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Archive for Sunday, July 20, 2008

Official campaign mementos best for collectors

July 20, 2008

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Even candy wrappers can be expensive political memorabilia. A Tilden & Hendricks wrapper from the 1876 campaign auctioned for $448 at Heritage Galleries in Dallas.

Even candy wrappers can be expensive political memorabilia. A Tilden & Hendricks wrapper from the 1876 campaign auctioned for $448 at Heritage Galleries in Dallas.

Current prices

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

¢ Dick Tracy Candid Camera, image of Tracy on box, 1950s, Seymour Products, 5 1/2 x 3 inches, $75.

¢ Vargas Girls playing cards, 1953, Creative Playing Card Co., 52 cards in pack, $90.

¢ Show towel, embroidered, leaping stags, tulips in urn, heart border, c.1846, 50 x 17 inches, $110.

¢ Tiffany bronze bowl, border with inlaid mother-of-pearl design, marked "Tiffany Studios, New York, 1729," 9 inches, $165.

¢ Hector Aguilar silver orchid pin, stamped "HA" Taxco, 940," c. 1940, 2 x 2 1/2 inches, $230.

¢ Ruskin porcelain vase, grape and vine shoulder design, blue-gray ground, marked "Ruskin 1913," 11 3/4 inches, $285.

¢ Pure Milk Co.'s Ice Cream serving tray, ladies and gentlemen bustle about in front of company in Columbus, Ohio, 1920s, 13 1/2 inches, $390.

¢ King Little Ideal doll, Gulliver's Travels, wood, jointed, composition, Paramount, 1939, 12 inches, $710.

¢ Durand art glass vase, iridescent swirl design with gold, blue and lavender highlights, signed, 10 1/2 inches, $1,380.

Politics and political campaigns are featured in every newspaper, Web site and blog, and collectors are looking at the new memorabilia that can be part of a collection.

The official pins sold or given away by the party, not the souvenir pins sold by merchants, are the ones that gain in collector value. The signs, T-shirts, pencils, jewelry, mugs, hats, dishes, paperweights and other memorabilia should also be official. Some collectibles are new: TV and radio commercials, songs and viral videos (amateur Internet videos) can now be collected and stored electronically.

Some political memorabilia has almost disappeared. Past campaigns featured soap babies, cigarette packs, ceramic figurines, bandannas, knives, watch fobs, wristwatches and even packing boxes that held lettuce. Some of the items that are rare today were throwaway items. Even candy and gum wrappers were made to tout the virtues of a candidate. A few, like the "gold bug" pin, promoted a party view more than a candidate. Save the interesting political items you see.

Usually the material from primaries is of little interest later, but this year the first black and first woman candidates created a "crossover" appeal for collectors. That means three groups will be searching for these. They'll be wanted by collectors of black memorabilia, women's rights materials and political items.

Q: I have a side table that belonged to my parents. There's a plaque inside the drawer that says, "This is to certify that this Old Ironsides' table is one of a limited edition made by Berkey & Gay Furniture Co. with an inlaid American Eagle hand-carved of pine timber from the [lower] deck of the famous U.S. Frigate Constitution 'Old Ironside' launched in 1797, victor over the Guerriere in 1812, reconditioned at the Boston Navy Yard 1929, documentary proof on file in the archives of the company Berkey & Gay Furniture Co., division of Simmons Co." What can you tell me about my table?

A: Old Ironsides, otherwise known as the U.S.S. Constitution, was restored in Boston Harbor in 1929. Berkey & Gay, a furniture manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Mich., bought wood that was discarded during the rehab job and used it to make carved eagles for the drawer fronts of about 100 tables. The carved and inlaid eagle is the only wood in the desk that's from the frigate. Berkey & Gay, founded in 1866, became a division of Simmons Co. (more famous for its beds) in 1929. Berkey & Gay declared bankruptcy in 1931, but reopened in 1935 and remained in business until 1948. The company's "Old Ironsides" tables sell for about $1,000 each if in excellent condition.

Q: When I bought my house 13 years ago, I found a stoneware "chicken waterer" in an old chicken coop on the property. It's 8 inches long and 7 inches in diameter. There are marks on the bottom, but the only thing I can read says "Patd April 7, 1885." In doing some research on chicken waterers, I have found references to glass or tin waterers, but not to stoneware. Have you ever come across one like mine?

A: Yes. We own a similar chicken waterer made in Akron, Ohio. Yours, made in Red Wing, Minn., was marketed as the "Eureka drinking fountain for chickens." It was made by either the Red Wing Stoneware Co. between 1885 and 1906 or the Red Wing Union Stoneware Co. between 1906 and the mid 1930s. Chicken waterers are drinking fountains designed for young chicks, who can drown if they stick their heads into a large bowl of water. The waterers have a small trough at one end that prevents chicks from falling in. Eureka waterers sell today for about $100.

Q: I have a quilt made in north Georgia in the 1940s. It is called "Grandma's Flower Garden." The white top is covered with patches made of 19 small hexagons that form a large hexagon. One yellow hexagon is in the center, six solid-colored hexagons surround it, and 12 printed hexagons surround that. It is 76 by 70 inches. The condition is excellent and it is unwashed.

A: Your quilt pattern is one of the oldest and most popular. "Grandmother's Flower Garden" pattern was used before 1800 in England, but it was called "Hexagon Mosaic." In the 1920s and '30s, the pattern came back into style and was available from most of the companies that offered patterns for sale. Because it is a common pattern, it is not hard to find. Price is determined by the quality of the quilting, the blending of the colors, the way the border is made (scallops are better than straight), the size of the pieces forming the pattern and the size of the quilt. Yours is worth about $200 to $400.

Q: My mother bought a Coca-Cola tray picturing a chafing dish, Coke bottles, and buffet food at a grocery store in 1929 for 29 cents. What is it worth today?

A: Your tray is the first in a series of TV trays made by Coca-Cola from 1956 until 1970. The tray fits into a folding stand. Its value is $15.

Tip: If you leave salty food on a chrome plate, it may corrode the chrome. The only "cure" for this is re-plating.

- The Kovels answer as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

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