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Mikey gets a job as an agent in an insurance office and the first day on the job did not go well at all. Anita, the receptionist sees Mikey over by the fax machine looking perplexed and decides to see if she can help. As she approaches, Mikey sheepishly asks, “Do you know anything about this fax-machine?'' “ A little,” says Anita, “what’s wrong?”
This past month was Father’s Day and I wrote in the NOVA-Antiques Blog a little something about buying Dad a gift that was unique, old or vintage; and best of all recycled. In that article, I gave some great gift ideas including sports memorabilia, antique tools and vintage cufflinks. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of cufflinks as a topic.
In the early 1600’s men (and women) held the two ends of a cuff of a shirt or blouse together by using “strings,” which were really ribbons or ties. Try as they might, our ancestors could not make them look as elegant or pretty as they would have liked. That is until someone thought it a good idea to use colored glass buttons. They would put two together to hold the cuffs in place.
In the early 1700s the idea of the buttons evolved to include a gold link chain. This was of course more fashionable and elegant, but only affordable to a small segment of the population. Things changed however, during the Industrial Revolution as more people were able to afford nicer things. More companies, including the shirt companies of the day, got into making cufflinks if for no other reason, to sell more high-end shirts.
In the late 1900s, cufflink production declined as more companies started mass producing shirts with buttons on the cuffs of their shirts. By this time the cufflinks that were being produced were called dumbbell cufflinks which consisted of two buttons with a post between them. Later, those evolved into the more familiar type to most of us, the cufflink with a stud and hinged closing clasp.
On July 4, 2012, Antiques in the Churchyard, over one hundred and twenty dealers will set up at Stevens Memorial United Methodist Church in South Salem, New York. This show attracts hundreds of people from the region and proceeds help the church continue to do charitable work.
July 6-8, 2012, Raleigh Antiques Extravaganza, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
July 20–23, 2012, NY Antique Jewelry & Watch Show, The Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, New York
July 21–22, 2012, DC Big Flea, Dulles Expo & Convention Center, Chantilly, Virginia
July 28-29, 2012, Middleburg Summer Antiques Fair, The Hill School, Middleburg, Virginia
The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) Antique Show will take place on July 26-29, 2012 at the museum in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. This antiques & collectibles show attracts many vendors and visitors from the Mid Atlantic and benefits the Blowing Rock Community.
Another NOVA-Antiques.com Blog article that I wrote a while back dealt with fake Hull Pottery cookie jars and I gave some tips on how to identify them. A gentleman commented on my post recently and said he wished he had read my article before going to the auction that weekend, as he had just purchased what he believed now was a fake cookie jar.
Unfortunately, many things are being reproduced today, not only cookie jars and designer handbags but items as popular as cufflinks are also being mass reproduced. The reproductions are usually not as valuable or as nice as the originals. Many manufacturers and resellers are not quick to point out that you are not buying authentic merchandise; instead they call their wares commemorative or replicas, which of course mean fake or not the real thing.
A recent search on Google for presidential cufflinks brought up close to 700,000 results. Most of these results of course were websites trying to sell you presidential cufflinks. And if you want a nice set of reproduction or commemorative, you can get them easily from eBay, Amazon or many other large retail sites. However, if you want a genuine pair, beware; there are certain things you should look for.
The presidential cufflinks are rare because they were only given out to certain individuals. President Nixon was the first to have them made with the presidential seal in a cobalt blue background. The originals are usually heavier and bit smaller than reproductions made in Taiwan and China. Also, the authentic cufflinks do not come in a cardboard box the ones authentic ones we have seen come in a blue leather case with a gilt band around lower openings base.
The presidential signature on the back of the cufflinks in most cases is horizontal on the authentic and curved on the fakes, although I have seen a few fakes where thesignature was horizontal. Lastly, you get what you pay for . . . if a deal is too good to be true, then walk away. Presidential cufflinks, because of their rarity, usually cost more than $300. If you are offered them for $59.99 online, they are almost certainly fakes.
Mikey says, “Well, I sent a fax, to Mr. Jones twice and he called back to say all he received was a cover-sheet and a blank page. I tried it again, and the same thing happened.'' Anita asks, “How did you load the sheet?'' Mikey’s answer, “It's a pretty sensitive info, and I didn't want anyone else to read it by accident, so I folded it so only the recipient would open it and read it.''
George Widdicomb came to United States from England in the mid-1800s and settled into Grand Rapids, Michigan where he set up a furniture making business. Later, his sons John, Harry, William and George Jr. joined him in the business and they produced fine cabinetry and furniture almost forty years before young John struck out on his own and was joined by his nephew Ralph.
Ralph is probably the best known of the Widdicombs because his designs became world famous. So much so that he became known as the “Dean” of furniture designs. As the chief designer at the company, Ralph Widdicomb was responsible for the introduction of modern furniture in the early 1900s and in the early 1920s he made French Provincial furniture which is still very popular today. The company is now owned by Stickley, which still carries a Widdicomb line of furniture.
A two day auction this past month at Julien’s of Beverly Hill’s brought in more than $5 million for guitars and memorabilia that once belonged to the great guitar inventor, Les Paul. The highest priced piece at the auction was a 1951 Fender Neo-Caster guitar which sold for more than $216,000. The auction also included equipment, memorabilia and other instruments from his entire career.
Many people know Les Paul as the inventor of the solid body electric guitar and the Gibson Les Paul guitar, which are highly sought after by collectors and musicians all over the world. What many people fail to realize is that Les Paul was a wizard with electronics and sound equipment and was the first to use an 8 track tape recorder for multi-track in studio recording.
Saturday, July 7, 2012, Castner’s Auction, Branchville, New Jersey: lifetime collection of antique & vintage glass to include Westmoreland and Fenton
Saturday, July 14, 2012, Myers Auction, East Bend, North Carolina: fifty year collection of Lionel Trains, trackss buildings towns and accessories