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Newsletter Archives

Polish Pottery

Our friend Agnus does a very brisk business selling Polish Pottery at the local area antique and collectibles market. We can’t help but marvel at her salesmanship as she explains to the throngs of collectors and potential customers who hang around her booth, what Polish Pottery is, where it comes from and best of all the different vibrant patterns it comes in.


Dumb Mikey Alias Dick Chaney

Mikey and his new girlfriend recently decided to purchase a farm in southern Virginia and with this farm they got a few head of cattle.  Noting that the cattle needed a little companionship, Mikey told his girl that he wanted to buy them a bull.  Knowing Mikey, his girlfriend told him, “Why don’t I go out and buy the bull.  When I find one, I will call you and you come on down with the trailer to pick him up.”  Mikey agrees and off she goes in search of a bull and she finally finds one in a remote ranch in North Carolina. 


Library of Congress Baseball Card Collection

The Library of Congress has a collection of 2100 of the most treasured baseball trading cards dating from 1887 to 1914 and features such legendary stars as Ty Cobb & Cy Young.  The collection was donated to the Library by the poet and Lincoln biography writer Carl Sandburg.  The collection was part of a larger collection of about 12,000 cards cataloged and preserved in albums by Benjamin K. Edwards. 

Robert Atkinson Fox

Robert Atkinson Fox was born in 1860 and studied art in Toronto and Europe prior to coming to America.  Mr. Fox went on to become one of the 20th Century’s most reproduced artists of all time.  His works have appeared in all mediums including prints, ad pieces, postcards as well as magazine covers and children’s books.  His repertoire included animals, historical figures, the American Indian as well as landscapes and gardens. 


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Opalescent Glass

Opalescent glass is generally a piece of clear or colored piece of glass that has a milk white trim and an accented pattern design.  When held to a powerful sunlight, the glass will give off a warm glow, reminiscent of an opal, hence the name. This effect of opalescent glass is created by the glass artisan by applying a layer of clear glass over the original piece, then firing it once or twice.  Most of the major U.S. glass makers still offer some opalescent glass pieces; the most notable of those is the Fenton. 


The Library of Congress website states, “The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library's National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning."


What makes collecting his artwork interesting is that he used as many as 25 different pseudonyms.  Some of his works were signed R. Atkinson Fox yet many were left unsigned, making it that much more difficult to identify some of his pieces.  To complicate things even more, Mr. Fox’s two nephews, G.B. Fox and W. Gordon Fox, painted in a similar manner to the great artist himself, who passed away in 1935.

Newsletter 06-09-2005
Newsletter 06-23-2005
Newsletter 07-07-2005
Newsletter 07-20-2005
Newsletter 08-04-2005
Newsletter 08-18-2005
Newsletter 09-01-2005
Newsletter 09-15-2005
Newsletter 09-29-2005
Newsletter 10-13-2005
Newsletter 11-03-2005
Newsletter 11-17-2005
Newsletter 12-01-2005
Newsletter 12-22-2005
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Fenton Glass
Murano Art Glass
Blenko Glass
Anchor Hocking Glass
Amberina  Glass

Polish Pottery is high-fired in over 1250 degrees C, and is extremely durable and lasts for many many years.  The first known pieces of this pottery date back to the 1500’s and were hand made and hand decorated.  In the early days, the pottery was decorated using potatoes to create the designs, today the designs are created with sponges.  The main colors used even to this day arecobalt blue, peacock blue as well as earth tones.  Each piece was an individual piece of artwork.  Most of the pottery comes from the City of Boleslawiec, called by some the “Home of Polish Pottery.”

While molds are used for some pieces, most of the pieces are still made on a pottery wheel.  The decoration is applied after the pieces are fired in coal and gas ovens, then a glaze is applied to the piece.  Today the pottery comes in hundreds of patterns. Because of the high temperatures, the Polish Pottery pieces are extremely resilient and can withstand use of the microwave oven, the fridge and or regular ovens.  Polish Pottery is also very collectible; especially those pieces marked “Unikat” which stands for unique.  These unique pieces are created by accomplished artisans who create their own work from start to finish.

The Fenton Glass Company of West Virginia still offers some of the higher quality pieces.  People sometimes confuse the term opalescent with the word iridescence.  Iridescence normally refers to the rainbow effect that carnival glass gives off under strong light.  The example to the left is an opalescent piece from the Fenton Glass Company.  The example to the right is an example of carnival glass and its iridescent rainbow.

However, the rancher did not have a phone and cell phones are useless in that area.  So the rancher told her to go into town and send a telegram.  She says, “great idea” and goes to town.  Upon arriving at the Western Union, she asks the guy behind the counter, “how much to send a telegram?”  To which he replies, its 75 cents per word.  Her being as cheap as Mikey, thinks about it for a minute and then says to the man, “okay, send Mikey one word only” and the man asks, “and what word would that be?” She says, “comfortable.”  The man looks at her and says, “are you sure your boyfriend Mikey will understand that message.” “Sure,” she says, “Mikey reads so slow that when he gets this out, he will see, COM-FOR-DA-BULL.”