Monday, July 21, 2014

Can't Come to Dinner ...

Some messages in letters and postcards are just too precious. Look at this one from 1946!

Dear Aunt Ruby,

Can't be able to come Sun. Someone informed me I would have to cook a dinner.

Love Alice

I guess Alice really did not like to cook!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ephemera - Old Paper, Photos and Stuff

Old paper is great stuff. It's ephemera ... ephemeral ... it was not meant to last ... but when it does it is wonderful stuff! It has history ... texture ... warm colors from gentle aging.

We are always finding photo collections, old documents and letters, postal covers, labels and wallpaper. Some of it goes into our mixed media projects, most ends up in our shop for our customers. Now and then we find items that we repatriate with long lost relatives.

Old Ledgers ... sold as complete books and as individual pages. Great for everything from wrapping gifts to collages to mixed media art.
We just got these in ... customs' documents for seeds sent from Argentina to a researcher at University of California's botany department. The stamps are on both sides. ($15 each, while they last, as we only have five available.)
Love bird prints. These here are from a 1950s Audubon portfolio. We have others available. (Most are $18 each.)
Old letters make for interesting reading, if you like ... but these are treasures for their beautiful penmanship and aged paper. (Starting at a few dollars each.)
19th century and early 20th century French bottle labels ... direct from Paris. We do have others available as well. (Prices vary.)
Old mortgage and other documents from the late-1800s and early 1900s. (Typically $10 to $25 each.)
Old probate letters from New England in the late-1800s and early 1900s. (Typically $6 to $10 each.)
1920s shoe manufacturer receipts from France. (Typically $4.50 to $9 each.)
We have hundreds of old photos, as well as scrapbooks and photo albums from the 1870s through the middle 1900s.
Wallpaper is available both as individual large sample sheets ($4.50 each) and in packages of ten 8x10 sheets ($12.95 per package). Available online.
Vintage Wine labels are available in packages of ten ($5.95 per package) and special ones sold individually (From $5 each) Available online.
We recently acquired a large collection of letters from USA WW2 military personnel. Most of these were censored by the military and are stamped or marked as such. (Starting at $4 each)
Some of our ephemera is available through our online sites. Click on one of the links below to see what is listed at this time.

Vintages Antiques online.
Pretty Ribbons on Etsy.
Vintages Online Shop.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Precious Little Book from 1820

One reason I love old ephemera, is that now and then I find true treasures. A while back, we found this marvelous little book … Plants Quadrupeds Birds. It is fully done by hand … all the text is hand printed in watercolor ink and it contains six ink and watercolor illustrations as well.

This little book is written and illustrated by Robert Clement Sconce (1787-1846). It is signed simply “Sconce” on the inside of the front cover and was written to Sally from her Papa. Sally is Sarah Susanna “Sally” Sconce Bunbury (1816-1897), who later compiled, annotated and edited the work Life and Letters of Robert Clement Sconce (1861). Numerous passages in that book have Robert Clement Sconce discussing, in letters to his daughter Sally, his drawing and sketching using watercolors.

The book begins:

Does dear Sally know that while she has been amusing herself gathering Plants, and learning their names, she has been learning Botany? And when she picks a Flower to pieces and Papa shews her the Calyx, Petals, Staminae, and Pistils, what is it Sally learns? Why Botany!

Little Children do not often learn such things, but as dear Sally is very able to learn them, and as she has great pleasure in learning, Papa is very glad to teach her.

He goes on to cover all sorts of details of life in the garden. Beautiful descriptions of plants and flowers. Tales of foxes and wrens. Stories about creatures and critters. It is simply a beautifully written and illustrated book for children … and adults as well.

The patience of Sconce demonstrated in handwriting this book, with nary a flaw, is remarkable. That trait is also shown in how he “talks” to his daughter throughout the book. Sconce, while born and raised in England, spent most of his adult life in the Mediterranean on the British controlled island of Malta. He held numerous positions in the British Admiralty that afforded him time and space to dabble in botany and art. Although he was never wealthy, he and his family lived well and circulated in upper class English society.

His artistic talents were inherited by some of his children … Robert Knox Sconce (1818-1852), who was a minister and author; Herbert Sconce (1833-1867), who was in the British foreign service in Assam, India, and a superb watercolorist; and his daughter Sally, whose watercolors (now in museums in Australia, where she lived as an adult) document her family's travel and life experiences. Alas, other than the little illustrations in this book, I have not been able to locate any of the works of Robert Clement Sconce.

Book Testimony of Antiquity written by Robert Knox Sconce in 1848

Watercolor Painting by Sally Sconce Bunbury 1841 Back of Our House Darebin Creek W. Melbourne

Watercolor Arial Map of 1864 Seebsagur Tank Assam India by Herbert Sconce

The Plants Quadrupeds Birds book is 174 years old and it was read many times … but it now has condition issues. The pages, text and images are in very good condition, but the covers are detached and the binding is loose. It is currently with a conservator for restoration, rebinding and stabilization. I cannot wait to get this back. I love it.

Book as originally found

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Vintages is Los Gatos' #1 Antique Shop ... again

For the fourth straight year, Vintages has been voted as the Best Antique Shop in Los Gatos. Thanks to all of you who voted for us, shopped with us and recommended us to your friends.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Museum of Arts and Design in NYC

Another stop we made in NYC was at the Museum of Arts and Design. This museum is dedicated to design in the arts with a distinctly modern contemporary bent. The latest exhibit on view at the Museum was about photography and jewelry. This pulled us in. Multiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography is on view until September 14, 2014. The museum bills this as "the first museum exhibition to examine how contemporary jewelry artists are using photography to explore issues central to contemporary experience, including changing views of beauty and the human body; social, political, and cultural issues; memory and desire; and the relationship of jewelry to society and personal identity." It works.

With our focus on vintage prints, photographs and jewelry in the shop, we found this fascinating. Jewelry pieces are little works of art. When combined with photographs it is like a double exposure ... thus the title of the exhibition. We have some photo jewelry, but we also have images and jewelry making findings so you can reach into your own creative self and be a jewelry artist.

Here are some of the pieces were loved.

Artist Unknown, Anchor-Shaped Vinaigrette Pendant, c1855. Ambrotype, silver plate, glass. Collection of Daile Kaplan. Photo credit: Matthew Starr.

Jiro Kamata, Brooch, from the Arboresque series, 2010. Camera lenses, acrylic paint, blackened silver. Collection of the artist. Photo credit: Jiro Kamata

Bettina Speckner, Brooch, 2004. Artist’s photograph enameled on silver, cowrie shells, amethysts. Courtesy of a private collection. Photo credit: Bettina Speckner.

Sandy Johanson, Flash Bulb Neckpiece, 2011. Unfired Sylvania FP 26 Blue Dot flashbulbs c1960, patinated sterling silver wire. Collection of the artist.

Kiff Slemmons; Hindsight Pin, 1997. Found photographs, silver, clock hand, mica. Collection of Helen Kornblum.

Artist Unknown, Mourning Badge with Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1865. Tintype, gingham, black ribbons. Collection of Daile Kaplan. Photo credit: Matthew Starr.

Iris Nieuwenburg; Love Story Brooch, 2009. Photo credit: J. Gold & Co.

Hyun-Seok Sim, Panoramic Camera (pendant), 2000. 20k gold, sterling silver, steel, plastic. Collection of the artist. Photo credit: Gwang-chun Park.

Martin Papcun, Ring, 1999. Artist photograph, silver, brass. Secondary School of Applied Arts (SUPS) Turnov, Czech Republic. Photo credit: Martin Papcun.

Photo Ring. Tintype, lucite.
Pictogram Brooches and Pendants. Image courtesy David Mandel.
Pictogram Bracelet. Image courtesy David Mandel.

Excerpt from MAD-NYC press release:

The connection between photography and jewelry extends back more than 150 years to the invention of the photographic process.  The exhibition provides historical context for this evolving relationship by presenting outstanding nineteenth-century pieces, many of which have never before been exhibited. In recent years, both photography and art jewelry have changed dramatically, and the exhibition presents both cutting-edge videos and installations that will provide viewers a broader perspective of contemporary jewelry now.

The Museum of Arts and Design is located at 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019. 212-299-7777. The exhibit Multiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography is on view until September 14, 2014.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bryant Park NYC

On our recent trip to the National Stationery Show in NYC we stayed at a hotel close to Bryant Park. This is a great place to stop, cool off in the shade or sit on the sunny lawn, have an afternoon drink and people watch! We did that a couple of times and our feet were very happy, as we walked a whole bunch!

The park is really nice, with lawns, trees, walkways, a carrousel and a few places to eat and imbibe. It is very well used. With all the people there it reminded us so much of the famous Georges Seurat painting Sunday in the Park (aka: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte).

Georges Seurat painting Sunday in the Park

Bryant Park

Bryant Park Lawn
Bryant Park covers two city blocks near the New York City Library bordered by Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan. Worth a stop to rest tired feet or people watch next time you are in the Big Apple.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Good Stuff for Fathers' Day

Vintages always has good stuff for Dads."Stuff" is a technical term in our business.

stuff |stəf| noun

1. Matter, material, articles, or activities of a specified or indeterminate kind that are being referred to, indicated, or implied: a pickup truck picked the stuff up | a girl who's good at the technical stuff.

2. A person's belongings, equipment, or baggage: he took his stuff and went.

Any way you look at it ... Dads like "stuff" and we've got it. Just what you need for Fathers' Day on Sunday June 15th. 

It seems we often take dad's for granted. When the camera is on us we shout or mouth "Hi Mom!" What about Dad? Get Dad something special ... something just for him. We have some great old vintage toys ... trucks, games, cameras ... the "stuff" of yesteryear. Or how about magnifiers, compasses, key chains and money clips? We have those too. And then there are old books, photos and prints. From antiques to memorabilia to handmade gifts and cards. We've got Dad covered. Take a look!

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