Saturday, June 4, 2016

SHOW AND TELL



This is the trunk of treasures, topped by my cat Scratch when she was three months old (she's now ten years old).

When I moved from Texas to Tennessee the movers "lost" all of my diaries and journals, half of my piano music, my collection of antique books, and six oil paintings. Among many other things.

Fortunately, they didn't lose an old trunk that contains a wealth of treasures. If they had ever known what was in it, I'm certain it would have vanished with my other stuff. Last night I rummaged through the trunk and was surprised at how many interesting things I've collected over the years.
There are over 100 items, including original antique photos, historic letters, autographs of famous people, and antique artwork.  

Here is a small sample from my collection. Sorry for the lousy quality of some photos.


 Original engraving and signature of 
King William IV of England

1859 engraving of Queen Victoria
with her official seal and signature
(this one has to be re-framed, I accidentally broke the glass )

This is a miniature pencil drawing by Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. There were two of them up for sale at auction, but I could only afford one. It's impossible to see anything on this blurry photo, but it's a drawing of two horses.
Original photo of the Lusitania in port



 Engraving and signature of Russian Emperor Alexander II

Rembrandt etching of  The Three Trees

 Photo of Alexei Romanov (1904-1918)
son of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia. Alexei had hemophillia. He was executed by the Bolsheviks at age 14 in 1918, along with his family.
This photo was taken by the Empress.
 Grand Duchess Olga (1895-1918)
eldest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II and Alexandra,
executed in 1918


Photo of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia
with royal double-headed eagle seal on verso 


Here are a few more photos from my collection.

 Queen Victoria


Queen Alexandra of England
(I also have a letter written by her)

 King Ludwig II
the "mad" King of Bavaria
(I have four original photos of him)

 French composer Jules Massenet
This rare photo is from his estate

Ignacy Jan Paderewski
pianist/composer
(I also have his signature)


 
Composers Anton Rubinstein (left)

and Johann Strauss
Trivia: I performed Rubinstein's D minor Piano Concerto in California when I was 20 years old


Charles Lindbergh
I had a collection of Lindbergh photos which I sold when I was in Texas - along with photos of the Hindenburg.
(I didn't want to sell them but I needed the cash and, heck, you can't keep everything)

Original 1863 Matthew Brady photo of the wedding of midget Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) to Lavinia Warren

Out of my large photo collection, this is the only one I haven't been able to identify. The photographer, Carl Andersen, was located in Neumunster, Germany. I initially thought this child might be Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria.
I compared other photos of Rudolph when he was young and there are distinct similarities. 

Here's the piece de resistance - the signature of artist Claude Monet. There's a story behind this, which I won't go into now. I've bored you enough.



39 comments:

  1. damn, you have the most fascinating stuff! and isn't scratch a cutie!

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    1. I can hardly believe how big and fat Scratch is now. I got her at a shelter and she was so scrawny and little. She turned into a beautiful cat.

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  2. Not boring at all. What treasures and thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Paula. I initially wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in this.

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  3. Jon,

    Fascinating. Now what we need is the story of how you have these treasurers. At lease share the story involving Monet.

    Larry

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    1. I'll have to tell the Monet story sometime. Actually that signature is on the reverse side of a piece of canvas which has some trees painted on it. There is a POSSIBILITY that perhaps they were painted by Monet....

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  4. This is a little cornucopia of treasures. I should imagine that, if you were that way inclined, several of them would find a ready and not-to-be-sniffed-at price on eBay or some medium more 'respectable'. It seems near-sacriligeous even to think of such a fate for them. But I'm sure that you'd, like I would, prefer to hang onto them. Some really eye-catching stuff.
    Btw: Did you not want to add to the description of Paderewski, his sometime modest title of 'Prime Minister'?

    Oh, and I've found your videos on YouTube and started at the far, early end so I can see you age gracefully, though in a mere four years I wouldn't expect to see much change. I wasn't aware you had, among all your talents, the ability to arrange music from orchestral parts. The Pas de Deux from 'Casse Noisette' is most impressive, capturing well the full orchestra's multi-cploured score.

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    1. Ray, I had completely forgotten that Paderewski was Prime Minister of Poland.My mind is waning in my declining years....

      Thanks for being courageous enough to view my videos. Actually, all of my piano videos were recorded in San Angelo, Texas. At that time I was hopelessly out of practice and pushing 50 (definitely over the hill). I wish you could have seen me perform when I was a young virtuoso (musically speaking, of course).

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  5. Oh, don't go the ebay route. With full respect to Raybeard, that's the equivalent of sewing pearls on a dress for the pig. I tried as hard as I could to enlarge the drawing by Princess Louise with no success. The last photo should be easier to trace with the help of an interested collector. I wonder if Tennessee has any. Just the frame alone, with the portrait of Grand Duchess Olga shows the high esteem in which it was held. I LOVED the tour!! Brava!

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    1. The photo of Grand Duchess Olga is my personal favorite. It is an ornate leather case with two tiny clasps.

      I tried to scan the drawing by Princess Louise but it didn't come out at all, because of the glass - and there's no way to take the drawing out of the frame. Anyway, I'm delighted you enjoyed the tour!

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  6. Wow! I know so little of history that I was quite impressed with your knowledge, let alone all your treasures. :)

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    1. I love to read about history, especially Imperial Russia and Victorian England. I studied Russian music when I was a music student (ironically I'm 100% Hungarian).

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  7. Jon,
    I'll echo other's comments, you do have the most damn interesting "stuff." Wow, I am so impressed. I'm glad your movers didn't "lose" these treasured items of your.
    Ron

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    1. Ron, It was so CARELESS of me to entrust my most precious things with those movers. I'll never forgive myself. I'm so fortunate that the trunk wasn't lost - or stolen - or whatever they did.

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  8. I carried irreplaceable items in the car.

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    1. That is the very best advice and it should be etched in gold. NEVER EVER let your valuable items out of your sight.

      Unfortunately, I was driving a small Toyota - with three cats (!!!) in large cages and I didn't have room to bring anything else. In my profound innocence I didn't think anything could go wrong on a simple 1,000 mile move.
      Wow, was I wrong!!!

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  9. WOW ! what an incredible array of stuff! You really do have such an interesting collection. Now I'm wondering what the rest are!

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    1. Even I have trouble remembering all the stuff that I have collected. I do have a lot of old letters, autographs, documents, art work, etchings, engravings, and of course photos and tintypes.

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  10. Am loving your lusitania photo...

    Makes you think just what will happen to your treasures when youve gone?
    My sister once said, " you never own antiques...you just look after them for a while"

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    1. I'm always concerned about what will happen to the things when I'm gone. Perhaps they would best be donated. Unfortunately, very few of my relatives care about history.
      The Lusitania photo is really neat - it's one of my favorites.

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  11. Jon, you can "show and tell" all you want, and I'll never be bored.
    I'm fascinated by Alexandra's 'wasp' waist; and of course, Ludwig's soulful expression.

    Seeing the Romanov family images again, particularly young Alexei, hurts my heart ... oh, what might have been.

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  12. Queen Alexandra's slim waistline was astounding - and by the time she became queen she was already about 56 yrs old!

    King Ludwig is one of my favorite historic characters. I don't think he was "mad", but he sure as heck was eccentric.
    Glad you weren't bored.

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    1. BTW
      Queen Alexandra's husband King Edward was a notorious womanizer. After he died, the Queen said "Well, at least I now know where he is at night."
      I love her for that.

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  13. Wow. What a wonderful collection. And you are no stranger to one of the most persistent enigmas. King Ludwig II was hiring crafters from all over who wanted 2 things, to build fabulous structures and avoid working for the Prussian war machine. He drowned. Drowned in waist-high water even though he could swim like a fish and no water was found in his lungs. I'd like to get your take on what happened. Again, Jon, wow!

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    1. Geo, there are three deaths that have always puzzled me: Tchaikovsky, Crown Prince Rudolph, and of course the great enigma of King Ludwig. After doing a lot of armchair detective work, I've come to the conclusion that Crown Prince Rudolph was definitely murdered at Mayerling.

      I also truly believe that King Ludwig was murdered along with Dr. Gudden. As you said, it seems improbable that Ludwig - a good swimmer - would have drowned (or committed suicide) in waist-deep water. There is a recent theory that he was shot and the bullet wounds (in his back) were kept secret - never put in the autopsy report.

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  14. Your private collection is astounding. Treasures one and all. See that they end up in a place worthy of their history when you pass.

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    1. I definitely want to pass them on to someone- or some place - where they will be appreciated.

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  15. This is certainly not boring. You have an amazing collection. I've been to Ludwig's castle many times since we lived in Germany. It felt as cold as the mystery surrounding his death. Scratch is lovely by the way. Thanks for sharing some of your treasures.

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    1. That's fantastic! I've always wanted to see Neuschwanstein Castle - it's seems to be in such an astoundingly beautiful and perfect setting.

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    2. Jon, I am totally speechless: Your private collection of famous historical figures from the past is priceless. I also have a trunk of hidden treasures, but it in no way can compare with your own: A few autographs: Ruth Gordon, Truman Capote, Quentin Crisp, Andy Warhol, Janis Ian, Anne Sexton.

      Plus lots of mint condition American coins and stamps I collected before I got hooked on the internet. You really are a remarkable person. I just wanted you to know that.

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    3. Your autograph collection sounds pretty impressive to me. I'm fascinated with old coins but I know nothing about stamps.

      Very few people think I'm remarkable - - it's extremely satisfying to know that I'm appreciated. Thanks!

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  16. What a fabulous collection. Paderewsky, omg!

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    1. He had charisma - something that most pianists don't have nowadays.

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  17. WOW! No, I am NOT bored. Not in the least. You have an absolutely fascinating collection, and I'll bet you have some terrific stories to go along with them. (Which I hope you'll share some day.)

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    1. I never bore myself - but I sometimes worry about boring others. I'm glad you enjoyed going through my old trunk, Susan. And someday I'll tell a few stories about my collection.

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  18. Your blogs are never boring.

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  19. yes....if this had gone missing I do believe I would have cut my wrist. Rembrandt etching of The Three Trees alone is worth a small fortune...let alone the whole trunk. What a treasure trove indeed. While I only saw our family treasure once, our family on my dad fathers side had much to do with Queen Wilhelmina of Holland. They were even given land by her in Holland at one point. And on his mothers side, when they came over from Europe were given land, I believe from royalty in England for years of service in the miltary, in upstate New York. The family lived there as one family for years. We had all kind s of pictures, letters and family history books....all gone to the great flood of 72. Agnes. Your lucky to still have these items. All I have left is the family crest ring most of us males have engraved in a sapphire, and a family crest that is framed.

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    1. What a very fascinating family history you have - - but what a horrible tragedy that so many priceless things were lost in a flood!!!
      I have also lost many treasures over the years, due to too many misfortunes (too many to go into...). It's heartbreaking.

      Fortunately, I still have two Rembrandt etchings (the other one is The Jewish Bride).

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