Doll Prehistory

Dolls have been around nearly as long as humans have been on this earth. Small human-shaped figurines carved of mammoth ivory dating back to 28,000 and 35,000 years ago were found in Germany. And many believe dolls go back even further in our prehistory too; but, as these even older dolls were likely made of wood and fur, they have long since decayed and therefore no longer exist to be found.

antique-egyption-rag-dollSince those very early days of doll-kind, other ancient dolls have been discovered made of wood, clay, ivory, marble, stone, bone, leather, cloth, wax, and even papyrus. Not all early dolls were overly simple pieces either. In fact, jointed dolls of clay existed in ancient Egypt, and a fragment of an alabaster doll with movable arms was found in ancient Babylon. That means articulated dolls date back to thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ and the start of our current, Gregorian, calendar system!

While we see dolls with movable limbs as having been created to delight children, many archaeologists say that such jointed dolls were charms, created simply to make noise — noise designed to keep bad things away. Truth be told, there is a lot of debate among professionals as to whether these early prehistoric and ancient dolls were first and primarily made for religious reasons, or if they were the playthings of children.

In ancient Egypt, for example, there are many dolls found. Dolls were so popular, that there’s archaeological evidence of an ancient Egyptian doll factory!

paddledollAmong the oldest, dating to 3000–2000 BC, are the flat wooden dolls with strands of hair made of sun-baked clay strung on flax thread. These ancient Egyptian dolls seem to emphasize the female form, especially the hips. The wide hips of these dolls have earned them the name “paddle dolls”. The more exaggerated female shape of these “paddle dolls” leads the experts to believe they are fertility dolls, much like the Venus of Willendorf, and not toys.

While we can thank the Egyptians and their elaborate burial rituals for preserving so many of these ancient dolls, the very fact that dolls were included in burial chambers and tombs has lead many to believe that dolls had more to do with religious ideas of death and afterlife than with the life of a child. However, since a number of dolls have survived simply due to the arid environment deftly preserving them, we have other evidence of dolls in Egypt.

When it comes ancient Egyptian dolls, clay dolls seem to have been the most common. For living along the Nile meant everyone had access to the two basic ingredients in sun-baked clay dolls: clay and the sun. Therefore, as strange as it may seem to us, wooden dolls and rag dolls made of cloth (often stuffed with papyrus as well as textile scraps) were more costly than clay and not so available for everyone. But while those dolls may have been more expensive (and, by today’s thinking, more coveted), clay dolls seem to have been very popular among children. No matter what level of society they lived in. That’s probably because the children themselves could make and “bake” their very own clay doll designs. Not unlike what many children do today with modeling clay.

When and how dolls truly became the playthings of childhood is very open to debate. In some cultures, old and new, dolls are made for use in religious ceremonies; however, once the ceremony is over, the ceremonial dolls are “retired” and given to children as playthings.

In ancient Greece and Rome, the lines between dolls for religious ritual and childhood pastime appear to have a very different trek — and an exceptionally poignant connection.

bone-doll-with-articulated-limbsDating back to at least 200 BC, many dolls in Greece and Rome had jointed limbs that moved, and some even had removeable clothing too. Then, as now, doll clothing was as fashionable and up-to-date as what young ladies and women of the day were wearing. (It’s difficult to imagine that such clothing would be purely for religious reasons.) We know this from the number of young girls buried with dolls. Most dolls found in the tombs of children were very simple creations made of terracotta, rags, wood, or bone. However, some of the more unique dolls, designed to look as lifelike as possible, were made of ivory or wax.

There also are the stories and images from ancient Greece which depict little girls playing with dolls. And, in fact, the ancient Greek word “kore”, which literally means “little girl”, was also applied to dolls. This takes on an even more powerful meaning when a young Greco-Roman girl came of age.

As a Greco-Roman girl approached marital age, she would dedicate her doll to a goddess. This doll dedication was a gift presentation given to the goddess in hopes of receiving the blessing of fertility during marriage. When she became a woman, she would literally put away her childish things!

While the archaeological record may seem confusing in terms of the true origins and purpose of dolls in human history, it is not difficult to imagine that children would be fascinated by miniature versions of people. No matter what the original purpose of dolls, children would want to play with them.

Image Credits (in order of appearance): Egyptian rag doll, paddle doll, and ancient Grecian bone doll with articulated limbs.

Repairing Broken Or Missing Hangers On Vintage Chalkware Plaques Or Plaster Wall Art

When most people hear “chalkware” or “plaster” they think of those funny animal pieces and rip-offs of comic characters — the cheap prizes hawked by carnival barkers. Even at the circus and those old country fairs there were more delicate home decor pieces to be found. Some, like my harlequin Great Dane dog statue are really lovely. But there’s more than statues in the world of plaster & chalkware. Among the most popular chalkware collecting areas are the pieces by Miller Studios, like white poodle heads plaques. There are so many styles, you can literally plaster the walls!


Since chalkware and plaster of Paris items are fragile, no matter what their age, many pieces were damaged and thrown away. Surviving items may have chips and/or paint problems. Some collectors will make repairs, especially quick touch ups with paint, but I prefer the charm of a ‘flawed’ piece.


However, if the old wire hangers or staples on their backs have been broken (or completely lost), what do you do? You can’t just hammer in a replacement — you’ll shatter the chalk!

Once upon a time, there were these little picture hanger things with squares of rectangles or cloth on them… Do you remember those? The cloth was moistened, activating a glue-type adhesive. They looked rather like these on the back of these Wanda Irwin pieces. Only the ones I was thinking of had metal grommets securing the holes.


I went searching for them; but after three different stores, they must have gone the way of window shades: Practical things of the past one could only find online. You can find them online; but I was working on setting up the new antique booths and needed to fix the vintage poodle plaques now!

We have handfuls of the metal “toothed” picture hangers, but I needed a safe way to attach them to the plaster. Safe enough not to break the plaster when attached — and strong enough to make sure the plaques wouldn’t fall off the walls when hung.

First, I placed the sawtooth picture hanger on the back of the plaster plaque, where I wanted to attach it. Using a pencil, I traced the holes in the hangers. Once the hanger was taken away, I applied a rather generous dot of Liquid Nails over each of the penciled markings. Then, gently, but firmly, I pressed the metal hangers in place. Some of the adhesive oozed through the holes in the hangers — which is what I wanted. This is about securing the hangers, and therefore the future of the vintage plaster plaques; not about how neat it looks on the back.

I let the glue set over night. The next morning, I used a glue gun and applied a good layer of hot glue over the ends of the metal hangers, covering the Liquid Nails as well. I let that set for the day, and then, when I went to set up the new shop space, I carefully hung the vintage chalk plaques in place. Again, the backs may not look super (Did they ever, with those rusting staples?!), but the pieces are safely secured.


PS The kitschy plaster poodle plaques (from Miller Studio) and the pair of vintage plaster dancer plaques (in pink and black!) are available for purchase in our space at the new Fargo-Moorhead antique mall. If interested, feel free to contact me.


Marilyn Monroe Still Alluring At 90

marilyn monroe blowing out candle on cakeI continually swear that I’m not going to write, again, about Marilyn; but here I am again

I may have been able to to get away with a wistful smile & a re-Tweet or two in the honor of her 90th birthday. But then I discovered of the photo show in honor of the icon’s birthday — and from there, a very important fact that I had missed for low these X years.

In 2010, a collection of Marilyn’s personal journals, poems, letters, and the like was published in Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe, edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment. (Can you even imagine having access to such intimate ephemera?!)

monroe notebook

As Lucy Bolton notes at the BBC, “This shows how the process of writing was integral to Monroe’s self care and well being. She could also be honest here, perhaps in a way that she couldn’t be elsewhere.” Including both the cruel and the kind. It’s the self-talk that fascinates me the most. Again from Bolton:

In her so-called Record notebook from around 1955 she writes that her “first desire was to be an actress” and that she is striving to work fully and sensitively, “without being ashamed of it”. Her drive to work on herself and her craft was merciless: “I can and will help myself and work on things analytically no matter how painful”, and she notes in her notebook a single line, “having a sense of myself” – as if the words ground her in some way and remind her of what she needs to keep in mind.

This is not just to be coveted for the personal diary of a celebrity aspect. This is the self-reflective artist at work.

remember there is nothing you lack – nothing to be self conscious about yourself – you have everything but the discipline and technique which you are learning and seeking on your own

And it’s the documentation of a woman’s life, which I find supremely interesting, most poignant, relateable. How many of us, sadly, can relate to these words of Monroe?

I guess I have always been deeply terrified to really be someone’s wife since I know from life one cannot love another, ever, really… starting tomorrow I will take care of myself for that’s all I really have and as I see it now have ever had

This is the stuff you miss when you swear off your collecting, your obsession. Oh, but how easy it is to be pulled back in! Another book on the wishlist. No; scratch that. I think I’ll buy myself a birthday gift early. I’m convinced it’s what Marilyn would want me to do.

A Cat-Losing, 1888

Ever hear the song, “The Cat Came Back?”  Poor mister Johnson has a troublesome cat that he simply can’t get rid of:

The song came out in 1893 and was popular throughout its history.   However, it may have been inspired by an 1888 event when some fellows in Cairo, Illinois decided to host a “cat-losing” contest.


Feline with Wonderful Record Failed to Make Good Just When It Was Most Desirable–Cost Him Much Money.

“Ever hear about the cat-losing we had out our way in ’88?” asked the Cairo Liar.  “Never heard of a cat-losing?  Why, they’ve often had ’em out in my section since the first one was pulled off at Cairo.  The way it happened was this:  There was an old citizen in Cairo named Mangum, who bragged all during the summer of ’88 that he had a cat that couldn’t be lost.  The cat was onnery and a night marauder of the despised male gender, and Jim had tried all sorts of ways to lose that cat, he said.  He had tied four bricks to the cat’s neck on several occasions and then chucked the feline into the Mississippi, which runs pretty swift at Cairo, but every time Jim went home after doing this he had found the cat sitting on the front porch, licking himself.  Jim was determined to get rid of the cat, though, and he finally tied it up in a jute bag and handed it to a friend of his, a mail clerk on the railroad, and asked the mail clerk to ditch the cat, bag and all, at any old point not nearer than 100 miles from Cairo.  The mail clerk did this to oblige old Jim, heaving the cat out in the dark somewhere on the edge of a swamp about 125 miles from Cairo.

“Jim announced down at the post office three days later that the cat was back, looking a bit hungry and with less of its left ear than it had had before, but still in the ring and pretty nifty, considering.  Jim by this time regarded his cat as a wonder, and he made a good deal of nuisance of himself telling everybody in Cairo that, in his opinion, which he was willing to back with money, marbles, or chalk, that there wasn’t a cat in the state of Illinois, or, for the matter of that, in the whole blamed country, that had such a dead bead on home as his cat had.

Jim's Cat Didn't Come Back.

“Somebody finally suggested that the thing be tried.  This was just was Jim wanted, and so a committee of arrangements went ahead to organize the cat-losing. It was finally determined that all of the cats entered should be driven out in the woods, in a farm wagon, and then, at a point about five miles from town, chucked out of the wagon, free-footed, and left to hustle for themselves.  There were 30 entries, each man who entered his cat paying $5 for the privilege.  The cat that reached its home first was to pull down the $150 for its owner.

“A good many of the Cairo citizens who had cats entered in the event rehearsed their felines several times before the regular cat-losing was to come off, and all of the cats showed extraordinary aptitude in hustling back to their own doorsteps from distant points.  Jim didn’t rehearse his cat at all. ‘Any cat,’ said he, ‘that can scramble out of a jute bag heaved into a swamp more’n 100 miles from its own fireside, don’t need no rehearsing.  That cat’s got it in him, and he’ll be the first cat back, for money’  The betting was lively on the event for fully a week before it came off.

“Well, on the day the cats were driven out into the woods, competent and honest judges were placed at each of the 30 homes of the 30 cats, with instructions to time the exact moment of the appearance of the respective felines they were looking for.  The cats were turned loose from the farm wagon at exactly two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, and by that time most of us who had bets down on the outcome were sitting on the courthouse steps, waiting for the first judge to turn up with the announcement that the cat he had been appointed to time upon its arrival was back.

“At exactly 2:30 a young fellow named Charley Glass came running up to the courthouse on a lope, with his cat under his arm.  The cat had its numbered tag around its neck and we all fully identified it as one of the starters.  So the $150 was Glass’, and I had won $150 from Jim Mangum.   Following that, for the space of a half an hour the judges all turned up with their respective cats–all except the judge who had been placed at Mangum’s home.  Jim’s cat didn’t come back that night nor the next night, nor ever again.  That happened nearly 20 years ago, and Jim’s cat isn’t back yet.   Jim almost went broke paying up his debts, and after that whenever he’d see a cat two blocks down the street he’d shy rocks and cuss it as far as he could see it.”

The story was reprinted, in verbatim by dozens of newspapers throughout the U.S. in May and June of 1907, all crediting the story to the “Cairo Liar”, which isn’t the name of any reputable paper at the time.  The Cairo Bulletin, however, was a real paper, but doesn’t have any proof of the original event, nor any happening since the first cat-losing.  So, it is more likely to be a case of the song inspiring a tall tale of amazing cat navigation, and the failing of hubris, many years later.

Married By Phonograph

About the only way to control smallpox before immunization was quarantine.   So, if you’re on your way to your own wedding in 1902 and end up in the pest house, what do you do?

Hope Pioneer, 3/20/1902”                                   WEDS BY PHONOGRAPH.

Young Ohio Couple Overcomes the Dilemma Into Which Smallpox Had Plunged Them.

Miss Nellie Stone, of Ottawa, and J. F. Duncan, of Oswego, N. Y., were married at Toledo, O., the other day under the most trying circumstances. They had been engaged for some time and the bride-to-be went to Oswego to have the ceremony performed. She stopped with a family, one of whose members was suddenly stricken with smallpox.

The quarantine of the house put the young couple in a quandary. Finally a phonograph was taken to the young woman. She spoke the marriage vows into the machine and it was taken to the office of the health department, where it was disinfected.

Armed with the phonograph Duncan sought a minister and made the responses in the marriage service, while the brass transmitter ejected the vows of the Ohio girl and they were pronounced man and wife. The bride is a contributor to eastern papers and the groom is a newspaper man.”

Happily, it does not appear that the bride ever came down with smallpox.

Things That Go To Make Up A Life

In What Is Left Behind, photographer Norm Diamond takes a look at what most collectors see at estate sales: the cycle of life. And then he photographs the objects. Among the artfully preserved poignant moments, a bride’s wedding dress and photo (as well as her wedding night lingerie), and a burial receipt for a young mother and her baby who had died in an automobile accident…

norm diamond brides dress and photo

vintage wedding night lingerie by norm diamond

burial receipt photograph norm diamond

Diamond is now retired, but he previously worked with very ill people as an interventional radiologist. In an interview at Slate, Diamond admits his career likely affected him and this series:

I didn’t realize it until I had retired, but I think when you deal with people who are sick and dying all the time, your outlook on life is different than people who aren’t subjected to that. You don’t tend to be a glass-is-half-full person; you see some of the poignancy of life and some of the sad, tragic things that occur and that maybe part of where I’m coming from.

Diamond photographs some of the objects there at the estate sales; others he purchases and takes home to photograph. Either way, it’s a very moving series which reminds me yet again of that perfect line in Genesis’s Home By The Sea:

Images of sorrow, pictures of delight
things that go to make up a life

You can purchase copies of Diamond’s photographs here.

Vintage Warner Brothers Studio Cosmetic Photo Featuring Brenda Marshall

This vintage photograph is pretty enough to display with your vanity collectibles! The 8 X 10 glossy photo features Brenda Marshall wearing a feather-trimmed peignoir sitting at a vanity table applying a powder puff to her bare shoulder.

brenda marshall powder puff vanity vintage photo by scotty welbourne

Circa 1940, the seller of this photograph offers the following details:

Captured by Scotty Welbourne for Warner Bros. Studios, Marshall is seen in a glamorous fur trimmed robe applying soothing lotions and cosmetics to her sunburnt shoulder.

Attached press snipe reads: “DUST YOUR SUNBURN LIGHTLY … Brenda Marshall has discovered that dusting powder can be very soothing to a sunburned skin. After the star of THE SEA HAWK (opposite Errol Flynn) has applied a cooling lotion to her ‘overdone’ skin, she pats on a light bath powder. She finds it relieves her skin of that stretched and hot feeling.”

Measures 8″ x 10″ with margins on a glossy, single weight paper stock. Photographer’s ink stamp on verso.

vintage warner bros scotty welbourne photo

vintage warner film studios ephemera

Amazing Authentic Elvis Items Up For Auction!

The upcoming Auction At Graceland includes a special section of early Elvis merchandising memorabilia from various owners and includes rare items from the collection of Darlene Parker Tafua, daughter of Ed and Leilani Parker. (Ed Parker was a martial artist who ran the Kenpo Karate Studio in Pasadena, California; Parker trained Elvis Presley along with other stunt men and celebrities.)

rare 1970 promotional photo been signed by Elvis

Among the standout Elvis items are signed items — my favorite is the autographed cocktail napkin from the Thunderbird Hotel.

elvis auto on vintage Thunderbird Hotel Cocktail Napkin Vegas

And how about the original receipt for Elvis and Priscilla’s Wedding at the Aladdin Hotel in Vegas?

It was quite the shindig! More than $10,000 in charges for the chartered flight, the limos, the judge, the champagne, the fruit baskets, the security (of course), the musicians, the gloves and the floral arrangements. No expense was spared by Elvis for his blushing bride Priscilla and their guests, who assumed two suites and 21 rooms at the Aladdin. The bill was sent to the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills and this copy to Colonel Parker at MGM Studios. We know this because of the included (and formerly paper-clipped) note concerning possibly being double-charged for the private jet flight. It is written in pencil and reads: “Jim: – Is this in order to pay – How about the plane chg [charge]? Remember pmt [payment] to Lear Jet in amt [amount] of 1774.50 – Please call me Pattie.” Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated. Each page measures approximately 10 by 6 1/2 inches (25.4 x 16.51 cm).

vintage receipt for elvis wedding vegas aladdin ephemera

But perhaps my absolute favorite is the jacket Elvis Presley wore in Viva Las Vegas in that dance scene with Ann-Margret. Hot!

Elvis Presley Jacket from the Viva Las Vegas Dance Scene with Ann-Margret

elvis and Ann-Margret dance in Viva Las Vegas

This Elvis auction is held by Invaluable (formerly Artfact):

Elvis touched the hearts and lives of fans across the globe, and our goal for the Elvis Week 2015 Auction at Graceland was to include artifacts from across the spectrum of collecting, including items owned by Elvis, gifted by Elvis, written by Elvis, used by Elvis and created to promote the king and his career.

This Elvis auction starts at 7:00 PM CST on August 13, 2015; online bidding is available.

Collectible Vintage Rolex Diving Watches On Display

When my parents were working on this latest estate sale, the found this miniature copper diver’s helmet. Attached to it was a note stating it was from a Rolex watch store display. Ever curious, err, obsessive I had to investigate. (Plus, I do so love a great watch.)

vintage rolex diving helmet watch display

It turns out, Rolex did use small metal divers’ helmets in displaying their waterproof watches, including the Submariner the very first wristwatch for divers (1953); the Deep Sea Special, which was attached to the outside of the bathyscaphe the Trieste during its historic dive (1960); and the Sea-Dweller, Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises (COMEX) watches (1963). This is what the metal diver helmet looked like with its original Rolex dealer display stand.

rolex diver helmet stand vintage advertising

I’ve no idea how many Rolex stores there are now, let alone how many there were in 1970 when this display piece was used… I’d dare say, in the hundreds. Which makes the helmet, even without the sea-green turquoise display stand relatively rare.

However, as Rolex’s divine diving watches debuted before 1970 when this diver helmet display appeared, there were earlier display stands using a nautical theme, if not the “At One With The Sea” slogan. Here are a few of them:

vintage rolex submariner advertising fish

rolex submariner vintage posiden trident ad display

Rolex diving watches also got some promotion out of popular films. Sean Connery wore a Submariner “Big Crown” in 1962’s Dr. No, for example.


But one film watch causes confusion… Jaws.

Despite the Rolex advertising campaign in 1975, neither the Submariner nor any other Rolex was worn in the film. (Likely why the ads focused on author Peter Benchley.)

Rolex Submariner Chronometer Jaws Movie Watch Ad with Peter Benchley

Further confusion is added by the fact that watch collectors refer to the 1974 Rolex Sea-Dweller as the “Great White.” It’s debut certainly was good timing for the movie. But the “Great White” nickname comes from the fact that this version of the Sea-Dweller is in all “white” steel.

So just what watch did Richard Dreyfuss’ Matt Hooper wear in Jaws?

dreyfuss as hooper in jaws wearing watch

Equally obsessive collectors, with far more watch knowlege than I, did the research. It was published in the February 2010 issue of WatchTime. The conclusion? Dreyfuss wore an Alsta Nautoscaph. …Though, as the article states, that still leaves lots of room for questions. As for me, I’ve spent enough time submerged in all this watch talk.

If you are interested in the Rolex diving helmet display piece, the Milwaukee estate sale begins today, July 27, 2015, at noon. Details here.

Photo Credits: Copper Rolex display divers helmet via No Egrets Antiques & Estate Sales (aka Antiquips here on IV); Rolex diver helmet on display stand and other vintage Rolex retail displays via Paul Boutros by way of his posts in the Timezone Forum.

Vintage Clown & Circus Memorabilia Up For Sale

These cool pieces of circus history will be available to purchase at an estate sale in West Allis (part of Milwaukee), Wisconsin. Sale starts Monday, July 27, 2015. My parents, No Egrets Antiques & Estate Sales, are running this sale. More info and photos here and here. If you like circus memorabilia, don’t be a bozo and miss it!

Featured here are a poster from The Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, 1992; a photo signed by Bozo the clown (to “Joey”), and, the most unique, a check signed by the legendary Emmett Kelly.

1992 milwaukee great circus parade poster

signed joey bozo photo

emmett kelly check

Collecting Vintage Restaurant Menus

I never thought about collecting restaurant menus. But I do like to read them while I’m there. Too often there isn’t time before serving staff are at your table, wating for you to make a decision. So, I can see how collecting restaurant menus would get started.

I especially like old menus which have the history of the business, explanations about the restaurant name, the family who run it, and so on. It would be nice to take home the menu and have time to read it. Not to mention, the artwork.

What do you think of modern menus compared to vintage menus? Now they can be made on a computer and printed out without going to a professional printer. I think there is less artwork used. Other than the image on the front cover or top of the page, the rest are likely photographs. I’d rather have illustrations.

Of course, I’m not even counting chain restaurants as places to collect menus from. My favourite restaurants are still the individual, little places. Most of them get passed by tourists looking for the cookie-cutter restaurant chains. I prefer the little places, often family owned and run, where the locals still go for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I admit, I’m especially fond of the breakfast places. The bottomless coffee, the bacon and eggs and the slice of orange on the side. My favourite local breakfast restaurant is run by a Mother and son with one of the daughters often stepping in too.  I’ve seen all the incarnations of their menus. They aren’t vintage, but they have that feeling of being homemade and kitschy.

My question for menu collectors is: Do you ask to take them home or walk out with them under your arm and hope no one says anything?

I love reading menus. They are the shop windows of the kitchen and provide a playful sense of gambling for what might just be the best of worst meal of your life. Today I stumbled upon a rather […]

Source: The Vintage Menu Collector: 25,000 Restaurants by One Woman

Vintage Treasure: Flower Frogs

There are many obsolete technologies since mobile phones began taking over the world. I miss the elegance of watches in particular. However, some vintage technology is just misplaced and not obsolete. Frogs are one of those.

Not frogs of the living kind, but these frogs which were used in floral arrangements. The frogs usually came with a vase (or flower holder of some kind) which they fit inside. So the frogs were made to fit the vase.

Sadly the frogs were easily lost or misplaced. So not every vase still has the frog it came with originally.

We recently lost the frog to one of our own vintage vases. It was a silver frog, one of those which had to be polished. I hope we find it again, before it gets heavily tarnished. I can clean it but I can’t do much if the silver gets pits in it from being tarnished. I’m sure this is why silver has lost it’s popularity. As lovely as it still looks, stainless steel is much easier to look after.

Have you seen any frogs lately?

Vintage flower frogs…what are they? How many ‘frogs’ do you have?  How many did your Mom or Grandma have?   Frogs were used in the bottom of vases to hold the flower stems just right. They are usually metal basket weave grid, or fine textured metal spikes or made of clear or colored glass disk with holes.…

Source: Flea Market flower frogs

Help! I Was Framed – And Did Not Like It


Pick: Well, Grin, nice find! Those old promotional booklets from WESTVACO Printing and Publishing should be popular. Entitled “Westvaco Inspirations for Printers”, they have a lot of neat advertising pictures, ready to frame! The paper is much more solid than magazine “tear sheets”, they are nice quality pages. The pages are marked with the specialty type of paper used, pretty cool! Let’s pull some out and look for frames!

DSC00236Grin: What? Are you crazy? These will be much better as a whole booklet. Lovers of  “Advertising from the Golden Age”, the 1920s and 30s, will be delighted to have these in their collection.

Pick: But check out some of those ads. The artists are top-of-the-line and even the articles, like the one on Will Bradley, is framable! And pictures by Robert Cheveux, Cavarrubias, Will Hollingsworth, Maxfield Parish, these are incredible.

Grin: I just do not have the heart to tear these up. Although, I do agree that the page showing the Erte’ ad for nylon stockings is awesome. I can see it in a period frame, perhaps in a bathroom or on a vanity.

DSC00225Pick: So I am swaying you, huh? That’s hard to believe since you have that stubborn Austrian gene from your dad.

Grin: Stubborn? My dad and I argued all the time over who was most stubborn and I believe I won (meaning HE was more bull-headed.)
In any case, no, I am not convinced.

Pick: Well, if not separated, what will you do with them? Coffee table books have lost popularity (at least since Kramer had his pop-up book.)

Grin: Well, we have a daughter who loves ephemera and her husband is a “font-lover”, so perhaps they’d like to check them out before we decide what to do.

DSC00233Pick: Well, how would it be if you listed just one of them on-line. Maybe you’ll get some information on their value or what type of buyer might be inclined to purchase these.

Grin: That sounds perfect for Etsy. It just might work. For once, we have reached a pleasant compromise. Dad would be proud!

[Editor’s Note: Westvaco, originally the Piedmont Pulp and Paper Company and then The West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, became MeadWestvaco when it merged with The Mead Corporation in January, 2002. You can find the first listing of these Westvaco. publications here!]

Mysterious Book-Box

The office manager at work called me into her office after lunch today: she handed me this little “book”, and I opened it:

amy-book-box-1Turns out it isn’t a book at all —


— and inside is an accordion-folded strip, with numbers on each ‘fold’:

amy-book-box-3They’re only numbered on one side — 6, 7, 8, then “5 TO 10”, whatever that means.   Between the “In Fond Remembrance” on the spine, the bird’s-nest inside, and the numbering system, I’m baffled as to what its original purpose is.  The whole thing is tiny — maybe 2″ x 1″ x 1/2″ altogether, like two matchboxes stacked.  Anyone out there in Internetland seen this before?




I Go Dotty Over A Vintage Mid-Century Modern Brass Metal Lipstick Tube & Case

Who wouldn’t go dotty over this fabulous Mid-Century modern lipstick tube with polka-dots!

vintage metal brass lipstick case tube vanity collectible

The golden dots in the ivory enamel or paint expose the gold-tone metal beneath it. (Both the vintage lipstick tube and case are all metal, likely brass.) Remnants of the old lipstick remain inside — but you know these old tubes can be refilled, right?

vintage polkadot lipstick tube case

But what’s really driving me dotty is not knowing who made this beauty as there’s no label or marking for brand or maker.

mid-century modern polkadot lipstick tube case (1)

The fluted bottom is like many of the vintage and retro Yardley lipstick cases, but the top on this case is much rounder and more domed than the on those in the London Look or Slicker collections…

vintage yardley mod slickers metal lipstick tube

Perhaps this is an early design from the 1950s or early 1960s by Yardley?

Britemode also made a dotty lipstick case (and matching compact), but the Britemode’s base is not fluted nor is the top as tall or rounded.

vintage Britemode metal lipstick compact set

And older Britemode lipstick case has a fluted tube bottom; but not a domed top. Plus, it appears the Britemode lipstick tubes are stamped and embossed on the bottom.

vintage Britemode cosmetic set lipstick case

stamped bottom of vintage Britemode metal lippy

And so I remain stumped.

If you can identify the maker, let me know!

This vintage polkadot metal lipstick tube and case measures approximately 2 3/4 inches tall, from bottom of fluted base to round dome top. And it is 3/4 of an inch in diameter on bottom (widest part).

vintage vanity metail brass lipstick case

Fiddle-Dee-Dee! Frankly, My Dear, We Do Give A Damn!

The biggest sale of Gone With the Wind memorabilia ever is set for next month, with more than 150 lots from the classic film will go under the hammer at Heritage Auctions.

The collection was assembled by Jim Tumblin, who spent 22 years working at the Universal Studios hair and make-up department. The collection began in the 1960s, when Tumblin spotted a dress while doing some research at Western Costume.

“I saw this dress on the floor and a docent told me not to bother to pick it up, because they were throwing it away,” he said.

“I asked if he would sell it to me. I had noticed there was a printed label saying Selznick International Pictures and ‘Scarlett production dress’ was written in ink.”

Tumblin got the dress for $20 — and now bidding for the dress worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara will start at $60,000.

gone with the wind dress up for auction

The entire collection is estimated to go as high as $1 million.

The auction takes place Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Beverly Hills. Online bidding ends April 17th.

The Joy and Tribulation of The Antique Dealer

No Egrets Antiques
No Egrets Antiques

No Egrets Antiques has just completed our third antique show of this new year. Our first was held in West Bend, WI in January. Cold, but the snow kept away and turn-out was very high! As always, the N. L. Promotions’ events are well attended and offer top-quality vendors.

The second was in Wausau, WI on a very cold winter weekend. At this time of year Wausau is snow ski country and the sport is for the hardy outdoor types.  But we were set up inside the D.C. Everett High School and the droves of customers provided our booth with constant action for two full days. They came to buy! This show and our St. Norbert’s Show were put on by AR Promotions and Audre’ and Ray really do things right.

This last endeavor was a flip of what we had expected. Weather was kind to us, but buyers were not. The venue was at St. Norbert Collage in DePere, WI, and the gym was filled with many of the same dealers that were in Wausau.  We were very pleased to see the crowds pour thru on both Saturday and Sunday. But!!  After talking with many of our friendly competing dealers, the consensus was that the visitors left their purses and wallets at home. Still a good show, but not up to our expectations.

And so goes the life of an antique dealer. Wait until our next show. We’ll bring better antiques or maybe lower end items.  Better glass, or depression glass? Probably not, it is not selling up to its potential.  Victorian period? No, we need to bring more Mid Century Modern. Sports items? Always hot. Jewelry always sells so do post cards. Yippee! Post cards and jewelry. And probably some delightful prints and paintings for home decorating This is also a great show for outdoor items for your yard decor and also heavy-metal for your man-cave. That’s what we will bring to our next event.

Our next show will be in Elkhorn, WI, (another N.L. event) and it’s always a super show for both collectors and decorators and sellers, with Inherited Values and No Egrets in booths next to each other – Row two # 216.

See you soon.


Wes Cowan’s Personal Antique Stereoview Collection Up For Auction

When hubby & I met Wes Cowan, one of the things we learned about him was that he was an avid collector of antique photographs. He began collecting them as a child and within 15 years, he’d amassed what was, at the time, the best collection of Frank Jay Haynes photographs & stereoviews. (Stereoviews are those cards with side-by-side photographs on them which, when placed in a viewer, appear three-dimensional; see stereoscopy.) Cowan, somewhat painfully, sold many of them to start his auction business, Cowan’s Auctions. But he didn’t quite stop collecting them either…

However, now Cowan has announced that his entire stereoview collection is going up for auction — including some by Frank Jay Haynes.

antique f jay haynes stereoviews cowans auctions

Frank J. Haynes, aka F. Jay Haynes or the Professor, was the Michigan native who started his photographic business in Moorhead, Minnesota, and is likely known by most for his work with Northern Pacific Railway and his photographs of Yellowstone.

The Cowan collection, a total of 249 lots, features many other antique images of historical value.

civil war death stereoview

antique african american slave black americana stereoviews

Along with one of the earliest known images of Buffalo Bill (holding a Creedmoor long range rifle), there are numerous Civil War era images, antique photographs of Native Americans, Black Americana slavery photos, and many other historical images.

American Indians antique photos Chief Jacob, Nez Perce, with Missionary Henry H. Spalding, Fort Lapwai, Idaho Territory

early antique buffalo bill photographs

The bidding began March 13, 2015, and closes at noon EST on Monday, March 30, 2015. You can view lots as well as bid online here.

History Of The Silver Screen

In the early days of motion pictures, movie theaters were experiencing a number of public attacks as to their safely for patrons. Among the numerous concerns regarding the dangers movies and theaters presented to families there were the fears for women, primarily of the white slave trade, and the usual new media concerns of eye strain. Naturally, the movie industry sought to calm the public down, including offering movie-goers premiums, which were primarily targeted at women. They also sought to approve amenities, including the screens that the movies were shown upon. Of course, this lead to fierce competition between companies who sought to capitalize on all the money to be made in the film industry.

Many of these ground-breaking and creative companies did not last long. But even if they dominated the industry for a time, both the companies themselves and the technology they provided remain but a footnote in books on film history. This is why ephemera, particularly advertisements from the period, remain so important.

At some point in the 1910s, the Wisconsin Theatre Supply Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, produced this bulletin solely promoting the Gardiner Velvet Gold-Fibre Screen:

Gardiner Velvet Gold-Fibre Screen Wisconsin Theatre Supply Company Advertising

Testimonials on the back page include The Thomas A. Edison Electrical Establishments, the Nicholas Powers Company, Havana’s “The Fausto”, the United States government, John H. Kunsky of Detroit “who probably controls more high class picture houses than any single man in America or probably in the world” and many others.

In the 1920s, the Glifograph Corporation (located at 280 Broadway, New York City) promoted their Glifograph movie screen with this brochure. Glifograph said their screen “makes every seat a good seat”, with “perfect pictures from any angle” due to “stereoscope view”. Promised “no eye strain — no distortion”.

Glifograph Movie Screen Brochure Stereoscope

Also, in the 1930s, there was the “Lustro-Pearl” made by Mandalian Manufacturing Co., of North Attleboro, Mass. If that name sounds at all familiar to you, it’s because Mandalain made those metal mesh purses! Well, at least until the company was bought-out by Whiting & Davis. But just imagine, a film screen made of mesh metal!

Vintage Photo Of A Great Man In The Great War

When it comes to collecting photographs, images of men are typically far less popular than those of women. However, there are two primary categories where there is some rather high interest: Images which gay men and images from the military. This photo features a young male soldier holding his rifle with a bayonet. While there’s no date (or other information on the photo), we had a few militaria collectors agree that it’s likely from WWI.

vintage wwi solider with gun photo