Everyday I’m reminded of my failure to observe some of the most basic rules for protecting and preserving the items in my collection. Hanging in my office is a framed, autographed Peyton Manning photo, and a list of the records he set in his rookie season. At one time, his signature boldly sprawled from one edge of the photo to the other. Today, it’s barely visible.
If your collectibles were lost, damaged, or stolen, would your homeowners or renters insurance policy pay to repair or replace those collectibles? When asked this question, it’s not uncommon for a collector to respond “Well of course, that’s why I have insurance.” Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Read more
Owney, a scruffy Terrier mix, wandered into the annals of dog tag history when he trotted into the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. With a peculiar attraction to the scent of mailbags, Owney soon became a fixture at the post office.Read more
Rust. One of the most formidable enemies of antique collectors the world over. Not only is rust visually unappealing, it’s a bona fide antique killer!
Given enough time, oxygen, and water (moisture), an iron object will inevitably transform to rust and disintegrate. The longer rust is allowed to persist, the more it devours its host.
Over the years, I’ve tried dozens of rust removal techniques; everything from good ole’ fashion elbow grease to harsh chemicals. Having restored hundreds of iron objects, I’ve settled on three inexpensive, non-toxic methods that have produced the best results. Read more
I feel lower than a bow-legged caterpillar. Lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. Lower than an ankle bracelet on a flat-footed pygmy. Just down right low. I’ve done the unimaginable; the inexcusable. My entire collectibles collection―the Civil War relics, antique bottles, Native American artifacts, coins and currency, and WW2 pieces―has been boxed away in the dark, inescapable confines of plastic storage containers and cardboard boxes.Read more
A carving of a wooden Indian, a red, white, and blue striped pole, three golden balls suspended from a curved bar, and the mortar and pestle―symbols used by early store keepers to advertise and inform a predominately illiterate populace of their respective trades and services. And with only 12% of the people in the world able to read and write in 1820, the use of such symbols wasn’t really an option for business owners, it was a must. This is the story of Cigar Store Indians.Read more
The stock market crash of 1929 was announced with a loud and thunderous bang on Thursday, October 24th. In the chaotic days that ensued, the market hemorrhaged double-digit losses. Jittery and uncertain of their financial future, the American public cutback their spending and investments. In turn, production and employment rapidly declined. America was in a recession.Read more
In June of 1941, the famed General George S. Patton arrived in Murfreesboro, Tennessee along with 11,000 troops and 2,000 vehicles. In short order, as many as 77,000 troops had converged on Middle Tennessee and were soon divided into opposing Red and Blue Armies that would clash in simulated, but realistic, battles that would continue through 1944. When operations ended in ‘44, more than 800,000 troops had occupied more than 2.25 million acres and 22 counties in Middle Tennessee. Read more
The first settlers in Hawaii introduced sugarcane to the islands around 600 A.D. Natives harvested sugarcane, or kō in Hawaiian, and consumed it as food and medicine. They chewed it for its sweet juices and the coarse stalk helped to keep their teeth and gums clean. Other parts of the plant were used as food additives, clothing dye, and thatching for shelter. However, Native Hawaiians never cultivated sugarcane directly for its sugar. That changed with the arrival of Europeans.Read more
Following the Union Army’s embarrassing defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, Joseph Hooker was appointed brigadier general and ordered to defend Washington, D.C., from further Confederate incursions. Wasting no time, Hooker quickly established a large encampment just outside the city, where he first commanded a brigade, then a division, as part of the effort to organize and train the new Army of the Potomac, under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan.Read more