Upcoming Auctions . . .

A few weeks ago we told you about the Green Auction that Christie’s in New York will be conducting and wanted to remind everyone that it will take place on Earth Day, April 22, 2010.  Many artists are contributing to this auction with the proceeds to benefit four organizations that work to save the planet including Oceana, Central Park Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council and Conservation International.  Artists donating works include Alan Sonfist, Maya Lin, George Condo and Keith Tyson.  Celebrities will also be involved with this auction including David Duchovny who is auctioning off lunch with him on the set of Californication and Cameron Diaz who is donating two tickets and after party passes to the premiere of the Green Hornet.

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Ironstone China - a Brief History

During the 1800’s in Staffordshire England, in an effort to cut costs and increase business, many porcelain manufacturers and potters were trying to find a substitute for porcelain. Porcelain at the time was both expensive and hard to export because of breakage.  It was also difficult to mass produce the beautiful porcelain pieces of the time.  So the quest for many of the potters was to find a substitute that was easily mass produced to cut costs and to find a durable substitute for porcelain, which could be easily exported to Australia and the new colonies in the United States.

In 1813, a potter named Charles James Mason patented the formula for ironstone, which contained the mineral feldspar, and was pure white when used in the manufacturing process, thus the name white ironstone as some of you might know it.  Charles James Mason was of course the son of Miles Mason who owned a pottery company at Lane Delph near Staffordshire.  This company became known as the Minerva Works.  The patent ran out in the late 1820’s and other manufacturers and potters began to either use the old formula or to experiment with other formulas.


Where You Might Ironstone China This Month . . .

The Sertoma Club Million Dollar Antique Show will be held this Friday thru Sunday, April 16-18, 2010.  Sertoma stands for Service to Mankind and this shows proceeds raises thousands of dollars for local charities and organizations in addition to Camp Sertoma.  This antiques & collectibles show will be held at the Binghamton University Event Center and features antique furniture, vintage jewelry, collectible toy trains, silver and pottery.

April 17, 2010, Black Memorabilia & Collectible Show & Sale, Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Gaithersburg, Maryland

April 17, 2010, Mayfield Historical Society's Antique Show & Sale, Mayfield High School on School Street, Mayfield, New York

April 24-25, 2010, 3rd Annual Antiques & Garden Weekend, Jefferson Village Center, Port Jefferson, New York

April 24-25, 2010, Virginia Hot Glass Festival, Sunspot Studios, Staunton, Virginia

If you don’t live in the Washington DC metro area, you might want to consider a trip up in May or June because there are some exciting antiquing events happening in the area.  Leading us off, will be the Fabulous Finds Spring Barn Sale, which will take place in Vienna, Virginia on Saturday, May 15, 2010.  Our friend Sharon is busy stocking up the barn and promises to have it bursting at the seam.  Additionally, our friends at the Old Lucketts Store are gearing up for their 10th Lucketts Spring Antique Market on Saturday & Sunday, May 22 & 23, 2010.  If you have never been to this one, you will want to put it on your calendar, as it attracts thousands of people from around the country and is one of the best shows in the Mid Atlantic region. 

You may as well make a weekend of it, as our friend Rosanna from Bella Villa has just informed us that they are sponsoring the National Route 50 Yard Sale will be passing through Aldie, Virginia also on May 22, 2010; this event will also coincide with the village’s Bicentennial Celebration.  Later on the 26th – 27th of June, our friends at St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Warrenton, Virginia will be hosting the Virginia Piedmont Antiques Show which will include a reception party, appraisal services and guest speakers.


Spode and Ironstone China

Josiah Spode I was born in 1733 but was not actually the first as his father was also known as Josiah Spode. His father had worked with Charles James Mason in the early 1800’s to help build up production in the ironstone factories of the time. Having come from that lineage helped him get on as an apprentice with Thomas Wieldon, also known as one of the best potters of the time.  Additionally, he spent a lot of time learning the business end of the trade from other potters in the Staffordshire area and in 1770, Josiah Spode I founded Spode Works.

One of the smartest business decisions that he made at the time was opening a warehouse and showroom in London.  The showroom attracted and served some of England’s high society people and the wealthy.  Not only was his showroom a great place to sell his wares, but it also served as an intelligence base, where he could learn what his clients and would be clients were actually looking for in china, porcelain and pottery.  This intelligence is probably the biggest reason for their success and why they are still around today.


Dumb Mikey and the Alabama Patrol Man

Mikey and his buddy Billie are driving through Alabama when they get pulled over by a highway patrolman.  The patrolman walks up to the driver’s side and when Billie rolls down his window, WHACK!, the patrolman hits him in the back of the head with the stick.  “Why’d you do that?” asks Billie.  The patrolman says, “Son, when we pull you over in Alabama, you better have your license ready when we get to your car.”


Sotheby’s Record Auction Prices

Imagine proposing to your betrothed with the beautiful blue diamond in the picture.  Truly a vintage diamond ring of this beauty would score you many points with not only the little woman but her family as well.  Keep imaging however, because this is no ordinary vintage diamond.  This baby is a De Beers Millennium Blue Diamond that sold last week for a record auction price of more the $6.3 million at an auction in Hong Kong.  The ring was part of a Sotheby’s auction that brought in more $258 million in antiques and art.  I guess the recession only hit some of us.


Moser Glass was originally an engraving studio where artists etched stags and wooded landscapes on glass blanks obtained from other manufacturers. However, in 1893 after opening their own glass manufacturing plant, their designs became more lavish and extravagant. Moser Glass can easily be identified by most collectors because of their design techniques which included applied glass acorns and “grapes” as well as applied enameled birds, oak leaves and bugs. Antique Moser Glass pieces can go at auction for hundreds of dollars with the rarer pieces going in the thousands of dollars.


Upcoming Estate Sales

Estate Sale on Friday & Saturday March 16 & 17, 2010 at 4506 Overcup Court, Fairfax, Virginia; Antique Furniture, tools and collectibles; 703.250.2553

Estate Sale on Friday – Sunday April 16-18, 2010 at 306 Bath Street, Clifton Forge, Virginia; Country Antique Furniture, Collectibles, Lamps; 540.890.1030

Estate Sale on Friday – Sunday April 16-18, 2010 at 1660 Brook Run Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina; Over 100 antique & vintage cast iron banks; 301.346.9179


By the mid-1800’s, the English companies had succeeded in both finding a durable product and being able to export it to the new land. The white ironstone china and dinnerware was very popular with the Americans because it was both simple and utilitarian.  Some of the ironstone china sold here was embossed with wheat, flowers or corn decorations, which may have also made them more appealing. These products were especially sought after by the expansionist settlers that moved west across the country. 

Many of the examples that we find today were made by big time companies including Wedgewood, Minerva, Fenton Works and Spode.  Interestingly enough, Charles James Mason married Josiah Spode’s daughter and as such he became an owner of the Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, which was later sold to Josiah Spode I.  Charles James Mason died in 1856.


In addition to the De Beers ring, the auction also set an auction price for an imperial white jade seal that was reportedly commissioned by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty and a ceremonial pearl necklace believed to have belonged to Emperor Yongzheng in the 18th Century. The jade seal sold for more than $12 million and the necklace sold for more than $8.7 million.  Interestingly enough, the same jade seal sold in 2007 for half what the bidder paid for it last week. 

The patrolman runs a check on the license and finds it’s clean, so he walks around the back of the car to the passenger side. Mikey rolls down the window and WHACK!, the patrolman hits him in the back of the head with the stick.  Mikey asks, “What was that for?”  The patrolman says, “Just making your wish come true?”  Bewildered, Mikey says, “Making my wish come true?” and the officer replies, “Two miles down the road you were gonna say to your buddy, I wish that idiot would have tried that with me.”

Fenton Glass
Murano Art Glass
Blenko Glass
Anchor Hocking Glass
Amberina  Glass

Sunday, April 25, 2010, Philip Weiss Auctions, Oceanside, New York, will auction celebrity memorabilia and collectibles including a signed Eric Clapton guitar, a Beatles concert poster and an Elvis Presley signed original contract to purchase Graceland in Memphis. These items and many more like them come from the John Anderson’s collection.  John Anderson’s career included assisting UNICEF and other childhood charities, touring as a road manager for B.B. King and promotional aid to media companies and charities.

Lavish & Extravagant Moser Glass

Moser Glass was founded by Ludwig Moser in Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary), Czech Republic in 1857. This area is well known for its Bohemian Glass and I had the opportunity to tour there twice in the 1990’s after the crumbling of the “wall,” the cold war and when the dollar was extremely high. The Moser Glass Company was going through a transformation at that time, but I did manage to pick up a few pieces of the luxurious and opulent art glass which I later sold at auction for a nice profit.