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In the early 1900’s, when Mr. Ford finally made cars affordable, people were transfixed with the new invention and were eager to try it out and take it on the road. However, men being men, back in those days as well, did not like to stop every few miles to ask for or get directions. Because of this, many of the country’s first gas stations started introducing the incentive of free road maps to their customers in order to increase business. Then came city, county and state maps from the government to increase tourism to their areas and later to advertise and try to keep people a little bit longer in their neck of the woods.
Mikey finally got tired of hanging around the antique flea market pretending to be boss; people laughing about him and ridiculing him behind his back, so he decided to hang himself. A few minutes later his girlfriend walks into the garage and finds him hanging by his wrists. “What are you doing,” she yells at him? Mikey tells her, “I’m hanging myself.” Even his girlfriend thinks he’s an idiot, but nevertheless is really confused and says, “If you are hanging yourself, the rope should be around your neck.” To which Mikey replies, “No duh!! I tried that but I couldn’t breathe.”
Recently, while surfing on the Internet for interesting stories, I came upon some questions from readers asking about the worth of possible antiques. One question was about a music stand and another was about a rocking chair. In both instances there was a paper attached to these items that mentioned the Larkin Company of Buffalo, New York. Being originally from Buffalo, New York, this intrigued me and so I started doing some digging on Larkin.
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It turns out; The Larkin Soap Company was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1875. The company was started by John D. Larkin, Elbert Hubbard and Darwin D. Martin. It started out as a soap company but in the early 1900’s it expanded to produce many other home products including furniture and even later they became pioneers in the mail order business. What is interesting to note about this company is that they were also pioneers in the marketing field. Items such as music stands and rocking chairs as well as other furniture were given away as premiums for product loyalty. This type of marketing became much more prominent during the Great Depression when other soap companies started putting Depression Glass into their soap boxes as incentives to buy and to maintain product loyalty.
Alas, in the late 70’s gas prices soared and everyone tightened their collective belts. Gas stations trying to cut costs did away with giving away road map, thus creating the birth of the collectible road map. One of the problems with collecting old road maps is finding them in very good condition. In most cases, the old maps were unfolded and refolded many times and many times they were folded back incorrectly creating creases. Not to mention, the possibility of early maps having oil and grease stains on them from the previous owners hands. However, finding the old maps is not only a fun endeavor but a great way to collect something from our own past. There are also many collectors clubs on the Internet.
In case you missed it, last month two sisters from Virginia sold a cornflake that was shaped like the state of Illinois on eBay for more than $1350. Melissa McIntire and her sister Emily first listed the cornflake, but when officials at eBay decided that the sale violated its sales policies, the sisters had to instead auction a coupon redeemable for the flake. You might ask yourself who would buy a cornflake on eBay and the answer would be Monty Kerr of Austin, Texas.
Monet who was born in Paris, France in 1840 is the founder of French Impressionist painting. He intentionally created a water garden in Giverny, France so that he could paint as great a variety of water lilies as possible. Monet is not only considered one of the greatest impressionist painters by those of us who love art, but by his fellow painters of the time as well. His fellow painters,Degas, Renoir and Cezanne, to name a few, considered him a leader and he influenced their work. Claude Monet passed away in 1926.
Seems Mr. Kerr, owner of TriviaMania.com, had tried to purchase a cornflake before. Unfortunately, the cornflake, which was billed as the world’s largest, was crumbled by the delivery service. Mr. Kerr would like to add this cornflake to a travelingmuseum of American pop culture and American items. This time though, he said that he would send someone to Virginia to pick up the cornflake in question.
A painting titled “Water Lily Pond” by the master impressionist Claude Monet sold in 2008 in London for more than $80 million. This painting was part of four that Monet painted in 1919. “Water Lily Pond” had been auctioned in 1971 and had sold form a mere $320,000. That is one heck of an appreciation in price in 37 years. Of the four paintings, this is only one of three that survive. Another is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the third was purchased at auction by a private collector in 1992.
Another interesting note about the Larkin Company was that the Larkin Building was built by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904. However after the Great Depression, the Larkin Company’s sales declined and they were forced into bankruptcy. The building was foreclosed on in 1945 and later sold in 1949. Sadly, in 1950 the building was demolished to make way for a parking lot of all things. Pictured is a chair designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Larkin Building.
Christie’s will auction off a Lucien Freud painting on May 13, 2008 that is expected to reach a record price. The painting titled Benefits Supervisor Sleeping and depicts a large naked woman, will likely bring in between $25 - $35 million at auction. Lucian Freud, who is 85, is the grandson of the famous psychotherapist Sigmund Freud. The painting which was done in 1995 will be shown this month at Christie’s in London before it is auctioned off in New York in May. If the painting reaches it pre-sale estimates, it will surpass the current record for a living artist set by Jeff Koons and his Hanging Heart sculpture sold in November of last year.