Wednesday 27 June 2012

Baby's Plates

As well as baby feeders, I also collect baby's plates. This started out as a couple of plates to go with my baby feeders and is now a small collection of baby's plates, cups, jugs, etc. Basically any children's or infant's china ware and the older the better.

Just some of my baby's plates
Above is a photo of just part of this collection and below are some photos of some of the individual plates.

First up is this oval shaped baby's plate featuring brownies (imaginary little sprites).

I found this plate in an antique shop in the northern suburbs of Hobart, Tasmainia while on holidays last year. It is made by the English company "GRIMWADES" at Stoke On Trent in 1900-10. It features a group of little brownies playing harmless pranks and also trying to do good deeds for some humans. I particularly like the way that the blue sky and white clouds continue over the edge of the plate. There is another similar brownies plate, although round instead of oval, also available from this same company.
Backstamp of Brownies Baby's Plate by Grimwades

Next is a round baby's plate featuring decoration by Mabel Lucy Attwell.

I bought this plate on eBay last year from a Queensland seller. It is made by that well known English company, "Shelley", and would date from about 1930-40. Mabel Lucy Attwell was very well known for her drawings of little children with rosy cheeks playing with fairies. These fairies are also known as 'Boo Boos'. She decorated many items with them for the Shelley company. This plate features a rhyme explaining the predicament the little girl is in with the see saw. Apparently fairies are a lot lighter than a small child, hence the fairies being stuck up in the air on their end of the see saw.
Backstamp of Mabel Lucy Attwell Baby's Plate by Shelley

The third baby's plate is a royal commemorative plate featuring budgerigars.

I found this baby's plate on a stall at Collectorama last year. It doesn't look like a royal commemorative item until you turn it over and read the backstamp. You then see that it was produced to commemorate the birth of Princess Margret Rose, Queen Elizabeth II's younger sister, on the 21st of August 1930. At least this makes the plate easy to date. The plate is made by another English company named Paragon China. Apparently, Paragon started labelling some of their better quality china as Royal Paragon China before they were actually granted a Royal Warrant to do so. Their first Warrant of Appointment was not granted until 1933. This plate features a pair of budgerigars amongst some sprays of flowers. Not sure if the budgerigars or flowers have any royal significance. The decoration is a grey transfer print that has later been hand painted.
Backstamp of Commemorative Baby's Plate by Paragon China
First portrait of Princess Margaret Rose with her mother, the Queen Mother,
 from the Illustrated London News November 1, 1930.

The last baby's plate is of semicircular shape featuring nursery rhymes.

This plate was only found by me a week or so ago at an Aladdin's Fair. I was taken with the unusual shape for a baby's plate so had to buy it for my collection. I haven't seen another quite like it. I usually don't make a practice of buying damaged items. This plate does have a small chip on the rim but was reasonably priced and unique enough to make an exception. This is yet another plate from an English company, this time H & K Tunstall. This Staffordshire pottery was in production from 1870 to 1956 when it was incorporated into the Johnson Bros group. According to the unicorn backstamp, this plate would date from between 1933-42. It features two nursery rhyme pictures, Jack & Jill and Simple Simon.

Backstamp of Semicircular Baby's Plate by H & K Tunstall

Stay tuned collectors and I will feature some other baby's plates and cups in a future post.

Monday 25 June 2012

Miniature Bookcase of Sir Walter Scott's Novels

Thought I would share with you one of my favourite antiques from my own collection. It is a complete set of 32 volumes of the Handy Volume "Waverly" Edition of Sir Walter Scott's Novels housed in it's own miniature bookcase.

It would be about 40 years ago now when I found this set of books for sale at Lloyd's Bookshop in Elizabeth Arcade in Brisbane city. I believe the bookshop has now moved elsewhere. I just happened to be browsing through this shop one lunch hour when I saw them sitting on a shelf for just $18. This seemed like a pretty good buy even 40 years ago but still quite a lot for a teenager (as I was then) to spend on some old books which I would probably never read. But I had very quickly fallen in love with them so I decided I must buy them. I didn't have the full amount on me so opted to put them on lay-by with a $6 deposit. When I got back to work I couldn't stop thinking about the low price of the books as I felt that they were worth a lot more. I started to get concerned that if I left them on lay-by for too long the bookshop owner may try to renegotiate the original price when it was time to pick them up (not that I really believed he could legally do so but I didn't want to push my luck). So that same afternoon, I got some money out of my bank account, paid for the books in full and took my new found prize home.

When I first saw the books in the bookshop, I noticed that the first volume, "Waverley", was inscribed and dated 1879. Assuming that they would have had to been published some time earlier than this date, this would make them getting on towards 100 years old even back then. Now of course they are at least 133 years old. Definitely a true antique according to the accepted Australian terminology of an antique being something at least 100 years old.

Each individual book is just 12cm x 8.8cm
The inscription in the first volume reads as follows:-

Lucy Emma Hemhily
A Birth-day
token of
her Father's
1st December

The surname is really only a guess as it is rather illegible to me. Anyone got any other ideas as to what the surname may be? There are no other dates on these books that I can find.

It would be very interesting to know more about the original owner. How old was Lucy when her Father gave her these books as a gift? Where did she live? Was this a family treasure kept for many years or has it had many owners in its lifetime? How cool would it be to actually meet one of Lucy's descendant? I can only live in hope.

The Waverley Novels are a long series of books by Sir Walter Scott. For nearly a century they were among the most popular and widely-read novels in all of Europe. Because he did not publicly acknowledge authorship until 1827, they originally took their name from his first novel "Waverley" which was published in 1814. Later books were known to bear the words "by the author of Waverley" on their title pages. More loosely, the term Waverley is used to refer to all of Walter Scott's novels.
Sir Walter Scott is credited as inventing a brand new style of literature that was to become the archetype of the historical novel throughout the world. This series of books was to influence generations of writers and earned Sir Walter Scott his well earned reputation as the founder of the historical novel. Some of his best known works include "Ivanhoe" and "Rob Roy".

The miniature, black ebonized, wooden bookcase is just 33cm high x 35.5cm wide x 10.8cm deep.
The gold paper name across the top is in good condition except for a piece missing from one end.
The back of the bookcase still has the original paper covering. 

Sunday 24 June 2012

More Australian Pokerwork

My collection of Australian pokerwork items grew last weekend with the addition of two more vases.

The two vases in the centre of the photo above were found at last Sunday's Aladdin's Fair.

My two latest pieces of pokerwork
It was the large vase that caught my eye first rather than the small one. I ended up taking them both as it really made very little difference to the overall price whether I only bought one or both of them. I figured that I could always try to resell the small vase if I wanted to or I could use it as an experimental restoration candidate sometime. Always better to try things out first on the minor pieces in your collection just incase things end in disaster. The small vase does however still have some naive charm about it. It is simply decorated with some gum nuts and gum leaves.

Detail of the gum blossom decoration on the large vase (flash was used to help bring out the rich colours)
The large vase is decorated with gum blossoms and gum leaves. It's the depth and richness of the decoration on this vase that I love. This type of decoration utilises tinting and shading rather than the deep burnt lines used on the small vase.

There is however some deterioration to the varnish finish on this vase, especially around the top. Not sure if this can be successfully corrected without damaging the original decoration. I will have to pick the brain of a friend of mine who collects and restores pokerwork to see what can be done. Until then I will refer to this deterioration as being the vases "patina" or "acceptable age related character".

And so my Australiana collection continues to grow. Seems to be my main focus at the moment. What will be next?

Tuesday 12 June 2012

My Vintage Jelly Mould Collection

Up until earlier this year, the only jelly moulds that I had in my collection of kitchenalia were two clear glass moulds that I found at the Dayboro Day Antiques and Collectables Fair two years ago.

Then I recently managed to pick up four more moulds for my collection from an Aladdins Collectables Fair. This time they were all white pottery rather than glass. I had always wanted some white pottery moulds and had often looked at them in antique shops but they were always to dear for me.

And even more recently I have acquired three more, bringing my current total to nine. Two of these latest ones are white pottery bought from the Sunshine Coast Antique and Collectables Show last month and one is brown salt glaze stoneware bought from Collectorama in Nambour a week ago.

Some of my jelly moulds

The age of these moulds vary quite considerably. I can only estimate most of their ages, however the two T. G. Green moulds are a little easier to date more precisely.

Beginning with what I believe to be the oldest jelly mould is this small Victorian one. It is impressed on the base with No. 25, 5 and a small star or flower mark. I suppose these are the pattern number and size of the mould. It does however have a few chips and a hairline crack.

Small Victorian jelly mould (13cm long approx.)

Next is another very small, early mould but this time from the Wedgwood factory, probably also from the Victorian era. It is impressed on the side with "WEDGWOOD", 24, 31 and the letter H. Again I assume that the numbers represent the pattern and size. Unfortunately this mould has a rather nasty chip and crack. I only bought it because I had never seen a small Wedgwood mould like this and the price was reasonable considering its poor condition.

Small "WEDGWOOD" jelly mould (just 8cm long approx.)

I believe that the next two moulds could be late Victorian or Edwardian.  The first one is quite a large mould that stands about 14cm high. This would make one impressive jelly. This mould doesn't have any identifying makers marks but at least it is in good condition with just a bit of crazing.

Large Victorian jelly mould (20cm long approx.)

Next is another large mould that is over 23cm in diameter but only 7cm deep internally. It is nicely decorated inside with a pattern of grapes, leaves and other fruit. Again, a jelly or what ever else that would come out of this mould would be most impressive. This mould is clearly marked in green on the base by a circle surrounding the letters V&B over an M. It also has a rather indistinct impressed mark of what I think is "No 249", the letters JH over the number 37 and possibly the number 1 on the side. There are also two holes in the foot rim of this mould enabling it to be hung on the wall for either storage or display. This mould is in very good condition with only a small chip on the rim.

Large V&B M jelly mould (almost 24cm across)

My most recently acquired jelly mould is a lovely, glossy, brown, salt glaze stoneware mould.  It has no markings identifying where it was made but looks very similar to the Bendigo Pottery products (although it could have been made almost anywhere). Dating this mould is rather difficult as it could have been made as early as the mid Victorian era or right up to the early 20th century. Its condition is very good with it only having a few small chips.

Salt glaze stoneware jelly mould (17.5cm long approx.)

The two glass jelly moulds would be more recent than the previous five moulds, probably early to mid 20th century. They are both unmarked and in good condition except for a chip and fracture mark in the first more decorative one. I knew it had a chip but didn't even notice the fracture when I bought it. I was a bit disappointed to find it when I got home. It goes to show that no matter how hard you exam an item before buying, you can still make mistakes. The lighting is not the best around some of the stalls at Aladdins Fair where I bought it from. If you are paying big money for an item, it really should be examined in bright, natural sunlight. Thankfully the stall holder had this mould very reasonably priced which I now understand was due to its condition. When I think back, this mould may have even been marked A/F which usually means "as found". It is a sellers way of letting you know that this is the condition that they got it in. Always examine any item marked A/F very carefully before buying.
Both these moulds probably came from the Crown Crystal Glass Company. This Sydney based company was formed in 1926 and produced glass wares up until the late 60s. It eventually merged with the American company Corning in 1972 to become Crown Corning. 

1st glass jelly mould (17cm long approx.)
2nd glass jelly mould (17cm long approx.)

The last two jelly moulds are both from the company famous for its blue and white Cornishware range, T.G. Green & Co. The first smaller jelly mould is fairly plain and has an early GREEN & Co LTD, GRESLEY, ENGLAND with church mark on the base. I believe this jelly mould would date from the 1930s.

Small GREEN & Co LTD jelly mould (15cm across approx.)

The following jelly mould is the last in my collection and most definitely the youngest in age. It is quite a decorative and good sized mould. It's from the T. G. GREEN LTD "SPECTRUM" series of wares and would date from the 1970s to 80s. Not really very old. I wouldn't normally include an item as late as this in any of my collections except for it being from a well know maker.

T. G. GREEN "SPECTRUM" jelly mould (21cm long approx.)

Well that's my jelly mould collection. I suppose it is now time for me to go and use some of them to make some jellies and see how they actually turn out. Who knows, I may just feature the results in a future post. So fellow collectors, stay tuned for part 2 of "My Vintage Jelly Mould Collection".

Also, as usual, I would appreciate any helpful comments about the items that I post, especially about their age and company of manufacture. Hopefully I will be able to learn a little more about them.

Friday 8 June 2012

Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me

Seems that mankind has been bothered by flies ever since time began. On the positive side, this has led to  the invention of a number of different fly traps or fly catchers. Probably of most interest to collectors are the glass fly traps that were popular during the 19th and early 20th centuries. I have two different ones in my own kitchenalia collection.

The fly trap on the left is an "AGEE FLY TRAP". This trap was designed to be hung by a wire handle so the flies could enter by the large hole in its base. The flies, being attracted by some sweet liquid or other bait in the bottom of the trap, were then unable to find their way out. Apparently flies aren't too bright and tend to try to escape through the glass rather than flying down through the open hole. My Agee fly trap unfortunately no longer has either its wire handle or metal screw cap. This Agee fly trap dates from the early to mid 20th century and were machine moulded. A wire stand was available for this trap to enable it to be used standing on a flat surface such as a table.

My second glass fly trap is a lot older, probably dating from the late 19th to the early 20th century. It works in much the same way as the Agee trap but is specifically designed to stand on its glass feet. These feet elevate it sufficiently to allow easy access for the flies. The sweet bait is usually put into the base of the trap however I have heard of it being used by placing the bait directly on the table under the trap. Either way, the flies still get trapped as they fly upwards and can't escape. The loose fitting glass stopper (not the original) can easily be removed to facilitate emptying out the dead flies and cleaning the trap. This trap has been free blown and displays many irregularities in the glass.  These irregularities certainly give it a lot of  character.

Free blown glass fly trap

If I could add just one other fly trap to my collection, it would be the one pictured below that I saw last year while holidaying with my wife in Tasmania.

Blue Glass Fly Catcher at Narryna
This amazing blue glass fly catcher is part of the collection of the "Narryna Heritage Museum" in Hobart. This historic house and museum would have to be one of the best I have ever seen. It is noted for its costume collection which is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The costumes are simply stunning and I can't recommend a visit to Narryna highly enough.

If all else fails in the eradication of those pesky flies you can always resort to good old poison administered by that faithful old kitchen stand by, the pump action fly sprayer.  Along with my glass fly traps I also have a "CAMEL" and a "MINIT" fly sprayer in my kitchenalia collection.

Pump action fly sprayers
CAMEL fly sprayer
The "CAMEL CONTINUOUS SPRAYER" was MADE IN HONG KONG by WANG ON MANUFACTURER and is noted as being SUPERIOR QUALITY.  It has a British Patent No 914275 printed on it. This sprayer would have been made in Hong Kong when it was still under British rule. It has a wooden handle and great graphics of a camel in front of two pyramids and some palm trees. It also has a CAUTION note to say DO NOT SPRAY INTO OR NEAR AN OPEN FLAME. Probably very sound advice.

Minit fly sprayer
The "Minit" sprayer is a bit faded but still has a nice wooden handle. This sprayer doesn't have a lot of information printed on it apart from the brand "Minit, MADE IN AUSTRALIA and a note to tell you to OIL OCCASIONALLY with an arrow pointing to the oil hole.

While researching fly traps for this post I came across a couple of items of interest. The first was that you can still get glass fly (or wasp traps) today. Take a look at this pretty coloured glass wasp trap available from "earth easy ".
Non-Toxic Glass Wasp Trap

Most glass fly traps seem to be called wasp traps now. Wasps seem to be a bigger problem these days than flies and I would probably agree with this as I remember my own experience in Victoria with some very annoying wasps. What started out as a pleasant picnic with my family at Sylvan Dam tuned into "the attack of the killer wasps" thanks to my eldest son. He accidentally (or at least he said it was an accident) knocked over the bottle of Coke on our picnic table and all over me as well. Wasps love sugar so I was a prime target for them. Needless to say I wasn't very happy with my son or my new found wasp friends (and these were European Wasps as well). I ended up spending the rest of the picnic locked safely away in our car.

I also came across this amazing collection of hanging fly traps that had been for sale on eBay some time ago.
Hanging glass fly trap collection

And finally I found out some interesting facts about the song "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me". It is believed to have been first published in 1869 by White, Smith & Perry. It was commonly sung by soldiers during the Spanish American War of 1898 because of all the flies and yellow fever mosquitoes. Also, the lyrics of the original song have been changed as it included the term "nigger" which is considered offensive today.  

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Talk About Lucky

I bought a 78rpm record album of the movie musical "Show Boat" from eBay last week.  I was the only bidder so was fortunate enough to pick it up for just 99cents (plus postage). Bargain!  There were 4 / 78rpm records in the set and each record held two songs, so eight songs in all.

SHOW BOAT 78 rpm record album cover
Movie information on inside album cover
Well it arrived on Monday.  All looked good when I first opened it until I realised that the first record didn't belong to this album.  It was from the MGM film "The Merry Widow".
Oh No!  I now had an incomplete record set even though I got it at a bargain price (although most 78rpm records don't command very high prices anyway).  I contacted the seller to let him know of the mistake.  He was very apologetic and offered me some credit on his eBay site and online store.  I really didn't think 99cents would go very far but still thanked him for the offer.  I also told him that with a bit of luck I may even be able to find a copy of the missing record amongst the 500 plus 78rpm records that I had in my own collection.  Rather a hopeful notion but worth a look.

So the search began.  I was looking for a yellow and black MGM label record (No. 5076) of the songs "Make Believe" and "Why Do I Love You". I soon discovered that I didn't have many MGM records at all.  I had gone through about 75% of my records when I decided to check the ones stored in my upright gramophone cabinet.  There, sitting about half a dozen records down was No. 5076.  I couldn't believe it.  It was the exact record that I was missing from the album.  It was also the only 78rpm record from "Show Boat" that I had.  Talk about lucky.  My "Show Boat" album was now complete and all for 99 cents (plus postage).  I think the seller was as surprised as I was when I messaged him with the good news.

Below is a photo of the elusive record No. 5076 and a few photos of some of the more well known songs from this movie.

No. 5076 - MAKE BELIEVE 

"Show Boat" is a 1951 movie musical about a riverboat captain's daughter who falls in love with a romantic river gambler. It stars Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner and Howard Keel.
It was originally a Broadway stage show launched in 1927, based on a book written by Edna Ferber the year before.

Also, just as an indication of how little money most old 78rpm records realise, I once bought 100+ records on ebay for 99cents.  I felt so bad for the seller that I gave him $5.00 instead.  They are also extremely heavy so large lots are not viable to post.  This also helps keep their prices down low.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...