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  • 15
    Mar

It’s not Easy Being Green, even for Steiff’s Endearing Emerald Creations

[caption id="attachment_2511073" align="alignright" width="250"] This majorly-toothed Martian is Steiff's Gruenes Maennchen, or Little Green Man, is built much like Steiff's iconic “lulac” animals, with their long torsos and dangling limbs.[/caption] It’s easy to be thinking “green” this time of year. Spring, for us folks in the northern hemisphere is showing signs of emerging, and St. Patrick's Day—which inspires...

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  • 14
    Mar

St. Patrick’s Day: Another Excuse to Collect!

[caption id="attachment_2519307" align="aligncenter" width="555"] The traditional St. Patrick’s Day postcard, dating back to 1910, are quick to find, even online, and will set you back just a couple of dollars. They’ll feature an idealized view of Ireland, featuring scenery, shamrocks, caricatures (red hair and freckles, always) and almost cartoon-y phrases.[/caption] As an Irish person—living in Ireland—let me relay...

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  • 11
    Mar

The Test of Time – How to Tell When, Where and by Whom a Gold Watch Was Made

[caption id="attachment_2526157" align="aligncenter" width="602"] After a quick glance, a knowledgeable antique dealer would this watch as a late 18th to early 19th century English watch made by Robert Roskell of Liverpool, England, circa 1798-1840s.[/caption] Dealers and appraisers are often asked the same questions, such as “How old is it?” “Who made it?” and “What's it worth?” for example....

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  • 11
    Mar

The Postcard Time Machine: Going Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Whether we’re Irish or just Irish at heart, we all know that on March 17 we should wear something green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Our thoughts of this international celebration of everything Irish turn to green beer and parades. If you’re Irish-American, the holiday is both religious and festive, including special foods such as corned beef and...

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  • 10
    Mar

Q and A with Harry Rinker: A Cheating Gambler’s 19th Century Card Cutter

[caption id="attachment_2526139" align="aligncenter" width="605"] Collectors will pay around $1,000 for this Will & Finck of San Francisco card cutter, used by gamblers to cheat.[/caption] QUESTION: I found a Will & Finck of San Francisco card cutter in a thrift shop in the mountains of North Carolina. A card trimmer is used to alter a deck of cards if...

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  • 9
    Mar

The Perils of Improperly Storing Your Campaign Buttons

Have you just started to collect political buttons? Did your grandfather just give you his prized collection of buttons from the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy? Did you mother just hand over the women’s suffrage movement buttons worn by your great, great grandmother, who marched for the right for women to vote? Or did you just begin collecting during...

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  • 9
    Mar

A Shocking Collectible Theme: The Death House Electric Chair

[caption id="attachment_2526144" align="aligncenter" width="401"] An electric chair dating from the 1930s was up for sale on the 1stdibs.com website with a price tag of $5,200. The listing is no longer active.[/caption] When Dr. Alfred Southwick of the New York State Legislature's death penalty commission called Thomas Edison in 1887, his purpose was to get Edison's advice regarding electrocution...

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  • 8
    Mar

Kutani Ceramics: Warmth with Technical Complexity

[caption id="attachment_2489466" align="aligncenter" width="553"] A pair of sake cups with rare Tomobako by Shimizu Bizan.[/caption] Kutani ceramics didn’t appeal to me at first. They seemed a little gaudy, ornate, the opposite of the type of work I like. Until I saw a number of pieces from the Edo and Meiji period , I didn’t really understand the technical...

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  • 7
    Mar

J.K. Rowling’s chair, in which she wrote the first two Harry Potter books, to cross the auction block

[caption id="attachment_2526121" align="aligncenter" width="424"] This chair has been sold twice at auction, most recently in 2009 for 19,555 British pounds (approximately $29,117 in US currency), of which some of the proceeds benefitted the charity organization Books Abroad. For comparison, a handwritten manuscript of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” was auctioned by Sotheby's in 2007 and purchased by...

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  • 7
    Mar

The 12 Biggest Small Business Mistakes Part 1

[caption id="attachment_2526112" align="aligncenter" width="650"] No matter what you small business is—online reselling on eBay or a small brick-and-mortar antique shop—make sure you don’t make these mistakes.[/caption] “Cliff, we love your column,” I hear often. “You give lots of good advice but you dole it out piecemeal, week by week. Every once in a while, can you pull together...

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