This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Spain returns priceless trove of pre-Columbian art to Colombia

This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) – Spain on Monday returned to Colombia a huge and priceless find – almost 700 pieces of pre-Columbian art that Spanish authorities siezed in over a decade ago in a drug bust.

The catalog of museum-worthy artifacts includes vases decorated with human faces, ceramic bowls decorated with geometric designs in ochre tones, musical instruments, necklaces and even small figures of people – dating from 1400 B.C. up to the 16th century.

“Recovering for our nation these 691 archaeological treasures has a value that is really difficult to put any price on. They are from many of our (indigenous) cultures, and getting them home took years,” Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said at a briefing, presenting 50 of the remarkable pieces.

The artifacts – from Calima, Narino, San Agustin, Quimbaya, Sinu and other groups – had been spirited out of Colombia in 2001 before being seized from drug traffickers by Spanish authorities in 2003.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

A 1962 Corvette was lifted out of the sinkhole on March 4. Image courtesy of Chevrolet.

Corvette Museum to fill sinkhole, repair only 3 damaged cars

A 1962 Corvette was lifted out of the sinkhole on March 4. Image courtesy of Chevrolet.

A 1962 Corvette was lifted out of the sinkhole on March 4. Image courtesy of Chevrolet.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A massive sinkhole that swallowed eight prized sports cars won’t be a permanent attraction at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky.

The museum’s board of directors voted Saturday to fill in the entire hole that opened up in February and became an Internet sensation. Curiosity over the hole revved up attendance and revenue for the museum in Bowling Green.

Board members reversed course by deciding against preserving a section of the gaping hole.

Mindful of the hole’s popularity, museum officials in late June were leaning toward keeping part of the hole open and putting a crumpled sports car back in it to memorialize what happened when cars toppled like toys amid rocks, concrete and dirt when the sinkhole opened up in the museum’s Skydome.

The option of keeping part of the hole open lost favor because of added costs due to safety features, museum officials said.

“We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests for years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, but after receiving more detailed pricing, the cost outweighs the benefit,” said museum Executive Director Wendell Strode.

To keep part of the hole, workers would have had to install 35-foot-tall retaining walls and inserted beams in the hole to prevent future cracking, said museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli. The costs mounted to about $1 million – double earlier estimates – due to safety and humidity-control features.

Another worry was ongoing maintenance costs if a section of the hole stayed open, they said.

“It just wasn’t practical to do it,” Strode said.

The museum didn’t disclose how much it will cost to fill in the 60-foot-long, 45-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep sinkhole. Repairs are expected to start in November and take about six months, officials said. The museum will remain open, but the Skydome will be sealed off from visitors, who will be able to watch the repairs through a Plexiglas wall.

The hole will be filled completely with rock, then workers will drill into it to install steel casings, Frassinelli said. Crews will pour grout into the casings, creating a steel and concrete pillar to provide additional support under the floor.

Bowling Green, in south-central Kentucky, sits in the midst of a large karst region where many of Kentucky’s longest and deepest caves run underground. A karst region displays distinctive surface features, including sinkholes.

No one disputed the bonanza the Corvette Museum reaped from the sinkhole as more people ventured off the nearby interstate to visit.

Security camera footage showing the floor’s collapse has been viewed nearly 8.3 million times on YouTube, the museum said.

The Corvettes were pulled out of the hole to great fanfare. Visitors have been able to take a close look at the hole and the damaged cars.

Attendance surged by 66 percent since the hole opened up and revenue shot up 71 percent, Frassinelli said.

Museum membership has increased, and sales of merchandise are up at the museum, she said. The museum sells sinkhole-related shirts, postcards, prints and a 39-minute DVD about the sinkhole.

Meanwhile, the museum and Chevrolet have decided to repair three of the damaged cars.

Chevrolet will restore the 1992 white 1 millionth Corvette and the 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil, which was the first car pulled from the hole. Chevrolet will fund restoration of a 1962 black Corvette, but the museum will oversee the work. The other five were too badly damaged but will be displayed in their dented and crushed conditions at the museum.

“As the cars were recovered, it became clear that restoration would be impractical because so little was left to repair,” said General Motors global product development chief Mark Reuss. “And, frankly, there is some historical value in leaving those cars to be viewed as they are.”

The museum owned six of the cars and the other two were on loan from GM.

In all, General Motors will provide nearly $250,000 in support to help the museum recover from the sinkhole, the automaker said.

Announcements about repairing the sinkhole and cars came as thousands of Corvette enthusiasts converged on Bowling Green during the holiday weekend to celebrate the museum’s 20th anniversary.

The museum is located near the Bowling Green factory where the iconic Corvettes are made.

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

AP-WF-08-30-14 1851GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A 1962 Corvette was lifted out of the sinkhole on March 4. Image courtesy of Chevrolet.

A 1962 Corvette was lifted out of the sinkhole on March 4. Image courtesy of Chevrolet.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) at age 28. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

NY college purchases suffragists’ correspondence

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) at age 28. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) at age 28. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) – The University of Rochester has purchased a collection of correspondence between Susan B. Anthony and a fellow women’s rights activist.

The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reports that the college bought the items last week from two Michigan auction houses. The collection dates from 1881 through the turn of the century and includes more than 60 autographed and typed letters, photographs and other related material linked to Anthony and Rachel Foster Avery of Pennsylvania.

The documents will be added to a collection of letters between the two women held in the college library’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation.

Anthony and Avery were leaders of the women’s suffragist movement in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Anthony lived in Rochester for 60 years and is buried there.

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Information from: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, http://www.democratandchronicle.com

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

AP-WF-08-27-14 1149GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) at age 28. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) at age 28. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Rosa Parks with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1955. Image courtesy of Wikemedia Commons.

Buffett heir intends to donate Rosa Parks archive to museum

Rosa Parks with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1955. Image courtesy of Wikemedia Commons.

Rosa Parks with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1955. Image courtesy of Wikemedia Commons.

DETROIT (AP) – Hundreds of items that belonged to civil rights icon Rosa Parks and have been sitting unseen for years in a New York warehouse were sold to a foundation run by the son of billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett, the younger Buffett said Thursday.

Howard G. Buffett told The Associated Press that his foundation plans to give the items, which include Parks’ Presidential Medal of Freedom, to an institute or museum he hasn’t yet selected. Buffett said the items belong to the American people.

“I’m only trying to do one thing: preserve what’s there for the public’s benefit,” he said. “I thought about doing what Rosa Parks would want. I doubt that she would want to have her stuff sitting in a box with people fighting over them.”

A yearslong legal fight between Parks’ heirs and her friends led to the memorabilia being removed from her Detroit home and offered up to the highest bidder.

Parks, who died in 2005 at age 92, was one of the most beloved women in U.S. history. She became an enduring symbol of the civil rights movement when she refused to cede her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man. That triggered a yearlong bus boycott that helped to dismantle officially sanctioned segregation and helped lift the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to national prominence.

Because of the fight over Parks’ will, historians, students of the movement and the general public have had no access to items such as her photographs with presidents, her Congressional Gold Medal, a pillbox hat that she may have worn on the Montgomery bus, a signed postcard from King, decades of documents from civil rights meetings and her ruminations about life in the South as a black woman.

The impetus for the sale came earlier this year when Buffett saw a televised news report about how Guernsey’s Auctioneers has kept Parks’ valuables in a New York warehouse since 2006.

“I could not imagine having her artifacts sitting in a box in a warehouse somewhere,” Buffett said. “It’s just not right.”

So he directed the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to make an offer, which was accepted. A purchase agreement was signed over the summer, and the transaction was officially closed last week.

Buffett would not disclose the amount he paid for the items, but Steven Cohen, a lawyer for the seller, the Detroit-based Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, said it was “consistent with the intrinsic value of the artifacts and their historical significance.”

In addition to medals and letters, the lot includes lamps and articles of clothing. Guernsey’s years ago put together a complete inventory, which is 70 pages long and includes more than 1,000 items. Many are in New York, but some remain in Parks’ home city of Detroit.

Guernsey’s President Arlan Ettinger, who had valued the collection at $10 million, would not say what it was sold for, but said the judge overseeing the Parks estate was satisfied with the deal.

“This material, which needed to be out there to be both educational and inspirational to people today and their children’s children, was sitting in our warehouse. That was wrong,” Ettinger said.

Buffett, a philanthropist who focuses much of his giving on helping fellow farmers in developing countries, acknowledged he probably was not the most likely candidate to buy Parks’ memorabilia.

“My wife said, ‘You don’t do that sort of stuff.’ I said, ‘I know, but it’s important,’” Buffett said.

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Holland reported from Washington, D.C.

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Associated Press writers Ed White and David N. Goodman contributed to this story.

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

AP-WF-08-29-14 0412GMT

 

 

 

Fort Liberte was constructed in 1731 under the directive of Louis XV, King of France to defend Haiti against invasions. Image by Nick Hobgood. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Experts seek to save Haiti’s archaeological sites

Fort Liberte was constructed in 1731 under the directive of Louis XV, King of France to defend Haiti against invasions. Image by Nick Hobgood. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Fort Liberte was constructed in 1731 under the directive of Louis XV, King of France to defend Haiti against invasions. Image by Nick Hobgood. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – The canons have been stolen from the 18th-century seaside fort in the city where Haiti declared its independence and the stones imported from France are commonly targeted by thieves.

But Haitian authorities and international experts hope to reverse the loss of such cultural heritage from the ruins of Fort Liberte and elsewhere, which they blame on lax supervision and weak laws to prosecute those pillaging Haiti’s historic sites.

“They are very significant sites. It tells a very deep history not only of Haiti but the entire Caribbean,” said Dan Rogers, an archaeology curator with the Smithsonian Institution who spoke Sunday by phone as he traveled to Fort Liberte.

Rogers is visiting Haiti along with a special envoy to UNESCO to examine the country’s historical monuments and archaeological sites and develop a plan to better protect them, as well as provide additional training and expertise.

“One of the things that strikes me is that for a very long time there has been very little archaeological work in Haiti,” he said. “There’s room for expanding the strength of the laws that protect cultural heritage, especially antiquities.”

The visit comes as Haiti’s government pushes to develop the country’s nascent tourism sector and promote its archaeological heritage as it rebuilds from a devastating 2010 earthquake, with the Smithsonian Institution previously launching a cultural recovery effort to help repair artwork and train Haitians in restoration work.

The administration of President Michel Martelly has sought in particular to attract visitors to Haiti’s north coast, with Carnival Corp. planning to develop a port on a nearby island as part of an initial $70 million investment and American Airlines starting daily service from Miami to Cap-Haitien in October.

Michaelle Jean, a Haitian-born special envoy to UNESCO who previously served as governor general of Canada, said Haiti’s archaeological sites are a financial asset.

“We are very pleased to work in cooperation with Haiti … at this important time when the country is really trying to build a solid economy,” she said. “Haiti is a country that has to offer to the world a history, a culture that is very different.”

Haiti became the world’s first black republic after its independence was declared in November 1803 at Fort Liberte. Its imposing Sans-Souci Palace is located in northern Haiti and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently, researchers and UNESCO experts are paying attention to a site off Haiti’s northern coast where a search has been renewed for Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria vessel.

Jean said Haitians and foreigners alike need to be educated about such attractions, and noted she and others also were meeting with private collectors in Haiti to urge them to share what they have with the public and with schools, including artifacts from the pre-Columbian and colonial eras.

“It’s a very unique history, a very unique period,” she said. “It needs to be told.”

___

Danica Coto on Twitter: https://twitter.com/danicacoto

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

AP-WF-08-31-14 1858GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Fort Liberte was constructed in 1731 under the directive of Louis XV, King of France to defend Haiti against invasions. Image by Nick Hobgood. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Fort Liberte was constructed in 1731 under the directive of Louis XV, King of France to defend Haiti against invasions. Image by Nick Hobgood. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

This Staffordshire figure of Benjamin Franklin was incorrectly labeled ‘General Washington’ when it was made in the 1820s. It sold recently for $338 at DuMouchelles auction in Detroit.

Kovels Antiques & Collecting: Week of Sept. 1, 2014

This Staffordshire figure of Benjamin Franklin was incorrectly labeled ‘General Washington’ when it was made in the 1820s. It sold recently for $338 at DuMouchelles auction in Detroit.

This Staffordshire figure of Benjamin Franklin was incorrectly labeled ‘General Washington’ when it was made in the 1820s. It sold recently for $338 at DuMouchelles auction in Detroit.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio – Watch out for fake antiques, especially copies of well-known pieces. In about 1820, some potters in the Staffordshire district of England made portrait figures of famous politicians, actors and athletes to sell in local shops. Remember, this was a time when there were no color images of people except paintings.

Often the potters confused the personalities. A famous error was the figure of Benjamin Franklin made in about 1820. Some had the name “General Washington” painted on the front of the base.

In the 1950s, when Staffordshire figures were again very popular, many copies of both the correct and incorrect Franklin were made. Other old fakes still are around. Some are antique jokes, like “The Vicar and Moses,” which shows a judge sleeping in court. “The Tithing” is another faked figure, a group with a tax collector taking a percentage of the crop – and a new baby – as a tax from a farmer and his wife (sometimes the farmer was less cynical and brought a pig).

Other named copies show well-known men of the day, including Shakespeare, the comic Joseph Grimaldi, a bust of Washington or even a pair of cricket bowlers. Be careful. It is harder to recognize the 1990s Chinese copies than it was the 1950s copies.

Q: We have a rocking chair that has been in my husband’s family for about 60 years. It’s Craftsman-style and has armrests. It also has the original leather seat cushion with springs. On the bottom of the seat it reads, “Northwest Chair Co., Tacoma, Wash.” I’m having a hard time finding information about the company and our chair. I would like to sell it. What do you think it’s worth?

A: The Northwest Chair Co. made furniture in South Tacoma from about 1900 to the 1950s. In the mid-1920s, they opened distribution warehouses in Los Angeles and Berkeley, Calif. An advertisement claimed the company made “bedroom, children’s, dining room, kitchen, library and store chairs made of ash, birch, mahogany, oak and walnut.” In addition to furniture, the company made airplane parts for Boeing in 1944. We’ve seen a similar Morris-type rocking chair priced at $100.

Q: My mother has a very old set of china. The mark on the back reads “T & R Boote and Co.” and has an image of a ship called Tusculana. Do you have any information about the maker?

A: T. & R. Boote was founded by Thomas and Richard Boote in Burslem, Staffordshire, England, in 1842. The company made pavement tiles, Parian ware and earthenware. It began making white graniteware for export to the United States in 1888. Production was limited to tiles after 1906. T. & R. Boote used a boat as part of its mark from 1890 to 1906. Tusculana is the name of a pattern that was made from 1903 to 1906.

Q: I bought an advertising booklet that has a man’s frowning face and “Dyspeptic Pete” on the front and a smiling face with “Happy Pete” on the back. It also reads “The Walther Peptonized Port Co., Sole Proprietors, Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S.A.” I bought it at an estate. Can you tell me its history and value?

A: Walther’s Peptonized Port contained port wine and pepsin and was advertised as a cure for dyspepsia (indigestion). It was sold in drugstores and advertised “for nursing mothers, tired women, old folks, invalids, convalescents, weakened and run down folks generally.” Your 12-page booklet includes a story in verse about Peter Gradgrind, who changed from “Dyspeptic Pete” to “Happy Pete” after trying a bottle of Walther’s Peptonized Port. Many medicinal remedies sold during the 19th and early 20th centuries contained alcohol, although it didn’t have to be listed as an ingredient until the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. Some popular remedies contained over 40 percent alcohol. Walther Peptonized Port was sold from about 1901 through 1915, so your booklet was published during those years. Value: $10 to $20.

Q: Is there any kind of a market for used shoe-topped roller skates from the 1940s? They’re in very good shape, but I used them a lot because I used to dance in them several times a week.

A: Your skates are not what we’d call “collectible.” That word would apply if, for example, someone famous once owned them. But it’s possible you could sell them on eBay or Craigslist for $20 or even a little more.

Q: I found a very old straight razor in the original box. It was made by Johnson Brothers Hardware Co. of Cincinnati. How old is it? Are old razors collectible?

A: The Johnson brothers had a wholesale and retail hardware business in Cincinnati beginning in 1881. According to an 1886 listing, the company carried general hardware and “pocket and table cutlery.” The name of the business became Johnson Bros. Hardware Co. in 1891. By then it was selling tools as well as hardware and cutlery. It still was in business in 1913, when it was listed in a directory of hardware dealers. Collectors of old razors want razors in good, unrestored condition. If you are thinking of selling the razor, don’t polish it. The original box adds value. Old straight razors sell for $15 and up, depending on condition and maker.

Tip: Do not hang photographs in direct sunlight. The UV rays will damage photographs.

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.

  • Campbell Kids print, “Tomato is a Fruit,” blackboard, textured paper, 1970s, 8 x 10 inches, $15.
  • Pewter plate, round, Samuel Pierce, double touch mark, c. 1790, 8 inches, $105.
  • Wave Crest glass dresser box, oval, blue, pink flowers, enameled, marked “Kelva, CFM Co.,” 5 1/2 x 4 inches, $240.
  • Carriage lamp, silver-plated, two gothic arches, glass panels, electrified, 1800s, 42 1/2 inches, $295.
  • Tea caddy, mahogany, casket shape, lion’s head handles, ivory, brass, 8 x 12 inches, $355.
  • Coca-Cola tray, woman wearing yellow dress, wide white hat, 1920, 13 x 11 inches, $360.
  • Metal inkwell, figural, woman sitting in bathtub, copper surface, glass well, footed, Kercher Baths, Congress & Wabash, Chicago, c. 1916, 2 3/4 x 4 inches, $415.
  • Montblanc fountain pen set, propelling pencil, black hard rubber, clip, 1920s, baby size 0, $560.
  • Tiffany glass bowl, Favrile, iridescent gold, intaglio cut vine and leaf, flared rim, signed, 1925, 3 1/2 x 8 inches, $750.
  • Weather vane, running horse, full body, copper, zinc head, gilt, tan paint, Dexter, c. 1890, 18 1/2 x 31 1/2 inches, $1,530.

New. “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, 2015,” 47th edition, is your most accurate source for current prices. It’s available this month and includes a special bonus section that helps you determine prices if you’re downsizing and selling your antiques. It’s the best book to own if you buy, sell or collect – and if you order now, you’ll receive a copy with the author’s autograph. This large-size paperback has more than 2,500 color photographs and more than 32,000 up-to-date prices for more than 700 categories of antiques and collectibles. You’ll also find hundreds of factory histories and marks, a report on the record prices of the year and helpful sidebars and tips about buying, selling, collecting, and preserving your treasures. Available for $27.95 plus $4.95 postage. Purchase online at KovelsOnlineStore.com; by phone at 800-303-1996; at your local bookstore; or write to Price Book, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

© 2014 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


This Staffordshire figure of Benjamin Franklin was incorrectly labeled ‘General Washington’ when it was made in the 1820s. It sold recently for $338 at DuMouchelles auction in Detroit.

This Staffordshire figure of Benjamin Franklin was incorrectly labeled ‘General Washington’ when it was made in the 1820s. It sold recently for $338 at DuMouchelles auction in Detroit.