Saturday, April 18, 2015

Days of Long Ago and Far Away Come Back to the Present

(A Stereoptican card dated 1899; tinted in color) Anfinsen Arts on Etsy
I’ve always been a history buff. I'd like to go back in time and see what it was really like. How would I have reacted? Would I have been a lowly peasant or part of the aristocracy? Would my choices have affected generations to come or would I have silently “gone into that good night” unrecorded, unknown; “ashes to ashes, dust to dust?”

When my paternal grandfather left me his Stereopticon and cards, I had intentions of passing them on to my own children, but there seemed to be little interest. At a certain point, I decided to sell them to those who would prize them and use them.

I had no idea if the cards were valuable or not. I went on EBay to test the waters. This is always a good idea to see what the competition is doing. I had one card that I almost threw away. It was of an African American couple sitting on the grass eating watermelon. I was ashamed that it was even part of the collection. Then I discovered that people are paying quite a bit for “Black Americana” of any kind. A similar card has a missing corner, and will be given away with the sale of the first.

(I'm not endorsing this by any means!  Apparently "Black Americana" is a collectible item
copyright 1897)
Humorous pairs and trios, and the early tinted cards are more valuable than others. Military cards, war ships, and major cities showing how they have changed are also in demand. I’m amused at what people were interested in viewing in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

People collected cards the way we download apps. The dual photos on each card gives a three-dimensional appearance when viewed through the stereopticon. Unfortunately, those that were enjoyed the most are more worn which decreases the value.

(copyright 1906)

These and other Stereopticon cards and collectibles are in my shop:  Anfinsen Arts on Etsy
I started collecting Popeye memorabilia for almost the same reasons. My grandson, Dane, did a pretty good imitation of Popeye when he was about six and that sparked my interest. I noticed that Popeye was still reasonably priced so I started building my collection. Many pieces have been sold on my Etsy site.

Antiques tell a story. They also seem to hold traces of the people who owned them. Sometimes you can feel their warmth and spirit radiate. At other times, an ominous cold feeling of dread emanates from the wood or the living material an object is made from.
(Bridget copyright 1906) A second card shows her on the table, afraid of a mouse!
Vintage shops draw me in compelling ways. I like to browse and stay, waiting for that certain something that urges me to buy. Sensing another time, another era and the hovering spirits of those who may have used each item gives me pause. The smell of old relics mingled with today’s dust hangs heavy in the air. I want to take it all in. I sit down in an old wooden rocker and listen for the whisperings of the past. A pendulum swings in cadence with a fly buzz-bombing in the window. A ticking clock reeks of old wax; its tinny bellow announces the hour.

I bask in old-fashioned comfort and linger for one last look around. A pair of tea spoons catches my eye. Small screened containers in the bowls are for holding loose leaves. I’ll take them home and reminisce about the long-ago teas I have missed and the friends I never knew.

(These are two different spoons. One opens from the side,
the other has a small lever that snaps open)

Check out my shop for artwork, Popeye collectibles and Vintage items:  Anfinsen Arts on Etsy