The world was left stunned and in disbelief when, on February 18, 2001, race car driver and legend Dale Earnhardt was killed as a result of injuries incurred in a three-car accident while heading into Turn 3 on his final lap at the Daytona 500. Over the course of Earnhardt’s illustrious career, which began at the Charolette Motor Speedway in North Carolina in 1975, he won 76 Winston Cup races as well as 7 NASCAR Winston Cup championships (a tie with Richard Petty). Known as the “Intimidator”, Earnhardt was well known for his bold and aggressive driving style. Earnhardt, also nicknamed ‘The Man in Black’, once commented on his signature style by saying, “I want to give more than 100% in every race. If you call that aggressive, then I reckon I am. This is not a sport for the faint of heart”. One of the most poignant tributes ever paid to Dale Earnhardt Sr. was delivered by long-time friend, racing promoter and former President and General Manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway Humpy Wheeler, commonly known as H.A Wheeler, when he said, “Here’s a kid who came from the bottom, worked hard for everything he got and had no airs about him”. Dale Earnhardt was honorably inducted into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
The velocipede, bone shaker, high wheeler, safety bike - all names for what children and adults alike now refer to simply as ‘my bike’. As Mary Bellis of ThoughtCo. explains so succinctly, “A modern bicycle by definition is a rider-powered vehicle with two wheels in tandem, powered by the rider turning pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain, and having handlebars for steering and a saddle-like seat for the rider.” Many have claimed to have gifted mankind with the first bicycle design, as far back as 7th century AD. Early claims are typically unverified or have been proven to be false. The authenticity of an early sketch (1500 AD) of the ‘first’ bicycle, attributed to a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, is still highly contested. The 1817 draisine, designed by German inventor Karl von Drais in 1817, is generally recognized as the prototype of the modern-day bicycle (even though it was constructed mainly of wood and had no pedals). Regardless of their origin, bicycles are here to stay, I believe I can confidently say, forever! They are also highly collectible. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most expensive bicycle sold in auction at Southeby’s, New York for a cool $500,000. The one of a kind ‘Butterfly Bike’ created by British artist Damien Hirst, was wielded by Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France 2009. FYI: The artist used genuine butterfly wings which he lacquered onto the frame of a Trek Madone!
A category of collectibles that has seen a spike in popularity is vintage and antique fishing tackle. Not just rods (split bamboo fly rods being the most collectible) and reels, but lures (especially wooden), decoys, and even fishing licenses have begun to appear more frequently in the collector’s market. Earlier fishing related items suggest a folk art feel with their colorful, handmade and endearingly crude yet fine workmanship. (FYI: Many fishing and hunting licenses were in the form of small badges from the early 1900’s through the 1940’s. The most coveted badges are those issued in southern states like NC, SC, GA, FL and MS as well as the states of HI, MI and CT.) The offerings of early makers of fishing equipment like Shakespeare, Heddon, Creek Chub and Pflueger are also gaining widespread attention among collectors interested in the nostalgic memories associated with growing up in a quieter, less frantic and more forgiving world. Gone Fishin’ !
This Creek Chub Lure recently appraised for $3,000!
They are considered by many to be Earth’s most valuable and desirable precious stones. The stunning green color of Colombian emeralds is the result of the mineral beryl in combination with traces of chromium and vanadium. Unlike diamonds, sapphires and rubies, the hardness and durability of emeralds, while still quite substantial, is somewhat lower. While diamonds, rubies and sapphires rate high (diamonds - 10, rubies and sapphires - 9) on the one to ten Mohs scale, emeralds have an overall hardness of 7.5 - 8 out of 10. The most popular faceted cuts associated with emeralds are emerald, cushion and oval. Emeralds are graded using the same basic criteria as diamonds though, in the end, color reigns in determining the quality of an emerald. Natural emeralds have a wide variety of tones of color ranging from very light to deep green. In today’s world, emeralds are often treated to enhance their color and overall beauty and appeal without affecting the integrity of the stone. These rich green stones - the birthstone of those lucky enough to be born in May - continue to be the precious stone choice of millions! FYI: Jeweler, gemologist, businessman and noted philanthropist Harry Winston, purchased the most expensive brilliant green emerald ever sold at Christie’s in New York for $5.5 million.The emerald is the most expensive ever sold at auction - $305,000 per carat!
I have fond childhood memories of my bimonthly trips to the barbershop. I remember them as being a positive experience mostly because a Tootsie Roll Pop was involved if I behaved myself and refrained from fidgeting in the chair. I also looked forward to being told what a handsome young man I was by my mother following each haircut. Barbering has been with us since the Bronze Age (circa 3500 BC) in Egypt. At that time, barbers were also surgeons as well as dentists. Barbers are even mentioned in the Bible! I discovered this noteworthy quote honoring the virtues of barbers everywhere: “Barbers are more than just people who went to barber school for a few months to learn how to use a pair of scissors. A real barber is a man or woman of history and one who takes pride in their work.” (I remember how my barber, Merle, would always stand back, look at me and grin while admiring his handiwork) “It’s not just a job for a barber, it’s a means of expression and providing an invaluable service that will always have its place as long as we grow hair.” Vintage barbershop memorabilia, (barber poles, ornate chairs, signage, shaving mugs and even the myriad tools of the trade remain popular with collectors worldwide!
Hermes son of Zeus in Greek mythology was, among other things, the god of trade, athletes, messenger of the gods and guide to the underworld. Hermes, like the other gods of Greece, was immortal. House of Hermes International S.A., which began as a saddle and harness maker and has been in existence for 183 years seems to be immortal as well!. The highly successful France based manufacturer of luxury goods specializes in leather, jewelry, perfumes, watches, home furnishings, ready-to-wear and more. With 315 plus exclusive stores around the world, Hermes continues to evolve while dominating the luxury goods market. An interesting fact to note: Hermes was one of the first luxury brands to launch an e-commerce website in 2001. Hermes folding orange boxes, which come in an astounding 188 different sizes, won the packaging Oscar in 1994 for its iconic design! Philanthropically, the Foundation D’Enterprise Hermes, founded in 2008, aids in the promotion and support of the arts, education and training as well as the improvement of environmental conditions throughout the world.
According to gaming experts, pinball is currently experiencing a strong comeback. That said, did you know that there is an actual pinball museum? It’s true. Located approximately 20 minutes from Palm Springs in Banning, California you’ll find the Museum of Pinball, a non-profit organization dedicated to reintroducing the joy of pinballing! The 40,000 square foot museum is home to over over 1,100 pinball machines and arcade games, both vintage and current. The curators of the museum want to see young people discover the excitement of an electronic game that doesn’t just appear on a screen. “We want to preserve the amazing history of the game and bring competitive pinball tournaments into the spotlight!” FYI: The best selling pinball machine of all time, with The Twilight Zone (1993) a close second, is designer Pat Lawlor’s, The Addams Family (1992) selling over 20,000 units! Wizard, based on The Who’s rock opera Tommy, was the first licensed theme pinball machine. Most expensive pinball machine? Punball: Only One Earth designed by William Wiley. It reportedly sold for a cool $125K.
DJR Authentication is one of the nation's premier appraisers, authenticators, and consultants of jewelry, coins, collectibles, art, sports memorabilia, and other fine goods, located in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina. Schedule your appointment or learn more today at djrpro.com.