2007 Starbucks stackable mugs with non-slip bottom

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Starbucks stackable coffee mugI got to spend some time this weekend talking to someone who is an avid coffee mug collector. I’m always interested to talk to people about the things that they collect, and especially how many pieces they have in their collection. Some are quite large (like the smoking pipe collection at Anderson-Muir House – they show up everywhere in every room. New ones, and estate.) And some may be only a piece or two but still are a collection and very much admired by the owner.

We looked through our shelves of to-be-listed and found a nice suite of assorted coffee mugs we will be listing over the next couple of weeks, as well as a re-listing of the cup and saucer sets from some of the china sets we have in stock. We found that many people might not want an entire set of a particular china pattern, but they would like a sample in their collection, either a cup and saucer, or a butter plate.

We can help you with that!

Our first is a pair of 8 ounce capacity stacking cups from Starbucks that were sold in 2007 (now discontinued.) The smaller 1-cup size is a bit unusual, since most stores seem to go in the opposite direction and sell mugs and tumblers in the largest size possible.

These have a stainless steel cap on around the base, and a non-slip rubber-type bottom with the pertinent Starbucks information. I’m not exactly sure I would want to use this small cup while driving (since there’s no lid) but you never know when you might need a no-slip coffee cup, especially at work when you want to protect the papers on your desk from an accidental spill.

You will also notice something different with this sale, and it’s a new marketing direction for us.

The mugs are starting as a 7-day auction in our store instead of our usual fixed-price, also, 30% of the proceeds of the sale (minus listing and PayPal fees) we donate directly to When I Was Cold, a group that works with helping cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their caregivers. They also have begun a project that helps kids in music programs to make sure they have instruments to play.

Going forward, a percentage of all of our new sales and auctions will be donated to When I Was Cold, and you will be able to see the amount donated at the bottom of each description page. This donation is always a minimum of 10% of our sale, and all of our consignors will be donating the same from their proceeds.

Click on this link to learn more about and make a bid on the Starbucks 2007 Stacking Cups.



When I Was Cold - the kindness tree30% of the net profits of this sale (selling price minus cost, ebay fees, and paypal fees) will be donated to When I Was Cold for their charitable projects helping cancer patients, survivors, and their caregivers.

Thank you for your purchase!

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The Adventure of the Viola Continues

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The donor body for the handicap-accessible viola arrived this week from a customer in Texas who came across an excellent student to first-step-up  16″ viola. Now we just need to raise money to finish the project!

How did we start this project?

  • One of our customers bought a restorable condition violin body from us to be re-strung and spruced up as a donation item. He is a luthier in the Chicago area, and finds fixable violins that he can get back up to snuff without a huge investment, and then donates them to inner city students who otherwise would not have access to an instrument for music study.
  • We were inspired a couple of years ago by a program in Western North Carolina that taught traditional mountain music on folk instruments in some of the public schools there. We’ve since lost track and don’t know if the program is still running (education budget cuts.) Again: putting real instruments into the hands of students who may not have access to them otherwise, and, teaching the musical history of their region.
  • Moving forward with our educational and humanitarian mission (more on that later – it goes all the way back to the days of Julius Garfinckel) we are using a portion of all profits from sales in PurpleCarrotAntiques to a new program we are starting to help folks who are current cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their caregivers. The program offers free stuff, reduced price stuff, and invites readers to create or donate their own items with crafting ideas, picture ideas (Pinterest, etc.) and hopes to develop a community of folks who might not have the hours or knowledge to be a full-time caregiver, but can still help out. We are very excited!


This viola will be our test sled (if you’re in business, it’s called a proof of concept) that we can build a better than cheap $99 FSO (“fiddle-shaped object”) customized to the needs of the user, and keep the cost to the end user as small as possible. We are projecting an approximately $1,000 MSRP instrument after refitting, and hope to be able to get this to an end user (cancer patient, survivor, caregiver) for under $300, depending on the level of adjustments.

In future postings of our items for sale, we will show our usual offered price, plus the % of profits we want to donate to our projects, and a link to more information on the projects. It would be nice to be able to donate 100% of profits to these projects, but if we do that, there’s no money left to go buy more antiques for you to buy! :) We hope to keep our donations at a minimum of 10% of profit from the sale, because if you can’t “give a dime,” why bother?



Update on Our Progress So Far

Our friend found a 16″ Eastman Strings VA100 viola made in 2010 that is in absolutely pristine condition. We lucked out on this one! The Eastman VA80 (beginner) and VA100 (first-step-up) are found in the rental fleets of some of the better string shops: it’s a very good quality instrument for the price (it retails for under $1,000) and is shop-made by hand in China for Eastman Strings. This viola could easily take a player through high school and early college (a strings major might want a better model) and is a good amateur – hobbyist – semi-pro instrument.  With a little work to find the right strings, it could also be strung (CGDA) to be used as a fiddle.

We do NOT recommend re-stringing a viola with violin strings. The sound won’t be as good and the higher tension of the instrument risks more string breaks. So unless you have a small fractional sized instrument – don’t do it!

Cost for the viola, bow, and case: $275. Our friend was very generous on the price. Here are pictures of the viola, as received:

The viola arrived with a set of Thomastik Infeld Spirocore strings which are servicable and a very good string for this viola! Spirocore is a wound steel string that tends to get a little bright and closer to a violin sound, while being very easy to bow.

The viola also came with an Eastman (FGK Holtz) fiberglass composite bow that still has plenty of hair on it, and has a very nice grip on the strings. This requires no restoration and will be packed as the second bow in the case. Since our goal is to be as lightweight and as easy to bow as possible, we will be upgrading to a slightly lighter weight wrapped carbon fiber bow.

Also in the case we found an unused cake of Eastman Strings rosin that had shipped with the kit from Eastman Strings. Either the original owner didn’t know it was there, or they used another brand. We tested it out and it’s actually a decent rosin. Much better than the el-cheapo stuff (but not as good as the one we’re going to add!)

The case for the VA100 was a complete surprise as it was significantly lighter than the case we have for the fund raiser viola. This new case protects the instrument and makes it significantly easier to carry, plus it has back pack straps on the back for carrying over the shoulder, or hooked to the handle of a wheel chair, and held safely away from the wheels.

The Strings

The strings put on an instrument are always a mix of personal preference combined with what produces the best sound for the instrument. Not every violin produced in a shop on the same day – even by the same maker – will sound best with the same type strings. Most student instruments ship from the factory with pretty minimal “get it home and make sure it works” strings. Some companies bring in bodies and do all the set up here in the US, and some bring in the basic set up and modify as needed for their customers.

Our VA100 came to us with an exceptionally good set of strings on it. The mystery is that we don’t know how old they are, thus how played-out are they? These strings do not show much discoloration and they hold tune well enough so they could be acceptable. We may keep the strings for another instrument in the future after restoration.

We spoke with our luthier on the project at High Strung Violins in Durham, NC about the sound we wanted. The goal for this particular instrument is to build a transition from Cello to Viola (they are strung the same) and so we wanted a viola that could sound as close to a cello as possible, while at the same time be very easy to bow, with fairly quick response. (Violas have very thick strings – compared to a violin – and thus they don’t respond as quickly as a violin.) After talking about a few brands and types, we decided to string the viola with Thomastik Dominant strings.
These are a hybrid string with an imitation gut center, and steel wrapped. The sound is warmer and closer to the cello, yet we are making a small sacrifice on the action of the strings: they’re not quite as fast as the steel strings.

Projected cost for strings: approximately $100, plus any wolf tone eliminators that must be applied to the strings.


The Action

The main challenge in playing a violin/viola with post-cancer issues has to do with having the grip strength to turn the tuning pegs while holding the instrument, and do that without breaking a string. A standard peg turns at a ratio of 1:4, so that if you did a complete rotation of the peg, you’d wrap the string around the peg four times (and very likely break it.) This requires grip strength to push in on the peg and turn at the same time, and get a rough tune that can be finished with fine tuners on the other end.  You see a couple of challenges there for someone who can (or wants to) play but has a weak grip.

We will be replacing the current pegs with Knilling Perfection Pegs, which are a mechanical geared replacement that looks exactly like the original pegs, and are set up to do a 1:1 ratio turn on the strings. Once the string is turned to the desired spot (with very fine tuning possible since you’re not turning the string as far per turn of the peg) the gearing inside the peg holds it in place and prevents slipping that would cause the string to loosen and require re-tuning. You can read up more about this – if interested – on the Knilling website.

Projected cost: Our estimate for this from High Strung Violins is approximately $150, which includes installation and putting on the new strings.  We opted to leave the fine tuners on the viola. This is an operation that needs to be done by a luthier because the peg holes may need adjustment, and the pegs have to be cut down (shortened) to fit the peg box after they are fitted to the size of the holes.

It’s not as easy as re-stringing a violin.

The new tuners with their mechanical insides don’t add a lot of weight to the body, and using fine tuners is a habit most players get into, and using them won’t diminish the use of the planetary tuners. The tail piece is composite (not ebony) so that will not have to be switched out – we have a nice weight reduction there by not using the wood tail piece.

The Bow

This is our cost challenge: think of the bow as the second instrument. Using a cheap bow on a good fiddle isn’t going to produce favorable results. In order to meet our cost guidelines, we need to investigate how to purchase our own bows at wholesale for violins and violas (a cello is too cost prohibitive to ship, so it would go too far beyond what we’d want the end user to have to pay.) Fortunately if we get stuck with too many bows, we can sell them to raise more money for our projects, but it will still require an investment to get bows in-house.

With testing, it’s possible to save by bringing in violin and viola bows in small wholesale lots, if the bow tests out and meets our standards of performance vs. weight vs. cost. If not: sell the bow and test another.

For the Eastman VA100 viola, we are testing a Chinese made Vio Music 16″ viola bow made with wrapped carbon fiber (think: the dash of a sports car.) It’s slightly lighter than the Eastman bow, and has just enough flex to make it easy to handle while at the same time digging into the strings hard, as a player needs to do on viola and cello.

Projected cost: $75. After testing bows, we hope to keep this portion of the project cost between $50 and $80, based on the needs of the end user.


The viola arrived with a small practice mute that hooks to the G and D heavy rubber viola mutestrings. We replaced this with a large rubber practice mute that slides down over all the strings at the bridge. Unfortunately because of instrument size, we can’t use the same mutes for violin and viola, so there’s not much opportunity for bulk buying here.


Even though this one shipped to us with the unused Eastman rosin, the container was very small (a starter sample, really) and not the best shape for puttingJade Dark Rosin rosin on a bow, especially a new one. We will be using a better grade: JADE Dark Rosin for Violin, Viola, and Cello, which has a nice grip to it without being overly sticky, and is our preferred rosin for cello and viola.


Projected cost for accessories: $20


We hope to find good estate instruments in our travels to estates, sales, and auctions, and by donations from our friends who are cleaning out closets. When purchasing new instruments, for both violin and viola, we are looking at entry point and mid level instruments from Eastman Strings (China) and Gliga (Romania.)

If we find items that are not of a quality to re-build for our accessible instruments project, or which we don’t have a current need for, those will be sold with 100% of the sale (minus eBay and PayPal fees) going into the pot for our next instrument.

None of the money raised here goes to the operation of Purple Carrot Antiques, and any cash or in-kind donations are tagged specifically for this project.

If you are interested in working with us on this project, donating your instrument, or donating cash towards the remaining renovations on our viola, please email us for more details.

And if you’re interested in our Fundraiser Viola and possibly purchasing that one to help our project, please see our Viola For Sale page.




Eastman Strings – Building Guitars in China





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Silver Snobs

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I wasLexington Sterling service photographing a Remembrance silver plate gumbo spoon by Rogers, and I remembered a conversation I walked past among some sellers at last year’s Raleigh (NC) Antiques Fair.

“I can’t stand silver plate,” he said, at his nodding compatriot. “If I have to take some in from an estate, that (expletive deleted) goes right in the trash.”

And he then went on to make equally disparaging remarks about International Prelude sterling silver, of dropping it right in the melt box because it was (I don’t remember his exact snooty word here) “so common.” We’ve already talked about how silver plate is sometimes called Grandma’s Sterling, and how that’s ok. Some folks have a strong emotional attachment to the flatware (silverware) that grandma or mother dutifully pulled out of the flannel every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, for Purim and Passover.  I suppose those folks should simply avoid the Silver Snob stores because – as I have been told in such a store before -

“Oh. We have nothing here for you.”

While on a picking adventure this past weekend, I found a small dealer in a rented booth space in an Antique Mall who had a good idea, of breaking up a big set of Grandma’s Sterling and selling it in place setting bundles. Folks might not need the entire set, but maybe an extra place or two, to finish out theirs so they don’t end up with one or two guests eating off the everyday stainless at the kid’s table. We rarely sell place settings like that because we find that folks are short a couple of dessert forks, or need extra place knives, or they collect teaspoons and don’t need the extra pieces. We try to accommodate where possible (and we can always negotiate a deal if you do need place settings and we have them in stock.)

As far as the Prelude being “too common” to sell: if they are speaking in terms of a commodity, I know of other patterns that are easier to find in the market, with more pieces available to purchase. My interpretation of what was said – based on the belittling tone of voice – was that it was “common” and not “elegant.” My southern great-grandmother would say “piss-elegant.” My aunt’s fanny. If an item is a difficult or slow sale, I understand any dealer’s option not to acquire it for their store. Sometimes they can get stuck acquiring an item because in order to get A, they also have to take B. Or when doing a contract to liquidate an estate, it requires all of the estate, ugly stuff, throw away stuff, broken stuff, caked in kitchen grease stuff and all. But it’s still good form (and much more professional) to dispose of the unwanted items discreetly: sell them to another dealer at wholesale, have another means of selling the goods outside of the Silver Snob Store, or even donate the items to a charity that can make good use of them either as literally using them, or selling them at a fundraiser. It simply makes them seem like “not somebody I’d ever want to do business with” to describe merchandise so badly in public. Suppose I was walking by and heard that, and it just happened that Prelude was my grandmother’s silver pattern? How offended would I be?

For what it’s worth, we sold an entire service for 8 in International Prelude a few year’s back. We found a nice rosewood case on the shelves, gave everything a light estate cleaning (no heavy polishing – just get the yellow off) and made an auction buyer very happy with the acquisition. My only thought about the silver pattern was that it looks very nice on the table, and being an antique set, it has that heritage of use around someone’s table that I find so interesting.

It makes me wonder how many happy meals were shared, how many jokes were told, and how many arguments with that one old John Birch uncle who always starts a fight at the Thanksgiving table. The silver snobs would never appreciate the wonder of that thought.

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Reed and Barton flat-handle 4.5″ baby spoon sterling silver

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the final piece from a small estate collection of sterling silver baby spoons and forks, from infant up to toddler size.  This is a 4.5″ baby spoon in sterling silver from Reed and Barton, showing the monogram EMS III on the cartouche on the spoon’s handle. We date to the 1930s based on other cutlery in the collection.

Overall very good shape for a daily use object, we only did a very light estate cleaning on the spoon – it showed no extreme tarnishing, and no dents, bite marks, or damage. We see the expected amount of scratching from daily use. The very minimal amount of tarnish leads us to believe it (along with the other pieces in the collection.

.705 troy ounces of silver

We are offering this spoon first at auction, with an opening bid of $12.95 which is approximately the melt price for the silver today. If the spoon receives no bids in the next seven days, it will be offered for sale at a significantly higher price.

This is a no reserve auction, so the spoon will sell for the highest bid.

Click here to read more about the Reed and Barton flat handle sterling baby spoon.




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Advancing Student 15.5″ viola – Romanian made – fundraiser sale

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William Lews and Son 1535 Viola We recently acquired this William Lewis & Sons 15.5″ viola that was a spare instrument that had been used by an advancing student violist. As he moved up to his next level instrument, he kept this one instead of selling it/trading it in, so it spent more time in recent years in the case than on the stage. He took this viola to state championships in North Carolina, and for a student instrument is in exceptionally good cosmetic condition.

We are selling this instrument as a donation to a project to build a handicapped-accessible viola in a larger size (16.5″.) The concept is to customize a stock instrument to make it comfortable for an artist who has arthritic or other problems with the hands. We offered this viola as the stock body, but unfortunately it’s too small. So, we are selling the viola and donating all the proceeds (minus ebay and paypal fees) to the project.

This is a Ton-Klar (Romania) 15.5″ viola, the Orchestra model, made for William Lewis and Son (Chicago) in the early 1990s, so the wood is very well seasoned. The instrument is very well played in from its years in competition.

If you read the details on the Orchestra Viola, you will see the very good cosmetic condition of the instrument as well as the setup and fittings. This is definitely steps up from your basic $99 eBay instrument.

The viola is stung with a set of Red Label strings that are old enough that they must be changed out in order to get the perfect voice and tune. Rather than guess at which strings the buyer prefers, we left the originals on, so that you can work with your luthier to get just the voice you want from this extremely comfortable viola.

Please note that the viola ships with a padded Antonio case, and no bow: the original bow that came with the instrument was cost prohibitive to re-hair.

Please read the details closely – especially the fundraising part – and see if this step-up viola is worth consideration. This is our second donation instrument, and we continue to find worthy, playable instruments like this in our travels that we can re-home, and at the same time, help students and players who otherwise would not be able to have a good instrument of their own.

Offered at $475, Click here for more information on the William Lewis & Son Orchestra Viola.



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Kenneth George Amphora-Shape 4-handle vase – 13″ Tall

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Kenneth George 4 handle vaseWe acquired a nice small collection of Cole Family pottery toward the end of last year, and it’s a nice representative collection of many of the names in the family. They range from the functional such as mugs and tumblers, to the unusual like a child’s tea set and small clay animals, to this spectacular 13″ tall 4-handled vessel by Kenneth George – the grandson of Neolia Cole and great-grandson of A.R. Cole (Sanford, NC)

This is the largest piece of NC pottery remaining on the shelves from our 2013 acquisitions, and one of the most important. An absolutely beautiful organic shape with the applied handles, enhanced by the traditional Greek amphora shape. Signed and dated by Kenneth George, We rate this one a 9.5 of 10, and consider it to be museum quality work.Kenneth George 4 handle vase

Offered at $197.50, this vase/water vessel is not to be missed. An excellent center piece for your collection of modern North Carolina pottery, but one of the newest and most talented names in the business.

Click here for more information and to purchase the 13″ Kenneth George 4-handle vase.

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Student Violin consignment

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Full Size Student Violin - no labelThis student violin was consigned to us by one of our friends to be sold and the proceeds re-circulated into an ongoing musical donation project.

Our friend – a retired luthier – looks for pre-loved (pre-practiced?) violins that can be restored and put back into circulation for student use. This is an instrument that he had no call for at the time so he sent to us to sell for him so he can buy additional string instruments for students in his area.

What we are offering is a basic beginner-level (Level 1) student violin that is full sized (4/4) with a bow. Overall, the kit is very much better than your average eBay violin and we are offering ours at an opening bid of 1/10 the cost. The violin will arrive to you completely set up, with your choice of two bows. (Read the listing for all the details on this violin and the bows.)

Note that this violin does not ship with a case. Your choice of one of the two bows offered. We also offer a minimal discount if you prefer to take the instrument without the bow, If you take the violin only, the bow will go off to our luthier here for re-stringing and then donated locally in North Carolina.

Note that this is a one week auction beginning at $19.50, and if the violin doesn’t sell at auction it will be re-listed as a buy it now item, with a significantly higher asking price.

Since this one is a consignment/fund raising item, we ask for no extreme low ball offers  if it goes to buy it now.  There is no reserve on the violin so it will sell for whatever is the highest bid.

For more information, click on this link for the Student 4/4 full size violin.

- SOLD -



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