How to photograph rugs

This guide contains instructions and tips for taking clear photographs of your rug. Photograph your rug or carpet in a clean and clutter-free area. Always handle your rug with clean, dry hands or wear gloves.

Select an area with good, preferably natural light. You may consider photographing your rug outside or in a room with strong, natural indirect light.

Object Position
It is best to take large rugs outdoors and place them on a clean, dry surface, such as clean, dry pavement. If photographing indoors, remove furniture and other objects from the rug.

Camera Position
Make sure that the entire rug is in the frame. You may need to use a ladder to achieve the correct perspective. Avoid photographing the rug at a severe angle.

You should take the following photographs of your object:

  1. Images of the Entire Front and Back
    Be sure that no parts are cropped out.

  2. Close-up image of the back of an item with a quarter on the surface. The quarter helps experts determine the size of the weave.
  3. Close-up images of interesting, detailed or beautiful areas
  4. Close-up images of any dirt, repairs or other condition issues
    Accurately reporting condition issues is essential to successfully selling your property.
  5. A close-up image of any labels 

Meteorites: collectibles from out of the blue

A lunar meteorite dubbed The Moon Puzzle because it consists of six pieces that fit to create a whole weighing slightly more than 12 pounds achieved $500,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2018. Image courtesy of RR Auction and LiveAuctioneers.

Comets, eclipses and other cosmic phenomena visible to the naked eye are awe-inspiring, but meteorites are in a class of their own. The name of these extraterrestrial rocks reflects their down-to-earth nature, in that only those that reach the surface of the Earth are called meteorites; those that burn up in the atmosphere remain meteors.

A Gibeon nickel-iron meteorite, part of a fall that took place in Namibia that was discovered in 1836, sold for $13,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2020. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

The fascination with meteorites predates written history. Up until recently, it was difficult to confirm a rock was in fact a meteorite, simply because most have unremarkable appearances that give no hint of their out-of-this-world origins. Improvements in technology have made confirmation easier, and commercial travel has made it easier for meteorite-hunters to reach far-flung locations where meteorite falls have occurred. 

A slice of an Imilac pallasite from northern Chile, featuring gemmy olivine crystals in a silver matrix, made $5,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2012. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers and LiveAuctioneers

Some meteorites discovered during private expeditions enter museums and research collections, but many more are acquired by collectors. Due to their extreme rarity, however, most meteorites available on the open market are fragments or slices of larger masses.

This partial slice of breccia from the largest lunar meteorite, found in Morocco, earned $7,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2012. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Stony meteorites, age-old igneous-like silicate rock aggregations, are the most common form of meteorite. They originate from non-melted and melted asteroids in the Asteroid Belt, an area between Jupiter and Mars that experts believe to be the remains of an ancient solar system. A number of younger stony meteorites come not from asteroids, but rather from the moon. Lunar meteorites are among the most coveted and sought after. Even vanishingly tiny, unexciting-looking examples can command strong prices. Most lunar meteorites were created when asteroids pummeled the lunar surface. Others are breccias, stones made of rock fragments, glass shards or glass spherules that fused on impact. 

A Martian meteorite recovered from the Sahara Desert near Morocco realized $15,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2012. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

The only meteorites that categorically rival lunar specimens for popularity and high bids at auction are also a type of stony meteorite from a nearby planet: Mars. Martian meteorites have unusually young crystalline structures (dating from 180 million to two billion years ago) and can contain water-bearing minerals and organic compounds that some believe might have helped give rise to life on earth. The prospect of owning a piece of another planet, however small the piece might be, inspires collectors to strain their budgets and battle ferociously to win such specimens at auction. 

The surface of this Sikhote-Alin iron meteorite was shaped by the atmosphere as it fell to Earth. Offered with Soviet limited-edition commemorative stamps, it realized $18,500 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2012. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Also of note are iron-nickel meteorites, which originate in the cores of melted asteroids. They are have caused earth-shattering impacts and are scarcer than stony meteorites. On the morning of February 12, 1947, a massive meteoritic fireball brighter than the sun and the largest ever known rocketed over the Sikhote Alin mountains of eastern Siberia. It was traveling at a speed of 10 to 20 miles a second and had a temperature in excess of 10,000 degrees when it hit the Earth’s surface and exploded into more than 60 tons of metallic meteorites. In addition to producing sonic booms, uprooting trees, and shattering windows over a large area, the fragments and rocks created nearly 200 separate impact craters. Because the fall was spectacular and also relatively well documented, all serious meteorite collectors seek a fine example of a Sikhote Alin.

Recovered near Seymchan in Russia in 1967, this pallasite was fashioned into a sphere to spotlight its abundant olivine crystals. It sold for $13,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2012. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

A third type, stony-iron meteorites, contain equal amounts of silicate rocks and nickel-iron metal. They form within or upon melted asteroids. A subgroup that demands mention are pallasites cohesive masses studded with pale green peridot-like olivine silicate crystals in metal matrices. These beauties, unsurprisingly favored by collectors, have been found from Alaska to Antarctica. (It should be noted that the pallasites shown here didn’t arrive on Earth looking this pretty. Just as rough stones are pulled from mines and cut and polished into diamonds, rough meteorites with heat-scorched exteriors are cut and polished into pallasites.)

A ribbed, scalloped piece of Libyan desert glass, found in the Sahara and weighing more than four pounds, sold for $4,750 plus the buyer’s premium in June 2010. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Still another form of meteorite came to light in 1922, when archaeologist Howard Carter unsealed the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun and discovered a mysterious glassy greenish-yellow carved gemstone on King Tut’s breastplate. A decade later, similar pieces were found across the Libyan Desert, and they are now colloquially known as Libyan desert glass. Although the origin of the stones remains uncertain, geologists think they appeared millions of years ago when a massive, blazing-hot meteorite struck, liquifying the sands and hurling debris into the upper atmosphere. The afflicted pieces returned to earth as hardened, yellowish droplets of natural glass meteorite byproducts known as tektites. Moldavite tektites, which are found across modern-day Germany and the Czech Republic, appear translucent or mossy green. Others found in southeast Asia, Australia and North America range in color from yellow-gray or gray to brown and black. 

This faceted Moldavite crystal, a tektite discovered in the Czech Republic, was auctioned for $1,900 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2012. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers


Whatever their source, meteorites take their names not from the people who found them but rather from a prominent feature of the area where they landed bodies of water, towns, cities, whatever makes sense. Specimens from the same place receive identifying numbers or letters. Meteorites discovered in deserts, which feature few distinguishing geographical features, are given a name that reflects the general area, followed by a designated grid number. A mineralogically and texturally unique feldspathic breccia stony meteorite found in Morocco, North West Africa, is known as NWA 5000, while an exotic, coarse-grained, ultramafic igneous one found in the Sahara Desert near Morocco carries the label NWA 1950-SNC. 

This Muonionalusta meteorite specimen, cut into a cube to show off its striking latticework, achieved $15,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2012. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

When Chicken Little, a character in an ageless folk tale, was struck by a tumbling acorn, she feared that the sky was falling. Had she been struck by a meteorite and carefully documented her story, she could have auctioned it for tens of thousands of dollars, easily. Humans have always thrilled to tales of rocks raining from the heavens and setting the skies ablaze. We now know so much more about the hows and the whys of meteorites, but they are no less bewitching. They unite science and romance, and they encourage us to keep scanning the skies and dreaming about worlds beyond our own.

How to measure rugs and carpets like an expert

Accurately reporting the size of your rug or carpet is important. Before handling your rug, make sure your hands are clean and dry. If the rug or carpet is especially delicate or fragile, handle with care and use gloves.

The standard format for reporting measurements of rug is as follows: Length x Width. Use a measuring tape that can be hooked onto the edge of the rug.

How To Measure:

  1. Start with the longest measurement of the rug. Hook the “Zero” end of your measuring tape to one end. Make sure the end of your measuring tool is flush (in line) with the rug.
  2. Move to the opposite end of the rug and read the measuring tape. This measurement is the Length.
  3. Next, hook the “Zero” end of your measuring tape to one end of the shorter edge of the your rug. Make sure the end of your measuring tool is flush (in line) with the rug.
  4. Move to the opposite end of the rug and read the measuring tape. This measurement is the Width.

Jasper52 presents Americana in its many forms, April 14

A circa-1880s shoofly quilt, a Karl Adleff tramp art box with a secret opening, and a circa-1940s New England trade sign in the shape of a key could well earn top lot status at Jasper52’s New Hampshire Antiques Dealers: Americana auction, which will take place Thursday, April 14 at 6 pm Eastern time. Other offerings in the 361-lot sale include an applique picture of a cat; a pair of mocha ware covered urns, dating to circa 1800-1820; a wood carving of a Snow Bunting bird by Frank Finney; a circa-1810 needlework picture of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate; a white-glazed stoneware pineapple teapot; a limited-edition bronze of a moose diving into a swamp, sculpted by Dr. Jon Ruehle; a circa-1950, 37in New England copper weathervane shaped like a sperm whale; a folk art whiskey jug with the name “BEN” in red letters outlined in yellow on its shoulder; and original illustrations and artwork by Barbara Shermund.

Circa-1880s shoofly quilt with cadet blue background, est. $600-$800

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Iconic fashion photos lead April 12 Gravures & Heliogravures sale

On Tuesday, April 12, starting at 4 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will conduct an 81-lot sale of Gravures and Heliogravures. The lineup contains black-and-white or mildly tinted images from some of the greatest names in photography, including William Klein, Horst P. Horst, Helmut Newton, Man Ray, Sebastiao Salgado, Herb Ritts, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Robert Capa, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Giacomelli, Margaret Bourke-White, Diane Arbus, Lewis Carroll, Tina Modotti, Lewis Hine, Eadweard Muybridge, Nadar, Cecil Beaton and Erwin Blumenfeld.

Cecil Beaton, ‘Marlene Dietrich 1935,’ est. $100-$200

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

How to determine the condition of silver like an expert

This article will explain what experts look for when determining the condition of silver. It will also give you the tools to determine if any condition issues are present in a piece of silver that you own.

Carefully assessing condition is an important step in accurately evaluating a piece. If you discover an issue that negatively impacts the value of your silver, experts can determine if restoration will increase the potential resale value of the piece and recommend a restorer.

Always handle silver with clean, dry hands or with cotton gloves. Do not use Latex gloves when handling silver, as it can cause the silver to tarnish.

Place the silver on a clean, nonabrasive surface in a brightly lit area. Never drag silver across a surface when moving it, as it can damage both the object and the surface. When examining the bottom of a piece of silver, place a thick towel or folded cloth on the table to protect the silver from damage.

Once you’ve set up the silver for examination, you should look for the following issues:

  • Dents
  • Nicks and Gouges
  • Bends
  • Pitting and Corrosion
  • Wear
  • Scratches and Abrasions
  • Repairs
  • Tarnish

  • Dents
    Scrutinize the surface. Are there any depressions or indentations? Pay particular attention to the sides and also the feet or base of an object, as well as any handles, spouts or finials.
  • Nicks and Gouges
    Run your fingers over the outside of the piece, paying special attention to frequently touched areas, such as handles, edges of bowls and tines of forks. Do any areas feel sharp, rough or coarse?
  • Bends
    Do any parts of the piece appear bent or warped? Pay particular attention to thin or vulnerable areas such as handles and feet.
  • Pitting and Corrosion
    Pitting and corrosion is caused by exposure to an acid during cleaning, to salt or certain types of food residue. It appears as tiny black spots on the surface that cannot be polished away. The dark spots in this photograph are corrosion.
  • Wear
    Look closely at the decoration. If some areas appear highly detailed and crisp and others look like the detail has been polished and smoothed, it is likely worn.
  • Scratches and Abrasions
    Is the surface scratched? Are there areas that appear duller than the rest of the piece?
  • Repairs
    Are there any areas that look like they might have been repaired or cut out and inserted? (Monograms or armorials are sometimes “cut and pasted” into, or out of, a piece of silver when it changes hands). Look for inconsistencies in the surface and decoration, as well as any soldering that looks suspicious. Silver solder is usually applied cleanly so that it is barely visible. If you see heavy drops of solder or discolored areas around the soldering, it may be evidence of a repair or addition.
  • Tarnish
    Is the surface of your piece blackened and dull? Silver tarnish is a surface layer of oxidation caused by environmental factors. Tarnished silver appears a dull yellow, gray or black. Tarnish is removable and generally does not harm silver. If your piece is tarnished, you should polish it before taking photographs of the work for sale.

Vintage denim: Beloved by cowboys, film stars and fashionistas

A Lee denim jacket signed by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Robert Rauschenberg sold for $4,250 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2011. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Denim has evolved by light years since its humble origins as the poor man’s workwear. Over time, Hollywood rebels and rugged characters of the Old West have imbued the cloth with an air of glamour, ultimately elevating vintage denim clothing to the status of “collectible.” But not all denim is the same, since the product it comprises can range from standard blue jeans and overalls to bags, caps and even bedspreads. 

A complete circa-1940 denim twill conductor’s uniform for the Norfolk Western Line railroad achieved $2,250 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2015. Image courtesy of Dan Morphy Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Denim did not actually originate with the 49ers, i.e., miners attracted by the 19th century Gold Rush in California. It was first woven as a twill fabric in Nimes, France in the late 15th century. Traders labeled the cloth as de Nimes (from “Nimes”), a practice that likely gave rise to the word “denim.”

The French fabric was favored for work clothing such as overalls, vests, jackets, and uniforms because it could withstand heavy daily use for a longer period than plain woven cotton cloth. Over many decades however, the now-classic denim look, featuring an outer finish in indigo blue with a white interior, become a staple of fashionable outerwear and accessories.

Found unworn in storage, this vintage 1930 denim jacket with the classic Levi Strauss & Co., leather label sold for $11,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2019. Image courtesy of Daniel Buck Auctions, Inc., and LiveAuctioneers

A similar fabric to French denim was woven in the late 15th century in Genoa, Italy, but it was considered a corduroy weave rather than a twill. As with denim, the cloth was reserved for work outfits in this case, for Italian sailors, because it maintained its integrity whether it was wet or dry. The French word for Genoa was “Genes,” which may have morphed into the word “jeans.” A French military uniform made from “bleu de Genes” fabric in 1795 is the first known use of the term “blue jeans,” which is now relegated to pants only. 

A pair of circa-1940s new-old stock Lee Riders blue jeans achieved $9,600 plus the buyer’s premium in April 2019. Image courtesy of Daniel Buck Auctions, Inc., and LiveAuctioneers

A third woven twill fabric of note emerged near Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India in the 17th century. Described as “cheap, coarse, thick cotton cloth,” it was invented by the weavers of Dongri and sold under the name “dungri” Transformed into work-ready outerwear such as smocks and bib-and-brace overalls by manufacturers in England and Europe, the cloth eventually became known as “dungarees.”

Durable as these woven types of cloth were, certain areas of garments made from them wore out faster than others, especially the pocket corners, the seams and also the bottom of the button fly on men’s pants. In 1969, Jacob Davis, a tailor working in Reno, Nevada, came up with a solution. Davis routinely bought bolts of denim and canvas material from Levi Strauss, a dry goods proprietor in San Francisco, to make and sell sturdy work clothing he reinforced with copper rivets in the areas that endured the most punishment.

According to legend, Davis wrote to Strauss in 1872, suggesting a partnership. Strauss agreed, and in 1873, US patent No. 139,121 was issued for an “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings.” That same year, Davis added double orange thread stitching on the back pockets of the pants. The distinctive decoration, united with the copper rivets, marked the arrival of an American icon: Levi’s.

This circa-1960 pair of never-worn Levi 505 jeans, with sales tags attached, earned $1,000 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2020. Image courtesy of Flannery’s Estate Services and LiveAuctioneers

Levi’s indigo blue jeans, the standard from which modern blue jeans evolved, starts with the patented copper-riveted version of 1873, which had two front pockets decorated with double-stitched orange thread and one rear pocket on the right side. The men’s style had a button fly in front and the women’s style placed the fly on the left side, following the company’s now-trademarked “arcuate” (arc-like) design.” 

‘Untitled (Jeans),’ an ink-on-denim drawing by Keith Haring, achieved $10,000 plus the buyer’s premium in June 2021. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center and LiveAuctioneers.

By 1890, the jeans featured the legendary five-pocket design, with two in the front, two in the back and a fifth small front pocket, ideal for a pocket watch. The leather tag showing two horses pulling the jeans apart, called “The Two Horse label,” first appeared in 1886, but sometime in the late 1930s, it acquired a three-digit number on the lower left side that verified the style and date of manufacture. 

The company began branding their jeans with a small red embroidered cloth tag in 1936. It introduced a denim shirt two years later and launched a denim line exclusively for women in 1949.

The upper parts of two pairs of circa-1880s Levi’s jeans earned $8,250 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of Holabird Western Americana Collections and LiveAuctioneers

Levi Strauss & Co., remains a cultural touchstone in denim wear, with consistently high auction prices for its early productions, no matter the condition. In 2018, a pair of denim jeans manufactured in 1893 sold for nearly $100,000. “It’s somebody who loves old Levi’s,” said Daniel Buck Soules, from Daniel Buck Auctions in Maine.

A door push promoting Can’t Bust ‘Em denim overalls sold for $325 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2016. Image courtesy of North American Auction Company and LiveAuctioneers

Other well-known brands made their debut around the turn of the 20th century, capitalizing on the success of Levi Strauss & Co. For example, Osh Kosh B’Gosh got its start in 1895; Wrangler jeans in 1904; and Lee denim overalls and shirts in 1911. Lee acquired an early brand of denim overall called Can’t Bust ‘Em that was targeted at gold miners, but lacked rivets and reinforcements. Examples of the Can’t Bust ‘Em denim brand dating to the American gold-mining period appear at auction infrequently and are regarded by some as long-term investments.

A Levi Strauss cowboy-themed display fitted with an oversize pair of jeans attained $2,500 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2012. Image courtesy of Showtime Auction Services and LiveAuctioneers

Movies set in the Old West sparked fresh interest in denim clothing that led to another enduring fashion favorite: the denim jacket, which was introduced in the early 1920s. By the 1950s, denim became associated with movie rebels Marlon Brando and James Dean, and by the late 20th century, denim had shed its workaday past and gone decidedly upmarket. Fashion designers Gloria Vanderbilt, Ralph Lauren, Gucci and others produced jeans, bags and other coveted pieces in the resilient fabric, carving out a niche of their own at auction. A vintage woman’s Chanel denim jacket sold recently for $2,200 not an unusual occurrence for designer denim.

A Louis Vuitton denim monogram handbag achieved $19,000 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2022. Image courtesy of Bidhaus and LiveAuctioneers

Denim appears in many different forms from just as many different companies. Manufacturing details such as buttons, pockets, fly styles (zipper or button) and color variations can affect a piece’s value. A good place to start researching denim brands is and the collector’s guide to Levi’s at

This Chanel long-sleeved denim jacket sold for $6,300 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2021. Image courtesy of Mynt Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Denim and its cousins could have disappeared right along with the shattered dreams of those miners who did not strike it rich in the Gold Rush days, but its rugged durability spared it from that fate. Pop culture images of cowboys and societal mavericks clad in denim made the fabric seem cool, and when top fashion designers embraced denim, it rose in status yet again. Today, vintage denim doesn’t just deliver a classic look; it can also fit nicely into a collection of other investment-grade pop-culture collectibles.

How to measure paintings like an expert

It can be difficult to visualize the size of a painting without physical inspection. Accurately reporting the size of your painting is important. This guide will give you the tools to accurately measure your painting. Before handling your paintings, make sure your hands are clean and dry, and use gloves if you have them.

The standard format for reporting measurements of a print is as follows: Height x Width. For a framed artwork, use this format: Height x Width x Depth.

If your work is not framed, you will need to know the size of the Canvas.
Measuring canvas

If your work is framed, you will need two measurements for your painting: Sight and Frame.

    • Sight: The area of the artwork that is visible inside the mat or frame.
    • Frame: The overall size of the frame.

Example of sight and frame measurements

Basic Types of Measuring Tools:
Measuring Tools

  • Seamstress tape: soft and flexible, good for measuring circumference, three-dimensional objects, or curved objects.
  • Measuring tape: rigid, can be hooked onto a frame or canvas, good for measuring straight items that are longer than one foot.
  • Ruler: rigid, good for measuring straight items smaller than one foot, particularly items that can be laid directly on the ruler.

How to Measure:

  1. Place the “Zero” end of your ruler at the end of your painting (this is usually on the left side of the ruler).
  2. Make sure the end of your ruler is flush (in line) with your painting.
  3. Adjust your ruler so that it is aligned with your painting.
  4. Move to the opposite side of the painting you are measuring and read the ruler.

How to Measure paintings

How to measure paintings, step 2

How to measure frame height

How to measure frame width

How to measure frame depth