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Newsletter July 27, 2012
Vintage Phone Dialers, Antique Fireplace Screens, Auctions
The Mid-Atlantic Website for all Things Antique & Collectible

NOVA-Antiques.com does not manage, own, promote or operate the antique shows, flea markets, estate sales, auctions or other events listed on our webpages.  All information is provided as a service to our subscribers and clients.  Although we try to verify all listings for all events prior to publication, there are occasions where the time and place may have changed or the event did not occur.  It is a good idea to check with the owners, managers or promoters to make sure the event is being held before embarking on a journey.


Dumb Mikey Goes for Coffee

Mikey got hired by one of the local antique shops and on his first day, they decide since he is the new guy, he will have to make the coffee run.  So he goes down to the local Starbucks with a large thermos and patiently waits in line.  When the barista finally gets to him, he asks the young lady, “Do you think this thermos is large enough to hold six cups of coffee?” 


The barista appraises the thermos from a short distance and replies, “yes sir, it does look like it will be just large enough for six cups.”  “Great,” says Mikey, give me two with cream and sugar, two just black and two decaf cream and no sugar.”

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Before the Era of Smart Phones

I have written in the past about how I got started selling on eBay; selling vintage telephones and old antique radios.  I would comb through the estate sales, yard sales and flea markets in search of a good bargain that I could then resell to someone else; someone who would love the old radio or telephone as much as I did; someone who would get pleasure out of restoring or cleaning it up.  For the most part, the vintage telephones that I sold online were rotary dial telephones.

Many of you youngsters out there reading this and who have grown up with primarily a push button phone may ask, what is a rotary dial telephone?   The answer is a telephone that had wheel with numbers stamped or papered on the inside.  Most people stuck their fingers in the hole and rotated the wheel (dial) to a metal stopper, take the finger out and the spring loaded dial would rotate back to its original position.  The person would then stick their finger in the next number in the dial and follow the same procedure until the entire telephone number was dialed.

However, there were some people who did not, for one reason or another, want to stick their fingers in the dial.  Women did not want to break their nails; people with mysophobia were afraid to stick their fingers in and get sick; and then there were those people who just thought it would be “cooler” to use something else to dial.  Originally, most of these folks used the eraser end of a pencil to dial the telephone.  That is, until some genius came up with the idea to make and sell phone dialers.

Where You Might Find Vintage Phone Dialers In August . . .

One of my personal favorite antique shows is part of the Lucketts Fair, just north of Leesburg, Virginia.  This fair, which will be held on August 18-19, 2012, features antiques and vintage collectibles but is most notably known for its Shabby Chic merchandise due to the proximity to the Old Lucketts Store Antiques and the large crowds that it draws. Additionally, this fair has some great food, music and entertainment for the entire family.

August 4-5, 2012, Park Avenue Summer Art Fest, Park Avenue, Rochester, New York

August 11-12, 2012, Annual Antique Folk Art Show & Sale, Historic Cold Spring Village, Cape May, New Jersey

August 23-26, 2012, Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland

August 31 – September 2, 2012, Hillsville Flea Market, Labor Day Weekend, Hillsville, Virginia


August 31 – September 2, 2012, Original Semi-Annual York Antiques Show, York Fairgrounds & Expo Center, York, Pennsylvania


Vintage Rotary Phone Dialers

Telephones with a rotary dial where made from the early 1900s until the mid-1960s when push button telephones were introduced.  These rotary dial telephones came in all shapes, sizes and colors throughout the years.  There were desktop models, models that hung on the wall, slim models, candlestick models and Victorian looking models.  One of the more memorable to me was a “bat phone” that we had in our house; a desktop model, cherry red in color and shiny.  Telephone dialers too were made from many different materials and in various sizes but mostly they were the same shape.

A telephone dialer sometimes took on the same basic shape as the item most used in its place; the pencil.  Other times, the shape would resemble the top of a spoon. Then there were the real novelties, I saw one in the shape of a bunny.  All types were made but they normally had one thing in common; a knob at the end that was inserted into the numbers of the dial.  Many of them were given away as tchotchkes by manufacturers of goods and were made of plastic or wood.  Others were expensive and made of sterling silver and sometimes rhinestones and produced by the likes of Tiffany, Webster and other well to do companies.

Telephone dialers were not originally intended to become collectible items.  They actually had a function when produced and coupled with their rarity now makes them collectible.  I have seen telephone dialers that were giveaways by Coke go for as much $60. Vintage silver phone dialers made by Tiffany and originally sold by them for less than $8 can now sell for hundreds of dollars.


Decorators and Designers Love Antique Fireplace Screens

Back in the old days, I don’t know this first hand because I’m not that old, but I am told that families gathered around the fireplace to cook and keep warm.  In those days, although they weren’t called a fireplace, but firebox, they still had screens that regulated the heat that came from hearth.  These fireplace screens were normally made of wood, leather and wicker.  At this point they were not really made of metal because they would become too hot to the touch.

As well as keeping the radiating heat of the fireplace from scorching someone, these fireplace screens also had a secondary duty, which today has become the primary duty; to protect our homes from flying embers.  Therefore most screens then as they are today are covered with a safety mesh, some made of fabric an embroidered tapestry.  Today, a lot of screens are made of metal with a metal mesh because we don’t have to get too close to the fire to keep warm.  In fact, we evolved away from fireplaces as home warmers in the mid-1860s when the wood stove was invented.

It was about that time that fireplace screens became more of a semi-functional item in the home and more of an object of art. During the Victorian Era, more homes were decorated with elaborate and beautifully designed fireplace screens.  Metal screens were more widely used and the some homes sported some beautiful screens made of stained glass.  These types of screens are sought after by many decorators for use in the home designs.


Recent Auction of Very Unusual Antique

Can’t say I have ever written about this before and quite honestly didn’t even know such a thing existed until I read an article about a recent auction in England.  It seems the Tennants Auctioneers in Leyburn, North Yorkshire last month sold an antique vampire hunting kit for over $11,000.  Wow!! No I definitely hope that I run across one, since I know what one would look like now.

This antique vampire hunting kit came with everything you would need for the task at hand including a pistol with a mold for making silver bullets, a common prayers book, bottles of garlic and holy water as well as spikes and mallets.  Judging from the pictures, it certainly looked like a complete set of tools and after looking around on the Internet many of the others that I found contain at least some of the equipment that this one had.  At the time of this writing, there was only one currently listed on eBay and in the past they have sold at the online auction site for less than $250.

Upcoming Auctions . . .

August 2 – 4, 2012, Annual Carolina Country Store Sale, Mebane Antique Auction Gallery, Mebane, North Carolina; featuring antique country furniture, vintage advertising, apothecary jars, vintage pottery & porcelain; for more information call 919.563.2424

August 11, 2012, Antique Estate Auction, Shultz Auctioneers, Clarence, New York; featuring highboys, jewelry and silver, militaria, ephemera and vintage porcelain, china and pottery; for more information call 716.7592260



The current NOVA-Antiques Newsletter . . .

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