Archive for Sunday, June 27, 2004

Variations of bride’s baskets can be found

June 27, 2004


Collectors sometimes give a new name to an old type of dish or kitchen utensil. Sometimes the name, like "Depression glass," identifies an era. And sometimes the name, like "bride's basket," is a glamorous way to describe a form that's no longer made.

The old glass company catalogs did not list bride's bowls; they called them berry bowls or fruit bowls. Today, any colored-glass bowl held by a silver frame, often with a handle, is known as a bride's basket.

The bowls are usually made of art glass and have crimped or fluted edges. Silver-plate manufacturers bought the bowls from the glassmakers and mounted them in silver-plated frames. Variations of the basket-like piece can be found. Perhaps the silver-plated holder is a figure of a person or a chariot pulled by horse. A few are double, with two bowls set in the holder. Highest prices are paid for baskets with unusual frames and rare art glass, like Burmese, or decorated and colored satin glass.

Most bride's baskets today sell for about $300 to $500. Rarities can bring more than $8,000.

I have an oak side chair that has been in my family since about 1940. The narrow chair-back widens at the top, where there's a carved Northwind face. On the bottom of the chair is a circular label about 2 inches in diameter that reads "Michigan Chair Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., Chairs and Tables." I would appreciate some information.

The Michigan Chair Co. was founded in 1890, when the owners of the Grand Ledge Chair Co. of Grand Ledge, Mich., moved their business to Grand Rapids and changed its name. It was one of hundreds of furniture manufacturers that have worked in the Grand Rapids area since the mid-1800s. The Michigan Chair Co. closed in 1938, reincorporated in 1946 and closed for good in 1972. The mark on your chair is the company's original one and was used until the mid-1920s. The style of your chair dates it to around the turn of the 20th century. Oak "Northwind" chairs were popular in the 1890s and continued to be made into the early 1900s.

On a trip to my childhood home 30 years ago, I found a feather wreath hidden in the attic. Can you tell us anything about the wreath? It is 24 inches in diameter and 4 inches thick. The feathers are sewn on a very heavy paper background. It's in excellent condition and is framed in a shadow box.

Your wreath is a piece of "feather work." Sewing feathers into ornamental shapes, including wreaths and trees, was a popular Victorian pastime. Today your wreath would be considered folk art. It could sell for $300 or more.

My 7-inch-high ceramic bank is in the shape of a shaggy white dog that is sitting up. The word "Ford" is embossed on his right forearm. The bottom is marked "Florence Ceramics, Pasadena, Calif. USA." Age and value?

You have a "Ford dog" advertising bank -- a promotional item for Ford Motor Co. The shaggy dog starred in animated Ford commercials during the 1950s. Your bank was probably made in the 1960s, after Scripto Corp. purchased Florence Ceramics, a company founded in 1942. Florence Ceramics is known for high-quality figurines, mostly of women. After Scripto bought the company, it continued to use the Florence marks but specialized in advertising mugs, plates, figures and banks. Your bank sells online for about $10.

When I was a kid in the early '50s, my cousin gave me a pair of plastic magnetic dogs. I remember playing with them on the coffee table in my living room. The magnets on the bottom of each dog attracted them together. The dogs were Scotties -- one black and one white. Do you have any information on this toy -- such as who made it?

We can't be sure who made your dog magnets, but we can tell you that the toy was introduced as "Tricky Dogs" by H. Fishlove & Co. in 1949. It was wildly popular and led the company to make other magnetic pairs, including Ma and Pa (battling spouses) and Battling Pals (a donkey and elephant). Other makers copied the original dogs, however, and your pair might have been a copy. These toys have not yet been discovered by collectors. A pair of Fishlove Tricky Dogs in the original box sells for just a few dollars.

When I was a child -- about 75 years ago -- I collected little pieces of printed fabric that we called "silkies." They came in packs of Nebo-Zira cigarettes. Some I sewed into pillowcases. Others I framed in groups. The silkies vary in size, but most of mine are about 2 1/2 by 3 inches. My favorite group is titled "Famous Queens." What can you tell me about them?

Collectors call your fabric tobacco premiums "silks." They were created to appeal to women smokers and were packed with several different brands of cigarettes from about 1912 to 1915. Instructions distributed with the silks suggested that they be sewn into pillowcases or tablecloths. Single, unstitched silks sell today for about $5 each.


If possible, remove silverware from the dishwasher before the drying cycle begins.

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Current prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

¢ Playtex girdle, white, Mold 'n Hold zipper, blue metallic tube, medium, 1950s, $55.

¢ King Louie monkey toy, fabric over tin, windup, Bandai of Japan, 1966, box, $70.

¢ "Folies Bergere" program, first performance at California Auditorium, San Francisco, 1939, $125.

¢ "Charlie's Angels" paper dolls, all three Angels, 1977, box, uncut, $140.

¢ Silhouette portrait of man with pigtail, embossed "William King," oval brass liner, early 19th century, 8 3/4 inches, $230.

¢ Brass cigar cutter, Art Deco, figural sleeping nude, hinged legs, 2 x 8 1/2 inches, $985.

¢ Royal Copenhagen tureen, Flora Danica pattern, oval, gold trim, flowers, crabstock handle with applied flowerhead, 15 5/8 inches, $1,530.

¢ Mt. Washington Glass Works jar, Garden of Allah, rectangular body, desert scene of Bedouins, camels and pyramids, blue sky, cover, c. 1890, 8 inches, $1,680.

¢ Sampler, alphabets, strawberry border, gold, green on ivory linen, "Martha Hughes, born September 7th, 1819, worked in the 9th year of her age, 1828," 19 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches, $1,840.

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