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It’s Valentine’s Day again and it’s only appropriate to think of flowers. Myself, I think of my Anniversary, Valentine’s day and this is my next edition to THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW SERIES of 50 articles.  This topic in the series is about Collecting Head Vases and in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, flowers and head vases go together, and in the same sentence.

Head Vases where first introduced in the 40s for the florist and boutique industry as give-always to complement  flowers with these stylish vases.  They were a drawing card to bring in new customers to  there brick and mortar store. Grouping beautiful bouquets of flowers together in a classy looking vase known as a Head Vase was a big success. Like today, it’s not uncommon to buy your darling flowers already put in a “plain” ordinary vase. But these weren’t just any vase, they had a look all of their own.

two head vases

two head vases one with flowers and one without

Head Vases and Flowers go together.

Here is a little history.                                                                                                                                                                      The term head vase was referred to a special style of ceramic vase. Most to all, these vases as I mentioned, had a distinct look about them. They generally featured the head or bust of a person, but they also came in an animal theme, babies, children, men and some had a religious tone to them. (Nothing ordinary about these vases). So the porcelain head vases where not strictly of just beautiful women but they were the most popular of all.  In the same category of head vases, they were sometimes known as head planters but in my estimation, there is no comparison.

The Americans introduced these gems to the market before WW2 in the early 40’s, but after the war, they were made by many off shore companies. (Mainly Japan)  By the mid 70’s the market was flooded with head vases and the fad peaked. Now they are just a neat, hard to find, collectable.

There were also many companies that produced HEAD VASES just to hang on the wall. There was a pocket in the back for the flowers and they were referred to as “WALL POCKETS” (still seen today).

Point of interest: like I said, many of the most desirable and collectable head vases were of FAMOUS WOMEN like Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Jackie Kennedy and the likes. They were featured with fancy hats, realistic facial features, and even pearl necklaces with matching dangling earrings. Some even had a shapely hand with painted nails delicately framing one side of the face. By looking straight at these facial art pieces, you don’t notice there is an opening in behind for the flowers. In the 60’s they were hot items sold at five and dime stores such as Woolworth’s and Kresge’s.  Some of the prices being $3.00 or less.

Did you know there are popular “HEAD VASE” CONVENTIONS around the country?

Here is a helpful tip.                                                                                                                                                              When on the hunt for theses unique gems, one way you know they are Head Vases is by putting your hand in behind the head and checking that opening for the flowers. Other than that, you could be fooled thinking it to be just another nice piece of Porcelain.

“One collector said they all have something in common. They are all someone’s fantasy of a beautiful woman”.

ON ANOTHER NOTE:                                                                                                                                                                 HERE IS A HAMILTON, ONTARIO COUPLE WHO COLLECT HEAD VASES — THEY ARE UP TO 1,200 AND collection of head vasesCOUNTING, and that was in 2012. Here is a (link) to their collection.


Now you’re all pumped up about your new found adventure, collecting Head Vases. Now what? You can find them at antique malls, flea markets, garage sales, and even at auction sales. The best part, most people don’t even know what they are or have never heard of them.

Does that make them collectable or just scarce?

When you’re looking, or hunting for these rarities, get in the habit when seeing a porcelain head or bust of some description sitting on a shelf with all those other pieces of glass ware, to place your hand behind the head to feel for that opening.                                                                                                                                                                                                      ∞ ∞ FROM THE FRONT IT IS HARD TO TELL. ∞ ∞

The most popular brands to look for are, Napco, Relpo, Rubens and Lefton. But beware there are a lot of reproductions out there.

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Advertising on weird and hard to find books

 *** Do your research, remember knowledge is power*** (LINK)


LET’S START COLLECTING “anything” and read my series of “THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” for other collectable information and, if you have any more than 3 items the same, you are already a collector. You just don’t know it!

Hope this site was helpful on this Valentine’s Day and I say to you, why settle with an ordinary vase when these collectable Head Vases have a little more …. Buzz.

I recommend this excellent book on “Head Vases Identification and values”. By Kathleen Cole

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SteamPunk Art

steampunk art

In the series of THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW this is where we will talk about STEAMPUNK Art. Having said that, even I never knew a lot about the art form or even heard of the Steam punk movement. After being intrigued by the term, by the time of writing this post, I’m at a loss on where to put this article. Should it be under “THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” collectables or just an interesting blog post on a different type of collecting or culture?

Jules Verne 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA

The term Steampunk incorporates such technology that may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or other modern day fiction authors] Other examples of Steampunk contain alternative history style presentations of such technology as steam cannons, lighter than air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, such as the main photo.

By trade, I am a self endorsed Mechanical guy. Not knowing “before”what Steampunk would be or what to expect, I had to ask myself how I would go about looking for such a thing. Steam to me would be anything industrial and heavy duty. Describing “PUNK” well, I would leave that to the imagination.

WIKIPEDIA explains Steam Punk this way. (LINK)

Steam punk is a sub-genre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre.  Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”. A future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. However, steampunk and Neo-Victorian are different in that the Neo-Victorian movement does not extrapolate on technology while technology is a key aspect of steampunk.  The first known appearance of the term was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created as far back as the 1950s or 1960s


So like all my other posts on THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW I look for simplicity. Now that I have a vision what to look for, Yeah, I have seen that art before. I run into some form of it at the antique mall swap meets. so, it’s not new. I just never recognized it before by a name.

It would be hard to explain what Steam Punk Art is, but I will give it a go!

Example:  Here’s an interesting creation on line for sale.

The ad reads, “60 ANTIQUE RAILROAD SPIKES, VERY RUSTED, VINTAGE DECOR, STEAMPUNK ART.”  BUT IS IT Steampunk art? steampunk art No, not in their original form, but bend them, twist them, make something out of these pieces of iron and now they’re called—  SteamPunk Art.

(These rusty old railroad spikes recently sold on Ebay for $49.99,)

I have some railway spikes that I can’t give away, but if I have Steampunk  IN THE SAME SENTENCE, NOW I will be able to SELL them.  Mainly, it opens up the mind to a question, WHAT WOULD I, or could I DO WITH OLD RAILWAY SPIKES or any discarded … anything?

Talk about Recycling.

That answer would be, let the imagination flow, and get that creative “YOU” out. That odd hybrid of collectible stuff is wildly popular with many a group of people, and why “because it’s different”.

GOOGLE “railway spikes steampunk art”   (www.rolandmetalart.com)

Some creative person with a lot of time on their hands put a bunch of pipe fittings together and made a light out of it. Another would weld discarded industrial gears together, a few big and a few small and came up with another piece of creative art. Some of these people don’t even know that this is in a category all its own, called “STEAMPUNK Art”.  (http://ozcashfromhome.com/attractive_steampunk-light-fixture) (Beer bottle light fixture)

Now, knowing what I know about folk Art I would consider Steampunk almost the same, (but a little different).  It takes imagination and creativity by the artist to come up with and execute both styles of such art. And this type of art form as well as Tramp art, or even Trench Art it’s in the eye of the beholder.

Wikipedia.com   explains Folk art objects this way:  (link)

In my younger days I would explain Steampunk as being made by someone that had too much time on their hands and smoking too much of that Jamaican Gold, Stuff. Or matter of fact, Canadian Gold. (LINK)  But this line of art has quite a following.

Check out this Town family function on their version of the SteamPunk Era

ORANGE EMPIRE RAILROAD MUSEUM which was last year, but none the less it does show the impact of “STEAMPUNK” and how it’s taking hold of America.

Their ad reads:

A two-day festival celebrating the fantasy, history and ingenuity behind Steampunk. Enjoy festivities geared for the entire family as we pay homage to the Victorian Era, Edwardian Science Fiction, And The Industrial Revolution and SteamPunk Enthusiasts.


THERE YOU HAVE IT, I’m still not sure if it should be under “THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” collectables.  Or just an interesting blog post on a different type of collecting or culture? It’s not for everyone. The old industrial pipe fitters desk lamp would probably not go well with your modern day decor, or …WOULD IT?

Government & Police Auctions

Every household should have at least 1 conversation piece in their family gathering room. “AND THIS COULD BE IT” Something that just doesn’t fit or belong, something that would break the mood of when company comes over and nobody has anything to say-

EXCEPT what is THAT?


Google  “SteamPunk Ideas“ for more illustrations

Steampunk Gear Pipe Chandelier

Pinterest Images https://www.pinterest.ca/t_ditola/what-is-steampunk/?lp=true

Steampunk costumes  http://costumei.com/steampunk-costumes/

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First Installment #28 The Least You Should Know  (link) 50 collector series, I’ll be talking about BOTTLES, JUST COLLECTING LITTLE OLD BOTTLES. Hopefully I can get you interested enough to get you off your hiny and start collecting, and Antique Bottles would be a good place to start.

This is one reason you should start collecting bottles. They are interesting to look at; they come in every shape and size and most are quite colorful. Bottles have a history, a history of companies that have come and gone. Some have survived the ups and downs of the ever changing economy, and some may be even in the same city you live in.

The part I find most interesting is when bottle companies moved away from the original imposed glass look to the new and improved stick on paper labels. Advertisement of their product had no limits If they could fit some slogan on that label, you were good to go.  pill bottle labelToday if you were lucky enough to find an old bottle with a label still on it, you’d be surprised at some of the interesting advertisements and the ingredient would surprise you even more. So… still interested in collecting bottles? Then this is where you would start.

How and where would you find old Bottles?

You can find bottles at swap meets, flea markets, garage sales, trade shows and one of the best places to buy or trade is at an antique store or mall. You can find and start digging around old FARM DUMPING SPOTS.

Some of these serious bottle collectors add metal detecting to their hobby. Now we all know, when you’re METAL detecting, we’d be waiting a long time for a detector to give off any beeping sound when looking for glass bottles. But not only do we hear beeping from the old tin cans and the likes, there are bottles. Always lots of bottles, sitting right beside  the beeping of the tin cans. EH!


Did you know early settlers dug holes along their fence line just to bury their daily household garbage? That’s where you would find your bottles, and that’s if … “IF YOU CAN ONLY FIND THAT FENCE LINE!” which today are mostly long gone.  Rural dumps and old abandoned properties are a good spot to go digging.

LET’S ASSUME THE FARMER LIKED TO HAVE A LITTLE NIP ONCE IN A WHILE, Whisky BOTTLES, WINE BOTTLES EVERYWHERE and don’t forget the bottles that had a little tonic in them to grease up the hair, as well as perfume for those Saturday night hoedowns.


identify antique bottle

The bottles from the yesteryear, like I said were colorful, had different shapes and sizes. Some of the labels were a joy to read, and are something of a joke nowadays. Some state “Made with pure Opium with a touch of marijuana flavoring to help soothe the soul.” The one label from the 30s, a Raleigh bottle describes their ointment this way, “IF IT DOESN’T WORK ON YOUR MAN, IT SURE WILL WORK ON YOUR HORSE”.  . .  That’s the best LABEL I’VE SEEN.


Doing research for this article made me think . . .  “I should add bottle collecting to my resume”. The information out there is enormous with clubs everywhere. BOTTLE SHOWS every 4 months and the people, vendors, are full of information and always glad to share their secrets with a newbie bottle collector.

I’m not a collector of bottles by any means, but being around the scene you do pick up a lot of information. To write this post as accurately as possible, I did a lot of fun research on the subject, and by the  way ,  When You’re Hooked on bottle collecting , you too will have to do even more research on this exciting hobby.

coca-cola bottles

So now I’m doing research on beer bottles, and that’s a subject I hold “dear to my heart”.  I came across some information on a rare dark colored beer bottle and a bit of history of this old brewery. It was located down the street from where I lived as a kid. I NEVER KNEW THAT!  One block away!

It was way before my time but none the less, I found the information fascinating. I guess I could add beer bottle collecting to my other hobbies, but where I live, there are still only 24 hrs in a day. But I did find that bottle intriguing enough that I’ll be doing more research on that brewery. You know… the one nobody even knew was there … except a “misinformed bottle collector”  . . . right?


Today that brewery in question has been turned back into a modern day home brew establishment, and the proprietors never knew the original building was a famous brew house to start with!


And that’s how it starts, so WHAT TO COLLECT (link) Collecting Antique Old Bottles is where it’s at.

∞ ∞ Check out part 2 of “COLLECTING OLD BOTTLES” ∞ ∞ (link


∞ https://antique-bottles.net/

∞ http://www.ointmentpots.com/home

∞ https://americanglassgallery.com/subscribe-to-ab-gc

∞  https://poisonsnmore.webs.com/oldbottleresearch.htm

∞ https://www.bottlestore.com/blog/the-curious-world-of-bottle-collecting-and-the-people-who-collect-them/

∞ http://www.canadianbottlecollectors.com/

∞ https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-start-a-collection-50-manly-collection-ideas/


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Antique Bottle Collecting

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It is reasonably easy to check if a bottle is old, even to date a bottle Isn’t out of the question. Different time period graphics change on bottles. Coca Cola changed their design many times in their life and that would give you a good idea of the year it was made.

There are other ways to check and date bottles.  A visual inspection and characteristics, I always look for blow mold pontil scars. They are marks at the bottom of a bottle that was seen until around the 1850s. After that date the industry found a cleaner way to remove that excess blow molding mark which in turn would be difficult to spot.

That will help date it again?

styles of bottle neck

styles of bottle neck

Mold seam marks are another way I inspect the glass by how many seams there are. Do the mold markings stop half way up the bottle or do they go from the bottom right to the top of the lip? The 2 ways here shows there are a few simple solutions to dating a bottle outside of diligent research, but hopefully I showed you a few ways to narrow your search down.

Mold seam markings as described, tells at a glance how the bottle was formed. Should be of great interest to a bottle collector or novice just learning a fast way of dating a bottle. Is the manufacturers’ name embossed in the glass or did it have a paper label?


An Example,  if you are a collector of a certain Manufactured glass Company and you know through diligent research that they only used a 2 mold set up rather than a three mold, then that should raise a flag. Mold markings are seen in lower end bottles where looks don’t really matter. They are marks/lines that you can see and feel going up and down most bottles or anything that has been MOLDED in a form. Two marks shows the mold is 2 halves and 3 marks show the mold is in 3 sections.



Like most collectables the market changes from one day to the next. What is the most popular today might not be popular tomorrow. So the value of your collectable could fluctuate.  But if you want to be a serious antique bottle collector, the collection industry says, in America the most desirable bottles are made from the year 1900 to the early 20th century. Those years brought in some exiting new innovations in bottle making like color, designs, etc.


The medicine industry in the new world just flourished with the finding of new plant life. New herbs and spices brought new cures for ailments to make you live well, until the age of at least 40 anyway.

snake oil

Pinterest Images

SNAKE OIL SALESMEN” were everywhere. They were flourishing across the country, going from one part of the country to the other.  The medicine they sold was the CURE ALL and end all.  The fancier the bottle the more intriguing it was to sell. Never mind if the medicine worked, they had a pretty bottle. Well, not really. Medicine bottles were plain and well marked. Some even had skull and cross bones embossed in the glass, just so you wouldn’t get it mixed up with your hair tonic or in some cases, drink something when it’s a rub-e-dub.

PERFUME BOTTLES were just nice looking small lady looking bottles unless you were from the rich and famous and these desirable French collectable bottles had a distinct look of money about them. They would be a prime example of something very collectable (or just to put on your dresser and use) and that’s only if you can find them with all the pieces intact.


Doing research I came across this fascinating article (LINK). The author talks about Pre-Civil War bottles such as medicines, hairs tonics, sarsaparillas, and bitters.



Check bottle for seams, do they go part way up or all the way to the top.

Inspect a bottle for a pontil scar

Bottle necks will date a bottle

Do research

More Research

Go to as many antique bottle collecting shows as you can. It’s a good way to spent an afternoon.


Bottle experts are available both on and offline just to help amateur collectors to confirm a date or design. Organizations like The Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors (https://www.fohbc.org/) and general collecting websites like Collector’s Weekly which provide up-to-date and historically accurate information for that serious and amateur bottle connoisseur collector.


AND the answer to your question, WHAT’S THE MOST EXPENSIVE BOTTLE EVER SOLD?

Moneyversed.com article reads                                                                                    

pinterest old lable image The most expensive wine ever sold is the exception to the dated rule of rare wine, as it was not even a decade old at the time of purchase; the six liter Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 bottle sold for a whopping half a million bucks (THAT’S RIGHT, FOLKS, $500,000) in 2000 at a Napa Valley charity auction!   This might not be the most expensive bottle ever sold, but it right up there in the pricey list.

∞ ∞ Check out Collecting Bottles . . . PART 1 ∞ ∞   (link)

Here are some interesting websites on Antique Bottle Collecting:



https://antique-bottles.net/ detective cartoon





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WHAT TO COLLECT, what to collect

collecting So you want to start a new hobby and you’re not too sure what to collect? If its any help, that’s the most asked question on the web,  WHAT TO COLLECT” what to collect? What relaxing type of hobby could I start? . . . YOU KNOW, something I could just… ease into, something not too expensive?  In the end, YOU’RE the only person that can answer that question. But today is you’re in lucky day, 🍀 I do have a few suggestions.




In my series of “THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” I will try and show you, the readers, simple things to look for to collect, anything.  I myself try and look at things from different angles, simple things to look for, and help date unusual things. I will NOT make you an expert. I’m just showing you a few tricks that I picked up along the way of collecting, or just buying and selling if that’s your niche. I bookmark any websites that I find interesting on collecting for the readers. There are some real good and interesting reads on your choice of hobby.

did you know beer bottles


But it would only stand to reason if you like sports, collecting sports related items could be more in line of your future hobby, or heavy manly stuff would be cast iron goods. People are fascinated with wood molds, or any factory related items. Many people also collect military item, antique machinery or tools.


In my installments of “THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” Series of 50, I tell you what to look for, maybe get you interested in collecting anything, something unusual.

  • Vintage Photographs with hopefully a famous signature on it.
  • Coins.
  • Cosmetic Jewelry.
  • Clothing.
  • Playing cards from around the world
  • Stamps
  • Vintage bar-ware
  • Action figures
  • Bottle Openers
  • Train sets are fun and lucrative.
  • Snow globe
  • Anything with Advertising on it!  Signs, Pens, Campaign Buttons.
  • Wine corks.
  • Rare books.
  • Penny Banks are small as well as Royal Dalton figurines, match boxes, decorative thimbles, Pez dispensers, etc., and the list goes on!


    ∞ Buy what you can afford.

   ∞ Buy something that you enjoy and that is already pleasing to the eye.

  ∞ Buy collectables that suit your lifestyle. (If you are an apartment dweller, collecting antique furniture might prove challenging) but smaller items (Like my list) SHOULD NOT DETER YOU FROM THE FUN OF COLLECTING.

So what are good things to collect you ask, “THE SKY IS THE LIMIT”

Do your research. There are many things of interest for everybody’s tastes and lifestyles.

 ∞ Did you know that most, to all Antique malls do not charge  admission.

Going to most antique malls could turn out to be an exciting 2 hour afternoon adventure.

Did you know that garage sale treasure hunting is one of the most entertaining things to do for you and your family bonding?

Please check out my Pinterest Board


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Train the eye to “SEE”

The hunt is the best part of your new found hobby. Whether it’s collecting antiques or collecting new and up and coming future collectable items, do your research and “TRAIN THE EYE TO SEE”.

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Sad Iron


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# 17 of the series of 50

This is #17 installment of “The least You Should Know 50 Series” and it’s about simple Sad IRONS, or some people just call them FLAT IRONS.

Your question would be, “are these 70 year old or better sad irons collectables?” “I guess they are, and especially when mated with their counter part, the Trivets. (LINK)

As we know the first generation irons were hand forged hunks of metal made by underappreciated, hard working blacksmiths. They smoothed off the bottom and incorporated a crude looking iron handle on the top and voilà, a sad iron was born. But mated with the proper trivet, some sad irons could be a thing of beauty.

And Bonus! They all come with lots of history of an early and simpler life style.

NOW for you people that are asking yourself, what is this Canadian talking about?

four sad irons

Here is A Little History on Sad irons.

Many years ago Archaeologists in China unearthed remnants of what they believe were a sort of iron or stone apparatus that they pressed their clothes with. This ironing system dates back to the middle Ages. “Sadly” the SAD IRON wasn’t introduced to the rest of the known world until around the 12th century.

It was a godsend for some and a heavy, hot, hard job for others.

Sad irons were used in every household just to (LINK) IRON YOUR CLOTHES. That was their sole purpose. These heavy useful chunks of cast iron were placed on a wood stove or even on an open fire to get heated.

(They make for an interesting door stop).

When the iron reached the proper temperature, they were used to iron out your wrinkled clothing after washing. Sitting on a wood-stove  over a short period of time, the handles got so hot you had to wrap cloth around the handle just to hold on to the iron.

Sad Irons

First addition irons had a crude style handle. Then wire handles were attached that got hot but were a little more manageable.  It is hard to say when, but I would think very shortly after the first try at making sad irons, they started improving on them, “Starting with insulating those hot handles”.

Someone came up with new and improved irons that had removable handles or wooden insulated handles. Some irons, instead of setting them on the stove to heat up just had a compartment at the bottom of the iron to insert hot coals. This was good for twice the length of time before reheating.

And one iron on the stove for backup!

They also say, if you wanted your ironing done faster, most people in those days had 2 or 3 irons being heated at the same time. When one cooled down, a second one was a back-up, and when the second cooled, you had another one on the stove, one right after the other.

We’re talking about a simple household item that is still in use today and just for ironing your clothes.

These kitchen utensils as I said were a heavy, mostly cast iron made chunk of metal and their sole purpose was to iron your clothes.  They are called “Sad Irons” but some people just called them “Flat Irons”. They were designed to be smooth on the bottom and pointed on one end to go around buttons and some sad irons were pointed on both ends (so you could iron in both directions if it so pleased you)

It was also said if you wanted to get your job done faster, iron your clothes from the inside out, so your iron didn’t get caught up in and around the buttons sticking out. “Just a little information in case you want to give your new flat iron a test run”.

∞ ∞ In a late-1800s advertisement for new, detachable-handle irons shows a woman flinging her Hot handled sad iron to the floor as she shouts, “Barbaric relic. I DISCARD THEE” ∞ ∞

First addition irons had a crude style handle. Then wire handles that got very hot were a little better and over short periods of time, someone came up with new and improved irons that had removable handles or wooden insulated handles.

Just think, pointed at both ends so you can get more done and coals to keep the iron hotter longer. Life is good eh! Talking about efficiency!

  (LINK) –  SAD IRON in Old English means, [ Solid Heavy ]


The weight of these Sad Irons ranged from 1 LB to 11 LB (A small bag of potatoes is 10 lb)  and the estimated price today could range between $30 and $90. Rare Sad Irons could be in the thousands of dollars. Just to give you an idea of the value!

The least you should know about Sad Irons

Plain cast iron

Stove pipe irons

Charcoal irons

Asbestos Sad Irons

Top Hat Iron

Rolling Hand Flouter

Sleeve Iron

AND MANY MORE STYLES not mentioned.

Find antiquarian and rare books at AbeBooks.co.uk!

If you are starting to get the itch to collect Sad Irons as your new found hobby, you can purchase these old pieces of sad history at most antique shops, garage sales, etc. You can always find them at flea markets and even the most unsuspecting places, like car swap meets.

They come in every weight, style, and even small toy ones for the little girls in the family. Through the clothes iron history, they changed or had different styles and options. There were just plain heavy cast iron ones, there are gas operated ones to keep the iron hotter longer, there were bottom charcoal loaded irons, etc.

An “electric flatiron” was invented by a US inventor called Henry W. Seeley and patented  on June 6, 1882. It weighed almost 15 pounds and they took a very long time to heat. But many rural places (hard to believe) still did not have hydro up till the 1950s.

I’m downplaying the roll that these sad irons took in our history. They where a much needed item like the silverware on your table. As I described these sad irons to be heavy pieces of cast iron, some were quite elaborate looking and far from being primitive. Some almost have a mystique look about them.

Today these heavy pieces of cast iron are a good add on to your collection of worthy items. These old Sad Irons are still a very collectable item and have quite a following.

Familiarize yourself on what they all look like. Search Google “Antique Sad Iron” for an interesting read and also search Google Images on Sad Irons. Eh!

Pinterest has a good collection of Sad Iron Pictures.

I hope you found this article useful and it is for entertainment purpose only, but if you think you’re not a collector, you thought wrong. Everyone is a collector of something. You just don’t think you are.

If you have any more than three items the same, “YOU ARE CONSIDERED A COLLECTOR




Can’t talk about Sad Irons without talking about MY POST ON (TRIVETS) (LINK)


Cast Iron Trivets

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The least you should know # 18

We couldn’t talk about Collecting Antique Sad Irons unless we talked about something you put these hot things on. Just a simple thing called a TRIVET, and yes, they are mostly made of cast iron; however, they can be made of wire or stamped tin and yes, the CAST IRON TRIVETS are collectable. Check some of the photo’s and you can see why they are collectables.

  Everybody knows the term and everybody’s got some form of one at home, cork and bamboo. ETC.

The dictionary defines old sad iron “Trivets” as a decorative metal or wire stand that was used for HOT kettles, skillets, pots and of course (Sad irons).

Now, we are just talking about Antique Cast Iron Trivets and {tri – meaning three}  mostly because we’re talking about old “Sad Iron” in our previous blog post. Click on (LINK) to “Sad Irons”

These collector items come with either three or four legs. Three legged trivets were more stable on an uneven surface and were the most popular back in the day. Some of these Trivets were especially made for Sad Irons, custom fit the sad iron to the trivet by way of a lip, partial or all the way around the top of the casting, and that’s only so the iron didn’t slip off and onto the dry wood counter.

There are trivets that were made for Sad Irons and then the  flat trivets were made for hot skillets, frying pans, pot of hot water, ETC.

Some Trivets are very crude cast iron looking, “but practical no less” or they could be quite decorative and handy as well. Some of the elite trivets come with handles so you don’t burn your pinkies, “Oh, I already said that”  but most you will find do not. There are round ones, heart shaped ones, Lacey looking ones, and they all had the same purpose…just to keep the heat from the sad iron off the table or counter.

5 pictures antique trivets

Remember, mostly everything in the early days was made of wood. With a sad iron or flat iron in use they became quite hot, so the trivets were used to set a hot iron on, so you don’t burn your wood counter top, table, you or your cabin.

Fire was a big concern back then being everything was made from wood.

*Antique Trivet castings were generally smooth and not coarse. Reproduction.

*They will also have Sprue or Wedge casting marks on the bottom or sides to indicate earlier casting procedures.

*Antique trivets normally had long legs 1”-1 ½” inches high.

*There were Lacey looking trivets, advertising trivets with a foundry name on it.  Some had the city or town name that they were made in. They, by the way, are the most desirable by Advertising and Antique Kitchen Ware Collectors.

* Flat Iron Trivets can range from a price of $20 – to a hefty price of over a $100.

The sole purpose of a Trivet was used for setting hot items on.

Find antiquarian and rare books at AbeBooks.co.uk!

Today we still use a form of insulator  to keep a hot pot or skillet off of your $3000. counter top and still today, they are  called a. . . Trivet.

Throw that cheap looking cork”trivet” hot pad awaycheap cork heat pads trivets and get something with a little history and a little more style. Antique Trivets are quite affordable and no comparison from the poorly made ones you buy today.

If nothing else, they make for a great conversation piece in any kitchen.

Many serious collectors look high and low for anything to do with “Antique Kitchen Related” hardware and utensils, decorative trivets especially the ones made for flat irons. All antique Trivets would fit into that collectable category.



Please check these interesting sites for more on “ Antique Kitchen Décor.”





Christmas Tree Ornaments

Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments

Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments and decorations, or anything Christmas, is a real serious passion for many group of people. These Christmas goods collectors take more than just a fancy to the little round objects they call Christmas Tree Ornaments. They look at anything Christmas through different eyes than most people. It’s a passion for many of these people. NO! . . . It’s an obsession.

You the collector have been hunting down and Collecting oldKugels Ornaments Christmas Tree Ornaments all year long and its finally time to show off your fine collection to the “VERLD” I mean world.

It’s Christmas Time in Canada at last Eh!

Hell, Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments and the likes is an addiction of sorts.

We all know there’s not a proper way of decorating your Christmas tree. There’s no book of rules. As long as you make it pleasurable looking for you and your family, that’s all that counts. Your kids bring home ornaments they have made a school and you hang these personalized drawings on the tree. Christmas cards are strategically placed between the branches along with the lights, tinsel and the beautiful colored hanging decorations that come in every shape and size. This is a special time of year for a lot of folks.

People take this Special Day of the year quite seriously.

The tradition comes alive but sadly only once a year, except, for this one fella on U Tube video . . . .”Christmas is all year long.”

Please watch an excellent U Tube video on collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments.

Did you know that the way we spend Christmas in the modern world,  wasn’t always like that? Some old documentations date decorating Christmas trees back to the 1600’s. But Christmas as we know it today didn’t really become popular until much later on, around the 1800’s. But I’m sure people celebrated Saint Nickolas Day in some form of celebration.


German Santa was called the Belsnickel and Wikipedia.org says Belsnickel means;

German for to wallop or to drub and Nickel being a hypocorism of the given name Nikolaus) is a crotchety, fur-clad Christmas gift-bringer figure in the folklore of the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany along the Rhine, the Saarland, and the Odenwald area of Baden-Württemberg. The figure is also preserved in Pennsylvania Dutch communities in the USA.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Kovels Antiques and Collectable Guide says.       https://www.kovels.com

Christmas collectables include not only Christmas trees and ornaments, but they also include. Santa Claus figures, special dishes,, games, wrapping paper. Belsnickle is a 19th century figure of Father Christmas, made of paper mache

A popular Kugel is an early, heavy ornament made of thick blown glass, lined with zinc or lead and often covered with colored wax. Christmas cards, tin toys are also highly collectable. I was personally  collecting still banks. The Santa Clause cast iron bank were a hard find, but they were my favorite. So Christmas décor comes in many different shapes, sizes and themes.

Something to look for on Kugel tree ornaments.

1840s-1900s they were heavy, blown glass. (Kugel in Germany) means round ball but don’t let that fool you. They came in different shapes and styles like fruits, apples, berries and the like. The older additions had their name stamped on the steel collar of the ornament. (like many other makes) A very light chrome coating covered some, so look for flaking  or the worn tarnish after many years. The spring clips that attached the string to the ornament were attached inside the top of the bulb. Not like today’s push on attachment.  During the war years, the ornaments and decorations had a paper or cardboard collar (instead of steel), mainly because of the mass shortage in material, due to the war effort.

** Point to remember in collecting anything. The war years changed how many things were made or not made due to the war machine.  “Steel, paints and most or all material in general were cut back for public use. Etc”.

Christmas Snow Baby

Christmas Snow Baby

(1864) Early Snow babies are highly collectable. They were made of candy and used as Christmas decorations. In later years they were made from bisque and spattered with glitter sand. There are also Snow babies tableware  made by Royal Bayreuth. Copies of the small Snow Babies figurines are being made today in a line called “Snow-Babies” re- pro. But that’s not a bad thing.

The least you should know on Christmas Tree Ornaments. ∞

Imposed identifying marks on the ring or, some people call them caps.

The older caps were smaller than the newer versions.

Look for a paper /cardboard ring/ cap.  That will date it into the war years.

Look for a tarnished ring.

Check the lip under the ring. Is the glass flush or has it a lip. Older ones are flush.

Plastic is a dead giveaway of newer ornaments.

Countries to look for when collecting old Christmas Tree Ornaments

*Czechoslovakia *Poland *Germany

Shiny Brites Ornaments

Shiny Brites Ornaments

Shiny Brite Tree ORNAMENTS 1930-1960s seem to be the most popular for collectors. Before the war they were just plain decorative balls for the tree. After the war, they became a little more colorful. Some came with concave starburst (reflectors) with lots of glitter, different  shapes and styles .


Advertising SIGNS- Example – “Coca Cola sign with Santa drinking a coke”

DISHES- glassware with a Christmas theme.

Decorative hand painted balls and shapes like animals and little, hand- carved people, etc.

Decorative bells

Hanging lanterns

Snowbabies are highly collectables        https://www.kovels.com/price-guide/snow-babies.html

Cardboard cutout of St. Nickolas figurine

Betty Boop hanging ornament.

Novelty hanging decorations.

“German Dresden ornaments are embossed cardboard with very fine detailing.”

Christmas post cards come in pages of 4 and you just cut out the one you want. They’re collectable!

There is no written rule on decorating your tree but there are some real neat old looking ornaments and decorations out there to be uncovered.


“When I grew up in Europe there were no artificial trees nor electric lights to brighten up the tree. The Christmas decorations were mostly passed down from generation to generation and were hand painted, small ornaments, about 3-4 inches in diameter.

There were also many bird- shaped ornaments with angel hair tails, fancy home made cookies, strings of various nuts, and of course with real candles about 3 inches high.

The candles were only lit for a half hour or so, because it was so dangerous and one of the adults would be on watch with a candle snuffer and water, in case the tree caught fire.”

  Author Unknown


Rare Santa Bank

Very Rare Santa clause Bank

Do your research on Christmas Collectables. You will find a wealth of information on Christmas Tree Ornaments and oddities on the web.  So don’t be too surprised if you get hooked on this interesting hobby. Bonus, you can show off your fine Christmas collection the same time, every year.

”So let’s get started.” Eh!

Old Christmas postcard

Old Christmas Post Card

Lots of places to find treasures: the thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and church bazaars. Nobody thinks of Christmas in the off season, (summer), but that is the best time to buy. Do your research now,  get armed with what to look for, get ready for the off season, and remember in any collecting,

 “Knowledge is power”.

Let’s get started! Oh, I already said that Eh.  Remember, they’re everywhere. You just have to look and find them.

“Please leave me a comment or any suggestions.”







Pictorial Guide To Christmas Ornaments & Collectibles, Identification and Values (BOOK)


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Match Box


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#48 in a Series of 50

Vintage Match Stick Holder or collecting Match Boxes  is one of those upcoming fads for new collectors. As in a reference book, (address at the bottom)  there are something like 4000 different varieties of match holders of sorts.

two match holders

Two match Holders

Match Boxes, I like to call them have  been around for a long time. they’ve been sitting there,  all by themselves, lonely on some old shelf at your friendly antique shop or flea market.  Hell, you will even find them at any Good Will or used clothing outlet.

match safe

gas filled lighter and a match holder

We have all seen them, but paid little or no attention to them.  Then when you spot one, you say “WHAT IS THAT THING?” They are small, don’t take up a lot of room, and they’re different. Some look like an old fluid style Zippo lighter but without the lighter inside. “Someone stole the lighter” and left the case! No, now they call it a match box/holder. They would even make good conversation pieces!

Match Boxes are just fun to collect and could be a lucrative hobby.

What is a Match Holder you say?  WELL let me tell you. First you have to understand their purpose and their use. Here is a few pictures to get you acquainted with what they look like. Now you’re going to say,  “yeah”  I’ve seen hundreds” and yes, you have. They are overlooked by most of  the general public. These little match holders, which some just call match safes, were made to store friction matches. (ordinary match sticks)

The match revolutionized the way people started fires in the mid 18oos

We all have read stories of inventions that changed the world, but you will not find matches on that list.  You should have! Penicillin changed the lives “saved lives” as we knew it and I hate to say it, the silly old simple match stick/holders should be at least in the top 10, “Somewhere”.

In and around the year 1830 a chemist named John Walker from England mistakenly invented the match tip or matches. Hard to believe but in the earlier days before the match and match holders, you basically had to rub two sticks together, or just keep the fire burning.

The silliest part of the match stick story is the match holder was not debued until the 1850s, 20 years later.

But the invention of a silly friction match did change the way we lived. And having said all that,three figurine match holders people needed someplace to safely store their matches. Sure when you buy them they come in small cardboard boxes, and in most part that’s all you needed. Some people would just throw a couple of match sticks in their pocket and when needed, they just pulled them out, struck it on something abrasive and you’re in business.

The ingredient of the match stick was so flammable in their first stages of invention, they would just light up from the friction of movement in your pocket. They were very unpredictable at best and probably, burnt more houses down from premature combustion.

Which brings us up to the MATCH HOLDERS.

To clarify what the difference is, match box or a match safe, I would like to think of as a match box, just an open container that you put your matches in.

Maybe a match holder with a lid (simple right) I would also consider a match safe as being a closed container of sorts, as per pictures. And that would make more sense around an open flame, or wood stoves.

To throw another curve, England sometimes called match holders, match boxes and match safes, “Vesta Boxes”   Only the English language can have 4 completely different words, meaning the same thing.

“England uses proper English” so we’re all pronouncing match boxes, “WRONG”. . . Eh!


Now we know that the match box was made for the storage of flammable match sticks. Just to store your matches safely! A common place most people kept their match sticks was near the old wood stove,  for easy access to start the fire. So on its own, match boxes were a welcoming invention.

Match holders come in a variety of styles to choose from. There are ceramic ones, just ordinary stamped tin ones and there are fancy decorative ones for the rich and famous. My all time favorites are just the old rustic looking cast iron ones. They had a small pocket on the one side for your matches and would hold 10 or so matches.

NOT  a lot of information out there.

Sorry to say, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on match boxes, but these feverish, die hard collectors they know what they’re looking for.  You should be learning, research more and help these serious collectors out. Hunt them down, There out there or maybe just for save them for yourself. Eh

Hope I helped you out some.

I hope I helped you, armed you with a little information on, as the English would say. . . “Vesta Boxes” “MATCH BOXES to the  ORDINARY GUY” So next time you’re at one of these used antique shops, look down on the selves, look up, they’re there, just waiting for you.  Eh!

Just remember, this would be an excellent hobby to start and in most cases, like any collecting “IT’S THE FUN OF THE HUNT!”   Eh!

Note, People use –

Vintage Decorative Match Holders for, “Toothpicks”

Please check out more fascinating stories and history of Match Holders. I recommend this excellent reference book with hundreds of images,  “Match Holders by Denis B Alsford” 

Reference ∞ 

◊   https://www.schifferbooks.com/search/results.html?search_in_description=1&search-option=&keyword=DENIS+B+ALSFORD&x=0&y=0



This is part 7 of



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Cast Iron Collectables


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#47 of a Series of 50

Comparing good and bad casting

Comparing Good and Bad Casting


In order to understand the difference between an older piece of cast iron and a newer piece (reproduction), you have to somewhat understand what cast iron is and how it’s made. Especially cast iron Collectables and antiques.

Very general rules

In the olden, golden days talented wood craftsmen would have carved out the perfect shape of a item with fine detailing and then heated up molted metal to around 2000 decrease (give or take) and pour it into the mold. When cooled the two or more parts of the mold are separated and wa-la, the shape of whatever you designed is made. Most wood molds are generally only used once due to the heat.

Cast or casting is generally referring to a mold. People that do ceramics in most part use molds and they blow hot glass into it to get it’s shape and what it’s going to look like is determined by the shape of the mold.

Cast iron is the same

Now having said that, cost effective reusable molds would be made of sand and water Solutions, which are referred to as “SAND MOLDS” They’re more widely used especially on smaller items, such as toys, banks etc.


I never understood this part of today’s technology. By far our way of casting exceeds the casting from 50 or 200 years back. But the cast iron parts made today are coarser to the touch, crudely made, and in most part, in my thinking, not really attractive looking. In other words, they’re cheaply machine made, especially on reproduction antique and collectable Parts.

Cast Iron Collectables

So if we’re talking old cast iron money banks, cast iron door stops, door hammers, even cast iron toys, frying pans anything that has been molded, check the surface for fine or rough texture.

When I’m referring to casting, once you make that mold, you could theoretically pour molted aluminum instead of iron. That would make it cast aluminum. Many everyday items are cast aluminum.

If you look at any bottle, (pop bottle to beer bottle) look at the side from the bottom to the top, see and feel the 2 lines, one on each side of the bottle. That’s from where the two half’s of the mold met and separated to make the bottle.

That’s one way of telling how old the bottle is, but that’s a different subject all together.

There are many things that are made from molds. Fiberglass boats and cars parts, to name a few, are made from molds. So that technology is widely used today.


By the way, iron is a very cheap “metal” by-product of steel.

Seven fast ways I check the age of cast iron.

  • Check the smoothness of the piece.



  • Check how parts fit together, tight with very little to no gaps, that’s a  good thing. Remember craftsmanship, real people assembled these pieces not machines.
  • Check inside of the part. Sometimes the casting is reasonably smooth on the outside but very coarse on the inside. That would be a red flag.
  • Check the quality of paint. In most cases, depending on the manufacturer, they dip the items in paint, which makes the paint thicker. Today items are sprayed on with very low quality paint and thickness.
  • 100 year old paint would in most part still look like last week’s paint job.
  • Check the screw or screws holding the sections/parts together. Older items before and around the industrial evolution were slotted screw heads, and, don’t get me wrong
    Slotted Screw HEAD on old cast iron banks


    (that’s not saying the screw was not changed), but it does devalue the piece no less and could just throw you off from thinking it’s not an original.

  • They say compare the size of the part to a known authentic WHAT EVER. The reproduction one would be a different size than the original. There are some reference books that will give you measurements and  that’s only if you’re really concerned or paying large dollars for the item.

Once you get used to a few simple tricks, you might have a better understanding what to look for. There are more good reproductions of cast iron parts out there than the old authentic ones.  But you will at least  be armed with a few general things to look for.

Please check out my blog on “Cast Iron Trivets” (LINK)


By the way, small cast iron items such as banks, toy figurine, kitchen ware, skillets, anything small are good sellers, or on the other hand, just good collector items. Just remember, collecting cast iron “anything”, doesn’t take up a lot of room.

I’m not an expert by any means, This is just a simple guide on how I check, “anything cast iron”. Do your research, and learn more

Please check out my post on Collecting Space Age Toys.

Collecting Space Age Memorabellia.

This is part of of a series of 50


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