Miniature buildings, beloved by many but collected by few. (SLNYT) Whatever your view of their intrinsic value (or lack thereof), it’s hard not to have an emotional reaction when confronted with the 1,200 or so small buildings on display here: the little churches with their soaring steeples, the quaint storefronts, the homespun bowling alleys, Art Deco theaters, Ferris wheels and farmhouses, all of them handmade and many dating to the late 19th century. [more inside]
If you were a Victorian dentist, only recently raised from the barbarity of barbering, and needed some place to store all those picks and pokers and pliers and porcelain where they wouldn't panic your patients, while giving an air of aristocratic and academic authority, how might you outfit your office with adequate opulence to signify stability and sincerity? A top-of-the-line dental cabinet.
In 1987, alongside another popular first-run syndicated show (perhaps you've heard of it?), a horror anthology series premiered, and together they spearheaded a massive wave of first-run syndication genre shows including, but by no means limited to, "War of the Worlds", "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys", "Xena: Warrior Princess", "Forever Knight", and "Babylon 5". [more inside]
Dead Horse Bay was the site of a 19th-century horse rendering plant on the far edge of Brooklyn. It was also a massive landfill that was capped in the 1930s. In the 1950s, the cap burst. The organic debris rotted away, but the remaining glass, ceramic, and metal spilled onto the beach. At low tide, the sand is covered with a dense layer of bottles, broken dishes, and other hundred-year-old detritus. More is washed free every day. [more inside]
The family of redditor oktober75 have opened up a great aunt's shoe store hidden for over forty years. There is a lot of interest in the front page Reddit post with offers to purchase the shoes and boxes, despite probable damage. I'm no hipster and I don't play one on tv but I'd love to get a pair of these.
Paris Apartment opened for the first time in 70 years Including intriguing links to a scandalous Belle Époque art wold romance and a $3 million dollar painting. Subject of this AskMe last year but includes additional photos. [more inside]
In this interview with Collectors Weekly, opium antiques expert Steven Martin talks about How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict.
You may have seen Replacements, Ltd.'s print ads in the back of PARADE magazine (of Howard Huge fame). Replacements, both a seller and a resource for china and glassware owners, was one of the few North Carolina businesses to publicly take a stand [NYT] against the state's vote to ban gay marriage. As an employer, Replacements is one of only nine companies in the country to receive a perfect score for ten years straight in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. But the company is also known for another surprisingly liberal policy: encouraging its 450 employees to bring their pets to work amidst millions of pieces of china and glassware. How many? A whole lot. [more inside]
Antique contraception & protection from the disease - (NSFW) male & female methodologies of birth control from antiquity to the 1900s in pictures and text (Translated from Russian) [more inside]
Urban archaeologist Scott Jordan has spent his whole life uncovering New York City's remains: I have been digging for New York's artifacts since 1969. My first dig was on Governor's Island, which was my father's duty station, and I stumbled upon a time capsule of New York's military history in the moat of old Fort Jay. In the dirt under the old drawbridge were relics dating from the War of 1812 all the way to the Civil War including buttons, musket balls and bullets, coins, pottery, and even a small cannon ball. [more inside]
Antique typewriters. Welcome to the Martin Howard Collection of Early Typewriters. Comprised of typewriters from the very beginning of the typewriter industry (1880s & 1890s), it is the largest of its kind in Canada. The collection contains many rare and historically important typewriters, showing the remarkable diversity and beauty of the world's first typing machines. (Via)
In 2006 in the Fitzwilliam Museum three enormous porcelain vases from seventeenth or eighteenth century China were smashed by a museum visitor who fell down the stairs. This presentation "follows the vases' progress from scattered fragments to their redisplay in the Fitzwilliam Museum. The site includes slideshows, film clips of the conservation process and a timelapse of one of the vases under reconstruction". [more inside]
Silver Bookmarks is a collection of images of over 1000 antique silver bookmarks. They can be browsed by category (e.g. shape, origin, style) all of which are divided into myriad sub-categories (e.g. Art Deco, cat, Shakespeare, Iceland, Tunbridgeware, knife). Stevengraphs has pictures of the famed bookmarks made by the firm of silk weaver Thomas Stevens as well as other products. Among my favorite Stevengraphs are Ye Faire Ladie Godiva and Peeping Tom, The Apostle of Free Trade, John Bright, MP, Assassinated at Washington 14 April 1865 - The Late Lamented Lincoln, Speed Well Remember Me and for cheap laughs there is the glorious duo of Ride the Cock Horse and I Love Little Pussy.
"Of all the various types of optical objects known to exist, far and away the most magnificent and attractive are the optical fans." These sly spying devices, now rare collector curiosities, were once a more discreet and chic alternative for spying on your neighbors in fashionable gatherings than opera glasses, spyglasses, or jealousy glasses.
Charming, informative and interesting range of stories about antiques and collectibles: Antiques Roadshow, Follow the Stories; from Cornucopia of Crate Labels, A Lost Little Picasso, Space "Junk": Buying, Owning, and the Law to What is Catlinite?
The art of perfume and snuff bottles: Chinese snuff bottles and more, a variety of types, painted inside and about that technique. About snuff and its use in China. Images on Flickr, at Christie's. Perfume bottles, the history of perfume bottles and perfume. Beautiful glass bottles painted inside by disabled Burmese artist, U Nyo Lay.
The Virtual Absinthe Museum What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? ... Even in ruin and in degradation it remains a thing apart - Aleister Crowley. The Virtual Absinthe Museum has the whole fabled history plus literature, art and antiques. The accoutrements: spoons, glasses, brouilleurs and zoomorphic pichets. Classic art-nouveau posters, postcards showing Les Perils of France, French poetry, English fiction, and American pulp magazines.
Retrobrick sells those old giant clunky cell phones we still called "car phones." To anyone old enough to remember them, it's a little scary to think they are desirable antiques now. Too bad they aren't as sweet as these photoshop fantasies. For a little history, Martin Cooper's account of making the first cell phone call, 33 years ago, on the streets of NYC (to his rival at Bell Labs.)
What is it? A collection of mystery photos where you try to figure out what these strange objects are. via Grow-a-Brain
The nkondi are the most powerful of the nkisi. They were used to identify and hunt down unknown wrongdoers such as thieves, and people who were believed to cause sickness or death by occult means. They were also used to punish people who swore false oaths and villages which broke treaties. To inspire the nkondi to action, it was both invoked and provoked. Invocations, in bloodthirsty language, encouraged it to punish the guilty party. It would also be provoked by having gunpowder exploded in front of it, and having nails hammered into it. These fantastic Congo nail fetish figures are just one small, wonderful part of the impressive collection of images you can view at the content-rich, gratifyingly obsessive Rand African Art, a site stuffed with nice large photos, lots of lovely, lovely links, and all sorts of intriguing nooks and crannies inviting exploration.
The most expensive $20 you’ll never see. (Unless you happen to be kickin’ it in Long Beach next month...) The 1933 “double eagle”, a one oz. gold coin minted by the United States just prior to dropping the gold standard, is now worth approximately $10,000,000 and is the stuff of coin collection legend. A collector by the name of Israel “Izzy” Switt acquired and held on to 10 of them—just after the last “double eagle” had officially been melted down by the government in 1937. (Timeline.) Now, decades later, the coins are the subject of an intense legal battle between the US government and Switt’s descendants. “It’s a hell of a story.”
Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project "...an online collection of some of the most important and influential American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century." Includes scanned, searchable, and downloadable copies of such titles as "The Virginia Housewife, Or, Methodical Cook," "Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking Adapted to Persons of Moderate and Small Means," and "Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent."
Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. An homage to Cuba's astonishing wealth of antique cars, revealing the time-worn splendor of classic American automobiles spanning eight decades.
Poster Glory: Antique American Posters.
A long list of links related to all aspects of the history of scientific instruments, such as sundials, slide rules, and pocket compasses.
Not your ordinary collection. Sure, you could collect stamps or butterflies, but wouldn't you like to collect antique surgical instruments and amputation sets instead? Or how about some nice dental and bloodletting antiques?. If that's too gory for you, perhaps antique stethoscopes are more your speed? Having problems looking at these links? Then hurry to Eye Antiques and the Antique Spectacles Page to clear things up!
'Antiques Roadshow' Expert Sent to the Pokey. "Russell Pritchard III, a militaria expert, pleaded guilty to making the bogus TV appraisals. He also admitted defrauding artifact owners by giving them low appraisals on items, then reselling them at much higher prices and pocketing the profit." Pritchard was kicked off the show a couple years ago, when it was discovered that he was faking fabulous discoveries on the show in an effort to gain credibility. Fans of the US version of the show may remember the civil war sword found in an attic and the owner claimed he used the valuable weapon to cut watermelons. Pritchard could have received up to 135 years in prison, and $5.3 million in fines, but only received a year in prison, and ordered to repay his bilked clients $830k. I've always wondered about the credibility of the experts on that show, and whether they've ever quoted inflated or deflated values for personal gain. [via megosteve]