Photography tip: How to hold an item up to help with photos

Not to long ago, I ran into an interesting problem when I was taking some photos of an old oil can spout.

I wanted to take a photo of the spout with it standing up, kind of like how it would be when it is on an oil can.  Then it hit me—prop it up on something.

I tried a few different ways to prop it up, but nothing really worked that well.  Then it hit me—what if I prop it up on something like a pencil or a dowel rod?

As you can see at the bottom of the spout, the tip end of the pencil is in a hole on the table while the end with the eraser is holding up the spout.  It worked great to help hold up the spout so I can take some photos to look like it is being used like in the photo below.

This would be easy to set up—you can hold the pencil or dowel rod up in a vise or even prop it up in the top of a bottle.

You can see the oil spout in my Etsy shop here.

This is one trick that can help with taking photos for the items that you are going to sell.  What are some of the tricks that you use?

There’s a coin reference book for every collector

When you first start to collect coins, the first book that you will most likely get (or at least look at) is, “A Guide Book To United States Coins”.  After a little bit of collecting, you start to narrow down what your interests are.

Wither it be large cents, Morgan dollars, or even hard times tokens, you start to look for at least one book to help you out in your collecting endeavors.

There are many books that I have picked up over the years that are very helpful to me.  The first one is called, “Encyclopedia of Morgan And Peace Dollars,” and it was written by Leroy C. Van Allen and George Mallis.

This one covers both Morgan and Peace dollars and their die varieties, which are called VAM’s (which is a play on the two author’s last names, Van Allen and Mallis).

The next book that I picked up is called “Hard Times Tokens 1832-1844,” and the book was written by Russell Rulau.

This book gives you a really good view of what tokens were made during this time frame.  I like the fact that it’s broken down by the state, and then lists the tokens for that state.

There are plenty of both new and used books that you can pick up once you narrow down the area that you want to collect.

What kinds of books have you already found?

What happened in the year 1950?

There are times that when I try to get some info on an item that I recently bought, I run across some bits of interesting information.

Here’s a few things that I have run across for the year 1950:

January 15—The Red Wings’ rookie goalie Terry Sawchuk records his first of 115 career NHL shutouts when Detroit beat the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

March 4—the movie Cinderella was released by Disney.  Based on the fairy tale of the same name, Cinderella is the 12th animated film by Disney.

October 7—The first of the collectible Peanuts comic strip was published on this date.

The fall of 1950 saw the release of the Broadcaster and Esquire electric guitars made by Fender.  These two guitars were the first mass produced electric guitars with solid bodies.

This is a very small look at what happened during the year 1950.  What have you run across?

Toys that were popular in 1960’s

Every decade has toys that are extremely popular—the 1980’s saw the Cabbage Patch craze while the 1970’s saw the Pet Rock.  Here are some of the toy’s that were popular in the 1960’s:

Anything Batman—There were so many different Batman toys on the market, and the variety would make your head spin.  There were art toys, games, costumes, model kits and even a Batman walkie-talkie.  Figures, airplanes, radios hats and a dart launcher are a small portion of some of the Batman related toys that were on display at the 1966 Toy Fair in New York City.

The G.I. Joe Doll—Hasbro debuted this doll in the mid-1960’s, and there was one for the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines.  The word “doll” was never used by Hasbro when developing this toy, the only term that was acceptable was “action figure” since this was intended for boys.

Hot Wheels—this toy line was debuted in 1968, and it was in direct competition with Matchbox.  Matchbox had been selling toy cars for 10 years when Hot Wheels came about.  The Camaro, Firebird and even the Mustang are a few of the cars that were in the initial Hot Wheels line.

This is a small look at all of the toys that were popular in the 1960’s.  What toys do you remember that are from this decade?

Fun vintage accessories for the television to look for

The television has been around since 1927, and there have been quite a few items come about for you to use with the television.

Here are a few of those items that you can run across:

When 1950 rolled around, the first remote control designed for televisions appeared.  Zenith was the first to release it, and it was called LAZY BONES.  It allowed you to control the TV from as far away as the couch (as long as the wire on it could reach).

In 1975, Sony released an item called the Betamax.  It was in direct competition with the VHS machines, and this eventually became a flop.  The great thing about this is that you can still find big name movies like STAR WARS to add to your collection or to watch.

Inventor Hugo Gernsback released his invention called the “teleglasses”.  This invention allowed you to wear a television like a pair of eyeglasses, and this item anticipated virtual reality.  Hugo Gernsback is also best known to science fiction fans as the founder of Amazing Stories magazine.

This is a small handful of accessories for the television.  What items have you run across?

Alternate comic book cover art

This is an area of collecting that I found out a while ago while I was at a local comic book shop.  This applies to the front cover that is on comic books, and it can be a fun area pf collecting to dive into.

When a publisher like Marvel, IDW or DC puts out a comic book, they can give it another cover to help commemorate a special event like a new character coming about or it being the first issue of the series.  Because of this, collectors will often pick up to issues to get the different covers.

How do you know when you have an alternate cover on a comic book?

One way to help you out is the look at the corners of the cover.

This will provide you information on who made the comic and the issue number.  If this is the same, then you stand a good chance that you have the alternate cover.  Another thing to remember is that sometimes the comic producer will put an “A” or “B” after the number to help with identifying what the comic is.

Another place to look is at the copyright information on the bottom of the first page.  With comics, the producers will change the volume number if they to decide to either do a reboot of the series and start fresh or if a totally new chapter is starting with the character or series (like what Marvel did with the HEROES REBORN storyline that took place with several titles several years ago).  If the copyright information is the same in both books, then you are one step closer.

The last thing to do is to flip through the comic book itself.  What you are looking for is to see if both books you are looking at are the same all the way through—the covers on both books will be the only thing that will be different.

So, if the content is the same, you most definitely have the alternate cover of the comic. Do you have a comic book with the alternate cover?

How do you know when it is ok to restore a vintage item?

Restoration is a topic in the world of antiques and collectibles that is discussed quite a bit.  There is one question that comes up in the discussion—when is it ok to restore an item and when do you leave it alone?

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to doing a restoration.  The first is how complete the item is before restoration.  How much time will be spent looking for parts to help complete the restoration?  There may come a time that you may have to make a part (or parts), and this could drive up the cost of the restoration quite a bit.

The second thing to remember is the cost of the restoration.  If the cost is more than the value of the item, then you need to leave it be.  When you are figuring the cost of the restoration, you can also figure out how much it would cost to simply repair the item.

The third thing to remember when you restore an item is pretty simple—what is the value before and after the restoration and how much value will be added when the restoration is done?  If the value does not go up that much, then you might want to make sure the item is simply functional rather than completely restored.

What items do you know of that benefited from a restoration?

What happened in 1957?

Whenever I buy an item that I don’t know a lot about, I do a little research on both the internet and in reference books that I have around the house to see what I can find out about the item.  There are times that I run across fun bits of information about other items.

Here’s some of what I ran across for the year 1957:

January 6th—Elvis Presley appears on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW for the 3rd and final time.  This broadcast is known for Elvis being only shot from the waist up.

January 13th—Wham-O produces the first Frisbee.

September 4th—this is when the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel.  When the car was released, Ford proclaimed September 4th as “E-day”.

October 12—on this day, the famous Christmas book HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! By Dr. Seuss is published.

This is just a handful of all the things that happened in 1957.  What have you run across?