An­tiques Q&A

Our ex­pert shares the scoop on the his­tory and value of vintage toys, hol­i­day decor and ad­ver­tis­ing col­lectibles.

Country Sampler - - Contents - RE­SOURCE: Christ­mas Col­lectibles by Margaret and Kenn Whit­myer (1994: Col­lec­tor Books, out of print).

Our ex­pert shares facts and fig­ures about an­tiques.

Ques­tion:

This 6-inch-high Mickey Mouse toy some­how sur­vived my child­hood in the 1950s. When switched on, Mickey’s body and head move back and forth as he plays the xy­lo­phone. The back of the toy is marked“Line­mar/Made in Ja­pan”and“Walt Dis­ney Pro­duc­tions.” What is it worth?

An­swer:

Mickey Mouse, who made his film de­but in the 1928 sound short “Steam­boat Wil­lie,” was a boon to the strug­gling toy in­dus­try dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion. Toys based on Walt Dis­ney an­i­ma­tion char­ac­ters re­mained pop­u­lar through the 20th cen­tury. By the 1960s, Louis Marx and Com­pany was the largest toy man­u­fac­turer in the world. Marx owned a fac­tory in Ja­pan, which la­beled its toys Line­mar. The tin windup Mickey Mouse Xy­lo­phone Player usu­ally sells for $250 to $300; how­ever, one miss­ing its thin rub­ber tail sold last year for only $133. Hav­ing the toy’s orig­i­nal box adds greatly to the value—some­times by more than 100 per­cent. A Mickey Mouse Xy­lo­phone Player toy with its col­or­fully il­lus­trated box sold at Mor­phy Auc­tions in 2014 for $1,440.

RE­SOURCES: Marx Toys: Ro­bots, Space, Comic, Dis­ney & TV Char­ac­ters by Max­ine A. Pin­sky (1996: Schif­fer Pub­lish­ing, 610-593-1777, www. schif­fer­books.com); LiveAuc­tion­eers, www.liveauc­tion­eers.com.

Ques­tion:

We bought a box of old Christ­mas or­na­ments at an estate sale. This small glass teapot is the most in­ter­est­ing. Can you tell us when and where it was made and the value?

An­swer:

Glass Christ­mas tree or­na­ments orig­i­nated in the town of Lauscha, Ger­many, where a fac­tory be­gan man­u­fac­tur­ing glass toys in the early 1600s. In the 19th cen­tury, glass­blow­ers there crafted hol­low glass balls called kugels, which were some­times hung from ceil­ings and win­dows for good luck. Soon other shapes were made, in­clud­ing fruit and pinecones. These col­or­ful dec­o­ra­tions drew the at­ten­tion of toy mer­chants in nearby Son­neberg, who took over the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing of glass dec­o­ra­tions in the mid-1870s. Amer­i­can va­ri­ety-store mag­nate F.W. Wool­worth was largely re­spon­si­ble for the rapid in­crease in sales of glass Christ­mas or­na­ments in the 1880s. Hun­dreds of shapes were made in the 20th cen­tury. This teapot was made in Ger­many in the 1920s or 1930s and is val­ued at $20 to $40.

Ques­tion:

This Santa Claus coin bank is about 6 inches high by 5 inches wide by 6 inches deep. It is light­weight, per­haps made of alu­minum .“BAN TH RICO IND/ CHICAGO USA” is stamped on the bot­tom. Is this bank rare or valu­able?

An­swer:

Chicago-based Ban­thrico Inc. pro­duced more than 900 dif­fer­ent coin banks while in business from 1931 to 1985. Most of the banks were sold to fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, which dis­trib­uted them to their cus­tomers. The flat panel on the back of the coin bank cus­tom­ar­ily would have been printed with the name of a lo­cal bank­ing com­pany. This bank is made of white metal, which was com­posed of 95 per­cent zinc and 5 per­cent alu­minum. A slightly larger ver­sion was made in 1955. This size came out a year later. Ban­thrico white metal Santa banks usu­ally sell for $50 to $75, de­pend­ing on con­di­tion. When the orig­i­nal il­lus­trated card­board box is in­cluded, the bank sells at auc­tion for as much as $250.

RE­SOURCE: Coin Banks by Ban­thrico by James L. Red­wine (2001: Schif­fer Pub­lish­ing, 610-593-1777, www.schif­fer­books.com).

Ques­tion:

I picked up this 3-inch-high Santa at a flea mar­ket. He ap­pears to be made of crepe pa­per with a wool beard and a tin­sel tree. The bot­tom is marked “Aus­tria.” Can you tell me the age and the pur­pose of this Santa?

An­swer:

Mem­bers of the col­lec­tors’ club The Golden Glow of Christ­mas Past iden­ti­fied this Santa Claus as a post­war dec­o­ra­tion, prob­a­bly made in the 1950s and used in table­top or shelf dis­plays. Some are found with round card­board bases, im­prov­ing sta­bil­ity. Sim­ple ex­am­ples made of card­board, crepe pa­per and cot­ton can be found for ap­prox­i­mately $15 to $20, mainly due to their small size and de­sir­abil­ity. Or­nate ex­am­ples trimmed in che­nille and felt are some­times priced as much as $40.

RE­SOURCE: The Golden Glow of Christ­mas Past, www.gold­en­glow.org.

Ques­tion:

These cards re­sem­ble old Christ­mas postcards but have print­ing for Lion Cof­fee on the back. What were they used for?

An­swer:

Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ers in the late 1800s of­ten gave small chro­molitho­graph prints to cus­tomers who pur­chased their prod­ucts. These col­or­ful prints, called trade cards, had ad­ver­tis­ing printed on the back. The Wool­son Spice Com­pany of Toledo, Ohio, founded by Alvin M. Wool­son and his brother Wil­liam Wool­son, com­mis­sioned trade cards to pro­mote their prod­ucts. The cards com­mem­o­rated hol­i­days, sea­sons and sig­nif­i­cant events. The com­pany in­serted a trade card in each pack­age of its Lion-brand cof­fee in the 1880s and 1890s. The trade cards, which usu­ally mea­sured 5 by 7 inches, of­ten por­trayed women and chil­dren. Many of these were printed by Donaldson Broth­ers of New York City, which pro­duced trade cards for many other com­pa­nies. Lion Cof­fee trade cards are usu­ally priced $15 or less each.

Ques­tion:

This 91/2-inch plate is dec­o­rated with berries and small cal­en­dar pages of the year 1909. Gilt print­ing on the plate reads: “D.T. Riser, Bak­ery and Lunch Room.” What can you tell me about it?

An­swer:

RE­SOURCE: Kovels’ An­tiques & Col­lectibles Price Guide 2017 by Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel (2016: Black Dog & Leven­thal Pub­lish­ers, 800-303-1996, www.kovels.com).

NOVEM­BER 2017

Christ­mas Col­lectibles Writ­ten by Tom Hoepf, as­so­ciate ed­i­tor of Auc­tion Cen­tral News.

RE­SOURCE:

by Margaret and Kenn Whit­myer (1994: Col­lec­tor Books, out of print).

Just as some business own­ers of to­day give cal­en­dars to cus­tomers, mer­chants in the early 1900s gave cal­en­dar plates to cus­tomers in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of their pa­tron­age. First made in Eng­land in the late 1800s, cal­en­dar plates reached their peak years in the United States be­tween 1909 and 1915. Many were man­u­fac­tured in the pot­tery cen­ters of east­ern Ohio and West Vir­ginia. They were dec­o­rated with col­or­ful un­der­glaze de­cals of women, men, flow­ers, an­i­mals and birds, and they al­ways pic­tured cal­en­dar pages of the months of the year. The de­signs also in­cluded the store name along with its prod­uct lines and lo­ca­tion. Dis­trib­uted at the end of the year, some had a Christ­mas theme. Cal­en­dar plates usu­ally sell for $15 to $30 apiece, un­less the dec­o­ra­tion is of spe­cial in­ter­est or ap­peal.

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