Archive for Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kovel’s Antiques: Famous china frequently copied

March 7, 2010


This colorful19th-century cup and saucer is copied from the famous Meissen Swan set of the 1730s. It sold at a Skinner auction for $593.

This colorful19th-century cup and saucer is copied from the famous Meissen Swan set of the 1730s. It sold at a Skinner auction for $593.

Great designs are often copied. The china used in the White House by President Lincoln, President Hayes and others were made in sets for White House dinners, and copies with a different back stamp were immediately sold to the public. More copies of these famous sets of china have been made in recent years. One of the most famous sets of dishes made in the past 300 years is the Swan set created by the Meissen factory in 1735. Each white piece was made with low raised figures of swans and cattails in a lake and a flying crane. The original set had a colored overglaze design only on the rim, a few scattered flowers and Count von Bruhl’s family coat of arms. He was the factory director and ordered the 2,200-piece set for his family’s use. Copies were made in the 18th and 19th centuries. But the copies were not as plain. The raised bird and cattail design was decorated in natural colors so a finished plate looked like a picture. The rim kept the raised pattern, but it was not decorated. A modern white set of the dinnerware is available today. A new cup and saucer costs $289. A 19th-century cup and saucer with colored decoration auctioned in February 2010 for $593. An original set of candlesticks from the 1730s sold last year for more than $19,000. There will be no complete Swan sets made at Meissen again, because during World War II soldiers used some of the molds for target practice.

Q: Many years ago, I bought a wooden rocking chair at an estate sale. The bottom is stamped “Buffalo Chair Works, Buffalo, N.Y.” Has my rocker grown in value?

It’s probably worth more than you paid for it “many years ago,” even when you consider inflation. Today, depending on its condition, it could sell for $600 or more. Buffalo Chair Co. was a subsidiary of Edwin Sikes & Co., a furniture manufacturer established in Buffalo in the mid-19th century. Buffalo Chair Co. was founded in 1875 and went out of business in 1919. So your chair is at least close to 100 years old.

Q: We have a piece that we think is ivory or bone that has a drawing of two big ships, some canoes and other things on the front. On the back it says, “The Whaler Indian off Tahiti.” It is about 7 3/4 inches long. What can you tell us about it?

A: The Indian was a whaling ship that operated out of London in the early 1800s. You have a reproduction of a piece of scrimshaw. Scrimshaw is bone, ivory or whale’s teeth carved by sailors and others for entertainment during sailing-ship days. It was made as early as 1800, but there are many reproductions, fakes and modern pieces made on bone, ivory or plastic.

Q: Do you have any information on the Tykie Toy Co.?

A: Tykie toys are Bakelite “crib toys” that were made in Piqua, Ohio, from the 1930s until about 1952. The first toys were made by Sarah and Richard Grosvenor for their son, Michael, when he was teething. Michael’s nickname was “Tykie.” The family lived above Richard’s father’s machine shop. Eventually the company had several employees and the toys were sold at Marshall Field’s, Saks and other stores. Various characters were made, including Baby Bunny, Boppy Bear and Eppie Elephant. A children’s book of stories about the Tykie characters was published by the company in 1946.

Q: About 13 years ago, I bought a 73-inch floor lamp from my grandparents’ estate. My grandparents bought it in the late 1960s, but I have no idea how old it was then or what they paid. Cast into the bottom of the lamp base is the phrase “1968 L & L WMC 8884.” Please give me some information about the maker.

A: The initials in the mark stand for “Loevsky & Loevsky White Metal Castings,” a corporation that was in business in Carlstadt, N.J., from about 1937 until at least the 1970s. The lamp was probably new when your grandparents bought it. The first number in the mark, 1968, could be the year it was made. The second number may be a model number.

Q: Do you think beer can collecting will ever come around again? I have many, many cans.

A: Beer can collecting has been strong for a long time among a dedicated group of collectors. In fact, it started just a short time after the first can was made to hold beer. That happened on Jan. 24, 1935, at the G. Krueger Brewing Co. plant in Richmond, Va. The best way to find other collectors is to join a collectors club. Visit the Web sites of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America ( and the American Breweriana Association ( Each publishes a magazine for collectors. The record price for a beer can, according to our files, is $19,000 for a 1941 flat-top Clipper Pale Beer can.

Q: I bought three plates at a garage sale about 25 years ago. They’re stamped “Crest-o-Gold,” “Sabin” and “Warranted 22K.” One of the plates has a picture of the Last Supper on it, one has a picture of Jesus in the center and one has a picture of Mary in the center. Can you tell me something about the plates?

A: Sam Sabin and his brother-in-law, Leonard Berkowitz, founded Sabin China Co. in McKeesport, Pa., in 1939. The company bought white china, decorated it and sold it to retailers. Souvenir plates, banks, cookie jars and glassware were sold by Sabin. The company was sold to Mount Clemens Pottery of Mount Clemens, Mich., in 1967. The McKeesport property burned down in 1979 and the remaining equipment was moved to Mount Clemens. Production ceased at Mount Clemens in 1987.

Tip: If you buy an old cloth doll, put it in a closed box with an insect strip for 48 hours to kill any insects in or on the doll. But be sure the strip does not touch the doll.

— 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.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.