1 Jul 2014

How to Know If Your Samurai Sword Is Authentic

The samurai sword has been a symbol of courage, bravery and fighting skill for centuries and even though the days of the samurai have passed, interest in the swords remains strong. Collectors near and far would consider an authentic samurai sword to be an exciting addition to their personal collection. However, determining the authenticity of a sword is another story. Keep reading for some tips on how to figure it out. The Steel Since the steel is what makes a samurai sword what it is, it’s important to make sure the blade is actually made of steel. Many replica samurai swords are made from aluminum, and while they may look nice, they aren’t the real thing. A real samurai sword is made by a Japanese swordsmith who took a lot of time to forge the raw steel. One simple way to check if it is at least real steel is to hold a magnet against it and hope that it…

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24 Jun 2014

When you delve into the big world of collectibles, you’ll sometimes stumble upon photographs that are valuable. The photographs may be of a celebrity, a sports figure, a landmark, or a historical event, but it is important to treat them right to preserve the quality and maintain the value. There’s nothing worse than having beautiful photographs with collectible value, only to ruin them by not caring for them properly. Here are a few ways you can preserve your photos so they won’t diminish in value. Handle with Care If you have an original photo or even a valuable negative, it is very important to keep your hands off the surface at all costs. If you must handle them, only touch…

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15 Jun 2014

There’s no disputing the fact that North America has a long history when it comes to firearms. For hundreds of years, weapons have been created, used and improved upon. Many major conflicts can be characterized by the types of weapons that were being used at the time, and during the American Civil War one such weapon was the .54 caliber Burnside carbine rifle. This gun played a major role in the conflict and is a popular collectible item today. About the Weapon The .54 caliber Burnside carbine rifle was made from around 1857 to 1865 by the Bristol Firearms Company and then the Burnside Rifle Company, in Rhode island. Five different models were manufactured during these years, and the Burnside…

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10 Jun 2014

Photography is one of the most democratic forms of art. Anyone can pick up a camera and snap away, especially in today’s age of high-quality cameras included in smartphones. But just because anyone can click the shutter button doesn’t meant they’ll produce great art. The big-league photographers can command a simply awesome amount of money for their pictures. Here are the top 10 most valuable photographer’s photos in the world. #1 Rhein II This photograph of the Rhine river by German photographer Andreas Gursky took home a whopping US$4.3 million dollars at a Christie’s auction in New York. That’s a record for priciest photo sold at auction. #2 Untitled #96 This photo by American artist Cindy Sherman fetched $3.9 million…

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5 Jun 2014

If you have any kind of interest in baseball memorabilia, you’ve likely heard stories of some of the huge paydays sellers have realized for specific items. Serious baseball collectors are always looking for specific items to add and willing to pay a small fortune to get them. Below are some of the most outrageous prices ever paid and the specific piece of baseball memorabilia attached to them. Babe Ruth’s 1920 Jersey Here’s an outrageous price for you. It was a 1920 New York Yankees baseball jersey worn by Babe Ruth himself, and someone paid $4.4 million for it. That’s correct, a baseball jersey. No pants, no hat, just the jersey and $4.4 million. However, it was apparently the oldest known…

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30 May 2014

First edition books are a collector’s category in their own right. Literature-lovers will fork out big bucks for an original – the most original, to be specific – copy of a well-known or famous book. Here are six of the most expensive first-edition books in the world. #1 Bay Psalm Book This is one of 11 copies of a translation of biblical psalms written and published by American Puritans in 1640. It’s also considered the first book ever printed in what became the United States of America. It sold for a whopping US$14 million at a 2013 auction to an American businessman. #2 Birds of America This ultra-rare book documenting the avian population of America published in 1827 and written…

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26 May 2014

A lot of things aren’t made quite like they used to be. And it’s fair to say this applies perhaps the most to children’s toys. With today’s kids’ playthings are often made out of cheap (and quick-to-break) plastic, many parents are thinking back to their own prized childhood items that were built tougher, and with more care – some of which were hand-me-downs from their own parents. The big difference between toys back in the day and now? Back then, toys were more commonly made of wood – a sturdy material that also just feels good in your hands. But instead of bemoaning how they don’t make toys like they used to, take a trip down memory lane with five…

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21 May 2014

The world of Disney – the “magic kingdom” – has a special place in the hearts of many children and adults. Disney has so many unmistakably recognizable characters, and has a long history of creating toy versions of its big-time movie hits. Here are some of the most valuable classic Disney collectibles around. Rare 1938 Snow White dwarfs All of the dwarfs from the classic Disney movie Snow White are here in figurine form. Pinocchio play set Dating from the 1960s shortly after the iconic Disney version of Pinocchio hit the silver screens, this is a complete store-display set of figurines based on the classic fairy tale that Disney transformed into one of its best-known movies. Porcelain 101 Dalmatians These…

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16 May 2014

The shortwave radio has a history stretching back to the beginning of the 20th century. Reflecting shortwave’s community ethos, the technology was actually discovered by amateur radio enthusiasts, with the first successful transatlantic transmissions coming in 1921. The next year, hundreds of enthusiasts in North America had their signals heard all the way over in Europe on what’s known as the medium wave band, which is the shortest amateur-available wavelength. Going the other way, European signals reached about 20 North Americans. The year of 1922 was also important, as it was the first in which two-way communications (think telephone back-and-forth) were heard, when transmissions were made between the North American mainland and Hawaii. By 1924, amateurs were establishing trans-ocean contacts…

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12 May 2014

Boxing great and living legend Muhammad Ali, like many classic sporting figures, has spawn something of a mini-industry surrounding his memorabilia. Arguably the greatest boxer ever – and one who stepped out of the four-cornered ring to take public stances and become an outspoken celebrity – Ali’s artefacts can command big bucks. Here are five of the most expensive bits of Muhammad Ali memorabilia – and some of the priciest pieces of boxing history. #5 “Rumble in the Jungle” fight trunks An iconic matchup between Ali and long-time foe George Foreman, this 1974 fight in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo saw Ali put down Foreman in the eighth round, to the delight of the packed stadium.…

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6 May 2014

You never know if here’s a secret small fortune hidden somewhere among yours and your family’s possessions. But the question is – how to tell what is actually valuable versus what is just old junk? This challenge is even more difficult when dealing with silverware. In order to sell your silverware for a good price, you first need to be sure of what exactly you’re dealing with. There are two kinds of silverware – silver plate and sterling silver. If you remember where and when the item was bought and what the exact name and pattern name is, then you’re going to have to do a bit of work to uncover the true identity of your silverware. Step one is…

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1 May 2014

Of all the fine arts, hand-blown glass definitely deserves a special place when it comes to beautiful objects made by human hands. The technique of hand-blown glass is one of the most personal expressions of an artist’s vision, requiring them to literally breathe life into their creations. Check out these amazing pieces of hand-blown glass. Floral bouquet This eye-catcher sees colourful blooming flower vases extending out in every direction – a real conversation piece made in Oregan. Japanese fishing floats These ones are neat. These glass-blown balls are traditionally made by Japanese fishermen to keep their nets afloat. Though this practice isn’t followed any more, the glass floats can still be found drifting in the Pacific Ocean. The earliest floats were made…

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29 Apr 2014

When we think of flatware, most of us picture the standard cutlery we use everyday. But did you know that there is a lucrative market dedicated to the collection and sale of rare flatware? These exquisite pieces go far beyond the garden variety forks and knives we’re used to seeing in our kitchens. From soup spoons made of pure silver to intricately carved gravy ladles, who knew rare flatware could be worth so much? There are many different factors that make certain pieces more valuable than others: Availability of item Uniqueness of design Polishing and smoothness Roundness, tines and edging Handle construction on knives While hard-to-find designs increase the value of flatware, its overall quality can also determine how much…

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17 Apr 2014

It’s with great pleasure and pride that we announce this year’s recipient of the Toronto Consumers’ Choice award for the best Toronto self storage company. Can we get a drum-roll please? The winner is…Jiffy Self-Storage! For those of you who’ve been counting, this marks the 17th time that the people of Toronto have chosen us as their favourite storage company–not a bad track record, if we do say so ourselves! And it’s all thanks to you, or valued customers who continue to spread the word of our best-in-class storage solutions and services year after year. In case you’re unfamiliar with the Toronto Consumers’ Choice Awards, they’re essentially the business world’s answer to the film and music industry’s People’s Choice Awards,…

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10 Apr 2014

Today’s lunch boxes are sleek contraptions, often slim in design with the latest heat-preserving technology.  The ones many of us used to carry as children often pale in comparison.  But did you know that some of those dorky metal lunch boxes we used to flaunt are now worth big bucks?  Yep, those grainy-looking boxes featuring our favourite characters are now fetching hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Here are the top 5 collectible lunch boxes worth quite the wad of cash.  If you’ve got one of these kicking around your kitchen, don’t send it off to Goodwill just yet! #5:  The Jetsons (1963) – $1,650 Who could forget TV’s most beloved space-crazed family from the 1960s?  From George and Jane…

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4 Apr 2014

Buttons have been present on clothing for literally thousands of years, making them fascinating, interesting, and, of course, collectible. The oldest button that has been found was dated at over 5000 years old! Buttons this old were typically made of seashell, and were carved into different shapes and attached to clothing as ornamentation – to make it look pretty – as opposed to being a functional fastening tool. It wasn’t until the 13th and 14th centuries’ tight-fitting fashions that clothes with buttons and buttonholes used for fastening became commonplace. Needless to say, with a history like that, there are countless buttons out there with interesting histories waiting to be collected! Before you start a button collection, you’ll want to know…

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31 Mar 2014

Did you know that there are clubs and societies dedicated to the admiration of music boxes? Also known as automatic musical instruments, these tiny melody machines have brought enjoyment to both children and adults for years. Whether it’s tiny ballerinas spinning to the tune of ‘It’s a Small World’ or wintery snow globes set to the tune of ‘Silent Night’, no doubt that these are definitely treasures worth keeping. If you’re interested in collecting unique music boxes, here are some tips to help you navigate through this wonderful world. Get educated There are several sites out there (like ebay and kijiji) that offer up “rare” pieces. But often times, these music boxes are hardly rare and similar items can easily…

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27 Mar 2014

When it comes to guitars, no one does it better than Gibson. The company, currently based out of Nashville, has a rich history that is unmatched by any other musical enterprises out there.  Gibson Guitar Corporation builds one of the world’s most iconic guitars: The Gibson Les Paul. Designed in collaboration with musician Les Paul himself, the solid-body electric guitar was a hit as soon as it hit the market. But before we delve a bit further into the unique properties of the Les Paul, let’s take a quick look at Gibson’s earlier history. 1898: Gibson’s founder, Orville Gibson, patents a single-piece mandolin design that is much more durable than other models on the market. It can also be manufactured…

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24 Mar 2014

The sale and purchase of ivory has been a very controversial practice with activists sounding the alarm over its ethical implications for years. But ivory is a beautiful material admired by millions around the world. Its use can be traced centuries back when ivory was used to make a variety of items from piano keys to dominos to even false teeth. The white material is mainly derived from elephant tusks, but can also come from many other animals including the walrus, hippopotamus and even the sperm whale. Despite its mystical beauty, ivory has been clouded in controversy because of its direct impact on precious elephant populations around the world. The laws surrounding this lucrative trade is complex and often difficult…

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