Saturday, September 29, 2012



This clutter has existed for 4 months!
Picture taking is a mess.
Sorting through my aluminum has been a learning experience. Although it has never been packed away in boxes or barrels and hidden in a basement, it has been undisturbed in deep stacks on the shelves of a storage closet.  Occasionally, I would rattle around there, verifying a mark or number.
            Aluminum is a lightweight metal. We all know that.  In stacks of ten or more trays, it ain’t.  Neither can it be handled quietly.  Nevertheless, it sat there in its stacks, defying me to make any decisions concerning it future. Finally, I accepted the challenge and plunged into eBay selling.
           All this led to more discoveries than I could have made in a year of shopping. My latest discovery in my collection, concerns a Laird piece  I purchased ten or fifteen years ago. It is a four-piece set consisting of a ceramic jam jar, its aluminum lid with the twig and leaf finial used on many of the Laird pieces, a small spoon, and the little under plate. For no special reason, I turned the plate over and did a double take. The mark was not the typical Laird mark. Actually it was not even a Laird mark. It read Turnip Yard. The fit is perfect and the leaf and twig is identical to that on other Laird pieces. So this piece had sat in my cabinet for years. I bought it as a Laird dish and part of it was. I had never before closely examined it. It's now a puzzle and I wonder about the story behind it. Did the Shup Laird maker do this or did some one in subsequent years play matchmaker? And what, if any connection is there to a long 
 ago phone call from a person who knew I was interested in aluminum. This person had just recently moved into a house with a basement with a large amount of aluminum.....all trays, and all plain and bearing the stamp of Turnip Yard. I heard no more than that.  So we are left with several questions: 1. Were these pieces made to be sold to other companies such as Laird?  If so, why mark them.  2. Has anyone seen inserts such as that above
 combined with a Turnip Yard under plate or tray? And, 3. Who made these and what became of them?

         My interest in aluminum is supposed to make me curious and thorough in my knowledge of the pieces I come across. Right? At least, those in my own collection! Not so, I'm afraid. My second discovery came when I was cleaning a tray for sale. I had it listed under my Continental pieces as having the Corduroy pattern. Again, I had goofed. I had simply assumed that if it looked like Continental and its Corduroy pattern, that was what it was. When I turned it over expecting to see that distinctive Corduroy mark, I had to look twice to believe what was actually there...Crestmark, Continental Silver Co. 

         Then there was a tiny nut dish that I'd kept for years because of its nice shape and twisted handle. I assumed it was Designed Aluminum or something similar. One day, a really close examination found its mark: Continental Silver Co. Paisley. Because the roughness of the paisley design, the company stamp was well hidden.

            eBay has kept me well supplied with surprises. First, there was a Palmer-Smith bowl in the style of many Nambi. That was no great surprise, for the work of both are smooth and modern. It
was the new motif or pattern that caught my eye........It sold for $15.
        Another Palmer-Smith shallow bowl is still listed. Its surface is covered with what I would describe as a stylized weeping willow. Its branches are mostly bare with leaves at their tips. It's a neat piece and its seller agrees. It is priced at $175. Buy it now!

       The serving tray, right, with its wheat designed handles and straight lines, sold for $104.

My own selling has been work, but finding these new designs and motifs has been interesting. Several were shown in our previous issue and there's more to come. At least six or seven in four months. And I'd given up on eBay!  The best and weirdest of all. I'm saving for last. The seller couldn't identify the piece and asked for help.
Tray with band of images
 and foliage

Woman's face in band

Look closely..see the hand?

Is there any help in identifying this piece? Could it possibly be the work of Pflantz or Hattrick of Canterbury Arts? I believe there were traces of the maker's mark but it wasn't pictured. I betcha some of us could figure it out. I'll try to locate the piece again.

More in a few weeks,