March 27, 1998
83 degrees today in New York - and just five days ago there were five inches of snow on the ground!
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF REALLY GOOD KISSERS
Swann's, one of the finest auctioneers of ephemera in the U.S., is holding a noteworthy sale of photographs on April 6. Included are some of the most famous pictures of all time. There's the private collection of Calamity Jane, the rodeo star, and that group includes a post mortem stereograph photo of Jesse James (guess they wanted to prove he was really dead)that carries an estimate of $7,000 to $10,000. My personal favorite (in case you need a suggestion for my birthday present): an early 1950s print of "V.J. Day Kiss", by Alfred Eisenstadt. That's the famous photo from Life magazine (estimate $12,000 to $18,000), the one showing a sailor grabbing and kissing a nurse in Times Square. Imagine what would happen if a sailor tried that today. Can you say "uppercut?" Illustrated catalogs for the sale are priced at $25 in the U.S. and $35 elsewhere. For more information, call Swann's at (212)254-4710.
NO, THIS ENTIRE NEWSLETTER IS NOT ABOUT THE NEW YORK AUCTION HOUSES, BUT
HOW COULD I RESIST THIS ONE, NYUK, NYUK, NYUK DEPARTMENT
Sotheby's is having an auction of movie posters on April 4th. There will be more than 300 lots, representing the history of filmmaking, from the 1920's through the present. My favorite? "Men In Black" - not the one with Will Smith. No,no,no - this one stars The Three Stooges, and was made in 1934. It's not only the earliest known Three Stooges movie poster, but the film was actually nominated for an Oscar! The nomination for Best Comedy Short was the only time the Stooges were ever recognized by the Academy. That's a no-brainer, eh? Pre-sale estimate for this item: $25,000 - $30,000. The biggest snore in the whole auction: A one-sheet poster from "Titanic", autographed by Kate Winslett and Leonardo DiCaprio. Pre-sale estimate: $1,000 to $1,500.
DON'T THEY HAVE BANK VAULTS IN ALLENTOWN?
The Blue Victorian of Allentown, PA reports the theft of a tremendous quantity of fine and costume jewelry, sometime during the night of February 28th. Although no estimate of the monetary loss has been given, judging from the list of missing items, it must be in the six figures. Everything from 14 karat gold brooches to bakelite to watches are on the list and the count is in the hundreds of items. But, where were the items when they were taken? In a car inside a garage! The Allentown Police Department is asking anyone with information regarding the theft to contact them at (610)437-7721 and to reference case No.98-13229.
As with almost any collectible that enjoys immense popularity and shows strong and steady price growth, Nippon is being heavily reproduced, and fakes from China and - yes - Japan, are everywhere. It's not all that easy to tell the old from the new, but it's not impossible. I can't imagine what they were thinking, but in the 80s the U.S. Government decided that it was okay to put foreign names on items being imported into the U.S. (it considered them decorations!)as long as the country of origin appeared somewhere. So, zillions of items marked "Nippon" under the glaze, but with an easily removed paper label that said "Made in China" or "Made in Japan" were passed by the government and in they came. These early imported fakes were actually not too tough to tell from the real stuff though, because they were so poorly made. However, those fakers out there are getting cleverer by the day, and the latest imports are of much better quality, and even have a mark identical to the real one. Here are a few tips to help you tell the real from the fake:
1. The glaze is sometimes not so carefully done on the fakes. It may be rough instead of smooth, and sometimes the inside of the piece is not completely glazed.
2. The fakes are thicker and heavier than the fine old porcelains.
3. The gold on the fakes doesn't look right - it may be copper-colored or
brass-colored, and it's too shiny and reflective. The gold on the old
pieces is smooth and has a matte finish.
This weekend, Artie and I are trying to get the taxes done and get ready
for next weekend's Pier Show. Enjoy the beautiful weather - and Happy Hunting!
© 1998 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #35
U.S. Library of Congress
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