• Antique Values

    Antique values

    Personal property appraisers receive frequent calls where the caller wants to know what their antique or vintage items are worth. This is not a quick answer because the intended use […]

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  • Roman glass

    Early Glass Origins

    Glass-like substances occur naturally and have been used by humans for countless generations. The best known glass substance is obsidian, produced by the intense heat of volcanos, lighting strikes, and […]

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  • ivory in animals

    Ivory in Antique and Period Jewelry

    Long before the invention of modern plastics, jewelers used ivory in jewelry. Ivory in jewelry was popularized with Cook’s tours of the Paris Exposition starting in 1855. The Cook’s tours […]

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  • Engraving plates

    Engraved Prints

    Print identification is a large study. What is presented here are some pointers to outline a few major identification and valuation tips for engraved prints. The Antiques Institute is offering a […]

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  • First Edition Book Tips

    In 2010, a first edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, sold for $4,250.00 at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. Huckleberry Finn was first published in 1885. This does not mean […]

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  • Periods and styles timeline

    Overview of periods and styles

    Overview of Periods and Styles (Select the image to enlarge the timeline.) Prior to the 20th century, the decorative arts were influenced and largely controlled by royalty. In practice, while […]

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The Silent Maiden

The young girl represented in the alabaster bust still has a story to tell. Here serene expression and gentle smile are suggestive of a time in our history when Dutch and Flemish artists began to explore peasant life as an artistic theme in painting and sculpture. Although these themes were first popularized during the late Renaissance period from 1525 to […]

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The wish book

In 1886 a young man began selling watches to supplement his income as a railroad station agent.  He did so well that less than a year later he was able to quit his job and sell mail order watches and jewelry full time. In 1893, after acquiring a partner, he established the corporate name of Sears, Roebuck and Company. The […]

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From Fins to Memories – and Back Again

by Dan Perley I was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1955 as the North American auto industry was building towards what was perhaps its high-water mark, sometime between then and the 1959 model year.  Certainly, 1959 marked the maximum height of fins and of course Cadillac had the highest and most glorious of all, but as a young boy my […]

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Marks on pottery and porcelain

Not all antique and collectible pottery is marked. Since the identification of the manufacture can play a huge role in value, as a beginning collector, buying ceramics with a manufacturer’s name will make it easier to identify, date, and value various ceramics. There are no laws governing marks on ceramics. In practice, most manufacturers changed their marks when they added […]

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The Uncollectibles

Terry Kovel gave an interview about items that are no longer collectible. Published in the March 15th, 2012 edition of Bottom Line Publications,  the article is titled “10 Collectibles NOT Worth Collecting Anymore”. Most are well-known areas to avoid for most collectors, dealers, and auction houses. There are a couple of areas that benefit from a more in-depth explanation. Franklin Mint silver […]

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Old Sheffield Plate

In 1743, Thomas Boulsolver of Sheffield, England, discovered that he could bind a sheet of Sterling silver to a copper ingot by pressing and rolling the two metals into a workable sheet. The friction from the process caused enough heat to fuse the metals to each other. This sheet could then be made into a teapot, a tray, or other […]

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Roman Numerals

The most important thing to remember is that the Roman’s did not have a zero, which serves as a place holder with Arabic numerals. The number “10” is represented by the letter X, which the number “20” is represented by XX. The number “100” is represented by C and the number “90” is represented as XC (10 less than 100).

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Collecting Antique Copper

Most sources agree that copper was the first metal to be used by primitive man, sometime around 8,000 B.C. likely because copper is found in its native state and does not need another alloy to make it workable. It is easily hammered and formed. Native Americans had copper tools when Europeans arrived. Copper does not cast well so copper items […]

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