It’s spring, and the flowers are blooming. The fashion magazines say that overall-flower prints are the thing to wear this year. So why not “dress” your table in vintage flower-decorated dishes?
From the 1920s to the late 1950s, chintz pattern dishes were the rage. Manufacturers made overall patterns featuring flowers of many colors. English porcelain companies like Carlton, Crown Devon, Crown Ducal, Royal Albert, Royal Winton and Shelley made most of the chintz. Tea sets, including plates, and luncheon sets were popular. Chintz patterns were meant for a garden party. They went out of style when the monotone decorating schemes of the mid-1950s came into fashion and plates were solid-colored or had minimal decoration.
It was not until the 1990s that the chintz look came back. Flowery dishes were made again by English firms and some Asian factories. Original chintz is expensive today. A Royal Albert Rose cup and saucer costs $55, and an Old Cottage tray by Royal Winton sells for $65. Look for more prices at Kovels.com.
Q: I would like to display many of my antique and pottery plates and bowls, but I’m afraid the plate-holders on the market today might chip the edges of my dishes. Do you have a recommendation?
A: It’s all right to use plate hangers for most plates, but soft majolica may get nicked if you put it in a plate hanger. Look for plate hangers that have plastic-coated or clear vinyl tips, and be careful when you put the plate in the hanger.
Q: I’m trying to learn more about an old molded metal clock made by the United Clock Co. It’s 11 inches wide by 9 inches high. The clock dial is mounted in a case decorated with an eagle, a laborer, a farmer holding a sickle and pitchfork, and a cornucopia. Also on the front are the words, “A New Deal: Prosperity under the Blue Eagle.”
A: Your clock is one of several similar styles made to honor Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. So the clock dates from the 1930s. One like it recently auctioned for $335. United Clock Co. was founded in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1905.
Q: I’d like to find out if my punch set is silver or silver-plated. It includes a large bowl, a tray and 16 cups. The mark on the pieces is “F.B. Rogers Silver Co.”
A: Your punch bowl set is silver-plate. F.B. Rogers Silver Co. made high-quality plated wares. The company was founded in 1883 in Shelburne Falls, Mass. When Edmund W. Porter and L.B. West bought F.B. Rogers in 1886, they moved it to Taunton, Mass., and incorporated the business. It became a division of the National Silver Co. in 1955, then was sold to J.C. Boardman in 1985. Boardman was out of business by 1991.
Q: I have two 1881 French dress patterns for the elaborate tucked and ruffled dresses of the period. Although I sew, I think the patterns are beyond my sewing level, so I have never even unfolded the tissues. Each one is folded just as it came from the factory and has never been cut. The outside envelopes picture each dress, front and back. Is there a way to sell them?
A: A costume department at an art museum, historical society or college would be very interested in having you donate the patterns. No doubt there are private collectors of vintage clothes who would also like them. So would some of the ephemera collectors who search for rare paper antiques. Patterns from the 1920s to today sell for $1 to about $20. You often can find them at house sales. An unused pattern as old as yours would be worth much more, but there are few buyers.
Q: When my 90-year-old mother died a short time ago, I found an old cloth doll in her cedar chest. The tag on the doll says, “Knickerbocker Toy Co. Inc., New York, USA” on one side and “Sleepy Head” on the other. The doll’s face is plastic, but her whole body is plush yellow fabric. Three patches of brown hair stick out from the “hood” around the doll’s face, and there are blue-lined bunny ears on the top of her head. When was the doll made, and what is it worth?
A: Knickerbocker Toy Co. of New York City was in business from 1925 to 1983, when it was bought by Hasbro. Knickerbocker is best-known for its Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and various character dolls, including Disney, “Sesame Street” and “Flintstones” characters. Sleepy Head dolls were probably introduced in the late 1940s. They were made through at least the early ‘60s. Most Sleepy Heads we have seen do not have rabbit ears. A Sleepy Head doll sells today for $5 to $20.
Tip: Antique glass should be handled as if it has been repaired and might fall apart. Hold a pitcher by the body, not the handle. Pick up stemware by holding both the stem and the bowl. Hold plates in two hands, not by the rim.
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.
• Pinback button, “Fran Allison of Radio & TV,” from “Kukla, Fran & Ollie” show, advertises Aunt Fanny’s Bread, 1950s, 1 1/8 inches, $52.
• “I Dream Of Jeannie” doll, hollow hard-plastic body, vinyl arms and head, rooted hair, sleep eyes, green outfit, headpiece with veil, Libby, 1966, 20 inches, $260.
• Red Wing stoneware advertising rolling pin, blue and white, “compliments of C.J. Buckley,” softwood handles, 15 1/2 inches, $275.
• Zenith floor model radio, circular dial, push and pull switches, Waterfall style with louvers, reeded columns, No. R699285, 1930s-40s, 45 x 29 x 18 inches, $310.
• Minnie Mouse wristwatch, plastic image of Minnie in pink polka-dot skirt on box, Ingersoll, U.S. Time, 1958, $465.
• Pennsylvania Hepplewhite blanket chest, walnut, with Adam and Eve fraktur, dovetail construction, secret compartments, hinges, 2 drawers, brass pulls, 29 x 52 inches, $1,100.
• Mother-of-pearl glass sugar and creamer, pink diamond quilted, camphor hand, ruffled edges, 4 1/2 inches, $1,155.
• Indigo glazed cloth quilt, six woven glazed worsted wool panels backed with three panels of olive-green woven fabric, quilted in center with flowers, c. 1810, 92 x 90 inches, $1,185.
• Nantucket Friendship-basket purse, oval, woven cane, hinged lid, ivory plaque ornament with sailboats & figures, dated 1965, 5 x 9 1/2 inches, $2,015.
• Daum Nancy vase, etched, enameled winter landscape on mottled orange-and-yellow ground, snow-covered brown trees in background, signed, 1910, 3 3/4 inches, $3,200.
— Terry Kovel answers 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. Names, addresses or e-mail addresses will not be published. 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, Lawrence Journal-World, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.