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Antiques in the News

Man says mysterious Civil War photo was a teenage hoax

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Written by MITCH WEISS and RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 10:32


Confederate floating battery CSS Georgia, from the U.S. Naval Historical Center. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – For three decades, the stained and blurry photograph presented a great mystery to Civil War historians.

It was a picture taken of another photo in a peeling, gilded frame. In the foreground stood a man, his back to the camera, wearing an overcoat and a hat. In the center, visible amid stains and apparent water damage, was a ship.

Did this picture show the only known photograph of the ironclad Confederate warship the CSS Georgia?

The 1,200-ton ship armored with strips of railroad iron never fired a shot in combat after it was built to defend the Georgia coast in the Civil War. Confederate sailors sunk their ship in December 1864 as Gen. William T. Sherman's Union troops captured Savannah.

No blueprints survived and period illustrations varied in their details. The photo would confirm details of the Georgia's design, if only it could be authenticated. Records show John Potter donated a copy of the picture of the photo to the Georgia Historical Society in March 1986.

As the Army Corps of Engineers embarked this year on a $14 million project to raise the Georgia's wreckage from the river, archaeologists publicized the image online and in news stories – including an Associated Press story – hoping to track down the original photo.

Robert Holcombe, former curator of the National Civil War Naval Museum, told the AP in February that while the original photograph would be needed to confirm if the image was authentic, he believed it was real.

“Most people seem to think so,” he said. “Or else it's an awfully good fake.”

Now the man who took that photo of the photo all those years ago says he wants to clear the record: It is a fake.

___

Here was the story John Potter told 30 years ago:

The Savannah native was at a yard sale when he found the photograph in an antique frame. Inscribed on the back of the frame was “CSS Georgia.” He couldn't afford it, so he took a photo and mailed it to historical groups in Savannah.

Here is his new story, which he told exclusively to The Associated Press:

When he was a teenager in Savannah, Potter, his brother Jeffrey and a friend shot a short 8mm movie about the CSS Georgia. They built a 2-foot model.

At some point, Potter decided to test whether he had the skills to become a Hollywood special effects artist.

Potter's younger brother put on a coat and straw hat and went out to a marsh with a cane fishing pole and Potter took a photo. He took another photo of the model. He glued the boat's image onto the photo of his brother, then used dirt and glue to “age” the photo.

Potter sent the photo to historical groups, setting off a sporadic search for a CSS Georgia photo that he now says never existed.

___

The gilded frame that once held the disputed photo now holds a portrait of Potter's deceased pug, Puggy Van Dug.

Potter, 50, lives alone in a cluttered, one-story house in the North Carolina mountains. He never became a successful special effects artist.

He once owned a Savannah antiques store and provided props for movies filming in the area. He had a stint as a maintenance man for a lighthouse and museum on nearby Tybee Island. He spent nights drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon at Huc-a-Poos, where a mock police mug shot of him hangs with the words: “Tybee Record – 77 PBRs in one night.”

“Potter's a crazy guy,” said Eric Thomas, Huc-a-Poos' owner. “He's also a lovable guy.”

After their father died in 2011, Potter and his brother Jeffrey moved to North Carolina.

Last month, Jeffrey, the only person who shared the secret, killed himself at age 48.

Potter said he'd forgotten about the photo and had no idea the fuss it had caused until he saw it recently on the Army Corps website.

First, he decided to play along. But after his brother's death, he contacted AP to come clean.

“I'm not in good health. I didn't want to drop dead and carry that to my grave,” he said.

Potter said he never profited from his hoax.

“I didn't intend to hurt or embarrass anybody, because I really love history,” he said. “But there's still a lesson there: Do your dang homework.”

___

But is Potter now telling the truth?

He gave the AP his old 8mm movie along with old photos. One showed a young man he said was his brother in a marsh wearing a coat and straw hat and carrying a fishing pole – much like the figure in the ironclad photograph. Another showed the boy holding the model of the ship.

Potter said the original got destroyed long ago when he tried to remove it from the frame.

After his brother's death, Potter told Thomas about the hoax. Yet the bar owner suspected the ironclad photo may be real and Potter has it.

“I said, ‘What are you going to do with it?’ And he said, ‘Do with what?’” Thomas recalled. “And I said, ‘The picture.’ And he said, ‘I'm going to sell it.’”

Potter seemed to suggest to AP that maybe he was pulling an elaborate double hoax.

Then he dismissed that as “too wacky.”

“That's crazy talk,” Potter said.

___

Weiss reported from Lenoir, North Carolina. Associated Press journalist Alex Sanz contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-13-15 0937GMT

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 10:53
 

Vision quest: Curator catalogs the world's oldest telescopes

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Written by CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press   
Friday, 20 March 2015 09:32
Large brass telescope by Carl Kellner, Wetzlar, Germany, circa 1852. This instrument with its original stand sold for 70,000 euros in 2011. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Westlicht Photographica Auction. CORNING, N.Y. (AP) – You could say Marvin Bolt takes the long view.

He's on a worldwide quest to track down and catalog the oldest telescopes known to man, dating to the early 1600s and the days of Galileo.

“You'd think after 400 years, people would know where they are,” said Bolt, an expert on historical telescopes and the science and technology curator at the Corning Museum of Glass.

So far, he has traced relics to private collections and museums throughout Europe, where the hand-held instruments first opened astronomers' eyes to moons and planets and served as military surveillance tools. He continues to chase leads there, as well as in Asia and North America.

The hunt has taken him to 21 countries, including China, Portugal, Estonia and the Vatican and began about a decade ago when a friend in Switzerland, a private collector, let Bolt look through a 17th-century telescope on a clear night.

Although writings suggest the old telescopes didn't work all that well, “the image was spectacular,” he said, “and not as people had described it.”

“That was the turning point,” said Bolt, whose interest grew from his work as a curator at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. “We have to make a systematic study of actual objects: Where are they? How many are there and what can you actually see through them?”

Backed by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, Bolt has since catalogued more than 1,000 telescopes made before 1750, when the addition of a second piece of glass to the lens improved the quality and led to a production surge.

That's already more than he'd anticipated, given the frailty of the quarry. Telescopes, with delicate glass lenses, were made individually from rolled paper or parchment covered in leather or fish skin.

Fewer than 10 telescopes from the earliest days, from 1608 to 1650, were known to exist at the start of the project. That number is now up to about 30.

Among them are two that Bolt and a colleague found in decorative arts museums in Germany amid oddball collections of keyboards and other scientific instruments.

After finding the first telescope in Berlin, Bolt and Michael Korey, curator at the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon in Dresden, decided to look for similar displays. The next day, they learned of a cabinet at a similar museum nearby.

“Sure enough,” Bolt said, “we found one which dates to about 1620. It's one of the oldest ones in the world.”

Still another 17th-century telescope had collected dust on a shelf in an antiques store in Belgium, complete with its original lenses, before a colleague of Bolt's identified it. Another, from 1710, was discovered by a woman who as a 9-year-old girl sick in bed with chicken pox had poked her finger through the wallpaper and found it hidden in her bedroom wall in Michigan.

Bolt and Korey estimate 300 or 400 additional telescopes survive from before the 1750s.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-19-15 1235GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Large brass telescope by Carl Kellner, Wetzlar, Germany, circa 1852. This instrument with its original stand sold for 70,000 euros in 2011. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Westlicht Photographica Auction.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 09:47
 

Archaic Chinese bronzes and lecture presented at Gianguan gallery in NYC

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 12 March 2015 12:44

A massive ritual wine vessel decorated with four ram heads. Archaic bronze. Shang Dynasty. Gianguan Auctions Art Gallery image

NEW YORK – A collection of 100 pieces of archaic Chinese bronzes on-loan from the Sai Yang Tang Collection of Kwong Lum is on exhibition now through Saturday, March 14, at Gianguan Auctions Art Gallery at 295 Madison Ave. (entrance on East 41st Street) in Manhattan. It will conclude on Saturday at 2 p.m. followed immediately with a lecture hosted by China Institute at Gianguan Auctions gallery.

Presenter Kwong Lum, Chinese scholar, artist and owner of the Sai Yang Tang collection, will explore the fascinating history of the bronzes. Among the ancient objects are archaic swords decorated with jade, silver and gold, spears, tools, ritual wine vessels of all sizes and forms, food-storage containers, and a massive 6-foot-tall statue of a man on horseback holding a spear.

Several of the works – human figures kneeling and wearing large ear loops – were created as early as the Qija period (2400 B.C.–900 B.C.) that predates the Shang Dynasty (16th–11th century B.C.), generally accepted as the start of the Bronze Age in China. The most recent items were produced during the Han Dynasty (206-220 A.D.).

The talk will cover subjects such as purpose, symbolism and the locations at which the objects were discovered. New scholarship on the evolution of civilization during China’s Great Bronze Age will be included.

Lum, a scholar, artist and businessman, began collecting ancient Chinese artwork as a 9-year-old in Hong Kong. At that time he was studying under the guidance of art teacher Ding Yanyong, who taught him about Chinese painting, calligraphy and most of all, the appraisal and collection of Chinese antiques. Thus began his Sai Yang Tang Collection.

Over the decades, Lum has immensely enlarged the volume of his collection by adding in ancient masters painting and calligraphy, bronzes, sculpture and porcelain ware of different dynasties, purchased throughout the world at auctions or from private collectors. Today, his Sai Yang Tang Collection in the United States, boasts invaluable art treasures of ancient China.

In 1999, a Kwong Lum National Art Treasure Exhibition was held by Asian Cultural Center in New York, commemorating the 50th anniversary on the formation of the Sai Yang Tang Collection.

China’s CCTV National Treasure Archives program has made a special trip to New York to interview Lum and they documented four television episodes in the CCTV broadcast.

In 2012, the Guangdong Government built a museum named Kwong Lum Art Museum at Jiangmen City. The museum opened in 2014 and houses Lum’s paintings and treasures of the Sai Yang Tang’s Collection.

The exhibition and the bi-lingual lecture are free to the general public.

For details visit www.gianguanauctions.com, or call the gallery at 212-867-7288.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

A massive ritual wine vessel decorated with four ram heads. Archaic bronze. Shang Dynasty. Gianguan Auctions Art Gallery image

Archaic ritual bronze covered vessel with human face on the front, protruding decorations and symbolic animal handles. Late Shang Dynasty. Gianguan Auctions Art Gallery image

A large Warring States bronze ritual wine vessel, heavily decorated with relief figures and symbols. Gianguan Auctions Art Gallery image

Shang, bronze Fang Ding with human face. Gianguan Auctions Art Gallery image

Remarkably large, 6-foot-tall archaic figure of a man with spear on horseback. Eastern Han. Gianguan Auctions Art Gallery image

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2015 16:55
 

Major museums among furniture restorer’s clients

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Written by ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press   
Monday, 26 January 2015 10:21
A Federal sofa, ca. 1810-15, attributed to the workshop of Duncan Phyfe, on loan to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NEW YORK (AP) – Antique and fine furniture is Miguel Saco's specialty.

The master restorer and conservator is known for enhancing the natural beauty of furniture from the last four centuries, including pieces found at the White House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Madrid's Royal Palace. His expertise and knowledge is sought out by renowned collectors, dealers and art fairs.

On a recent trip to Miguel Saco Restoration Inc. in Manhattan, an array of furnishings was in various stages of restoration, including a 19th-century Duncan Phyfe sofa and a 1950s Carlo Mollino table.

Saco and his team of highly skilled artisans perform a wide range of museum-quality work, from the simplest cosmetic touch-ups and refinishing to caning, inlay, veneering, upholstery and recreation of missing parts.

“The best restored pieces look untouched,” Saco said. “For collectors, we always want to maintain pieces in good condition. It's like in Chinese medicine. The important thing is to keep the patient in good health before they get sick.”

Saco deals with high-end furniture that can run into the millions, such as the rare Reginald Lewis Queen Anne compass-seat stool that wound up in his shop for minor conservation after it sold for $5.2 million at a 2008 auction.

While Saco has clients as far away as Moscow and Sao Paulo, he says most buyers of high-end antique and fine furniture come from the United States. Twentieth-century pieces are especially hot, and his shop frequently handles pieces by Eileen Gray, Jean Royere, Jean-Michel Frank and Jean Prouve.

“He respects the fact that if you over-refinish, it affects the value,” industrialist and art collector Peter Brant said of the work Saco has done for him.

Some of Saco's restored pieces have found their way to various museums including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the White House.

An 18th-century table restored for the esteemed late American antiques dealer Israel Sack in the 1990s is at the Met. Sack highly endorsed the sensitive conservation, stating “Mr. Saco miraculously reset the veneer, conservatively lifted the varnish preserving the original patina and replaced missing elements.”

Saco also works as a consultant, advising clients on their collections. And he sits on the vetting committee for 20th-century furniture at New York's Winter Antiques Show, ensuring the quality of the items meets the high standard of the refined fair, which opens Friday.

Wherever they buy, Saco advises potential buyers to do their homework: Check the condition; research as much about the piece as they can; find out if it's an important piece by the manufacturer or designer; and enlist the advice of an expert if they are unsure of a piece's value.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-22-15 1643GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A Federal sofa, ca. 1810-15, attributed to the workshop of Duncan Phyfe, on loan to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 10:35
 

Collectors hooked on the allure of antique fishing lures

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Written by GINA KINSLOW, Glasgow Daily Times   
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 10:57
The copper-plated Chautauqua Weedless Trolling Hook by Anderson & Co., Jamestown, N.Y., in its rare box. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Lang's Inc.

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) – Glenn Reeves often visits yard sales, searching for fishing lures left behind in old tackle boxes.

Reeves, of Glasgow, is an avid fisherman, but he is also a collector of fishing lures, a hobby he has maintained for 25 years.

“A friend of mine, Ed Bartley ... he and another friend, Philip Toms, we just decided we were going to start collecting lures,'” Reeves said. “It was pretty slow at first, but then we got to finding more and more.”

Reeves estimates he has several thousand lures in his still-growing collection.

“I've been with him when he bought a lot of it,” said Toms, of Smiths Grove. “He's got a pretty extensive collection by different lure manufacturers.”

Another friend, Ed Darst of Glasgow, considers Reeves' collection to be worthy of a museum.

“It's fabulous. It's one of the best in this part of the country. It may be the best in Kentucky,” Darst said.

Reeves, along with Bartley and Toms, are members of the Barren Bassmasters club the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club.

Aside from yard sales, Reeves looks for lures at swap meets. Reeves, Toms and Bartley recently attended the NFLCC swap meet in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

“They have a lot of stuff there,” Reeves said. “If you can afford it, you can do good.”

He was also planning to attend the Barren Bassmasters' swap meet on Jan. 17 at the Cave City Convention Center.

Reeves collects both modern-day lures and antiques. Some are made of bone and were used by Native Americans. He also has the first fishing lures to be patented in the U.S.

“They were patented in 1852 – they made five sizes and I have all five sizes,'' he said.

Reeves acquired the first of his collection of five lures – which were all made by J.T. Buel of Vermont – when he purchased an old tackle box that had one inside.

“I started out with that one and then did some research on Buel and his spinners and found out that these were the first ones patented,” Reeves said. “The others I've just picked up maybe at a swap meet or maybe at a sale. Those type you don't find in tackle boxes much because they are so old.”

Reeves does not have a limit on how much he will spend for a lure, and he has been known to pay well for lures he can't live without.

Some of the lures are what Reeves calls ``folk art,'' because they are hand-made from a variety of materials. Some are whittled from wood and others are made from household items such as spoons.

Reeves does not make lures, but Bartley does.

“Ed and I have an agreement that any time he makes a prototype he will make me one,” Reeves said.

Bartley, also of Glasgow, said he made many of the lures in Reeves' collection.

“He's been collecting mine, but he doesn't have near as much as I do,” Bartley said. “Probably no one has as many as I have. I've kept every one that I've come up with.”

Aside from the lures Bartley makes, Reeves has others that were made in Kentucky. And there's one in particular he would like to add to his collection: a Shakespeare Revolution lure made of wood.

“It starts around $4,000,” he said.

Most of the lures in Reeves' collection are preserved in framed glass cases, but there are some that he uses often when fishing. He prefers to fish for bass and muskie.

The biggest fish he ever caught was a 46-inch muskie, which he caught in Canada. Reeves has been to Canada on fishing trips 25 times. He also participates in fishing tournaments as part of the Barren Bassmasters club.

Reeves, a retired builder, has plenty of time to fish. He and fellow bass club members fish nine months out of the year.

And what do they do when they're not fishing?

“We try to collect lures,” he said.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-17-15 1710GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
The copper-plated Chautauqua Weedless Trolling Hook by Anderson & Co., Jamestown, N.Y., in its rare box. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archiveand Lang's Inc. The earliest version of the Shakespeare Revolution lure. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Lang's Inc.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 11:57
 

Winchester Model 1873 rifle found in Nevada wilderness

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Written by MARTIN GRIFFITH, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 10:24
A Winchester Model 1873 Short Rifle, caliber .38-40, 'The gun that won the West.' Image by adamsguns.com, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. RENO, Nevada (AP) – Researchers are trying to crack the mystery surrounding the discovery of a weathered, rusted Winchester rifle in the mountains of remote eastern Nevada.

The gun manufactured in 1882 was found leaning against a juniper tree on a rocky outcrop in Great Basin National Park during an archaeological survey in November.

Nichole Andler, the park's chief of interpretation, said officials may never know when the .44-40 rifle was placed there, but it's possible it could have been left undisturbed since the 1800s.

The area along the Utah border has a history of mining, ranching and hunting, she said, and park researchers are scouring historical documents to learn who might have owned the rifle.

“I would say the possibilities are wide open as to who owned the rifle and why it was left there,” Andler said. “It leaves a lot to the imagination and it may be a mystery that's never solved.”

Herbert Houze is the former curator of what became known as the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.

He said Winchester Model 1873 rifles such as the one found in Nevada were so valuable that he thinks whoever owned it leaned it against the tree and then was unable to find it.

“You just don't leave a gun like that there,” he said.

The rifles, which sold for $35 to $50 in the 1880s, now can fetch up to $15,000 in excellent condition. They were among the most popular guns on the Western frontier.

After viewing photographs of the rifle, Houze said, he knows why it went undetected for so long: It blended in so well with its surroundings.

“People probably have walked right by it,” he said. “It was a one in a million chance they looked at it the right way and found it.”

The unloaded rifle's wooden stock was cracked but still intact, while its barrel was rusted. Its serial number was still visible, which allowed experts at the Buffalo Bill Center to determine it was made in 1882.

Houze says he's thrilled by what he called the “rare find” in Nevada, which will eventually go on permanent display at the park.

“It's one of the most exciting gun discoveries I've ever heard of,” he said. “I'm just tickled pink the gun got found.”

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-18-15 0116GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A Winchester Model 1873 Short Rifle, caliber .38-40, 'The gun that won the West.' Image by adamsguns.com, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 10:44
 

Engines exposed: Henry Ford Museum offers close-up look under car hoods

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 08 January 2015 17:15
The first Mustang ever to roll off the Ford Motor Co., production line. Photographed by DougW of RemarkableCars.com at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. Mustang Serial #1 was produced in 1964, titled as a 1964 1/2 Mustang due to the fact that the first Mustangs did not come out until the middle of the year. DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Henry Ford Museum is allowing visitors a close-up look under the hoods of cars in its automotive collection.

"Engines Exposed'' starts Saturday, January 10, and runs through March 15 at the museum in Dearborn.

For the first time in five years, more than 40 vehicles in the "Driving America'' exhibit will have their hoods open, including the 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, the 1948 Tucker 48 Sedan, the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr and the 1916 Woods Dual Hybrid Coupe.

The museum also is offering visitors the chance to hear more about the vehicles in the collection through special presentations in its Douglas Drive-in Theater. And there are hands-on events for young auto enthusiasts.

The museum is part of The Henry Ford, a history attraction that includes Greenfield Village.

___

Online: http://www.thehenryford.org

#   #   #

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The first Mustang ever to roll off the Ford Motor Co., production line. Photographed by DougW of RemarkableCars.com at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. Mustang Serial #1 was produced in 1964, titled as a 1964 1/2 Mustang due to the fact that the first Mustangs did not come out until the middle of the year.
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 January 2015 17:34
 

Funeral home rolls out restored horse-drawn hearse

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Written by SARA SHEPHERD, Lawrence Journal-World   
Friday, 02 January 2015 10:29
An occupational shaving mug depicting an undertaker's horse-drawn hearse. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Cowan's Auctions Inc. LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – The daytime motorcade trundling through the streets behind a shiny black hearse, all with headlights on, is a hallmark of today's funerals.

But, of course, death predates cars and electric lights – and so do hearses, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

A Lawrence funeral home now has a vehicle for the deceased to be sent off in style from a bygone era: a horse-drawn hearse.

Jim Larkin, owner of Warren-McElwain Mortuary and Cremation Services, purchased the antique hearse in 2006 and had it restored. The hearse made its Lawrence debut at Lawrence's Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade.

Larkin said he has shared photos with the owner of the firm that built the hearse and is awaiting verification of its history. But according to the retired Kentucky funeral home director he bought it from, it was first built in the 1870s by the Sayers and Scovill Co. in Ohio, known as one of the finer carriage builders.

The renovation process required custom work. In addition to painting the hearse black and replacing the frail curtain fabric inside, Larkin had a blacksmithing school in California create period-correct brakes and rebuild each wheel. The wheels were soaked for months in a mixture of kerosene and linseed oil, and re-varnished when finished.

“I've always liked old and unique items,” said Larkin, who has been a funeral home owner since 1972. He said at Warren-McElwain, which has locations in Lawrence and Eudora, his finds on display include stained-glass windows that are more than 100 years old and a wall clock that's more than 200 years old.

Warren-McElwain has made arrangements to use specialty vehicles from motorcycles to fire trucks for funerals, said Lisa Manley, co-manager of the funeral home along with Audrey Bell.

But unlike those, the horse-drawn hearse belongs to Warren-McElwain. Manley said it costs more than a vehicle hearse to use in a funeral, because of some extra arrangements including hiring a horse and driver, but that it's available anytime. She said it also would require a special permit from the city to drive in the streets.

The horse-drawn hearse is an elegant vehicle, they said, noting its large spoke wheels, gold lanterns, a tassled red curtain in the window and carvings on the outside.

“We enjoy just standing there and looking at it,” Bell said.

___

Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-31-14 1522GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
An occupational shaving mug depicting an undertaker's horse-drawn hearse. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Cowan's Auctions Inc.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 January 2015 10:52
 

Artist's hometown honors him with blue Christmas lights

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 26 December 2014 09:47

‘That’s Amore,’ oil on canvas, signed, titled and dated, 1996, 24 inches by 18 inches, $39,360. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Auction Galleries.

NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) – Some people have griped that New Iberia's Christmas lights are too subdued this year, but the blue lights on Main Street are a quiet memorial to hometown artist George Rodrigue, whose blue dog paintings became internationally famous.

Rodrigue died a year ago.

It's a temporary change from white lights lining trees, store windows and other decorations, Phyllis Mata of the Magic on Main committee told The Daily Iberian.

“I think the decorations are what's needed, as a one-time theme for one of our favorite citizens,” Mata said. “When the idea came up, I loved it, and still do. The idea of honoring George Rodrigue, I felt, was an important one. Important to his family and to New Iberia.”

Jennifer Toups of the Downtown Business Association said some people have told her they want the brighter white lights back.

“It is a soft and gentle tribute, like him, like his paintings, a hauntingly mysterious and quiet tribute,” she said. “White is the norm. (Rodrigue) was not. Blue is so very him. They are both quietly beautiful.”

Son Jacques Rodrigue said, “Dad never forgot his New Iberia roots. He always said if he wasn't from New Iberia he may never had started painting to begin with. The uniqueness of the culture and the landscape really inspired him to start to start painting.”

___

Information from: The Daily Iberian, http://www.iberianet.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-23-14 1554GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

‘That’s Amore,’ oil on canvas, signed, titled and dated, 1996, 24 inches by 18 inches, $39,360. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Auction Galleries.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 13:35
 

BULLETIN: Morphy's sells 1891 Coca-Cola calendar for $150K

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Written by ACNI Staff   
Friday, 05 December 2014 15:11
Only known example of an 1891 Coca-Cola calendar, sold for $150,000 on Dec. 5, 2014 at Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of Morphy Auctions

DENVER, Pa. – An 1891 Coca-Cola calendar was sold at Morphy Auctions today for $150,000 (inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium). Of the two Coca-Cola calendar variations printed during that year, the one in Morphy’s sale is acknowledged to be the only surviving example of its type. A private collector placed the winning bid in person at Morphy’s gallery in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Formerly in the revered Gordon P. Breslow collection, the near-mint calendar had been entered in the sale with a $100,000-$150,000 estimate.

“It’s one of the greatest of all Coca-Cola collectibles,” said Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions. “There is no known Coke calendar that pre-dates this one.”

The historical importance of the calendar was heightened by its additional printed advertisement for Asa C. Candler & Co., a retail and wholesale drug business on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. Candler was one of five men who established the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

View the calendar and the entire online catalog at www.LiveAuctioneers.com .

# # #



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Only known example of an 1891 Coca-Cola calendar, sold for $150,000 on Dec. 5, 2014 at Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of Morphy Auctions
Last Updated on Friday, 05 December 2014 15:53
 

'American Pickers' looking for leads in northern Louisiana

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 11:37

 

Mike Wolfe (left) and Frank Fritz, History Channel's American Pickers. Photo courtesy HISTORY.

FARMERVILLE, La. (AP) - Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have crisscrossed America, looking through barns and basements for dirty, rusty treasures.

Now, the pair wants to bring their show, "American Pickers,'' to Louisiana but they're looking for help.

Lum Farr, president of the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce, tells The Ruston Leader he was contacted by Cineflix, the company that produces the show, now in its fifth season on the History Channel.

"We would love to have them come to Union Parish, and we need the public's help to make it happen,'' Farr said.

Farr said casting producer Anthony Rodriguez emailed him recently about the program, saying he was looking for people with barns, warehouses or buildings full of odd, unique and interesting collections.

"We also love to explore the history of the locations tied to the items. But know Mike and Frank, of course, we are always looking for great characters,'' the email said.

But Farr said the show is not looking for large collections of any particular items, such as doll collections. He said they're looking for people who have a great variety of items they've collected over a period of time.

Wolfe and Fritz consider themselves "modern archaeologists'' who sort through junkyards and warehouses for items that can be preserved for future generations to appreciate.

"Hitting back roads from coast to coast, the two men earn a living by restoring forgotten relics to their former glory, transforming one person's trash into another's treasure,'' the show's website states. "If you think the antique business is all about upscale boutiques and buttoned-up dealers, this show may change your mind _ and teach you a thing or two about American history along the way.''

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Information from: Ruston Daily Leader, http://www.rustonleader.com

Click to read Auction Central News' highest-rated article of all time, an interview with the American Pickers, at http://auctioncentralnews.com/index.php/features/people/2288-history-channels-american-pickers-have-put-the-man-into-mantiques

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Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Mike Wolfe (left) and Frank Fritz, History Channel's American Pickers. Photo courtesy HISTORY.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 11:58
 

Stereo photography produced Civil War scenes in 3-D

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Written by CLINT SCHEMMER, The Free Lance-Star   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:44
Rare Civil War stereo view of Gen. George Armstrong Custer, E & HT Anthony War View No. 2438, 'Gen. Custer at his Head Quarters in the field, Army of the Potomac, Va.' Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Heritage Auctions. FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Three-dimensional movies may be regular fare in theaters these days. But seeing a gaggle of people in 3-D spectacles roaming the streets of Fredericksburg or Spotsylvania County, in the rain, still prompts a few double takes.

So it was earlier this month as some 75 self-described geeks from 16 states visited to focus on images, from the famous to the virtually unknown, recorded on fragile glass plates during the Civil War.

Their guided walks at historic sites in the city and Spotsylvania, Orange and Hanover counties were but one part of the Center for Civil War Photography's 2014 “Image of War” seminar, co-sponsored by the Civil War Trust.

Wartime photographers recorded many of their images in stereo, hence the visitors' 3-D spectacles. Printed on mass-produced cards and seen through a handheld viewer, the stereo views are sharp and vivid – and were a wildly popular 19th-century medium.

Such photos may be old, but the recent visitors were seeing them in fresh ways, at the very spots where they were created, with helpful context and insight provided by on-site experts and historians.

Time and again over three days, people young and old exclaimed with a “wow” or a collective “ooh” at some new discovery, scene or realization.

Those reactions didn't surprise Garry Adelman, the center's vice president. Better than most, he understands the powerful sense of immediacy that the photos give people, even 150-plus years later.

“Paintings or drawings don't strike people the same way,” Adelman said in an interview. “Civil War photographs are among the oldest news photos, and among the oldest images of real people and real buildings and real landscapes, that one can see.”

The war was the first time that people were taking cameras and regularly recording news of national import as it happened, he said.

“These images provided the public with an overwhelming reality about scenes in the field,” Adelman said. “Documentary photography was born during the Civil War.”

One such scene that received special attention during the war, and recently, was the Marye family house in Fredericksburg. When Union forces stormed Marye's Heights on May 3, 1863, after Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's humiliating defeat there the previous December, the place drew photographers like a magnet.

Seminar attendees flocked there Oct. 11 to walk the same ground, seek out the wartime photographers' camera positions and make their own then-and-now comparisons.

Atop the heights, they trod Willis Hill, Fredericksburg National Cemetery and the grounds around the mansion of John L. Marye Sr., the area's delegate to the Virginia secession convention in 1861. Today, it's known as Brompton, home of University of Mary Washington President Richard Hurley.

Many well-known photos of Brompton and its surroundings were recorded by Andrew J. Russell; James Gardner, brother of Washington-based photographer Alexander Gardner; and photographers with Mathew Brady & Co. Among the most widely published images is one of wounded Indian soldiers, sharpshooters with the 2nd Minnesota Regiment, lying in the shade beneath an oak tree. That “witness” tree still stands beside Brompton, and is carefully tended by UMW groundskeepers.

Amid a light drizzle, CCWP members moved across the grounds to eye big enlargements of 3-D photos staked into the ground at the precise locations where the photographers stood. People could view those historic scenes, then look beyond them into the present, creating “4-D” moments in which time is the fourth dimension.

“They are like windows in time,” Adelman said of the 3-D anaglyphs. “Looking into them is magic.”

Attendees also posed in front of Brompton for a group portrait by Rob Gibson, a wet-plate photographer with a popular studio in Gettysburg, Pa., then rushed to his developing apparatus to watch him process the glass plate in a chemical bath.

Moving down to the Sunken Road, they paused where Russell, a Union army photographer, planted his tripod to record one of the war's most famous images – of Confederate dead lying beside the road's stone wall just minutes after U.S. troops breached those defenses and seized the ground.

“By any account, that is the most immediate photo taken during the war after a successful attack,” said Adelman, who is also the Civil War Trust's director of history and education.

Inside the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, attendees viewed a 3-D video of historic photos, created by CCWP imaging director John Richter, that just opened there.

The center's members covered a lot of ground in their time here. Moving with dispatch that Confederate commander Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson would have envied, the group visited the Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and North Anna battlefields in two days.

Collectively, the members – who delight in analyzing the smallest detail in Civil War photos to see what can be learned – have made many finds.

Local examples include determining that a famous in-the-trenches image of Union soldiers was taken near the Rappahannock River in Spotsylvania, not Petersburg, as had long been thought. They also identified the only known Confederate in a Russell image of Fredericksburg taken from Stafford; properly credited Russell with the Sunken Road photo, which some had attributed to Mathew Brady's studio; and deduced where in Fredericksburg an evocative series of images of a Union burial party was taken after the Battle of the Wilderness.

The center also works with the Library of Congress to preserve and digitize wartime photographs.

___

Online:

CCWP: www.civilwarphotography.org

3D images: www.civilwar.org/photos/3d-photography-special

___

Information from: The Free Lance-Star, http://www.fredericksburg.com/

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-10-18-14 1727GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Rare Civil War stereo view of Gen. George Armstrong Custer, E & HT Anthony War View No. 2438, 'Gen. Custer at his Head Quarters in the field, Army of the Potomac, Va.' Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Heritage Auctions.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:59
 

Original Paul Dresser sheet music treasured by Hoosier collector

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Written by By DIANNE FRANCES D. POWELL, Tribune-Star   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:03

Sheet music for Paul Dresser's song 'On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away.' Image modified by Papa Lima Whiskey. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) – Two historical treasures are neatly displayed in the home of one local resident. On Sunday, the owner opened the doors to his southeastern Vigo County home to share the unique story.

About five years ago, John Mutchner was browsing through the collection of an antiques shop in Indianapolis, aiming to find political memorabilia. But what he ended up buying, at the cost of $25, if he remembers correctly, he said, is one of significance to many Hauteans.

He stumbled upon original sheet music to Paul Dresser's On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away, the Indiana state song.

“I don't know why I stuck my hand down there and started going through sheet music and all of a sudden, I came across this,” Mutchner told the Tribune-Star as he pointed to the framed music sheet on display at the top of the staircase. Those who take the stairs up to the second floor can easily spot the music sheet, which features the complete song and a photo of a young Dresser. It was protected by a frame, which also held words and music to another one of Dresser's compositions, The Path That Leads The Other Way.

Mutchner, the legendary former basketball coach at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and former leader of the nonprofit Wabash River Development and Beautification – known around town as Riverscape – was surprised by his discovery, which he immediately recognized to have “special meaning to people in Indiana.”

But Mutchner was equally intrigued by three loose sheets of paper, containing a handwritten poem, that he found tucked inside the sheet music.

“It was just folded up inside the music,” Mutchner described. “The words are to the music of On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away but it's about the Spanish-American War and the sinking of the (Battleship) Maine.”

He was struck by its historical significance and the story it tells of the ship's sinking and the nation mourning.

“It is historically significant and beautifully written,” Mutchner said.

The poem was titled, On the Shores of Havana, Far Away. Several academic sources, including the New York Public Library and Johns Hopkins University, have a record of it. Its full title is On the Shores of Havana, Far Away. A Paraphrase to the Melody of the Famous Song On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away. In addition to listing Dresser as the music composer, it lists Andrew B. Sterling (1874-1955), as the lyricist.

Mutchner said he does not know who physically wrote the lyrics on the loose sheets.

According to the Indiana Historical Society, Dresser was born in Terre Haute on April 22, 1858, with the name Johann Paul Dreiser Jr. His father initially hoped he would become a priest, but after two years in the seminary, he decided priesthood was not for him. He later moved to New York and in the period between 1886 and 1893, he composed nearly 50 songs, according to the society's website.

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away had brought Dresser the kind of acclaim, financial reward and reputation that few popular-song composers before him had ever enjoyed,” the Indiana Historical Society stated on its website. “Within a year Dresser reported that Wabash had broken all sales records and that the million mark would soon be passed ...” it later added.

The song generated more than $100,000 from sheet-music revenues, another website stated.

Through the ballad, Dresser reflected on his hometown and the river that runs through it. In 1913, the Indiana General Assembly adopted it as the official state song.

The Indiana Historical Society also lists some of Dresser's famous songs including The Letter That Never Came (1886), I Believe It For My Mother Told Me So (1887), The Pardon That Came Too Late (1891), A Dream of My Boyhood's Days, and The Path That Leads the Other Way.

During Dresser's lifetime and “heyday,” the Spanish-American War broke out. The war was precipitated by the explosion and sinking of the Maine in 1898. The war was preceded by three years of fighting by Cuban revolutionaries to gain independence from Spain's colonial rule, according to the U.S. Department of State.

“U.S. victory in the war produced a peace treaty that compelled the Spanish to relinquish claims on Cuba, and to cede sovereignty over Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the United States,” according to the State Department.

“Capitalizing on the Spanish-American War, which united many former Civil War enemies under one flag, Dresser wrote the popular successes We Are Coming, Cuba, Coming, Your God Comes First, Your Country Next, Then Mother Dear, Come Home, Dewey, We Won't Do a Thing to You, among other songs, according to the Indiana Historical Society.

The celebrated songwriter was honored last week in Terre Haute with the dedication of a bronze sculpture erected next to his boyhood home, located at the entrance of Fairbanks Park. The artwork, called A Song for Indiana, also honors the Wabash River and the state song.

Because of the recent dedication, Mutchner thought it was timely to share the historical pieces in his collection.

“I have this all framed and put together,” he said of the pieces, which are hung alongside other pieces related to the history of Terre Haute. “It's just been hanging here on the wall.”

___

Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-10-20-14 1337GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Sheet music for Paul Dresser's song 'On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away.' Image modified by Papa Lima Whiskey. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:02
 

Medical society regains control of historic Detroit hospital

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:51
Historic Dunbar Hospital in Detroit is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Image by Andrew Jameson at en.wikipedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

DETROIT (AP) – Detroit is letting a local medical group regain ownership of the city's first African-American hospital.

The Detroit News reports a late reversal of an auction sale will let the Detroit Medical Society regain ownership of Dunbar Memorial Hospital. The historic building sold for $196,000 Wednesday at a Wayne County tax auction.

Although the county foreclosed on the property months ago and listed it for auction, the group only found out last week. Detroit's water department decided to cancel its lien and an outstanding bill that had grown to $3,800 with late fees.

The lack of a lien forced the county to reverse the foreclosure.

The group purchased the hospital in 1978 to restore it as a museum. It's been vacant since a costly renovation stalled in 2010.

___

Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Historic Dunbar Hospital in Detroit is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Image by Andrew Jameson at en.wikipedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:28
 

New Hampshire town working to preserve centuries-old horse sheds

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 08:55
Horses have played a significant role throughout the history of Lyme, New Hampshire, which was located on a stagecoach route that ran from Boston to Montreal. This circa-1910 photo depicts a horse-drawn delivery wagon for Central Market in Lyme. LYME, N.H. (AP) _ An auction has raised $3,500 toward replacing the roof of the town horse shed in Lyme, New Hampshire, believed to be the longest string of horse sheds in New England.

The 27 attached sheds are in need of a new roof, and that costs about $20,000. The Valley News reports some of that money will come from a restoration fund containing private donations.

The sheds sit on town property, but they are maintained by the Lyme Congregational Church. They rely on private sources of funding for maintenance.

Bill Ackerly of Lyme said the sheds were built by his great-great-great grandfather. He estimates his family settled in Lyme in the late 1700s.

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Information from: Lebanon Valley News, http://www.vnews.com

 



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Horses have played a significant role throughout the history of Lyme, New Hampshire, which was located on a stagecoach route that ran from Boston to Montreal. This circa-1910 photo depicts a horse-drawn delivery wagon for Central Market in Lyme.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 09:21
 

Obama could make Chicago’s Pullman site national park

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Written by TAMMY WEBBER, Associated Press   
Monday, 25 August 2014 08:52
The administration building of the Pullman Palace Car Co. in Chicago. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago's historic Pullman neighborhood soon may be closer to becoming a national park.

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis tells The Associated Press that he plans to recommend that the Interior Secretary ask President Obama to declare the southeast Chicago neighborhood a unit of the national park system.

Supporters say it is unlikely Congress will act on bills in the House and Senate. So, they want Obama to use his authority to act independently under the Antiquities Act.

The neighborhood's ornate brick homes were built in the 1800s by industrialist George Pullman as a blue-collar utopia to house workers from his sleeper-car factory.

Supporters say the neighborhood also is significant for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-23-14 1431GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The administration building of the Pullman Palace Car Co. in Chicago. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 August 2014 09:04
 
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