The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of October 24 to October 31, 2019


Diamond in Diamond

Antique and Auction News

It’s been over 2 months since I last reported on antique and collectibles news from around the world. Some recently discovered treasures gained considerable press coverage.

Salvagers uncovered pristine gold coins from the wreckage of a South Carolina ship that sank in 1840 “while carrying millions of dollars worth of currency.” The Daily Mail reported that the Steamship North Carolina collided with its sister ship, the Governor Dudley, 20 miles off the South Carolina coast. Passengers and crew were able to escape to the other ship, but its cargo was lost, including a hoard of gold coins. Many factors have limited salvage efforts since the ship sank. Treasure recovery efforts during the 1990’s yielded $700,000 of valuables before the operation ceased due to a number of limiting conditions. The ship is 65 feet deep and buried by 10 feet of sand. There are unpredictable currents and the area is said to be “popular with sharks.” Blue Water Ventures International (BWVI) and Endurance Exploration Group recently began a new effort to salvage items from the wreck. The Daily Mail stated that “divers recovered marble, dinnerware and brass spikes used in the ship’s construction during their initial visit.” More importantly, they found some of the large cache of gold coins. The coins were covered by a large sheet of copper that kept them protected from exposure to salt water and from being buried beneath the shifting sands. Some of the coins they found are in pristine condition and were minted in Dahlonega, Georgia. The Dahlonega Mint opened in 1838 and operated only until 1861 when the Confederates seized it during the Civil War. Coins from this short-lived mint are popular with collectors.

A story about a woman finding a Rolex in a couch she bought at a thrift store went viral, according to a recent Business Insider article. The watch was a rare “Paul Newman” Daytona 6241 model. The watch’s value was estimated at $250,000 before it sold privately for an unspecified amount. The woman had purchased the sofa where she found the watch for $25.

An auctioneer in France spotted a painting on a 90-year old woman’s wall that she recommended be brought to an art expert, according to Business Insider. A Paris gallery determined that it is the work of 13th-century Florentine artist Cimabue. Business Insider reports that “the unsigned tempera on poplar panel depicts one of the stages of the Passion of the Christ and is thought to be part of a larger polyptych the artist painted in 1280.” The painting will sell at auction on October 27th and is estimated to bring around $6.6 million.

Forbes reports that the first diamond formed within a diamond was found in a Siberian mine. It is not very large at .62 carats. There are no plans for the rare diamond yet or estimate of value. The diamond is aptly named the “Matryoshka” diamond after the Russian nesting dolls.

I’ll be appraising items at the First Parish Church United in Westford on November 9th from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Our next live auction is scheduled for January 30th. We are currently accepting quality consignments for that sale. Other events are being scheduled. Please see for details on these and other events.

Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services (508-612- 6111),


Crayon-dripped white pumpkin
photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC

Decorate and Extend the Life of your Carved Pumpkin

It’s time to select and decorate pumpkins for your Halloween display. Get family and friends involved in a trip to the pumpkin farm and consider hosting a decorating party.

Whether you grew your own or plan on purchasing one at a farm or garden center, select pumpkins free of holes, cuts and soft spots for decorating. Damaged fruit tends to rot faster, ruining your fall display. And always carry the fruit cradled in your arms not by the stem. Once the stem breaks away from the fruit, the pumpkin is more susceptible to rot and its beauty fades.

Store carving pumpkins in a cool location until you are ready to start cutting. Extend the beauty of carved pumpkins by washing them with warm water and letting them dry before making the first cut. Try leaving the top intact and scooping the insides out through a hole in the back. This limits water entering the carved cavity and helps extend the life of your jack-o’-lantern.

Coat the cuts with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to seal in the moisture and prolong your display. Take it one step further and use a commercial preservative or peppermint oil to keep your jack-o’-lantern looking its best for as long as possible.

Once in place, sprinkle your pumpkin with cayenne pepper to help repel hungry animals. Avoid touching your eyes and wash your hands thoroughly after using the cayenne pepper.

Don’t give up when your jack-o’-lantern begins to shrivel. Give it a cold bath to freshen up its appearance.

Or put away the knives and break out the paint and crayons to further extend your pumpkin’s beauty. A painted face or design can be just as impressive. And don’t worry if you have limited artistic ability; just download one of many free pumpkin templates.

Put all those broken crayons to use creating a multicolored crayon dripped pumpkin. You’ll wow guests and kids will enjoy this safer pumpkin decorating option.

Wipe the surface of the pumpkin clean and allow to it to dry before you start decorating. Remove the labels from the crayons and break them in half.

Glue the crayons to the top of the pumpkin to prevent them from rolling off the pumpkin while you work. Place one end of the crayon against the stem and the other end pointing away from the center of the pumpkin.

Use your hair dryer to melt the crayons so they’ll drip down the side of the pumpkin, creating a colorful waxy covering. A high heat setting will speed up the process but may make a bigger mess by splashing the melted wax all over the table.

To further dress up your landscape consider converting a few pumpkins into fall planters. Remove the top. Cut a hole large enough to accommodate the pot you’ll be inserting. Remove the seeds and flesh, cut a few drainage holes in the bottom and then set a pot of pansies, asters, mums or ornamental peppers inside.

When your pumpkins start to rot, move them to the compost pile. They will break down into a wonderful soil amendment to use in next year’s garden.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV and radio segments. Myers’ website,, features gardening videos, podcasts, audio tips and monthly gardening checklists.