Etsy & Bitcoin: The Little Brit Shop

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The History of Freedom of Thought by J.B. Bury (Photo Credit: The Little Brit Shop)

A family’s passed down passion preserves the history and speaks to you about the stories of generations past.

– The Little Brit Shop

In my continuing hunt to find the best Etsy products available for Bitcoin, I came across The Little Brit Shop. The shop was filled with antique finds from around the world, from vintage tin boxes to apothecary bottles. Their unique selection caught my eye immediately; I loved that they were accepting such a new form of payments for these old items.

Daniel & Muriel Hebron began selling on Etsy in 2011, after getting tired of all of the fakes on eBay and searching for a marketplace with a stronger community. And in 2013, their interest in Bitcoin began, thanks to an article that they read online. I recently spoke to Daniel about the coolest items he’s ever found (and the best places to look!), as well as his thoughts on Bitcoin payments and the future of digital currency.

Emily Braun: How did you become interested in collecting & selling antiques?

The Little Brit Shop: My passion for antiques is a family affair; it was passed down from my grandparents to my parents to me and to my kids. For over a decade, my wife and I have been enjoying the hunt all over the US, Europe, and now India. We’re transitioning from a fisherman village in the Celtic region of France called Brittany to the Old French Colonial Quarter of Pondichéry. We try to offer our customer the best of our findings along our journey through exquisite India!

My deceased grandfather would take me to auctions when I was young and bid on all types of stuff. He told me the uglier something was, the less it sold when it first came out – and therefore, the rarer it is! So it should hold more value. At first, this sounds good, but you come to realize that you have to live with the item. You may even be stuck with it (my grandma, who is still alive, knows well what I’m talking about!). So we have come to an understanding that we only buy items that we are willing to live with, cherish, and love!

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Propaganda game from the Vichy Regime (Photo Credit: The Little Brit Shop)

Braun: What are some of your favorite objects that you’ve found?

LBS: We have found some neat items over the years. We were incredibly lucky to find a beautiful original print by the renowned Art Nouveau artist [Alphonse] Mucha from the cover of the special Christmas issue of  Illustration magazine (December 25, 1896). We have also found some rare World War II items, such as a propaganda game from the French collaboration period with Germany under the Vichy Regime. Such games are extremely rare, as most were burned at the end of the war. We also found a 1940 German propaganda book against England, called Englands Räuberhand (the Thieving Hand of England). It’s a very rare book, as it was a supplement that came with the Feldpost newspaper.

Photo Credit: The Little Brit Shop

(Photo Credit: The Little Brit Shop)

However, sometimes items seem to find you instead of the other way around. Wandering in Stillwater, MN, we came across an incredible painting of a young girl. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the painting or the artist. We are just estimating from the canvas that it is dated circa 1920s. This painting, as well as a book titled The History of Freedom of Thought by J.B. Bury (first published in 1913), have been our treasures that we can’t part with!

Braun: Where do you have the most success finding unique items?

LBS: At flea markets! We like to look into boxes and knickknacks; sometimes, that’s where you’ll find the most incredible items. One summer, we were travelling on the shorelines of Normandy, and at a small flea market, we found a WWII US Military map of Paris with code names of 4 different squadrons handwritten on it. The pilot name was J.J. Burns, and we found out later that he died fighting in the Pacific after his mission in France. Flea markets may look like junk to some, but to us, it’s a real treasure hunt, digging into the past.

WWII US Military map of Paris (Photo Credit: The Little Brit Shop)

WWII US Military map of Paris (Photo Credit: The Little Brit Shop)

Braun: When did you start your Etsy store, and what inspired you to start it?

LBS: We had been selling antiques for a long time on eBay – I started in 1996 when I was 17. My wife and I got tired of the massive amount of fakes & junk on eBay; we thought it was too crowded. We stopped selling antiques for about five years, until we found Etsy in 2011. My wife liked the artistic & personal atmosphere felt on Etsy. It was about finding a community of passionate people, skilled artisans, and crafts. We had a lot of antiques and still enjoyed the hunt, so in November 2011, we started The Little Brit Shop from Brittany, France. [My wife] has also opened another one for her photography work, Eye and Ink.

Braun: I love that you accept Bitcoin in your Etsy shop. How did you learn about Bitcoin?

LBS: Our story with Bitcoin has been a roller coaster. My wife heard about it while listening to Clif High at the end of 2012, and I was highly skeptical. We didn’t talk much more about it until March 2013, when we read an article about it online and really started to like the concept behind it – the ascent of peer-to-peer and decentralized banking. We bought our first six Bitcoins at $93 each. The more we learned, the more we wanted to own them. I like the idea of a limited amount (21 million) being produced. Fiat currencies are continually being printed, and they lose value as soon as they’re produced, as our system is based on debt.

Braun: Do you ever have customers pay with or inquire about Bitcoin?

LBS: We are still waiting on our first Bitcoin customer! Bitcoin is still at an early stage; not everyone knows how it works. And unfortunately, Etsy still doesn’t have an instant purchase with Bitcoin option. Money went from coins to paper bills to checks to credit cards to online payments; Bitcoin is another dematerialized form of payment, but it’s a more efficient one!

Braun: Where do you see Bitcoin heading in the future?

LBS: I think Bitcoin as a protocol is going to be ubiquitous, but it’s unclear to me if Bitcoin as a commodity will or not. What other technology out there allows you to send five million dollars overseas for less than five dollars in less than 30 minutes? Bitcoin being at its early stage still has a lot of hoops to jump through. There have been some fallouts, like Mt. Gox, and scams with overpromising mining hardware firms, like Hashfast, but the system is only getting stronger; Bitcoin is antifragile.

– Emily Braun

To check out The Little Brit Shop (and possibly become their first Bitcoin customer!), click here!

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