Some of the terminology you hear about cleaning coins

When I first started to collect coins, I found several articles talking about cleaning coins.  I found out that there was a special vocabulary when it comes to this area.  Here’s some of the words that you will run across quite a bit:

Slider—this is a term meaning the coin simulates a higher grade than it really is. Often, a slider has been cleaned, treated, or whizzed to give it the appearance of being uncirculated or even Mint State.  This type of coin is worth less than the coin that has not been cleaned.

Whizzed—this is a coin that has been buffed or polished to give it the appearance of the luster found on a mint coin.  More often than not, whizzing is done on a slightly lower-grade coin to try to sell the coin at a higher grade than it really is.  This is sometimes done by using a fine brush attachment on a high-speed drill.  Doing this may hurt the value of a coin rather than help it.  This is because it causes wear to the surface of the coin.  See buffing.

Brushed—this is a coin that has been brushed with a wire brush or some other material.  The surface will show fine lines, or hairline scratches from the cleaning.

Buffing—this is a polishing of a coin with an abrasive that leaves a finish that attempts to counterfeit mint luster.  See whizzed.

Artificial toning—this is when you change the color or surface tone of a coin by applying chemicals, heat, or treating a coin with something.  This is done to make the coin appear natural or unusual.  It’s also done to cover up signs that the coin has been cleaned.

This is just a small list of what you will run across when it deals with cleaned coins.  What have you heard?


What are some different designing styles that you will run across?

Through the years, there have been some designing styles that have come about that have been very popular.  Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern and even Art nouveau are some of these, but what are some of the other styles that you will find?

Egyptian Revival—this style came about in the early 1920’s when the discovery of the King Tutankhamun was found.  This style ran at the same time as the Art Deco Style, and the Egyptian Revival influenced a number of items from architecture, jewelry and even furniture (the style has an Egyptian flair to it).

Baroque—this style is highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, décor and even music.  The style flourished in Europe from the early 17th century to the late 18th century, and this style evolved into an even more flamboyant style called “Rococo” when the 1740’s rolled around.

Streamline Moderne—this is a late type of the Art Deco Era, and it’s sometimes called Art Moderne.  It emerged in the 1930’s and it has emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes it even has nautical elements to it.

This is only a small handful of the great styles that have come about.  What kind of style have you seen?

A little history for the Goudey Baseball cards from 1933

When 1919 rolled around, Enos Gordon Goudey started a chewing gum company called The Goudey Gum Company.  The company was in business until 1962, and they are known for chewing gum and the baseball cards that they produced.

The company and its gum was so popular that Enos Goudey was called “the penny gum king of America” by William Wrigley Jr. in 1933.

In 1933, the company dove into making baseball cards, and they released a 240-card set.  The set was also called BIG LEAGUE CHEWING GUM, and each pack that was sold came with a stick of gum.

After the set was released, the Goudey Company realized that they did not have a card #106 after collectors sent the company letters complaining that there was no card for that number.

In 1934, Goudey released a card #106, and it featured the retired player Napoleon Lajoie.  In order to get this card, you had to write to the company (they would send you one for a cent).

As you can tell from the photos, the cards had the name of the set at the bottom of the front and a little biography of the player on the back.

You need to be careful when you are out looking for cards for your set.  Since this is a popular set to collect, there are quite a few reprints and fakes of the cards—especially of Napoleon Lajoie, Babe Ruth (Babe was featured on 4 different cards) and even Lou Gehrig just to name a few.

There are many players that are in this set that have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, so a word of caution is to be taken when you are looking at a card.

Which cards have you run across?


What are the different types of manufacturing for enamel advertising signs?

Just about every area of antiques and collectibles can be divided into several different sub categories.  It could be collecting the denomination or country of origin of coins, a certain glass company or pattern, or even a certain type of manufacturing process like majolica pottery.

This is true for enamel advertising signs, and one of the ways you can do this is the style of manufacturing of the sign itself and how it can be displayed.

The first type is a flat one-sided sign.  This style has advertising on just one side of the sign, and this would be perfect to attach to a wall or the front of a building.  With only one side having the advertising, the back will have just one color of enameling.

The second type is called a flat two-sided sign.  This style has advertising on both sides of the sign, and most of the time this type of sign will be in a stand or frame of some type to help see both sides.

The third type of sign is a flanged two-sided sign.  This type of sign has a built-in 90-degree angled mount on it that allows the sign to come out from a wall or even a side of a building.

The next type of sign is called a curved sign.  This sign will have a curve in it to go around items like a telephone pole, a street light or even the corner of a building.

Another type are gasoline pump signs, and they will advertise the brand of gas that it is.  Not only are there gasoline pump sign examples for automobile gas, there are also some examples known for marine and aviation gas known as well.

The last example is called a neon porcelain sign, and this type has neon lights on it.  This type of sign can light up and you can see the sign better at night, and the most notable type is on a movie theater.  You could also find this hanging in a window of a business.

What types of enamel advertising sings have you run across?


What are some things to remember when you go shopping for antiques?

Whenever you go shopping for antiques, there are always a few things that you need to remember.  The first thing that you need to keep in mind is what kind of budget that you have.  What I do so that I don’t go over my budget is to write down on a piece of paper how much my bill will be.

Another thing to remember is to keep an idea (or even a list) on what you are looking for.  It could be a lamp for your living room, a carburetor for your Indian motorcycle or even a Morgan dollar for your coin collection.  I often look in reference books or on the internet to see how much the item that I am looking for will cost so that I know what to expect to pay.

The next thing that I do is to figure out where I would like to go.  You may have several antique stores, flea markets and even swap meets that are pretty close to home, so you could hit several of them in one day.

The last thing to do is to throw a box or a sack into your car or truck.  It might sound silly, but I have one when I go shopping—you may be at something like a garage sale or even a swap meet and need to pack something in it.

The best rule of thumb of all is to have fun!


What are some things to consider when it comes to restoring an item?

When do you restore an item?  Do you leave it well enough alone or do you restore it?  These are questions that you will hear when you are dealing antiques and collectibles, and it can be kind of hard to know what to do.

The first thing to know is how much the item is worth—both in its current form and what it will be worth after the restoration.  An effective way to do that is to get an appraisal on the item.  Ask the appraiser to give you an appraisal on both before and after values to see if it is worth it to restore the item.

If the item’s value will go up after the restoration, you need to keep in mind on what the item is.  If it’s something that you don’t feel comfortable restoring yourself (like a rug or a painting), then you will need to find a good conservator to help you out.

Be careful though—restoring an item could get to be a very expensive proposition.  I’ve seen restorations go from as little as $500 (for a painting) to well over $50,000 (for a car).  To help figure out what it will cost to restore your item, I would contact people who do restorations to get an estimate on what to expect.

The last thing to consider is if you want to do the restoration or to just do a few simple repairs to the item—after all, all the item may need is a good cleaning and one or two new items on it.


What are some things to consider when you attend an auction?

When you are attending an auction, you need to be aware of what’s going on—especially when you go to pay for the items you bid on.  There are some things to consider, and it could potentially add quite a bit to your bill.

The first thing to consider is that there could be sales tax added to the bill.  The amount of tax really depends on the state that the item was bought in.

Another thing to consider is that the auction house might have added fees when you buy there.  I’ve seen these fees range from 10% all the way up to 30% of the final auction price.

I have seen auction houses have an auction in a certain location and allow bidders overseas to bid on an item.  If you buy an item that’s overseas (especially in Europe and India), there could be restrictions and laws that prohibit you from shipping the item to the United States.

If it’s possible to ship an item from overseas, not only will you have to pay to ship the item, you could also need a special license to ship it here.  One country that I know of that states you have this license is Spain (and it could take a couple of months to get your item).

Another thing to consider are Paypal or credit card transaction fees, which can quickly be racked up on how much you buy.

So, when buying at an auction, it always pays to do a little homework on what is going on.  If you still have questions about something, it also pays to ask questions.

What kind of taxes and fees have you run across when you went to buy an item?


Terms to help new collectors of pottery

When I started to buy and sell pottery, there were some terms that I picked up pretty fast that I use quite often.  These terms are pretty common and help describe the manufacturing process of the piece.  Here’s some of the terms:

Pinholes—these are faults in the surface of a ceramic body (or even the glaze) that resemble pin pricks.  These are not very big at all, and there is usually no other damage around them.  Air bubbles are the most common culprit that causes these.

Bloating—this is the permanent swelling of a ceramic piece during the firing in a kiln.  It’s caused by the expansion of gases like air not being able to escape out of the piece.

Iron oxide—this is a common oxide in glazes and some clays that generally gives the item a reddish color.

Biscuit pottery—this is also called Bisque pottery.  This is pottery that has been fired, but no glaze has been applied to the piece.

This is only a few of the terms out there.  What have you heard?


The auction that you attended is over. Now what?

The auction that you attended is now over, and you have everything that you bid on and won during the auction packed up.  What exactly do you do now?

The first thing that needs to be done is to pay for what you bought.  More often than not, you will pay for everything at the same place that you got your bidder’s number.  The person that assigns you your bidder’s number gets a sheet from the auctioneer that states what was sold and for how much it went for.

This sheet will be separated out by the bidder’s number written down on it so they can have all the buyers pay for the right items.

After you pay, you now get to take everything home and make any repairs if there are any to be made.  Once that’s done, you now get to take the items to your booth, list them online for sale, or even add them to your collection.

You can see what to do when you first arrive at an auction here.  What kinds of great finds have you run across at an auction?



world on wheels

When you start to collect trading cards, there are two main areas that they are divided into.  The first is sports trading cards, and these feature cards from all the different types of sports–hockey, baseball, golf and football are just a few of the sports.

The other main area is what’s called non sports cards.  This area is everything that does not fall into the sports category.  There are sets that consist of birds, movie stars (and even movie themselves), radio stars, and even vehicles.

The non sports card area is where you find this great set called the WORLD ON WHEELS.

The TOPPS card company produced this card set, and the WORLD ON WHEELS set ran from 1953 to 1955.  The set consists of 180 cards, and numbers 1 through 170 can be found with a red back.  Numbers 171 through 180 can be found with both a red back and a blue back.

Interestingly, a set title of just WHEELS was on the packaging, but the name WORLD ON WHEELS has caught on over the years.

This set has a wide variety of vehicles on the cards, and they really are all over the place.  There are cars from the early 1900’s like a Pierce Great Arrow Touring Car from 1905 all the way to the cars from the 1950’s like a Hudson Wasp from 1953.

It’s not just just cars that are featured in the set, there are vehicles like the Diamond T concrete mixer and the Straddle Lumber Truck.

What I like about the set is that when you get done finding all the cards is that you can say that you have assembled a massive 180 car collection!

You can see some of the WORLD ON WHEELS cards in my Etsy shop here.  As a matter of fact, you can see all of the cards in my Etsy shop here.  Have you ever run across anything like this?