Hidden Treasures

When you are born a twin, the first lesson you learn is about sharing.  Be it a toy, a blanket, or time with your parents.

As young flea market attendees, the Keno brothers had already found their direction. Born into the antiques world, they shared a passion for discovering.

flea market with mom

When they were teens they went to flea markets with their parents and at each stop, Leigh & Leslie Keno, filled with adrenaline, would pile out of the car and begin the hunt for hidden treasures.

"My brother and I would separate from them and scan the territory for sleepers, a trade term for undervalued merchandise. If we spotted one, he and I might hold a hasty huddle in a corner to strategize, then approach the proprietor and try to strike a deal."

Particularly with the early pieces that they loved, issues of quality, age, and condition called for seat-of-the-pants judgments. 

Every flea market seemed like a new frontier because there was so little information available, other than a handful of guides & books on collectibles. So in 1969, they started an antique diary!

"We resolved to record and research in the greatest detail the many objects we admired and sought."

A very good buy.

Today, because of their love for antiques, they are thrilled to share their life-long lust for antiquing and related learning in Hidden Treasures. I just loved this book and believe me when I say, it will inspire you to take a second look at your own neglected family heirlooms and dust-covered relics.

In Hidden Treasures, the Keno brothers describe more than a dozen of their most fascinating treasure hunts and extraordinary discoveries.

Hidden In Plain Sight

Along with their experience and expertise, they share their love and appreciation of fine craftsmanship and beauty.


They take you behind the scenes of the world of antiques, revealing the secrets of their trade.

From a pair of rare 18th century chairs found in a chicken coop... File0056

to the stunning Appleton secretary bookcase uncovered in Paris...

Whether you’re an ardent collector or a budding furniture admirer, this book will not only leave you with a smile; you'll be a bit wiser when it comes to spotting masterpiece furniture on your own antiquing adventures.

Today, the Keno brothers are considered foremost experts on antiques.

Leigh & Leslie Keno, journal entry, August 6th, 1969

"Throughout our lives, Leigh and I have taken great pleasure in our shared passion for American furniture and decorative arts.  Our love of objects is so much a part of our makeup, our very souls, that I truly cannot remember a time when we were not hunting for and learning about things."


Leigh Keno currently owns and operates Keno Auctions. He formerly held the position of Vice President in the appraisal department at Christie's.

 Leslie Keno is Senior Vice President and Senior Specialist of American Furniture and Decorative Arts at Sotheby's in New York. He has been published in the American Ceramic Circle and has contributed to the Sotheby's Guide to American Furniture and Sotheby's Encyclopedia of Furniture.

Together they are currently Editors at Large for Traditional Home magazine for which they write a monthly column. As appraisers on the PBS Emmy nominated hit, Antiques Road show, they have become celebrities beyond the refined world of art and Americana. In 2005, the President awarded both Leigh and Leslie with the National Humanities Medal. They both enjoy spending their free time with their families, fly-fishing and racing vintage racecars.


Photos and information courtesy Hidden treasures, Traditional Home

Lisa Porter

A little side note....

My grandmother taught me how to size up an antique from across the room.  Anyone with a good eye could do that many years ago before furniture makers mastered the art of "antique reproductions."
I too first became familiar with the Keno brothers on The Antiques Roadshow.  Funny story that I just remembered. One evening I was watching the show and it was live & local in Phoenix. They were interviewing a man who had brought in some old thing, might have been a humidor.  Suddenly I realized that it was my pediatrician from when I was younger, Dr. Schmidt.  He and his family were also good friends as I went to school with his kids.  Anyway I called my mom and she called his wife & asked...did you know that Jim is on tv talking to an appraiser? Turns out the nervous, sheepish grin on his face was because he had snuck the antique out of the house.  Not sure how that story ended but he did appear willing to sell...


Tamara Matthews-Stephenson said...

Hi Lisa, I am so happy to be your first reader making a comment about your brand new post. Each time I stop by your blog it seems to expand and grown with rich detail, beautifully artistic photographs and insightful prose. Thanks for the look at the Keno brothers - for many years I lived across the street from Sothebys on York Avenue and would see them coming and going. They are quite charismatic in addition to their talent and now I feel like I know more about them. I will go tomorrow to pick up this great book! Thanks Lisa s- seems you wasted no time with being snowed in. xo tamara of Nest by Tamara

Lisa said...

I'm always so happy when you stop by. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, I know others will enjoy your note of the charismatic Keno brothers. You must get this book, especially if you love auctions. I glanced at the first chapter and was so drawn in that I almost finished it before bed!
xo lisa

Karena said...

Lisa, I am so excited to read this book. I love to see the Keno men on Antiques Roadshow and yes, their excitement when they have an ah ha moment!!


teaorwine said...

Amazing and insightful information about the Keno Brothers. An inspiration to save your children's school journals!

cynthia - thedailybasics.com said...

LOVE the Keno brothers. I have followed them behind the scenes through my other editor friends and associates at Traditional Home and from the editor of their one and only magazine a few years ago FIND (which was BRILLIANT) This was a really lovely blog on it. Thanks so much for putting it out there!

Tamara Matthews-Stephenson said...

that "side note" is so funny, and there seems a story behind every piece when you start digging. I love antiques - and value like-minded peeps like you and the twins you featured this month. Did you get to speak with them personally? You did such a great job capturing their passion and love for antiques....I'm sure they appreciate it. tamara

Debra Phillips said...

thoroughly enjoyed this post lisa. antiques and treasure hunting is a heart thumping event for me. i must have this book immediately! totally unaware of this publication. thank you for this lovely story.

Millie said...

Wow, these boys had their destiny mapped out for them from the very start. Can't imagine them doing anything else.
Millie ^_^

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Lisa, what a great post! I will have to get the book, I know it will be a favorite. {weren't they so cute??} Lidy

Coty Farquhar said...

This is a great story Lisa, the Keno brothers remind me of two old friends that I used to know in years ago in Queen Street, Woollahra. (The best street for Antiques in Australia. What an interesting life they have had, I wonder if my two (Thomas and Bec) will be the same when they're older, they have been hunting and shopping with us since they were babies. Up early every Saturday morning to the markets and garage sales (yard sales).

xxx Coty

Francine Gardner said...

What a great story of 2 brothers. i really enjoyed reading this post and am curious about he book. just wished my sons were so inspired...

cleondann said...

very nice post, its really a great information with exclusive photographs. well i am very keen to read this book definitely i will buy this as soon as possible.
for more information :

Carol@SofasandSage.com said...

Hi Lisa, I'm so thrilled today to have finally taken the time to read you. Your blog is so beautiful and a joy to read. Thanks for the insight on the Keno brothers. I've always wondered about their story (I have identical twin girls, so I guess that's a draw, too,) and I learned so much today. I am off to buy their book! I've also loved reading so many of your posts. I am going back to my blog to add you to my reads. What a great way to start my day!