NewslettersRuby Lane's newsletters are designed to celebrate the antiques and art, vintage collectibles and jewelry communities around the world. Our Past Times newsletter focuses on antiques and collectibles. Our Creative Hands newsletter celebrates fine art and handcrafted jewelry on Ruby Lane. Our shop owners are frequent article contributors, sharing their expertise and their passions for the items they collect and create. Enjoy!
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Ruby Lane's Past Times Newsletter for March 2005
The monthly newsletter from Ruby Lane Antiques, Collectibles,
Fine Art, and Artisans
Welcome to Past Times!
IN THIS ISSUE:
o March Hot Shop: Welcome To Portobello Treasures!
o Silver Facts by Donald Ryan of Lee Ryan Antiques and Estate
o At Home With Bakelite by Linda Grossman of Evelynne's
Oldies But Goodies
o Share Past Times with A Friend
MARCH HOT SHOP: WELCOME TO PORTOBELLO TREASURES!
Since 1985, Richard and Audrey Jones of Portobello Treasures
have run their antiques business from their fifteenth century
home in the historic county of Essex. They specialise in
dealing in smaller items – often antique collectibles such as
vestas, antique sewing items, Mauchline souvenir ware, Victorian
lady's skirt lifters & etc.
Every Saturday they buy and sell these and from their booths on
London's famous Portobello Road. Sundays often see them
exhibiting in one of the major London hotels, usually the Park
Lane Hotel or the Rembrandt Hotel (directly opposite the
Victoria & Albert museum).
Since 1988 they have been travelling to New York to take part in
the Three Piers Expo. This is held at the Manhattan Ships
terminal twice a year, every February/March and November. In
addition to exporting to most of the States in USA; since 2001
their Ruby Lane activity has happily introduced them to many new
friends around the world.
They treat visitors to their Ruby Lane site as they would
visitors to their store location. The ticket price is the all-in
price. There are no extra add-ons to pay. All shipping costs are
taken care of by Portobello – to everywhere in the world. Local
taxes and duties have, however, to be paid by the recipient on
We invite you to visit Richard and Audrey at: Portobello
SILVER FACTS BY DONALD RYAN OF LEE RYAN ANTIQUES
AND ESTATE JEWELRY
925, 800, 830S, Coin, Sterling, EPNS, etc., etc., etc. Ever
wonder about the meaning of these markings on a piece of
silverware used every day or hidden away until special
occasions? Worried that great grandma's flatware (knives, forks,
spoons) service for 12 is too valuable to keep in the house?
Concerned over using hollowware (bowls, vases, pitchers) for
food, fruit or flowers?
Up until the 1860's most American silver was 90% silver and 10%
other metals (mainly copper). This was the same percentage as
our silver coinage and usually carried a mark of Coin, Dollar or
Standard. This assured the public of quality and consistence. As
always, there were unscrupulous exceptions, but this is best
left for another column. Sterling silver (an alloy of 925 parts
silver and 75 parts copper) started to replace Coin about 1868.
Sterling had already been the English basis for several hundred
years and American silver manufacturers had to upgrade to this
standard to compete with Europe. So when you see 925, 925/1000
or Sterling, you'll know it's solid sterling silver.
Other countries have their own standards for silver alloys:
Germany--800; Norway--830S; Finland--813; Poland--916; Japan950,
etc. These are not hard and fast percentages since many
countries make several different alloys according to usage
requirements. However, if the material is for export to this
country and bears the Sterling mark it must be at least 925
parts per thousand of pure silver. Bear in mind that some
countries' responsibilities for ensuring the purity and fineness
of their silver exports are less stringent than others. Most
antique and silver dealers are aware of this and warn their
customers prior to purchase that marks are not always a
guarantee of fineness.
Electroplating is the depositing of a thin layer of metal
(usually a precious metal) onto a cheaper or base metal. This is
accomplished by electrical means and is a fairly simple process.
Usually a base metal of a zinc or nickel silver alloy is used
since it is approximately the color of silver and won't show
wear as rapidly. Often, the item is marked Quadruple Plate or
EPNS (Electroplated Nickel Silver). There is no silver in Nickel
Silver (which is also called German Silver). Also, the term
"Silver Soldered" indicates plated goods. There is not enough
silver on plated goods to be economically recoverable by
standard means. Older plated items are usually collected due to
their rarity, uniqueness or nostalgic desirability.
Old Sheffield Plate is composed of solid sheets of silver fused
to a center sheet of copper. These pieces are quite rare and
command high prices when found. They are not to be confused with
Old silver does not mean expensive silver. As with everything
else, demand must equal or surpass supply; if not, the item goes
begging for a home. People are often surprised at how reasonably
priced some pre-owned silver is. Of course, they are just as
surprised at how expensive some other pieces may be. English
tablespoons from the late 18th century can be found for $50-100;
American Coin silver in plain patterns, circa 1850, is quite
reasonably priced at $10-30 for teaspoons. Conversely, some
Danish and French flatware, less than 25 years old, commands
upwards of $100 for forks or spoons. Much contemporary American
silver flatware, if monogrammed, is worth little more than its
weight in silver since it is difficult to sell. Older
monogrammed pieces, on the other hand, are easier to sell since
the initials are those of "my great aunt's maiden name." So, to
hedge a little, get a knowledgeable opinion about great
grandma's vintage silver. If you intend to keep it, of course
get an insurance appraisal and add it to your policy. If you
intend to sell it, save the $50-75 appraisal fee since most
dealers don't use appraisals as a basis for buying. A future
article will discuss buying and selling.
Nothing shows off a set table like silver. According to your
mood, it can look rich without being ostentatious, showy but not
gaudy, understated but elegant. Hollowware is ideal for
displaying a selection of fruit or flowers. Its sheen sets off
the contents beautifully and there is a shape and size for every
requirement. Silver should be used, not stored. Kept clean and
polished (when needed), silver takes on a beautiful patina of
age that can not be duplicated. This is caused by the thousands
and tens of thousands of tiny scratches made by use and
polishing. Therefore, old silver should NEVER be subjected to
steel wool, harsh polishes, or a buffing wheel. Nothing will
destroy the beauty and value of a silver heirloom quicker than
ham-handed treatment. So, by all means, use those bowls, dishes,
vases and comports. Just remember not to allow food to remain in
the vessel for more than a few hours and to wash with mild
detergent after use. And never, never allow salt to remain in
silver shakers overnight. This is a guaranteed formula for
corrosion. Some foods, particularly those containing eggs,
mustard, and acidic fruits and vegetables can tarnish or even
etch silver if left in contact too long. These caveats sound a
lot more complicated and ominous than they are in practice.
Common sense and a little education will ensure the beauty and
usefulness of your silver for many years.
We invite you to visit Don's shop: Lee Ryan Antiques and Estate
AT HOME WITH BAKELITE BY LINDA GROSSMAN OF
EVELYNNE'S OLDIES BUT GOODIES
"Plastic" objects are part of our history. These items
represent a significant example of Americana. The Smithsonian,
the Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum all include
"plastics" in their collections.
You do not have to go to a museum to enjoy seeing and collecting
"plastic" items. The primary goal of the new movement, in the
1930's and 40's, was to provide less expensive, decorative, and
useful items in the home, using machines to create and service
the large population.
It created an enormous variety of both functional and decorative
high and low cost objects for the home which are sought after by
collectors today. Antique plastic is not a contradiction of
terms – plastics have been around in synthetic form for well
over 100 years making them a true antique.
BAKELITE was developed by Dr. Leo Baekeland in 1907 and was
originally intended as an insulator for electricity, and is not
quite 100 years old. Besides Bakelite jewelry, Bakelite has
brought us items such as radios, kitchenware, flatware, clocks,
Bakelite handled utensils, telephones, salt and pepper shakers,
etc. The list of items boggle the mind and keeps increasing the
pleasure it brings to the collector of any or all of the above.
When to decide to collect Bakelite? Colors, design and style are
no doubt what will attract you initially. The broad pallet of
Bakelite enables today's collector to enjoy both nostalgia and
utility. For example, your eye catches a set of red plastic
canisters – and it becomes a "look" in your kitchen, which can
be followed for a search for a set of Bakelite Flatware for your
dining experience. Above all, you are buying what you like and
at the same time buying items of value. The value increases as
authentic examples of an era diminish in supply. Collecting is
a tangible, you had fun finding it and have the pleasure of the
item in your home.
The term "streamlined" appeared in magazines and illustrations
of the day, to describe the design that set this era apart.
Cocktail shakers, some accentuated with Bakelite, Bakelite
napkin rings, drink stirrers, fruit knives, etc., were all part
of the scene - the streamlined Bakelite radio playing popular
songs of the day. This is now what collectors seek to continue
to enhance the look of the era that has now become an important
part of their lives.
We advise collectors of antique and vintage Bakelite items for
their home, to buy what gives them pleasure and don't be afraid
to set an eclectic table – utensils and flatware do not have to
match nor do they have to be the same color. Buy "orphaned"
pieces of Bakelite flatware to create a bright and colorful look
– all that matters is what appeals to you, the collector.
Be certain, that in order to assure the continuance of this
search for antique and vintage Bakelite for the home, one has to
always be certain of where and from whom these items are being
purchased, and buy from reputable and knowledgeable dealers.
At our shop Evelynne's Oldies But Goodies at Ruby Lane, we have
been dealing in the field of antique and vintage Bakelite,
including household items, for well over 20 years.
We invite you to visit Linda's shop, Evelynne's Oldies But
SHARE PAST TIMES WITH A FRIEND
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others who would enjoy receiving it? We invite you forward this
issue on to others. Happy reading!
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