September 5, 2013
By: Michele Gamble
John and I recently took a trip to Wisconsin to see family and had a wonderful time. The weather was great, the travel was adventurous – in a good way – and it was terrific to see family that we had not seen for many years. we happened to be in Wisconsin during the Elkhart Antique Fair. Of course we went! It was a two and a half hour drive to get there, but once there we had a wonderful time discovering all the treasures from Hawaii!
These two Mundorff Prints were the first items I spotted. The bright red hibiscus stood out among the hundreds of antique items. They were both crisp and clean, obviously well love by whom ever had owned them before. $20 each was a pretty good price, but too difficult for me to bring home. The images were over sized for carry on, and I was certain the glass would break in shipping. Oh well, on to other treasures.
I did bring these two lovely trays home home. Both had their original 50’s Hawaii woods, Honolulu tag still intact on the back. At almost 24 inches long they were a challenge to fit into my suitcase, but they were in such outstanding condition I could not leave them behind. I’m a sucker for pretty wood.
This gem almost made me sequel with delight. sitting in a case of costume jewelry who could miss the unmistakable grace and beauty of Ming’s Ivory. This Rice Plant pin is a pattern I have not seen in a while. At just under 4 inches long it is a statement piece to be certain. I found a few other Ming’s pieces and some unmarked ivory done in a Hawaiian motif.
The Red Antheriums are marked Mings, but the others are not. The orchid pin is large and has lovely detail, but I do not think it is a Ming’s piece.
For those unfamiliar with Ming’s jewelry, Wook Moon established Ming’s in 1940, expanding to Hawaii, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, and Atlanta. Ming’s Honolulu offered pieces in gold, sterling, pearls, jade, coral, and ivory, depicting Hawaiian and Asian motifs and hand carved figurals of flowers and natural objects. The earliest ivory pieces were hand signed “Ming’s” in reddish brown ink. Sterling and tinted or dyed ivory pieces were popular sellers and only the finest African elephant ivory, legally purchased and imported, were used. Wook Moon trained many carvers in the mid-century who went on to individual fame, including Isami Doi and John Roberts. The pieces are highly sought after here in Hawaii. They are our diamonds.
I’ll finish with a few crates that we ended up shipping back to Hawaii. The Hutchenson crate was certainly unexpected. This company produced a lot of the bottles used by the Hawaii soda companies for their bottling needs. The other two are variations from one company for their sugar cubes. They imported Hawaiian sugar to San Francisco where they then processed it into cubes.
It was a great Antiques fair, one I would love to go to again. I understand the Elkheart show is one day, once a year. Well worth the drive, if you have a chane, go. You will enjoy it too.