Top 10 Worthopedia Searches for June, 2010

Several thousand pounds of antiques and collectibles loaded up and ready for shipment from Maine to Georgia.

I am late with the most viewed items from June, but with good cause.

I am laughing from the disbelief captured in a couple of the more vocal comments about the Hennessey cognac in the top items for May. I think one of the bloggers suggested I get out into the field, which is actually where I spent the month of June, doing what I like best . . . buying. I had such a good month in Maine buying that I had to buy a 16-foot “Pod” to ship from Maine back to Georgia. That in itself was a very positive experience and outcome, as I was able to get thousands of pounds of items home at less than a dollar a pound.

In regard to my buying trip to New England, there are very good deals to be had when buying in quantity, and there’s a lot of fresh merchandise on the market. For those of you still in disbelief, I have attached a picture of the Pod leaving my driveway that I will sneak past the blogmaster. I am having a special on 19th-century of steel engravings of Sherman’s march to the Sea, if anyone out there is interested. They are quite large and done in the late 1800s.

Anyway, on with WorthPoint’s top Worthopedia searches For June, 2010, and I will leave out the cognac this month, which was, once again, high on our searches list.

1799 George Washington Funeral Medal in White Metal.

1) George Washington Mourning medals: We had searches for both “white” metal and silver. There are several white metal examples in our catalog and the nicest photo being from Larry Goldberg’s auction, with a $1,000 price tag. As they note, most of these were drilled and “holed” to wear as a pendent, which was common to do with metals and coins at that period. I will make a few comments here to note there is a plethora of items made to commemorate the Washington funeral and many of the surviving items involve jewelry, exonumia, buttons, etc. Condition can cause huge swings in valuations of these items as well as other factors such as rarity and variations. There is enough material available that someone can put together a lifetime of acquiring these items although they can be very pricy. An item similar to this one recently appeared on The History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” show, which may have increased interest in Washington Mourning medals.

1957 Magnavox AW-100 Intercontinental "All-Wave All-Transistor."

2) Magnavox Transistor Radios: These radios were very well searched. Transistor radios may not sound very exciting to some, but they are widely collected around the world. Often, people are reaching back to their childhood, and there are many 40- to 60-year-olds buying these as they do not take up as much room as a radio with tubes. They became popular in the mid 1960s, with the transistor being perfected for space exploration. Magnavox transistor radios date back to the mid-1950s and we have hundreds on the site (and about 20,000 transistor radios overall). The Magnavox 1950s transistor radios on our site ran from $100 to about $1,000. I am sure if I looked at all of them that I could find some for more than $1,000. The model, working condition and such play a large factor. It is possible to still find these at garage sales with people tossing them out, not realizing the value. I was able to save my dad’s portable one from this fate, although it does need some work.

French-made four-chamber decanter.

3) Four-Chamber Decanter: These decanters, or liquor bottles, was another item in the Top 10. This is probably to decant the Hennessey’s that people bought last month. The interest was in French blown bottles in particular. Our users had an interest in the four-chamber variety and the ones you generally see are not old, but they are fun. The three four-chamber examples on our site ran from $10-$70.

Lehman Brothers Employee Ethics Cube.

4) Lehman Brothers Employee Ethics Cubes: These were researched quite often last month, but I was surprised that these were only valued at $10. This is probably because they were sold in late 2008. I would suspect they have gone up in value since then and would be good to find and hold at that price. Many corporate culture items tend to do well, and Apple has a museum around its items. (One of my favorite items is a prototype Apple store window lamps I found.) Anyway, Lehman’s has a place in American Corporate history and this item is truly a paradox unto itself.

Vintage 14 Kt Gold Otis Elevator 30-Years Service Pin.

5) Vintage Otis Elevator Pin: Generally, these small corporate pins are related to length of service. They are also very collectable and generally go for up to $100. Should there be something very rare with them, or if they have jewels, they can go for more. These were in the $15-$35 range. Note: these are another type of corporate collectible, just like the Lehman’s cubes.

WWII US Army Foxhole Trench Cigarette Lighter.

6) Army-Navy Foxhole Lighter: This is an odd item. First, I did not know they made foxhole lighters. Then, I cannot see the Navy in a foxhole, unless perhaps you were a Seabee or a Marine. I only saw one on our site and it looked early, perhaps First World War, and was made by Bowers. It sold for $35. More commonly, they can be found on the site by the name of “trench” or “rope lighter.” Bowers, by its own estimate, made 55 percent of the lighters during the Second World War in the U.S. They were made by the millions and were primarily to ignite burning rope and would not blow out. They were allegedly of high quality and worked much better than the Japanese counterpart.

Mansfield Pepsin Gum Coin-Op Vending Machine.

7) Mansfield Pepsin Gum Machine: These were popular in the first decade of the 1900s and run in the $1,000 range, with one selling for a much as $1,700.

Karastan Lanamar Kirman rug.

8) Karastan Lanamar Kirman Rug: Karastan created arguably the first high-quality, machine-made Oriental rug. This was the genius of the retailer Marshall Fields, and was done circa 1928 and exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. They caught on quickly and were a thing of beauty and were difficult to distinguish from the real thing. They also had an amazing durability and I have one in my house is in a high-traffic spot today that is 50-plus-years-old. Oriental rugs have suffered in pricing due to wall-to-wall carpeting, the economy, machine-made rugs and the unrest in that part of the world, as well as cheap Asian competition. The Karastan brand goes on, though, and these rugs price depending on size, condition and design. One can bring from $100 to $1,000 for a popular, room-sized design in good condition.

Magician’s Magic Billet Changing Ladle.

9) Magician’s Magic Ladle: This trick gives the illusion that any flat object can appear to have been changed into another flat item. It sold for $20 and had hundreds of looks.

10) Lastly, in tenth, I will group several popular, reoccurring items. It includes, yes, Hennessey, a 1916 Liberty Quarter, the 1957 Topps Mantle/Berra card and the shillelagh. They are all timeless items.

Will Seippel is the president and CEO of WorthPoint. Will has been an avid collector since 1974 and dealer of just about all things—with a emphasis on ephemera—antique since 1984.

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