Miller's Old Stuff on Ebay
Donna's Antiques on Etsy

Ron & Donna Miller - Publishers

Sports Trophies Still Reasonable

An unlikely, but nevertheless potential collection might be the awards or trophies given out over the years to winners of various competitions. Such a search could cover all sources of antiques, so some specialization would be in order, lest your garage fills with a myriad of bowling trophies handed out in great quantities over the years. A likely collection would be medals, or ribbons, which, while numerous, would be of a manageable size. The majority of trophies have been awarded in the past 50 years, so values should be reasonable. For the daring, silver cups, mugs and urns might be a goal.

Keep in mind that trophies are mostly valued by their owner, and, unless the owner was a popular sports figure, may very well appear at the garage sale next door. Don’t expect your collection to have a lot of resale value!

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Powdered Glass Paste Used In Enamelling

Enamelling is the process of fusing a paste of powdered glass on to a base of metal. The moistened paste is spread over the base, the article is fired in a kiln, and the heat melts the paste which then adheres to the metal.

The most common metals used are copper, bronze and gold.

Cloisonne is one type of enamelling. In this work, the design is formed by soldering thin metal wires to the base metal, forming small compartments. These are then filled with the powdered glass prior to firing, and each color of glass remains in its own little compartment.

Champleve is a technique in which the little compartments are hollowed out of the base metal, and then filled with powder. Basse Taille is similar, except the metal is first carved or engraved in a design before the powder is added.

Plique a jour uses internal strips of metal to strengthen a translucent enamel. It can be compared to the effect of stained glass windows.

There are also painted enamels, in which designs are painted on an undercoat of white enamel.

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Calling Card Boxes Were Status Symbols

Almost everyone in business today uses a business card. Many of us carry a few in a black plastic holder, provided free by many of the card companies, that fits in a wallet or purse. If you’re looking to upgrade this plastic image, consider an antique calling card case.

These were used by both ladies and gentlemen, and constituted a real status symbol. They came in elegant mother-of-pearl and engraved sterling silver. Papier maché, leather and carved ivory were also used. Those who could afford them flaunted calling card cases of gold. One of the most costly was of tortoiseshell studded with gold pique. The era ended around 1900, when leather cases were being mass produced.

The cases were slim and rectangular in shape, and either hinged or fitted with a lid that lifted off. The ladies’ cases were about four inches by three inches, and one-half inch thick; they held half a dozen cards. The gentlemen’s boxes were a little wider and hinged on the long side. They were occasionally divided into silk compartments inside, and could hold a dozen cards.

The calling card cases easiest to date are those of silver, as they carry a hallmark. Especially popular in the 1850s were cases of tooled leather with petit point needlework or decorations of porcupine quills set in ebony. Most of the papier maché ones also came from this decade. In the 1860s and 1870s, mother-of-pearl was a favored material. These dates only represent guidelines, however, because most materials were used throughout the entire period of popularity to some extent.

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