What Are The Signatures of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence Worth?

In 1878 Autographs From 29 Signers Of The Declaration Of Independence Realized $680.50 At Auction

What Is A Collection Of All The Signers Worth Today?

The Most Valuable Signature Is Not Jefferson, Franklin or Hancock, It’s…Button Gwinnett.

Button Gwinnett?

Signature of Declaration of Independence signer Button Gwinnett – photo Christie’s

What’s an example of a phenomenal return on investment? $10,000 invested at 10% for 100 years turns into $137.8 million!

With savings interest rates being under 2% for the past decade, that rate seems implausible if you keep your money in a bank or in a CD. So people look to other stores of value for investing; stocks; gold; real estate; bonds and cryptocurrency have been some of the more popular ways of increasing your investment. Then there is collecting. Continue reading

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Old New York In Postcards #21 – 1920s & 1930s New York City Aerial Images

New York City In The 1920s & 1930s As Seen By Airplane

A Vanished Skyline

Peenn Station Area from airplane 1920sWhen in lower Brooklyn, Queens or bicycling across the George Washington Bridge, I look at the New York City skyline. It has become something I do not recognize.

New York is a city that architecturally alters itself every year. It comes as no surprise that there are buildings that now obscure the sight of what were once tourist magnets.

The Woolworth, Bankers Trust, Equitable, Municipal, Citicorp and Chrysler Buildings are dwarfed by new neighbors. Fifty Seventh Street is now an ugly amalgamation of needle glass towers selling for $40 million to absentee owners.

I never experienced the grandeur of the classic Manhattan skyline. It had mostly vanished by the 1960s in a spate of modern construction in the financial district and midtown. However, even through the 1980s there was not an infestation of buildings that blocked New York’s most notable structures.

But in the past fifteen years the New York skyline has been overhauled. In the process obliterating the uniqueness of New York. New, mammoth unattractive buildings are now spreading like a fungus in the city. The skyline seen now could be Chicago, Los Angeles or Houston. It has been impossible to stop a bunch of undistinguished architectural monstrosities to destroy the vistas that made New York famous.

Let us return to the 1920s and 30s when New York City looked like NEW YORK CITY. Here are some aerial postcard views showing what was once a picturesque city.

Click on any image to enlarge as all of these postcards are real photo. I scanned many (not all) of them at 300 dpi so the detail is pretty clear when enlarged.

New York from the south aerial view 1930sLooking north we have a fantastic overview of the entire southern portion of the island.

aerial lower manhattan east river 1930s aerialAnother classic view when approaching Manhattan from the south showing the piers and many turn-of-the-century and art deco buildings that proliferate in lower Manhattan.

Aerial view of Lower Manhattan from the Hudson Looking east across the Hudson another at the southern tip of Manhattan. This view captures most of the important buildings in the financial district.  Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #88 – Dracula, Bela Lugosi Wants To Be “Good”

What Bela Lugosi’s Life Was Like In 1936

Bela Lugosi Dracula in street clothes

Bela Lugosi was not always Dracula

With today being Halloween we thought we’d do a story about Bela Lugosi and Dracula. Not many children dress as Dracula on Halloween anymore. You are not allowed to wear the cape and put fangs in your mouth unless you are a real vampire. This is because of the very vocal beyond-the-fringe maniacs who go into an uproar about “cultural appropriation.”  So, Dracula is off limits as a costume as far as certain groups have told us, such as ORVIL (Only Real Vampires In Life) .

For those who don’t realize it, I’m not serious, but sometimes it feels as if this is where mainstream society is headed unless somebody speaks up.

Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) the actor most identified with Dracula, loved and loathed the role at the same time. Dracula made Lugosi famous, but in the process it typecast him as being a horror star. Most people do not realize that prior to Lugosi being cast in Dracula in 1931, he had starred in the Broadway production of the play for three years. Previous to that he was a leading man with strikingly handsome features.

So who was the real Bela Lugosi? Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #107 – Drexel Building 23 Wall Street aka J.P. Morgan Building

The Demolition of the Drexel Building c. 1913 aka J.P. Morgan Building

Drexel Morgan Building photo Detroit Publishing Co.One of the most valuable pieces of real estate in New York City is 23 Wall Street at the corner of Broad and Wall Streets. From 1876 -1913 the site was occupied by this building, the Drexel Building seen in the photo above made by the Detroit Publishing Co.. Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #87 – James Caan Gets Married 1976

HereJames Caan and Sheila Ryan Get Married

James Caan wedding Sheila Ryan 1976

James Caan Sheila Ryan wedding ceremony photo: Gary Thompson Globe Photos

Here we see James Caan and Sheila Ryan getting married on January 12, 1976. It was a happy occasion, I guess. But why do groom Caan and bride Ryan look like they want to either call it off right then and there or deck the chaplain for saying something inappropriate? Or is just the seriousness of the solemn occasion? Continue reading

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Aaron Boone = Inept Manager & Yankees World Series Hopes Are Dwindling

Aarony Booney Lets Analytics Make His Decisions Instead Of What He Is Seeing

Aaron Boone – “maybe that wasn’t a good move” ALCS game 4 after Carlos Correa homer

Aaron Boone just helped push the Yankees right to the brink of playoff elimination tonight with his over-managerial moves. In game 4 of the ALCS, Boone mysteriously removed starter Masahiro Tanaka after 85 pitches when Tanaka gave up a squiggler that first baseman DJ LeMahieu could not handle. Continue reading

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What You’ll Find In Allentown – From The Beatles to President Nixon

Twice A Year Allentown Hosts A Collectibles Show That Has A Bit Of Everything

browsers at AllentownIt’s about a 95 mile drive from New York City to Allentown, PA. Leave by 7:00 a.m. and drive through the traffic free streets of New York, you can arrive in under two hours at Agricultural Hall. Because of Allentown’s location, visitors arrive in large numbers from the surrounding states. If you get there a few minutes before the doors open — you will then see this sight – lots of people waiting in line to begin an odyssey at the Allentown Paper Show.

Line before show opens at Allentown PAFor the over 100 dealers at the show, it is not just paper they are selling. Because whatever you collect, there is a good chance that at least one dealer, if not several will have what you are looking for.

Collectors know this and that is why they line up early to get in. Continue reading

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Rare 8mm Van Halen Concert Film Footage From 1978

Unseen For 41 Years – Highlights From A Van Halen Concert At Fresno’s Selland Arena, Friday, September 22, 1978

Eddie van Halen & David Lee Roth Live in concert Sept 22, 1978 I hope YouTube doesn’t take this video down.

This story would have to be deleted as well.

While I like Van Halen, I’m not an uberfan. I have all the David Lee Roth era LPs and still listen to Van Halen. But live, I always thought of Roth as a great front-man, rather than a great singer. He might agree. I wish he’d sing the lyrics!

What is the attraction to Van Halen? Besides the virtuosity and innovativeness of Eddie Van Halen, it’s probably because the band built up a huge following through touring, putting on extravaganzas and releasing unique, catchy kick-ass rock albums.

Unfortunately Van Halen has rarely released whatever footage they have of themselves when they were just starting out on their way to becoming superstars.

That is why this is special. 41 years after it occurred, here is Van Halen LIVE in concert only seven months after the release of their first album.

You may not like vocalist David Lee Roth’s showmanship, jumping around with lyrical improvisations and high pitch shrieks. Then maybe you’ll stop watching after a few minutes. Roth, however is hitting more of the notes live as recorded on the album than many of his recorded performances.

Seeing Van Halen as openers for Black Sabbath, trying to win over an audience is unique in itself. Guitarist Eddie Van is blazing on all cylinders. Bassist and harmony singer Michael Anthony is confident and steady. And drummer Alex Van Halen is holding it all together keeping  great time. They’re young and hungry and it shows. Eddie and David were both 23-years-old. According to manager Noel Monk the band was being paid $750 per show – split four ways!

Ticket stub and cassette tape Van Halen concert Fresno September 22, 1978This is what the late 1970s were about. Great music with rock band’s wanting to impress you in concert with their music and energy. Seven dollar tickets, small stage, no pyrotechnics, or giant video screens or back-up dancers.  Everyone is watching and listening to the band.

So thank you FresnoMediaRestoration for putting together audio with this 8mm film footage to come up with 20 minutes of live Van Halen in their prime.

Below the footage I’ve quoted some of the better YouTube comments.

The better YouTube comments:

It’s surprising they ever made it big. I mean, if you were a rock star in the 70s, would you hire them to open your show? – Baba Yaga

This show was the night before their memorable 9/23/78 concert @ Anaheim Stadium where Boston headlined along with Black Sabbath & Sammy Hagar. VH hired 4 skydivers to jump out of a plane. The skydivers landed behind the stage & VH — in parachute gear — jumped out of a van & rushed onto the stage to On Fire. Crowd went crazy. That was also the day that EVH met Sammy Hagar for the first time.– jpr – 030507 Continue reading

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Salary – $6,500 A Year

Ad Says, $6,500 Per Year.  That Was A Good Salary?

It Was.

When?

Bad Timing, Just a Few Months Before the The Crash Of 1929

1929 almanac ad $6500 per year jobThis ad appeared in the 1929 World Almanac

Here is the snappy, convincing text form the ad.

I used to know him when he was a kid—we went to grammar school together. Then his father died and he had to go to work, Got a job with Brooks & Co., but couldn’t seem to get ahead. Then something seemed to wake him up. We could all see that he was doing better work.

“Then Old Man Brooks became interested—wanted to know how Ned happened to know so much about the business, Ned told him he’d been studying through the International Correspondence Schools. ‘H’m,’ said Mr. Brooks, ‘I’ll remember that.’ .

“We did too. Put Ned out on the road as a salesman for a year or so and then brought him into the main office as sales manager.

“He’s getting $6500 a year now and everybody calls him ‘the new Ned Tyson.’ I’ve never seen such a change in a man in my life.”

An International Correspondence Schools course will help you just as it helped Ned Tyson. It will help you to have the happy home—the bigger salary—the comforts you’d like to have.
At least find out how before the priceless years go by and it is too late.

Mail the coupon for the free booklet.

$6,500.

In 1929 it was a grand salary.

This advertisement is similar to what online colleges do today. Just take courses through a correspondence school. The inference is that you too could be making $6,500 per year. That may not sound like a lot of money now. Adjusted for inflation by the consumer price index that’s the equivalent of $97,464 in 2019 dollars.

The problem with Ned’s job and millions like it, is the stock market crash would occur just months after this ad ran. Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #86 – Jean Arthur

Jean Arthur Star of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Always Waited Weeks After The Premiere To See Her Own Films

Jean Arthur sexy bathing photo 1942I doubt that when the name Jean Arthur is mentioned to film buffs, the words sex symbol come to mind. That is why this publicity photo of Jean Arthur from the 1941 film The Devil and Miss Jones would surprise any fan of the star.

This type of photo (sans bathing suit) would have been more appropriate for Georgina Spelvin who 30 years later starred in an x-rated title take-off called The Devil In Miss Jones.

In this photograph Jean Arthur is looking very fit at age 41. Continue reading

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