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Sunday morning, Mikey and his wife are sitting in a church in Arlington. Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone including Mikey started screaming and running for the entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate. Soon everyone was gone except for the Devil and Mikey’s wife who sat calmly in her pew, not moving . . .
Now this confused Satan a bit, so he walked up to her and said, “Don’t you know who I am?” Mikey’s wife replied, “Yep, sure do.” Satan asked, “Aren’t you afraid of me?” “Nope, sure ain’t,” said Mikey’s wife. Satan was a little perturbed at this and queried, “Why aren’t you afraid of me?” She calmly replied, “Been married to your brother for over 5 years.”
On November 3-4, 2012, the 45th Annual Chappaqua Antiques Show, will be held at the West Orchard Elementary School in Chappaqua, New York. This show attracts many quality antiques dealers and designers and features antique furniture, vintage pottery, ceramics and glass. The show is sponsored by the New Castle Historical Society and benefits the Horace Greeley House Museum.
November 3-4, 2012, DC Big Flea, Dulles Expo & Convention Center, Chantilly, Virginia
November 4, 2012, Harding Township Historical Society Antique Show,Tunis-Ellicks House, New Vernon, New Jersey
November 9-11, 2012, Delaware Antiques Show, Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington, Delaware
November 10-11, 2012, Mclean Antiques Show & Sale, McLean Community Center, McLean, Virginia
I don’t watch a lot of TV because I am always trying to be productive and work; besides there are not a lot of good shows on TV anymore. TV has become a cornucopia of silly and sometimes stupid reality shows that do not inspire me; unless of course they have anything to do with antiques and collectibles, such as Cash and Cari. One show, that is not a reality show, which has caught my attention, is Mad Men. I started with episode one via Netflix and I am now into the fourth season of six.
If you have not watched this show, it is set in the early 1960’s and it is about an advertising agency in New York, starring Jon Hamm as Creative Director Don Draper. The storylines are sometimes dramatic and sometimes funny and involve way too much smoking and drinking; some of their office parties are downright outlandish. What has caught my attention about this show, more so than the storyline, is the Mid Century Modern furnishings, décor and accessories which bring back memories of my early childhood.
The characters in this show sit on Eames style office chairs and sip liquor from Dorothy Thorpe roly poly glasses. They stub out countless cigarettes in Murano Art Glass ashtrays. Throughout the show there are scenes with multi-line black desk phones as well as retro rotary dial telephones in a variety of colors. Mid Century Modern TVs adorn living rooms along with vintage Bauhaus couches and chairs. Employees speak into vintage dictation machine and secretaries type on old IBM Selectric typewriters. And apparently, I am not the only one that feels that nostalgic when watching the show.
It seems that many auction houses and antiques and collectibles shops have seen a recent upswing in the sale of Mid Century Modern antiques and collectibles. This includes everything from the blond bedroom furniture of the day to vintage Trifari rhinestone necklaces; silver plated liquor cocktail shakers, abstract expressionist ceramic sculptures as well as vintage clock radios. Additionally, the antique car market has seen a growing interest in 1960s automobiles. This is no surprise, considering that in one season Don Draper drives a beautiful red Cadillac Coupe De Ville with a white convertible top.
Many scenes of the Mad Men television show are shot in the offices of the executive partners of the fictitious advertising agency. It is interesting to watch as most men and women of that generation smoked and drank . . . in their office. Unlike today where smokers have to go outside; and more and more companies are requiring that their employees not smoke at all. But what interests me, as well as other collectors I’m sure, are the time accurate accessories on the show.
One accessory on the show that has caught a lot of attention is the barware and in particular, the Roly Poly glasses used by the shows characters at least in the first few seasons. These glasses filled with whiskey, vodka and other liquor were designed by Dorothy Thorpe.
Thorpe was an American designer originally from Utah. In college she was a music major, but later moved to Los Angeles where she began to design glassware and dinnerware. She imported glass blanks from Europe and decorated many of them with floral motifs and used a unique sandblasting technique. Aside from her ornately decorated glassware, she also had a line of barware that was decorated with a simple one inch silver band around the rim; the Roly Poly glasses are part of that collection.
If a show like Mad Men can stir up sales of Mid Century Modern antiques and collectibles, than what can a show about vintage toys do for this niche? Probably not a lot since toys are already big business around the world. But that hasn’t stopped the Travel Channel which now has a show called Toy Hunter. In this show, ultimate toy collector and dealer Jordan Hembrough goes coast to coast looking for the most sought after vintage toys. Star Wars, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Hot Wheels, Superman and other super heroes; toys that were part of our childhood.
A search of Google for “Vintage Toy Collectors” brings up hundreds of thousands of results, most of which are dealers and shops offering everything from Barbie Dolls to Care Bears and more. There are forums and Facebook pages; Twitter accounts and even big retailers like Amazon get into the act. People around the world spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on collectible toys; some will pay $50-$100 for a toy that their father bought them in 1975 for less than $5. Some will seek and some will pay even higher prices for rare toys at an auction.
A recent sale at Morphy’s Auction in Pennsylvania brought in more than $2.76 million. Some of the most sought after toys were mechanical banks, die cast robot toys from Japan, Buddy L trucks, pressed steel trucks and dolls of many kinds. An upcoming sale on November 16-17, 2012, again in Pennsylvania, but this time by Noel Barrett, will feature toy trains from both the U.S. and Europe as well as toy friction powered cars and tin and cast iron horse drawn vehicles. A German carousel toy is expected to bring in more than $100,000.
But take heed folks, not all vintage toys will bring in top dollar in the future; like all other collectibles, you should ask yourself these questions before spending big money. Is it rare? Mass produced collectibles will not likely appreciate in value. Is it in good condition? A Tonka truck with missing wheels or a rare Barbie that was chewed by a dog will not bring in big money. Is it authentic? There are many unscrupulous dealers out there that will pass off a fake for the real thing. Do your research before buying. Lastly, how old is it? Usually, the older the better.
Antiques, Collectibles & Decoy Auction on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at Crumpton Auction Barn in Crumpton, Maryland
Historical, Military & Poster Auction on Saturday November 17, 2012, at Philip Weiss Auctions in Oceanside, New York
Interestingly enough, the silver bands around the top of these glasses could be made of one of two materials; sterling silver or Allegro. The sterling silver bands will tarnish, where Allegro is a mirror like substance that does not tarnish. Most of Dorothy Thorpe’s designed glass is etched with a large D and stylized T, but in the case of the silver band barware, a paper or foil label makes it hard to distinguish from fakes.
November 17-18, 2012, Antiques at Kimberton Show, Kimberton Fire Department, Kimberton, Pennsylvania
November 25, 2012, Antiques Extravaganza, LJVM Coliseum Annex, Winston-Salem, North Carolina