Americana: Three Cheers for the Red, White & Blue

Americana: Is There Such a Thing?

     Each January, New York and other major cities vie for customers and big bucks at their annual Americana auctions. These are supposedly different from other auctions during the year in that they consist of specifically American made or consumed goods.

     That limits the field somewhat, since most of everything made today is manufactured in the Far East, although it is consumed in America. To be a purist, Americana items are items that were usually handmade, or at least included a hand process, here in our country, to be consumed by our own people. They are antique (maybe 100 years old or more) and have a definite flavor (like apple pie). They are often important to our own history or the history of American craftsmanship.

 


Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Four Score and Seven Years Ago someone printed copies of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and gave them away.  Today people are selling them as the real thing.  Now I'm not sure if it was 87 years ago, but there are a number of printed facsimiles of that most famous work floating around the country.  It is printed on two quarto (8-1/2” x 11”) sheets.  On the verso (the back) is the printed text; "A Donnelley DEEPTONE Offset Facsimile / R.R. DONNELLEY & SONS COMPANY / The Lakeside Press."  They are very attractive, and could fool the novice collector or dealer.  I have seen some framed and matted.  Under glass the printer's note is not visible, and it is difficult to tell it not authentic.


Wallace Nutting: A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

By Leon Castner

Wallace Nutting was a nationally known printmaker and furniture expert of the 1900-30's era. His work is highly collectible and now recognized by most antique lovers. Decorators particularly love his simple and somewhat romantic view of the American Colonial era. Museums as well as collectors avidly seek his furniture, which copied early pieces of historic Pilgrim and Federal examples. His work was detailed, careful and of high quality.