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  • 7
    Jul

Chinese Auction Houses: More Than Just Culture Shock!

The mad scramble by Western entrepreneurs and businessmen to “get into the China market” leaves visible scorch marks across the globe that are probably so pronounced they can be seen from outer space. But the Chinese didn’t build the Great Wall for nothing—the Middle Kingdom has always been insular and, in many ways, still is. Despite the fact...

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  • 6
    Jul

Read My Lips… There’s Treasure in Your Back Yard!

Almost any time I mention to someone that I dig for antique bottles, the first words out of their mouths is something along the lines of: “… you’re kidding! Well, as a matter of fact, one time we were digging a hole for a new water pipe behind our house and the back hoe started pulling up all...

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  • 6
    Jul

What Makes Antique Furniture Valuable? The Four-Part Test

How many times have you read the report of an auction somewhere and the price quoted on some article just didn’t seem reasonable; either way too high or way too low? Or have you walked into a shop or show and asked yourself, “where do they get off asking that kind of money for that stuff?” What determines...

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  • 2
    Jul

Postcard Time Machine: Collecting America’s Roadside Attractions

One of the best reasons to travel America’s highways and byways is to see things we can’t see anywhere else. Sometimes we’re driving long distances to visit relatives; sometimes for work, and, when we’re lucky, we’re on vacation, motoring to an enjoyable destination. As the Independence Day holiday is fast approaching, and many Americans will be traveling more...

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  • 1
    Jul

Taking the Vex out of Vexillology: Correcting Five Myths about the U.S. National Flag

Countries around the world have routinely changed their flag colors or designs to correspond to political upheaval, independence or because, well, they just can. No country’s flag, however, has undergone more changes over its history than that of the United States of America. The reason? Stars were added to the flag every time a new state was officially...

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  • 29
    Jun

Razor-Sharp and Designed for War—Traditional Japanese Swords

Japanese swords are fearsome weapons. In a day and age when firepower is the norm, it is startling to be in the same room the first time with a piece of steel that is as sharp as a razor and designed for war. Sword Periods The grouping of Japanese swords is broadly divided into five periods. Koto, made...

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  • 29
    Jun

Stinky Stuff: Get Rid of Old Furniture Smells

One of the nice aspects of collecting older and antique furniture is the link to the past that each piece inevitably represents. If we could only see all the places it had been and meet some of the people who had used/abused it. What historical events has it witnessed? Did it hear the radio report about Pearl Harbor...

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  • 24
    Jun

Antique, Vintage Society Silk Embroidery—Painting with a Needle and Thread

More than a century ago, women created amazing works of art with a needle and silk thread. Known as society silk embroidery, the luster and smoothness of the silk thread in these pieces, combined with the expert shading and mixing of stitches, created realistic florals and botanicals that, in some cases, rival painted pictures. Dating to the mid-1800s,...

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  • 24
    Jun

Apples to Apples: Comparing Genuine Chinese Export Silver to Fakes and Phonies

There is a cartoon that has been circulating in China that features two men and four baskets of apples. On each basket is the Apple computer company logo. One man asks the other: “Buddy, are you authorized to sell Apple?” to which the other replies “Authorized?” The reason behind this cartoon is that Chinese authorities have discovered and...

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  • 23
    Jun

The Great Restoration Debate: Should You Rebind or Recover Your Collectible Books?

Book restoration can make a damaged book look much better, but it is expensive. Restoration is a sound decision for a family heirloom, like an 18th-century bible filled with generations of genealogical information, and it can improve the shelf appeal and durability of a treasured keepsake. But the investment requires a closer look at collectibles books that might...

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