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Handcrafted Contemporary Bog Oak Dice Set

Handcrafted Contemporary Bog Oak Dice Set

Photo Credit: koenigwood

Handcrafted Contemporary Bog Oak Dice Set

Buy It Now Price: $176

Pros:

-This expertly handcrafted contemporary bog oak dice set was made by the Russian artist Karl Koenig and comes in its own custom-fitted, American walnut box with an affixed bog oak skull decoration.  In addition, the bog oak dice and skull are individually inlayed with a thin stainless steel strip that contrasts beautifully with the dark bog oak wood.

-The measurements of this bog oak dice set are not given by the seller.  But if the dice are the standard 16 mm (0.63 inch) dimension, it implies that the custom-fitted walnut box would be a bit over 6 inches (15.2 cm) in length and perhaps around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide.

-Bog oak is ancient wood that has begun the initial stage of fossilization.  It originates from oak trees that fell into an acidic bog, marsh or swamp anywhere from 1,000 to 8,000 years ago.  The acids in the water gradually leached out some organic matter, replacing it with iron and other minerals.  This dramatically darkens the color of the wood.

-The materials used in this bog oak dice set are simply superb.  The way the richly patinaed American walnut box complements the contrasting stainless steel and bog oak dice elevates this set to investment grade art, in my opinion.

-Most bog oak comes from Ireland, England or the Baltic region.  This particular material is most likely Russian in origin and approximately 3,500 years old.  Bog oak's rarity makes it an exceedingly expensive wood.

-Sometimes a work of art just comes together perfectly - much better than even the artist hoped.  I suspect this is one of those times.

-Bog oak is much harder than normal oak, which is already a very hard wood.  Consequently, bog oak requires special tools and a lot of experience to work properly.  Only a master woodcrafter can successfully work with bog oak.

-I love the RPG and table-top gaming connotations of this bog oak dice set.  These standard 6-sided cube dice would be a stunning addition to the arsenal of any hardcore Dungeons & Dragons, Elder Sign or Risk enthusiast.  Of course, these dice would also be equally at home with more traditional gambling games such as craps, chō-han or backgammon.

-This bog oak dice set is a prime example of what I call "future antiques" - one-of-a-kind luxury items of impeccable quality that are destined to be highly desirable antiques once they've seasoned for 40 or 50 years.

-Given the superb craftsmanship and high end materials employed in this bog oak dice set, I think the $176 buy-it-now price is absurdly low.  But if that sum is still too rich for you, you can always make the seller a lower offer.

 

Role Playing And D&D Gaming Accessories For Sale

 
Dungeons  Dragons Spider Skull dark walnut stain Box to hold dice B9
$24.99
Ends: 6d 23h 6m
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Avalon RPG Dice  Pencil Box Brazilian Cherry Jatoba
$59.99
Ends: 21d 19h 58m
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Dog Might Premium Dice Premium Dice Chest Black Walnut Brass Hardware MINT
$170.95
Ends: 19d 22h 14m
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Walnut Wood Polyhedral Dice Box for Dungeons and Dragons DnD Pathfinder RPGs
$65.00
Ends: 5d 16h 21m
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Dice Tower and Tray Figured Cherry AFSP1316 Handcrafted in Tennessee
$69.00
Ends: 5d 13h 41m
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Cons:

-This bog oak dice set is a contemporary piece, meaning it was made recently.  Buying contemporary art for investment purposes is risky because it doesn't have any kind of an established track record yet.  Off-setting this risk somewhat is the fact that this dice set is utterly unique.  You can scour the globe, but I am certain you will never find a set of gaming dice quite like this one!

 

Read more fascinating Antique Sage spotlight posts here.

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Read in-depth Antique Sage investment guides here.

Art Nouveau Gilt Bronze Tiffany Desk Blotter Ends

Art Nouveau Gilt Bronze Tiffany Desk Blotter Ends

Photo Credit: Relic-Island

Art Nouveau Gilt Bronze Tiffany Desk Blotter Ends

Buy It Now Price: $369.99

Pros:

-These attractive Art Nouveau gilt bronze Tiffany desk blotter ends were made by the famous American luxury house of Tiffany Studios in the early decades of the 20th century, between about 1900 and 1918.

-These Tiffany desk blotter ends measure 12.25 inches (31.1 cm) long by 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) wide.  Each one is stamped "TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 1153" on the side.  1153 is an inventory number that denotes both the type of item (a desk blotter end) and the design (Abalone in this case).

-A desk blotter is a flat pad or sheet that is placed on the surface of a desk to protect it from damage due to ink spills or pen indentations.  They were traditionally made from leather, although synthetic plastic desk blotters are fairly commonplace today.  Desk blotter ends were placed on either edge of a desk blotter in order to help hold it in place.

-There are over 20 known patterns for Tiffany Studios desk sets.  The beautifully interwoven vine and leaf design shown above is known as "Abalone" due to the use of iridescent mother of pearl elements.  Abalone is one of the more commonly encountered Tiffany desk set designs.

-Art Nouveau was a naturalistic art style that was extremely popular between 1890 and 1910, although it persisted slightly longer in the U.S.  It typically featured women, flowers, insects or other nature themes, often in flowing, languid poses.

-The typical Tiffany Studios desk set had 6 pieces, including a letter rack, ink stand and desk blotter ends.  Other possible elements were a letter opener, box, calendar holder, ink blotter or pen tray, among others.

-The zeitgeist of these Tiffany desk blotter ends is off the charts!  They personify the flowing, naturalistic sensibilities of Art Nouveau style that was so popular before World War I.

-These Tiffany desk blotter ends are in remarkably good condition for being at least a century old.  The gilding is largely intact and the mother of pearl inlay has few cracked or chipped pieces.  This is unusual because mother of pearl tends to dry out over many decades, leaving it susceptible to damage.

-Tiffany Studios was a celebrated luxury house that always produced goods to the very highest quality standards.  From its origins in the 1870s until its demise during the Great Depression, the firm had often been in the vanguard of American style.  Because of this, luxury goods created by Tiffany Studios are always in high demand, with a price to match.  Therefore, I find the $370 asking price for these Tiffany desk blotter ends to be fair.

 

Antique Tiffany Studios Desk Accessories For Sale

 
Tiffany Zodiac Desk Set Vintage  Calendar Pencil Tray Hinged Notepad
$899.00
Ends: 6d 14h 7m

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Tiffany Studios Desk Set Abalone Pattern Inkwell 1157
$540.00
Ends: 1d 16h 28m
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Pair Tiffany Studios Antique Bronze Gold Patina Zodiac Desk Book Bookends 1091
$395.00 (23 Bids)
Ends: 2d 8h 1m

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Tiffany Studios Desk Set Abalone Calendar Frame 1166
$930.00
Ends: 1d 16h 31m
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Tiffany Studios Venetian Desk Set Letter Rack
$749.99
Ends: 26d 7h 59m
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Cons:

-While I believe the $370 asking price is fair, I've seen this seller put these same Tiffany desk blotter ends on sale for $300 before.  At $300, I think this matching set would be a steal.  If you like them, you could always make an offer to the seller at the lower price.  I think he would probably accept it.

-Some people might consider a set of desk blotter ends to be an anachronism today.  However, I think they would be a welcome addition to the desk of any vintage fountain pen aficionado or office traditionalist.  In addition, these Tiffany desk blotter ends would make a stunning decorative item for a fireplace mantel or shelf in any well-appointed home.

-Unfortunately, fraud is rampant in the field of Tiffany Studios antiques, especially Tiffany lamps.  While this piece looks genuine to me, I am no Tiffany Studios expert.  The only element I found at all questionable is the micro-pitting evident on high magnification, which I attribute to corrosion due to storage conditions.  If you are unsure about the authenticity of this piece, I would recommend that you solicit a second opinion from a knowledgeable source.

-Tiffany Studios was a different company from the well-known luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co.  Don't confuse the two!

Siberian Nephrite Jade Whiskey Stones

Siberian Nephrite Jade Whiskey Stones

Photo Credit: JadeSiberian

Siberian Nephrite Jade Whiskey Stones

Asking Price: $99

Pros:

-This is a stunningly gorgeous set of 6 Siberian nephrite jade Whiskey stones that comes in a beautifully crafted hardwood box.  Whiskey stones are a recent invention meant to cool your whiskey or other hard liquor without diluting it like ice does.  Just pop them in the freezer for a few hours and they are ready to go!

-This jade whiskey stone set is made from high quality, Siberian nephrite jade.  Jade was first discovered in the Sayan Mountains of Siberian Russia, near Lake Baikal, in 1826.  In the late 19th and early 20th century, the world renowned Fabergé workshop in St. Petersburg extensively used Siberian jade in many of its sumptuous creations.  Shortly after the year 2000, Siberian nephrite jade started to be exported to China in order to meet the fast growing demand for high quality jade among newly wealthy Chinese consumers.

-Nephrite jade's extremely high thermal conductivity makes it perfect for use as a whiskey stone material; it will chill your drink very quickly compared to less thermally conductive materials.

-Unlike nephrite jades mined from some other locations, Siberian jade is known for its bright colors and excellent translucency.  These are both very desirable characteristics that make Siberian jade perfect for high-class carvings, objets d'art and jewelry.

-I like that this whiskey stone set is crafted in what is undoubtedly a small jade workshop in Siberian Russia using local materials.

-High quality jade is a great investment right now.  I especially like rough North American jade because of its good availability and lack of treatments.  Siberian jade is also excellent, but most production from Russian mines goes straight to China these days, making it difficult to source in North America or Europe.

-These Siberian jade whiskey stones absolutely encapsulate the extravagant zeitgeist of the modern age - an important element when investing in art.  These luxury items are Gatsbyesque excess incarnated, conjuring up images of a tuxedo-wearing man at a gala event swirling his glass of liquor and jade whiskey stones while explaining how he became a Bitcoin billionaire.

-This set of Siberian jade whiskey stones comes in its own custom-made, fitted hardwood box.  The box is available in your choice of solid ash or birch, two hardwoods endemic to southern Siberia.

-I believe these Siberian jade whiskey stones are a great example of a future antique.  In 50 or 100 years, this set, along with its original hardwood box, will be most likely be a very desirable antique.  Given this probable outcome, I think the $99 asking price is perfectly justified.

 

Siberian Nephrite Jade For Sale

 
SIBERIAN NEPHRITE JADE Polished Cabochon 73 grams 181w Healing Property Card
$28.00
Ends: 5d 15h 39m
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SIBERIAN NEPHRITE JADE Polished Cabochon 133 gram 198w Healing Property Card
$35.00
Ends: 22d 7h
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Siberian Nephrite Jade tumble Polished Cab Rough Semi Translucent USA Seller BN
$37.05
Ends: 18d 9h 14m
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Authentic Natural Siberian Nephrite Jade tumbled Translucent Free Form Stone BN
$49.40
Ends: 18d 9h 11m
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Natural Siberian Nephrite Jade tumbled Translucent Rough Faceting Cabbing Stone
$40.85
Ends: 18d 9h 13m
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Cons:

-This item is not antique, but is instead a new luxury good that is made from scratch when you order.  Under normal circumstances, buying new luxury goods for investment purposes is a stupid idea because the price is usually exorbitantly high.  In this case, the price is quite reasonable, making these jade whiskey stones a reasonable investment.

-The shipping cost to the U.S. for this set of Siberian jade whiskey stones is $25.  This is a bit steep considering the item itself is only $99.  But because it is coming all the way from Asiatic Russia, I think the high shipping charges are forgivable.

-Because these sets are custom made to order, there is no guarantee that you will receive jade of the same excellent quality of that shown in the photos.  So, buying this set is a bit of a gamble.  But for just a little over $100, it is quite possibly worth it, especially considering that more pedestrian whiskey stones might cost you anywhere from $20 to $60.

1985 British Gold Sovereign Proof Set

1985 British Gold Sovereign Proof Set

Photo Credit: APMEX

1985 British Gold Sovereign Proof Set

Buy It Now Price: $2,987.50 (fluctuates with the price of bullion)

Pros:

-This impressive British gold sovereign proof set from 1985 contains four different coins: a 1/2 sovereign, 1 sovereign, 2 sovereign and 5 sovereign piece.

-All of the coins in this British gold sovereign proof set are struck from solid 22 karat (91.67% fine) gold.  A sovereign, or one pound, gold coin contains 0.2354 troy ounces (7.32 grams) of pure gold.  The 5 sovereign coin, in particular, is a monstrously large coin, weighing in at a hefty 1.2841 troy ounces, or 39.94 grams, of gross weight!

-This 1985 British gold sovereign proof set comes with its original Royal Mint presentation case and certificate of authenticity, which boosts its desirability.

-The original issue price of this British gold sovereign proof set was £1,150 back in 1985.  This would be an extravagant £3,404 in 2017, once adjusted for U.K. inflation.

-Although it had a medieval predecessor, the British gold sovereign as we know it today was first coined in 1817, during the waning years of the reign of George III.  The obverse has a portrait of the ruling British king or queen, in this case Queen Elizabeth II.  The reverse has the iconic rendering of St. George on horseback slaying a dragon, designed by the famous engraver Benedetto Pistrucci.

-Gold sovereigns were incredibly popular as trade coins throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.  They were renowned for their consistent weight and fineness, so much so that imitation sovereigns (often with full gold content) were sometimes struck by private goldsmiths in far-flung British colonies to supplement the existing supply.  In fact, gold sovereigns continue to be used for jewelry and trade to this day in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent.

-The gold sovereign is one of the only coins to have made the jump from circulating coinage (before 1931, when Great Britain abandoned the gold standard) to modern bullion coin.

-Although 12,500 British gold sovereign proof sets were authorized in 1985, only 5,849 were actually minted.  This is an exceedingly low mintage, even for modern proof bullion coins.

-The total set contains 2.001 troy ounces (62.24 grams) of fine gold.  With gold currently trading at around $1,243, this British gold sovereign proof set has a bullion value of $2,488.  With a buy-it-now price of $2,987.50, this magnificent proof set has a premium of just 20% over its intrinsic value, which I find very reasonable.

 

Proof Gold Sovereigns For Sale

 
1984 UK Proof 799g 22K Gold 1 SOV Sovereign United Kingdom British Royal Mint
$499.99
Ends: 25d 56m
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Great Britain 1987 GEM Proof Full 1 Sovereign Gold Coin UK George
$449.95
Ends: 16d 7h 4m
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RARE 2009 BRITISH ROYAL MINT STGEORGE GOLD PROOF 5 SOVEREIGN NGC PF70 ULTRA CAM
$2,275.00
Ends: 4d 16h 14m
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1995 UK PROOF GOLD SOVEREIGN AGW 02355 OZ ENCAPSULATED + COA  KM 943
$395.00
Ends: 3d 10h 24m
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1987 GOLD GREAT BRITAIN 1 2 SOVEREIGN NGC PERFECT PROOF 70 ULTRA CAMEO
$375.00
Ends: 13d 13h 25m
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Cons:

-If you just want to invest in gold bullion, it is possible to buy generic gold bars or American gold eagle coins for lower premiums, generally on the order of 3% to 5% over spot.  However, I like the optionality value that numismatically-oriented gold coins give the intelligent hard asset investor, provided you don't pay too much additional premium.