New! Improved! The Purple Moon Family of Websites

The Purple Moon’s main portal

It has been a busy time at The Purple Moon the past few months. We celebrated the fifth anniversary of the opening in downtown Charleston last month, had the blowout “vault sale”, and participated in the monthly ArtWalks- not to mention Festivall.

The project which has been on our back burner for some time though was the reworking of our websites to better serve our clients and keep folks up-to-date with all aspects of our business. Finally, that work is complete and we hope you’ll check it out.

Our main site,, is now an entry point to our four websites which focus on a particular area of The Purple Moon.

We are launching a new Mid-Century Shop which highlights many of the exceptional vintage 20th Century items available at The Purple Moon. This site has new search capabilities, more detailed photos and descriptions plus is integrated for use with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, it is far easier to update so we will be able to share newly arrived items in faster.  The improved shopping cart and checkout process enables you to purchase items with ease.

The new Mid-Century Shop makes browsing and shopping easy

In addition to our mid-century household furnishings and accessories, art has grown to be an important part of The Purple Moon. With exhibits of vintage art as well as contemporary art by some of the regions hottest artists we wanted to better showcase these shows and exhibits. With that in mind we launched our Gallery site in May with detailed information about current artists and scheduled openings. This site has featured artists bios and examples of their work. While not an e-commerce site, feel free to contact us if you would like to inquire about purchasing works shown here.

The Purple Moon Gallery site highlights art shows and represented artists

As many in the Charleston area know, The Purple Moon has grown to also handling estate sales in region. While we are very selective and only do a few of these a year our PM Estate Sales site serves as the place for information regarding this service for both potential sellers and buyers. With videos and detailed descriptions of the items available at our sales we are able to connect collectors with items they are seeking and quickly liquidate estates for sellers. When you check out this site make sure you sign up for our email alerts so you can be the one of the first to know when we schedule a sale.

PM Estate Sales manages estate sales to benefit sellers and buyers alike

Finally, our Just a Modern Guy blog, which is where you are right now, fills in the gaps for all of these sites. We focus on aspects of collecting, detail the history of mid-century design and just generally cover areas we think may be of interest to our readers. This will now also be the place, in addition to our Facebook page, where we will let you know of new information on one of the other sites.

You are here!

Many suggestions by our friends have been incorporated into these site redesigns and we will continue to improve them as we go from here.  We hope you’ll take some time and explore our new formats and let us know what you think.


Old England Pop Art Watch by Richard Loftus

Twiggy Wearing a Richard Loftus Old England Watch - 1968
Twiggy Wearing a Richard Loftus Old England Watch - 1967

Richard Loftus designed a line of watches in 1967 for Accurist to be sold at the Apple Boutique owned by the Beatles and located on Baker Street in London’s famous Chelsea section. The bold watches with their PVC plastic straps became all the rage and were worn by not only the Beatles but also other Pop icons like Twiggy (shown above) and others on Carnaby Street and in trendy London of the swinging 60’s.

Richard Loftus Union Jack Watch by Accurist - 1967
Richard Loftus Union Jack Watch by Accurist - 1967

I ran across this watch today and boy is it a beauty. Still retaining the original strap – and in full working condition – this watch is a classic of 1960’s Pop design.

This watch is currently on display at The Purple Moon – but I bet not for long!


Estate Sale This Weekend – February 6 – 7 – South Charleston, WV

PM Estate Sales, a service of The Purple Moon, will be holding an estate sale at 805 Montrose Drive in South Charleston on Saturday, February 6th from 10am – 4pm and on Sunday, February 7th from 11am to 4pm.

This small, but high-quality, estate has the treasures you are looking for in the great condition you expect from The Purple Moon. This estate includes a very rare Blenko 5929L decanter, sterling silver from Alvin, Jackson and Poole, silverplate items galore, dinnerware from Castleton and Lenox, figurines from Lladro and Hummel, artwork, and a 1974 Sohmer Company console piano with a huge amount of vintage sheet music and music books.
Great living room, dining room and bedroom furniture including a Thomasville dining set, French Provencial bedroom and a fabulous 1950’s bunk bed set! Sofas, chairs, accent table and much more.
Sale begins promptly at 10am on Saturday, February 6. NO ADVANCE SALES!

Here is the preview video of this great sale:


Melissa J. Tyson Opening – Friday, November 27th

Music Series #3 - charcoal on paper - Melissa J Tyson
Music Series #3 - charcoal on paper - Melissa J Tyson

Pittsburgh-based artist Melissa J. Tyson will be bringing her versatile work to Charleston in a new show opening at The Purple Moon on Friday, November 27th.

The opening coincides with the November ArtWalk.

Tyson uses ancient metalsmithing techniques such as alloying, soldering, forging, and enameling to make one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry pieces. She works with traditional precious materials, as well as her own hand-mixed alloys, found metal objects, and unconventional materials like bone and textile.

Also active in the fine arts, Tyson’s drawings, paintings, and mixed media works often share influences with her jewelry. Each incorporates found materials and explores themes such as traditional ornamental forms, topography, and sound.

Born in New Jersey, Melissa J. Tyson received a Bachelors of Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design, and studied abroad in Russia, Mexico, and at the Hocschule für Gestaltung, Pforzheim, Germany. Melissa is fueled and inspired by travel and has shown internationally in St. Petersburg, Munich, Hamburg, Milan, and Seoul, as well as in several US states. She currently works out of her own studio in Pittsburgh, PA. Additional information and images of her work can be seen on the artist’s website.

Music Series #1 - charcoal on paper - Melissa J Tyson
Music Series #1 - charcoal on paper - Melissa J Tyson

Tyson’s show at The Purple Moon will include works on paper, mixed media pieces and handcrafted fine jewelry. The show opens with a reception with the artist on Friday, November 27th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and runs through December 24th.

The Purple Moon is located at 906 Quarrier Street in downtown Charleston. Hours are Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Fund for the Arts – The Grape Escape

Visit three countries in one night on November 12, 2009 from 6:00PM to 7:30PM at the following locations:

Callen McJunkin Gallery – 219 Hale Street

The Purple Moon – 906 Quarrier Street

Taylor Books – Annex Gallery – 226 Capitol Street

Each location will feature wines of one country – taste vintages from Italy, Spain and Argentina while you enjoy the opportunity to see some of the best art produced in our region and beyond.

Tickets are $50.00 and can be purchased at the Fund for the Arts office (304)345-0775, Taylor Books or at The Wine Shop at the Capitol Market. Proceeds benefit the Fund for the Arts.

This event is sponsored by Appalachian Power, The Wine Shop at Capitol Market, Annex Gallery, Callen McJunkin Gallery and The Purple Moon.

We hope to see you!


Robert E. Martens – United Carbon Man and Other Works 1938-1953

More than a decade after his death, The Purple Moon will be presenting a very rare offering of sculptures by Charleston artist and architect Robert E. Martens.

Robert E. Martens was born in Illinois in 1919 but lived most of his life in Charleston, West Virginia. Martens studied architecture at Yale University and at the Cranbrook Academy of Art under Eliel Saarinen. Martens went to work for the Charleston firm of Martens and Son Architects with his father, Walter Frederick Martens, who designed several local landmarks, including the Governor’s Mansion.

In his career, the younger Martens designed such buildings as the United Carbon Building, the original portion of the Charleston Civic Center and Alderson-Broaddus College.

His work on the United Carbon Building (now Boulevard Towers) created a landmark in Charleston where Robert Martens’ sculptures still grace the entry portico on Kanawha Boulevard – including From the Fullness of the Earth (United Carbon Man).

Martens joined his father’s firm specifically in connection with the United Carbon Building commission. At that time Robert was attending the famed Cranbrook Academy which was at the peak of its influence and creative energy. A model for the building was created by Robert at Cranbrook, under the supervision of Eliel and Eero Saarinen. The staff at Cranbrook was also involved in the design and production of furnishings for the building.

The show of Robert Martens’ sculptures at The Purple Moon from the Robert Price Collection presents works spanning the period of 1938 to 1953 and include a 1941 bronze bust of the United Carbon Man. There are also sculptures which appear to have last been shown in a one man show of the artists’ work in 1955 at Woodrum’s Department Store.

In addition to the sculptures by Martens, The Purple Moon will also present rare original photographs of the United Carbon Building by Internationally-acclaimed architectural photographer Jean St. Thomas. These photographs, taken just as the building was opened in 1941, offer a rare glimpse into the modern design sensibilities of the original interior and furnishings of this exceptional Charleston building.

The show opens with a reception at The Purple Moon on Thursday, September 17th as part of the Downtown Charleston ArtWalk from 5pm – 8pm. Music will be provided by Tofujitsu.

The Purple Moon is located at 906 Quarrier Street in Downtown Charleston and hours of operation are Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Generation Charleston to Celebrate Speakeasy Style

Generation Charleston is going back to the roaring twenties for the annual Generations Celebration. Saturday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m., Generation Charleston will transform the University of Charleston Rotunda into a 1920’s speakeasy.

“The Generations Celebration is an opportunity for anyone, of any generation, to celebrate all that makes Charleston a great place to live and work, ” said Special Events Co-Captain Rachelle Beckner. “For the members of Generation Charleston – who have worked hard all year on community service projects, professional development, and promoting downtown living – it’s a time to let our hair down and enjoy our successes for the year.”

Once inside the speakeasy, guests will enjoy food, drinks and entertainment, and a “backroom” card game awaits those who can recite the speakeasy password (printed on tickets).

The 1920’s, more than another other decade, define 20th century America. Best known for prohibition, the rise of jazz, and the flapper, the 1920’s were a time of entertainment. To make the night an authentic 20’s entertainment experience, Generation Charleston will show a silent film during the event and play traditional 20’s music throughout the night. And it doesn’t stop there. Generation Charleston will offer swing dance lessons and then give guests a chance to show off their best 20’s dance moves in the swing dance contest.

Guests should don their finest 1920’s attire. Generation Charleston will award the best costume a $50 Capitol Market gift certificate.

Tickets are $25 each and are available on-line through the Charleston Area Alliance website at Don’t miss out on this event. It’s sure to be the cat’s meow!


Popsies from Pride Creations – 1960’s

Popsies by Pride Creations – circa 1965

These fabulous figurines were produced in Japan for Pride Creations beginning in 1963.  With a host of different characters – each with a generally sarcastic message which “popped” out of their heads when they were pushed down – these little guys were gone by the end of the decade.

I located these two beauties today in the mountains of West Virginia. While sightings are rare, they do occur, and are always welcome when they do. Keep your eyes peeled and maybe you can get a glimpse of one yourself.

Smoker Popsie

Devil Popsie