The View from Halcyon Farm: Collecting Baltimore

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At Halcyon Farm, we are fans of all things Baltimore. From early Baltimore painted furniture by the Finlay Brothers to more modern day Kirk and Stieff silver, we are hometown at heart. Our collections have been assembled over a number of years, found at auctions, small antique shops and estate sales. We still continue to find Baltimore ephemera in the most unlikely places.

There are a number of ways to begin a collection of Baltimoreana. First, choose something that interests you: china, silver or art to start. Further narrow that down to a specific time or style. Do you like the Federal period, the Victorian Era or Mid-Century modern? At Halcyon, we’re partial to the 18th and 19th centuries.


One good place to start a search for Baltimoreana is Ebay. As an example, let’s take the Washington Monument, which is currently under renovation and getting ready to celebrate its 200th birthday in 2015. Do a simple search for Washington Monument + Baltimore + print, and you will come up with a dozen or more prints, like this one. It is an 1838 engraving of the monument, most likely from an old book, and it’s a very reasonable: $12.00! There were also listings for a 1909 photogravure print and several from the 1890s. The print should ship flat, and then it’s up to you to have it framed, although you can find framed prints, too.

Frequently, some of the antiques shows that come to Baltimore, like the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show at the Convention Center, or the Maryland Antiques Show in February, will have print dealers who specifically bring prints of Baltimore and Maryland scenes. Old maps of the area also fun to collect, if only to see what’s changed and what’s remained the same.

baltimore map(1)

Of course, another place to look for prints is at auctions. Alex Cooper, Hogans and Rick Opfer have frequent sales and advertise what is up for bid in on-line catalogues before the auctions. Because these auction houses specialize in estate sales from around the area, you’re more likely to find Baltimore-related items. And best of all, you can preview the pieces in person to see exactly what you’re bidding on.

Baltimore Sun2

If you are interested in more contemporary images of Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun has put many of its original photographic prints on Ebay. Many of these images were used in the paper and have crop marks and hand-written notes on them. Each photograph comes with a certificate of authenticity and it won’t have the watermark. Once you decide to start a collection, you may just find that it can become addictive and even start to take over your life… not that we know anything about that at all.

Halcyon House Antiques is located at 11219 Greenspring Avenue in Lutherville. For more information, visit



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