Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2008

Vintage rings of all sizes, colors remain trendy

June 1, 2008

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This carnelian ring has a seal design and initials carved into the stone so it could be used to press the image into a wax disc on a document. An antique signet or seal ring, it sold for $1,700 at a 2007 Skinner auction in Boston.

This carnelian ring has a seal design and initials carved into the stone so it could be used to press the image into a wax disc on a document. An antique signet or seal ring, it sold for $1,700 at a 2007 Skinner auction in Boston.

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.

¢ Yellowware canister, molded handles, white band with blue mocha seaweed design, 1920s, 8-by-7 inches, $165.

¢ Oak smoothing board, horse-form handle, carved with birds, buildings, flowers and 1816, 5-by-6-23 inches, $360.

¢ Needle case, book-form, watercolor-on-paper cover, church and houses in oval reserve, inscribed "Moravian Church, Salem N.C., 1800," fabric pages, pincushion, 2-by-3 inches, $495.

¢ Redware jar, applied and coggled neck design, 2 pinched applied lugs, manganese splash design, 1800s, 11 inches, $520.

¢ Sandwich glass dish, melon shape, cover, translucent blue, 11-rib base, c.1850, 5 1/2-by-4 inches, $1,100.

¢ Pieced quilt, pyrotechnics pattern, blue and orange, black squares, muslin backing, dated 1898, 67-by-88 inches, $1,725.

¢ Cast-iron yard gate, square frame, spread-wing eagle atop a lyre, 3 finials on each side, wreath center, white paint, 1890s, 43-by-34-by-49 inches, $1,770.

¢ Windsor bow-back chairs, blue paint, c. 1810, 36 inches, pair, $1,885.

¢ Staffordshire teapot and cover, white salt-glazed stoneware, globe shape, crab-stock handle and spout, twig finial, Chinese figures in garden landscape, 1750s, 4 3/4 inches, $1,910.

¢ Galle art glass vase, funnel neck on pillow-form body, cameo-cut design of purple flowers cut to caramel ground, signed, 6 3/4 inches, $4,135.

Rings have been popular since the days of ancient Egypt and Greece, perhaps even longer. The Greeks said that one of their gods used the first ring. It was an iron ring made for Prometheus. Rings through history include those found with Egyptian mummies, with early saints and in 13th-century stories about Marco Polo. They're always connected to someone of wealth or fame - usually a man. There were signet rings, betrothal rings and magical rings that protected the wearer. A gold ring was often a sign of class; slaves and those of the lower class could only wear rings of iron or bronze. Rings were worn on every finger, sometimes several on each. They were often very large and heavy. Signet rings were usually on the index finger so it would be easy to use with sealing wax. Roman baby-sized rings found today were probably used on the upper part of an adult's finger. The betrothal ring, like our wedding ring, was placed on the fourth finger because it was thought the vein from the heart ended there. Rings were sometimes suspended from a chain around the neck or wrist or worn over gloves. Rings gained in popularity in later centuries, and precious stones were added. By the 1600s, rings looked like those preferred today. They were usually made of a precious metal set with precious stones and were small enough to be comfortable. Collectors, and those interested in the latest fashions, buy rings from any era: Since the 1920s, rings have been getting larger again. They have more elaborate settings and larger colored stones. Some are made with unusual metals. But high on the list of easy-to-sell antiques are small Victorian rings set with tiny stones or a cameo.

Q: My solid cherry bookcase headboard was made by Pennsylvania House in 1959. I haven't been able to find out if the manufacturer is still in business. Is it?

A: Pennsylvania House, founded in 1887 in Lewisburg, Pa., made high-quality case furniture, including dining-room and bedroom sets, until just a few years ago. La-Z-Boy Inc. of Monroe, Mich., bought Pennsylvania House in 2000, and four years later closed the Lewisburg factory and moved production to China. Last year, La-Z-Boy sold the Pennsylvania House brand name to Universal Furniture of High Point, N.C. If your bookcase headboard is for a full bed, it would sell for about $250.

Q: Could you tell me the value of my 5 1/4-inch Stangl Pottery pitcher? It's in the Apple Delight pattern.

A: Johann Martin Stangl was president of the Fulper Pottery Co. of Flemington, N.J., when he bought the company in 1930. But the Stangl trademark had been used since the mid-1920s. The company's name was formally changed to Stangl Pottery Co. in 1955. Stangl is best known for its dinnerware and bird figurines. The Apple Delight pattern was made from 1965 to 1974. Five different sizes of Apple Delight pitchers were made: 6 ounce, 1/2 pint, 1 pint, 1 quart and 2 quart. Yours is probably one of the smaller ones. Any of those today sell for $20 to $40.

Q: I have collected a group of trade cards that I call "vegetable people." Do you know how many different ones were made?

A: Pictures - especially color pictures - were not common in the 19th century. There were no color photographs, books almost never had printed color pictures and newspapers were black and white. Colored, lithographed trade cards were small ads for products. They were given as premiums or gifts. Most cards were about 3 by 5 inches. Today, they are popular with collectors, and sell for $1 to $200, depending on the product pictured. Most anthropomorphic vegetable people trade cards were made in the 1880s by lithographers in Boston, Detroit or Buffalo, N.Y. Most are marked with the lithographer's name or the name of the company being advertised. Many were ads for vegetable seeds. We have seen pictures of more than 120 cards that picture vegetable people- or oysters, eggs or flowers also drawn to look like people.

Q: We have a red plastic cup, about 6 ounces, that has a decal of Howdy Doody on it and the words "Howdy Doody, Be Keen - Drink Chocolate Flavored Ovaltine." Can you tell me if it's worth anything?

A: "The Howdy Doody Show," originally called "The Puppet Playhouse," aired from 1947 to 1960. It was the first nationally televised children's TV show, NBC's first show to go to five days a week and its first daily show to be in color. Ovaltine was one of the show's sponsors. Your cup is probably the bottom of an Ovaltine shake-up mug. The mugs were offered as Ovaltine premiums in the 1950s, and they had lids to make it easier to shake-up the powdered drink. The value of your mug is under $10.

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