• Unraveling the Ancient Riddles of Chinese Jewelry Chinese jewelry and objects of adornment are exquisite puzzles: Why does a delicate, wafer-thin pendant feature a pair of catfish twisting upon each other to create a yin-yang? What’s the meaning of the kingfisher feathers that have been inlaid, cloisonné-like, on a gilt-metal hairpin? And could someone please explain the story behind all those lotus blossoms, which can be found on everything from…
  • How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict You really have to work hard to get hooked on smoking opium. The Victorian-era form of the drug, known as chandu, is rare, and the people who know how to use it aren't exactly forthcoming. But leave it to an obsessive antiques collector to figure out how to get to addicted to a 19th-century drug. Recently, Steven Martin—no relation to the actor—came by the Collectors Weekly office and told me all…
  • Rhino Horn Poachers Hit World Museums Today the "New York Times" reports that as many as 30 museums in Europe have experienced thefts of rhinoceros horns in 2011. A recent example occurred on July 28, when the horn of a stuffed rhino that had been on display since 1907 at the Ipswich Museum was unceremoniously snapped off. Two other rhino horns, including one still attached to its skull, were also grabbed. Ignored was a gold-leaf Egyp…
  • Blood, Sweat, and Steel: My Afternoon with the Ace of Swords “When I got this sword, it was completely covered in blood rust.” Sword maker Francis Boyd is showing me yet another weapon pulled from yet another safe in the heavily fortified workshop behind his northern California home. “You can tell it’s blood,” he says matter-of-factly, “because ordinary rust turns the grinding water brown. If it's blood rust it bleeds, it looks like blood in the water. Eve…
  • 'Roadshow' Trumpets $1 Million Rhino Horn Cups, Despite Role in Species' Decline The Internet is abuzz with news that during a recent taping in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an appraiser for "Antiques Roadshow" was asked to place a value on five 17th- or 18th-century Chinese cups made out of rhinoceros horn. According to Tulsa's NBC affiliate, KJRH, the cups were valued by Asian art expert Lark Mason at somewhere between $1 and $1.5 million, making them the most highly valued objects in th…