Grumpy gus pt.2

This wooden trinket box, which was probably made in India, contained the minor treasures of a Gen X kid. I can’t confirm that, of course, but that’s the story that makes the most sense in my head.

That tiny serving set up top was made from sterling silver in Mexico. The white (porcelain?) figurine of the boy and the frog is also interesting.

It looks pretty old. It’s marked P 92 on the underside, and there’s a blue stain that could be a maker’s mark (it kind of looks like a sea creature to me, if you look at it counter-clockwise). I also spotted a couple faint letters (I think “CG” – I’m pretty confident in the G but not the C) on the back. I still don’t know much about ceramics / porcelain, so please let us know if you can fill in some blanks!

That enameled copper dish is my favourite piece here. Again, I haven’t seen anything quite like it before, and the green in particular is very striking. The wooden box on the left is marked “handmalerei” (German for hand-painted). That picture frame is very old and cute, as is the Cyma clock.

Here’s an unusual bowl. The clay is a pretty dark brown, and the image features two guys in green uniforms brandishing swords at each other. It’s also signed, as you can see below. I’d love to know more about it! I’m guessing it’s European, as a lot of the older stuff here seems to have come from the old world.

I picked up a few very old frames here. I may sound like a broken record today, but I haven’t seen any quite like the ones on the left before.

Here’s the back of the frame on the far left. I don’t know what most of these scribbles mean, other than the name “Louise.”

Another nice frame, about 10″ tall. Could anyone date the dress of the people in the photo?

I’m pretty sure the case of this magnifying glass is made from tortoiseshell. There’s a little crack around the lens, but I think that could be fixed pretty easily. The inside is lined with red velvet.

Let’s finish with this stuff (which includes a couple repeats, oops). At the bottom right is a bone and 835 silver cigarette holder. Above that is a very nice straight razor. The handle appears to the tortoiseshell, and the blade itself is stamped with a crown. Finally, at bottom right we have a beautiful Mabie Todd “Swan” fountain pen. It has a 14k gold nib, a cool snakeskin-like design, and was made in England, probably in the 1930s. Similar pens are doing pretty well on eBay.

So, all in all this was a pretty good haul! There’s still a lot to learn about these items, however, so it’s yet to be determined how much money I can make here.

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23 thoughts on “Grumpy gus pt.2”

  1. As a photographer my favorites of your treasures are the old portraits. The one of the mother with her two children must be early 1800’s at least. I’m no expert on clothing styles but just guessing. I also love the frames all these photos are in. The other thing you found that I covet is that fountain pen with the 14 ct. gold nib. It reminds me of one belonging to my grandfather. You don’t mention the ring with the lavender stone in the photo with the pen. I wonder if it is just a cheap glass piece in the setting or something worth more. It’s pretty, anyway.

    Well, some interesting stuff. I hope you make a healthy sum from all of it. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Thought Grumpy Gus pt 2 was very interesting. Thank you for posting. I always enjoy anything you post. I too thought the ring with the lavender stone was very pretty.

  3. It amazing that people would just throw out things of such intrinsic beauty like that pen, or the onyx locket, or the frames. And stuff of ACTUAL value like the coins. A free box by the curb would have been better, or a charity shop, or even going into one of those junk antique stores and asking for an offer.

  4. I have my mother’s CYMA clock just like yours shown here. Probably from about 1950, UK. As usual I love your blog, how well you photograph your finds and tell us about them.

  5. I am not an expert, just someone with an interest in fashion, but the portrait of the woman with children might be from 1890-1910 or thereabouts. https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1890-1899/ (scroll down to Fig. 4 for the closest match I could find for the woman’s dress). The children’s clothing is similar to this time period also, judging from what I’ve found online. I’d love to hear from a real expert on this question.

    The keepsake box and contents is the kind of thing I would love to find. All those little pieces were important to someone and I like to imagine the stories behind them.

  6. Re the lady with two children. I think this could be a momento mori photo….meaning at least one person in the image was deceased. Victorians took these photos to commemorate loved ones. My guess would be the boy as he seems oddly posed. These photos are very desirable by some collectors so may want to research it.

  7. Hey Martin, The two unusual frames with female subjects you found are HANDPAINTED MINATURES PORTRAITS. Unfreaking believable. See http://www.Firstdibs. The unusual frame backs are right. The woman on the right is wearing clothing style consistent with Empress Josephine (Napoleon) and the woman on the right has a dress waistline, ala Marie Antoinette, very French court.

  8. The woman with children are from 1870’s. You can ask /r/fashionhistory for more expert opinions. Contrary to popular narrative photos of deceased are exceedingly rare and I highly doubt this is one of them.

  9. Nice finds!!
    The big silver coins are swiss francs(Chf).
    I‘m interessted in the smaller coins on the left, in the little box.
    They seam pretty old, if they’re also swiss, they could be worth some dollars.
    Could you please post a picture of them outside the box?
    I always enjoy to read your post, make me hope that there are still little treasures to find!(i always got to climb a skip, when i pass one, made some good finds already!…)

    1. Those big coins aren’t silver, even though they do have a bit of silver-like tarnish. Fortunately the Swiss Franc is still around, so those are still worth some money in Switzerland. The smaller coins are also Swiss, 1 & 2 rappen coins from the 1930s. I don’t have time to go back to that, but you can find pictures online.

  10. that little brown glass weenie dog. i wish i could purchase it! my daughter has a deer one and would love to add the dog to it since we own a doxie ❤ i dont even know what to search for on ebay to find one.

  11. Wow! Lotsa gems in that haul, Martin! Oodles of curiosities! Wish I were there to go through them all in person.
    RE: post-mortem photography, you may find these articles interesting and informative … https://cabinetofcuriosities.ca/pictures-of-the-dead-the-truth-about-post-mortem-photography/ and https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/victorian-post-mortem-photographs It’s unlikely yours are. Just the same, they’re all great pics!
    A couple of good articles on miniature portraits https://antique-collecting.co.uk/2019/05/20/guide-to-collecting-miniature-portraits/ and https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/portrait-miniatures/ (Yours are beauties!)
    Skeleton keys! I see skeleton keys! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the links, it’s good to know that the post-mortem photography thing is largely a hoax (I have seen a few casket photos, which are apparently the only legitimate ones).

  12. HI Marty. Back at it. Took a little trip to a costume history website. The woman on the right is wearing the Empire style dress that was popular 1790-1820. Most likely earlier in the time period, as sleeves were added as the style progressed. The woman on the left is more difficult as we can’t see the lower half of her gown, but it appears to be a robe a la franchise, starting about 1740. Fashion did not change quickly in past centuries but I am sure someone knowledgeable about lace and necklines could be more precise. Miniatures were initially reserved for the elite, but trickled down to the upper class, which was small. It is amazing that someone would throw away two century old professional paintings.

    1. Thanks for the info. I’m also amazed, I knew they were old but I wasn’t expecting them to be that old. Most of the stuff I find is from the 20th century, sometimes the late 19th century, so I tend to assume most of my finds are from that era. But some people definitely have some really old stuff kicking around (I’ve been watching a lot of Antiques Roadshow lately, which reinforces that notion), and if someone inherits something but doesn’t appreciate it, the object might end up in the trash. I’ll definitely take a closer look at them soon.

  13. Most memento mori were locket photos not of a deceased person, but of that person when he/she was alive. The other memento mori items tend to be jewelry, especially rings with locks of the deceased person’s hair braided and encased in the band. We have one from a great great great grandmother. I’ve also seen lockets with hair; occasionally, an entire bracelet of woven hair. These are now popular collector’s items. I swooned over the Mabie Todd Swan pen. I’m a collector and user of vintage pens, and that’s the one that started my pen madness!

  14. Marty. The miniatures are in ebonized frames. While I was perusing pics at 1st Dibs, I almost fell over, I have an Indian Miniature Painting (Taj Mahal) in Ebony frame that is very, very similar to one for $850 on 1st Dibs. I took it from my step grandparent’s home and tried multiple times to give it back to their great grandchildren, but no one wanted anything from the box. Before I gave up and gave the items away after 25 years, I liked and kept that piece and have it on a bookshelf with items that belonged to family and ancestors.

    1. Thanks. I’m looking at mine now, the second one (the more rectangular one) has tape on the back so it must have been opened relatively recently (though not that recently as the tape looks pretty old itself). Wondering if I should remove the tape and take a closer look at the image. That Taj Mahal one sounds pretty nice, it’d likely be pretty easy to sell in the 2-300$ range (1stDibs prices tend to be pretty inflated)

  15. How Queen Elizabeth I’s Only Surviving Dress Was Discovered in a Rural Church. Queen Elizabeth owned 1900 dresses at her death. Google this subject to find how her repurposed dress was found in a church recently. Please remember there was no embroidery or sewing machines so everything was hand done.

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