Payday Loans
payday loans

Get Free ACN Daily Headlines


Search Auction Central News

Bookmark and Share
Antiques in the News

Childhood memory led lawyer to collecting Aladdin lamps

PDF Print E-mail
Written by DALE MOSS, News and Tribune   
Thursday, 14 August 2014 10:20
B-76 Tall Lincoln Drape cobalt crystal Aladdin lamp with complete & working model B burner and 'Aladdin' chimney. Image courtesy of Archive and Tom Harris Auction Center. NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) – Bill Lohmeyer drove and drove and drove some more to a 14-hour auction of old lamps in Illinois.

Then he drove and drove and drove some more back to New Albany, without the lamp he most wanted.

Lohmeyer bowed finally from the bidding at $1,300, twice the limit he had promised himself. Determined to take the rare prize, the winner went $25 higher. Such is love, war and collecting.

“And that's not the first time that's happened,” Lohmeyer told the News and Tribune. “(But) I haven't let many things get by me.”

His home reflects just that. Its stand-alone custom beauty is enhanced by Lohmeyer's spectacular collection of classic Aladdin kerosene lamps. Lohmeyer has been at it 30 years, with 300 or so lamps.

None is new, of course, and many are like the one on which his family – the home of which had no electricity – relied when Lohmeyer was a boy in Harrison County.

“We only had one and there was a reason,” he said. “It is the most expensive one you could buy. It also produced the most light. We carried it around from room to room. It was the only kerosene lamp you really could read by.”

C. William “Bill” Lohmeyer is best known as a lawyer who, at 80, now practices only occasionally to fill in for his son Steve. With one of the community's best voices, Bill Lohmeyer still sings mostly at his church, Trinity United Methodist.

Lohmeyer's devotion to glass-and-brass kerosene lamps reflects a personal fascination, a love of history. Why Aladdin kerosene lamps? Why not. Lohmeyer helped establish and he remains a leader of a national Aladdin lamp collectors' group. Its members have become Lohmeyer's dear friends, if not also occasional rivals.

“I call it my magnificent obsession,” Lohmeyer said of lamp collecting.

That's the hook with seriously collecting anything – the constant challenge, an insatiable itch to find what else might be out there. The point is not to be noticed or admired but to persevere, to gladly give up yet another weekend to try to fill a void in the collection.

“If I need to go to Iowa, I'll go to Iowa,” Lohmeyer said. “I've done that a couple of times.”

Jo Lohmeyer, Bill's wife, said visitors sometime suggest they've entered a museum.

“But somehow it's still comfortable,” she said of their home and its lamps in almost every direction. “It's our thing.”

Jo Lohmeyer's role in this lamp story is more than about tolerance and patience. Before she was Bill Lohmeyer's wife, she was his secretary. As the latter, she recommended an Aladdin kerosene lamp for his office desk.

Recalling his childhood, he readily said yes and soon after, he bought another.

“It was more a way of decorating than anything else,” he said. “That got me started.”

Lohmeyer set his sights on a sample of each Aladdin model. Check. He then wanted one in every possible color. Check. He picked up a few electric Aladdins. He checks out antique malls but has settled on the Internet as a steady source. However obsessive, the discipline Lohmeyer relied on that day in Illinois serves him well.

“I won't say money's no object,” he said. “Obviously it is.”

Lohmeyer also landed one of every floor model, then sold them all.

“Space was a problem,” he said.

The Lohmeyer home is not like Freedom Hall, after all. Besides, Lohmeyer also collects clocks and music boxes and his wife collects Hummels.

The gaps in Bill Lohmeyer's collection are few. He sells pretty much only what he's replaced with lamps in better shape. He and other collectors talk of opening a museum, but nothing is close to firm. The lamps come in handy – for heat as well as for light – when the power goes out. Otherwise, what is to become of all this? Seems a question for another day.

“I look at it wistfully,” Lohmeyer said. “Whatever money I've spent has been for me.”


Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind.,

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

AP-WF-08-13-14 1427GMT




Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 10:30

‘Antiques Roadshow’ scouts early baseball trove worth $1M

PDF Print E-mail
Written by LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 08:24
Leila Dunbar appraises an an archive of early Boston baseball memorabilia for $1 million in New York City on Aug. 9. This is the largest sports memorabilia find in 'Antiques Roadshow’s' 19-year history. 'Antiques Roadshow,' a production of WGBH Boston, airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on PBS. Photo credit: Photo by Meredith Nierman for WGBH, (c) WGBH 2014. LOS ANGELES (AP) – The PBS series Antiques Roadshow says it hit a home run with a collection of 1870s Boston baseball memorabilia.

A trove of signatures and rare baseball cards from Boston Red Stockings players was appraised at $1 million for insurance purposes, series producer Marsha Bemko said.

She said it's the largest sports memorabilia find in the history of the 19-year-old public TV show, which travels America looking for varied heirlooms and treasures.

The collection was brought to an Antiques Roadshow taping Saturday in New York City. The owner inherited it from her great-great-grandmother, who ran a Boston boarding house where the team lived in 1871-72, PBS said.

The owner's identity was kept private for security reasons, PBS said Monday. The collection had not been formally valued before but the owner had once received a $5,000 offer, PBS said.

According to Antiques Roadshow appraiser Leila Dunbar, the “crown jewel” of the items is a May 1871 letter to the Boston landlady that includes notes from three future Hall of Fame members: Albert Spalding, the future sporting good magnate, and brothers Harry and George Wright. The letter included the players' appreciation for their host's cooking.

The baseball franchise is now the Atlanta Braves.

Appraisals from the New York City visit will be featured in three hours of Antiques Roadshow episodes to air in 2015 on public TV stations. The series is broadcast on Monday nights.




Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber(at) and on Twitter at

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

AP-WF-08-11-14 1856GMT

Leila Dunbar appraises an an archive of early Boston baseball memorabilia for $1 million in New York City on Aug. 9. This is the largest sports memorabilia find in 'Antiques Roadshow’s' 19-year history. 'Antiques Roadshow,' a production of WGBH Boston, airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on PBS. Photo credit: Photo by Meredith Nierman for WGBH, (c) WGBH 2014. The collection of early baseball memorabilia at Saturday's taping of 'Antiques Roadshow' in New York. Photo credit: Photo by Meredith Nierman for WGBH, (c) WGBH 2014.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 15:44

Sotheby's to auction world's most celebrated watch

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:04
The Henry Graves Supercomplication, made by Patek Philippe in 1933, to be auctioned November 14, 2014 at Sotheby's Geneva gallery. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

GENEVA - Sotheby’s announced today that it will present for sale the Henry Graves Supercomplication in Geneva on Nov. 24, 2014. Made by Patek Philippe in 1933, this masterpiece of horology is the most famous watch in the world and the most complicated watch ever made completely by human hand. Its reappearance on the market, 15 years after its record sale, will coincide with Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary celebrations and will be a fitting tribute to the genius of the Swiss manufacturer. The watch will be offered in Sotheby’s Geneva sale of Important Watches with an estimate in excess of CHF 15 million.

Discussing the forthcoming sale of the Henry Graves Supercomplication, Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches, and Daryn Schnipper, Chairman of Sotheby’s Watch Division, said: “The list of superlatives which can be attached to this icon of the 20th century is truly extraordinary. Indisputably the “Holy Grail” of watches, the Henry Graves Supercomplication combines the Renaissance ideal of the unity of beauty and craftsmanship with the apogee of science. Our offering of this horological work of art in 1999 was unquestionably the highlight of our professional careers and set a world record which has held until today. We are extremely privileged to be offering it once again.”

In 1925, Patek Philippe was commissioned by Henry Graves, a prominent New York banker, to produce the most complicated watch in the world. The product of three years of research and five years’ effort by the most skilled technicians, this extraordinary timepiece is a gold openface minute repeating chronograph clockwatch with Westminster chimes. Among the features it incorporates are perpetual calendar, moon phases, sidereal time, power reserve, and indications for time of sunset and sunrise and the night sky of New York City. With a total of 24 horological complications, the Graves watch retained the title of the world’s most complicated watch for 56 years and even then was only surpassed by technicians working with the aid of computer-assisted machines.

Sotheby’s first sold the Henry Graves Supercomplication in New York in December 1999, as part of a sale of 81 masterpieces from the world-renowned Time Museum. Offered with an estimate of $3-5 million, the watch excited enormous interest and sparked an extended bidding contest, exceeding the company’s wildest expectations when it sold for a record-breaking $11 million, becoming the most expensive timepiece ever sold at auction.

Visit Sotheby's online at .

# # #


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:14

Modern families choosing cash over 'stuff' and sentiment

PDF Print E-mail
Written by ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ, The Journal Gazette   
Monday, 16 June 2014 10:38
 This Chickering mahogany baby grand piano, circa 1934, together with a mahogany music bench, sold for $500 at an auction in New Orleans last year. Image courtesy of archive and Crescent City Auction Gallery. HUNTINGTON, Ind. (AP) – A few weeks ago, Jean Allen found herself revisiting a stately Victorian-style home in Huntington to wait while someone picked up an antique grand piano.

The piano was a Chickering, a quality name, from the early part of the last century and in relatively good shape, Allen says. A generation ago, such an item might have been jealously passed down among members of a family.

But not anymore. Folks just aren't holding on to family heirlooms the way they used to, Allen says.

“It was beautiful, and I sold it for a pittance,” says Allen, owner of JS Allen Estate Sales of Monroeville, Ind., a company that helps people clean out houses and liquidate their contents.

“Children don't know what to do with all this stuff, and don't have room for it, and just get to the point that they throw their hands up and say, ‘This has got to go,’” she tells The Journal Gazette.

It's a trend that dealers in used items and antiques around the region have noticed. They point to a variety of reasons folks are ditching family heirlooms.

Families are smaller, with fewer brothers and sisters among whom to divide possessions, they say. A plethora of baby boomers are downsizing. The cost of moving or storing bulky items such as furniture is high, and rapidly changing technology makes things obsolete more quickly.

Even decorating and lifestyle trends play a role.

Got a dining room set with a giant matching hutch stacked with Grandma's fine china? Some homes don't even have dining rooms, so not everyone can use the furniture, Allen says.

And as for those old dishes, if they've got gold or silver trim, they won't go into today's microwave or dishwasher. “Nobody wants to wash dishes by hand,” she says.

Besides, adds Ron Wiegmann, owner of Wiegmann Auctioneers, 812 E. Tillman Road, “With men and women working and kids playing sports, it's paper plates and plastic forks and eating out. The china and dinnerware doesn't mean as much.

“The younger generation, I think, are kind of letting the family heirlooms go,” he adds. “Some families are more sentimental than others, but most of them are turning them into cash.”

While the trend to dispose of items might seem to mean a boom for their businesses, auctioneers and antiques dealers say the trend cuts both ways – the stuff that people want to sell is often the same stuff people don't want to buy.

Shirley Ward, who works in sales at Stollers Antique Mall, 909 Coliseum Blvd. N., says collectible porcelain dolls are a case in point.

The dolls were popular as decorator items in the 1980s and ’90s, and some cost hundreds of dollars then, she says. But few want them today, so they're not worth as much at resale.

“They're nice dolls, but there's thousands of them,” she says.

“Even Barbies don't sell like they used to.”

And, as for collectible plates and figurines – well, let's just say they're going through a down market phase, too.

“Cherished Teddies, and Hummels and Pretty as a Picture, Precious Moments – we've got hundreds of them. We carry them, and people still buy them, if you get the right buyer or somebody just broke one.

“But we're not looking to buy more.”

With eBay and other resale websites, people don't see such items as being as scarce as they once might have when the only place they could get them was the village gift shop, Ward says.

Allen says she often has to deliver bad pricing news to clients.

For example, she often wants to split up bedroom sets because she's found individual pieces sell better. Most new homes today have walk-in closets with built-in storage, so folks don't want those bulky matching dressers, she's found.

“People don't have that kind of space anymore,” she says. And, she notes, a single item doesn't require as big an outlay on the part of a buyer.

“You see all these people (selling items) struggle because everybody thinks their stuff is worth 10 times more than it is.”

However, some people are finding new ways to hang on to sentimental items, says Debra McClintock, in sales with Keepsake Threads, 7615 W. Jefferson Blvd.

That business takes textiles with sentimental value and repurposes them into items for display, décor or other reuse.

Among the company's products have been stuffed animals made from a deceased husband's ties, a quilt made with a grandmother's old dresses and scarves made from old handkerchiefs.

“We also can incorporate text, like love letters or Grandma's recipes, and photos. If it can be scanned into a computer, we can print it on fabric,” she says.

“A lot of people have things in a closet, textiles, that they got from Mom and Grandmom, and they don't know what to do with them. Instead of knowing things are there and thinking, ‘What can I do with them?’ why not do something,” McClintock adds.

Repurposed items can become cherished gifts for occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, christenings and birthdays, she says.

Indeed, Wiegmann says, many of the heirloom items that sell quickly today are inexpensive items that people turn into other things.

He recalls an old farm implement, a rotary hoe that a buyer bought to turn the wheel into a wall hanging.

“A stuffed chair that you paid $300 for – it might go for $30,'' he says. But an old metal gasoline sign might fetch $300.

“You see crazy prices on oil cans and gasoline signs,” Wiegmann says. “Crazy stuff. They (buyers) want goofy stuff nowadays.”


Information from: The Journal Gazette,

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

AP-WF-06-12-14 2008GMT

 This Chickering mahogany baby grand piano, circa 1934, together with a mahogany music bench, sold for $500 at an auction in New Orleans last year. Image courtesy of archive and Crescent City Auction Gallery.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 June 2014 11:31

Ming Dynasty 'chicken cup' sells for record $36M in Hong Kong

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:34
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, The Meiyintang 'Chicken Cup,' an exceptionally important and fine Doucai 'chicken cup,' mark and period of Chenghua, 8.2 cm., 3¼ in. Est. HK$200 – 300 million / US$25.6 – 38.5 million. Sold for HK$281.24 million / US$36.05 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

HONG KONG (AP) — A Shanghai collector paid a record $36 million Tuesday for a rare Ming Dynasty cup that's touted as the "holy grail" of China's art world.

Several records have been set at Sotheby's spring sales in Hong Kong, continuing a trend of sky-high prices in the art world driven by the newly super-rich buyers in China and developing countries.

The dainty, white cup from the 15th century measures just 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) in diameter and is known as a "chicken cup" because it's decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks. Sotheby's describes the cup as having flawless translucent sides with its lively scene painted continuously around its sides.

It was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty's Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. Sotheby's said only 17 such cups exist, with four in private hands and the rest in museums.

"There's no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain," said Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's deputy chairman for Asia. "This is really the holy grail when it comes to Chinese art."

The previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010 when a gourd-shaped Qianlong vase sold for $32.4 million, Sotheby's said.

For such a prized item, bidding was limited to a handful of collectors and when the winning bid was hammered down at HK$250 million ($32.2 million), the standing-room-only crowd applauded. The auction house's commission brought the total to HK$281.2 million ($36.1 million). A pre-sale estimate was a maximum HK$300 million.

The auction house's Hong Kong spring sales show the region's super-rich are still spending despite fluctuating economic growth. At Sunday's sale of modern and contemporary Asian art, Asian collectors bought nine of the top 10 priciest lots.

"Definitely the mood in Hong Kong at this moment, in Asia, is buoyant," said Chow.

Sotheby's identified the buyer as collector Liu Yiqian, and Chow said the cup would likely go on display in Liu's Long Museum in Shanghai, which he and his wife, Wang Wei, opened in 2012.

Liu is a middle-school dropout who drove a cab before becoming a multimillionaire. Forbes estimates his fortune at $900 million, making him the 200th richest person in China.


Follow Kelvin Chan at

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


Sotheby’s Hong Kong, The Meiyintang 'Chicken Cup,' an exceptionally important and fine Doucai 'chicken cup,' mark and period of Chenghua, 8.2 cm., 3¼ in. Est. HK$200 – 300 million / US$25.6 – 38.5 million. Sold for HK$281.24 million / US$36.05 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's Sotheby’s Hong Kong, The Meiyintang 'Chicken Cup,' an exceptionally important and fine Doucai 'chicken cup,' mark and period of Chenghua, 8.2 cm., 3¼ in. Est. HK$200 – 300 million / US$25.6 – 38.5 million. Sold for HK$281.24 million / US$36.05 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's Sotheby’s Hong Kong, The Meiyintang 'Chicken Cup,' an exceptionally important and fine Doucai 'chicken cup,' mark and period of Chenghua, 8.2 cm., 3¼ in. Est. HK$200 – 300 million / US$25.6 – 38.5 million. Sold for HK$281.24 million / US$36.05 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:56

Imperial Faberge egg found at flea market to go on display in London

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Outside Media Source   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:45
The magnificent Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg, gold decorated with diamonds and sapphires. Photography: Prudence Cuming Associates. Copyrighted image appears by permission of Wartski. LONDON - One of the missing Imperial Fabergé Easter Eggs made for the Russian Royal family will be on public view at Court Jewellers Wartski in Mayfair in the run up to Easter. The magnificent Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg will be on view for four days only from the 14th April 2014 and is unlikely to be seen again in public for a long time.

The tragic story of the last Tsar and his family has been fascinating the world for almost a century and most people will immediately associate the iconic Fabergé eggs with the Russian Royal family. Only 50 of these lavish works of art were ever created, each of them a unique design and a certain mysteriousness is attached to all of them.

After the revolution the Eggs were seized by the Bolsheviks. Some they kept, but most were sold to the West. Two were bought by Queen Mary and are part of the British Royal Collection. The remainder belong to Museums, Oligarchs, Sheikhs and heiresses. Eight of them, however, are missing of which only three are believed to have survived the revolution. Now, one of them has been discovered under the most miraculous circumstances.

This Fabergé egg, which is beautifully crafted and contains a Vacheron Constantin watch inside, is sitting on an elaborate, jewelled gold stand and measures 8.2 cm in height in total. It was given by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter 1887.

Easter is the most important of all Russian Orthodox festivals and it's a long-established tradition to exchange Easter eggs. Carl Fabergé, goldsmith to the Tsars, created the lavish Imperial Easter eggs for both Alexander III and Nicholas II from 1885 to 1916. The Eggs are his most prized creations and have become bywords of luxury and craftsmanship.

This egg was last seen in public over 112 years ago, when it was shown in the Von Dervis Mansion exhibition of the Russian Imperial Family's Fabergé collection in St. Petersburg in March 1902. In the turmoil of the Russian revolution the Bolsheviks confiscated the Egg from the Empress. It was last recorded in Moscow in 1922 when the Soviets decided to sell it as part of their policy of turning ‘Treasures into Tractors’. Its fate after this point was unknown and it is was feared it could have been melted for its gold and lost forever.

It was only in 2011 that Fabergé researchers discovered that the Third Imperial Egg survived the revolution, when it was discovered in an old Parke-Bernet catalogue. Its provenance had been unknown and so it was sold at auction on Madison Avenue, New York on 7th March 1964 as a 'Gold watch in egg form case' for $2,450 (£875 at the time). This discovery started a worldwide race to discover the whereabouts of the egg, which was now worth tens of millions of dollars.

In the meantime the egg was bought at a Midwestern US flea market. The buyer lived a modest life and tried to make extra money by buying gold and selling it for its scrap metal value. When he spotted the egg, he thought he could make an easy $500, although they had to pay $14,000 for its scrap metal value. But what had worked on many occasions, did not work this time. He had overestimated its worth and couldn’t sell it. No one spotted its potential and, luckily, no one offered more than the owner had paid for it, hence it was saved from the melting pot. The egg has several scratches on it where the metal was tested for its gold content.

The egg became a financial burden to its unknowing owner. One evening in despair the owner tapped 'Egg' and 'Vacheron Constantin' into Google and a (London) Daily Telegraph article regarding the egg's survival appeared, quoting Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski, the London-based, Royal Warrant-holding experts on the work of Carl Fabergé.

Recognizing his egg in the article the owner was unable to sleep for days. He got on a plane to London to find Kieran and to show him images of the egg. Kieran was left speechless by the images and was almost certain the lost egg had been found, but to confirm its identity and ensure it was not a very clever fake, he traveled to the US. When he arrived in a small town in the Midwest, he was shown into the kitchen of the owner’s home and presented with the egg, which was slightly smaller than the large cupcake positioned next to it. After an examination he confirmed that it was indeed the lost Imperial treasure. It had traveled from the hands of an Empress in the grandeur of Imperial St. Petersburg to a scrap metal dealer in modern-day America.

Wartski acquired the egg for a private collector, making the finder an art historical lottery winner, receiving multiple millions of dollars per centimeter of egg. The collector has generously allowed the egg to be displayed in London where it will be on view for only four days in a specially designed exhibition at Wartski.

The last Fabergé clock sold in public, was a non-Imperial one known as the 'Rothschild Egg' which sold at Christie's in 2007 for $18.5 million.

Two other of the original eight missing Imperial Eggs are known to have survived the Russian Revolution. They are the 1889 Necessaire Egg (heavily chased gold, set with pearls and gemstones, without a stand, containing 13 miniature toilet articles) and last recorded at Wartski in June 1952. The 1888 Cherub Egg with Chariot (a gold egg resting in a chariot drawn by a Cherub) was last recorded with Armand Hammer in New York in 1934.

See the ultimate Easter Treasure from April 14-17, 2014 at Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance is free, but queues are expected.

Contact: or call 011 44 20 7493 1141.

Detailed description of the Third Imperial Easter Egg:

The reeded yellow gold egg opens by pressing the brilliant-cut diamond pushpiece, to reveal a Vacheron Constantin watch with diamond set gold hands that is hinged to allow it to stand upright, the egg is supported on an elaborate sabléd gold stand, stood on lion paw feet and encircled by finely chased coloured gold garlands suspended from three cabochon blue sapphires topped with rose diamond set bows. Made in the workshop of Fabergé’s Chief-Jeweller: August Holmström in St. Petersburg, 1886-1887. Height 8.2 cm.

About Wartski:

Founded in North Wales in 1865, Wartski is a family firm of antique dealers specialising in the work of Carl Fabergé, Russian Works of Art, Fine Jewellery and Silver. They are jewellers to the H. M The Queen and H. R. H The Prince of Wales. They supplied the Welsh gold wedding ring for H. R. H Prince William’s wedding to Miss Middleton.

The business thrived under the patronage of King Edward VII and has attracted a colourful clientele ever since. In 1911, Emanuel Snowman, Morris Wartski's son-in-law, opened another branch of the firm in London. He was among the first to negotiate with the government of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, purchasing treasures that had been confiscated after the revolution of 1917. For more than a decade he acquired many important works of art, including twelve of the Imperial Fabergé Easter Eggs and the gold chalice commissioned by Catherine the Great (now in the Hillwood Museum). A. Kenneth Snowman, Emanuel's son, built upon his father's work, adding an academic dimension to the business through his pioneering research and exhibitions. His first book, ‘The Art of Carl Fabergé, was published in 1953. Kenneth Snowman was immortalized by Ian Fleming, a Wartski customer, in the James Bond novella Property of a Lady which described him in Wartski’s premises.

Wartski is still a welcoming family firm. Its directors are still leading experts in their fields; they have been published widely and curated many exhibitions.

Fabergé Eggs:

Fabergé started creating Easter Eggs for Tsar Alexander III. It is both a scared and intimate object; a celebration of Easter, the most important of Russian Orthodox festivals, and simultaneously a token of the Tsar’s heartfelt love for his wife the Empress Marie. Later, as the Imperial Fabergé eggs had become icons, its creator produced a number of lesser eggs in homage to those made for the Tsars. They are known as non-Imperial eggs, of which the Apple Blossom Egg is an excellent example.

#   #   #

The magnificent Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg, gold decorated with diamonds and sapphires. Photography: Prudence Cuming Associates. Copyrighted image appears by permission of Wartski. An opened view of the magnificent Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg. Photography: Prudence Cuming Associates. Copyrighted image appears by permission of Wartski. The Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg alongside its opulent, jewel-encrusted stand. Photography: Prudence Cuming Associates. Copyrighted image appears by permission of Wartski. The Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg displayed among Marie Feodorovna's Fabergé treasures in the Von Dervis Mansion Exhibition, St. Petersburg, March 1902. Image courtesy of Wartski. View of the Vacheron Constantin watch secured inside the Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg egg. Photography: Prudence Cuming Associates. Copyrighted image appears by permission of Wartski.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 16:47

Auction of historic Notre Dame windows to benefit Indiana charity

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 09:04
The distinctive feature known as the Golden Globe tops the University of Notre Dame's Main Building (left). At forefront is the university's Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Photo by Michael Fernandes, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County plans to auction several pieces of University of Notre Dame history to help build a family home not far from campus.

Two large, multi-paned windows and a section of a third window that were part of Notre Dame's Main Building for more than a century will be sold at an online auction this spring, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Proceeds will go to Habitat's Women Build program, an annual project in which a new home is constructed for a local family primarily by women volunteers.

The windows were removed from the Main Building during renovation work in 1997, said Jane Pitz, coordinator of Women Build.

She said the university confirmed that the windows originally were among those on the east side of the tower that supports the building's famed Golden Dome. They are believed to be the original glass installed when the Main Building was constructed in 1879, shortly after a devastating fire destroyed an earlier building. The Golden Dome was added in 1882.

The windows were left behind several years ago by the former occupant of a building at 2411 S. Main St. in South Bend that now is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. That company apparently worked on the Main Building renovation and acquired the windows as salvage, Pitz said.

Now on display near the front counter of Habitat's ReStore at 5225 Grape Road in Mishawaka, two complete windows remain in their original wooden frames and are very large: 3 feet wide by 14 feet tall. They wouldn't fit in any ordinary modern home.

The third is a slice-of-pie-shaped fragment about 3 feet by 3 feet. It originally was part of a circular multi-paned window in the Main Building's tower.

No auction prices have yet been set, but planners hope the windows will bring in a substantial amount. "We need to raise $85,000 for the Women Build project," Pitz said.

Construction of this year's 14th annual Women Build house will begin in July and be finished by October. This year's Women Build house will be constructed on a vacant lot at the southwest corner of Twyckenham Drive and Corby Boulevard, just south of campus.

The house formerly on that site was badly damaged and the resident, Barbara Knapp, 57, was killed when the house was struck in April 2012 by a motorist who had been drinking, smoking marijuana and speeding, according to Tribune archives.

The house had to be demolished. The driver was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Habitat already has been offered bids as high as $5,000 for the windows. The Women Build group plans to take some time to spread the word — including to Notre Dame alumni clubs around the country — about the availability of the artifacts and sell them at an online auction, probably in May.

The agency would like to sell the two complete windows and one partial window as a group to a single buyer, but that might not be possible, Pitz said.

Habitat in 2011 auctioned off a smaller window from the Main Building. It sold for $1,200 and was purchased by someone who planned to place it above a bar in the Boston area, according to agency officials.

When auction plans are finalized, details will be posted on Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County's Facebook page:


Information from: South Bend Tribune,

#   #   #

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

The distinctive feature known as the Golden Globe tops the University of Notre Dame's Main Building (left). At forefront is the university's Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Photo by Michael Fernandes, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 10:52

Couple stumbles upon $10M in rare gold coins

PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press   
Friday, 28 February 2014 15:16
An 1852 US gold dollar coin designed by John B. Longacre. Image courtesy of Lost Dutchman Rare Coins.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Northern California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree.

Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, which recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to more than $28,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece.

"I don't like to say once-in-a-lifetime for anything, but you don't get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever," said veteran numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the finders. "It's like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

Kagin, whose family has been in the rare-coin business for 81 years, would say little about the couple other than that they are husband and wife, are middle-aged and have lived for several years on the rural property in California's Gold Country, where the coins were found. They have no idea who put them there, he said.

The pair are choosing to remain anonymous, Kagin said, in part to avoid a renewed gold rush to their property by modern-day prospectors armed with metal detectors.

They also don't want to be treated any differently, said David McCarthy, chief numismatist for Kagin Inc. of Tiburon.

"Their concern was this would change the way everyone else would look at them, and they're pretty happy with the lifestyle they have today," he said.

They plan to put most of the coins up for sale through Amazon while holding onto a few keepsakes. They'll use the money to pay off bills and quietly donate to local charities, Kagin said.

Before they sell them, they are loaning some to the American Numismatic Association for its National Money Show, which opens Thursday in Atlanta.

What makes their find particularly valuable, McCarthy said, is that almost all of the coins are in near-perfect condition. That means that whoever put them into the ground likely socked them away as soon as they were put into circulation.

Because paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s, he added, it's extremely rare to find any coins from before that of such high quality.

"It wasn't really until the 1880s that you start seeing coins struck in California that were kept in real high grades of preservation," he said.

The coins, in $5, $10 and $20 denominations, were stored more or less in chronological order in six cans, McCarthy said, with the 1840s and 1850s pieces going into one can until it was filed, then new coins going into the next one and the next one after that. The dates and the method indicated that whoever put them there was using the ground as their personal bank and that they weren't swooped up all at once in a robbery.

Although most of the coins were minted in San Francisco, one $5 gold piece came from as far away as Georgia.

Kagin and McCarthy would say little about the couple's property or its ownership history, other than it's located in Gold Country, a sprawling, picturesque and still lightly populated section of north-central California that stretches along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, set off the California Gold Rush of 1848.

The coins had been buried by a path the couple had walked for years. On the day they found them last spring, the woman had bent over to examine an old rusty can that erosion had caused to pop slightly out of the ground.

"Don't be above bending over to check on a rusty can," Kagin said she told him.

They were located on a section of the property the couple nicknamed Saddle Ridge, and Kagin is calling the find the Saddle Ridge Hoard. He believes it could be the largest such discovery in U.S. history.

One of the largest previous finds of gold coins was $1 million worth uncovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in 1985. More than 400,000 silver dollars were found in the home of a Reno, Nev., man who died in 1974 and were later sold intact for $7.3 million.

Gold coins and ingots said to be worth as much as $130 million were recovered in the 1980s from the wreck of the SS Central America. But historians knew roughly where that gold was because the ship went down off the coast of North Carolina during a hurricane in 1857.

#   #   #

An 1852 US gold dollar coin designed by John B. Longacre. Image courtesy of Lost Dutchman Rare Coins.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 15:29

Mark Moran heads March 3 antique appraisal fundraising event

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Outside news source   
Friday, 28 February 2014 13:10

Mark Moran

HINCKLEY, Ill. – Mark Moran, author of more than 25 books on antiques and collectibles, will offer 40 appraisals as a fundraiser at 6 p.m. Monday, March 3, at the Hinckley community building, 120 Maple St.

The Hinckley Historical Society in conjunction with the Hinckley Public Library will sponsor this fundraising antique appraisal.

Moran, who has been an appraiser for more than 20 years, evaluate and give information on items brought in by participants. Register for one of the slots at the Hinckley Public Library, 100 Maple St. The fee is $15 per item. Refreshments will be available for a small donation. Learn more about Moran at

Excluded items: No weapons, including swords and knives (though folding knives with advertising are accepted), coins and paper money, Beanie Babies, fine jewelry, including precious gems.

Contact Historical Society president, George Hubert at 815-286-9075 or the Hinckley Public Library at 815-286-3220 with questions.


Mark Moran

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 15:48

Conn. tourism agency creating statewide antiques trail

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 28 February 2014 10:41
Low's Encyclopedia 1799 map of Connecticut. Image by DigbyDalton. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – State tourism officials are urging antiques dealers and auction houses to participate in the new statewide Connecticut Antiques Trail website.

Qualified dealers and auction houses have until March 10 to submit information about their businesses in order to receive a free listing on the website. The site will be part of the state's official tourism website, .

Connecticut lawmakers last year passed legislation requiring the Department of Economic and Community Development, which oversees tourism, to develop a trail identifying where antiques are sold throughout Connecticut. Under the new law, the map must include major antiques dealers, communities with high concentrations of antiques dealers and auction houses with annual sales of more than $1 million.

To participate in the trail, antiques dealers and action houses should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 860-256-2739.

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

AP-WF-02-26-14 0809GMT

Low's Encyclopedia 1799 map of Connecticut. Image by DigbyDalton. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 10:46

'Monuments Men' who protected art honored at Nelson-Atkins

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Museum PR   
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 11:51
Nicolas de Largillière (French,1656-1746), portrait of Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, ca. 1714-1715. Oil on canvas. 57 1/2 x 45 1/2 inches (146 x 116 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; 54-35. KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As excitement builds for the release of the Sony film The Monuments Men, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art applauds six real-life Monuments Men who either worked in or closely with the museum. Monuments men and women, commissioned by Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, were tasked with the protection, recovery and preservation of millions of Europe’s masterpieces during the Nazi occupation.

“The men and women involved in this selfless effort to keep art objects safe during a dangerous time in history showed immense courage,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “We are deeply in their debt for preserving these treasures for humanity.”

A display of archival materials will be on view in Bloch Lobby that includes postcards, manuscripts, newspaper clippings and biographies of the Nelson-Atkins’ Monuments Men.

“My research has shown that these six men brought to their military duties the same passion for art and culture that made them so valuable to the Nelson-Atkins,” said MacKenzie Mallon, a researcher in the European Painting & Sculpture Department who has been working on this project for many months. “They took their responsibilities as protectors of these monuments very seriously.”

The museum employed four of the Monuments Men and maintained strong ties with two others. Paul Gardner, the first director of the Nelson-Atkins, served as Director of the Fine Arts Section of the Allied Military Government in Italy. Another former director, Laurence Sickman, was assigned to General Douglas MacArthur’s Tokyo headquarters after the Japanese surrender and served as a technical advisor on collections and monuments, making trips to China and Korea to assess the level of damage to monuments in those countries. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his war services.

The first curator of European Art at the museum, Patrick J. Kelleher, served as the head of the Greater Hesse Division of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section. Otto Wittmann, Jr., the first curator of Prints for the museum, was part of the OSS Art Looting and Investigation Unit (ALIU). Langdon Warner served as the Asian art advisor to the Trustees of the Nelson-Atkins in 1930, and was a close colleague of Sickman. He helped found the American Defense – Harvard Group, a precursor of the Roberts Commission, Roosevelt’s task force. James A. Reeds served with the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section in France in 1944. He taught linguistics at University of Missouri at Kansas City and served as a docent for the Nelson-Atkins.

One of the finest examples of 18th century portraiture at the Nelson-Atkins, Nicolas de Largillière’s Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, was found by the Monuments Men in a bomb-rigged salt mine in Alt Aussee, Austria, and returned to Clarice de Rothschild, whose family owned the painting. It was purchased by the Nelson-Atkins in 1954 after Rothschild sold it to an art dealer in New York.

During World War II, the Nelson-Atkins also served as a safe house for more than 150 paintings and tapestries from collections on the East and West coasts.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt from Missouri recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would award Congressional Gold Medals to all 350 of the men and women referred to as Monuments Men.

“The Nelson-Atkins has a rich history which is only enhanced by the individuals who have worked there,” said Senator Blunt. “These Monuments Men protected historical artifacts from destruction and saved these treasures for future generations. I am proud to introduce legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the men and women who fought to preserve this priceless history.”

The Monuments Men, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, will be released nationally on February 7. For more information on the film, visit The film is based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, who continued his investigation into the soldiers who rescued cultural treasures in Saving Italy. The latter book discusses the heroism of former Nelson-Atkins director Paul Gardner. Edsel has created the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, which honors the legacy of the Monuments Men. For more information, visit

#   #   #

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 15:17

Ind. church believes stained glass windows worth saving

PDF Print E-mail
Written by DARRELL SMITH, Connersville News-Examiner   
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 09:46
Detail of stained glass window created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in Boston's Arlington Street Church  depicting John the Baptist. Photo by John Stephen Dwyer. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – Evidence of some flaking coming from a more than a century-old stained-glass window at Central Christian Church has resulted in a major project to protect the brilliance and beauty for another century.

Bovard Studio from Iowa has been at the church for nearly two weeks, installing aluminum framing for a protective covering on the big window to the south and fixing some of the smaller stained-glass windows as well, the Connersville News-Examiner reported.

Jim Powell, president of the church board, said there is no mention of the stained-glass windows in the church history materials, and no one knows the cost or why the designs were chosen. No plaques were placed on the window frames.

“We were discussing replacing windows in the secretary's and minister's offices and were ready to sign a contract last spring when Howard Price, chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, happened to look up at the big south window and he saw white flakes at the bottom,” Powell recalled. “It turns out that was glazing so at that point we decided to back off the office windows.''

The windows had some renovation 19 years ago, he said.

The board then interviewed three companies and Bovard was chosen for the project. Bovard received a contract in September and they had hoped to do it in the fall but could not make it.

The congregation was very generous with donations to a fundraiser to repair the windows, he added. They are behind the project, which has made it go smoothly.

Project supervisor Chris Dieter said the project had been scheduled to start Jan. 6, which was the day of snow and sub-zero temperatures, so the team did not come until Jan. 8. The three-man crew was to leave over the weekend and have a week at home before returning to complete the job, which is the cycle of work – two weeks on the road and one week at home.

Bovard Studio in Fairfield, Iowa, is one of a handful of companies in the country that can do a project the size of the Central Church windows, he said. The company not only can repair frames and install protective coverings on site, it can dismantle and reassemble stained-glass windows or build new stained-glass windows.

Dieter believed the stained-glass for the church was likely made at a facility in Kokomo, Ind.,which makes stained-glass for other companies to assemble. Artists then paint the designs on the glass for more intricate works.

In Connersville, the project includes new protective coverings, similar to storm windows, on the big south window, along with three smaller windows under that large window in addition to the small windows under the other two large stained-glass windows.

“There was some bulging on the big one so I'm going to check the others for bulging,” Dieter said. “I found wood rot in the one we're on. It was not original wood so someone has done repairs to it. That has been replaced.”

The protective covering that had covered the large window had been inset, but the new protective covering will be outset beyond the wood frame so no water will touch the frame, he explained.

Most churches have their stained-glass and then another layer on the exterior, he said. The Central Christian job uses a quarter-inch plate glass as the covering, but other churches can choose laminated glass or Lexan plastic that provides more strength but is prone to fade over time.

When protective coverings are placed over the stained-glass windows, they have found that without ventilation, it sets up an environment for moisture to build up. That allows bacteria to grow, that breaks down the lead in the stained-glass windows, faster than without any protective covering at all, he said.

The frame for the protective covering is a patented aluminum that allows for ventilation to remove the moisture, he said. Many churches are also replacing the wood frames at the same time as replacing the protective covering for little extra cost.

A normal stained-glass window has a life of about 100 years at which point, the lead may need to be replaced.

The company has done a lot of work in Indiana but has also worked all over the country.

“When I drove through Liberty (Ind.) last Sunday it looked familiar but I can't remember working there,” Dieter said. “We have done jobs in Muncie and Fort Wayne, and were doing a job there until it got too cold.”

An examination of the west and north stained-glass windows will determine if work is needed to secure them for the future, Powell said.

The window on the north, depicting Jesus and the woman at the well as described in John 4, is an unusual design.

Dieter said there are several churches with Christ knocking on the door, Christ in the temple, holding a lamb or at the nativity, but not with the woman.

“That woman at the well is not a typical design,” he said. “You see other parts of his life but why that? One woman suggested that it might be this church believed woman could be pastors.”

“We take it for granted,” Powell said. “I was baptized here at maybe 8 or 9 years old and I've taken it for granted but come to find out from someone that works with churches every day, it's quite unique.”


Information from: Connersville News-Examiner,

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

AP-WF-01-19-14 1944GMT

Detail of stained glass window created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in Boston's Arlington Street Church  depicting John the Baptist. Photo by John Stephen Dwyer. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 09:53

Kovels recaps intriguing antiques stories of 2013

PDF Print E-mail
Written by PRWeb news release   
Friday, 10 January 2014 15:48

1740 Qing Dynasty reticulated vase. Image courtesy of Bainbridges Auctioneers.

CLEVELAND (PRWEB) – Kovels Komments, the weekly eNews about antiques and collectibles from, lists the top eight stories of 2013 with some follow-up:

1. January 23, 2013: Record-Setting Chinese Vase Is Resold for Half the Original Price

An 18th century Chinese vase sold at auction more than two years ago to a buyer from China for $89 million. The buyer refused to pay. Negotiations resolved the problem. Another buyer, also from China, bought the vase in a private sale for more than $31 million. Both the seller and the auction house have been paid. (See Kovels’ Komments Nov. 17, 2010, March. 16, 2011, and Jan. 23, 2013)

2. October 2, 2013: Stuffed Squirrels Fight for High Prices

Stuffed squirrels don’t sound like expensive collectibles, but four shadowboxes, each holding a pair of 19th-century boxing squirrels, sold for $17,700 to $22,420 at a Rachel Davis Fine Arts auction in Cleveland, September 2013. We counted about 50 bids for each pair. The red squirrels were mounted by William Hart & Sons in about 1850. Hart was one of the most famous taxidermists in England and did several sets of squirrel “Pugilists.” His son, Edward, was also famous as a taxidermist and made more of the anthropomorphic squirrel sets. The circa 1850 squirrels that sold at auction wore boxing gloves, which weren’t required in real boxing rings until the Marquess of Queensberry rules went into effect in 1867.

3. March 27, 2013: $3 Yard Sale Bowl Sells for $2.22 Million

A $2.22 million bowl sold at Sotheby's in London on March 19, 2013. A New York couple bought the bowl in 2007 for $3. It's 5 inches in diameter and was made in China during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Only one other like it is known and that one is in the British Museum. The expensive bowl is white and has a molded leaf decoration outside and an etched flower design inside. The sellers displayed the bowl at home until recently, when they noticed the high prices paid for Chinese ceramics. So they had the bowl appraised and Sotheby's listed it for sale at $200,000 to $300,000. When the owners heard the bowl sold for millions, they emailed back, “WOW!” The buyer, one of four bidders, is said to be the world's foremost dealer in Oriental art. He says he plans to sell it.

4. November 6, 2013: Box in the Attic Holds $5.98 Million Faberge Figure

A Faberge hardstone figure was found last summer during a search of the attic in a Rhinebeck, N.Y., house included in an estate. A small, plain box was opened and inside was a rare carved figure resting on silk lining with the Faberge emblem. A December 1934 bill of sale from Hammer Galleries was also found. Armand Hammer bought Russian treasures with the help of the Soviet government, which needed cash in the 1930s. The 7-inch-high figure, the bodyguard to Empress Alexandra, is made of jasper, sapphires, nephrite, sardonyx, purpurine, gold, enamel and cachalong (a type of opal). Estimated at $500,000 to $800,000, it sold for a record $5,980,000. The buyer was a Russian jeweler. The auction was Oct. 26, 2013, at Stair Galleries in Hudson, N.Y.

5. June 5, 2013: Banksy Mural Sells for $1.1 Million

The Banksy mural titled Slave Labour (Kovels Komments, May 22, 2013) sold at a private auction in London on June 2, 2013, after a long controversy. A sale scheduled for last February in Miami was stopped, and those living near the mural’s original site want to stop the London sale, too. They want the mural returned to the north London neighborhood where Banksy first displayed it. The selling price was reported to be $1.1 million. (See Kovels Komments May 22, Jun. 5 and Oct. 16, 2013)

6. April 10, 2013: Honus Wagner T206 Baseball Card Sets Auction Record

A Honus Wagner card graded “excellent” sold at Goldin Auctions in New Jersey for $2,105,770.50, the highest price ever paid for a baseball card sold at auction. Fewer than 200 Wagner cards were issued before Wagner asked that production be stopped, perhaps because he did not want to be part of a cigarette promotion. Less than 50 of the 1909–1911 T206 Wagner cards are known, and this may be the one in the best condition.

7. January 9, 2013: Do Your Own Safety Checks

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force discovered that the A-1E Skyraider plane, on exhibit since 1968, still contained 200 gallons of fuel, a major fire hazard. The museum, in Dayton, Ohio, requires all exhibited aircraft to be defueled, but someone made an error 45 years ago. Part of the museum was closed while every aircraft exhibit was inspected. Collectors must be careful. If you find bullets, hand grenades, dynamite, or other war souvenirs stored in a hot attic – or anywhere – call your local fire department, police department or bomb squad. Explosives deteriorate and can explode if moved carelessly.

8. January 16, 2013: Another Explosion Avoided

On Jan. 11, 2013, workers in New York’s Central Park found that a Revolutionary War cannon owned by the park was still loaded with gunpowder and a cannonball. The New York bomb squad was called. Squad members tilted the barrel of the cannon, and the cannonball rolled out. They removed over a pound of gunpowder. It could have exploded. Again – be careful with any antiques that could hold gunpowder or other explosives. They can explode if moved carelessly.

For more top stories, go to

Terry Kovel is a leading authority on antiques and collectibles. She is a well-known columnist and the author of more than 100 books on antiques and collecting. With her daughter, Kim Kovel, she co-authors the best-selling annual Kovels Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide.



1740 Qing Dynasty reticulated vase. Image courtesy of Bainbridges Auctioneers. 

Four pairs of stuffed squirrels, posed in a boxing ring, were sold as single lots for prices ranging from $17,700 to $22,420. Image courtesy of Rachel Davis Fine Arts. 

Last Updated on Friday, 10 January 2014 16:18

Model 1850 sword likely belonged to Confederate soldier

PDF Print E-mail
Written by ROBERT PALMER, TimesDaily   
Monday, 06 January 2014 11:41
A fine example of a model 1850 U.S. foot officer's sword. Image courtesy of Archive and Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers.

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) – More light has been shed on the owner of an old Civil War sword stored in a vault in a government building and on the sword itself.

The sword was discovered in the early 1970s when one of Florence's oldest brick houses was being restored for use as an office. The sword was hidden between the floorboards of the house on Pine Street, wrapped in a cloth. It was later placed in the vault in the License Commissioner's office in the Florence-Lauderdale Government Building. There it sat in obscurity until a few people took renewed interest in it.

“It is a French-made, cheaper version of the model 1850 U.S. foot officer's sword,” said Wayne Higgins, curator of Pope's Tavern museum and a retired history teacher. “The French exported a lot of these to both the North and the South just before the war.”

The sword likely belonged to William F. Karsner. His parents built the Federal cottage in 1828, which was where the sword was found.

Because the sword can be identified with the person who carried it during the war, Higgins said the blade's value is much higher.

Research done by Lee Freeman, of the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library's Local History and Genealogy Department, has revealed a wealth of information about Karsner.

Karsner was born in 1831 in Florence, and served as sheriff of Lauderdale County for at least two years, from 1856-58. Freeman learned Karsner moved to Louisville, Ky., where he and two of his younger brothers worked as sales clerks.

When the Civil War began, and Alabama seceded from the Union early in 1861, Karsner returned.

“By April 28, 1861, Karsner was back in Florence, and he enlisted on that date in Irish native and Florence attorney Capt. Robert McFarland's Company H, 4th Alabama Infantry,” Freeman said. “His name appears in the Florence Gazette roster published on Wednesday, May 1, 1861.”

Karsner was elected third lieutenant of the company.

The unit, then known as the Lauderdale Volunteers, left Florence on April 28, 1861, for Dalton, Ga., Freeman said. On May 7, the unit went to Lynchburg, Va., where they were designated Company H of the 4th Alabama. The 4th Alabama took part in the first major battle of the war, First Manassas, in July.

“The 4th became the first regiment from Alabama to participate in a major battle in this war,” Freeman said.

In fact, the 4th Alabama became one of the most storied regiments of the war, taking part in the Army of Northern Virginia's battles at Second Manassas, Seven Pines, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, The Wilderness and Cold Harbor. Freeman said his research shows Karsner was present for these battles.

He was promoted to captain in July 1862, just two months before being wounded at Sharpsburg. He was later admitted to a hospital in Richmond, Va., in 1864, Freeman said, though the cause is not clear.

Karsner surrendered with the survivors of the 4th Alabama when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865.

After the war, Karsner married in Tuscaloosa and settled there for the remainder of his life. He was a farmer and later an auctioneer. He died in 1889.

Higgins believes the sword was hidden under the floorboards to prevent it from being taken by occupying Union troops after the war. He said Confederate weapons and paraphernalia were prized by Union troops, and more importantly, anyone associated with the Confederate army was forbidden to have weapons, he said.

Higgins said one of Karsner's younger brothers served as a home guard during the war, though he was only a teenager.

Freeman's research revealed that two other brothers served in the Confederate army. George W. Karsner was a member of Roddey's 4th Alabama Cavalry, and was captured at Selma in 1865. John S. Karsner was a sergeant in the 16th Alabama Infantry, he said.

Higgins said he would like to have the sword on display at Pope's Tavern, where the 4th Alabama's flag is displayed.


Information from: TimesDaily,

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

AP-WF-12-30-13 1938GMT

A fine example of a model 1850 U.S. foot officer's sword. Image courtesy of Archive and Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers.
Last Updated on Monday, 06 January 2014 12:02

Ralph M. Chait Galleries moving to 730 Fifth Ave.

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Antique gallery PR   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 10:46
Gallery owner Allan S. Chait. Image courtesy of  Ralph M. Chait Galleries. NEW YORK – Ralph M. Chait Galleries, the world-renowned specialists in fine antique Chinese porcelain and works of art and export silver, are moving to a new location in the Crown Building, 730 Fifth Ave. Making the announcement was Allan S. Chait, who with his two sons, Andrew and Steven, operates the 104-year old gallery. Their gallery will open on Jan. 6.

"Since the building is next door to us, this is a relatively easy move," said Allan S. Chait.

"We look forward to showcasing the best Chinese porcelain and works of art in our new gallery," added Chait, whose three-generation family business, founded by his father Ralph, is the oldest Chinese art specialist in the United States.

The Stylander Design Group has been commissioned to design the new 4,000-square-foot space, which will consist of several connecting galleries and a library, housing an extensive collection of over 5,000 volumes. The new space features high open ceilings, which will imbue the galleries with a contemporary and airy feel.

The Ralph. M. Chait Galleries has an illustrious history. It was founded by Ralph M. Chait, who arrived in New York from London on July 4, 1909.

Originally working with family members in the antiques trade, Chait familiarized himself with various aspects and fields of collecting, but he gravitated toward Chinese art. "From that point on," said Chait, "my father immersed himself in the study of Chinese art in all its forms." Ralph Chait opened his first gallery at 19 E. 56th St., where he remained until the late 1920s. His next move was to 600 Madison Ave.

It was during this time that Allan Chait with his older sister, Marion, started helping their father in the gallery. "I learned at his knee," he says. "My father showed me how to handle the delicate pieces and how to pack them in a very slow and meticulous manner. In later years, he took me on buying trips that included one where we traveled to the English countryside, where we acquired a very special collection. After viewing many different objects, my father cast his eye on a spectacular Kangxi vase, of which there were only eight known at the time. He arranged to have everything shipped back to the States, except for the vase, which he carefully carried with him on the train back to London."

"I remember him locking the vase in the hotel closet, and when it came time for dinner he refused to go out because he didn't want to leave the vase. He ordered room service – with settings for three. Puzzled, I asked him: ‘Why three?’and he replied nonchalantly, ‘You, me and our guest of honor.’"

Over the years, the gallery has had various Midtown addresses but no matter which one it was, Chait Galleries always welcomed a parade of notables with a keen interest in Chinese art passing through their gallery doors including President Herbert Hoover, Nelson Rockefeller, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sir Percival David, Martha Graham, Adlai Stevenson and Sen. Hugh Scott. Their clientele also includes a steady stream of prominent interior designers such as Peter Marino, Mario Buatta, Michael Simon and Mark Hampton Inc, all of whom know they can find rare and beautiful objects for the homes of their tony clientele.

Thanks to the reputation of impeccable expertise and scholarship, the Ralph M. Chait Galleries has been a go-to source for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Chicago Institute of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Nelson Atkins Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum.

The gallery is a member of the Asia Week New York Association and is a founding member of the National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America and regularly appears at the Winter Antiques Show, as well as the Philadelphia Antiques Show and the Nantucket Historical Society Antique and Design Show.

For more information visit or phone 212-397-2818.

Gallery owner Allan S. Chait. Image courtesy of  Ralph M. Chait Galleries.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 11:16

Quinn & Farmer auctions Thomas Jefferson survey map for $35,400

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 09:04

Survey or plat of 'Indian Camp' in Albermarle County, Virginia, in the hand of Thomas Jefferson. Sold for $35,400 (inclusive of 18% buyer's premium) on Dec. 14, 2013 at Quinn & Farmer in Charlottesville, Virginia. Image courtesy of Quinn & Farmer.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A survey map believed to be created by Thomas Jefferson of land in Albemarle County has sold at auction for $35,400. The price includes an 18% buyer's premium.

The map of the land now known as Morven was sold at auction Saturday by Quinn & Farmer Auctions in Charlottesville.

Quinn & Farmer told The Daily Progress that the map was purchased by a private collector who did not want to be identified.

It is believed that Jefferson drew the map, known as a plat, for more than 1,300 acres known as Indian Camp. He bought the property in 1795 for his friend, William Short, while Short was overseas.

View the map online at


Information from: The Daily Progress,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Survey or plat of 'Indian Camp' in Albermarle County, Virginia, in the hand of Thomas Jefferson. Sold for $35,400 (inclusive of 18% buyer's premium) on Dec. 14, 2013 at Quinn & Farmer in Charlottesville, Virginia. Image courtesy of Quinn & Farmer.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:19
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 19

Banner Banner