150 Years of Great Legs

150 Years of Great Legs Each period of furniture design is characterized by elements that reflect the stylistic ideals of that era. Legs, in particular, offer unique and beautiful insights into the evolution of fine furniture craftsmanship.  Read More »

Arburo Orchestrion Organ Brings Music to Life

You enter a room filled with spirited music; the rhythm grabbing you immediately as it travels through the air. Drums keep time to a bright organ and accordion melody peppered with the crisp ring of a triangle. Certainly such a lively and delightful sound would be the collaborative effort… Read More »

Marks of Distinction

Marks of DistinctionJust as a fine painting bears the signature of the artist, so do important pieces of silver. Here’s a sampling of some of the most prominent maker’s marks you’re likely to come across.  Read More »

Anatomy of An English Hallmark

Anatomy of An English HallmarkHere’s a guide for reading and understanding the elements of the English hallmark. Read More »

Secrets of the Pyramids: Is Another Egyptian Revival on the Horizon?

Coffins, mummies, pyramids and ancient tombs – words that seem more at home in a film script have been recently seen flooding headlines. Archeologists and Egyptologists seem on the brink of a major discovery that would rock both the academic world and popular culture. With stories about… Read More »
The Napoleon Bee

Napoléon’s Imperial Bee

A symbol of rebirth, immortality, and diligence, the industrious bee has been a decorative motif for centuries. From ancient Egyptian  hieroglyphics to sleek modern-day design, the most popular bee of all is the imperial motif of Napoléon Bonaparte. Following the tumultuous… Read More »

Anything but Ordinary: The History of The Table

Humans are social by nature. We gather on a daily basis to work, play, eat, share ideas, celebrate with family and friends, and everything in between. The commonality these events share is perhaps one of the most over-looked and under-appreciated of all our conveniences–the table. Over the… Read More »

Snake Symbolism in Jewelry & Decorative Art

The serpent—representative of good and evil, poison and medicine, death and rebirth—has found powerful symbolic meaning dating back to ancient times. Both revered and feared by numerous cultures and religions for their mysterious duality, the snake has long been established as… Read More »

Finding Their Voice: A Brief History of The Golden Age of High Furniture in Ireland

Stunning, eclectic and uniquely elegant, Irish furniture is a direct expression of its lush land and spirited people. Often referred to as “the long peace,” the 18th and 19th centuries were certainly a golden age of Irish furniture design. Although inspired greatly by English counterparts,… Read More »
Ning Zhao Ji Chinese Export Silver Centerpiece

Chinese Export Silver: Where East Meets West

Late in the 18th century, the export of silver from China to the West began to rival the tremendous export industry of Chinese porcelain. With an influx of trade between China and the West, as well as tourists flooding the region, the demand for these one-of-a-kind silver pieces increased… Read More »

An American Legend: The Incredible Silver of Tiffany & Co.

Few companies in American history bear the distinction of being synonymous with elegance, style and refinement. Tiffany & Co. is one of those companies whose very name conjures up images of opulence, wealth and good taste. And, while their mark on the history of decorative arts is… Read More »
Walking Stick with Faberge Jeweled Amber Handle

Imperial Splendor: The works of Peter Carl Fabergé

The public's appreciation and fascination with the works of Fabergé have continued unabated for more than 100 years. Born in 1846 to a modest jeweler of French Huguenot decent, Peter Carl Fabergé lived his life against the backdrop of one of the most powerful and glittering… Read More »
The Incredibly Rare Double DeLuxe Violano Virtuoso

The Double Deluxe Violano Virtuoso

The spectacular Double DeLuxe Violano Virtuoso, created by the Mills Novelty Company, is an important and extremely rare example of American musical automata, featuring not one, but two brilliantly tuned violins. Considered among the finest musical instruments ever made, the “Double… Read More »

The Grand Tour: An Education of High Culture and Collecting

In order to experience the unique qualities of a variety of artistic and cultural experiences it is necessary to leave the familiar and embark on adventure. No cultural phenomenon makes this more apparent than the Grand Tour, a tour throughout Europe that became de rigueur for young… Read More »
Hawkes Cut Glass Panel Pattern Pitcher

American Brilliance—The History of American Brilliant Period Cut Glass

The 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia marked the beginning of a new era in American decorative arts history. Our country had proven it was strong enough to face the challenges of a fledgling nation and after 100 years, was just beginning to form its own identity. A major… Read More »
Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill

"All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." —Sir Winston ChurchillIf ever any one individual could define an era, could embody the thoughts and feelings of an entire nation, one of the strongest… Read More »
A wonderfully nostalgic and rare Hammond No. 12 typewriter by the Hammond Typewriter Company of New York. This model was the first to allow the user to see what was being typed as it was typed.

History of Office Machinery

by Daniele Gair We all know that offices can be noisy places. From phones ringing to copiers copying, the 21st-century office is alive with the sound of machinery. It's hard to believe that this is a relatively new development. Although the office as an entity has been around for… Read More »
Louis Comfort Tiffany's iconic windows were so detailed they were often referred to as

America’s Artistic Pioneer–Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany had a discerning artistic eye, and his genius for design extended far beyond the exceptional lamps and windows for which he is known. Tiffany was also a talented interior designer and launched his decorating business, Louis C. Tiffany & Associated Artists in 1878.… Read More »
This exceptional chandelier by Baccarat features opaline glass, cut crystal and ornate doré bronze. Circa 1850

Let There Be Light: Choosing the Right Antique Chandelier

by Bill Rau Few things command a room and evoke a sense of splendor quite like a great chandelier. For centuries these magnificent crystal, bronze and colored glass creations have served as bellwethers of wealth and status, adorning the great halls and dining rooms of Europe and all far… Read More »
A crowning achievement for Francois Linke, this monumental vitrine illustrates everything that made this craftsman famous. Taking its cue from the rococo style, this vitrine is infused with an Art Nouveau panache. Linke collaborated with noted Parisian sculptor Léon Messagé to create the extraordinaryt bronze mounts.

The Allure of 19th Century Parisian Furniture

by Bill RauThe Allure of 19th Century Parisian Furniture Lessons from the Masters Paul Sormani and Francois Linke Few furniture styles speak of elegance and opulence like those of 18th century Paris. The great Kings of France, namely Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, each ushered in… Read More »
This magnificent three-piece clock set features fabulous bronze sculptures by A. B. Nadaud set on rouge marble bases. The central figure, Penelope, stands unwinding her loom, flanked by two classical maidens. Nadaud was a recognized French sculptor who debuted his works at the Paris Salon in 1861.

History's Technical Marvels: Collecting Antique Clocks

by Bill Rau Nothing is so dear and precious as time -Francois Rabelais The Roosevelt Hotel, one of New Orleans most exquisite Grand Dames, is poised to reopen in June 2009 after a $145 million restoration as part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection. While luxurious rooms, an indulgent… Read More »
Fine silver firms, such as Fabergé, created important flatware services of the utmost quality.

So Many Choices…The Golden Age of Flatware

Dining in the Victorian-era was truly an art form. The economic prosperity of the late 19th and early 20th centuries catapulted many into the middle and upper classes, and the desire to display just how wealthy you were was of the utmost importance to maintain, if not raise, your standing… Read More »
The stunning King Farouk Bedroom Suite

Prime Provenance: The King Farouk Bedroom Suite

Few things excite me more than discovering rare treasures that are distinguished by an incredible provenance. It's the provenance that turns a great piece into a phenomenal piece, and literally brings the events normally only read in history books to life. In the case of this amazing… Read More »
A vibrant sunset sets this pair of

Elves, Nymphs and Fairies–Oh My!: Illustrious Fairyland Lustre by Wedgwood

An over-200-year-old company finds itself on the verge of financial ruin as war rages on. It's only savior an unknown artist who rises through the ranks by determination, persuasion and sheer talent, only to be fired when she has outlasted her usefulness. Sounds more like soap-opera fodder… Read More »
A rare and stunning Burmese Imperial jadeite is the star of this striking ring

What’s in a Name? The Splendor of Imperial Jadeite Jewelry

"Gold is estimable; but Jade is priceless." -Chinese proverb See at our beautiful collection of 'jade' jewelry here: Shrouded behind a veil of verdant mystery for centuries, the brilliance of jadeite inspired fascinating legends of… Read More »
This ivory-topped Doctor's Cane contains everything needed to make a house call.

The Un-cane-y World of Canes

Canes and walking sticks, upon first mention, sound perhaps like the least interesting objects in the world to collect. Nothing could be further from the truth.There was a time when no well-heeled gentleman or lady would have been seen in public without his or her walking stick. These… Read More »
Stunning George II Silver Epergne by Ann Craig and John Neville. Theirs was one of only a handful of female/male silversmithing partnerships to ever exist.

A Woman’s Touch: The Masterpieces of Female Silversmiths

The contributions of women are one, if not the most, overlooked aspect in the history of silver craftsmanship. The natural elegance and refinement exhibited in the works created by the hand of female silversmiths set them apart from all others, and, in many cases, are considered the finest… Read More »
These Earth Spirits ensured safety in the afterlife. With fearsome features, no one would dare disturb their owner.

Spirited Ceramics: Tang Dynasty Sancai Pottery

We've all heard the saying "You can't take it with you." But what if you could?Death in pre-modern Chinese culture was of tremendous importance, and it was crucial that when one left this life for the next, the departed were given everything needed to enjoy the next chapter of… Read More »
Styled after the designs of the legendary Thomas Chippendale, this monumental 19th century mirror is a work of art. The intricate tripartite frame is crafted of giltwood, and is decorated with graceful elements such as flourishing foliage, acanthus leaf scrolls and flowers, cascades and icicles, and two Hou-hou birds, or Japanese phoenixes.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...The History of the Mirror

By Bill Rau A beautiful antique mirror can be one of the grandest pieces in a home. However, few people know where the true value of a mirror once lay. Today, we find value in the frames of our mirrors, but just 170 years ago, it was the mirror glass itself that was most… Read More »
WWII Special Forces Radio

The Special Forces Radio: How It Works

A crystal radio can be thought of as a radio receiver reduced to its essentials. It consists at a minimum of these components: • An antenna to pick up the radio waves and convert them to electric currents. • A tuned circuit to select the signal of the radio station to be… Read More »
Paul Storr was considered the finest silversmith of the late Georgian period, known for perfecting the works, styles and designs of the Regency period. Storr received commissions from royalty and nobility, creating incredible pieces that graced the dining rooms of castles, manors and chateaus throughout Europe. This rare sterling silver soup tureen, complete with matching underplate, was created especially for the Monteith family of Scotland and would have held a commanding place at the center of the dining table.

Dinner is Served…The Changing Face of Dining Traditions

The tradition of sitting down to a fine meal with family and friends is one that dates back as far as civilized mankind. But, it wasn’t until the 18th century that dining traditions began to vaguely resemble our more modern practices. Step back just a few centuries, and what people… Read More »

Hester Bateman Queen of the Silversmiths

Leading Lady Hester Bateman Before the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s put men in factories and made them primary wage earner of the family, women had more latitude in their mode of earning a living — and gaining fame.But even then, the most successful women were often widows who… Read More »
Paul Storr

Paul Storr's Lasting Legacy

The Legacy of Paul StorrWithout question, Paul Storr can be considered among history's finest smiths and he will long be remembered for perfecting the works, styles and designs of the Regency period. Storr pursued a career in silversmithing at an early age, apprenticing to Swedish-born… Read More »
Duelling Pistol

A Matter of Honor...The History of the Duel

In 1804, when the Secretary of the Treasury, General Alexander Hamilton, referred to the Vice President as the "embryo Caesar of the United States," Aaron Burr took the only appropriate action...he challenged Hamilton to a duel. The two arrived on the duelling ground as… Read More »
Paul deLamerie

Paul de Lamerie — Setting the Standard

Paul de Lamerie Setting the StandardFor well over 250 years Paul de Lamerie has been universally considered not only one of the most important English goldsmiths, but among the most important English craftsmen of all time. His extraordinary works range from the elegant simplicity of the… Read More »
Chrysanthemum Tea Set

Chrysanthemum Tea Set by Tiffany

Ask 1,000 antique collectors what drives them and you're likely to get 1,000 different answers. But, at its most basic level, we love antiques for the same reason we love a good book or a great photograph. It's the story they have to tell, who made them, where they came from and who owned… Read More »
Billiard Table

The Noble Game of Billiards

Though experts have speculated for centuries about the true origins of billiards, most agree that the game evolved from a lawn game similar to that of croquet around the 15th-century, hence the green cloth resembling grass. The game underwent numerous transformations over the… Read More »
John Henry Belter

The Genius of John Henry Belter

Few craftsmen in history leave such an indelible mark on their craft that their name becomes synonymous with all other works of that style.Thomas Chippendale was one such artisan as was Louis Comfort Tiffany a century and a half later. Another such name is that of John Henry Belter, a… Read More »
Rare Russian Blackamoor Cane

Collecting Antique Walking Sticks and Canes

In centuries past, well-heeled gentlemen, and ladies too, were seldom seen without a walking stick in hand. Unlike today, canes of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, often boasting handles of precious metals and jewels, served as symbols of wealth, power and social stature. They were… Read More »
Sevres Bisque Pedestals

Sévres Porcelain...A Royal Obsession

Held in the highest regard among monarchs, emperors, and cardinals, the beauty of Sevres porcelain is infinite and enduring. The factory began as a modest workshop in the royal chateau of Vincennes in 1740, established for the express purpose of improving the quality and production of… Read More »
Paul Revere Teapot

Paul Revere...The American Patriot

Born in 1734 to a Huguenot silversmith, Paul Revere's patriotism and his contribution to the American decorative arts is of inestimable value. He was immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere which tells of how he heroically rode through the… Read More »
Matthew Boulton Silver Candelabra

The Ingenuity of Matthew Boulton

Without question, the most prominent of the Sheffield Plate manufacturers is English inventor and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton (1728-1809), credited as being one of the first entrepreneurs to truly realize the implications of serving the middle class with mass-produced items. For more than… Read More »
Creamware Leech Jar

Collecting Medical Antiques

When I was first asked to write this article, I was just recovering from a bout with the flu. And though my desk drawer was well stocked with remedies, my thoughts turned to what sort of "cures" my ancestors might have endured.Medical convention of the 18th century might have… Read More »
Meissen Porcelain

Meissen: The Allure of Continental Porcelain

Secrecy. Deceit. Imprisonment. The stuff of spy thrillers and international intrigue. True. But they are also words that can be used to describe the early discovery and development of porcelain in Europe.These beautiful and delicate icons that adorn our homes were once the objects of… Read More »
Cigar Store Indian

The Renaissance of the Cigar

Dinner parties center around them. Magazines and books are written about them. Make no mistake, that pungent, sweet aroma filling the air is exactly what you think it is. The cigar is back.For decades, staunch cigar lovers have endured harsh criticism and have been ostracized from public… Read More »
Sheffield Silver

The Allure of Sheffield Silver

Two hundred and fifty years ago, Sheffield Plate offered consumers a more affordable alternative to sterling silver. Today, these early works of silver plate often command as high or sometimes higher prices than their sterling counterparts. The reason is simple, collectors recognize the… Read More »

Upgrading Your Collection

"You will almost certainly run out of room before you run out of money."Most young collectors, and even the seasoned veterans, look incredulous when they hear this for the first time. Surprising as it may seem, in most cases, this statement is 100 percent true.Cabinets will… Read More »
Hester Bateman Hallmark

Understanding Hallmarks

For hundreds of years, hallmarks have been used throughout Great Britain to identify, date and grade silver, plate, gold and platinum. You might say it's one of the world's oldest forms of consumer protection. For collectors of English sterling, knowledge of the different types of British… Read More »
Belleek Tea Set

From Famine to Fortune...A Brief History of Belleek

Belleek is nestled in an area of breathtaking beauty known as the County Fermanagh. The tiny town is most famous, however, for the beauty of its porcelain which has been heralded as the finest, thinnest ever made. Today, collectors around the world, seek out pieces from this legendary… Read More »
Tureen by Paul de Lamerie

The Great Georgian Silversmiths

The term Georgian Silver is one most collectors are familiar with, though it is one that is quite broad in scope, ranging from 1714 and the reign of George I through 1830, ending with the reign of George IV. It is doubtful that when a young King George I ascended the throne in 1714 that… Read More »
Maker's Cartouche

Collecting Antique Globes

The oldest known terrestrial globe was created in 1492, when Spanish and Portuguese explorers pioneered the circumnavigation of the world. For many years, globes were precious and available only to Kings and nobility. Expensive and challenging to produce, they were held in the highest… Read More »
French Barometer

How's the Weather? A Brief History of Antique Barometers

If only we could see into the future...When it comes to the weather, the barometer may be the closest thing we have to a crystal ball. This remarkable device is used to measure atmospheric pressure, and those changes in pressure indicate a change in the weather. Today, weather stations… Read More »
Emile Gallie Signature

Art Glass of Emile Gallé

Emile Gallé is widely considered the leading artistic innovator of the Art Nouveau movement, creating works of glass and furniture that are breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiring in their complexity and variety. Born in 1846 into a family with a tradition of glassmaking in the town of… Read More »

Baccarat Glass of Kings

In response to a wealthy landowners request to make the best use of the natural resources of the infertile Baccarat region of France, King Louis XV created "Compagnie des Cristalleries de Baccarat" in 1765 by royal decree. The renowned company was the first French glassworks firm… Read More »

Newcomb Pottery...Art of the South

Clay collected from the bayous of Louisiana, thrown and kiln fired in New Orleans...Southern artists creating ceramic masterpieces depicting Southern themes...these are what make Newcomb Pottery a true Southern art form. Established in New Orleans in 1894, the pottery emerged as a result… Read More »