Bakelite and catalin are trade names for closely related antique plastics that are popularly collected today in the form of old timey radios ('catalin radios'), colorful jewelry, toys and more. The following is an introduction to the plastics and an identification guide. Bakelite and catalin are both made from phenol and formaldehyde, and are phenol … Continue reading Bakelite and catalin: Collectible early plastics
For those concerned about identification and authentication of famous original art, catalogues raisonne are invaluable information sources. Catalogues raisonne are large illustrated books used by major auction houses, museums and top dealers to help identify, date and authenticate prints. They are also a great starting point for the beginning collector, offering an illustrated survey and … Continue reading How to research a famous artist’s work before purchasing
Progression proofs are proofs, or test prints, that are used by the printers to test the colors and color alignment before final printing of art prints, posters, cereal boxes, postcards or whatever they are printing. The purpose of such proof printing is to identify and correct any errors and make sure everything looks good before … Continue reading Progression proofs
Yes, if the design did not exist before-- meaning it's not a reproduction, copy or similar. Assuming there isn't major graphic embellishment, if someone scans and computer prints out the cover of Reader's Digest, that's not original. However, if your young daughter draws a unique picture of her kitty cat on a computer drawing program … Continue reading “Can a home computer print be considered an original?”
United States nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollar coins dated 1964 and earlier are 90 percent silver. There is an ultra rare and valuable 1965 silver US dime that is in part identified by it's completely silver edge. The normal non-silver 1965 dimes have a visually noticeable brown/copper colored layer on the edge.
As with today, in the late 1800s and early 1900s plastics were used to make a plethora of products, from jewelry and toys to electrical fixtures and plumbing parts. With many of today's antique collectors, certain early plastics are in vogue and sought after, in particular when in the form of eye-appealing items like art … Continue reading Celluloid: Identifying the collectable antique plastic
From time to time, one sees offered for sale or auction this Freeman Cigar Co. card depicting the legendary early 20th century baseball short stop Honus (Hans) Wagner. If offered as vintage (as it nearly always is), it is a fake. The card was made in the 1990s. It has a computer printed image on … Continue reading The story behind a fake tobacco card of Honus Wagner
Encaustic painting is a ancient wax-based painting technique that has been revived in recent years. Using hot bees wax as the material to hold the color pigments, an encaustic painting is easy to identify at a museum or gallery because it has a distinct waxy appearance. It was used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians … Continue reading Ancient wax paintings
Samuel Morse is famous today as an inventor of the electric telegraph and Morse code. But his day job was professor of painting and sculpture at New York University. Shown here is one of his paintings.
In order to protect its national cultural heritage, it is illegal in China since 2009 to export any Pre-1900 Chinese antiques. Assume any vase, work of art or other artifact sold directly from China is from after 1900. It is, however, legal to export from China Chinese items from 1900 and after and these items … Continue reading Chinese antiques export laws