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AUSTIN, Texas – Allison Castle, Texas Credit Union League Communications Director, Advocacy, is the ultimate antique shopper. She started antiquing in high school, picking up inexpensive pieces of furniture to use while at college. A wrought iron bed and a dressing table were among the first pieces she purchased. Other valued possessions are an “elegant” white couch, a yellow coffee table with a pink marble top from England, a collection of metal trays, and old mirrors. But Allison is most passionate about antique chandeliers – she owns five. The first, she bought four years ago on a ladies’ shopping trip to Laredo, Texas. “I thought as I bought it, `They’re going to kill me when I show up with this at the bus.’ ” Three chandeliers are hanging in her new house, but she doesn’t have places for the other two; they’ll stay in boxes for now. She’s uncertain how old they are, but dates one from Spain as “ pre-1940s.” Allison speaks of each treasure affectionately, “One looks like a pineapple. It just sparkles with light.” But the smallest is her favorite. “It’s dainty and has little crystals hanging from it.” Her typical routine is to rise early on Saturdays and make a beeline to garage and estate sales. “I do my research,” she said. “I have my google map and cup of coffee, and I’m on the road.” Allison’s quests are sometimes adventurous. One morning, Castle pulled off the road after spotting two chandeliers on a front porch. The man there said, “I’ve got more inside.” So she followed him inside to his bedroom. “He opened the door to a room filled with hanging chandeliers,” Castle said. “Then I followed him to his attic. He had chandeliers everywhere, but in retrospect, following him into his house was not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.” Castle has never purchased a new piece of furniture. She would rather have items with stories behind them. “I’m not into finding the most valuable pieces. I want those that speak to me,” she said. “I have a dining table that is over 100 years old. It’s neat to think that people from the past have shared meals around it.” [email protected]

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