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Antiques in the News

Death-fixated Vienna embraces funeral museum

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Written by THOMAS BACH   
Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:35
Franz Schubert's grave in Vienna's Zentralfriedhof, German for 'Central Cemetery.' This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. VIENNA (AFP) – Just in time for Halloween on Friday and a weekend devoted to the dead, Vienna's unashamedly morbid Funeral Museum is now closer to the action: the Austrian capital's huge Central Cemetery.

In a city with a singular attitude to kicking the bucket – "Death himself must be a Viennese," one local song says – the "Bestattungsmuseum" was the world's first of its kind when it first opened in 1967.

This month it reopened, updated for the digital age, in new premises at the Zentralfriedhof, the second-largest cemetery in Europe by surface area. But with some 3 million "inhabitants," the graveyard is the biggest by number of interred.

The stepped entrance to the subterranean museum takes people literally down into the underworld of undertakers from centuries past, "into the realm of the dead," museum director Helga Bock told AFP.

Some 250 items are on display, many quite opulent, showing how for the Viennese having a good send-off – or as they say a "schoene Leich" or "beautiful corpse" – is important, no matter what the cost.

"For nobles, and especially the Imperial Court, funerals were opportunities to demonstrate power. And people adopted these customs, which is why Vienna developed such a specific mourning culture," Bock said.

The many eerie items include death masks, death notices and various coffins.

But among the more bizarre is a bell that was placed above ground, attached to the corpse by a string, to ring if you were buried alive by mistake – and a special "Herzstichmesser" knife to pierce the heart to make doubly sure you weren't.

Another curiosity is a reusable wooden coffin with a hinged door underneath instigated in 1784 by Emperor Joseph II to save money, but withdrawn a year later.

 

Totally inappropriate

 

But unlike at the old museum, visitors can no longer lie in a coffin – some even wanted the lid on – as they used to be able to do once a year during Vienna's annual Museum Night.

"The management decided ... it was totally inappropriate," Bock said.

The still-operating Central Cemetery itself is a huge draw for visitors, and not just for All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day – Nov. 1 and 2 – when thousands of Viennese lay flowers at their relatives' graves.

Many locals and tourists take the tram there at weekends – "Taking the 71" is a euphemism for dying – to see the tombs of the likes of Beethoven, Brahms and even Austrian pop star Falco, he of Rock Me Amadeus fame.

The number buried here is double the current population of Vienna and at 2.5 square kilometres (620 acres) is "half the size of Zurich but twice the fun," the local saying goes.

Austria is largely Catholic, but the cemetery has sections for Protestants, two for Jews – one partially destroyed by the Nazis – one for Muslims, and another for Buddhists.

There is a special area too for those who bequeath their bodies to science, one for the victims of the Nazis, a section for stillborn babies and another where urns can be buried among tree roots.

 

Imperial entrails

 

All in all in Vienna, death is never far away.

Other cemeteries include one for pets, a number of Jewish graveyards, one dating back to the 16th century, and a "cemetery for the nameless" for suicides and cadavers washed up by the Danube river.

The Imperial Crypt in Vienna's Capuchin Church, meanwhile, was from 1633 the last resting place of Austria's Habsburg dynasty, containing the bones of 145 royals.

But not all of them. Habsburg tradition dictated that the hearts went into urns in one church, the intestines into copper containers in Vienna's main cathedral, St. Stephen's, and only what was left to the Capuchin Church.

Visitors can also take guided tours through the catacombs at St. Stephen's and see, together with the Habsburgs' guts, the bones of some 1,000 Viennese chucked in during a 1735 plague outbreak.

"The Austrians are known for their worship for the dead," impressed Swiss tourist Benjamin told AFP at the Funeral Museum. "The dead are almost as famous as the living."



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Franz Schubert's grave in Vienna's Zentralfriedhof, German for 'Central Cemetery.' This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. An infamous reusable coffin instigated in 1784 by Emperor Josef II in an effort to conserve wood. The coffins were equipped with a trap door underneath to drop the bodies in the graves. Image by Ekehnel. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic license.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:59
 

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.

___

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
 

Childhood memory led lawyer to collecting Aladdin lamps

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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 LiveAuctioneers.com 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., http://www.newsandtribune.com

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

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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.

____

Online:

http://www.pbs.org

____

Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber(at)ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.

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

AP-WF-08-11-14 1856GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
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

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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 www.sothebys.com .

# # #

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:14
 

Modern families choosing cash over 'stuff' and sentiment

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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 LiveAuctioneers.com 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, http://www.journalgazette.net

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

AP-WF-06-12-14 2008GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
 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 LiveAuctioneers.com 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

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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 twitter.com/chanman

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

 



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
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

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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: www.wartski.com 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.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
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

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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: facebook.com/Habitat.ReStore.SouthBend.Mishawaka.

___

Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

#   #   #

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



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
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

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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.

#   #   #



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
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

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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 www.mark-moran.blogspot.com

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.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Mark Moran

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 15:48
 

Conn. tourism agency creating statewide antiques trail

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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, www.CTvisit.com .

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



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
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
 
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