The skeleton can come out of the cupboard, the deer antlers can go back on the wall, the umbrellas can return to the elephant’s-foot stand—they are all right on trend. Not since the Victorians stuffed and showed off whatever they hunted, shot, or fished has taxidermy been so in vogue.
Originally a winding country path called Green Lane, it was given the name “Porto Bello” after the capture of a colony in Panama during the Anglo-Spanish war. This sea battle which took place in 1739 was also called “The War of Jenkins’ Ear.” The hapless Captain had his ear cut off by the Spanish Coast Guard. When appearing in Parliament to recount the tale, he displayed the shorn appendage during his testimony.
Can a person make money out of bits of old paper, or are they simply too “ephemeral?” The word ephemera means “something of no lasting significance.” In collecting, however, ephemera is the buzzword for all things interesting made of paper. And for collectors, ephemera have lasting significance, indeed.
So what would the earliest antique have been? Adam’s discarded fig leaf? A sliver of gopher wood from Noah’s Ark? A stone chip off the tablet on which the Ten Commandments were carved? From cavemen trading mammoth tusks to children squabbling over the sale of Granny’s Meissen dinner service, the acquisition and disposal of ancient (and modern) artefacts has always interested folks.