Beloved by both Dallasites and visiting celebs who relish the hunt, Dolly Python has been a local shopping institution for nearly 11 years. Now the boutique chock-full of funky finds, classic records, and collectible vintage clothing has the perfect next-door neighbor in the guise of Benny Jack Antiques, a higher-end mix of treasures that just opened last week.
When the 1,700-square-foot space became available, Benny Jack owner and namesake Benny Hinkle III (paramour of Python owner Gretchen Bell) jumped at the chance to open a shop designed to furnish any gentleman’s ideal man cave.
Hinkle, a painter and calligrapher, fell into the world of collecting at the tender age of 15 with his first job at White Elephant Antiques in the Dallas Design District. He quickly discovered the craftsmanship and design behind older objects and furniture made them much more valuable to his artist’s eye.
“You can’t find anything with any quality today,” he explains. “Everything’s made in China. I realized this pretty quickly, because I was opening the drawers [on things[ and looking at how they were made with real wood all dovetailed.”
He worked his way up to manager of the Elephant and found a mentor in the form of Neiman Marcus fashion legend Derrill Osborn, a collector of everything from portraits to cows. Osborn eventually will consign some of his treasures at Benny Jack, but for now the selection from the store’s 10 vendors ranges from barber poles to modern art, malachite obelisks to boxing posters, taxidermy to precious antiques.
“It’s Scandinavian modern, industrial, classic antiques, ’50s and ’60s — it’s a great mix. It’s pretty nice for a small little place.” As for prices, Hinkle says, “It won’t be uncommon to see something for $500 to $600.” He also offers prop rental and a layaway plan.
Erik Yang of Lush Life Antiques, who has a booth alongside the likes of Art Junkie, says his selection of men’s cufflinks, vintage signage, classic Playboy magazines, and glass-framed bugs is carefully edited to appeal to a slightly different customer than the one that peruses his other Design District space.
“This is the sort of a vignette I’ve always dealt with, but I mixed it with midcentury and art deco, and now I’ve extracted the masculine stuff. It’s giving me the chance of a little bit of an edit.”
For Hinkle, having a curated focus just might inspire the next generation of antique lovers. Of the potential Benny Jack customer he muses, “They might not even know their taste yet. They might discover themselves.”
Benny Jack Antiques is located at 1920 N. Haskell Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am-6 pm, Sunday and Monday, noon-5 pm.