“Unique” is a word that is often misused by collectors. It means one of a kind. There can never be a unique mass-produced chair, but there can be a rare one.
Death was an important part of life in the 19th century. Life expectancy was 38 to 44 years, and many babies died at birth or before they were a year old.
A reader sent us a picture of an item in an auction catalog that looked like a cookie jar decorated with racing horses, but it had a strange lid. What else could it be? Why horses on a cookie jar?
Vintage collectibles, especially those related to sports, sell quickly at auction, perhaps because not all are expensive. Sometimes they are not noticed by the dedicated sports collectors and sell at bargain prices.
Many people would never guess what this strange bottle was used for. Although it is called a “teakettle” by bottle collectors because of its shape, it is an antique ink bottle.
Although we have gone to hundreds of antiques shows, shops and auctions, we are sometimes baffled by what we see. So, this 6-inch brass elephant head was a mystery.
If you have several generations of “things” that you have inherited and now have to move to a smaller place, be careful what you give or throw away. Of course, you check on oil paintings or prints to see if they can be sold.
Tramp art has been made for many years, but the name was invented by a folk-art author in 1959 to describe whittled objects made from old cigar boxes and other scrap wood.
Part of the fun of collecting and going to shows and auctions is how often you see something that is a mystery. It’s a learning experience.
All American furniture was handmade before the 1800s, and old furniture was saved until it was too battered to use. The United States was a young country, and the first collector of note was an eccentric man in the 1800s who saved furniture and objects made or used in the 1600s and after.