Collecting Tip: Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Without a doubt, the fun of collecting is the hunt.  But don’t ever think that the hunt has to be relegated to thrift stores, antique shops, and auctions.  Sometimes, the hunt even comes to you.

Case in point: I was in high school when my local library retired its card catalog.  In conjunction with closing their catalog, the library offered patrons a giveaway: a free card signed by the author of the book.  The only catch was that you couldn’t request any specific author or book—it was the luck of the draw.

Not one to give up an opportunity for a collectible signature, I signed up.  And this is what I received:

I really did luck out with what I won—I’m a sports fan, and have always followed racing, so to get a card signed by Richard Petty was something of a thrill.

Now, what I have is a cross-collectible: I have a piece of sports memorabilia, a signed autograph from a celebrity, and a piece of library history (the card catalog has now gone the way of the dinosaur). 

Which just goes to show you: always keep your mind open, always be on the lookout.  You never know where you’re going to find those really cheap—or, in this case, absolutely free—pieces to add to your collection.

What about you?  Have you stumbled upon free goodies like this one?

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The Little Half-Sister for United States coins

The nickname “Little Half-Sister” in the world of coin collecting is directly tied to the half cent coin produced by the United States mint. 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

This coin first came about with the Coinage Act Of 1792 (this law established the United States mint and regulated the coinage of the United States).  The coin was produced from 1793 to 1857 and was made of 100 % copper (there were a few years along the way that a half cent was not produced).

There are no mint marks on any of the half cents that were ever produced, and this is because of the fact that they were made at the Philadelphia mint.

Although half cents were issued for more than 60 years, they remained one America’s unwanted coins. They proved to be of little use, and they were often kept in storage at the Mint.  Production of this coin (often stopped for a couple of years) was often interrupted by shortages of copper and lack of demand.  After a few years, the mint turned to English based companies to produce the planchet for the coin (the war of 1812 stopped this, and the US went back to producing the planchets for the coins).

This denomination would make a great conversation piece and would be a great way to help introduce people to coin collecting.

Have you run across one of these “little half-sisters” yet?

Need a Trime? That will be 3 cents!

The United States has produced some interesting coins, and the Three Cent piece is definitely one of them. 

The term “trimes” is widely used today as a nickname for these coins.  That nickname was first used by the mint director James Ross Snowden at the time of their production.

The United States started to produce this coin in 1851 as a result of the decrease in postage rates (which went from five cents to three).  The mint also started to offer this coin to answer the need for a small-denomination, easy-to-handle coin.  This coin was released in silver (the silver content was raised in 1854) to help encourage circulation.

Photo By Bobby131313 for wikimedia.com

Silver coins were hoarded in the early 1800’s–and when the Civil War erupted, silver coins were hoarded even more.  This led to the Three Cent piece getting hoarded as well.  Because of this, the United States mint would eventually print fractional currency (paper money with a face value of 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 15 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents).

The composition was changed in 1865 to nickel.  The design of the coin was also changed when the composition was changed, so it’s easy to tell the nickel variety from the silver one.

Production of the trime began to taper off in the 1870’s, but mintage of the coin did not come to an end until a couple of years later in 1889.

Photo By Bobby131313 for wikimedia.com

Like with any coin, there are unlimited ways to collect this denomination.  Will it be just silver examples?  Nickel copies?  Certain years or die varieties?  It is completely up to you.

Have you run across one of these cool coins?

What are some of the colors that Fenton made that you can run across?

When Fenton was in business, there were literally a ton of colors that were made.  Apple green, French Opalescent, silver crest, cranberry and even green opalescent are a small sample of colors that were made.  Here are some more that you will run across:

Black Crest—this color also acts as the pattern of the piece.  Any piece with this coloring will have a milk glass base and black trim at either the rim or on the foot.

Photo courtesy of Replacements.com

Milk glass—this type of glass is completely white in color, and you can’t see through it.  Fenton introduced this in the early 1950s with the hobnail pattern, and it became their flagship pattern.

Custard Satin—this is light yellow in color and was given an acid wash to give it the satin finish.  The color was introduced in 1972 and this color can also be seen with a hand painted motif on it from time to time.

French Opalescent—this color has a crystal base with a white overlay on it, and the color was made from 1952 to 1968.

This is a very tiny portion of what you will see when you are out shopping.  What Fenton colors have you run across?

What are some of the parts and pieces of vintage furniture?

Slipper feet, veneer and leafs are a small selection of some of the parts of a piece of vintage furniture that you will run across when you are looking at furniture.  You never know what you might find when you are out at an auction, estate sale or even an antique mall.  Here are a couple of pieces that you may run across:

Top rail—this is the horizontal rail at the very top of a chair back.  There are as many designs of a top rail as there are designer.

This photo is courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Manchette—this is an upholstered arm that is found on a wooden-frame chair.  This portion of the arm will be upholstered with the same material that the seat has.

This photo is courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Stretcher—this is a horizontal support piece that is found on a table, chair or other item of furniture.  This piece ties vertical elements of the piece together.  A stretcher can be seen in the bottom of the photo:

This photo is courtesy of Wikipedia.com

This is only a small portion of what you will run across.  What have you seen?