Ways To Display Monochromatic Collections In Your Home

Spotted this at Country Living:

Here’s how we recommend keeping the arrangement interesting:

• Group similarly shaped items (fluted vases, trophy-like urns) together, but stagger heights and mix various creamy shades.

• A few wild-card components, such as shells, architectural remnants, and tarnished silver vessels, prevent a monochromatic collection from becoming monotonous. Just keep them all muted, so they don’t hog the spotlight.

Photo by Bjorn Wallander.

Curator of Your Own Museum: Part One

some-of-my-collection-deanna-dahlsadPerhaps you resist the notion that as a collector you have your own museum. Maybe you (still) imagine that a museum must be significantly historical or be meaningful to society at large. But let me tell you, if other folks believed that their collection had no value, then we would be without the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia, the Museum of Bad Art, the Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum, and the Lunchbox Museum. (The latter is recognized by the Smithsonian, yet!) Yet these and many other ‘strange little museums’ have hundreds of visitors (or more) each year. Even if the number of visitors who would make a pilgrimage &/or pay to see your collection is a very small one, your collection does have merit and meaning.

Do you still think your collection is undesirable and uninteresting? Then ask yourself this: Do you have people bidding against you at auctions?

Yeah, I thought so. *wink*

See, your collection is interesting. You have a collection, you have a museum; that’s pretty clear-cut to me.

As with any museum, there is a curator: You. You are responsible for shaping and preserving the collection.

You may not have thought of yourself as a curator before, so let’s look at what one is.

The U.S. Department of Labor says, “Curators direct the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections, including negotiating and authorizing the purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections. They are also responsible for authenticating, evaluating, and categorizing the specimens in a collection. Curators oversee and help conduct the institution’s research projects and related educational programs. Today, an increasing part of a curator’s duties involves fundraising and promotion, which may include the writing and reviewing of grant proposals, journal articles, and publicity materials, as well as attendance at meetings, conventions, and civic events.”

This boils down to three rather natural steps for most collectors.

Step One: Acquisition
This is rather simple; it’s the collecting part. In the process of adding pieces to your collection you automatically authenticate and evaluate items to see what pieces are worth your investment. Like any museum, you have a budget which prevents you from having it all. Sometimes you get lucky; you can afford it, so you buy it. Sometimes though, you want it, want it bad, but it’s too expensive. So then you have to save funds as you watch and wait for another like it — or you may may get more creative. You might arrange a trade for other items in your collection, take out a loan (even if it is just from your spouse), or make payments over time. ‘Real museums’ do this too, only they call it negotiating an exchange, finding a benefactor, or fundraising.

Step Two: Storage and Display
Like any other museum curator you worry about how to best show off your collection. Not only should the items be shown to their best advantage, but done so in a way which does not harm them. Depending upon your particular collection this may be as simple as keeping them out of reach of small children or as challenging as shielding the items from the environment at large. Protecting items may mean higher shelves; protective cases, sleeves, or framing; or even storing them out of sight so that they live to see another decade. Sometimes even the best curators at the largest museums will have to pass on a piece simply because they do not have the room or the ability to properly store the item.

Step Three: Exhibition and Education
The more committed you are to your collection, the more knowledge you gain. The more passionate you are about your collection, the more you want to share both your knowledge and your collection. Through this you become an expert. You don’t have to be collecting something for 25 years in order to be an expert. Maybe your collection is a very unique set of items. (It need not be due to the rarity of the items themselves, but in their context to one another.) Or maybe your collection is so specific & limited that it requires you to be an expert in some small niche area. But one way or another, collecting eventually leads to the collector, the curator, becoming an expert.

As an expert you may be asked to share your collection in a more public venue. It may be a casual exhibit at a Scout meeting or local library, or a more prestigious event at an art gallery or state historical society. Now you are “loaning your acquisitions.” It might be that you are asked to write a paper for your collecting newsletter, share photos of your collection in an author’s book, speak at a local collectibles show, or help evaluate items in an estate. Now you are a curator “promoting” the collection.

Of course, being out in the public means you are also more visible to others, making acquisitions even easier. And the circle continues…

See? You’ve been acting as a curator of your own museum for quite some time now.

This article was previously published at CollectorsQuest (October, 16, 2006); it is being shown here as an example of my work, per contract with CQ.

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!

miller-studios-vintage-plaster-poodles

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.

vintage-chalkware-plaques-pink-and-black-dancers

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.

hangers-on-Wanda-Irwin-pieces

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.

vintage-plaster-chalk-plaques-back

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.

fixing-plaster-chalkware-hangers

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.

JIM MANGUM’S CAT DISAPPOINTED HIS OWNER.

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

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.

Sean-Connery-wearing-rolex-submariner-in-dr-no-with-Ursula-Andres

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 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

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 —

amy-book-box-2

— 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.

 

Like Flies To Honey… An Antique Primitive Fly Trap

We’ve sold a number of these primitive antique fly traps — but none quite this large. (I forgot to measure it, but it’s at least a foot tall.)

large primitive antique fly trap ayr north dakota

Nor did any have their original maker tag with instructions for use.

The Wonder Fly Trap
Made By
W.P. Rose, Ayr, N.D.

Bait with cake or bread with sugar and vinegar over, or anything that attracts the flies

Patent Pending

These taps work for hornets and bees too. No reason it wouldn’t still work today. But some continual baiting and cleaning of the trap would be required. 😉

Rose was quite the inventor and a member on the board of directors for the Ayr Farmers Elevator.

This one was purchased at that Bonanzaville museum auction this past Fall. It is now available for purchase; available in our space at Exit 55 Antiques located on I-94 in Fergus Falls, MN. (The shop’s Facebook Page is here; our personal sales page at Facebook is here.) Also, more photos and information regarding what we have for sale right now can be seen at We Have Your Collectibles.

antique wonder fly trap primitives

Tintypes & Seashells

Since we went to that museum auction and got that fabulous antique folk art piece made of tintypes and seashells, I’ve been looking for more…

I found this antique frame of nine photos decorated in seashells…

Antique Sea Shell Display Frame Wall Sailors Valentine Folk 9 Ambrotypes 1860s

And this antique folk art or tramp art “Memory Bottle” has seashells mixed in with all the other buttons and bobs.

Antique Folk Tramp Art Memory Bottle

Image Credits: Drive Back In Time & The Antique Poole.

The Halloween Tradition Of Romantic Tricks & Treats

Halloween was once steeped in the tradition of belief that the veil between this world and the next was thinnest at this time of year and so was considered a time when fortunes could be best told. Not even the Victorian era and it’s designs to clean-up the naked bonfire bawdiness could quash that Hallowe’en tradition. In fact, the Victorian notions of romance and marriage quite fed such things. Especially the romantic sort of fortune telling, predicting whom you might marry.

halloween-bewitching-vintage-postcardIncluded in this historical paper trail are the antique and vintage Halloween postcards. There, among the now-so-traditional Halloween fare of witches and black cats, are the romantic Halloween postcards. Sometimes these are simply postcards with romantic prose, courtship rituals, or even wistful, hopeful sentiments. But there too, along with icons or symbols of witchcraft (such as caldrons, clocks, mirrors, and potions), there are the utterly charm-ing old postcards of spell-casting or divination. These discuss the magical steps one might take to find love and bind lovers. Some are quite clearly the stuff of parlor games.

There were quite a number of fortune telling games. Some, like the postcards, provided instructions. Others were of the oral tradition. For example, among the myriad of seasonal apple traditions is the one in which single ladies peeled an entire apple and then tossed the long peel behind them. The shape the apple peeling took was said to form the first letter of the first name of their future mate.

Along with these sorts of party games, there were dolls who might help a single lady out.

In the 1800s, both France and Germany made wooden, and porcelain, dolls with skirts over paper petticoats, of sorts. It was on the paper pages of the skirting that one found one’s fortune. Much like a fancier version of the paper fortune telling games played in schools now!

German Porcelain Miniature Fortune-Telling Doll Wooden Tuck Comb Doll as Fortune-Telling Doll

This is an antique wooden Grödnertal fortune telling doll. (So-named for the Grödnertal region of Germany where the original peg wooden dolls were made.)

Grödnertal Wooden Doll as French Fortune Teller antique

antique witch fortune telling doll

antique french fortune telling doll

In French these fortune telling dolls are known as “bebe a bonne aventure” dolls.

They are often depicted as witches or gypsies, which is rather keeping in the Halloween tradition.

See also: Collecting New Age Items From Old Eras.

Image Credits: Antique fortune telling dolls via, via, via.

How To Wash & Care For Antique China, Vintage Glass, Silverware & Other Fine Tableware

(It’s More That “Just A Tradition!”) At holiday time, we all bring out the fancy china and silverware —  the old china and silverware if we are lucky enough to have it. Age, material, and condition issues…

Source: www.ebay.com

Vintage Bronzeware Flatware From Thailand

I found this vintage bronzeware set while helping my parents, Antiquips, of No Egrets Antiques, with their latest estate sale. (Details and photos of this latest sale can be found on their Facebook page as well as here.) I became rather fascinated with this set of vintage flatware!

vintage bronzeware with rosewood handles

It was obtained by a man in the air force about 1961 or so, when he was stationed in Thailand (officially known as “Siam” until 1939) — and the set clearly remained a prized possession (as you’ll see below).

These are some of the original brochures from the bronzeware purchase:

vintage 1960s thailand brochures

 

vintage bronzeware brorchures ephemera

Included with the set were some other papers that explained more about the flatware:

What is Bronzeware?

Bronzeware is a unique tableware handmade by skilled craftsmen in Thailand, perhaps better known as Siam. Cast individually from glowing red molten bronze, each piece is then ground to the proper shape and then polished to a mirror finish by these patient craftsmen. The rosewood handles are carefully shaped with the simplest of tools, and joined with care to the bronze stem.

What is Rosewood?

Rosewood is a brownish-red hardwood native to the steaming tropical jungles of Southeast Asia, so called because the fragrance of roses permeates the air when the tree is hewn to the ground. Naturally water resistant because of the resinous content of the fibers, rosewood is also exceptionally hard to nick or dent. In addition to these qualities rosewood is perhaps one of the world’s most beautifully grained woods and has long been used in the finest and most expensive furniture and musical instruments.

As of right now, this vintage flatware set is available in a very fine rosewood cabinet, made specifically for holding flatware. It has dragons carved onto the drawers and matches not only a large china hutch or breakfront but a dining room table and chairs.

rosewood flatware cabinet

rosewood dragon utensils cabinet

But the vintage bronzewear originally came in a wooden box — with an eye-blazing fuschia felt liner, just like this one (and other sets found at eBay). We have the case too, but it looks much nicer in the cabinet!

thailand siam bronzeware in mod case

This set of Bronzeware, like others often sold as bronze or bronze alloy pieces, was most likely made of a nickel-bronze alloy. To the best of my knowledge, and research, bronzewear is safe to eat off of. Caring for bronzewear is similar to that of silver plate. As a general rule, I never advise using the dishwasher. Most especially for antique and vintage pieces. And with the rosewood handles, I wouldn’t dare do anything else!

vintage bronzeware flatware rosewood handles

The following is some more of the original literature that accompanied the flatware purchase, or was obtained during the same period. I thought it was proper to include it here.

1960s star house thailand ephemera

The Return Of The Typewriter!

We love typewriters; we sell a few of them too. So naturally I noticed this news article about The Times adding the sound of typewriters back into the newsroom. But it isn’t quite what you think…

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?

Also mentioned in the article is news about the Hanx Writer App from none other than typewriter aficionado Tom Hanks. (You might know him best as a movie star; but he’s a typewriter nerd too!)

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.

Viva la typewriter!

PS More on the Hanx Writer at Mashable.

hanx writer typewriter app