I’ve come out with a new beginner’s e-book guide to identifying common materials in antique memorabilia and collectibles, including sports items. You can download it for free here.
Materials (ceramics, wood, metal, fur, plastic, paper, etc) is a massive, ongoing area of study and research. There have been volumes of literature written just on diamonds, a university professor may spend his career studying paper and a New York art gallery may sell artworks made only of glass.
For the sport or non-sport collector and seller, the use in being able to identify and date materials in art, memorabilia and collectibles should be obvious. An auctioned ‘1920 baseball print’ has to be made from the kind of paper used in the time period. A football medallion made of gold will be worth more than one made from brass. If a football pin is made out of an old type of plastic, you can be confident it is original. A ‘1660s toy boat’ can’t be made out of 1920s plastic. Many fakes, forgeries and genuine items are in part identified by identifying the material.
Beyond authentication and fake detection, many people are simply interested in knowing what an item is made of. Whether an old figural paperweight on a co-worker’s desk is made of cranberry glass or lucite, that’s nice to know. Whether the painting on the wall is oil paint or encaustic, that an interesting fact to learn. It’s like enjoying
identifying birds at the park. Identifying materials can be a hobby and enjoyment in and of itself.
To help you in identifying antique materials, you can download my new pdf e-book guide titled “Identifying Common Materials in Antiques: A Beginner’s Guide.”
As the title suggests, the brief guide is written for beginners to the area and offers lots of practical identification tips. As a primer, it not intended to cover everything nor make the reader into the next museum curator or auction expert. It sticks to more commonly found materials and basic information.
This guide is intended as a supplement and springboard to the reader’s further education, which includes hands on examination, further reading and asking questions. Nothing beat hand on experience.