The Most Expensive Lamp Ever Sold

If you are ever looking for a lamp to light up your front porch, read a book by, or to simply look pretty on that antique table, you should come into the Midtown Mercantile Merchants Mall at 4443 E. Speedway. We have a wide variety of lamps from antique to art deco to kitschy to mid century modern to funky!  Pictured here are some lamp examples … there just might be something similar in the mall right now.

The most expensive lamp in the world is the Pink Lotus sold at Christie’s Auction House in New York, on December 12, 1997 for $2.8 million. It is believed to be the only known example in existence.The Tiffany lotus lamp is made of bronze with a mosaic pattern of leaded stained glass. The shade is formed of eight lotus flowers which overlap to form this beautiful lamp. It is believed to have been made somewhere around 1905.  
Did you know that a small town in southern Arizona is home to an extremely rare example of Tiffany art glass? Keep following this Midtown blog as I’ll be telling this story soon!

The most expensive lamp in the world

Carol Fenn 3-2017

Baby, It’s COOL Inside The Mall!

Yep, it’s gettin’ hot out there, but thanks to our air conditioning it’s nice and COLD inside the Midtown Mercantile Merchants Mall at 4443 E. Speedway. The onset of our annual heatwave here in Tucson got me to thinking about how Tucson’s residents used to stay cool back in the day.

You might not need mittens in the mall but, trust me, it’s cool inside!

Sleeping porches, cooking outside, light cotton clothing, wide brimmed hats, water soaked sheets, thick adobe walls, a fan blowing over an ice filled bowl, and getting the heck out of town! These are some of the ways folks used to survive the hot desert heat.  

Sleeping porch

Wide brimmed hat

Fan blowing over ice

Nowadays this is known as a “redneck air conditioner” LOL

Some time in the early mid twentieth century some enterprising guys started tinkering with Rube Goldberg machines in an attempt to invent an evaporative cooler. They experimented with chicken wire, charcoal, excelsior, wallboard and electric fans. These contraptions were known as “swamp boxes” or “swamp coolers.”

They even had swamp coolers for cars

The first successful swamp coolers were homemade wooden boxes installed in windows. Charcoal, packed with chicken wire was placed on one side and a hole one-foot in diameter on the other. The box was placed in the window with the hole facing inside the room. Outside, a garden hose slowly dripped water onto the charcoal. An electric fan was placed inside the box to draw air through the charcoal.

Early cooler ad

By 1935, Phoenix had about 1,500 of these window coolers and a year later the number was up to 5,000. Evaporative coolers soon were seen on roof tops and windows of homes and buildings across the state like wildflowers sprouting after a heavy spring rain.  

There’s always ice cold lemonade!

Nowadays some of us still have swamp coolers, cool drinks, wide brimmed hats and cotton clothing to help us stay cool. Of course with the advent of air conditioning in our cars, homes, and businesses we can stay nice and cool no matter how hot it gets. So pour yourself a lemonade made from our local Tucson citrus then maybe come on in to the antique mall cuz baby it’s *cool* inside.

Sitting on a block of ice – yep, that would keep you cool!

Carol Fenn 3-2017

~ Collecting Breyer Horses ~

If you come into the Midtown Mercantile Merchants Antique Mall looking to add to your herd of Breyer horses you just might find some. I found a foal grazing on a shelf just the other day. Cute, huh?

This cute Breyer foal is in space #830

The Breyer Molding Company of Chicago made their first model horse, the # 57 Western Horse, in 1950. It was a special order for the F.W. Woolworth Company, made to adorn a mantelpiece clock. The company was flooded with requests from people who saw it and wanted to know if they could purchase just the horse. By filling those orders the Breyer Molding Company changed their focus and changed the play time of children, especially girls, everywhere! Today they are collected by mostly adults. And while most are very affordable there are some rare models that can sell for thousands of dollars.

Recent online completed sales

In the mid twentieth century most little girls read the books, “Misty of Chincoteague” and “Brighty of the Grand Canyon” both by Marguerite Henry.  Breyer delighted many children when they made models of the scrappy pony and the funny little burro from these books.



Today, some are made especially for high end collectors. They start out expensive and tend to go up in value. Sometimes, in the past, a variation in the paint job might have occurred. For example, there is a common mold typically called the Proud Arabian Stallion. For many years it was produced with a dappled gray coat and a gray mane, tail and hooves. However, a few of these models came from the factory with black manes, tails, and hooves, and black socks or stockings. These special, rare models, are considered variations of the Dapple Grey Proud Arabian Stallion and are very valuable compared to the regular model.

Dapple Gray Stallion with black points

Unlike some collectible toys, Breyer horse packaging does not usually add to the model’s value. Unfortunately, there have been some issues with pre-2000s packaging, in which if a model is left in the box for an extended period of time, the box can actually cause harm to the horse’s finish due to rubbing of the paint on the sides of the box or on the plastic ties binding it to the packaging, therefore diminishing the model’s value. So if you have an older model get it out of that box and let it run loose!  

It’s good that they don’t have to feed all these horses!

Address: Midtown Mercantile Merchants Mall

                 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ

The very first Breyer horse

Carol Fenn 3-2017

Why You Should Buy ~And Use~ A Copper Pot

In the Midtown Mercantile Mall gazebo we have a French country kitchen with all manner of lovely items. Possibly the most useful are the heavy copper pots that populate this nook.  

A country kitchen in Normandy, France

A zillion years ago, back in the 1970’s, I was part of an interesting foursome on the golf course. We were two entertainment attorneys, Herb and Bert; a probation officer, John; and me, the horse trainer. I distinctly remember the first time I walked into Herb’s kitchen in Beverly Hills. There, in all their glory, about a dozen copper pots hung above the center island stove. He took down one of the smaller pots and whipped up a bearnaise sauce to go with our steaks. Delicious.  

Bearnaise sauce – yep, it looked like this!

Why use a good heavy copper pot like Herb did? Of all the metals, copper is the most effective for cooking. The temperature spreads evenly on all sides of the cookware. As you change the temperature on your stove top, the temperature of the pot changes almost immediately allowing you to braise and brown foods to perfection. Hot spots are pretty much unheard of.Your sauces will no longer burn or separate. Melting chocolate will become child’s play.

You can find this double boiler in the mall

Plus, there is no denying the beauty of a shining, or well patinated, copper pan. We’ve all seen photos of kitchens in home decorating magazines where invariably the featured cookware is made of copper. Just like that 1970’s kitchen in Beverly Hills. 

Pots over a kitchen island

So, come on into the mall. Get one of our pots. (Some of them are pictured here) And get going on that sauce!

Currently in the gazebo in our French Country Kitchen

In our gazebo? Look up! You’ll see these pots hanging overhead.

ADDRESS: Midtown Mercantile Merchants Mall, 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ

More pots in France

Carol Fenn 3-2017