Minnesota Seniors Online

Minnesota Seniors Antiques & Collectibles Online Archive!

If you missed any of Ms. Chesley's very informative past articles,
you can access them here:

Buttonhooks
What's Hot - What's Not (2015)
What The Heck Is That?? (Part 2)
What The Heck Is That??
Wedgwood Pottery
Fenton Art Glass Company
Bibles
Egg Cups
Marbles
Rhinestone Jewelry
Easter Collectibles
Scales - Weighing Devices
It Happened...
What is an Antique?
Garden Décor With Old Stuff and Antiques
Value of an Item??
What's Hot - What's Not 8/2/13
GLASS STORAGE CONTAINERS Green Jade-ite, Jadite Green, Jade Green
The “1000 Mile Boot” Returns  --  Wolverine Boots
Who is Richard Sears?
Razors
WOOD TEXTILE BOBBINS - Almost a Trashed Collectable
Depression-Era Glass
Want Fries With That Toy? Fast Food Collectibles
Cast Iron Skillets -- new or old  --  You can cook with them TODAY
 Missing Pieces
 How To Sell Your Items
 How To Research An Item Yourself
 Experience Late 1800s Farming and See Antiques in Action!
 Sell Your Gold For Cash
 Christmas Gift Ideas For An Antique Lover
 Start A Child/Teen/Adult Collecting
 Tips For A Successful Garage Sale - Part 1
 Tips For A Successful Garage Sale - Part 2
 Tips For A Successful Garage Sale - Part 3
 Memories of childhood toys that are now "Hot Collectibles".
RED WING STONEWARE  --  BRIEF HISTORY

 

 

BUTTONHOOKS

The buttonhook tool became a needed item when clothing in fashion included many, many tiny buttons for men, women and children’s clothing and shoes.  Tight fitting high button shoes/boots were first followed by ladies’ gloves, dresses, men’s shirt collars and men’s wrist cuffs.

Buttonhooks were used to clasp or open tiny buttons on clothes.  Ladies’ dresses, gowns, work dresses and wedding gowns had maybe 20 to 40 buttons.  The buttons were so tiny so a tool or device was made to open and close the buttons.

Buttonhooks were made generic and also for a specific clothing item.  If one could afford, they would have 4 or 5 buttonhooks for a specific type of button.  Specific buttonhooks included shoe hooks, glove hooks, dress hooks, and several sizes of men’s clothing hooks including the collar buttoner.

There are two main types of hooks.  Most common is the “hook end”, less common is the “closed wire loop”.  Some buttonhooks folded or retracted.  Some merchants offered free steel buttonhooks with a clothing purchase.

By about 1930 zippers became in fashion.  At the same time, shoes and boots were being made with laced closure.  As fashion changes, so does the implements and tools needed to dress oneself.

Buttonhook handles or hookends were made of wood, bone, celluloid, ivory, steel, iron, and sterling silver.  Lengths varied from two inches to two feet.  The price range greatly… $5 to $60 depending on material, age, condition.  There are rare buttonhooks that can fetch $300. 

Price of buttonhooks include rarity, material of the hook and the handle, plus condition.

This information is my opinion only.  Thank you for reading my articles.  Email questions.

Have fun shopping and using antiques.
 

 


What's Hot!!  What's Not!!

Hot Hot:

- High Quality Leather Purses:  These are not an antique but wanted.  Purses like Coach are highly sought after in the second market to save a lot of money.

- Bohemian Clothes/Hippie Clothes:  These are clothes you can wear.  Build your own fashion look! One bold or subtle piece added to your wardrobe.

- Homer Laughlin Dinnerware, including Fiesta:  I am a huge fan of Homer Laughlin dishes, and I collect and use daily.  The product line is vast.

-Cast Iron:  Everything, including kitchenware, farm items and more. 

 

WHAT’S NOT SO HOT:

-Milk Glass

-Shot Glasses

-Playing Cards

- Glassware in general is not selling.  Both in single pieces and sets.


                             View the archive of Ms. Chesley's past articles here.
 

 

WHAT THE HECK IS THAT ?-? (Part 2)

   

These are considered "primitives". A primitive is thought to be an early model, simple/crude or in the early stages of human development. Primitives served a vital purpose to daily life. Primitives were hand made with products available in the immediate area. Their structure may have been simple, but their task/purpose was important. They are rare in these early formats. Let's investigate two primitives.

Here is the first primitive item: What the heck is that ??

Any guesses? No, it is not a pancake flipper or a kitchen tool of any kind. No, it does not help put on tight shoes or boots. No, it does not hold open a horses mouth for teeth inspection. No, it does not comb or shape a horses tail or mane. What the heck is that ?-?

Answer: This is a very simple, pure, basic... cabbage planter. Cabbage was first raised from a seed in a framed garden bed. The seeds became cabbage "sets" as they grew. The cabbage planter was a hand used tool to plant the young cabbage sets, one by one, into the soil. Very time consuming.  Usually made of maple or another hard wood.

Let's look at the next primitive item: What the heck is that ??

Any guesses? You might be able to guess this one. No, it is not a back scratcher. No, it is not a fireplace tool. No, it is not a cast iron stove tool or ember tool. No, it is not a horse hoof/shoe cleaner. What the heck is that ??

Answer: This is a fishing gig. A device used to drag through a school of fish to hook them in the body. Or, it could be used as a spear-like device for spearing fish and frogs.

Typically made with 4 prongs. Made of all iron, iron and brass, or iron with a wood handle. Thank you for reading my column. All information is my opinion only.

Happy hunting for treasures.

 

 

WHAT THE HECK IS THAT ??

I am starting a new series of articles called:  WHAT THE HECK IS THAT ?-?  Even an experienced antique collector or farm enthusiast may not know what these items are or what they were made to do.  They are considered "primitives".  A primitive is thought to be an early model, simple/crude or in the early stages of human development.  Primitives served a vital purpose to daily life.  Primitives were hand made with products available in the immediate area.  Their structure may have been simple, but their task/purpose was important.   They are rare in these early formats.  Let's investigate two primitives.  Here are images of the first primitive item.

What the heck is that ?-?

Any guesses?  No, it is not a torture device but it does look menacing.  No, it does not agitate clothes during washing.  Notice the sharp points on the ends.... clothes would be ripped to shreds.  No, it is not a ground hole digger for fence posts.  No, it is not a soil tiller.   No, it is not a wood working tool. No, it is not an ice auger.  No, it is not a weapon used by gladiators such as Spartacus.  What the heck is that ?-?

Answer:  This is called a sugar devil. I said it looks menacing, hence the name devil.  These date to about 1850 to 1900.

A sugar devil was used to loosen sugar.  What?  When sugar was transported distances, it became compacted in the wood barrel or large transport containers.  The sugar became hard and unbreakable.  The sugar devil was the answer to break apart sugar into a useable consistency.

Homesteaders and shop keepers both used the sugar devil. 

Approximate size:  Length was about 16 to 20 inches.  Spike width about 8 inches.  Handle width about 8 to 12 inches.

Typically made of either all iron or combo of wood handle and iron base/prongs.  There were usually 2, 3 or 4 sharp prongs.  The spikes/prongs were curved or twisted, often with one central straight sharp prong.

Let's investigate a second primitive. 

What the heck is that?-?

Any guesses?  No, it is not a sugar devil.  No, it is not a railroad or steam engine tool.  Notice the curved end... No, it is not a bark stripper.  No, it is not a branding iron for cattle (ouch).  No, it is not a tool to sift through burning embers.  No, it is not an early version of a weed whacker.  What the heck is that?-?

Answer:  This is a fruit auger.  It is similar to the sugar devil in purpose but made uniquely for fruit.  Fruit also settled in large containers during long transports.  The fruit auger would gently break apart the fruit, making it ready to eat, cook or to sell.  The sugar devil could also be used on fruit, but the sharp prongs of the sugar devil ruined the fruit.  A new primitive item was needed specifically for fruit.  The fruit auger was more gentle on the fruit products.  The handle of the fruit auger was straight across, but the end that broke apart the settled fruit was slightly curved to assist in its purpose.  These were most often made of solid iron, about 10-14 inches in length.  Some had wooden handles.

Thank you for reading my column.  All information is my opinion only.  I wish you great antique shopping.  The garage sale season will be done in about a month... so watch for those garage sale signs now!

 

                Wedgwood Pottery And Two Pieces for Sale NOW

I like Wedgwood Pottery, I collect Wedgwood, and I display Wedgwood. Let's investigate.
 
Way back in 1759, a man named Josiah Wedgwood began making pottery in England. First, only useful pottery pieces. A common start for glassware or pottery makers since people only bought what they could use. Money was scarce and decorative items were unaffordable for many.
 
In 1770, with successful sales, he added ornamental pottery pieces. They still served a purpose but were attractive and pretty. His next step.... overly ornate pottery pieces.
 
Today, his pottery is not cheap. I haven't seen a piece in an antique shop for under $150 lately. Most cost much more... $200 to $3000+ to $7000+ for one simple/small piece of pottery. I collect his Jasperware. This is BEAUTIFUL pottery. It is over-the-top in classic beauty and presence, yet simple and precious. Wedgwood is easily identifiable with one quick look and can then be verified by the pottery maker markings on the bottom. Wedgwood is unique in elegance and design.
 
Jasperware is sometimes called Cameo Ware. As you view the pictures, you see why that name is appropriate. Jasperware is NOT a shiny/glazed pottery piece. Instead it has a dull or matte finish. It is fine made unglazed stoneware decorated with very ornate white figures of objects, people and trim. It is also called "white relief". One can see and feel the white risen paint on top of the matte pottery.
 
HERE IS A SPECIAL TREAT FOR READERS!!!
 
I have TWO pieces of Wedgwood that I am offering for sale, right now, to you! Pictures are below. Description/prices are as follows. 
 
FOR SALE:
 Light Blue Jasperware jug, 4 and 3/4 inches tall, bottom measures about 3 and 1/4 inches, and width measures about 6 inches.
 I offer this wonderful piece for sale to you at $130.00
 
FOR SALE:
 Dark Blue Jasperware, Cobalt, 5 and 1/2 inches jug. Dated 1891 to 1898.
 I offer this piece for sale at $240.00
 
To enquire or purchase, please call me at 763-222-6724. Simple, easy and it is yours.
 
Let's look at some CURRENT pricing of Wedgwood. These are my opinion only. It is an expensive line of pottery, as you will see. The prices on the two pieces for sale ABOVE, from me, are at steal prices!
 
 Price Examples:
 
 -Bowl 6 3/4 inches, Basalt, floral, handle, Wedgwood mark: $1,100.00
 -Bowl 2 3/4 inches tall, Dragon Luster: $175.00
 -Bowl 8 inches, Lahore Luster, riders/animals, ca 1920: $2,500.00
 -Custard Cup with lid 2 1/2 inches, Jasper, blue, lattice relief: $400.00
 
 -Jug 4 inches, Jasper, crimson, grapes on vine, ca 1920: $800.00
 -Jug 6 and 1/2 inches, Jasper, light blue, classic figures: $285.00
 -Pie Plate 8 1/2 inches, crust decor, ca 1800: $600.00
 -Vase 10 7/8 inches, Dragon Luster, ca 1920: $8,000.00
 -Wall Pocket 9 3/4 inches, Moonlight Luster, ca 1810: $700.00
 -Cup and Saucer, cobalt, pear shape, ca 1937: $175.00
 -Brooch 1 inch by 7/8 inch, Jasper, green, 10 K: $200.00
 
 -Vase with lid, 8 and 1/2 inches, Fairyland Luster: $3,300.00
 -Vase 6 1/4 by 3 inches, cobalt, classical figures: $225.00
 
Thank you for reading my articles. Have fun shopping for antiques and treasures. The garage sale season is still hot/hot/hot and fun. Call me or text me at 763-222-6724 to purchase your own piece of Wedgwood pottery.

 

The Fenton Art Glass Company

Let’s investigate Fenton Glass products, starting with the history.  It started in 1905 in Martin Ferry, Ohio.  Tow brothers, named Frank and John Fenton, formed the Fenton Art Glass Company.  The business began a cutting and decorating shop that used other glass manufacturing companies “blanks”.  Charles Fenton later joined his brothers. 

The company did well and decided to produce & sell their own glass products.  They built a glass making plant in Williamstown, West Virginia.  By 1907, Fenton was making its own glass products and the Fenton family ran the business.  Colored glassware was now being produced including opalescent glass, chocolate glass, Persian blue glass and pressed glass in green, crystal, opalescent including topaz/blue/ruby.

Patterns and colors expanded fast.  The Fenton Art Glass Company was a hit!  They made a large profit and their name brand product was sought.  They created beautiful and artistic pieces of handmade glassware but it was high priced for the average person to buy.  The Great Depression hit so now Fenton made mostly necessary glassware including mixing bowls, lamps, reamers and eat & drink sets.  When the Depression ended, they expanded and prospered with glass items such as Hobnail perfume bottles.  Fenton continued to produce glassware until about 1980. 

Wow, Fenton has a long & great history.  In my opinion, Fenton pieces have simple lines, gorgeous cutting & colors.  Their pieces are timeless, easy to use or display today.  Let’s investigate some price points and patters of Fenton glassware. 

First let me say, their product line included carnival glass, off hand art glass, stretch glass, non-iridescent glass, patters, satin glass and opalescent. 

All price estimates are my opinion only.  I am not a Fenton glassware expert, but I do own several pieces.   

  • Stretch glass, celeste blue color, Vase #565, 6” fan shape - $50.

  • Stretch glass, velva rose color, Candlestick #349, 10” - $70, Bowl #550, 12” flared $90.

  • Wisteria Stretch glass, burgundy color with iridescent finish, 1921-1928.  Candlestick, 10” #649 - $90, Vase #251, 10” $40.

  • Victoria Topaz stretch glass, a yellow opalescent glassware. Pitcher, 8 ¼” with 4 rib base, $400.

  • Non-Iridescent, black color, ashtray #848, 3feet, $15-$20.  Basket #1615, 6 ½” $60.  Bowl #100, 7 ½” with 3 feet bottom, round - $19.

  • Non-Iridescent, jade green color, basket #1615, 6” - $50.  Bonbon #543, covered - $60.  Bowl #606, 8” with rolled rim - $25.  Bowl #647, 10” flared - $40.  Bowl #1608, 10 ½” deep oval, footed, dolphin design - $100.

  • Pattern, daisy & button #1900 (also called Cape Cod), numerous colors, plate 8” in crystal $8.  Vase 10” fan in crystal $10 but in Vaseline glass $25.

  • Pattern, diamond optic, bowl #1502, 12” rolled rim in green or rose color - $30.  In jade color - $40.  Cologne #53, 4” in green or rose color - $100+.  In aqua color $140+.  Tumbler #1502, 5oz, green or rose color - $10.  Jade or aqua color - $10-$15.  Vase #1502, 5” fan with dolphin handles, green or rose color - $25.  Jade - $30+.

  • Pattern, spiral optic, bowl #1503, 10” flared, green or gold color - $25.  Rose color - $20.  Goblet #1503, 9oz, green or gold - $10, rose - $20.

Remember, all prices are my opinion only.  Have fun shopping for the treasures that catch your eye whether the cost is $5, $20 or $200.  Buy what you love and use it or display it. 

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

 

Bibles

One book is highly collectible, revered and valued above all else.  Its value is multifaceted.  It is the Bible.  Let's explore:

Today, we have numerous options of how to view/read/see/hear media.  There are Ebooks, downloading, audio books and more technology. 

I am old school.  I want a paper book.  I want to feel a paper book in my hands.  I want to smell the musty scent of aged paper.  To hold the physical weight of the words.  Once a paper book is opened, there is a right side and a left side separated by a middle binding.  These pages reveal black ink letters printed on thin white sheets of paper.  This is a paper book. 

The Bible, with its many editions, languages, sizes and versions is the most published book in the world.  My Random House paper dictionary dated 1988 defines the Bible as:

  1. The collection of sacred writings of the Christian religion, comprising the Old and New Testaments.

  2. The collection of sacred writings of the Jewish religion, comprising the Old Testament only. 

  3. The sacred writings of any religion.

  4. A book accepted as final authority.

Bible collecting or just buying one edition for personal use is on the upswing.  Price factors include age, condition, material quality, size, language, version and more.  Here are a few prices.  These prices are my opinion only.

  • 1805, German Bible, 8x10 - $75

  • 1846, The Illuminated Bible, 8x10 - $150

  • 1850, Bible printed in Philadelphia, PA - $30

  • 1854, Holy Bible, Philadelphia, PA, comprehensive Bible, gilt emb. leather cover - $35

  • 1950, Family Bible, with illustrations, with hand written notes of births and deaths - $15

  • 1970, The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition - $8

Thank you for viewing my article.
Have a great 2015 and have fun shopping for antiques.

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

 

Egg Cups

This is a hot collectible.  Egg cups are unique, useable today, small and easy to display.  Prices range from $3.00 to several hundred or a thousand dollars.  Some egg cups are very old and rare and thus demand a high price.  Let’s explore…

Any and all antiques intrigue me.  Egg cups sound so basic and simple but once you get in to the details, material, age…wow!!  Egg cups are a fun and diverse collectible. 

Some egg cups are one piece.  It’s a base that the egg sits on top of.  Some egg cups are two pieces.  An egg cup is just a 3 to 4 inch vessel to hold an egg at your meal.  A daily staple way back when, (for those who could afford eggs), to hold your egg for eating.

Collectible categories include basic, chintz, art deco and many more.  Egg cups can be used every day, now, in your kitchen.  Or, just display and enjoy their beauty.

Some price estimates:

  • Egg Cup, Dedham Pottery, Massachusetts, Rabbit - $150

  • Egg Cup, Mickey Mouse, Sombrero, 1930’s, 3” - $100+

  • Egg Cup, English Flow Blue - $75+

  • Egg Cup, Marilyn Monroe, New, 1993 - $50

  • Egg Cup, Goblet style, Apple, Franciscan - $25

  • Egg Cup, Railroad, California Poppy - $175+

  • Egg Cup, Duck pulling an egg cart, Japan - $18

  • Egg Cup, Hobnail, ruby flash - $50+

  • Egg Cup, Wrought iron, 1850 $45

  • Egg Cup, Blueberry patter, Stangl - $25

All prices are my opinion only.

Thank you for reading my articles, have fun shopping for antiques and learning about history.  It is an endless pursuit.

Antiques With Attitude,

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

 

 

MARBLES

Marbles are a child’s toy and an adult’s collectible.  They are round, colorful, tiny and shiny.  Let’s explore!

Marbles became a toy in about 1850.  The materials used to make them include natural stones, pottery, glass and china.  

There are three main categories:  antique, machine made, contemporary.  Then it gets complicated as there are so many subdivisions, different varieties and types.   Sizes vary, but most common are ½” to 1”. 

Here are just some of the sub-categories:  Agates, bloodstone, chambroth, clay, comic strip, end of the day, lutz, mica, onionskin, peppermint swirl, ribbon swirl, steelies, sulfides, Vaseline.  Each of the categories are interesting and diverse. 

One example is sulfide marbles.  Sulfide marbles have a frosted white figure in the center.  This is my fav.  Inside the center of the marble is a tiny white animal or bird or comic character such as Betty Boop. 

Second example is the peppermint swirls.  These are opaque glass of red, white and blue swirled together.  Always, red/white/blue.

Third example is the clambroth marble.  I would describe this as a stripped or lined marble.  It’s opaque glass with lines evenly spaced from top to bottom.

I am not a marble collector.  I have purchased and sold maybe a dozen marbles for profit.  I do know that condition is most important.  Why?  Think of how marbles were used.  In the game, you shoot one marble at another.  This often resulted in damage, cracks, nicks.  So, a mint condition marble is a prize today.  You need to watch out for reproductions too.

A marble is just a tiny toy with big value in some cases.  Let’s review some price ranges.  All prices are just estimates and in my opinion only. 

* Sulfide, bird, 2”  --  $100

* Sulfide, deer, 1 ¼  --  $150

* Sulfide, fox, 1 ½  --  $130

* Sulfide, chicken, 1 ¼,  --  $70

* China, decorated, glazed, apple, 1 ¾  --  $600

* Sparkler, Multicolor, Akro agate  --  $15 

Agate,carnelian,  1 ¾,  --  $20

Comic, Betty Boop  --  $200

* Lutz, black glass, opaque  --  $175

* Lutz, clear swirl, ¾  --  $70

* Mica, blue, 7/8 inch, $40

* Onionskin, 1 7/8  --  $250

* Onionskin, ¾ , pink/yellow/blue/white lines  --  $50

* Cat eye, banana, Peltier, 1”  --  $2

* Swirl, ribbon core, 1 ¾  --  $200

* Corkscrew,  Popeye, akro agate, 5/8  --  $25

Thank you for reading my articles, have fun shopping for antiques and learning about history.  It is an endless pursuit.

Antiques With Attitude,

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

 

Rhinestone Jewelry

I fondly remember Grandma’s rhinestone necklace, my Mom’s dangle rhinestone earrings, and the vintage rhinestone brooch that I wear year-round on all types of clothing and accessories.  Rhinestones are fun!  They are shiny.  They are versatile.  They are inexpensive and easy to find.  The period from 1920 to 1960 was the peak of their mass production.   They were popular then and popular today.  They were cheap then and cheap today.  Rhinestones are simply timeless.   Let’s explore.

Let’s start with the basics.  What is a rhinestone?  It is hard, bright, leaded glass stone backed with foil or tin. The backing is a thin metallic layer.  The reason for the foil or tin backing is that glass does not reflect light from the interior.  The backing stops the light from going right through the hard glass.   The backing refracts or bounces the light of the glass.  The backing can be tinted to make different color shades.

People began to call these high lead glass stones by many names such as simulation, glass flux, false stone, Austrian crystal, paste, brilliant and rhinestones.

In the 1920’s, few could afford expensive gems or diamonds.  But… rhinestones were cheap to make and sold at a low price.  Manufacturers advertised these sparkling glass pieces as “imitation diamonds that anyone can afford”.  Their popularity grew.  The number of manufacturers producing rhinestone jewelry grew quickly.  Higher-end jewelry designers entered the market and stayed in the market because of good sales.  Rhinestones were a hit and stayed in vogue though to about 1960.  Many manufacturers continued to produce and sell rhinestone jewelry, and they still do so. 

In the antique shops today, I see a wide variety of items and prices including necklaces, earrings, dress clips, brooches/pins, shoe clips, sweater clasps, even tiaras.  Some are dainty/small and some are gaudy/large and some are WOW.  Back in 1930, one could buy a rhinestone brooch for $2.  Today, that brooch might sell for $25 in a shop.

The less expensive pieces are made with inexpensive metals.  The better quality pieces are made with gold plate, sterling silver or a brush-over silver.  Having a manufacturers mark adds to the value.  Original boxes also add value.  Hand set stones into the prongs are more expensive then the glued/pasted into the tin backing.

It’s that glorious sparkle, the glimmer, and the fire of colors that attract people to rhinestone jewelry.

Here are some price references:

  • Butterfly pin, gold plated, light blue rhinestones - $18

  • Butterfly pin, clear rhinestones with red eyes - $15

  • Hinged plastic bangle with inlaid rhinestones - $50

  • Sunburst design pin - $18-$25

  • Circle shaped brooch - $15

  • Saxophone shaped brooch - $45

  • Necklace, bracelet, earrings – matching set - $80

  • Set of 2 dress clips - $45-$75

  • Pearl earrings with rhinestone accents - $10-$30

  • Earrings, shoulder dusters (extra long) - $20-$40

  • Long dangle earrings - $10 - $40

  • Clip-back earrings, large purple stones - $30

  • Signed Boucher pin - $100-$200

  • Signed Trifari ballerina pin - $100

  • Signed Trifari Silver plated, set brooch and earrings - $100

  • Signed Trifari, gold plated swag shaped brooch - $40

  • Signed Kramer, tennis bracelet - $50

  • Signed Kramer, small brooch - $35

  • Signed Hollycraft, tiered Christmas tree pin - $30-$50

  • Signed Boucher pin - $100-$200 

Price estimates are just my opinion.  I encourage you to visit your local antique shops and search out these wonderful fake diamonds.  Vintage rhinestone jewelry wears well today.  A little sparkle here or there.  Rhinestones are timeless.

Thank you for reading my articles, have fun shopping for antiques and learning about history.  It is an endless pursuit.

Antiques With Attitude,

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

 

EASTER  COLLECTIBLES

Here comes Peter Cottontail…

The first things that come to mind regarding older Easter collectibles are candy containers, rabbits, baby chicks, eggs, and Germany! 

Easter is both a religious and secular occasion.  It is an important religious holiday and time of year.  In this article, I am discussing EASTER COLLECTIBLES AND ANTIQUE ITEMS!   

The iconic Easter Bunny is center stage.  The bright colors on eggs and Easter baskets soon followed.  The Easter season offers a variety of collectibles for you to buy/collect/use/display.   Look back to perhaps 1900, 1925, 1940, 1950 and remember.

Let’s explore Easter Collectibles!

Germany is well noted for being the pioneer in this industry, specifically with candy containers but the whole industry as well.  German companies made the first Easter-themed candy containers in the early 1900’s (and before in smaller quantities) often shaped as rabbits, ducks and chicks.  The items sold well, so the industry expanded.  Quality was high.  Germany remained the leader in Easter items for many years.

Japan and other countries entered the market to compete and make a profit.  USA was a late joiner, waiting till the profit factor was well documented.  Commercial promotions began and “The Easter Season” was created for profit.

There were buyers then, there are buyers today.  German items from the turn of the century are prized.  Condition, country made, availability and size are key price factors today.

The USA’s late entry into the market impacts what we collect, see and pay for these items in today’s market.  The “Made in USA” items tend to be newer, less expensive, more common and easier available – typically from 1930 to 1950.  I keep my eye on those older German made items. 

Rabbits are consistently in high demand.  Some have painted-on clothes, fabric clothes or no clothes.  Once you start finding these treasures in your local shops or on-line, you will see all the varieties and different age/place of origin indicators.  The more you learn about a particular field of  antiques, the better shopper you become.

Materials may include:  Glass, metal, tin, celluloid, cloth, mohair, straw, hard plastic, molded cardboard, pulp, egg-carton material, pressed cardboard, paper and papier-mache and ceramic. 

An often overlooked Easter collectible is post cards - they are bright, cute, even funny, old, authentic, made with high quality materials/ink/designers/drawers, and still inexpensive.  In contrast, the inexpensive 1970-2000 Easter items are worth $2-$4 today, made with cheap materials and have no realistic price increase potential.  I sell mine at garage sales (and they still don’t sell).

A FEW EXAMPLES OF PRICES:

-Chocolate mold, tin, chick, 3”  --   $25
-Cake mold, cast iron, lamb shaped, 2 pc’s, 13”  --  $80
-Candy container, begging rabbit, brown, compo material, glass eyes, German, 1900-  1930, 5”-9” --  $90 to $200

-Candy container, begging rabbit, pulp, base, US, 1950  --  $50
-Candy container, egg, papier-mache, German, 4”  --  $35
-Candy container, rabbit with basket in arm, glass, USA  --  $35
-Candy container, rabbit with flowers, composition, German, 7”  --  $100+

-Sitting rabbit with mohair, compo, early 1900’s, German, 4-6”  --  $150+
-Chick or duck, celluloid, 3 to 8”, some plain, some ornate  --  $20-$100+
-Lamp, Morton Pottery, US, about 1945 to1965, Easter Bunny with carrot  --  $30
-Ceramic Easter egg and bunny, 2-pc, newer (maybe 1960 to 1980)  --  $15

-Sheet music, Easter Parade  --  $6
-Post cards, Easter theme, $5-15
-Toy, windup, rabbit, tin with fur, Japan, 5”  --  $50

NOTE:  I do not specialize in this area.  I do appreciate these items and own a treasured few pieces.  I display my Easter collectibles for a full month before Easter Day.  I use some Easter-themed serving dishes during the Season also. 

Thank you for reading my articles, have fun shopping for antiques and learning about history.  It is an endless pursuit.

Antiques With Attitude,

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

 

  Scales – Weighing Devices

Scales are an important part of today’s business world, manufacturing processes and home life.  We buy things with the weight printed on the package/label.  We take the measurement for granted, assume it is correct and per code/regulation.

Think back, way back in time when people were buying, selling or trading goods in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Think of a gold miner, a lumberyard, a flourmill, a fisherman, a jeweler, a blanket maker/weaver, a general store or a fur trader.  They want to sell a day/month/years worth of work and labor.  What is a fair price to sell?  Will someone pay more to me because my haul (my products, my goods) is larger, bigger, heavier and better quality?   The future buyer had the same questions but from the reverse view.

Weight was the solution.  The answer was a scale

The evolution of the scale system is an interesting progression – from primitive to reliable, from home-made scales to standardized models used throughout an entire industry, from generic measure anything scales to a very specific scale designed for a specific item. 

With a scale, a buyer or seller could weigh anything including sugar, gold, coins, flour, salt, gunpowder, pelts, cotton, grain, wheat, seed, spices, eggs, medicine and a new born baby.

Each unique industry over time began to learn and refine the benefits financially of weighing items before they bought/sold/traded/manufactured.  Hence, the customers learned the financial benefits as well.   I can’t describe the depth of the importance of the weight system to our history. 

Consider a shopkeeper in 1910, a chemist in 1870, a doctor, a grain farmer, a dairy, the post office, the local bank.  Every type of industry learned to price according to weight.  It took time for the weighing practices to spread from town to town,  from North to South and East to West.  It took time for the weight practices to become standardized and  “understood” in each industry.  If a salesman/business could afford a scale, it was bought. 

Customers learned to buy and compare price/quality according to weight.  That is what I do every time I shop at Cub Foods or Costco.  I want to be a smart shopper.   Scales help.

PRICING AND COLLECTING

Early scales were made of whatever materials were available including cast iron, marble, wood, brass, steel, glass, nickel-plate, plastic and bronze.

Early scale types include:  unequal arm balance, double beam, hanging equal arm balance, spring balance, permanent attached weights, countertop generic, hanging spring balance, hook balance, even balance, even balance with trip, dial front, lever, arrow point, pendulum...  and more.

With each new invention or refinement of a scale, the older model became outdated.  These outdated scales make collecting today more fun!   New material, new math and new sciences brought cheaper, better, lighter, mass-produced scales to homes, industry, farms, groceries and every day life.

Here are a few prices of scales today:

 - 1910 Grocers countertop, unequal arm balance, by Fairbanks, $80+
  - 1908 Union Scale, countertop, single beam, $100+
  - Common family/at home scale, referred to as a family dial type, $20-$35
  - Family Scale, The Daisy, 11” x 8”, $70+
  - Common hanging spring balance, $10-$40
  - Egg Scale, Jiffy-Way, made in Owatonna MN, Patent 1940, 6”x7”, $15-$30
  - Egg Scale, Acme, made in St. Paul MN, aluminum, $15-$30

All prices are my opinion only.  All prices depend on age, rust, nicks, condition, brand, materials, and other factors.

Thank you for reading Chesley’s Antique Corner.

Have fun collecting and using antiques.

 

 It  Happened….

We all have memories - some good, some bad.  Events occur all around us every day that impact our lives.  This article lists some events, issues, tragedies, inventions, people and things that might have influenced you, awed you or changed you.   Some listings are political, others are monumental - even tragic, others are just popular culture, interesting or silly.  Whether we like it or not, events occur and time changes.

Close your eyes right now and think about the past.  Go back to last week, 50 years, 100 years ago.  What do you see?  What do you remember?    Here is my take on…. It happened.

50 YEARS AGO

- Easy Bake Oven
- Beatles first USA #1 hit
- President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, TX on
  Nov 22, 1963.  Lee Harvey Oswald is killed 2 days later. 
  Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President.
- Bubble Wrap
- Zip code system takes affect in the post office
- Tatum O’Neal is born
- Sandra Bullock is born
- Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream” on Aug 28, 1963

75 YEARS AGO

- In Germany and Austria:  Nov 9, 1938, Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass.  The
  beginning of Nazi hate crimes on Jews.  No one should forget.

- Orson Welles famous radio broadcast - “War of the Worlds”.  Story of
  Martians invading earth heard by 6 million radio listeners.  Turned to
  panic.  Power of the media.  Oct 30, 1938.

80 YEARS AGO

- Albert Einstein arrives in USA.  In 1933, Albert Einstein fled Nazi Germany and
  blessed us by ending at Princeton.

- Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural speech:  “This great nation will
  endure…prosper…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”.  Uplifting and needed
  speech.   FDR was a four-term president.

90 YEARS OLD

- Time Magazine - with its recognizable bright red border on every cover.

100 YEARS AGO

- Famous auto maker, Henry Ford, creates the first auto assembly line to increase
  production and save money.  This is 1913, and the retail price of the Ford car drops
  from $850 to $360.  Impressive production increase.

150 YEARS AGO

- Abe Lincoln’s speech, known as the Gettysburg Address, Nov 19,
  1863.  Topic is “devotion”.

THIS WEEK

- 5 counties in Colorado voted to approve the creation of a 51st state – yes, here in the
  USA.  Is North Colorado to be a new state???  It is in the hand of Colorado lawmakers
  and then Congress.

- Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers after a 23 straight
  losing streak to this team.  (rah).  This win is great!

Thank you for reading my article.  My grandma always said that times flies.    Now I understand.

It happened.

 

WHAT IS AN “ANTIQUE”?

This is an age-old question (get the pun).  People ask me all the time:  What is and what is not an antique.  The simple answer … there is no simple answer.  There are various definitions of the word “antique” and even more interpretations there of.  You can Google to get several different dictionary definitions.

So, what is an antique?  I started by asking the general public.  I went to a Sears Store and asked customers what they thought an antique was?  Here are some answers:

  • Really old, maybe with markings on the bottom.

  • Over 100 years old and things in England/over seas.

  • A treasure.

  • Anything passed down through the family generations.

  • Things I can’t touch and can’t break.

  • Grandma’s stuff, dusty, it’s old.

  • Anything I can sell on ebay or Craig’s List 

  • 1970’s or older, you know, retro things, old things.

  • Heirloom, history, it’s nostalgia.  I have a lot of photos.  It’s all family.

  • 75 years old or more.

  • Older than me, I don’t know, I like old cars.

So, what is an antique?  Can we define the word? 

Most antique shows now promote themselves as an antique show/craft show\flea market, or an antique fair or an antique event.   Any gamut of words to include what vendors might sell to make money.

Most antique stores promote themselves as selling antiques and collectables.  A catch-all phrase. 

The reason for such phrases in the antique business is that the word “antique” has a broad and varying definition and meaning. 

My paper book dictionary, The Random House College Dictionary, Revised Edition defines an ANTIQUE as: 

"of or belonging to the past, not modern, dating from an early period, in the tradition or style of an earlier period.  Any work or art, piece of furniture, or the like, created or produced in a former period.  According to US customs laws, 100 years before date of purchase."

So what is an antique?  You be the judge.  It is something you want to keep and treasure?  Let’s embrace and collect our heritage.  If it has meaning – look to your heart- keep it.  That is what an antique is. 

This is my opinion. 

Thank you, Deb.

 
Garden Décor With Old Stuff and Antiques 

Are your annuals, perennials and vegetable seeds growing? Here are some green thumb ideas on how to DECORATE and USE older items in your gardens.  Some of my ideas are useful and some ideas are whimsical.  It’s fun to add something rustic, a touch of color, a personal theme or just that one unusual item to your gardens. 

These ideas can be applied to any type of garden:  huge/small/lawn, veg/flower/shrubs, tabletop, patio/deck gardens, or outside your front door decorations. Items can be nailed or glued to fence slates or stakes.  Items can be inserted between the greenery directly on the soil both foreground and background.  Use your imagination.  I have a 1940’s washing machine in my garden.  Re-purpose and reuse.

Let’s have some fun with antiques.

Themes:

-Nautical theme:  Use ½ an old boat horizontal or vertical, a ships wooden steering wheel, rope, fish decoys, nets, oars, wicker Creels.

-Hunting theme:  Use decoys, paint a bulls-eye, display several arrows – grouping items is a key to theme decor.

-Cabin theme:  Use old dock wood or any “seasoned” wood, drift wood, a wooden screen door, life preserver, fishing lures, large ice fishing lures, a grouping of bird houses. 

-Your personal collection theme:  If you collect tobacco tins…nail them on a fence in a grouping.  If you collect beer cans… nail them to fencing or insert on top of fence posts.  They will rust with time, but it’s fun to show your passion in your garden.  Replace with new tins as needed with weather age.

More Garden Décor Ideas:

-Make a name plate or sign using old wood and metal:  “Deb’s Daisies”,  “Chives”,  “No Weeds Allowed”, “Garden of Eden”.  You can make the letters with paint, nails, studs, old metal pieces.  Use railroad spikes.

-Common but adds a twist:  Milk can or milk stool – décor or planter.  Whicker chair – paint and remove the seat to insert a pot.  Wooden chair of any kind painted.  Splash on some bright paint, re-purpose and add some personality.

-Wooden bench:  Keep ¾’s of the bench to sit on, but remove 2 seating slates to insert a pot.  Or, remove the entire seating area and use as a planter.  A chair can become a planter.

-An old wheel barrel, plow, sled, barrel, wooden box/crate or wooden pop box, pail, water can.

-For tabletop:  Plant a flower in a 1950’s china tea cup with saucer under.  This also makes a nice hostess gift.  So simple, so small, so different.

-Crooks – Think both big size and small.  Use a 5 gallon or 20 gallon crook.  Use a 5” x 5” size crook on your patio table.

-Tractor Wheels -  Wood or metal, both last for years and years outdoors.

-Whirligigs, Windmills --  these are “wow” items.

-Old fence pieces - metal or wood.  Any type of old wood such as from a barn, a floor, window, barrel slats.

-Rod-iron pieces

-Re-purpose pieces of a picnic table 

-Use a Hoosier cabinet, vintage kitchen table or shelf unit as a garden table.

-Wood printer drawers

-Old wooden windows (with or without the glass)

-Almost anything can become a planter:  An old cracked bowl, a mixing bowl, crockery pieces, bucket, bath tub, a cowboy boot, military helmet, ashtray, copper kettle. 

REMEMBER:

Antiques can decorate any outside area.  It’s your yard – make it yours.  Use your passion and collectibles to accent your gardens.  Always, when decorating, keep it safety first --  rough edges, nails, sharp corners, doors that can close – keep it safe for your family and guests. 


 

 


What's Hot!!  What's Not!!  8/02/13

Hot Hot:

-Vinyl Records -  All types, 45's, 78's....  Irving Berlin, Devo, ABBA, Frank Sinatra, Dennis Day (My Wild Irish Rose), Doris Day, The Beach Boys, Eddy Howard (Stardust), Bruce Springstein.  Listen and enjoy.  

-Maps on paper, school house roll down/pull down maps, globes, atlas....  All hot.

-Military guns/rifles and attachments. 

-Garden art and decor - have fun in your gardens and decorate with unusual items and old stuff.  Items not meant for a garden add color and personal style. 

-Whirligigs

-1960's Blonde Furniture:  Bedroom set and mattress head board, TV stand, end table.  The once inexpensive blonde colored furniture is now expensive.

-1950's scarves, handkerchiefs, aprons.  The colors and options are endless.  Many are signed by the designer.  This is a fun item to collect.  Pick a theme or a color and go for it.

-Hawaii and tropical items.  Think about the Hula Dancer in a grass skirt as a car dash board ornament- she moved and shaked as the car drove.  Now, go farther.  Anything topical is sizzling HOT.

-Non-matching dinnerware.  China sets are OUT.  Buy one plate in this color and one plate in that pattern.  Mix up the designs and colors.  Make your own, personal set to serve 8 people. -- each one different.

WHAT'S NOT HOT 

-Spinning Wheels
-Collector Spoons
-Silverware sets
-China Sets
-Cheap cast iron, copper, brass -- decor, pots, knickknacks, whatever,  Not HOT.
-Collector Plates
-CD's  (not old enough yet)
-Oil Filled Glass Lamps (basic table-top style).  Too common (mass produced)  leads to low price point. 

                             View the archive of Ms. Chesley's past articles here.
 

 

VALUE  OF  AN  ITEM  ??

Notice the 2 question marks above.  The value of an item is always questionable and comes down to who will pay how much for what  -- or --  is it worth more to you to keep?   Some ideas to keep in mind include condition, age and scarcity.   Value is relative.  Price is subjective.  Memories are priceless.

Here are some of my thoughts on how to place a dollar value. 

FACTORS TO CONSIDER

Family value:  Ask yourself--  How much does it mean to keep/treasure/preserve the item?  Perhaps pass the item to a family member rather than sell?  Is there more value to keep or more value to sell for cash?

Demand:  Who wants the product today and how much will they pay today to obtain the item?   Will the item increase in value in the future?

Scarcity:  How many were made and how many were kept or collected?  Think of Beanie Babies or Santa Bears with the value of near nothing today.   Mass production and mass collecting will decrease value dramatically compared to a signature by Frank Sinatra which is much less scarce.

Selling Cost:  How much will it cost you to sell the item via what venue?   Costs attached to selling an item will impact your profit. 

Condition:  Take an honest look at the wear and tear.  Are there scratches, chips, dents, discoloring?  Collectors/Buyers want mint condition or mint in the box.  These are sought after and will increase the value of an item drastically.

Age:  What time period is the item from?  Is it from 1700 or 1950 or 2000?  A desk built in the 1800’s is worth more than a desk built to look like the old one but built in 1999.  The same “looking” item from a different time period impacts value greatly.  Look out for reproductions.

Need/Use:  Can the item be used today?  Does it serve a purpose in the home?  An old toaster that works can still toast toast!

Name Value:  Who Just Died or Retired:  I hate to say, but when someone famous passes away, the value of an item associated with them will increase.  We all know this but don’t want to say it.  Painters and artists are the best example.  Do you have an item/game/toy/doll/record/photo… anything associated with Dick Clark, Annette Funicello, George Jones.  Also, when a sports star retires, their signed or collectable items increase in value.

Bottom line is:  DEMAND.  Basic economical supply and demand.  Money is money.  If you have a rare item that is sought after, it will sell for more money.  If you have an item that is over produced and not sought after… it will be worth little money – perhaps less than you paid for it such as Beanie Babies. 

 

GLASS STORAGE CONTAINERS: 
Green Jade-ite, Jadite Green, Jade Green

Many descriptive color names for the same jade green glass colored storage containers.  They are all the same product with the same use…store and preserve.  A very important need, both yesterday and today.  Simple and easy storage containers for the ice box, the frig, the shelf or the counter.  Staple items needed to be stored for future use. 

Okay, we all have Tupperware, Rubbermaid, Glade and other plastic storage containers in our cabinets.  We use these plastic storage items daily, in the frig, shelf and freezer.  This is today.  

Now, think back to a 1930’s or 1940’s kitchen.  There is no plastic or Tupperware, but there is glass storage containers.  First, the ice box.  Next, with modern technology and electricity came the electric refrigerator.  Wow, a modern wonder.  Food could be kept cool, stored and re-used more easily.  Multi-purposed storage containers were purchased.  Basically anything needed in the home or kitchen was made in a glass storage container. 

Jadite green was an inexpensive glassware.  During the Depression when money was tight and no food scrap could be wasted, glassware companies manufactured storage containers.  They were made in several colors, but jade green is a HOT collectible today.  The color is typically a light to medium jade green shade. 

These containers were cheap.  They were used to store items such as flour, sugar, salt, butter, coffee, grease and more.  Affordable and multi-purposed.  Made to fit a 1930 to 1950 frig.  Leftovers were stored and nothing was wasted or spoiled.  Staples were kept on the shelf or in a cabinet, preserving to use in the future was vital.

Most jade green storage containers had flat tops.   Think about the importance of flat tops – easy to stack and minimal space used.  Even canisters had flat tops, butter dishes and more, all for efficient storage.  Flat tops were economically wise.

I would say Jadite Green storage containers are best known for being affordable and useable.  Today, we collect and respect these precious, vintage glass items.

Article by:
Deb Chesley

CURRENT PRICES – Jade Green Storage, IN MY OPINION:

  • Frig Container, 4x4”, Jeannette Glass Company, with lid=======$38.00

  • Frig Container, 4x4”, Anchor Hocking, with clear lid========= $40.00

  • Frig Container, 10x5”, Jeannette=======================$80.00

  • Sugar Bowl with lid, Jane Ray pattern   ================== $22.00

  • Sugar Bowl, no lid, Jane Ray pattern ====================$12.00

  • Child’s Canister Set, 3” tall, 4-pieces, all with lids  ===========$350.00 (yep)

  • Grease Jar, Screw on lid, Fire-King  ====================$55.00

  • Sugar Canister, Square Shape, Jeannette  =================$75.00

  • Mixing Bowl, 6”, Swirl pattern, Fire-King   ================$20.00

  • Mixing Bowl, 6”, Anchor Hocking  ===================== $33.00

  • Bowl, 8” with vertical ribs, Jeannette Glass Company =========$45.00

  • Bowl, 11”, Laurel pattern, McKee Glass Company  ==========$70.00


 

 

The “1000 Mile Boot” Returns  --  Wolverine Boots

The 1000 Mile Boot is a heritage line of high quality leather boots reintroduced for current sale.  Yes, you can buy a new pair through the Wolverine Company.  Myself, I love the name and the meaning of long wear: 1000 miles!  The look of the new footwear is outstanding!  A vintage look/design with high quality leather.   Once you see the footwear and its old-style charm, you will understand my attraction as an antique dealer.  True nostalgic.

HISTORY

Back in 1883, two men opened a small leather goods company based in Michigan, named the Hirth-Krause Company  (Wolverine).   The business prospered in 1914 with the introduction of an innovative shoe/boot line nick-named the “1000 Mile Boot”.  It quickly became a big seller due to its comfort, durability and more durability.  Basically the product was high quality leather for the feet.  It didn’t matter if you lived in the big city, on the range or on a farm  --  footwear that could last for years was a necessity. 

In the 1930’s, Wolverine began advertising its boot as a money wise “smart choice” during the depression.  It will last for 1000 miles!

Modern Years

In 2009, because of our craze for old things and nostalgic items to buy and use, the company reissued its ORIGINAL DESIGN from 1914 for high quality boots and shoes.  Three years later, due to high demand and great sales, Wolverine expanded the vintage line, adding new styles but still with the old-time look of the 1914 shoe/boot.  All newer designs were inspired by that great century-old craftsmanship, but they also use today’s technology for more foot comfort.  Technology is updated, but the product’s integrity remains. This is one of the finest shoe/boot lines available in the world.  I guess that I am not the only person who is attracted to the name:  “1000 Mile Boot”.

Collectors --  Search for the ORIGINAL Old Boots

Many antique dealers and collectors of clothing, linens, apparel, shoes/boots search out the original 1000 Mile Boots – either in a pair or one single boot – both are desired.   The patina (color) of the old leather is rich/deep.  Many old boots still have soles in good condition ??…. good condition soles, I would guess that they didn’t walk that 1000 miles when bought back in 1914.  

Places to search for vintage leather boots include auctions, estate sales, antique stores, eBay or other online sites.

A single leather shoe/boot can be displayed on a dresser in a bedroom next to an old family photograph, or in a family room as part of a western themed collection. Decorating options are expansive.  Each collector has his own way to display, use or sell his finds.  I have a late 1800’s ladies tall leather lace-up boot on display with family photos.  Antiques make great decorating items.

Website:  www.wolverine.com
Phone:     1-866-699-7369
New Prices:  Start at about $350 – today for new footwear.
Vintage Prices:  Range greatly but can start as low as $60.

Deb Chesley

 

 

 
WHO  IS  RICHARD  SEARS?

Hint:  Born 1863 in Minnesota
Hint:  An agent for the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad
Hint:  R.W. Sears Watch Company                        
Hint:  Famous Catalog
Giveaway:  Alvah Roebuck                         

Answer:  Sears, Roebuck & Company founder

This is my nod to a famous Minnesota entrepreneur, Richard Sears and his famous catalog.

CURRENT CATALOG PRICES:                           

I love the history and the memories of these catalogs… my grandparents keeping the catalog for months on the farm – rereading the same pages over and over.  Their catalogs quickly obtained soiled corners from so many page flippings. 

Estimated current retail value of a few Sears & Roebuck Company catalogs: 

            - 1912 Volume #125, 1458 pages, perfect condition,  $175

            -1940 Fall/Winter, 1182 pages, perfect condition,  $30

            -1922 General Merchandise, 1176 pages, perfect condition $70

Current retail values drop fast if the pages are well used, dirty, torn/cut, ear-marked/folded or written on.  Collectors want “perfect” to “very good” condition.  Above are estimated retail prices and vary greatly depending on the antique shop you visit.

Sears, Roebuck & Company

Richard Sears was born in 1863 in Stewartville, Minnesota, a rural farming community, his family later moved to Spring Valley.  The Railroad entered the city of Spring Valley, changing rural areas forever.  Nicknamed “The Iron Horse” trains changed how people traveled and also how product to buy or sell was transported.

The railroad also had an impact on Richard Sears – he saw opportunity and took it.   One of his first jobs was at the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad Company.  This did not satisfy him.  He knew he could do more.

In 1886 in Redwood Falls, a jewelry store owner refused to pay for 12 pocket watches that a vendor was trying to sell.  The jeweler didn’t think he could sell them for a profit.   Richard Sears observed the encounter by pure chance and then bought the pocket watches from the vendor.  He paid $144 for all 12 watches.  He resold the watches for a $2 profit each.  Richard Sears earned a  $24 profit and  now saw his calling:  He would buy and sell.  Yep, $24 dollars in profit started the HUGE Sears Company.  Richard was only 23 years of age and just getting started.

He quit the railroad job and moved to Minneapolis where he started the R. W. Sears Watch Company.   The watch was the only product so far that he had purchased and then re-sold.   How did he advertise in 1886?  He placed ads in farm publications and started mail-order marketing.  Another nod to this Minnesota businessman.

As his business grew in the 1880’s, still selling watches, Richard Sears moved his headquarters to Chicago-- the railroad center of the entire USA.   The railroad grew and so did Richard’s dreams and company.   He met and hired a simple watch repairman named Alvah Roebuck.  Alvah became a friend and business partner.  Together, they expanded their product line and launched a new company called Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Now a successful and still young adult, he realized that the rural farmers/families (specifically where he grew up in Minnesota) had very limited places to buy basic everyday items needed for the kitchen, the farm or the barn -products required to run the home and farm.  The rural family had many buying needs and few buying options.

Sears  business solution:  Buy more product and sell more product.  But it is 1890, how to reach that rural buying market?  His answer, the catalog. 

THE FAMOUS AND REVOLUTIONARY CATALOG

I call it ”THE CATALOG”.  Started in 1890, the Sears, Roebuck & Company Catalog became a staple for people in rural areas, first in the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois and then expanding across the US.

Catalog viewers would wish, just shut their eyes to dream of  buying that one special item in the paper catalog.  It was a wish book, a want book, a need book - a wonderland of items for sale at a specific set price.  It might be a wood burning stove with four burners, a first ever store bought dress in powder blue with a lace collar, a plow with 3 tines, a soft hairbrush with a celluloid handle, a pair of sturdy leather work boots, sewing machines, garden seed, or a vital cast iron kitchen skillet.  

The Sears & Roebuck catalog started with few pages, but grew to over 500 pages as his sales grew.  Some catalogs contained 1000-1500 pages. Richard W. Sears was a true leader in the selling business.  Accomplishments include mail order marketing, reaching rural families, his use of the railroad system, and the catalog.    Richard guided the Sears, Roebuck & Company business operations until his death in 1914, buried in the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis which he considered his home.  Later his body was moved to Chicago where his business headquarters was located.

Richard Sears could sell and sell well.  He quickly became one of Minnesota’s youngest and boldest entrepreneurs.

The old Sears Tower still stands in Chicago but is now called the Willis Tower.
There are Sears Stores located in all US states.

Deb Chesley
 

 

Razors

History
The earliest method that man used to remove hair from the face, chin and neck was with a sharp knife.  The evolution of antique razors is:

  • Knife

  • Straight Edge Razor

  • Safety Type Razor

After the knife came the revolutionary metal "straight edge" razor, a blade made specifically for the purpose of removing facial hair.  The earliest versions were made in England and shipped to the U.S. and other countries.  In 1870 the several U.S. Companies began to machine make these razors.  Plastic and bone handles were common. 

Next came the "safety razor".  In 1880, a U.S. company named Kampfe Brothers filed the first patent for a single-edge safety razor, called the Star.  With this patent, razors became less likely to cut the skin - hence the name of safety razor.  The design of the razor won international awards for design, craftsmanship and razor replacement.  Before this, Kampfe made metal cutlery at their factory.

In 1898, an employee of Kampfe Brothers left the company to open his own razor company and to compete with Kampfe for U.S. sales.  This company was called The Gem Safety Razor Company. They manufactured and sold a safety razor and called it The Gem.  The Gem outsold the Star line by Kampfe. 

1919, Gem merged with Kampfe and Ever-Ready to form the American Safety Razor Corporation - a conglomerate that still makes and sells razors today. 

Value Today
I see 4 factors that determine a razor's collector value:

  1. Brand name and country made in - German, England, USA

  2. Handle material and logo/carving/artwork.  Ivory is the most expensive material.  Celluloid and plastic are more common.  Carvings and artwork can be on either the handle or the blade itself. 

  3. Condition - Rust, nicks...Any damage or is it in perfect shape?

  4. You - Do you want it?  Do you need it in your collection?  Is the price affordable?  If yes... Go for it!!!

Good luck and happy hunting for whatever you collect!

Deb Chesley
 

 

WOOD TEXTILE BOBBINS
ALMOST A TRASHED COLLECTABLE:

It is said that wood textile bobbins are one of the last true antique items to be saved and collected.  Thousands were trashed throughout the early 1900’s due to the vast quantity needed in each mill and that they served no re-purpose in the home. 

Bobbins came about during the Industrial Revolution in the textile industry.  Used on machines in textile mills to mass produce yarns, fabric and thread in the 1800’s through to about 1940.

Bobbins became of interest to collectors in about 1965-1970 and are now collectable and valued for their contribution to our textile industry.

I am proud to say that I am an avid bobbin collector.  My collection consists of 24 bobbins and growing.  Here is what I have learned and want to share.

WHAT IS A BOBBIN:

A bobbin revolves on a spindle to twist thread around and around and around to keep the thread/yarn tight, neat, untangled and easy to use.  One machine can have 100 plus bobbins in operation at the same time, with each bobbin either collecting or releasing thread depending on the process stage.  Bobbins changed the many cotton fibers into one refined thread/yarn.

These bobbins are not small – they are made for mass production in a textile mill/factory.  Textile wood bobbins are large because of their mass use in a factory/mill.  Size varies greatly, but most common are 5” to 10” tall.  Diameter might be 2-4” in center and 5-7” on the ends.  The draw-box bobbin is the largest that I know of, maybe 15 inches tall and 10 inches across the flange (ends).

TODAY'S THREAD BOBBIN:

Today, 3 things are needed to sew on a button:  A button, needle and thread.  Under the current day thread is a modern day bobbin --  a spool that holds the thread.  The modern bobbin is about 2” tall, and typically is made of Styrofoam cork, cardboard or pressed wood (economics).   

WOODS USED: 

The earliest bobbins were made of birch, alder, Hazelwood, sycamore and hickory.  Later woods included rock maple, birch dogwood, apple, and boxwood. 

Each wood glows with a different patina after years of use.  Patina is the natural color of the wood.

DIFFERENT TYPES:

Raw cotton goes through several stages at the textile mill as it is processed from cotton into thread.  Each stage uses a different style of bobbin.  The bobbins we collect today are named after the cotton to thread process stage. 

Here are some types of bobbins including cotton and wool stages:  Spinning bobbins, twisting, drawing, warping, draw-box, braider, shuttle, cones, steamer, roving/reducing, finishing, and frame.   Again, all are types of bobbins.

PAINTED ENDS (FLANGES):

Many mills color coded the bobbins to match the 100 plus bobbins to the same color coded machine.  The reason is two fold:  the high rate of illiteracy and the different languages by immigrants. 

Some mills color coded the bobbins to designate the quality of the yarn/thread.

However, the painted ends were never used to indicate color of yarn/thread.

METAL SHIELDS ON ENDS:

Many wood bobbins have a metal band or plate on one or both ends to protect the ends during the high speed machine process.  Tin was the first metal used, but it discolored the yarn.  Copper and brass were used next.  Zinc plated steel and steel alloys came about next and were less expensive.

TIP FOR COLLECTORS:   When one material is replaced by another, the old version becomes more valuable.  With bobbins, the copper/brass ends are more valued.

COLLECT AND ENJOY!

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 

 

DEPRESSION-ERA GLASS  -- 
WHAT IS IT?  WHAT IS THE HISTORY BEHIND THIS HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE ITEM

Table settings in the 1920's  & 1930's mostly consisted of mass produced depression glass.  The name comes from the fact that it was made during the "depression-era".  Colors include pink, yellow, crystal, delphite, ultramarine, white, green, and more.  Product varies from candlesticks, pitchers, butter dishes, plates, cup/saucers, drinking glasses/tumblers, creamer/sugar, candy dishes and more.  This glass was affordable to many because of how it was made when times were tough.

Technical info:  Depression glass was made by a mold (also called a tank mold).  Silica sand, soda ash and limestone were melted in a ceramic tank.  Once liquid it was piped into a pressing mold.  When it cools and came out of the mold.... you had depression glass in a solid and useable form.

The early major manufacturers who were instrumental in making this product are Federal, Hazel, Atlas, and US Glass.  Women of the 1920s to 1930s often received a piece of depression glass inside boxes of soap.... or even at a local movie theater to entice them to buy a movie ticket.

This inexpensive glass item helped many households get through hard times by buying affordable kitchen items.  And, it also helped the glass companies survive the depression and hard times.

 

 

Want Fries With That Toy? Fast Food Collectibles

Fast food toys became popular in the 1980's.  McDonalds started the trend with a toy in the Happy Meal.  Buy a meal and get a free toy - very enticing to kids.  The toys are inexpensive and fun!  It's a low cost lure to buy the food item. 

Fast food toys are now considered "pop culture" artifacts.  These free toys are highly collectable.  McDonalds is the first restaurant to come to mind, but there are others:  Arby's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy's and more. 

Fast Food Toys Are Highly Collectible - Here are a few price examples:

  • McDonalds - 1986 Muppet Babies - $50

  • McDonalds - 1991 Mighty Mini 4x4 - $2

  • McDonalds - 1984 MN Twins Glove - $75

  • McDonalds - 1989 McNugget Buddies - $2

  • Subway - 1999 The King and I - $2

  • Wendy's - 1994 3-D Classic Comics - $3

  • Dairy Queen - 1994 Circus Train - $5

  • Burger King - 1995 Gargoyles - $2

  • Burger King - 1992 Go Go Gadget Gizmos - $6

  • Burger King - 1972 Cartoon King Doll - $30

These toys give kids fun.  Now, adults are searching for them to collect!

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 

 

Cast Iron Skillets -- new or old  --  You can cook with them TODAY

History:
Cast iron pans became popular during the last half of the 1850's, and patented as early at 1864.   Manufacturers mass produced pots using a mold that could be used over and again at a minimal cost.  Cast iron was melted in a blast furnace.  In this molten stage, it was poured into a mold.  One type of the oldest cast iron pots were called the "pivoting crane" as the pot swung over an open fire to cook, then could be swung off the fire to dish out.  I see these often in movies.  The "pivoting crane" was commonly used in a settler's home and on the open range (sleeping under the stars).

For me, just saying "cast iron pan" with "cooking" makes my mouth water.  These pans still cook a great meal - all in that fabulous cast iron skillet or pot.  With some TLC these pots will last a lifetime.

Current prices on old pieces are based on rarity, size and manufacturer.  
Griswold and Wagner are two common brand names.  Griswold is the more expensive line.


Cooking with old or new cast iron and  how to prepare the pan, pot or skillet.
I use cast iron pots and pans often in my kitchen.  Here is some information to help you start using cast iron pans.

You
need to "SEASON" the pan one time to make it a nonstick surface.  Coat the pan inside bottom and sides with cooking oil.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour (alone in the oven, empty of food).  Dry with paper towels and the pan is now ready to use.  After a few uses with food, the "seasoning" process will continue and you will have a great pot or skillet.

HOW TO CLEAN:

Do not wash in the sink with soap.  DO NOT.

The best way to clean a cast iron pot or skillet is to rinse with hot water right after use, wipe dry and store.  For burned on food, scrub with coarse salt and a non-metal brush.  If that does not work, you can use a few drops of dishwashing soap.

If the pan gets a sticky coating, then scrub with steel wool and soap.  Next, re-season in the oven with oil.

I hope you enjoy your old cast iron pots, pans and skillets.  I sure do !!


Deb Chesley

 

Missing Pieces

Are you missing one piece of china, or one crystal glass, or 2 forks from your set?

I hear these requests most often in the antique shops:

1. "I broke one cup from my 1940s china set - help!"

2. "My mother gave me her silverware, but it's missing three butter knives."

3. "I bought my dishes 5 years ago but now I want to get the large serving pieces."

4.  "I want to buy the matching gravy boat and larger platters/serving bowls that I could not
     afford before."

Where do you begin to look for replacement pieces of these older patterns?

You can try hunting from one antique store to another.  That may be fun for a while, but it is very difficult or near impossible to find one specific piece of one specific pattern in your specific color.  This hunting game at antique stores soon becomes very time consuming and frustrating.

A much easier solution is a company called Replacements LTD.  This company sells both old and new china by the piece. Plus, everything from dinnerware, stoneware, crystal glasses/stems, silver/stainless flatware, to collectibles-- again, in both old and new patterns!  They have a large stock that changes daily, plus a knowledgeable customer service staff to assist you.  Replacements LTD can help you complete your set much quicker than you can going from antique store to antique store.  I have used this service myself with much success.  They also BUY product by the piece or set.  Personally, I haven't  done this because I am also a reseller.

To see examples of older patterns that you can obtain through Replacements LTD:
Click Here.

You can contact Replacements LTD by either going online: www.replacements.com or by giving them a call: 1-800-737-5223.

Good luck hunting for your treasures!  Remember, each and every antique has its own attitude!

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 


How To Sell Your Items:

There are several methods of selling old items, antiques, and  collectibles.  Each method requires additional information and precautions that are not all included below, plus each has its pros, cons, and possible fees/risks that you should evaluate for  yourself.  This article is by no means all inclusive of information and risks.  This is my personal opinion and is meant to be a starting point of information to assist you.  Good luck!  You can sell your items successfully!

 Methods To Sell:
  
1. Sell to an antique dealer.
   2. Sell items yourself at an online auction such as eBay.
   3. Hire a service to sell your items at an online auction.
   4. Have a garage sale.
   5. Have an estate sale yourself -- or hire an estate sale company.
   6. Donate items for a tax write-off.


 
Let's look at option one in more detail -- Sell to an antique dealer. 

 First you should find a dealer you can trust and feel comfortable with.  A dealer who will offer a fair price for items and/or information.  I have 5 to 10 customers who sell items to me on a regular basis.  We've built a buy/sell relationship where we can each profit.  I trust them and they trust me.  Seek to build this type of ongoing relationship.

When talking to an antique dealer, you should not just ask, "What is this worth?"  That is too general of a question.  Narrow down what you want to know.  Be specific -- what type of price do you want to seek?  A reputable dealer should also want to pre-clarify this point.  If the dealer doesn't first ask YOU specifically what you seek, then walk away.

There are many types of prices a dealer can provide.  You should pre-clarify what type of price you seek and what the information will cost, if anything.  Let's take a look at the types of prices below:

Types of Prices:
  1. The price the dealer will pay now to buy straight from you.
  2. The estimated price you can sell it yourself at a garage sale.
  3. The estimated price the item will retail for at an antique show.
  4. For a fee, a dealer can research and evaluate your items and provide written
      documentation if requested.
  5. For a fee, some dealers can provide a written insurance appraisal value.

Where can you find an antique dealer?  You can begin by asking questions at antique stores that you respect and like to shop.  Ask for a dealer who has knowledge about your items.  Once you find a dealer, ask him/her questions.  Be specific with exactly what information you want, what the charge will be for the dealer's service (if any,) and in what format you want the information (writing, verbal, now, researched.)

Each dealer's knowledge and experience varies, as with any other service industry.  When speaking with a dealer, ask yourself this:  Does this dealer seem to be straightforward and open with answers to your questions?  Does he/she seem a little hesitant or "shifty"?  Is he/she seeming to guess, or perhaps lie to obtain a service fee, or even worse, to obtain your valuables for next to nothing? 

Example #1:  You have an antique Tonka brand toy truck to sell -- it might be worth $25 to $150 to $600 retail in an antique shop -- you need to speak with an experienced and reputable dealer who specializes in toys.  Visit antique shops or shows and ask who specializes in toys.  The person behind the counter at the average antique shop may say he/she wants to help you but they might also just want your treasure.  That's why you want to talk to a dealer who specializes in toys.  Be specific when talking to the people behind the counter.  Trust your instincts, if it doesn't feel right to you, simply walk away.  You can also call antique shops and inquire about dealers who specialize in your item.  Always speak with a dealer who specializes in your type of item!


Example #2:  Let's say you have a rifle or military item that is 100 years old -- you need to speak with a dealer who specializes in antique guns and military items.  I am a dealer, but I don't know anything about guns, and I would tell you that flat out!  I don't joke around to try to buy your treasure at a low price.  I could not tell you if it was worth $50 or $5000.  My advice would be to seek a gun/military specialist and if I knew someone, I would refer you to them.  A good dealer always knows another good dealer!

Example #3:
  If you have valuable vintage jewelry, you should seek a dealer who specializes in vintage jewelry.  I wouldn't be able to tell you if it was 18K or 24K or if the red stone was a ruby or garnet.  You need to find a person who can.  I do deal with some jewelry, but my knowledge is still limited.  I will not buy a piece of jewelry worth over $1000 from a stranger unless he has a written appraisal from a local jewelry store that I know and trust.  This customer can then come back to me with his/her vintage gems and a written appraisal.  Then, and only then, will I offer a price.  This protects you and it protects me.  Most antique dealers behind the counter often cannot provide information on expensive vintage jewelry. I can't emphasize this enough:  Not all dealers can help you in all areas!

If you have coins, seek out a coin dealer -- either through an antique shop or a coin shop.  Remember, don't trust everyone!  Your best defense is to ask questions before agreeing on a selling price!

Selling your items can be complex.  You don't want to be conned into selling a treasure for just a dollar.  You need to protect yourself by doing some research and asking a lot of questions.

Many dealers give free advice for simple/quick requests.  For example, a customer may bring in 2 boxes of items and wants to know if he should garage sale it or sell to an antique store.  I will give the customer 10 to 15 minutes of my time for free.  He has to bring the items in clean, sorted, and organized.  I can then do a quick scan, and say "this is worth $5," "this is worth $1," "this is worth researching," "this could be valuable," or "I want to buy this."  This is a fun scan of your items that dealers should enjoy offering for free.


For a pre-set fee, a dealer can drive to your home and provide a quick overview of your items.  You both should first agree on the specific information requested, type of price, fee, and specific block of time beforehand.  The dealer can then spend the allotted time evaluating your items, giving you verbal "off the top of my head" prices that you can either record on tape or write down.  This information can also be written by the dealer but this usually costs more because it's more time consuming for the dealer.  The bottom line is you as the customer want to know if the items are valuable or not, what they are worth, and if you should sell it at a garage sale.

If you want specific research done on items for sentimental reasons, insurance, or monetary value for determination of future inheritance, etc., you need to know that this is more time consuming and requires extra time for proper research, whether it would be by computer, reference books, or other sources.  You need to work out the details and price with the dealer.

In closing, I would like to recommend a book for further reading that's brand new on the bookshelf titled "Buy, Keep or Sell? - The Insider's Guide to Identifying Trash, Treasure, or Tomorrow's Antiques" by Judith Miller, who is an authority on collectibles and price guides. 

Coming soon:  How To Research An Item Yourself

Happy hunting and selling!  Remember, even a Red Wing bowl has its own attitude!

 Deb Chesley
 Antique Dealer/Collector

How To Research An Item Yourself

There are several different ways to research an item by yourself.  All methods, however, take time and effort on your part, but can be done if you are diligent.  Here are 4 basic methods:

     1. Shop Antique Stores
     2. eBay or other online auction sites
     3. Google search
     4. Reference Books

Method 1 -- Shop Antique Stores
 

Visit a local antique store with the single purpose of looking for a similar item -- you are NOT shopping for yourself, but rather you are searching for similar items.  Take a note pad, pencil, and tape measure.  Sorry, no cameras are allowed in any antique store.  Jot down specific notes on items found that are similar, identical, or to compare.  Include color, condition, size, draw a sketch, if needed.  Also include information on the sales tag:  the price, any key words such as who made the item, years made, etc.

Example:  You own a pottery vase, but don't know how old it is, the value, or even the pottery company that made it.  What to do:  Shop several antique stores, looking for all pottery vases.  Search every shelf and every locked case.  Read the price tag or label to see if a pottery company (manufacturer) is listed.  Bring a tape measure to measure the height of similar vases.

Method 2 -- eBay or other online auction sites

Log into eBay and browse items for sale.  You can also do an "advanced search" on recently closed auctions back to 15 days.  Search by different key words.  The key words you enter to search are important as they draw in what items you will see.  Look at the pictures of items that are similar to yours.  Read descriptions looking for words that will help you identify and value your own item.  (If you want to sell your item, you can list it.)

A second website you can use is Artfact.com Craigslist.org is a third website that can be used to compare items.

SAFETY WARNING:  When using websites for searches, selling, or communicating with others, PLEASE BE CAREFUL about how much personal information you offer!  Scammers hide on the internet.

Method 3 -- Google Search 

Use Google or another search engine.  Try typing in various key words to what assistance you can find.

Example:  Google search "price of a red wing vase".  Several sites about Red Wing Pottery will appear for you to check out.  Related reference books for sale will appear.  Of course, you could also see Red Wing shoes, Red Wing city information including hotels in town, etc.  Sort through your search results to get the information you need.

Method 4 -- Reference Books

As an antique dealer, I have learned to heavily rely on and use reference books.  I probably own 200 such books, plus all antique shops keep reference books for dealers and customers to use while in the store. 

There are a few different types of reference books:

   1. Price Guides -- Offer dollar value information
   2. Information Only -- No pricing, just the history.
   3. Combination of both.

There are books that only cover one item specifically, such as JUST Red Wing Pottery.  There are "general" books that cover all types of one area such as "all kitchen items", "all types of depression glass patterns", "all toys", or "all pottery makers."

Lastly, there are general reference guides that cover every type of antique from Apple Peeler to Zaneville Pottery, in alphabetical order.  Kovell's of Schroeder's are the most common of this type.

You can view reference books at an antique store, local county library, buying from a book store, or you can even buy reference books online.

When using a reference book, the first thing I do is identify what year the book was published so I know how old the pricing information is.  For example:  I am pricing a depression glass plate.  If the reference book was published in 2000, that is important for me to know that the prices in the book are 7 years old.  I would then look for a reference book published closer to the current year.

Reference books are a wonderful resource for not only pricing data but also for detailed information about when your items were made and by whom. 

As you can see, researching an item yourself will take some time, patience, and a little work on your part.   But it can be done!

Remember, every antique has its own attitude!

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 

Experience Late 1800s Farming and See Antiques in Action!

There are several farms in the Twin Cities area that offer a hands-on tour and learning experience of farming from over 100 to 150 years ago.  They basically tell the story of agriculture in Minnesota.  These are working farms that show what farm life was really like in the past.  Plus you get to see numerous antiques in their natural setting and actually working!

Here are four such farms:

1) The Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River on the Mississippi River:  This is an 1800s tranquil living-history farm.  It is a museum, owned and operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. Dressed in period clothing, staff members perform daily farm activities of rural life between 1850 and 1876.  Visit their website for hours and admission prices, or more information:  Oliver H. Kelley Farm or call 763-441-6896.

TRIVIA QUESTION:  When did Minnesota achieve Statehood?  The answer is at the end of this article.

2) The Eidem Farm in Brooklyn Park:  This is a restored 1894 Homestead with a Norwegian heritage.  Visitors can ride the hay wagon, drink fresh cider, collect hen eggs, tour the old kitchen, and roast marshmallows at the bonfire.  Volunteers in period dress work the farm, the kitchen, and answer all your questions.  The farm is open through mid-December.  Visit their website for hours, admission cost, or more information:  Eidem Farm
or call 763-493-8367.

3) Murphy's Landing in Shakopee:  This is a museum and living history village set in the 1850s to 1890s with an emphasis on the settlement period and Civil War era.  See a blacksmith, print shop, millinery, and more...all operating as they would in the mid to late 1800s.  Visit their website for more info:  Murphy's Landing or call 763-694-7784.

4) The Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life, also known as The Heman Gibbs Farmstead in Falcon Heights:  This is a museum that educates visitors on the lives of 1800s Minnesota pioneers and the Dakotah people (also called Dakota) who lived in southern Minnesota.  This is a living museum with a farm house, barn, school house, sod house, bark lodge and tipi -- all from about the 1850s.  There is also a Dakotah medicine teaching garden and Dakotah vegetable garden.  Visit their website for more information:  Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life or call 651-646-8629 and/or 651-222-0701.

TRIVIA ANSWER:  In 1858, Minnesota achieved Statehood.

These farms are like traveling back in time.  There are antiques everywhere!  Plus you get to see many of the antiques actually being used.  I encourage you and your family to visit an 1800s era working farm.  Ahh...you can FEEL, SMELL, and TASTE our past!

Remember, even a wooden spoon can have attitude!
 
Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 

Sell Your Gold For Cash

This is a trend seen all over the internet and on TV commercials.  The companies ask that you send them your unwanted, broken, or mismatched gold, silver, and jewelry.  Does it work?  Can you make money?  The answer is YES, you can receive cash for your unwanted gold items.  Gold, silver, platinum - any amount - any color - any karat weight.  Even dental gold, charms, coins, and silverware.

The company asks you to drive to their store location, to call their 1-800 phone number, or log onto their website to order a free packet that they mail out to you.  You then place your old gold into the free mail packet and send it back to them.  The company then sorts through the items.  They conduct normal testing and an assaying process.  The term "karat" indicates the purity of the gold, such as 10 Kt or 14 Kt.  They then weigh your items and mail you a check.

Some websites offer you a grid of the price per ounce offered and update that price daily based on market value.  Some companies suggest you hold a party at your house and party guests brings their old jewelry.  A rep is sent to your home to analyze the items guests bring. Checks are given that day to your party guests. 

If you prefer selling your gold in person, there are local places that you can drive to such as pawn shops or jewelers who may buy your old items.  Below are just a few of the many places you can contact to sell your gold.

NOTE:  I do not recommend or endorse any of these companies.  I have not personally used any of them.  I have talked to people who have sold their gold (both in person and through the mail) and they were very pleased with the cash received.

Places to mail your gold to:

1. Cash4Gold.com - Phone:  1-877-GOLD-590 (Mail only, located in Florida)

2. USGoldBuyers.com - Phone:  1-877-977-GOLD (Mail only, located in New York)

3. EmpireGoldBuyers.com - Phone:  1-888-949-3674 (Mail only, located in New York)    

4. TopDollarGold.com - Phone:  1-877-GOLD-097 (Mail or FedEx, located in Colorado)     

Places you sell your gold in person:
 

1.  952-GOLD-GUYS:  Bring your items to their store at the Mall of America.  They also offer a "gold selling party" right in your home.  They send the rep to you.  (Contact them for more information.)

2. HotelGoldBuyers.com - Phone: 1-877-721-8033.  They buy gold at certain hotels every weekend in Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Bloomington, and Edina.  They also offer the in-home gold selling party. 

3. Pawn America Stores, call 952-646-1760 to get the location closest to you.

4. Wedding Day Diamonds, 5 store locations.  Call 952-513-0030.

Here is an example of what you can expect based on the weight.  If you have $20 worth in WEIGHT of GOLD, they will offer you between $4 - $7, not the full $20.  As with any business dealing, please do your own research on any company you do business with.

Remember, even a wooden spoon can have attitude!
 
Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 

Christmas Gift Ideas For An Antique Lover

Your spouse, friend, mother, or boss collects antiques.  What should you give them for a gift?  Below are a few points to consider:

a.) Gift Certificate from an antique store.
b.) A shopping spree/day with you.
c.) Buy the item they collect -- pros and cons to this option.
d.) A reference book
e.) Start a child/teen collecting

Gift Certificate From An Antique Store

Most antique shops offer gift certificates for sale in common dollar amounts such as: $25, $50, $100.  Just ask a sales clerk.  Of course, the gift certificate is good at this one location only.  This makes a wonderful gift!

A Shopping Spree/Day With You

I like this idea:  Give a gift of a day or an afternoon of antique shopping with you.  You don't need to buy them everything they like or want, just set some limits and what you want to pay for.

I give this gift often -- something like:

Example 1:  My gift to you is A DAY OF ANTIQUE SHOPPING: I will drive, we leave at 9:00am, hit the stores in Stillwater.  Lunch is on me, and you have all my attention all day as we browse from store to store.  I won't complain  that you are looking at fishing lures too long.  I promise, no complaints from me.  That is my gift to you.  I will buy you one item of your choice up to $40 dollars.  So let's go antiquing together!

Example 2:  My gift to you:  Let's go antiquing!  I will buy you one Red Wing Crock of your choice.  Put on your walking shoes and let's hit the antique stores!

Trust me, this is a wonderful gift for a person who like antiques, collectibles, or just browsing for them at the shops!

Buy The Item They Collect -- Pros And Cons

Unless you are knowledgeable about the item or the category of item that the other person collects, I would probably not buy it for someone else for a gift.  Why?  The policy at nearly all antique stores is "no returns and no exchanges -- no exceptions."

Example 1: Your husband collects antique fishing lures.  You know nothing about them, then visit the closest antique store and buy 2 lures for him.  When he opens the gift, he tells you that he already has one of them and the second one is a reproduction and worth a fraction of what you paid.  The receipt is stamped:  No returns.

Example 2:  Your mother collects Hall Pottery.  You buy a vase at the local antique shop thinking it's Hall Pottery.  Your mother opens the gift and immediately knows it's not made by Hall Pottery, but rather by Hull Pottery.  The receipt is stamped:  No returns/No exchanges.

Therefore, I warn against giving a specific antique item as a gift unless you have some knowledge about the item they collect.  If you've shopped with this person for years and know the ins and outs of the item, then by all means, shop for and buy the item with confidence that it's just what they do collect and it's the item they need for that collection.

A Reference Book

A reference guide OR price book makes a wonderful gift!  You can buy them at some antique stores, at all book stores, and online...or give a gift card from a local book store.

Remember, every antique has its own attitude!

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 

Start A Child/Teen/Adult Collecting

A hobby, a collection, an early passion.  You can start a child, teen, or adult onto a lifelong path of collecting.  Start by sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm at home.  Share and show what you collect and have a passion about.

Then:

       a.) Take the child/teen/adult shopping at an antique store
       b.) Buy a reference book
       c.) Buy an item to start their collection

As the new collector's knowledge in the area grows, so will their passion for finding and learning more about that item.

I am always pleased to see a new and blossoming collector develop.  Many new collectors enjoy collecting items such as coins, foreign bills, comic books, paper dolls, cameo jewelry, stamps, collector Barbie dolls, Tonka brand trucks, Hot Wheels cars, board games, fishing lures, wood golf clubs, sewing bobbins, hankies, aprons, military helmets, and so much more.

Another common type of collection is to collect anything related to one topic:

1.) Example:  collect anything related to John Deere tractors -- a framed picture of a  tractor, a mug picturing a John Deere store, a t-shirt with a John Deere tractor/logo.


2.) Example:  collect anything related to strawberries -- a collector plate picturing a porcelain strawberry, a strawberry cookie cutter, a Strawberry Shortcake doll.

3.) If your child is interested in hair design or fashion, start her collecting anything related to a salon shop or hair dressing, such as antique scissors or hair clippers, old hair clips, men's shavers, shaving cream brushes, books or magazines about fashion or hair styles, an old barber shop sign.

4.) If your child likes firefighters, start him collecting anything related to that, such as an old copper fire extinguisher, an old "rule book on firefighting," fireman's helmet, photographs of a fire truck, toy fire trucks, a novel with a picture of a firefighter on the cover.

Searching for items and learning about them is quite an experience!  Once a new collector catches the "collector's bug" and begins to feel the passion for an item, their fun will begin. Good luck and enjoy shopping those antique stores!

Remember, every antique has its own attitude!

Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

Tips For A Successful Garage Sale - Part 1

I love garage sales!!   I love having one!  I love to shop them!  Garage sales are a great way to get rid of your items and make a few dollars.  Since spring is literally around the corner, many of you are shifting gears for spring cleaning and garage sale season.  All month long I will feature ideas that you can implement to help you put on a successful garage sale.  Some things you may already know, while others you may have never thought of or never tried before.

Keep this point in mind during your preparation:  The purpose of your sale is to make money and get rid of stuff -- a plain and simple goal.

WARNING:  It takes work and time to hold a garage sale, there is no way around that.  You need to commit your time, but I can make some suggestions that will make it more fun!

Keep it fun and short:  Approaching a garage sale can seem like a lot of work, and it is. Keep the process:  1.)  Fun & simple and,  2.) short.

1.) FUN & SIMPLE:  I think about my sale as a fast and fun project.  Get it done this week - 7 days total time.  Make it a family affair -- involve others.  Ask your neighbor, kids, or grandkids to help in both the set up and during the sale.  A reward for them is that they can bring items from their own home to sell at your sale, plus they can have first look at your items for sale.  The first buyers get the best stuff. 

2.) SHORT:  Set up your entire sale in 7 days.  Keep the time frame short for preparation. You can get a lot of work done in 2 hours a day for 5 - 7 days.  That's your preparation time.  Do not take 3 weeks to set up -- that would disrupt your life and your garage. Remember your goal:  sell your stuff and make some money.



Antiques With Attitude,
Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector
 

Tips For A Successful Garage Sale - Part 2

Next, it's time to determine what days to hold your sale.  The most popular days are Thursday through Saturday.  That's what I would suggest as well. 

You can expect that the first few shoppers who arrive at your sale may seem to walk in and then leave without buying anything.  Why?  Thursday mornings from 8:00 to 10:00 are times that collectors and professional dealers go out and buy.  These shoppers are often looking for one very specific item.  They walk in your garage do a fast scan and then leave.  Don't be discouraged.  Your sales should begin to pick up at 10:00 am or noon when the average garage sale shoppers wake up and start to drive. 

The average shoppers start to arrive at 10:00 am, but I always open at 8:00 am for those people driving to work who might see the signs and decide to stop for a couple of minutes. 
 
Another thing you can do to boost your sales is to invite your neighbors and friends to your garage the night before your sale opens...even if you are still pricing and working in your garage.  Just tell them to come on over and shop! 

Now that you determined the days of your sale, the next thing is advertising your sale.

I am probably unique in this suggestion, but it works for me.  I have never once placed an ad.  I use signs...a lot of very well placed and daily monitored signs.  If you don't have the luxury of living on a main thoroughfare, you begin by placing signs directing them off the main thoroughfare to your sale.  Your signs don't have to be elaborate.  Just a simple "Garage Sale" with an arrow pointing them the way.  Keep your signs the same color...if you start with a yellow sign, keep using yellow signs throughout the route to your sale.

In contrast, most people tend to place an ad in the local newspaper.  Use your local shopper. It's delivered to every household in the area every week.  I happen to live in Anoka, so my local shopper is the Anoka County Shopper. 

These are the two most popular advertising options for garage sales.  You can use one, the other, or a combination of the two.  There is no right or wrong option, simply go with the option that you feel most comfortable with.

Antiques With Attitude,
Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector


Tips For A Successful Garage Sale - Part 3

A difficult question is how do you price your items?

This can be difficult to advise on.  The general rule is to think of the retail price at a department store and mark it at 1/4 of that.  Of course, another factor to consider is the condition of the item.  An item in good to excellent condition can be marked at this rate or slightly higher, but if it's in fair to poor condition, it would have to be marked at a lesser price or free. 

Example:  You bought a set of 6 drinking glasses for $20 at Target.  I would sell them at my garage sale for about $4 or $5.  However, the same set with only 5 glasses would be priced at about $2.

When pricing, think about what people want and are willing to pay at a garage sale.  If you are a novice at garage sales, spend a few hours shopping at other garage sales to see the pricing structure.

Another price example:  You bought a set of 6 crystal/fancy cocktail glasses at Macy's for $60.  They are in perfect condition and still in the original box.  I would price them at $10 to $18.  Sorry, but that is how the pricing game goes.  You can't get more at a garage sale.

Overpricing is definitely not suggested.  You will be wasting your time.  Customers will know INSTANTLY if you are overpricing and will walk away to go to the next garage sale.  PRICE LOW...YOU WANT TO SELL!


Sale Preparation

Ok, your sale starts tomorrow.   Your items are all priced.  Now you need to prepare the supplies that you'll need during the sale.

Below is a quick checklist:

** Bags to put sold items in
** A card table and chair for you to sit at and keep your supplies and money handy
** Newspaper to wrap fragile items you've sold
** Money to make change (I suggest starting with either $70 or $100 in coin and bills)
** Items for your comfort: A radio, TV, fan, etc.
** A calculator
** Scratch paper and pen
** Phone!  This is important!  To answer your incoming calls and for your personal security

Which brings up a good point.  Personal safety is very important to consider.  After all, you are opening up a part of your space to complete strangers. 

Keep your money secure at all times, all day long.  If you go into the house for a cup of coffee, take your money with you.  Move large bills ($20s and higher) into the house. Some people like to have a money box or money drawer that keeps all the denominations of coin and bills separate.  Not me!  I prefer to WEAR my money.  That way it stays with me always.  I use a carpenter's apron with slots (off white in color, very common) or I wear a fanny pack around my waist, or even a small purse (wallet size with a long strap) over my shoulder. I wear my money so it goes where I go as I walk around the garage.

Do not let customers into the house to use your bathroom or try on clothing.  This would be an open invitation for things to "grow legs" and disappear.

Keep your cordless phone or cell phone at your fingertips at all times, just in case.  If you begin to feel scared or feel uncertain by customers walking into your garage, either walk into your house and lock the doors, or walk out of the garage and into the middle of the street with your phone in hand.  You can still see the garage and monitor the customers.  Keep your personal safety in mind.  Keep alert.

After your sale:

My advice again is to keep the time frame short.  Immediately after the sale ends, pack up all your unsold items into boxes and bags for donation.  Do it fast and do it now!  Clean your garage out, so your vehicles can come back in. 

Items that are donated can be a tax write-off if you take the time to log each item.  As you place them into a box, write it down on a pad of paper.  Use "tick" marks for common items.  You need a receipt from the company you donate to such as Goodwill.

Example:  T-shirts:  III  means 3 t-shirts
                   Ladies jeans:  IIII  means 4 pairs of jeans

To determine your tax write off value, please refer to instructions on the State forms and instruction book.  The write off value is low, but they add up.  For example, 3 t-shirts valued at 20 cents each is realistic and 4 ladies jeans at $1 each is also realistic in my opinion. 

Antiques With Attitude,
Deb Chesley
Antique Dealer/Collector

We receive many emails from our readers but I would like to share this particular email with you all.

Memories of childhood toys that are now "Hot Collectibles".
Enjoy her memories of a Christmas Past:

Hi Deb,
I love antiques, but I noticed your hot and not hot list and thought I would share a story with you.  I am 50 yrs old, so you may remember those toy sewing machines (on your hot list!).  Only my dad worked and didn't have a high paying job, we didn't get much for Christmas, but one year I was in the first grade and I got a pink sewing machine that really sews and a real Barbie, not a plastic knock off.  Oh joy...no paper and coloring crayons this year.

Off to school I went after Christmas vacation and on the first day home back from school, my pink sewing machine was broken and my Barbie doll leg was broken from my younger brother and sister.  Being I was outraged, I tried to shorten their life spans like my toys (but we are all very close now...).  Well, the Barbie eventually got replaced but the sewing machine didn't.  For years I would talk about the cute pink sewing machine that got broken after one week.  My sister finally said, "we'll buy you a new one if you shut up".  That was 35 years after the fact.   

Well being she offered (but probably didn't mean it), the subject was no longer important.  But now I see the HOT kids sewing machine and memories come flooding back!!  I can hardly wait to tell my sister!!! (who fessed up breaking it by sewing my broken Barbie doll leg on it that my brother broke).

Thanks for the memories, and yes, I do shop in Elk River Antiques. 

 

RED WING STONEWARE  --  BRIEF HISTORY

We, here in Minnesota, are very fortunate to be near this popular pottery company founded in Red Wing, MN.  Red Wing Pottery is one of the most famous makers of crocks, dinnerware and unique pottery in the entire US.  I am a collector and boast many butter churns, salt crocks, serving platters and jugs.  Other items offered are cookie jars, dinnerware including plates, pitchers, vases, flowerpots and more.

Red Wing Stoneware is still producing pottery products today.  A nice day trip would be to visit the town of Red Wing.  There are numerous antique stores to visit, plus the Red Wing Stoneware factory/showroom where you can view crocks and pottery being made by hand.  You can also purchase new pottery there.  The antique shops will sell the older pieces.

Here is a brief history of this famous company:

The Red Wing Stoneware Company was formed in 1877 starting with kilns fired by wood and coal.  Power came from horse-powered steam engines.  The company quickly became known for making “useful” pieces that each home needed. 

Several different sub-divisions of the company emerged, but all were under the Red Wing Stoneware Company.  All companies united in 1906 to form one pottery company.  They prospered selling crocks and other pottery that every family used daily in the kitchen.  In 1936 the name changed to Red Wing Potteries.

The name of this wonderful company has changed often, but the products remained the same:  Basic pottery items used daily made from clay and sand.

Enjoy Red Wing Pottery…  I sure do!

Deb Chesley