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Antiques Considered - February 3, 2010

Over the many years that I have participated in appraisers’ fairs, I have seen many memorable antiques and collectibles.  At the recent Saint Clement’s Island museum fair a lady came with one of the finest pieces of American Indian pottery I have seen. Her story that went with it was equally captivating.

Read more: Antiques Considered - February 3, 2010

Antiques Considered - January 27, 2010


This past Saturday we spent the day at the Saint Clement’s Island Museum at Colton’s Point in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland at the annual Appraisers’ Fair.  This year marked the 10th anniversary of the museum’s sponsorship of the event, and thus far I have attended all 10.  I was happy to see many of the regulars I have gotten to know over the years, which included those who journeyed across the Potomac from the Northern Neck.
The breadth of fine items that the attendees brought for us to examine was perhaps the finest ever, and the stories often were riveting.  The first lady came with a magnificent Steuben bowl, for which she had paid $1 for at a yard sale several months ago.  It was particularly fine, and worth $450.

Read more: Antiques Considered - January 27, 2010

Antiques Considered - January 20, 2010

Last month I wrote about a pair of Staffordshire lions. That column caught the eye of a reader, who now asks about his small Staffordshire "vase" (quotation marks are mine). His wife inherited the piece from a friend of her mother, but she does not know about its origin, and it bears no maker's mark. It is in perfect condition.
This piece is not really a vase, but rather a spill holder. It served a decorative and utilitarian purpose in the days before matches appeared on the scene. In the evenings couples would sit by the fire and twist pieces of paper, usually newspaper, into small rods, called spills, which they would store in this container. They were about six to eight inches long.
The spill would be used for carrying the fire from the fireplace to candles to illuminate the passage from the sitting room to the bedrooms. The spill played an important part in the daily ritual of going to bed. Its use was both an English and an American custom. Here in this county, glass spill holders were quite common as well.
With the advent of the match, items such as this one could be used for flowers, but principally they became purely decorative. This dates form the early 19th century, and is a good example of the genre. Staffordshire, as I noted last month, was the host to a major industry because the clay deposits there made for good molds into which plaster of Paris could be baked.

Read more: Antiques Considered - January 20, 2010

Antiques Considered - December, 30, 2009

 

A writer from the lower Northern Neck inherited the celery vase that is third from the right from his mother.  Later he found other examples and now has a collection of fifteen pieces, which he displays in an antique cabinet.  He paid very little for any one, and thinks his mother paid about $3 for the original one in the collection.

Read more: Antiques Considered - December, 30, 2009

Antiques Considered - December 16, 2009

This week we have some interesting sterling silver pieces from a family in the lower Northern Neck.  The owner apologizes that they need polishing, and asks about the markings.  The tumblers read "Sterling 950", and the water pitcher simply states "Sterling."  The tumblers are six inches high, and the pitcher 7 & ½ inches.
    All of these pieces are mid-twentieth century.  The water pitcher is American and the tumblers are Japanese.  Whenever one sees the "950" in the hallmark, the piece is Japanese.  In this case the tumblers probably come from the early post-war period, and were made for the American market.  The inscription being in English makes that point very clearly.

Read more: Antiques Considered - December 16, 2009

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