Newsletter #256

FEBRUARY 4, 2005


Greetings, Accumulators!

I am on the disabled list. My lower back is killing me. I started physical therapy this week and my therapist, Mark E. DeSade, is really killing me! I've already learned to take Tylenol before I go there.

There are also stretches and exercises to do at home. I find that good music is a big help when I'm lying there on the living room floor. So, I listen to the voice of a living angel - Blake Friedman. His third CD gets me through it twice a day. Blake is only 19 years old, the son of my dear friend, Terri Friedman of Chicago, proprietress of Rhumba!, the place to go online if you're looking for vintage and contemporary costume jewelry. Blake is currently a student at the Eastman School of Music, one of the most prestigious music colleges in the USA. He's amazingly talented (think Josh Groban, only much better. Think Luciano Pavarotti, only much cuter), and he's going to be famous someday, so remember his name. When he's done at Eastman, he's considering graduate work at the Juilliard School, here in NYC. Lucky me! I intend to stuff him as full of sumptuous dinners as he will let me. And I plan to hear him sing many, many times more, in person as well as on CDs. He's a lovable person, very easy on the eyes, and whatta set of pipes!

Oh, those wild and crazy Mujahadeen! On Tuesday, a photo of an "abducted American solider"showed up on an Iraqi militant web site, according to Reuters, along with a threat that he'd be killed within 72 hours if the US did not release several Iraqi prisoners. The poor soldier, dressed in camouflage gear, sat there slumped on the floor in front of a black banner, with a rifle pointed at his head. He was very composed however, and quite wooden. Well, plastic, actually. Dragon Models USA has announced that the "soldier" is actually their action figure "Cody". Dragon Models also said that the rifle pointed at the figure's head in the photo appears to be the plastic M-4 rifle that comes with the figure. The Pentagon has announced that none of its soldiers is missing. Needless to say, no Iraqi prisoners have been released as a result of the publication of this photo. No word on whether the purchase of American toys should be considered a conciliatory move. I just hope they don't kidnap any Barbies or Cabbage Patch Kids. It's always much more terrible when the victims are women and children.

If you're a fan of collectibles like the grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary on it, or a potato chip shaped like Richard Nixon's face, you'll just love what Wade Jones of Belmont, North Carolina has up for sale on eBay. It's a styrofoam cup that once touched the lips of Elvis Presley during a 1977 concert. This is, of course, the empty cup. Jones already sold the water that had been in the cup. It fetched $455 on eBay last month. When I last checked the auction of the cup, bidding stood at $2.58. If you simply must have this cup, well, first, it is my duty to tell you that you are an insane person. But then, I must give you a link to the cup's web site. I'm not making this up. The cup has its own web site. LINK

If you're still holding out for the remainder stacks at Barnes and Noble, and haven't yet bought my latest book, Protecting Your Collectible Treasures: Secrets Of A Collecting Diva, here's some free advice for you: before you can clean, repair or maintain any item, you need to know of what materials it is made. Don't polish any metal, for example, until you know whether it is solid, plated, silver, brass, copper, etc. Using the wrong substance and/or technique could ruin your item forever. So, how do you determine the material? For metals, begin with a magnet. If the magnet doesn't stick, you have solid brass or copper. If the metal is plated, the magnet is very likely to stick, because the plating is adhered to an alloy that almost always includes iron. You should also be looking for hallmarks, which sometimes indicate the material, and sometimes give you the identity of the manufacturer. You can then look up the manufacturer and find out what materials they produced. It's also a big help to clean off the surface dirt so you can get a good look at the object. I highly recommend waterless hand cleaner (the greasy kind) to take the surface dirt off wood or metal. Don't use anything abrasive! Just apply the cleaner with your hands and wipe off with a soft cloth. Sometimes, that's all the cleaning you'll need, especially if you're using it on wood.

Okay, Accumulators. I'm off to the living floor with a mat and Blake's CD, to do this morning's stretches. Tomorrow, He Who Is The Light Of My Life is taking me away from all this. We're going to a warmer place for a few days, for a little R&R. Well, in my case, just R. If we were not leaving town we'd be on our way to Cuddebackville, NY and The Old Red Barn auction house, where our dear friend, Auctioneer Vince Bambina has a great selection of stuff for Saturday night's auction. The bonus is that his lovely sister, Annette, is running the kitchen. She is a famously wonderful cook, and they are a bunch of really lucky customers to be able to eat her food while bidding on all the excellent offerings. You can view the items up for bid at and yes, they do accept absentee bids. Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!


2005 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #256
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1996-2004 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.