History repeats itself, and collectors who research their collections are often surprised by the findings. In 1892, a group of businessmen in Greentown, Ind., invested in a company that was brought in by the newly found fuel — natural gas — that had been discovered there. Two years later, the Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company had attracted workers and changed the economy of the small town. The company joined the National Glass Company in 1899, and they made many types of colored glass that are popular but scarce today. The company was making pressed glass in colors when Jacob Rosenthal arrived in 1900. He was an experienced glass maker. The first new product was chocolate glass, an opaque brown and white glass that was a big success. Next was an opaque medium green color called nile green, then golden agate, rose agate, holly amber, milk glass and Vaseline glass. Unfortunately, in 1903 there was a fire. The entire factory was destroyed and never rebuilt. But pieces like this nile green tumbler attract collectors. This 4-inch-high tumbler sold at a Jeffrey Evans auction for $888.
Q: Several years ago, my grandmother gave me 12 teaspoons with a note that they were given to my great-grandmother for a wedding gift. They’re marked “Justis & Armiger.” The word “Sterling” is upside down on five of them. Does that add value? I’m thinking of selling them and would like to know their value.
Answer: Justis & Armiger was in business in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1876 to 1892. The company made plated and solid silver. The upside-down “sterling” mark does not add value. The value of sterling silver spoons is at least the value of the silver they contain — that is, the meltdown value of silver throughout the trading day. You can check the current value per ounce online.
Q: Would you tell me something about this tea set I inherited from my mom. It’s marked “Hand-Painted” and “Gray’s Pottery.” I believe she purchased it in an antiques store in North Carolina or Virginia. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.
Answer: Gray’s Pottery was started in 1907 by Albert Edward Gray (1871-1959) in Stoke-
on-Trent, England. The pottery often carried a backstamp that included the phrase “Hand-painted.” Gray’s made undecorated pottery, so-called white ware, from various suppliers and also used in-house designers. By the 1950s, hand-painting was rapidly disappearing. Your set was painted by Gray designer Susie Cooper (1902-1995), who started at the company in 1922 and left in October 1929 to start her own business, Susie Cooper Pottery Ltd. In 1959, Susan Cooper-Willis, daughter of the founder of Portmeirion Pottery, bought the company. The name was changed to Portmeirion and is still in Stoke-on-Trent. A Gray’s lusterware creamer and sugar set with a matching tray in the identical pattern with a white background, pink flowers and green leaves recently sold for $24.
Q: I think an antique snuffbox that has been passed down in my family is from the late 1700s. It was made by the Battersea Enamel Factory. The word “Wrestling” is written on the lid, and it pictures two men wrestling while a crowd of spectators stands nearby. The copper hinge has degraded, but the lid stays on the box. How rare is Battersea and roughly what is it worth?
Answer: Battersea enamels were originally made in the Battersea district of London from about 1750 to 1756. Early snuffboxes were hand painted. Battersea developed the process of transfer printing decorations on copper. Many similar enamel boxes were made in other towns and are mistakenly called Battersea. New “Battersea” type boxes have been made since 1960. Snuffboxes were in fashion for both men and women from the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries before cigarettes became available. They were popular gifts for that special someone and are collected now. Old Battersea boxes in good condition sell for hundreds of dollars. A different “wrestling” box was offered for sale at $695 recently.
Q: I’d like some information on my cow picture by Hugo Fisher. My grandparents left it to me. I’m 76 years old and I remember my grandparents in my house. The cows are in a river drinking water. It’s in the original wood frame. Can you tell me anything about it?
Answer: Hugo Anton Fisher (1854-1916) was born in Kladno, Bohemia (now Czech Republic). He immigrated to New York in 1874 and moved to Alameda, California, in 1886. Fisher is known for his landscape paintings in watercolor and oils. He’s made more than one painting of cows drinking by the water and your painting would have to be seen to be evaluated. A 10- by 15-inch oil painting sells for $400 or more; watercolors are about $150. Large oils sell for thousands.
Q: What is the value of a metal figure called “The Appeal to the Great Spirit” by Cyrus Dallin? It shows an Indian chief, arms out wide to the side, sitting astride his horse. The horse is 8 3/4-inches long. The base is marked “C.E. Dallin 1913.” The figure is in perfect condition except for the rein, which has to be reattached to the horse.
Answer: “The Appeal to the Great Spirit” is the last of four sculptures by Cyrus Dallin (1861-1944) in a series called The Epic of the Indian, made between 1890 and 1909. The figure represents a Sioux chief praying to the Great Spirit after surrendering to the U.S. Army. The life-size bronze sculpture is in front of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The sculpture was made in three smaller sizes in the early 1900s. Gorham Foundry in Providence, Rhode Island, made the figures in at least two sizes. If your figure was made at the Gorham Foundry, it will be marked “Gorham Co. Founders QXC” and may also have a number. It’s impossible to tell the value from a picture. You should take the figure to a museum or to a knowledgeable antiques dealer to see if they can determine if it is an original. The original figures sell at auction for about $5,000-$7,000. Unauthorized reproductions have been made and sell online for $50-$60.
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.
- Bohemian glass bowl, amethyst iridescent, veining pattern, red interior, scalloped rim, polished pontil base, Pallme-Koenig, 2 by 6 inches, $50.
- Mt. Washington salt & pepper shakers, yellow, multicolor flowers, fig shape, 2¾ inches, pair, $105.
- Advertising sign, “Eat Honey, Feel Better, Live Longer,” image of a bee, tin, yellow letters, black ground, 1930s, 4 by 11 inches, $215.
- Wristwatch, Raymond Weil, Parsifal, stainless steel, bicolor gold, Roman numerals, date window, 34 mm dial, $340.
- Weller pottery Sicardo vase, puffy 5-point star, green & blue iridescent glaze, c.1905, 1½ by 5 inches, $420.
- Gentleman’s chest, midcentury modern, walnut, 2 cupboard doors, fitted shelves, 4 drawers, tapered legs, Drexel, 47 by 42 inches, $575.
- Doll, fashion, bisque head, brown glass eyes, upswept Gibson Girl style hair, lady body, Edwardian style white gauze gown, Simon & Halbig, Germany, 22 inches, $820.
- Betty Boop toy, whirligig, round, celluloid, 2 metal bells, Japan, 1930s, 10¾ inches, $1,845.
- Compact, sterling silver, fluted top & sides, diamonds, rose gold clasp with 4 blue sapphires, art deco, Boucheron, 5 by 3½ inches, $2,250.
- Bitters bottle, Highland Bitters and Scotch Tonic, barrel form with horizontal ribs, golden amber glass, flattened lip, Tennessee, 1865-1875, 9⅜ inches, $4,800.
- Mechanical bank, Bowling Alley, coin in slot, bowler leans forward & releases ball, pins fall, bell rings, cast iron, Kyser & Rex, 12 by 4 inches, $6,765.
- Furniture, chair, bergeres, upholstered, carved crest & stiles, open padded arms, shaped seat rail, cabriole legs, France, 1800s, 45 x 32 inches, pair, $400.
- Doll, Seminole, cloth, jacket, yarn hair, sterling pin, 1922 token, 17 inches, $526.
- Redware, puzzle jug, holes in neck, inscribed 1767, 4 inches, $750.