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Who was the person credited with the concept of a world's fair?

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World's Fair
by E.L. Doctorow


This novel tells the story of Edgar Altshuler, a 9-year-old boy from the Bronx, and his adventures at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. On his first visit to the fair, Edgar is enthralled by industry's vision of the futuresafe, secure and prosperous cities, speedy and cheap transportation and modern invention to make life easier. On his second visit, he sees that the exhibits are constructed of gypsum whose paint is peeling and that the displays are really toys.
                                   
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Collecting—A Passion or an Obsession 
by Bob Brooke

 

An Occupied Japan version of a German figurine.Collecting has been called a fad, a disease, an education, an investment, an escape, and sometimes an obsession. Homer Eaton Keyes, the founding editor of the Antiques Magazine, used to call it "the pleasantest form of insanity."

It may be any or all of these things, depending on a collector–and the collection–but at its best it can be one of the most stimulating, satisfying, and beneficial pursuits in the world. It’s also one of the oldest. Every civilization has produced important collectors, and it’s largely thanks to them that the works of art of their own and other cultures have been preserved.

Collecting in America is as old as the country itself, but the collecting of antiques got its first real impetus at the time of the Centennial Exposition in 1876, the worlds fair celebrating the nation's 100th birthday. Since then American collectors have constantly multiplied, seeking and bringing together works of artistic and historical significance not only from our own past but from the four corners of the world.

Roseville bowl.Collecting has grown from the esoteric pastime of a select few to an absorbing passion of national proportions. And while trends in collecting come and go, the interest in antiques and collectibles has constantly increased. Today, American collectors are as diverse as the things they collect. They’re people of every age and character, from every educational, social and economic level. They collect everything from highboys to paperweights. An even though they’re all individualists, they all have in common an inquiring, acquisitive, and compelling interest in items of the past.

French miniature porcelain boxes are very collectable.Collecting is far more than the assembling of more or less related objects. It’s a purposeful, even creative activity, and the collections displayed reflect the character of the individual collector. Collecting anything, antique or modern, is limited to two things: the money available in the space to be filled. It's a personal matter what to collect and how best to display it.

The taste of a collector may lead to watches or clocks, China teapots, toy trains, furniture, jewelry, silver, and any number of ceramic and pottery pieces. The lucky acquisition of an admired piece may lead to a determination to get more of the same, or at least to find out more about the object. Curiosity is a collector's strongest character trait.

A delicate cyrstal wine glass.The best collector is an educated one. A collector must learn to have an "eye" and a "feel" for good, authentic examples of his or her chosen antique or collectible. He or she must learn to recognize a true piece and learn how it should fee. Glassware is a good example. Old pieces have a crispness to their edges not found on new ones. Depression glass collectors need to improve their sense of touch since virtually no pieces were signed and many of the patterns have since been reproduced.

A collector should also collect what he or she likes–furniture, ceramics, household items, even teddybears. This is more important than value, especially in the beginning. It’s better to start out small and upgrade a collection over time than to start out with a bang. And it’s equally important to hold on to items in a collection for at least 10 years and, even better, 20.

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How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

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Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

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