Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘eBay’


You might think that after writing the articles about Steven Lundberg and Orient and Flume that  I would consider the last of the top three American Art Glass Studios, Charles Lotton in Crete Illinois. Although Lotton glass is very collectible, the studio I have chosen to write about is quite unfamiliar to most, even to the collectors who specialize in paperweights from the 1970 – 1990  time period.  Many paperweight collectors are not familiar with the Intaglio Levay Glass Studio that was once located in a defunct schoolhouse in Alton, Illinois, only a few hundred miles from Charles Lotton. There is a wealth of information about this studio, some factual and some very “bizarre” as many from the midwest would say. It is a story filled with some mystery and innuendo collected second hand by me.  Much of this information has been digested by me and regurgitated with my own spin or take on the events. That is to say that the conclusions are my own.

Intaglio Glass Studios (and a few other names) was the brainchild of Gary Levi.  His history is both interesting and controversial depending on who you talk to but not in question is the exquisite “cypriote”, Tiffany style, iridescent paperweights that he marketed.  The most interesting features of the work are the shapes and colors of the creations.  Although Gary’s studio  was never truly “discovered”  as an art glass paperweight collector I consider the glass paperweights to be exceptional although it can and has been said that his business acumen was dismal, but that was not for lack of effort.

Gary Levi was born in 1945 and by the age of 10 realized he wanted to be in the merchandising business. Gary’s original family name was Levay which is Hungarian. An ancestor changed the name from Levay to Levi in the late 1800s. In 1964 Gary Levi was employed as a railroad clerk and became interested in antiques. I met Gary Levi on a hot summer day at an estate auction in the Quincy, Illinois area. I was in my mid 20’s at the time, an avid but with limited funds, Victorian furniture enthusiast.  I was serving in the military and home on leave visiting my parents who were both collectors of fine antiques. As usual for us going to huge farm auctions and estate sales in the Midwest was an all day affair where you could visit with neighbors, old acquaintances and get caught up on all the latest gossip.  Lunch was always served and usually homemade. My mother who grew up on a farm in the area, knew all of the families, so when their estates were liquidated she knew just about what the inventory for auction would be and which sales had the nicest pieces.  Getting stupendous “finds” on the cheap were common. I remember buying a small signed Tiffany vase for 50 cents.

At this particular estate sale, Gary came to the auction near the end of the day when the furniture was being sold. He was a short but stout man in his mid to late thirties, auburn red hair, freckles and although he didn’t have a commanding presence he no doubt was very sure of himself and it showed in how he conducted his business.  There was a very large assortment of antique furniture and Gary bought most of it at what I considered to be very high prices.  My mother, always the teacher, explained to me that Gary Levi would buy furniture, load it into his large, white, horse trailer and haul it to the west coast to sell to dealers for a profit. It was obvious to me that those few who just wanted this piece or that for their home and from this estate were pretty put out with the price run up by Gary and especially disappointed that they didn’t get that piece they had their heart set on. This kind of business by Gary would in my opinion later damage his business reputation.  Even today I find that many who knew Gary or of Gary are critical of his business transactions and how he managed his business. He was aggressive and most likely had a Type A personality.

Little did I know at that time that Gary’s true love was art glass. Or even that he would later become a glass artisan or that he was a successful glass distributor.  In my research I had found information that he had opened his first store in 1966. I am not sure if that was an antique store or a glass store but it is noted that he started selling fine quality giftware, limited editions through a mail order business.  His idea was to provide a quality product to glass dealers at reasonable prices. Gary was in contact with different glass companies and would request that a certain amount of an item be made (limited editions), then he would wholesale that glass to dealers. The deal became more profitable when the glass companies agreed to prepackage the limited editions and ship directly to the dealer (drop shipping). Gary was a distributor for many of the major glass companies.  So you can see that really he had a good thing going at a period when mail order was big business and drop shipping as well as personal branding was virtually unheard of. His operation was based in the midwest around Edwardsville Il.  I have found quite a number of advertisements in the newspapers for his Gift glass in the small towns surrounding Edwardsville.

Gary Levi had a long connection with the Fenton Art Glass company that began in the 1970’s. This eventually led to his buying of Fenton cullet when his glass studio needed glass to make their own glass creations. This is not an unusual arrangement. Many glass studio artist purchase cullet from major glass companies to use in their own creations rather than making glass from scratch. Gary had Fenton make several runs of carnival glass for his company. The unique aspect of this arrangement being that the colors used were not a part of Fenton’s regular line.  Fenton, Westmoreland, Imperial, Crescent Glass and L.E. Smith all pressed glass for Gary Levi and his Limited Edition Glass mail order business. Most of this glass was signed by the glass company but only a few had a Levay logo pressed into it or otherwise marked as Levay Glass (branding). Some of the pieces of carnival glass were made by Westmoreland as well. Most of the art glass pieces were made by Imperial. The newer items 1980 – 1990 were signed and also numbered. So you will still find art glass pieces not signed but marketed by Levay. I often see these pieces advertised as experimental pieces made by Levay but they were not  made by his glass studio really. This causes some confusion and doubt in my mind on just whether or not Gary Levi ever handled any “hot” glass.  Did he personally handle and make these paperweights I have collected?  It is a good question and hard to answer.

There also seems to be some speculation about whether or not Levay had purchased glass molds from Westmoreland Glass. Westmoreland stopped producing glass in 1984 and closed their doors. Are these molds in the old Alton schoolhouse where Gary had his glass operations until the mid 1990’s?

I think it is important to mention that there were probably many who felt that Gary Levi was a usurper of the collectible glass from the well-known glass houses he dealt with.  As a collector and talking with many collectors, being taken with a reproduction, fake or fantasy piece is always a concern. An example would be Nippon. Nipponears are very loyal to the items they collect. In the 1970’s there were many knockoffs or fakes imported from China that actually had Nippon clearly stamped on them.  This caused much confusion and consternation among Nippon collectors and to this day I get emails from people who ask me. “Is this a real piece of Nippon”? Or a better example is the Galle reproductions made in China that clearly mimic the beautiful lamps and glass works made by Emil Galle in the 1920s. They even have the exact Galle signature carved into them.  This has definitely depressed the prices of even original Galle glass.  However, with any repro or fantasy piece, if you have ever owned an original and held it in your hands the fantasy pieces become easier to recognize. Now put yourself in the genre of being a Fenton glass collector in the 1980s.  You buy a beautiful piece of art glass that has the Fenton logo on it only to find out it also has this ugly frog looking logo on it. What is that anyway? Must be a manufacturing defect! Nope, it was marketed by Levay Distributing also known as the Intaglio Levay Glass Company. If you are a collector of any original period items I know you understand what I am saying. Remember that this is before anybody was doing personal branding that today is an everyday occurrence, think generic drugs etc. All of that is personal branding and huge in the business arena today. Gary was certainly ahead of the power curve and of his time in marketing and manufacturing collectible glass. Was he a marketing guru, a glass maker, both or none of the above?  The failure or success of his glass studio tells at least part of the real story.

In 1984 Gary Levi stopped having Limited Edition carnival glass made under the name of Levay.  I believe his base was in  Alton Il. There is a short article in Glass Review, November 1984,  p. 32 that notes the Victorian Art Glass Company and states that it is a subsidiary of the Levay Distributing Company and so the confusing and often criticized business saga of Gary Levi’s Intaglio Levay Glass begins.  An ad in the February 1985 issue of Glass Review also states that Gary Levi started making his own glass on October 11, 1984. This date coincides with the purchase of some glass making machinery by Gary and I am sure is when he registered his glass studio as a business.  At this time I believe he his business location was in Alton on Wood River. It wasn’t until 1990 that he purchased an old schoolhouse in Alton Il to use for his operations. Known locally as the Milton Schoolhouse, the building itself has quite a reputation including even ghost that haunt the property. I came across an article in the Alton newspaper stating that in November 1991 Gary Levi actually purchased the Milton Schoolhouse and was building a new 10000 square foot receiving warehouse for his distributing operation. The schoolhouse was listed as having 50000 square feet.  I think you will agree that is a substantial size property for glass making and marketing.  The article also noted that Levay had approximately 100 employees and five glass artisans or makers.  I wish I could tell you who those five were but at this time I don’t know. One might have been Susan Carr.  In other articles I had seen some hiring ads.  Gary was looking for employees for assembly and the ad states that they did gluing of glass pieces together.

Gary Levi had many registered business names and he wore many hats. The only question is was one of those hats “a hands on glass maker?” It was in 1990 that Gary purchased from a Michael Ladd a business called Intaglio Designs Ltd.  The business agreement was quite involved and complicated. The purchase price is public knowledge and registered at $277,983.18. In addition, Michael Ladd became an employee as a Vice President of the new company with a three year contract, a salary and five years of payments from Levay. The contract basically lasted from 1991 to 1997.  The purchase involved 490 shares of  privately held stock by Levay. Gary also had investors and I have seen a copy of a document where at least one investor put up $100,000.00. That is a lot of zero’s for the 1980s. I am sure there were many others of less denominations. The company never went public it was all private stock.  Any person who has owned a business understands the impact investors can have on your business.  Although investors are not normally involved with the daily operations of the business they certainly have the power to decide how profits are spent and losses are handled. It is obvious to me that Gary was advancing to the next level in the early 1990’s in his business operation so it must have been quite profitable to be able to fund those kind of numbers.

My own personal history of collecting paperweights became intermingled with Gary Levi when I received a beautiful and very unusual art glass paperweight as a birthday gift given to me from my wife. It was my fortieth birthday.  At the time and for many years we did not know who the maker of this beautiful paperweight was although it did have a stylized mark pressed on the base. It wasn’t until much later I learned that it came from the Levay studio and I was hooked.  From that time on I have collected these unique paperweights marketed by this studio and have built a respectable collection. It was also at this time that I started researching and collecting information about Gary Levi and Levay.

                                                                      

The first of many. This paperweight is a pearlized white with iridescent cobalt threads across the top. Absolutely my wife’s favorite.  Size is 3 1/4 inches and weight is 1 lb. 3.2 oz. Marked with the Intaglio Levay mark impressed into the glass in the concave base. Purchased in 1992 at June’s Antiques in Quincy IL.,  across from Baldwin Park on the downtown square.

 

I gave you the exact location because right next door to June’s Antiques was another antique store. Gary Levi’s Antique Furniture Store! It had been there for many years and although I had wandered around inside admiring the antique furniture I am sure I never saw any glass being displayed or sold!

In collecting Intaglio Levay paperweights I have come across many Levay art glass creations. To name a few, bowls, vases, oil lamps, glass orbs or witch balls and garden stones. I have found that often the sellers of these objects have no idea who made it or where it came from. Some confuse the paperweights with the garden stone glass decorations. 

In addition to paperweights marked Levay there are paperweights marked Intaglio Anton which were also marketed by Levay Distributing. Susan Anton Carr was and is a glass designer and my understanding, was a designer for Gary Levi designing many of  the creations that were made. She did a wonderful job!  The color, creativity and styles for the period are second to none in my opinion.  Were these beautiful paperweights made at Gary’s glass studio in Alton Il. specifically for Levay?

I have counted six different Levay markings on these paperweights. The markings can also help to date a paperweight, for instance a certain mark might indicate pre-Alton.  Gary did market glass in Edwardsville, IL prior to the Alton studio and I believe I have a piece or two made after he abandoned the Alton studio.  Below you will find a few that I have and what I believe is the date and place made:

                                                                

A Levay Hanging Hearts paperweight signed on the bottom LV-132 probably made prior to the Intaglio name being registered.

 

 

                                                            

 

 

 

The person I purchased this from did not know the name and when I told them it was made from Fenton cullet they said “Oh, I just love Fenton glass!”  Hand signed Levay and dated 1985.

                                                           

 

 

 

A very nice crackle glass paperweight marked Intaglio Anton. Designed by Susan Anton Carr.

                                                                                                                                             

         Amazing Colors!  The paperweight has the stylized Intaglio Levay mark on the base.

 

 

    

     Marked with an imprinted LEVAY no other marks. Was this paperweight made by one of Gary’s five glass artisans at Alton?

 

              

 

  Here is another Intaglio Anton weight.

 

 

 

 A hollow paperweight with the Intaglio Levay stylelized logo.

 

 

 

  Marked with the stylelized logo. I love the shapes and styles of these paperweights.

 

 

 

 

   Gorgeous Intaglio Anton.

 

 

 

 

   

 

 Small Intaglio Anton

  

 

 Excellent MINT condition. Have you ever seen more beautiful paperweights? Hot stamped LEVAY, no other markings.

 

 

 

  Same size and shape as the weight above but with a different marking. This one is Intaglio Anton.

 

 

 

 

    One has pink threads and the other blue threads. The threads are iridescent. Both weights are marked Intaglio Anton.

 

 

 

 

 

  A wonderful blue crackle glass weight marked Intaglio Anton.

 

 

 

 

 Hand printed mark Levay, no date. Was this made after Gary locked the doors to his Alton property and walked away?

 

 

 

 Each of these three paperweights have the stylized Levay mark on the base however I purchased them directly from Fenton. Did Fenton make these paperweights for Gary or were they just being a distributor for him?  If they were selling for him then these were most likely made at the Alton Glass studio.

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t really collect the egg shaped weights but these two landed in my inventory.  One is Intaglio Anton and the other is hand signed Levi 95.

 This is a part of the collection I have that I term as “Cypriote glass.  I can tell you that in my collection it is the most colorful section when displayed and draws many comments and conversations.

A few years ago I purchased a very nice paperweight made by Gibson and hallmarked as such.  It wasn’t until I started researching Levay that I came across a sales ad that showed that particular style and color weight. Was Levay marketing for Gibson or did Intaglio Glass Ltd. purchase from Gibson a Levay branded product?

                                                     

  This is a Gibson PW most likely made from Fenton cullet as Gibson was known to purchase cullet from       Fenton.

 

 

 What I find interesting about this particular weight is that Levay marketed and sold this paperweight in the 1990’s. 

I still have much more info on Levay and Gary Levi so I hope you will return to read the additional writing I will do on this article each week.  I also have many more photos of Levay weights I have collected. 

Some of the questions still to be answered:

Why did Levay Distributing close their doors all of a sudden in the mid 1990’S?  Gary Levi locked the doors one day and never returned!

Did Gary Levi design these paperweights? 

Was Gary a gaffer?  Did he personally make glass paperweights or pay others to do the work for him?

Did Inatglio Levay declare bankruptcy?

Why did Gary let the distribution center (Milton Schoolhouse) stand locked and shuttered for more than 10 years full of antique/modern glass, paperweights and his antique furniture collection?

What is the status of the old Milton Schoolhouse today?

Why did Gary’s widow refuse to go to the abandoned Levay center (Milton Schoolhouse) after his death?

Was the reason for Gary’s glass business failure do to mismanagement, embezzlement and/or prolific employee theft?

That’s it for today. Be sure to check out what I am selling at my eBay store Kelekchens. To go there now place your cursor on my assistant (the duck) and click to enter. I will continue to research and work on this piece until I have it to my satisfaction before moving on. So…until next time “Happy Collecting” and remember “the best is yet to come”.

 

Read Full Post »


There are a number of Nippon pieces decorated with desert scenes. This seems to be a popular and highly collectible motif at this time. The pieces found feature palm trees, Bedouin tents, mosques and other buildings, and Arabs on camels.  Some of the Middle Eastern men are found wrapped in a long white robes with a hood that is called a jalabijya.  Most of these scenes are realistic looking. 

From my collection:

         

A beautiful Nippon Stein with Desert Scene. Maker’s mark #47.

 

    

A very nice Camel Rider, Nippon ashtray with the Makers’ mark #47.

 

         

Palm Trees on the Oasis, marked with the Maker’s mark #47.

 

The Arab/Desert scene vases seem to command the highest prices.  A recent auction of a particularly nice camel rider urn 16″H sold for over $2000.00.

As I said earlier this is a popular motif.  To see more of my Nippon collection visit my store at : 

Just put your cursor on my assistant “The Duck” in the upper right hand corner of this post and press enter.

Until next time Happy Collecting and remember that “The best is yet to come.”

Read Full Post »


The Second World War (abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world’s nations, including all great powers, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.  It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised.  In a state of “total war,” the majority participants placed their entire economic, industrial and scientific capabilities towards the war effort erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. This war was marked by significant acts against civilians, the Holocaust and Nuclear bombs. It was the deadliest conflict in human history with over seventy million casualties.

The start of the war is generally believed to be September 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Most European countries such as France and the British declared war on Nazi Germany at that time. Those that were not involved in war eventually joined the coalition in response to events of aggression against them such as the German invasion of Russia and the Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and on British colonies that triggered war on Japan by the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.

The war ended in 1945 in an Allied victory and a changed world.  The United Nations was established to enhance cooperation among nations and at the same time the U.S. and Russia (two Super Powers) entered into a “cold war”  that lasted for the next 46 years. Throughout this period of time Western Europe moved towards economic recovery and only recently in history has the world moved towards political integration opening up international business and foreign trade for average American citizens like you and I.

My mother was 23 years old at the beginning of the war. Trained as a school teacher but having other interest she moved from the farm where she was raised in the midwest to California and was involved in the war effort as an arc welder on airplanes.  My father also in his 20s was drafted in the Navy and served as a boilerman on a destroyer  based in the Philipines but visiting San Francisco occasionally which is where my parents met.  It is a fascinating time of history and the collectibles from the war years are varied and many.  Here are a few of my own:

         

A 48 star American Flag that flew on the destroyer USS Ellet during the war and a picture of the destroyer. ca. 1942

 

I have had many questions as to the authenticity of this flag.  The flag belonged to my father who served on the USS Ellet in WW II and was given the flag by the ship’s Captain. Also, doing my research I found that the size of the flag is important.  The flag is 29″ x 57″.  Many of the commercial civilain flags sold during this period would have been too large to fly on a ship and not sturdy enough to endure the weather at sea. Also the number of grommets on the flag are important. Many of the civilian commercially sold flags of the period have two grommets or none.  This authentic Navy flag has four grommets.  The clincher is that this flag is clearly stamped U.S. ENS – 11. This is a Naval quartermaster issue number.  If you still don’t believe then do your own research.  Find out what size and kind of flags were issued to Naval ships in WWII, they were standard issue.  It’s not that hard.  In addition to that I have my father’s DD 214 which documents his service as well as my grandfather’s Army discharge paperwork from WW I, as a machinegunner, my brother’s DD 214 documenting his Vietnam service as a comabt engineer and my own DD 214 and many documets showing  that I served faithfully as an Army Combat Medic for 23 years. I retired in 1994.  My family has a history of military service and it is documented.

    

A naval Training Unit ca. 1941.  Every man signed the back and where they were from.  All were participants of  WW II.

         

Interesting documents requesting permission to bring back to U.S. from Germany captured military equipment ie; 1 German Rifle

 

         

WW II Songbook for Soldiers and Sailors and song sheet pamphlet. Official Issue.

The first photo is of a U. S. WW II Songbook “Songs of the Soldiers and Sailors”.  Has some nice WW II photos in it and of course many military songs of the period.  This was an official U.S. issued item for new recruits and was issued at Camp Zachary to a Pvt. Clarence H. Call.  Pvt. Call made a notation in the song book, “Germans captured Sept. 14th.”  The copyright is the Washington Government Printing Office 1917, Patent applied for. Also shown is a song sheet pamphlet given recruits by the Louisville War Camp Community Service, Louisville, KY. This pamphlet was compiled by E. Rowland Dawson, War Department Commission on Traininig Camp Activities.

         

Serving in the U. S. Navy window banner. ca. 1942

Shown above is a window banner that Momma’s put in the front picture window of their home proudly showing their support for their boys faithful service during WW II.

         

Navy pennant. U. S. Naval Training Center, Farragut, Idaho

         

Fancy pillow cover,  WW II, Red, White and Blue, “God Bless America”.

 

    

Occupied Japan figurines.

 

    

A beer Stein made in the WW II French Zone immediately after the War.

 

WWII collectibles are not hard to find and are an eclectic group of items.  For instance I used to have an ashtray shaped into a bomber that was made from brass shell casings.  Start looking for those interesting WWII collectibles it is a great period to collect for.  Visit my store on eBay to see more WWII artifacts or check out my booth at Bonanzle. URL is listed in Blogroll at the right.

For all collectors, happy collecting and remember “the best is yet to come.”

Read Full Post »


Kelekchens has “Gone GREEN”.

I am selling an ECO Friendly coffee cup (ceramic) that you can use to get your coffee refills at your favorite convenience store or coffee house and save money (refills are cheaper) and the ecology by not using paper/styrofoam cups which are hard on the ecology.  Place your pointer on my Assitant (The Duck) and go to my eBay store to get yours.  Only $15.00 and I will donate $1.50 to the Natural Conservancy in VA., an organization that works to save the ecology for animals, I will donate $1.50  for every cup sold!

    

Thank you.

Read Full Post »


My father started collecting beer steins back in the 1970’s.  Not that my family are heavy drinkers but my Dad liked an occasional beer and I do as well.  Most steins are German made.  At least the collectible ones are.  Who hasn’t heard of Mettlach steins? The most collectible stein for stein collectors.

Steins or tankards as some collectors call them have a 400 year history.  Like many collectibles that 400 years can be broken down into periods when certain makes and makers were prevelant or popular. 

Earliest Steins   1525 – 1700 A.D.

Transition Period   1700 – 1850  A.D.

The Golden Era  1850 – 1910

The Modern Period  1920 – present

Most steins are pottery or stoneware.  Many are handpainted or early faience peices are modeled after chinese procelain.  Faience being one area of specialized collecting in steins.  Other things to look for when collecting steins.  The shape of the stein, the size, the lid (pewter or tin), whether the lid is inlaid with porcelain or has a high finial. Decorative thumblifts, lidring, footring, the handle if decorated can help distinguish the maker of a stein, but of course the most important are maker’s marks either stamped, imprinted or painted on the bottom of the stein. 

Maker’s marks on steins, it seems like there are 1000s.  Researching marks can be a time consuming task but as collector’s, research is at least half the fun.  Buying an old looking stein at a garage sale or thrift shop to learn you have a collectible that is desired by stein collector’s is great fun, exciting and sometimes profitable. 

This is a reproduction but resembles a Faience stein.

 

A significant area of stein collection are  the old Regimental steins.  I see many up for sale on eBay and in trade/collector catalogs.  Men who served in a unit in Europe throughout history were given a stein that recognized their service to their country and identified their unit.  These steins also have been copied.  In fact now even some of the copies are almost antique.

             

This is a Commemorative Artillery Regimental stein.  3.  Field Artillery – Regiment – 1. Battalion 1899/1901, Munchen

 

 

The above pictured stein is actually a reproduction of an original Regimental Stein however this stein was made sometime around 1947 by the Porzellan und Glasmalerei Karl Rau.  The lid is pewter and hand welded.  Note the lithopane bottom of a dancing couple.  Lithopanes are often found in the Regimental Steins.

Just a short blurb on Maker’s Marks.  Many steins have Germany stamped or imprinted on the bottom with numbers.  The numbers most often identify what mold was used.  The trick is to be able to identify what factory or maker the stein came from.  So the numbers don’t mean much except to give the feel that the stein did have a mold and to tell us the stein was not hand thrown (method of making steins from the very early period).

I have two dozen German Steins that are currently being marketed.  Visit my store by clicking on My Assistant (the Duck) and read the descriptions of some of the steins in my collection.

In my next post I will talk about Occupational Steins during the war years WWII.  Until then, happy collecting and remember “the best is yet to come”.

Read Full Post »


What do you have?  A question we all ask ourselves from time to time when we have found a collectible and we don’t know where it came from.  I am going to show you how I did recent research on a collectible I have had for many years, a portrait of two nuns.

              

The first photo was taken outside under natural light and the second inside using my homemade photo lab.

I always believed that this print was hand stitched.  It looks as though it is when examined closely.  I recently decided to market the print and knew I was going to have to research to find out exactly what it was and where it came from.  Here is how I tackled the research.

1.)  I examined the print closely for Maker’s Marks. No matter what item you are researching pottery, paintings, glass, prints etc. finding the marks are very important.  On some peices “No markings” tells the history and maker of the antique or collectible.  When I examined this peice of history I found NFF woven into the lower left hand corner and D’APR E. Sonrel woven into the lower right hand corner. I had to disassemble the print from the frame to find that information.

2.)  With the emergence of computing we now have a full library of information at hand.  Although I own a good size library of reference books on the things I collect this was one of those decorative art collectibles I own for it’s beauty and not to build a collection. So I had no books to pour through to determine what it was or where it came from. 

Sonrel

3.)  I first searched for the name of Sonrel.  Almost immediately I came across the name of Stephane Sonrel. A male painter from Tours France in the 1800’s.  After reading his bio I learned he had a daughter that he trained in art and her name was….Elizabeth Sonrel.  Pretty easy so far.  Elizabeth Sonrel also became a known French painter 1874 – 1953.  Elizabeth went on to train in Paris under a master artist and displayed her first work at the age of 18.  Her paintings are mostly portraits of woman with lots of decorative lace. But what about the D’APR that was woven before her name.  I checked my French dictionary.  D’Apr means “before”.  So this told me that the image had been painted before the print was made and that image was a painting by Elizabeth Sonrel. “Two Nuns Praying”.

4.)  I then tackled the NFF.  When doing research, it is important not to give up easily or become discouraged.  You must have dogged determination.  I read many articles, documentaries etc. and opened tons of web pages.  I finally found the NFF I was looking for way down on Google’s placement of pages.  What I found was a website where three other person’s who had the same peice of artwork that I have (described verbatum) had written to an expert researcher to try to learn what it was.  This expert told them they had a “silk screen” that was a print of an E. Sonrel painting.  And she gave the name of the company of the Maker’s Mark as Neyret Freres.  Eureka!  I found it! Joy is the only word to describe an exciting find.

5.)  I then expanded my research to include Neyret Freres.  Neyret Freres is a French Company that specialized in the making of silk ribbon and operated from the end of WWI and closed before the beginning of WWII.  The most interesting thing was that they made Silk Screens on a loom called a “jacquard” loom. But this was not just an ordinary jacquard loom. This was a period when industrialization was flourishing and the Neyret Freres company had a water powered jacquard loom.  A very unique and modern peice of equipment at the time. That loom is now retired and housed in working condition at the “Museum of Art and Industry” in France.

6.)  My next task was to get a monetary value of this peice.  Again, turning to the computer search engines I started to look for auctions that had sold “silk screens”. After considerable search I found not one but two auctions, the last on Feb 6, 2010 of an exact copy of the very screen that I have.   And so I had the value of the screen.

7.)  I wanted to put the “silk screen” up for auction through my eBay store, so I then researched what silk screens sold for on eBay by using Advanced Search, closed listings as well as active listings.  I also used Terapeak, a software program that researches closed sales with values sold for, date as well as number of bids and time of day sold.  With this information I was able to adequately market my Neyret Freres Silk Screen, “Two Nuns Praying” for a price that I could part with it.

For collector’s the research and the finding of exactly what you have, who made it, where it came from and the period in history it is from is euphoric. The best part of being a collector.  I am very exicited to learn that I have a silk screen, made on a water powered jacquard loom from the late 1800s, a copy of Elizabeth Sonrell’s work and a religous artifact all in one.  Eureka!

You can check out my find in my eBay store.  Just click on My Assistant Editor (the Duck) in the upper right hand corner of this page to veiw or even purchase this artifact in my store. It has a search feature so put in “Two Nuns” and you have it.

So collectors, until next post Happy Collecting and remember the best is yet to come!

Read Full Post »