Monthly Archives: September 2020

Pushing their Buttons: Campaign Memorabilia

By George Sommers Internet and TV advertising may rule recent political campaigns but campaign buttons, or pinbacks, are still “a thing.” Campaign memorabilia has a long and colorful history – and what better time to start a collection than by going back to the future for items from the 2020 presidential race? Although campaign paraphernalia […]

Exploring Antique Technologies – When Antique Technology Still Works: Finding our Way with a Sextant

How to use a sextant? offers a step by step guide with visuals, Davis instruments has a downloadable manual on their website, and there are several other online resources Photo:

by Kary Pardy   Do You Know Where You’re Going To? In 1714, the British Parliament established the Longitude Act, and with it, the Longitude Rewards. Equivalent to just over a million dollars today, these prizes offered rewards to any who could come up with a reliable way to measure longitude at sea. Latitude was […]

Gavels ‘n’ Paddles: Huanghuali cabinet, $471,000, Christie’s

Huanghuali cabinet

Recent Auction Results from Near & Far By Ken Hall A diminutive Chinese huanghuali compound cabinet and hat chest from the 19th century sold for $471,000 during Asian Art Week, a series of online auctions held July 7-24 by Christie’s in New York City. Also, a painting by Wang Xuetao (Chinese, 1903-1984), titled Fowl and […]

“Collecting Just for Kicks,” by Maxine Carter-Lome

My isolation and downtime during the early months of COVID gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up on my Netflix binge-watching.  I watched all seasons of Designated Survivor and The Crown, and an interesting documentary called “Sneakerheadz,” an in-depth look into the exploding subculture of sneaker collecting and the widespread influence it has had […]

Facebook Live: If you are a Facebook follower then you know it’s getting a lot noisier on your feed these days. The change has changed me as a user and social media follower.

If you are a Facebook follower then you know it’s getting a lot noisier on your feed these days. Pre-recorded videos with audio and live broadcasting have replaced traditional image posts as the newest way to break through noise and get attention. The use of audio, video, and live streaming on Facebook has grown exponentially […]

The View From Where You Sit: Personal Magnification Devices

Microscope: 3 convex lenses in the inner cylinder, fitting into shagreen (snakeskin)- covered tube, with gilt-bronze finial cap and tripod stand, optics by Passemant, ingénieur du roi, France, c. 1750 photo:

by Melody Amsel-Arieli   Simple magnification devices, like water-filled spheres and rock crystal (quartz) “burning glasses” were known around the Mediterranean and across the Middle East in ancient times. These evidently served not only to light kindling but also to cauterize wounds and enlarge texts. According to Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, Nero viewed gladiator […]

Gavels ‘n’ Paddles: LeBron James rookie card, $1.845 million, Goldin Auctions

LeBron James rookie card

Recent Auction Results from Near & Far By Ken Hall A 2003-04 UD “Exquisite Collection” #78 LeBron James signed rookie card (#14/23), graded Gem Mint 9.5/BGS 10, sold for a record $1.845 million in a Summer Premium Auction held July 18 by Goldin Auctions, based in Runnemede, N.J. Also, a 1984-85 Michael Jordan rookie season […]

Great Collections: Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments and Its Founder, David P. Wheatland

David P. Wheatland

Sara J. Schechner, Ph. D. (photos: Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University)   This is a story of the impact a collector can have on creating one of the world’s most celebrated of specialized museums. The museum is Harvard University’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments and the man responsible is David P. Wheatland of […]

Gavels ‘n’ Paddles: Majolica pineapple tea set, $12,100, Strawser Auction

Majolica pineapple tea set

Recent Auction Results from Near & Far By Ken Hall A George Jones majolica pineapple tea set with 17-inch tray, tea kettle, cream, sugar and flour and cups and saucers sold for $12,100 at a four-day auction held May 20-23 by Strawser Auction Group in Wolcottville, Ind. Also, a watercolor silhouette portrait of a young […]