Searching for Vintage Collectibles

Questionable Bathing Beauties

Their looks aren't in question but their age is. All of a sudden the same 3 figure (shown at right) is showing up in multiple Internet auctions. The straps and shoes are blue, no detail in fingers and hands, too much red in the cheeks.

Trade Sign Weather Vane

Original trade sign weather vanes advertised the work or occupation conducted in the building where they were mounted. Typical subjects were cigars for tobacco shops, an anvil for blacksmiths, a fish for seafood markets and so on. A hand saw vane is now being reproduced similar to an original made by 19th century factories like J.W. Fiske

Classic Tin Motorcycle Molds Back in Production

Original dies used to make a classic tin lithographed toy are back in production. The 6 motorcycle shown above was originally made Tipp Company Tippco of Nuremberg, Germany, ca. 195060s. All originals are marked with the company monogram of the letter T intertwined with C and O see Fig. 4 below.

Popeye and Felix Character Tin Wind-up Toy Boats

Two comic character toys may be mistaken for 1930s era vintage collectibles. The toys feature Popeye and Felix the Cat in colorfully lithographed metal speed boats with wind up mechanisms. Each is 7" long and comes in its own box. No matching old toys exist; both are new designs; retailed, $14 each.

Fake reverse painted glass depot signs

Several versions of faked reverse painted on glass railroad depot signs have appeared in large numbers from the Midwest to New England. All the signs are 34 3/4″ long by 4 3/8″ high. Some of the versions seen include: "Southern R.R.", "Baltimore & Ohio R.R.", "Baltimore & Ohio R.R.-Tickets", "Pennsylvania R.R." and "Illinois Central R.R.-Whites Only". All of the signs have black backgrounds with gold lettering. The majority of the signs have been sold by a white female using the name Laurie Gifford and a New Hampshire drivers license number. Most of the new signs were sold at $60-$100 each.

$700+ original or $35 fake? Get your head examined

Phrenology was a popular 19th century theory that intelligence and personality and character traits are revealed by the location of contours, or bumps, in the skull. Three dimensional models of phrenology heads showing these locations or personality traits are a highly sought after collectors' items. Depending on the material they are made of, original heads can sell from several hundred to several thousand dollars. A recent ceramic reproduction of an 11″ phrenology head, shown in (Fig. 1), is being seen extensively in malls around the nation.

Black Memorabilia Country Store Collectible Copied

Some of the most popular pieces of Black memorabilia were made for and used by the 19th century firm of Masons Blacking. The colorful lithographs on many products and packaging feature Victorian images of Blacks shining shoes. A wooden box that copies an original counter top display is now reproduced including the full color paper labels.

New Frankart Bookends

These new bookends are virtually exact duplicates of the 1930s originals. The new are cast aluminum; most, but not all, originals are pot metal. New paint is shiny and very thin.

Felix the Cat Toy

This new 4 1/2" Felix the Cat toy first appeared late last summer. The painted jointed wood body is held together by elastic cord and moves when a disc under the base is pressed. This toy has quickly drifted into the antique and collectibles market. At a large recent Midwest show, there were 5 of the new toys priced from $75 to $145 scattered among the over 150 booths. Price new, $18.

Tiffany Belt Buckles

Brass belt buckles marked "Tiffany" first began appearing at antique shows, auctions and outdoor markets in the early to mid-1960's. Despite warnings from experts that such buckles were never seen before 1965 and did not appear in any reference books, buyers began paying up to $400 and more to own them.