These finds actually came a while back, originating from the same place in the Golden Square Mile that provided the great art deco era Asprey catalogue I’m trying to get big money for. I thought the catalogue was a one off find, but when I came across this stuff the week after I thought it best to hold off on sharing until the source had dried up. Perhaps it’s more paranoia than anything, but certain details in these posts could have made it possible for someone supernaturally good at researching to discover the location. I’ve been a bit more careful about this since losing my monopoly on a spot (and probably a lot of money) due to my posts a while back. Anyways, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything of value in these bins so I figure it’s now safe to share what I found.
There were a bunch of books in the recycling bin this time around.
I saved 15 books, all of which were in essentially mint condition. They were printed by the Franklin Library, a company that published very fine editions of classic books between 1973-2000. Their books, particularly the ones bound in leather are sought after by collectors and sell for nice prices on eBay.
However, my favourite finds were inside this box marked “knive blades & handles.”
True to its word, the box was loaded with knife blades and handles.
There were also a few other things, including this book about testing precious metals. On the inside cover is a ex libris bookplate bearing the same name as the one in the Asprey catalogue. It was printed in the 1930s but I suspect that gold and silver testing hasn’t really changed that much over the years.
For instance, Aqua Regia (which translates from latin to royal water) is still used to test gold today. I haven’t really figured out how to test gold yet and perhaps this book can help me. I have testing for silver more or less down pat.
Back to the blades and handles. These were definitely vintage pieces.
Some pieces were in great condition, like a very nice silver plate fork (near the bottom of the picture above) that was made by Mappin & Webb.
One handle and one blade (at top in the picture below) were sterling silver.
I thought several of the handles were made from ivory. However, upon further research they appear to be made from celluloid, a plastic invented in the mid 1800s that was once commonly used to imitate ivory.
This page is great if you’re looking to distinguish between ivory, bone, and celluloid. I don’t think I’ve found any ivory yet on my journeys.
There were also several handles made from what looks to be mother of pearl. I don’t think they’re worth much but they look nice and make a cool sound when you hit them together. They were likely part of a fancy silverware set (such as this) back in the day. Now these handles will make a great addition to my yard sale curiosity box.
This metal stamp was my favourite find. It’s the kind of thing I add to my personal curiosity box. The side is marked “W.D. Armstrong Maker Montreal.” W.D. Armstrong was a Montreal engraving company that was founded in 1915; it seems to exist today as Montreal Stencil. It measures just over an inch long and wide and is quite heavy for its size.
The actual stamp reads “Mappin’s Ltd Montreal.”
It was likely used by a Mappin & Webb operated boutique in Montreal. The store would have sold very high end luxury items. This postcard on eBay is the only evidence of such a store that I could find offhand.
I really enjoy finding items that were born from old school opulence. This stamp, which was probably made sometime between the 1920s and 1940s, isn’t luxurious at all, in fact it is purely functional (outside of the fancy handwritten script, which I assume wasn’t easy to do). However, I find it interesting because it was probably used in the day to day operations of this highly distinguished company, and because the design of the stamp is very characteristic of the time it was produced. I also suspect that this stamp may be one of a kind – it’s far more ephemeral than any of the luxury items Mappin’s would have sold. I couldn’t find anything like it on eBay, though the search was quite preliminary.
I plan on having a yard sale this Saturday – check out the Facebook event page for more details!