Pine dough box

This pine dough box was made in the 1850s. It sold for $219 at a Garth’s auction. Country furniture is selling for low prices, but there seem to be more pieces sold at flea markets than during the past few years.

Your great-grandmother may have used this antique box in her kitchen, but not many of us use it today because there are newer, faster ways to get the same result.

The pine box is 27 inches high by 36 inches wide and 21 inches deep. It has dovetailed sides and tapered legs. The removable top is made of two boards.

Give up?

It is a dough box, used for proofing bread dough.

The box was filled with flour, then water was added and the mixture was kneaded. More ingredients were added, including yeast, and more kneading. Then a rest, letting the dough rise, punching it down, kneading it again, reshaping and letting it rest.

This was done several times. When the dough felt right, the box was covered and moved to a warm place where the dough could “proof.” That is what the final rise is called. It was shaped again, put in the oven and baked.

Families ate a lot of bread, and most housewives made bread at least once a week. The finished bread was taken from the oven to rest on the lid of the dough box, then cut and served. And the lid had another use. It kept the mice and bugs away from the bread. The antique box sold for just $219. Today they make electric proofing boxes to do this work.

Q: A very old silver cup that has been passed down in the family has not one, but two handles. Why? It has an English silver mark for 1671.

Answer: The two-handle cup was used to drink caudle or posset. Most of the cups were made and used between 1650 and 1690. The body of the cup was covered with chased flowers and animals. Each cup had a lid. The cups were popular with the wealthy and were sometimes given as trophies. They are not often added to large silver collections today because so few old ones are offered for sale. An antique cup would sell for over $2,000. The full-sized cup held caudle and other hot drinks at parties. White caudle was made from oatmeal, spices and white wine. Brown caudle used ale, brandy or dark wine. There was also a non-

alcoholic tea caudle made with tea, eggs and spices. Posset was made of eggs, milk, cream, sugar, almond extract, lemon rind and scotch whiskey, topped with meringue. All these drinks were served hot. It must have been great on a cold night. Small cups were made to be used by invalids who needed both handles but probably drank different mixtures.

Q: I have an old rug labeled “Grenfell Industries, Newfoundland, Labrador” that I was told is valuable. The rug pictures Eskimos in dogsleds racing on snow. What can you tell me about it?

Answer: Sir Wilfred Grenfell was a medical missionary who founded hospitals, schools and orphanages for Eskimos in Labrador, Canada, in about 1900. He also started a rug making industry to make money for the area. The rugs were hooked from material that was pulled through openings in a burlap backing. The designs featured local scenes with polar bears, Canadian Geese and puffins, local birds. They stopped making the rugs about 1930. A few collectors were buying them in the 1950s, but they became important examples of folk art around 1980. Average-sized rugs made to put in front of a door sell for a few hundred dollars. Exceptional rugs, either very large or those decorated with a detailed scene, can bring over a thousand dollars at auction.

Q: We have quite a lot of pieces of Meissen china that my in-laws brought from Germany after the war. It’s just boxed up and put away. Is there a market for these items?

Answer: Porcelain has been made in Meissen, a town in Germany, since 1710. Any china made in the town can be called Meissen. The most famous Meissen factory is the one that used a crossed swords mark. Its porcelain was the finest quality. Pieces sell well, and can be sold at an auction, to an antiques shop or at an antique show. Authentic Meissen by the original company (the Royal Porcelain Factory in Meissen) sells for hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on style, age, fame of artist and size.

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.

  • Spatterware pitcher, American eagle, shield, arrows, blue, footed, c. 1850, 11½ inches, $110.
  • Side table, fruitwood, shaped skirt, cabriole legs, dovetailed drawer, round pull, 31 x 21 inches, $120.
  • Mochaware dry mustard pot, cylindrical, bell shaped lid, seaweed, orange ground, c. 1900, 4¾ inches, $250.
  • Rose Mandarin punch bowl, Chinese figures, courtyard, birds, flowers, medallions, 10¼ inches, $400.
  • Wedgwood flower frog, green hedgehog, c. 1875, 6½inches, $530.
  • Fox stirrup cup, brown and white fur, brown eyes, raised ears, gilt banded collar, c. 1830, 4¾ inches, $560.
  • Stained glass window, cherubs, centerpiece, fruit, flower urn, lanterns, swags, wood frame, 61¾ x 35¾ inches, $620.
  • Sampler, alphabet, nine alphabet and numeral rows, two chimney house, flowering tree, Martha Ann Dearing, 1819, 16¾ x 21½ inches, $870.
  • Gameboard, checkers, parcheesi, red, yellow, green faux-marble painted ground, c. 1850, 20 x 20 inches, $2,020.
  • Ercole Barovier vase, “Spuma di mare,” glass, unmelted pigment, metallic inclusions, Italy, c. 1940, 10 1/5 x 5 inches, $9,000.

2020 price guide

“Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles 2020 Price Guide” is almost here. It is the only antiques price guide that empowers collectors with the most up-to-date price information based on actual sales and market data. Featuring an easy-to-read format with tips, marks and logos, the 2020 Price Guide gives you 16,000 prices, 2,500 beautiful photographs, 500 factory marks for identification and dating, and 700 categories, including toys, pottery, jewelry, furniture, glass and more. It’s the most complete antiques and collectibles price guide on the market. Kovels’ 2020 Price Guide includes a special section, “Collecting Trends: Iconic Designers of Twentieth-Century Furniture,” along with a picture gallery of the antiques and collectibles that sold for record-setting prices in the past year. Paperback, 592 pages, 7 x 10 inches. Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal (Sept. 24, 2019). Pre-order today from and get a Fakes, Fantasies & Reproduction No. 21 Booklet, a $7.95 value — FREE. The cost is $29.99 plus $4.95 postage and handling. You can also order by phone at 800-303-1996, or write to Kovels at P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

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Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, Fla. 32803.

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