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Archive for Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rubber toys affordable to collect

March 18, 2007

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The best of the best rubber toys would include this Goodyear rubber Jenny Lind squeak toy made about 1860, when Jenny Lind was a world-famous singer. It sold at a Noel Barrett auction in Carversville, Pa., for $495.

The best of the best rubber toys would include this Goodyear rubber Jenny Lind squeak toy made about 1860, when Jenny Lind was a world-famous singer. It sold at a Noel Barrett auction in Carversville, Pa., for $495.

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.

¢ "My One and Only Highland Fling" sheet music, by Ira Gershwin and Harry Warren, 1949, $25.

¢ Depression-glass salad bowl, Cloverleaf pattern, green, 7 inches, $115.

¢ McKee glass spice set, Roman Arches design, jade green, 4 inches, 14 pieces, $140.

¢ Green Ghost board game, glows in the dark, Transogram, original box, 1965, $200.

¢ Irish Belleek vase, Shamrock pattern, urn form, two handles, 1955, 8 inches, $310.

¢ Teco pottery chamberstick, angular handles, green matte glaze, gray highlights, 2 1/4-by-5 inches, pair, $585.

¢ Little Elf coffee tin, image of elf carrying tray, Bursley and Co., Fort Wayne, one pound, $670.

¢ Irish sterling-silver creamer, helmet shape, molded grill, waved rim, Dublin, 1750, 5 inches, $1,440.

¢ Barbie "Color Magic" doll, midnight and ruby red, long reddish hair, diamond-print swimsuit in psychedelic colors, matching headband, Mattel, 1966, 11 inches, $1,900.

¢ George III window seat, mahogany, padded seat, out-scrolled arms, tapering square legs, spade feet, 30-by-49-14 inches, $3,120.

Soft, squeezable rubber toys were a new, amazing toy just after Charles Goodyear perfected the vulcanizing process and patented it in 1844. Although the first rubber factory was established in 1811, rubber was not yet used for toys. By 1832, toys of soft, pliable materials similar to rubber were made. They had comical, stretchable faces. In 1850, there were many store ads selling India rubber toys like balls, rattles and doll heads. The first rubber squeak toys were made about 1860, but the squeak toys found by collectors today were popular in the 1930s and after. By then, the rubber quality was better and could be painted without flaking. The soft toys were made to squeak when squeezed. Most were shaped like cartoon characters or children and were not marked. Several companies made rubber toys, but the ones bringing the best prices today are marked "Rempel." Other makers were Sun Rubber and Edward Mobley Co. Prices range from $200 for Rempel rarities to a few dollars for unmarked toys at yard sales. Prices are still low and rubber squeak toys can be found at flea markets and thrift stores, making them real bargains.

Q: Did McCoy make any lamps?

A: Yes. The Nelson McCoy Pottery Co. of Roseville, Ohio - better known simply as McCoy - made dozens of pottery lamp bases in the 1950s. Most are marked "McCoy USA." Collectors pay $40 to $400 for them today, depending on style, condition, color and size. McCoy was in business from 1910 to 1990.

Q: We recently purchased a silver-plated tea set at a local thrift store. The pieces - a teapot, sugar, creamer and tray - are marked "Superior Silver Co." We have been unable to find any information about this company. Can you help?

A: We can understand your confusion. Silver marked "Superior Silver Co." was actually made by the Middletown Plate Co. of Middletown, Conn., or its successor, International Silver Co. of Meriden, Conn. Middletown Plate Co. was founded in 1864 and was one of the oldest firms to become part of International Silver, founded in 1899 when several New England silver manufacturers joined forces. Both companies used the "Superior Silver" mark on lower-priced merchandise.

Q: I have a ceramic teapot, cup, creamer and sugar bowl with "human" legs and feet. All of the pieces are stamped "Carlton Ware." Each one is cream-colored except for the socks and shoes, which are different colors. They don't look particularly old, but I'm wondering what you can tell me.

A: The history of Carlton Ware goes back to 1890, when James F. Wiltshaw and brothers named J.A. Robinson and W.H. Robinson founded Wiltshaw & Robinson Ltd. in Staffordshire, England. Pieces were marked "Carlton Ware," which became the company's name in 1958. Carlton's popular "Walking Ware" was originally made from 1973 to 1986. Pieces were marked "Carlton Ware" and "Lustre Pottery" because pieces were designed by Roger Michell and Danka Napiorkowska, who owned Lustre Pottery in North Yorkshire, England. Carlton went into receivership in 1989, but Walking Ware has been made since then by other companies using original molds. Today Lustre Pottery itself is making new wares. Walking Ware is eagerly sought by collectors, but most of them want original pieces marked both "Carlton" and "Lustre."

Q: I'm looking for information about a 1901 Buffalo World's Fair glass mug. I have one with blue decorations.

A: Buffalo, N.Y., hosted a World's Fair, called the Pan-American Exposition, from May 1 to Nov. 2, 1901. All kinds of souvenirs were available at the fair, including glass mugs like yours. Collectors of World's Fair memorabilia would pay about $300 for your mug if it's in excellent condition.

Q: My aunt worked as a housekeeper for both Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. One of them gave her a man's camel-colored double-breasted overcoat, and she gave it to my father. It was too large for him, so he never wore it. It's in excellent shape. The label inside reads "Mariani & Davis Ltd., Hollywood, Calif., Mr. Freeman Gosden." Handwritten on a second label is a date, 1/29/37. How can I preserve the coat so it doesn't deteriorate?

A: Freeman "Gozzie" Gosden (1899-1982), a white actor, starred as Amos in the "Amos 'n' Andy" radio shows from 1928 to 1960. How Bob Hope or Bing Crosby happened to have Gosden's overcoat is a mystery, but the coat is probably worth a few hundred dollars. Take it to a dry cleaner or expert who regularly handles wedding dresses and other special clothing that people want to store safely.

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