7 Vintage Americana Games to Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

Remember when there was nothing more exciting than a new board game? Gathering friends and family with a deck of cards or around game boards to play a strategic game is quite different than gathering around a computer screen and playing against a virtual opponent. These Americana finds will certainly bring you back to a simpler time.

Whether it’s ring toss, or a simple game of checkers, some of the best childhood memories are during game night. See below for some of our favorites:

19th Century Handmade Painted Checkerboard

Handmade Painted Checkerboard, Mid-late 19th century. Estimate: $250-$500

Handmade Painted Checkerboard, Mid-late 19th century. Estimate: $250-$500

 

Parcheesi Game Board, 1900

Parcheesi Game Board, 1900, made of Wood. Sold for $1,200

Parcheesi Game Board, 1900, made of Wood. Sold for $1,200

 

How to Fly Training Cockpit Pre-Flight Course Game

How to Fly Cockpit Pre-Flight Training Course Game, by maker: Einson-Freeman Co., Inc., 1942. Sold for $120

How to Fly Cockpit Pre-Flight Training Course Game, by maker: Einson-Freeman Co., Inc., 1942. Sold for $120

 

Spirit of St. Louis Transcontinental Spinner Game

Spirit of St. Louis Transcontinental Spinner Game, 1925. Estimate: $150 - $300

Spirit of St. Louis Transcontinental Spinner Game, 1925. Estimate: $150 – $300

 

Beanbag Toss Wood Game Board

Wood beanbag game, 1930-1940's, original paint. Sold for $80

Wood beanbag game, 1930-1940’s, original paint. Sold for $80

 

Peg Game Board from 1930

Homemade Peg Game Board, 1930. Sold for $160

Homemade Peg Game Board, 1930. Sold for $160

 

Ring Toss Board

Homemade Ring Toss Game Board, early 20th century. Sold for $65

Homemade Ring Toss Game Board, early 20th century. Sold for $65

 

Are these bringing back fond memories? Find more Americana gems in this week’s specially curated Americana sale on Jasper52.

 

6 Christmas Ornaments to Delight Your Christmas Tree

Your Christmas tree is the center of your home for a few weeks out of the year. Whether decorated with simple lights, popcorn strings, or family heirloom ornaments, the tree sparkles with tradition. German-American families enjoy the tradition of the Christmas pickle. On Christmas Eve, after the children have gone to bed, parents hide a pickle ornament deep in the branches of their decorated tree. On Christmas morning, the first child to locate the pickle receives an extra gift from Santa.

This season is an opportunity to add some extra charm and delight to your tree. Below are 6 Americana ornaments to dazzle your trimmings:

Man in the Moon

When this moon hits your eye, there will definitely be amoré. Enjoy this hand-blown sparkler from the 1940s.

Man in the Moon Hand Blown Christmas Ornament, 1940, 3.5 x 2 inches. Estimate: $75-$120

Man in the Moon Hand Blown Christmas Ornament, 1940, 3.5 x 2 inches. Estimate: $75-$120

 

Christmas Tea Pot

So adorable you almost want to drink tea out of it.

An adorable tea pot Christmas ornament, circa 1940, 3 x 2 inches. Sold: $20

An adorable tea pot Christmas ornament, circa 1940, 3 x 2 inches. Sold: $20

 

Two Fish Ornaments

One fish, two fish. Yellow Fish, gold fish.

2 Fish Hand Blown Christmas Ornament, 1940s, 3.5 x 2 inches each. Estimate: $75-$95

2 Fish Hand Blown Christmas Ornament, 1940s, 3.5 x 2 inches each. Estimate: $75-$95

 

Green Pickle

This is probably the ornament you’ve always wished you had.

Hand Blown Pickle Christmas Ornament, circa 1940, 3.75 x 1.5 inches. Sold: $25

Hand Blown Pickle Christmas Ornament, circa 1940, 3.75 x 1.5 inches. Sold: $25

 

Three Clown Ornaments

These vintage buddies add sparkle and a certain unique charm to your tree.

3 Clowns Hand Blown Christmas Ornaments, circa 1940s, 4.75 x 2 inches. Estimate: $85-$150

3 Clowns Hand Blown Christmas Ornaments, circa 1940s, 4.75 x 2 inches. Estimate: $85-$150

 

Cast Iron Santa Claus 

Ok, this is a doorstop and not an ornament. While you cannot hang it on your tree, adding this to your home holiday decor adds extra flair. Ho ho ho!

Santa Claus Door Stop, Cast iron with original paint, circa 1920, 6.75 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches. Estimate: $100-$150

Santa Claus Door Stop, Cast iron with original paint, circa 1920, 6.75 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Find unique Americana treasures in Jasper52’s weekly auctions. There’s always a delightful find.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Ernest Hemingway

Novelist, short story writer and journalist Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was one of America’s most accomplished and influential writers of the 20th century. His economical and understated style influenced scores of writers who followed, and many of his works are considered literary classics.

'The Sun Also Rise,' one of three early edition books by Ernest Hemingway. Estimate: $50-$150

‘The Sun Also Rise,’ one of three early edition books by Ernest Hemingway. Estimate: $50-$150

It has been said that Hemingway’s work focused on themes of love, war, wilderness and loss. His first novel, The Sun Also Rises, tells the story of a group of American and British expats who traveled from Paris to Pamplona, Spain, to watch the running of the bulls. Although some critics gave it a lukewarm review, the New York Times wrote in 1926, the year of the book’s publication, “No amount of analysis can convey the quality of The Sun Also Rises. It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame.” The book has never been out of print.

'The Old Man & Sea,' Ernest Hemingway, First Club Edition, 1952. Estimate: $15-$30

‘The Old Man & Sea,’ Ernest Hemingway, First Club Edition, 1952. Estimate: $15-$30

The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway’s tale of an aging Cuban fisherman’s struggle with a giant marlin off the coast of Florida, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952. It was the last of Hemingway’s major works of fiction to be published in his lifetime.

Hemingway cultivated a life of adventure, immersing himself in the atmosphere of numerous exotic ports of call, including Africa and the Caribbean islands. During the 1920s, he took up residence in Paris, a place where his American dollars would go a long way and, more importantly, where he would encounter “interesting people” – artists like Picasso, Miro and Gris; and writers such as James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, who became his mentor. Hemingway later maintained permanent homes in Cuba (1930s) and Key West (1940s/’50s). In 1959, he acquired a property in Ketchum, Idaho. It was there that Hemingway died in 1961 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

'A Portrait of Mister Papa,' by author Malcolm Cowley for Life Magazine, January 10, 1949. Estimate: $15-$30

‘A Portrait of Mister Papa,’ by author Malcolm Cowley for Life Magazine, January 10, 1949. Estimate: $15-$30

Although much has been written about his remarkable life and peerless body of work, here are five things you may not have known about the writer known affectionately as “Papa Hemingway.”

  1. He was a volunteer ambulance driver for the Allied Powers in Italy during World War I.
  2. In 1918 he received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery for assisting Italian soldiers to safety, even though he had just been seriously wounded by mortar fire while trying to get cigarettes and candy to troops on the front lines.
  3. Hemingway kept dozens of cats at his Cuban property, but it was a white, six-toed cat he received from a ship’s captain that began the many generations of similar six- and seven-toed cats at Hemingway House in Key West. Descendants of the original cats continue to live on the premises.
  4. Hemingway was almost killed in two successive airplane crashes while on safari in Africa in 1952.
  5. There’s a life-size bronze statue of Hemingway inside El Floridita bar in Havana, with a framed photo of the author with Fidel Castro on the wall behind it.

Whether you’re a veteran collector of Hemingway, or just getting started, be sure to bid in this curated Hemingway Book Auction.

13 Japanese Woodblock Prints To Prepare for Winter

Whether we’re ready for it or not, winter is coming. To prepare ourselves for the upcoming chilly season, we’ve collected a group of gorgeous winter scenes in selected Japanese prints.

“In much the same way that the Japanese go out in springtime to admire the cherry blossoms, the beauty of snow invites people to come out and admire the winter season,” according to Dieuwke Eijer, Japanese print expert. Further, “Images of cold winter, as indicated by snow scenes, invoke on the one hand feelings of melancholy, and on the other good feelings of bowls of hot noodles, and other typical winter sweet and delicacies.”

Hiroshige alone made over 1500 different winter scenes. The works incorporate a juxtaposition of the hardships endured by mid-19th century workers and travelers and the serenity of a snow-covered landscape. Despite the palpable discomfort of the situations portrayed, there is always an element of beauty visible.”

These 13 prints below highlight the natural beauty of the upcoming winter season. Bundle up and enjoy.

“Kyoto in Snow” by Ito Yuhan

Kyoto in Snow by artist Ito Yuhan, 1930s. Sold for $425

Kyoto in Snow by artist Ito Yuhan, 1930s. Sold for $425

 

“Kiso Gorge in Snow” by Hiroshige

Kiso Gorge in Snow Triptych by Hiroshige, 1857. Estimate: $400-$500

Kiso Gorge in Snow Triptych by Hiroshige, 1857. Sold for $340

 

“Falling in Snow” by Hirokage

Falling in Snow by artist Utagawa Hirokage, 1860. Estimate: $200-$300

Falling in Snow by artist Utagawa Hirokage, 1860. Estimate: $200-$300

 

“Snow at Shiba Daimon” by Hasui Kawase

Snow at Shiba Daimon by artist Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published posthumously by Watanabe. Sold for $280

Snow at Shiba Daimon by artist Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published posthumously by Watanabe. Sold for $280

 

“Mt Fuji in Snow” by Tomikichiro Tokuriki

Mt. Fuji in Snow by artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki, 1939. No. 16 from the series The Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. Estimate: $100-$200

Mt. Fuji in Snow by artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki, 1939. No. 16 from the series The Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji

 

“Winter Landscape with Crows” by Yamamoto Shoun

Winter Landscape with Crows by artist Yamamoto Shoun, 1900-1910. Sold for $160

Winter Landscape with Crows by artist Yamamoto Shoun, 1900-1910. Sold for $160

 

“Mallard in Snow” by Ohara Koson

Mallard in Snow by Ohara Koson, 1910

Mallard in Snow by Ohara Koson, 1910. Sold for $110

 

“Snow at Nezu Shrine” by Koitsu Tsuchiya

Snow at Nezu Shrine by artist Koitsu Tsuchiya, 1950-1963. Yokoi/Harada seal, Early Edition published by Doi. Sold for $260

Snow at Nezu Shrine by artist Koitsu Tsuchiya, 1950-1963. Yokoi/Harada seal, Early Edition published by Doi. Sold for $260

 

“Imperial Palace in Snow” by Eiichi Kotozuka

Imperial Palace in Snow by artist Eiichi Kotozuka, 1950. Sold for $85

Imperial Palace in Snow by artist Eiichi Kotozuka, 1950. Sold for $85

 

“Itsukushima Shrine in Inland Sea” by Hasui Kawase

Tyobu-Torii of Itsukushima Shrine in Inland Sea by Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published by Watanabe for the book "Shinto and its Architecture"

Tyobu-Torii of Itsukushima Shrine in Inland Sea by Hasui Kawase, 1936. Published by Watanabe for the book “Shinto and its Architecture.” Sold for $100

 

“Sawatari in Joshu District” by Takahashi Shotei

Sawatari in Joshu District by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $150

Sawatari in Joshu District by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $150

 

“Honganji Temple in Snow” by Kotozuka Hiichi

Honganji Temple in Snow by artist Kotozuka Hiichi, 1950s. Sold for $180

Honganji Temple in Snow by artist Kotozuka Hiichi, 1950s. Sold for $180

 

“Hazy Moon on a Snowy Night” by Takahashi Shotei

Hazy Moon on a Snowy Night by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $360

Hazy Moon on a Snowy Night by Takahashi Shotei, 1936. Sold for $360

Find a wintery Japanese woodblock print for your collection in this week’s Jasper52 auction

11 Decorative Antiques Perfect for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. This quintessential American holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. It’s a time for reuniting with friends and family and sharing a beautiful feast. Everyone has their unique Thanksgiving traditions – whether sitting around a set table, or making due with fold out stools and eating buffet-style.

From elegant tableware to heirloom-worthy serving pieces, these Decorative Arts and Americana pieces are the perfect pieces to get us in the Thanksgiving mindset.

Vintage Soup Tureen

Get the party started with a soup course served in this vintage French soup tureen. Butternut squash soup or a creamy mushroom?

Henriot Quimper French Vintage Faience Soup Tureen, 1950. Sold for $260

Henriot Quimper French Vintage Faience Soup Tureen, 1950. Sold for $260

 

French Faience Cheese Board

For everyone who enjoys a cheese course at their Thanksgiving meal, this is perfection.

French Faience Cheese Board made by Henriot Quimper. Sold by $20

French Faience Cheese Board made by Henriot Quimper. Sold by $20

 

French Antique Meat Platter

Serve your delicious slices of turkey on this stunning French antique meat platter with  a blue rouen pattern.

French Antique Blue Rouen Pattern Faience Meat Platter, circa 1900. Estimate: $100-$150

French Antique Blue Rouen Pattern Faience Meat Platter, circa 1900. Estimate: $100-$150

 

French Vallauris Majolica Tomato Condiment Set

Because your condiments deserve to be presented beautifully as well.

3 Piece Set Mid Century French Vallauris Pottery Majolica Tomatoes Ceramic Condiment Set, 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

3 Piece Set Mid Century French Vallauris Pottery Majolica Tomatoes Ceramic Condiment Set, 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Art Deco Glass Water Pitcher

It’s likely your guests will be thirsty, and pouring water out of something so elegant is a true delight.

French Art Deco Pressed Glass Water Pitcher. Estimate: $100-$150

French Art Deco Pressed Glass Water Pitcher. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Glass Dessert Mold

A full dessert table, with pies and jell-o molds, is something we’re all looking forward to.

Pressed Glass Dessert and Gelatin Mold. Estimate: $100-$150

Pressed Glass Dessert and Gelatin Mold. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Porcelain Gilded Swan Cups with Saucers

These will surely add a level of elegance to your coffee and dessert course.

Set of seven porcelain gilded cups shaped as swans with matching saucers, circa 1810. Sold for $1,600

Set of seven porcelain gilded cups shaped as swans with matching saucers, circa 1810. Sold for $1,600

 

Art Deco Liquor Glasses

Because it is likely you’re going to need a stronger beverage after your family time. It’s inevitable.

Set of 9 French Art Deco Etched Liquor Glasses, circa 1930. Sold for $120

Set of 9 French Art Deco Etched Liquor Glasses, circa 1930. Sold for $120

 

Pewter Floral Vase

For some additional decor, freshen up the table with flowers in this gorgeous pewter vase.

French Jean Goardere Art Pewter Stylized Floral Vase, circa 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

French Jean Goardere Art Pewter Stylized Floral Vase, circa 1950. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Tramp Art Frame

And what’s a Thanksgiving without a family portrait? Display your family pictures in this 1930s tramp art frame.

Tramp Art Frame, circa 1930s. Sold for $70

Tramp Art Frame, circa 1930s. Sold for $70

 

American Flag Quilt

A comfortable and stunning way to celebrate America on Thanksgiving day.

20th Century Quilt with graphic rows of American flags. Sold for $200

20th Century Quilt with graphic rows of American flags. Sold for $200

 

Looking for more decorative arts and Americana antiques for Thanksgiving and the holidays? Be sure to check Jasper52’s weekly sales.

5 influential American toy companies of the 19th century

In the early 1800s, most American children played with homemade toys. That started to change with the arrival of the industrial revolution and the application of American ingenuity toward playthings.

Names like Marx, Tonka, Mattel and Hasbro, which are familiar to baby boomers and subsequent generations, didn’t emerge until the 20th century. To explore the American toy industry’s beginnings, one has to go back in time to before the Civil War, when pioneering toy manufacturers staked their claim on a still-developing sector.

Here are five companies that were on the ground floor of American toy production:

Francis, Field & Francis Omnibus. Sold for $56,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Francis, Field & Francis Omnibus. Sold for $56,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Francis, Field & Francis

The first toy manufacturer of record was based in Philadelphia. Known as Francis, Field & Francis, a.k.a Philadelphia Tin Toy Manufactory, this business was in operation as early as 1838. Francis, Field & Francis produced the first manufactured American toy, a horse-drawn fire apparatus. The company claimed their japanned (lacquered) tin toys were “superior to any imported.”

George W. Brown & Co.

By the mid-19th century, New England was the hotbed of toy making. George W. Brown of Forestville, Conn., apprenticed as a clock maker before co-founding George W. Brown & Co., to manufacture toys. Brown applied his knowledge of clocks in designing the first American clockwork tin toys, including a train that the company marketed in 1856. His company also produced many animal-drawn conveyances, platform toys, wagons, fire engines, ships and trains.

The District School figurine set made by Crandall's, 1876. Sold for $2,200. Image via LiveAuctioneers.

The District School figurine set made by Crandall’s, 1876. Sold for $2,200. Image via LiveAuctioneers.

Crandall Toys

Charles M. Crandall of Montrose, Pennsylvania, whose father and brothers were also toy makers, had his greatest success manufacturing building block sets. His sets patented in 1867 featured a tongue-and-groove arrangement that held the pieces together. Crandall introduced lithographed paper-on-wood building block sets in the 1870s. It was said that by the end of the 19th century, Crandall’s building block sets were seen in almost every civilized nation.

J. & E. Stevens Co.

J. & E. Stevens Co. of Cromwell, Connecticut, is credited as the first American company to produce cast-iron toys. John & Elisha Stevens started out making hardware but switched to simple toys like sadirons, garden tools and, later, pistols. J. & E. Stevens supplied cast-iron wheels to numerous toy makers. They are best known as prolific manufacturers of cast-iron mechanical banks in the late 1800s.

Ives & Co Cutter Sleigh, 1893. Sold for $190,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Ives & Co Cutter Sleigh, 1893. Sold for $190,000. Image via LiveAuctioneers

Ives & Co.

Of the many toy makers to emerge after the Civil War, the undisputed leader was Ives & Co. Edward Ives joined his father, Riley, around 1860. They moved their company from New York City to Bridgeport, Connecticut, a clock-making center, to facilitate their transition to manufacturing clockwork toys. The first were No. 1 Boy on Velocipede and No. 2 Single Oarsman, which replicated a man rowing a boat. Within a few years, Ives & Co. was producing about 20 high-quality clockwork tin toys. Ives set the pace with the trend toward cast iron in the 1870s, making the first mechanical bell toys on wheels. By the 1880s, Ives, Blakeslee & Co. was exporting toys to Europe and South America. In 1890, Harry Ives joined his father, Edward, in the business and continued manufacturing popular toys and trains well into the 20th century.

To view and bid on antique American toys, head to Jasper52 to check out this weeks’ curated toy auctions.

Information sourced from The Story of American Toys by Richard O’Brien (Abbeville Press, 1990)

11 Stunning Portraits of Famous Writers

The writer is often hidden behind the pen. However, in this stunning curated collection of photogravure portraits, authors, poets, and playwrights reveal themselves to the camera lens. In these photogravure portraits, the printmaking process ensures high-quality reproductions, lending gravures a rich, velvety texture. Face time with black-and-white portraits of the authors and writers behind some of the characters who have shaped our culture.

William Faulkner by Henri Cartier-Bresson

William Faulkner by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

William Faulkner by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

Henry Miller by Brassai

Henry Miller photographed by Brassai, 1968. Sold for $75

Henry Miller photographed by Brassai, 1968. Sold for $75

Ernest Hemingway by Yousuf Karsh

Ernest Hemingway by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $120

Ernest Hemingway by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $120

Susi Wyss by Robert Mapplethorpe

Susi Wyss phorographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $190

Susi Wyss photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $190

Robert Frost by Yousuf Karsh

Robert Frost photographed by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $110

Robert Frost photographed by Yousuf Karsh, 1967. Sold for $110

Jean-Paul Sartre by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Jean-Paul Sartre by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

Jean-Paul Sartre by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952. Est. $180-$220

Carl Sandburg by Yousuf Karsh

Carl Sandburg by Yousuf Karsh, 1960. Est. $180-$250

Carl Sandburg by Yousuf Karsh, 1960. Est. $180-$250

James Joyce by Man Ray

James Joyce by Man Ray, 1934. Est. $250-$350

James Joyce by Man Ray, 1934. Est. $250-$350

Normal Mailer by Yousuf Karsh

Normain Mailer by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $20

Normain Mailer by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $20

Caterine Millinaire by Robert Mapplethorpe

Caterine Millinaire by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $40

Caterine Millinaire by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985. Sold for $40

Vladimir Nabokov by Yousuf Karsh

Vladimir Nabokov by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $380

Vladimir Nabokov by Yousuf Karsh, 1976. Sold for $380

Fan of gravure photography? Be sure to follow @byjasper52 on Instagram for more images and updates.

The Complete History of Snuff Bottles

The snuff bottle is a marriage of craftsmanship and artistry that evolved in ancient China and Mongolia. Even with a practical purpose in mind, these functional items quite often feature detailed and elegant designs that artfully reflect their cultural origin.

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottle, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 6 Jasper52 Sale

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottle, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 6 Jasper52 Sale

The origin of snuff’s arrival in China is a topic of debate. According to some historians and historical records, members of China’s imperial families and social elite were introduced to snuff by European missionaries and merchants. This reportedly occurred during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Other reports say that snuff made its way to China by way of Japan.

The popularity of snuff — tobacco leaves finely ground and infused with herbs and spices — grew rapidly in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). As more people discovered the stimulating and relaxing effects of snuff, as well as its ability to “cure” aches and pains, colds, and digestive issues, efforts to create snuff containers began. Chinese and Mongolian craftsmen began developing the diminutive bottles, with a cork affixed to the stopper in order to ensure the snuff remained fresh.

By the middle of the Qing Dynasty, the use of snuff and snuff bottles had spread throughout China and into nearly every aspect of society. The bottles were appreciated not only as a means for carrying and accessing snuff anywhere, but also for their artistry and decorative appeal, according to an article by Zhixin Jason Sun, curator, Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottles, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

Painted White Agate Snuff Bottles, Est. $100-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

While early snuff bottles were made from a variety of materials, glass and variations of glass with artistic elements were by far the most popular. In fact, in an article appearing on The Cultural Concept Circle, it is reported that Emperor Kangxi established a central glass workshop early in the Qing Dynasty with snuff bottles as one of the primary products. During the Qing Dynasty, snuff bottles were produced primarily in six regions: Guangzhou, Beijing, Boshan, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning Province, and Tibet. The area of Liaoning was best known for producing agate snuff bottles.

The most popular types of glass snuff bottles include:

  • Reverse-painted-on-glass: Largely said to have become popular in the middle of the Qing Dynasty, they are still created by artisans today. The bottles are decorated with paintings and often include calligraphy on the inside. Scholars were among the first to create this type of snuff bottle, accessing the polished “canvas” of glass through the mouth of the bottle, then carefully painting the scene.
  • Overlay-on-glass, also referred to as Peking glass: This type of snuff bottle is created when an artisan uses a singular color of glass as the base, then adds layers of contrasting colored glass. After the layers have been added, the artist carves a design. In do doing, each of the layers of glass is revealed, according to an article posted on the Scanlan Fine Arts Gallery website.
  • Agate: This type of stone was first utilized in snuff bottles by artisans living in Beijing. In a Collectors Weekly article by snuff bottle expert Vincent Fausone Jr., the author explains that winter temperatures in Beijing could drop considerably, and in that climate, glass bottles could shatter. This led to the use of stone, especially agate.
  • Enameled: Antique enameled snuff bottles are miniature works of art that required a high level of workmanship on the part of the artisan creating them. The temperature had to be very carefully monitored as the enamel was applied, Fausone Jr. explained, adding that craftsmen in ancient China learned the enameling technique from European Jesuits.

It was common for the palm-sized masterpieces known as snuff bottles to be capped with a piece of jade. The jade would be attached to the cork stopper, which in many cases had a small spoon fastened to it. The spoon was used to assist in sniffing the snuff.

  • Jade: In addition to serving as the material from which many snuff bottle caps were made, jade was also used as a primary material for the bottles themselves. Over the centuries, Chinese leaders have viewed jade with reverence. During the Han Dynasty, Xu Shen extolled the five virtues of jade: benevolence, honesty, wisdom, integrity and bravery.
Jade Snuff Bottle, Est. $10-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

Jade Snuff Bottle, Est. $10-$200, Nov. 7 Jasper52 Sale

Just as snuff bottles were appreciated for their beauty and cultural significance during the Qing Dynasty, they continue to be held in high regard by collectors, historians and designers alike. Small in stature, diverse in composition and artistry; and varied in cost, they comprise an endless collecting field to explore and enjoy.

 

View the exceptional snuff bottles in this week’s Asian Antiques Jasper52 auction.


Additional Sources:

 

 

7 Adorable Swarovski Animals You Will Want in Your Collection

While you may not be able to cuddle with them, Swarovski’s crystal animal figurines are quite adorable. For background, Swarovski is an Austrian producer of cut lead glass founded by Daniel Swarovski in 1895. While they company primarily creates fashion design crystals and optics such as telescopes, their body of work also includes figurines, jewelry and couture, chandeliers, and more. Swarovski’s mastery in crystal cutting and passion for innovation and design has made it the one of the world’s premier jewelry and accessory brands.

Below we’ve picked out a few of our favorites from the animal kingdom that are almost too cute to not cuddle with.

Cinta Elephant Mother

Swarovski Cinta Elephant Mother Crystal Figurine, Est. $100-$200

Swarovski Cinta Elephant Mother Crystal Figurine, Est. $100-$200

The Dolphin

Swarovski Dolphin Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Dolphin Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Wildlife Pandas

Two Swarovski Wildlife Panda Figurines, Est. $200-$400

Two Swarovski Wildlife Panda Figurines, Est. $200-$400

The Lion

Swarovski Lion Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Lion Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Siku Polar Bear

Swarovski Siku Polar Bear Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Siku Polar Bear Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Paikea Whale

Swarovski Paikea Whale Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Paikea Whale Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

The Dolphins, 1990

Swarovski Dolphins Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Swarovski Dolphins Crystal Figurine, Est. $50-$150

Do you have any Swarovski figurines in your collection? Snap a pic and share them with us on Twitter or Instagram @byjasper52.

Bookbinding: A Complete History

There is a striking parallel between the way books have developed over the past 2,000 years and the way in which furniture, decorative art and textiles have evolved over time.

“Books are companion items to art and furniture when viewed as part of the larger history of material culture,” said Monika Schiavo, Director of Waverly Rare Books in Falls Church, Virginia.

The codex book form – or a book containing multiple, stitched-together pages with handwritten content – dates back 2,000 years. However, it was not until European culture emerged from the Dark Ages and Gutenberg invented his printing press, in 1440, that bookbinding came into being.

Within a few decades of its invention, the printing press had spread to more than 200 cities in a dozen countries. By 1500, printing presses in Western Europe had already produced more than 20 million volumes.

In Renaissance Europe, with its flourishing art movement, the arrival of mechanical, movable-type printing had a profound effect on society. It introduced the era of mass communications to a blossoming culture that held aesthetics in high regard. Different styles of bookbinding began to emerge, reflecting regional preferences and implementing locally available materials.

The timeline for bookbinding looks like this:

16th Century: Birth of the Modern Book

Books became smaller and were easier to bind. Covers made of wood were replaced by pasteboards composed of layers of glued-together paper. Gold tooling became more prevalent, and titles were slowly making their way onto the spines of books.

17th Century: Refinement in Style

The structure of 17th-century books is very similar to that of the previous century, but the decoration and styling was more refined. Decorated endpapers became more common, endbands become more colorful, and the use of gold tooling increased.

18th Century: Elaboration and Simplicity

Overall, the binder became fancier, while the structure became simpler. With the availability of better technology, shortcuts could be taken during the binding process that saved money and increased production. Half and quarter bindings (combining leather with decorated paper sides) began to be used to save on the cost of leather.

Early 19th Century: The Era of Industrialization + Publishers in Control

The early 19th century was an era of transformation for bookbinding. With the increase in the demand for books, binders turned to mechanization to meet the challenge. Publishers also began to take control of the whole book-making process, from editing to printing to binding. Thus, books began to be sold with the covers already bound onto them. From a historical perspective, this makes it easier to date bindings from that period.

Late 19th Century: Publishers’ Cloth Bindings

As publishers took control over the entire book-making process, they began to view the cover as being integral to the whole. Cover designs could reflect the content, set the tone for the reader or attract the consumer. Cloth bindings were not readily accepted at first, but by the end of the 19th century, they were the norm.

19th and 20th Century: Fine Bindings – A Return to Craft Bindings or the Backlash Against the Machine

Not everyone was happy with the Industrial Revolution, including bookbinders, who regarded books as art rather than utilitarian objects. Although many bookbinders over the centuries practiced excellent craftsmanship, they thought of themselves as more than just craftsmen. Art books, private-press books, e.g., books from the Kelmscott Press, founded by William Morris, were a direct reaction to the industrialization of bookbinding. Morris looked back to an earlier age when crafts were done by hand.

Elbert Hubbard’s Roycrofters Press could be described as a more mass-market, American version of the Kelmscott Press, associated with the Arts and Crafts movement.

20th Century and Beyond: Bindings for the Masses

After the Industrial Revolution, books were being produced by the thousands. The 20th century brought refinements – both good and bad – to the machine-made book. Machine sewing became stronger, but adhesive binding slowly took over.

Machine-made paper has definitely improved over the last 50 years, but there are many brittle books from the late-19th and early 20th centuries that are slowly disintegrating, hence the need for vigilance in conservation and storage.

Our thanks for Michigan State University Libraries for providing some of the historical information contained in this article. 


Monika_Schiavo_ImageMonika Schiavo, Director of Waverly Rare Books, a division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, received her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., a Certificate in Appraisal Studies from New York University, and a Master of Arts degree from the Smithsonian’s History of Decorative Arts program. Schiavo provides free onsite evaluations and auction estimates for both buyers and consignors.