Furniture from the 1950s and 1960s is selling for good prices at the Modernism auctions.
Famous makers like Charles Eames and George Nelson are known to many collectors, but makers who did a limited number of pieces of custom furniture have been ignored until recently.
One designer of some of the more unusual pieces of furniture is Paul Evans. He was a sculptor who made one-of-a-kind furniture from steel, bronze and wood.
Evans studied metalwork and sculpture in several art schools. In the early 1950s he worked at a museum, reproducing colonial silver. In 1954, he began working at his own studio and was soon making large wooden and metal pieces of furniture.
In 1964, he began designing for Directional, a furniture manufacturer. A short time later, he was running the company's factory and managing almost 90 employees. By the 1970s, he was making tables and sideboards that then cost up to $6,000. He stopped working for the factory in the late 1970s, but he continued with his own workshop and designs. He died in 1987.
The unusual pieces, with massive metal doors or cubelike metal bases, are selling today for thousands of dollars. Many pieces are signed and dated. All pieces show his unique style and can be identified.
How old is Irish Belleek?
Irish Belleek was first made in 1857 at Fermanagh, Ireland. The factory, now called Belleek Pottery Ltd., marked almost all of its wares. Collectors find it easy to date Belleek because of the changing mark. Black marks were used before 1946. Green, gold or blue was used later. Belleek is a special type of ceramic. It has a creamy-yellow glaze that appears wet. Factories in other countries also made Belleek, but the Irish product is the most well-known. It is still being made.
I have a bank that looks like a small cash register. The coin slot takes nickels, dimes and quarters. When you pull the front lever, the amount deposited registers in dollars and cents on the front. The drawer won't open until $10 has been deposited. The label on the drawer reads, "Uncle Sam's 3 Coin Register Bank." Do you know when it was made and what it's worth?
Your coin-register bank was made by the Durable Toy and Novelty Co. of New York City. Besides your three-coin model, the company made two other Uncle Sam registering banks shaped like cash registers. One took only dimes, the other only nickels. The banks were introduced about 1912 and were made for about 50 years. Your bank sells today for about $50.
I am hoping you can help me identify and value an oval pickle dish that belonged to my grandmother. It is clear glass and measures about 9 inches by 5 inches. In the center is a design of a woman's bust above the name "Kate Claxton." Around the two long sides of the dish are the words, "Love's Request is Pickles."
Your pickle dish is a well-known piece of American pressed glass. It was made during the 1880s by one of three Ohio companies known to have produced Actress pattern pressed glass. Kate Claxton (1848-1924) was a popular actress in New York theater during the 1870s. She also appears on the sugar bowl and goblet of the same pattern. Your pickle dish sells for about $70.