An­tiques Q&A

Our ex­pert shares the scoop on mem­o­rable Christ­mas goods, from chil­dren’s records to a jolly candy con­tainer and vin­tage cookie cut­ters.

Country Sampler - - Contents -

Our ex­pert shares facts and fig­ures about an­tiques.

Ques­tion:

This Santa Claus nov­elty lamp is on dis­play at the Tif­fin Glass Mu­seum in Tif­fin, Ohio. I’d like to have one in my Christ­mas col­lec­tion. How much should I ex­pect to pay?

An­swer:

The Tif­fin Glass Com­pany was a sub­sidiary of the United States Glass Com­pany when it in­tro­duced a series of fig­u­ral lamps in the 1920s. The hard­est to find is the 10-inch-tall lamp that de­picts Santa Claus in a chim­ney. The painted glass shade rests on a round base of black glass. The Santa lamp cost $1.75 in a 1926 mail-or­der cat­a­log, which amounts to about $25 to­day. Other lamps in the series in­clude an owl, a par­rot, love­birds, sev­eral flower baskets and a girl in a hoop skirt. While most of these lamps nor­mally sell to­day for $200 to $300 each, the scarcity and de­sir­abil­ity of the Santa lamp drives the price to $1,000 or more. Sur­viv­ing ex­am­ples some­times have paint loss, sur­face scratches and chips, which re­duces the value.

RE­SOURCE: Tif­fin Glass Mu­seum, 419-448-0200, www.tiff­in­glass.org.

Ques­tion:

I found sev­eral Christ­mas-themed 45 rpm records at a flea market. One that in­trigued me most was ti­tled “Win­ter Won­der­land” on one side and“Mr. Snow”on the other. The il­lus­trated record sleeve states that it’s a Golden Record priced 29 cents and fea­tures The Golden Sand­pipers and the Jimmy Car­roll Or­ches­tra. I paid a dol­lar apiece for the records. Are they worth much more than that?

An­swer:

Golden Records was a Si­mon & Schus­ter record la­bel based in New York. It was con­ceived in 1948 by chil­dren’s mu­sic pro­ducer Arthur Shimkin, who went on to found Sesame Street Records with the Chil­dren’s Tele­vi­sion Work­shop in 1970. Golden Records com­bined chil­dren’s sto­ries with melody, re­leas­ing them as sin­gles. The records in­cluded nurs­ery rhymes, fairy tales, Christ­mas songs, Bi­ble sto­ries and ed­u­ca­tional songs. Jimmy Car­roll was an ar­ranger for the orches­tras of Mitch Miller, Harry James and Vaughn Mon­roe be­fore be­com­ing an or­ches­tra leader him­self in the 1950s. The Golden Sand­pipers was a quar­tet who sang for Golden Records, most notably the theme to “Mighty Mouse.” Vin­tage chil­dren’s records with sleeves like this are of­fered by on­line sell­ers for as much as $30 apiece, while most are priced about $10.

RE­SOURCES: IMDb, www.imdb.com; All­Mu­sic, www.all­mu­sic.com.

Ques­tion:

What can you tell me about this 5-inch-tall fig­ure of a stern-look­ing Santa Claus? Its head comes off and the body is hol­low.

An­swer:

Sweets have been a Christ­mas tra­di­tion for decades. Papier-mâché fig­u­ral con­tain­ers such as this were a novel way to pack­age candy for chil­dren in the early 1900s. Many fig­ures ranged from 3 to 6 inches tall and sep­a­rated at the neck so the hol­low body could be filled with candy. They were sold by depart­ment and va­ri­ety stores and mail-or­der houses at Christ­mas­time. In ad­di­tion to San­tas, such con­tain­ers also de­picted rein­deer, rab­bits, dogs, pigs and cats. These con­tain­ers were first made in Ger­many. Many were also made in Ja­pan in the 1920s and 1930s. This papier-mâché Fa­ther Christ­mas candy con­tainer is an early Ger­man ex­am­ple in nice con­di­tion and is worth about $200.

RE­SOURCE: Christ­mas Re­vis­ited by Robert Bren­ner (1986: Schiffer Pub­lish­ing, 610-593-1777, www.schif­fer­books.com).

Ques­tion:

I don’t play pi­ano, but I was at­tracted to this 32-page book of Christ­mas mu­sic be­cause of its illustration of Santa Claus with his rein­deer and sleigh. It was pub­lished in 1945 by Bel­win Inc. in New York and has a cover price of 60 cents. Are mu­sic books like this very col­lectible?

An­swer:

The pi­ano was a prime source of en­ter­tain­ment in many homes in the first half of the 20th cen­tury, and pub­lish­ing sheet mu­sic was big busi­ness. John W. Schaum (1905–1988) was an Amer­i­can pi­anist, com­poser and ed­u­ca­tor. He founded the Schaum Pi­ano School in his home­town of Mil­wau­kee in 1933 and even­tu­ally be­gan com­pos­ing pi­ano mu­sic for teach­ing pur­poses. His first mu­sic book, pub­lished in 1941, was ti­tled “Pi­ano Fun for Boys and Girls”, which he de­vel­oped into a series of method books called the Schaum Pi­ano Course. Over the course of his ca­reer, Schaum wrote many more books and hun­dreds of pieces of sheet mu­sic, many for Bel­win Inc. Schaum’s Christ­mas Al­bum was in print for many years. Copies can be read­ily found priced $10 to $20.

Ques­tion:

I’m told this Santa Claus is a “Harold Gale.” It is about 15 inches tall. Who was Harold Gale?

An­swer:

Harold Gale, a cloth­ing store dis­play man­ager from Kansas City, Mis­souri, be­gan mak­ing San­tas for use in depart­ment store dis­plays in his home work­shop around 1946. He and his wife, Vi­ola Gale, soon started the Harold Gale Santa Com­pany in Kansas City and de­vel­oped their lines of Santa Claus fig­ures over the next decade. They are best known for mak­ing large an­i­mated store­dis­play San­tas. Gale be­gan pro­duc­ing these smaller San­tas for the re­tail market in 1957, and they be­came best-sell­ers. In 1960, Gale pro­duced more than 100,000 San­tas, from depart­ment-store dis­plays to the smaller ones mar­keted to the pub­lic. Pro­duc­tion of the smaller San­tas in­creased dra­mat­i­cally dur­ing the 1960s. These Christ­mas-dec­o­ra­tion sta­ples, wear­ing white plas­tic boots and belt, are usu­ally priced $40 to $75.

RE­SOURCE: “The Joy of Col­lect­ing Harold Gale San­tas for Christ­mas,” Hol­i­dappy, www.hol­i­dappy.com.

Ques­tion:

I found this set of Christ­mas cookie cut­ters priced $20 at the Spring­field (Ohio) An­tique Show & Flea Market. The box in­di­cates they were made by Alu­minum Spe­cialty Com­pany in Man­i­towoc, Wis­con­sin. Was that price a good buy?

An­swer:

Alu­minum Spe­cialty Com­pany pro­duced Alu­mode-brand kitchen­ware and Kid­dykook-brand toy kitchen­ware in the 1950s. This set of Christ­mas cookie cut­ters—also “ideal for party sand­wiches”—dates back to that decade. The com­pany’s other prod­ucts in­cluded a dough­nut maker and molds for mak­ing ginger­bread houses. Alu­minum Spe­cialty Com­pany’s most fa­mous prod­uct was its space-age Ever­gleam-brand alu­minum Christ­mas tree. In­tro­duced in 1959, it be­came a 1960s sen­sa­tion and cul­tural icon. In that decade, the com­pany pro­duced more than 1 mil­lion alu­minum trees as well as col­or­wheel pro­jec­tors and re­volv­ing tree stands. The tree’s de­sign was sim­ple—alu­minum branches tipped with alu­minum-foil nee­dles in­serted into a wooden trunk. These items are more col­lectible and com­mand a higher price. As for the com­pany’s cookie cut­ters, $20 is a fair price.

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

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