Which 19 th Century French Animalier Sculptor is Regarded as the Best?

When it comes to Animalier sculptors, no one can quite compare to Isidore Bonheur. Born in 1827 to a family of artists with a wide variety of talents, it didn’t take long for Bonheur to find his passion ran along the same lines as his lineage. To this day, he is still regarded by many as the best Animalier sculptor to grace art’s magnificent history. Among his most well-known pieces, Isidore Bonheur’s bronze horse sculpture, Le Grand Jockey, is a great example of his mastery over his craft. The most famous casting shows a jockey patting his winning horse on the neck in exquisite detail, down to the veins in the horse’s legs and neck.

Sculptor

Isidore-Jules Bonheur Had a Range of Talents

Like the rest of his family, Bonheur inherited a skilled hand in many various art-forms. First and foremost, though, he held a particular mastery over bronze sculpture along with a certain passion for the trade. Along with the horse sculpture, the bull and bear sculpture by Isidore remains a favorite of fans of his work. It depicts a battle between a bull and a bear in which the art expertly demonstrates an incredible amount of tension while also maintaining a high level of detail and realism. However, though they are some of the most famous, they are far from the only Bonheur pieces you may have seen.

Picture of bull and bear piece

Isidore’s older sister, Rosa, frequently collaborated with him. They made pieces in pairs, complimenting both art styles and bringing the pieces together. This was generally true in regards to his domestic cattle, sheep, and/or equestrian pieces. He did not stop at these common animals, however, and frequently did pieces with more wild elements, such as lions, bears, and hunting groups on his own.

He Earned Lasting Recognition

While many artists, such as Vincent Van Gogh, received little to no recognition before their lives were over, Isidore received a great deal of respect during and after his life. To this day, his works are among those most highly praised at the French Animalier school. He is consistently ranked among the finest of his time and has left a lasting impression on the path that the Animalier style of art has taken. His talent was never taken for granted or denied by onlookers. In fact, a life-sized casting of his eight-point stag piece is currently on display in the Perigueux Museum. He also completed three monuments still standing today, including a piece he created for his late sister that he did not complete until his final two years. The other two are lions he crafted to guard the Palais de Justice.

Antiques

Throughout his life, Bonheur was commissioned outside of his home country of France as well, including palace pieces for King Edward VII of England and two large bulls to decorate the palace of the Sultan of Constantinople. His works are immortalized not only in person, but also in literature. Bonheur’s life has been explored, analyzed, and appreciated in more than a half dozen books between the years of 1914 and 1971 alone. The internationally renowned sculptor has gone down in history and most certainly will remain there for years to come.

Bronze Sculptures by Erte That Are in Great Demand

Without a doubt, Erte ranks highly among the best sculpture artists of all time. He is known as the Father of Art Deco and his works are recognizable, hold deep value and meaning, and have transcended the years without fading from the hearts of their admirers. An Erte bronze sculpture can sell for thousands of dollars in today’s market and are incredibly popular with those who can afford such a luxury. Erte had several different periods within his work and worked with a variety of media. His bronze sculptures in particular, though, hold an incredible value in the hearts of thousands. Influenced by the theater (as well as film) and fashion, his pieces captured the world around him while also capturing the fluidity and motion that are the essence of life.

Bronze Sculptures

Erte Changed the Game in the 20 th Century

There is something to be said about the absolute uniqueness of an Erte sculpture and carvings associated with each unique piece. While an Erte sculpture may contain elements that carry tones of his predecessors, he took what he learned to make his pieces 100% his own. For many artists in this time, working with statues or sculptures meant creating something large and memorable. In fact, they were often categorized into two main groups based on size –
monumental and museum sized.

Bacchante

Erte wanted something different. Most of his bronze sculptures are under two feet tall. This enhanced their decorative purpose, making them far more versatile when it comes to where they could be used. Erte spurred on a whole new art movement not once, but twice! He started the Art Deco movement in his younger years, and after revisiting the concept as an elderly man, it was reborn. These pieces influenced more people than he could count during his life, and continue to inspire many to this day.

Erte’s Most Popular Bronze Pieces

Erte took influence from all over the world. They carried tones of the land from which the inspiration was taken, whether that was Paris, where he moved pursuing higher art, America, Ancient Greece, or Arabia. Each piece was unique and carried its own strengths. His work spans the globe, bringing people, cultures, and ideas together in one small, cohesive masterpiece. It is from here that much of his appeal stems.

Popular Bronze Pieces

American Heiress, for example, tells a story just by looking at the piece. This had heavy American influence, hence the name. It accurately depicts not only the stereotypical attire of such a prestigious upper-class woman of that time, but the body language and flow of the work displays her attitude as well. It shows a glimpse into history, making it highly popular in today’s world. This is also evident in other American-based pieces as well, such as Broadway’s in Fashion. This piece combines the likeness of a woman with the stage in an expertly crafted and cohesive work of art.

Erte took inspiration from other global areas as well, often from Asian or Greek culture. This included traditional kimono-clad women such as in his Asian Princess along with goddesses such as in his Aphrodite piece. He also captured the culture of Saudi Arabia in Arabian Nights. This focus on lore and mythology captures images that you cannot see elsewhere as he brought life to stories like the Golden Fleece from ancient Greece. He gave the story a face, a personality, and an emotional side that it did not have before.

American Heiress

He didn’t always stray so far from home, though. Many of his pieces depicted scenes from home in France. He never failed to capture the fluidity and fleetingness of life. One of his most popular French-based pieces, Bella de Nuit, brings life to a period in history, very similarly to American Heiress. These are just a sampling of the many masterpieces that Erte created over his long life that leave his legacy strong to this day.

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10 Tips for Making Money from Antiques

Are you looking for a way to start making money from antiques & collectibles? While some people see the buying and selling of antiques as a hobby, others have turned it into a lucrative side-job or even their main career. There are a lot of different ways you can get into dealing in antiques, but if you really want to turn this into your main source of income, you’ve got to go about it the right way. By following these ten tips, you can get your new antique dealing job off to a great start.

1. Do Your Homework

Make money from antique

Before you go out and purchase someone’s antique collection, you need to know what’s valuable and what’s not. You’ll find a lot of information in books on collectibles and online. Learn as much as you can about dealing in antiques and collectibles before you spend any money. That way, you’ll know what’s worth buying and what’s not.

2. Focus on One Area

why to focus on one area

 

The terms “antiques” and “collectibles” are very broad categories. It can be very difficult to learn everything there is about all the different types of antiques and collectibles out there. That’s why a lot of people focus on one area. For example, you could deal in antique furniture or Disney collectibles. By narrowing down your focus, you’ll be better able to know what’s valuable and be able to find specific buyers to sell your items to.

3. Only Buy from Dealers with a Good Reputation

Only Buy from Dealers with a Good Reputation

This is especially true for those who are considering buying an antique collection online and can’t personally inspect the items. Always buy from someone with a good reputation to avoid getting ripped off.

4. Buy What You Like

Buy What You Like

5. Go for the Rare Items

Go for the Rare Items

Collectors want to own things that very few others will have, so always look for rare items. While you’ll probably have to spend more to buy these, you’ll be able to sell them for a lot more.

6. Watch for Fakes

Watch for Fakes

You never know when someone is going to try to slip in a fake antique. There are a number of different ways these forgers can use to make items look older than they actually are. Learn about these techniques and how you can spot them. If you’re unsure of something’s authenticity, think twice before buying.

7. Understand the Restoration Process

Understand the Restoration Process

You also need to know how the items are restored and what signs of restoration look like. Those who want to know how to make money from antiques might be surprised that people pass off restored pieces as originals, but they do.

8. Get Insurance

Get Insurance

Be sure you insure your most valuable items or your collection as a whole. If you’re transporting these rare collectibles and they’re damaged, you’ll be glad you did.

9. Understand Auction Costs

Understand Auction Costs

If you’re buying items from an auction house, make sure you know what additional fees and costs are involved. Many auction houses charge a fee called a buyer’s premium in addition to the amount of your bid.

10. Look for Specialty Trade Shows

Look for Specialty Trade Shows

There are a number of trade shows out there that focus on one particular niche. For example, if you’re collecting rare comic books, make sure you attend a number of comic cons. You can find rare finds there to add to your collection, plus you may be able to become a vendor yourself.

What Do the 750, 585, and 417 Markings on Gold Jewelry Mean?

If you own any gold jewelry, you might notice that there’s a small number marked on it. Most people assume these numbers indicate the manufacturer or batch of jewelry, but they actually mean something completely different. Experienced gold buyers know exactly what these numbers mean, and they use this information when determining how much they will pay you for any jewelry you’re trying to sell them. Here’s a quick guide to these common gold markings.

A Measure of Gold Purity

These numbers indicate how pure the gold is. Pure gold is actually much too soft for jewelry and other items, plus it’s virtually impossible to get gold that has absolutely no impurities in it. That means gold traders and jewelers need some way of identifying just how pure the gold they’re purchasing is. The result of this need is the various markings you’ll find on gold estate jewelry and other items.

The formula used to determine these markings isn’t complicated, but it isn’t obvious to most customers. Gold is usually sold by the karat. Everyone knows that 24 karat or 24K gold is the highest form of gold you can get. It’s considered pure gold, though again, it’s not 100% pure. Instead, it’s .9999 fine.

Antique Gold Stamp

To determine how fine your gold is, all you need to do is take the caratage and divide it by 24, the maximum number of karats gold can have. For example, if you have gold that’s 10K, take that and divide it by 24. You’ll get 0.416 with a repeating 6. Round that up to .417, and you’ll find a number you often see stamped on gold.

Common Markings

Common Markings

So if the 417 gold markings on your jewelry indicate 10 carats, what do the other common markings indicate?

  • 8 karat gold – 333. It’s 33%, or about a third pure gold. Note that you won’t see this on jewelry made in the US, but if you have anything from Europe, you may notice this mark.
  • 9 karat gold – 375. Likewise, you won’t find any US jewelry marked with 375, but you’ll see it on British items.
  • 10 karat gold – 417 (sometimes marked as 416). All jewelry sold in the US must be at least 10 karats in order to be marketed as gold.
  • 12 karat gold – 500. You won’t see much 12K jewelry since it tends to be fairly dull in color.
  • 14 karat gold – 583 (sometimes marked as 585)
  • 18 karat gold – 750
  • 22 karat gold – 916 (sometimes marked as 917). Normally, 22K gold is too soft to use in much jewelry, but it’s often used for gold leaf or plating.
  • 24 karat gold – 999. Again, 24K gold is too soft for jewelry.

How to Use this Information

Antique Gold Buyers

If you’ve been wondering, “What is 750 gold?” now you know. So, what can you do with this information? It’s really only useful if you’re selling gold jewelry. When you approach a antique gold buyer, knowing how pure your jewelry is will give you an idea of what type of offer you receive. If you get a low offer for something you know is 14 karat gold, you’ll know to turn it down.

Tips and Tricks To Eliminate Smudge from Silver

Vinegar

Vinegar

Are you tired of seeing smudges all over your antique silver flatware? If so, you probably spend a lot of time with a polishing cloth trying to get those smudges out. But what if there was a better way? There are a number of different old tips and tricks that you can use to get those smudges out of your favourite silver pieces. Here are a few of these different tricks.

Olive Oil

Most people know that they can clean their antique silver using vinegar. It’s one of the time-testing methods that works incredibly well. It will also remove any tarnishing from your silver, leaving it looking brand new and smudge-free.

Olive Oil

This technique is great for cleaning items such as antique sterling silver bowls that are going to be passed around a lot. The olive oil will clean all the smudges off, but it does more than that. First, put a bit of olive oil on a soft cleaning cloth. Now rub the cloth against your silver, going with the grain. Then wipe it off using a clean cloth. You’ll remove a good amount of the olive oil, but very trace amounts will remain. These amounts will actually create a protective barrier that prevents future smudges. You’ll need to reapply every now and then, of course.

Use Proper Storage Techniques

If you don’t want to spend time cleaning your silver when you take it out of the cabinet, make sure you’re storing it correctly. All of the silver should be completely dry before you place it in the cabinet. Make sure each item is wrapped in special anti-tarnish paper or in flannel. Then put each piece into an air-tight bag. You can also add some of those small packets of silica gel to the drawer or cabinet. They will help reduce the humidity in the area.

Use Proper Storage Techniques

For items such as antique silver trays, you may want to get anti-tarnish cloth to place in between them when stacking. This is especially necessary if you’re not wrapping the entire piece in anti-tarnish paper. Silver scratches easily, so you want to make sure your items are protected.

Other Cleaning Methods

There are a lot of other common household goods you can use to clean the smudges off of your antique silver tea set and other silver items. Many of these techniques will also help you remove tarnish, so you can take care of two tasks at once.

Other Cleaning Methods

  • Use warm water and a mild dish soap.
  • Use soda water and a damp cloth.
  • Polish the silver with baby oil. Like olive oil, it will help create a protective barrier that prevents future smudging.
  • Use lemon juice.
  • Polish your silver with sheepskin.
  • Use a furniture polish wipe to remove smudges and other spots.
  • Clean your items with glass cleaner.

Many of these tips will work on all of your silver, but if you’re at all concerned, try the solution on a small, unnoticeable part of one piece of silver first.

What precisely is sterling silver and how does it is different from real silver?

If you’ve seen something marked as sterling silver, you may assume that it’s no different from regular silver. However, that’s not the case. These two terms may sometimes be used interchangeably, but they’re not truly equivalent. There is a difference between sterling silver and standard silver, and if you’re buying a lot of different silver jewelry, you should know exactly what it is you’re purchasing.

sterling_and_real_silver

What is Pure or Fine Silver?

If you’re purchasing something that is advertised as pure silver, that means it has 99.9% silver in it. It’s as pure as you can get—there’s no such thing as 100% silver with no impurities. Fine silver is not used in jewelry because it’s simply too soft. The items would be too malleable by hand. That’s why the silver jewelry and other items you purchase will be made from a mixture of silver and another metal (or several metals).

What is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver, on the other hand, is a silver alloy. It’s made when pure silver is mixed with copper. The result is an alloy that is not as soft as pure copper and is much more durable. Sterling silver is generally 92.5% pure. That means only 7.5% of the mixture is another metal. While copper is the most common, zinc and nickel are also often used in making sterling silver.

In many cases, items that are made out of sterling silver are actually coated with pure silver. This thin layer improves the look of the piece by making it shinier. However, these products should never be labeled as pure silver because they aren’t.

You should also look for the term “sterling silver plated” on products. These products are not made of sterling silver. Instead, they’re made out of other metals such as copper or nickel. They’ve just had an outer layer of sterling silver applied to them. Over time, this layer is going to start wearing off, leaving the item looking much less attractive.

What is Coin Silver?

If you’re researching sterling silver vs. pure silver, you may also see the term “coin silver” come up. This is another type of silver alloy. However, it’s less pure. Coin silver is generally no more than 90 percent pure silver, so it’s not used in jewelry that often.

How Do You Tell the Difference?

Reputable silver makers should always stamp their creations. On fine silver pieces, you’ll find a number that shows the amount of silver per hundred parts (or thousands, in some cases). The higher the number, the more silver is in the product. Pure silver should have a high number such as 999 (some items are marked as 99.9 or as .999, but these are all indicative of pure silver). On sterling silver, you should see 925 (or, again, 9.25 or .925). If the number is any lower than that, it shouldn’t be marked as sterling silver in the U.S.

Note that sterling silver sold in other countries may have a purity lower than 925. Not all countries have the same purity requirements that the U.S. has.

Reed & Barton – An influential and significant silversmith in the 19th & 20th century

Reed and Barton was a famous silversmith that has had a substantial impact on the silver industry in the 19th and 20th century. The company opened its doors in 1824 when Henry G. Reed and his business partner Charles E. Barton purchased the failing company owned by Isaac Babbitt. This company, Babbitt & Crossman, produced Britannia ware using a material similar to pewter. They later moved into dealing with gold and, eventually, silver. However, their company in Taunton, Massachusetts, was slowly losing money, so the two sold it to Reed and Barton.

reed_and_barton

Early Success in the 1800s

By the end of the 1840s, Reed and Barton silver patterns were fairly popular, and the company had gained a reputation as a plated-silverware business. During the next decade, the company ended up selling a number of unplated items, including trays, bowls, and pitchers, to another company. This company, Rogers Bros., actually put its own hallmark on many of these items. Determining if these items were actually produced by Reed and Barton remains difficult. On the other hand, Reed and Barton actually purchased spoons, forks, and knives from Rogers Bros. around the same time and placed the Reed and Barton silver marks on them, meaning that some Reed and Barton items were only plated by the company.

Reed and Barton supplied the Union soldiers with weapons during the Civil War. Following that, they mainly focused on making silverplated napkin rings. These rings were often shaped like figures. Once sterling silver prices rose during the late 1880s, the company began manufacturing sterling silver pitchers, trays, goblets, flatware, and other items. By the end of the century, the company had used their profits to modernize their factory so they could mass produce their items.

The 1900s

During the 1900s, Reed Barton silver continued to be incredibly popular. The company hired a publicist to assist in promoting their brand. They opened a store in New York City, began making trophies, and took on commissions from the United States Navy. Some notable items Reed and Barton were responsible for include the silver used on the USS Arizona, the metals for the Summer Olympic games held in Atlanta, Georgia, and a number of famous flatware patterns. The 87 silver pieces created for the USS Arizona were actually removed before the ship sunk at Pearl Harbor and can now be seen at the Arizona Capitol Museum.

These flatware patterns are still highly sought after today and have influenced the market. The 1895 Pointed Antique pattern, which was actually based on a unique pattern Paul Revere designed, is still popular. Other popular flatware patterns include Love Disarmed, Francis First, and Georgian Rose Guildhall. Many of these patterns are fairly traditional, but Reed and Barton did release some more modern options such as the 1958 Diamond pattern.

Bankruptcy

The 2000s saw Reed and Barton slowly losing revenue, and in February of 2015, the company filed for bankruptcy. Following an auction in April of that year, most of the assets held by the company were purchased by The Lenox Company, one of Reed and Barton’s competitors.

Silver Patterns that are a Gold Mine for Collectors and Sellers

Have you inherited a set of antique silverware and are wondering if it’s worth anything? Perhaps you’ve come across various sets of flatware at estate sales or thrift stores and wondered if you should purchase it to resell to a collector. Knowing some of the most valuable patterns and sets can be helpful if you’re thinking about selling your silver. Here are some of these patterns you might want to look for.

Antique Tea sets

The Wallace Grand Baroque Pattern

One good example of a set of silver that is worth a nice amount of money is the Wallace Grand Baroque pattern. You may find a standard set of four pieces (fork, salad fork, teaspoon, and knife) of this pattern selling for several hundred dollars. Like most silver sets, there are additional pieces available such as soup spoons, butter knives, and cocktail forks. There are a number of different factors that will determine the overall price you can sell a set of this silver for.

Tea set

Other Patterns to Look For

There are many other patterns you should look for if you want to make a nice profit by reselling silver. Here are a few of them:

  • Audubon by Tiffany – this pattern was produced during the 1950s. In addition to sterling silver, a gold-plated version of the Audubon pattern is also available.
  • Reed and Barton St. Frances – Reed and Barton began producing sterling silver sets in the 1800s. Their older sets are highly sought after, especially since the company went bankrupt in 2015.
  • Rose by Stieff – Stieff, now called Kirk-Stieff, produced a number of patterns. Their most famous is the Maryland or Stieff Rose pattern, a unique print that has been manufactured since 1892.
  • Cactus by George Jensen – this art Deco pattern was mainly produced during the 1920s and 30s.
  • Grand Victoria by Wallace – while not the pattern that made Wallace a true name in the silver industry, the Grand Victoria is still very popular among collectors.

a Tiffany mark

What Makes a Set a Gold Mine?

How do you know if you’ve got a truly collectable set of silverware or if you have something that’s best used at your next family gathering? There are a number of things to take into account. A few pieces of Rose by Stieff may sell fairly well to someone who needs to complete their set, but overall, collectors generally want full sets. A set of Audubon by Tiffany that’s polished, unbent, and undamaged will, naturally, fetch a higher price than a set with rust and obvious heavy use.

Identifying Sterling Silver Patterns 101

If you have a set of antique sterling silverware, you might be wondering what the pattern is or if what you have is actually an authentic set of sterling flatware. The first thing you’ll want to do is look for the Sterling name on the silverware. In most cases, you’ll find the word sterling on the back of each piece’s handle. In some cases, your silver may have a different identifying logo that is used to mark sterling pieces.

Antique Marking

Is There a Manufacturer’s Mark?

Next, you’ll want to determine which of the sterling silver patterns you have. There are a good number of these patterns. It can help if you can find the manufacturer’s identifying mark. This is often also located on the handle, although this may be a company logo and not a name. You can look online to find a catalog of the different sterling manufacturers and their related logos. Finding this logo is the easiest way of identifying your sterling silver patterns.

Antique Mark

Determine the Pattern

Once you’ve learned which manufacturer created your antique sterling silverware, you can determine the pattern. Again, the internet is a great resource for this. There are websites devoted to cataloging all of the different antique silverware markings out there, and these sites often include detailed images of the various patterns. All you need to do is look at the images available and see which one matches your silverware.

925 Silver

Tips for Silver Patterns Identification

If you’re having difficulty determining which silver pattern you have, here are a few additional tips that can help you narrow it down.

  • Polish your silverware if you’re having difficulty determining the manufacturer’s mark. Sometimes cleaning it can make it easier to identify.
  • Look for “925” or another number. This identifies how much of the piece is made from  bsterling.
  • Sometimes looking for antique silverware markings that show your flatware set is not sterling silver is just as helpful as looking for sterling marks. If you see “IS” or “A1” on your silverware, it indicates that the piece is silver-plated, not sterling silver.
  • There are some companies that provide silver patterns identification services. You take a clear picture of your silverware pattern and email or fax it to them. Their experts then help you determine the pattern.
  • Remember that some manufacturers changed their company marks over time, especially when a company was bought out or merged with another. If the mark you find doesn’t quite match the image you see online, continue your search into that manufacturer to see if they used a different mark at some point.

Smart Ways to Sell Family Silver for Cash

When you decide it’s time to sell off your family’s antique silver, you want to be sure you get the best value for it. Selling silverware, teapots, and other similar things is a bit more complicated than just heading down to your local pawn shop—at least if you want to get top dollar.To sell silver and get the most out of it, you need to know a few things. Here are a few tips on finding antique silver buyers in Florida, and getting the money that your family silver is truly worth.

Finding Out Where to Sell Silver

Second, the people who work in pawn shops are kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to purchasing and selling goods. They don’t have the trained eye that is required to truly evaluate the worth of a piece. A pawn shop employee may believe that he or she is offering you a great price and unknowingly underbid you for your family silver.

Antique Pawn Shop

Before you take your silver in, spend some time polishing it. A trained eye will see the silver’s value, regardless of whether you polished it or not. Still, silver buyers are people, too, and leaving a good impression will never hurt your position.

Never settle for the first offer you get. Remember, these people make a living by buying low and selling high. Get two or three offers, then consider which one you feel is best for your situation.

An alternative to this would be to take your family silver to a silver dealer for an evaluation as to its value. Be very clear beforehand that you are willing to pay him or her for his or her expertise in valuing the silver, but you will not be selling to him or her (that removes any incentive to provide a lower than usual valuation). Then, using that valuation as a baseline, shop around and see what kind of offers you can get.