Monday, June 13, 2011

Calgary 4th Anual Caswells

Last weekend I took my family to the 4th annual Carswells Antique Furniture & Collectibles show and sale and it was AWESOME! My boyfriend amused himself by looking through all the hockey cards well I trolled around checking out the booths. Right as we entered the show my little guy spotted this very loud and obnoxious rattle. It was only $3, so like any "bad parent" I gave in and bought it thinking this would keep him occupied well I checked things out. It kept him occupied alright! the damn thing is so loud I would cringe every time he shook it. Which to him meant, shake it louder and harder cause mommy makes a funny face when she hears it. Needless to say, I took it away ten minutes later and choose to listen to my screaming child instead. It's now Jake's "outside toy" and he thoroughly enjoys it. I tried to look up what and where it came from but there is little information. The company US Metal toy mfg co. was at one point a manufacture of tin toys circa 1940-50 and would roll tin into flat sheets in order to make the desired shapes however that's about all I can find. This particular rattle has a visible hole where they have inserted the marble ball which is responsible for the loud clanking. Post World War II, Japan became the leader in tin toys which slowly transitioned over to China. The fact that this is a U.S made tin toy will be unique years from now but currently I don't think you can ask much more then a few dollars for it. The highest amount I've seen for a similar rattle was $9. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

The second item I picked up was an itsy bitsy charm which I found after ten minutes of digging through a shoebox of dismantled charm bracelets (I LOVE Charm bracelets). It caught my eye immediately because it looked like a University of Saskatchewan logo. As I squinted to read the fine print, I made out the bottom which read "University of Saskatchewan" (I inferred from the Latin letters). However, I then noticed at the top it said Campus Regina.
"That's weird" I said out loud.
Growing up in Saskatoon, and being an alumni of the University of Saskatchewan I know that it is in Saskatoon not Regina. Therefore, I bought it just to get to the bottom of this mystery. I can't report I know much yet about this charm but Patrick from the University Archives department is working to find me more information. There was a brief period of time between 1925-1974 which the Campus Regina (now the University of Regina) existed as part of the U of S. Originally being a junior college working its way towards offering accredited college classes, and eventually attaining degree granting status in 1961. I am hoping that the shield graphic may help narrow the time frame down.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Last week I was busy hanging out at Disney World on vacation. Mr. Walt Disney himself is on my list of top five people I'd love to meet "dead or alive" (along with Gorge Eastman, a critical part in Disney's success today but that's another story). Only establishing Disney World Resorts in 1971 it is celebrating its 40th year this year, October 1st, 2011 to be exact. So what did I take home as a souvenir? a park map copyright 2011, a space mountain photo (my favorite ride), and of course two pins; "celebrating 40 years of magic spinner" and "The Haunted Mansion" which to my sister and boyfriend was a very tedious painful picking out process. We were in the store close to an hour. The interesting thing that I did not know at the time was pin trading has been a cult like part of Disney since October 1999. Some of the Disney pins can bring in thousands of dollars not to mention the limited edition box set, and cast member only pins. Large trading events are hosted a few times a year, and you can register and rank points with Disney for a better chance at new upcoming limited edition pins. There is a whole culture of pin collecting that I was completely oblivious to. Cast Members all have a pin lanyard and will trade with you but there are some recommended rules and etiquette to be followed. Below are pics of my beloved pin picks.

I picked this pin because it was the only "Adult Ride" we took our little 10 month old on. He was so brave and loved the haunted mansion! Also, the Haunted manision is an original ride that has been at Disney World since the doors first opened day!
Haunted Mansion- Goofy and Donald
Location: Walt Disney World
Release Date: October 3, 2006
Open Edition

This pin choice was very tough for me. There were so many that celebrated the 40th anniversary, but I liked that this one had all my favorite "old school" Disney characters on it (with the exception of Pluto and Chip & Dale)

Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary-Spinner
Location: Walt Disney World
Release Date: Jan 6, 2011

I now know for next time, to buy lots of pins while I am there! The choices online are very limiting in comparison to large stores that are stacked floor to ceiling with pins!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

O Christie's. Canadian Picker Re-cap episod 3 (yes a few weeks late)

Before I re-cap the episode I have to quickly write about the website that goes along with the show. The Canadian Pickers site has many fun options with the intention of building a stronger Canadian Antique community. You can buy stuff you've seen on the show as well as sell your own things. It is their version of a social network. You can become friends, send messages, mention people in your posts all on the site. Sheldon and Scott are my "friends" HOWEVER it did take Sheldon three days to decided I was cool enough to be his friend..... points to Scott as my favorite host (under 24 hrs!).
On with the show.
Wow episode 3, I don't even know where to start! There were so many things I loved in this 44 minutes that I can only mention my very favorites. Now a few weeks ago, the episode aired where Scott and Sheldon took off East. They checked out Garry's house in Hamilton, hit up Christies in Dundas, and finished off at a small farm in Waterloo (sans evil spirits).
I've noticed there always seems to be one "collector" per show and today this was Garry. The ZZ top look alike had been collecting stuff he found from early bird garage sale hunting over the years. He had so much in his house that I am actually surprised he wasn't more motivated to unload some of it. Eventually he caved and sold Scott some records, most notable the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers Album (1971) with working zipper.

Personally, there was not many things Garry had that peaked my interest. I would of done the same thing as Sheldon and took a coffee break. But, would of definitely offered him money for his two squirrelly cats that kept peeking in and out from the plethora of stuff.
Next the duo heads off to Christies........ O Christies, so many booths so little time. This is where Sheldon slightly takes the lead as my favorite host (making up for the un-timely "friending" on the picker mart) . He purchases the ugliest, ill conditioned, life size, hand carved, wooden Mountie to "guard their stuff". I basically fell off my chair laughing. This is something I would of done as a joke and then later planted him at my front door to fend off unwanted visitors, secretly laughing to myself every time I saw him.
Early in the day they came across a Wise One Quizette 1 Cent Machine/Napkin Holder. I have actually used one of these in a dinner when I was a kid so not only did it bring back delicious milkshake memories but it also went on my list of "treasure to find". Recently, this napkin holder sold on Proxibid for $130.

Next find that I really enjoyed was the vintage tent banner. Two things about this find amused me. Firstly, I love how worked up, and rattled Scott was over the price. Secondly, it was in great condition with what appeared to be no major flaws in the picture. The design of the banner was in a very copycat style of Fred Johnson O'Henry, a prominit artist in circus banners of the 20th century. I couldn't find an image of the banner purchased on the show, but it was similur to this peice below.

My Beautiful New Piano

Fun Fact: in 1893 Good Morning to All, now known as Happy Birthday to You was the number one song for that year. Therefore, keeping with the spirit this will be the first song I learn to play on my new piano. Which brings me to today's entry. I have been looking for an antique piano for many months now. Its hard to find the right combination of price, quality, sound, and size when dealing with large antique pianos. Finally, I found the PERFECT one. In good condition with only three or four chipped keys, and a few loose pins, I feel like I made a good choice. It is a John Broadwood and Sons, one of the oldest and most prestigious piano makers to date (They still hold the royal warrant as manufactures to Queen Elizabeth II). Originally brought over from the United Kingdom the serial number on the inside dates it to a manufacturing time frame somewhere between 1885-1890. During this time frame John Braodwood and Sons were on the cusp of innovation, being one of the first to make upright pianos which moved away from the traditional birdcage settings and instead began placing the wires for the dampers behind the action as we see in traditional piano's today. This is good news for Mister Swendsen (apparently the best piano tuner in Calgary) who will becoming in a few weeks for a tune up.
What caught my eye about this piano was the open jigsaw fretwork on the front panels. Its hard to say if the fabric behind it is original or not, but there's a good chance it is by observing the wear marks. The legs have hand carved flowers on them which equates to each being slightly different. The keys are an ivory in a cream color with strong horizontal grain which would be next to impossible to match if I choose to restore them. Due to this, I think I am going to leave them as is and chalk the chips up to well-played. I believe this to be a mahogany piano with a dark stain judging by the wood grain but popular woods at the time included walnut,  and rosewood for higher-end models. I still have to find a piano stool, as the matching one has went MIA somewhere in its 121 years. Below are some more detailed pictures of my new toy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vintage Canadian Advertising Posters** Never with a Catch

I am sure in the early half of the 20th century people were dazzled by early marketing and advertising. Back before the "invention" of the asterisk what you saw really was in fact what you got. Canadian Pacific Railways paved the way in memorable advertising by commissioning well-known artists of the day as well as building an in-house  design department to illustrate the company's extravagant monopoly in the travel sector. As a result CPR made some of the only true Canadian Vintage poster in existence which often advertised their Hotel, Ship, and Train services c. 1900- 1950. Like any antique, you can easily pick up reproductions on bulk poster sites or directly from CPR but original posters are hard to come by. Due to their fragility the slightest slip up during storage can cause irreversible water, sun, dirt, fold, and tearing damage. To find a poster in mint condition is rare. Due to all these factors vintage posters are worth far more then the paper they were printed on. Below is a picture representing the luxurious Banff Springs Hotel which was one of eight original high end hotels for CP Railroad. Debra Cliffords of  Vintage Poster Works & Antique Advertising is in the business of finding these posters, fixing up what can be restored and selling them off to loving homes. Recently,this original Banff poster, c 1940 sold for $450 U.S.D
There are many way's to date these CP Railway posters. Over the years their logo, script, and slogans have changed as different areas of travel was focused on or dropped. The Canadian Pacific script in this poster is a dead give away that it was produced somewhere between 1934-1959. Due to the fact that Banff promotions only started in the late 30's, was at its peak during the post war tourism boom and then struggling for business in the early 50's it is easily narrowed down to being sometime in the 40's. Which compared to other antiques really isn't that long ago. This is they type of thing you may find when cleaning out old storage boxes of your parents and if you do, it may be worth getting appraised, framed, or restored.

CPR Gallery of posters, photos etc.
CPR enthusiast. Stunning collection of postcards, and misc. print
CPR repodutions poster reccomendation

Friday, April 29, 2011

Canadian Picker Re-cap Ep 2. Who's more of a money-saurus-rex? Mr. Last Chance or Crazy Inuit Guy

A new show has recently premiered on the Canadian version of the History Channel called Canadian Pickers. The show follows two hosts, Sheldon Smithens and Scott Cozens as they travel around in their creepy windowless van looking for antique treasures at vintage hoarder huts a.k.a farms, bars, shacks, sheds etc. I missed the first episode so I cannot comment but the second episode I did get to watch. For anyone who saw it I am sure you will agree with me that Mr. Last Chance and Crazy Inuit guy take the prize for being money hungry to the max. For those who didn't see the show Mr. Last Chance is the owner of the local tavern The Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, AB. He cracked me up mainly because he was not willing to sell a thing yet had a price tag for everything. He did have some pretty neat stuff which was fun to see. His jukebox band speaker was my personal favorite.

Currently bidding on E-bay for $18,500.00 US

Crazy Inuit man had a large collection of weird trinkets, and not all that much profitable stuff for the picking. It's kinda like seeing a delicious looking raspberry bush in the distance but upon closer inspection realizing that all the berries are spoiled. He did have one case full of BEAUTIFUL Inuit artifacts including two baleen ships (a type of cartilage in a whales mouth), a few pairs of rabbit lined seal skin mitts, and a hand full of soapstone carvings. However, his price tag was absolutely astronomical. In his mind, the Inuit version of Michelangelo had hand crafted these masterpieces. I don't think he noticed Sheldon and Scott slightly poking fun of his greedy offer but I sure got a kick out of it.
By the end of the hour I have flip-flopped over which host is my favorite multiple times. Scott with his 'serious' smile and pretty man hair (maybe one day, if I ever meet him, we can swap conditioner tips) versus Sheldon with his witty comments and right on cue eye rolling (I also think the show is forcing him to wear a cowboy hat. I am finding his hatred for the hat entertaining)..... I am going to have to tune in next week and try to see if I can pick a fav.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Nuremberg Chronicle

Now, this is not the type of thing I plan to normally write about. However, when antiquities are in the news it's always fun to look at the new, old "it" item that causes a rat race of cleaning out one's attic. This week in the news; Sandy, Utah becomes a well known home of what appears to be a genuine German Language Edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle. So what exactly is this 500 year-old book that has everyone so excited? Written by Hartmann Schedel it has been considered one of the earliest lavishly illustrated books to be produced after the printing press during the incunabula period. With over 652 wooden block designs mixed and mingled together to create around 1800 pictures, its more a work of art then anything. Ninety-one city scenes are portrayed from places such as Athens, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Jerusalem, Venice, Prague, Munich, Nuremberg, Florence, and more. If you think about how difficult travel was back then its really amazing that so many vivid landscapes can accurately be represented. Published in 1493 (by Anton Koberger) in Latin and German, it acts as a history of the world separated into seven section.
1. Creation to the Deluge
2. Deluge to the Birth of Abraham
3. Birth a Abraham to the Kingdom of David
4. Kingdom of David to the Babylonian Captivity
5. Babylonian Captivity to the Birth of Christ
6. Birth of Christ to the Present (a great majority of the book)
7. Arrival of the Antichrist and the Last Judgement

The book itself is rare and could cost a person thousand's of dollars. However, it has been published by Taschen with an English introduction by Stephan Fussel which is a bit easier to find and will only cost you hundred's of dollars (around $482 used on Amazon). Sounds like an awesome deal! This is the type of antique that you most likely will have to hit up a museum to see unless you know an avid book collector with high-end taste. Below are some pictures of the pain staking, intricate detail:

Page depicting Constantinople with added hand-colouring
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. April, 2011

World Map
[Hartmann Schedel], Das Buch der Chroniken und Geschichten (Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 1493) Facsimile, with an introduction and appendix by Stephen Fussel (Chronicle of the World). Cologne: Taschen, 2001.

Photo by Brian Skoloff, The Associated Press. April, 25, 2011
 More detailed history
Link to the met site which has great dipections:
Full color copy with beatuiful pictures:
Taschen: Introduction by Stephan Fussel

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Out with the New in with the Old

Welcome to Antique Window Seat, a place to kick back, relax and enjoy the read. If you’d like to know more about me you can read my snazzy bio to the right. Basically, I like antiques, and you should too (Insert quaint antique shop smell here. Unfortunately does not have an option to customize that old musty pine scent of any good antique hide-away, but rest assured when they do, it’s coming your way). To find information regarding antiques on the internet one enters a labyrinth of useless sites. It seems as though the websites which house the best information may actually be as old as the antiques themselves. They lack style, creativity, and are snoozey. I am going to post my findings on different antique topics and try to get a more organized system set up. The Antiquer’s version of Melvil Dewey’s Decimal System if you will. I hope you always enjoy reading, as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing my knowledge.