Sunday, December 29, 2013

Remember the Maine Bell

This bell was made from brass recovered  from the wreckage of the U.S.S. Maine that sunk in Havana Harbor in 1898 from an explosion. The sinking prompted an outcry by the American people for the U.S. to intervene in Cuba against Spain.  The slogan of the day was "Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain."  No real evidence has ever been found to truly blame Spain for the demise of the Maine.  Bells like these were offered at the Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo in 1901.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lithograph Tin Still Bank

Banks are great fun to collect.  They can be found in metals, ceramics, plastics and other materials.  This one is a real charmer in lithographed tin in the shape of a 1940's suitcase.  With the printed labels it looks well traveled.  In its condition it looks like it never left home.  It was sold in a shop at $48.50. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Antler and Sterling Corkscrew

Wouldn't it be nice to uncork your next bottle of wine with a corkscrew like this?  Corkscrew collectors are a breed unto themselves.  They search high and low for the most unusual types.
Corkscrews have been around for centuries and have had significant changes in their technology and design, so the lustful collector will never tire of the hunt.  This one was sold on eBay for $125.

Carved African Woman Ivory Bust
This intricately carved bust of an African woman is one I acquired from a Washington, DC estate.  It is was carved from pre-ban elephant ivory.  Pieces like these are no longer imported into the United States.  It stands about 3" tall and is in immaculate condition.  It has a retail value of about $200. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Judy Garland Frock Styled by Gidding Paper Dress Tag

What a surprise this was. This paper dress tag was found at the bottom of a box lot bought at auction along with old toys from the 50's and 60's. It was in perfect condition and created quite a stir among ardent Judy Garland collectors. J. M. Gidding & Co. was a New York dress manufacturer that was licensed by MGM and Judy Garland to produce a dress line called Judy Garland Frocks. This paper tag would have been hung on a sleeve of one of the frocks while in the store. How many could still exist? I'd guess very few. It was listed on eBay with a starting price of $9.99. Once the collectors got wind of it the bidding was furious. It sold for $1536. to a New Zealand collector who was in possession of an original Judy Garland Frock. It made her day and left many others rather disappointed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Franklin Life Insurance Tip Tray

Tip trays were used as an advertising items from the late 1800's to the mid 1900's. This example advertised The Franklin Insurance Company. They usually measured between 3 and 4 inches round or could be found in retangular shapes as well. Collectors choose different industries but like lots of graphics, multi color and nice condition. Prices range on these from under $20 to several hundred depending on condition and rarity.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Japanese Beetle Matchsafe

Matchsafes are pocket size containers used to hold matches to keep them dry and available for a quick light for tobacco or a quick start for a fire. What is most fascinating to me about matchsafe collecting is the thousands of different choices one can find, yet all for the same purpose. They were made of many materials, but mostly metals. They came in all shapes and sizes to fit in a pocket or vest. In the days when smoking was as common as eating advertisers used matchsafes to help sell their products and services. The matchsafe pictured dates back to the early 1900's. It was made of brass by Japanese metalsmiths. It has a hinged top for easy access and safety. The beetle is a common theme in Japanese culture. I'll post more examples in the days ahead.