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Our information archive for Collectors, Appraisers and Researchers helps guide you to a knowledge of what you have and how to appraise. Spend some time here, learn about your antiques and collectibles and what they are worth.

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A Pocketful of History: The Case Knife Company

For over 130 years, Case knives have been trusted companions for farmers, ranchers, cowboys, and everyday folks alike. But the story behind these iconic American blades goes deeper than just utility. It's a tale of family, craftsmanship, and an unwavering commitment to quality.

From Wagon to Workshop

The saga begins in 1889, when the Case brothers – William Russell, Jean, John, and Andrew – started selling handcrafted knives from their horse-drawn wagon in upstate New York. Their dedication to quality quickly built a reputation, leading to the formation of the Case Brothers Cutlery Company in 1900.

Taking Root in Bradford

In 1905, seeking expansion, the company relocated to Bradford, Pennsylvania, where it remains today. John Russell Case, son of William Russell, formed W.R. Case & Sons. Under his leadership, the company thrived, establishing its "Tested XX" trademark, signifying blades tempered twice for superior strength.

A Legacy Forged in War and Peace

Case knives played a crucial role in both World Wars, supplying sturdy pocketknives and utility blades to American soldiers. These wartime models are now prized collectibles. And beyond battlefields, Case knives became ubiquitous tools for farmers, ranchers, and anyone needing a reliable cutting companion.

More Than Just Blades

While pocketknives remain their core, Case expanded its offerings over the years. From fixed-blade hunting knives to kitchen cutlery and commemorative collectibles, the brand caters to diverse needs while maintaining its focus on quality and craftsmanship.

Carrying on the Tradition

Today, W.R. Case & Sons remains family-owned and operated, carrying on the legacy of its founders. Each knife is a testament to their commitment to quality, using time-tested techniques and premium materials. And as they forge ahead, Case knives continue to be more than just tools, they're symbols of American heritage, passed down through generations and trusted by those who value tradition and craftsmanship. So, the next time you pull out your Case knife, remember the rich history it embodies. It's not just a blade, it's a piece of Americana, ready to tackle any task, big or small.
 

Fight'n Rooster: Where Grit Meets Craftsmanship

The Fight'n Rooster brand holds a unique niche amongst collectors thanks to its blend of German craftsmanship and distinctive designs. Here's a glimpse into its story:

The Rooster Crows in 1976

The Fight'n Rooster brand was born in 1976, the brainchild of Frank Busterf of Lebanon, Tennessee. Dissatisfied with American manufacturers fulfilling his special order requests, he embarked on a different path.

Destination: Solingen, Germany

Frank partnered with the renowned Olbertz factory in Solingen, Germany, known for its expertise in knifemaking. He drew inspiration from vintage celluloid patterns of the 1940s, breathing new life into them with German steel and craftsmanship.

Mark of the Roosters

Early Fight'n Rooster knives (1976-1982) displayed a simple tang stamp with two fighting roosters and "Solingen" or "Germany" markings. Later iterations saw the addition of "Frank Buster Cutlery Company" and "Frank Buster Celebrated Cutlery" alongside the roosters.

Beyond Pocketknives

While traditionally known for pocketknives like stockmans and trappers, Fight'n Rooster expanded its repertoire. Fixed-blade knives, hunting companions, and even commemorative pieces showcased the brand's versatility.

A Family Affair

Following Frank's passing in 2007, his son Stirling Buster carried the torch. Today, under Stirling's stewardship, Fight'n Rooster knives continue to be produced in Solingen, maintaining the brand's focus on quality and distinct aesthetics.

Legacy of Passion

Though not as widely recognized as some American giants, Fight'n Rooster holds a special place in the hearts of collectors. Their knives embody a unique blend of German precision and Frank's original vision, offering a distinct alternative to mainstream brands.

Collecting the Crowing

Dating Fight'n Rooster knives can be tricky due to production overlaps and tang stamp variations. Collectors rely on resources like Joe Parker's "Fight'n Rooster Knives Reference Guide" and forums like BladeForums to navigate the nuances.

Looking Ahead

Today, Fight'n Rooster remains a relatively small operation, but its dedicated following ensures its place in the knife world. Whether you're a seasoned collector or simply appreciate unique craftsmanship, a Fight'n Rooster knife holds within it a story of passion, grit, and the unwavering spirit of the Fighting Roosters themselves.
 

Sharpened Passions — A Glimpse into the World of Knife Collecting

Knives, from their humble beginnings as tools of survival, have evolved into objects of art, history, and personal interest. Knife collecting, spanning centuries and continents, reflects this multifaceted appeal. Delve into this intriguing world with us:

From Antiquity to Auction

While collecting artifacts like weapons and tools pre-dates recorded history, organized knife collecting is relatively recent. The late 19th century saw a surge in interest, fueled by growing affluence and fascination with American westward expansion. Early collectors focused on historical pieces like Bowie knives and military blades.

The 20th Century Boom

The 20th century witnessed a boom in knife collecting, with specialized clubs, publications, and shows emerging. New categories like custom knives and tactical folders entered the scene, broadening the collector's landscape.

Who Collects the Blade?

The diverse world of knife collectors attracts individuals with various motivations:
  • The Historian — Drawn to the past, they seek knives that tell stories of wars, cultures, or specific historical figures.
  • The Craftsman — Appreciating meticulous design and engineering, they value knives made with exceptional materials and techniques.
  • The Investor — Seeking financial gain, they focus on rare, limited-edition, or vintage pieces with potential market appreciation.
  • The Practical Collector — They combine interest with utility, collecting knives for everyday use while appreciating their value as collectibles.

Market Values: A Double-Edged Sword

The value of a collectible knife is influenced by several factors, including:
  • Age and Rarity — Older, rarer knives generally command higher prices.
  • Condition — Mint condition significantly increases value.
  • Maker and Provenance — Renowned makers and documented history raise desirability.
  • Market Trends — Popular patterns and materials fluctuate in value over time.
It's crucial to remember that the market value shouldn't solely drive collecting. Genuine passion, a thirst for knowledge, and appreciation for history and craftsmanship are the cornerstones of this fulfilling hobby.

The Future of Sharpened Passions

Knife collecting continues to evolve, embracing online communities and forums, attracting younger generations, and expanding its scope to include modern tactical and artistic designs. While market values remain significant, the true allure lies in the stories each blade whispers, the craftsmanship it embodies, and the connection it offers to history and heritage. So, whether you're drawn to the practical edge of a pocketknife or the historical weight of a military dagger, the world of knife collecting welcomes you with a treasure trove of stories and blades waiting to be discovered. Just remember, the most valuable collection is the one built on genuine passion and appreciation.

Related Links

iGuide's Knife Collector Guide
 

How can I sell my old stamp collection?

There are several ways to sell your stamp collection. You can sell them online through various marketplaces, an online store, or your own website. You can also sell them offline at a stamp auction through a Private Treaty Sale, through a stamp magazine, or even at stamp shows.

Here are some places where you can sell your stamps:
Apfelbaum: Apfelbaum has been helping philatelists expand their stamp collection since 1910. It’s possible to ship your valuable stamps with free shipping directly to the merchant and receive an instant cash offer. In-person appraisals are also available for high-value portfolios. An Apfelbaum representative will travel to your location to make an evaluation. For example, the service can help you prepare for auctions or estate planning. You can start the process by providing your name, email and phone number. A representative will help you decide if mailing off your collection or a local appraisal is better. You will receive a prepaid UPS shipping label when your stamps are ready for shipment.

eBay: Consider eBay to sell a collection that may consist of many common issues or might be too small to sell through a specialized stamp-selling service. You may also be able to earn more through this platform as you are connecting with philatelists directly and can pay fewer fees. You can also sell rare stamps and make money on eBay. The most valuable single stamps sell from $6 to $10,000. The eBayfees are 13.25% for the first $7,500 in transactions and 2.35% on amounts above $7,500.

Etsy: You can successfully sell postage stamps on Etsy that are excellent matches for craft supplies or wedding invitations. There are many listings for vintage stamps that are in mint condition and are hard to find. Some sellers organize their collection by theme such as by color (blue, red, green) or theme (Christmas, historical figures, wildlife). While you most likely won’t be selling to a traditional stamp collector, you might be able to make more money on Etsy if you have an elegant collection. That’s because the new owner will be proud to display in their home decor.

American Philatelic Society: You can sell philatelic material worldwide with the APS StampStore, a hassle-free online platform that does the work for you. Follow three simple steps to submit your items, batch and ship them to the APS, and watch your sales.

West Coast Stamp Company: In order to avoid being duped by a stamp collector, consider selling to a certified stamp dealer. A stamp dealer who is registered with the American Philatelic Society will likely be more trustworthy. They must adhere to best business practices in order to hold their membership. You can also sell your collection to a stamp auction house.
 

Which Morgan silver dollars are worth money?

All authentic Morgan silver dollars are worth money, but some are worth more than others. Morgan dollars were issued by the United States Mint beginning in 1878. The last Morgan dollar was released in 1921. More recently, the Mint began issuing a Morgan dollar in 2021. All pre-1922 Morgan dollars are made of 90% silver and weigh about 26.73 grams, so they have significant value simply for their silver content. Beware of fakes! Morgan dollars weighing 24 or 25 grams are fake.

Here is a list of Morgan dollars that are rare or harder-to-find. Those not listed here are considered to be common.

Which Morgan dollars are key or rare?

  • 1878 CC
  • 1879 CC
  • 1880 CC
  • 1881 CC
  • 1882 CC
  • 1883 CC
  • 1884 CC
  • 1885 CC
  • 1886 S
  • 1888 S
  • 1888 CC Fake!
  • 1889 CC
  • 1890 CC
  • 1891 CC
  • 1892 S
  • 1893
  • 1893 O
  • 1893 S
  • 1894
  • 1894 S
  • 1895
  • 1895 O
  • 1895 S
  • 1896 S
  • 1899
  • 1903 O
  • 1903 S
  • 1904 S
 

Are old gold teeth worth anything?

TRASH or TREASURE? It's not unusual to find grandpa's old gold teeth in a drawer when cleaning out the estate. Are gold teeth worth anything?

It's called Dental Gold

The name DENTAL GOLD is given by dentists to any bridgework or caps made of an alloy of gold. Not many people are familiar with the intricacies of gold use in dentistry, but there are many interesting facets of dental gold and how it functions in the mouth. Today, dentists don't often use gold in their dentistry, but in past years it was quite a common practice.

How pure is dental gold?

Dental gold is usually an alloy consisting of 16 parts gold and 8 parts other metals such as palladium, silver, copper and/or tin. Gold buyers want yellow dental gold, not white or silver.

How can I sell gold teeth and bridgework?

Dental gold is valued by weight, usually gram weight (although some buyers use pennyweight). Thus, the weight of the teeth themselves must be eliminated. To do this, you must remove the teeth from the bridgework or cap. How? Simply take a hammer and smash the tooth until it falls from the gold crown or denture. Use pliers to pull any remaining parts from the gold. Next, weigh the gold pieces on a gram scale and write down the total gold weight you have. With that information, you are ready to contact a buyer.

To calculate the value of your dental gold, consider the following example. You have a gold cap, and it weighs 1 gram. There are 31 grams in a troy ounce, so you have 1/31 of an ounce of gold. But it is not pure gold. It is 16 karat, which is 2/3 pure. For simple math, let's use a per ounce price of $1000 for pure or 24 karat gold (obviously, as of this writing it is much higher). Divide $1000 by 31 to get the value of one gram of pure gold. That gives us a value of $32.25 for one gram of pure gold. Take 2/3 of that to get the value of one gram of 16 karat gold, or $21.29. But nobody will pay you 100% of the gold value, because dealers buy for resale and must make a profit. But, armed with this information and your math skills, you can quickly determine how much your gold buyer is offering.

Remember, a buyer of dental gold is a dealer and is buying wholesale from you with the goal of earning a profit. You will not get the full gold value for your gold teeth. Why not? Because like any business there is a markup between wholesale and retail (or scrap value in the case of dental gold).

Today, fillings are more commonly made of other less expensive and/or cosmetically desirable substances like mercury amalgam or polymer compounds. However, gold is still the strongest and longest lasting material a dentist can use.

NOTE - teeth or bridgework that is white, not yellow, is not worth anything.

 

Are old buffalo nickels worth anything and who buys them?

Any old buffalo nickel has some value.

If you want to flip large lots of buffalo nickels for a quick profit, the current wholesale price dealers will pay for clean, undamaged buffalo nickels is $10.00 per pound in bulk. Large dealers will take any quantity up to 100,000 coins or 1000 pounds in weight. There are roughly 90 nickels per pound.

Any nickel dated from 1913 to 1938 is a buffalo nickel and is also sometimes called an Indian head nickel. They are called 'buffalo nickels' because they have an image of a standing buffalo on the reverse, or backside of the coin. In 1939, the buffalo nickel was replaced with the Jefferson nickel, which is what we still have, with few changes, today.

Buffalo nickels are very common, but some rare dates are worth dollars, not nickels. However, they are rare for a reason. You could spend a lifetime searching through mountains of of them and never find a rare date. Finding a rare date or mint mark is like winning the lottery.

It is much more profitable to deal in bulk. Buy them whenever you have the chance at flea markets, yard sales, estate sales, then turn around and sell them to a reputable dealer for a profit. This is called 'the art of the flip'. Or do some searching for rare dates, then do the flip.

Whatever you decide to do, just remember that there are lots of dealers who are in the business of buying large lots of common date coins. If you want to know how to find a reputable dealer to sell your buffalo nickels to, JUST ASK IGUIDE.

 

Are old pennies worth anything and who buys them?

Did you know that there are people who make a good side hustle buying and selling old wheat pennies? They make dollars on the penny (LOL)! They find large lots of old pennies then turn around and sell them for a profit. How much do they get? Usually they can sell them for around $3.50 per pound of old pennies. Penny dealers will buy any quantity up to 100,000 coins or 1000 pounds in weight. You should know that there are roughly 150 pennies per pound.

Any penny dated from 1909 to 1958 is a wheat penny. They are called "wheat pennies" because they have a sheaf of wheat on the reverse, or backside of the coin. In 1959, the sheaf of wheat was replaced with the Lincoln memorial, which is still on the reverse of our pennies today.

Wheat pennies were produced starting in 1909 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. They were first issued on 2 August 1909 and were the first U.S. coins to feature a real person (Abraham Lincoln). As the coins began to circulate, controversy broke out over the letters V.D.B. on the coin, which were located on the bottom of the reverse side and were the initials of the penny's designer, Victor David Brenner. Many people thought that the New York sculptor’s initials did not need to be on the coin or were too prominent. Other people did not understand the meaning behind the initials or their purpose. One of the most valuable of the wheat pennies is a 1909 date with an S mint mark and the VDB initials in prominence. It is called the 1909 SVDB and can sell for as much as $1,000.00 or more in uncirculated 'like new' condition.

Wheat pennies are very common, but some rare dates are worth dollars, not pennies. However, they are rare for a reason. You could spend a lifetime searching through mountains of wheat pennies and never find a rare date. Finding a rare penny is like winning the lottery.

It is much more profitable to deal in bulk. Buy them whenever you have the chance at flea markets, yard sales, estate sales, then turn around and sell them to a reputable penny buyer for a profit.

 

How do I rate the condition of my old paper money? A Beginner's Guide to Grading Currency

The Art of Description

When grading items, one should remember the goal: to paint an accurate picture in the mind of the potential buyer of what to expect upon receipt of the item. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words, and often a seller can include high-quality images to help describe the note, but too frequently an image does not clearly show all flaws. This is when a good grading description becomes invaluable. The buyer relies on the seller's honesty and accuracy in disclosure. It is therefore incumbent upon the seller to do the best job possible.

This being said, writing a good grade description is more of an art than a science. One can be too brief, or too comprehensive, with equally bad effect. If too brief, the reader has an eerie feeling of uncertainty which causes a decision not to buy. Too much detail, and the opposite can happen: the buyer imagines the accumulation of flaws in the description of every tiny flaw and pictures an item in horrible shape, when this is not the case.


70 EPQ Gem Uncirculated

Perfect. Brilliantly clean, crisp, bright, sharp corners, deep color. The highest grade possible. Notes must have no evidence of handling visible at 5x magnification. The margins and registration must appear centered to the unaided eye.

The 70 grade represents an extremely rare state of preservation and should NOT be used unless the item is absolutely perfect!

The item exhibits an amazing state of preservation with virtually no perceptible flaws of any kind, other than very minor flaws which may have occurred during the printing process.


69 EPQ Superb Gem Uncirculated

This note is nearly visually indistinguishable from a 70 but the margins and registration may appear slightly off center. There is no evidence of handling visible to the unaided eye.


68 EPQ Superb Gem Uncirculated

The margins and registration are slightly off center. There may be very minor handling.


67 EPQ Superb Gem Uncirculated

A note with above-average margins and registration. There may be minor handling.


66 EPQ Superb Gem Uncirculated

There may be slightly more handling than a 67 EPQ note. The centering must be above average.


65 EPQ Gem Uncirculated

The note may have one or two minor distractions as a result of minor handling. The centering must be above average.


64 Choice Uncirculated

The centering is off on one or two sides. Some handling may be evident but there must be no folds in the design.


63 Choice Uncirculated

The centering is imperfect and the design may be flat. There may be several flaws but there will be no folds.


62 Uncirculated

The note is strictly uncirculated but may have minor-to-moderate handling and/or corner tip issues. There will be no folds, however. The margins may touch or come into the design.


61 Uncirculated

The note is poorly centered and the margins come into the design. There may be counting marks, smudges or other signs of handling. There will be no folds through the design.


60 Uncirculated

A note with problems that may include toned paper, a small stain or fading. There will be handling issues but there will be no folds through the design.


58 Choice About Uncirculated

Barely circulated. Appears uncirculated but upon close inspection, it apparently has been lightly circulated. Often a note with a single fold that crosses the design.


55 About Uncirculated

Barely circulated. This grade is commonly assigned to a note that has one fold or two to three corner folds through the design.


53 About Uncirculated

Barely circulated. Clean, crisp, sharp corners, good color. Two or three very light almost invisible vertical folds.. Minor signs of handling.


50 About Uncirculated

Barely circulated. Sharp, crisp, clean, strong color. The note can have two heavier folds or light horizontal and vertical folds. The handling can be noticeable.


45 Choice Extremely Fine - Circulated

Barely circulated. Minor discoloration and wear, crisp, fairly sharp, decent color. A note with two to three heavy folds, one of which may be horizontal.


40 Extremely Fine - Circulated

Lightly Circulated. Noticeable discoloration and wear, weakening paper, minor corner wear, good color. There are three or more folds, one of which may be horizontal.


35 Choice Very Fine - Circulated

Lightly Circulated. For years dealers and collectors called this grade VF-XF. This note looks Extremely Fine, but it will have four to seven light folds.


30 Very Fine - Circulated

Lightly Circulated. This note will be circulated and may have light soiling. Can have up to seven to ten folds.


25 Very Fine - Circulated

Moderately Circulated. A note that shows modest evidence of circulation as well as more folds and/or soiling than a note graded 30.


20 Very Fine - Circulated

Moderately Circulated. The note is moderately circulated with numerous folds, mild soiling. There are no serious detractions but there may be minor defects.


15 Choice Fine - Circulated

Moderately Circulated. This note may look like a Very Fine note, but upon closer examination it is found to have too many folds or too much circulation to warrant a Very Fine grade.


12 Fine - Circulated

Rough Circulated. Evidence of circulation is considerable with rounded corners, margin splits and other issues. The note must be whole with solid paper.


10 Very Good - Circulated

Rough circulated. A solid, whole note with lots of circulation. The note is too limp and has a number of minor problems.


8 Very Good - Circulated

Rough circulated. The note is heavily circulated but is intact. Some small pieces may be missing. Soiling, light stains or splits are common for this grade. The note is limp.


6 Good - Circulated

Poor, rough circulated. The note is very worn with serious splits, fraying of the margins and damage.


4 Good - Circulated

Poor, rough circulated. A very heavily circulated note with numerous problems. It is totally limp with impaired visual appeal. Notes in this grade are commonly seen with pieces missing.


Descriptions

Here are some typical descriptions we see in the marketplace. Note the arrangement of descriptive detail, and choice of upper/lowercase notation.


GEM UNCIRCULATED sharp corners, crisp, rich color, no folds, no tears, no pinholes, no visible wear


CHOICE UNCIRCULATED Barely circulated. Clean, crisp, sharp corners, good color, no folds, no tears, no pinholes --- see photos
ABOUT UNCIRCULATED Barely circulated. Clean, crisp, sharp corners, good color, no folds, no tears, no pinholes --- see photos
EXTRA FINE CIRCULATED
VERY FINE CIRCULATED. noticeable wear and wrinkling, good color, numerous folds, no tears, no pinholes --- see photos
FINE CIRCULATED fairly clean, well worn with noticeable folds, no tears, no pinholes --- see photos
VERY GOOD CIRCULATED well worn, numerous folds, minor edge tears, no pinholes --- see photos
ROUGH CIRCULATED discolored and well worn with numerous folds, edge erosion, and edge tears --- see photos

 

What is Disney animation art?

A large and active market exists for original Disney animation art. Prices vary widely, from a few dollars for a common print, to tens of thousands of dollars for early original production cels with hand-painted master backgrounds. A wide variety of offerings can be found on auction sites such as eBay and at major auction houses like Heritage Galleries and Profiles in History. But, what are the relative values of lithographs, sericels, serigraphs, production cels, and common prints? Which is more valuable typically, a sericel or a serigraph? How can one tell whether they have an original production cel or merely a sericel?

GOLD LABEL PRODUCTION CELS

Starting around the year 1955, and continuing until sometime around 1966, Disneyland had a shop called ART CORNER where they sold, among other things, original Disney production cels. In the hobby, these are known as GOLD LABEL production cels, because on the back of each one a gold sticker can be found that reads, 'THIS IS AN ORIGINAL HANDPAINTED CELLULOID DRAWING ACTUALLY USED IN A WALT DISNEY PRODUCTION. Released exclusively by DISNEYLAND, 1313 Harbor Blvd, Anaheim California. Copyright Walt Disney Productions.' The text on the label may have slight variations over the years, but the label text is almost always printed in red ink on a gold label. Many of these authentic production cels make reference to the Disneyland Art Corner, as in 'RELEASED EXCLUSIVELY BY THE ART CORNER OF DISNEYLAND'.

These cels are very desirable in the marketplace, and can have a value ranging from a low of one hundred dollars or so, and up to thousands of dollars, depending on the scene, the quality, and the desirability of the film and characters in the cel. A hand painted Master Background as part of the piece also adds value.



SERIGRAPH CELS




 

How do I rate the condition of my old 45 RPM records?

I believe someday all collectibles will be graded using a 10-point scale, and that this universality will be a factor in making them a recognized investment like stocks and bonds. Grading services will exist for every type of antique or collectible, and these grading services will enable a liquid marketplace for trading in antiques and collectibles of all kinds. Collectors will view their collection “portfolio” as a source of retirement income in the same way that stock investors do today. EBay and similar sites will be the "NASDAQ" for the liquidation of these collectible investments. This isn't a great insight on my part, it is already happening in a small way, and I believe it is just beginning.

The 45 RPM Record Collecting Hobby uses a grading system known as the VJM Grading System. The VJM Record Grading System is an internationally-used and recognized system for grading both 45s and LPs. It is used by virtually all jazz, blues, personality and most pre-war record dealers and collectors alike, with an easily understood sequence of letters to show grades and a system of abbreviations to show faults and damage. The first grading system to be adopted by jazz record collectors was devised by the publishers of Record Changer magazine in the 1940s, and the system now known as the VJM Grading System is a refined version of the former, introduced in the early 1950s.

The VJM System has never been, however, aligned with a 10-point system. We have attempted with this guide to match the VJM system to a 10-point system, because, in our opinion, buyers feel more secure with "sight unseen" Internet buying when they are familiar with a 10-point grading system. New collectors in any hobby become advanced collectors through knowledge, including knowledge of terminology. Without such a set of grading terms and definitions, buyers may feel confused and uncertain about the quality of items they are buying over the internet or through the mail. Confusion and uncertainty are not good for the growth of any hobby.

This VJM/10-point scale for grading  is similar to systems already adopted in other markets. By using a set of standardized grading terms, we can ensure the growth of the hobby now and in the future.

I welcome your feedback. Please e-mail me with comments and suggestions. My e-mail address is jon@2ndmarkets.com.

I have outlined the various grades, and described the specifications for each. These grading definitions are intended to help you rate the condition of your item. As in any collectible, the better the condition of an item, the more valuable it is.


C10 = N : Store Stock New
As new and unplayed (there are virtually no 78s that can categorically be claimed to be unplayed).

C9 : N-
Nearly New, but has been played. No visible signs of wear or damage.

C8 = E+
Plays like new, with very, very few signs of handling, such as tiny scuffs from being slipped in and out of sleeves.

C7 = E : Excellent
Still very shiny, near new looking, with no visible signs of wear, but a few inaudible scuffs and scratches.

C6 = E-
Still shiny but without the luster of a new record, few light scratches.

C5 = V+
V+ is an average condition 45 in which scuffs and general use has dulled the finish somewhat. Wear is moderate but playing is generally free from distortion. Surface noise not overly pronounced.


C4 = V : Very Good
Moderate, even wear throughout, but still very playable. Surface noise and scratches audible but not intrusive.

C3 = V-
Quite playable still, but distortion and heavy greying in loud passages. Music remains loud in most passages. Surface noise and scratches well below music level.

C2 = G+
Grey throughout but still serviceable. Music begins to sound muffled. Heavy scratches.

C1 = G : Good
Quite seriously worn and scratched, but music level is still higher than surface noise.

G- ; F ; and P
The VJM system has these designations for records in extremely poor condition. We do not place these on the 10-point scale because records in this condition have little or no value. In cases where the record is extremely rare, it would be worth the C1 price.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

sfc = surface

lbl = label

nap = not affecting play

scr/scrs = scratch/scratches

lc or lam  = lamination crack

cr = crack

gv/gvs= groove/grooves

hlc/hc = hairline crack

wol = writing on label

sol = sticker onlabel

fade = faded label

eb = edge bite

ec = edge chip

ef =edge flake

cvr = cover

s = stereo

rc= rim chip

rf = rough;

aud/inaud = audible/inaudible

lt = light

 

Are old TV Guides Magazines worth anything?

TV Guide was one of the most widely circulated magazines of all time. As a result, they are very common. Most have little or no value, but there are valuable exceptions to this rule. Some issues with significant value typically have cover photos of famous movie or television stars, or covers of special interest.



TREASURE — iGuide's List of Most Valuable TV Guides

There are many other valuable to semi-valuable TV Guides besides those listed below. If you want to know if yours are valuable, you need an iGuide Appraisal Report

April 3, 1953 — Volume 1 Number 1, the very first issue!
Sept. 25, 1953 — George Reeves of Adventures of Superman
July 17, 1954 — Roy Rogers of The Roy Rogers Show
October 23, 1954 — Walt Disney on Disneyland
September 8, 1956 — Elvis Presley, The Plain Truth About Elvis Presley
March 26, 1966 — Adam West of Batman
March 4, 1967 — William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek
March 26, 1966 — Adam West of Batman



If you have any of those listed above, it would be smart to get a free iGuide Appraisal Report

Get Appraisal Report

Too good to toss

Common issues from the 1950s, and certain issues from the 1960s and 1970s have some minor value, usually less than $10 retail and $4 wholesale in almost new condition.



Trash

The VAST majority of old TV Guide magazines can be bought in large lots on eBay for 50 cents to $1 each depending on age. Modern issues from the 1980s and up are almost worthless.



Condition is key

As with all collectibles, the condition of the magazine is very important. If it's in 'like new' condition, it is worth 10 times more than the same issue in heavily worn condition.


Summary

With the exception of certain special issues from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, there is very little demand for old TV Guide magazines.

 

How do I rate the condition of my comic books?


Comic books, like coins, stamps, sports cards, movie posters, and everything else that people collect, are valued according to condition. Because human beings prize things that glitter, the more like new the object is, the more collectors will pay for it. Seems simple enough, right? WRONG! Because arguing about condition actually means negotiating price, buyers and sellers often have a hard time agreeing on the grade of a book. But, fortunately there are standard terms that everyone agrees on (what those terms mean is another story). Sadly, it takes years of looking at thousands of variances of grade before you can truly become a knowledgeable grader. So how do you know what grade a comic book is in if you are new at making the grade? Let me suggest that you start simple and then focus on the final grade.

First let's look at some general terms that could be used to describe the condition of a comic book, then we'll cover some specialized terms that dealers and collectors use.


PERFECT


We all know what this is, it's a book in brand new condition. When you go to the newsstand and pick the best copy you can find, that's probably a PERFECT, like-new comic book (unless it's mangled on the newsstand). The term for a comic book in perfect condition is MINT. Although some dealers will try to convince you that 30 or 40 year old comics aren't graded as strictly as new comics, I wouldn't believe it if I were you. When it comes to MINT, mint is mint, period.


ABOVE AVERAGE


If someone bought a comic, read it once or twice, and then carefully filed it away, it is in ABOVE AVERAGE condition. We refer to comics in above average condition as VERY FINE (abbreviated VF).


AVERAGE


The term collectors use to describe a comic in AVERAGE condition is VERY GOOD (or VG for short). Since comics are supposed to be read and handled, books that have been read and handled are in average condition. Creased corners, little tears, stuff that you could expect from normal use is common in a VG condition book.


BELOW AVERAGE


Comics that you owned when you were six years old are probably in BELOW AVERAGE condition because you probably beat the @@#$!! out of them. And they look it! The comic is still complete with all pages but the cover might be loose or a piece might be missing from the corner. You know what I mean...ROUGH ROUGH! Collectors describe comics in below average condition as GOOD. Actually, there's nothing good about it other than the fact that you have a copy to keep until a better one comes along.


POOR


Better known by the technical term "swillage" first coined by Steve Geppi. A book that looks like it was rescued from the trash is in POOR condition. You know you have handled a poor condition book when you rush to wash your hands afterwards.

Now that you know the five basic ranges of condition a comic book can be in, it's much easier to focus in on exactly what the real grade is. Try it yourself. Take a stack of your books and grade them. Is the first one in the stack just like the day you bought it except for a tiny bend in the corner? Then it's not MINT, but you could certainly say it's ABOVE AVERAGE. Put it in the VF stack. Does the next one in the stack look read and re-read? Put it in the VG stack. Continue sorting the books in basic grades. When you are done, refer to the following grading descriptions. You can focus in on the actual grade by reading these fine-tuning grading descriptions. The one that sounds the closest to the grade of your book is the actual grade.

These are the terms comic book collectors use to describe condition. At conventions and your local comic book store you will see these grades and grade-codes used to indicate grade. Memorize them, learn what they mean, and then you can start making the right grade.



GRADING DEFINITIONS & TERMS


Comic book collectors have widely accepted a 10-point system for describing the grade of a comic book.



GEM MINT 10.0

Perfect. A very rare grade, even for brand new comics.


MINT 9.9


An almost perfect 9.9 on a 1-10 scale. A flawless copy in the same condition as the day it was printed. The MINT grade is practically non-existent in pre-1970 comics. Golden age comics in MINT condition are an extremely rare find and fetch huge premiums over average copies of the same comic. When grading a comic mint, no consideration should be given to the age of the book. No printing defects can appear on a MINT comic. The cover should have full original gloss, and appear bright, with sharp corners and no imperfections of any sort. Minute color variations may occur during printing, and are allowed in the MINT classification. The inside covers and all pages are creamy white and fresh. The binding (spine) is tight, flat, and clean without wear or stress lines. Not the slightest blemish can be detected around staples, along the binding and edges, or at corners. Arrival dates penciled (not inked) on the cover are usually acceptable as long as they are very small. When the surfaces of the front and back covers are held to the light, not the slightest wear, indentations, wrinkles or defects of any kind can be observed. As comics must be truly perfect to be in this grade, they are obviously extremely scarce and are seldom offered for sale.



NEAR MINT/MINT (NM/M 9.8)

Approaching the MINT range but with a very slight blemish of some sort.


NM+ 9.6


Top of the NM range.


NEAR MINT (NM 9.4)

9.4 on a 1-10 scale. A copy that is virtually MINT but for one or two very tiny imperfections. For example, a tiny (1/16th inch) edge tear is allowable in this category if no other imperfections are present. A very few tiny stress lines along the spine could be present. Pages and covers should be creamy to white, not yellow or brown. No color touch-ups, repair or restoration of any kind is allowed in this grade. This grade is very rare in books prior to 1970.


NM- 9.2


Bottom of the NM range.


VERY FINE/NEAR MINT (VF/NM 9.0)


9 on a 1-10 scale. Beautiful, glossy and excellent in every way with one minor imperfection keeping it out of the higher grades. One tiny corner crease of less that 1/8th inch length is allowed. A couple of tiny (1/16th inch) stress lines along the spine are acceptable if the appearance of the book is not gravely affected. Pages should be creamy white, not yellowed or tan. A common defect in this grade is a tiny spine tear at the upper or lower binding (spine) not greater then 1/16th of an inch in length. One or two tiny tears (1/16th inch) are permitted in this grade if the copy is otherwise flawless. An extremely tiny tear repair, color touch-up, unobtrusive arrival date erasure or other similar invisible alteration, on an otherwise near mint copy, is permitted in this grade.



VF+ 8.5


Top of the VF range.


VERY FINE (VF 8.0)


8 on a 1-10 scale. Superb. An outstanding copy in an unusual state of preservation. Clean and bright with sharp corners and pliant interior paper. Slight cover wear is present; possibly 5 or 6 tiny wrinkles or stress lines at the staples where the cover has been opened a few times; still clean and flat with 80 percent of cover gloss retained. Interior page quality should be creamy to white, not yellowish or brown. A few tiny color chips or imperfections could be present. A faint 1/4" corner crease on an otherwise exceptional copy could be present in this grade. Very minor professional restoration or repair is permitted in this grade if noted and described.


VF- 7.5


Bottom of the VF range.



FINE/VERY FINE (F/VF 7.0)


7 on a 1-10 scale. Above average. A clean, bright copy lacking the crispness associated with Very Fine. Pages can be slightly yellowed, not brown or brittle. Several tiny stress lines along the spine and cover can be expected. Several tiny color flakes are permitted. No subscription creases or spine roll allowed in this grade. Corners may be slightly rounded. Exceptional cover gloss remains (60 percent or more).


FN+ 6.5

Top of the FINE range.


FINE (FN 6.0)


6 on a 1-10 scale. Slightly better-than-average copy with obvious aging and diminishment, but still relatively flat, clean and glossy without subscription creases, writing on the cover (except possibly an arrival date), brown margins or tape repairs. Typical flaws include: light spine wear, minor surface wear, a light crease (1/4" in length), minor yellowing/tanning to interior pages. Still a bright copy with 50 per cent cover gloss. A few stress lines around the staples and along the spine are normal in this grade, but not more than 1/8" in length. One small edge chip or several tiny chips (such as Marvel chips) are permitted in this grade. One minor tear is allowed on an otherwise FVF copy. A very minor spine roll on an otherwise clean and uncreased copy is permitted in this grade.


F- 5.5

Bottom of the FINE range.



VERY GOOD/FINE (VG/F 5.0)


5 on a 1-10 scale. Better than VG+, approaching FINE but not quite sharp enough to merit the higher grade. Frequently, a FINE copy with an unusual flaw is lowered to VG/F.


VG+ 4.5

Top of the VG range. Slightly below a VG/F copy.


VERY GOOD (VG 4.0)


4 on a 1-10 scale. Average. Ordinary signs of use. Appears used, but not abused. The common state of preservation of a comic book that has been used as intended. Significant diminishment of original cover glossiness. Noticeable discoloration or fading could be present. One or two minor markings on covers is permitted. Minor spine rolling may have occurred. Lightly creased along extremities; a faint subscription crease is allowed. The covers could have a minor tear or crease where a corner was folded under. The centerfold could be detached or loose from the staples. A small chip or piece from the covers, or a small piece from an interior page that does not affect the live area (artwork area), is acceptable. Pages and inside covers could be tannish or yellowed, but not brittle. A small tape repair could be present in this grade. Still, the appearance of the comic is such that many collectors find the book acceptable until a better copy can be located.


VG- 3.5

Bottom of the VG range.


GOOD/VERY GOOD (G/VG 3.0)


3 on a 1-10 scale. Approaching VERY GOOD but with too many signs of abuse to be a solid VERY GOOD. G/VG and G+ represent a very slight variation in grade.



G+ 2.5

Top of the GOOD range.


GOOD (G 2.0)


2 on a 1-10 scale. Below average. A worn copy but complete with all pages including centerfold, which may or may not be loose. Creased, scuffed, covers lack gloss, faded. Pages could be brown and brittle. Although a copy in this grade could have white pages and covers, the accumulation of defects such as creases, tears, or chips and general wear prevent this book from any higher classification.


G- 1.8

Bottom of the GOOD range.



FR/G 1.5

Approaching GOOD, with too much wear to be a solid GOOD.


FR+ 1.25

Heavily worn but approaching the good classification.


FAIR (FR 1.0)


0.5 on a 1-10 scale. Used and abused. Extremely worn, creased, and dirty, with possibly loose pages or significant tears, but still complete. Possibly small pieces missing from the cover, inked markings, tape, etc.



POOR (PR .5)

0 on a 1-10 scale. A terrible copy. Damaged; extremely worn; dirty or otherwise unsuited for collection purposes. Pages could be missing. Could be coverless if noted.



 

How do I rate the condition of my rare book?

The descriptions of book grades that follow are intended to outline the relative condition of books in various states of preservation. These standards are based on trade practices recommended by The American Book Association to avoid misunderstandings in the buy, selling, and advertising of books.

BOOK GRADES
Condition of a book is usually in the form of VG/VG, Fine/Good, VG/--, etc. The first part is the condition of the book, the second is the condition of the dust jacket. If a "/--" is present, it usually means that the dustjacket is not present.

C10  New. The finest quality available. A new book is unread, in print and in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages.

C9  As New  (AN).  To be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition to which it was published. There can be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc., and the dustjacket (if it was issued with one) must be perfect, without any tears.                 

C8  Fine (F or FN). Approaches the condition of As New, but without being crisp. For the use of the term Fine, there must also be no defects, etc., and if the jacket has a small tear, or other defect, or looks worn, this should be noted.

C7  Near Fine  (NF ). Approaches the condition of Fine, but without being quite as clean and crisp, with perhaps the slightest shelf wear. For the use of the term Near Fine, there must be no defects, etc., and if the jacket has a small tear,  or other defect, or looks worn, this should be noted.

C6  Very Good + (VG+). Describes a book that does show some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper. Any defects must be noted.

C5  Very Good (VG). Describes a book that does show some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper. Any defects must be noted.

C3  Good (G). Describes the average used worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.

C2  Fair (FR). Worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, jacket (if any), etc., may also be worn. All defects must be noted.

C1  Poor (P). Describes a book that is sufficiently worn, to the point that its only merit is as a Reading Copy because it does have the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.

BOOK SIZES
4to- A book that is up to 12" tall.
8vo - A book that is up to 9 ¾" tall.
12mo - A book that is up to 7 ¾" tall.
16mo - A book that is up to 6 ¾" tall.
24mo - A book that is up to 5 ¾" tall.
32mo - A book that is up to 5" tall.
48mo - A book that is up to 4" tall.
64mo - A book that is up to 3" tall.
Folio - A book that is up to 15" tall.
Elephant Folio - A book that is up to 23" tall.
Atlas Folio - A book that is up to 25" tall.
Double Elephant Folio - A book that is up to 50" tall.



 

Are first edition books worth anything?

No, not all first edition books have value. In fact, the vast majority, 95% or more, of all first edition books have very little value. Only first editions by certain authors have any significant value.
 

What are the best ways to sell Hamilton Mint silver collections?

With the value of precious metals such as silver and gold rising, many people are wondering if now might be the best time to sell Hamilton Mint silver sets. The answer is YES, but with caution.

You might sell locally, but you will not get top dollar from a local gold buyer or coin shop. You could try to sell on eBay, but that's a hassle and after paying fees and commission you will end up with less than if you had simply sold directly to an interernet buyer.

That leaves you with finding an internet buyer.  You should look for a Internet buyer who will pay the highest percentage of the precious metal value, obviously.  But you should also look for an Internet buyer who is a member of the Better Business Bureau online reliability program. If the company is a member of their local Chamber of Commerce, that’s even better. And, of course, the company should have a valid business license in the county in which they operate. If the Internet company is not licensed, do not deal with them! You certainly want to sell for the highest possible price, but you also want to avoid being ripped off in the process.

If you look locally for where to sell you may find a coin shop or pawn shop who will offer to buy, but compare their offer with others before accepting. Local buyers pay as little as 40% of the true value when they buy your Hamilton Mint sets. A top buyer will pay 75% to 85%.  The difference could be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Look for an Internet buyer that provides fast, friendly communications and no-obligation bids. A professional buyer will reply to your emails quickly and treat you with respect. If not, go elsewhere. Any reputable buyer will have years of experience and will be happy to help you sell.

Of course, a business must make a profit to remain in business, but a solid company knows that competition is intense and they must pay a fair price in order to remain successful.

A good buyer will provide a price quote in advance, without asking you to ship first.  If a buyer cannot provide an upfront quote, go elsewhere. Do not send your items on approval unless you have thoroughly checked references. By having an upfront bid, you can decide to sell or not, based on the price offered. This is much better than sending first and“hoping” for a good price, which is the way many Internet buyers operate.

In summary, Do your homework, deal with a reputable firm, and you will ensure a successful transaction.
 

Are Hamilton Mint Collections worth anything?

Many folks have collections of Hamilton Mint collectibles, either from collecting themselves or through inheritance. The burning question in the minds of many  is: "Do HamiltonMint collectibles have value?" The answer, like so many in life, is "It depends."

The HamiltonMint was one of the largest issue of limited edition collectibles in the world, but went out of business in the late 1970s, after a bankruptcy.

HamiltonMint issued collectibles in many categories, including dolls, coins, ingots, plates, knives, die-car cars, jewelry and much more. 

The issue price of HamiltonMint editions ranged from just a few dollars to hundreds of dollars each. Did these items hold their value, or go up?

The answer is that many are worth much more than original issue price, while others are not. Those that have enjoyed significant price appreciation are those sets made of precious metals such as sterling silver or gold. Otherwise, for items like dolls, plates, and knives, prices have not held, and in fact many of these items can be bought for a fraction of their original issue price.

So, the answer to the question posed at the begging of this article is that those collections made of silver or gold have good value today, often more than original issue price, while those not made of precious metals can be bought for a fraction of original issue price.

The moral of this story is "You win some, you lose some."
 

What is STERLING silver? Is it the same as PURE silver or 999 silver?

Sterling silver is not pure. It is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or other base metal. Pure silver is 100% silver (or 99.9% which is close enough to pure). Many new collectors think sterling silver is the highest and greatest form of silver, but it is not. It is only 92.5% pure.

Also, little known is the fact that, by law, an error margin of 10% is allowed in the sterling alloy, so that quite often, when tested, a piece marked STERLING may actually only test our as 91% pure.
 

Which states in the USA have deregulated electricity markets?

Deregulation of the energy markets is defined as the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.  Deregulation of natural gas and electric in some states occurred when the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) ruled that it should limit its authority to wholesale transactions. This decision made it possible the way for individual states to determine if and how they should allow retail price competition.

Deregulation does not mean elimination of laws against fraud, but eliminates or reduces government control of how business is done, thereby moving toward a free market.

In states with deregulated retail markets, individual consumers may have the ability to choose their provider in certain circumstances.

Some states have deregulated the electricity market under their control. Here is a list of those states as of August, 2012.


 

Which of the branch mints was the first to coin U.S. cents?

The San Francisco Mint began striking bronze Indian Head cents in 1908.
 

How may types of small cents are there and what years were they minted?

Flying Eagle  1857-1858
Indian Head  (Copper Nickel, Laurel Reverse)  1859
Indian Head (Copper Nickel, Oak Reverse)  1859
Indian Head  (Bronze)  1860-1864
Indian Head  1864-1909
Lincoln Head  (Wheat Reverse)   1909-1942, 1946-1958
Lincoln Head  (Zinc Plated Steel)  1943
Lincoln Head  (Shell Case Copper)  1944-1945
Lincoln Head  (Memorial Reverse)  1959 to date
Lincoln Head  (Copper Coated Zinc, Memorial Reverse)  1982-2008
Lincoln Head  (Shield Reverse)  2009 to date
 

Yes or no: were proof cents struck on both bronze and copper-plated zinc planchets in 1982?

No, all 1982 proof cents were struck on bronze planchets. Beginning in 1983 all proof cents were struck on copper plated zinc planchets.
 

How should I care for my Sterling Silver flatware and holloware?

Daily use enhances the beauty of sterling silver, adding mellowness and depth of color, so no one should hesitate to use it all the time. The millions of tiny scratches on the surface that come with constant use give color or patina that adds to the finish. All silver should be washed as soon after  use as possible. Use ordinary caution so as not to crowd too many pieces close together. Wash in clear sudsy water and rinse thoroughly in clear hot water. It is important to dry each piece well even when washed in the automatic dishwasher. Should spots appear after the use of certain foods like eggs, salt and salad dressing, they may be easily eliminated with silver polish during the washing process.

About once a month should suffice for over-all polishing. Use a reliable polish free of grit, and a clean soft cloth. Lengthwise stroke on flatware produce the finest luster; on holloware, follow the contours or shape of the piece. Be sure to rotate the usage of all pieces so that all acquire the same patina. The ideal container for storing silver is a tightly closed chest that has individual places for each piece. Rolls for flatware and bags for holloware made of tarnish-resistant cloth are also good for sterling silver.

Be sure to keep chest well dusted and clean. Stray particles of salt in the case will cause the silver to tarnish and sometimes even to spot.
 

Sterling Silver : Table Placement

Table Placement: ( a few simple rules) All flat silver is laid in the order of use, starting with the piece farthest from the plate on each side. Knives are placed with the cutting edge towards the plate; forks with times pointing up; spoons hollow side up. 
Not more than three knives and forks (not counting the oyster fork and the butter spreader) may be laid at one place setting. Additional silver is placed when required. More often than not the cover does not require this amount of silver for the family and informal meal; the usual placing being knife, soup spoon and tea spoon placed at the right of the plate with the salad fork and dinner fork at the left. For the salad course and many entrees, the fork is all that is required, therefore, omit the corresponding knife. 
The oyster fork may be placed at the extreme right and parallel with the soup or bouillon spoon. The butter spreader is placed across the rim of the bread and butter plate with the handle to the right. 
At breakfast only the pieces needed are placed on the table following the above placement.
For luncheon only enough flat silver to carry through the salad course is laid with the settings. Dessert and coffee silver are provided with those courses. 
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: chasing

Chasing: Decoration done by hand with small tools and punches forced into the metal with tappings by a hammer. When flowers, scrolls, etc. are simply impressed into the flat surface it is called flat chasing.
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Trifle Pewter

Trifle Pewter: Sixty percent tin and 40 percent lead. Of a darker color and softer than better grades of pewter, it was short lived. The alloy was altered to 83 parts tine and 17 parts antimony and was made into spoons, saltshakers, buttons and similar articles which could not be finished on a lathe. Workers in this alloy were called "triflers."
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Vermeil

Vermeil: Gold plating process developed in France in the mid 1700's. France banned production of vermeil early in the 19th century because the process involved the use of mercury. Present day vermeil is produced by a safe electrolytic process.
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Gadroon

Gadroon: A border ornament radiating lobes of curved or straight form. Used on rims and feet of cups, plates and other vessels from late 17th century
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Gadroon

Gadroon: A border ornament radiating lobes of curved or straight form. Used on rims and feet of cups, plates and other vessels from late 17th century
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Holloware

Holloware: A general term for articles in the form of hollow vessels, such as mugs, ewers, teapots, coffeepots, bowls and pitchers; also includes trays, waiters, meat and chop plates and flat sandwich trays. 
Holloware Pewter: Eighty percent tin and 20 percent lead, used for making teapots, tankards, coffee pots and liquid measures.
 

Sterling Silver Glossary:Sterling Silver

Sterling Silver: 925/1000 fine, with 75/1000 of added metal, usually copper, to give it strength and stiffness. This is the standard set by the Untied States Government in the Stamping Act of 1906, and any article stamped "sterling" is of assured quality. It appears on Baltimore silver, 1800-1814, and after 1860, elsewhere. 
 

Sterling Silver Glossary:Stamping, Trademarks and Stock Numbers

Stamping Trademarks and Stock Numbers: As early as 1867, the Meriden Britannia Co. had a system of stamping nickel silver, silver soldered  holloware with a cipher preceding the number, and by 1893, nickel silver holloware with white metal mounts had as a part of the number two ciphers. That is, on a waiter with white metal, 00256, etc., would be stamped. This made it quickly understood by the number whether the piece was nickel silver, silversoldered or nickel silver with white metal mounts.
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Sheffield Plate

Sheffield Plate:True Sheffield plate was produced by fusing, with intense heat, a thin sheet of silver to one or both sides of a thick sheet of copper. The composite metal was then rolled down to the proper thickness for fabrication. Invented by Thomas Boulsover about 1743. Frequently called "old Sheffield Plate" to distinguish it from electroplate.
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Repousse

Repousse: Relief ornament hammered from the under or inner side of the metal. Usually given added sharpness of form by surface chasing of detail and outline. Has been practiced from early times. Introduced to this country by Samuel Kirk in 1828.
 

R Blackington and Co. Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Founded in  1862 by Walter Ballou and Roswell Blackinton in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, and was owned and operated by members of the same two families for many years. The original trademark was used until c. 1900. Their products have consisted mostly of sterling silver and 14 karat gold novelites, flatware, holloware and dresserware, with a small amount of costume jewelry. Bought by Wells, Inc, Attleboro, Mass. , June 1967. About 1965-66 their "Marie Louise" flatware pattern was sold to the U.S. State Department for use in all United States embassies throughout the world. 
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Gold Aluminum

Gold Aluminum: A solid alloy used for flatware made by Holmes & Edwards Silver Co., Bridgeport, Connecticut. Marked with a trademark WALDO HE preceded by a symbol used by the Waldo Foundry which probably made the metal. Flatware made only in " Rialto" pattern which was also made in silverplate. 
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Foreign Silver

Foreign Silver: Other than English sterling, is sometimes of uncertain silver content, in some instances running considerably below the coin standard. The fineness is often stamped on the article. In the Scandinavian countries and Germany solid silver tableware 830/1000 fine has been standardized, and the stamp "830" signifies this silver content. 
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Electotype

Electrotype: Copy of art object produced by electroplating a wax impression. Much used in the nineteenth century to reproduce antique objects. Now employed in the production of facsimile plates for use in printing.  
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Burnishing

Burnishing: Electro deposits consist of a multitude of small crystals, with intervals between them, and with facets reflecting the light in every direction. The deposited metal is hardened by burnishing and forcing into the pores of the underlying metal. The durability is thus increased to such an extent that, with the same amount of silver, a burnished article will last twice as long as one which has not been so treated. 
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Argentine

Argentine: An alloy of tin and antimony used as a base for plating; nickel silver; German silver; also "British plate"; known in China as Paktong. Bradbury says, "Credit (is) due to W. Hutton & Sons of Sheffield for being the first firm to manufacture spoons and forks from the newly-invented metal called Argentine, in the year 1833.
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Aluminum silver

Aluminum silver: A composition of aluminum and silver which is much harder than aluminum. It takes a high polish. Air does not affect the color. The proportion of ingredients varies. One of three parts silver and ninety-seven parts aluminum makes an alloy similar in appearance to pure aluminum but is much harder and takes a better polish.
 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Alaska Silver

Alaska silver: Base metal of secret composition. According to contemporary ads, "its purpose is to imitate solid silver at a fraction of the cost." It is subject to damage if left 12 hours or more in acid foods, fats or grease. It is also a trade name used on silver-plated flatware sold by Sears Roebuck & Co., c. 1908. In the 1908 catalog was the statement that Alaska Metal was their special formula of composition metal made to imitate solid silver. Contains no silver.

 

Sterling Silver Glossary: Britannia

Britannia: A silver-white alloy composed largely of tin hardened with copper and antimony. Closely akin to pewter, yet differing in the higher proportion of tin, the addition of antimony and the omission of lead, resulting in a more silvery appearance than is possible with the pewter mixture. It often contains also a small quantity of zinc and bismuth. A common proportion is 140 parts of tin, three of copper and ten of antimony.
 

Wood & Hughes..: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Wood and Hughes began in 1833 with a partnership between Jacob Wood, William Gale and Jasper Hughes. Both Wood and Hughes had been apprentices under Gale. Patterns: Gadroon, Louis XV, Byzantine, and Fiddle.
 

Whiting Manufacturing Co..: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Whiting Manufacturing Co. began in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1866. After a fire destroyed the plant, operations were moved to New York City in 1875. Gorham bought the company in  1924, and in 1926 moved the operations to Providence, Rhode Island. Their patterns: Adam, Alhambra, Antique Lily-Engraved, Arabesque, Armor, Bead, Berry, Colonial Engraved, Duke of York, Egyptian, Heraldic, Hyperion, Imperial Queen, Japanese, King Albert, King Edward, Lady Baltimore, Lily, Lily of the Valley, Louis XV, Madam Jumel, Madam Morris, Mandarin, Old King, Pompadour, Radiant, Stratford, and Violet.
 

Westmorland.: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Westmorland Sterling Co.  of Wallingford, Connecticut began selling pieces in five patterns produced by Wallace Silversmiths in 1940. Its trademark was a ram's head in profile in a box. Their patterns: Enchanting Orchid, George & Martha Washington, John & Priscilla, Lady Hilton, and  Milburn Rose. 
 

Weidlich Bros Mfg Co..: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Weidlich Bros. Mfg. Co. sterling silver was produced in Bridgeport, Connecticut between 1901 and 1950. Its marks on sterling included AVON. Their patterns: Ancestry, Lady Sterling, and Virginia Sterling.

 

Watson Co. Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Watson Co. began producing silver items in Attleboro, Massachusetts, in the late 1890's and produced dozens of flatware patterns and hundreds of style of souvenir spoons. Their patterns: Colonial Fiddle, Foxhall, George II, George II Rex, John Alden, Juliana, Lamerie, Lily Lotus, Martha Washington, Meadow Rose, Mount Vernon, Navarre, Orchid, Wentworth,  and Windsor Rose.


 

Wallace Silversmiths.: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Wallace Silversmiths Inc. began producing sterling flatware in Wallingford, Connecticut in 1871. Company founder Robert Wallace was apprenticed in 1831, when he was 16, to a maker of Britannia metal spoons. Two years later, he rented an old gristmill, powered by Connecticut's Quinnipiac River, and started to make spoons.
In 1835, Wallace learned of a new metal that had been developed in Germany. He traveled to New York City and purchased the formula from a German chemist for $20., then converted his gristmill to produce nickel-based silver spoons.
Under the name R. Wallace & Sons Mfg. Co., the firm introduced the sterling patterns Hawthorne, The Crown, and St. Leon. Designer William Warren's "three-dimensional" patterns included Sir Christopher and Grande Baroque. Wallace eventually acquired the Watson Co., Tuttle Silver Co., and Smith & Smith. Silver patterns: America, Carnation, Carthage, Corinthian, Dauphine, Dawn Mist, Debutante, Discovery, Eton, Evening Mist, Feliciana, Figured Shell, Georgian Colonial, Grand Colonial, Grande Baroque, Hampton, Irian, Juliet, King Christian, Kings, La Reine, Lamerie, Larkspur, Lotus, Louvre, Lucerne, Madison, Meadow Rose, Melanie, Michele, Monterey, My Love, Nile, Normandie, Orange Blossom, Orchid Elegance, Penrose, Peony, Princess Anne, Princess Mary,Puritan, Putnam, Renaissance, Rheims, Rhythm, Romance of the Sea, Rose, Rose Point, Royal Rose, Royal Satin, Saxon, Shenandoah, Silver Swirl, Sir Christopher, Spanish Lace, Sterling Rose, Stradivari, Violet, Waltz of Spring, Washington, Waverly, Windsor Rose, Windsor/Victoria, and Wishing Star.





 

A Brief Knowledge Panel about the Unger Bros. Sterling Silverware Company

Unger Bros was started in the 1870's in Newark, New Jersey and made silver items until 1914. The firm's flatware patterns were also featured on other items, including desk sets, ashtrays, and letter openers. Marks on flatware included the capital letter U, and an entwined UB in a circle plus Sterling 935 fine. Patterns: Cupid Sunbeam, Cupid's Nosegay, and Douvaine.

 

How To Sell Old Magazines : Make Your List, Check It Twice

In order to make a "sight unseen" bid for your old magazines, a magazine buyer needs to know certain key information. YOU SHOULD INCLUDE THIS INFO IN YOUR INITIAL LIST! If you are new to old magazine selling, building the list yourself can be a chore, but this article covers the main points and hopefully makes it a bit easier. Before you start off trying to sell your old magazines, you should make an inventory list. It will be the first thing any magazine buyer will ask for. 

IMPORTANT: YOU SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFO IN YOUR LIST!

TITLE (always on the front cover; example: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC) 
ISSUE DATE (always on the front cover, first page or inside front cover; example: June, 1947 issue)
CONDITION (used, torn, like new, VG, NM etc., just a best guess, even if you only say USED or LIKE NEW) 

 

Towle Silversmiths: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Towle Silversmiths of Newburyport, Massachusettsw began in 1857 as Towle & Jones, but the company's heritage goes back to the 17th century. In 1679, William Moulton II left Hampton, New Hampshire and settled at Newbury (later Newburyport) where he became a trader and may have done some silversmithing.

His Son, Joseph, is generally recognized as the first silversmith of the Moulton line, which is said to have the longest continuous span of silversmithing of any American family. From father to son, this family produced silversmiths for two hundred years, more of its members entering the silver industry than from any other family in early American history. Even one woman in the Moulton clan--Lydia, daughter of William III--- did some silversmithing. Although most of the Moultons carried on their craft in Newburyport, some went to other communities where they established themselves as silversmiths.

The third William moved in a covered wagon to Marietta, Ohio, carrying his silversmith's tools with him. His son, Joseph, had four sons, all of whom were silversmiths. Ebenezer moved to Boston and Enoch to Portland, Maine, each of them continuing their crafts in their respective places. Abel inherited his father's business in Newburyport and the fourth William established his own shop in the same place.

By this time, Anthony F. Towle went from Hampton to Newburyport where he became apprenticed to the fourth William Moulton. Anthony was a descendent of Philip Towle and the son of Jabez, who had purchased the General Moulton house in Hampton. Later Anthony joined with William P. Jones to establish a silversmith partnership. These two subsequently purchased the fourth Joseph Moulton's business and formed the firm of Towle and Jones in 1857.

From this enterprise developed the silversmith establishment today known as The Towle Silversmiths. The company mark of a lion mounted on a script letter "T" was supposedly based on the family coat of arms. Silver patterns are: Aristocrat, Awakening, Benjamin Franklin, Candlelight, Canterbury, Cascade, Charlemagne, Chased Diana, Chippendale, Colonial Thread, Contessina, Contour, Country Manor, Craftsman, Debussy, D'Orleans, Dorothy Manners, Drury lane, El Grandee, Esplanade, Federal Cotillion, Fiddle Thread, Fortana, French Colonial, French Provincial, Georgian, King Richard, Lady Constance, Lady Diana, Lady Mary, Lafayette, Laureate, Legato, Louis XIV, Madeira, Marie Louise, Mary Chilton, Meadow Song, Newport Shell, Novantique, Old Brocade, Old Colonial, Old English, Old Lace, Old Master,  Old Mirror, Old Newbury/Newbury, Paul Revere, Peachtree Manor, Petit Point, Pomona, R.S. V. P., Rambler Rose, Rose Solitaire, Royal Windsor, Scroll & Bead, Sculptured Rose, Seville, Silver Flutes, Silver Plumes, Silver Spray, Southwind, Spanish Provincial, Symphony, Vespera, Virginia Carvel,  and Virginia Lee.







 

Dominick & Haff: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Dominick and Haff began in New York in  1872, and earned a reputation as an innovative designer of silver wares. The firm's success led it to acquire the assets of other manufacturers, including the dies of Adams & Shaw in  1880. The company was sold to Reed & Barton in 1928. Some silver patterns: Century, Charles II, Chippendale, Contempora, King, La Salle, Labors of Cupid, Marie Antoinette, Mazarin, New King, No. 10, Old English Antique, Pointed Antique, Queen Anne-Plain, Renaissance, Rococo, Victoria, and Virginia
 

Concord Silver Co: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Concord Silver Co. began in 1925 in Concord, New Hampshire. It went into bankruptcy and was reorganized as Concord Silversmiths Ltd. in 1939. Silver production was halted in 1942. Crown Silver Co later purchased Concord's dies.  Silver pattern: Concord.

 

Birks: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Henry Birks & Co. was established in Montreal, Quebec, in 1879, and became Henry Birks & Sons in 1893. It acquired Gorham Co. of Canada Ltd. in 1907. The company used date letters as early as 1898, and later adopted hallmarks, which covered the years 1904 to 1962. Some silver patterns: Chantilly, George II Plain, Louis XV, and Old English.


 

Amston Silver Co: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Based in Meriden, Connecticut, Amston Silver Co. Inc. went out of business in the 1960's, and its patterns were acquired bay Crown Silver Co. They had the following siilver patterns : Athene, Champlain,and  Ecstasy


 

Alvin Corp: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Alvin Corp Manufacturing Co. was founded in 1886 in Irvington, New Jersey. It became Alvin Silver Co. in  1919. The Gorham Co bought most of the  firm's assets in 1928 and changed the name to Alvin Corp. Company marks include an ornate capital A flanked by a winged dragon; they also produced a line called Lullaby Sterling. Some pattern names include: Apollo, Avila, Bridal Bouquet, Bridal Rose,  Chapel Bells, Chased Romantique, Chateau Rose, Chippendale-Old, Della Robbia, Eternal Rose, Fleur de Lis, Florence Nightingale, Florentine, Francis I, French Scroll, Gainsborough, Hamilton, Hampton, Majestic, Maryland, Melrose, Miss Alvin, Morning Glory, Orange Blossom-Old, Orange Blossom-New, Pirouette, Prince Eugene, Raleigh, Raphael, Richmond, Romantique, Rosecrest, Southern Charm, Spring Bud,, Vivaldi, and William Penn       



 

Are Franklin Mint collectibles worth anything?

Many folks have collections of Franklin Mint collectibles, either from collecting themselves or through inheritance. The burning question in the minds of many is: Do Franklin Mint collectibles have value The answer is —like so many answers in life— It depends.

The Franklin Mint was perhaps the largest issue of limited edition collectibles in the world, and is still in business today, albeit after a bankruptcy reorganization in the early 2000s.

Franklin Mint issued collectibles in many categories, including dolls, coins, ingots, plates, knives, die-car cars, jewelry and much more. At one point, it was the world's largest private mint, and minted the coinage of many sovereign nations.

The issue price of Franklin Mint editions ranged from just a few dollars to hundreds of dollars each. Did these items hold their value, or go up?

The answer is that many are worth much more than original issue price, while others are not. Those that have enjoyed significant price appreciation are those sets made of precious metals such as sterling silver or gold. Otherwise, for items like dolls, plates, and knives, prices have not held, and in fact many of these items can be bought for a fraction of their original issue price.

So, the answer to the question posed at the beginning of this article is that those collections made of silver or gold have good value today, often more than original issue price, while those not made of precious metals can be bought for a fraction of original issue price.

The moral of this story is 'You win some, you lose some.'

Get current prices and learn how to sell at our Franklin Mint Price Guide (click here)

 

Value of Fangoria Magazines (1979-Today) - Trash or Treasure?

Fangoria Magazine volume 1 number 1 hit the stands in 1979, and is still being published today.

Fangoria back issues are greatly influenced by Fangoria's back-issue department. Many back issues are available directly through Fangoria at very reasonable prices; however, when an issue is no longer available through Fangoria, the value on that particular issue can increase considerably. In come cases, if a collector shops around or attends conventions, copies can be purchased for less than $1 each.

Fangoria is collected both as movie memorabilia as well as science fiction memorabilia.  Issues vary in value from $2 - $20 depending on issue and condition.
 

I recently found a naturally dark (not tarnished) Jefferson nickel. What caused the unusual color? Is it valuable?

Off-color Jefferson nickels are not rare, and have been seen in hues ranging from smoky blue through deep purple to black. The natural discoloration is caused by an incorrect alloy mix containing significantly higher amounts of copper. Some collectors like these, as some collectors prefer toned proof coins, and will pay a small premium for them. Usually not, though.
 

What are the rules for buying sterling silver?

Remember the rules:

Rule #1. If it ain't stamped STERLING or 925, it ain't STERLING

Rule #2. Silverware sets will have partial sterling pieces. If the forks are stamped STERLING, the other pieces such as dinner knives in the same set are STERLING HANDLES, even if they are not marked. You pay for 15 grams of sterling for dinner knives, even if they weigh 30 grams, because they are mostly stainless steel blades.

Rule #3. MOST IMPORTANT RULE: if you are not CERTAIN, DON'T BUY IT!
 

Is it true the Jefferson nickel was designed in open competition outside the Mint?

The design for the Jefferson nickel originated from a completely open competition for a $1000 prize. The winning design was submitted by Felix Schlag, a rather obscure sculptor at the time. His initials "FS" were added below the bust beginning in 1966.
 

Coin Collector's Q & A: I have a 1944 silver nickel without a mint mark. Is it valuable?

It is a counterfeit, thought to have originated in New Jersey. The counterfeiter evidently prepared his mold from coins of two different dates, using the reverse of a prewar nickel struck at the Philadelphia Mint, thus producing a passable copy of a nonexistent coin.

(Thanks to Steve Frank for the following information)
Wartime nickels, dated 1942-1945, consist of 2 types, Type 1 and Type 2. This is because the federal government decided to change the composition, as nickel was needed in the war effort. The first type, Type 1, were minted through the first part of 1942, and look the same as earlier nickels, and having the same metal composition, the intrinsic value is nil. There is NO mintmark above Monticello on the reverse of Type 1 wartime nickels.

Type 2 wartime nickels were minted beginning in the 2nd part of 1942, and continued through the end of 1945. These contain 35% silver, and NO nickel at all. Type 2 wartime nickels have an intrinsic value based on the current silver price, so even worn examples will be worth approximately 90 cents when silver spot is around $17.

To tell the difference, you must look at the reverse. An oversized mintmark will appear above Monticello on the Type 2 35% silver pieces. The mintmark appearing above Monticello on Type 2 Wartime Nickels can be a “P” (Philadelphia), “D” (Denver), or “S” (San Francisco). This was the first time that the P mintmark was ever used on a coin. Previously, the absence of a mintmark identified a coin as having been minted in Philadelphia. The P and D mintmarks were used in 1942, 1943 and 1944, while P, D and S were used in 1945.

Your 1944 nickel is a “Contemporary Counterfeit”, sometimes called a “Circulating Counterfeit”. These were made by unscrupulous individuals to circulate “Contemporaneously” alongside of genuine pieces as current money. These were NOT made to fool collectors, and are NOT the modern copies we have unfortunately seen become so prevalent in this great hobby.

Although there may have been others, the most famous counterfeit wartime nickels were made by Francis LeRoy Henning in New Jersey. He was caught when he used an earlier reverse to counterfeit 1944 nickels, so no large mintmark is found over Monticello!

There is a very dedicated group of collectors for these, and other old forgeries, and the price of Henning Nickels has varied over the years, with current pricing being around $75, but we have seen them sell for between $60 to $100+.
 

What is a silver nickel?

The term is applied to the wartime five-cent piece (1942-1945) composted of 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese. Because nickel imparts great strength and corrosion resistance to steel, and because the United States must import most of its nickel, it was decided to reserve the stockpile of that metal normally employed in the production of five-cent pieces for the use of the war industry. To indicate the change of alloy, the mint mark was made larger and placed above the dome of the Monticello, and for the first time the nations's coinage history, the letter "P" was used to designate domestic coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint.
 

Coin Collector's Dictionary - A Glossary of Terms

Alloy - Coin metal consisting of two or more metals which are melted and mixed together. Example --- the 5 cent nickel is an alloy consisting of 95% copper and 5% nickel.

Alteration -
An illegally changed coin feature (such as date or Mint mark) to make it appear like a more valuable coin. Example --- the 1922 penny is worth 30 times more with the Mint mark "D" than with it. Many 1922-D coins have been unethically altered to remove the Mint mark "D" hoping to sell it to an unknowing buyer.

ANA -
Abbreviation for American Numismatics Association, established in 1891. Largest organization of coin collectors in the world.

Annealing -
The manufacturing process of heating the coin metal (planchet) just before striking. This softens the metal enough to receive the impression.

ANA -
American Numismatic Society.

Bag Mark -
A scratch or ding caused by coins rubbing against each other in a Mint bag. Very common, especially with large heavy silver coins.

Bit -
An old Mexican coin circulated in America during the 1800's. This coin was sometimes divided into sections. A "bit" was one eighth of the coin, two "bits" was one quarter of the coin, therefor USA quarter dollars began to be called "two bits."

Blackbook -
Pocket size price guide and reference book of USA coins. Updated and published annually since 1962.

Blanking -
The manufacturing process of passing the coin metal strip through a punch press to "bang" out the round metal coin blanks (planchets).

Blemish -
A minor nick, mark, dent or discoloration on the coin's surface.

Bluebook -
Handbook of USA coins published annually since 1941. Gives average prices dealers pay for coins.

Broadstrike -
A coin with a larger than normal diameter. This is caused by the coin being struck with the protective collar in place.

Brockage -
A coin error in which one side of the coin has a "mirror image" of the other side. This is caused by the failure of the coin to be automatically ejected from the holder on the coin press.

Bronze -
An alloy metal consisting of copper and tin. Zinc is sometimes included.

Bullion -
Coins produced of high purity metal, such as 999 fine silver or gold coins. Also, blocks of pure gold or silver.

Cast Coin -
A coin manufactured by a process of pouring metal into a mold, rather than die striking.

Quarter Eagle
- A USA $2.50 face value gold coin, minted from 1796 to 1929.

Redbook - A guidebook of USA coins published and updated annually since 1947, Gives average selling prices by dealers for USA coins.

Reeded Edge - Grooved lines that run vertically around the coin. Used on all modern USA coins from dime to dollar to discourage dishonest practice of clipping off part of the metal.


 

International Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

International Silver Co was formed in  Meriden, Connecticut, in 1898 by a group of independent silversmiths. This association came to include Rogers Bros. (and their famous 1847 trademark), Derby Silver, Meriden Brittannia, Webster and Wilcox, among many others.  Some pattern names: 1810, Abbottsford, Angelique, Avalon, Berkeley, Blossom Time, Brandon, Breton Rose, Bridal Veil, Brocade, Cloeta, Colonial Shell, Continental, Courtship, Dawn Rose, Deerfield/Beacon Hill, Devonshire, Du Barry, Edgewood, Elegance, Elsinore, Empress, Enchanted Rose, Enchantress, Fontaine, Frontenac, Gadroon, Georgian Maid, Governor Bradford, Grande Regency, Irene, Joan of Arc, La Rochelle, Lady Betty, Lambeth Manor, Mademoiselle, Maintenon, Margaret-New, Margaret-Old, Masterpiece, May Melody, Mille Fleurs, Minuet, Moonglow, Napoleon, Norse, Northern Lights, Old Charleston, Orleans, Pansy, Pantheon, Pine Spray, Pine Tree, Prelude, Primrose, Queen's Lace, Radiant Rose, Revere, Rhapsody-New, Rhapsody-Old, Richelieu, Riviera, Rosalind-New, Rose Ballet, Royal Danish, Royal Rose, Sculptured Beauty, Serenity, Shirley, Silver Iris, Silver Melody, Silver Rhythm, Sonja,  Southern Treasure, Splendor, Spring Bouquet, Spring Glory, Springtime, Stardust, Stratford, Swan Lake, Theseum, Torchlight, Trianon, Trousseau, Valencia, Vision, Warwick, Wedding Bells, Wedgewood, Wesley, Westminster, Whitewall-New, Wild Rose-New, Wild Rose-Old, and Windermere
 

Richard Dimes: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

The Richard Dimes Co. was founded in the first quarter of the 20th century (sources differ on the exact year) in South Boston, Massachusetts. In 1955, the firm was sold to King Silver Co., which in turn was taken over by Rogers, Lunt & Bowlen (later Lunt Silversmiths). Dimes' tools and dies were purchased by Manchester Silver Co in the mid-1950's. Some pattern names: Debutante.




 

Tiffany and Company: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Tiffany and Company Inc of New York began producing its own sterling flatware in the late 1800's, but as early as the 1850's had sold the wares of other makers that bore its name. The company introduced the English sterling silver standard (925/1000) in the United States in 1852, and this was later adopted as federal law to determine sterling silver purity. Some pattern names: Atlantis, Audubon, Bamboo, Beekman, Broom Corn, Castilian, Century, Chrysanthemum, Clinton, Colonist, English King 1870, English King 1885, Faneuil, Feather Edge, Flemish, Hamilton, Hampton, Japanese, King William/Antique, Marquise, Palm, Palmette, Persian, Provence, Queen Anne, Rat Tail, Renaissance, Richelieu, Salem, San Lorenzo, Saratoga, Shell & Thread, St. Dunstan, St. James, Tiffany, Vine.Fruits & Flowers, Wave Edge, Windham, and Winthrop.





 

State House: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Some pattern names: Formality, Inaugural, and Stately 






 

Schofield co, inc: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Schofield Co Inc, of Baltimore, Maryland began in 1903 as Baltimore Silversmiths Mfg. Co and was known as Heer-Schofield Co. and Frank M. Schofield co. until the late 1920's. The company purchased assets of Jenkins & Jenkins about 1915. Some pattern names: Baltimore rose-Decor, Baltimore Rose-Plain and Lorraine.








 

Royal Crest: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Some pattern names: Castle Rose, Promise, and Wild Flower.








 

Reed and Barton: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Reed & Barton of Taunton, Massachusetts began in 1824 as the partnership of Babbitt & Crossman.  Isaac Babbitt and Wlliam Crossman began a small Brittania ware firm that went through several incarnations and almost collapsed, but was saved by the work of three employees: Charles E. Barton (the brother-in-law of William Crossman), Henry Good Reed, and Benjamin Pratt. By  1840, the Reed & Barton firm was established. 
`Reed & Barton has produced more than 100 flatware patterns, including Francis I, which has been a popular pattern since it's introduction in 1907. The firm acquired Dominick & Haff in 1928 and the Wester Co. in  1949, although Reed & Barton later sold that company to Towle in the  1960's. Initially, Reed & Barton produced Brittania ware, which resembles pewter but is more durable. Silver plated flatware was added in 1848 and sterling silverware introduced in  1889. The firm's marks on sterling feature the letter R in a shield flanked by an eagle on the left and a rearing lion on the right. Some other pattern names: Amaryllis, Autumn Leaves, Burgundy, Cameo, Cellini, Cellini-Engraved, Chambord, Classic Fashion, Classic Rose, Clovelly, Columbia, Da Vinci, DAncing Flowers, Devon, Diadem, Diamond, Dimension, Dorothy Quincy, Elegante/L'Elegante, English Provincial, Florentine, Fragrance, Francis I (Eagle/R/Lion stamp), Francis I (Patent pending stamp), Francis I (Reed & Barton stamp), Francis I sterling and gold, French Antique, French Renaissance, Georgian Rose, Grande Renaissance, Guildhall, Hampton Court, Hawthorne, Hepplewhite-Chased, Hepplewhite-Engraved, Hepplewhite-Plain, Heritage, Intaglio, Jubilee, Kings, La Marquise, La Parisienne, La Perle-Engraved, La Reine, Lark,  Les Cinq, Les Six Fleurs, Love Disarmed, Majestic, Marlborough, Petite Fleur, Pointed Antique, Pointed Antique-Hammered,  Renaissance Scroll, Romaine/Monique, Rose Cascade, Savannah, Silver Sculpture,Silver Wheat, Spanish Baroque, Star, Tapestry, Tara, and Trajan.










 

Oneida: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Oneida Silversmiths was incorporated in  1880 near Sherrill, New York as Oneida Community Limited. It became Oneida Ltd. in  1935 and began producing sterling flatware in 1946, marked Oneida Sterling or Heirloom Sterling. Some Pattern names: Afterglow, Belle Rose, Bountiful, Damask Rose, Dover, Du Maurier, Engagement, First Frost, Flower Lane, Grandeur, Heiress, King Cedric, Lasting Spring, Mansion House, Martinique, Mediterranea, Melbourne, Reigning Beauty, Rubaiyat, Satin Beauty, Sentimental, Silver Rose, Stanton Hall, Twilight, Virginian, Vivant, Will O' Wisp,  and Young Love












 

Old Newbury: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Old Newbury Crafters of Newburyport and Amesbury, Massachusetts, was formally established in  1932, but began as a joint venture in 1915. They specialized in hand-wrought patterns, including Moulton and Old Newbury. All hand-wrought pieces have been marked by the craftsmen who made them since 1965. Some pattern names: Moulton, Oak Leaf and Old Newbury.












 

Northumbria: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Pattern: Normandy Rose, date unknown.












 

National Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

National Silver Co of New York began in 1904, and later acquired the F.B. Rogers Co. and the Ontario Manufacturing Co of Muncie, Indiana In the mid-1950's. No flatware has been produced since the mid-1940's. Some pattern names: Intermezzo, Margaret Rose, Narcissus, Overture, and Princess Elizabeth.












 

Manchester Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Manchester Silver Co. was established in 1887 in Providence, Rhode Island, and adopted the slogan, "If it's Manchester, It's sterling". The company mark was a cross surrounded by a crown, and the letter M. Some pattern names: Amaryllis, American Beauty, Copenhagen, Duke of Windsor,Fleetword, Gadroonette, Leonore, Manchester, Mary Warren, Park Avenue, Polly Lawton, Silver Stream, Southern Rose, and Valenciennes.














 

Lunt Silversmiths: Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Lunt Silversmiths was established in  1901 in Greenfield, Massachusetts as Rogers, Lunt & Bowlen Co, after the failure of the A. F. Towle & Son Co, and began using the Lunt Silversmiths trademark in  1935. It later acquired the assets of the King Silver Co and the Richard Dimes Co. Some pattern names: Alexandra, American Directoire, American Victorian, Belle Meade, Carillon, Charles II, Chased Classic, Chatelaine, Colonial Manor, Colonial Theme, Contrast, Coronet, Counterpoint, Delacourt, Early american-Engraved, Early American-Plain, Early Colonial, Eloquence, English Shell, Festival, Floral Lace, Granado, Lace Point, Madrigal, Mary II, Memory Lane, Mignonette, Modern Classic, Modern Victorian, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Nellie Custis, Pendant of Fruit, Raindrop, Rapallo, Regency, Rondelay, Rose Elegance, Spring Serenade, Starfire, Summer, song, Sweetheart Rose, and William & Mary.















 

Jenkins and Jenkins Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Jenkins and Jenkins, established in 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland, was the successor to a silver manufacturer known as A. Jacobi, which was started in  1879. The Schofield Co. of Baltimore bought the tools and dies of Jenkins & Jenkins in about 1915. Some pattern names: Repousse.















 

A Beginner's Guide to Collecting Coins

With the billions of U.S. Coins in circulation, it is quite possible  that a very valuable coin could come into your possession. Without realizing it, you might spend an innocent looking penny worth hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars. And you'd probably kick yourself for buying a candy bar with coins that later turned out to be worth a fortune. You can prevent this kind of mistake by using this website as your guide and "coin mentor."

To begin with, it's a good idea to understand the factors that make any coin valuable. These are: Scarcity, Condition and Demand. Just because a coin is old does not necessarily mean it is valuable. It's the old story of Supply and Demand. Scarcity (or rarity) is probably the most important factor in determining the value of any coin (see our price guide pages for more on this). Next important factor is Condition. Coins are available in a wide variety of states of preservation, from barely identifiable to crisp, new "uncirculated" condition. A coin, like anything else, is worth more in new condition that in worn condition. Be sure to read our article on Coin Grading. There are terms and criteria used by dealers and collectors in grading condition. The last factor in determining a coin's worth is Demand. In other words, the value of any particular premium quality coin is based upon the number of collectors who want that specific coin.

You are welcome to peruse the information of this site, in our Learning Center and our Price Guide areas. Arm yourself with information. Spend some time here learning about the hobby. Spend some time so you have a good groundwork to build from.
 

Gorham Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

The company that became the Gorham Corp. was founded about 1817 by Jabez Gorham in  Providence, Rhode Island, and became the Gorham Manufacturing Co in 1863. Jabez Gorham started making silver in  1831 in a shop on Steeple Street in Providence. Born to a family of eight, he was apprenticed to New England silversmith Nehemiah Dodge. Dodge was one of the founders of the silver and jewelry crafts industry in  18th century New England. After his seven-year apprenticeship with Dodge, Jabez formed his own business. He created the "French filigree" chain, as well as a wide selection of handcrafted pieces. The firm began producing "coin silver" spoons (made from melted coins).
Jabez's son, John, took total control of the company when Jabez retired. By  1875, there were more than 400 employees, and in 1890 Gorham moved to a new site in Providence. An office building designed in 1905 by architect Stanford White was located on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
The company's trademark--lion/anchor/G was first used in the mid-1800's; later pieces are marked "Gorham Sterling." After the turn of the century, Gorham began acquiring other silver firms, including Whiting, Durgin, Kerr, Mr. Vernon, and Alvin. 















 

Georg Jensen Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Georg Jensen's silver business opened in Copenhagen, Denmark, in  1904 and became one of the leading producers of silverware in the world. The mark on sterling is a wreath topped by a crown and the words Georg Jensen Inc. An American company, Georg Jensen Inc. USA started in New York in 1941 and ceased production about nine years later. Some pattern names: Acanthus, Acorn, Beaded, Bernadotte, Blossom, Cactus, Caravell, Continental, Cypress, Old Danish, Parallel, and Pyramid.
 

Frank M. Whiting Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Frank M. Whiting Co. began making silverware in  North Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1878, when it was known as Holbrook, Whiting & Albee. The company became a part of Ellmore Silver Co in about 1940, and that firm went out of business around 1960. Crown Silver Co. of New York later acquired the Whiting dies. The company mark of a griffon and a shield with a W was used up to 1896, and  later a W in a circle flanked by stylized leaves. Some pattern names: Adams, Athene/Crescendo, Botticelli, Georgian Shell, Lily/Floral, Neapolitan/Kings Court, Princess Ingrid, Rose of Sharon, Talisman Rose, Troubadour and Victoria/Florence.
 

Frank W. Smith Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Frank W. Smith Silver Co. Inc. Began in  1886 in Gardner, Massachusetts. The firm was sold in 1917 and ceased silver manufacturing in 1930. Company marks include a lion on a crescent moon entwined with the letter S, an S in a circle flanked by conical shapes, and an S surrounded by double scrolls. A subsidiary of Reed and Barton bought the silver assets in  1958, and the flatware manufacturing was moved to North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Some pattern names: American Chippendale, Chippendale-Old, Countess, Federal Cotillion, Fiddle Shell/Alden, Fiddle Thread, George VI, Lion, Newport Shell, Pilgrim, and Woodlily.
 

Fine Arts Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Fine Arts Sterling Silver Co. was established in  1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, selling patterns made by International Silver Co., and was moved to Morgantown, Pennsylvania in  1972. After moving to Jenkintown, Pennsylvania in 1977, Fine Arts went of of business in 1979. Some pattern names:  Crown Princess, Romance of the Stars, Processional, Romance Rose, Southern Colonial,  and Tranquility.
 

Easterling Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Easterling Co. began in Chicago in 1944. Sterling assets were sold to the Westerling Co. in 1974, with Gorham producing the patterns. Some pattern names: American Classic, Helene, Horizon, Rose Spray, Rosemary, and Southern Grandeur.
 

Durgin Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

William B. Durgin started his company in Concord, New Hampshire in 1853, and it grew to become one of the largest flatware and hollowware manufacturers in the U.S.  Gorham Co. purchased the firm in 1905, and production was moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1931. Some pattern names are: Bead, Chatham, Chrysanthemum, Cromwell, Dauphin, English Rose, Essex, Fairfax, hunt Club Iris, Lenox, Louis XV, Madame Royale,  Marechal Niel, New Vintage, Orange Blossom, Sheaf of Wheat, Victorian/Sheraton, and Watteau.
 

Are old Eros Magazines worth anything?

Eros Magazine volume 1 number 1 hit the stands in early 1962, and the U.S. government, apparently, was not ready for it. Accompanying the magazine was a newletter and a book. Eros is so tame by modern standards that it is hard to believe that less than 50 years ago the publisher was jailed for the act of publishing it. It was a high quality, hardcover magazine, with some serious discussion as well as a few nicely done photographs, including, in issue #3, the last studio portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

Eros lasted only four issues, despite its overwhelming success with the public. Ralph Ginzburg and other members of the Eros team were hounded through the courts, all the way to the top. In 1966, the Supreme Court upheld Ginzburg's conviction on  obscenity charges as well as his five-year prison sentence. Despite its short life, Eros was the beginning of a new type of thought about sex in the U.S. Barney Rossett and Grove Press had begun to reprint the Olympia Press titles of Henry Miller and Pauline Reage, Hugh Hefner's Playboy was hitting new heights and the film I am Curious (Yellow) was driving the last nail into the coffin of the Hayes Office. The government was playing the role of the old lady, trying to sweep back the sea. Unfortunately for Ginzburg, he was the broom.

Eros is collected both as a significant piece of art and literature as well as a cornerstone of collections of banned and censored material.  A complete set of four issues in extremely fine condition will sell for around $100.
 

Are old Ebony Magazines (1945-Modern) and Jet Magazines (1951-Modern) worth anything?

While African-American media have a much longer history and such newspapers as the Chicago Defender and The Abolitionist have had significant effects on American social history, the advent of Ebony in 1945 and Jet in 1951 brought African-American magazines to a mass audience. An interesting part of these magazines that seems to slip by many social historians, but not past collectors, are the ads that pioneered in their pages. For almost a century, the image of the African-American in magazine ads was typified by Cream of Wheat or Aunt Jemima. The success of Ebony and Jet in terms of circulation brought home to the advertising industry the neglected market of an emerging African-American middle class. For the first time, African-Americans were featured sipping a popular soft drink, dressed in the latest fashions or driving a car.

Both Ebony and Jet played a significant role in the civil rights movement. Collectible issues focus on both the historical aspect of their civil rights artciles and the socially significant effect of their advertisements.

The first issues of these magazines have the most monetary value, fetching as much as $20-$30 each to the right collector. The older issues are more valuable than the more modern ones, obviously. And, as in every thing, condition of the magazine is vital. Examples in extremely fine or near mint condition are collectible, while worn and tattered copies have little or no value.
 

Kirk Steiff Sterling Silverware Company - A Brief History

Kirk Steiff Corp. began in Baltimore Maryland in 1815 as Kirk & Smith. For the next 100 years, generations of the Kirk family operated the firm. Founder Samuel Kirk introduced the Repousse pattern in 1828. The Stieff Co. of Baltimore acquired the Kirk Co. in 1979.
 

Mint Mark Locations on United States Coins

United States Coins have been issued at several locations, called "Mints", around the United States. A tiny letter, such as D, or S, or CC, is sometimes stamped on the coin to indicate which mint produced the coin. These are called Mint Marks and are a very important part of coin collecting. Sometimes, the mint mark alone determines the value of the coin.

How to find Mint Marks: The coin's Mint mark, if any, is small and difficult to find. The Mint mark  is always a single letter with the exception of the Carson City Mint, which is "CC". The location of the Mint mark varies depending upon the coin design and the coin's date. The chart that follows shows the exact location of the Mint Mark on most older USA coins.

WARNING: When a big price difference depends upon the Mint mark, the coin should be carefully examined for alterations. Mint marks can be changed, added, or removed to defraud collectors.

NOTE: Obverse means the front (heads) of the coin, and Reverse means the back (tails) of the coin.

PENNY  (Indian Head, 1859-1908) ---  Reverse, below wreath
PENNY  (Lincoln Wheat, 1909-1958) ---   Obverse, below date
PENNY  (Lincoln Memorial, 1959-today) ---   Obverse, below date 
THREE CENT (silver) ---  Reverse, at right of C
FIVE CENT NICKEL (Liberty Head) ---  Reverse, at left of cents below dot
FIVE CENT NICKEL (Buffalo) ---  Reverse, below 5 cents
FIVE CENT NICKEL (Buffalo, 1942-1945) ---  Reverse, large mint mark above building
FIVE CENT NICKEL (Jefferson, 1938-1964) ---  Reverse, at right of building
FIVE CENT NICKEL (Jefferson, 1968-today) ---  Obverse, below date
HALF DIME (Liberty Seated) ---  Reverse, above or below bow of wreath
DIME (Liberty Seated) ---  Reverse, Reverse, above or below bow of wreath  
DIME (Barber) ---  Reverse, below wreath
DIME (Mercury) --- Reverse, at right of ONE
DIME (Roosevelt, 1946-1964) ---  Reverse, at left of torch
DIME (Roosevelt, 1968-today) ---  Obverse, above date
TWENTY CENTS  --- Reverse, below eagle
QUARTER (Liberty Seated) --- Reverse, below eagle
QUARTER (Barber) --- Reverse,  below eagle
QUARTER (Standing Liberty) --- Obverse,  at left of date
QUARTER (Washington, 1938-1964) --- Reverse,  below wreath
QUARTER (Washington, 1968-today) --- Obverse,  at right of ribbon
HALF DOLLAR (Capped bust, reeded edge) --- Obverse, above date
HALF DOLLAR (Liberty Seated) ---   Reverse, below eagle
HALF DOLLAR (Barber) ---   Reverse, below eagle
HALF DOLLAR (Liberty Walking, 1916-1917) --- Obverse, below motto
HALF DOLLAR (Liberty Walking, 1917-1947) --- Reverse, below leaves at left
HALF DOLLAR (Franklin) --- Reverse, above yoke of bell     
HALF DOLLAR (Kennedy, 1964) --- Reverse, at left of branch
HALF DOLLAR (Kennedy, 1968-today) --- Obverse, above date
DOLLAR (Eisenhower) --- Obverse, above date 
DOLLAR (Liberty Seated) --- Reverse, below eagle
DOLLAR (Morgan) --- Reverse, below wreath
DOLLAR (Peace) --- Reverse, below eagle
DOLLAR (Susan B. Anthony) --- Obverse, at left of head 
DOLLAR (Trade) --- Reverse, below eagle  
GOLD $2.50 QUARTER EAGLE (Classic Head) --- Obverse, above date
GOLD $2.50 QUARTER EAGLE (Coronet) --- Reverse, below eagle
GOLD $2.50 QUARTER EAGLE (Indian Head) --- Reverse, at left of fasces
GOLD THREE DOLLARS  --- Reverse, below wreath
GOLD $5 HALF EAGLE (Classic Head) --- Obverse, above date
GOLD $5 HALF EAGLE (Coronet, 1839) --- Obverse, above date
GOLD $5 HALF EAGLE (Coronet, 1840-1908) ---  Reverse, below eagle 
GOLD $5 HALF EAGLE (Indian Head) --- Reverse, at left of fasces
GOLD $10 EAGLE (Coronet) --- Reverse, below eagle 
GOLD $10 EAGLE (Indian Head) --- Reverse, at left of fasces
GOLD $20 DOUBLE EAGLE (Coronet) --- Reverse, below eagle 
GOLD $20 DOUBLE EAGLE (St. Gaudens) --- Obverse, above date         
   




























 



 

How do I grade my coin collection? The iGuide Coin Grading Guide

The descriptions of coin grades that follow are intended to outline the relative condition of coins in various states of preservation. These standards are based on trade practices recommended by The American Numismatic Association to avoid misunderstandings in the buying, selling, and advertising of coins.

When a coin in circulation starts to show signs of wear, only the highest parts of the design are affected. You will note that the highest points of the design become slightly rounded or flattened --- and that very fine details begin to merge together or fade away.

After a coin has been in circulation for a longer time, the entire design and surface will show obvious signs of wear. Most of the high points will lose their sharpness and the original luster will begin to fade. Further circulation will flatten out the sharpness and relief of the entire design. The high points will all begin to merge with the next lower parts of the coin's design.



UNCIRCULATED COIN GRADES

The term UNCIRCULATED, also referred to as MINT STATE, refers to a coin which has never been in circulation. It is UNUSED. Such a coin has no signs of wear from usage whatsoever.

Uncirculated coins can be divided into four major categories:



PERFECT UNCIRCULATED (MS-70). — The finest quality available. Such a coin under 4X magnification will show NO bag marks, lines, clouding, or other evidence of handling or contact with other coins.



GEM UNCIRCULATED (MS-65). — An above average uncirculated coin which may be brilliant or highly toned and has very few bag contact marks or perhaps one or two very light rim marks.



CHOICE UNCIRCULATED (MS-63). — Has some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Luster may be impaired.



UNCIRCULATED (MS-60). — Refers to a coin which has a moderate number of bag marks on its surface. A few minor edge nicks may be present, although they must not be of a serious nature. Surface may be spotted or lack some luster.




CIRCULATED COIN GRADES

Circulated coins are USED. They have been in circulation, meaning they have been handled, pocketed, and carried, sometimes for decades. As a result, they are worn to one degree or another. Coin collectors have established the following grades for rating just how used a coin actually is:


CHOICE ABOUT UNCIRCULATED-55 (AU-55). Only a small trace of wear is visible on the highest points of the coin. As in the case with other grades here, specific information is listed in the Official ANA Grading Guide under the various types, for wear often occurs in different spots on different designs.



ABOUT UNCIRCULATED-50 (AU-50). Only a small trace of wear is visible on the highest points of the coin. As in the case with other grades here, specific in format.



Choice About Uncirculated-55 (AU-55). With traces of wear on nearly all of the highest areas. At least half of the original mint luster is present.



CHOICE EXTREMELY FINE-45 (EF-45 or XF-45). With light overall wear on the coin's highest points. All design details are very sharp. Mint luster is usually seen only in protected areas of the coin's surface such as between star points and in the letter spaces.



EXTREMELY FINE-40 (EF-40 or XF-40). With only light wear but more extensive than the preceding, still with excellent overall sharpness. Traces of mint luster may still show.



CHOICE VERY FINE-30 (VF-30). With light even wear over the surfaces; design details on the highest points lightly worn, but with all lettering and major features sharp.



VERY FINE-20 (VF-20). As preceding but with moderate edge wear on highest parts.



FINE-12 (F-12). Moderate to considerable even wear. Entire design is bold. All lettering, including the word LIBERTY (on coins with this feature on the shield or head band) visible, but with some weaknesses.



VERY GOOD-8 (VG-8). Well worn. Most fine details such as hair strands, leaf details, and so on are worn nearly smooth. The word LIBERTY if on a shield or headband is only partially visible.



GOOD-4 (G-4). Heavily worn. Major designs visible, but with faintness in areas. Head of liberty, wreath, and other major features visible in outline form without center detail.



ABOUT GOOD-3 (AG-3). Extremely heavily worn with portions of the lettering, date and legends being worn smooth, the date barely readable.

 

How to Store and Care for your Rare Coins - Tips for Storage and Caring

One of the most common questions collectors ask is, "How do I take care of my coin collection?" How to store and care for your valuable coins is a subject that should be of interest to every beginning coin collector. After all, you can't just toss your coins into an old bottle or cigar box and call it a collection. As a serious numismatist, you should handle each valuable coin in your possession carefully and preserve it in the condition in which you first received it. For example, when examining a coin you should hold it by its edges over a soft surface, In this way should you accidentally drop the coin, no harm will be done. A coin should never be touched or held by its faces,  obverse or reverse, for the oil and acid on one's skin can leave fingerprints and possibly cause damage.

When you choose a method to store your coins, you should find a form that not only protects your coins but also makes them easily accessible and visible to you. The most frequently used method is the familiar Whitman folder. This is the least expensive and easiest method of storing coins as a collection. These folders have die-cut holes in the cardboard, which are labelled with date, mint mark, mintage, and other information. Thus, when you've acquired a particular coin, you simply insert it into the proper hole with a little thumb pressure (use protective gloves when doing this).

The latest and most protective of the Whitman coin holders offers both visibility and protection. The folders have thick cardboard that is just a little thicker than the depth of the coin which it is designed to hold. To hold the coin and protect it from rubbing in the album, clear plastic sides are provided (top and bottom).

Another widely used means of storing individual coins, both for deals and collectors, is known as the 2x2. This is a hinged piece of cardboard, die-cut with a hole of coin size with a thin piece of plastic glued in. A coin is inserted between the layers of cardboard, which is then folded over and stapled or taped shut, thus effectively protecting the coin. Both front and back of the coin are easily viewed.

There are also plastic Lucite hardshell holders, slabs, and a myriad array of other storage devices. A search of the internet will find many retailers of coin storage products. Good luck!
 

Are old National Geographic Magazines worth anything?

The National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. has published and circulated National Geographic Magazine every month since January 1896 (except for the years 1897 and 1917 when the magazine was published every other month). Nine issues were published between 1888 and 1891, before the magazine went monthly in 1896. Between 1891 and 1895, 27 so-called "brochures" were produced, making a total of 36  early publications. In those early years, the magazine covers were a red brick color. Altogether, there have been 6 different color designs up to the present.
 

Are old Reader's Digest Magazines worth anything?

One of the most common magazines in the vintage magazine marketplace has to be Reader's Digest. Most have little or no value. The only exceptions to this are examples with covers of famous movie or television stars, or covers of interest.

VERDICT: TRASH for the most part, very little demand, difficult to sell, few collectors.
 

Tools of the Trade for Buying Gold

There are a few tools of the trade all precious metals dealers have in their toolbox. Here is a quick rundown of the most important ones.

1. Digital Scale 
You weigh precious metals on the scale as one of the steps in determining your bid. Your scale should be able to weigh in grams, pennyweight and troy ounces. Carats may also proof useful if you plan on dealing in diamonds, but not necessary otherwise. There are all kinds of scales on the market. You can spend a lot of money on a fancy digital scale able to weigh thousands of grams, but this is overkill. A good 1000 gram scale like the one included in our kit can be bought on Amazon for around $25.

Since you will be weighing silver as well as gold and platinum, we recommend that your scale be able to accommodate at least 1000 grams. Our Affiliates kit includes a 1000 gram digital scale.

You can start with a small digital scale and expand to a more expensive model once your gold buying business grows and you learn what will fit best for your business.

2.  Jeweler's Loupe
This is probably your most-used tool. We recommend a 30X loupe rather than the standard 10X loupe, because sometimes the markings on gold jewelry can be very tiny. Our Affiliates Kit includes a nice 30X loupe.

3.  Testing Acids
A set of testing acid will include 10K, 14K, 18K, 22K, Silver and Platinum testing solutions. The set of acid in our Affiliates Kit contains all the acids you will need to get started.

4.  Testing Stone
Using a testing stone along with the acids is one way of testing gold. We use a scraper and place the drop of acid directly on the piece, but many buyers prefer the testing stone. You take the ring, scrape it along the stone, and a small mark is left on the stone. You then apply the acid solution to the stone. If the mark disappears, the piece is the karat quality of the acid used. We include a testing stone in our Affiliates kit.

5.  Pliers and prong openers for removing stones
Of course, you will not be removing stones before you buy rings (you will simply deduct a quarter or half gram from the weight depending upon the size of the stone). You do not want to pay gold prices for large stones that are only worth a few pennies each. (The sad truth is that most colored stones, with rare exceptions like emerald and ruby, have very little value).

Sometimes your customers may want to keep the stones. You can remove them for free or charge a small fee for this service. Normally, we do it for free.

However, once in your possession and before you ship to us, you need to remove as many stones as possible. We don't want colored stones nor small diamonds. Large diamonds of 2 carats or more are of interest.  You can buy pliers and prong openers on Amazon.com or eBay.com. We do not include these in the kit.

6. Magnet
You use a strong magnet as a quick test to eliminate items made of steel, or containing ferrous metal. Anything that sticks to the magnet is not precious metal, but many non precious metals (such as copper) are also not magnetic, so this is not a fool proof test. Also, necklaces often have a steel clasp attached to a solid gold chain. The magnet test is a good way to weed our plated junk and costume jewelry. We include a very strong Rare Earth Magnet in our Affiliates Kit. It is just one more tool that helps guide you to the gold mine.

7. File or scraper
You use a file or Xacto knife to make a small scratch in an unobtrusive place on any items you wish to test with acid solution. The reason you do this is so you cut through any gold plating or coating that may be present on items that may only be gold-plated, not solid gold. After making a tiny scratch, you place a drop of acid directly onto the piece and observe the reaction. We include an Xacto knife in our Affiliates Kit.

8. Calculator
A small pocket calculator is needed for doing your final tally before yuo write your check. We include a good calculator in our Affiliates kit.

9. Appraisal Forms
We provide Appraisal Forms for writing up your purchase offer. You use these to wrrite the wight and tyope of each piece. Then you sum up the sub-totals for a grand total at the bottom. This grand total is the amount of your offer for that group of items.

10.  Lighting
You need a good light source when looking at jewelry, so you can better see the markings. Invest in a couple of good OTT lights (check Amazon and eBay for pricing). These are a good investment. We do not include lighting in the Affiliates kit.

11. Cash
Last but not least, have some cash on hand. Although we recommend paying by check whenever possible, some of your customers will want cash, or hesitate to accept a check. In those cases, you need enough cash on hand to cash the check for the seller. How much to have on hand depends on the size of the group you will be buying from, or your venue. If you are setting up at a flea market or local antiques shop, you might need more than at a gold party.

There you have it, a complete list of tools of the trade. With these tools in your toolbox, you are ready to go forth and mine for gold, silver and platinum. 

 

How can I sell my Franklin Mint Silver collections?

With the value of precious metals such as silver and gold rising, many people are wondering if now might be the best time to sell Franklin Mint silver sets. The answer is YES, but with caution.

You might sell locally, but you will not get top dollar from a local gold buyer or coin shop. You could try to sell on eBay, but that's a hassle and after paying fees and commission you will end up with less than if you had simply sold directly to an interernet buyer.

That leaves you with finding an internet buyer.  You should look for a Internet buyer who will pay the highest percentage of the precious metal value, obviously.  But you should also look for an Internet buyer who is a member of the Better Business Bureau online reliability program. If the company is a member of their local Chamber of Commerce, that’s even better. And, of course, the company should have a valid business license in the county in which they operate. If the Internet company is not licensed, do not deal with them! You certainly want to sell for the highest possible price, but you also want to avoid being ripped off in the process.

If you look locally for where to sell you may find a coin shop or pawn shop who will offer to buy, but compare their offer with others before accepting. Local buyers pay as little as 40% of the true value when they buy your Franklin Mint sets. A top buyer will pay 75% to 85%.  The difference could be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Look for an Internet buyer that provides fast, friendly communications and no-obligation bids. A professional buyer will reply to your emails quickly and treat you with respect. If not, go elsewhere. Any reputable buyer will have years of experience and will be happy to help you sell.

Of course, a business must make a profit to remain in business, but a solid company knows that competition is intense and they must pay a fair price in order to remain successful.

A good buyer will provide a price quote in advance, without asking you to ship first.  If a buyer cannot provide an upfront quote, go elsewhere. Do not send your items on approval unless you have thoroughly checked references. By having an upfront bid, you can decide to sell or not, based on the price offered. This is much better than sending first and“hoping” for a good price, which is the way many Internet buyers operate.

In summary, Do your homework, deal with a reputable firm, and you will ensure a successful transaction.
 

Are limited edition plates by The Franklin Mint worth anything?

Many collectors ask iGuide about the marketability of limited edition porcelain plates issued by The Franklin Mint and other private mints. Beginning in the 1970s, The Franklin Mint issued limited edition porcelain plates in many series and on many subjects. They also issued limited edition plates made of solid sterling silver. Massive advertising campaigns in magazines such as Parade touted the desirability and 'limited' nature of these collectibles. The original issue prices ranged from $30 to $300 EACH!

The sad truth is, in today's market, these porcelain plates are worth only a fraction of their original price in most cases. Thus, most fall into the TRASH category. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Sterling silver limited edition plates have good value due to their silver content. While the sterling silver plates often will not fetch more than their original issue price, in many cases they have at least held their value.

VERDICT:
PORCELAIN PLATES: TRASH
PEWTER PLATES: TRASH
STERLING SILVER PLATES: TREASURE

Get current prices and learn how to sell at our Franklin Mint Price Guide (click here)

 

How do I grade my Franklin Mint silver collections?

Obviously, the better the state of preservation any collectible enjoys, the more it is worth. Our Franklin Mint Grading Guide is intended to give collectors some guidelines to help determine the grade, or condition, of their collectible. I welcome your feedback. Please e-mail me with comments and suggestions. My e-mail address is jon@2ndmarkets.com.

Grading is an art, not a science. It can take years of experience to learn how to accurately rate the condition of an item. Hopefully this guide will start you on your path.

C10 = Like New

As new (pre-1980 items are seldom found in this condition).

C9 : N-
Nearly New, but has very slight signs of age. No visible signs of wear or damage.

C8 = E+
Almost like new, with very, very few signs of handling, such as tiny scuffs from being slipped in and out of holders, noticeable only with a magnifying glass.

C7 = E : Excellent
Still very shiny, near new looking, with no visible signs of wear, but a few slight blemishes may be present.

C6 = E-
Still shiny but without the luster of a the above grade, may have a few light scratches or possibly signs of tarnishing.

C5 = VG+
V+ is an average condition collectible in which scuffs and general use has dulled the finish somewhat. Wear is moderate but eye appeal is generally very good. Surface not worn but not lustrous either.

C4 = VG : Very Good

Moderate, even wear throughout, but still very playable. Surface noise and scratches audible but not intrusive.

C3 = VG-
Surface scratches and general wear are obvious.

C2 = G+
Heavy scratches.

C1 = G : Good
Quite seriously worn and scratched.

G- ; F ; and P
Some experts also use these designations for collectibles in extremely poor condition. We do not place these on the 10-point scale because Franklin Mint collectibles in this condition have little or no value. In cases where the item is extremely rare, it would be worth the C1 price in our price guide.


 

What are some of the most valuable Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint collections?

From the mid-1960s to the late 1980s, The Franklin Mint issued limited edition coin and ingot sets made of sterling silver, bronze, pewter, and sometimes gold-plated sterling silver. The sets were sold using a subscription model, where each month the subscriber would receive one or two coins to add to their set. At the end of the subscription period, the collection would be complete. The sets were also sold as a complete set, without the need to subscribe.


Today, with the value of silver and gold having reached more or less the same inflation-adjusted value they had in the late 1970s, collectors are wanting to learn the value of these sets. Herewith, we provide a list of the top 10 most valuable Franklin Mint silver sets. Word of warning: these sets have value only when they are made of sterling silver or gold-plated sterling silver. Often, an "economy priced" set was issued made of bronze or pewter, and these versions have very little if any value.


Get current prices and learn how to sell at our Franklin Mint Price Guide (click here)


1. The Franklin Mint Presidential Ingot Collection, 5000 Grains Edition

According to our database of Franklin Mint sets, this set of 36 sterling silver ingots is the most valuable of all the silver sets issued by The Franklin Mint. A 2500 grain set and a one ounce set were also produced in sterling silver. You can check the value of this set in our FRANKLIN MINT PRICE GUIDE.

2. The Franklin Mint History of USA Medals Collection

Each of these sterling silver medals is 45 millimeters in diameter (about 2 inches). The complete set is 200 medals. This series of 200 medals provides a comprehensive history of the U.S. since the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Each medal recalls a different year by depicting the 'event of the year' selected from those listed on the reverse. The set was housed in a large wooden box with sliding shelves for the medals, 20 medals per shelf.

3. The Franklin Mint 100 Greatest Masterpieces Collection

This set of 100 medals was produced in a regular sterling silver edition and also a gold-plated sterling silver edition. The gold-plated version is slightly more valuable than the regular sterling edition, although some buyers will try to convince you otherwise. Each medal depicted a famous artwork through the ages. The set was housed in a beautiful mahogany display box with shelves. Although quite valuable, this is one of the more common sets.

4. The Franklin Mint Centennial Cars Ingot Collection

Celebrating 100 years of automobiles, this set of 100 sterling silver ingots was produced from 1974 - 1978. Each ingot measures roughly 1.25" X 2.25". The set was housed in a beautiful solid oak trunk.

5. The Franklin Mint History of Mankind Medals Collection

The set was issued from 1974-1982. The complete set contains 100 medals. Each medal is a 51 millimeter Proof, 24K gold electroplate coating on sterling silver. The most important events in the history of civilization were commemorated in this collection.

6. The Franklin Mint 50 Greatest Sailing Ships in History Ingot Collection

Museum Collection. Complete set of 50 ingots. Each measures app. 2-1/2" by 1-3/4". The 50 greatest sailing ships of the past 50 centuries were honored in this collection of 50 ingots.

7. The Franklin Mint Bicentennial History of the United States Ingots Collection

This set of sterling silver ingots included 100 different pieces commemorating great events in American history.

8. The Franklin Mint Bicentennial Bowl

14 inches in diameter, 7 inches high. Huge and solid sterling silver.

9. The Franklin Mint Masterpieces of Thomas Gainsborough Ingots Collection

This was a set of 100 gold-plated sterling silver ingots issued to commemorate the great works of British artist Sir Thomas Gainsborough. We believe this set was issued only in Great Britain and the UK.

10. The Franklin Mint Flags of the United Nations Collection

Complete set of 135 large ingots, certified on March 15, 1974. Each ingot shows the official flag of a country that is a member of the United Nations at that time. The full size set was issued when there were 135 members. A small so-called "mini" set was issued later which contained 142 tiny silver ingots, each about the size of a fingernail. The mini set is much less valuable than the large set.



This list includes only sterling silver sets. A number of very valuable sets were produced in 24 karat gold.

Get current prices and learn how to sell at our Franklin Mint Price Guide (click here)

 

Are old 78 RPM records on the Vocalion label worth anything?

The History of Vocalion Records

Vocalion was founded in 1916 by the Aeolian Piano Company of New York City, which introduced a retail line of phonographs at the same time. The name was derived from one of their corporate divisions, the Vocalion Organ Co. The fledgling label first issued single-sided. vertical cut disc records, soon switching to double sided, then switching to the more common lateral cut system in 1920.

Aeolian pressed their Vocalion discs on a good quality reddish-brown shellac, which set the product apart from the usual black shellac used by other record companies. Advertisements stated that "Vocalion Red Records are best" or "Red Records last longer". However, Vocalion's shellac was really no more durable than good quality black shellac. Vocalion red surfaces are less hardy than contemporary Victor Records. Audio fidelity and pressing quality of Vocalion records are well above average for the era.

In 1925 the label was acquired by Brunswick Records. During the 1920s Vocalion also released "race records" (that is, records recorded by, and marketed to, African Americans; their famous 1000 Series). The 15000 series continued, but after the Brunswick takeover, it seems clear that Vocalion took a back seat to the Brunswick label. In 1925-26, quite a few Brunswick titles were also issued on Vocalion, and since the Vocalion issues are much harder to find, one can speculate that they were not available for sale in as many stores as their Brunswick counterparts. (By 1928-9, many of the jazz sides issued on the Vocalion 15000 series were extremely rare and highly sought-after.)

In April 1930, Warner Bros. bought Brunswick Records and, for a time, managed the company themselves. In December 1931, however, Warner Bros. licensed the entire Brunswick and Vocalion operation to the American Record Corporation. ARC used Brunswick as their flagship 75 cent label and Vocalion became one of their 35 cent labels (their race/blues series during this time continued to be significant) . Starting in about 1935, the Vocalion label once again became a popular label, signing Billie Holiday, Mildred Bailey, Putney Dandridge, Henry 'Red' Allen and other swing artists. Also, starting in 1935, Vocalion started reissuing titles still selling on the recently discontinued OKeh label. In 1936 and 1937 Vocalion produced the only recordings of the influential blues artist Robert Johnson (as part of their on-going field recording of blues, gospel and 'out of town' jazz groups). From 1935 through 1940, Vocalion was one of the most popular labels for small group swing, blues and country. After the Variety label was discontinued (in late 1937), many titles were reissued on Vocalion, and the label continued to release new recordings made by Master/Variety artists through 1940.

During the 1925-1930 period, outside of the 1000 'race' series, Brunswick apparently used the Vocalion brand as a specialty label for purposes other than general sale. This is assumed due to the relative rarity of the Vocalion popular series, and the fact that some of the regular Brunswick releases were also put out for sale as Vocalions. This seems to also be a possibly explanation as to why the early 1930s Vocalion are relatively rarer than other ARC records.

ARC was purchased by CBS and Vocalion became a subsidiary of Columbia Records in 1938. The Vocalion label was discontinued in 1940, and the current Vocalions were reissued on the recently revived OKeh label with the same catalog numbers. The discontinuance of Vocalion (along with Brunswick in favor of the revived Columbia) voided the lease arrangement Warners had made with ARC back in late 1931, and in a complicated move, Warners got back the two labels which they promptly sold outright to Decca, yet CBS got to keep control of the post-1931 Brunswick and Vocalion masters!

Most Valuable Blues and Jazz Artists on the Vocalion Label

Charlie Patton

Robert Johnson

Memphis Minnie

Leroy Carr

Tampa Red

Jenny Pope

Bukka White

Mississippi Sarah

Mississippi Moaner

 

Are old 78 RPM records on the on the Black Swan label worth anything?

History of Black Swan Records

Black Swan's parent company, Pace Phonograph Corporation, was founded in March 1921 by Harry Pace and was based in Harlem. The new production company was formed after Pace's music publishing partnership with W.C. Handy, Pace & Handy, had dissolved. (Some historians have thought W.C. Handy had a stake in Pace's new business, but Handy's own words contradict this.

Popular entertainer and pioneering black recording artist Bert Williams was an early investor in Pace Phonograph. Williams also promised to record for the company once his exclusive contract with Columbia Records ended, but he died before that could occur.

Pace Phonograph Corporation was renamed Black Swan Phonograph Company in the fall of 1922. Both the record label and production company were named after 19th century opera star Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, who was known as the Black Swan.

Noted author, activist, and academic W.E.B. Du Bois was a stockholder and member of the Board of Directors of Black Swan. Ads for Black Swan often ran in The Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which Du Bois edited.

The production company declared bankruptcy in December 1923; and in March 1924 Paramount Records bought the Black Swan label. The Chicago Defender reported the event by noting important accomplishments of Black Swan in a short career span, including: pointed out—to the major, all white-owned, record companies—the significant market demand for black artists; prompted several major companies to begin publishing music by these performers. In addition, the Defender credited Pace with showing the majors how to target black audiences and to advertise in black newspapers. Paramount discontinued the Black Swan label a short time later.


Most Valuable Blues and Jazz Artists on the Black Swan Label

Kattie Crippen on Black Swan 78 RPM
Alberta Hunter on Black Swan 78 RPM
Ethel Waters on Black Swan 78 RPM
James P. Johnson on Black Swan 78 RPM
Lucille Hegamin on Black Swan 78 RPM
Trixie Smith on Black Swan 78 RPM


Top Buyer

Jon Warren of 2ndMarkets.com is one of the top buyers of rare blues records. He can be reached at 1-423-320-1521 or by visiting his website (xlixk the link above.

 

How do I grade my 78 RPM Records?

I believe someday all collectibles will be graded using a 10-point scale, and that this universality will be a factor in making them a recognized investment like stocks and bonds. Grading services will exist for every type of antique or collectible, and these grading services will enable a liquid marketplace for trading in antiques and collectibles of all kinds. Collectors will view their collection “portfolio” as a source of retirement income in the same way that stock investors do today. EBay and similar sites will be the "NASDAQ" for the liquidation of these collectible investments. This isn't a great insight on my part, it is already happening in a small way, and I believe it is just beginning.

The 78 RPM Record Collecting Hobby uses a grading system known as the VJM Grading System. The VJM Record Grading System is an internationally-used and recognized system for grading both 78s and LPs. It is used by virtually all jazz, blues, personality and most pre-war record dealers and collectors alike, with an easily understood sequence of letters to show grades and a system of abbreviations to show faults and damage. The first grading system to be adopted by jazz record collectors was devised by the publishers of Record Changer magazine in the 1940s, and the system now known as the VJM Grading System is a refined version of the former, introduced in the early 1950s.


The VJM System has never been, however, aligned with a 10-point system. We have attempted with this guide to match the VJM system to a 10-point system, because, in our opinion, buyers feel more secure with "sight unseen" Internet buying when they are familiar with a 10-point grading system. New collectors in any hobby become advanced collectors through knowledge, including knowledge of terminology. Without such a set of grading terms and definitions, buyers may feel confused and uncertain about the quality of items they are buying over the internet or through the mail. Confusion and uncertainty are not good for the growth of any hobby.

This VJM/10-point scale for grading  is similar to systems already adopted in other markets. By using a set of standardized grading terms, we can ensure the growth of the hobby now and in the future.

I welcome your feedback. Please e-mail me with comments and suggestions. My e-mail address is jon@2ndmarkets.com.

I have outlined the various grades, and described the specifications for each. These grading definitions are intended to help you rate the condition of your item. As in any collectible, the better the condition of an item, the more valuable it is.


C10 = N : Store Stock New
As new and unplayed (there are virtually no 78s that can categorically be claimed to be unplayed).

C9 : N-
Nearly New, but has been played. No visible signs of wear or damage.

C8 = E+
Plays like new, with very, very few signs of handling, such as tiny scuffs from being slipped in and out of sleeves.

C7 = E : Excellent
Still very shiny, near new looking, with no visible signs of wear, but a few inaudible scuffs and scratches.

C6 = E-
Still shiny but without the luster of a new record, few light scratches.

C5 = V+
V+ is an average condition 78 in which scuffs and general use has dulled the finish somewhat. Wear is moderate but playing is generally free from distortion. Surface noise not overly pronounced.


C4 = V : Very Good
Moderate, even wear throughout, but still very playable. Surface noise and scratches audible but not intrusive.

C3 = V-
Quite playable still, but distortion and heavy greying in loud passages. Music remains loud in most passages. Surface noise and scratches well below music level.

C2 = G+
Grey throughout but still serviceable. Music begins to sound muffled. Heavy scratches.

C1 = G : Good
Quite seriously worn and scratched, but music level is stillhigher than surface noise.

G- ; F ; and P
The VJM system has these designations for records in extremely poor condition. We do not place these on the 10-point scale because records in this condition have little or no value. In cases where the record is extremely rare, it would be worth the C1 price.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

sfc = surface

lbl = label

nap = not affecting play

scr/scrs = scratch/scratches

lc or lam  = lamination crack

cr = crack

gv/gvs= groove/grooves

hlc/hc = hairline crack

wol = writing on label

sol = sticker onlabel

fade = faded label

eb = edge bite

ec = edge chip

ef =edge flake

cvr = cover

s = stereo

rc= rim chip

rf = rough;

aud/inaud = audible/inaudible

lt = light

 

Are old 78 RPM records on the Black Patti label worth anything?

History of Black Patti Records

Black Patti Records was a short-lived (less than a year in 1927) record label. The label was owned by The Chicago Record Company, which in turn was owned by promoter Mayo ‘Ink’ Williams. The label was named after 19th century African-American singer Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, who was nicknamed The Black Patti after famous opera star Adelina Patti.

Mayo Williams had enjoyed a profitable career as de-facto manager of "Race Records" (recordings by African American artists intended for African American customers) for Paramount Records. He decided to go into the record business for himself. He had no equipment, only his Chicago office. The actual recording and pressing of the records was contracted out, mostly to Gennett Records.

Black Patti Records debuted with advertisements in May 1927, with some two dozen discs said to already be available. The repertory included jazz, blues, sermons, spirituals, and vaudeville skits, most (but not quite all) by African American entertainers. A total of 55 different discs were manufactured. Williams found running his own label not as lucrative and easy as he had hoped and closed up operations before the end of 1927.

Perhaps the most famous of the sides recorded for Black Patti are those by Willie Hightower's jazz band.


Most Valuable Blues and Jazz Artists on the Black Patti Label

Willie Hightower on Black Patti 78 RPM
Mozelle Alderson on Black Patti 78 RPM
Hattie Garland on Black Patti 78 RPM
Steamboat Joe on Black Patti 78 RPM
Sam Collins on Black Patti 78 RPM
Big Boy Woods on Black Patti 78 RPM
Kid Brown on Black Patti 78 RPM
Elizabeth Washington on Black Patti 78 RPM


Top Buyer

Jon Warren of 2ndMarkets.com is one of the top buyers of rare blues records. He can be reached at 1-423-320-1521 or by visiting his website (xlixk the link above.

 

Are old 78 RPM records on the Gennett label worth anything?

History of Gennett Records

Gennett is best remembered for the wealth of early jazz talent recorded on the label, including sessions by Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, The New Orleans Rhythm Kings, "King" Joe Oliver's band with young Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, The Red Onion Jazz Babies,The State Street Ramblers, Zach Whyte and his Chocolate Beau Brummels, Alphonse Trent and his Orchestra and many others. Gennett also recorded early blues artists such as Thomas A. Dorsey, Sam Collins, Jaybird Coleman, and Big Boy Cleveland, and early "hillbilly" or country music performers such as Vernon Dalhart, Bradley Kincaid, Ernest Stoneman, Fiddlin' Doc Roberts, and Gene Autry. Many early religious recordings were made by Homer Rodeheaver, early shape note singers and others.

From 1925 to 1934, Gennett released recordings by hundreds of "old-time music" artists, precursors to country music, including such artists as Doc Roberts and Gene Autry. By the late 1920s, Gennett was pressing records for more than 25 labels worldwide, including budget disks for Sears, Roebuck's catalog. In 1926, Fred Gennett created Champion Records as a budget label for tunes previously released on Gennett.

The Gennett Company was hit severely by the Great Depression in 1930, and cut back on record recording and production until it was halted altogether in 1934. At this time the only product Gennett Records produced under its own name was a series of recorded sound effects for use by radio stations. In 1935 the Starr Piano Company sold some Gennett masters, and the Gennett and Champion trademarks to Decca Records. Jack Kapp of Decca was primarily interested in some jazz, blues and old time music items in the Gennett catalog which he thought would add depth to the selections offered by the newly organized Decca company. Kapp also attempted to revive the Gennett and Champion labels between 1935 and 1937 as specialists in bargain pressings of race and old-time music with but little success.


Most Valuable Blues and Jazz Artists on the Gennett Label

Josephine Beatty on Gennett 78 RPM
King Oliver on Gennett 78 RPM
Jelly Roll Morton on Gennett 78 RPM
Red Onion Jazz Babies on Gennett 78 RPM
Baby Bonnie on Gennett 78 RPM
Walter Coon on Gennett 78 RPM
Mae Glover on Gennett 78 RPM
Thomas Dorsey on Gennett 78 RPM


Top Buyer

Jon Warren of 2ndMarkets.com is one of the top buyers of rare blues records. He can be reached at 1-423-320-1521 or by visiting his website (xlixk the link above.

 

Are old 78 RPM records on the Herwin label worth anything?

History of Herwin "Race" Records

Herwin Records was a US record label founded and run by brothers Herbert and Edwin Schiele, the trademark name being formed from their first names. Herwin Records was based in St. Louis, Missouri, and produced records starting in 1924. Most of the material released on the label was from master discs leased from Gennett Records and Paramount Records. In 1930 Herwin was sold to the Wisconsin Chair Company, the parent of Paramount Records, which discontinued the Herwin label sometime in the 1930s.


Most Valuable Blues Artists on the Herwin Label

Lizzie Washington on Herwin 78 RPM
Blind Willie Jackson on Herwin 78 RPM
Charley Peters on Herwin 78 RPM
Katherine Baker on Herwin 78 RPM
Blind Tim Russell on Herwin 78 RPM
Jerry Lee on Herwin 78 RPM
Reverend J.M. Gates on Herwin 78 RPM
Blind Jeremiah Taylor on Herwin 78 RPM


Top Buyer

Jon Warren of 2ndMarkets.com is one of the top buyers of rare blues records. He can be reached at 1-423-320-1521 or by visiting his website (xlixk the link above.

 

Are old 78 RPM records Paramount label worth anything?

History of Paramount 'Race' Records

Paramount Records was contracted to press discs for Black Swan Records. When that company floundered, Paramount bought out Black Swan and thus got into the business of making recordings by and for African-Americans. These so-called 'race music' records became Paramount's most famous (and most valuable to record collectors).

Paramount's 'race record' series was launched in 1922 with a few vaudeville blues songs by Lucille Hegamin and Alberta Hunter. It had a large mail-order operation that was a key to its early success.

Most of Paramount's race music recordings were arranged by Black entrepreneur J. Mayo Williams. 'Ink' Williams had no official position with Paramount, but was given wide latitude to bring African-American talent to Paramount recording studios and to market Paramount records to African-American consumers. Williams did not know at the time that the 'race market' had become Paramount's prime business, and he was essentially keeping the label afloat.

Problems with low audio fidelity and poor pressings plagued the label. Blind Lemon Jefferson's big 1926 hit, 'Got the Blues' and 'Long Lonesome Blues', had to be hurriedly re-recorded in the superior facilities of Marsh Laboratories and subsequent releases used that version; since both versions appear on compilation albums, they may be compared.

In 1927, Mayo Williams moved to competitor Okeh Records, taking Blind Lemon Jefferson with him for just one recording, 'Matchbox Blues';. Paramount's recording of the same song can be compared with Okeh's on compilation albums, to Paramount's detriment. In 1929 Paramount was building a new studio in Grafton, Wisconsin, so it sent Charlie Patton — 'sent up' by Jackson, Mississippi storeowner H.C. Speir — to the studio of Gennett Records in Richmond, Indiana, where on June 14 he cut 14 famous sides which led many to consider him the 'Father of the Delta Blues'.

What are the most valuable blues records on the Paramount label?

Charlie Patton on 78 RPM Paramount
Son House on 78 RPM Paramount
Willie Brown on 78 RPM Paramount
Tommy Johnson on 78 RPM Paramount
Charlie Spand on 78 RPM Paramount
Robert Peoples on 78 RPM Paramount
Blind Lemon Jefferson on 78 RPM Paramount
Alberta Hunter on 78 RPM Paramount


Visit our 78 RPM collectors guide for more information

 

How To Sell Old Records

In order to make a "sight unseen" bid for your Old Records, a record buyer needs to know certain key information. YOU SHOULD INCLUDE THIS INFO IN YOUR INITIAL LIST! If you are new to record selling, building the list yourself can be a chore, but this article covers the main points and hopefully makes it a bit easier. Before you start off trying to sell your old records, you should make an inventory list. It will be the first thing any record collector will ask for.

IMPORTANT: YOU SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFO IN YOUR LIST!

LABEL (always on the record label; example: SUN)
RECORD NUMBER (always on the record label; examples: in the image at right, the Record Number is 175
ARTIST NAME (always on the record label; example: JOHNNY LONDON
CONDITION (used, like new, VG, NM etc., just a best guess please, even if you only say USED or LIKE NEW)

 

How To Sell Comic Books

In order to make a "sight unseen" bid for your old comic books, a comic book buyer needs to know certain key information. YOU SHOULD INCLUDE THIS INFO IN YOUR INITIAL LIST! If you are new to comic book selling, building the list yourself can be a chore, but this article covers the main points and hopefully makes it a bit easier. Before you start off trying to sell your old comic books, you should make an inventory list. It will be the first thing any comic book collector will ask for. 

IMPORTANT: YOU SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFO IN YOUR LIST!

TITLE (always on the front cover; example: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) 
ISSUE NUMBER (always on the front cover or in the tiny print at bottom of first page; example: #175)
ISSUE DATE (always on the first page or inside front cover; example: June, 1947 issue)
CONDITION (used, torn, like new, VG, NM etc., just a best guess, even if you only say USED or LIKE NEW)