Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Collectibles

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all associate turkeys with Thanksgiving Day, however, it has gone from the edible to the collectible.

I’ve found turkeys everywhere this year. Here are a cute pair of turkey earrings, some cupcakes picks, a postcard, a figurine and a collector plate.

Of course I’ve also found turkey salt & pepper sets, candle sets, centerpieces, blow-ups, placemats, tablecloths, the list just keeps growing and growing.

Personally I think the edible turkey is the best but for all you turkey collectors out there the sky is the limit! Happy collecting and to all of you happy Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Waterford Crystal

Waterford glassware is beautiful high-end cut crystal glassware. The company, was located in Ireland and produced goregous glassware from the late 1700's to 1851. After a hundred year hiatius The Waterford Glasssworks also located in Ireland began producing glassware similar to the original.

Waterford Glass is still high-end cut crystal glassware. It will bring top dollar at an auction, however, not every Waterford item you come across is from the Waterford Glassworks Company. Some antique stores, auctioneers and flea markets tend to refer to Waterford as a type of glass and in many cases it is not made by Waterford, it is just beautiful decorative cut crystal. If it doesn't have a sticker or label saying Waterford be sure to research!

Always do a little research before delving into buying any glassware. To me glassware is hard to identify and sometimes hard to sell. Although Waterford Crystal is beautiful the right customer has to come along in order to sell it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Antique Toys

I attended an auction recently that had several antique toys. While I'm not a toy collector I always find it fancinating to see these old toys. Most are well constructed with a lot of hand painting and / or fabrication. They have a innocence about them as opposed to today's plastic choices.

Some of these items were extremely simple in both concept and decoration but totally charming from era's that are long gone. It is also fancinating to watch and listen to the people bidding on them. So many of these people have a story or memory of the toys they want to purchase and money seems to be no object.

The little cart was a child's cart that could have been hooked up to a miniature horse or somebody mentioned a goat, it was really cute!

The scooter was 1940's vintage, it was very well perserved.

The rocking horse base was made of oak, it was extremely heavy. The horse wasn't a rocking horse but a glider horse. I'm really not sure what kind of wood was used but it appeared to have been carved and painted.

This was a fun auction, the toys were just so different than what you see on the shelves at Toys R Us or Walmart!

Monday, November 17, 2008


"The Frank Pottery" was founded in 1933 by John Frank. By 1964 the name had changed to Frankoma and a profitable family business was established. Located in Oklahoma, Frankoma produced vases and decorative figurines that had a southwestern flavor.

The company did see its share of mishaps and many changes over the years. Two fires, the first in 1938 which destroyed the operation and another in 1983. Different types of clay, colors and glazing techniques were added along the way. Dinnerware, collectibles, tea sets and figurines are just a few of the items produced by Frankoma that are quite popular today.

Dating Frankoma ware is relatively easy for collector's wishing to invest in the vintage pieces. Collectors know that the earliest Frankoma pieces had a leopard mark on the bottom that was used from 1936 - 1938.

Before 1955 Frankoma used Ada Clay - a honey tan color clay which was named after Ada, Oklahoma, the town where the clay was dug. In 1955 that was changed to red brick clay know as Sapulpa. There have been about 50 glazes that have been added over the years.

In 1965 Frankoma started producing ceramic limited edition Christmas Plates. In 1969 the bottle vase series began and in the 70's & 80's political mugs, bicentennial plates, wildlife and religious plates.

In 1990, after 57 years the family owned Frankoma business had to file for bankruptcy and the business was sold to a private investor. Today Frankoma continues to produce pottery in Oklahoma and is still a very collectible pottery.

Take a look at the pictures, these are early examples of Frankoma. The southwestern themed figure and the leopard on the back are two indicators of the age of this piece of Frankoma. There are some good books on Frankoma at our small library so if you are into Frankoma Pottery check out your library and your local bookstore for more information on the subject.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Franciscan Desert Rose

Franciscan Desert Rose is beautiful dinnerware with a raised flower with stem & leaf pattern. The first of this lovely dinnerware was produced in 1941 by the Gladding McBean Co, Franciscan was the trade name.

Franciscan Desert Rose Dinnerware is a very popular seller! Every auction that I have ever attended that featured this vintage dinnerware was highly attended and the pieces went sky high!

In 1979 the Wedgwood Limited Company of England bought Franciscan, that is why you will see some of the earlier pieces with California, U.S.A. and some with England on the back of the dinnerware. In 1984 Desert Rose was no longer be produced in the United States but is it is still being produced today by other countries including china so if you want vintage be sure and study the marks.

The earliest Desert Rose dinnerware made between 1941 to 1948 will have a circular arrangement of the word Franciscan and "Made In California USA" will be in the center. Between 1949 and 1975 there were forty plus marks on the backs of these plates, there were also paper labels which in most cases washed off if the dinnerware was used at all.

There are reference books for fine dinnerware, Gadding McBean and Franciscan Desert Rose at both bookstores and libraries so do a little research if you are buying them for a collection.

Franciscan Desert Rose is the most popular pattern ever sold. Both the Kennedy Administration and the Nixon Administration picked this dinnerware for special use. There is a huge display of Franciscan Desert Rose in the Smithsonian and is considered the the most purchased pattern in history.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Carnival Glass

This week I went to an auction that featured a lot of marigold carnival glass. For anyone that doesn't know what carnival glass is you might want to take a trip to a local flea market where you will probably find a piece or two.

Carnival glass is a pressed glass that has a variety of colors in the glass. It's exterior lustre is a product of glass coated with a sodium solution before being fired. The result is a beautiful colorful exterior lustre.

Original pieces are dated back to the early 1900's to the late 1920's. Companies such as Fenton, Northwood, Millersburg, McKee, Westmoreland and Cambridge all produced carnival glass and these pieces seem to bring top dollar at any auction today.

Reproduction of this glass started in the 1950's and every decade or so more reproduction. Quality in reproduction pieces is essential to a collector, while most are willing to pay big bucks the quality is usually the meter to how high those big bucks will go.

If you are a carnival glass collector you should check out the American Carnival Glass Association

Monday, November 10, 2008

Collecting Letter Openers

When we owned our Flea Market & Antique Store we had a dealer that came fresh from an auction with a box of letter openers. All of these letter openers had a religious theme. Like Jesus on top, or Mary, or the three Wise men. There were several of Jesus on a cross that decorated the top of these letter openers, each a little different from the next.

I remember thinking who in the world would collect something like that and who would buy them. She had dozens of them. She priced them between $3 and $5 dollars and it just amazed me that within a few weeks she had sold most of them.

Letter openers come in a huge variety of subjects usually sitting on the tip-top of the opener. Some letter openers are made by fine crystal companies like Waterford and there are probably thousands that were given as incentives with company advertising on them. They come in assorted designs, textures, color and sizes. Collector's like letter openers that are both old and new and there does seem to be a market for them.

Collecting letter openers is a relatively inexpensive hobby. They are pretty easy to display or store. You can find them in most flea markets and eBay has a slew of them. Ever since that religious letter opener incident I buy them whenever I find them at yard sales or thrift shops. I'm not into collecting them but I do like to have variety in my flea market booths.

To sum things up, letter openers are made of many different types of materials and the variety of subjects are limitless. The letter opener pictured above is pewter, it is unusual, unique and interesting! Now where are those letter opener collectors?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hopi Polychrome Pottery

The word Polychrome is used to describe the use of multiple colors in one item, usually in regards to pottery, sculptures and architecture.

The Hopi Indians have made polychrome pottery for centuries. The pictured snake bowl is a old tribal bowl, not one you would find in today's tourist shop. The bowl depicts a snake swallowing it's tail, this is a mythical idea of the Native Americans that represents a circular view of the Universe. Most of you have seen the Lion King, it is the same concept as the "Circle of Life". This bowl is probably from the early 1900's or even older. The value of this bowl should be in the thousands but what it is worth and what it will sell for are generally two different prices.

The second photo is of a vase or olla with a feather and geometric design, it is from the 1940's era. This bowl sold for $300 on eBay last week.

Tourist shops do sell artwork of Polychrome Pottery from today's Native American Artists. Most are dated and signed by the artist and they tend to be rather pricey but not near as valuable as the vintage or tribal items.

If you enjoy decorating with a Native American theme this type of pottery is a must in your decor.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Paul Revere Pottery

What started as a social improvement experiment ended up with a four kiln pottery that ran from 1915 to 1946. The "Saturday Evening Girls" were the employed artists - a group of mostly Jewish and Italian immigrates.

Situated in Boston this group of girls and the pottery are a special piece of history for the region.

The Pottery made vases, miniature jugs, children's tea sets, lamps and dinnerware. Today they are very collectible, extremely rare and very expensive.

The featured photo is a miniature jug, the artwork is a chicken and a chick and reads "The Hen and One Chick". It is only 3 1/4" tall but is in great condition. This jug sold for just under $900 on eBay.

These pottery pieces are painted on the bottom with P.R.P. which stands for "Paul Revere Pottery" or S.E.G. which stands for "The Saturday Evening Girls". The one pictured has S.E.G. on the bottom.

If you are interested in reading the history of this topic check out this interesting article on the history of Paul Revere Pottery.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Collecting Longaberger Baskets

In the 1980's and the 1990's Longaberger Baskets were highly collectible. At that time country decorating was the popular choice in home decor in the United States. I myself decorated my kitchen with baskets and greenery in the 80's. I never did own a Longaberger Basket as they were very expensive but I had an acquaintance that collected them and I was awed at her collection and the value of the baskets she had throughout her home.

The Longaberger Company practices direct marketing through home consultants. With the diminishing popularity of the basket craze the Longaberger Company now sell pottery and special foods among other things along with the baskets.

I briefly attended an auction last week that had several Longaberger Baskets and while the company sales might be down people were paying large amounts of money for the older baskets. They were bringing top dollar, the cheapest one went for $100 while many of the others went for several hundred.

If you are a collector or a dealer you probably know Longaberger Baskets are dated and signed by the basket maker making it easy to identify the older baskets. Each basket is handmade, many have themes, some have inserts, some do not.

I hate pushing eBay all the time but you can get lots of good deals on Longaberger Baskets, at least they go a lot cheaper than they did at the auction. There are also several dealers that have websites with direct sales. Some of these websites are very informative and are well worth looking into if your are a serious collector. Dealers will want to check out which baskets bring the big bucks to educate themselves on what to buy.

Longaberger Baskets are an investment, who knows what each basket may be worth in 20 years. Like most investmenst, it could be outrageously profitable or totally valueless. On the other hand collecting is always fun no matter what it is.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Collecting Mary Gregory Glass

Mary Gregory Glass is a type of fine crystal ware that was popular both in Europe and the United States. It originated in Europe but migrated to the U.S. in the mid 1800's.

The Mary Gregory Glass made in the United States is identifiable by the child figures that are hand painted with white enamel. The gold-trimmed Mary Gregory pieces are typical European ware.

These particular vases are Czech-Bohemian, they have gold rimmed tops, clear handles and of course the hand-painted children on cranberry glass.

Mary Gregory Glass production ran about 50 years, up until the early 1900's. Cranberry is the most popular color, or shall I say, it brings higher prices at an auction. Other popular colors include amethyst, dark blue, green and amber.

If you are a collector of Mary Gregory Glassware you can find some great deals on eBay and every once in awhile there are antique glassware auctions that usually have a variety of Mary Gregory pieces. I went to a fine glass auction a few years ago and there were several hundred antique cruets. The Mary Gregory cruets brought anywhere from $50-$250 each.

There has been a lot of reproduction Mary Gregory type glassware in the past decade. The reproduction pieces can be detected with a magnifying glass, you need to look for screen-printed children with very little hand painting.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Belated Halloween!

Ok, so I'm a little late. I had planned to write an article on collecting Halloween decorations and Halloween related collectibles. A funny thing happen on the way to the blogger, I got busy with my own Halloween party and didn't have enough time to do much of anything besides decorate.

We are avid Halloween Party Nuts! About 5 years ago we found out my brother-in-law had a huge collection of Halloween stuff, so that year we had our first Halloween party at our house with all his stuff. Since that time it has grown by leaps and bounds, we have gotten into the Halloween decorations big time. I now look for any and all Halloween decor at yard sales and thrift stores and we are the biggest fans of the "day after" clearance sales at Walmart.

Hubby has made a full graveyard, complete with a wood fence, a arched cemetery sign and lots of wood headstones with clever names painted on them. Another brother-in-law has a neighbor that bought a full size casket at an auction (not even I would do that) and he lent it to us for the party this year, it was the centerpiece of the deck! Between the two families we have about 50 masks (really cool masks), several blow-ups, 2 fog machines, several fiber optic decorations and boxes and boxes of table-top decorations.

It takes us days to get ready for the party, about 4 hours for the party and a full day of picking up and putting away but everybody always seems to have a good time and we enjoy our efforts for the brief time the decorations are up.

Below are a few of our Halloween decorations


So if you are a Halloween Guru you are in good company as the Halloween Party Supply industry is a multi-million dollar business. Just keep in mind that the best finds are generally before the holiday starts so always keep an eye out at flea markets and yard sales year round. You never know, you just might end up with tubs and tubs of Halloween decor like we did. Happy Halloween Everybody!!!