What’s In Store? Real Photo Postcards, 1907

One of the most fascinating areas of collecting antique and vintage photographs are those images showing the interior of shops and retails stores — like these real photo postcards, circa 1907.

Notice the well-dressed help and the tin tiles on the walls; the fine array of items, such as china in the display cases, the baby buggies and strollers… Oh, the things you could see with the actual antique postcard in your hand and a magnifying glass!

In this next image, there are plenty of guns, tools, keys, and hardware — along with spinning wheels, a few stray things, such as coffee pots and lanterns. On the walls there are other intriguing photographs… Lots of lovely ladies — including one with two horses! Perhaps a circus act? Among all the beauties, what appears to be the bottom half a wrestler or other male athlete.

Images via Lynnstudios.

Should You Finish Or Repair An Antique Or Vintage Quilt?

At Bluebird Gardens, Charlotte Ekker Wiggins answers the question, “If I buy a vintage quilt top, and then quilt and finish it, does this reduce its value?”

And I just love how she answers:

If you are asking if a quilt’s appraised value will change; yes, it will. In general, the appraised value of a quilt is determined by the last work that’s been completed…

Some quilts have more value because of who and when they were made, or what designs are used…

Most of us don’t have quilts with that provenance so I suggest those quilt tops and quilt blocks will have more value being finished so they can be enjoyed.

What’s amazing about this is the fact that this post is the exception to an unfortunate rule.

Quilt Tops and Quilt Blocks

It’s a fact that so many people in the antiques and collectibles area only define the word “value” in the monetary sense — and that’s neither the only definition nor the primary motivating force behind why we keep what we do. While it’s true we should keep in mind that the way we care for, treat, repair, refinish, store, etc. our objects matters, monetary value really only matters when we lose the objects, be it to sell them or to be reimbursed when they are damaged or stolen. For objects we love, for objects we value above their monetary value — those things we really value, having them around us to be enjoyed is what really matters.

Articles like Charlotte’s are important for the tips they present, but valued even more because they recognize the object’s real value.

In most cases, the quilts and textiles we have — be they antique, vintage or new — are valuable because we can see them, use them, enjoy them. So go ahead, finish that vintage quilt top, sew those antique quilt blocks into the quilt you’re making, repair grandma’s handmade quilt. The real value will be in snuggling in it, having it on display, keeping the tradition and the textile alive to pass onto the next generation.

Sweet Vintage Glass Storage Jars For The Nursery

I spotted this charming set of glass storage jars with lids at a Minnesota antique mall. Obviously for the nursery, the frosted glass jars have white bunny rabbits. The jars are labeled with common-for-the-day items for baby: “Boric Acid,” “Baby Oil,” “Nipples,” and “Cotton.”

Vintage Birthday Greetings From Goldilocks & The Three Bears

This vintage greeting card has birthday wishes from Goldilocks and Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear, aka The Three Bears.

Along with the cute illustrations (there are even three bowls of porridge on the back!), this card opens to reveal a four-page storybook!

The story is, naturally, of Goldilocks And The Three Bears.

The back of the card only bears the stock number (565) and Made in U.S.A., but the back of the little story-booklet (also marked 565 and made in the U.S.A., so it’s surely its original mate) says the copyright belongs to A.G.C.C., 1949.

A.G.C.C. made several versions of these greeting cards for children with nursery rhyme story inserts — a great way to begin collecting vintage greeting cards!

Now in our Etsy shop.

Adorable Vintage Childrens Wooden Hangers

I don’t know where Joan “No More Wire Hangers, Ever!” Crawford stood on wooden hangers, but I’m guessing she wasn’t a fan. However, these cute vintage wooden hangers for the nursery might have made her at least think of them as adorable display pieces…

Painted pink, with decals of kittens and little girls, I nearly bought these at a local thrift shoppe… But at $2 a piece, I left them all there.

When I went back with second thoughts a day later, all of them had sold.

I left empty handed, with a heavy heart, reminded once again that the time to buy something is when you see it.

DIY China Jewelry Display

I have very mixed feelings about modifying or changing antique and vintage things, but when I saw this project converting plates (and a candlestick) into a jewelry holder I thought it would be a wonderful way to salvage china pieces, bring them out of the boxes and shadows and back to life.

I’ve seen this done before, but all the tiers were plates, and it became a nice tidbit tray for serving cookies, etc. Having the tea cup saucer on top makes for an excellent lip for hanging wire earrings!

Wouldn’t this be a fabulous way to share an antique, but incomplete, family heirloom china set? It would make it easier to share the family china with each one of your children!

Thank You Aunt Alice

It’s funny how things become vintage. I remember when my Aunt Alice (my Grandmother’s sister) came to visit me in the hospital and gave me my first pair of dangly earrings. They were not expensive made but they were gold and elegant looking and most of all, when I wore them I could feel them swaying just under my earlobes. It meant a lot to me.

Now here we are, about 30 years later, I still have those earrings tucked away in my jewelry box with all the other stuff I don’t wear. (I never became the girly type to wear make up or jewelry). Now those earrings could be called vintage. It makes me feel older than I really am. My Aunt Alice isn’t here any longer. I miss her but I do think about that day now and then, and many others.

Do you have a special pair of earrings or something other jewelry? Is there something in your jewel box that makes you remember someone else, especially a family member? Even though my earrings aren’t especially valuable I would like to have someone in the family to give them to. It’s a shame that none of the younger generation in the family now will have any memory of my Aunt Alice. So the earrings will never be special to them in the same way they are special to me. That’s kind of sad.

Vintage Beauty & Cosmetic Tips Explain Vanity Collectible Conditions

More things for collectors to learn from that 1940’s Hint Hunt booklet — this time the tips could explain some condition issues you find with vintage vanity collectibles.  These vintage beauty and cosmetic tips explain why you might just spot pinholes in powder boxes and find beads in perfume bottles.

For me, such pin pricks and beads are the tangible evidence of the intimacy of these old items… Clues to the connections between decades, even centuries, of women who desire both beauty and practicality.

Ephemera Collector Saves Baby & Bathwater From Being Tossed Out

Ephemera collector Dick Sheaff shares this 1875 carte de visite (CDV) photograph by William Shaw Warren of Boston which seems to be the source for The Pond’s Extract Company’s trade card advertising.

Bedroom Inspiration From Vintage Photo

All I really know about this image is that the lady is Mrs. Louis Bromfield, that the photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1942 — and that I love that headboard!

The headboard appears to be hand painted or, if fabric, embroidered with the titles of her husband’s books. What a lovely idea! …If not your book titles, why not the names of your children, special dates, etc.?

Vintage “Match Lips”

This is so ephemeral that I can barely stand it! It’s a paper matchbook…

With matchheads of “Stay-Tru” Almay lipstick!

I’m not sure why you’d want to sell beauty on the idea of putting a match to your lips, or how these survived (mostly intact; one ‘strike’ is missing), but I love it!

Collecting Vintage Cosmetics: See What’s Taken A Powder In Vintage Makeup Name-Calling

I have a modest collection of vintage vanity items; my collection and I have even been featured in Collectors News magazine. Included in my collection are various vintage powder tins, compacts, and refills.

Once you get past the pretty packaging (which I’ll admit might take some time!), you notice the names of shades of old powders… And this can spawn a collection of its own: collecting vintage powders by name of the color (or shade) of the powder.

In fact, there’s quite a bit to learn in the dusty trail of vintage face powder names.

One of the most common vintage powder shades is Rachel; nearly every maker of face powders had a shade called Rachel, making it an easy entre into collecting by shade. Even if you don’t collect vintage cosmetic items or didn’t notice how common the shade was, you may find the history of this color fascinating!

Along with the connotative associations between makeup and the stage (in which actresses were equated with prostitutes — as was any woman who dared to daintily apply color), there is tangible evidence of stage makeup for collectors. Beauty products and makeup kits were created and marketed for theatrical (and, later, film) production quality makeup artistry. An example is my vintage Max Factor Stage Make-up Kit. In this professional student makeup kit, the individual colors and shades are known by numbers, presumably for a more ‘industry standard’ aesthetic.

But not all manufacturers sold their products this way. In fact, some companies sought to market their products to the stage — and beyond. For example, this Stein’s Face Powder tin, circa 1920s, has the following statement printed on it: “For the Stage — For the Boudoir.”

While clearly trying to appeal to legitimate actresses, it is unclear if “boudoir” was intended for the average potential female consumer of the time… It would seem more likely that a powder tin for general consumption would boast of ‘invisibility’ or ‘undetectability’ or, at the very least, be more discrete and ladylike, mentioning it was for her vanity, dressing table or toilet, as opposed to the more bawdy her boudoir. Even in the roaring 20’s.

The 20 colors , listed below clearly lend themselves more to the staging of characters rather than romantic notions of beauty.

1 – White
2- Light Pink
2 1/2 Pink
3 – Dark Pink
3 1/2 Darker Pink
4 – Flesh
5 – Brunette
6 – Dark Brunette
7 – Cream
8 – Juvenile Flesh
9 – Healthy Old Age
10 – Sunburn
11 – Sallow Old Age
12 – Olive
13 – Othello
14 – Chinese
14 1/2 – Japanese
15 – Indian
16 – Moving Picture
17 – Lavender

I wasn’t surprised to see the rather racist ethnic shades (as limited in ethnicities as in shade options within ethnicity labels; and I’ve seen worse), but I was surprised to see two shades for brunettes while they passed on any specific shades for blondes or redheads (which was quite common for many years). And do I even need to mention how I’d love to see the color that is “Othello?”

With colors like these, it is difficult to see the cross-appeal to general female kind — unless, of course, the woman in question was err, performing on a much smaller stage. *wink*

Whatever the intended target market of the M. Stein Cosmetic Company (and I do continue to research it), collecting all these vintage powder colors would certainly be fun — and illuminating in ways the old cosmetic company never imagined.

Nostalgia Calling: Cute Vintage Pay Phone Bank

There’s lots to love about this vintage pay phone ceramic bank I spotted at a local thrift store.

To add money to the piggy bank, you drop the coins in the slot at the top — just like you did with those pay phones. This particular bank was missing the presumably rubber stopper sealing the hole in the bottom for coin retrieval, signaling that someone had spent their pennies earned.

This vintage ceramic bank is a real conversation piece. First, in terms of true style of old telephones. There’s a rotary dial to really confuse kids — other people’s kids; ours have been educated in the ways of earlier technology. Heck, with the popularity of cell phones some kids don’t even know what a “pay phone” is.

But what I love most about it is the coin return detail and the memories it brrrr-rings. Had that been how one actually retrieved their coins from the bank, I probably would have bought it because I have fond memories of checking the coin returns of public pay phones.

My sister and I would race to see who could check the coin return first — or, if there was a bank of pay phones, who could get the most money. My sister was far more determined (greedy?) than I, and she often pocketed the most winnings.

She did win the all-time best story about pay phones too. One time, she stuck her greedy fingers into a coin return and came out with some partially eaten and/or melted candy. (We dared not dwell on all the possibilities too long.)

That moment in “Eeeiiww” nostalgia now makes me wish I had bought this vintage bank. I could have set it out in my home; it’s mere existence a prompt to tell that story over and over again… Or maybe even mailed it to her, eagerly awaiting her phone call to discuss pay phones and other gross childhood memories.

If this bank is still at the thrift shop on my next visit, I think I’ll have to get it.

PS I wasn’t sure which room in the house to categorize this under… As a kid, my bank was always in my bedroom — but then, when you’re a kid everything goes in your bedroom. I suppose this piggy bank probably more suited mom, who likely kept it in the kitchen or wherever the telephone was. Maybe she even used it to threaten charging her teenage daughters for each phone call they had. Hey, moms had to get that “rainy day” money from somewhere.

Trash-It-To-Me? You Bet Your Sweet Bippy

I love this vintage metalware trash can because it combines two of my favorite things: practical vintage metal wastebaskets and memories of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Q: How much fun would it be to aim for the Sock-It-To-Me trash can?

A: It would be verrry interesting.

The seller of this specific trash can, Cashincollectibles, says the waste basket stands 14 inches tall (10 inches wide), dates from 1967, and was made by Chein Co. (J. Chein Co.).

You can look for more Laugh-In stuff on eBay too; I usually do. *wink*

Alice White, I Hardly Knew Ye (But I Want Your Furnishings & Your Little Dog Too)

One of the great things about collecting old photographs are the things in the photos — not only the objects and persons the photographer intended you to focus on, but the little extras which make the scene. Like in this vintage photo of Alice White.

Clearly designed to promote the movie star, but (as pretty as the Ms White is, as cute as her little white dog is) I’m drooling over the rather eclectic mix of furnishings in the frame.

Revel in the mix of patterns and textures, including the walls, the upholstery, the lace tablecloth, and the wicker Ms White sits on.

Check out the pretty mirror in her hand (more objects from the vanity set appear to be on the table — a table covered in a lace cloth, with suggestive legs beneath it, making me wonder just how wonderful that old round table is!). I just wish the mirror wasn’t preventing us from seeing more of that dress…

But it’s that fabulous art deco lamp which has me sitting-up pretty and panting, begging like her canine companion. Look at that final, the base, and that shade! All those spheres!

Tips On Identifying 10 Vintage & Antique Chests

In many ways, magazines haven’t changed much — but that just means that a lot of the information in vintage magazines remains as valuable as it once was. Today’s example comes from the November 1957 issue of Good Housekeeping; it’s an article on “How to Recognize 10 Chests.”

The article gives tips on identifying 10 basic styles of antique and vintage bureaus by noting the specific marks in style, finish and ornamentation of each. The 10 basic styles of chests in this article are:

French Provincial chest
Captain’s military chest
French Empire chest
Hepplewhite chest
Chippendale chest
Early American chest
Victorian chest
Louis XV chest or commode
Sheraton chest
Contemporary chest (circa 1950’s, of course!)

(Click the image for a large, readable, scan.)

If you’re interested, I’ve also “digitally clipped” the following from the same issue:

A fun look at The Date Line: Facts & Fancies for the Girl in School, by Jan Landon.

A disappointing look at Jobs for Women in the FBI.