Newsletter #77

March 27, 1999

Greetings Accumulators!
Spring is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into New York City. The sun is out, but the temperature just won't get up there.

If you're a baby boomer, you could never forget Howdy Doody. Every day we scrambled to take our seats in front of our tiny black-and-white TV screens, just to hear Buffalo Bob Smith shout, "Hey, Kids, what time is it?" and hear the children in the Peanut Gallery answer, "It's Howdy Doody Time!". Sigh. Never mind all the fun we used to have snickering at Howdy's expense (what an unfortunate last name!), we were faithful to the show every weekday afternoon. And Howdy, Buffalo Bob, Clarabelle, Mr. Bluster, Princess SummerFallWinterSpring and Flubbadub all became icons of their age. Now it seems that poor Howdy's future is uncertain.

A war is brewing between a Detroit museum and the Connecticut family of the puppeteer who operated the Howdy Doody puppet on the show. It seems the Detroit Institute of Art, which has an enormous collection of historically significant puppets, claims that Rufus Rose, the show's puppeteer, had promised the original Howdy Doody puppet to them. Rose's family, who was sent the puppet by Buffalo Bob Smith shortly before his death last fall, claims that, although Rose thought about donating the 27-inch wooden puppet to the museum, he ultimately decided against it. Rose died in 1975.

An appraiser working for the family has valued the puppet at $50,000. The museum says it's priceless. And where is poor splinter-headed Howdy while all this sturm und drang is going on? He's been stuffed in a safe deposit box in New Haven, CT, there to wait out the conflict in the pitch dark. Oh noooooooooo!

I'm the first to admit that I'm not heavily involved in the field of Asian art. So, I'll come right out and tell you that the subject of this news tidbit has me mystified - I just don't get it. It seems that Yale University Art Gallery will be showing, through June 13, an exhibit Entitled "Worlds Within Worlds: The Richard Rosenblum Collection of Scholars' Rocks". The exhibit consists of - well - rocks. They reflect many different aesthetic and geological types and they range in "date" from the Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279) to the Twentieth Century. These rocks are assigned a "date" based on the one at which the rock was first appreciated as a work of art. I'm not making this up.

They are called scholar's rocks because they are meant to be contemplated by a scholarly mind, and most "suggest mountainous landscapes" according to Antiques and The Arts Weekly, a New England newspaper. Many in this exhibition have been given names, such as "Snow on Mount Yi", "Seated Tiger" and, the most famous rock in this exhibit, "Honorable Old Man". I think I can assure you that the rock will not look like an old man to you, if you see it.

If somehow you find the prospect of this exhibit enticing, you can obtain an illustrated catalog of the rocks in the Museum shop for $35, or by telephoning the Gallery, located at Chapel and York Streets in New Haven, CT, at (203)432-0606. The exhibit is open for viewing from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10AM to 5 PM, and on Sunday from 1PM to 6PM.

Oh, and please, no throwing of the exhibits into the lake to see how many times you can make them skip.

This seems to be everyone's favorite feature and, as long as Congress is refusing to extend the Hobbies Protection Act (the requirement that items must be permanently marked to reflect their country of origin), it is my pleasure to keep you informed about fakes, fantasies and reproductions that may one day be offered for sale to you. For the time being, this is our best protection.

Figural Napkin Rings - They're usually very fanciful, silverplate and many are mechanical. The best copies are being made by James Mackie who does permanently hallmark his rings, but the hallmarks are so small, most people wouldn't even notice them. So, you need to use magnification and look for his two marks. One consists of the initials JM in a rectangle with clipped corners. The other is the initials JM, separated by a stylized crown with a black dot under it. The whole mark is encased in an oval with a tab extended out to each side, each tab holding one of the two intitials. The first mark is less than 1/8 inch across. The second mark is about 1/4 inch wide.

Majolica Pitcher - This is an ivy-patterned pitcher with a pink interior and a cobalt blue outside. It is 5 inches high and is unmarked. You can identify it by looking inside to see where the handles are attached to the body. The new pitcher has holes on the inside where the handles meet the body, because it is cast in one piece and the handles are hollow. The older pieces had handles made separately, and they were solid, not hollow, so you won't see holes inside the old ones.

Those of you who are new subscribers may be unfamiliar with Grandma, my dear grandmother, who departed this earth on November 28, 1998, at the age of 96 years. You longtime subscribers will remember her as the indomitable matriarch of our family, the very strong influence, the steamroller of our lives, as it were. And you may also remember that adventures shared with Grandma were not only exhausting, they were quite hilarious (in retrospect, anyway), and that she was an Accumulator in the truest sense of the word. I've just posted an article about Grandma to the Twin Brooks site, which you are invited to read by going to Remembering Grandma. As always, your comments are welcome.

Well, Accumulators, this has all gone on much longer than I had intended. I'm sure it's some sort of avoidance behavior. Artie and I are supposed to be "doing" our taxes today. What we really wanted to be doing today is visiting John Bruno at the antiques show he's hosting at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. If you're near there, go and say "hi!" to John and his lovely wife, Tina for me. Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!


1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #77
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.