Cluck Cluck – Collecting HEN ON NEST Dishes

Due to their variety, collecting hen on nest dishes can be a lot of fun. They are not the absolute easiest collectible to find, but not the hardest either.   

So pretty. Much desired by collectors

For more information …

Carnival glass

Over the last 150 or so years, a wide variety of glass companies have produced about 250 different forms of glass hen covered dishes. These dishes are referred to as an animal dish, hen in a basket, hen on a nest or the rather frugal, hen on nest. Most collectors use this term, “hen on nest.”

Glass hen on nest covered dishes have been made in sizes ranging from less than 2 inches to 8 inches in length. In addition to the variation in size, the type and color of the glass ranges from milk glass, carnival glass, depression glass, pressed glass, Victorian glass, lead crystal, etc.

Ruby flash

Prices vary. Some are less than $20. Most are less than $100. But some of the rare Hen on Nest dishes can sell for a lot of money. In 2009, a Fenton hen on nest with combined yellow, blue and green sold at auction for $2500. It had an estimate of $100-200. 

Sold for $2500

A great collection

In the Midtown Mercantile Mall as of 9-17-2017

We have quite a few hen on nest dishes in the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall right now. Come on in to 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ and check them out. You can start your own collection!

Carol Fenn 9-2017


“Bear Down” Arizona! – A Bit of History

Football began at The University of Arizona in 1899 under the nickname “Varsity.” This name lasted until the 1914 season when the team was re-named the “Wildcats.” For several years, from 1915 into the 1950s, the team had real live bobcats (!) as their mascot. In 1959 the real bobcats were out and in came humans in Wildcat costumes.

First U of A football team, 1899

Vintage “Wildcat”

Now, the Wildcats is a great name for a sports team, and the wildcat mascot is certainly appropriate. But a wildcat is not a bear and a bear is not a wildcat so why the U of A slogan, “Bear Down?”

Early U of A football practice

In 1926, John “Button” Salmon was the student body president as well as the starting quarterback for the wildcat football team. An all-around athlete, Salmon was also the catcher for the university baseball team.   The day after the first game of the 1926 football season, Salmon and two of his friends were in a car which ran off the highway and flipped over in a ravine near Florence, Arizona. Salmon’s friends escaped without injury, but Salmon suffered a severe spinal cord injury. After the accident, U of A football coach Pop McKale visited him in the hospital every day. During McKale’s last visit, Salmon’s last message to his teammates was, “Tell them.. tell the team to bear down.” John Salmon soon died on October 18, 1926. Before the next football game against the Aggies of New Mexico State, McKale told the team what their quarterback had said. The U of A won that game in a hard-fought victory, 7-0.

Bear Down Arizona!

The following year, in 1927, the University of Arizona student body adopted the slogan for use with all Wildcat athletic teams. That year, the Chain Gang, a junior honorary organization at the UA, held a dance in the newly constructed university gymnasium to raise funds to paint the slogan on the roof of the gymnasium. The words are still featured on the roof, now known as Bear Down Gym.  On the U of A Lowell-Stevens football facility a bust of Salmon was erected.  It is said that Arizona football players pass and touch the bust as a show of tribute before every home game.

COME TO OUR ONE DAY “POP UP” that lasts ALL YEAR!  Saturday, September 16th.  Time: 10 am to 6 pm.  U of A Students, Faculty and Employees Only Receive 15% OFF your entire purchase this day! 10% off the entire year!   Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall 4443 E Speedway, Tucson AZ.

John Salmon bust on the University campus

Carol Fenn 9-2017




Celebrating Labor Day Art!

Labor Day – the perfect day to celebrate antique and vintage labor posters and other labor related art.

Some honor home front workers supporting the war effort. Many support and celebrate the union labor movement, which brought so many important rights to American workers.  

Woman Labor – 1912

Some are 1930’s WPA posters – the Works Progress Administration which, thanks to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, employed the unemployed and helped bring us out of the Great Depression.  

The “Free Labor Will Win” poster represents fighting the Axis dictators in World War II (which had “unfree” labor) combined with President Roosevelt’s positive policies toward organized labor unions. 

There are Women’s labor posters, anti child-labor posters, etc. I’ve also included a labor related US stamp and the movie poster from the great movie, Metropolis, about a shining Art Deco city which is powered by thousands of poor abused workers living underground.

Come on in to the Midtown Mercantile Mall at 4443 E. Speedway in Tucson, Arizona. We have many merchants who sell vintage art. There just might be some of these old labor posters in the mall right now. If you hang a few of these on your wall you will have a wonderful historic collection, and they are beautiful as well!

Carol Fenn 9-2017

The Fox – Our Art Deco Gem

Tucson’s Fox Theatre opened on April 11, 1930. Opening night proved to be the biggest party Tucson had ever seen. Congress Street was closed and waxed for dancing (!) There were live bands, a live radio broadcast and free trolley rides into downtown. This party was not to be missed. 

An early postcard

1960s rodeo parade

Welcome to the Fox

The Fox served as Tucson’s premier movie palace. There were films on the big screen in addition to community events. There were vaudeville performances and the Tucson Chapter of the Mickey Mouse Club met there. Economic forces closed the Fox in 1974. It would fall into horrible disrepair and remain empty for 25 years. 


A group called the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation began negotiating with the owners in 1997, and in 1999, they were able to buy the Fox for $250,000. Restoration efforts began immediately. After a six year, $14 million rehabilitation, the Fox reopened on New Year’s Eve of 2005.  


In 1930, at the original opening, the décor of the Fox was described as “Spanish Modernistic” by the city’s newspaper. This is now known as Southwestern Art Deco and the Fox Tucson Theatre is the only known theater that exemplifies this style.

A cool drink at the Fox

Even the pigeons are happy

Word is that Art Deco is back. Over the years it’s been up. It’s been down. But the look is timeless and distinctive and Tucson is fortunate to have the Fox and other smaller examples that we can enjoy every day. And there are always vintage pieces of deco popping up in the Midtown Mercantile Mall like this fantastic Art Deco skyscraper lamp pictured here. It’s in booth 830 and it’s only $25! Come on in the mall and check it out.

Art Deco skyscraper lamp in the mall

Fox detail

Carol Fenn 8-2017




Collecting the Eclipse

You’ve got your NASA approved eclipse glasses and I’m sure you’re going to get a thrill out of watching this rare event occurring on August 21, 2017. But when it’s all over you might want to hang onto those eclipse glasses as they might just become collectible.  

Kids watching a 1920s eclipse

There are a few contemporary things that can join the vintage and antique items that eclipse lovers already collect. The glasses, t-shirts, and the lovely posters that have been created just for this happening.  

There are some really cool old items that fit the category of eclipse collectibles. Perhaps most well known are the vintage “eclipse pattern” tumblers by the iconic mid century designer, Russell Wright.

Tumblers by Russell Wright

Vintage 1970s eclipse t-shirt

Antique pull down eclipse chart

Then there are the old astronomical charts, old photos, etc. All endlessly interesting and historical. It’s so much fun to build a collection. 

Eclipse glasses, 1932

Eclipse photo, 1898

 Come on in to the Midtown Mercantile Mall at 4443 E. Speedway. We just might have an old eclipse collectible waiting for you.

Carol Fenn 8-2017

Antique Cake Stands – Let’s Eat Cake!

This evening, August 17th, we are having an event from 4-7 to benefit the Tucson, Arizona organization, Youth On Their Own. Cakes are being baked and you can win one of them! When you take your cake home, or next time you bake one, wouldn’t it be nice to serve it off of a lovely antique or vintage stand.

A fun use of cake stands

If you don’t already have one of these items from days gone by, look around the mall. We usually have a few for sale.  

Rare vaseline glass stand

You can also use them to display flowers or small collectibles. Or you can start a collection of cake stands and display them together.  

Pretty in pink

Gorgeous details

Brides love cake stands. They use them at their receptions to display the wedding cake, cupcakes, flowers, etc. And, when the wedding is over she might even gift them to members of the bridal party.   

So come on in to The Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall at 4443 E. Speedway. You might find a beautiful old cake stand. And if you come in today, August 17, 2017 from 4-7 you just might win a cake!

Carol Fenn 8-2017

The Coyote in Myth and Art

The trickster, mankind’s older brother, the creator, the desert fox, the prairie wolf, child of the moon. Today most know him as the coyote. When the moon is full, he cries to his mother, the moon. Raising his voice in a howl. Mysterious and full of sadness.  

Howling at the moon

Perhaps it is this mysterious plaintive wail that has inspired humans to incorporate the coyote into so many legends and works of art. A Tohono O’odham myth has the coyote helping their heroic god, Montezuma, survive a global deluge that destroys humanity. After humanity is restored, the coyote and Montezuma teach people how to live. In Navajo mythology, the coyote was present in the First World with First Man and First Woman. This Navajo coyote brings death into the world, explaining that without death, too many people would exist and there would be no room to plant corn. In Aztec mythology, the “old coyote,” the god of dance and music, is depicted as a man with a coyote’s head. 

The Trickster

Audubon’s prairie wolf

Mexican folk art

You can find the coyote in paintings, vintage advertising pieces, figurines, tiles, jewelry, yard art, etc. In the 19th century, John James Audubon recorded his image of the coyote, calling him the “prairie wolf.” And of course, we can’t forget about the poor hapless Wile E. Coyote! Will he ever catch that darn Road Runner!

The coyote in advertising

“Surrealist” coyote wondering why he’s wearing these clothes!

Yard art

Wile E. Coyote in another “uh oh” situation

If you want to build or add to your coyote collection, come on into The Mercantile. We have so many interesting treasures. There’s bound to be a coyote or two. And if you’re very quiet you might even hear him howling at the moon.  

Carol Fenn 8-2017

Back To School – Then and Now!

Back in the day, before the first day of school, (which used to be mid-September) your Mom or Dad would take you shopping for new clothes and new shoes.  

Shopping at one of those newfangled “shopping malls.”

No self service shoes back then

We loved our lunch boxes

In those days, the clothes, no matter how much they cost, a lot or a little, were quality, finely made, and they lasted until you grew out of them. And this was probably the only time you got new clothes until the next year.  
After you were done shopping for clothes you might get treated to a brand new lunch box. Which one should you get? Yogi Bear, Peanuts, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Popeye, Underdog, Huckleberry Hound, Mary Poppins, Hee Haw, Batman, Julia, The Flintstones, or what? There were so many! Why is it so hard to pick?   

So many to choose from!

Last, grab a composition book, a pack of pencils and maybe a cool pencil box. That’s all you needed. Everything else was supplied by the school.  Oh, and hopefully your mom will save some paper grocery bags so that you can cover your textbooks with them.

We didn’t have to pay for books but we had to protect them

Today, kids go back to school in the middle of summer and parents receive the school’s annual list of classroom supplies that they must purchase and deliver. It can be three or four pages long. It includes several cleaning products and also requests a Costco-sized package of toilet paper. It might even include a huge bag of flour! This is in addition to the school supplies for your own child. A backpack, paper, pens, folders, notebooks, a calligraphy set, fifteen new apps for their tablets, a graphing calculator, a scalpel, an electron microscope and a centrifuge. And clothing? You’ll be buying clothes all year because today’s clothes only last thru maybe a half a dozen laundry cycles. Doesn’t sound like much fun does it? And not to mention the expense. Many parents cannot afford all of these items, hence the school supply drives that pop up this time of year.  

And I’m certainly not a snob about how people dress but just check out the difference in the crossing guards then and now.



Hey, to beat those back to school blues come on in to The Mercantile at 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ.  You might find one of those old lunch boxes to help bring back those “back in the day” memories.

Carol Fenn 8-2017

The History of The Wreath

We all know about hanging wreaths on our front doors, but where did that tradition originate? And what does it symbolize? Since it’s Christmas in July here in the Midtown Mercantile Mall, let’s look into it.

Early Greco-Roman wreath

Ancient wreath – gold acorns and leaves

The victor

Wreathes date back to ancient Greece and Rome, where members of the Greco-Roman society would make wreaths using tree leaves, twigs, small fruits and flowers. Laurel wreaths were used to crown victors of sporting events, a tradition still used today during the Olympic Games, where the medals are engraved with wreaths of laurel.

Traditional wreath

Meanwhile, in Europe, about 1,000 years before the birth of Christ, pagans celebrating the solstice made evergreen wreaths as a sign of perseverance through harsh winters and the hope of a coming spring.   By the 16th century, Catholics and Protestants had adopted these pagan symbols to celebrate Advent, the season of waiting and preparation for the birth of Christ. 

A Tucson wreath

The bottom line – the wreath’s circular shape, with no beginning and no end, symbolizes an unending circle of life. Evergreen branches symbolize the life of the earth that never truly dies, in spite of the cold winter winds.

Now this is cute!

While it’s nice to know the history behind traditions most people today don’t even think about the symbolism. They just want that traditional wreath on their front door. And now, with the popularity of repurposing, some truly wonderful wreaths are being made out of vintage ornaments, lights, and decor. 

What an excellent use of repurposed vintage items!

 Many of these old Christmas items can be found in the mall. Come on in and have a look around!

Carol Fenn 7-2017

Prior To Elf on The Shelf – Vintage Elves!

In 2004 The Elf on the Shelf was written by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell over a cup of tea. It was a book about a seemingly old tradition of an elf sent from Santa who came to watch over children at Christmas time. The story describes how Santa’s “scout Elves” hide in people’s homes to watch over events and then report back to Santa. Basically to see who’s naughty? Who’s nice? And there’s one rule – you must not touch the elf on the shelf!

A variety of vintage 1950s, 1960s elves

Oh yeah, he’s naughty

Having a good old time!

Prior to the Elf on the shelf book there were already plenty of vintage Christmas elves watching over us and frankly they could care less about who’s naughty and who’s nice! As a matter of fact, many of these vintage elves have pretty naughty looks on their faces. They’re mischievous. They’re fun. They’re full of good Christmas cheer! Naughty? Nice? Don’t touch? Who cares! They just want to have fun!

Contemplating naughtiness


“I didn’t do it …”

You may have noticed that it is currently the middle of the summer and I’m writing about holiday elves! That’s because it’s Christmas in July in the Midtown Mercantile Mall. Come on in. It’s cool inside and we’re celebrating Christmas!  

Carol Fenn 7-2017