My Weekly Score: Wallace Silverplate Compote

Wallace is a really great name in silverplate, so if the price is right, I’d suggest always picking up a piece if you see one!

The above is a silverplate compote from Wallace. Traditionally used to serve compote the dessert, it can also be used as a centerpiece of just another bowl to put fruit or even salad in.

This is indeed silverplate, with no dents or dings. It definitely needed a good polish, but I always leave that up to the buyer, as some people like the tarnished look.

But it had a sticker! And stickers always good.

We bought this in a lot with other pieces of silver. We probably only ended up paying a couple of dollars for each piece – max – and sold it for $41.99. Whooo!

Do you like Wallace silver, or do you prefer another brand name?


Word of the Week: Andirons

An andiron is an L-shaped iron bar used in the fireplace to hold wood. They come in pairs and logs are laid across the horizontal portion, in order to build up a fire. Getting the wood up off the ground allows more air to pass under the logs, reducing the amount of smoke. The vertical portion is there to catch the logs in case they settle and decide to roll.

These are usually made of cast or wrought iron (though the ones below are mostly brass). They’re footed, and some of the better (and older ones) have legs that are actually in the shape of legs! They may have clawed feet on the end, too. Some of these can be extremely ornate.

P.S. Happy Halloween to everyone out there planning some spooky or silly fun tonight! Eat lots of candy!!

Fakes & Forgeries: Nippon

The word “Nippon” is simply a term for “Japan.” This term was used up until about 1920 when the United States Government disallowed it. So, if you can find a piece that says Nippon, it’s probably from before the 1920s.

Of course, there’s always a catch.

There are plenty of fakes out there. And not just fakes, but newer reproductions that may be similar (or identical) to the older ones. It’s important as a buyer, seller, and/or collector to be able to spot a fake when you see one.

This list of what to look for is not an end-all professional’s guide to spotting the real deal. It’s a list of tips that should serve you well, but always be wary. (Insert clip of Mad-Eye Moody saying, “CONSTANT VIGILENCE!”) Ask for proof of authenticity, inquire about the history of that specific piece, and0 always try to buy from a reputable source.

A. Backstamps: There are plenty of fakes out there, so be sure to brush up on which ones are definitely not original Nippon backstamps. The ones that mimic the real ones will probably be blurry and/or messy looking.

B. Weight: Real Nippon is lightweight, like bone china. If it feels heavy or clunky at all, you’ve probably got a reproduction or a fake.

C. Transparency: When held up to the light, you should be able to see it shining through the piece. This is because real Nippon is made out of a thin and delicate porcelain. If it’s solid white and you can’t see the light coming through, then it’s probably fake.

D. Details: Nippon was hand painted by artists with an extremely good eye and a talented hand. There should be minimal mistakes. The glaze should be even and should cover the entire piece. No details should be sloppy or poorly painted on.

E. Gold: The newer gold will look more yellow than that bronze-gold finish of the older pieces. Don’t worry if some of the gold is worn away – this is normal for a used and vintage piece. If the gold looks fake, then it probably is. Remember, real gold leaf/gilding was used with these pieces.

Also be sure to familiarize yourself with known patterns and shapes of Nippon ware. Some fakes could look like the real-deal, but if it’s not a known pattern, it’s probably NOT a long-lost piece of Nippon. More than likely, it’s a knockoff.

This post was put together with the help of several others. The first of which is this great eBay guide. They’ve got some fantastic pictures of fake backstamps there. Next is this indispensable post from the Myriad Trading Co’s blog. They have tons of supporting pictures and more detailed information. They’ve also got a post about the real Nippon backstamps.

Have you run across any Nippon before? I’ve got a sugar and creamer that belonged to my grandmother, and I’m fairly certain it’s real. I’ll have to snap some pictures of it and show you guys sometime!

My Weekly Score: Maritime Lantern

As I’ve said before, The Boss seems to have an affinity for lights and lamps. Lanterns are no exception. We got this bad boy in quite a while ago:

It’s an antique lantern that, presumably, once belonged on a ship. It was made out of copper and brass. Etched on the front were a bunch of number and letter combinations we couldn’t make head or tail out of.

The inside was for oil, and there was still a little bit of usable wick in there for it. There was some damage to the lantern as a whole, including some rusty areas, but overall I thought it still looked pretty nice.

Maritime items are pretty popular – particularly ones that have lighthouses on them. These old lanterns sell pretty well too. We had to sit on this one for a while, but having bought it from $150, we sold it off for $200, which didn’t include the shipping.

Although this was a great sale in terms of what we sold, the price wasn’t quite as much as we would hope for. No complaints here, though. It’s a neat item and I’m just glad that somebody found a good use for it!

Have you come across any neat nautical items recently?

My Weekly Score: Sunflower Hanging Lamp

We’re pretty big fans of antique hanging lamps around here. They’re often unique, hand painted, and quite beautiful. The biggest complaint is that they’re pretty hard to ship and ensure that they’ve made it to the buyer in one piece. That’s usually a risk worth taking though, as they often bring in a pretty solid profit. I also love carrying on the legacy of these original kerosene lamps that haven’t been converted to electric. I think they make awesome additions to any room in a house.

This one has been one of my favorites. Although it was converted into an electric hanging lamp, the beauty of the shade is unsurpassed. The hand painted sunflower theme was subtle and detailed – plus I just really love the color green.

The rest of the lamp was brass and it had a group of prisms hanging off the edges. There were just a handful of them, which was nice. Sometimes prisms can be a little overwhelming – especially when you think about taking them on and off to try to clean them all!

This particular lamp cost us $168, which is a pretty good deal considering it was in excellent condition. We were able to sell it for $300 to a nice home in New Mexico.

My Weekly Score: Antique Balzac Books

This was a nice little surprise for us. The Boss bought a set of these books at an auction for $55, which is generally a pretty good price for an old series like this. I dug all 26 of them out, took pictures, and put them online as quickly as I could. It was a good deal.

Then an hour later – as I was fishing through more of the boxes from the sale – I came across 27 more. Wow! That was a much bigger set than I had anticipated. Keeping my head down, hoping no one would notice my folly, I quickly snapped some more pictures and added them to the original listing. I bumped the price a little, but I still kept it low according to what Terapeak was telling me.

The books, by the way, are from the late 1800s to early 1900s. They are by Honore de Balzac and have been translated from French into English. They detail scenes from this period in time – from country life to Parisian life to military and political life. With 53 volumes, there’s PLENTY here to read through.

The cool thing, especially, is that these are hardcover, limited edition books. Only 1,000 copies were made of each title and the set we had was #52. This wasn’t the complete set, as some volumes from each title were definitely missing, but it was very nearly so! And overall the damage was fairly minimal – something that is always nice to see in books this old.

We ended up selling the whole set for $200.00. Not bad!!

Have you ever come across an old set of books like these? What were they about? Do you like keeping them or selling them?

My Weekly Score: Dickens Books

Old books are a great thing to sell on eBay, especially if your book happens to be written by one of the most influential and famous authors the world has ever seen.

Enter Charles Dickens and this 12-volume set you see below.

The books are from 1884 and were obviously part of the same collection. All of these factors led to a great sale price (but we’ll get to that in a minute).

The titles included the following (some of which had two titles to each volume): Christmas Books/Great Expectations, Martin Chuzzlewit, American & Italian Notes/Edwin Drood, Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, Our Mutual Friend, Dombey and Son, Christmas Stories/Uncommercial Traveller, Barnaby Rudge/Hard Times, Sketches by “Boz”/Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit, Old Curiosity Shop/Reprinted Pieces

The books had some general shelf wear, but were actually in pretty good condition still. This was great considering the age of the collection.

We were lucky enough to snatch this set for about $23. I put them up for $74.99, and a bidding war ensued! It ended on $107.37 and we couldn’t be happier. I hope they live on someone’s bookshelf for a long time to come.