Aug 232014
 

 

The idea of going to war wearing jewelry might seem odd, but during World War II, men’s sterling silver bracelets like this were traditionally given to departing U.S. soldiers by their sweethearts; bestowed as a token of love, but also to identify the body if they were killed in combat. This example was given to pilot “F. Griscom” of the U.S. Army Airborne Corps or “A.B.C.” (as stated on the reverse).

A rare and compelling bit of romantic military history!

 

status: sold

 Posted by at 9:25 PM
Aug 162014
 

Here’s yet another fantastic vintage pepper mill designed by the incomparable Jens Harald Quistgaard. Fitted with the famous, flawless Peugeot mechanism, this model is one of his earliest designs (made for Dansk before they brand-named their goods; this one is simply stamped “Danmark”). Wonderfully collectible, this is a quintessential example of artistic form combined with effortless functionality: perfectly Danish Modern.

status: sold

 Posted by at 12:11 AM
Jun 152014
 

 

1967: The Summer of Love and rock and roll. But just months before everyone got wild at Woodstock, legendary illustrator Stanley Mouse, the man behind countless classic concert posters and record album-sleeves, produced this iconic image for the Sierra Club’s 10th Biennial Wilderness Conference.

Significantly influenced by the graphic sensibilities of the Art Nouveau movement, Stanley’s work featured heavily ornamented, hand-drawn fonts and intricately decorative scrollwork in psycadellic, eye-bending compositions (his work for The Grateful Dead being the best known examples). The design for this one is a bit more tame; however, the image of the noble savage surrounded by a marijuana-leaf boarder effectively declares, without a doubt, the Sierra Club’s true target audience.

Ephemera like this paper poster were never intended to last longer than the events they advertised, so mint examples like this one that survived the 60s unscathed (like the hippies themselves), are incredibly rare, indeed!

status: sold

 Posted by at 11:05 PM
Jan 032014
 

In the incomparable classic black and white romantic comedy “Roman Holiday”, there are actually three incredible stars: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and Hubert de Givenchy. Women still swoon for Gregory; and of course, Audrey’s beauty is legendary, but it was Givenchy that presented her to perfection! His costume designs for this film and many others starring Miss Hepburn continue to dazzle and delight in true, timeless fashion.

Audrey and Hubert were close friends for most of their lives, and in 1957, Givenchy asked his master perfumer to create the now-famous fragrance, L’Interdit especially for her. The name means “The Forbidden”; and, like Audrey herself, it is both delicate and complex, as well as demure and devastatingly sexy. Miss Hepburn wore L’Interdit exclusively as her very own private perfume; and then, in the early 1960s, Givenchy made it available to the world… Citrus, peach and strawberry swirl with rose, jasmine and violets to sway above sandalwood, amber and vetiver: a fragrance worthy of a silver screen goddess—or any woman who seeks to beguile her leading man!

status: sold

 Posted by at 3:12 AM
Aug 222013
 

Jens Quistgaard must have loved pepper. This is evident by the fact that he designed dozens of completely unique pepper-mills (some that even incorporated salt-shakers) for Dansk of Denmark; each one a work of art, each a mini-monument of culinary architecture. Here is his “phillips screwdriver” design, so-called for the bold cross-knob on top.

Recently, through research and experimentation, I’ve developed an amazing, all-natural method to restore and beautify any and all wooden kitchen items; one that’s perfect for cutting the grease and grime of decades, eliminating bacteria, and returning warmth and glow to the woodgrain. The trick is simple, yet counter-intuitive: fine-grade steel-wool and lemon juice. No soap, no sanding, just good old fashioned elbow-grease and the miraculous properties of citrus. Don’t be afraid to rinse the wood thoroughly after a thorough buffing with lemon juice―but be sure to pat-dry immediately; then, after the wood is completely air-dry, polish with pure food-grade mineral oil. Nothing else cleans as safely or brings out the glow and luster as wonderfully. Works a treat on salad bowls, too!

It seems a shame to me that our modern world, despite its many advances, completely fails to produce anything as simply elegant as that executed by Jens more than half a century ago . . .  But that’s just one of the many reasons that makes collecting genuine Danish Modern designs so satisfying and enjoyable!

status: sold

 Posted by at 5:09 AM
Jun 022013
 

There’s absolutely nothing like the bold design of the middle 20th century, as this hanging lamp attests. A frosted glass orb and a UFO-shaped lamp shade covered in soft velvet-green flocking make for a truly Space Age look: stark, elegant, and perfectly modern. Worthy of any Bond villain’s lair!

status: sold

 Posted by at 9:06 PM
May 202013
 

 

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away . . .  brave men landed on our Earth’s moon, and lived to tell the tale. And ever since then, anything associated with the ‘Space Race’ has been incredibly collectible. Autographs are, of course, the most widely available kind of memorabilia. Much more rare and far more interesting are the various physical artifacts generated by the missions. At the top of this spectrum are the actual moon-rocks  gathered from the lunar surface, and now exist in aerospace museums, government holdings, and a few private collections; next in desirability: equipment, tools, and gear that very occasionally come to market; however, these objects are understandably few and far between. In the middle-spectrum is the various media and ephemera created by NASA that constitutes, in my opinion, the most interesting and accessible market to collectors of space exploration history.

And here is one such compelling example: an original super-16mm film documenting highlights of Apollo missions 12 and 13. The original packaging states that this item originates from the official recording studios of the United States House of Representatives, and documents the ‘Open & Close’ of those voyages (presumably: lift-off and splash-down).

It would be absolutely fantastic to see and hear what’s on this tape; however, as time passes, this item becomes more important as a physical object than as a document. Like an ancient clay tablet spidered with cuneiform characters, this is a compelling marker to and evocative evidence of a certain point in time; though once designed to deliver specific data, it is now valuable not just for the information it once conveyed, but as an artifact that connects us to distant historic events.

status: sold

 Posted by at 6:05 PM
May 012013
 

This odd looking device is the hipster of the vintage camera world: kooky, quirky, and infectiously lovable. This is the same model Warhol used to create so many of his most famous portraits and prints. The long snout makes what is essentially just a big plastic box with a hole in it something special. It’s this distance between the lens on the front and the film in the back that virtually eliminates any distortion caused by the lens itself, so subjects appear very nearly as we see them with our eyes. It’s a very basic bit of kit: just the casing, lens, shutter-release, a slot to hold the film, and a 60-second timer to measure the film’s developing time. In fact, it’s so basic there’s no focus! To ensure crisp clarity, the photographer looks through the range-finder eyepiece (that’s the periscope-like pipe on the side) which displays a double image that’s actually a composite of two, almost identical views of the subject: one from the top and one from the bottom end of the range-finder; these two views show a parallax that can only be resolved by physically moving the camera closer or farther away form the subject. This back-and-forth eventually became known as the “Big Shot Shuffle”. Andy dancing behind a Big Shot camera: now that’s something I’d love to see!

status: sold

 Posted by at 3:37 AM
Feb 072013
 

I think all men eventually long for the romance of the sea. It is a desire that seems to grow with time… As we age, our bodies become like ships: vessels that require careful navigation and diligent maintenance. At its most basic, physical level, life is a vital struggle to keep our ships from sinking… When we’re old, a simple trip down to the mailbox becomes a journey not to be taken lightly! Perhaps this is why we become so fascinated by this primal, oceanic metaphor, this ultimate adventure of Man vs. Nature: a single soul and his wits pitted agains the sea.

Here, then, is something for the sailor in us all: a handsome, maritime heritage print by the British painter, John Stobart (b. 1926). Entitled “Savannah: River Street by Moonlight in 1842″, this signed, limited-edition print (No. 404 of 750) is a nostalgic serenade to American seafaring history… Under a sultry sky, bathed in moonlight and scudding clouds, along a riverbank drenched in shadows, by the glow of golden firelight a pair of men roll barrels onto a horse-drawn wagon; nearby, the stately silhouettes of tall ships stand silently, destined by morning’s light and the incoming tide to be bound for the open sea and wondrous points beyond…

“All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by . . . ” declares the poet, and our hearts cannot help but resonate and thrum with that same, elemental desire!

status: sold

 Posted by at 7:40 AM
Jan 292013
 

I think every man goes through a phase when they experience an almost primal desire to own a genuine leather bomber jacket. I blame Indiana Jones; who of my generation can forget the iconic hat, whip and especially the coat of that most unusual of American heroes: the ultimate intellectual adventurer? For others, it might’ve been number of the many war movies that populated Hollywood in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s… A good friend of mine sights 12 O’Clock High with Gregory Peck as his leather lodestone.

If you, too, have a lust for leather, you can’t go wrong with this classic coat by Avirex. Inspired by the ones worn by the brave bomber pilots of World War II, this garment is rich in quality details; some of my favorites: the rugged yet utterly luxurious, dark-chocolate lambskin leather; thick, cozy elasticated cuffs to keep out the cold; handy epaulettes to tuck your hat and gloves into; and a fleet of nostalgic patches and embroidery-work lining the silky interior…

Just wearing this boosts your bravery: it lifts your sprits and brighten your skies. As they used to say in the War, “Keep ‘em flying!”

 

status: sold

 Posted by at 1:32 AM

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