Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday when my daughter asked me if I had heard of Etsy and I said I hadn’t. Now it’s five years later and I’m celebrating my fifth anniversary as a seller on Etsy. I’ve sold over 800 antique and vintage items during this time and am still enjoying the process. Following are some of my highlights from this past year.
As I’ve mentioned in prior year’s anniversary posts, the items found by family members who were searching information on a deceased relative are special for me. I’m always delighted when someone finds something in my shop that is somehow connected to their family. The Monarch pattern flatware shown above was designed by Frederick E. Pretat. Mr. Pretat was a talented and prolific artist who created many patterns for Rogers & Hamilton and International Silver. A family member of his found flatware in the Monarch pattern as well as the Corona and Raphael patterns in my shop. And he was provided with copies of the patents as well.
The J. B. Williams Shaving Soap advertisements shown above were purchased by a woman for her husband. In her review she said he loved them and “is framing them with some old razors and hanging them in his shaving bathroom”. These old ads are getting a new life in a shaving bathroom! Pretty neat.
The illustration for the Western Cartridge advertisement shown above was drawn by Douglas Brown. His daughter found it in my shop and was very happy to add it to her collection of her father’s work.
Julep strainers, cocktail strainers and bar spoons have kept me busy this past year (both buying and selling). I’ve had the opportunity to communicate with professional bartenders from around the world and some home bartenders, too! I’ve launched the idea of using antique nut picks as cocktail picks and the concept has been well received. The aesthetic design on the julep strainer shown above works so well with the Mayflower design of the nut picks, I decided to group them together. The southern lady who bought this set called the nut picks “beauties” and advised that she has made juleps using the strainer and it “works just fine”. Hearing that an antique julep strainer is back making juleps brought a smile to my face.
There are some items in my shop that I love so much, I really don’t want to part with them. The aesthetic pattern forks shown above fall into this category. They are marked “Sterling Sil. Plt. Co.” This company was unknown to me as was the design. I speculated that this might be a Hiram Hayden design as the butterfly was very similar to that in Hayden’s “Japenese” pattern. Upon researching further, the Brooklyn Museum’s website indicated that “Sterling Silver Plate Co.” was a backstamp of Holmes, Booth & Haydens. After being listed for quite some time, a woman purchased these forks. In her review she called them “rare beauties”. We have since communicated several times. These forks have found a good home…I’m happy.
The two Rogers & Brother nut picks in the 1870 “Persian” pattern were also listed for a very long time and remained unsold. Although both were manufactured by Rogers & Brother, one had a very unusual (and rare) arrangement of the backstamp. I photographed one in a martini glass and used it as the lead photo in the listing, promoting the theme of repurposing nut picks as cocktail picks. I loved the photo and I really didn’t care if the picks ever sold. But recently a woman found them and bought them. The picks were just waiting for the right buyer to come along, and she did. I lovingly wrapped them up and sent them to their new home just a few days ago.
And talking about nut picks, I can’t emphasize enough how much I love these diminutive little antique works of art. On average, a nut pick is less than 5 inches long. And the beautiful design detail on many of them is amazing. But how many people use nut picks these days to actually pick nuts? They are unwanted or unused sitting in a drawer somewhere. I think of them as little antique treasures waiting to be rediscovered, loved and appreciated.
It was through nut picks that I met Shannon Carter. I am delighted when someone repurposes nut picks as cocktail or canape picks. But Shannon has not only reinvented uses for nut picks, she has reinvented uses for so many antiques, collections and family heirlooms that might otherwise be neglected or discarded.
The photo above shows the cover of her book “Living Artfully, Inspired by Tradition”. First let me say, the book is absolutely beautiful. It is a feast for the eyes. I know this is a well worn cliche, but it truly is. The photography is amazing. And the contents are inspirational. It inspires you to look at your possessions, collections and heirlooms with new eyes and rediscover new uses for them.
Shannon’s book has sections on collections, including miniatures, tradition and family heirlooms, recipes and entertaining. The photo below shows gazpacho (one of the many recipes in the book) with little vegetable skewers…using antique nut picks as the skewers!
This book can be purchased at www.orangefrazer.com. Proceeds will benefit the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio.
And finally, I mentioned in last year’s Etsy anniversary post that I sold hawthorn wood from my yard for craft purposes at my Etsy shop (that’s diversification for you). I also sell other woods including yew, maple and holly. This past year a woman from Texas purchased a piece of holly wood and wrote “My daughter is excited that I will be able to craft a wand similar to Harry Potter’s out of the correct wood (holly). She says it’s really cool.” In her review she said her “daughter is thrilled”. My holly made a young girl in Texas happy. I think that’s really cool, too!