5 Questions for Ken Rizzo, NYC Cufflink Collector

Last week, Alyson Campbell, Chitra Neogy and myself dined at the hidden Lower East Side gem Freeman’s Restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised to notice a yard sale that was going on right next to the Freeman Alley restaurant. My attention was immediately drawn to an amazing collection of quirky vintage cufflinks, from boxing gloves to sail boats. I spoke with the cufflink collector Ken Rizzo about his passion for this oft forgotten accessory…

Termeh Mazhari: What sparked your interest in collecting antiques?

Ken Rizzo: I’ve been a flea-marketer and collector forever—mostly inspired by the fact that there was a lot more form and function in yesteryear stuff—if you tried to manufacture the same products today the costs would be prohibitive.

TM: Why cufflinks?

KR: There are very few ways a man can accessorize, especially with style and substance…cufflinks have been around since the Egyptians, and they are a fabulous way to show off your personal style. For men it’s also a bragging thing—”hey check these out—Swank original…can’t get these anymore!” I used to work in Advertising, so I’ve tracked down the original ads in which many of these have appeared, and created “Cufflink Pedigree” certificates that pinpoints the styles and years, along with the original ad miniature—tons of work but a labor of love…

TM: What is the most original cufflink design you’ve seen?

KR: I’ve seen so many, from Modern to Classic to Novelty…I’ve seen some combo cufflink /watch  and cufflink/mini music box designs that were amazing, plus lots of unique craftsmanship from old Swank, Hickok and Anson lines that are truly superb—you can just tell by looking at them.

TM: What is the most popular design?

KR: Sadly most things that are available in stores today consist of a rectangle with a very boring
pattern…I hand-pick every single pair of links I acquire, and try to only buy new vintage (never-used) still in their original boxes. People go for everything from more classic formal designs to more whimsical ones. One of the most popular styles, the “Knot” was pioneered by Swank in the late 40’s, and is still being copied today. One great pair of original swank boasts 2 steers–one with a halo and one with horns, on the reverse they read “holy cow” and “bum steer”!

TM: Where can people buy your cufflinks?

KR: At the Freeman Alley Flea Market, on Freeman Alley off Rivington St between Bowery and Chrystie. I’m there until the end of the month every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I also do exclusive sales based on client requests for a particular style. You can email me at [email protected]

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2008 at 11:46 pm and is filed under New York City Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “5 Questions for Ken Rizzo, NYC Cufflink Collector”

Designer Cufflinks February 25th, 2009 at 12:20 am

Thank you very much for sharing this valuable information.I also agree that these above 5 questions can helpful for New York people to find quality & affordable Design NYC Cufflinks.

Cufflinks January 22nd, 2010 at 5:51 am

Cuff links are neat accessories for men and finding the best one to suit their attire might take a while, considering the number of designs that are available. Nice information provided here, thanks.

Indian Jewelry February 5th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

There is definitely so much to cuff links while the taste is exact to that of jewelry. With so many designs coming up,dotted with creativity, innovation and style, cuff links seems like they will be a while longer with us. They make great gifts.


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