December 2001


This Month

8 New Sites
for Your







































Compiled by Bruce Gventer

What follows is a random assortment of art and antiques related websites that we have visited and enjoyed in the last few weeks. Your discoveries and suggestions are always welcome. Send them to

An American metal alloy made primarily from tin...

The Pewter Collectors' Club of America's website goes into pewter's history, features a glossary, and offers a bibliography. The site opens with the question,: “What is pewter?” It continues with this description- "Pewter is a metal alloy composed primarily of tin with varying amounts of lead, copper, antimony, and bismuth. It was first used in the manufacture of vessels by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and other ancient civilizations. In Europe, pewter was utilized extensively from medieval times through the 18th century when pottery and porcelain replaced it as the materials of choice for serving food and drink. Pewter was also made and used in great quantities throughout North America from the colonial period to the 1860s."           

The section on pewter's marks is very useful and will help you to identify the pieces you own. The site states that one third of American pewter pieces were never marked. Those in the know will be able to tell by design features, details of workmanship, and characteristics of the alloy whether or not the pewter was made in America.               

There are also some good links to museums that have large collections of American pewter on display. This site about American pewter is brought to you by website-ings reader, Garland Pass. 

  Mix in lead, copper, antimony, and get pewter

This site expands from American pewter to pewter made in England and elsewhere. The Pewter Society has very specific objectives, to stimulate interest in and appreciation of pewter by encouraging research and viewing pewter in a social context. They want to advise on its care and conservation. Although they say advice on care and conservation is part of their mission, I did not see any information on the site about this. This site has a good section on markings of pewter, which are known as touch marks. These markings tell who made the pewter. Also of interest is the site's extensive glossary of terms to help the newbie learn. All the information is documented with a good list of additional resources.

  Ideal for 19th century research

The Making of America site was constructed by the University of Michigan and Cornell University and it strives to put the actual primary sources on American social history right on your desk top. The site covers the period in history from the  ante bellum through the reconstruction.

The collection is made of images from the actual books or periodicals so you can read directly from the source material. So what are you waiting for? There are thousands of pages for you to read. This is a fantastic site for primary sources about American social history. This one is brought to your attention by Miriam and Marvin Feinstein of M&M Books on Long Island.  

  Pay as you go?

The site lets you choose between the English or the French languages. This web page appears to have a wealth of information on art pricing. It is easy to use, but the down side is you have to pay for the information. You pay by the amount of information you want to access. The smallest fee is $20, and since I was too cheap to pay the price, you will have to decide for yourself if the site is worth it. They boast of having the largest data bank of art prices in the world. For a fee, you can obtain all types of information about the artwork including tables summarizing their sales over the last 10 years. You can find the next auction appearance of the artist, what works are up for sale, date and place of the next sale, titles and descriptions of works, estimated prices, auction house, etc.            

Biographies of the artists are being added to the site. It looks like a good site, but you have to pay to use it. Worth the price? Let me know. 

  China calico buttons

Nothing but China calico buttons that were manufactured in the 19th century. A history, patterns, references, and cross indexing for identification.  

  All the rest of the buttons

This is the personal website of Lily Abello and shows a wide range of button types along with tips for the beginning button collector and places to go to learn more about buttons. All the button types are illustrated with pictures - very helpful for those wanting to learn more. 

  Still searching?

You can use this site to help you find antique centers, antique dealers, architectural antiques, art dealers, auctions, collectibles, directories, fairs, publications, reproductions, resources, and services. You can link to the subject heading or use the search box to find what you want. The site lets you add your own favorites. 

  The Roadshow

We all have heard of the Antiques Roadshow by now, but have you looked at their website yet? If not, you should take a peek. The site is chock full of useful information on all sorts of topics. You might find the section called tips of the trade especially useful. Plenty of tips for you here.

Utilize all the resourses of the Roadshow yourself; find out about the three hundred volume reference library that travels with the show. Read Taking the Mystery Out of History to learn more.

Learn the “lingo” by using the glossary. New material is regularly added to the site.

Appraise it for me.