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This week Spotlight on: Antique 1815 Chrysanthemum Factory early Jasperware stoneware jug
Old iron toys bring in the gold
Antiques is it Real or Fake?
Ming vase will make retired factory worker wealthy
Priceless antique two Lord Buddha pieces recovered on India-Nepal border
Do not age the wine. Drink it!
Increased interest in antique medical memorabilia
Locket with a lock of Lord Nelson’s hair sold for £44,000
Exhibition of Teapots At Morris Museum
The race of antique cars halted by runaway crowd
New Utah Law Requiring Fingerprinting anyone selling any used merchandise
Display antiques in the right place
Antiques Saved From Casino Wrecking Ball
Dust might be hiding a valuable item
Jewellery worth thousands stolen from Wymondham antiques dealer
Auction sells off Ponzi-schemer’s wealth
January a time to research, organize and rearrange
Maintenance keeps antique clocks ticking
Provincial auctioneers enjoyed record turnovers in 2010
Historic Middlesbrough Cathedral mosaics sold on eBay
Christie’s reports 2010 was best year in its 245-year history
Rockstar Games Go Art Deco with L.A. Noire

This week Spotlight on:
Antique 1815 Chrysanthemum Factory early Jasperware stoneware jug

Superb very rare British antique early smooth jasperware large jug
Chrysanthemum Factory (so-called because of the design of the pad mark)
made by Charles Bourne and Chetham & Robinson circa 1815
(Ref the Northern Ceramic Society Newsletter 158)

 

Antique 1815 Chrysanthemum Factory early Jasperware stoneware jug

Everything about this jug just superb
Jug body made on the turning table (not molded) with the molded handle hand attached.
Mouth of the jug hand shaped and attached to the turned body.
Jug is well-produced and the relief work finely executed.
The popular sky blue colour is darker in items dating from the early 1800s.
Inside the jug near the top rim small firing cracks can be found indicating early jasperware on larger items.
Jug has smooth finish of Early jasperware.
Jug has no damage and looks like has been kept as showpiece without actually using it.

Bottom has only manufacturer’s impressed number mark
Approx. 23 centimeters height, 17 centimeters in diameter at the widest and 25 centimeters at the widest including handle

Wedgwood’s Jasperware, in more or less continuous production from the 1770s to the present day, is so characteristic of the factory’s output that to many people it is known simply as Wedgwood.

Jasperware, in full production for more than 200 years, provides a rich field for the collector. Although 18th century pieces tend to be prohibitively priced, and are rarely encountered outside auction rooms, a great many attractive 19th century pieces can be found in antiques shops and at good quality antiques fairs. You’ll find collecting jasper ware easier if you specialize in something – unusual colours, perhaps, or particular items such as medallions, candlesticks or clock cases. It largely depends on what you like, and how you want to display it. Whatever you decide on, though, make sure that any items you buy bear the impressed Wedgwood mark, that the relief moulding is crisp and clearly defined and that the surface, too, is smooth and free of wave and scouring marks. Jasper ware was much imitated from 1775 onwards, notably by William Adams of Tunstall. Turner produced very valuable and rare copies in brighter, darker blues. Much early imitation Jasper, particularly that by Adams, Turner & Co, was well-produced and the relief work finely executed. Several 19th-century potters, particularly Dudson, continued to sincerely flatter Wedgwood in this way.

Almost all Wedgwood products are marked, but marks can be a trap for the unwary. Imitations of the the impressed Wedgwood mark, slightly varied to keep within the law, were rife. William Smith, for instance, marked his wares as either Wedgwood or Wedgwood. Any mark including an initial or the words ‘& Co’ or ‘Ltd’ isn’t genuine. It’s not always easy to tell early jasper from later work. Early jasper had a smooth finish, though small firing cracks can sometimes be found on larger items. The popular sky blue colour is much darker in items dating from the 1800s.

5 February

Old iron toys bring in the gold

Iron toys made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are so interesting and attractive that they are collected today to be displayed as decorative objects on a shelf. Some toys depict a character from a long-forgotten cartoon or book, or a legend that children of olden times knew but we do not.

Why is a walking toy marked “Yellow Kid”? Because one of America’s first Sunday newspaper comic strips featured a character called the Yellow Kid. Why does a mechanical bank show a man trying to shoot a bear cub? It’s telling the story of President Teddy Roosevelt, who went hunting but did not kill a cornered bear and was praised by newspapers.

But why do so many toys show monkeys driving cars or tricycles or riding on other animals? Was there a famous circus act featuring talented monkeys? No one is sure, but old monkey toys are popular. In September, a cast-iron toy in very good condition made by Hubley Manufacturing Co., a famous Pennsylvania toymaker (1894-1965), auctioned for $1,948. It sold at one of the four Bertoia auctions held so far of the famous Donald Kaufman collection of toys. Perhaps the fame of the collection added to the value of the toy. Who owned a toy often can affect its value.

4 February

Antiques is it Real or Fake?

One of the questions most asked by customers is how can you tell the difference between a real antique and a fake? In other words, how do you know that something is authentic? Sometimes even the experts can be fooled. Yet there’s no easy answer to this question. So here are some pointers to keep in mind when buying antiques.

The main thing to know is that most pieces are not “period” pieces. A period piece refers to something that was made during a particular historical period. For instance, a George III table made between 1765 and 1800 is considered a period piece. It was made during the reign of George III (although George reined until about 1820). If you purchase a George III table made in 1900, than it’s considered a George III style table-in other words, not made during that specific period.

One popular type of furniture is the Jacobean style. Walk into any antique mall, and you can find several dining room sets in this style. So often something is described as Jacobean, when in fact it’s clearly Jacobean style. A period Jacobean dining room set would have been made during the reign of James I, 1603-1625. Many Jacobean style dining room sets were made in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s and even during the 1960’s-all Jacobean style.

Well then, what is the difference between something made in the style of and a fake? Is a non-period piece a fake? The answer is no. Fakes are copies of the original intended to deceive the buyer. Something that is labeled “style” lets you know that it’s not a period piece, but is just made in the same style as the original piece of that historical period. As a buyer, you need to educate yourself on spotting the signs of a fake. Looking at things like oxidation, new paint, the wrong finish, just to name a few, would let you know if the piece is real or fake.

One area that’s filled with fakes is the art world. If you’re going to spend big money on art or even a little money, the motto is “buyer beware.” If an artist paints an oil painting and signs it “Picasso” when he clearly is not Picasso, the painting is considered a fake. Having said that, there are many wonderful reproductions purchased by knowing buyers who can’t afford a real Picasso and settle for something else. This would make it a reproduction, not a fake. There’s nothing wrong with reproductions as long as you know what you’re getting and it’s represented as such.

There is a wealth of information on the topic of fake vs. real, but the more you educate yourself, the less likely you’ll get fooled. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when purchasing an antique. A good antiques dealer will be thrilled to provide you with as much information as possible. Being able to spot fakes is an ongoing process and happens over time, so be patient and don’t forget to have fun in the process.

4 February

Ming vase will make retired factory worker wealthy

Dream that came true for a 79-year-old British retired worker from the Cadbury chocolate factory, who recently walked into an auction house with a near-perfect Ming vase in a cardboard box. It’s unknown how the man, who wanted the press to refrain from publishing his name, came into possession of the rare vase, but staffers at Duke’s the Dorchester auction house that took it in was were astounded by the spectacular find. The vase is in perfect condition, and it is amazing to think that it has survived unscathed for almost six hundred years.

The BBC reported that the vase, which stands 11.5 inches tall, is the largest ever found of a rare group of early Ming “moonflasks” whose production dates somewhere between the years 1403 and 1424. That means it was manufactured during the reign of an emperor named Yongle; its distinctive features – such as the small loop handles – appear to be influenced by Islamic design.

Because the vase originates from China but shows the influence of Middle Eastern craftsmanship, auctioneers at Duke’s expect the vase to draw the bids of wealthy collectors from both Asian and the Arab worlds. The auction is scheduled for May, and the item is expected to fetch at least a million pounds, or roughly $1.6 million U.S. dollars.

2 February

Priceless antique two Lord Buddha pieces recovered on India – Nepal border

Five priceless antique idols, including two Lord Buddha pieces were recovered by the police ahead of their smuggling to Nepal. Police on a tip off raided a house at Buraganj under Khoribari police station of Darjeeling district and seized those idols- three of Hindu god and goddesses and two of Lord Buddha.

However, there had been no arrest in the raid. Smugglers are suspected to use the route from north Bengal to smuggle antique idols to Nepal through Siliguri border. Unauthorised dealing in antiques is banned under the Antiquity and Art Treasure Act (AATA). Under the Act, no object more than 100 years old can be taken out of the country without permission.

2 February

Do not age the wine. Drink it!

Many of you may have received a special bottle of wine during the holidays. Perhaps the bottle is a 1985 vintage French wine whose label is adorned with a fancy château on the label.

The single most frequently asked wine question is When a wine should be consumed?.

Wine is a living thing and no one really doesn’t know how a wine has aged until it is opened. So, why the concern about wine aging is so prevalent. Perhaps it is due to the “Antiques Road Show Syndrome,” where holders of would-be valuable antiques learn their possessions would have been worth a gazillions. Wine lovers armed with the misguided notion that wines improve with age and become more valuable hold wines needlessly, assuming they will appreciate like unmolested antiques brought to the Road Show.

If interested in collecting showy bottles, then hold onto them. But if interested in enjoying the contents of the bottle, think again. The longer a wine is held, the more unpalatable it is likely to become, with the exception of some fortified wines like Port and some sweet wines like sauternes.

Consider pricey red wines. These wines go through aging in both French oak barrels and bottle before release. If consumed immediately upon release, they are perfectly sound wines, dark garnet red in color, very fruity, with a tannic grip to them. Properly stored, five years out these wines will still be dark garnet red, fruity, but perhaps a bit less tannic, with fruit and tannin more in balance. Ten years out, the wine might take on a brick color around the edge, it might not be as fruity and it might seem more tannic, because fruit flavors are declining.

What would be the optimum time to drink this wine?

If you answered five years out, go to the head of the class. At least 90 percent of today’s wines are made for immediate consumption. Some may last a few years, but they do not generally improve with age. Wine company websites share opinions about a wine’s ability to age. Wine publication vintage charts offer further guidance about optimum aging. But in some instances, holding a wine for its full projected life span may result in your being disappointed.

If in doubt about when to consume a wine, open it as soon as possible, especially if this is a brand seen regularly in your grocer’s wine section. For expensive California cabernets and blends, the maximum time for holding is 10 years, although many wines will have projected longer lives. The length of time a wine will age is not the same thing as the optimum consumption date. Lighter red wines like pinot noir, have shorter lifespan than cabernet-based wines. High-powered, big zinfandels do not have the longevity of well-made cabernets.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t age white wines. Drink them while they are fresh and young.  This includes wines made from chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris and other popular white varieties.

2 February

Increased interest in antique medical memorabilia

Though too gruesome for some tastes, there is nevertheless a growing interest in collecting antique medical memorabilia. One reason may be the abundance of medical procedures being shown on television, catering to a new generation of armchair surgeons. The most popular period for collectors is the second half of the 19th century, which saw the start of modern medical practices, including the introduction of anesthetics.
The medical instruments used at this time are surprisingly common and steadily appreciating in value. Beautifully made, they were expensive in their day and aesthetically pleasing, with the use of carved wood and ivory as well as steel. Collectors see them as works of art.

Instruments in demand range from simple scalpels and syringes to rarities such as surgical saws that will make your spine tingle. A 19th-century hand-operated chainsaw can fetch more than $20,000 on the secondary market. Old medical texts and illustrations are also very collectable, some worth several thousands of dollars each. Specialist medical auctions are held in Britain and the US and items of interest sometimes appear here, although less frequently than they do overseas. Lawsons and Bonhams have included medical memorabilia in auctions in recent times. Online sites such as eBay are now an increasingly popular source for Australian collectors.

Among the most desirable items are microscopes, especially those made by the London company Powell & Lealand. Some date to 1750. Those from the mid-19th century are more common and generally fetch about $2500, although some have sold online for $5000. You can add a few thousand dollars to the value if one comes in the original box with a range of accessories such as spare eyepieces. Another popular segment is bloodletting instruments. An early scarifying kit, including glass cups and a syringe, is usually valued from $1000 to $2000, depending on condition and completeness.
Portable medical kits are also interesting. Ship’s surgeon’s kits are especially desirable. Pharmaceutical collectors tend to be a separate category, although most medical collectors like a few jars on their shelves. The labels tell their own tales, with strychnine and arsenic both used for medicinal purposes at one time. Apothecary jars made from blue glass are the most precious, ranging in value from $100 to a few thousand dollars for the most elaborate examples.

2 February

Locket with a lock of Lord Nelson’s hair sold for £44,000

A Salisbury auction room has reported that a gold locket estimated to be worth £5,000 went under the hammer for £44,000 at a jewellery sale on 26th January. It had a provenance which linked it to Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, containing two locks of hair purportedly belonging to the famous lovers.

The provincial auctioneers Woolley and Wallis may have seen modest returns on their sales of antique desks – but they are hardly likely to be complaining. The locket was the most sensational find in a highly successful sale, in which several items sold for well above their estimated price, often reaching five figures.

Nelson memorabilia seems to be popping up all over the place at the moment. Last year, a silver desk set purported to be a gift from Lady Hamilton to Lord Nelson was discovered on an Antiques Roadshow program, valued at £8,000. It will probably sell for far more at auction, judging by the excitement the locket caused.

People buying antique desks at Lancashire auctions are often amazed at the prices of gold jewellery lots. While this is often down to “melt down” value, this was certainly not the case with the Nelson locket, which after furious bidding from phone buyers was finally sold to a London jeweller on behalf of a customer. It was discovered in the antique cabinet of a Portsmouth house, by an Australian couple who inherited the property.

In Lancashire, antique desks can often turn out to harbour treasure trove, especially when inherited. Preston antique dealers will always give you an honest valuation – or pass you on to a jeweller, if appropriate.

1 February

Exhibition of Teapots At Morris Museum

Morristown, N.J. (USA) From teapots to tea leaf readings, the Morris Museum will explore the world of tea this winter. More than 150 teapots from the collection of Mendham, N.J., resident Dr Unjeria C. Jackson, are on view through April 3, ranging from classic Chinese styles to elegant Victorian designs, to sleek contemporary versions in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials. Organized into seven sections, the exhibition features fine china, porcelain and stoneware, blue and white and white with accents of gold and silver, metal, musical and whimsical, miniatures and contemporary hand-crafted pieces.

Jackson began collecting teapots in 1994 when she was buying antique furniture for her home. Her collection has since expanded to more than 1,400 teapots. “Teapots by Design” at the Morris Museum represents the first time Dr Jackson’s teapots have been publicly exhibited.  Jackson is the author of the book Teapots by Design: A Collectors’ Catalogue (Schiffer Publishing, 2006), which includes 450 teapots from her collection, and for which she took all of the photographs.

An avid tea drinker, she uses many of the pots in her collection for brewing tea, although some are decorative works of art not intended for use. Jackson grew up in a family of tea drinkers in New Orleans, a city renowned for its signature blend of coffee with chicory.

The Morris Museum is at 6 Normandy Heights Road. For information, 973-971-3700 or http://www.morrismuseum.org .

1 February

The race of antique cars halted by runaway crowd

A  classic car race in Havana’s Hemingway Marina had to be stopped Sunday when overly enthusiastic spectators spilled onto the track. The race, for cars built as far back as the 1940s, was organized by the Union of Antique Auto and Motorcycle Clubs of Cuba. About 30 vehicles had signed up to compete.

The only events completed before the interruption were the controlled 400-meter starts by four- and six-cylinder cars built before 1981. The track had no safety barriers for the crowds.

The winner in the four-cylinder category was a Fiat 125; in the six-cylinder category, a 1954 Ford. The interruption prevented eight-cylinder and modified cars from competing. Modified cars are antiques with improved engines.

The first car race in Cuba took place in 1903, EFE points out. Five vehicles competed then, racing between the Havana barrios of Guanajay and La Lisa.

1 February

New Utah Law Requiring Fingerprinting anyone selling any used merchandise

The act that makes pawn shops, jewelry stores and coin dealers collect fingerprints and catalog every item is being extended to used record, rare book and antique stores. Each violation could cost $500. Will legislation kill Utah’s secondhand business?

Owners of secondhand bookshops, used CD stores and antique shops in Utah say a board of pawnshop owners and law enforcement officials has been trying to use the state legislature to drive them out of business, and they’re sick of it.

Pawn Shop and Second Hand Merchandise Advisory Board, has been advocating for expansion of Utah’s Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Transmission Information Act since it was passed in 2005. The board includes representatives from the Utah Chiefs of Police Association, the Utah Sheriff’s Association, the Statewide Association of Prosecutors, three pawnshop owners, a used game store owner, a jewelry collector and a used record store owner.

The secondhand merchandise act required pawn shops, and then jewelry stores and coin dealers and most recently, used record and CD shops, to fingerprint every individual who sells them any used merchandise, then catalog each item, down to each earring and compact disc, and then enter information into the state’s pawn shop database every day.

Each violation of the act – every fingerprint or item not recorded and uploaded on a daily basis – could result in a $500 fine. The act exempts items sold on eBay, Craigslist and other electronic forums.

According to a representative of the pawn industry on the board, the act’s purpose is to cut down on property crimes, about 90 percent of which, he says, are drug related. Addicts who “punch in a car window” to steal CDs, radios and other valuable items, he says, will usually take them to nearby businesses to get quick cash for a fix. However, he discounts the idea that criminals would make the effort to sell merchandise online.

31 January

Display antiques in the right place

One of the biggest investments that you probably have made, other than your home, is the objects that decorate your home. The works of art and furniture in your home are valuable objects and protecting them is just as important as protecting any other asset. The single most common way to ruin a work of art or damage an antique treasure is to display or store that piece in the wrong place.

Don’t display precious objects in rooms that trap or retain heat. The first room that comes to mind is the attic. While we all try to ventilate attic spaces as best we can, they typically trap heat and moisture. The second room that should be off limits for your art and antiques is the kitchen. Your art and antiques should be kept away from cooking areas where heat and dirt are typical guests.

When it comes to displaying art or antique furniture, the third major room that is a real “no-no” room is the bathroom. You don’t want that moisture or mold from the shower stall to get into your fine art print or carved frame.

Avoid the foyer, fireplace. You probably wouldn’t think of it but the foyer is not a good place to display art or antiques. Why? Because your front door opens and closes, day in and day out, season after season. With these changes in temperature, the stability of the foyer’s environment changes, too. Foyer, it is also not a good place to display art because it has a high ceiling and it is flooded with sunlight. Those sunshine rays can affect your work of art and/or your antique. Sun will fade your paintings and fabrics and even dry out your antique wooden bench. And, if you use your fireplace throughout the entire winter season, then a painting should not be hanging above it. Heat from a fireplace can damage a work of art, like an oil on canvas painting, beyond repair.

It’s good to hang paintings or prints in dark areas, out of direct sunlight. Don’t hang a work of art near hot reading lamps or fireplaces. Also, avoid hanging paintings or prints on walls next to windows, heating vents, air conditioners, air purifiers, or radiators. Art is typically presented on a canvas or paper support. The canvas or the paper can retain heat or moisture and adapt to the environment. This is why some paintings show signs of buckling or warping.

Learn these lessons and get to know the best places in your home to display your works of art and family heirlooms. When they are displayed properly, they will bring you years of enjoyment

31 January

Antiques Saved From Casino Wrecking Ball

In Cincinnati (USA) work will begin this week to level several acres at the northeast corner of downtown, to make way for the Cincinnati casino. But as that project moves forward, some are working to make sure the progress does not come at the expense of Cincinnati’s history.

One building that will be demolished in the 500 block of Reading Road used to be the showroom for the Wheatley Tile Company. The company was a contemporary of Rookwood Tile in the early 1900’s but is less well-known. Work crews from Wooden Nickel Antiques worked to salvage what they could of the company’s work from their old showroom.

Among the items that they saved from the wrecking ball are dozens of tiles that were part of the walls and the floor, along with several large mosaic columns. The showpiece of the old showroom was a massive wall fountain, which was also saved. The fountain is about 7 feet tall, four feet wide, and weighs about 3,500 pounds because it had to be removed along with the wall it was attached to. It took the Wooden Nickel crew four and a half days to cut the entire piece from the wall, protect it, secure it and hoist it out of the building.

Now the fountain and several other pieces sit at the Wooden Nickel downtown, but owner Michael Williams said he would like to see the fountain in a museum. Several of the smaller pieces have sold, including two of the columns that will be put in a new home. The price tag on the fountain is $30,000.

31 January

Dust might be hiding a valuable item

The new is a time to try new things that you hadn’t considered before. This can also be a time to buy or sell some of those dusty collectibles. In today’s market, antique shops, as well as consignment shops, are found nearly everywhere, and most offer you just that opportunity.

Most often, collections start as unconscious decisions. They can start with a Christmas present that includes four angels to go with the single angel that is collecting dust on your shelf. Sometimes a collection starts with something that reminds you of your childhood or a vacation; maybe you were looking for something to add a personal touch to your home. In any case, you should collect within conscious reasoning or discard what is not valuable or useful to avoid hoarding.

Those who frequent to Antique shops are not always older folks or collectors looking for that retro look. College-age kids look for items to decorate their dorm rooms, and others are looking to complete inherited family dish sets, glassware or to add to their own collections. Many see things that they remember from their grandparents’ homes Some are shopping for their own needs or for resale purposes.

Today, home magazines, websites and TV programs often influence people to look at older pieces as antiques and collectibles to use in their everyday living or as a way to make a profit. Many of the popular magazines often generate an interest in a new or different ways of decorating.

Price guides are valuable tools when it comes to learning the value of collectibles and antiques. These can be found in many bookstores and online. No matter what you collect, look for quality rather than quantity. Schoeder’s and Kovel’s price guides and other books that are specific to a particular item or maker. Much of the older pieces are hand-crafted, and most quality pieces will retain their value and many will increase in value as years go by.

30 January

Jewellery worth thousands stolen from Wymondham antiques dealer

Burglars forced their way into the Wymondham Antiques Centre, in Town Green, via the rear fire escape sometime between 4pm on January 25 and 10am the next day. They broke the locks on a cabinet of jewellery and stole 60-70 nine carat and 18 carat gold and diamond rings from inside, with a value of between £8,000 and £10,000. One of the rings alone was valued at about £2,000. The jewellery belonged to a male owner who is one of about 50 people to rent space at the centre in order to sell items such as antique jewellery and furniture. Unfortunately he has been the person who has been affected the most because he had a cabinet of nine carat and 18 carat gold rings. There were more than 50 in his cabinet and they have all gone.

The offenders also made off with a collection of Moorcroft china.

30 January

Auction sells off Ponzi-schemer’s wealth

Dickensheet & Associates auctioned items belonging to admitted Ponzi-schemer Shawn Merriman that had been seized by the U.S. Marshals Service. Merriman was convicted of scheming family, friends and fellow church members out of about $37 million, which he spent on a lavish lifestyle that included classic dirt bikes and antiques. Merriman is serving 12 1/2 years in federal prison, so his belongings were put up for auction to help compensate the victims.

The auction house was packed with buyers and spectators, with more than 1,700 registered bidders vying for everything from antique signs to a softball pitching machine. Many more came just to catch a glimpse of Merriman’s stable of cars, which included a 2006 Aston Martin as well as a vintage 1932 Ford Highboy roadster and a 1930 Lincoln Phaeton convertible.

29 January

January a time to research, organize and rearrange

If collecting was a sport and had an off-season, it would be now. Much of the action that happens in the antiques marketplace is warm-weather dependent. Yard sales and outdoor flea markets wouldn’t be too fun if you had to wade through snow. And no one wants to sit outside all day in sub-zero temperatures to attend an on-site estate auction. Sure there are online buying opportunities and year-round antique shops to keep a collector somewhat entertained, but January just isn’t the all-out treasure hunt that July can be.
So what is a collector to do this time of year? Here are a few possibilities.

Research. Make today the day you find out more about an item in your current collection – whether you are curious when it was made, where, or what its historical significance may be. Do some detective work through an online search or visit to the library. Look into contacting local experts who may be able to help you. Maybe you want to have something formally appraised. Perhaps buy a new book on your collectible of choice to increase your general knowledge. Maybe visit a local museum or art gallery just for fun.

Organize. Before buying more, assess what you already have. Make a list of all your items – in as detailed or as simple a way you like. Some possible details to record include where you bought an item and when, what you paid, what condition it’s in, and what you estimate its replacement value to be. Perhaps take pictures of all your collectibles or do a little video walking around your house. It’s always good to have a complete record should anything ever be lost or stolen.
Rearrange. If your favourite collectibles are packed away, now may be the timeto display them. Get them out of the basement and put up the shelf you’ve always wanted, or make room in the china cabinet. Sort your collectibles as you go and see if there are any pieces that you no longer want, which can be sold or given away. Decide if you still like the things you have, as tastes do change. Just because you bought it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Then after you’ve made up your mind about everything, move your items to a place where you can see them and enjoy them.

Looking at your collectibles may be just the reminder you need of all those nice sunny summer days when you bought them in the first place.

29 January

Maintenance keeps antique clocks ticking

Walk in almost any home and you’ll likely see at least one clock on a wall, on the floor or on a mantel. Often, a clock can hold sentimental value to its owner, whether it’s an antique passed down over generations or a gift that marked a special occasion. To preserve their value and keep clocks running accurately and working as they should, it’s important to have routine maintenance performed every two to four years. Routine maintenance is preventative maintenance.

So often people are led to believe that a clock can run forever with nothing being done. That’s not true with modern-day mechanics. They are precision instruments and require routine service to keep the lubrication levels up, or the bearings will wear out. The biggest mistake is neglecting to perform regular maintenance on a clock and usually because the owner didn’t know what to do.

Just a few decades ago, clock repair specialists were prevalent. However, those numbers have diminished over the years, making it difficult for clock owners to find qualified professionals.

Moving a grandfather clock or even a wall or cuckoo clock is not as simple as moving a lamp or couch. Owner responsibility has a lot to do with a clock functioning properly.
Clock repair can start at £35, though some clocks can require parts that cost several hundred to a couple of thousand pounds. However, pretty much anything windup or mechanical is repairable.

28 January

Provincial auctioneers enjoyed record turnovers in 2010

In Lancashire, the antique desks and cabinets in the windows of antique shops are as likely to have been purchased at auction as from a private seller. Provincial auctioneers have enjoyed a steady rise in popularity in recent times, with some unexpected and highly exciting sales to rival those of London. Mainly, this is down to the boom in sales of Chinese artworks, many of which are sold in country house sales. Affluent Chinese buyers have been flocking to snap up Imperial artworks, paying many times over estimated values. Vintage wines, English artworks and natural history specimens (notably rhino horn) were equally popular exports.

Furniture sales were not quite so promising. Four of the biggest provincial auction houses – Duke’s of Dorchester, Sworders of Stansted, Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury and Tennant’s of Yorkshire (just over the border from Lancashire) saw Victorian dining chairs and other brown furniture see mixed returns, though large antique desks have risen in popularity. In general, the interest in better quality “traditional chattels” is growing as people realise their value – both in financial and environmental terms.

All four sale rooms announced 2010 as their highest grossing year to date, with W & W alone achieving hammer sales in excess of £23m – though Chinese sales dominated. At Duke’s, the contents of Melplash Court achieved £3.35m, the highest amount ever recorded for a provincial “at premises” sale – again, this was largely down to the £2.5m raised from the Chinese collection.

Chinese artworks aside, the general outlook is good for buyers of better quality antique furniture, such as Victorian dining chairs and antique desks. Preston antique dealers have superb examples of both, at highly affordable prices.

28 January

Historic Middlesbrough Cathedral mosaics sold on eBay

A pair of mosaics which were on the walls of Middlesbrough’s St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral when it burned down in 2000 are being sold for thousands of pounds. The impressive mosaics are being sold by antiques firm UK Architectural Antiques Ltd and can be bought for £3,700.

The mosaics date back to the 1820s and survived the cathedral’s arson attack in 2000. They are being sold on online auction website eBay. These are two impressive mosaics and are in good condition. We are expecting a lot of interest. As they are tiled and quite old, it would take an awful lot for them to be damaged, which is why they survived the fire.

St Mary’s Cathedral, which was built between 1876 and 1878, stood in Sussex Street in St Hilda’s. Even before the fire, the future of the building was in doubt and a new cathedral in Coulby Newham had taken its place.

The mosaics were still intact on a wall after the fire and were professionally removed. This was done by boarding either side of the mosaic with thick sheets of plywood. The wall was removed, laid flat then carefully cut away.

28 January

Christie’s reports 2010 was best year in its 245-year history

The boom in sales of antiques and art in Asia was a significant factor contributing to Christie’s record-setting results in 2010. The London-based company is reporting that in 2010 its total sales worldwide increased by more than 50%, to gross $5.25 billion. Christie’s strongest category last year was Impressionist and modern art, with sales totaling $1.2 billion. Postwar and contemporary art added $959 million to overall sales figures.

Reportedly, bidders in Europe and the United States were responsible for the majority of art sales at Christie’s in 2010, but the fastest-growing region for art buyers was Asia. Purchases attributable to Asian buyers last year were double that of the previous year, coming in at $794 million.

The top-selling artwork in a 2010 Christie’s sale was Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which set a world auction record for the artist last May when it sold for $106.5 million.

28 January

Rockstar Games Go Art Deco with L.A. Noire

Set for release on May 15th on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is L.A. Noire, the latest immersive title from Rockstar Games. If you’ve had enough of stealing cars, riding horses or beating up school kids, it’s time to travel back in time to 1940s Los Angeles and take the lead role in a detective thriller…

The official site for this astonishing-looking console-only game is now live, offering interesting profiles about some of the main characters, trailers and some excellent in-game art.

Setup like a 1940s film noir detective movie (hence the name) the game features superb period detail, right down to the plaid trousers and mahogany desks, freshly build art deco structures and pistols. This looks set to be a game like no other, although there is little word yet on just how linear or open the game will turn out to be.

Rockstar have previous form for producing games featuring vast, open worlds, but with a game with a plot that follows a series of potentially linked murders there is bound to be a definite linear element. It might not be GTA: Double Indemnity but it might just be Red Dead Redemption: The Maltese Falcon.

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