An­tiques Q&A

Our expert shares in­sights on a range of items that bear wit­ness to fa­vorite pas­times and his­toric events, from base­ball book­lets to a pres­i­den­tial plate.

Country Sampler - - Contents - Writ­ten by Tom Hoepf, as­so­ciate ed­i­tor of Auc­tion Cen­tral News.

Our expert shares facts and fig­ures about an­tiques.

Ques­tion: The la­bel on this 4½-inch con­tainer in­di­cates it once held 8 ounces of But­ter Boy Sur-Nuf Pop­corn. It looks nice on my kitchen shelf with other vin­tage food tins. There’s a slot in the tin lid so it can be used as a coin bank. What is the his­tory be­hind this con­tainer?

An­swer: Pop­corn was one of the first vari­a­tions of maize cul­ti­vated in Cen­tral Amer­ica about 8,000 years ago. North Amer­i­can whalers most likely brought pop­corn from Chile back to New Eng­land in the early 19th cen­tury. From there, its pop­u­lar­ity spread rapidly. Un­popped pop­corn was sold in con­tain­ers like this be­fore plas­tic bags be­came avail­able. The coin slot at the top prob­a­bly saved this con­tainer from be­ing dis­carded af­ter its con­tents were con­sumed. Ray G. Red­ding, a prom­i­nent res­i­dent of Mat­toon, Illi­nois, grew pop­corn and pack­aged it in con­tain­ers like this one from the 1920s to the 1950s. But­ter Boy Pop­corn con­tain­ers of this size are found priced from $15 to $40.

RE­SOURCE: “Why Do We Eat Pop­corn at the Movies?” by Natasha Geil­ing, www.smith­so­ni­an­mag.com.

Ques­tion: I was un­able to find this em­broi­dered pil­low cover through an in­ter­net search. What can you find out about it, in­clud­ing its age?

An­swer: The “V” in the pic­ture sig­ni­fies vic­tory and dates the pil­low cover to the World War II era. British Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill is widely cred­ited with pop­u­lar­iz­ing the sym­bolic hand ges­ture (in­dex and mid­dle finger ex­tended, palm out­ward), and the“V for vic­tory”sym­bol im­me­di­ately caught on in the United States. Dogs and cats were pop­u­lar sub­jects for com­mer­cial em­broi­dery pat­terns of that era and were some­times de­picted wear­ing mil­i­tary uni­forms. The ori­gin of this pa­tri­otic pup is presently un­known, but the pat­tern was most likely printed on the pil­low cover and was sold in stores as part of a kit to be em­broi­dered at home. Fin­ished pil­low cov­ers of this era can be found priced $20 to $40, de­pend­ing on the qual­ity of the hand­work, the con­di­tion and the ap­peal of the sub­ject mat­ter.

RE­SOURCE: The Sew­ing Pal­ette, “Vin­tage Em­broi­dery Trans­fers,” www.sewing­palette.com.

Ques­tion: Know­ing I’m a long­time base­ball fan, a friend gave me two old guides pub­lished by The Sport­ing News in 1943 and 1954. Each is 6¾ inches high by 5 inches wide. They are com­plete but show signs of wear. How much are th­ese pub­li­ca­tions worth?

An­swer: Al­fred H. Spink, a writer for the Mis­souri Re­pub­li­can news­pa­per, founded The Sport­ing News in 1886. Pub­lished in St. Louis, it be­came the dom­i­nant Amer­i­can pub­li­ca­tion cov­er­ing base­ball. By World War I, The Sport­ing News would be the only na­tional base­ball news­pa­per. In ad­di­tion to its reg­u­lar weekly tabloid, The Sport­ing News pub­lished base­ball guides and record books, plus its an­nual Base­ball Guide from 1942 through 2007. The 1943 Base­ball Guide con­tains 350 pages filled with sta­tis­tics, records, pho­tos and draw­ings. Its war­time cover salutes the four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Sport­ing News Dope Book, an an­nual pub­li­ca­tion that ran from 1948 through 1985, con­tains sim­i­lar in­for­ma­tion. Th­ese soft­bound pub­li­ca­tions in used, very good con­di­tion sell for $20 to $35 apiece.

RE­SOURCE: So­ci­ety for Amer­i­can Base­ball Re­search, www.sabr.org.

Ques­tion: This print un­der glass shows the Bat­tle­ship Maine in full color on one side and the out­line of the ship ex­plod­ing on the back. It is printed in black, yel­low and red. What can you tell me about th­ese un­usual im­ages?

An­swer: USS Maine was an Amer­i­can war­ship that sank in Havana Har­bor on Fe­bru­ary 15, 1898. The un­ex­plained sink­ing and loss of 266 Navy sailors was a cat­a­lyst that led to war against Spain. This pic­ture was man­u­fac­tured by M.F. Tobin, a print­ing com­pany in New York City. An ar­ti­cle in the June 29, 1898, is­sue of the trade jour­nal Print­ers’ Ink. re­ported that in the four months af­ter the sink­ing, 2 mil­lion prints of the Maine had been sold. The ar­ti­cle also said the most pop­u­lar ver­sion was a trans­parency that, when held in front of a bright light, de­picted the ves­sel ex­plod­ing. The il­lus­tra­tor was listed as F. Fether­ston. Bat­tle­ship Maine prints usu­ally sell for $50 to $100, but the trans­form­ing double-sided ver­sion has sold for $150 to $250.

RE­SOURCE: LiveAuc­tion­eers auc­tion re­sults, www.liveauc­tion­eers.com.

Ques­tion: This 6-inch plate is dec­o­rated with a por­trait of Abra­ham Lin­coln with“Sou­venir of Spring­field, Ill,”printed un­der the pic­ture. The back has a mark that shows two blos­soms crossed at the stems along with “J&C Bavaria” and “G.H.B. Co.” Do you have any idea how old it might be?

An­swer: The por­trait on the plate is based on Alexan­der Gard­ner’s pho­to­graph of Abra­ham Lin­coln taken on Novem­ber 8, 1863, just weeks be­fore the pres­i­dent would de­liver the Get­tys­burg Ad­dress. Al­though it is some­times re­ferred to as the “Get­tys­burg por­trait,” Lin­coln sat for the por­trait in Gard­ner’s stu­dio in Washington, D.C. Jaeger & Co., a Bavar­ian porce­lain man­u­fac­turer, made the plate and dec­o­rated it with a trans­fer print. The com­pany used the crossed flow­ers mark from its found­ing in 1898 un­til 1923. The G.H.B. Co. mark is that of Geo. H. Bow­man Com­pany, a china and glass whole­saler in Cleve­land, Ohio. Older sou­venir plates bear­ing por­traits of Lin­coln usu­ally sell for $15 to $25.

RE­SOURCE: Porce­lain Marks & More, www. porce­lain­mark­sand­more.com/ger­many/ bavaria/mark­tred­witz-02/in­dex.php.

Ques­tion: My wife found a stack of to­bacco flan­nels at an es­tate sale. Each flan­nel patch pic­tures a coun­try’s flag. She had three flan­nels of the Amer­i­can flag mounted to­gether and framed. What is the ori­gin of th­ese patches?

An­swer: Amer­i­can to­bacco com­pa­nies be­gan in­sert­ing small tex­tile items into their cig­a­rette and to­bacco prod­ucts to pro­mote sales in 1906 and con­tin­ued the prac­tice for about 10 years. The cot­ton flan­nels, some­times called blan­kets, could be used to make quilts, cov­er­lets and pil­low tops. In ad­di­tion to flags, ad­di­tional sub­jects in­cluded ma­jor-league base­ball play­ers, but­ter­flies, col­lege seals and rug de­signs. Flan­nels came in a range of sizes; the small­est was 3½ inches by 5½ inches. Large flan­nels could be or­dered from pre­mium cat­a­logs by re­deem­ing coupons that came with the to­bacco prod­ucts. Flan­nels can be found priced $5 to $15 each. Full-size quilts com­posed of to­bac­coflan­nel flags range in price from $500 to more than $700.

RE­SOURCE: “Tex­tile To­bacco In­serts And Pre­mi­ums Used In Amer­i­can Quilts” by Lau­rette Car­roll, The Fab­rics Net­work, http://info.fab­rics.net/tex­tile-to­bacco-in­serts-and-pre­mi­ums-used-in-amer­i­can-quilts.

SUB­MIS­SIONS Please send your ques­tions to An­tiques Q&A, Coun­try Sam­pler, 306 East Parr Road, Berne, IN 46711 or ed­i­tors@coun­trysam­pler.com. Ques­tions should be ac­com­pa­nied by a 35mm pho­to­graph or a dig­i­tal pho­to­graph of the ob­ject (please do not send color print­outs on plain paper) and a de­tailed de­scrip­tion. IM­POR­TANT: Please make note of all di­men­sions, the item’s con­di­tion, the type of ma­te­rial used and any his­tory known for the piece. We are not able to an­swer ques­tions per­tain­ing to stamps, coins, jew­elry or art of any type. We re­gret that we can­not an­swer all ques­tions and are un­able to re­turn pho­tos.

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