Last week the folks here at Houlton Stamp and Coin took in some odd items....Grave marker plates. These are commonly made out of lead or white metal, NOT SILVER. These plates were attached to stones prior to the changes in cemeteries, removing headstones and replacing them with “mow over” stones. When the headstone was changed, the family would receive the plate from it. Why a plate? These plates resisted lichen and moss growth, while the stone itself would not, so the name was always visible, never needed cleaning and would shine in the sun.
These plates are somewhat collectible, in a macabre sense. I found a few for sale on Ebay, and quite a few on Etsy. Folks like to frame these it seems. Through research I found that many of the wealthier folks would have some pretty ornate plates. The design seemed to include many Greek revival style pillar and curtains. Each plate is approximately 7-9 inches by 4-6 inches tall. What a strange collection!!!!
Gravestones or headstones (I am sure there are other names as well) never really became “popular”, more so they became common once cemeteries were created. Prior to cemeteries folks buried they dead on the family land or in pauper graves, sometimes marked by a wooden cross, sometimes simply marked by a tree. Sea faring folks would often throw the person over the rails, allowing them to go back to the sea. The act of placing a body in a casket or entombing a person was put in place to slow the decay process.....all of this is common knowledge but did you know this?
Safety coffins were prevalent in the Victorian era, these were put in place to prevent premature burial. In the age of cholera this was considered a big problem. The following is from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_coffin:
“P.G. Pessler, a German priest, suggested in 1798 that all coffins have a tube inserted from which a cord would run to the church bells. If an individual had been buried alive he could draw attention to himself by ringing the bells. This idea, while highly impractical, led to the first designs of safety coffins equipped with signalling systems. Pessler's colleague, Pastor Beck, suggested that coffins should have a small trumpet-like tube attached. Each day the local priest could check the state of putrefaction of the corpse by sniffing the odours emanating from the tube. If no odour was detected or the priest heard cries for help the coffin could be dug up and the occupant rescued.
Dr. Adolf Gutsmuth was buried alive several times to demonstrate a safety coffin of his own design, and in 1822 he stayed underground for several hours and even ate a meal of soup, bratwurst, marzipan, sauerkraut, spätzle, beer, and for dessert, prinzregententorte, delivered to him through the coffin's feeding tube.”
On a final note: The common expression of “saved by the bell” is a boxing term versus the debunked myth of a nightwatchman who would wait all night listening for bells in a graveyard. The urban legend of strings inside a casket and a bell above ground has been proven false.....
Stay collecting my friends. Come visit us downtown, at a live auction or online. We offer online auctions, live auctions, estate clean-outs and advice (sometimes it even is right) .
Its cold out today, minus something here in the county. I am blessed to be inside where it is warm, writing and sorting through another pile of stuff from a recent estate. As I sorted I came across a large collection of planters (plant pots, jardinieres) that has originated in the back shed of this estate. There was quite a range, from earlier porcelain to modern plastic, from used to bought in anticipation of spring. MMMM Spring...
The definition for Jardiniere is not straightforward, most of us know it as an ornamental plant stand, however it has many other meanings. Add an accent here or there and you may be referencing a type of vegetable arrangement, a restaurant, a component of a French stew and more. However, based upon my want for spring, the plant pot definition is the what I am most focused on.
Originally used to hold posies (e,g., flowers), a jardiniere would be a large piece while its counterpart, cachepot, would be more of the apartment owner (shelf) size. In the antique business the word jardiniere is used incorrectly quite often. A plant pot is more accurately a cachepot, while a larger stand (floor model if you would) is the jardiniere.
In the 18th century the world was still being explored regularly. New areas were found often and unexplored territories meant new plants, animals and more. This is the period when house plants came into vogue. The new plants being brought back by the explorers needed something to house them for display. The Cachepot or jardiniere was the best option, depending on the size of your home. Larger homes would house jardinieres on decks and entry ways, while smaller dwellings would simply have a cachepot.
The jardiniere or cachepot was made from many different mediums, porcelain being the one most seen today. Porcelain could be decorated while being fired, could be multicolored and could hold different glazes. This simply made it the choice for decorating. Brass and other mediums certainly were used, but some of the most beautiful pieces are in porcelain, in my opinion.
When I started in antiques Roseville pottery was sought after by every dealer I knew. That is not the case these days, although it is still a great collectible. I can recall going to auction after auction chasing larger (jardiniere or large pot) pieces for shops or shows. Today we can purchase these same pieces, albeit not made in Ohio by the famous potters, at Walmart, Tractor supply and almost every lawn sale. So how does one differentiate from modern to old, from valuable to worthless? The simplest way is through the mark on the base of the pot. This mark usually identifies the potter, the studio or the overall company that made it.
No mark, no problem. Look at the glaze, look at the wear on the base. Does the item show lots of wear? If so it is older, no wear can certainly be an indication that this is a modern piece. However, unless you are specifically collecting older jardinieres, would a new piece not fill the void? A nice jardiniere or cachepot can liven a room with color, add beauty through the plant in it and bring conversation forth simply by being in the space.
The chipped or cracked jardiniere is still worth owning, mostly because it can usually be purchased at a discount and has no flaw beyond the chip. The chipped side can always face the wall and in the end this vessel simply holds a plant so a chip should not matter to the user, to the collector it does of course.
Here is hoping Spring is around the corner for all of you. Come visit us downtown, at a live auction or online. We offer online auctions, live auctions, estate clean-outs and advice (sometimes it even is right) .
Over the last 20 years the business of buying and selling has changed dramatically. EBAY and other online auction sites have changed the way people sell antiques. From the comfort of your home you can buy and sell almost anything. The process is streamlined and simple, options are in place for folks to sell things outright or run an auction and sell to the highest bidder. This differs from the live auction format in many ways, however the biggest difference is the excitement of a live auction.
Live auctions are making a bit of a comeback, especially in rural areas. The process of selling items online may be streamlined, however it still requires computer savvy, packing skills and time. The item must be well photographed, packed for shipment and of course needs a well written description. The live auction allows for items to sell for the highest price, based upon the bidders in the room. There is not need for pictures or packing, just a need for an auctioneer to bring out the excitement in the room.
Attending a live auction allows folks to view items, touch them, inspect the item and also forces people to mingle and learn about items. Buying items online typically does not allow for new friendships or education on items. Don't get me wrong, there are forums and websites for all that, however a live auction differs as these interactions are spur of the moment. I have learned more being an auctioneer than I have in the shop.
Before and after each auction I am approached by winning and losing bidders that explain why they bought something or why they passed on an item. With 250-400 lots per auction, I truly don't know a great deal about each item, just a cursory amount, enough to sell it. However the customers at an auction do know about these items. They handle them and inspect them. They test the wiring, turn the cranks and spend more time than I do with the stuff. It is my favorite part of the auction when folks educate me on what they collect, why they bought certain things and more importantly when folks impart their passion on me. The excitement of a live auction is truly contagious and should be experienced by everyone at some point.......The internet is nice, but in person transactions have some great points as well.
Come out and see us some Sunday in the county.
HOULTON STAMP, COIN & PAWN