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seanb

"Spirit of the Fair" ring

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I just got this ring today at an estate sale. Can anyone tell me about it? The best I've been able to find out is that the sculpture on the front is called Mithrana, and it was supposed to represent the spirit of the fair. I have not been able to find any comparable rings. I'm not a World's Fair collector specifically; I merely collect anything historical that peaks my interest. Thus, any information you could provide would be helpful.

The left side says "Spirit of the fair" and the right side says "New York 1939.

Btw, I paid $2 for it. I think that's a good deal.

post-6351-0-22092500-1409516006_thumb.jp"

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Hello,

I have not seen that ring before - it looks rather odd and appears a two tone base metal composite. Clearer photographs and any other information such as a © symbol would be helpful.

Best wishes,

Eric

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Turn it sideways and it looks like this-

spirit_of_the_wheel.jpg

Hi Randy,

Only in passing - different sexes and subjects. I can never remember the name of this sculpture but it was near Corona Gates (duh - now I see it rising in the background). Believe it was across from the "man with dog" ;)

Eric

Edit to add: Even if a non-licensed period knock off from Woolworths, it is a steal at $2.

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Eric,

I looked and indeed it does have the © W.F. on the inside of the ring. I'll attach more pics here...not sure of the metal that the ring is made of...it certainly could be gold plated I really can't tell. Not only that, I can't find it anywhere, does anyone know what the value might be? I can hardly find much information on the statue, just that it was at the administration building and was designed by Albert Stewart.

Do you think it was a souvenir you could buy at the fair? Or maybe it was some sort of special piece only given to a few? I have no idea.

I have better pics but the message board restricts me to 1 post a day so I have to shrink them down a lot. If you want better pics, email me at sean507 at optonline dot net, and mention that you're from the world's fair board.

Thanks,

Sean

post-6351-0-14416100-1409606633_thumb.jp

post-6351-0-78088600-1409606775_thumb.jp

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Left side of the ring. "Spirit of the Fair"

post-6351-0-84208000-1409617309_thumb.jp

Right side. "New York 1939"

post-6351-0-51306200-1409617427_thumb.jp

Front of the ring, featuring the sculpture.

post-6351-0-57408100-1409617476_thumb.jp

Back of the ring, with adjustable size.

post-6351-0-89147800-1409617466_thumb.jp

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Hi Sean,

The adjustable size feature, the appearance of a tint bit of green corrosion for lack of a better word indicates a base metal. With the new photographs it appears less two-tone and more worn "gold" plate. As it bears a © 1939 NYWF symbol, it is one of the 25,000 or so licensed souvenirs. It is quite possible that it was available at one of the 50 souvenir stands at the Fair. I have a similar ring in white metal with the T&P on the front and the Helicline at the band that could be adjusted. I have seen this ring from $45 to $300. I won't swear, but the value is...in between. I may have seen yours - there are a lot of these types and varieties. It is a shame so little is to found about Mithrana online, but keep looking. She shows up. There is a famous painting by Stuart Davis and I believe she is represented there as well.

Best wishes,

Eric

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You know, I never really paid much attention to this particular sculpture (my energy is spent on the grouping by the Theme Center and first water panel), but when you remove the "neoclassical/decoized" name you are left with a naked woman lifting a sheet and revealing herself. Not exactly the "world of tomorrow" I imagined. I wonder what Foster would have done.

Eric

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Thanks Eric! The information helps a lot. Definitely not a bad buy for $2! Actually kind of a funny story - the estate sale was two days, Saturday and Sunday. I was at a flea market Saturday, but Sunday I was home, so I decided to check out this sale, which actually advertised World's Fair stuff. So of course I didn't expect to find any left.

Sure enough, the only things that appeared to be left were assorted pamphlets from the '64 fair. The lady then told me that two grown men had nearly fought on Saturday over who got the '39 stuff, which they had a lot of. This guy who had passed away was a massive collector.

Anyway, I picked up a ziploc bag of old keychains and out pops this ring-the one thing these men missed. Also picked up a '64 tie clip and lapel pin. I spent $15. Together with all the pamphlets I bought it equates to about $2 an item.

Story of the day.

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Hi Sean,

That sounds like a great find and a cool weekend. You never know what will be where or turn up when. I was reading an article today about a well known and respected (but clueless) auctioneer and he was going on and on (and on) about how he recognizes value in things with his great eye. This struck me as funny, because I saw him sell a few boxes of stuff from a huge collection with the usual no description and awful single photo. One of these boxes contained several over-sized unpublished press photographs of a huge airship bursting into flames, bits of silver colored charred cloth and some strips of metal with circular holes. Light weight metal too. This house is not actually known for descriptions, but the photographs were labeled. Hindenburg obviously. Not the seller(s), not anyone in the room either read or recognized this material. Box sold for $50 to a friend. Contents brought 5 times that plus - per photo and not including any of the other material. So you never know where. Once I was in a 12 story antique shop in NYC which is gone now. I was there when it was being broken down. I spotted, in the basement, inside a glass case jammed with stuff, a wood, plaster and silver leaf reduction of the Arm of God (the Harp) by Augusta Savage - a well known 1939 NYWF sculpture. There is, or was, one of these reductions in the Queens Museum. I stood there waving hundred dollar bills - no one would open the case or take any time to assist. Everyone was trying to empty their little kiosks and shops onto all manner of carts and dolleys. Ah well. I have made up for that many times ;)

Best wishes,

Eric

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Hi again Sean,

The more I look at this sculpture the more I admire those by the Theme Center. I found this b/w image online at NYPL - and I am not crazy about the rendering. She has a six pack and mannish underarms and feet with hammer toes (caused/amplified by the style and perhaps scale/high relief). Nothing delicate here. Not sure about the position of the left hand. She appears to be standing rather awkwardly/rudely on top on NYC buildings but she looks about to topple as well. All the sculpture there - so white. It is true that pre-fair some of the sculptures, if not many, had touches of gold leaf on them (Riders of the Elements, Europa etc), but this was removed/covered by April with the apparent single exception of this building facade (if memory serves) which has more than a touch of gold. Just as the now all-white ancient sculptures in our museums were often colorfully polychrome in their day (traces at the Parthenon and others confirm this), one wonders what some of these works might have looked like with color on them. The Astronomer does look wonderful in that rich blue at night. And, there is precedent here - the Elements and Electrons on the Fountain of the Atom over in the Bowling Green were very colorful terracotta and I think green/blues (these were either glazes and/or the material itself). It is often said no Fair sculptures survive today - but these are still around. I recall the artists wife had them for a long time (artists Wayland Gregory) - two are shown in color below the b/w image with a link to the source where there are more to see. Bell Atlantic has them I think, and they are free to display, apart from insurance and transport (that is like saying $1,000,000 to many museums).

2E02-1_1654376u.jpg

Mithrana by Albert Stewart

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/biblion/node?page=234

A GREAT site but...I'd pass on the essay about the Atomic Bomb, Einstein and the Fair...

39earth.jpg

Earth

39elecf.jpg

Female Electron

Details of the Fountain of the Atom Electrons and Elements by Wayland Gregory

http://members.bellatlantic.net/~gregoryw/39fargrd.html

Best wishes,

Eric

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Hello again,

I am thinking of applying color to one of the sculptures to see what we get. I am considering either The Four Victories or the...um...the one with the dolphins in Transportation. Not Riders, the other one. Obviously, nothing near the Theme Center would be in strong color. I am also deciding if the colors employed on either sculpture should echo the buildings nearby and/or the Zone. I want coherency - but I also want something startling (that looks like it belonged there then). It seems a fun project and makes me feel involved with it all in a fresh but old way. But the work itself still seems totally new and prescient. Anyone want to play along? I know several of you have much more than rudimentary editing and color skills :D

Eric

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Hi Randy,

Thanks! You have given much inspiration. I am looking at George very differently now - I am appreciating the form in a new way and he has a new volume for lack of a better term.

And, you beat me! Fast!!! :)

Eric

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Here's some quick and sloppy brushwork, just to show what the color blending mode in Photoshop Elements can do.

I have no pretense of picking the best colors for this.

post-419-0-56875400-1409884025_thumb.jpg

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"I have no pretense of picking the best colors for this."

Oh yeah!? ;) Says who? The relationship between the city and water is admirable! If I was to get very picky the green and the shadows therein - but gash darn it. This looks great! You also managed to make me forget all about the gold leaf. By leaving the city in b/w or gentle whatever you got there - it really suggests stainless steel and that is beautiful. The sky color...

BRAVO! Look how much more attractive, how pretty! I better get busy!

Eric

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Eric, I'm blushing - but glad you liked it!

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