Petroliana: big, bold and colorful

This rare thermometer for Red Hat Motor Oil brought $11,500 at Rich Penn Auctions in August 2016. Photo courtesy of Rich Penn Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK – Eye-catching and colorful, oil and gas goods had to be big and bold to make an impact. From gas globes and pumps to signs, road maps and oil cans, petroliana (products related to the oil and gas industry, especially advertising) was made to attract customers and drive sales for their products.

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Beyond Rolex: men’s luxury watches

A Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, Ref. 1518R, circa 1948, earned $702,698 in June 2015 at Auctionata Paddle 8 AG. Photo courtesy of Auctionata Paddle 8 AG and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — In the modern era when smartphones tell time, why do some men still wear wristwatches? More than just a meticulously crafted instrument to tell time, a luxury watch is the perfect accessory for the fashionable. It’s functional jewelry. For women, a large diamond brooch is a statement piece; for men, it’s a vintage watch from the likes of Rolex or Patek Philippe.

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Leica cameras: image of perfection

This Leica II Mod.D Luxus ‘Leih-Kamera’ body, 1930, no. 34816, sold for $152,848 in March 2018 at an auction in Vienna. Photo courtesy of WestLicht Photographica Auction and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK – If a Ferrari is just a car, then a Leica is just a camera.

For over 100 years, Leica has stood for technical innovation and quality, especially its lenses, said to be the sharpest in the world. Renowned photographers have long embraced Leica cameras, taking iconic photographs such as Alfred Eisenstadt’s V-J Day photo of a sailor impulsively kissing a woman in Times Square in 1945 or Nick Ut’s 1972 photograph of Vietnamese children running down a road after a napalm attack.

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Collecting presidential autographs and objects

An inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, signed and inscribed to Chief White House Usher Bernard West earned $6,500 in September 2015 at Quinn’s Auction Galleries. Photo courtesy of Quinn’s Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — People have been collecting memorabilia for centuries, going back to the Ancient Greek and Roman eras, when Alexander the Great started building Alexandria’s esteemed library and filling it with thousands of signed manuscripts. Just about everyone can relate to autographs. For many of us, it began during our teenage years, asking friends to sign high school yearbook pages. Or, we might recall waiting in line for hours to get a favorite entertainer’s autograph on a photo.

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American Flags: collecting symbols of freedom

A “For President, Abraham Lincoln” parade flag earned $34,004 in July 2017 at Hake’s Americana & Collectibles. Photo courtesy of Hake’s Americana & Collectibles and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — Most people picture the American Flag in its modern incarnation with 50 white stars on a blue background in the upper left corner surrounded by horizontal red and white bands but this was not always the case.

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Value of early magic collectibles is no illusion

Harry Houdini’s most famous trick was the Water Torture Cell. An original poster publicizing it made $95,000 at Potter & Potter Auctions in February 2017. Photo courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — From Cardini and the Great Blackstone to David Blaine and Criss Angel, skilled magicians and illusionists have dazzled audiences for more than a century, performing simple sleight-of-hand and tricks as well as daring and elaborate illusions. The great Harry Houdini was famous for extracting himself after being hung upside down in his Water Torture Cell, a feat no other magician dared tackle during his lifetime; and in 1983, before a live audience and millions on television, David Copperfield appeared to make the Statue of Liberty, which stands over 300 feet tall, vanish into thin air.

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Garden antiques add style & purpose to outdoor spaces

A large wrought-iron garden room/solarium sold for $45,000 at Red Baron Antiques in May 2017. Photo courtesy of Red Baron Antiques and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — Tucked away far back in a garden, amid a clump of maidenhair ferns, sits a small stone fairy. Walk around the bend, past a hedge of boxwood, you encounter a century-old marble statue of Aphrodite. And at the center of a riotous display of hot-pink peonies stands a cast zinc fountain, quietly gurgling away.

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Collectors are sweet on antique syrup dispensers

A trio of the three “Crush” syrup dispensers made by Ward’s brought $5,500 in April 2014 at Showtime Auction Services. Photo courtesy of Showtime Auction Services and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — Teenagers didn’t always communicate by texting on their cell phones. Before those devices were invented, they would head in groups to their nearest drugstore soda fountain, where they would sidle up to the long counter, sit on a red leather bar stool and order a fizzy drink that would be hand-mixed on the spot from seltzer and flavored syrups.

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Classic cars get engines, hearts racing

This 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton brought $115,000 at RM Sotheby’s in April 2018. Photo courtesy of RM Sotheby’s and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK – The pursuit of classic cars can be just as thrilling as actually getting behind the wheel of one of those bad boys and testing its speed and handling.

Any car can get you from point A to point B, but certain classic cars—built aerodynamically for speed and incorporating innovative technology—just exude “cool” and will turn more heads than a traffic cop with a radar gun.

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Confederacy trumps Union in Civil War collecting

A Civil War Major General frock coat with straps brought $6,000 at Milestone Auctions in January 2018. Photo courtesy of Milestone Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — The North may have won the Civil War, but when it comes to Civil War artifacts and memorabilia, the Confederacy seems to hold a strategic lead in terms of market share and desirability.

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