Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Antique Man in a Coffin Erotic Folk Art Carved Novelty Handmade Sculpture with Penis and Moving Tongue

Antique Man in a Coffin Erotic Folk Art Carved Novelty Handmade Sculpture with Penis and Moving Tongue.

Well, the title says a lot, but not all.  I'm going to add a value judgement.  Bad taste is evident from every era man has been here, and it's not going away.  If a whittler making a statement on mortality and the way we procreate is a problem for you, turn away.

Second, as strange as it may seem, I have collected these little contraptions for years.  I have had some with the coffin as large as a shoebox (sold at auction and lost) and as small as a matchbook.  I have had them painted and not, manufactured as tourist trap do-dads and whittled on the porch from when radio was the only mass-media other than the local newspaper.  I have had them working and broken, in pieces and not.  Rubber band operated and with other mechanisms.

But I have never had one with a tongue.  It is also unusual to see one with arms which extend, and nearly as far as the wanger.  Interestingly, as I write, my spell-checker fails to recognize the  word wanger, repeatedly replacing the word danger... while it has been in our vocabulary for decades.

Whether the artist who created this morbid miracle of post-death erection was thinking of "arms to hold you" and a tongue to kiss you is unknown.  Still, it is a pretty powerful little object combining life, death and what goes on in-between. 

Note also "Rest in Peace" painted on end of the coffin, wire carrying straps, actual linen lining and pencil highlights.  Not to mention red color applied in particular places. 

Little erotic effigies began in caves.  Where they will end is questionable, but they will always be here. 

Circa 1930 Handmade Erotic Novelty Man in Coffin Collection Jim Linderman

If you are interested in similar examples or hand-crafted dirty little (and big) objects created as an homage to sexual silliness, the book FOLK EROTICA by my gentleman friend and esthetic miracle man Milton Simpson HERE is a good place to start.

Hand Painted Antique Glass Reflector End of the Road Sign

A grumpy man at the end of the street has embellished his "Go either way, but Go" glass reflector road sign with personalized instruction.

Antique Road Sign circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

The Contents of a Ladies Dressing Case circa 1870 Drawn by Hand Paper Lesson Reminder Novelty Collection Jim Linderman

A lovely little trick calligraphic game for the ladies.  Each titled object in a women's purse lifts up to reveal a sentiment, a thought, a reminder.  For example, lifting up "A Mirror" reveals the answer "Reflection" underneath.  "A Relief for Deafness" lifts up to reveal "Attention" and "A General Beautifier" lifts up to reveal "Good Humor" which is, as are all, just as true today as they were when this little folk art piece was made.  Likely by a mother as lessons for her child.  

Folk Art "Reminder" Paper Game circa 1870.  Collection Jim Linderman 

Tintype Studio with Twig Chair and Posing Clamp

Tintype Studio with Twig Chair and Posing Clamp.  Circa 1860 or so, a folk art twig chair for posing, a painted backdrop and a nice clamp to hold the model's head.  Please note the book PAINTED BACKDROP : Behind the Sitter in American Tintype Photography is now available for $5.99 as an ebook download.  

Tintype collection Jim Linderman

In the Doghouse (Misanthropic Misogyny Version) Early 20th Century Sexism and the Idiom Vernacular Photograph

In the Doghouse (Misanthropic Version)  Early 20th Century Sexism and the Idiom Vernacular Photograph

In the Doghouse is an idiom.  In the case above, a particularly misanthropic mysogynistic representation of dominant male culture of the 1930s or so.  I presume it was all in good fun…but we'll never know.  An astounding snapshot.  You can see the real dog being entertained in the background, the filthy cur.  Well, it wasn't his fault.  Only a human can treat a human like a dog.  As I write a companion blog called Vintage Sleaze, that a woman from the early 20th century would be posed like this comes as no surprise at all.  Still, it seems to me an iconic snapshot depicting sexist mores, and believe me, they persist.  The BBC has been running a series on Sexual Violence worldwide, and it has been gruesome.  The planet certainly has a long, long way to go.     One source traces the phrase origin to the book Peter Pan (!) in 1911,  when author J. M. Barrie put the father Mr. Darling in the doghouse for not protecting his kids.  At least he was a guy.

Anonymous Snapshot circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman (Thanks and a tip "o" the hat to LL)
BOOKS AND $5.99 Ebooks by the author available HERE.

Guest Post by Natalie M. Curley Antique Dealer

Natalie Curley is one of the rare breed doing the heavy lifting for collectors.   All these objects have to come from somewhere, and the folks who find, save, protect, share and sell them to others are how I connect with the past.  Natalie is a little like me…she has to own an object to understand it, and that unending search to learn is what keeps her going.  Anyone can sell an object, that's what Craig's list is for.  But it takes a special person to find it, figure it out, treat it with respect and pass it along at a very small mark up to other collectors.  I own things with Natalie M. Curley provenance and so do many others.  It's time to share a favorite source.  I asked Ms. Curley to discuss a few of her finds with us and to explain what gets her up in the morning.  Ms. Curley has a splendid website, sells on eBay, restores and frames objects and hits the road early to find great stuff.  See what Natalie has available at CURLEY'S ANTIQUES and on her eBay listings.  Stay up to date with Natalie's travels on her Facebook page.

Because Ms. Curley's interests are wide, we are posting two versions of this piece.  One here, the other on Vintage Sleaze the Blog

"Prior to the hipster “heritage,” and crafty “repurposing” revolutions born of reality television so many years ago, the only context the public really had for the artifacts of their collective history not stored in struggling museums seen only on childhood school trips were the legions of condescending retirees smelling vaguely of lilac and rambling about “book values” running prissy but dusty antique shops in vacation towns. I rightly cannot fault y’all for not finding those very accessible or worthy of your precious free weekend hours. But for folks like me, weirdos ooking for points of connection in an uncomfortable world, the very idea of “forgotten” makes our hearts race and we think you’re crazy to resist! An abandoned parking lot or the field of an underutilized historic landmark in need of the funding, completely uncatalogued piles of every single thing ever possibly made by man or machine before this very day with no answers and not many hints, likely beginning an hour before dawn and potentially slogging through mud or 90 degrees, sounds better than sex! Its a never ending number of too crazy to be imagined stories, lives lived, lost achievements, personalities and insights all silenced by the years and the graves just waiting to wake up and chat. The age and construction of a thing, the society that produced it, the intent (folk art is ALL intent) of the maker, the make-do necessity of the materials used, how its aged and how its been damaged all tell the story. I can become aware of things I never imagined and with the context I piece together, so can the new owner. In the process, we all learn something about ourselves. Theres nothing better than that discovery and I’ve made ALL my professional choices in this life so that I can afford to run away to this circus every-day."

Art Deco Figural Electric Holy Religious Crown Antique Prop Remnant
Handmade and electrified by the same tiny hobby light bulbs any early train set would use, but a mystery past that. The imagination runs wild, part of some odd religious revival or stage play? Carnival prop or weird advertising? No idea, but its all patina and sculpture now!


1920s Post Toasties General Grocery Store Advertising Work Apron
The early 20thc American economy was not only moving rural to city, self reliant to national, but was unknowingly writing the rules of a modern global economy at the time. Like so many of our most insightful antiques, who would expect this apron to survive nearly 100 years? It dates to pretty much the moment when BRANDS made family owned General Stores into competitive groceries, first launching invasive campaigns into our collective conscious. The lucky laborer to wear this one got to wear a sign on his chest and advertise the day’s specials!

1919 Ruth Law Aviatrix Vintage Pilot Plane Barnstormer Antique Photo Pitch Card
Real historically relevancy is a rare treat, here is Ruth Law (Oliver) identified “Apollo Fair Mrs Oliver (married) on her frame stunt flier, August 8 1919” on reverse. Law bought her first Curtiss plane from Orville Wright in 1912 and in the next decade worked as a commercial pilot, dropped “baseballs” (grapefruits) from planes to Dodger catchers, set many flight records before being denied entry into WWI combat when we entered the War in 1917. Her passionate article “Let Women Fly” became canon for even decades later aviatrix.

Disturbing Wonderful 19thc Victorian Nursery Rhyme Playing Cards 
Antique paper should not be. It was only ever advertising, marketing or toys made cheaply and treated poorly. The quality of construction and carefully crafted graphics make so much of it timeless, when its lucky enough to survive the trash bin for a century. Much of it becomes unique by default and theres no research to be done, and such is the case here. These might have been made by a popular Victorian printing company McLoughlin Brothers, responsible for so many of our classic fairytale and nursery rhyme images, or maybe not.

Depression Era Make Do Feed Sack Window Screen Folk Art Bee Keepers Hat
Handmade things are usually born of necessity, but the art is in the spirit of survival and joy.  There is nothing new in the reuse of feed sacks during the Depression and Dust Bowl years, it was so common that Feed companies started to print patterns on the fabric for their customers. What shows spunk is taking a bit of window screen (itself a commodity at the time) and having sewn it loosely to two pieces of old feed sack charge into a beehive to get the family a little treat or sell the honey. That’s something, and that makes me smile.

Cracker Jacks, Chicago, Marx, Frito-Lay and Junk Food. A Century of PROGRESS ????

When I was a child and received a BOOK inside my Cracker Jacks box, it was a disappointment.  You can't blame the company for this one though…when the Century of Progress exhibition was in Chicago, it was in the hometown of Cracker Jacks and they were appropriately proud.  I'm surprised they didn't "jack" up the size of the surprise toy, but this little fella is only around two inches long.

One of the powers of the internet (and the reason both that my blogs are successful and I have space left to live in) is that what was physical small can be huge on the web.  I'm blowing the little booklet up to epic proportions, the way the artist and the fair were intended…and if Cracker Jacks wants to sue me, good luck,  I'm broke.

Cracker Jacks was born in Chicago and not long after, Take Me Out to the Ballgame came along and gave them all the advertising they needed.  "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks" is running through your head now, and you don't even hear it.  THAT is good advertising.

Cracker Jacks is still one of my favorite foods.  Even though it is now owned by the evil despot known as Frito-Lay.  I don't need to find the latest data…as this statistic from several years ago will suffice.  Frito-Lay has 40% of the world's snack food market.  FORTY PERCENT!

Do you have ANY IDEA how many effing bags of chips that is?  Forty percent of the snack market in the ENTIRE WORLD?  Borden wanted to buy Cracker Jacks, but Frito-Lay had the bucks to big higher, and they did.  Frito-Lay can not stand to have anyone else in the business making crunchy things.  I'll go on record here and say that's just wrong. 

Marx did not realize large companies would gobble up smaller companies like snacks.  Or in this case, like junk food, which is what Frito-Lay sells.  Some sources claim Cracker Jacks was the world's first junk food, but neither Marx or anyone else could have predicted the development of junk food.  Like "cool ranch" crap, which as nothing to do with a ranch.  Or why snack food advertisements almost never have obese actors playing the part.  Snack food ads always have young, healthy, involved and frequently horny kids crunching away, seemingly ready to bring the girl home from the laundry as soon as the chips are gone.


When Marx was calculating the brutal effect capitalism would have on the masses, he got his crackers out of a barrel that was shipped from down the street.  What HAS been calculated, though by food scientists rather than political thinkers, is that human beings have a affinity for crunch and salt which borders on obsessive.  Frito-Lay simply feeds that need, right?  Well…maybe so…but I would like to think there is more than one snack food company in the world.  Somehow it just tastes unhealthy.

Tiny Cracker Jacks Miniature Book Prize No Date (1933 - 1934) Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Full-size Folk Art Telephone Toy Collection Jim Linderman

Among the first telephones were the wall-mounted units with a "face" as a bonus.  This full-size handmade toy has a bell mechanism (a cowbell inside which rings when the crank is wound) a hook, a receiver and traces of paint.  Made from scrap wood for a child when toys were made at home.  Circa 1910.  Comparable model shown.  All phones were smart phones, but some were lesser so.


Honky Tonk Vintage Folk Art Sculpture and the Perils of Packing Collection Jim Linderman

Honky Tonk Vintage Folk Art Sculpture and the Perils of Packing

A piano player pounds the keys…and the carving is in pristine condition because it lived in a bottle for half a century.  The professor was whittled and built inside a one gallon bottle, shown last, which unfortunately, didn't.  Broken in the mail. 

One of the perils of purchasing objects through the mail is that both the collector and the seller have to accept responsibility for transporting or mailing the piece.  In this case, I recommended packing which was not followed by the seller.  I still ended up with a fantastic wood carving in wonderful condition (as nice as the day it was made) but I also ended up with a giant pile of broken glass.

I hate to be responsible for breaking something old.  The seller?  He obviously didn't care as much as I did, but to some things like this are mere product.  Maybe the little fellow here is happy to be out in the fresh air.

Folk Art Sculptural Whimsey (originally constructed in a glass bottle) No Date Collection Jim Linderman

Found Photographs of Buckaroos and Buckarettes An Interview with Tattered and Lost

We'll do everyone a favor and share the incredible vernacular "found" photographs of Tattered and Lost, a kindred soul who over the last few years has produced an ongoing series of wonderful books drawn from what has to be one of the finest collections of snapshots in the country.  Tattered and Lost flies under the radar…so we invited TL to open up a bit with a brief cyber-intereview.  If you collect vintage photographs you will enjoy

Q:  I love the photograph in Buckaroos and Buckarettes of the black cowpokes.  I always wanted to be a black cowboy.

A:  I know what you mean. I want to be a black cowboy too. I was thrilled when I found the shot!

Q:  How did you begin collecting found photographs?

A.  Actually the first photos I bought were of, I believe, German actors each holding the same urn. It was somewhere around ’71-72. I’d gone to Nevada City in the Sierra’s and was looking through an antique store. The only thing I found I could afford on my college budget were these two old photos. I think I paid a 50 cents or a dollar for each. They were cabinet cards and I imagine today they’d still sell for about a buck each if found in a bin. I was fascinated to think that these cards had somehow ended up in a store in the Gold Country of California. I always imagined them being from a theater troupe that toured the old West. They were just as likely to have come from a German immigrant who didn’t arrive here until the 1960s, but I like my story better. And the two old Germans are at the end of the first post I ever did at my blog on November 14, 2008.

Then for awhile I used to visit a little town called Port Costa, along the Carquinez Straight in Northern California, that at the time had a lot of antique stores. They had old cabinet cards and other photos for sale, cheap. By the time I moved to L. A. I had enough, along with my L. A. roommate’s photos, to decorate our living room wall. People would come in and see the shots and ask about the relatives. I’d laugh and say, “Haven’t a clue who they are.” At this point I wasn’t taking collecting serious, thus the stupidity of putting them on a wall that got the afternoon sun. Surprisingly they survived. And the reactions from the people who asked about them was generally the same. No comment. They really couldn’t understand hanging photos of unknown dead people on the wall. It was decades before I started collecting again.

Around ten years ago I started collecting with serious intent, the intent being to amuse myself. My best friend got me started by sending me some photos of a woman she determined was named Rosa. That sort of lit the fire. I avoided eBay for a lot of reasons. The prices were too high and I hated bidding on something, getting my hopes up, and having it snatched away by someone else. Plus it just didn’t feel as if I was “discovering” the image. You know what it’s like. That moment you spot something and your heart starts racing. You know only you are at that moment in love with the object and have to have it. That was easier to handle than thinking about people all over the world salivating over the same thing. I eventually broke down and started perusing ebay. Now if I find something I want I’ll think about it far too much and hope beyond hope that nobody else wants it too. I generally do not bid against someone. I can’t bare the heartache…or the inflated prices.

Now I’m deep into the obsession. I crave my next photo fix. Like you I’m basically late to the game, but trying to make up for lost time.

Q.  I hate when I see photographs in a box in an antique mall labeled "instant relatives" as it cheapens them.  What I like about your books is that they are thematic.  I always collect with a specific notion or project in mind.  Do you?

A.  I agree about the “instant relatives” signs. I often have people walk by and snicker at the sign as I’m busily trying to sort through the bins. They’ll casually stop, pick up a few snapshots, then toss them back like flotsam and walk away laughing after trying to engage me with some silly remark. I smile and say, “Yeah, uh huh” then go back to sorting. I’m always happy to see they don’t “get it” so I don’t have to jockey for space while sorting.

I have to say that it’s really only recently that I’ve started refining my searches. I generally don’t leave the house with a preconceived notion of what I want. I get excited when I find something for one of my silly categories, like “people cutting cakes.” But that’s just for estate sales, flea markets, and antique stores. Ebay is a different matter. I do make a point of focusing on specifics when I search there, otherwise I’d be living in my car in a few weeks. I try to stay focused, but occasionally click on a seller who has something I like and the next thing I know I’m staring at a bunch of images on the screen and repeating over and over again, “I want this. You don’t need it. I know, but I want this.” I think you’re probably much better at staying focused than I am.

However, I do now find myself coming up with ideas for books that I’d like to create. And sometimes the idea for a book doesn’t come to me until I notice the similarity in some photos in my collection. That will focus me and I have to remind myself to not put a lot of pressure on myself to only find items that fit the parameters I’ve set. I’ll just end up coming home from the out-and-abouts feeling I wasted my time. I figure instead I’ll just wait to see what I find because eventually some of those items might coalesce into a new idea for a book. Basically for me it’s a crap shoot. Thrilled if I find something I consider great, but happy if I find an old snapshot of the guy I named Ernie. Just happy to bring home little treasures.

Q.  Can you pick "an Ernie" and explain what makes a great Ernie?

A.  Ahh, Ernie. Ernie is a real fellow, but I have no idea what his name is. Several years ago, on Christmas Eve, I was at one of my favorite antique stores with a friend who’d come for Christmas. Together we started finding photos of this one very ordinary looking fellow, himself surrounded by Christmas. I ended up doing a four day post about him called “One Man’s Christmas.”  A reader asked if she could call him Ernie. I said yes, and the name stuck.

Over the next few years I’d always look for photos of Ernie, hoping to construct more of his life. Eventually all I could find were photos of his wife and kids so I added those to the collection. Ernie now is a perfect example of the saying I came up with a few years ago when someone asked me what vernacular photography is. I thought for a moment then said, “Photographs of the ordinary by the ordinary.”

I often tell people about the time a woman in an antique store indirectly told me, as I sorted through a bin, that what I was doing was disgusting. Where she saw only photos of dead people, I saw photos of life. Collecting these images is saving some of the history of the everyday folks who go through life unnoticed.

And collecting these old images is as close as I’ll get to time travel.

The Five volumes of the Tattered and Lost series are available from Amazon HERE
The Tattered and Lost Blog, which is essential, is HERE