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Antiques and Collectibles

Salt servers once sign of wealth
September 5, 2010
Eating too much salt is a health problem today, but in past centuries salt was considered an important ingredient to be treated with reverence. It was traditional to put a large container of salt near the head of the table, where the most important person sat. To be seated “above the salt” was a sign of a person’s rank.
Kovel’s Antiques: Kitchen pantry items created in 19th century
August 29, 2010
The foods we favor have changed as technology has changed. A method of preserving food in glass containers was developed in the late 17th century. Canned food became available by 1813. Fresh salads were not a winter food until the early 1900s, when refrigerated train cars could carry lettuce from California to the East Coast. Peas, beans, corn and more were brought to snowy states during winter months after Clarence Birdseye developed frozen food in 1923.
Kovel’s Antiques: Modern tea sets come in unusual shapes
August 22, 2010
Designers working after 1920 created very different looks for many common household objects.
Kovel’s Antiques: Pedestals showcase for Victorian decor
August 15, 2010
Statues and plants were important decorations in the large Victorian home.
Kovel’s Antiques: Presidential images fetch premium prices
August 8, 2010
Presidents do not endorse products, although they do endorse candidates.
Telling time never goes out of style
August 1, 2010
First came the church-tower clock to help everyone in town know the time. Then in the 1500s, a watch on a chain or a ribbon was used by the very rich. By 1700, women could have a watch pinned to a dress as part of a chatelaine that held keys, scissors and other household tools. Later came the traveling clock, then the pocket watch. In the early 1900s, the first watches with a matching pin were made to wear on a lady’s lapel.
Kovel’s Antiques: Modern Wemyss Ware still in circulation
July 25, 2010
Smiling pottery cats and flower-decorated pottery pigs have been made in Scotland since 1882.
The new rush for silver and gold
Buyers staking claims to coins
July 25, 2010
A boom town this is not.
Kovel’s Antiques: Quirky Art Deco pieces still valued
July 18, 2010
What can this painted iron elephant do?
Kovel’s Antiques: Pie safes now used to store clothes
July 11, 2010
Go to an antique show and you might see a pie safe, jelly cupboard or sugar chest.
Uncle Sam popular figure in collectibles
July 4, 2010
Uncle Sam has been an important symbol in the United States since the War of 1812. The name was first seen in print in a book written in 1816. Today’s Uncle Sam, with top hat, striped jacket and beard, was drawn for a famous recruiting poster in 1917. The image was soon copied in books, games and toys.
Picture clocks make clever novelties
June 27, 2010
One of the more unusual clock styles made in the 19th century is the picture clock. It is a clever novelty, and a few modern versions are being made by Swiss clock companies. An artist paints a village scene or seacoast town that includes a tower or church. The oil painting can show people working or resting and enjoying the view. A pocket watch movement is put in as the church steeple’s or tower’s clock.
Deco designs beloved by collectors
June 20, 2010
Many companies today are looking at their sales figures and deciding how to change their products to attract more customers. The same thing was true in the 1930s when Chase Brass & Copper Co. decided to make art-deco pieces for the home, along with the buttons, nails and thousands of other brass products it had manufactured since the company’s founding in 1876.
Kovel’s Antiques: Modern designs attract furniture collectors
June 13, 2010
The 20th century brought a new style of furniture.
Kovel’s Antiques: Majolica used in fanciful pieces
June 6, 2010
he 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition in London included the introduction of many amazing new products, one of them the revival of majolica.