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Author Archives: Kyle Johnson

Collector Spotlight: The Joel and Sharon Schwartz Collection

Pair of Marbled Polychrome Pottery Jardinieres, France, 20th century (Lot 1804, Estimate $50-100)

Joel and Sharon Schwartz began collecting together just prior to their marriage. Having purchased a Georgian brick home in Newton, MA, they felt the need to fill it with wonderful objects that were both fun and consistent with the character of the house. A wicker cart with “more panache than utility” as Joel puts it, was their very first purchase.… Read More

The Last Currency of The Republic of Texas

Prior to its annexation as the 28th state by the United States, The Republic of Texas was its own sovereign nation. Having fought for and gaining their independence from Mexico by 1836, the young republic found itself with significant financial/economic and political issues, leading to their eventual annexation in 1845. These nine tumultuous years in-between originated some of Texas’s rarest and most sought after currency.

The Panic of 1837 halted commerce to a standstill, sending Texas’s land prices and the value of its paper currency on a downward spiral.… Read More

How to Spot a Counterfeit Coin

One of the largest nuisances in the field of numismatics is detecting counterfeits. Dealers and collectors alike can still find themselves susceptible to coins and currency meant to deceive. Everybody has a story from when they were duped or made mistakes regarding valuable pieces or even seemingly insignificant ones. Every now and then, we see counterfeit pieces brought in by consignors who are unaware of the item they have. Here are a few easy tips to make sure your coins are original.… Read More

Coins of The Carson City Mint

1885-CC GSA Morgan Dollar (Lot 1115, Estimate $200-400)

Carson City Morgan dollars are some of the most iconic coins in American numismatics. The Morgan dollar series in and of itself is highly collectible, obtaining staggering prices for higher end pieces. However, coins from the Carson City Mint, bearing the “CC” mintmark, have always excited numismatists, especially Morgan collectors. The branch mint produced only thirteen years of Morgan dollars, while the whole series experienced twenty-eight years of issue.… Read More

Unintended Playthings: Dollhouses Over Time

Six Room ‘Mystery’ Dollhouse, America, c. 1880 (Lot 19, Estimate: $3,000-5,000)

Dollhouses are among the most collected toys by both adults and children, as seen by their induction into the Strong National Museum of Play in 2011. With doll and dollhouse collecting communities throughout the world, as well as specialized dealers and auction houses, it’s no surprise that the best specimens of these playthings are still so sought after.… Read More

Heuer: The Timekeeper of Formula One

Heuer Autavia ‘Andretti’ Ref. 3646 Chronograph Wristwatch, late 1960s (Lot 2515, Estimate $3,000-5,000)

Wristwatches and automobile racing have been closely linked to each other since the early 20th century. In a sport so heavily reliant on speed and times, having an accurate and accessible timekeeper is paramount. Modern chronographs, the predecessor to the stopwatch, were created in the early 19th century and were primarily used for artillery.… Read More

Augustus to Constantine and Ancient Coins In-between

Alexander III Drachm (Lot 1001B, Estimate $50-$100)

Ancient coins, especially those from early Roman and Greek cultures, have been captivating the interest of collectors for centuries. The recent slews of coin hoards being unearthed all across Europe have made international headlines, causing resurgence in their popularity. Most recently, a construction crew in Spain happened upon 1,300 pounds of bronze Roman coins, dating from the 3rd century AD, stashed in amphoras, while digging a trench.… Read More

The Art of the Quilt: From Functional to Ornamental

Floral Medallion Patchwork Quilt (Lot 123, Estimate $200-300)

Over the past few years, quilts and quilting have experienced resurgence in popularity. The appeal of quilts and textile art is as varied as the patterns they employ. Whether it is the bold, bright, and contrasting colors or the strength and diversity of the design, quilts have consumed the interest of contemporary artists and enthusiasts alike.

The origins of quilting are seen in the 17th century when chintz and calico fabrics were beginning to be imported from India.… Read More

Sugar and Spice…

Stenciled Round Spice Box, Patent Package Co., Newark, New Jersey, 19th century (Lot 482, Estimate $150-$250)

Despite the seemingly mundane individual details of this late 19th century spice box, there is an intrigue to this little domestic piece. With eight smaller containers inscribed with their respective contents, this not uncommon item found its way onto the cover of our March Country Americana catalog.

Spices and the vessels which store them have always held an important role in more than just our kitchens.… Read More