If you think antique prices are high today, go back to 1886.  That's the year when Mrs. Mary Morgan's Chinese Ming Dynasty "Peachblow" colored porcelain vase sold for $18,000! The staggering price launched a number of artistic imitations like red tinted to white amberina "peach blow" art glass that is highly valued by collectors today.

  • While Barry Bond's outstanding post 35 age statistics are skyrocketing the values of his baseball card and related sports collectibles, the most valuable baseball star of them all remains Babe Ruth.  Talk about statistics, in 1921, his 2nd year with the Yankees, the Babe hit 378, batted in 171 runs, scored 152 runs, and whacked 59 home runs in 152 games.  All in a dead-ball long-fence era when 10 round trippers was considered a feat. 
  • His painting of Iris's sold for $75,000,000 in 1990. Time has treated the sensitive artist with more compassion than his own days bestowed upon him. Of the 800 works completed by Vincent Van Gogh in his short depression-wrought life, he sold only a single painting.
  • American born Country Music is now a collectible category in the world of antiques.  One of the first hit records was recorded in 1923 by moon shiner, Fiddlin' John Carson. The songs name: "The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster's Going to Crow."  Yep, that's Country!
  • Currier & Ives, the Lithographers (a type of printing process) of 19th century America, produced nearly 10 million prints on 10,000 different subjects.  Amazingly, most are rare and highly valued by collectors today.  A large folio "American Forest Scene-Maple Sugaring fetched $10,350 at auction in 1995, a representative high price for the firm's better prints.
  • While many people are aware of high values associated to late 18th century English sterling marked by the prolific firm of Hester Bateman, this fact is not so widely circulated: Hester Bateman was a woman.
  • One of the most beautiful designers of charming children figures, Berta Hummel, bore no children herself.  Berta was a nun. Impoverished and hiding in a dank basement from the dark oppression Nazi rule, she died of tuberculosis age 37.
  • Of the four precious stones mounted as jewelry, the most valuable is also by far the most common.  Only careful control of mining production and its popularity with brides and grooms maintains diamonds at market levels equaling and exceeding rubies, sapphires and emeralds.
  • The "Teddy" bear assumed his name in 1902 after rugged outdoorsman, Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a cub aides tethered to a tree to insure success on a Mississippi hunt. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew up the incident entitled "Drawing The Line in Mississippi" where it would become widely circulated in papers. The popular stuffed toy would be introduced simultaneously in America and Germany shortly thereafter. 
  • Holes commonly piercing the lower socket area on early solid stem brass candlesticks are called "economy" holes.  They were drilled so that our prudent forefathers could poke out of candle wax stubs for remelting.
  • Perhaps the first kind of camera was called an "obscura."  It was a lighted projection device that cast an image onto wall-mounted paper that was then traced by a professional artist while the sitter, hopefully, did not move too much.
  • How to know you are approaching antique status: If you can remember opening a can of beer or soda with a pointed end can opener.  Remember how common such openers once were?
  • A mint condition 1974 first edition of Steven King's first book, "Carrie" can fetch upwards of $1500 to collectors.  And no one will "laugh at you" for asking such a price.

Printer Benjamin Franklin, used real leaves to make, hard to reproduce, impressions on Colonial currency he produced for the state of Pennsylvania.  Of all his accomplishments including statesman, soldier, writer, revolutionary hero and inventor, Franklin was most proud of his success as a printer. As Franklin once said, "Write things worth reading or do things worth the writing."

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Wayne Mattox Antiques | 82 Main Street North | Woodbury, CT 06798 | 203-263-2899 | wayne@antiquetalk.com
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