Patriotic symbols like the Statue of Liberty, the American flag, the bald eagle and Uncle Sam are easily recognized today, but our first symbol, Miss Liberty, is almost forgotten.
Before the Revolutionary War, the word “liberty” was the battle cry. Perhaps because a female figure was used to represent liberty in ancient Greece and an Indian Princess for the colonies, the early representation for America’s symbol was a woman.
The figure was known as Columbia, Goddess of Liberty, Liberty or Miss Liberty. She usually held a sword, wreath, shield decorated with stars and stripes, and wore the Phrygian liberty cap.
By 1875, cast zinc figures of Lady Liberty were being made in New York by the William Demuth Co. Demuth was an artist who made many statues for use as lawn decorations, ships’ decorations and decorations for buildings and parks. He later made figures for cigar stores and beer parlors that were a little less than 4 feet and sometimes as tall as 6 1/2 feet.
Once the Statue of Liberty was in place in 1886, the Goddess of Liberty was almost entirely forgotten. She appeared again in posters and folk art during World War I. A large zinc Goddess of Liberty was auctioned at Garth’s in Delaware, Ohio, for $25,200.
I was cleaning a field behind my house and found a lot of very old barbed wire. I just want to find out when it was made and who made it. I’m probably going to keep it for decor.
The first barbed wire was invented by Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio, in 1867. Several patents for improving wire fencing were issued in the next few years.
In 1874, Joseph F. Glidden of DeKalb, Illinois, was granted a patent for a double-strand wire fence with wire barbs. Barbed wire began to be mass produced. Farmers and ranchers also made their own barbed wire.
More than 2,000 variations of barbed wire have been made. Collectors want 18-inch samples. A collection of samples of approximately 125 different varieties of antique barbed wire sold at auction recently for $960.
There are books, museums and websites that help identify and date barbed wire. The Antique Barbed Wire Society — www.antiquebarbedwiresociety.com — has a magazine for collectors.
Galle cameo glass vase, purple hydrangeas, green leaves, 17 1/2 inches, $1,150.
Clock, banjo, dial, green paint, weight driven, pendulum, 33 inches, $1,410.
Surveyor’s compass, star, engraved, sun rays, needle, figural snake, c. 1788, 13 1/4 inches, $2,820.
Windmill weight, rooster, white, red, cast iron, c. 1900, 17 x 22 inches, $4,160.
Tip: It isn’t always smart to remove engraving from silver. A coat of arms or quality engraving can add to the value of antique pieces. We never remove engraving. If anyone asks, we always say the initial belonged to a distant cousin.
For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.