Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Epitaphs Magazine Article

Funeral Collectibles, A Hobby with a Life of It's Own
Our feature article in Epitaphs Magazine Summer 2006

An interesting overview of antique Mortuary, Undertaker and Memento Mori.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Memento Mori Jewelry

Golden Harp Victorian Memento Mori Hair Brooch Mourning jewelry, 19th century 10k Gold pin.
Harp design, with table worked Human hair.
This tiny, memorial remembrance has exquisite hand engraved details, little feet and a finely braided auburn lock.
The c-clasp on the back has been re-enforced with a plate
Memento Mori death memoria, of truly rare style.

Tear Drop Memories offers fine Post Mortem photography,
Rare funeral collectibles and interesting cemetery art, vintage Halloween and death related books.
Please visit our other two TIAS web shops;
North Fork Pets And Antiques,
a great shop for antique Victorian bird cages and vintage Pet animal collectibles.
Maidens Memoirs,
the place for old Love letters, Victorian Scrap Books, vintage diaries and circus freak photos.
Email us for our phone number we are dying to hear from you!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fraternal Memento Mori

I.O.R.M. Redman Memorial Flag Improved Order of Red Men memorial funeral cloth flag.
This early I.O.R.M. artifact harkens back to an earlier day in American Fraternal history.
In 1765 the Redmen were first known as The Sons Of liberty, these early Patriots were responsible for the Boston Tea Party.
Famous Red Men include, George Washington, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Richard M. Nixon, Thomas Paine, Paul Revere, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding and Franklin D. Roosevelt
In fine condition this flag is attached to original wooden stick.

Tear Drop Memories offers fine Post Mortem photography, rare funeral collectibles and interesting cemetery art, vintage Halloween and death related books.
Please visit our other two TIAS web shops ; North Fork Pets And Antiques, a great shop for antique Victorian bird cages and vintage Dog, animal collectibles and Maidens Memoirs, the place for old Love letters, Victorian scrap Books, vintage diaries and circus freak photos.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Nameless Grave

"The Faded Coat of Blue, or, The Nameless Grave" (1865) Ballad Words and Music by J. H. McNaughton

1. My brave lad he sleeps in his faded his coat of blue. In a lonely grave unknown lies the heart that beat so true; He sank faint and hungry among the famish'd brave, And they laid him sad and lonely within a nameless grave! REFRAIN No more the bugle calls the weary one, Rest, noble spirit, in thy grave unknown; I'll find you, and know youm among the good and true When a robe of white is giv'en for the faded coat of blue. CHORUS No more the bugle calls the weary one, Rest, noble spirit, in thy grave unknown; I'll find you, and know youm among the good and true When a robe of white is giv'en for the faded coat of blue.

2. He cried "give me water and just a little crumb. And my mother she will bless you tho' all the years to come; Oh! tell my sweet sister, so gentle, good, and true, That I'll meet her up in heav'n in my faded coat of blue." (REFRAIN) {CHORUS)

3. He said "my dear comrades, you cannot take my home, But you'll mark my grave for mother, she'll find me if she come, I fear she'll not know me, among the good, and true, When I meet her up in heav'n in my faded coat of blue." (REFRAIN) {CHORUS)

4. No dear one came nigh him to close his sweet blue eyes, And no gentle one came by him to give him sweet replies; No stone marks the sod o'er my bed, so brave, and true, In his lonely grave hi sleeps in his faded coat of blue." (REFRAIN) {CHORUS)_________________


Monday, May 16, 2005

Antique Funeral Collectibles

Antique Funeral Collectibles

Mourning, a most powerful feeling. Some shelter this amazing emotion. Others feel that to possess or even just viewing the symbols of grief, they are made to feel stronger. Collecting funeral and cemetery collectibles are an interesting way to learn how to empathize with loss and view death as part of the human condition. Mortuary collectibles is a hobby that has taken on a life of it’s, own.

The need to remember burns strong in many of us. This is seen by the archeologist restoring the sarcophagus of King Tut and the sweet little old lady, who collects funeral parlor key chains. You need not be, “Harold And Maude” to enjoy this fast growing hobby. Following the lead of TV shows like 6 Feet Under and Dead Like Me, our fascination with death and grieving continues to evolve.

Collecting funeral related memorabilia can be a most compelling pursuit. Available to all levels of affluence, this avocation can be well nursed in flea markets, antique shops, auctions and certainly on line. With a modest outlay one can build a respectable collection and feel a part of others lives in a very personal way.

Assembling a collection of funary items is most interesting, when one specializes. There are many paths. Some specialty niches include; advertising, photography, books, art, Memento Mori and even vintage embalming and mortuary supplies. Each category can be further decomposed into a myriad of sub levels, including age, locality and maker. Let’s briefly look at a few areas of high collector’s interest.

Advertising collectibles are any type of item imprinted with a graphic brand logo or company name. The list is only limited by your imagination. Many collect funeral parlor or cemetery labeled desk top items. These include coin and paper clip trays, paper weights and letter openers. Kitchen related advertising also makes a strong showing. Bottle and can openers and refrigerator magnets are both quite popular and affordable.

This author has in his collection, a set of wooden salad forks, which certainly come under the heading of “what were they thinking”. Many funeral and cemetery advertising items were doomed to fail, as the public often thought them too extreme and its uses were not appropriate for the company named product. Some ephemeral trinkets that did see extensive use were calendars, thermometers and paper hand fans.

Photography has a fascinating role in funeral collectibles. From its invention in the 1840’s thru today, folks have appreciated the captured image. There are two main collectible themes in funeral related photography. The first is cemetery and graveyard photos. Gothic style cemetery and mausoleum shots evoke a certain feeling few can explain. Antique or modern, they are readily called an art form unto itself.

The second form of collectible funeral photography, like fine wine, gets better with age. Antique Post mortem, embalming, autopsy and undertaker occupational photos are often pricey and in high demand. The practice of memorializing a dead loved one via photography is, certainly an unsettling practice. In days of short longevity Post Mortem photos are possibly the only remembrance of a loved one.

Crime scene, execution, autopsy and embalming procedure photos though gruesome, are readily collected, as are photos of the undertakers and the establishments and schools they ran. Angels, ghosts and other set up studio and staged trick photos also have their share of fans.

Books on death and the business there of, hold fascination regardless of antiquarian modern or origin. Postmortem Collectibles by C.L. Miller is an often quoted price guide for funeral collectible. Beautiful Death by David Robinson is another modern, though out of print coffee table book on the marble art of grave yards. Antique mortuary science and embalming books especially those with color plates, are at a premium and command a strong dollar. Philosophies of death treatise or even gallows humor booklets also are in demand.

Cemetery art, in most any medium has interest. Soulful southern cemeteries images with massive live oaks draped with Spanish moss are eagerly sought out. Stark New England winter cemeteries are also popular. Miniature paintings on bone and especially ivory were fashionable in the Georgian period and bring tremendous prices.

Memento Mori is a most interesting expression of grief. The core belief that one can capture the essence of a departed loved one by possessing an owned trinket or even a piece of that person dates back thousands of years. Reliquaries are an example revered in antiquity. Closer to reality for today’s collectors are Memento Mori, a small section of hair spun, braided or woven into a design and incorporated into art or jewelry. Often seen in several forms such as a loved ones hair braided into a watch fob or bracelet.

The most collectible include woven hair of the deceased placed under a small watch glass like crystal and worn as jewelry. Some of these were extremely well designed with garnets and amethysts. These two gems were popularized by Queen Victoria in mourning. Jet, Bakelite onyx and celluloid also were fashioned into mourning jewelry, some with fine enamel decorations. Other hair art is seen braided into flowers, birds and wheat sheaves then placed in frames hung for remembrance. Rare are the multi generation hair art pieces, as they tell a much larger story.

Antique Mortuary and embalming funeral supplies have their place in the pantheon of collectibles. Old casket hardware, keys and plates, many with unusual inscriptions, are eagerly sought out. The caskets themselves are even traded. One can sometimes find for sale, well preserved Victorian “toe Pinchers” in defunct funeral parlors. The wicker carry out coffin, AKA basket casket is another rarity in high demand, especially with Hollywood prop masters and Halloween revelers.

Embalming supplies are really strange. Embalming fluid bottles, mortuary tools such as trocars and cosmetic kits, have all found their way into the market. Cemetery iron fixtures and even funeral parlor lighting all have their devotees, eagerly searching for more. Perhaps the most fun are those with an automotive bend. The hearse and flower car collector are among the most visible and eager of collectors. There are many clubs that gather for swap meets and shows, all around North America.

Collecting funeral related items and cemetery art is not for every one. There seems an intoxicating blend of Psychiatry and grief attached to each item. Happily, there is enough material out there to amass a neat collection in any of the categories mentioned. The specialist can have lots of fun with research as well as satisfying archival pursuits. Many items have attached, an unknown human history waiting to be told. A life lost, need not be a life lost to history

By Tear Drop Memories
Teardrop Memories is part of a 3 web shop business offering vintage niche collectibles, vintage funeral collectibles, antique Victorian bird cages and rare photographs.
Visit us at; http://www.teardropmemories.com/

Thursday, March 10, 2005

My Brothers Grave
I've breathed no sigh , I've shed no tear,Where brother takes his rest
I've never knelt upon the sod That lies above his breast.
He sleeps afar from childhood home'mid stranger graves alone;
And those who pass that lonely mound,repeat the word:Unknown.
Unknown to them, the parents' hopes That centered once in him;
Unknown to them this sisters Love, Not death itself can dim.
Oh could we but have closed his eyes Received his parting breath,
And heard him speak one kind good-bye, Before he slept in death.
It would have been a pleasure sad,To treasure up the scene-
A pinful lesson frought with good, For memory's hand to glean.
We cannot place one flowery wreath,Embalmed in sorrows tear,
To breath its last sweet fragrance out, Above the lost and dear.
Yet will the moonlight soft, and pure, His couch with beauty lave
And angels from their starry homes' Will watch my brothers grave.