Get ready to experience our first Mercantile Monthly Mash-Up! “Victorian Valentines meet The Wild Wild West.” Join us Feb. 1-4, Thursday – Saturday 10AM – 6 PM and Sunday 10AM – 5 PM.On the first weekend of every month we’ll have a new mash-up theme. Always fun! Always surprising! Always filled with finely curated items! Here’s a few preview pics. Enjoy the photos, then come on in and lasso some treasures!
Valentine’s Day cards were exchanged long before the Victorian era. But sending them was expensive and was reserved for the very wealthy. In 1840 with the birth of the Penny Post in Great Britain, now almost everyone could afford to send valentines through the mail. This brought forth the explosion of Victorian valentines! Unfortunately, due to their delicate nature, only a small percentage have survived. If you’re lucky enough to find one (or a few) cherish it as it has a wonderful history.
Here’s an interesting fun fact: When valentines could suddenly be sent for a penny, they were mailed in such great numbers that postmen were given a special allowance for fountain drinks to keep them refreshed in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day!
Early on, the majority of valentines were handmade by the giver, but advances in printing methods and the booming market soon led to the popularization of commercial valentines. There were hand-tinted lithographs, perforated laces, and embossed foils. A cottage industry of hand-crafted, much loved today, fold-out valentines also emerged. Whether they were store-bought or homemade, both the Victorians and the Edwardians proudly displayed the Valentines they received on their parlor tables for all to see.
Collecting valentines is a lot of fun. Many dealers will find and curate them all year long then bring them out for their customers in late January in preparation for the holiday. Here in the Mercantile you will find many vintage and Victorian valentines throughout the store. Come on in and start your collection!
I was recently given two pieces of old Mana pottery, made in Arizona. Even though I’ve been scouring Arizona for 27 years for all manner of antiques and collectibles, this was my first introduction to this pottery. I found it to be intriguing so I decided to look into it’s origins.
For the last 60 plus years Mana Pottery, which is based in the beautiful Aravaipa valley, has been producing American Southwestern art pottery unlike any other. They are still active. Their hand painted, hand made, earthenware is unusual, unique, and quite glorious. Grouped together it would make a stunning collection.
Immanuel “Mana” Trujillo was the heart of Mana Pottery. A World War II veteran who suffered a bomb blast that caused traumatic brain injury, Trujillo led a very interesting life, getting to know both Timothy Leary and Salvador Dali, among others.
At some point Trujillo came to Arizona and in 1948 he started Mana Pottery. Senator Barry Goldwater, for one, was an early collector. It was sold at Goldwater’s Department Stores, Red Feather Lodge in Grand Canyon National Park, and other small gift shops across Arizona and New Mexico. Mana Pottery ceremonial earthenware was also sold at Ortega’s in Scottsdale, Arizona. The “Peyote Way” line of Mana pottery is featured in the Smithsonian’s “Museum of the American Indian Collection.”
The pottery is relatively rare but with 100 plus unique booths in the Mercantile I’ll bet a piece of Mana pottery could eventually be found. Come on in and take a look!