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Archive for Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some still make books the old-fashioned way

A bid of $412 bought this vintage book press from a Conestoga auction in Manheim, Pa. It has a star-shaped decoration made of bone and wood inlay.

A bid of $412 bought this vintage book press from a Conestoga auction in Manheim, Pa. It has a star-shaped decoration made of bone and wood inlay.

May 18, 2008

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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.

¢ Aluminum spice set, black plastic covers, shaker inserts, marked "Kromex," 1960s, 8 pieces, $55.

¢ "Drink Kist Root Beer" poster, long-legged girl in brown shorts, blue ground, bottle of Kist, 5 cents, framed, 1930s, 19 x 31 inches., $175.

¢ Soupy Sales lunchbox, vinyl, image of Soupy, blue ground, King Seeley Thermos Co., 1966, $300.

¢ 1964 New York World's Fair banner, advertising "free chances to win 12 Dodge cars," blue and orange fabric, Unisphere image in square, 3 x 7 feet, $305.

¢ Sampler, silk on woven wool, alphabets, numbers over potted flowers, religious verse, chain-link border, signed "Jane Whitbread 1848," 14 x 13 inches, $490.

¢ Howdy Doody marionette, composition feet, Bob Smith design, Peter Puppet Playthings, 1950s, 3 x 5 x 16 inches, $515.

Ever stop to think about how a book was made in earlier centuries? There still are craftsmen making books much the same way.

The paper had to be made. Then the story was written or printed on each page. The pages were stitched together in groups called signatures. They were then put in a book press to be creased and flattened properly. The signatures were assembled, joined and might be pressed again. A cover was added, and once again the book was pressed.

The book press was invented by the 15th century. It was made of two boards held together by screws that could be tightened. The book was put between the boards, then the screws were tightened to press the book pages between the boards. After a day, the pressed book was removed. A vintage book press is useful today to press dried flowers, to straighten paper cut-outs or postcards, or to make books. Modern book presses are available. So are instructions for making your own press for about $15. Antique book presses were often made with inlaid wood and attractive hardware, and were decorative as well as useful.

Q: I inherited a recliner that looks like a Stickley chair, but it's stamped "Bastian Brothers, Rochester, N.Y." The leg rest has a "patent applied for" tag labeled "Hubbard, Eldredge & Miller." Can you estimate age and value?

A: Hubbard, Eldredge & Miller, not Bastian Brothers, made your chair. Hubbard, Eldredge & Miller made Mission furniture in Rochester at the turn of the century, just about the same time the various Stickley companies were making Mission furniture. Bastian Brothers is still in business in Rochester. It was founded in 1895 as a jewelry store, but it is now a manufacture of custom award pins, medals and similar items. Possibly the name Bastian Brothers is on your chair because Bastian Brothers bought the chair from Hubbard, Eldredge & Miller, either to use or to resell. Your chair could sell for $1,000 or more if it's in excellent condition.

Q. I would like information on an 11-inch rag doll I picked up at a garage sale. Her name, printed on her apron, is "Blue Bonnet Sue." She's also wearing a blue dress and bonnet. The label on the doll says, "Dakin, made expressly for Nabisco, Inc., 1986, product of Korea." Does the doll have any value?

A. You have an advertising doll that Nabisco offered free in 1986 to buyers of Blue Bonnet margarine. Blue Bonnet Sue is also the name of an 8-inch plastic advertising doll that Nabisco first offered in 1972 for $1.35 plus a coupon from the margarine package. We have seen your doll offered for $20 online.

Q. My silver-colored dish is marked "Nambe." It is very modern-looking ,and I'm told I can cook in it. Do you know how old it is?

A. Nambe metal dishes date back to 1951. They were very popular in the 1960s and are still being made. Nambe is made of a lightweight silver-colored alloy of aluminum and seven other metals. Pieces are formed in a mold, then hand-finished. The first pieces were free-form bowls and other table dishes. Today the company makes not only metal, but also modern glass and porcelain wares. You can date your dish from the mark. The first mark used was "Nambe" or "By Nambe" in capital letters. The mark was changed to all lower-case letters in 1981. You can use Nambe in a freezer or oven, but not in a dishwasher or microwave. It should not be left standing in water. Scratched pieces can be polished.

Tip: Organic chemicals like skin oil or perspiration will eventually interact with paper and cause damage. Never trim a frayed piece of paper with scissors you use to cut your hair or to cut flowers in the garden.

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