Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bright & Beautiful Summer Jewelry

Summer brings bright sun, fresh flowers, beach time and comfy clothes ... and jewelry should reflect that. We pulled together a selection of summer jewelry. Flowers, colorful beads, bakelite bangles and such. Here's a sampling.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vintage & Antique Mechanical Pencils

The graphite pencil was probably born in England in the 16th century. While the earliest known mechanical type pencil was found aboard the wreckage of the HMS Pandora which sank in 1791, it was not until 1822 that the propelling or mechanical pencil was patented by a pair of English inventors, Sampson Mordan and Gabriel Riddle. Pencils made by these inventors are highly collectible.
A combination pen & pencil by Sampson Mordan and Gabriel Riddle
In the early 1900s two other inventors created versions of the mechanical pencil that would pave the way for acceptance worldwide of this writing instrument. In 1915 by Tokuji Hayakawa, a metal worker who had just finished his apprenticeship, introduced the Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil. At nearly the same time, in America, Charles Keeran developed a similar pencil that would be the precursor of most of today's pencils. Keeran's design was ratchet-based, whereas Hayakawa's was screw-based. Both types of mechanisms are common today.

Recently we acquired a number of wonderful late-Victorian and early 20th century mechanical pencils in both sterling silver and gold-filled cases.
Gold-filled Victorian era mechanical pencils ($49 - $89 each)
Sterling silver Victorian era mechanical pencils ($69 each)
These pens with rings on top were hung from chains and chatelaines, which were an integral accessory for the well-dressed Victorian.
Gold-filled mechanical pencil ($79) and chatelaine chain & fob ($95).
Sterling silver mechanical pencil ($69) and Shriners' watch chain ($79)
One marvelous pencil is the one shown below. It is housed in a black enameled case studded with turquoise glass beads and holding an old photo of (what appears to be) a Prussian military officer.
By the early 1900s marketers found the mechanical pencils to be an irresistible source of advertising potential. Advertisers put their logos and slogans on mechanical pencils, especially during the thirties and forties. We have a few of these in our inventory.
Advertising mechanical pencils ($18 - $28 each)
Modern mechanical pencils: Wahl-Eversharp 1930s ($69) & Ketcham McDougall ($39)

The Circus by Jean Brown

Barnum & Bailey ad 1900
The circus was a magical place when I was a boy. So much going on. All of it fascinating, energetic, strange and even weird. At that time "The Circus" meant the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ... there was no other. P.T. Barnum's Great Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Hippodrome was started in 1875. Later it combined with the Cooper and Bailey Circus and renamed the Barnum & Bailey Circus - The Greatest Show on Earth. The Ringling Brothers merged it together with their circus about 1907.

Barnum & Bailey Circus ad from London Illustrated 1896.

We found this little book The Circus by author/illustrator Jean Brown. It was done in 1938, before television's impact. It captures both the innocence and amazement of Bobby and Betty as they experience all the wonders of worlds that they have never seen before. I have copied the color illustrations from this wonderful little book. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Bust, Books and a Finial

Here's an interesting display of a few antiques.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Century of Silver and Metalwork: The Margo Grant Walsh Collection

A Century of Silver and Metalwork from the Margo Grant Walsh Collection is on display at the SFO Museum until October 2nd. This exhibit presents a broad range of well-designed, functional objects that reveal their essence through their form and their beauty. On display are a variety of objects designed in the last century or so and executed in silver, brass, pewter, bronze and copper. The theme is distinctly modern including the great designers from Christopher Dresser (late-1800s) to the Kalo Shop (early-1900s) to Hiroshi Suzuki (contemporary).
Bowl  c. 1890
Christopher Dresser (1834–1904)
Birmingham, England
Copper, Silver Plate

Footed bowl  1910
The Kalo Shop (1900–70)
Park Ridge, Illinois
Sterling Silver

Lantern  c. 1920
Dirk van Erp (b. Netherlands, 1860–1933)
San Francisco, California
Patinated Copper

Decanter  c. 1901
Josef Maria Olbrich (b. Austria, 1867–1908)
Darmstadt, Germany

The Margo Grant Walsh Collection features extraordinary examples of design and craftsmanship from throughout the world. Seen together, the work demonstrates that great design has no borders and is not restricted to any particularly hallowed generation. The objects on exhibition range from bronze candlesticks to pewter bowls, from a copper and brass teapot to parcel-gilt sterling silver beakers. All are functional, all are examples of exceptional design and all are true to the motto of Clara Welles’ Kalo Shop founded at the beginning of the twentieth century—Beautiful, Useful and Enduring. 
Cream pitcher  1903
Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956) for Wiener Werkst├Ątte
Vienna, Austria
Parcel-gilt Silver, Ivory

Tea service  c. 1948
Svend Weihrauch (1899–1962) for Frantz Hingelberg Silversmithy
Aarhus, Denmark
Sterling Silver, Ivory, Ebony Base

A Century of Silver and Metalwork from the Margo Grant Walsh Collection is located beyond security screening in the new Terminal 2, Departures Level, of the San Francisco International Airport.  The  exhibition  is on view to Terminal 2 ticketed passengers only, through October 2, 2011. Since you need a ticket to travel on an airline in Terminal 2 to see this exhibit, follow these links to see more examples from SFO and an earlier exhibit in Houston.

All photos courtesy of SFO Museum.

Vintages loves fine silver objects. Here's a link to an earlier post about silver in our shop.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Montalvo Arts Center: Sculpture on the Grounds

The Montalvo Arts Center (aka Villa Montalvo) in Saratoga can be a magical place. The estate has 175 acres of land that includes formal gardens, wooded hills, creeks and trails that lead up the Santa Cruz Mountains to gorgeous views. Montalvo's great outdoor spaces are inspirational -- to visitors and artists alike. Throughout the year, artists are invited to explore the realm of outdoor public sculpture with site-specific works of art on the property, or to exhibit their existing sculptural works on the grounds. Beginning in late 2010, Montalvo began acquiring works to be permanent sculptures placed on the grounds for visitors to view year round. Broken Wing (2004), by David Middlebrook, located in the Phelan Cactus Garden, is the first such piece.
Broken Wing: A bronze by David Middlebrook (Photo by Donna Guldimann)
Montalvo is throwing a party to introduce the new 2011 installations of Sculpture on the Grounds: Traces, Twigs & Time. The free event will be held at Montalvo on Friday, July 29th, 6pm - 9:30pm. The program will include lively music, the opportunity to meet the artists, libations and food, and some surprises!
Control Tower: Environmental artwork by Cameron Hockenson (Photo courtesy of Montalvo)
O California Best Beloved Land: Impermanent sculpture constructed of recycled cardboard by Ann Weber (Photo courtesy of Montalvo)
Nest: A paper sculpture by Steven Siegel (Photo by Nathan Zanon)
The Sculpture on the Grounds are open to the public for viewing during Montalvo's normal park hours, Monday - Thursday, 8am - 5pm, and Friday - Sunday, 9am - 5pm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Antiques & Collectibles Class this Fall in Los Gatos

We will be leading a class on Antiques & Collectibles at the Los Gatos Adult Recreation Center this Fall. It will be held on Tuesday nights, from 6:30 to 8:30, starting September 27th and continuing through November 1st ... More to come on our blogs and newsletter when the official catalog is published ... Set aside the dates and plan to join us.

Course Description:
Restore your appreciation for antiques through this fun and educational 6-week workshop! Class attendees will be provided with a basic vocabulary and timeline for understanding antiques and collectibles. Each class will feature a bit of history, a collection theme and a show & tell by attendees. The focus is on enjoying antiques and collectibles. Class themes will include jewelry, china, silver, collectibles and more. Participants will be provided a detailed outline at the first class describing what types of collections we will focusing on and the types of items to bring in for show and tell segments.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Sad Love Story: Gee But I Love You

I just love this little booklet. The sad love story seemed to be a somewhat popular genre back in the early 1900s. This one dates from around 1912, published by A. M. Davis Co. of Boston. They produced a line of greeting cards and postcards tagged Quality Cards up through the 1940s. Their cards had a distinctive, Arts & Crafts look to them. Here's some others I found on the internet.
This last card features a character who looks much like the "happy and carefree youth" in the love story. These all date from 1911 to 1919. The A. M. Davis Co. did a lot of advertising in the popular magazines back then. This one is from the Dec 1914 Sunset magazine.

I have a couple of real life, handwritten sad love stories that I will share with you in future posts. Hope you enjoy them.
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