Monday, September 8, 2014

Fine Silver Building Replicas: Harrods Store & Aswan Dam


Building Collector reader, David W., recently informed me of two silver building models were recently auctioned for large sums. The "HARRODS-SELFRIDGE WAGER PRIZE" is a George V silver cigar box in the form of the Harrods Department story in London. Made in 1927, each facade realistically reproduced to scale, the roof under the central dome hinging open to reveal a cigarette compartment lined in wood, all upon a stepped stained-wood base, marked on base and roof 24 in. (61 cm.) wide; 21 ¼ in. (54 cm.) long; 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm.) high. The replica was the winner’s prize for a private wager made on  January 4th,  1917 between the managing director and later chairman of Harrods, [Richard] Woodman Burbidge (1872-1945) and Harry Gordon Selfridge (1858-1947), the owner of Selfridges. Commissioned by Sir [Richard] Woodman Burbidge 2nd Bt., chairman of Harrods, in 1927 from the Harrods silver workshops, Trevor Square, the cost of £400 being met by the loser Harry Gordon Selfridge. The architecturally detailed model has intricately cast and chased facades. It is conceived as the store appeared in 1927. Harrods was the masterpiece of the C. W. Stephens, architect of Claridges Hotel. The massive building evolved over many years but the primary period of building stretched from 1894 to 1912 with work taking place when funds and land acquisitions allowed. The main Brompton Road fa├žade, faced with Doulton terracotta tiles, rose up over four years, the staged process allowing the store to remain open and trading. The lavish interiors, also decorated with Doulton tiles, were the work of the designer Frederick Sage and his studio The House of Sage. Another finely made building replica auctioned represents the Aswan Dam in Egypt and was made about 1933. Measuring  9-3/8 x 20-3/4 x 10-3/8 inches, the model was presented to King Farouk I of Egypt on 25th January, 1939. The far left side depicting the original dam completed in 1902, the middle section representing the first heightening and thickening of the dam which was completed in 1912. The far right side represents the third heightening of the dam, inaugurated in 1939 by King Farouk I, who laid the final stone. The realistic model at a 1/200 scale with accurate details of the dam's sluice gates and thickening of the dam with time, chased Egyptian Royal Emblem to center, to the left of the emblem, inscribed in Arabic:
In memory of the attendance of his Majesty King Farouk I To lay the final stone in the second heightening of the Aswan Dam From "Topham, Jones & Railton" and Abood Pasha In 5 Dhul-Hi'jjah 1357-25th January 1939

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Radio Station & College Building Theater Model on Antiques Roadshow

In 1927, a woman in Iowa built a 'radio station theater model' and won an advertising contest held by WOC Radio Station and Palmer School of Chiropractic. Finely crafted out of cigar boxes, the model's highlight is a replica of the Administration Building of Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. (I don't think it was a train station and the appraiser suggested) Under the building and two radio towers is a proscenium, the part of a theater stage in front of the curtain. The combination of a radio station and chiropractic school contest seemed odd to me, until I did some research. Turns out, WOC station operated from the Up-E-Nuf tower atop the Palmer School of Chiropractic’s Administration Building. D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, had a son, B.J. Palmer, who bought and operated the radio station to broadcast and market the benefits of chiropractic. The station also reported farm, sports and weather reports. A young Ronald Reagan, who later became and actor and then President of the United States, was given his first broadcast job to broadcast sports for WOC.Palmer wanted to use radio to broadcast the message of benefits of chiropractic. If you missed the original post, I also had an Antiques Roadshow appraisal experience.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Guggenheim & Sydney Opera House Wooden Architectural Models

A love of modern 20th Century architecture inspired Marcus, of Little Building Co., to begin making laser cut wooden Architectural models about 6 years ago in his backyard workshop in Australia. Currently, he produces the Sydney Opera House and has a kickstarter campaign to begin producing New York's Solomon R Guggenheim Museum. He has been creating over 4,000 of the ready-to-assemble models a year. These wooden models are much larger, but remind me of the small sheet metal buildings.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Macerated Money Souvenirs Landmarks of Washington

Souvenir buildings have been produced in a variety of materials. One of the most unusual has to be macerated money. Because it's the home of the U.S. Treasury, Washington, D.C. Landmarks are primarily represented.  The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, U.S. Capital, and the White House have all been molded from worn-out currency that has been chopped up. Other items made of shredded bills include postcards, shoes, medallions, axes, presidential busts, top hats, and more. Paper currency did not come into general use until the Civil War. An act of Congress in 1862 authorized the Treasury Department to come up with a method for destroying old paper notes that were no longer fit for circulate. Between 1874 and 1942, the Federal Reserve disposed of worn-out currency by soaking it into a pulp. Enterprising people, who may have been early recyclers, discovered that the pulp could be used like papier-mache to form shapes. Souvenir companies bought macerated paper by the ton and the graded greenbacks were reborn. The process was discontinued when the Federal Reserve started burning old bills. Sometimes, the item was labeled with how much money was used to make the piece such as,  "Made of U.S. National Greenbacks redeemed and macerated at the U.S. Treasury, estimated $5,000."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Complete Production List of Architectural Building Replicas Produced by Microcosms


I thought it would be helpful for collectors if I published a complete list of Microcosms-produced replicas with information and photographs. I gathered the information I had, and then contacted Anton Tremblay, owner and creative mind behind the Microcosms souvenir buildingsAnton was very gracious and shared invaluable information. As an experienced production designer, special effects producer, art director and illustrator for film, television, commercials, print and more, Anton won an Emmy Award in 1990 for special effects art direction on the TV movie, Miracle Landing. He  first started collecting souvenir buildings, but couldn't find replicas of Los Angeles landmarks. So, he began producing his own miniature metal building models under the name Microcosms. I also asked him for a little background about the Microcosms architectural replicas. “I began casting in 1996, the Griffith Observatory was my first piece, L.A. City Hall my second,” Anton said.  “What started as a hobby became a bit overwhelming over the years as souvenir-building collecting became more popular and the demand for my pieces grew. More casting companies appeared and, admittedly, I lost interest in doing all the volume casting work and eventually scaled back to just the occasional bronze pieces.” Did you know Anton only produced two non-building replica?  It’s the Prometheus Statue at Rockefeller Center in New York and a flying pig. You can find his current bronze Architectural Replicas on his website. SBCS members visited his home and studio during the 2009 conventionThe best ways to identify an architectural replica made by Microcosms include: weight (most are solid metal and heavy), the distinctive angled base, and the sticker label on the bottom (if it has one). Thanks to Anton for completing this list and thanks to Steve V. for some of the photos. Do you have photos of replicas that are missing here? Send the photos to me and I'll add them to this post. Below is the list of 54 replicas (a few have variations (materials and finishes) which are not included in this total number) with production date, if known, and the approximate quantity (Qt.) for each.

GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY, Los Angeles, California 1996 QT. 125 in pewter

LA CITY HALL, Los Angeles, California 1996
Qt. 100+ in pewter plus 6 in bronze on marble base  (One given to Mayor Riordan as a pen and pencil set on marble base)

LA CENTRAL LIBRARY, Los Angeles, California
Qt. 75 pewter


LIBRARY TOWER, formerly the First Interstate Bank World Center and now the US Bank Tower   Qt. 75 pewter
(No photo yet)

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT RESTAURANT (LAX) Qt. 50 pewter with nickel plate made in 2000

ST. VIBIANA, Los Angeles, California
Qt. 70 made in pewter

CAPITOL RECORDS, Los Angeles, California
QT. 100+ with slanted base, 1000 with straight base

ENNIS HOUSE, Los Angeles, California
Qt. 25+ in pewter, 6 in bronze on Teak base.

STORER HOUSE, Los Angeles, California
Qt. 4 in bronze on teak base.

VILLA FLORES, Los Angeles, California
Qt. 30 in pewter

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH PARK, Irvine, California
Qt. 40 in pewter

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, Los Angeles, California Qt. 25+ in pewter bottom says dedicated 1869 Rededicated 1993 
(no photo yet)

DISNEY CONCERT HALL, Los Angeles, California
Qt. 1  Painted pattern made but never cast, too complex and expensive to cast 

MARRIOTT  TOWERS (Book Ends), San Diego, California Qt. 10 sets in pewter plated in Gold or Nickel










TRANSAMERICA, San Francisco, 
California   Qt. 75+ pewter

COIT TOWER, San Francisco, California
Qt. 75 pewter (no plating)
Made for the 2002 SBCS convention 4" tall.

SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT TERMINAL
QT. 75 pewter

RCA ROCKEFELLER CENTER, New York
Qt. 125 pewter, 4 bronze

FLAT IRON, New York
Qt. 125 pewter, 6 bronze on marble base
Finished in silver, copper & bonze on marble












NY LIFE BUILDING, New York
Qt. 90 pewter

LIPSTICK BUILDING, New York
Qt. 60 pewter

NEW YORK CENTRAL BUILDING, New York
Renamed Helmsley Building   Qt. 75 pewter

SINGER BUILDING, New York
Qt. 75 pewter, 10 with metal flags added)

CHRYSLER BUILDING, New York
Qt. 140 pewter

WORLD TRADE CENTER, New York
Qt, 75 made for fundraiser

WOOLWORTH BUILDING, New York
Qt. 90 pewter, 4 bronze

PROMETHEUS STATUE at Rockefeller Center, New York Qt. 75 in pewter with gold plating, 12 in bronze on marble base with gold plating. Some with single and double marble bases. This was made for a giveaway for Byrnam Woods in N.Y.


TRIBUNE TOWER, Chicago
Qt. 75 pewter

 333 WEST WACKER DRIVE in Chicago  Qt. 75

OCTAGON HOUSE (AIA Head Quarters museum) in Washington, D.C.  Qt. 75 in pewter

UNION STATION, Nashville, Tennessee   c. 2000
Qt. 100 Pewter, 2 bronze made for 100-year anniversary

WACHOVIA CENTER, North Carolina (Pattern provided) Qt. 30

TOWER OF LONDON
Qt. 25 in pewter, 6 as jewelry boxes with removable top and felt lining. 6 in bronze with marble base.

PANTHEON, Rome, Italy
Qt. 50 pewter, 10 bronze with marble base

QUETZALCOATL PYRAMID, Mexico
Qt. 60 pewter, 6 bronze on marble base

PORCH OF THE ERECHTHEUM, Greece
Qt. 4 bronze on large marble base
(No photo yet)


BANK OF CHINA, Hong Kong
Qt. 75 pewter


PETRONAS TOWERS, Malaysia
Qt. 45 pewter with nickel plate. (4 sold to the architect)
(No photo yet)

BOSTON CONVENTION CENTER, Massachusetts 2002 Qt. 30  (2-D Ruler, 12” long) Made for the topping out ceremony
(No photo yet)

ROTH CENTER FOR JEWISH LIFE Hanover, New Hampshire.  Qt. about 40-50 pieces were made for a 1997 dedication

TOWERING INFERNO, from movie
QT. 25   Nine inches tall with a marble base and logo plate

PSYCHO HOUSE, from Alfred Hitchcock movie
Qt. 75

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, Australia
Qt. 25 pewter

ANKOR WAT, Cambodia
Qt. 4 bronze
(No photo yet)

PADOVA, Italy
Qt. 3 bronze
(No photo yet)

DISNEY ANIMATION, Burbank, California
Qt. 2 pewter

TOWER OF JEWELS, San Francisco, California
Qt. 8 bronze
(No photo yet)

ELEPHANT TOWER, from 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco
Qt. 2 bronze
(No photo yet)

TEMPLE OF THE GIANT JAGUAR in Tikal, Guatemala Qt. 75 pewter, 6 bronze on marble base in 1995 (above left)

GREAT PYRAMID of KHAFRA, Egypt
Qt. 40+ pewter, 10 bronze (above center)

GREAT MOSQUE OF SAMARRA, Iraq
Qt. 25 pewter, 4 bronze on marble base (above right)

LYSICRATES MONUMENT, Greece
Qt. 6 bronze on marble base (above left)

TEMPLE OF VESPASIAN, Italy
Qt. 10 bronze on two color marble base (above center)

LONDON FIRE MONUMENT, England
Qt. 6 bronze on marble base 11 inches tall (above right)
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