When you start to dive into the world of antiques and collectibles, you quickly find out that you will find really cool things in unexpected places.
Not too long ago, this happened to me when I came upon a local garage sale. And do you know what was there? Just a bust of Spiderman himself!
As you can see in the photo, the bust is made of plaster and it is also doubles as a bank (the coin slot is on the back of Spiderman’s head). Not only that, it is extremely detailed—you can see and feel the ribbing in Spiderman’s mask, and it also feels like the head actually has cloth on it.
Here’s the problem that I have with the bank—I know what it is, but I have no idea who made it. I was told that it was made in Mexico, but there is no maker’s mark or even a country of origin mark on it.
Does anyone know who could have made this great bank? Could it be a homemade piece that a fan of the character made?
Any information is greatly appreciated!
When I started selling glassware, I quickly found out that any glassware that had color to it sold better than its crystal counterpart. Opalescent glass, forest green and amberina glass were colors that I have heard, but what exactly are they? Here’s a description of some of the more common glass colors that you will hear:
Amberina glass—this is a type of art glass that has a color that goes from amber (or even a yellow color) to ruby on the same piece. This shaded effect is due to the gold being added to the glass when it is being made.
Cameo glass—this is a type of glass that has layers of glass that have contrasting colors. The outer layers are either acid-etched, carved, cut, or even engraved to produce a design. Since the layers are different colors, this will help the design stand out from the background.
Opal glass—this is glass that resembles an opal. Opal glass will be a translucent and white, and it will also have a grayish or bluish tinge to it.
Cranberry glass—this is a type of glass that is made by adding gold salts or colloidal gold to molten glass (tin is sometimes added as a reducing agent), and this makes the glass turn a pink color.
This is only a small example of some of the glassware colors that you will run across when you are out shopping. What colors have you run across?
Not too long ago, I went to a local auction that had quite a few stamps for sale. There were some stamp collectors and dealers there talking about “changelings” and even an “album weed”. It made me think—what are some of the terms that you’ll run across when you collect stamps?
Album weed—this refers to a forged stamp, and it also refers to unusual items that resemble postage stamps but were not intended to pay postage. This is something like publicity labels and bogus issues.
Album Weeds—this is the title of a reference book series that is on forged stamps. It was written by R.B. Earee.
Changeling—this is a stamp whose color has been changed (either intentionally or unintentionally) by contact with a chemical. This can also happen with the exposure to a light.
Encased postage stamp—this is a stamp that was inserted into a small coin-size case. The case comes with a transparent front or back to see the stamp. These were circulated as legal coins during periods when coins were scarce in the 1860’s.
Handstamp—this is a cancellation or overprint that was applied by hand to either a cover or to a stamp.
Obliteration—there are two main definitions for this term. The first is a cancellation that was intended solely to deface a stamp (this is also called a killer). The second is an overprint intended to deface a portion of the design of a stamp (such as the face of a deposed ruler).
This is just a few of what you’ll hear when talking about stamps. What terms have you heard?
When I picked up my first copy of the Guide Book of United States Coins Book by Richard S. Yeoman (this is also called the “red book”), I noticed that there were tons of names and nicknames that coins go by.
It really made my head spin—I had to stop and figure out what was what. I realized that coins often get nicknames that are more popular than their real name. Here’s some of the nicknames that you will hear:
Half eagle—this is another name for a United States $5 gold coin.
Eagle—this is a nickname for gold $10 coins that were made up until 1932. The reason for the nickname is that the coin featured an eagle design on the back.
Trime—this is a nickname for the US three cent coin. The US mint made this coin in the 1800s.
Double dime—this is a nickname for the 20-cent coin made by the United States mint during the mid-late 1800’s.
Iron dollar—this is a nickname for the US silver dollar from the 1800’s. The phrase was primarily used in the northeastern portion of the United States, and this phrase was used by people who disliked carrying silver dollars due to their heavy weight.
Mercury dime—this nickname was for the US 10 cent piece that was made between 1916 and 1945. Even though it was called the Winged Liberty Head dime at the beginning, the name “mercury” dime quickly caught on with the public when it was compared to the Roman god Mercury.
This is just some of the nicknames that you will hear. Which ones have you heard?
In 1862, the United States was smack dab in the middle of a coin shortage. It was bad, really bad. Everything was being horded—even the cent was being stockpiled.
An American entrepreneur and inventor by the name of John Gault created something to help with this—the encased postage stamp.
The encased postage stamp is a stamp that was inserted into a small coin-size case. This case has a transparent front or back. This type of “coin” was circulated as legal tender during periods when coins were scarce.
John Gault was pretty savvy—he saw two ways to make money off of his creation. The first way was to sell them to businesses and stores that had a high demand for coins. He sold his encased stamps at 20% of the face value of the stamp.
The second way that he made money was to sell the blank back of the case of the coin as advertising. There is a minimum of thirty different companies that took up the advertising on the coins. All of the different companies lend to find some great and different varieties on this type of coin.
Encased postage stamps circulated for about a year (until about the middle of 1863). This is when the fractional currency released by United States Government became popular enough to help ease the coin shortage.
There were also some other factors that helped bring encased postage stamps to an end. One reason was was that the postage stamps that were being used for this started to become unavailable. Not only that, it cost more to buy the encased postage than what they were actually valued at in the market.
Encased postage stamps are rare today with a small fraction of the 750,000 that were originally sold surviving.
This is just one item people came up with over the years to help with coin shortages over the years. Do you know of any other ways?
Pottery from the Czechoslovakian area in Europe is a great area to dive into and collect. You can find great examples starting in the $10 to $15 area, and you can also find examples that are priced much higher.
You can find a wide variety of pieces on the market—cups, saucers, figurines, pitchers, creamers, sugars and even plates are a very small slice of what you can find.
One type of Czechoslovakian pottery (also called Czech pottery, a shortened name of the region it’s from) is this terrific hat pin holder from a company called ROYAL DUX.
It was made from 1918 to 1930’s, and it has a cream background and a red trim, and it also has an embossed flower motif with pastel colors.
The marks that are on it are the DPM mark with an acorn at the center (this stands for DUXER PORZELLAN-MANUFAKTUR), and it also has an embossed mark that reads 11259 II (these marks help date the hat pin holder from 1918 to the 1930’s).
The hatpin holder is also the perfect size to be used as a small vase (or even a bud vase). It would also look terrific on any table or even a desk. It would definitely be the center of attention in any room that it’s in!
The vase can be seen in my Etsy shop here. Head on over and check it out!
At a local estate sale, I recently came upon four framed vintage prints. I looked at them and instantly fell in love with them. The only problem was was that I have no idea who could have made them.
They look to be famous Scotsmen, and they are professionally framed and matted. To me, the illustrations themselves look like they could have come from a book.
They also appear to have a CURRIER AND IVES look to them.
I have not been able to track down any information about the artist and who could have printed them.
Does anyone know who could have done these great prints? Any information is greatly appreciated!