Sued51's Blog

{April 25, 2011}   Learning about Antiques

Since my father died in December, my family has been busy going through boxes and boxes of old and smelly stuff (in reality, storage units and sheds full). Much of the stuff was still kicking around from when my great aunt, grandfather, and grandmother died (going back to the 1960s). No one had ever taken the time to go through the stuff, they just kept moving it from place to place. The process has been excruciating, especially for my younger brother who has been handling most of it, but it has also been interesting and informative.

Most of the stuff was immediately tossed in endless (expensive) dumpsters without a second thought. Scrap metal was separated. Anything really old looking was put aside to show an auctioneer. Unfortunately, none of us knew much about antiques and nobody had the time or inclination to do the required research to sell stuff off slowly and painfully. (The auction turned out to be a bad experience that I will discuss in another blog.) Bits and pieces were pulled out and kept by some of us, depending on our interests or memories.

Knowing that I tend to be interested in family history and old photographs, my brother gave me some old photos. I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures of my grandmother and great aunt as children, and the ones from my own childhood.

 But there were many photos on thick cardboard that were clearly quite old and unlabeled except for the names of photographers in the mid-west. I showed them to my neighbor who loves antiques. She told me they are called cabinet cards, and from my research I learned that they date from the 1860s and were popular through the 1890s. I have different colors (some sepia-toned and some black and white), which indicate different time periods. I have babies, and dour-looking adults. There were also some daguerreotypes (tin types), which I knew were from around civil war time. By the time I finished my research, I decided that it is likely that someone collected them and they are not all necessarily relatives. But, it sure will be fun finding out. They don’t take up much space and I can take my time trying to delve into their background. Hmmm…maybe someone else had the same idea… that’s why they are still kicking around.

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