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Author Topic:   What do people collect?
doc

Posts: 705
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 09-28-2005 06:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am always interested in hearing about what particular collections people have within their silver collecting, so I thought it would be fun to see what items capture people's imaginations.

I'll start: I have a thing for coin mustard spoons, swing handled sugar baskets and fish slices. My attraction to coin mustard spoons is their grace and balance-very clean lines and simple. The fish slices started with a gift of a William Bateman fish slice from my husband and I was hooked (pardon the pun!). I love the elaborate designs on blades and the heft of the slice in my hand. The sugar baskets didn't start out as an intentional collection-I just bought one and then another, but with my 4th one just recently purchased, I guess it's officially a collection!

So, what do you collect?

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4084
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-28-2005 08:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dust -- it's all my budget will bear.

If I could, I would collect the ephemera of pre-1850 silver -- advertisements, letters, tradecards, etc.

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agleopar

Posts: 840
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 09-30-2005 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Doc, I like the choices of your collection, Wev i'm not so sure about, but hey I will not judge, because my self imposed ( like a gambler who only goes into a casino with$5) collecting budget is only a notch above.

For 30 years my best friend in London has collected tea spoons in the markets. I have heard of his great finds, A pound for an incuse George, or a Shefield plate spoon, recently a Derby spoon.

So about six years ago I started on tea spoons. It is a tiny thrill to spot a 1760 English spoon or a coffin top, maybe in ratty shape but it does not matter at $3-5 a spoon. Sometimes I'll go up to $15-20 for a wheatsheath, but I only have a few of those, mostly I'll buy at the bottom, dented and bent, but if I do not have the mark or it looks interesting, the dents can be removed.

Some day I can start refining and getting Quality, but for now a few hundred spoons laid out and studied is a world of beauty and fascination.

And if I had the budget? Brittania, Roccoco, Colonial...

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 09-30-2005 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like WEV I have "champagne taste on a water budget," so I collect small items, mostly spoons. I travel a lot and really enjoy scouring markets and shops for interesting pieces. While the appearance of the item is one consideration, the hallmarks are another. I had great fun finding the "Dublin mystery spoon" and even more fun discussing it on line.

Aside from cost, there is the issue of space. We live in a small house, and I want to stay married, which means not cluttering it with too much stuff - my wife says the place is begining to look like a museum (I also collect wooden boxes, orthodox easter eggs, and icons).

Speaking of marriage, I combine my silver hobby with some ingenious gift giving. I bring back bangle bracelets and thimbles for my wife. I get to check out the marks, she gets to wear the bracelets and display the thimbles. We just celeberated our "silver" anniversary (good thing, because I can afford neither gold nor diamonds.)

Cheers,
Tom

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 10-01-2005 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must say that I have ended up with a "collection of collections", but it is entirely on purpose. When my budget was also in the dust range, I started out collecting 1920s vintage silverplate flatware from thrift store bins. When I chanced upon a coin silver spoon in amongst the silverplate ($0.19 a piece), I fell in love and started buying most of the pieces I found, which being in Wisconsin was not all that many. For quite a while, I was determined to collect coin silver exclusively, then expanded it to include pre-1880 sterling, which appeared at about the same rate (slowly, which fit the budget pretty well).

Finally, I was shaken out of my focus by a chance find. I was in a small town in Wisconsin, looking at a case of silver flatware, and saw an unusual piece of Tiffany as well as some nice bright cut coin pieces. I was going to buy a coin piece because it fit into the "collection", while the Tiffany was obviously more recent than 1880. The Tiffany was heavy and beautiful, though, as well as cheap ($30!), so I bought it instead. Several years later, when Dr. Hood's book came out, I found that my piece was Tiffany's BLACKBERRY, and that it was a sugar spoon, which had not been seen in BLACKBERRY before. I'm sure there are more out there, but it seems to be a very rare piece!

Anyway, I think the lesson is "Buy what you like, and don't be a slave to your own collection". I would rather have an accumulation of unrelated individual pieces I really like than a strictly defined collection. Hence the coin silver box, the Arts & Crafts box, the Victorian box, the pewter shelf, the art nouveau shelf, etc.

And, I really like every piece!

Brent

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 10-01-2005 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally (not as a curator) I collect forks and teaspoons to use. I decided stainless was pointless, and starting buying on Ebay, at antique show, random dinner forks, luncheon forks, and teaspoons. These are my everyday flatware, and only I understand the subtle differences of the various patterns. (Only I am allowed to use the single Tiffany "Japanese" fork). Some are famous patterns, some are just nice designs I picked out of "$10" boxes at shows. I have a Gorham "Versailles" luncheon fork that has the word "Honolulu" mysteriously engraved across the top of the tines. I always give this to my daughter, who could care less, but it seems right. My family thinks I'm crazy. I also have a smaller group of table spoons of different period, purchased over the years as souvenirs, which only I am allowed to use for my breakfast cereal. Then there are the souvenir spoons with Grant's Tomb on them (don't ask). So I get my collector jollies, while saving my major purchases for my job (and aren't I lucky to be able to do that!).

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salmoned

Posts: 336
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 10-02-2005 05:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for salmoned     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's no secret I collect sugar tongs. Something about the form attracts me - two nearly identical arms with bowls or claws at the termini, joined by a flexible bridge, and designed to transport sweetness into a bitter potion. I guess it approximates my concept of marriage. I have about 60, mostly 20th century American, though I prefer earlier British (bowls rather than claws).

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 10-02-2005 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like Wev, on my budget for the most part collect dust, but hopefully underneath it there are some treasures. My DH likes the ephemera stuff . He puts up with my "stuff" and I put up with his. (Wev, he'll keep an eye out for ads for you.)

Unlike tmockait,(I admire you for maintaining harmony in your home) I OTOH go out of control at Yard sales & the like, & took advantage of a nice sized home & ran a muck filling it with anything that I fell in love with regardless of whether it matched or not, as long as it was in my budget, 25cents to $25 for the most part. Like Brent a myriad of glass, china, silver, bronze, toys, jewelry,sports stuff, musical instruments, art ad infinitum...(All probably due to the fact as a child I got moved around & everything got tossed out along the way.) I too get many fun gifts for family & friends things I could never afford retail. Silver Baby spoons, forks, mugs etc.

It it so much fun at holiday time though as I set the table with my Gorham, Tiffany, Cusack, Adams.

Like Mr. Dietz my kids have fun with their pieces & I have them guess the original use for them. ( A sneaky way of learning history.) Of course they think I'm nuts, but I am a Happy nut!

To Mr. Dietz I stumbled across (in one of my dust bowls) a small souvenir spoon of Grant's tomb done by George Homer from Boston. Do you have one by him?

I must say it keeps us all going, keeps us out of busy malls with no parking to be found, lets us meet interesting people & I think a fun way to learn history about people, cultures etc.

I am sure I will continue even if I reach a point that I would need a "Jazzy" to get around in!

All of you Enjoy the Day.........now I must get back to my other loves......Baseball, Football, Basketball & Hockey (thank goodness for remote control)! Amen!

Stay safe! Jersey

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 10-02-2005 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jersey,

Not harmony, just a successful negotiation over wall space!

Tom

[This message has been edited by tmockait (edited 10-02-2005).]

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 10-02-2005 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tmockait!
Whatever works, congrats.........I wish I had wall space to negotiate.
OTOH I don't negotiate, I'm Italian! Matriarchs Rule! (kidding-a little)
.Jersey

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dragonflywink

Posts: 971
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 10-02-2005 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My silver fetish started during the '70s with some nice modernist jewelry, picked up cheap at flea markets, they fit in well with a love of Scandinavian Modern design that originated early (only girl in grade school that craved sleek teak bedroom furniture, as opposed to that white & gold "French Provincial" stuff). Started picking up old serving pieces that intrigued me, sparking an interest in American pattern silver, also found that many of the pieces I'd gravitated to had Scandinavian origins. Interest in the Danish part of my heritage translated into Viking themed items, which brought me to souvenir spoons, still find the detail of some of the designs amazing (and sometimes amusing), have around 350, with themes or origins that appeal to me, not to mention that spoons of all types fit well into my budget. Have always liked coin silver, but participation in the forums has sparked even more of an interest, and much appreciation for the information offered. Also have a modest collection of early 1900s "spoon" postcards, some would have been considered a bit risque in their time. Somewhere along the way, developed a love of Skonvirke design, and with deep respect for Georg Jensen, truly prefer pieces by less prolific makers (though I definitely covet some of the early holloware pieces). Have learned to cull my collection over the years, and try to keep only pieces that "speak" to me. This includes everything from a touristy silverplate Viking bottle opener to a lush Francis I sterling bowl to an elegantly simple Jaccard & Co. coin julep cup ($18.00 antique mall find, one of my "best buys"). Sometimes, very ordinary pieces are special because they were passed on to me or given as a gift. As with Brent, if I like it, it seems to fit into the collection.

Have always had collecting tendencies, stifled as Jersey's was, by constant moves as a child. Along with silver, my collections include boxes, buttons and buttonhooks, eggs, Wedgwood green jasperware, pewter, Scandinavian and American studio pottery, wood carvings, and seashells, along with dragonfly, lily-of-the-valley, panda and Viking related items, and just for a touch of tacky - trolls (hey, they're originally Scandinavian - please don't mock me!).

Cheryl ;o)

[This message has been edited by dragonflywink (edited 10-02-2005).]

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sazikov2000

Posts: 254
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 10-02-2005 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sazikov2000     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All my life I collected something, depending on my personal development I think...
As a boy orders and medals, followed by small arms and uniforms. As I grew older and more intelligent I lost my heart to oil paintings and bronce figures. But when the iron curtain fell and my second passion, travelling, brought me to Russia and the Baltic, I knew what I always looked for but had never found: Russian silver, gold, niello, enemal, Pappmaché, samorodok, oil paintings, bronce etc. And by the way a terrific country to travel with extremly nice people to talk and live. I am an old man now but I think I have finally reached my goal. Thank God. Collecting can be very exiting and I know all the ups and downs of it. Now I am happy and calm.

Sazikov 2000

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 10-03-2005 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In regard to silver, to be frank I hadn't given it much thought until by pure circumstance I began to deal with very much of it. Ordinarily I see a lot of American patterned flatware and holloware, and except perhaps for the most exceptional of pieces, these haven't captured my passions. However, I did discover the thrilling field of Russian silver not long ago, and have since begun to collect, if only a little. In a world of comparatively ordinary sterling, Russian silver offers me exotic styles and techniques that stand distinctly out from other things I see from day to day. The pre-1898 Russian markings also provide a reasonably navigable and consistent method for dating and identifying pieces, which is certainly a help. Enamels and niello are especially eye-catching. Admittedly, my budget at this time allows me only to collect small sets of spoons. I hope to broaden my collections to smaller pieces of holloware at some point soon—Enamelled charka cups would be nice... Additionally, I have purchased some Austro-Hungarian silver, and will likely acquire some other Continental work as well.

[This message has been edited by IJP (edited 10-03-2005).]

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doc

Posts: 705
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 10-03-2005 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have found that my silver collecting has been a benefit to my marriage, since my husband now has something he can buy me for holidays and birthdays! For a novice, he does pretty well, although he occasionally engages the assistance of my mother, who was a silver dealer for many years. I briefly made the mistake of starting to collect hammered aluminum, which bandwagon he jumped on quickly due to the price difference, but I have put a stop to that (both the collecting and the gifting!)

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 10-03-2005 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Doc,

Thanks for confirming that buying my wife silver is a good idea! I know better than to try hammered aluminum.

Tom

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Argent47

Posts: 67
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 10-17-2005 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Argent47     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I collect cigarette cases, spoons, peperettes, crumb pickers, perfume vessels, and many more. Usually, all British silver.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1758
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-20-2006 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My two favorite periods are the Aesthetic Movement and Mid-Century Modernism. I also like avant-garde designs from all periods, anything with fine enameling, and miscellaneous curiosities.

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 02-20-2006 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, Paul:

I'm with you on Aesthetic (Japanesque) work, only my budget just won't allow for it!! I have to remain satisfied with seeing and handling nice work of that style from time to time at my job.

Not long ago, I met a local gentleman who inquired about mixed-metals, which at the time I was unable to provide, as I seldom see it on the market at a price that would justify acquiring it. However, I did have available a Dominick & Haff Aesthetic water pitcher with intaglio-chased dragonfly, spider, and leaves, and I was glad to talk about it with someone who truly appreciates that kind of work. The gentleman's wife later purchased that piece for him, and I made it clear that I would keep him in mind if I came across other items in the Aesthetic style, most especially mixed-metals.

More recently, that gentleman and his wife dropped by, and he had in his hands something he wanted to show me, wrapped in white tissue. He handed it to me, and I unwrapped the object to reveal a five-inch tall mixed-metals tea caddy. I immediately turned it over to see the marks (as anyone of a like mind would be won't to do), and discovered an 1880's (I don't remember the precise year) Dominick & Haff mark. The gentleman had inherited the tea caddy some time ago, and when he discovered that his newly acquired water pitcher bore the same maker's mark, he thought of me and knew that I would appreciate the work.

I understand that this gentleman has quite of collection of similar objects, and I very earnestly hope that one day I'll get to see more of it. I'm always glad to see him when he visits.

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