Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A: The monkey bartender was made by Nomura, one of the largest toy manufacturers in Japan after World War II. The company made tin toys in the 1950s and '60s and die-cast toys in the 1970s. It is known for its robots and space toys, which include Robby the Robot, made in 1957. The company, originally called Toys Nomura, was later known as Nomura Toy. A diamond-shape logo with the initials T.N inside can be found on many of the original boxes for Nomura's tin toys. Your monkey bartender is not in very good shape. The monkey originally had plush fur, which seems to have completely worn off of yours. A monkey bartender in good condition with the original box is worth about $60.
A: The William Butcher Co. and its successors were in business in Sheffield, England, from about 1821 until the 1900s. The company operated under the name William Butcher Co. from 1821 until about 1828, so your plane was probably made during that period. The number in the mark may be the model number. William Butcher (1791-1870) and his brother, Samuel, were cutlers who made a variety of steel-edge tools, including chisels, files, hammers, hoes, planes, and saws. Samuel was the New York agent for the firm. William and Samuel also made Bowie knives in the 1850s and '60s. Butcher opened a steel works in Pennsylvania in 1867 and made steel castings there. Samuel died in 1869 and William died in 1870. Your plane would probably sell for less than $15.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Rookwood Pottery factory in Cincinnati, fully restored, will host the art pottery auctions that have previously been held at Cincinnati Art Galleries. The art gallery will focus on paintings from now on, so the pottery offered to run the twice-yearly art pottery auctions.
Maytag just traded a brand new washer and dryer for a 52-year-old pink washer and dryer owned by Jane Thompson of Sand Springs, Oklahoma. The latch broke on Jane's dryer, so it needed its first repair. The old machines will go in the Maytag museum. Jane says she wants her pink machines back if the new ones don't work as well as the old ones.
A: The figure in your Staffordshire piece is probably John Wesley (1703-1791), not his brother, Charles (1707-1788). Both men were ordained in the Church of England. John is considered by many to be the founder of the Methodist church, although the church was not actually formed until after his death. Charles is best-known for the thousands of hymns he wrote. Several potters made different figurines of John Wesley in the late 1800s. There are even different versions of your figurine. The pulpit may be a different shape, the cherubim in a different place, and the hands on the clock in a different position. Value of your figurine: $300-$400.
A: This eagle mark is a standard mark used by the city of Lisbon, Portugal, from 1938 until 1985. The number "916" indicates the fineness of the silver, the standard for sterling silver in Portugal at that time. Silver is alloyed with another metal, usually copper, to give it strength; the number indicates the percentage of silver (916 parts per 1,000). The standard is different in different countries. This mark was used on large pieces of silver. Smaller pieces were marked with the head of a rooster and the fineness number.
Never put hot glass in cold water or cold glass in hot water. The temperature change can crack the glass. A friend once molded Jell-O in a cut glass bowl, kept in the refrigerator, served it, then put the bowl into hot water in the sink. Her stomach sunk when she heard the bowl crack.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The oversized "boyfriend" jacket with classic tailoring and wide shoulders is perfect for a large, showy brooch. Antique brooches are being copied today.
A: There are 125 known examples of coverlets with this "Agriculture & Manufactures" design, according to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Many were made between 1824 and 1827 to commemorate General Lafayette's visit to the United States in 1824-25. Several variations have been found. Most have borders on the sides and bottom and two corner blocks on the bottom. Symbols woven into the coverlet include Independence Hall, soldiers, eagles, laurel leaves, deer, monkeys, and Masonic columns, squares and compasses. Lafayette, who was a Mason, received several degrees in the Scottish Rite during his visit. The design was used on single-width, double-panel, and tied Beiderwand coverlets. The most common colors are blue and natural. The name of the weaver is not known, but it is thought that at least two weavers in New York State made coverlets with this design. The name "Phebe Leach" woven into your coverlet is probably the name of the original owner. Expensive coverlets usually sell for about $500, but yours is so rare it might go for more.
A: Your plate was made by Old Hall Earthenware Co. of Hanley, Staffordshire, England. The company was in business under that name from 1861 to 1886. The marks on the bottom of your plate include the pattern name, Excelsior, and an English registry mark, which indicates the design of your dish was registered on January 8, 1880. The asymmetrical Japanese-inspired design would have been popular in the 1880s. A plate in this pattern is valued at $15 to $20.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Q: I have this 13-inch toy tram truck that my folks brought me from the World's Fair in Chicago back in 1933. I doubt it would be in collector's condition because I pushed this a million miles and have worn out the tires, and the paint is in a poor state. Can you give me an estimate of what it is worth?
A: Greyhound was the official transportation carrier of the1933 Century of Progress World's Fair. It provided sightseeing tours of the grounds as well as transportation from stops outside the grounds. Your toy is a replica of one of the sightseeing buses. It was made by Arcade Manufacturing of Freeport, Illinois, in 1933. Arcade was incorporated in 1885 and made hinges, coffee mills, and other products in the early years. The company made banks beginning in 1908, but toys were not a big part its production until after 1920. Your toy bus was made in several sizes and is one of the few toys Arcade copyrighted. Arcade was bought by Rockwell Manufacturing Co. in 1945. Because of its poor condition, your bus is worth only $500. A bus in excellent condition could cost over $1,500.
A: Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (1853-1933) was the widow of O.H.P. Belmont. After her first marriage, to the wealthy William Vanderbilt, ended in divorce, she married the even wealthier O.H.P. Belmont. After his death in 1908, she became active in the women's suffrage movement. She had the "Votes for Women" china made by John Maddock & Sons for a party in support of women's suffrage held at her Newport "cottage," Marble House, in 1909. Luncheon plates, salad plates, soup bowls, and cups and saucers were made. The dishes were also used at a tea party held at the mansion in July 1914. Both events raised money to support the suffrage movement and guests received pieces of the china as favors. The Newport Preservation Society sells reproductions of Votes for Women china. Reproductions have been made by five different manufacturers since the 1960s. The mark on your plate indicates it is one of the original pieces and was made c.1896 or later. An original plate like yours is worth about $800-$1,000. Reproduction plates sell for $20 or less.