A brief history of the 1883 Racketeer Nickel

The Liberty Head nickel is a 5-cent coin that was produced by the United States mint starting in 1883 until it was replaced by the Buffalo nickel starting in 1913.  It has a simple design with the portrait of Liberty wearing a coronet and wreath on the obverse while the reverse has the Roman Numeral V surrounded by a wreath on the reverse.

No Cent variety courtesy of Wikipedia.com

In 1883, the coin had a word missing from its design—the word CENTS (it only had the V on the obverse designating the denomination of the coin).  Another problem that this coin had was that close in size to the $5 gold piece.  To top it off, the two coins had a similar design as well.

With Cents variety courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The racketeer nickel came about soon after the U.S. mint issued the Liberty nickel in 1883.  What happened was this nickel got a gold plating on it to make it look like the $5 gold piece even more.

5 Dollar gold coin courtesy of Wikipedia.com

There are stories about the gold-plated coin being pawned off as the legitimate $5 gold piece at stores or even poker games.

There is even a story of a man named Josh Tatum.  One version states that he could not speak, and I have even heard that he was deaf and could not speak.  In the story, Josh would walk into a store and get a 5-cent cigar.  He then would pay with the gold-plated coin and get $4.95 back in change.

After doing this a few times, Josh was arrested and tried in a court of law for his actions.  Josh was exonerated since no one heard him speak—they didn’t know if he knew if it was a 5-cent coin or the $5 gold piece.

The United States mint halted the production of the Liberty Head nickels as the design was changed with the addition of the word CENTS on the reverse—the revised nickel was issued on June 26, 1883.

When you run across an 1883 Liberty Head nickel you need to see it has the word CENTS or not.  Out of the two different varieties (one is called WITH CENTS and the other is called WITHOUT CENTS)—the WITH CENTS variety costs a little more. What kinds of stories like the “racketeer nickel” have you heard?

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What are some of the different types of marbles that you will run across?

Marbles are a fun area to dive into and collect.  There are plenty of different types of marbles that you can find—cat’s eyes, steelies and even Latticinio core are just a few of what you will find.  Here are some more that you will come across:

Gooseberries – this is an example of a colored glass marble.  Gooseberries have numerous thin white threads of glass that are distributed evenly around the surface of the marble.

gooseberry marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

Sulphides –this type of marble consists of clear glass spheres that have a white or silvery figure suspended in their center.  The figures consist of animals, birds, people, numbers or even letters.

Sulphide marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

Corkscrews—this type of marble was made with 2 or more colors that have a spiral design.  In corkscrews marbles, the spiral design rotates around the marble from one pole to the other, but the design does not meet.

Corkscrew marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

Clouds—this is an End of day marble that came with colored flecks of glass that aren’t stretched.  The flakes look like clouds that are floating over the core.

Cloud marble photo ciurtesy of imarbles.com

This is just a small sample of all of the different types of marbles that you can find.  Which ones have you run across?

What are some glassware serving pieces that you might run across?

When shopping at your favorite flea market, antique mall or thrift store, it will not take long for you to run across a serving piece.  They come in all shapes like platters, punch bowls or even a cup.  Not only that, there are a wide variety of materials that they are made of.

Here are a few of the glassware pieces you might run across when you are out and about:

Berry set—this consists of a large bowl with matching smaller bowls.  They are used for serving items like fruit and some desserts.

Salt, saltcellar—this is a small bowl used at the table to hold salt.  This type of container is also called a “master salt”.

Celery vase—this is a tall and narrow vase that is used on the table to hold celery.

Compote—this is a dish that usually comes with a stem and a base that is used for serving compote (a fruit that is cooked in syrup).  There is a smaller dish that has a similar form used for a serving for one person.

This is only a small handful of what you will run across.  What types of serving pieces have you run across?

There is such a thing as a Malt Nutrine serving tray?

Advertising is a fun area to collect—you never know what kinds of pieces you will run across.  You might find a piggy bank advertising a local bank, a ruler advertising a grocery store or even a baseball program advertising Spalding baseballs.

Another area that advertising collectors buy are serving trays.  There are quite a few advertisements that you will find on a tray—they range anywhere from Coca Cola to Budweiser.

Did you know that Anheuser Bush made a serving tray for a product they made that was called Malt Nutrine?

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Malt Nutrine was made by Anheuser Bush in 1905, and it was a non-alcoholic beverage.  Not only that, it was thought that Malt Nutrine could help cure insomnia.

This would be a killer piece to display with fountain drink collectibles.  You can see this terrific serving tray in my Etsy shop here.  Head on over and check it out!

Wow, look at all the different varieties of paperweights!

Paperweights are always a fun way to decorate with. Not only that, there are a wide variety of colors and materials that they are made of.  It could be glass, resin or even metal in pink, blue or a rainbow of colors. To top it off, there are as many companies and artists that have made a paperweight over the years.

One such paperweight is this terrific figural pig variety.

The terrific piece of pink with a crystal overlay glassware could also be considered a piece of art glass. You can see this paperweight in my Etsy shop here.  Another fun item that you can use as a paperweight is this gnome that is by Tom Clark.

The paperweight is dated 1985 and is also titled CHICK.  What I like is that Tom Clark includes a penny somewhere on every one of his gnome designs–I love trying to see where they end up (this one has the penny on the left side near the bottom).  You can see this terrific paperweight in my Etsy shop here.

One of the different companies that has made a paperweight is Fenton.  The Fenton glass company has made quite a few of them, and one of the designs that they made is a duck like this one.

This duck was made in the 1970’s, and it also has a hand painted face and floral scene on the back. You can see this great item in my Etsy shop here.

As a matter of fact, you can see all the different varieties of paperweights in my Etsy shop here. Head on over and check them out!

You don’t see this type of teapot every day!

You don’t see this type of teapot every day!  This teapot is made of pottery and has a Raku style to it, and the piece has a brown glaze with an iridescent sheen.

The Raku style that is on this teapot is a process that heats the pottery quickly to high temperatures and then it is cooled quickly.  This form of firing will get you a great finish like this on a piece of pottery.

The teapot also has no lid no it—I don’t think a lid was made for this piece.  Not only that, it also was made by hand with an oversized handle and spout on it.  You can say that this piece has a Picasso style to it!

You can see this great teapot in my Etsy shop here.  Head on over and check it out!

Enamelware parts and pieces for the beginning collector

When you are beginning to collect items, you will figure out pretty fast that each area has its own terminology for parts of the item and even what each item is called.  Here’s some of the parts and pieces of enamelware that you will run across:

Pie pan—this is a shallow dish that is made of either metal or glass.  The pan has sloping sides in which the pies are baked.

Double Boiler—this is a saucepan that has a detachable upper compartment.  The compartment is heated up by boiling water in the lower compartment.

Riveted handle—this is a handle that is held in place with Rivets (small pieces of metal that are crushed into position).  The resulting rivet holds the metal together, and you will also see rivets on other parts of enamelware (like the main body of a coffee boiler or even a tea pot).

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Bail handle—this is a handle that is typically made of metal.  It also consists of an open loop that moves freely within two fixed mounts, points or even ears.  This type of handle is also simply known as a “bail”.

This is only a small portion of what you will see.  What parts and pieces of enamelware have you seen or heard of?

There is more than one location for the United States Mint to produce coins?

When it comes to the United States Mint, did you know that there have been several branch mints that have been opened in different cities other than Philadelphia?  There are several locations across the country, and here are some of them:

Carson City Mint—this was a branch mint found in Carson City Nevada.   This Mint primarily made silver coins from 1870 to the early 1890’s due to the vast amounts of silver being mined in that area.  Carson City minted coins are easily identified by the “CC” mint mark that they put on them.

The Dahlonega Mint—this is a former branch of the Mint that was based in Dahlonega, Georgia.  The coins produced at the Dahlonega Mint bear the “D” mint mark, which is the same mint mark that is used today by the Denver Mint.  All the coins from this mint are gold (the $1, $2.50, $3, and $5 denominations were made there).  The coins that were made there were made from 1838 to 1861, and this mint was built during the Georgia Gold Rush to help the miners get their gold assayed and minted. This way, they didn’t have to travel to the Philadelphia Mint.

The Denver Mint is another branch mint that struck its first coins on February 1, 1906. The mint is still going strong and producing coins for circulation (as well as mint sets and commerative coins).  Like the Dahlonega mint, coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mint mark.  It has been said that the Denver Mint is the largest producer of coins in the world.

The San Francisco mint—this branch mint  was opened in 1854 to serve the gold mines during the California Gold Rush.  The mint quickly outgrew its first building and moved into a new one in 1874.  This building was also known affectionately as “The Granite Lady”, and this building is one of the few that survived the great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906. It served until 1937, when the current facility was opened.

The New Orleans Mint—this branch mint operated in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1838 to 1861 and then again from 1879 to 1909.  When the mint was operating, it produced over 427 million gold and silver coins of nearly every American denomination (this has a total face value of over $307 million).  It was closed during most of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.  The mint was formally decommissioned by the mint in 1911.

There are several more branch mints that are still open today like the ones at Fort Knox and West Point.  Which mint marks have you run across?

Take a seat and look at some chair designs!

When it comes to furniture, there are quite a few different designs and forms out there—there’s more than enough to make your head spin.  This is also very true for chairs—take a seat and look at several of the designs that you will run across when you are out at your favorite place to shop:

Fauteuil—this is an upholstered armchair that has open sides, and this type of chair has also been referred to as an elbow chair.

*Picture courtesy of Wikipedia*

Adirondack chair—this is a very distinctively styled chair for the outdoors, and it is usually made out of wood.  Originally, the chair was made with a flat seat and a flat back composed of 11 flat wooden boards (it also featured wide armrests that are parallel to the ground).

*Picture courtesy of Wikipedia*

Ladderback chair—this chair gets its name from the horizontal slats that serve as the back support.  The design of the chair is reminiscent of a ladder.  Some of the other names of this chair are ladder-back chair, slatback chair or even fiddle back chair.

*Picture courtesy of Wikipedia*

This is just a few of the designs that you will see.  What have you run across?

Great vintage items that you can decorate your home with

There are many items that you can use to decorate your home or apartment.  It could be anything–a great picture for the living room, a lamp for your bedroom, a vintage book for the corner of a desk or table, or even a vase on a table holding a bouquet of your favorite flowers.

One such thing that you can use is this terrific lot of two silhouettes.

One of the great things about this pair is that they don’t take up a ton of room on the wall–the small one measures 9 inches by 12 inches while the large one measures 9 3/4 inches by 12 3/4 inches.  You can see the pair in my Etsy store here.

Another great item to decorate item to decorate with is this terrific planter from McCoy.

The planter dates to the 1950’s and it has a Greek Key pattern on both the top and the bottom of it.  Not only would it be a great planter, it would be great as a pencil or pen holder for a desk.  You can see this great find in my Etsy shop here.

Another great item to decorate with that doesn’t take up a ton of room is this great table lamp.

The lamp dates to the 1950’s and sports a gazelle (or even a deer) motif, and it would be a great gift for the avid hunter.  I love that it’s green and brown and would look great with just about any color combination in any room.  This great lamp can be seen in my Etsy shop here.

As a matter of fact, you can see more terrific items to decorate your home with in my Etsy shop here.  Head on over and check them out!