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, May 31, 2012

Yesterday’s Writing Desk is Today’s Functional Table

Many people, including some dealers attach the name writing desk to various types of desks.  To be fair, in most cases they are correct; if it has a flat surface, which can be used to write, then why can’t it be a writing desk?  Writing desks were invented for just that purpose, to hand write letters and their style was transformed over the years.

Most people are familiar with the simple writing desk, which consists of four legs and a flat surface.  Earlier versions of this type of writing desk did not have a drawer at the top because we didn’t need to put our pens away.  Instead, people used ink wells and quills that were stored on a stand on top of the desk.  Later, when we needed to store our writing utensils and paper, we added a drawer at the top.  And just to make them more visually appealing, designers began adding spindle or carved legs, leather tops and then rails so that our pens wouldn’t roll off the flat desktop.

As time went on, the writing desk became more of a compact office system.  A pedestal or two with side drawers were added to keep files, folders and journals.  Tops were added to maintain some semblance of privacy and protect what was being produced.  Not to mention, it made things nicer if everything was put away nicely when company came calling.  The designs became even more intricate with carvings, different woods and brass or silver pulls.  As time went by, hinged flat tops gave way to roll tops and many writing desks had hidden “pigeon holes” for storing valuables or important papers.

Today, many of us don’t need a writing desk because most of us no longer put pen to paper.  We use computers and word processing software for letters and correspondence and we use e-mail or “chat” services for more informal communications.  A lot of people and designers are sanding the old varnish or veneer on the flat top antique writing desks and painting them.  These make great functional tables in foyers, bathrooms or bedrooms, where a pretty vase of flowers can be displayed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Abingdon Pottery Cookie Jars

Both of the pictured cookie jars were made by Abington Potteries in the Mid-40s.  They were made very similar in size and pretty much look and feel.  What is the difference between the two cookies jars, besides the obvious?  One is white and one is black for sure and their hand-painted decorations are different as well.   However, the major difference between the two is their value; the Mammy (black) cookie jar is worth in the range of $800, the Little Ol’ Lady cookie jar more in the range of about $150-$200.
The price disparity has nothing to do with one being black and one being white.  In fact, the Little Ol’ Lady cookie jar was made both in black and white.  The price disparity has more to do with the quantity made; many of the Little Ol’ Lady cookie jars were made by the company while only a very limited number of Mammy cookie jars were made.  These were given as prizes to pottery distributors who achieved certain sales goals at the time.  Experts can only tell them apart by the slight shape difference and the type of glaze used.
To make matters even more confusing, Abingdon Potteries were not the only ones to make Mammy cookie jars.  About the same time period, McCoy Pottery, which is a well-known name amongst collectors, was also making them.  These are also very collectible and appeal to many different types of collectors.  And whether they were made by McCoy or Abingdon, because of their popularity and worth, many unscrupulous dealers have made reproductions and fakes.  Collectors beware.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Antiques & Collectibles Shows May 19-20, 2012

There are a couple of antiques and collectibles shows this weekend at great historical locations.  The first is the Gettysburg Antiques Show that will be held at Lincoln Square in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; the site of the historic Gettysburg Address.  The second show is the Armed Forces Day Toy Soldier Show, which is held in Newport News, Virginia.  Both shows are on Saturday, May 19, 2012 and both attract hundreds of vendors and visitors from around the country.  This is great entertainment for the whole family considering the history behind the locals and the significance of the shows.

Our personal favorite this weekend is the Lucketts Spring Antiques Show, which will be held on Saturday & Sunday, May 19-20, 2012 in the hamlet of Lucketts, Virginia, just north of Leesburg.  This antiques and collectibles show attracts visitors from around the country and features antique and shabby furniture and décor as well as vintage pottery, glass, lighting and functional antiques.  This is another show where the whole family is entertained as they provide live music, good eats and an overall party atmosphere.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Tale of an Antique Blender

It’s mid-day oh so long ago; it is hot and steamy, the sweat rolls down your back after toiling in the garden most of the day.  You prepare to get into a cold tub of water to cool your body and soak away the days grime.  Then you stop and think a nice refreshing drink would make my day . . . and your thoughts continue; what type of libation can I concoct to cool myself off quickly?

As you ponder this, a tall condensation riddled glass full of lemonade pops into your sweating head; but you think, that is so cliché and boring. You want something more exciting and tastier, something made with fruits other than lemons and limes, and just to be naughty, perhaps a splash of rum.  The picture in your minds eye of the combination sends shivers down your spine and you begin to get excited.

Then the thought process changes and percolates; how can I blend fruits, ice and liquor perfectly together to taste just right?  If only there was a machine that would allow you to do this quickly and easily.  You could easily add fresh fruit to ice from the old cold box and blend in liquor slowly and methodically to taste.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful, you think to yourself, as you walk into the kitchen and see the old mason canning jar full of strawberries sitting on the counter.
We don’t know if that is how this antique blender came to be; but we do know that necessity is the mother of all inventions.  A strawberry daiquiri is a refreshing fruity rum drink that we all enjoy so much on a sunny and warm day surrounded by friends and family.  The ingredients however have to be perfectly blended and what better way to do it than with a machine; a machine that someone oh so long ago invented to do just that.    

Friday, May 11, 2012

Antiques Shows & Flea Markets for the Weekend of May 12-13, 2012

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, May 11-13, 2012, there are some great events for the treasure hunter in all of us.

Our friends at Bella Villa and Diamonds and Rust along with many other antiques vendors and dealers will be participating in Treasures of the Turnpike. This event will transform the Village of Aldie, Virginia into a treasure trove of antiques and vintage collectibles, jewelry, and gift baskets as well as baked goods and craft items. Treasures on the Turnpike will take place on Saturday, May 12, 2012 from 9 am to 5 pm.

A little further out but well worth the ride is the Second Sunday Antiques Show in Morgantown, West Virginia. This monthly antiques show at the Hazel & JW ruby Community Expo Center attracts more than 200 dealers and vendors and thousands of visitors from around the country. This show also features antiques, collectibles, memorabilia and vintage clothing as well as jewelry, porcelain and china. This show will be held on Sunday, May 13, 2012.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Government and Police Auctions

As you are going through security at the airport, the alarm goes off and you get nervous.  You know you don’t have any contraband or illegal items, but with the levels of security that are employed nowadays, the small pocket knife that Uncle Tony gave you is still in your pocket. What to do?  You can either leave the line, try to get back to your car, and put it away, or the TSA will confiscate it.  Although sentimental to you, you decide that there is not enough time to go back to your auto.  What happens to Uncle Tony’s knife?

Federal, state and local laws and statute require that government agencies, sell seized, found, unclaimed and recovered property at public auctions. Most of the proceeds find their way back into our communities.  With this in mind, there are a lot of unscrupulous people on the Internet or through SPAM mail that will offer to sell you information about government auctions for a price.  However, most of this information is available on the Internet for free and can be found simply by using a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. 

The Federal Government announces many auctions on through the GSA (General Services Administration) website.  On this site you can find auctions for various items including furniture, photographic equipment, jewelry and exotic collectibles.  Other government auctions can be found on the U.S. Marshalls Service website, which includes auctions for vehicles, clothing and handbags.  One commercial website, propertyroom.com has contracts with many police departments around the country and features online auctions for fine art, electronics and coins.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Incredible Goodwill Find

As a dealer, I have on many occasions purchased things from Goodwill, Salvation Army or other thrift stores to resell either at antiques and collectibles markets or through eBay.  Some of my nicest finds include a beautiful Royal Delft bowl, countless vintage Replogle globes and various collectible glass including Fenton vases, Murano bowls and Blenko candy dishes.  On many other occasions, I may have passed up other antiques, artifacts or collectibles that I may not have quickly recognized. As reported in a recent story from Buffalo, I probably would have walked right past their exciting find.

Seems a piece of antique pottery dating back at least a thousand years was donated and no one recognized it as such.  It was put up for auction with a price of $4.99 and received a couple of bids until someone actually recognized it for what it was; a historical Native American artifact that was taken from a burial site in Oklahoma.  Inside the vessel, a note was found that read, “found in a burial mound near Spiro Oklahoma in 1970.”  Goodwill has decided to return the vessel, which measures 7.5 inches tall, to the Caddo Indian Nation.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Antiques Newsletter Published for May 2012

A new edition of the NOVA-Antiques Newsletter has been published this morning.  This newsletter features articles and information on Harker Pottery, the Oldest Pottery in America; Collecting Vintage Cameoware; A Slow Economy Making Antiques a Buyer’s Market; and Selling Scrap Gold & Silver Metal. 
Additionally, the NOVA-Antiques Newsletter contains information about upcoming Antiques Shows such as the Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show and the Lucketts Spring Antique Show as well as Estate Sales in Maryland and Virginia; Antique Auctions at Weschler’s and Laurel Auctions; and other flea markets and shows.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Collecting Vintage Radios

One of the first things that I ever sold on eBay was a vintage radio that had been sitting around the house for a long time.  I had picked it up at an auction in Buffalo and although I was not a newbie to buying and selling antique and vintage items, it was the first time that I had sold anything to anyone outside of the old neighborhood.  For a few years after that, I went into a frenzy; scouring flea markets, estate sales, yard and garage sales in search of more vintage radios and then rotary phones that I could sell on eBay.

I sold working and non-working antique and vintage radios that were made by all of the top companies including Philco, Westinghouse, Sylvania, Zenith and Emerson.  They were made from molded plastic, Bakelite and in some cases wood.  There were tube radios and transistorized models, cathedral shaped, futuristic and many clean-line modern.  I sold all types of radios to all types of people around the country, but they all had one thing in common, the love for nostalgia and the beauty of the vintage radio.

Alas, as eBay and other collectibles websites grew, the market for vintage radios, like all other vintage and antique items got flooded.  Most collectors were able to get pickier; they wanted only working radios, in good condition for the lowest possible price.  Very few wanted the non-working radios with blemishes, which could be fixed but would take time.  Additionally, the supply dried up as more and more people grew delusional with their prices; and priced themselves right out of the market.

One time I sold a Zenith 514, also known as an owl eye radio alarm clock from the mid-1950s, for $180.  Recent sales of the same radio on eBay range from $15 for a regular Bakelite model to $55 for a “rare” pink colored radio.  A green colored working radio went unsold with a price tag of $55.