Wells Fargo Buckles

Old fakes never die. They just hide for a few years and reappear after they are forgotten. Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772-1830) is still probably the most successful antique coin forger and his coins are a puzzle even for modern collectors. The largest fake scam of the 1970s was the Wells Fargo Belt Buckle exploit. Large […]

Phrenology Head

We all know palm readers can tell you if you are intelligent, how many children you will have, or if you will live to a ripe old age from the lines in your hand. At least that is what palm readers say, even today. Phrenology was a medical theory promoted by a German doctor, Franz […]

Did You Know? Slinky

Toys reflect the life of the times with dolls dressed in popular styles, small automobiles that look like the newest models or even the imagined car of the future. But some old favorites are updated and soon there are collectors for each new version. The Slinky toy, considered too simple to be popular with children, […]

Carousel Horse

A carousel horse is a matter of personal taste. Some prefer “park paint” which means “never repainted” and will pay extra. Some prefer a full restoration and repaint that is artistic but not necessarily like the original decoration. You must be sure the body of an antique carousel horse has been checked and reglued if […]

Restoration Insight – Garden Gnomes

Don’t try to restore, repaint, touch up, add a clear, protective coating, unknown polish or cleaner, or throw away a tag or a box for an antique or collectible without doing research in current books or online. The boiled linseed oil used by museums in the past to polish furniture crystalizes, can’t be removed, and […]

The Jazz Bowl

The story of the famous punch bowl called the Jazz bowl is well-known. The very large bright blue and black punch bowl was made by Viktor Schreckengost while he was working part-time at Cowan Pottery in Rocky River, Ohio. In 1930, he was assigned to create a punch bowl with a “New York-ish” theme. He […]

Coca-Cola Trays

Coca-Cola began producing serving trays and tip trays in 1897. Collectors consider 1897-1968 as the “original” era. The collectibles market is filled with thousands of reproduction Coca-Cola trays, many produced by Coca-Cola itself. They are marked on the back with a Coca-Cola label, date and description. Authentic vintage trays have black backs, while reproductions have […]

Toys & Boxes

At the beginning of the 20th century, a popular toy was L’Homme Sandwich by Fernand Martin, Paris. It’s a clockwork-driven figure representing a “sandwich man,” a person who walked the streets with a backpack-style advertising billboard. The 1901 toy is extremely rare. One recently sold, without its box, for $14,400 at a Bertoia auction in […]


There’s a hypnotic allure to the 1950s Pecking Woodpecker on a Stick. Marketed as a preschool toy, the 20 1/2-inch toy featured a 2-inch wooden bird with sharp beak attached by a spring and small ball to a slender pole. Move the bird to the top, gently pull it back and the bird starts to […]

Roly Poly Tins

Roly Poly tins were first made in the early 1900s by the American Tobacco Company to hold a pound of tobacco. There were six stereotypical lithographed figures used for the rounded shape: Dutchman, Inspector from Scotland Yard, Mammy, Satisfied Customer, Singing Waiter, and Storekeeper. All are marked on the bottom with one of four different […]