New York City silver manufacturer Wood & Hughes crafted this coin silver game tureen in the mid-1800s. It sold for $10,000 at Cowan's Auctions in October 2007. Image courtesy Cowan's Auctions Inc.

Cowan’s Corner: 19th-Century Silver

New York City silver manufacturer Wood & Hughes crafted this coin silver game tureen in the mid-1800s. It sold for $10,000 at Cowan's Auctions in October 2007. Image courtesy Cowan's Auctions Inc.

New York City silver manufacturer Wood & Hughes crafted this coin silver game tureen in the mid-1800s. It sold for $10,000 at Cowan’s Auctions in October 2007. Image courtesy Cowan’s Auctions Inc.

An area of the antique collectors’ market that has enjoyed a quiet surge of interest is silver. Though today’s June bride avoids sterling, this romantic precious metal is an investment, especially silver from particular manufacturers and of a particular style period.

Serious collectors have long scoured the market for hollowware, such as teapots, bowls, pitchers and trays. Consequently, new collectors may wish to start with flatware, keeping an eye out for great serving pieces.

The most collectible style in silver at the moment comes from the Aesthetic Movement, the 19th-century period between 1870 and 1890 that was characterized by a reaction against the excesses of revival styles – the Rococo, the Renaissance, Gothic and Classical revivals. The period was marked by an attempt to return to purer values and artistic tastes – tastes to be enjoyed by the masses, not just the well to do. Read more

Darwin 1st edition a natural selection at auction, earns $60,000

LONDON (AP) – A first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species book sold for about 40,000 pounds ($60,000) Thursday at an auction conducted by Keys.

Hamish Riley-Smith, a local book dealer, bought the work, which was still in its original embossed green binding, said Keys auctioneer Andrew Bullock.

Written for a lay audience, On the Origin of Species outlined Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which in turn provided the foundation for the modern understanding of evolution.

Keys, a Norwich, England-based auction house, said the book was one of 1,250 copies first printed in 1859.

This is a bumper year for Darwin fans, who are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the scientific luminary’s birth. Celebrations earlier this year included a landmark exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum, prayers at Darwin’s tomb in Westminster Abbey, and a host of parties, lectures and exhibits around the world.

The 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species is Nov. 24.
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On the Net:

Darwin’s Collected Works: http://darwin-online.org.uk/

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AP-ES-04-30-09 1138EDT