Country Style - - COLLECTABLES -

John Mcphee eval­u­ates read­ers’ pre­cious ob­jects.

would love some help with this piece (right) that was left to me by my grand­mother. Help­fully, she at­tached a la­bel telling me that it was bought as one of a pair by her mother from an an­tique shop, so I as­sume it was al­ready an an­tique in the early 1900s. Un­for­tu­nately, the other one was bro­ken. It ap­pears to be made of crys­tal and you might think it is a vase, but it has holes all around the base of the up­per part. Could it be a can­dle holder — though again, why the holes? Any ideas? Your painted glass ob­ject, the sur­viv­ing one of a pair, was orig­i­nally a lus­tre and would have been used as a can­dle holder. It was prob­a­bly made in Bavaria where mak­ers spe­cialised in black glass, and elab­o­rately painted and gilded ex­am­ples. The holes orig­i­nally had glass or crys­tal drops hang­ing from them. Lus­tres were placed on man­tel­pieces or side­boards to re­flect and in­crease the amount of light in a can­dlelit room. They were used through­out the 19th cen­tury, but be­came su­per­flu­ous af­ter the ad­vent of elec­tric light­ing. Peo­ple still col­lect lus­tres, es­pe­cially any­one wish­ing to au­then­ti­cally fur­nish an old house. An early 19th-cen­tury pair in orig­i­nal con­di­tion can bring as much as $1000 — but, alas, your rem­nant is not in this league. jar with tongs was a wed­ding present that my grand­par­ents re­ceived in 1910. Could you please tell me some­thing about it — and what value it may have? There was a time when al­most ev­ery home had a cruet set and a pickle jar on the din­ing ta­ble. In a wealthy house­hold, these would have been made from fine china, glass and sil­ver. How­ever, the ma­jor­ity of ta­bles were set with elec­tro­plated sil­ver, like your pickle jar. It was made in Con­necti­cut by the Forbes Sil­ver Com­pany, which was ab­sorbed by Meri­den Bri­tan­nia in 1894. It is prob­a­ble that this wed­ding present was pro­duced not long be­fore it was pur­chased in 1910. It would have been a typ­i­cal and much ap­pre­ci­ated gift. That the jar still has its tongs adds to its value.

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