*At the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, Visitors can view a small rare blue glass creamer. It has a hollow base with an American penny sealed inside. Although its origin is unknown, the date on the penny is 1794 and experts agree it was most likely produced in Philadelphia sometime after that date.
Northeast Auctions in Manchester, N.H. sold the creamer at auction for $82,600. The family that cosigned the piece had acquired it the 1860s. The date on the coin often was to mark a birthday, or other special occasion.
The Corning Museum of Glass owns other glass vessels with coins sealed inside, but by far the American made pieces are extremely rare.
*Collecting 1960s Zippo cigarette lighters that belonged to American soldiers has been the focus for Bradford Edwards, an art collector based in Vietnam. Each lighter is unique because they are engraved with sentiments for peace, home, sex, marijuana, and even death wishes for their enemies.
Mr. Edwards consigned 282 lighters from his collection to Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. The collection was valued between $30,000 to $50,000. When the collection did not sell, the owner of the auction house Wes Cowan, approached the Manhattan collector, John Monsky, and convinced him to spend $35.250 for the lot, so that it would not be broken up. Mr. Monsky has said, “each one of them is like a little emotion.” His favorite is the lighter engraved with a peace sign and the words “WHY ME.”
He plans to have them mounted for traveling exhibitions, with a database of engravings and the owners’ biographies.
*It was quite a surprise for furniture historians to discover that the Centennial Museum at the University of Texas at El Paso had two pairs of 1880s gilded chairs from a Vanderbilt home, forgotten in storage since the 1960s.
The armchairs were produced in Manhattan by the luxury cabinetmaking team, the German born half-brothers, Gustave and Christian Herter. They are studded with mother-of-pearl and leafy gilding on their sides and were last known to be used by William H. Vanderbilt at his town house on Fifth Avenue.
The Museum placed them at auction through Charlton Hall Auctioneers in South Carolina and the four were sold for $363,000. Margot Johnson, a New York dealer specializing in Herter pieces, acquired them for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met commissioned restoration work on the gilding and velvety red upholstery prior to adding them to an exhibition about Herter work done under Vanderbilt patronage.
*For years “Star Trek” fans have debated whether a huge 1960s prop from the television series had survived. The prop is a 24-foot model of the show’s Galileo shuttlecraft that was used to film scenes of crews and visitors in transit.
Sadly, the actual metal and wood box used in the shuttlecraft ended up being left outdoors in Ohio and exposed to the elements for years. It was badly rusted and the wood eroded when it was put up for sale by Kiki Auctions of Canton, Ohio. Adam Schneider, a consultant in New York, paid $70,000 for it.
Mr. Schneider commissioned Master Shipwrights in New Jersey to do a full restoration. Galileo’s metal frame and landing skids are salvageable, but the shell and doors will all have to be replaced. Schneider is researching every detail, of the Galileo as it appeared in the show, right down to the exterior lettering.
Mr. Schneider collects space ship models from “Star Trek” sets and displays them at his home, complete with reactivated lights and sound effects. Once restored, he plans to donate the shuttlecraft to a museum as a children’s exhibit.
*Sometimes auctions can get pretty heavy. The government decided to remove a 12-ton concrete topographical map of the Gettysburg battlefield from a battlefield visitor’s center. The map is covered with light bulbs that light up to indicate civil war troop movements.
The 1960s piece was chopped up and stashed in trailers slated to be dumped. Local preservationists discovered the plan and set up a web site to save the electric map. Enough support was garnered to convince the General Services Administration to instead offer the piece for sale in and on-line auction.
A developer, Scott Roland from Hanover, PA. paid about $14,000 for it, winning the bidding against an unknown rival. The pieces have been hoisted by crane and reassembled at a 1950 brick building that is being converted to serve as a conference and visitors center.
Mr. Roland’s team will have the map reactivated in time for Hanover’s 250th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of Civil War Battles in the area. The wiring had been cut and ruined. All of the mechanisms will be rebuilt from scratch and should work even better than before.