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.

What’s in a maker’s mark on pottery?

There’s a ton of pottery out on the market that you will run across, but how do you know what’s what?  And how do you read the mark on the bottom of the piece to know what you have in your hands?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking at a mark:

A maker’s mark will run a wide variety on how much information it will give you.  It could be just the name of the name of the company, or it could be loaded with information like the Frank Beardmore piece pictured above.  Since 1891, all pottery that is made to be exported (especially into the United States), it must be stamped with a country of origin near the maker’s label.

With artist’s being hired on by the pottery companies to hand paint some items, the artist could sign their name to the piece as well.  I have seen an artist signature to either the bottom of the piece or on the side of the piece (I would look near the bottom of the piece to see if the artist signed there).

There are times that the name of the pattern is written on the bottom of the piece as well.  The Frank Beardmore creamer’s pattern is called “A Sussex Homeland” and the name of the pattern is listed at the top of the mark on this piece.

A good tip to remember is that the marks on pottery are not that hard to decipher; it just takes about a minute to figure out how the maker laid out the mark.

What kinds of pottery have you found something out by looking at the mark?

Item Highlight: multi color slag glass gear shifter knob from the 1920’s to 1930’s

Ever since cars have been made, people have been adding their own personal touches to them somehow some way.  It has been known to be a wide variety of items from a fancy hood ornament or even a different radio.

One of the items that people have changed over the years is the gear shifter knob.  This has also been found on the cars from the 1920’s to the 1930’s, and one of the knobs that has been used is this really cool glass gear shifter knob.

As you can see, it was made out of slag glass that has a swirl pattern to it, and it has multiple colors to it.  With cream, tan, yellow, brown and even white colors, it also has a flat top and tapered sides to it.

You know what is great about it?  All you need to do is to unscrew the old gear shifter knob and screw this one on (you may need to rethread the threads on this example—they don’t look very straight to me).

This great Art Deco knob would look terrific in someone’s rat rod or Ford Model A Roadster, and it would be a fun paperweight either in a garage or on a desk.

You will be able to see the slag glass gear shifter knob in my shop on Etsy here.  Head on over and check it out!

What are some glass pieces that you may not use anymore?

Whenever you sit down at the table, you will run across items like saucers, plates and even serving bowls that are made of glass.  What are some of the glass pieces that you may not run across on a modern table?

Epergne—this is a centerpiece that is ornamental, and you will find it on a dining table.  This item is used for holding flowers or fruit.  The horns in the center of it are detachable, and there are examples with as many as 5 horns.

Finger bowl—this is a bowl that has water in it for you to wash off your fingers during a meal.

Cream soup bowl—this is a two-handled bowl.  The reason for the two handles is so you can hold them while you drink the soup instead of using a spoon.

This is a small handful of the pieces of glassware that you may not see on a modern kitchen table.  What are some of the other items like this that you have run across?

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?

Does that dresser box look like a . . . duck?!?

Occasionally, you will run across an item that will make you do a double take.  That is what I did when I ran across this dresser box.

When I first saw this dresser box, I didn’t think it was in fact a dresser box.  Being in the shape of a duck, I thought that it was just a sculpture for someone to put on a bookshelf or even their desk.

I quickly realized that it was a dresser box when I picked it up.  When I did, the duck also surprised me that it was made of pewter—I thought that it was pottery with a silver glaze.

The duck was made in about the 1950’s in Hong Kong and has a really cool stamped motif on the body of it.  Not only that, but the eyes of the duck are also made of brass.

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

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?

What a truly odd bird!

Goofus glass was made in the early 1900’s and was the first type of carnival glass giveaway because it was relatively cheap to make.  Plates, bowls, vases (like the one above), and even oil lamps were made in mass quantities.

The glassware was also made with highly decorative patterns like the one on the vase above.  The pattern on the vase featured here is called, “Odd Bird Sitting On A Grape Vine.”  The bird on the vase looks like it could have come out of a comic book!

The great thing about goofus glass is that it comes in a wide variety of colors form what’s on the vase to red, gold and even green.  With a wide variety of colors and shapes, you could find the perfect piece and color combination for any room.

One thing that you need to keep an eye on is the paint itself.  Since the paint was not fired on, it tends to flake off.  So if you are patient, you will find a piece of Goofus Glass with all of its original paint intact.

Another thing that’s great is that goofus glass can be seen from flea markets to swap meets to even antique stores and shows.  You never know what you’ll find where!

What kinds of patterns and pieces of goofus glass have you found or run across?

What are some glass terms that you will run across?

Whenever you go out to an antique mall, flea market or even an auction, you will hear some terminology that describes areas of collecting.

Here are a few words that you will run across when you hear people talk about glass:

Frosting—this is a matte finish that is produced by exposing the glass item to fumes of hydrofluoric acid.  This is also a small patch of surface cracks by weathering.

Ice glass—this is a decorative effect that causes the surface of the glass to resemble cracked ice.  This is accomplished by plunging a piece of hot glass into cold water as quick as possible.  This process creates a finish to the glass that resembles cracks.

Luster—this shiny metallic effect is made by painting the surface of the glass item with metallic oxides that is dissolved in acid and mixed with an oily medium.  The item is fired in oxygen free conditions which cause the metal to deposit a distinctive shiny surface after it is cleaned.

Opal glass—this is a glass item that looks like an opal being translucent and white, and it has a grayish or bluish tinge to it.

This is a small look at some of the words that you will hear about glassware.  What are some of the words you ran across?

Sometimes directions can help you out in collecting paper money

Directions play a part in quite a few different ways in life, including when you collect paper money from the early 1800’s. During this time, it was up to the banks to produce paper money. The banks would file for a charter with the United States government—this would allow the bank to produce their own paper money.

Collectors often look for paper money in a couple of ways for their collections—and going a certain direction will often help them out. They will look for a certain bank, city or even the state the money was produced in. I have even heard of collectors looking for anything that is west of the Mississippi. You could even look for something in the southern states like Alabama or even Louisiana.

The east coast area has quite a few different banks that offered paper money. This was true up to the Mississippi (the father west you went there were fewer banks to run into). The gold rush in California that started in 1848 was what helped bring some banks (and eventually a United States Mint in San Francisco) that far west.

If there was a major metropolitan area, the more banks were likely to be there. One way to keep things interesting is to only look for banks that were on the east side of town.

Even up north in places like North Dakota, Washington state and even Alaska have very few banks at all. There have been a few bills (collectors also call them “notes”) to turn up for a few banks in these states. For obvious reasons, these are highly sought after.

What cities and states have you seen on this type of paper money?