• 14
    Jun

The Collector’s Minute: Empire versus Empire Revival

About once a month, we have a piece of furniture submitted by excited clients who are positive what they found is well more than 150 years old because they saw a similar one on the Internet, in an antique store or on Antiques Roadshow. Nine times out of ten, the piece in question is in […]

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  • 14
    Jun

The Many Origins of the Ubiquitous Coffee Table

I know you have one. You probably have two or more. And you’re pretty sure at least one of them is an antique. You likely think, “It belonged to Grandma, and she got it used a long time ago so it has to be an antique.” What am I talking about? That ubiquitous low-level surface […]

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  • 5
    Jun

All Covered Up: The Art and Lexicon of Upholstery

While in my shop one day, I had a phone call from an obviously agitated man. Actually it happened more than once but that’s another story. With some desperation in his voice, he wanted to know where in town he could find someone to replace all the cloth on his chairs. I calmly told him […]

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  • 4
    Jun

America’s Early Antique Stores: When did the Industry begin in Earnest in the U.S.?

Having lunch with friends from the U.K., we discussed our afternoon spent browsing through antique stores. “Why aren’t there more antiques in your antique stores?” questioned Nigel. “There aren’t enough real antiques in America” chimed in his wife Susan, “except those that are imported from Europe, of course.” “America has a thriving antiques business” I […]

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  • 4
    Jun

Rinker on Collectibles: Our Future Relies on Kids Collecting

On Saturday, May 25, 2013, Linda and I drove from Kentwood to 1350 West Randolph Street, Chicago, home of the Randolph Street Market Festival. It was the 2013 season opening day and marked the 10-year anniversary of the market. Known simply as “Randolph Street” in the trade, its promotional literature bills it as “America’s Largest […]

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  • 31
    May

A Chair by Any Other Name: How Some Sitters Got Their Monikers

There are at least three categories of furniture that are so important to us in our daily activities that they have special names. These titles describe a particular characteristic, function or purpose that goes beyond simply specifying a style. There are lots of kinds of tables—dining, game, tea, end, parlor and lamp—and there are lots […]

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  • 24
    May

Q & A with Harry Rinker: Arcade Cast Iron Farm Toy, Uncle Sam & Hitler Button

QUESTION: I own an cast iron, Arcade blue corn planter toy. I acquired it as part of a boxed lot at an auction. What is its value? – J, West Bend, Wis. ANSWER: Edward H. and Charles Morgan founded the Novelty Iron Works in Freeport, Illinois, in 1868. In 1885, Albert Baumgarten, Edward H. Morgan, […]

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  • 24
    May

Antiques Auction Forum Podcast: Repurposing with Cari Cucksey

In this week’s installment of the Antiques Auction Forum podcast, Martin Willis speaks with Cari Cucksey of HGTV’s “Cash & Cari,” whom he caught up with recently at the Brimfield Antique show. So see some of the items Cari has repurposed, visit her Repurpose Shop. Listen here: Martin Willis is Worthologist, auctioneer and director of […]

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  • 23
    May

Walking the Dog leads to an Epiphany: Antiques can be a Form of Time Travel

I was walking my dog the other morning on the property of the 1790 House, which is a fine colonial structure in Woburn, Mass., that houses an auction company’s office. The property is right next to Route 128, which is always very noisy, with a constant stream of traffic flowing north and south. The historic […]

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  • 20
    May

Q & A with Harry Rinker: Thorens Music Box, H. L. Leonard Bamboo Fly Rod

QUESTION: I have a Thorens music box and a dozen 4 ½-inch metal disc records, one of which is “A Bicycle Built for Two.” The mechanism is housed in a small wooden box. What is the value of my music box and discs? – A, Spring City, Pa. ANSWER: Herman Thorens registered the Thorens family […]

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