Introduction to Collecting Elephants Written by Michael Don Knapik
Introduction to Collecting Elephants There are many facets to collecting anything, and elephants are no exception. For example, there are some interesting myths and stories related to collecting. The most common is that one should only collect elephants with their trunk up - I don't personally believe it, and some collectors actually do opposite. A myth borne of Feng Shui craze is placing elephants near entry of you home, facing in certain directions. The lore and myths of elephants and some aspects of collecting elephant-related things are captured in: "An Enchantment of Elephants" by Emily Gwathmey, and: "elephant ancient and modern" by F. C. Sillar and R. M. Meyler. Why collect elephants in first place? Well, for me, they are cool looking animals, their historical/ancestral forms are fascinating,(e.g., anacus, mastodon, woolly mammoth etc.), and they have been put on more things than any other animal I believe. So there is a huge variety of things to collect. Just look at all categories in Section 3; most people can find more than one category that interests them - independent of elephant motif. So if you combine interests - you can find years of enjoyment indulging those interests. Also, a good reason to announce your interest in elephants is, when people know you collect elephants, you start getting them as gifts! The Spousal Acceptance Factor - managing your significant other. Whether you are married or have a significant other, one thing is almost inevitable: conflict over your ever-burgeoning collection. Either in terms of size, amount of space taken in home, or financial angle, spousal acceptance factor plays a part in your attempt to collect every cool elephant you see. As your collection grows from tens to hundreds and then to thousands for some, you have to have somewhere to put them. Depending on size of your home, you first start out using available/existing space: in curio with dinner plates, on bookshelves along with Twain and Tolkien, and on what was, ostensibly, plant shelves. Then you need a dedicated space - because scattering them all over is messy and some are lonely etc. So you either rearrange things to put them all on one set of shelves or in one curio, or you go out and buy or make dedicated curios or shelving. Then ultimate - you convert a room of your house, then your whole house, then buy or rent a building to display elephants. That is exactly what some people do - as Mitch Brown did when she opened The Elephant Castle and Museum in Las Vegas (now closed and looking for another building).This scenario is fine if your significant other accepts or better yet - joins you in your obsession. But if your relationship is not on solid ground, yielding ever-more space and funds to your hobby could make them become resentful and angry. If they are not on board and amused and accepting of your hobby, NEVER buy them an elephant gift for their birthday or holiday! They will know for whom you really bought it! How internet is changing collecting. Let's face it, Internet has changed just about everything, and collecting is no exception. For me, I reached an elephant collector's epiphany of sorts, when I first logged onto eBay and searched on word: "elephant". About 3,000 elephants came up for sale for one week! Now, number is about 10,000 per week - some being repeats of course. The point being, a great variety of elephant collectibles is available to collectors in an open market. It would take me rest of my life - if then - to travel to all places and shops, lets alone individuals, to see all those elephants for sale. But on eBay they are all in one place. And that is just eBay; there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of other sites that have a goodly amount of elephanteria to look at. What to collect - specialization If you have collected elephants for long, you probably realize that there are a lot of them out there!! Tens, if not hundreds of examples/instances in each of categories that are listed here. (There are certainly some categories I did not include.) So that means thousands of different basic types of elephants. That does not even consider lower-level variations in , for example, color or size of a particular model. There are so many elephants, it is doubtful that anyone could collect every one, even with unlimited funds; no one can get every manufacturer or artist, every material, in every color and variety and size. So what do you do? Specialize! Some have decided that only elephant figurines are elephant collectibles - and there are plenty of those to go around! Some may like tobacco-related items and so combine that with a love of elephant things, and collect elephant ashtrays, humidors, dispensers, matchboxes, etc. You can also divert an existing mainstream hobby like numismatics or philately, to elephant world, as there are plenty of examples of elephants coins and stamps. Another option is to collect elephants made on your birthday, or made during a certain era (e.g., Art Deco), or by a particular manufacturer or from a specific material. Or, be a "type" collector, wherein you try and get at least one excellent example of an elephant in each category. Another neat way to specialize is to collect 1 pachy from each place you visit. Or focus on elephants from place you grew up. For me - that would be Cleveland, Ohio, so whenever there is an ellie that relates to Cleveland (or greater metro area), or Ohio, I try to pounce on it! Condition In all areas of collecting, not just elephant collecting, one factor is of utmost importance - condition! It cuts across all categories of elephants - better condition, rarer it is (as compared to used and damaged versions of same thing), and more it will appreciate, because other instances will become used/damaged over time. Therefore, ultimately, if elephant is in best possible condition, more you will pay for it. So, if you can afford it, buy mint or near mint items with little damage. That is, unless you find an unusual item or one so rare that affordability in any kind of future time frame would be out of question. Not only does buying undamaged elephants pay off in case you ever sell, but your peace of mind is important too. I mean, you don't what to look through your collection and be reminded of that crack or chip or tear every time, right?! Now, that being said, there is nothing wrong with some normal wear (as opposed to 'tear'). For example, if you buy a bronze that has been painted and is, say a true antique (~100+ years old or so), it is safe to say it is OK for there to be some minor paint problems - either small flakes or chips, or a rubbing/dulling of gloss. But not too much!! Or, if you buy an old magazine advertisement that has a minor margin tear that will 'mat out'; that seems OK too. Especially if you feel you will not get an opportunity to see/buy that exact item again, and it really appeals to you otherwise.Of course you could take a purist stance and only look for perfect specimens. This is fine too, but keep in mind that it will take a lot longer to find specimens in that shape, and will cost more, likely much more for certain items. However, if you specialize in elephant bronzes to exclusion of all else, since your focus is narrowed, you can afford to be picky. Your time and money is focused and you want to get finest possible examples within a particular category of elephants.
Coffee on Campaign: How to Roast Your Coffee Like Civil War SoldiersWritten by Paula McCoach
Coffee on Campaign Confederate and Union Soldiers Roast their Own Coffee, and You Can Do it Just Like them and other Little Beans about their Coffee Drinkiní Habits and War Between States
by Paula McCoach as dictated by Coach The Coffee Customer Spoilers
Roastiní their own coffee was a common activity among soldiers in War Between States. They would carry only a few items and sometimes they would have been issued green coffee that they would roast. Their tin cup was what they had to complete entire process. Some of them did have a frying pan, but for most part, they would roast beans in their tin cups.
To do this at home, use a heavy iron frying pan. Roasting in your tin cup will mess up solder joints. Pour beans in pan. You canít just throw in and leave them. Move them around. Stir them until they start to turn brown. The green beans have moisture in them and roasting them will draw moisture out. The beans will even pop a little, not like popcorn. The roasting beans donít jump out of pan, but they will crackle and snap some.
The beans now get a little chaff on them, but and keep stirring them. They will start to get different shades of brown. Stay away from real brown, which is like a French Roast. If you roast beans this long, they will get an oily look to them. Different kinds of coffees have different kinds of reactions. I like mine color of a milk chocolate bar not color of bitter Ėsweet chocolate. Itís up to your individual preference. When you have beans roasted to your taste, let them cool before grinding them.
Once roast is to your liking, and beans are cooled, you need to break them up with something. Civil War soldiers didnít have much in way of special equipment. They traveled light. Thatís how they could get around so quickly and efficiently. Jacksonís Foot Calvary could march 20-30 miles a day. Some of them marched barefooted. They were just incredible people. So to imitate what they probably did, I would break up my freshly roasted coffee beans with lug portion of my bayonet like a mortar and pestle, but it would not be as fine. I would take my bayonet and round lug part, and I would put coffee in tin cup and put cup between my feet and chomp beans to a fine a grind as I could get. A stick can also be used but it will not be as fine a grind. Put that freshly roasted and ground coffee in your tin cup.