George Rodrigue: a legacy launched by the Blue Dog

My Yellow Oak, oil on canvas, 2002, signed lower left, 36 by 48 inches, fetched $80,000 at New Orleans Auction Galleries in February 2013. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — George Rodrigue (1944-2013) created art that has its roots in the Cajun country of southwest Louisiana, where he was born and raised, but his legacy in the art world is wholly as an American artist, not just as a Louisiana regional painter. His body of work has sometimes been unfairly reduced to just the whimsical Blue Dog paintings, but his career was much deeper and more layered.

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Canes: once a gentleman’s fashion staple

This gold quartz 1866 presentation cane earned $32,000 at Dan Morphy Auctions in January 2018. Photo courtesy of Dan Morphy Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — In years past, a cane, or walking stick, wasn’t just an aid to mobility; it was more of a gentleman’s fashion accessory.

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The force is strong with Star Wars collectors

A full-size working replica of Luke Skywalker’s X-34 Landspeeder from the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope realized $32,500 at GWS Auctions Inc., in March 2018. Photo courtesy of GWS Auctions Inc., and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — There’s a universe of collectors monitoring the auction marketplace for rare and desirable Star Wars memorabilia, from action figures and pinball machines to toys, games, LEGO sets, movie posters and even housewares. The Star Wars phenomenon began on May 25, 1977, when the film Star Wars — later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV— A New Hope — opened in theaters to rave reviews. It went on to win seven Oscars and rake in nearly $800 million dollars worldwide.

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North Carolina pottery: a centuries-old tradition

A rare and important Alamance County, N.C. redware sugar jar sold for $50,000 at Crocker Farm in October 2017. Photo courtesy of Crocker Farm and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — North Carolina has a long and rich history in pottery-making with over 1,000 potters plying their craft in the state today. Given the state’s abundance of clay deposits, it was only natural for pottery to take a foothold here. Native Americans began shaping coil pottery and when British citizens settled here, they embraced the art of pottery and began turning out functional and elegant earthenware items. From the Moravian potters who settled here from Pennsylvania to the Catawba Valley and the Piedmont and Seagrove communities, North Carolina pottery is renowned for its exuberant slip-decoration and lead glazes.

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Rosh Hashanah puts focus on collectible Judaica

NEW YORK — Judaica, or the material culture of the Jewish people, is revered both in the Israeli homeland and throughout the diaspora. In particular, ritual objects hold great importance, but many other forms of Jewish memorabilia, in particular those pieces made of silver, are also treasured for their beauty.

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Paul Evans intuitively defined Modern aesthetic

A monumental Paul Evans cabinet sold for $23,040 at Palm Beach Modern Auctions in November 2017. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Modern Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — Musician Lenny Kravitz, an ardent Paul Evans furniture collector, quipped in a recent documentary about the famed designer that Evans’ furniture is “stunningly beautiful, stunningly ugly, stunningly tacky, and stunningly sophisticated.”

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Antique telephones ring a bell with collectors

Bell and Watson prototype phone, accompanied by original 1881 patent paperwork and a tag with Watson’s hand-written name and the date August 2, 1881, sold for $40,000 at an Aug. 4 auction. Photo courtesy Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

NEW YORK – Have you seen the TV commercial where Alexander Graham Bell is at a play, sitting in the balcony and annoying everyone around him because he’s talking on the phone? The caller got a wrong number and Bell tells him, “No, no, my number is one. You must want two. Two I say!”

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Scoring baseball jerseys: expert tips

Babe Ruth New York Yankees game-used road flannel jersey attributed to the “Called Shot” in the 1932 World Series was sold for $1,056,630 by Grey Flannel Auctions in June 2005. Photo courtesy of Grey Flannel Auctions

NEW YORK — Baseball jerseys, especially game-worn ones, are among the most highly sought-after types of sports memorabilia. Baseball has long been America’s pastime, and most fans have fond memories of watching important games and witnessing historical moments in the sport. Engraved into many people’s memories are moments like when the Chicago Cubs finally broke a 108-year drought to win the World Series in 2016, or when Lou Gehrig played his final game in April 1939, declaring himself on July 4 that year in his farewell speech to be “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth,” even though a diagnosis of ALS ended his baseball career.

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Antique lighting still brightens many a home

A five-arm gilt-metal gasolier with etched glass shades made $4,200 at Sterling Associates in May 2018. Photo courtesy of Sterling Associates and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — Lighting choices are endless when it comes to decorating a home, but antique and vintage lighting can become dramatic statement pieces that highlight any room — even the bathroom.

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Collectors answer the call for old toy soldiers

A Britains Set #10 of Salvation Army officers, band and colors, circa 1906, sold for $22,000 at Old Soldier Toy Auctions USA in November 2015. Photo courtesy of Old Soldier Toy Auctions USA and LiveAuctioneers

NEW YORK — The oft-quoted joke goes something like this, “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” When it comes to miniature toy soldiers, armies of which have been made and played with for hundreds of years, that couldn’t be more true.

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