Mickey and Minnie Mouse are known all over the world. The pair debuted Nov. 18, 1928, as the dancing and singing stars in the cartoon "Steamboat Willie." While Mickey was old enough to have a job, Minnie seemed happy just to play. The pair appeared to get younger as the years passed. They were best pals and starred in more than 70 cartoons and hundreds of comic strips and books. They also have appeared as all kinds of toys, from stuffed animals to bisque figurines and from drivers of toy cars, motorcycles or buses to windup toys sitting in rocking chairs or playing music. Through all the years, Mickey and Minnie remained friends - they never married on screen. In 1933 Walt Disney wrote, "In private life, Mickey is married to Minnie." He later said Mickey and Minnie had to live "happily ever after" because in their land of make-believe there is never a marriage. A 1932 cartoon showed Mickey dreaming he was married, and he was pictured as a groom on a 1935 sheet-music cover. Today the two are still shown as young mice, although Disney stores, oddly enough, sell a wedding-cake topper shaped like Mickey and Minnie in marriage outfits. Collectors should beware of any "married" Mickey and Minnie Mouse couple. The idea is very recent.
Q: I have had a mysterious shallow, rimmed bowl for about 25 years. It's earthenware, possibly ironstone, with an embossed decoration on the rim and, on the bottom of the bowl, a blue transfer print of a cow standing in grass. The words "The Turra Coo" are printed in script across the cow's body. Above him, in the same script, is the phrase "Frae Lendrum Tae Leeks." What's it all about?
A: Your dish is a souvenir of a 1913 Scottish protest against the British government. The story by now is a legend in Turriff (also known as Turra), a small town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In 1911, Great Britain started requiring national health-insurance contributions. A Turriff farmer named Robert Paterson, of the Lendrum Farm, refused to pay, so the local sheriff was ordered to seize property worth 22 pounds from the farmer. The sheriff took one cow, which was tied up in the village square and painted with the phrase on your plate, which means "From Lendrum to Leeks" - Leeks being a symbol for Wales, the birthplace of Britain's chancellor of the exchequer, David Lloyd George. When the cow was put up for auction, an angry mob started a near riot. Eventually the cow was sold at auction, but the community bought it back for Paterson and his farm.
Q: I found four copper serving pieces in my parents' home after they died. There's a 13-inch round serving tray with a Mexican design, a teapot and a sugar bowl and creamer. The mark on all the pieces is an incised hammer and anvil and the words "Handmade" and "Craftsman Co." Each piece is also marked with a number. I'm hoping you can tell me who made the pieces, when they were made and what they're worth.
A: Craftsman Studios Co. and its successor, Craftsmen Inc., operated a machine shop in Laguna Beach, Calif. The company was in business from about 1920 to 1939 - between the two world wars. The firm produced a considerable number of lightweight copper bowls, bookends, ashtrays, trays and accessories. Pieces sell for prices ranging from about $30 to $200, depending on condition, quality and style.
Q: Thirty years ago a friend gave me a heavy brass unpainted doorstop of a Colonial man in a walking pose. It's 12 inches tall. The word "Williamsburg" is embossed inside his hollow back, and the bottom has several marks, including a "CW" in an oval. Can you tell me something about it?
A: You have a 20th-century reproduction of an antique doorstop. It was sold by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation of Williamsburg, Va. That's why the figure is marked Williamsburg and CW (for Colonial Williamsburg). The foundation has a gift shop and also sells reproductions online. New doorstops like yours are no longer sold by the foundation. They can be found online and at flea markets, where they sell for about $25.
Q: Before my mother died, she gave me a Tiffany sun-catcher with a certificate of authenticity from the Tiffany Stained Glass Collectors Society. The sun-catcher is a red glass rose on a metal stem with a green glass leaf. It isn't marked, but the certificate of authenticity is dated 1985. I have been searching through books, but I can't find any information about Tiffany sun-catchers. Can you help?
A: Your sun-catcher was not made by Tiffany. It was made in 1985 for members of the Tiffany Stained Glass Collectors Club. Several different styles of sun-catchers were made that year, including your rosebud, a clump of cattails and a clown. Each one is worth about $5.
A garden sculpture should be mounted at least 18 inches above the ground. It should be cleaned to keep off moss and algae.
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.
¢ Ronald Reagan paper-doll book, 1984, Dover Publications, three dolls, 28 outfits from movies, unused, 9 1/4 inches, $15.
¢ Geisha tea set, teapot, creamer and sugar, Rivers Edge pattern, marked "Made in Japan," $35.
¢ "Remember Pearl Harbor" flag pin, plastic, flat, hanging from flagpole, 1 1/2 inches, $60.
¢ Walt Disney Party Kit No. 105, hats, placemats, place cards, napkins, invitations, figural candy baskets, "Pin the Tail on Pluto" game, 1950s, Rendoll Paper Co., service for eight, $75.
¢ Moon Landing wristwatch, illustration of two astronauts on moon surface with crescent of Earth in sky, "Evertime" appears in sky, second hand is spacecraft orbiting, 1960s, Swiss, $105.
¢ Cranberry glass dish, cover, Thumbprint pattern, clear applied paneled finial, 7 3/4 inches, $115.
¢ "Kilroy Was Here" plastic beverage stirrers with pregnant girl, World War II, five different colors, by Hartland, 9 1/2 inches, $140.
¢ John F. Kennedy musical rocking-chair toy, vinyl and cloth doll, wooden rocking chair, windup, John reading newspaper with photo of him and Jackie and Bobby, by Kamar, box, 11 inches, $465.
¢ Stickley Brothers magazine stand, notched gallery over three shelves, slat back and sides, original finish, No. 4600, signed, 16 x 13 x 31 inches, $1,100.
¢ National Cash Register advertising figure, redhead salesman pointing, blue bowtie, brown suit, copyright 1941, National Cash Register Co., Dayton, Ohio, 10 1/2 inches, $2,285.