My son and I had only been collecting German toys for a few years when my mother called from Iowa saying my uncle had a few items from my grandfather he found in his basement, and on her next visit to Ohio she brought them along. You can imagine my surprise when she pulled the dappled wooden horse on wheels with tin wagon out of the trunk! Measuring three feet long, I immediately put it on my fireplace mantle where it's remained ever since. For my son, Benjamin, it was the start of his journey in search of ANIMALS ON WHEELS!
Every animal pull toy collection needs to include the requisite sheep, goat and cow . . . and this sheep is a fantastic 12" high and 20" long! (Note the wheels are inset into the platform. This indicates a much older pull toy from the late 1800s.)
The anatomically correct cow is also a fine large example 11" tall with inset wheels and, as most others, also has a voice box.
Here is the rest of the herd!
The largest goat standing 15" tall . . .
And two nice examples of slightly smaller goats.
My son now has a collection of well over 30 wheeled animals. The challenge is now finding examples seldom found on wheels.
As with any other antique, the thrill is in the hunt!
Were it not for garage sales, I would have never started collecting majolica. About 90% of my collection was pulled from garages, and, therefore, was very affordable. I prefer English or American majolica, but do have a few French pieces, which are always figural and fun, and a few German pieces, although the Germans were never able to "do majolica right." Their forte is porcelain, and majolica is a tin-glazed earthenware which the English companies of Minton and George Jones perfected.
What's nice about majolica is that it looks great displayed individually, or you can stack them and cram them into any available space. There's no way you can make these pieces look bad!
A large part of my collection is housed in this cupboard. I was lucky to buy at least a dozen pieces from a 90-year-old lady about 20 years ago. She loved opening up her garage to sell things she had collected over the years . . .
This English Fielding cobalt cockatoo teapot was one of her favorites she sold to me. On justifying her price she said, "I have to at least get back what I paid for it at an antiques show, so the price is $35.00!" And the Fielding Fan and Scroll teapot (top of post) was priced at $35.00 as well.
I loved this water lily cake stand so much, I bought it even though it wasn't at garage sale prices.
And this fabulous sunflower teapot broke the bank, but I'll never regret buying it. Prices for majolica have skyrocketed over the years, so I look at it as an investment . . . although a breakable one!
I didn't particularly set out collecting sewing utensils. It just kind of happened. I guess I began adding to it piece by piece because they're generally small and a little grouping can be displayed nicely on an end table without taking up much room.
I favor the items made in Germany and love finding unique examples. This is a fine figural piece from Germany made in the form of a samovar out of ivory and, most probably, coquilla nut. It almost made Antiques Road Show, but Eileen took it for me on my behalf, and when they found out it wasn't hers but mine instead, they wouldn't allow her to sign the release papers to air on television. They had never seen another like it.
This is what makes it so special. The lid of the samovar unscrews to reveal tiny sewing tools no more than 2" long, all made of ivory. There's even a tiny little lead pencil topped with a carved ivory decoration.
Figural needlecases are my favorite. The needlecase with the tassle is made of celluloid; the larger parasol is made of bone. Both have handles that unscrew to store needles.
I leave the collecting of crochet hooks to my sister Eileen who has a degree in textiles and, until arthritis set in, created one-of-a-kind contemporary handbags crocheted of hand dyed linen that sold for hundreds and thousands of dollars and won her recognition as a textile artist. I found her the rare salesman's sample portfolio of crochet hooks above in Germany. Sizes and designs vary. Old Dresden trim. A dream!
Ca. 1880 German ivory set of sewing tools. Parasol has a stanhope in the handle, which was common for that period. Hold it up to one eye and you can see scenes of Munich. It was no doubt brought home as a gift from someone who traveled to that city. Lovely box covered in velvet with a beveled glass lid.
Tramp Art is a form of folk art that was prevalent from the 1870s to the 1930s made mainly from used cigar boxes. Since the US government would not allow reuse of cigar boxes, they found a second life in tramp art in which the artisans carved notches and then layered the pieces to create intricate designs. The examples we find today range from funky to fine, and those incorporating hearts and stars are particularly treasured. Tramp Art was popular in Germany and the US.
This is a wonderful example of tramp art as a spice chest with porcelain labels in old German script, brass knobs and dated 1886 with the initials HH. Inside you can see the labels from the old cigar boxes used to make this wonderful spice chest.
The carving on this tramp art frame is so intricate and fine, it doesn't need a picture. It stands alone as a fine piece of folk art!
Friend Donna displays this tramp art grouping as a frame within a frame within a frame. Lovely!
Project in progress. My tramp art frame is waiting for a mirror. It combines stars (top right and left) and a heart (bottom center) to give it all the elements of a wonderful piece of tramp art!
Welcome to Living Tastefully’s “Antique of the Week” page. Our love of antiques is reflected in every aspect of our everyday lives. We are passionate about collecting and also love functional antiques that can actually be used and not only admired. Hopefully we can inspire you to incorporate antiques in your home and your life to add charm and beauty to your surroundings.