Prison Purses and Wallets

Prison Art Woven Cigarette Pack is Folk Art is a collectible from the 1920’s thru the 1950’s.  If you think it is a funny term or never heard of it, you will find this article interesting.

Back in the 1920’s and 1950’s weaving items was a way for idle inmates to pass time, hence the prison art term was born. Leftover cellophane wrappers became the material that was used when the cigarettes had been smoked.  These were woven from any brand that the inmates had available.  They were arranged in colorful panels and woven in an array of patterns.

Wallets and purses were made to give to their family and friends.  Wallets were quick and easy and the inmate did not have to have a lot of the packs. These had slots for cash and 2 pockets for I.D.. and photographs. Large purses and pocketbooks were also made.  Cigarette packs that were used included Pall Malls, Camels, Kools and Lucky Strikes.

Above are pictures of recently sold pieces on icollect247.com.  A hand-printed note inside of the wallets stated that they had been made in the 1920s by an inmate at the old Virginia State Penitentiary on Spring St. in Richmond.  Mint pieces, like the above, are hard to find.  Kind of reminds me of “Tramp Art”.

 

 

Enjoying Vintage Postcards

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Nobody writes anymore. In fact, kids are not even taught to write anymore and in another generation, we will only talk via computer.  In our small rural area, it was not unusual for friends to travel by train to a town 30 miles away and send a postcard back to a relative.  We have an old postcard book full of vintage postcards mailed from one small town to another. Postcards were sent, enjoyed and kept.  So why should we collect postcards?

They are simply a piece of affordable art that connects us with history in many ways. From a heavy paper to leather and even linen, these were mailed with postage stamps and were delivered as something special. They can be touched, looked at, admired, take up little space, inexpensive and even comical.  You can research a lot of history, such as fashion, architecture, historical events, artists and more.  Even Santa Claus’ history can be seen in postcards.

Do you remember summer vacations…every stop for gas you went in and got a souvenir postcard.  Every place you went there were souvenir postcards.  How about your city or town, I bet there were postcards of events and buildings.  My small town had stock postcards with their town name printed on the bottom.  I know that as there were not meadows and sheep, in the town we lived.  In fact, I recently found them in a paper notebook from an elementary school report I had to do on my hometown.

You do not have to be a history bluff to enjoy postcards.  You just need to enjoy times past. Why not collect holiday postcards and put them on a postcard display during the season. On icollect247 there are over 2400 different postcards for sale. Here are a few of my favorites which are currently for sale on http://www.icollect247.com. You can use the search function and just type in postcard.

 

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Anniversary Soon?

Anniversary Soon? Want to give something special for your Anniversary?  Well, we recently talked to a lady who had found a great bronze Texaco lock on our site and was giving to her husband for their 8th Anniversary.  You see the 8th Anniversary is to a bronze gift. This was going to be a traditional gift, not a modern retail gift.  A gift that showed she wanted something special and not just off the normal retail site.

If you want to make your anniversary special, here are some traditional ideas from icollect247.com.

1st – Anniversary

Paper:  For Her – Uncut Merrill PaperDolls or For Him: Motor Magazines

2nd – Anniversary

Cotton: For Her – Cotton Halloween Napkins or For Him: Cotton Baseball Uniform

3rd Anniversary

Leather: For Her – Leather Covered Courtship Ring Box or For Him: Leather Flying Cap

Make your mate feel special with a fun, vintage gift.  Check out http://www.icollect247.com and search for that special anniversary gift!

 

 

 

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Were you born in this hospital?

If you have used the DNA testing and found out where your roots are, you can then find postcards that connect you with your past.  Historically speaking, you can find many postcards from your birthplace or where you live now.

Perhaps this postcard of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston was your birth place.

Massachusetts General Hosp. Boston - Postcard 1938

Perhaps you went to Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa

Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa UDB- Postcard 1907

Perhaps you just love historical building architecture, like these.

I have a postcard display and change it with each holiday.

In any case, you will find almost 3000 post cards with ever subject and every holiday.

Check out these great postcards under the Paper Ephemera category and the subcategory Postcards.

 

https://www.icollect247.com/store/lca/sub/cat/Paper+Ephemera/subcat/PostCards

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Collecting 2 Gal Oil Cans

When one looks at antique automobilia and its many forms of advertising, one of the most diverse and colorful forms are vintage oil cans. Oil cans have become a dominant staple in any collection devoted to the oil and auto industry. The great graphics, rarity, and color scheme of many of these containers have contributed to their desirability. long life
When I began collecting, some five years ago, I decided to buy two gallon cans, rather than one quart. While the one quart is one of the most popular sizes, I liked the graphics of the larger and the rectangular format looked good on a shelf. rather than one 
quart. While the one quart is one of the most popular sizes, I liked the graphics of the larger and the rectangular format looked good on a shelf.  Many times they proved more affordable than a quart companion with identical graphics.

Two gallon cans were first produced in the early 1930’s around the same time asbullhsead the first sealed one and five quart tins. Two gallons were mainly created for the “do it yourself” type of motorist. While quart and five quart cans were easy to be opened and drained right at the source of purchase, two gallons were meant to last a little longer and taken home for oil to be added when needed. The two gallons were sold not only by oil companies and gas stations, but by home-auto type stores, department stores, automobile, tractor, and equipment dealers, even hardware and grocery stores.

Read more of Lucas Kaczynski’s love of oil cans in Volume 11 of Antique Back Roads.  Visit http://www.AntiqueBackRoads.com and click on Back Issues.

REPRODUCTION OR REAL?

If you are new to collecting there are a lot of pieces out there that you will consider buying.  In the last 30 years, we have seen a large number of reproductions enter the market.  Some reproductions are made in the same shape, size and style of the original.  Some are easy to tell from the original, others are exact replicas and made to deceive the buyer.  Some are the exact same size but others are larger and you may think it is a variation.

As the price and demand go up on any collectible, reproductions will appear.  Back in the 1960’s reproductions were being made of Depression glass, cast iron toys, cast iron banks and cast iron door stops. Reproduction signs started being seen in the 1970’s and continues today.

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As for reproduction signs, do your homework on any item that you are investing your money in.  First and foremost, ask the seller if it is an original piece or a reproduction.   Ask if the seller guarantees the item to be an original.  Look at the piece for manufacturer marks and don’t assume just because it has a marker’s mark. We know that reproductions are being made by several companies including Desperate Sign Company and AAA Sign Company.

If you look at the number of holes there will be difference between the original and the reproduction.  Also look really closely around the grommets.oilzium copy

Sign companies who made the old signs used metal that resisted rust.  Grommets were used to protect the corners. If you see rust or lots of chipping around the grommets, beware.  This is not normal with an old sign.  Be conscious of size.  Is the size different from what you have seen…is it smaller or different?  Are the more holes than normal? Reproductions will often be a different size than the original.

Don’t forget to look at the back.  Porcelain does not rust and you can see from this picture it is made to rust to look old. The back of American made porcelain signs WILL NOT look like this. Note lots of rust around the holes. back

Lots of reproduction signs are from India. There are of low quality, feel grainy and the seller will “rough up” the holes and edges, including breaking off the porcelain and rusting them.  These are being shipped in quantities.  Where the problem comes in when they are purchased at a cheap price by US buyers,  than offered at auctions or on line for a high price as the original.  Here are some reproduction signs we have seen available for sale.packard

Willys Overland Whippet

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reproduction sign2

 

Your best bet is to buy from a reputable seller / dealer who knows what they are selling and can even give you some history of the piece. If you are buying on line, contact the seller and talk to the seller to very they guarantee the sign is old.  At the current time, the only online marketplace to only sell only original pieces (not reproduction)  is http://www.icollect247.com. The sellers on the site only sell original pieces.  There are no reproductions, no limited editions and nothing later than 1980.

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By the way, if you are just using is as a decorator piece or a barn hanger and you don’t care if it is a reproduction, go for it! Reproductions are an inexpensive way to enjoy collecting and decorating.  Just know what you are buying!

 If you end up buying a reproduction piece you thought was real, don’t give up on collecting!  Use it as a learning curve as part of collecting.  No matter how long you collect you will be fooled., believe me there is someone always out there reproducing something to fool the buyer.  Believe me when I tell you that it happens to even the best of us!

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Making offers!

Most sellers and dealers will entertain offers on the pieces they have for sale.  While television shows such as “The Pickers” and “Pawn Stars” will haggle back and forth over price make it seem like a game…it is not a game to the person who is selling the piece.

money exchange transaction

Sellers and dealers have spent long hours learning about what they are selling, invested their money in purchasing, have expenses in travel to buy pieces to sell.  Most sellers are always happy to share their knowledge and help any collector to learn and this knowledge has come with a price.

money

Let’s face it, antique sellers, just cannot put an order into China and get another delivered next week. In fact, in our last couple of years, when sell a piece, we cannot replace it at what we sold it for.

Everything you collect is unique and the piece you buy has been used, loved and enjoyed in a different way.  Some come with chips, scratches, slight bends, while others come just like they were made.  So, those of us who lovingly buy to pass on to another collector should have some profit.  Offering a seller 50% of their asking price is an insult to them and if you get a “NO” don’t be surprised.  As a seller, I prefer to be asked “Can you do any better?”  Sometimes in malls you will see pieces marked “Firm”.  While as sellers we understand, trying to work with other collectors to help them collect is a positive to the industry.

Another comment, I would like to make here, many collectors go to auction, which is another place to find vintage pieces.  However, almost all auction houses add a buyer’s premium to the final price…they do not discount or offer it at a reduced price, you pay your bid, plus fees.

So, again, remember to be considerate of the person who is selling it and know they have searched for pieces for you and it has not walked through the door at a cheap price.

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