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Archive for Sunday, June 8, 2008

After multiple encounters, water cooler ends up in home

June 8, 2008

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What a strange idea - a water cooler shaped like a woman. This 19th-century stoneware cooler sold for $34,500 at a Crocker Farm auction in York, Pa., even though her head was missing.

What a strange idea - a water cooler shaped like a woman. This 19th-century stoneware cooler sold for $34,500 at a Crocker Farm auction in York, Pa., even though her head was missing.

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 economic conditions.

¢ Hopalong Cassidy junior chow set, stainless steel, image of Hoppy, original box, 1950s, $175.

¢ George Washington at the Rappahannock mechanical bank, he throws coin across river into top of tree, base marked July 4, 1979, cast iron, John Wright, 5-by-6-by-3 1/2 inches, $380.

¢ Sea Captain weathervane, wooden peg leg, telescope, sheet metal, mounted on pole, 1930s, 28-by-17 inches, $395.

¢ Firefighting grenade, Hayward's Hands, cobalt blue, tooled lip, vertical pleats, 1880-1900, 6 inches, $410.

¢ Patriotic quilt, pieced, alternating 4-square and pineapple block, framed by bold red, white and blue stripes, white star in each corner, 1920s, 73-by-85 inches, $565.

Collectors can tell you strange stories about how an antique or collectible will come in and out of their lives until at last it finds a home with them. We chased a large dresser for 10 years through several auctions, always the under-bidder. One day the dealer called to tell us he was closing his shop and would sell us the piece at a bargain price. It is now in our bedroom. Recently, a buyer at a Crocker Farm auction in York, Pa., finally got the item of his dreams after 30 years of following it through three collections.

The unique item was a water cooler in the shape of a woman. It was made in Taunton, Mass., in July 1824 and the words "Betsy Baker is my name" were incised on it. Alas, Betsy's head was missing, so the cooler sold for $34,500. Experts can only guess what the price would be if the head could be found. So don't despair if you can't buy that special collectible now. If it's meant for you, another chance will come your way.

Q: My uncle died a few years ago and we were given an old metal box that held many of his childhood mementos. One is an Old Maid card game with 54 round-cornered cards. It was made by the Milton Bradley Co. of Springfield, Mass. The number 4907 is under the company's address. The cards are black, white and reddish-orange. Some of the character's colorful names are Copper Mike, Mose Snow, Hobart Bran, Cosmetic Cora, Flapper Fan, Tailspin Paul, Lena Wile and Sailor Al K. Hall. It's a complete set in the original box. Is the card game worth anything?

A: Milton Bradley opened a lithography company in Springfield in 1860. He invented his company's first published game, "The Checkered Game of Life," in 1866, and by 1880 he expanded into manufacturing jigsaw puzzles. The card game we know as Old Maid was probably invented long ago in the Far East. Milton Bradley Co. has published several versions of Old Maid with various numbers of cards. The four-digit number on your box doesn't help date the deck, but the fact that the cards are not in full color suggests they might have been made during the Depression. Your deck is larger than most Old Maid sets. An Old Maid game identical to yours recently sold online for $36.

Q: I have a solid brass pail that's stamped on the bottom "H.W. Haydens, patent Dec. 16, 1851, manufactured by the Ansonia Brass Co." Can you give me an approximate value?

A: Hiram Washington Hayden (1820-1904) was an inventor who patented a design for brass kettles in 1851. Pails like yours have sold recently for $100 to $150.

Q: My friend has a pitcher that has been in the family for years. Around the sides, there's a picture of Williams with American Indians, the date 1630, a portrait of Williams and a copy of an Indian covenant. The borders and part of the decorations are orange, yellow, blue and green. The bottom says "Roger Williams Jug Made by J. Wedgwood & Son's, Etruria, for Messrs. Warren & Wood, Providence, Rhode Island." Have you ever seen another pitcher like this?

A: Yes. The pitcher is part of a commemorative series made by Wedgwood, probably in 1936, that was sold by Rhode Island gift shops. Another similar pitcher pictures Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, perhaps because of his many visits to the state and his famous poem about the Jewish cemetery in Newport.

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