Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flood damage to family heirlooms and collectibles requires special immediate attention.

1. Mold is the first priority. If possible, move anything with mold outdoors or to the garage. Dry everything as quickly as you can.

2. Wipe wood dry as soon as possible. Wipe wood and other hard surfaces with a rag soaked in a mixture of Borax and hot water.

3. Remove drawers from wood furniture. Let them dry to reduce sticking.

4. Place plastic under furniture legs to prevent colors bleeding from furniture to floor.

5. If the wood develops white spots or a film, rub the surface with a clean cloth soaked in a solution of half ammonia, half water.

6. Carpeting will probably have to be discarded. Oriental rugs require a specialist. Throw rugs can be washed.

7. Look for broken ceramic and glass items so you can claim damage for insurance. Put loose pieces in a plastic bag. Mark it with the place you found it. Watch for mold growth in the bag.

8. If your wooden furniture frame is valuable, save it and discard your mattresses and upholstery.

Don’t forget to take pictures of any possible damage to help with insurance claims and call your insurance agent. Save the things that are undamaged first, not the items that are soaked. Be sure to wear boots and rubber gloves, wash hands frequently, and cover open cuts so contaminated water doesn’t cause infections.

There is more information about clean-up, insurance claims, and mold problems, in our report “Dealing with Disaster: How To Protect Your Collection from Theft, Fire and Natural Disasters and How To Handle a Disaster If it Strikes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, also called the Chicago World’s Fair, celebrated the 400th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World. The fair’s dedication ceremonies were held in October, 1892, though the fairgrounds didn’t open to the public until May 1, 1893 and it closed October 30, 1893.

Visitors wanting to take home a souvenir of their World’s Fair experiences were offered many choices—directories, pictures, programs, ash trays, ceramics, toys, posters, and all sorts of textile goods, from handkerchiefs and aprons to flags and banners. And they are all popular with collectors today.
This printed cloth sample was woven at a fabric mill in Lowell, Mass., in honor of the exposition. It includes an artist’s picture of Columbus’ 1492 landing, as well as pictures of the busts of Columbus and George Washington and the U.S. Capitol Building surrounded by wreaths, stars with the names of the 44 states, and shields honoring the discovery of America and the fair, with the dates 1492 and 1892. Fabric like this was used for decorative bunting or drapery. A sample of this cloth sold at a 1993 auction for $660. A similar reproduction fabric is available today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

If you have an old, perhaps 18th-century, piece of case furniture, try this dating tip. Pull the drawers out and put them back upside down. The drawers should move back and forth as easily as they did in the right-side-up position. Old-time cabinetmakers made both a drawer and its opening exactly square. Drawers with later repairs may not be as exact.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Every month, the Top 10 list shows the interests of the collectors that visit the website. During August 2012, antique enthusiasts were busy researching.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The September 2012 issue of “Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles” is now available. Don’t miss auction reports on cocktail accessories, Italian art glass and Midcentury Modern desks. Also in the September issue—prices and photos of lawman badges from the Old West, colorful Chinese firecracker labels, birds captured in etchings and figurines, Boehm porcelain marks and Terry Kovel's report from the White Ironstone China Association annual convention.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

VPT Engineering and Production staff have just finished the complete rebuild of the lighting system in the Colchester studios of Vermont's statewide public television network. Working with local electrical contractors, they replaced equipment that dated back to the day VPT began in 1967.

Starting in February, the original power sockets in the ceilings of Studios A and B were replaced with modern sockets. Then, the patch circuit breaker panels in each studio were removed and replaced with newer types that don't depend on inserting and removing plugs. Lights can be controlled from a computerized system now.

The final step was installing new energy-efficient lights tailored for areas in the studios like the Vermont This Week set, the VPT Cooks kitchen, the interview and fundraising sets and the green screen area.

The new lights are a mix of LED key and back lights, and fluorescent fill lights that emit the same amount of light as the old ones but use only 20% of the electricity. Another way of saying it is that the old lights gave off 80% of the power they drew in heat and 20% in light. The new ones use 80% of power as light and 20% heat. The studios are both brighter and cooler now.

Matching State of Vermont and federal funds covered the $324,000 job, which is one of the final steps in VPT's multi-year digital transition project. Vermont's Congressional delegation, and state administrative and legislative leaders have supported the project all the way.

Pictured under the new lights on an interview set with VPT's president John King are staff who worked on the rebuild. Left to right are production manager Mike Dunn, videographer-editor Jim Ray, chief technical officer Joe Tymecki, videographer-editor Nate Huffman, president John King and media specialist-maintenance technician David Rice. On the desk on the left is a 120-watt LED key light and on the right a fluorescent fill light.

Studio maintenance technician Phil Kinerson, not available for the group photo but pictured top right, was a key member of the project group.