Image courtesy USPS.com

Pop-culture themes in 2008 USPS collectible stamp releases

Image courtesy USPS.com

Image courtesy USPS.com

WASHINGTON (AP) – Lucy and Ethel lose their struggle with a chocolate assembly line. Joe Friday demands “just the facts” with a penetrating gaze. A secret word brings Groucho a visit from a duck.

Folks who grew up as television came of age will delight in a 20-stamp set included in the Postal Service’s plans for 2009 recalling early memories of the medium.

Besides commemorating black-and-white TV, the service’s 2009 postage stamp program ranges from commemorating President Abraham Lincoln to the Thanksgiving Day parade, civil rights pioneers, actor Gary Cooper, poet Edgar Allan Poe, Supreme Court justices and Alaska and Hawaii statehood.

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Statue stolen from Madoff home in Palm Beach

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Authorities say he took billions from investors, and now someone has taken a statue from him.

Palm Beach police are investigating the disappearance of a $10,000 copper sculpture of two seated lifeguards from the multimillion-dollar home of disgraced investment guru Bernard Madoff.

Police spokeswoman Janet Kinsella said Tuesday a housekeeper reported the statue missing Dec. 22.

 

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Jansen Art Deco eglomise mirrored table. Photo courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/S&S Auction Inc.

Art Deco furniture, always popular, experiencing a revival

Jansen Art Deco eglomise mirrored table. Photo courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/S&S Auction Inc.

Jansen Art Deco eglomise mirrored table. Photo courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/S&S Auction Inc.

Art Deco was one of the shortest-lived design periods in history. All about sensational, freewheeling modern living and daring new designs, Deco was hit hard by the looming World War II. It was time to pack up the Charleston records, put away glamorous accoutrements and face harsh reality.

But the style never seems to go quietly, or for long.

The reason Art Deco furniture is popular again now is easy to figure, said James Caughman, senior marketing director for Chicago-based Baker Furniture, part of the Kohler Interiors Group. Read more

Reward offered for stolen Alamo cannonball

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – A $5,000 reward is being offered for the return of a historic cannonball that belonged to Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana.

The priceless artifact was stolen Sunday night or Monday morning from a display case at the Fairmount Hotel in San Antonio, where it had been kept for 23 years.

The cannonball, from the Battle of the Alamo, has been dated to 1836 and linked to Santa Ana’s army. Santa Ana was in charge of Mexican soldiers who stormed the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

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Bankrupt auction house owes $240K to City of Jackson, Miss.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The City of Jackson may sue to recover about $240,000 in bad checks from Durham Auctions Inc.

The city council this week authorized the lawsuit after it was told checks from Durham Auctions for two August auctions bounced.

Durham Auctions has shut its doors. It filed in November for bankruptcy, citing $18 million in debts.

Some lawsuits already have been filed against the company and its owners, Don Durham and his son, James Durham.
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Egypt charges Australian teacher with smuggling animal mummies

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – An Australian teacher who allegedly stuffed his luggage with 2,000-year old animal mummies and religious figurines wrapped as gifts was arrested Wednesday and charged with smuggling antiquities, an Egyptian airport security official said.

The 61-year teacher was heading to Thailand when a security official became suspicious of the wrapped figurines that were placed amid souvenir ceramic pots in his suitcase.

When security officials opened the case, they found two mummies of a cat and an ibis, a long-beaked bird, both dating back to 300 B.C. The confiscated collection also included 19 figurines of the revered ancient Egyptian gods of Horus and Thoth, wrapped as gifts. Horus is a falcon-headed god, who represented the greatest cosmic powers for ancient Egyptians. Thoth is believed to have given the Egyptians the gift of hieroglyphic writing.

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A rare and important circa-1850 molded-copper fireman weathervane made for the Union Fire Hall, now Charley Rouss Fire Company, in Winchester, Va. Height: 73 inches. Photo courtesy Dustin Bowers.

‘Old Jake’ fireman weathervane could ignite a bidding war at Sotheby’s

A rare and important circa-1850 molded-copper fireman weathervane made for the Union Fire Hall, now Charley Rouss Fire Company, in Winchester, Va. Height: 73 inches. Photo courtesy Dustin Bowers.

A rare and important circa-1850 molded-copper fireman weathervane made for the Union Fire Hall, now Charley Rouss Fire Company, in Winchester, Va. Height: 73 inches. Photo courtesy Dustin Bowers.

NEW YORK – On Jan. 24, 2009 Sotheby’s will auction what is perhaps the earliest and most valuable weathervane to appear on the auction market in recent history. The circa-1850 molded-copper fireman “Old Jake” weathervane was made for the Union Fire Hall, now Charley Rouss Fire Company, Winchester, Va., and dates to around 1850. It is expected to bring $3 million to $5 million in Sotheby’s sale of Important Americana.

“Old Jake,” as the weathervane has long been called, is unprecedented in its quality, form, and scale, measuring over 6 feet high and 6 feet wide, and has topped the Charley Rouss Fire Company since just after the Civil War. After almost 140 years above the Winchester skyline, the weathervane is being sold to raise funds for new fire equipment and the potential construction of a new firehouse.

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Economy blamed for cancellation of New York Asian Art Fair

NEW YORK (ACNI) – The International Asian Art Fair, which was to have taken place March 11-15 at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, has been called off. The event’s promoters, London-based Brian and Anna Haughton cited the current economic slump as the reason for the cancellation.

An announcement on the Haughtons’ Web site states: “Due to the present global economic situation we have regrettably taken the decision to cancel The International Asian Art Fair for 2009 … Many of the dealers who had contracted to take part are not in a position to go forward in the current climate, and as such we have decided a fair would put an untenable strain on their resources.”

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This champagne glass was sold by Garth's Auctions in Delaware, Ohio, for $40. It may be by a relatively unknown glassworks in Vienna in the 1920s or it may be by a similar, less important and newer company.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of Dec. 28, 2008

This champagne glass was sold by Garth's Auctions in Delaware, Ohio, for $40. It may be by a relatively unknown glassworks in Vienna in the 1920s or it may be by a similar, less important and newer company.

This champagne glass was sold by Garth’s Auctions in Delaware, Ohio, for $40. It may be by a relatively unknown glassworks in Vienna in the 1920s or it may be by a similar, less important and newer company.

Educated collectors find bargains. The more you know, the more likely you are to find a sleeper at a house sale or auction. And it is also important to handle a piece to judge weight, texture and quality. Recently a group of five blown-glass champagne glasses were offered at auction. Each glass had a transparent “globe” on the stem with a tiny colored glass bird inside. The bowl and base of the glasses had lines of color swirled in the glass. They were in the style of Bimini glass, a relatively unknown but expensive collectible glass. Fritz Lampl (1892-1955) made hand-blown glassware, often with tiny lampwork figures, at his workshop in Vienna in 1923. Lampwork is a special way of sculpting thin rods of glass heated over an open flame. It’s a method often used by today’s artists to make beads. In Vienna the Bimini factory made glasses, cocktail sticks, figures (especially ballerinas), lamps and vases. The glass was marked with paper labels. In 1938 Lampl moved to London and started the Orplid workshop that specialized in glass buttons. The company was out of business before Lampl died in 1955. Others copied his style and made similar glasses, decanters, perfume bottles, swizzle sticks and tiny animals. An expert who handles glass can tell the difference. It would be difficult to be sure in an online auction. Glass objects by Bimini are very lightweight. The shape and posture of the figures are accurate but lack details. Swirled green lines and birds are both found in glasses by Bimini and imitators. The auctioned champagnes identified only as Art Deco, not Bimini, sold for $40 each. The glass price guides show similar Bimini glasses with birds at $300 each. Were they an unrecognized bargain or were they just attractive glasses? Careful examination by a glass expert will tell.

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Billionaire pledges $30M to save troubled LA art museum

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The financially troubled Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has accepted a bailout from billionaire Eli Broad worth as much as $30 million.

In a deal to be announced Tuesday, Broad has promised to match donations to the museum’s endowment up to $15 million, and to give $15 million over five years toward exhibitions, Broad and museum board members said.

The museum – better known as MOCA – has a respected collection of works produced since 1940, but has recently suffered from severe money shortages.
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