Bill and Florence Griffin Collection, Provenance – Brunk 5-30-09

Collection of Florence P. and William W. Griffin

Bill and Florence Griffin met at an Atlanta Bird Club meeting in 1945. Bill was a published amateur ornithologist; Florence was interested in all of nature – she knew the names of all the plants as well as the birds.

Both were from Georgia, and soon began to see their state changing before their eyes as the New South swept away the Old. They quickly became [...] Click here to continue reading.


Land Patents

Collecting Land Patents

If one wants to collect signatures of America’s founding fathers, land patents are a great place to start! A land patent sounds complicated and technical, but it is simply the name for the transaction and resulting document of a land title when it is issued to the first purchaser of land from a sovereign entity. Usually the sovereign entity in question is the United States government, but in some instances, there [...] Click here to continue reading.


Apocryphal – definition

Apocryphal – Definition

Apocryphal, the adjective form, means “of doubtful authenticity,” according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Apocrypha, the noun form, means “writings or statements of dubious authenticity,” again according to Merriam-Webster.

Apocrypha is actually a Greek word that means something closer to “obscure” or “hidden away.” The original meaning of the word, the Apocrypha in the proper noun sense, refers to religious texts outside of the traditional or accepted religious canon. Through connection with [...] Click here to continue reading.


The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

Derived from the Greek sarx, meaning flesh, and phagein, meaning eat, a sarcophagus is, essentially, a container for a body, much like a coffin or casket. Historically, sarcophagi were typically made of stone (though sometimes of other materials, such as wood or metal), with a relief-carved or pediment top, and designed to be above ground, and have been used by many cultures since ancient times.

An ancient [...] Click here to continue reading.


Cartouche – Definition

Cartouche – Definition

The decorative arts world has many “squishy” and vague vocabulary words, but few are “squishier” and vaguer than cartouche. Originally, the term comes from Egyptology and is used to describe a oval enclosing hieroglyphics and having a horizontal line at one end. (The line denotes royalty.) The oval had significance not unlike that of a closed circle, in that it was believed that an oval around a person’s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.


Morse – definition

Morse – Definition

We live in a rather disposable era just now, with plastic buttons popping off in the laundry and pants with broken zippers being discarded, but in the past, the medieval past, luxury goods like fabric and closure accessories like buttons and clasps were difficult to come by. Their expensive nature meant they needed to be easily salvageable and clothing was designed with this in mind. Take for instance a cope, which [...] Click here to continue reading.


Vermeil – definition

Vermeil

“Vermeil” is a French word co-opted by the English in the 19th century for a silver gilt process. Vermeil is a combination of silver and gold, although other precious metals are also occasionally added, that is then gilded onto a sterling silver object. The reddish (vermilion) hue of the addition of the gold gives the product its name. Vermeil is commonly found in jewelry, and a standard of quality (10 karat gold) and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickock)

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok

Unlike the Hollywood nice guy from 1950′s television, the real Wild Bill Hickok was a born killer and compulsive gambler.

Between his birth as James Butler Hickok in 1837 and his 1876 death, Hickok defined the fiercely independent Wild West peacekeeper that never stayed long in one place. Raised to anti-slavery parents in Illinois, Hickok developed a strong sense of loyalty and duty that lasted his entire life. [...] Click here to continue reading.


James, Jesse – American Outlaw

Jesse Woodson James, American Outlaw

Courtesy of James Julia Auction Company, presented in conjunction with the sale of Jesse James’ personal Colt revolver and holster rig (p4A item # D9737835)

Jesse Woodson James was born Sept. 5, 1847 in Clay County, Missouri. He had an older brother, Frank and a sister. His father, a minister, left soon after Jesse was born to go to California to “minister” to the 49er miners. He died in [...] Click here to continue reading.


Bakelite

Bakelite

Scandal & the Story of Bakelite Bakelite hit the market in 1907, heralding the arrival of the modern plastics industry. Bakelite was the first completely man made plastic, as until then, plastics such as celluloid, casein, and Gutta-Percha all had as a base a natural material. It was developed by Belgian-born chemist Dr. Leo Hendrick Baekeland who started his firm General Bakelite Company to produce the phenolic resin type plastic. Bakelite was inexpensive [...] Click here to continue reading.


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