Weeding out the reproductions

Homeowners this time of year begin to get rid of lawn weeds in hopes of having a lush green yard.  Likewise, shoppers need to learn to “weed out” those items which typically show up on flea market and antique shelves this time of the year.

Weeds are what I like to call reproductions, and they can be quite convincing.

It could be an advertising sign that is rusted and looks to be ever so real.  Damage to the corners, fading to the paint, and even dents are all applied to a brand-new sign to help make it look older than it is.

There’s glassware on the market that copies Depression Glass and art glass patterns.  It is so convincing that the pattern and the color are the spitting image of the old items.  There are some manufacturers that have figured out how to make a piece of glass “glow” in a black light like the old stuff without using Uranium.

Brass imports such as spittoons or candle holders already come with tarnishing.  Wooden boxes and furniture furniture that is hammered, faded and well-used are also plentiful without much looking around.

So, buyer beware and do your homework!  You can never have too much information when it comes to antiques—it always comes in handy.

A little history of Fiesta Pottery

The pottery line known as Fiesta dinnerware was started by the Homer Laughlin company, and it made its debut in January of 1936 at the Pottery and Glass Show that was being held in Pittsburgh.  Fiesta dinnerware has been produced since then, with a small hiatus from 1972 to 1985.

The reason for the hiatus was the fact that Homer Laughlin actually retired the set.  Collectors started to get interested in the retired pottery, and in 1985 Homer Laughlin was approached by the Bloomingdale’s Department Store to bring it back.  The pottery was indeed brought back, and a new line of Fiesta dinnerware and a new color palate was introduced in 1986 in Bloomingdale’s.

Homer Laughlin originally produced this pattern in Red, Blue, light green, original green, yellow and Old Ivory (Turquoise did not hit the store shelves until 1937).  In the history of the Fiesta dinnerware, there have been a total of 52 different colors in the line.

The great thing about Fiesta is that Homer Laughlin has been known to retire colors along the way.  This gives collectors a totally new way to collect Fiesta—they can now collect their favorite pieces in a retired color.  Homer Laughlin also introduces a new color every year, and it is always fun to me to see what the new color is.

When you start to collect Fiesta pottery, you will see how diverse the set is.  You will see that you can use different pieces in different parts of the house.  Not only that, you can also use one color in the kitchen, one color in the living room and a totally different color in a bedroom.  This gives you a great way to match the colors in the room or to even add a splash of color if you want.

This is a small look at the history of the Fiesta Dinnerware.  What have you heard about the pattern?

A little history of Goofus Glass

When I was younger, I was at a flea market one day and I saw a vase that was decorated differently than the others that were on display.  The person that was at the cash register told me that it was a piece of Goofus Glass.  I loved it, but it had me asking one question.

What exactly is Goofus glass?

Goofus glass is also known the names Mexican Ware, Holligan Glass, or even Pickle Glass.  It is a pressed glass with relief designs painted either on the front or the back of the class.  It was very popular from 1890 to 1920, and it was used as a premium at carnivals.

The glassware was produced by several companies such as Imperial and Northwood.  It lost its popularity when people found that the paint tarnished or even wore off after repeated washings and wear.  If you find a piece in good condition, treasure it.

The color of the glass also varies just like the manufacturers as well.  Green, crystal, and even milk glass are some of the colors that can be found.

Even though there has been no record of its manufacture has been found after 1920, there are plenty of patterns to show off anywhere in your house.  Patterns like Cabbage Rose, Peacock In A Tree, Three Mums, or even Morning Glory are but a small examples that can decorate any room in the house.

There are a wide variety of pieces also on the market right now, you never know which one you will run across next.  It could be a dresser box, a vase, a bowl or even a plate.

Which patterns of Goofus glass have you run across while shopping at your favorite flea market or antique mall?

What happened in 1890?

When I am trying to find some information on an item that I recently purchased, I run across some fun facts that happened during a certain year.  Here’s what I recently ran across for the year 1890:

February 24—Chicago is selected to host the Columbian Exposition.

June 16—Stan Laurel (an English-born actor and member of the comic duo Laurel And Hardy) was born on this day.

June 20—The book titled The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is published Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.

Do you know what was invented in San Francisco in 1890?  The Jukebox.

It’s always fun for me to see these fun facts, I never know what I will run across.  What fun facts have you run across?

Wow, Homer Laughlin made that?

The Homer Laughlin China Company of Newall, West Virginia opened for business in 1871.

From then to now, they have produced dinnerware (and even kitchenware), and many of the lines are still popular to this day.  Examples of these lines are Fiesta, Virginia Rose, Harlequin, Rhythm, Nautilus, Swing, Riviera and even Century.

Most of the dinnerware is marked by Homer Laughlin, so identifying a manufacturer is not a problem.  Some of it features the name of the pattern as well, which helps out a lot.  The HLC trademark is usually followed by a number series, the first two digits will indicate the year.  So, if you do run across a Homer Laughlin piece that doesn’t have the name of the pattern on it, you can most likely narrow it down with the year mark.

I’m partial to the restaurantware that Homer Laughlin made (a piece of it can be seen in the first two pictures).  I have always thought that the piece was made for extra ware and tare, so I don’t have to be so delicate with it.

What kind of finds do you have in your collection?

What are some fun facts on Auctions?

I have been attending auctions since I was 8, and I know that they have been around since the times of ancient Rome.  What are some fun facts when it comes to auctions?

Some of the first auctions were held in ancient Rome.  Like modern times, the people of ancient Rome would sell off household goods like furniture to pay off debts.  These auctions could last for months.

When the items that were seized by the Army during the American Civil War, they would be sold by the Colonel of the Division.  That’s why you see some auctioneers carry the title of “Colonel”.

With the invention of the internet, it is now very possible to find and attend any auction that you could ever want.  This is a great way to help you find that piece that can help you complete your collection.

This is just a handful of fun facts about auctions.  What fun facts have you heard?

Famous Shipwrecks that have inspired collections

Pottery, glassware, and enamel signs are some of the areas that people collect.  Did you know that one of the areas of collecting are items from shipwrecks? 

The Titanic has produced highly sought-after collectibles (like items used on the ship as well as ads for the ship) while the Atocha is known for the gold and silver coins that were on it.  One of the ships that you may not think of is the SS Central America.

On Thursday, September 3 in the year 1857, the SS Central America (a side-wheel steamer ship) left the port city of Aspinwall (located in Panama on the Atlantic Ocean side of the country).  The ship then made a stop in Havanna on Monday September the 7th.  The next morning, the ship continued onward towards its destination of New York City.

On September the 9th, the ship encountered a tropical storm.  By Friday, the weather went from bad to just plain mean.  The ship was in the grips of a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas.  On Saturday the 12th of September, the ship was hit with a wave and slipped beneath the surface of the ocean.

Why is this ship so important?  The cargo of this ship was valued at the time of the sinking at $2 million dollars in gold coins and bars from San Fransisco (which was 10 tons of just gold).

This ship is sometimes called “The Ship of Gold”.  Many books have been written about the ship, along with the recovery and sale of the coins and bars.


Many collectors covet the coins of the SS Central America, and coin collectors still actively look for pieces from the shipwreck to add to their collections (even well after the sale of the cargo in the year 2000).

Over 7,000 gold coins were recovered from the shipwreck, and most of them are the $20 gold Double Eagle from the San Francisco mint.  Because of the discovery of the SS Central America, this type of gold coin is a little more available to collectors due to the amount that was found.

What other famous events or people have you heard of inspiring a new way to collect items?

What happened in 1792?

It’s always fun to find out what happened in a year, especially if you are a vintage and antiques lover.  Since you are always looking around to find out what happened during the time that a piece in your collection was made, you will quickly run across tons of facts.  Here’s a few that I have run across recently:

On February 20th, The Postal Service Act was signed by George Washington.  This established the United States Post Office–and not to mention all of the great stamps that collectors look for.

The 20th of March saw a new capital of North Carolina and county seat of the newly formed Wake County.  This was after North Carolina State Senator and surveyor William Christmas submits his design for the city.  A few months later, the capital is named Raleigh in honor of Sir Walter Raleigh.

On April 2nd, The Coinage Act is passed.  This Act established the United States Mint—it also led to the production of the half cent, cent, half disme (or half dime), dime, quarter, half dollar and even the dollar coin.  The were even gold coins with a $2.50, $5 and even $10 face value.

What kind of fun facts have you run across?

What happened in 1965?

Whenever I am looking for information on an item that I bought, there are times that I run across some tidbits of what happened during a certain year.

Here are a few of the things that I ran across for the year of 1965:

September 25 saw The Tom & Jerry carton series make its world broadcast premiere on CBS.

The Pillsbury Doughboy was introduced on November 7, 1965.

The Television shows HOGAN’S HEROES, THE DATING GAME and LOST IN SPACE made their debut in 1965.

The famous Gateway Arch that is based in St. Louis, Missouri was completed in October of 1965.

This is a small portion of what happened during the 1965 year.  What are some of the things that happened that you heard of?

What was introduced in 1929?

For 1929, the year is known for being the start of The Great Depression and the crash of the stock market.  Even with all of this going on, what items were introduced during 1929?

During 1929, Pine-Sol cleaner was invented while both the Tarzan and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. comic strips debuted.

In January, the comic character POPEYE made his debut in the “Thimble Theatre” comic strip.  Popeye is often credited with encouraging children to eat their vegetables as the character often ate a can of spinach to become stronger in dangerous situations.

The book titled “The Magic Island” By W.B. Seabrook debuted in 1929.  This book is credited with introducing the idea of a zombie into pop culture.

In August, British inventor John Logie Baird began conducting experimental television brodadcasts at the British Broadcasting Company (also known as the BBC).

This is a small handful of things that debuted during the year.  What items have you heard of that debuted during 1929?