Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tee Shirts – A Rags to Riches Story

Posted by: admin

April 4th, 2012 >> Uncategorized

I was going thru a Ft Myers Florida estate awhile back and in the garage found a box of rags. The owner piped in and said his mother couldn’t throw anything away, almost apologizing for the box of “rags”. I spent a minute looking thru the box and told him that it was fortunate he didn’t throw out the rags. Down in the bottom of the box was a vintage 1972 Rolling Stones World Tour T shirt. Valued at about 500 dollars.

Vintage concert T shirts can be worth hundreds of dollars, depending on the age, band, condition etc. Shirts from the 60’s to 80’s from the popular bands of the day are very sought after and command high prices.

Vintage Cookie Jars

Posted by: admin

March 25th, 2012 >> Uncategorized

Cookie Jars are Hot!!
Since I come across lots of cookie jars here in the Sarasota and St Petersburg area I’ll share some facts with you so you don’t accidently toss out one of these gems.
Vintage makers of some very pricey jars are Metlox, Roseville, Hull, Brayton Laguna, Treasure Craft, Shawnee, McCoy, Brush-McCoy, Lefton, Carlton Ware, Noritake, Regal China, Usa Pottery, Redwing and Abingdon.
Contemporary makers include Fitz & Floyd, Christopher Radko, Vandon, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and Appleman.
Mostly you’ll find them made of ceramic, however I’ve seen expensive ones in glass by Hazel Atlas, vintage carnival glass by makers such as Northwood, early 1900’s tin and even plastic ones from Fitz & Floyd!
Cartoon characters like Baby Huey, Pop Eye, Olive Oyl, Little LuLu, Sylvester & Tweetie, Casper the Ghost, Betty Boop, Looney Tunes characters etc. can bring hundreds for vintage jars in good condition.
Ditto for Movie characters like Wizard of Oz characters, Star Wars such as C3PO, R2D2 etc, W.C.Fields, Oliver & Hardy, Robin Hood, Batman etc.
TV characters–Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek, Howdy Doody, The Munsters, The Flintstones and Disney characters such as Tinkerbell, Pinocchio, Donald Duck, Dumbo etc.
Storybook characters–Red Riding Hood, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Alice in Wonderland, Goldielocks, Pixies and other
Western such as stagecoaches, Cowboys, Indians, Davy Crockett, Sheriff, Indian Teepee.
General figurals such as the Dutch Girl, the Sailor Boy, Aunt Jemima, Dogs & Cats, Lions, Cows, Pigs, Ear of Corn, Astronauts and Rockets.
I’ve seen every one of the characters mentioned above sell for hundreds of dollars for jars in good condition and I’ve just barely scratched the surface!!!
Jars in the form of classic cars made by Appleman are very hot right now.
Always check it out before you throw it out!!!

Boy Scout Memorabilia

Posted by: admin

March 21st, 2012 >> Uncategorized

Vintage Boy & Girl Scout items can be worth big bucks. The Boy Scout emblem on an old ax,  flashlight , pocket knife and many many more items can really increase it’s value compared to the very same item without the scouts logo. In these times of  lackluster prices on many collectibles, scouting items have held their own. Some of the rare patches and medals can bring prices in the thousands of dollars! Items from the early 1900’s can command extraordinary prices and there are plenty of collectors ready to fork over cash for quality items. Over the years many different items were branded with the scouts name including toys, rings, train sets, uniforms, books, camping and fishing items and the list goes on. Before you toss out that old uniform or book check it out!!

My Antique Brownie Camera

Posted by: admin

September 20th, 2011 >> Uncategorized

We come across a lot of photography equipment. Here’s the bottom line.

A lot of people and I mean a lot, have an old Brownie or other similar Box type camera from the early 1900’s. And even though they are indeed 100 years old they are virtually worthless with a very few exceptions. And that’s because they made millions of them and they were cheap. They’re still cheap!

Time travel 100 years later to the time just before digital cameras came out(80-90’s).  They made millions of point and shoot type 35mm & 110 cameras and the same applies to virtually all of them. Even though some were pretty expensive, most have little collector value now.

There is some interest in the more sophisticated 35 mm cameras of the 60-80’s era. The better brands that had adjustable settings and interchangeable lenses. But even with them the values are generally nowhere near what the cameras were originally sold for. If the camera comes with extra lenses, that can help, especially if the lenses are made by the same maker as the camera. But here in Florida there is a big problem with lenses being affected by fungus. It is hard to spot by a novice and just about impossible to get rid of and collectors hate it because it can spread to their other lenses.

Medium and Large format cameras of the type used by professional photographers usuallly have some value. These are the kind that used larger film than the 35mm and 110 cameras.

And there is some interest in the better quality sub-miniature or “spy” cameras.

The photography field is very diverse and of course there are exceptions in all classes, so when in doubt–check it out.  We have a lot of camera reference books and price guides and find ourselves checking them often because rare & valuable items do surface quite often and you don’t want to throw out something good.

Sterling/Coin Silver Identification

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September 14th, 2011 >> Uncategorized

This is a very common question that pops up in our St Petersburg and Sarasota sales all the time. Is my tea set or pitcher or tray or whatever really Sterling Silver?

Most pieces made in the last 100 years will be marked “Sterling” or .925 or 950 or even “S Silver” we have seen occasionally. By definition Sterling silver is at least 925 parts per thousand fine silver and the rest is usually copper to give it more durability and strength. If the piece is of French origin it will be at least 950  to be considered Sterling.  Sometimes you’ll see an item marked “Coin” or “Coin Silver”. These items were actually made from silver coins that were melted down. In the US the old silver coins were 90% silver which would make an item made from them 900 silver. But some countries coins were only 80%  silver. So Coin silver is usually either 800 or 900 silver. Sometimes you’ll just see the number like 800 or 900 and not the word “Coin”. We’ve even seen pieces marked 750, meaning of course  75% fine silver.

Then if all that is not confusing enough there are pieces that just have what are called “Hallmarks”. Hallmarks are little symbols that are stamped into a piece that you’ll see mostly on European silver items. England and France use hallmarks to denote the silver purity. Other Hallmarks are also used to identify the city or town where it was made, the date and the silversmith. The English hallmark for Sterling Silver is a Lion walking to the left, called a “Lion Passant”.  Pieces made in France use a hallmark that is the head of Minerva facing right to show that it is a Sterling Silver piece. Some other countries use a boars head or dogs head and there are other marks from other countries.  We have seen the city and maker hallmarks on silver plated items on occasion but you won’t see the Lion or Minerva or other Sterling hallmarks if it is a plated piece.

Speaking of silver plated. A lot of times it will say “Silver Plate” right on the bottom or “SP” or it may say EPNS which means ElectroPlated Nickel Silver. It may say “Triple Plate” or “Quadruple Plate” or AAA or Sheffield Plate. Any of these things means that it is silver plated. Sometimes it will just have the name of the maker and maybe the name of the pattern. If that’s the case it is probably just silver plated. Another way to tell is if you see yellow or green color on places where the piece is worn. You are seeing the base metal underneath the plating.

There is always the exception to any rule and once in a great while we have seen genuine silver items that were not marked with hallmarks or 925  or Sterling or anything other than the makers name. In the few instances we’ve come across this, the reason was the items were very old and made before the requirement of marking the items. In cases like these you may be able to research the maker and see if they made genuine silver items. If all else fails silver can be tested chemically be using a file somewhere on the piece in the least noticeable place to make a small cut deep enough to pass through the top layer of plating and then apply an acid to the cut and observe the resulting color. This can easily done by a qualified jeweler very quickly.



Estate Sale or Auction?

Posted by: admin

September 5th, 2011 >> Uncategorized

Should I have and Estate Sale or an Auction?

We often get asked this question and here’s the answer.

Auction Companies are like any other business. There are good ones and bad ones. Here’s the low down on the good ones. They only want the very best items from an estate. The best ones I know of in the Bay Area will only handle items that they think will sell for $200 or more. The other decent ones have similar thresholds.

That means most of your items from the estate are not going to make it to the auction block and you’ll be left to dispose of the majority of the estate yourself. Then of course since the auction company cherry picked the good items you will have nothing Special left to use as a Draw or Lure in the event you want to have your own sale to dispose of the remainder of the estate.

A properly conducted estate sale will draw literally hundreds of people over the course of 2 or 3 days. More people will see and have a chance to buy your stuff than the traffic that some high end antique stores get in a year.

But if we do discover an important piece then we will definetly market it in another manner. We have contacts at major auction houses all over the globe. I’m talking about auction companies that get bids up into the millions of dollars. We also have antique shops, specialty shops, individual collectors and museums that we deal with to market rare or special items.

In conclusion an estate sale conducted by us is capable of liquidating everything from the dishes to the Picasso……….

Trash or Treasure?

Posted by: admin

July 28th, 2011 >> Uncategorized

On a recent appraisal we discovered some old tools in the garage. Among the tools were some old chisels, screwdrivers and a couple of large rusty knives. I asked the heirs what they thought the tools should sell for. The answer was “Is a dollar each too much?”

The chisels were made by the Marples Co. and one of the knives was made by a firm that was doing business during the Civil War. These one dollar items were worth several hundred dollars.

Also out in the garage was an old plastic plug-in radio. They figured they would probably just throw that out since “Somebody would have to be crazy to want that old thing.”

Well the plastic the radio is made from is called Catalin and Catalin tube radios are extremely collectible. Another item worth a few hundred dollars.

And if you think this kind of thing only happens once in awhile you would be way wrong. It happens on just about every estate we see. In fact I can’t even remember the last time we didn’t find treasure that the owner assumed was trash. 

Until next time……..