Newsletter #82

May 7, 1999

Greetings Accumulators!
This is the start of an important weekend for our family. The lovely Mallory Jaye Cohen, our niece, will be celebrating her Bat Mitzvah tomorrow, with much ceremony, celebration and a major extravaganza in the afternoon. There has been such currying and combing and manicuring going on around here!

The Schoolhouse Center, a gallery in Provincetown, Mass., will be mounting an exhibit from May 14 through June 3. The show consists of anonymous photography. You know - snapshots taken of family members, studio throwaways - that kind of stuff. If you haven't noticed, family snapshot albums are becoming tougher to find at flea markets and garage sales. This is because photography collectors have been snapping them up. Experts theorize that this new interest in previously ignored photography may come from the "found art" aesthetic (think tramp art, folk art, outsider art), and from the popularity of works by modern photographers that feature snapshot-like qualities. Among the images in the collection on display: a little girl in her tutu, an early criminal mug shot, a drag queen, the reconstruction of Hiroshima after the bomb and amateur erotica. I wonder how many of that last category were obtained when someone dropped the roll of film off at the Quickie Photo Booth at the mall. The Center is at 494 Commercial Street in Provincetown, and is open Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays (when school is out!).

Here are two different stories about the disposition of artworks confiscated by the Nazis during World War II:

Sixty years ago, a young German Jew looked around him and realized it was inevitable that the Nazis were going to confiscate everything he owned. So, he sold all his possessions and used the proceeds to buy an emerald and diamond necklace, which he hid by pulling up a floor tile in his kitchen, placing the necklace under it, and cementing the tile back in place. No sooner had he finished the job, than the Nazis came and arrested the young man and his wife. They were deported to a concentration camp for the remainder of the war. The man's wife didn't survive the camp, so he set out on his own in 1946 to return to his home, where he pulled up the tile and retrieved his necklace. He passed away in 1983, but not before he extracted a promise from his son to sell the necklace and use the proceeds to benefit impoverished elderly people. On April 14 the necklace was sold at Christie's for $277,500, which will be used to help finance a new wing for the elderly at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Jerusalem, one of the most modern medical facilities in the Middle East, and a place reknowned for treating people of all ethnicities. The necklace was purchased by two brothers who are jewelry dealers, and it will be donated by them to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Immediately after the auction, additional donations of $385,000 were made, including a single anonymous donation of $180,000.

Now, here's the other story:
Artworks and other antiques and collectibles seized by the Nazis were one thing - these could be eventually returned. But, things are destroyed in a war - and they can never be restored to their rightful owners. The famed banking family of Austria, the Rothschilds, had a fabulous collection of artworks. Within hours of the German annexation of Austria, the Nazis took the whole collection. It took until recently for the Austrian government to agree to return these works to the Rothschild family, choosing up to now to display the fabulous paintings, discovered by American soldiers in a cave, in museums throughout the country. But, the Rothschilds can no longer afford to keep the paintings or the other fine works of art. During the war their palace was destroyed, as were all their investments, their factories, their livelihood. The paintings, as well as the furniture, some of it made for Louis XVI's Fountainbleu Palace, will all be sold on July 8 at Christie's of London.

Paper Toys: Reproductions of antique paper toys have been flooding the market. The best way to tell them from the originals is to view them using a loupe. If you see a regular pattern of dots, in a "rounded square" pattern, you're viewing a repro. Wooden toys with lithographed paper on them are also being reproduced. The new ones have paper on just one side of the toy.

Bronze Lusitania Medals: Alert Accumulator Vince Garcia wrote to me this week. Here's what he said: "I own and have noted a plethora of bronze LUSITANIA Karl Goetz medals flooding ebay over the past month. Since only 100 were made counterfeits must be entering the market. It might do to point out to the readers that the british copied the medal in iron (thus running a magnet across a medal will reveal that). Otherwise an original Goetz MUST be under 55 mm in width, which is the size of the English copies that are a hair larger." Thanks, Vince!

Gotta Run, Accumulators. Wishing you and yours a great weekend (hope it's sunnier than it is here in The Apple), and a sweet Mother's Day! Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!


1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #82
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.