Mar 31, 2015

Before the Radio Flyer,there was the Studebaker Junior Wagon

Studebaker Jr Wagon
From my appraisal archives comes a relatively rare estate find: a Studebaker Junior Wagon.

Vintage car enthusiasts are likely familiar with Studebaker automobiles; they were manufactured form 1902 to1966. Studebaker began as a blacksmith shop in Indiana in 1852, and when the Civil War broke out the Studebaker brothers became a major vendor of supply wagons to the Union Army. Studebaker continued to make wagons and carriages until the early 20th century, when the company began to produce automobiles.

This Studebaker Junior Wagon, in need of restoration with chipped, peeling and worn paint some age cracks in the wood, is still a relatively rare find and worth $500 to $600.
This Studebaker Junior Wagon, in need of restoration with chipped, peeling and worn paint some age cracks in the wood, is still a relatively rare find and worth $500 to $600.

Studebaker Junior Wagons were promotional items; they were carried by retail Studebaker dealerships. Originally intended to promote Studebaker farm wagons, the Junior became so popular that it continued to be sold at Studebaker car dealerships even after Studebaker stopped making farm wagons. The wagons were built for children, and were usually pulled by a goat, large dog, big brother or Dad.

The first Studebaker Junior wagons were built by Studebaker, but the wagons were in such demand that production was taken over by Indiana’s South Bend Toy Company. With increased production, distribution became nationwide when the wagons were offered through the Sears, Roebuck catalog and toy retailers. The wagon typically sold for $9 to $12. Early ads for the product featured President Teddy Roosevelt’s son Quentin. Read More

Mar 30, 2015

2015 Sellers Choice Awards for Best Online Selling Platform

From the very first televised Academy Awards show on March 19, 1953, Americans have been enthralled by awards shows. The Academy Awards brouhaha has completed its 87th presentation and still draws a huge audience. This year we will further be exposed to award shows for film, television, theatre, several genres of music and a relative newcomer, the “Webbies.” Corporations, professional and media organizations have jumped on the “awards” bandwagon and hold annual dinner events to praise their own.

I stopped watching such shows more than two decades ago; I became weary of all the mutual glorification that occurs.

There is one annual award presentation that I look forward to every year, though. This particular awards presentation helps me run my business better and puts dollars in my pocket. It can put dollars in your pocket, too: it’s the annual Sellers Choice Awards presented by EcommerceBytes.com (http://bit.ly/1AwGM4Q). The Sellers Choice Awards recognize the top online selling platforms, and the winners are chosen by folks like you and me who actually sell online.

EcommerceBytes, an informational resource devoted to online sellers, debuted the award in 2010. The website simply oversees the award process; nominees and winners are chosen by EcommerceBytes readers. In 2015, more than 12,000 online sellers participated in the awards survey, almost double the 6,124 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences who chose this year’s Oscar© winners.

Readers chose 12 finalists from the available online selling channels, and rated each on a scale of 1-10 in four areas: profitability, customer service, communication and ease of use. The finalists were Read More

Mar 29, 2015

Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie: Don McLean's Famous Lyrics Offered at Auction

Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie; took my lyrics to the auction hoping someone would buy.

On April 7, 2015, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee Don McLean will say “bye-bye” to the working manuscript and typed notes for his iconic 1971 hit “American Pie.” The 16 pages comprised of 237 lines of manuscript and 26 lines of typed text is expected to bring between $1 million and $1.5 million at Christie’s. The work may be viewed there between April 2-6 at the auction house’s New York gallery at 20 Rockefeller Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 16-page working manuscript for Don McLean’s hit “American Pie,” comprised of 237 lines hand-written lines and 26 lines of typed text is expected to bring between $1 million and $1.5 million at Christie’s when the work goes up for auction on April 7.
The 16-page working manuscript for Don McLean’s hit “American Pie,” comprised of 237 lines hand-written lines and 26 lines of typed text is expected to bring between $1 million and $1.5 million at Christie’s when the work goes up for auction on April 7.

McLean’s song has become an American classic. It achieved #1 status on billboard in 1972, the longest pop song to achieve that rank: it runs for 8 minutes and 36 seconds and takes up both sides of a standard 45 RPM record. In an era when most pop songs were between 2-3 minutes long, it’s surprising that “American Pie” got any airplay at all. Most radio stations played only the “A” side of his release. I suppose deejays were motivated by the catchy phrase “took my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.” Read More

Mar 27, 2015

Estate Wins Ruling vs. IRS on Art Collection

Rumor has it that estate attorneys all over America are gleefully dancing around their desks.

The reason for the lawyerly ruckus was that the Internal Revenue Service had just lost a case with major implications for the estates of collectors. At issue was whether an estate could parcel out an art collection according to the rules of “fractional ownership.” Fractional ownership is an accounting method whereby several individuals can share ownership of a tangible asset. While this case involves a multi-million-dollar art collection, the tenets of the can be applied to any collector who wishes to make arraignments for dispersing a collection after their death.

Generally, the asset involved in a fractional ownership situation is something like real estate, a yacht, a racehorse or other high-value property. Sharing ownership in an asset also involves sharing the expenses involved in keeping the item: insurance, maintenance, storage and such.

Fractional ownership is an accounting method whereby several individuals can share ownership of a tangible asset. A recent case ruling finds that collectors can use the rules regarding fractional ownership to an art collection for estate purposes will affect owners of collectors big and small.

Texans James and Margaret Elkins shared an interest in their art collection with their three children. Their collection of 64 works was impressive and included artworks by Picasso, Pollock, and sculptor Henry Moore. When Mrs. Elkins died, Mr. Elkins allowed a 27-percent share of 61 works to pass to his children plus a 50-percent share in the three works by Picasso, Pollock and Moore. Read More

Mar 26, 2015

Can Your Antiques Business Pass the Acid Test?

Back before Saturday Night Live there was a radio comedy troupe called The Firesign Theatre. Their routines included a game show titled “Beat the Reaper” in which contestants were injected with a deadly disease and had less than a minute to analyze their symptoms and guess what disease they had. Those who did would Beat the Reaper. Those who didn’t … well, you get the idea. I suppose the comedy was all in the presentation.

A common tension-building device used by fiction writers is to place the protagonist in a situation where catastrophe is imminent and time is running out: Our hero is short on air, ammunition, fuel, time, or some combination thereof. If I was in such a situation, I might find some comfort in knowing just how long I had left. When the end came, I would at least know what had happened.

I wish I could say that about my first business. When the end came, I offered a dazed look to the accountant and exclaimed “What happened?”

She gave me a look reserved for the young and ignorant and said simply: “Let me see your books.”

I handed her my check registers along with a list of assets and liabilities and a box of receipts, which represented the extent of my bookkeeping back in those days. She grimaced and said, “Get back to me in two weeks.” Read More