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Whats It Worth?

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News Article

What Is It Worth?

By: Anne Gilbert


As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, March 2008

Q. What can you tell me about this 17” glass, pedestal vase ? I purchased it for $100 at an auction 10 years ago. M.J.L- Natrona Hghts- PA

A. From your photo you appear to have what is known as a “brilliant” cut glass vase. It could have been made from 1876 to the early 20th century. There were hundreds of patterns and pieces made by dozens of companies in America. However similar patterns have been made in Europe since the 1980s and sold as American, 19th century. It is important to look for a signature that could be on the base or within the pattern. That will help identify the pattern and the value. At the next antique show check out dealers displaying cut glass. It could be worth much more than you paid if the maker is known.

Q. My son found this cast iron object in an old building. What is it? J.D.V.- Cheswick, PA

A. You have the heating element for a spirit iron. It burned alcohol to heat the iron. It was made in the late 19th century by many companies in America and Europe. If complete it could be priced at around $80 or more by a vintage kitchen-laundry items dealer.

Q. I bought this old chair at a public sale at an old, long closed, elementary School. They said it had been used by teachers. On the back a small metal plate reads “Massachusetts Chair Company.” Can you tell me the age and value? M.L. - Lower Burrell,MA

A. Your chair could have been made from 1910 to the 1930s. It appears to be Maple and could sell in a shop for $100 to $150.

Q. I would like information on this gum machine and who could appraise it? V.P. - Palm Coast, FL

A. Unfortunately you didn’t give me any information about your coin operated gum machine. It must have a makers label somewhere. However you might contact “Hakes Americana & Collectibles”, 1966 Greenspring Drive, Suite 400, Timonium, Maryland 21093. Send photo and maker, etc. They specialize in auctions with such items.

Q. This blown glass “bird of paradise” encased in a glass dome was a wedding gift to my late mother, “1909” is written on the on the wooden base. It is 10” high and 8” across. Please give any information you have. P.D. - Brackenridge, PA

A. In the late 19th century a popular hobby for women was creating everything from wax flowers to shell and dried floral arrangements and putting them inside a glass dome. Your “bird of paradise” figure is more sophisticated, requiring a professional glass blower, but a spin-off of that craft concept. A wonderful way to preserve an important family event. As a one-of-a-kind item it is hard to put a price tag on it. A rough estimate could be $700 or more.

Q. I have several old coiled baskets that were given to me a few years ago. Do you have any suggestions for a book or web site that would give me a clue to their origin and value? R.H. - Scituate, MA

A. I found a treasure trove of information on the internet under: Native American coiled baskets. One good site is “Native Tech: Native American Basketry. Also lists books.

Q. With all the interest in the presidential race I took a second look at a small brass pin I had found among my late grandfathers belongings. It is a box car and it reads, “ Mass Meeting 1900 auditorium. Initials on roof are “G.O.P.R.R.” A friend said it was an election pin maybe for President McKinley who was running. What can you tell me? D.S. - Glenview, IL

A. It is indeed a McKinley pin. G.O.P.R.R. stands for Grand Old Party Railroad. The mass meeting is the date of the election in 1900. It could sell at a collectibles auction of political memorabilia for $175 or more.

Q. This silver tea service has beautifully engraved vines and flowers on The sides. On the bottom is the mark “Forbes Silver Co. USA.Quadruple.” Can you tell me anything about it? P.R.B. - Freeport, PA

A. Your silver plate tea service was made in the 1890s by Forbes Silver Company in Meriden, CT. It later joined with International Silver Company. In good condition it could sell in a shop for over $200.

Q. My father purchased this 9-piece dining room set in 1956, that includes a buffet and china cabinet with glass doors. What do you know about age, value? C.S. - New Kensington, PA

A. Your set was mass produced in America from around 1910 to the 20s and  is a mixture of styles. It could have a shop price of $600/800.


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