Silver overlay on important pieces of pottery adds greatly to the value. This Rookwood vase with overlay by Gorham sold for $4,375 at a March 2014 auction held at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J.

Kovels Antiques & Collecting: Week of May 5, 2014

Silver overlay on important pieces of pottery adds greatly to the value. This Rookwood vase with overlay by Gorham sold for $4,375 at a March 2014 auction held at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J.

Silver overlay on important pieces of pottery adds greatly to the value. This Rookwood vase with overlay by Gorham sold for $4,375 at a March 2014 auction held at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio American art pottery artists often painted pictures on their vases, pitchers and other pieces. They painted bats, frogs, rabbits, birds and other animals in their natural form, as well as fantasy animals represented as well-dressed humanlike figures.

The marks on these ceramics often indicate the age, company and artist, as well as some other factory information about type of clay or glazes. What better way to suggest the origin, age and value of a piece today.

Robert Bruce Horsfall (1869-1948) was an artist at Cincinnati’s Rookwood factory in 1893 when he decorated a Standard Glaze pitcher with pictures of the Toad of Toad Hall from The Wind in the Willows, the 1908 children’s classic by Kenneth Grahame. The finished pitcher was then sent to Gorham Manufacturing Co., where it was given a silver overlay. The well-designed piece, with a complete history, sold for $4,375 at a March 2014 Rago Arts auction in Lambertville, N.J., even though it had some minor imperfections.

Q: I have a Lloyd Loom baby carriage that was bought for my dad when he was born in 1924. The inside has been re-covered, but everything else is original and is still in very good condition. It has glass porthole-type windows in the side of the hood, a wooden handle, rubber tires on the wheels and a brake. A metal tag on it reads, “Lloyd Loom Products” and “Method Patented Oct. 16, 1917.” Can you tell me approximately when it was built and the current value? It’s priceless to me because it was my dad’s.

A: Marshall B. Lloyd (1858-1927) was an inventor and manufacturer. He opened Lloyd Manufacturing Co. in Menominee, Mich., in 1907 and began making children’s wagons. In 1914 the company began making hand-woven wicker baby carriages. Then in 1917 Lloyd was granted a patent for a method of making a wicker-like material by weaving twisted brown wrapping paper around metal wires. He also invented a loom that wove the material, making the process much faster than weaving by hand. Lloyd Loom fabric is the name of the woven material. In 1919 Lloyd sold the patent for the process to a British furniture manufacturer. Your baby carriage was made between 1917, when the patent was issued, and 1924, the year your father was born. Today these carriages are not considered safe to use with a real baby, so they usually sell to doll collectors or decorators. It’s worth about $300.

Q: I have a Coca-Cola serving tray that matches those I have seen online. It’s from 1923 and pictures the “Flapper Girl.” How can I tell if it’s a reproduction or an original?

A: Coca-Cola’s early lithographed tin serving trays probably are the most desirable of Coke collectibles. An original 1923 Coca-Cola serving tray is rectangular and measures 13 1/4 inches high by 10 1/2 inches wide. It’s worth close to $400 if it’s in near-mint condition or better. Of course, most old trays aren’t near-mint, so even if yours is old, it probably won’t sell for that much. Reproductions of this tray have been made since the 1970s, some even by the Coca-Cola Co. Some reproductions are round or oval, some may be marked with phrases like “Reg. U.S. Patent Office,” and some may show a slightly altered image.

Q: I own a pair of barber scissors my father used to cut my hair when I was a boy back in the 1930s. Stamped on them is, “Vogel Bros., Chicago, Ill., E-Z Edge.” How old are they and what are they worth?

A: The Vogel family, founders of Vogel Bros., say that the company has been making cutlery for 300 years. Within the past couple of years, Vogel’s assets were sold, but family members are involved in the two companies that took over Vogel’s assets: Anvil Corp. and Wolfe Industries. Your scissors probably date from the 1920s or ’30s. E-Z Edge scissors sell online for $20 to $30.

Q: I have a wooden cigarette machine that once dispensed old packs of cigarettes, like Lucky Strike, for 15 cents. It doubles as a magazine rack. I know it was made sometime between 1929 and 1933. The label on it reads, “Howard Home Humidor, this humidor and its contents are the property of C.B. Howard Co., Inc.,” and includes an address in New York. What is its value?

A: Your coin-operated combination cigarette dispenser and magazine rack probably was used in hotel lobbies or other places where a smoker might sit down to read a magazine and have a cigarette. Although it’s called a “Home Humidor,” it’s unlikely someone would have a coin-operated cigarette dispenser in their home. C.B. Howard Co. made at least one other similar dispenser, a combination cigarette machine and end table. These date from about 1931. One sold a year ago for $300.

Tip: Be careful when cleaning bronze figurines, lamp bases, bowls, etc. Never use steel wool, stiff brushes or chemicals.

Need prices for your antiques and collectibles? Find them at Kovels.com, our website for collectors. You can find more than 900,000 prices and more than 11,000 color photographs that help you determine the value of your collectibles. Study the prices. Go to the free Price Guide at Kovels.com. The website also lists publications, clubs, appraisers, auction houses, people who sell parts or repair antiques, upcoming shows and more. Kovels.com adds to the information in this column.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Auction Central News, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

CURRENT PRICES

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

  • Whiskey jug, The Greybeard, stoneware, black transfer, 8 inches, $95.
  • Paris porcelain pitcher, white-haired woman, period attire, flowers, baluster shape, leaf handle, 9 inches, $188.
  • Party dress, Emilio Pucci, silk, navy, Lord & Taylor, circa 1964, size 14, $270.
  • Paper knife, mother-of-pearl, gilt metal, tapered, Napoleon terminal, 4 1/2 inches, $63.
  • Weller Hudson vase, white flowers, light blue ground, bulbous, loop handles, Mae Timberlake, 8 x 9 inches, $480.
  • Wool-work diorama, bird on branch, fruit, yellow, green, brown, frame, circa 1850, 13 1/2 x 18 inches, $490.
  • Coffee canister, store size, tin, roll-back lid, mirror front, painted, stenciled S.A. Ilsley & Co., Brooklyn, N.Y., circa 1890, 20 inches, $750.
  • Stickley Brothers drink table, copper top, round, tapered legs, arched apron, 18 x 28 inches, $1,375.
  • Buck Co. cook stove, Junior No. 4, nickel plating, low shelf, 22 x 16 inches, $2,015.
  • Nantucket basket purse, Jose Formoso Reyes, whalebone plaque, knobs, circa 1960, 7 x 10 inches, $2,240.

“Kovels’ A Diary: How to Settle a Collector’s Estate.” Our new week-by-week record of the settlement of an estate, from your first days gathering legal papers to the last days when you’re dividing antiques among heirs and selling everything else-even the house. How to identify pottery, jewelry and other popular collectibles. Tips on where and how to sell furniture, jewelry, dishes, figurines, record albums, bikes and even clothes. We include lots of pictures and prices and explain the advantages of a house sale, auction, selling to a dealer or donating to a charity. Learn about how to handle the special problems of security and theft. Plus a free current supplement with useful websites, auctions lists and other current information. Available only from Kovels for $19.95 plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996; online at Kovels.com; or write to Kovels, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

© 2014 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Silver overlay on important pieces of pottery adds greatly to the value. This Rookwood vase with overlay by Gorham sold for $4,375 at a March 2014 auction held at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J.

Silver overlay on important pieces of pottery adds greatly to the value. This Rookwood vase with overlay by Gorham sold for $4,375 at a March 2014 auction held at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J.

Caille double-upright slot machine combining 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six models, $90,000. Morphy Auctions image

Rare slot machine pays $90K jackpot at Morphy’s

Caille double-upright slot machine combining 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six models, $90,000. Morphy Auctions image

Caille double-upright slot machine combining 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six models, $90,000. Morphy Auctions image

DENVER, Pa. – A superb Caille double-upright floor model slot machine combining a 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six paid off handsomely at Morphy’s April 26-27 Antique Advertising & Coin Op Auction. Its richly gold-plated façade, paw feet and other embellishments made the early gambling machine the center of attention at Morphy’s $1,640,000 sale, where it garnered a winning bid of $90,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium. Internet live bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.

The auction also featured many smaller gambling, arcade and vending machines. A Mills 1-cent “Electric Treatment” machine emblazoned “For One Night Jags” and “Take a shock and look pleasant,” surpassed its high estimate at $11,400. Not quite as jolting was a quaint Chuck-O-Luck glass-dome-topped nickel dice machine. Made in 1926 by the Southern Novelty Company of Atlanta, it attracted multiple bidders who pushed it to $6,600 against a presale estimate of $600-$1,000.

A 40-year single-owner collection of more than 100 early syrup dispensers featured many scarce entries, including a circa 1910 Cherri Bon dispenser and one of very few known examples of a circa-1900 Fan-Taz 5-cent “DRINK of the FANS” dispenser in the form of a realistically “stitched” baseball. Each was bid to $31,200. Other popular syrup dispensers included Beats All and Grape Smash, which realized $20,400 each; and Chero Crush, $19,200. A vibrant, barrel-shape “Drink Orange-Julep” dispenser commanded a sweet bid of $17,400 – nearly triple its high estimate.

America’s classic soft drink, Coca-Cola, was not to be denied a place in the top 10. A framed 1911 Coke calendar in near-mint condition with a beautiful image of a “Gibson Girl” wearing an impressive flowered hat swept past its $6,000-$7,000 to settle at $17,400. An extremely rare “Hutchinson-style” Coke bottle, with a straight-sided as opposed to cabriole shape, nearly doubled its high estimate at $8,400.

An extensive collection of Orange Crush advertising included a very rare 1936 embossed-tin triangle sign. In near-mint condition, it bubbled up a winning bid of $4,500. Among the other beverage highlights was a brewery sign with regional appeal – a tin pictorial sign for York Brewing Co. Lager Beer, York, Pa. It sold for $5,400 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.

The fine array of more than 150 advertising tins was led by a Buster Brown cigar tin with an amusing image of comic strip character Buster Brown and his trusty bull terrier Tighe. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, the perennially popular container rose to $14,400. One of only a few known examples of a Sweet Violet Tobacco vertical pocket tin was estimated at $1,000-$2,000 but realized a hefty $6,600.

The Sunday session opened with Morphy’s second offering of pinball machines from the 35-year David Silverman collection, previously displayed at the National Pinball Museum. Film-related machines found favor with bidders, including a 1993 Williams “Indiana Jones” pinball that sold within estimate for $6,600. And there was cross-over interest from sports fans for a 1953 D. Gottlieb & Co. “Grand Slam” pinball machine. Described as being in 9.75 (out of 10) condition and a “really great game to play,” it surpassed expectations at $3,000.

“Once again, antique advertising showed its strength in the marketplace,” said Morphy Auctions’ president and founder Dan Morphy, after the busy two-day event. “Collectors keep coming back to our sales because they know we understand what they want – rarity and condition. Every one of our advertising auctions is different because we specialize in collections, in particular those that have been privately held for decades. You never know when a collector will decide it’s time to sell. But that’s what makes our advertising sales so exciting. They contain things that may only be available to purchase once in a buyer’s lifetime, so collectors pay close attention.”

To contact Morphy Auctions about consigning, call 717-335-3435 or email serena@morphyauctions.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog for Morphy’s April 26-27 auction, complete with prices realized, at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Caille double-upright slot machine combining 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six models, $90,000. Morphy Auctions image

Caille double-upright slot machine combining 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six models, $90,000. Morphy Auctions image

Cherri Bon syrup dispenser, $31,200. Morphy Auctions image

Cherri Bon syrup dispenser, $31,200. Morphy Auctions image

Grape Smash syrup dispenser, $20,400. Morphy Auctions image

Grape Smash syrup dispenser, $20,400. Morphy Auctions image

Beats All syrup dispenser, $20,400. Morphy Auctions image

Beats All syrup dispenser, $20,400. Morphy Auctions image

1911 Coca-Cola calendar, $17,400. Morphy Auctions image

1911 Coca-Cola calendar, $17,400. Morphy Auctions image

Sweet Violet Tobacco vertical pocket tin, $6,600. Morphy Auctions image

Sweet Violet Tobacco vertical pocket tin, $6,600. Morphy Auctions image

Buster Brown Cigar tin, $14,400. Morphy Auctions image

Buster Brown Cigar tin, $14,400. Morphy Auctions image

1993 Williams Indiana Jones pinball machine, $6,600. Morphy Auctions image

1993 Williams Indiana Jones pinball machine, $6,600. Morphy Auctions image

1926 Chuck-O-Luck nickel dice machine, $6,600. Morphy Auctions image

1926 Chuck-O-Luck nickel dice machine, $6,600. Morphy Auctions image

Mills 1-cent Electric Treatment shock machine, $11,400. Morphy Auctions image

Mills 1-cent Electric Treatment shock machine, $11,400. Morphy Auctions image

Carolina Rifle Club banner, 1869. Image courtesy Charleston Museum.

Civil War looms large in Charleston Museum flag exhibit

Carolina Rifle Club banner, 1869. Image courtesy Charleston Museum.

Carolina Rifle Club banner, 1869. Image courtesy Charleston Museum.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Dozens of flags, many never displayed in modern times, go on exhibit Monday at America’s earliest museum.

The collection of the Charleston Museum includes flags from the Civil War, which opened with the bombardment of nearby Fort Sumter. The collection spanning two centuries also features the banners of unreconstructed white Southerners who formed rifle clubs after the war as well as an unusual 42-star United States flag.

Also on display are the varied designs of Southern militia flags and a rare seven-star Stars and Bars, the first Confederate national flag, which was used for only a few months in 1861 at the time the South seceded from the Union.

“Unfurled: Flags from the Collections of the Charleston Museum” will be on display in the museum in the city’s historic district through Jan. 4 of next year.

“Most of them are in pretty fragile condition because of the nature of the flag and they have been flown outside or in battle,” said Jan Hiester, the curator of textiles at the museum.

The museum was established in 1773, three years before the Declaration of Independence, and was the first founded in the nation, said Dewey Blanton, a spokesman for the American Alliance of Museums based in Washington, D.C.

The collection’s Civil War flags have been displayed numerous times. “Some of the others we have never had an occasion to display and some are in such fragile condition we have never had the opportunity,” she said.

Now, a recently renovated textile gallery makes the display of those flags possible. Light can fade textiles over time and damage fibers. The new ventilated display cases are illuminated with LED lights that produce less heat and less ultraviolet radiation.

“When we set out to construct this gallery we consulted with a textile conservator on everything from ventilation to light,” said Grahame Long, the museum’s chief curator. “But we still don’t want to have textiles out too long. It’s not like an iron cannon ball.”

He said having the flags on display for eight months “is stretching it. You don’t want to go much farther than that.”

Some of the flags are so fragile they are displayed on mats because they can’t hang free. In storage the flags are stored rolled or in drawers away from the light.

The seven-star Stars and Bars flag is large and would have flown over a fort, not carried into battle by an infantryman. The flag was used only for a short time as the seven stars were quickly replaced with additional stars when more Southern states seceded.

The militia flags show a variety of insignia that local units used when the Civil War broke out.

“Before the war these militia units have pretty complete autonomy from the governor. They make their own flags and uniforms and they can make pretty much anything they want,” Long said.

The flag of the Carolina Rifle Club, dating to 1869, has the image of the South Carolina state symbol, the palmetto tree, and a motto in Latin proclaiming, “faithful to my unhappy country.”

The rifle clubs “were social clubs and probably hung their banners wherever they were meeting. But the underlying message was they were an armed group of whites,” Hiester said.

At the time certain rifle and saber clubs in the South were thinly disguised social clubs of whites who often would use terror tactics similar to those once used by the Ku Klux Klan against blacks.

The 42-star American flag on display was never officially adopted by the government. That’s because before it could be, Idaho joined the Union in 1890 giving the nation 43 states and the flag 43 stars.

______

On the Internet:

The Charleston Museum: http://www.charlestonmuseum.org/home

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-04-14 1326GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Carolina Rifle Club banner, 1869. Image courtesy Charleston Museum.

Carolina Rifle Club banner, 1869. Image courtesy Charleston Museum.

Brooks Artillery banner, 1861-1865. This banner was used by Col. Alfred Rhett's unit organized on the eve of the Civil War as the 1st Brigade, South Carolina Artillery. Image courtesy Charleston Museum.

Brooks Artillery banner, 1861-1865. This banner was used by Col. Alfred Rhett’s unit organized on the eve of the Civil War as the 1st Brigade, South Carolina Artillery. Image courtesy Charleston Museum.

Sue, the most complete fossil skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen ever found. Image by Connie Ma. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

T-rex named Sue returns to Black Hills on big screen

Sue, the most complete fossil skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen ever found. Image by Connie Ma. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Sue, the most complete fossil skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen ever found. Image by Connie Ma. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

HILL CITY, S.D. (AP) – A Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue has returned to the Black Hills on the big screen more than 20 years after she was unearthed.

Hill City residents lined up at the town’s high school Saturday for a screening of Dinosaur 13, which tells the story of the dinosaur caught in a complex legal battle over ownership, KOTA television reported.

The fossils were more than 90 percent complete when they were discovered by Peter Larson, the head of Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, and his team in 1990, missing only a foot, one arm and a few ribs and vertebrae.

“She was the town’s dinosaur,” Larson said. “Hill City and the community had really adopted this dinosaur.”

Sue is named after fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson, who was working with Larson on Aug. 12, 1990, when she discovered the dinosaur on a Cheyenne River Indian Reservation ranch operated by Maurice Williams. After writing Williams a check for $5,000, Larson and his staff excavated the fossils and brought them back to Hill City.

In May 1992, federal agents seized the dinosaur as evidence in a criminal case against the institute and company employees. Nearly all of the charges eventually were dropped, but Larson was sentenced to two years in federal prison on unrelated counts involving failure to report some financial matters and taking fossils from federal lands.

Meanwhile, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs stepped in and argued that the institute had no right to take Sue because the bones had been removed illegally from lands held in trust for Williams by the federal government. A judge agreed and gave custody back to Williams, who put the fossils up for auction.

Chicago’s Field Museum purchased the 67 million-year-old dinosaur at auction for $8.4 million in 1997.

“She’s still there and is visited by millions of people,” said Kristin Donnan Standard, author of Rex Appeal.

The film is set to reach Rapid City, S.D., theaters in mid-August.

“It’s a good story from beginning to end,” said Patrick Duffy, an attorney who represented Larson in the case. “And yet it still contains a lot that will surprise people. It’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of the whole story.”

___

Information from: KOTA-TV, http://www.kotatv.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-04-14 1452GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Sue, the most complete fossil skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen ever found. Image by Connie Ma. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Sue, the most complete fossil skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen ever found. Image by Connie Ma. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Elizabeth Taylor with Bob Hope at a USO show in 1986. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bulgari jewels, glamour on display at Houston museum

Elizabeth Taylor with Bob Hope at a USO show in 1986. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Elizabeth Taylor with Bob Hope at a USO show in 1986. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

HOUSTON (AP) – Richard Burton once quipped that Elizabeth Taylor knew only one Italian word: Bulgari.

The movie star collected hundreds of fabulous jewels in her lifetime, but few as grand as the Bulgari pieces from Burton, including a platinum-and-diamond necklace centered around a 65-carat Burmese cabochon sapphire, a present for her 40th birthday. It sold at auction in 2011 for $5.2 million.

The necklace is one of 150 one-of-a-kind creations from the Bulgari Heritage collection now on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in “Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces.” A section of the exhibit is devoted to Taylor’s famous pieces from the Italian jeweler.

Houstonians Lynn Wyatt and Joanne King Herring loaned their own notable necklaces for the occasion.

Herring, a longtime political donor and activist, was given the jagged and dramatic diamond sautoir necklace by her then-husband, Houston developer Robert King.

“They had it in the window at the Pierre, and every time we went to New York I’d see it and yearn for it,” she told the Houston Chronicle.” When he offered it to me, he said, ‘You can have this or the state of Rhode Island.’”

Herring said she has worn her Bulgari necklace at the White House many times, as well as with the kings of Norway and Belgium, the president of Pakistan, the queen of Saudi Arabia, and Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.

Wyatt’s necklace, made in 1975, was a gift from her husband, Oscar, and features a heart covered in alternating diamonds and blue lapis lazuli, with a giant yellow sapphire in the center.

“The necklace is the kind of thing one could wear with a ballgown or with jeans,” Wyatt said. “Houstonians appreciate anything that is beautiful and chic at the same time, and I think Bulgari encompasses both of those qualities.”

The exhibit is a blend of art, design and nature, museum president Joel Bartsch said.

“Diamonds, rubies and other gems are all natural products of the Earth. We have a fantastic collection of minerals when they come out of the ground, so this represents the other end of the spectrum,” Bartsch said. “It’s about the quality of gems, the taste in design and the science and technology of executing those designs masterfully.”

Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari (formerly Voulgaris) opened his first shop in Rome in 1884. By the 1920s, Bulgari was known for chunkier jewelry, rejecting the lightness of the Parisian school dominant in that era. When Italian design and “la dolce vita” swept the world in the 1950s, the firm’s innovative designs transformed the way jewelry was made and worn in the 20th century.

Using gemstones like emeralds, rubies and sapphires, Bulgari displayed a daring sense of color in his designs and was one of the first to use gems based on their aesthetic value rather than their intrinsic worth. Bulgari also rediscovered the ancient Roman cabochon cut, rounding off and polishing gemstones rather than cutting them into facets.

The emergence of Rome as a cinema powerhouse in the 1950s intimately connected the jeweler with the glamour of the film industry. Stars like Taylor, Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, Kirk Douglas, Anna Magnani, Peter Sellers and Audrey Hepburn were known to stop by the Via Condotti shop.

A red-carpet staple for decades, Bulgari jewelry made its way to the silver screen as well. Taylor wore her own Bulgari jewels in three films; Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren and Anita Ekberg all wore the brand onscreen.

“We focused this exhibition on glamour,” said Alberto Festa, president of Bulgari USA. “Bulgari sold and gave many pieces to stars, especially during La Dolce Vita, so we have the Elizabeth Taylor collection and other pieces that have been worn by Italian and international celebrities, as well as pieces that have been worn at the Oscars, where Bulgari has always been present on the red carpet.”

The celebrity portion of the show pairs stunning jewels with photos of stars from yesterday and today wearing them, including Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Aniston. Elizabeth Taylor’s section includes a ring that matches the show-stopping sapphire necklace and a hand mirror from the set of Cleopatra.

“We tried to replicate the love story between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, to have the feeling of being there in the 1960s when they were filming in Rome,” Festa said.

There’s also a diamond brooch given by Taylor’s fourth husband, Eddie Fisher (who sent her the bill when she left him soon after for Burton), and a gold necklace dotted with Byzantine coins that she wore in 1976 to announce her engagement to Sen. John Warner. Different styles, different suitors, but always Bulgari.

The exhibit at the Museum of Natural Science is the largest collection to date and the first show in the United States to include items from all of Bulgari’s 130-year history. The range includes a silver bracelet and necklace set made by Sotirio Bulgari between 1887 and 1890, art deco-influenced necklaces and brooches in platinum and diamonds from the 1930s and the geometric collars of the 1980s and later.

Bulgari’s penchant for taking inspiration from ancient Rome is represented by several pieces in the Monete style of the 1970s, which integrated ancient Roman coins into necklaces of gold and diamonds.

Four bracelet watches from the Serpenti collection in the 1960s update the age-old snake motif by adding a watch face inside the snake’s mouth. Also in the exhibit is a reproduction of a one-of-a-kind Serpenti belt owned by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland.

___

Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-01-14 2237GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Elizabeth Taylor with Bob Hope at a USO show in 1986. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Elizabeth Taylor with Bob Hope at a USO show in 1986. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sotheby's in New York. Image by Jim Henderson, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sotheby’s avoids fight, gives board seats to critic Dan Loeb and two allies

Sotheby's in New York. Image by Jim Henderson, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sotheby’s in New York. Image by Jim Henderson, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

NEW YORK (AFP) – Sotheby’s agreed Monday to appoint hedge fund activists Dan Loeb and two allies to its board, averting a potentially ugly proxy battle over control of the prestigious fine art auctioneer.

A day before a contentious Loeb-pushed vote cold have upended the company’s management, Sotheby’s bowed to pressure and agreed to appoint Loeb, head of the hedge fund Third Point, along with restructuring expert Harry Wilson and Olivier Reza, a renowned jeweler and former banker, to the board.

“We welcome our newest directors to the board and look forward to working with them, confident that we share the common goal of delivering the greatest value to Sotheby’s clients and shareholders,” said chief executive Bill Ruprecht.

Loeb, who last year launched a harsh attack on company management after amassing a nearly 10 percent stake, said he was “delighted.”

He pledged to work together “to unlock shareholder value by pursuing a strategy of sound capital allocation and growth while respecting the best of the company’s rich history, tradition and culture.”

Sotheby’s will expand the size of its board by three members from 12 to 15.

The conflict was set to come to a head at Tuesday’s annual meeting at Sotheby’s headquarters on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Loeb had proposed a slate of three nominees in opposition to three company-sponsored board members.

On Friday, a Delaware court rejected Third Point’s efforts to delay the annual meeting. But Sotheby’s executives had been girding for a tight vote in Tuesday’s contest, according to the decision by Donald Parsons, vice chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Sotheby's in New York. Image by Jim Henderson, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sotheby’s in New York. Image by Jim Henderson, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Barry Goldwater. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Barry Goldwater statue sparks artists’ feud

Barry Goldwater. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Barry Goldwater. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

PHOENIX (AP) – A statue of the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater that will eventually move to the U.S. Capitol is at the center of an artists’ feud.

Robert Sutz, a Scottsdale, Ariz., artist, has accused the statue’s creator of using one of his pieces for the project without giving him credit, the Arizona Republic reported.

“It’s been a very upsetting issue,” Sutz said, “but I can’t imagine much being done about it.”

According to Sutz, he loaned a plaster life mask of Goldwater that he made in 1995 to artist Deborah Copenhaver Fellows as a professional gesture. He said he was encouraged by Goldwater’s son, Michael.

“Nothing on Earth could help a sculptor to get a good likeness more than to have reference to a life mask,” Sutz said.

After viewing the sculpture in person this month, Sutz said he is sure that Copehaver Fellows borrowed from his work.

Copenhaver Fellows, of Sonoita, denied Sutz’s claim.

“I did not make a mold of his mask, nor did I need to,” Copenhaver Fellows said in a written statement to the Arizona Republic. “Making a mold of it would not have been beneficial to me, as it was life scale and my monument is life-and-one-third.”

She added that she used “literally hundreds of reference materials” to make the sculpture.

Michael Goldwater said he doesn’t think Copenhaver Fellows would have needed Sutz’s mask.

“The life mask was the same size as dad’s normal head,” Michael Goldwater said to the Arizona Republic. “The statue … is 8 feet tall, not 6 feet tall. So, it’s quite a bit larger. I am almost sure they didn’t use it as a mold.”

Goldwater, who was from Phoenix, was the 1964 Republican presidential nominee. Interest in him has been renewed with this year marking the 50th anniversary of his campaign against President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Retired from political life, Goldwater permitted Sutz to put his face in plaster bandages to make the mask. Sutz even used a pair of glasses from Goldwater for the piece.

According to Sutz, Copenhaver Fellows returned the mask to him in April 2013, but the glasses were broken. He said he was compensated only $1,000 for the two weeks’ of repairs it required. Copenhaver, meanwhile, said it was damaged during shipping and that he should have received $1,100, as entitled under FedEx insurance for artwork.

The state commissioned Copenhaver Fellows $125,000 for the statue and another $25,000 when the size had to be changed, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office said. The 8-foot-tall statue of Goldwater was unveiled March 31 at the Arizona Capitol. The statue will remain there before being relocated later in the year to the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

Goldwater died in 1998 at age 89.

___

Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-03-14 1934GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Barry Goldwater. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Barry Goldwater. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965), ‘From the Studio,’ 1954, oil on canvas, 58 x 42 inches, signed and dated. Estimate: $800,000-$1.2 million. Heritage Auctions image.

Milton Avery masterpiece featured in Heritage sale May 10

Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965), ‘From the Studio,’ 1954, oil on canvas, 58 x 42 inches, signed and dated. Estimate: $800,000-$1.2 million. Heritage Auctions image.

Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965), ‘From the Studio,’ 1954, oil on canvas, 58 x 42 inches, signed and dated. Estimate: $800,000-$1.2 million. Heritage Auctions image.

DALLAS – Milton Avery’s From the Studio, 1954, a tour-de-force from the artist’s most sophisticated and modern period, could sell for $800,000 or more in Heritage Auctions’ American Art Including Western, California and Golden Age Illustration auction May 10 in Dallas. LiveAucitoneers.com will facilitate Internet live bidding.

The genre-bridging auction celebrates the finest American artists of the last 200 years with works by Norman Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Leroy Neiman and Millard Sheets, among others.

Avery’s From the Studio, 1954, has been in the same private collection since 1959, and has been featured in numerous exhibitions across the country, including the artist’s 1960 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. “This particular piece is a reflection of Avery coming into the fullness of his career,” said Brian Roughton, managing director of fine art at Heritage. “It’s arguably the best and most important 1950s Avery to come to market.”

Andrew Wyeth’s Wash Bucket, 1962, estimated at $120,000-plus, and Jamie Wyeth’s Patridge House, Monhegan Island, Maine, 1969, estimated at $70,000-plus, embody the most exceptional hallmarks of the father’s and son’s accomplishments in the arena of American Realism. With brilliant use of light and mastery of the watercolor medium, both works elevate everyday objects into complex narratives that represent the universal intricacy of the human experience. Partridge House, Monhegan Island and Wash Bucket are being offered by a private collector to benefit a charitable foundation.

Fulfilling its goal to represent the very best of American art across all collecting categories, the auction will feature Pierrot and Columbine, a Vanity Fair magazine cover from June 1915 by Frank Xavier Leyendecker, estimated at $20,000-plus, and Norman Rockwell’s 1940 advertising illustration for Schenley’s Cream of Kentucky bourbon whiskey, estimated at $30,000-plus. “Heritage has a long history of offering works by these artists, and in an auction honoring important American art they should be,” Roughton added.

A collection of four works by Leroy Neiman is led by Roulette II, 1970, which was recently discovered hanging in an Italian restaurant in North Carolina. The work was published as a print by Knoedler in 1975 and depicts a diverse group of vibrant figures, exemplifying the artist’s fascination with social class and human behavior. Roulette II is expected to fetch more than $100,000.

“This auction truly is a who’s who of collectible American art, and you only have to look at the diversity to see why,” Roughton said. “Sanford Robinson Gifford’s A Sketch at the Camp on the La Bonté, Wyoming Territory, 1870, is a well-documented work executed in appreciation of the new terrain the artist encountered after joining an expedition into the Rocky Mountains.” The painting appears with a $40,000-plus estimate.

Among the selection of California art on offer is Millard Sheets’ Desert Spring Textures, 1967, executed a year prior to the artist’s conception of murals designed for Los Angeles City Hall. “Sheets brilliantly transfers his abilities as a muralist onto paper with his mosaic-like brushwork and grand landscape,” said Alissa Ford, director of California art at Heritage. “The sky is grand and luminous and looks as though as if it were constructed of numerous pieces of light-infused glass. It is truly a premier example of Sheets’ abilities.” The work is estimated to sell for $20,000-plus.

Leading the works by Western artists are Henry Balink’s Indians on Horseback, estimated at $15,000-plus, and Appeal to the Great Spirit, by Cyrus Edwin Dallin, estimated to sell for $30,000-plus. “Appeal to the Great Spirit is the most iconic image of the American west that Dallin crafted in bronze,” Ford said. “His treatment of this cast displays a sensitivity and empathy for the displaced Sioux tribes that was quite progressive for its day.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965), ‘From the Studio,’ 1954, oil on canvas, 58 x 42 inches, signed and dated. Estimate: $800,000-$1.2 million. Heritage Auctions image.

Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965), ‘From the Studio,’ 1954, oil on canvas, 58 x 42 inches, signed and dated. Estimate: $800,000-$1.2 million. Heritage Auctions image.

Jamie Wyeth (American, b. 1946), ‘Partridge House, Monhegan Island, Maine,’ 1969, watercolor on paper laid on board. Estimate: $70,000-$100,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Jamie Wyeth (American, b. 1946), ‘Partridge House, Monhegan Island, Maine,’ 1969, watercolor on paper laid on board. Estimate: $70,000-$100,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Frank Xavier Leyendecker (American, 1877-1924), ‘Pierrot and Columbine,’ ‘Vanity Fair’ magazine cover, June 1915, oil on board. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Frank Xavier Leyendecker (American, 1877-1924), ‘Pierrot and Columbine,’ ‘Vanity Fair’ magazine cover, June 1915, oil on board. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Leroy Neiman, (American, 1921-2012), ‘Roulette II,’ 1970, oil on Masonite, 48 x 60 inches, signed and dated. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Leroy Neiman, (American, 1921-2012), ‘Roulette II,’ 1970, oil on Masonite, 48 x 60 inches, signed and dated. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978), ‘Have You Knowing Eyes?,’ Schenley Cream of Kentucky whiskey advertisement, 1937, charcoal on paper. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978), ‘Have You Knowing Eyes?,’ Schenley Cream of Kentucky whiskey advertisement, 1937, charcoal on paper. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Andrew Newell Wyeth (American, 1917-2009), ‘Wash Bucket,’ 1962, watercolor on paper, 21-3/4 x 29-1/8 inches. Estimate: $120,000-$180,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Andrew Newell Wyeth (American, 1917-2009), ‘Wash Bucket,’ 1962, watercolor on paper, 21-3/4 x 29-1/8 inches. Estimate: $120,000-$180,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Millard Sheets (American, 1907-1989), ‘Desert Spring Textures,’ 1967, watercolor on board, 22 x 30 inches. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Heritage Auctions image.

Millard Sheets (American, 1907-1989), ‘Desert Spring Textures,’ 1967, watercolor on board, 22 x 30 inches. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Heritage Auctions image.

 

Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865), ‘Portrait of a Woman,’ oil on canvas, 33½ x 27in. Provenance: The Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, Colonial Williamsburg. Est. $8,000-$12,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

Quinn’s to auction fresh, authenticated Rodin on May 17

Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865), ‘Portrait of a Woman,’ oil on canvas, 33½ x 27in. Provenance: The Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, Colonial Williamsburg. Est. $8,000-$12,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865), ‘Portrait of a Woman,’ oil on canvas, 33½ x 27in. Provenance: The Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, Colonial Williamsburg. Est. $8,000-$12,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – A lifetime cast of Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) Le Desespoir is the distinguished headliner in Quinn’s Auction Galleries’ May 17 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction of select items from DC-area estates, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.

“Rodin is considered by many to be the father of modern sculpture, and his attention to detail was unrivaled – so much so, that early in his career, he was accused of creating castings from a human body, rather than actually carving,” said Matthew Quinn of Quinn’s Auction Galleries. “His superlative eye for detail is quite apparent in ‘Le Desespoir.’”

An all-important confirmation of authenticity was received recently from the Comite Rodin in Paris, Quinn said. “We were very anxious to hear the verdict from the Comite Rodin, as they are the ultimate authority on Rodin artworks and do not issue authentications unless they are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt. The piece we are auctioning is an authentic Rodin.”

Le Desespoir will be available for preview by appointment at Quinn’s gallery until its public preview period that runs from May 10-17. The work is estimated at $60,000 to $80,000.

“It’s not often that a Rodin lifetime cast bronze comes to the market, I was certainly taken back when we were told by the Comite Rodin that it was, indeed, cast during the artist’s life,” Quinn said.

It is believed that Rodin only created a few copies of the original Le Desespoir sculpture. Even fewer of those copies incorporate carved marble rock, as is the case with the example Quinn’s will be auctioning. “The marble rock is, in fact, part of the sculpture. That’s what made me suspect it might actually be an authentic Rodin,” Quinn said. “Later, when I met with the expert who is compiling the Rodin catalogue raisonne, he commented that it was one of the most beautiful Rodins he had seen in some time.”

A broad selection of fine paintings is entered in the May 17 auction, as well. A George W. Waters (New York, 1832-1912) painting featuring a sunset view at Morse Lake in the Adirondack Mountains is conservatively estimated at $7,000-$9,000. A similar work was auctioned recently for more than $20,000. Acclaimed artist Walter MacEwen’s classic interior scene of a woman in a red coat will be offered at $4,000-$6,000.

An Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865) folk portrait comes from the current estate of Winzola P. McLendon, who acquired the work in 1960 from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, Colonial Williamsburg. It will be offered at auction with an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.

The sale also features furnishings from around the world and dating from the late 18th century through the 1960s. Ready to illuminate a modern space, an Erik Hoglund Boda Nova Glassworks & Iron chandelier will entice bidders with its opening bid of $1,500 (est. $3,000-$5,000).

The Asian arts section of the sale will include a nice selection of Japanese netsuke, including a plump Fukura Suzume, or boxwood sparrow. The 5.5cm bird is estimated at $1,400-$1,800.

Quinn’s galleries are always brimming with activity. On Wednesday, May 14th, the company will offer 150+ decorative paintings and prints whose timeline spans more than 300 years. Each work is nicely framed.

On May 15th, Quinn’s subsidiary, Waverly Rare Books, will auction hundreds of linear feet of leather-bound volumes and top-notch 18th- and 19th-century American atlases. An exceedingly rare copy of Carey’s 1796 General Atlas is conservatively estimated at $3,000-$5,000; and a seldom-seen mid-19th-century topographical map of the road from Missouri to Oregon by Charles Preuss will open for bidding at $2,000 (est. $4,000-$6,000).

The May 17, 2014 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction featuring an authenticated Rodin will be held at 11 a.m. EST at Quinn’s Auction Galleries, located at 360 South Washington Street, Falls Church, VA 22046. All forms of bidding will be available, including live online via LiveAuctioneers.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, call 703-532-5632 or e-mail info@quinnsauction.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

#   #   #

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865), ‘Portrait of a Woman,’ oil on canvas, 33½ x 27in. Provenance: The Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, Colonial Williamsburg. Est. $8,000-$12,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

 

Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865), ‘Portrait of a Woman,’ oil on canvas, 33½ x 27in. Provenance: The Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, Colonial Williamsburg. Est. $8,000-$12,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

Erik Hoglund chandelier, circa 1960s, Boda Nova Glassworks, cast glass with Alex Stromberg Ironworks black wrought iton, est. $2,000-$3,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

 

Erik Hoglund chandelier, circa 1960s, Boda Nova Glassworks, cast glass with Alex Stromberg Ironworks black wrought iton, est. $2,000-$3,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

Japanese carved boxwood netsuke of Fukura Suzume (plump sparrow), mid-18th century. Provenance: The Humphrey Collection; Houston, Texas. Est. $1,400-$1,800. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

 

Japanese carved boxwood netsuke of Fukura Suzume (plump sparrow), mid-18th century. Provenance: The Humphrey Collection; Houston, Texas. Est. $1,400-$1,800. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917), circa 1905 lifetime casting ‘Le Desespoir’ (Despair), green-patinated bronze and carved marble, signed ‘A. Rodin’ on top of base with raised ‘A. Rodin’ on underside of bronze, 13¾in high x 12in wide x 11in long. Authenticated by Comite Rodin, Paris. Est. $60,000-$80,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

 

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917), circa 1905 lifetime casting ‘Le Desespoir’ (Despair), green-patinated bronze and carved marble, signed ‘A. Rodin’ on top of base with raised ‘A. Rodin’ on underside of bronze, 13¾in high x 12in wide x 11in long. Authenticated by Comite Rodin, Paris. Est. $60,000-$80,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

Walter MacEwen (NY/Illinois/France, 1860-1943), interior scene of pensive woman with man smoking in background, 18½in x 22in, est. $4,000-$6,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

 

Walter MacEwen (NY/Illinois/France, 1860-1943), interior scene of pensive woman with man smoking in background, 18½in x 22in, est. $4,000-$6,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

George W. Waters (New York, 1832-1912), ‘Sunset Morse Lake, Adirondacks,’ circa 1882, 28½ x 40¾ in, est. $7,000-$9,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

 

George W. Waters (New York, 1832-1912), ‘Sunset Morse Lake, Adirondacks,’ circa 1882, 28½ x 40¾ in, est. $7,000-$9,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image

I don’t know what “the thing” was used for.

Furniture Specific: Have you seen these oddities?

I don’t know what “the thing” was used for.

I don’t know what “the thing” was used for.

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – I suppose that no matter what line of work you are involved in, you eventually reach a point where basically you fell like you have just about seen it all. It seems there are no surprises, mysteries or “hmmms?” left out there any more. And then out of the blue comes a new wrinkle on an old rock. Sort of makes it fun again. Fortunately for me, I have not yet reached that flat spot where things level out and it begins to feel like driving on a deserted Interstate.

I am presented almost on a daily basis with a furniture form, style or innovation that I have not yet seen or don’t know exactly what it may be or what it means. Sometimes readers surprise me with a mystery object that turns out to be a mystery only to me. Other people in the business know exactly what that thing is and are gracious enough to share their knowledge. In this column I plan to share with you a few objects that were at first a mystery, a couple of items that appear to be obvious but aren’t, a couple that just raise interesting questions and a few things you just might not have seen – or seen in a long while.

Sometime back a reader sent me a photo of an unknown (to him and to me) object asking what it could be. My first guess was that it was either the gallery or the base to a piece of case goods. Not being too proud to ask, I asked my readers if they knew what it could be. Many thought along the same lines as I did, obviously, like me, lacking the background for the correct identification. On the other hand a great number of readers knew exactly what it was. The mystery piece turned out to be a fireplace fender, designed to keep flaming logs that rolled out of the fireplace from venturing onto the carpet or floor. An interesting application for a frame made of wood but apparently it does work.

Another reader sent me a photo of what was described as a step stool used to climb into a high bed. He said it originally had carpet around the barrel of the body. My instinct said “no” – I wouldn’t use a round piece of wood as a stool, carpeted or not. Turns out I was right. That is not a step stool. It is a foot stool based on a design from the 19th century. I was even fortunate enough to learn of a collection in Texas, the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park in Houston, which has the identical item that is tagged as being a footstool, circa 1890 and is called a “parlor pig.” Interesting name that obviously is drawn from the shape of the object.

One final mystery object, as yet unnamed by me, is what the reader simply called “the thing.” It appears to be a box of some sort that is mounted on a wall and opens from both the top and front to reveal its contents. It probably has a specific purpose well known to the user but other than general storage I do not know the true use of this object. If you know the correct name or the specific use, please let me know.

Moving from the “Hmmm?” category to the “You’ve got to be kidding me” level is a swan-arm rocker. The swan has been a stylistic element in one form or another in furniture for centuries. A swan’s neck and head was seen used as the arms and hand rests of rockers in the early 19th century. However, the most common examples today are reproductions from the Depression era like this mahogany platform rocker example. On the other hand a reader took the description to the next stage of meaning, relying a little too literally on the description. She sent me this photo of her “swan arm” rocker and asked if it too was an antique. It does match the descriptive name. You can be assured that I was polite in my response.

Most people are familiar with the famous Morris chair, the mechanical recliner marketed by William Morris in 1866. The chair bears his name but he actually adapted the design from another designer’s idea and called it his own. The basic design of the chair uses a series of notches to hold a pin or rod of some sort to support the chair back in various reclining positions. In what seems to be fair play most chair makers in the late 19th and early 20th century made similar recliners based on Morris’s design but they were not terribly popular until very late in the 1800s and even more so when the Stickley name was attached. Here is a recliner that operates on the same principal. However, this one is from the Renaissance Revival period of the 1870s and 1880s and is much earlier than the golden oak or Arts & Crafts models. The operation of this chair is slightly different from the general design of the Morris chair in the location of the notches and supports. All of that activity is confined to the rear of the chair Morris took credit for. This chair has the notches in the arms. Would it still qualify as a “Morris” chair? Another variation is the “invalid” chair of the same period. This version of the recliner, designed for a chair-bound patient, has a metal hinge assembly at the rear of the arms, which operates the recliner and is controlled by friction rather than notches. Does it still qualify as a Morris chair?

One final oddity for your consideration. What kind of outrageous wood creates the pattern on the front of this dresser? That was a trick question because you can’t actually see the wood on the dresser front. What you are seeing is a type of printed finish applied over a cheap secondary wood. This type of cheap showy furniture was called “borax” furniture during the Depression when it was given away as a premium for buying borax-based soap products.

Send comments, questions and pictures to Fred Taylor at P.O. Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423 or email them to him at info@furnituredetective.com.

Visit Fred’s newly redesigned website at www.furnituredetective.com and check out the new downloadable “Common Sense Antiques” columns in .pdf format. His book How To Be a Furniture Detective is available for $18.95 plus $3 shipping. Send check or money order for $21.95 to Fred Taylor, P.O. Box 215, Crystal River, FL, 34423.

Fred and Gail Taylor’s DVD, Identification of Older & Antique Furniture ($17 + $3 S&H) is also available at the same address. For more information call 800-387-6377, fax 352-563-2916, or info@furnituredetective.com. All items are also available directly from his website.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


I don’t know what “the thing” was used for.

I don’t know what “the thing” was used for.

Believe it or now, this is a fireplace fender to keep coals and wood from the floor.

Believe it or now, this is a fireplace fender to keep coals and wood from the floor.

This appropriately named footstool is called a ‘parlor pig.’

This appropriately named footstool is called a ‘parlor pig.’

This is a Depression era “swan arm” platform rocker.

This is a Depression era “swan arm” platform rocker.

This is the ‘swan’ rocker submitted by a reader. I don’t think it is an antique.

This is the ‘swan’ rocker submitted by a reader. I don’t think it is an antique.

This is a recliner similar to the Morris chair that was made during the Renaissance Revival period of the 1870s-1880s.

This is a recliner similar to the Morris chair that was made during the Renaissance Revival period of the 1870s-1880s.

This invalid chair of the 1870s-1880s operates on much the same principal as the Morris chair.

This invalid chair of the 1870s-1880s operates on much the same principal as the Morris chair.

This is a printed finish on a piece of borax furniture.

This is a printed finish on a piece of borax furniture.