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               WHAT’S SELLING ON eBay

                                                          by Philip Hawkins and Mike McLeod

           $1,000 (23 bids, 4 bidders): Atlas blasting machine, Dynamite,     with most collectibles, the more unusual, elaborate, and scarce, the higher
           Antique, Original, Mining, Explosives.  Atlas blasting machine. Atlas   the prices will go. In general, sewing birds/clamps sell in the range of $60-
           powder company model 3-50. For electric blasting caps. Vintage, original.   $250, but more unusual examples, such as a lot featuring a mallard duck
           Never opened, cleaned, or restored. As it came from the mine. Tested and   head and a frog, brought $2,750 at Bertoia Auctions in November 2019.
           works well, see the last photo. The handle is original and nice. Dimensions   An identical clamp to our eBay subject was just sold at Jeffrey Evans
           are 7 x 8 x 16 inches, about 20-25 pounds. Undamaged copper logo.    Auctions on April 20, 2022. It was described as French and a crane head
           (Photos courtesy of eBay seller 427m6es.)                          instead of a gryphon and sold for $3,000 (not including a 26.5% buyer’s
                                                                              premium). In the world of sewing collectibles, it appears the eBay buyer
                                             PH: A blasting machine, also     got a deal.
                                             known as a “shot exploder,” is a
                                             portable source of electricity to
                                             fire a blasting cap that triggers an   $1,988 (23 bids, 6 bidders): Teddy Roosevelt 1908 welcome president
                                             explosive charge. Such machines   badge pinback, antique, Whitehead Hoag. The original envelope from
                                             were, and are, used mostly in    Whitehead and Hoag is also included.
                                             mining and demolition. Calling   (Photos courtesy eBay seller brains2012.)
                                             it a  machine is derived from the
                                             method of operating the older    PH: In 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt made a
                            examples: either by winding a rotary handle or    14,000-mile, 25-state tour during April and May,
                            pushing down a T-handle, aka Looney Tunes’ Road   giving 263 speeches during 5 ½ weeks of public
                            Runner cartoons. Modern versions are generally    appearances. The balance of the trip was spent
                            battery-powered and use switches or buttons. There   camping in the backcountry with John Muir at
                            were a number of manufacturers of such devices:   Yosemite and at Yellowstone with wildlife writer
                            Atlas, DuPont, C-I-L, Hercules, and others.       John Burroughs. This ribbon with pinback
                               At auction, from 2020 through 2022, most blast-  commemorates his stop in Santa Fe on May 5th
                            ing machines realized in the range of $250 to $750,   during that trip.
                            depending on brand and condition. There were only a   The Whitehead & Hoag Company of
                            couple that exceeded $1,000. At eBay, actual reported   Newark, New Jersey, produced celluloid pinbacks
                            sales in the first three months of 2022 followed suit   after purchasing a series of patents in the 1890s.
                            with only a couple exceeding the $750 price point.   The firm produced buttons under the trade name
                            Our seller’s example at $1,000 is on the high end of   of Whitehead & Hoag until being sold in 1953.
                            the sale range, and he should be pleased.         The celluloid process was eventually replaced by
                                                                              the relatively inexpensive process of metal lithog-
                                                                              raphy in the mid-20th century.
           $1,357 (49 bids, 17 bidders): Antique, Rare Griffin Cast Iron Sewing   An identical Roosevelt Santa Fe ribbon sold at
           Bird, Clamp Tool, Pincushion. This is simply the most unusual, most   Goldbergs Auctions of Los Angeles in April 2007
           detailed, absolute best sewing bird I have ever seen! I believe it to be a   for $431, and Showtime Auction Services sold
           mythological griffin? Love the detailed casting. The pincushion looks to be   one as part of a group in October 2014 for $300
           original. There are no breaks, no cracks, no repairs. The clamp works great.   (identical with the addition of a brass
           (Photos courtesy of eBay seller hat-trick.)                        rail across the top with metallic thread
                                                                              tassels). I was not able to locate any
           PH: A sewing clamp is a practical accessory and                    more recent auction offerings.
           comes in utilitarian, decorative, and whimsical                       Ribbons in good condition are
           forms. As used, it has a screw clamp to attach it                  collectible as they do not usually hold
           to a table or work surface and a spring clamp to                   up well. The Roosevelt portrait pinback
           grip cloth while cutting, pinning, or basting and                  alone usually sells in the $50-$75 range
           usually has one or more pincushions. More                          without the ribbon.
           descriptive names include “third hand” and
           “sewing bird.” They can be made of wood,
           scrimshaw, and various cast and wrought metals.
           The decorative and whimsical ones will include
           cast or carved flowers, scrolls, or figural elements
           such as this one with the bird’s beak forming
           the spring clamp; others include frogs, butterflies,
           birds and bird heads
           (storks, ducks), reindeer,
           dolphins, dragons, and
              Sewing accessories are                                          Philip Hawkins, ISA AM, AAG is an accredited member of the International Society
           a collectible category with                                          of Appraisers and a founding member of the Appraisers Association of Georgia.
           many subcategories. As                                                      He can be reached via the ISA website or at 404-320-7275.
            8           Journal of Antiques and Collectibles
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