Archive for January, 2010

How to Spot a Fake? By Reyne Haines

January 6th, 2010 by

Fake…a word no collector or dealer ever wants to hear.  Fakes run rampant in the antiques and collectibles industry.  Many people think fakes are only for expensive items such as Monet paintings, diamond jewelry, and Rolex watches.  Not so!

During the beanie baby craze, counterfeit Beanies took the market by surprise.  Who would have thought a new plush animal would be reproduced?

There is no easy way to answer the question, “How do I know if an item is a fake?”  If there were a few quick, simple answers, fakes would not exist.

Some fakes are of poor quality and easy to spot, others are of such good quality they have fooled museums and major auction houses alike.

So how do you keep from being taken?  If you are a beginning collector, make sure to buy from dealers you know and trust until you become familiar with the different types of fakes being made.  Always make sure you receive a written guarantee stating the item is authentic, and that the dealer will refund your money should you ever learn otherwise.

Depending on what type of item you collect, there is often information uploaded to the Internet that gives great detail about reproductions as they begin showing up on the market.  Some of the reference books have a section describing the differences between the original vs. the new items.

Look closely at the item you are interested in.  Does it appear to be quality work?  Was there great attention to detail used in the decoration? Does it measure the correct size as an authentic one?  These are the types of questions you should ask yourself as you examine potential acquisitions.

One of the first things I notice inexperienced collectors doing when looking at merchandise is checking the signature of an item first.  Truly, this should be the final thing you look at.  The signature is the easiest part of an item to fake.  You should be able to recognize an artist’s work because of the item itself, and not because who signed it.

Not only are fake signatures placed on fake items, but signatures are also added to vintage items made by another maker.  These are things you need to consider when acquiring pieces for your collection.

No matter what you collect, there will always be someone out there making things that never existed, and looking to take advantage of new and seasoned collectors with quality reproductions that the market has not been alerted to yet.  Sometimes the giveaway can be the price. It’s not so low it gives itself away, but priced just fairly enough you think you are getting a great piece at a bargain price.  Remember, the longer you look at it, won’t make it right.  The more hands on time you can have with the type of item you collect, the lesser the chance you will be taken by a forger.

Recognized 20th Century Decorative Arts Expert and Appraiser.  As seen on CBS “The Early Show” and NBC’s “The Art of Collecting”. Haines has written numerous articles and books on collecting. Her most recent pubication is “Collecting Wristwatches” for Krause Publications which comes out April 2010.  Reyne is a frequent appraiser on PBS Antiques Roadshow.

Fun with Furniture Terms (that You Should Know) by Reyne Haines

January 6th, 2010 by

commodeFurniture…everyone has it and some even know how to decorate with it. As with any industry, antique and vintage furniture collectors have a lingo of their own.  I’ve picked out some common, and not so common, terminology I thought would be fun to talk about.


You might think to yourself, “Who are these people?” when you hear William and Mary.  This reflects a style of furniture that has Dutch and Chinese influences and was made from 1640 to 1725.  Queen Anne was a very popular period of style made from around 1700 to 1755 and refined William and Mary.  So what comes to mind when I say Chippendale?  Okay, but just know that Thomas Chippendale was a British designer and namesake for the style from around 1750 to 1790. This movement followed the Queen Anne period.  Chippendale style can be characterized by the Chinese, French and Gothic influences. 


Ever heard of Charles of London?  This term refers to a sofa or chair with rolled arms and is still used today.  Don’t confuse the rolled arms with a recamier, which is typically a sofa with a sloping back from a high end to the lower end, sometimes going as low as the seat itself.  These elegant pieces were also known as fainting couches and were quite the style in the Victorian era. 


If you hear the house was decorated eclectic you know there were different styles and periods combined harmoniously together.  The blending of various styles is considered to be transitional.


Patina is not limited to the green film on bronze produced by oxidation over a long period of time.  It may also be used to refer to the changed outer surface of furniture caused by polishing or wear and through age and exposure.  Not to be confused with scale.  That term is reserved as a means to describe how the size of various objects appear in relationship to one another in the space provided for them.


When a furniture maker turns something such as a table leg, they are shaping it on a lathe.  The “H” or “X” shaped brace used horizontally to connect the legs together is known as a stretcher.  The tester is a frame made of wood used to support the canopy over a poster bed.  A piercing refers to the cutout design on the splats of a chair back or other 18th century furniture.  Splats are simply a vertical support piece in an open back chair and are generally decorated with carved designs.


As you can see, a period, adjectives, verbs, nouns and pronouns all have unique meaning in the antique world of furniture.  So, if you should ask your antique dealer where the commode is, please don’t be surprised or upset if they show you a late 17th century chest of drawers with a smooth flat marble top that may have small doors on the front of it.

A Chip by Any Other Name – by Rosemary Trietsch

January 6th, 2010 by


Once a piece of glass is chipped, you can’t make it whole again. After all, whether it’s a ‘flea bite’ or a chunk, there’s glass missing that can’t be replaced. Oh sure, sometimes you can glue the piece back in place, but what about the sliver missing from the rim of your favorite wine goblet? When Crazy glue just isn’t an option, it’s time to look for a glass repair person.

 Now there’s one very important thing to remember: the only way to fix a chip is to remove more glass. Whether you call it restoration, repair, or polishing, it comes down to the same thing. The glass repairman is going to grind down the chipped area and polish it to restore the luster. The amount of glass removed depends on the size and location of the chip, and the skill of your repairman. In some cases, a chip can be polished out so that the repair is virtually invisible. But if the chip is large, you will end up with a goblet that’s shorter than the rest of your set. Then what do you do? Should you throw it out and start hunting for a replacement?

 At this point, you have to ask yourself two things: 1. Why do I want to repair this piece? and, 2. Am I doing more damage to it than if I left it alone?

            Let’s answer question 2 first. If you can have the chip removed so that the repair doesn’t compromise the integrity of the item, then it’s probably a good idea to fix it. If the edges remain intact, the etching or decoration on the glass is untouched, and it looks the way it did before it was chipped, then ‘restoring’ it isn’t a bad thing. Glass golfbluecollectors generally agree that such a repair is acceptable.

            Now on to question 1. If  you’re repairing the item so that you can use it without getting hurt, then repair it and enjoy. There’s a lot to be said for restoring your grandmother’s crystal so that it can once again be used at family gatherings. And given the pioneer spirit of our ancestors, chances are good that grandma would have taken an emery board and smoothed the chip herself. Once again, glass collectors would applaud your decision.

            BUT: if you’re repairing the item so that you can sell it as ‘perfect’ to an unsuspecting buyer, then I know I speak for the entire glass collecting community when I say leave it alone. Glass collectors have enough trouble trying to keep up with all the reproduction junk that’s flooding the market, and we don’t need the added headache of dishonest sellers misrepresenting things just to make a buck. Do us all a favor: leave the chip alone and get a job at McDonalds. They’re giving out really neat Coca Cola Glasses right now  – you can sell them instead.

Tips for Your 1st eBay Sale – by Reyne Haines

January 6th, 2010 by

ebay-sellingEBay literally sells tens of billions of dollars worth of goods each year.  So how does someone capitalize on such a huge market place to put a few of those dollars in their own pocket?  Here are a few ideas to help sell your antiques and collectables with the world’s largest online auction marketplace.

The best way to get started is to become familiar with the venue.  EBay has many tools listed on their website to assist your selling efforts.   From their home page, go to the “Sell” link on the top right-hand menu and click.  Next, click on the “Getting Started” tab.  There you will find information about eBay’s policies, creating a Seller’s Account and even a “Top Ten Tips for sellers” link.  Browse help for even more information.

Now that you have some of the technical “how-to” you want to think about marketing your item.  Do a little research to determine what the best price for your collectable or antique is.  What is the minimum price you are willing to accept?  Look at the historical sales of items similar to yours.  The more recent a sale has occurred, the more likely you have an accurate price idea.  If your item is rare or one of a kind you may want to have it appraised first.  It’s very important that you know what your item is worth!  Remember that most buyers on eBay are looking for a good value so pricing your item at Top Dollar probably wouldn’t help you make the sale quickly.

Take clear, crisp photo’s and have an excellent description of your item.  The buyers on eBay may or may not be familiar with what you are offering them.  They look closely at your pictures for details -especially if your item is not new and still in the original box.  If you have the original box, make sure to include a picture of it.  The original box can add value to collectable items such as knives, dolls, toys or anything else.

Choose a good title for your merchandise by searching ended auctions for items like yours that have sold and brought strong pricing.  Your description is a picture of words and should accurately depict what you are offering for sale.  Be as thorough as possible and also write succinctly.  Include things like condition, size, markings, color, manufacturer, etc. in your description.

Think about when you want your auction to end.  Many people who are bidding are waiting until the last minutes in an effort not to run up the price for the item.  It might work out better to give your bidders a convenient time to bid and not end your auction on a Monday morning at 4am.

There are classes sellers can take and many books written on this subject.  With a little technical knowhow and good research, pictures and descriptions you’re well on your way to selling on eBay.

Recognized 20th Century Decorative Arts Expert and Appraiser.  As seen on CBS “The Early Show” and NBC’s “The Art of Collecting”. Haines has written numerous articles and books on collecting. Her most recent pubication is “Collecting Wristwatches” for Krause Publications which comes out April 2010.  Reyne is a frequent appraiser on PBS Antiques Roadshow.

Roseville Pottery – by Rosemary Trietsch

January 5th, 2010 by

bittersweetWhen it comes to the art of pottery, the name ‘Roseville’ says it all. The Roseville Pottery Company produced some of the most beautiful American Art pottery of the 20th Century. From the simplest utilitarian wares to their artist signed pieces, Roseville is eagerly sought by today’s collectors.

The Roseville Pottery Company was incorporated in 1892 by George F. Young. The earliest product was utilitarian stoneware items such as flower pots and umbrella stands. In 1898, the company moved from Roseville Ohio to a larger and more modern facility in Zanesville Ohio – which was well known for its rich clay deposits. It was here that they began producing art pottery, introducing their Rozane line in 1900 to compete with slip-decorated wares being manufactured by Weller and Rookwood.

By the mid teens, market demand was moving away from the expensive hand-crafted art pottery and towards less expensive, mass produced pottery. Roseville’s ability to adapt to the changing trend is what set them apart from their competitors. They easily transitioned from hand made to mass produced lines while still maintaining the artistry of their wares. Patterns like Donatello, Carnelian and Mostique established Roseville’s reputation for ‘art quality commercial pottery’.

But it was in 1919 when Frank Ferrel became art director at Roseville that the company hit its stride. It was under his artistic direction that Roseville began producing the floral patterns and Art Deco designs that have become synonymous with its name.  Ferrel collaborated with glaze chemist George Krause to create what are easily the most popular and highly sought patterns that Roseville produced: Sunflower, Futura, Ferella,  Cherry Blossom, and Blackberry just to name a few.

It was the success of Ferrel’s Pine Cone pattern that paved the way for the floral patterns of the 1940’s and early 50’s. Introduced in 1930, it was the first pattern to have a Roseville signature incised or in relief on the base. The Pine Cone line included over 75 different shapes in 3 different color combinations. Pine Cone became the most commercially successful line Roseville ever produced, with the highest sales volume of any Roseville pattern.

During the 1930’s and 40’s, Ferrel added at least 2 new floral designs to production each year. Patterns such as Magnolia, Fuchsia, Bleeding Heart, Zephyr Lily and Bittersweet kept Roseville in the forefront of the pottery market. But the end of World War II brought change to the world’s economic climate. After 1945, sales began to decline as foreign imports flooded the pottery market. While Roseville was still the best quality art pottery available at the time, the inexpensive price of these imports became impossible to overcome. In 1952, the company introduced an ovenware line called Raymor, but it was not enough to save them. Roseville Pottery company ceased operations in 1954.

Throughout its 64 year history, Roseville’s versatility and creativeness kept it at the forefront of the art pottery world. To this day, the name ‘Roseville Pottery’ represents some of the finest and most collectible art pottery ever produced.

How to Sell Fine Jewelry – by Reyne Haines

January 5th, 2010 by

cartierAt least once a month I hear about a “score” made by a collector or dealer in the jewelry field.

They’ve either purchased a gold necklace thought by the seller to be gold plated, or a diamond mistaken for a cubic zirconia.

Believe it or not, this happens all the time.  Some early gold jewelry was not stamped with the carat mark, therefore, it’s mistaken for costume jewelry.  The same can be said for early miners cut diamonds, as they are not the same look as the round brilliant diamonds we know today.

What are some steps you can take to ensure you don’t end up giving away your family heirlooms?

First, if you think it might be something, yet it is not marked, take it to your local jeweler. They can quickly tell you a) if it’s gold or platinum and b) if the stones are authentic.

If you find that your jewelry is fine, and not costume, you might then ask the jeweler to tell you more about the stones used.  If they are diamonds, what can they tell you about the size, color and clarity.  If the diamond is not over a carat, you should enjoy the piece, or pass it down to the next generation.  If it is over a carat in size, you might spend some time on to research the current retail value of your stone.

What if you have more than one item?  I highly suggest locating a jewelry appraiser in your area.  You can find one by visiting The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers at:

Once you’ve determined what you have and what it’s worth, how do you go about selling it?  There are a few options to choose from:

  1. Try your hand at selling it locally by listing it on  – This site is free, and you can upload multiple photos and a great description.  I suggest having the buyer meet you in a public place, not your home.
  2. Consign it to auction.  There are numerous auction houses across the nation that have quarterly jewelry sales. Their specialists know how to properly market your items to maximize their selling potential.
  3. If you don’t want to try to locate a collector for your goods, you can always sell them to a jewelry dealer.  You’ll have to take a lesser price for your items, but there are always plenty of jewelry dealers looking for inventory.

On a final note, if your jewelry turns out to be costume you should still do some homework. Some costume jewelry makers wares can command hundreds to thousands of dollars.  You just never know when you might have a gem!

Recognized 20th Century Decorative Arts Expert and Appraiser.  As seen on CBS “The Early Show” and NBC’s “The Art of Collecting”. Haines has written numerous articles and books on collecting. Her most recent pubication is “Collecting Wristwatches” for Krause Publications which comes out April 2010.  Reyne is a frequent appraiser on PBS Antiques Roadshow.

History of Glassware – The Art of Collecting – Reyne Haines & Jonathan Novack

January 4th, 2010 by

Reyne shows us a range of styles of glassware from the early 1800’s to the 1930’s. She starts out with some examples of Victorian enameled glass which is very ornate and was used in formal table settings. Next up is the Art Nouveau style, where the pieces were very shiny, iridescent and free flowing. In the early 1900’s Art Deco was the style, with very bold geometric designs, plus we get a little information on Vaseline glass from this period. Jonathan is on his best behavior and doesn’t break a thing!

Textiles – The Art of Collecting – Reyne Haines & Jonathan Novack

January 3rd, 2010 by

Jonathan is safe from breaking anything this time, when Reyne and he take a look at textile collecting. We take a look at antique lace pieces, which are affordable for anyone to collect, and learn a little about crazy quilts. Textile collecting also includes antique clothing so we have a few examples on hand.