Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Apollo Studios - A Worthy Contemporary

I’d never heard of the company when I picked the vases up and looked for any marking on the bottom. But they were beautiful and I knew that I had to bid on them. I didn’t get a chance to actually do any research on the maker until after I won them at auction and I was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered.

The Apollo Studios was a company in New York that was a contemporary of Tiffany Studios and produced some of the same type of items that Tiffany did. One of their areas of specialty was in the production of jeweled vanity items as well as other jeweled metal objects. The items marked with the Apollo stamp were made from 1909 to 1922. While they continued to manufacture products after that time period, they were not as finely detailed as the earlier pieces. The metalwork on the Apollo pieces was often done with brass or gold colored material and was very ornate and lacy.

Apollo items are not readily available and the prices for the pieces reflect that. Depending on the object, you can expect to pay from $100 to up to a $1,000 for a piece in very good condition.

The Apollo Studios Amber Glass fan vase above is in mint condition and is listed for $295.00. Inquire for availablility.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shadows of the Past

Once you’ve seen one, you will always recognize it. The item I’m referring to is a piece of “Mary Gregory” glass. These pieces of Victoriana have been produced since in the late 19th century and it is believed that the Mary Gregory designs originated in Europe, most likely in Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) and Germany. This “old” Mary Gregory glass is mostly mouth blown and was made between 1879 and 1939.

The glass is distinguished by the white enamel painting of children in silhouette dressed in typical Victorian “Sunday best” clothes in some sort of outdoor setting. They are usually playing some type of game like flying kites, bowling hoops or blowing bubbles. They are usually surrounded by some form of foliage such as grass, trees or ferns. The glass can come in a variety of colors from clear (the least valuable), amethyst, dark green, amber, blues and finally cranberry, which is the most valuable.

There is a myth that original Mary Gregory glass was painted by an older lady who longed to have children of her own. Because she couldn’t, she decorated glassware with images of children playing that she could never have. There is no history to support this story. There was, however, a real Mary Gregory who worked for the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company until the late 1880’s, but Mary Gregory glass was never manufactured by that company. The true origin of the name of Mary Gregory glass may never be known.

New Mary Gregory glass is still being made and the collector should be aware that there are many reproductions available on the market today. When looking for an original piece, make sure that it has a pontil scar on the base where it was mouth blown. The quality of glass will usually show other signs of being mouth blown and may have tiny bubbles. The glass will have a heavier weight to it than most contemporary glass. There have been instances where older Victorian glass has been painted over with Mary Gregory-like d├ęcor so you should look closely at the painting to make sure it doesn’t appear to be slap-dash or weak.

The value of original Mary Gregory glass can be anywhere from $40-50 to upwards of more the $700. If you are buying on the upper end, you should try to determine the provenance of the piece to ensure its authenticity.

(Inquire for availability. Pitcher priced at $125.50. Green Vase priced at $89.95. Free shipping in Continental US)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pass the Milk Please

Growing up as a child in the 1950's through 1970's, it wasn't uncommon in our home to find food items on the dinner table in their original containers. Whether it was jelly in the jar it was canned in or the peanut butter in the grocery store can... it would simply be set on the table. For the Victorians, this type of behavior would not have been tolerated.

One of the food items that was not uncommon on the dinner table during Victorian times was consdensed milk. And since the milk was purchased in a can, they had to find a decorative and practical serving dish for the food. Often the milk would not be consumed during a single meal so it would need to remain in the original container for storage. Hence, the condensed milk can holder was developed.

This serving piece was usually found in five pieces as a complete underplate/saucer, the outer container, the liner, a dipping spoon and a lid. Like most of the Victorian items, they were richly decorated and designed in a practical manner. In the case of the can holder itself, there was usually a small hold in the bottom of the holder so the liner could easily be pushed back out when the meal was over. The underplate was used to set the spoon on after the milk was scooped out. Most often, these items can be found in three pieces with the spoon and lining not included.

The condensed milk holder was usually made of porcelain (although I have seen a few of them made of silver) and manufactured by companies like Nippon and Limoges to name a few. The pieces were often exquisitely decorated with flowers or fruit. Prices can range from $40 to upward of $250 or more for complete five piece sets.

Pictured are a 5 piece set of Nippon and a 3 piece Victoria Austria Set (items not available for sale)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Covering for Your 'Cakes

The Victorians thought of every thing. One of the items that I've recently discovered that I simply love is the covered pancake dish. They are not only beautiful, but also very practical. The dishes were comprise of an underplate that usually measures around 9" with a covered dome lid that had vent holes in them. The pancakes were brought to the table warm and the holes were for the steam to escape. Often times, the piece would have matched the china on the breakfast table.

Pancake dishes were manufactured by a variety of companies, including Limoges, Haviland and Nippon, to name a few. Some are extremely beautiful with floral painting with gold trim and ornate finials on the cover. Prices on the dishes can range from around $50 to well over $500, depending on the age, maker and condition. The number of vent holes on the dishes may also vary. If the lid does not have vent holes, it is more than likely a covered butter dish instead of a pancake cake dish.

Covered Pancake Dish, manufactured by GDA (Gerard, Dufraisseix & Abbot) Limoges, c. 1900-1953. (Inquire for availability. Priced at $285. Free shipping in the Continental US.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Beautiful Dish for Little Fish

The sardine box or sardine dish was a popular item during the Victorian period. The piece is usually made of porcelain and was often times highly decorated. They were also made of silverplate or pottery. It was common for the sardine box to have a finial that was in the form of a fish. Before refrigerators were a commonplace item in the home, canned sardines were served at the table in this attractive serving piece. Some pieces had a hole in the bottom of the box for pushing the can out to remove it.

Antique sardine boxes have become very collectible in the last few years. You can find them ranging in price from around $50 up to in excess of $1, 000. There are also newer, reproduction sardine boxes available beware.

Lidded Sardine Box manufactured by Victoria Austria, c. 1904-1918. (Inquire for availability. Sale priced at $205.95. Free shipping in the Continental US.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Welcome to Angelwings Antiques

Thank you for checking out my new blogsite. My dream of becoming an antique dealer specializing in antique glass, porcelain, sterling silver and fine Victorian antiques has come to fruition. I couldn't be more excited.

Each week I will try to post a new blog sharing with you some of the unique items that I've collected or that I'm selling with photos to go along with it. Although I'm by no means an "expert", I will also try to share some information and knowledge about the items that I'm writing about. One of the reasons that I love antiques so much, and in particular Victorian antiques, is that many of these items are simply no longer available and served such unique purposes.

I look forward to your feedback on any of the items that I highlight and certainly will not be offended if you correct me because of your expertise on a certain piece.

Angelwings Antiques

Case photo at Tacoma Antique Center - Fife, WA