Welcome to the NOVA-Antiques Blog

NOVA-Antiques is the Mid Atlantic website for all things antique and collectible. Our website features antique & collectibles dealers, shops & malls; Flea Market Directory & Reviews; Monthly Antiques Show Calendar; Estate & Tag Sales Page; and our NOVA-Antiques Newsletter, which contains news, articles and information about the antiques & collectibles market. NOVA-Antiques Blog is an extension of our Newsletters.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Norman Rockwell Lithographs & Prints at Outasite!! Collectibles

One of the greatest painters in America is the renowned 20th Century artist Norman Rockwell. A child prodigy, Rockwell was first commissioned to paint four Christmas cards before he turned the ripe old age of 16. He then continued his illustrious career by being named Art Director of Boys Life and thus began his pursuit in illustration. After moving to New Rochelle, New York, he opened a studio and created illustrations for Life Magazine, Literary Digest and Country Gentleman, but his career skyrocketed when at 22 years old he painted his first cover for the Saturday Evening Post. Outasite!! Collectibles carries a nice variety of vintage Norman Rockwell prints & lithographs.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ronson Art Deco Style Vintage Lighters

Recently while attending an old estate sale in Mclean, Virginia we came across a couple of old cigarette lighters that we thought were not only well designed, but pretty cool looking too. The price was right, so we purchased them and as usual started to do some research on old lighters.

We stumbled upon a website by a man named Kevin in Portland, Oregon. He has accumulated over 200 different cigarette lighters of different makes and models. His favorites, not to our surprise, seem to be the Art Deco style lighters from the mid-1930’s, like the one pictured. This Ronson lighter features a Rondelight Babyball lighter being held by a Ballerina dancer in chrome.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archive – December 22, 2005 . . . .

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NAPCO Head Vase Collectibles – National Potteries Corporation

Anyone who loves vintage pottery knows the name NAPCO or National Potteries Corporation. The company which had humble beginnings in Bedford, Ohio began producing porcelain and glass in 1938 and was at peak production mid-century, 1950’s and 1960’s. Their well designed porcelain merchandise is still in high demand today and many collectors favor it not only because of its beauty, but its relative low price to collect.

NAPCO has made much merchandise over the years including decorative glass, figurines, wall planters, ashtrays and even cookie jars, but their claim to fame and their most popular product even today is the Lady Head vase. Lady Head vases were originally designed to be used by florists but became very popular collectibles. The Head Vase was usually in the shape of beautiful, famous women including Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball. Lady Head vases can be purchased by collectors for as little as $50 with some of the more expensive examples going for thousands.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vintage Collectible - Beautiful but Inexpensive Opalescent Glass

Although many people credit Rene Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany for inventing opalescent glass it was actually developed and patented by John Lafarge in about 1879. Lafarge was an American artist, decorator and stained glass maker that was born in New York City on March 31, 1835. He studied and then experimented with stained glass and eventually discovered opalescent glass. Some of his stunning successes can be found in the “Battle Window” at Harvard University and the Unity Church in Easton, Massachusetts. Later during the Art Nouveau period of the early 1900’s, many designers and manufacturers started producing their own versions of opalescent glass.

Opalescent glass is a semi-opaque pressed or hand blown colored glass that has a milky haze to it. Adding arsenic to the glass in its molten state makes it opalescent, although not poisonous. Opalescent glass became very popular and many companies, including Fenton, Northwood, and Hobbs, started producing a lot of merchandise in different styles and patterns. Other companies in different parts of the world also started producing the glass including Davidson and Sowerby Glass in England.

It is easy to collect opalescent glass because it can range in price from inexpensive to moderately priced. The blue opalescent glass bowl pictured at
the top of this page was made by the Jefferson Glass Company in the many loops pattern and usually sells at antiques and collectibles shows for between $30 and $40. The blue opalescent vase pictured on the here was made at the turn of the century by Sowerby Glass of England in the Piasa Bird pattern and retails for about $120 to $160. In either case, both are very beautiful pieces of antique and vintage collectible art glass that would be attractive in any home or office.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

George Vlosich III – Vintage Etch a Sketch Toy on a New Level

I was reminiscing the other day about being a kid and not having a care in the world and playing with my toys. One such toy I remember getting one Christmas from my Aunt Lucy in New Jersey was an Etch a Sketch. I remember playing with that toy for hours, trying to “draw” animals and cars and such. The catch to this toy was that you had to be creative, because it was not like drawing on paper where you could lift your pencil; you had to draw with one continuous line. This is a difficult process at best, unless your name is George Vlosich III.

Mr. Vlosich has taken Etch a Sketch drawing to a higher level and it all started in 1989 when on a trip to Washington D.C., he started drawing the U.S. Capitol on his Etch a Sketch. He has now been perfecting his method of art and has been featured on many television programs to include, Inside Edition and American Journal as well on many news programs on all the major networks. He has created portraits of many different celebrities to include, President Clinton, Elvis Presley and the cast of the Andy Griffith Show. His works, which can take anywhere from 50 to 70 hours to produce, are just unbelievable. Click on the picture above to view his amazing work . . . .

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archive December 1, 2005 . . . .

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fenton Art Glass Vintage Collectibles

In 1905 the Fenton brothers, Frank and John opened a glass factory in Ohio. They were original artists who painted on glass produced by other glass makers. In 1907 they moved their operations to the Fenton Art Glass factory in Williamstown, West Virginia. Fenton Glass is best known for its unusual colors and patterns and was the first to introduce iridescent glass better known as carnival glass. Fenton has continued that tradition over the years creating colorful opalescent glass, Auburgine, Rosaline, Burmese and Satin glass. Fenton Art Glass is now very collectible and is in high demand since the announcement of the company closing last year.

James Brown Memorabilia Auctioned Off

Some of the belongings of The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, went on the auction block last week and brought in just over $850,000. More than 300 memorabilia items were sold by Christie’s of New York. Aside from his infamous jumpsuits and capes there were many other personal mementos available for purchase including a medical bracelet worn by Brown. Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman won the bracelet with a bid of more than $32,500. Some of his satin capes went for more than $35,000.

James Joseph Brown who had the distinction of many titles, including The Godfather of Soul was also known as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. He was born in Barnwell, South Carolina. His professional career began in 1953 and he quickly ascended the popular music charts to become one of the most influential figures of the genre with hit songs like “Papas Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).” James Brown died at in 2006 at the age of 73 but the mystique of this legendary performer will live on through his music and now through his memorabilia as well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Phillumeny – Collecting Matchbooks & Matchboxes

In 1826 a major invention in the field of fire was made by a little known pharmacist in the town of Stockton-on-Tees, England. This was the birth of the friction match as we know it today. As more and more people started using this wonderful invention to light fires, pipes, cigars, cigarettes and candles, more and more manufacturers proliferated and started producing matches; each company and or manufacturer putting their matches in colorful containers, matchbooks and match boxes.

People that collect matchboxes, matchbooks and matchbox labels are called Phillumenists and their hobby is referred to as Phillumeny, a word which was first coined in 1943 by British collector Marjorie S. Evans. Many people in different areas of the world collect all manner of covers and matchboxes, but most stick to what they know best and that is generally what was common for their particular area of the world. An example being matchbook covers which are more collectible here in the U.S. than in say Europe or the Middle East.

In the 1830’s match safes were invented for the sole purpose of keeping matches safe from moisture and to have a handy friction surface where the match could be struck. They were very popular during the Victorian Era and were made of many different materials and many were intricately designed and ornately decorated. Some are so beautiful they are nothing less than a priceless piece of art. The pictured match safe in the shape of a grass hut, measures 1.5” x 2.5” and was recently sold on eBay for $585.

German Beer Steins - Collectibles

The word stein comes from the German word, steinzeugkrug, which is a stoneware carafe or jug. Germany, the land where beer is more common than water, is also known for their elaborately decorated and hand painted beer steins. The difference between a beer stein and a mug is that the stein usually has a hinged lid. The lid was originally a sanitary measure taken after the times of the Bubonic Plague.

In the early 1500’s many German municipalities had passed laws governing the covering of food and drink, thus the hinged lid on what was once a mug. In addition, German beer halls also began to flourish at about the same time and people began buying personal steins that they would take to these halls. The practice of keeping a stein at your local tavern is still done in certain parts of Germany. This brought about the ornate and beautiful steins we collect today.

Some of the earliest steins were a status symbol for many Germans and were made of stoneware and decorated with carved and applied shields and historical scenes. They were painted and glazed by hand and it took many hours to create a single stein. The most recent steins are still decorated in the same way and many can be seen with the cobalt blue and chocolate saltglaze that was first used back in the day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Albright-Knox Art Gallery Acquires Curator & Collection in a Week

Some people only know about Buffalo because of the media and comedic hype about the weather and the all too famous snowstorms. Others know about Buffalo because there live the inventors of the savory and tasty Buffalo wings, or as others around the country may call them chicken wings. Yet still others know about Buffalo because of Scott Norwood’s wide right kick and subsequently four straight Super Bowl losses by the Bills. However, last week, Buffalo was in the national news twice and both times it was because of one the great institutions of the majestic city on the Lake Erie, otherwise known as the Queen City. That great institution is none other than The Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

For those who don’t know, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has the most “modern important collection of modern and contemporary art outside of the Museum of Modern Art,” according to Charles Banta, president of the gallery board. The building, which was started in 1890 by John J. Albright and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is impressive on its own, but the collections donated by philanthropists A. Conger Goodyear, Seymour Knox and now Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo make it one of the most impressive galleries in the world with one of the most impressive collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.

Reportedly, Panza came to Buffalo last fall under the pretense of supervising the installation and display of his private collection of modern art at the Museum. The exhibit of his artwork, which is both large and impressive, was to have been from November to this past February. This past week his true intentions became known when 71 paintings, installations and sculptures became a partial gift to the museum. This exhibition spans a 40 year period leading up to the 1960’s and meshes well with the museums primary holdings which include much post 1960 modern abstract art. The worth of the partial Panza collection is valued at more than $3 million.

In the second piece of good news coming from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Heather Pesanti was hired as assistant curator of contemporary art. Ms. Pesanti has a lengthy resume and was most recently with the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and before that was with the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. According to reports, she will be focusing her skills and abilities on the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art, which means she will probably be working closely with the Panza collection that was just acquired.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ancient Art Elvis Look-a-Like to be Auctioned

In October, Bonhams will auction a 2000 year old Roman bust as part of an antiquities auction. However, this is not any run of the mill bust or any run of the mill antique for that matter. This bust has an uncanny resemblance to the King of Rock and Roll himself, the late great Elvis Presley. The collection belongs to Australian collector Graham Geddes who thinks this ancient art piece resembles the man himself and so he calls it Elvis.

This ancient piece of art is actually an ornament called an acroterion which normally decorates a sarcophagi. Sarcophagi were most often designed to remain above ground, and thus were often ornately carved, decorated or elaborately constructed. Some were built to be freestanding, as a part of an elaborate tomb or series of tombs, while others were intended for placement in crypts. Some experts claim that this particular piece may be from about 400 BC and may bring in more than $50,000 at auction.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beatrice Alexander - Madame Alexander Dolls

Beatrice Alexander grew up in the ghettos of Brooklyn, New York of Russian parents. In 1923, she started what was to become the Alexander Doll Company. Initially, Beatrice was influenced by the Lenci Dolls and their creator Elena Scavini. It is believed that she was so much taken with Elena and her dolls that Mrs. Alexander took on the name of Madame because Elena tended to call herself Madame Lenci.

In the 1920’s, Madame Alexander’s husband Philip took over the operation of the business so that Madame could concentrate mainly on the designing and accessorizing of the dolls. Toy store operator FAO Schwartz was one of Madame Alexander’s first customers and remains one today. If you look up FAO Schwartz on the Internet today, you will notice that they have a whole section devoted exclusively to Madame Alexander Dolls.

Madame Alexander borrowed many of her designs from movies of the period such as Alice in Wonderland, Little Women and later Gone With The Wind. In fact, Disney and Madame Alexander Doll Company are still partners to this day. However, Madame also based some of her dolls on her own family. One of her most popular lines, the Wendy Ann, was named after her granddaughter and the William was named after grandson William Birnbaum.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archive November 3, 2005 . . . .

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tiara Glass – Black Amethyst Glass Collectibles

In the 1970’s Tiara Exclusives was born in Dunkirk, Indiana from the ashes of the well known Indiana Glass Company. In the arrangement, Indiana Glass produced machine made glass and Tiara Exclusives sold the glass through the party plan industry. Indiana glass however bought many of their molds from other great companies such as Imperial, Fenton and Fostoria. In 1998, Tiara was purchased by Home Interiors & Gifts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lefton China - Porcelain Collectibles

George Zolton Lefton was a Hungarian Jew who left his home country for a better life in 1939. Originally, Mr. Lefton was involved in making sportswear, however his passion and hobby had been collecting fine porcelains. In 1941 he opened Lefton China in Chicago, Illinois and in 1945 he signed his first agreement with a Japanese company to import products marked “Made in Occupied Japan.”

The Lefton China Company produced many things over the years including cookie jars, figurines, head vases and teapots that are highly prized by collectors. The quality of the goods that this company has produced over the years has been generally accepted as good. Lefton China continued to import porcelain products from Japan until the mid-1970’s, after which they started importing from Taiwan and Malaysia. In 2005, OMT enterprises purchased the company but Lefton products live on for the collector.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lindsay Czarniak Collectible Bobble Head Doll

The Bowie Baysox, a AA baseball team in Bowie, Maryland, is scheduled to hand out Lindsay Czarniak bobble head dolls on July 21, 2008. Lindsay Czarniak is the sports anchor for NBC 4 Sports in the Washington, DC area. However she is just not any sports anchor, she is probably one of the most beautiful sports anchors I have ever seen. The fact that she knows sports and she knows what she is talking about just makes her that much more interesting. Her easy listening manner on the set of the 11:30 pm news and her easy on the eyes look make me want to stay up just to watch her.

According to bobbleheads.com, the first figurines that resembled bobble head dolls came from Germany and were called “nodders.” These “nodders” were usually 6 to 8 inches tall and their names come from the fact that a spring allows the head to bob or nod atop the body. Although bobble head popularity has ebbed and tide in the past, the current bobble head craze that has sprung within the past ten years was fueled by a San Francisco Giants marketing promotion in 1999. However, as I see it, if they can capture her good looks, no bobble head doll in the past or future will be as beautiful as the Lindsay Czarniak bobble head.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Designer & Artist - Charles Eames

Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1938 he accepted a fellowship at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Cranbrook, Michigan. By 1940 he, along with Eero Saarinen were designing furniture and won a competition at the New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Their work consisted of new and innovative techniques of molding plywood. Besides chairs and other furniture, this team would go on to design splints and stretchers during World War II.

In 1941, Charles married Ray Kaiser, another student at Cranbrook and moved to Los Angeles, California. Together this team went on to design more chairs and other furniture, but are more renowned for designing and building the Eames House, which was constructed on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The house was constructed of prefabricated steel parts and is still considered a milestone of modern architecture. Charles died in St. Louis in 1978 and Ray continued their work until she passed in 1989.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archives, September 29, 2005 . . . .

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Georgia O’Keefe Artwork on Exhibition

Georgia O’Keefe (1887 – 1986) has been a major American artist since the 1920’s and her name has become as recognizable as other notable artists such as Rockwell, Warhol and Adams. Her claim to fame are the abstract representations of the American southwest and her paintings contain every imaginable subject from rocks and shells to flowers, architecture and landscapes. Many people agree that her vision and inspiration used in combination with masterful strokes of subtle hues is what have made her the greatest American woman artist of the century. She was married to master photographer, Alfred Stieglitz. Georgia O’Keefe’s art is something that we should all experience at some point in our life and the good thing is that you can view her artwork in many places in the United States.

The Georgia O’Keefe Museum located in Santa Fe, New Mexico is probably the best place to get the full effect of her great artwork. It is steward to over fifty percent of all her collection. The museum website also has slideshows of many of her works, which is as close as I will probably ever get to the southwest. Closer to home and an exhibition that I am sure to attend, “Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams: American Affinities” will be at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from September 26 through January 4, 2009. This exhibit will also travel to the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. In addition, “Georgia O’Keefe and the Camera: The Art of Identity” is currently on exhibit at the Portland Maine Museum of Art.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Michael Thonet - Inventor of Bentwood Rocking Chair

Bentwood rocking chairs were the invention of Michael Thonet, a German born in 1796. He opened his first workshop in an Austrian town in 1819, however it wasn’t until 1830 that he started to produce the bent steamed wood and stunningly sold 50 million chairs in one year. Later, in 1853, he opened the Gebrueder Thonet factory in Vienna, Austria and finally in 1856, he received a patent for the bentwood furniture process.

His sons joined the business and Mr. Thonet passed away in 1871, but by 1900, the Thonet Family had production factories all over Europe. The patent for the process expired in 1869 and many imitations flooded the market. However, it is nice to know that most original Thonet chairs are labeled and marked.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archives September 15, 2005 . . . .

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Babe Ruth Cap Sells For Record Auction

Yesterday, a sweat stained cap belonging to the great Babe Ruth sold at auction for more than $328,000. The cap, which is one of three still known to exist, was stitched on the inside with G.H. Ruth, his full name was George Herman Ruth. The cap was not expected to bring in more than $200,000 in pre-auction estimates. The cap, a piece of 1920’s memorabilia, was not the only thing that sold.

A bat also belonging to the Sultan of Swat, as Ruth was known, also sold for $195,000. The bat was personally signed for former Broadway star Tessa Kosta. Before this, Babe Ruth memorabilia that has sold at auction include the bat he used to hit his first home run at Yankee stadium. This bat brought in more than $1.26 million in 2004 at a Sotheby’s auction.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Outasite!! Collectibles Moonstone Glass from Anchor Hocking

Moonstone glass, manufactured by Anchor Hocking between 1941 and 1946, is a white opalescent glass in the hobnail pattern. The hobs are normally solid white and the smooth parts of the rim are opaque. Anchor Hocking manufactured many wonderful pieces in the Moonstone pattern including sherbets, plates, decanters, cruets, sugar bowls and creamer pitchers as well as candy dishes and nappys. See our wonderful collection at Outasite!! Collectibles

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Clarice Cliff Pottery Designer

Many of you who love Art Deco will know a piece of Clarice Cliff ceramic from a mile away. The Artist was born in 1899 in Staffordshire and started in meager beginnings as a painter of pottery, as many women of that time, in that area of the world. However, that is where the similarities with other women of the time ended.

Clarice had much ambition to become a designer and in 1928 launched the Bizarre line of pottery. The pottery resembled its name, with its bold and exuberant designs, but they were stamped with her name and quickly became popular. Now collectors clamor to discover one of her works. One of her decorative platters recently sold at auction $72,000. The Designer, Clarice Cliff, passed away in 1972.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archives - September 1, 2005 . . . .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Missing The Taste of Buffalo

Today is one of the days where I will reminisce and miss my hometown. That is, my adopted hometown. Originally born in Puerto Rico, my I grew up in Buffalo, New York and it is my hometown. July is special in Buffalo for one main reason and this weekend especially. This weekend is when the 25th Annual Taste of Buffalo takes place.

I can hear the jokes already, “Buffalo? . . . only thing they have up there is snow and cold.” But the jokesters would be wrong. People who have never visited Buffalo do not know what they are missing. For starters, Buffalo has Buffalo Wings. You can get chicken wings anywhere around the country, but you can only get the authentic Buffalo Wings in the city of their birth. You have not had chicken wings until you have eaten them at Duff’s or from LaNova Pizzeria.

And speaking of pizzerias, there is no place like home for the most delicious mouth watering pizza pie. People would argue that New York and Chicago have the best pizzas but if you have ever visited or lived in the Queen City, you know that Buffalo’s pizzas are the best. Trust me when I tell you, I have been around the country and in a lot of other countries and you will never find the same taste that you would get from a Mr. Pizza or Just Pizza. Mr. Pizza has been around for a long time and I remember we ordered from them when I was a kid and the cheese would just pull away from the crust as you bit into it.

But, I digress. The Taste of Buffalo is the second largest “taste” in the country, second only to Chicago and it attracts close to half a million people every July. It was originally started in 1984 and part of the proceeds benefit a local charity. The Taste of Buffalo is held in downtown Buffalo along Delaware Avenue in the Chippewa entertainment district and over 50 restaurants, mostly local, participate. There are usually more than 150 food types to sample from including, Caribbean jerk chicken, sweet potato fries and my favorite pastelillos.

In addition to all the food, The Taste of Buffalo also has many family centered events including face painting and clowns for the kids as well as two stages with live music and local entertainment. It also hosts a large contingent of local wineries for those with that type of palate. And so as I sit here in our nation’s capital today, thinking of things I need or want to do this weekend, the one thing that that I want to do is too far away to do.

While all of my brother and sister Buffalonians are enjoying their food festival, the best I can do is close my eyes and think back at all the good times and good food that I had at past Taste of Buffalo events. I can smell the grills and the Italian sausages, the ovens and the three cheese steak pizzas and I can hear the corks as they come off bottle with McCarthyizm playing in the background.

Britney Spears Clothing on the Auction Block

Bet you all can’t wait for this one . . . Britney Spears clothes will be auctioned off between July 21 and August 6, 2008. Gotta Have It Auctioneers an online auction company is conducting their Rock N Roll Pop Art Auction and seven of Britney’s items will be included, among them a sexy Santa dress she wore for a Pepsi commercial. The nice thing about this auction is that the proceeds will go to charity.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Maxwell Parrish - Photo-Realistic Paintings

One of the best known and most preferred collectible artists of the early Twentieth Century is Maxwell Parrish. He is best known as a master in photo-realistic paintings genre. His painting “Daybreak” sold in 1996 for more than $4 million. Parrish was so popular in the 1920’s that it has been estimated that one of his prints adorned a quarter of all American homes.

Parrish prints are a hot commodity even today. The print on the left titled, “Boy on a Swing,” in its original frame was recently sold on eBay for just over $182. Other collectible works by this artist include the calendars that he created for Edison Mazda and illustrations that he created for different publications in his younger days. Mr. Parrish was born in 1870 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, retired in 1960, and passed away in 1966.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archives August 18, 2005 . . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blenko Art Glass – Amberina and Crackle Glass

Blenko Glass has been around since 1893, when William J. Blenko first started producing in Kokomo, Indiana. Ten years later, in 1893, Blenko was forced to close down due to economic conditions of the time. After several attempts at a comeback, William J. Blenko was finally successful in opening up a new plant in Milton, West Virginia. William J. Blenko produced and sold his own glass. Blenko Art Glass is still a very popular collectible today and comes in many different patterns and styles but Blenko is most famous for their Amberina and Crackle Glass.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Goya & Wattaeu World Record Auction Prices

Christie’s of London reported some record breaking sales yesterday for art that had been long lost. First, three sketches by the Spanish master Francisco Goya sold for more than $8 million. The sketches had been “lost” for about 130 years. I don’t believe lost is the right word, these sketches were last auctioned off in 1877 and were sold yesterday by a private Swiss collection. The term lost probably means that they were kept in the same family for all those years. The sketches were in exceptional condition and were part of the Goya’s private albums.

Of the three sketches, the one titled Down They Come brought in the most money at about $4.5 million, which is a record for a Goya work on paper. Repentance came in second with about $1.9 million and The Constable Lampinos Stitched Inside a Dead Horse came in at about $1.5 million. Pre-sale estimates had all three bringing in a total of $2 million; imagine everyone’s surprise when just one brought in more than double that amount.

Later yesterday, a painting by French artist Jean Antoine Watteau, which had been missing of for about 200 years, sold for a record $12.4 million. The painting titled La Surprise is an oil on panel measuring about 14 inches. This painting was truly lost in the sense that the owners did not know that it was the original. They were stunned to find out that the painting they thought was a copy was the real thing.

The painting, which was done in 1718, was found by a Christie’s specialist in the corner of cottage room. as he was going through the contents of the cottage for auction estimates. The record price was three times what the experts expected to get for the painting that featured a musician with a guitar and two lovers. The last documented auction for this painting had been in 1801 and was bequeathed in 1848.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The World's Longest Yard Sale

The “Worlds Longest Yard Sale,” also known as the Highway 127 Corridor Sale extends from a town in Alabama called Gadsden to just south of Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. This year the sale will be held from August 7-10, 2008. This sale is known to attract thousands of sellers and tens of thousands of visitors and a lot of people plan their excursions and getaways around this annual event.

The Highway 127 Corridor Sale, which is headquartered in Jamestown, Tennessee, has been around since 1987 when a county executive named Mike Walker had an idea bring tens of thousands of visitors off of the main highways and into the heartlands of the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. This event continues to grow not only in the number of collectors attracted to it, but with the number of vendors and sellers.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Satsuma Japanese Pottery

Satsuma pottery is usually cream colored earthenware that is high fired and glazed. One of the most unusual characteristics of this type of pottery is that the surface will also have a fine crackle effect. The earliest known pieces are believed to be from the early 1600’s. The name Satsuma is actually the name of the province in Japan where this type of pottery may have originated from.

A recent Satsuma plate that we acquired from my mother featured a beautiful pair of peacocks; however a lot of the Satsuma pieces have gorgeous floral designs. Satsuma pottery was later mass produced and the style copied not only by other areas of Japan, but in England as well. For this reason, prices of Satsuma pottery can vary greatly from ten or fifteen dollars to many thousands of dollars.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archives July 20, 2005 . . . .

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lordy . . . Lordy . . . Looks Who’s 40 – Hot Wheels Having a Birthday

One Christmas I remember that I couldn’t wait to open my presents that were under the tree. I had asked for a special present and was sure I was going to get it because I had been "a good little boy"if there is such a thing. In any case, our family tradition was to all get together on “Noche Buena” or the Christmas Eve and after what seemed like a long night to us kids of dancing and eating, we would all gather and open our presents. The night, I was not disappointed, I opened the colorful wrapping to reveal my Hot Wheels race track and cars.

Of course, my brother and I could not clear enough space on the floor in the family room that evening to set up the track and play with my present so we had to wait until the next morning. I can still see us pushing the Hot Wheels cars thru the garage portion of the track that also housed “the engine.” It was nothing more than two large rubber bands spinning the cars our other side with what was hopefully enough force to send it around the singe track one complete time. If it did, the car would theoretically continue to spin around the track. Unfortunately, in most cases the cars would either stop short of the garage entrance or would careen off the side of the track onto the carpeted floor.

I’m sure that Hot Wheels, which are die cast toy cars, brought many children happiness in those times where things seemed simpler; we didn’t have video games or computers to complicate our lives. Hot Wheels were simple toys where kids had to use their imagination and creativity and were introduced in 1968 by Mattel Toys. The first car ever produced was a custom Volkswagen along with 15 other different models. Its top competitor at the time was Match Box, of which my brother and I owned some, but nothing compared to the designs of the Hot Wheels, that were designed by Harry Bentley Bradley.

Mattel will hold a kickoff ceremony at its El Segundo, California headquarters followed by a countrywide tour of life sized versions of their famous cars. You can look at the cars and join the festivities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 30th, Detroit’s Automotive Hall of Fame on September 1st and at Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival on September 5th. The celebrations will also include Hot Wheels memorabilia, autograph sessions with different designers and many other things, including the display of a one of a kind diamond encrusted Hot Wheels car created as a memento to their four billionth car.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Vintage Advertising Illustrations by Artist Frances Hook

Vintage Advertising Prints, Illustrations by Frances Hook: The girls are part of the American Beauties for Northern Tissue Paper and the boys were part of the Northern Towels All American Boys. Both Northern Tissue & Northern Towel were part of the Northern Paper Company. These prints were premiums that customers had to send away for. These illustrations also appeared in the Saturday Evening Post advertisements for the paper products. Frances Hook started these illustrations in 1958.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Country 'Tis of Thee Manuscript Found

It was reported on CNN today that a rare and original manuscript of the America (My Country ‘tis of Thee) was found by a flea market shopper in New York. The flea marketer purchased a framed picture for $10 and later found the original manuscript behind the picture.

America was written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831 and was first heard at a church in Newton, Massachusetts. Later, the song was sung by all school students, so much so, that as I was reading the article, the song became stuck in my head and I started to sing out loud. The flea market shopper sold the manuscript to Keya Morgan who is an art collector and handwriting expert.

Pyrobilia – Firecracker Label Collectors

The term pyrobilia is the hobby of collecting fireworks or anything associated with fireworks. There are thousands of people who collect all things related to fireworks some just collect the labels from old firecracker labels. Firecracker labels can be very interesting and colorful as well as valuable. We have seen some vintage firecracker labels go on eBay for anywhere between $10 -$69.

The vintage firecracker paper label pictured on the left is from the 1930’s and depicts Tarzan on a tree branch with a knife and vine. This was a “registered brand of Li & Fung of Hong Kong.” It measures approximately 3” x 5.5” and sold at Hakes Americana and Collectibles Auctions of York, Pennsylvania for about $172 in 2007.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Collectible Cast Iron Toys

The first cast iron toy to be patented in the U.S. was known as “Hall’s Excelsior Bank” named after the inventor of this toy, John D. Hall, in 1869. Today, many collectors look for company names such as, Carpenter, Welker Crosby, and Wilkins, that produced many of the now collectible cast iron toys in the 1880’s and 1890’s. Many of these cast iron toys reflected life in America; horse drawn carriages, animals, and trolleys were the norm.

Once America moved to power driven automobiles and aircraft, so did the cast iron toys. One of the best known cast iron toy collectors was a man name F.H. Griffith, whose collection was sold at Sotheby’s in 2000. His collection of 126 lots of cast iron toys brought in more than $600,000.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archives July 7, 2005 . . . .

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Decorating in the Shabby Chic Style

Shabby Chic was first mentioned in an article in The World of Interiors Magazine in the 1980’s and then was popularized by designer Rachel Ashwell in the 1996 in a book by the same name. This style of decorating uses heavily painted antique or vintage furniture that is then rubbed or sanded to make them look distressed, worn and old. Most of the items are usually painted white, mint green, pink and aqua colors. Accessories also accent the décor.

Most of the accessories used to compliment the shabby looking furniture are vintage linens and bedspreads, antique chandeliers and feminine looking fabrics, usually containing roses or other flowers. Other fabric including chintz or barkcloth and sometimes people stain their fabrics to make them look older than they really are. The look can be very elegant, inviting and romantic in the right room. Shabby Chic is sometimes called cottage.

There are many places to pick up items to start your shabby chic decorating. If you are handy, have the workspace and have the ability to do it yourself, you can pick up many items at antiques flea markets, garage sales or estate sales and transform them into the shabby chic style. If you would rather not, there are many shabby chic dealers, boutiques and shops where you can find affordable pieces for your home. In the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia metro area, there are a few shops that specialize in shabby chic décor including, Bella Villa Home Furnishings in Aldie, Virginia, Sarah Jean Décor in Purcellville, Virginia and The Cottage Room in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
There are many places on the Internet as well where you can get shabby chic items, probably too many to mention in this article. The pictured poster by artist Mary Elizabeth can be purchased at All Posters.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anchor Hocking Royal Ruby Glass

Royal Ruby is a name patented by the Anchor Hocking Glass Company for a deep red glass that it started producing in 1938. The Royal Ruby color was used in several of their glass patterns and was produced by the company until about 1967. After a six year hiatus, Royal Ruby art glass was produced again from 1973-1977. Many other companies later produced glass in a ruby color, but none can compare with the elegance and beauty of Royal Ruby.