To the surprise of Times journalists, a tall speaker on a stand has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press.
This is only a test, so who knows how it will fare?
Tom Hanks has developed the Hanx Writer app, which simulates the sound of an old-fashioned typewriter and has gone to the top of the iTunes app store in the US. Hanks, it noted, can tell the difference between the sounds of an Olivetti, a Remington and a Royal typewriter model.
Of all the TV shows about antiques and collectibles, we’re still huge fans of History’s show Pawn Stars. So we were thrilled to receive a casting call announcement from the show — and turn it into an exclusive interview with the show’s Casting Director, Martin Hardy!
How does the casting process work?
We are always looking for real sellers of unique, new items and encourage anyone who is interested in selling or pawning an item to contacts us through our casting email: email@example.com. We get hundreds of submissions daily from potential sellers who are looking to sell their items on the show. Our casting department works very hard identifying rare and unique items that we have not shot with before but that also tell an interesting historical story.
Once we receive a great item that we feel is right for the show, we generally notify the seller to grab some more key information about it. Then we present it to the guys at the Gold &Silver Pawn shop to see if it is something that they would be interested in purchasing. Once we get the go ahead from Gold and Silver, we tell the seller their item has been approved and we schedule a date for them to come in.
Is there any compensation for being on the show? Do you pay for transportation, lodging?
Because we use real sellers of real items, we don’t provide any compensation for being on the show. Each seller has the opportunity of making a deal and being compensated for the purchase of their item.
We know that not everyone on the show sells their item; but does a person have to at least be willing to sell? Or can they just want to show off their item, get an appraisal, find out more information, (just meet the Pawn Stars!) etc.
At this time we are only able to cast sellers who are serious about selling their item. Of course they need to be comfortable with terms of the deal they reach with the shop, but we always hope they make a sale. We do not offer any appraisals for anyone who does not appear on the show with that item.
Are there any categories that you are more interested in than others?
At the moment we are really interested in anything that is rare and unique (books, autographed originals, artwork, historical documents and coins etc.)
Should a person get on the show, how much of a time commitment does it require?
Depending on the item, the filming of scenes generally last anywhere from 3-4 hours.
If you have something you think is rather rare and special — or wonder if it is, why not contact Martin and casting team? They’ll tell you if it makes the Pawn Stars grade. And we’ll all learn a little something along the way. More information is in the casting flyer below (click to see a larger version). You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org (and you can mention Inherited Values sent ya!)
Discover another world of shopping — with items from around the world. Exclusive selection and value on art, antiques, memorabilia, coins, stamps, and more.
Those who subscribe to receive event digests, sale and promotion alerts, etc. will be entered in contest to win a $2,500 (PayPal transfer) and other prizes. Interestingly, the information sent along in the email I received March 30 (2014) about the sweepstakes listed events that would end that day already. To me, that says the Collector Event series isn’t going as well as they’d like.
Add to that, the fact that the eBay affiliate program is also pushing collectibles, and I think this rat senses a ship in trouble. I’m not saying that eBay’s a sinking ship; but they may have waited far too long to address an issue that collectors and dealers, buyers and sellers, have been screaming about for years now. EBay says, “Win big with collectibles” — but did eBay already lose collectors?
FYI, below are the categories that eBay has designated at “collectibles” at least in terms of their affiliate program. (The number in parenthesis is the eBay category number; see how the collectibles category is number one — it’s what eBay was built on.) And note how vintage clothing is not considered part of the collectibles categories.
No purchase necessary. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited. Sweepstakes begins at 12:00:00 AM PT on March 30, 2014, and ends 11:59:59 AM PT on April 13, 2014. Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older, and who are physically located and reside in the United States of District of Columbia, who are registered members of www.ebay.com at the time of entry. For Official Rules, click here.
I know that many of us who regularly hunt for collectibles at eBay are likely to start with our “My EBay Page” or a bookmarked link to one of our favorite category pages, and as a result we often never visit the main page of the site. As a result, even if it’s nearly a year old already, you may have missed eBay’s new blog called eBay Stories.
Unlike most things eBay, this part of eBay proper actually manages to focus on antiques, vintage items, and history. One of their latest posts was about how a lost WWI medal was found again. What collector doesn’t like to hear about a story like that? We love happy endings like that! To keep up with other similar stories, you can bookmark the “Remarkable Listings” category of the blog. Or make just one visit and subscribe to the newsletter.
PS If you’ve heard about eBay Collections, but aren’t sure what they are or how to use them, here’s a nice tutorial.
Some collections are easy to display for the holidays — and don’t require any additional trimmings either. In our space at Exit 55 Antiques, I’ve put the vintage cookie cutters in the ceramic basin of an antique washstand. It would be an awesome way to greet guests at the door, especially if you added some old wooden baby blocks spelling out “Welcome” or “Merry XMas” along the back shelf!
Besides cookie cutters, what would you display this way?
The holidays, with all their visitors, are the perfect time for showing off our collections. And what collector doesn’t want to show off their collection?! Instead of replacing your antique and vintage treasures with holiday pieces, why not deck your collections along with decking the halls? It can be as simple as mixing in some simple holiday trims.
Here’s a collection of vintage soda pop bottles topped with simple gold and silver ball ornaments. It would make a unique centerpiece on any holiday table.
Collect breweriana, not pop? Gold balls really make vintage beer glasses come alive!
Here I used some sparking Christmas tree balls and strings of garland to decorate some vintage pottery pieces.
Even more rustic country displays can be given some holiday glitz this way. I added some silver balls and garland to this set of vintage blue Ball canning jars.
And here, that rustic autumn centerpiece gets a bit more glamorous for the holidays. Along with the ball ornaments, I added some glittery golden picks.
However, if you don’t have any vintage ornaments left over once you’ve decorated the Christmas tree, or if you cannot find enough old ornaments to get a color theme for your grouping, you can get extra trimmings inexpensively at the dollar store. That’s where all of these balls, picks, and garland came from.
As a collector of vintage retail store items, I was thrilled to spot Gimbels in episodes of The Goldbergs on ABC. The show is set in the 1980s in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, which is about 10 miles north of downtown Philadelphia. Which means the Gimbels store is the Pittsburgh location, not Milwaukee. But it was still such a thrill that I had to take a screenshot when the store was shown in the second episode, when mom Beverly takes Adam to get back-to-school clothes.
I screamed aloud when I saw the name on the fitting room wall!
Then Gimbels was featured again in episode 10, entitled Shopping. So I had to take a few more…
The summer selling season was over. This year seemed consumed with flea and antique markets, plus we conducted more estate sales for clients than any other summer. We felt the need to relax.
Pick: How about a week in Florida, it’s warm and beaches are empty. Our choice is always to go in early fall. It proves to be a great time to go, when summer travelers are back home, children return to school and the arrival of Snow Birds is still a month or more away.
Grin: And the great seafood restaurants will not be crowded. Plus we could drive and shop along the way.
Pick: Do we ever go anywhere without stopping & antique shopping?
Grin: Not since you forced me into marriage, 40 odd years ago.
Pick: Well, yes, It has been 40 odd years. You plan the route down and I’ll make arrangement to rent a condo for the week.
And so I started by digging out the “Travel Guide to Antique Shops & Malls” published by Antique Week, which came with our subscription of their weekly newspaper. Our plan was to take a route we had not traveled “to see what we could see.” I also had their phone app, downloaded to my I-Phone.
Pick: I searched for a rental in Redington Shores, at a complex we already knew from a previous visit. I was set to start looking at “a route less traveled”, at least by us. With the help of a real paper map of the eastern half of the US and the section maps photo copied form the Antique Travel Guide, all laid out on a table, we went about trying to create a list of malls and shops to find the greatest treasure of the century, our Monet Moment.
The A.W. Travel Guide provides listings of stores by sections of the states, on our chosen route, along with informative advertising for each store in alphabetical order by city. I did find the copies of the section maps I photo copied somewhat difficult to page together, and align to my route, so I used a big folding map to highlight our total route and selected shops we wanted to visit along the way.
I must tell you, it is the phone app that was most impressive. Easy to use and free to download, it conveniently offers a very simple set of screens that allow you to select the radius in miles for your search, up to twenty-five miles distance. All stores registered in that distance are shown, and with a few clicks you will see each stores listing and the distance and direction from present your location.
Select a shop and the address and phone number comes up. That phone number can save you from traveling to a store on their day off or after hours. The next screen is a map of the store location and travel time. Touch the address on screen and a route map comes up. How cool is that? All this to decide whether a detour from your route is in your best interest, or continue on with your original route plan.
From our experience, the shop owners or staff of stores listed in the guide deserved our visits. All were well run shops, clean and well stocked, with staff helpful in finding and showing items we were looking to purchase. They listened to our stories of the hunt and shared their insight on what is selling in their area and the general condition of the antique market. Oh! And we were told where to get the best lunch in town, and the next shop we should not pass up.
Did the guide and phone app prove successful in finding great antiques? Well, our trip home was hastened by the fact that we could only buy stir sticks, nothing else would fit in the back of our van.
You may have read the news about the titular movie prop from film noir classic The Maltese Falcon (1941) going up for auction — expected to fetch $1.5 million. The 50 pound falcon statue is valuable not only to those who love film or who are fans of Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, but to art lovers as well, for the prop was created by Fred Sexton.
The story of the Maltese Falcon statuette begins the same year the movie was filmed – 1941 – when Huston hired Los Angeles-based artist Fred Sexton to sculpt the prop for his directorial debut. Huston and Sexton were high school classmates and close friends, and the film director collected many of Sexton’s paintings.
In an on-camera interview with Vivian Sobchack in August 2013, Sexton’s daughter, Michele Fortier, discussed her father’s distinctive and familiar signature, and described her childhood experiences amongst Hollywood’s early elite and on movie sets.
Hank Risan owns two authenticated Maltese Falcon statuettes from the 1941 film production that bear Fred Sexton’s distinctive “F.S.” markings and they are widely regarded as two of the most valuable film props in the history of cinema. In 2004, UCLA Professor Richard Walter, a court-approved expert appraiser, supported the high valuations in an eloquent comparison to another highly-prized film prop: one of four pairs of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the iconic Wizard of Oz, which sold for $666,000 in 2001. “But whatever the slippers’ value,” Professor Walter wrote, “it has to be less than that of the falcons because the slippers are merely one prop, albeit an important one in the movie. The falcons on the other hand are the namesake props that define the picture itself. It is significant in the extreme that in addition to being important props they are also the title of the film.”
“Life imitates art,” stated Mr. Risan. “What’s amazing is that in the film Spade and Gutman discuss the value of the falcon in similar terms. The rara avis has a unique backstory as compelling off-screen as in the film. The black birds are truly objects d’art.”
However, in the auction held today, The Maltese Falcon did not fetch the predicted million dollars or more — in fact, it didn’t sell at all.
The official language for that is “passed” and it happens when the reserve price is not met. While the reserve may have been set too high, this can happen simply because everyone thought everyone else would be bidding and so they assumed they wouldn’t get it. Auctions are rather like elections that way; people stay home thinking everyone else is going to take care of business. But, be it auction or election, those who care ought to show up.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for this Maltese Falcon to show up at auction again.
Last weekend we went to the Fargo Record Fair, an annual event where you can find all sorts of records. We, per our budget, bought a bunch of dollar albums. I was pleasantly surprised: all the vinyl I saw was in really good shape, compared to what I run into at thrift shops and rummage sales. Very few scratches, even on the bargain bin albums, and a lot of contemporary music. I’m tired of flipping through a zillion Ferrante and Teicher and Sing-Along with Mitch before getting to the good stuff.
This is a vintage glass embalming bottle. We’ve sold a number of them — and quickly, at that.
A product of the Embalmers’ Supply Company (ESCO) of Westport, Conn. USA. (“Manufacturing Chemists to the Funeral Profession since 1886”) the label reads:
Duo-Escohol (Pre-Injection) Incarnadines the Blood! Unit No.1 of the 1-2-3 System of ESCO Distinctive Embalming ~ Incarnadining Agents ~ Synergistic Increment ~ Balsam Principles ~ Double-Base Preservatives
Embalming primarily involves the replacement of bodily fluids with chemicals to prevent putrefaction. (Pre-injection chemicals break up clots and otherwise conditions vessels & bodily tissues, making them more receptive to the embalming process.) That makes this vintage bottle a hot little funerary collectible.
But even without the label, or knowing that this is a death and funeral related item, the old glass bottle itself is beautiful. It has such great art deco style! Look at that fabulous step-pyramid top, all the embossing, all the details, the measurement guide along the side… Just gorgeous! No wonder these ESCO bottles sell so fast! (Especially so when these bottles have their original paper labels, as all of ours have had.) They have to be one of the most beautiful embalming bottles ever made.
ESCO clearly had their own specific glass bottles made. This one is marked:
Made in U.S.A.
The patent pending means this particular bottle was likely an early example; Duo-Escohol was first produced by ESCO in 1926.
Such a beautiful, functional, bottle that it certainly is a great statement piece in any funerary or bottle collection. And quite the conversation piece in general.
PS One of our bottle did not have the original cap; instead, it had the cap from bottle or step number two in the process — the Duo-Raa-Co.
A few months ago I stumbled into this vintage (nearly antique) glass preservatives bottle or jar. While I love the romantic (and nearly heart-shaped) paper label for Old Manse strawberry preserves (by Oelerich & Berry Company of Chicago), it was the fluid art deco lines of the bottle itself that sealed the deal in terms of purchase. Those same lines led to a real labor of love, because this bottle became quite the cleaning restoration project. (To be honest, the shinning silver with “runs” of golden along the embossed sides were beautiful — had it not been for the incredible stink, I would have left it thus!)
While my email conversations with Lindsey were a bit disjointed (because I was dealing with a bottle soaking in bleach & therefore had forgotten all about looking for any marks on the bottom of the glass jar — sheesh!), Lindsey did confirm my thoughts that this was an authentic art deco food bottle from the 1920s.
Lindsey also added
The lid on the bottle you have is probably not original to the bottle as it appears in the images to be a zinc “Mason’s” jar lid that would have been used on a Mason jar.
The jar itself is a “art deco” style food jar popular in the late 1910s to 1930s (maybe a bit later). It almost certainly would not be of exclusive use to any one company but one of a number of standard designs sold to any purchaser by many different glass companies.
The “5623” is a mold index code and the “8” could be related to a date but we’ve not published our article on that company yet – and I don’t have a copy – so not sure. Still dates as you estimated.
I eagerly await the article!
Meanwhile, other collectors should note that this is a Hazel Atlas piece, marked 5623 – 8, stands about 10 and 1/4 inches tall. Personally, I’d love to know if anyone else knows anything about this vintage glass bottle or the Oelerich & Berry Company… (UPDATE: Now listed for sale!)
For less important doodles in text, the kind that go no farther than your desk or refrigerator door, the tactile pleasure of typing old school is incomparable to what you get from a de rigueur laptop. Computer keyboards make a mousy tappy tap tappy tap like ones you hear in a Starbucks — work may be getting done but it sounds cozy and small, like knitting needles creating a pair of socks. Everything you type on a typewriter sounds grand, the words forming in mini-explosions of SHOOK SHOOK SHOOK. A thank-you note resonates with the same heft as a literary masterpiece.
The sound of typing is one reason to own a vintage manual typewriter — alas, there are only three reasons, and none of them are ease or speed. In addition to sound, there is the sheer physical pleasure of typing; it feels just as good as it sounds, the muscles in your hands control the volume and cadence of the aural assault so that the room echoes with the staccato beat of your synapses.
There’s a lot of discussion, sometimes couched as a “panic,” about how there are not enough kids interested in collecting. Whether you are concerned about the collecting industry or not, there are valid reasons to get kids interested in the hobby. Collecting is a self-directed activity about passion, and in our world of (sometimes overly) scheduled activities, the self-motivated journey of collecting builds more than a collection of objects, but skill sets as well.
I saw an article you wrote about antique trunks and there is a picture of one trunk that I would like to know if you know anything about it. I have the same one. It says patd. oct 2 1888 on the front lock.
I do not know much about trunks or their makers (nor am I an appraiser), but since Emily and I are related via the adoption of sibling antique steamer trunks, I’d try to share what little information I have…
Our trunks are classic flat top trunks, rectangular boxes covered with sheet metal (called metal backgrounds — some trunks have canvas or burlap backgrounds) and hardwood staves with additional metal trim and hardware. These trunks, produced in great numbers by various manufacturers worldwide between 1870 and 1920, were true shipping workhorses, stacked in cargo holds of ships.
These trunks are not steamer trunks; true steamer trunks (about half the height of most regular flat top trunks) were the trunks passengers were allowed to keep in their quarters during steamship voyages. Whatever was in the smaller steamer trunk was what they had access to during the trip; all other trunks and their contents were inaccessible, stored in the cargo hold until the end of the voyage.
The sheet metal used was typically plain old flat tin, but often you’ll find the metal embossed to look like canvas. Some people have questioned why such embossing would be done, when canvas would have been cheaper than sheet metal — let alone embossed sheet metal. I suppose that this could have been done to disguise a more expensive trunk — eyeballing it, a person perhaps wouldn’t notice it as different from the cheaper canvas backed trunks. But a porter would certainly notice the difference in texture and weight.
Primarily, trunks embossed with more ornate patterns, like ours, were surely designed to appeal to buyers. And they continue to appeal to us today — the more decorative antique trunks are, the more they are sought after.
Being that such large objects are certain to be not only on display, but noticeably so, collectors and those of us who find the practicality of trunks compelling, looks matter. The most beautiful are the domed or rounded-top trunks, but, as I said in that other article, I personally don’t own a single round topped trunk:
It’s not just the price which keeps me away from them. The same reason these trunks were coveted back in the day is the same reason I dislike them now: you can’t set anything on top of them.
Not only do I like to stack my trunks, but I like to use them as furniture. If the top is round, you can’t set a lamp or candle holder on them, nor books and a beverage. In a small house, anything that doubles as storage and a piece of furniture is a-OK with me.
However, clever porters storing trunks quickly realized that round-topped trunks set on their backs, fronts or sides gave a flat ‘top’ which could be both stacked and stacked upon. If it’s hard to visualize, imagine the the round top of a trunk like the spine of a book:
This is a novel idea for display of antique trunks too; however, it will require thinking about using them for storage, as the lids will now open ‘out’ rather than ‘up’ allowing for items inside to spill out.
Most trunks once had wooden trays inside, but these were flimsy (poorly constructed from soft inexpensive wood) and so the inside ‘lip’ to set trays on is the only remaining evidence. Trunks found with trays usually aren’t worth that much more, as the wood is brittle and disintegrating, unable to be of much use — and even the most appealing parts of these trays, the pretty printed wallpapers papers (or fabric), are usually too tattered, mildewed and water stained to really be enjoyed. If your trunk, trays and/or compartments have wallpaper, pictures, or cloth intact it could be worth more to collectors — but generally speaking, only if the outside and original hardware are in equally wonderful condition.
In general, flat-top trunks fetch lower prices than their round or dome-topped relatives, and, unless they are incredibly spectacular, they have little monetary value past storage and decorative objects. ‘Round here, you can get them for as little as $1 at an auction — though in retail settings, perhaps up to $150 or so (but those dealers will wait awhile for that sale). I don’t think I’ve paid more than $15 for an antique flat top trunk myself.
Prices will vary with your location, as always; but keep in mind that the large size of antique trunks limits the size of a collection more than figurines etc., so demand, in general, is lower and so the prices are lower.
When I fist spotted this adorable dog, I thought I’d be adding a new piece to my chalkware collection, but the second I picked him up, I knew better. Sure, I’d be adding him to my collection — who could resist that face?! — but he isn’t made of chalk or plaster.
This vintage dog is made of composition, a mix of sawdust and glue molded into shapes that’s both heavier and denser than paper mache. Composition was used primarily from the late 1870s through the early 1950s. The height of the market for composition toys and home decor pieces was the 1920s (popularity due to novelty of a new material) through 1940s wartime (when rationing limited options for manufacturing). The invention of new, inexpensive and more durable hard plastics in the 40s brought about the end of composition items by the 50s.
I’ve seen (and own) composition dolls, and quite a number of small toy animal toys and figurines (mostly nativity scene pieces), but nothing quite like this charming dog. Outside of the doll world, this golden pup is the largest vintage composition piece I’ve seen. At five inches tall, he seems too large to have been a child’s toy; likely an inexpensive display figurine for the home.
The crazing, or cracks in the lacquer or sealing finish caused by changes in humidity and temperature, are common. Thankfully, the worst of the crazing (and resulting loss of color due to damage to the sealer) is limited to the backside and bottom of this vintage piece.
I call him Old Yeller because I like to imagine I’m saving this yellow lab as I’m making him part of my collection of dogs.