Churchill and French designer Christian Lacroix.”

Now, 50 years and thousands of visits to estate sales, auction houses and flea markets later, Geithman is still as passionate about antiquing as he was as a treasure-hunting professor in Gainesville in 1967.

“I never say that I’m going to work,” he says. “I say that I’m going to the shop. The second I sell something, I think, ‘OK. Now I have room to buy something else.’”

Churchill & Lacroix, Antiquaire
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(904) 827-9009