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Antiques Considered - August 25, 2010

Today I am writing this column from the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford, Maine, sitting by a bookcase that is topped by a delightful Parian ware bust of Charles Dickens and a magnificently stuffed snowy owl.  The library was built in 1902, and reflects the grandeur of that age, and is a testament to the value the city fathers placed on education over a century ago.
Knowing that I write this item each week, a couple here has asked about their family oriental cabinet.  It is black lacquer with interesting sections of nacre, or mother-of-pearl intricately inlaid into the front.  The two doors open to reveal a number of small compartments.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 25, 2010

Antiques Considered - August 18, 2010

Last week I described a chair from the wreck of the steamboat Wawaset, and three days later I was in Boston where I attended an exhibit on one of the most famous shipwrecks in American history, namely, that of the Central America, “The Ship of Gold,” on September 12, 1857. The ship was laden with gold coins and bars from the California fields following the celebrated discovery at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 and the attendant Gold Rush the following year. In addition, 588 passengers were making the fateful journey from San Francisco to New York.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 18, 2010

Antiques Considered - August 11, 2010

This past Saturday my friend, Susan Christopher, stopped by our antiques shop to show us a chair she was taking to the Wawaset Commemoration in King George on Sunday.  It belongs to a friend of hers, from whom she got it on loan for the ceremony.

It is a typical late-nineteenth-century oak captain’s chair, and appears to have the original hand-caned seat.  I examined it very closely, and could find no evidence that the caning ever had been replaced.  The finish of the wood is original, and the chair is in pristine condition.   

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 11, 2010

Antiques Considered - August 4, 2010

A gentleman in King George has inquired about his platform rocking chair, which has been in his family for several generations.  He writes that he thinks the back is original, but that his father installed a plywood seat many years ago.  He notes that the finish appears to be original.      This chair dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.  Almost certainly, the wood is maple, and from the photographs the finish does seem to be original.  I am doubtful that the back is original.  A chair of this type should have a back and seat either of a form of hand-worked rattan or splits.  Indeed, it cries out for their restoration.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 4, 2010

Antiques Considered - July 28, 2010

Recently a young man bought this beer mug at an antique shop here in Virginia.  It is a shade of medium green, with matte finish, and has a keg or barrel shape to it.   On one side is embossed, "Happy Days Are Here Again", thereby helping us to date the piece quite accurately.  It is in excellent condition, and bears the mark,  "H" in a circle and the number 497.  
    This mug is easy to date.  The song, "Happy Days Are Here Again", was Franklin Roosevelt's theme song for his 1936 re-election campaign.  In all probability the mug was a campaign item.  From the texture and color it fits with the manufacture of Hull Pottery in the 1930s.  

Read more: Antiques Considered - July 28, 2010

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