Friday, August 14, 2009

Found this great article on how to detect repaired pottery. Mr Eisele shares his expertise. Visist his website for more information.
Old World Restoration

How to Detect Repaired Porcelain, Art Pottery & Clay Pieces
by priceminer
by Douglas Eisele

Chips on the top rim of this Weller Art Pottery vase were professionally restored by Old World Restorations, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.

The repairs are invisible to a cursory glance. Which is why one needs to be on the lookout for repaired porcelain, art pottery and clay pieces.

Antiques and collectibles enthusiasts often find themselves frequenting community charity auctions, local antique shows, neighborhood garage sales and internet web sites searching for their next “Great Find.” But buying from someone you don’t know—and may never be able to find again—is sometimes risky business.
For collectors of different types of ceramic art, including porcelain figurines, art pottery and clay sculpture, one of the issues facing them is the fact that chipped or broken porcelain can be professionally restored so that the damage is no longer visible. But the pieces may not always be marked as such.

So, how can one know if an item has been damaged and restored?
There are different methods and types of equipment used by conservators to detect invisible restoration of ceramic objects. Ultraviolet (UV) light is used to examine the surface of an object and to reveal adhesive residue or any substances that may have been applied over the original surface to mask damage. X-ray can also be used to show fractures that have been invisibly restored. If allowed, a collector can usually have art and antique items inspected by an experienced conservator or museum conservation lab.

But if your are standing in the middle of a flea market, holding a piece you might be interested in buying, knowledge and experience are probably the most valuable tools with which collectors can equip themselves when inspecting and buying ceramic art. It is important to learn as much as possible about the objects’ nature and composition and be able to confirm that it has the proper shape, size, design and glaze. Even when buying from reputable auction houses and dealers, one should still have a basic knowledge of the methods and materials that were used to create the object.

Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions like: “How and when did you acquire the object?” “Have you thoroughly examined it for damage and repairs?” and “Are you willing to document the condition in writing and provide a money back guarantee if it differs from your representation?” (Answers to these questions are especially important when buying over the Internet).
Pair of early porcelain candlesticks with old discolored repairs, small chips and missing leaves. This damage is difficult to see on a photo posted on an Internet listing.

I recommend a visual inspection of the object in direct sunlight. Look for inconsistencies in the color, decoration and glaze. When a damaged ceramic object is restored, it will usually have some type of clear non-fired coating applied over the repair to mimic the original surface glaze. In some instances, this “simulated glaze” is applied over the entire surface. Unlike original fired glazes, new acrylic coatings often contain lint or dust particles that can be seen with the naked eye under direct sunlight.
Some original ceramic glazes exhibit a network of fine cracks know as “crazing.” These small surface cracks should not be restored and are nearly impossible to replicate when completing a restoration in an area of an object that is crazed. If an object has visible crazing, look for inconsistencies or the absence of crazing in suspicious areas that may indicate a restoration.

Carefully run your finger along the edges to reveal any rough spots or chips that may be hard to see. Some vases and flat objects can be lightly tapped with your finger or a straight pin to check for structural cracks. A cracked object will not “ring” like a bell when tapped.
An Imari porcelain plate with old repairs and rim chips that are easily visible to the naked eye.

I also suggest that you carry a small straight pin with you when shopping for ceramic objects. With the permission of the seller, carefully and lightly “touch” the point of the pin to the surface of the glaze where you suspect a restoration. The pin will easily slide across the glasslike surface of original fired and un-restored glaze; however, it will not slide across, and may even sink into, the simulated materials used to restore the damage. Be careful not to scratch or damage the glaze or the restoration. Some claim that a similar test can be done by touching a suspected area of an object to your teeth to reveal a difference between original and restored glazes.
Before you buy:

• Do your homework and know what it is that you are looking at• Research basic restoration and conservation techniques• Ask the seller questions to document an objects history and condition• Conduct thorough inspections in good light• Consult an experienced art conservator or museum• Ask for written money-back guarantee

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

There are as many strategies to collecting decoys as there are decoys. For example, one can collect by area made, maker or species. One popular area of decoy collecting is the factory-made decoy. Factory decoys are those decoys commercially made by machine and advertised for sale in sporting magazines. This really began around 1870, due to the high demand for decoys during the explosion of market gunning. Many wood decoys were turned out on a lathe at a time then the detail carving was finished by hand. Hand- or spray-painting finished them.
One exception to the rule in machine production are the decoys made by Harvey Stevens of Weedsport, NY. These decoys were handmade starting in the 1860s. By the 1880s, they were being advertised for sale in national magazines. These decoys have always been considered by collectors to be factory decoys because of this advertisement. At the height of his business, Stevens employed eight men in the carving and painting of these decoys. They have a style all their own and are quite collectible, selling for thousands of dollars in good condition.

These four Stevens decoys, two goldeneye drakes, top, and a bluebill drake and hen, bottom, are in superb condition. They ranged in price from $7,500 to $10,250 at auction. Photo courtesy of Guyette and Schmidt.
Another early factory, owned by William J. Mason, made decoys that are probably the most popular factory decoy for collectors today. Mason began business in 1896 in Detroit, Mich. and closed doors in 1924. This definite and short period of production is very attractive to collectors. The decoys were machine-turned on a duplicating lathe then the details were hand carved. The paint was also hand done in a very attractive style. They came in five quality grades, premier grade, challenge grade, No. 1 glass eye, No. 2 tack eye and No. 3 paint eye. Today, a premier grade bluebill drake in good condition goes for $1,000 to $2,500 at an in house auction. And a No. 2 tack eye bluebill drake goes for $400 to $600 in good condition. Rare models, rare species or exceptional condition can bring these prices up exponentially.

Mason premier grade bluebill drake (top) and paint eye bluebill drake (above). Note the scalloped paint swirled on the breast of the premier grade decoy and the straight, plainer paint on the paint eye decoy. Photos courtesy of Guyette and Schmidt.
William E. Pratt Decoy Co. bought Mason’s patterns and equipment when it closed the factory doors in 1924. Pratt was later bought out by the Animal Trap Co. of America in 1939. They made decoys under the name of Victor until the mid 1960s with a hiatus during World War Two. The Pratt decoys were similar in looks to the Mason, but never had the style or quality. The circular blade marks from the duplicating lathe were left on Animal Trap’s Victor instead of hand carving them smooth. Very simple painting was at first done by hand then by airbrush. The Victor decoy is very easily identifiable and makes an inexpensive first decoy.
One other factory I will mention here is the Wildfowler Decoys of Saybrook, Conn. This company manufactured truly lovely decoys. They made many species and many models of decoys. They also had two finishes; No.1 was hand -painted with feathering, and the No. 2 model was spray-painted and called the gunners model. The decoys were made from white pine until WWII. The company produced gunstocks for the government during the war. After the war they began using government surplus balsa wood for the bodies and white birch for the heads. There were three other owners of Wildfowler Decoys at three other locations before the company closed in 1993. Each had its own brand that can help the collector with dates and locations.

A Wildfowler blackduck decoy is on the left and a low head pintail drake is on the right. These decoys as a lot only went for $500 at a 2003 Guyette and Schmidt auction. Photo courtesy of Guyette and Schmidt.
There are many other factories that made, and some still do make decoys. And there are many factory decoys available; some more collectible than others. Many were very utilitarian, others quite beautiful, some practical and some absurd. For example, on the practical side is the tinnie; a tin shorebird decoy that, when unfolded, would nest with others for ease of transport. When folded closed to form the bird, a stick was added to the body for deployment in the mud.
For the absurd, a decoy with a rubber tube and bulb running to the hunter in the blind. When he squeezed the bulb the decoy would quack! If you wish to explore this area of collecting further, excellent books on the subject include “American Factory Decoys,” by Henry A. Fleckenstein Jr. and “Mason Decoys, A Complete Pictorial Guide,” by Russ Goldberger and Alan Haid. Factory decoys provide an easily documented, satisfying collectible still at affordable prices.
Laura Collum is a Worthologist who specializes in decoys, nautical and scientific instruments

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Magazine Articles Chronicle Circus Life of Yesterday and Today
by Larry Kellogg (06/08/09).

“Time” Magazine, March 29, 1937 – Wild Animal Trainer Clyde Beatty.

Stories featuring the circus have always been a popular subject for magazines. Collecting these magazines is an inexpensive way to add some spice and details to your Circus Collection. All of the most popular magazines of the past have regularly chronicled circus life. Weekly magazines like Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look and Colliers featured circus articles yearly—sometimes several times a year. Even Time, the first weekly news magazine, which began publication in 1923, featured circus stories, including at least three covers.

When I bought my first computer about 20 years ago, I started compiling a data base of magazine articles about the circus. Today that list contains more than 2,200 articles that have appeared in more than 550 different magazines. The copyrighted, 38-page document lists magazines alphabetically from Advertising Age to Youth’s Companion. Each magazine is further sorted chronologically. The list is constantly being updated as new articles are printed and old articles are discovered. It’s a good resource when going to antique malls or flea markets where large quantities of old magazines are being sold. You can purchase a copy of this Circus Magazine Articles Index, through WorthPoint here.

The oldest magazine article in my list appeared in The Illustrated London News in 1844 and tells about General Tom Thumb, Barnum’s diminutive discovery, and Mr. Carter, a lion trainer. The current list has 86 articles from the 1800s. But it’s also up-to-date. More than 90 circus articles have appeared in magazines since the year 2000.

“National Geographic” Magazines, October 1931 and March 1948.

There are many standout articles, such as the two appearing in National Geographic in October 1931 and March 1948. Both of these features were written by F. Beverly Kelley and are filled with black & white and color photos. Kelley joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1930 and worked in the publicity department throughout the 1930s and 1940s. His autobiography, “It Was Better Than Work,” was published in 1982. National Geographic has also published other circus and circus related articles, among them, an in-depth look at an old-time circus, Hoxie Bros., in a May 1972 feature. Most of these issues can be found for less than $10 each.

“Harper’s Weekly,” October 4, 1873 – "The Circus Coming Into Town" – Hand Colored engraving.

“Harper’s Weekly,” February 21, 1864 – “Wedding of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Stratton (General Tom Thumb)”.

Many of the articles from the 1800s were published in Harper’s Weekly. This magazine, called “A Journal of Civilization,” was published from 1857 to 1916. Among the most important circus articles were the accounts of the wedding of General Tom Thumb, which was featured on the cover, the burning of Barnum’s American Museum and the death of P.T. Barnum. A story in 1873 entitled “The Circus Coming Into Town,” included a classic cover illustration of a circus parade. Sometimes you can find issues where the engraving has been hand colored, as in the example shown here. Harper’s Weekly issues can be found for $5 to $10 with special issues such as the ones mentioned above bringing as much as $25.

“Life” Magazine, July 28, 1941 – “Wire Walker Hubert Castle and family.”

“Life” Magazine, April 8, 1946 – “World Famous Clown Lou Jacobs.”

Life magazine in its many incarnations is one of the best-known magazines of the past. Originally, it was a humor and general interest magazine first published in 1883. During the early years there were many circus covers by illustrators like Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker and Victor G. Anderson. In 1936, Henry Luce purchased the magazine and beginning in November of that year, it became a weekly news magazine with an emphasis on photos. It remained a weekly until 1972, and during those 30-plus years the magazine ran circus articles in more than 100 issues. Three of those issues featured circus covers. One of the saddest articles, “The Big Top Bows Out Forever,” told the story of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s final performance under the Big Top in 1956. Life magazines from the Henry Luce period are fairly inexpensive, except for the first issue (November 23, 1936), which sells for about $100. That issue has an article about the circus paintings of John Steuart Curry titled “Curry of Kansas.” Most of the other Luce-era magazines are $10 to $30 per issue.

Circus magazine articles provide valuable information for circus historians, and in some cases, incredible inspiration. In May 1952, Popular Mechanics published a story entitled “Here Comes the Circus.” The article featured a diagram of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey 79-car circus train, a layout of the circus grounds and a figure illustrating the rigging and set up of the Big Top tent. A teenager named Howard Tibbals saw this article and it was part of his inspiration to build the largest miniature circus in the world. You can read about Tibbals and his Howard Bros. Circus in my article You Too Can Be A Circus Owner.

If you are serious about collecting circus ephemera, magazine articles from the past and the present will give you an inside look at this fascinating world. They are inexpensive and are widely available to collectors through yard sales, flea markets, antique malls, the internet and other sources. They are a valuable source of historical information.

Larry Kellogg is a WorthPoint Worthologist specializing in circus memorabilia

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The candlestick telephone
by Suzanne Meredith

The hazy view of advertisements and reality. Alexander Graham Bell had no idea what his communication device would turn into—or the effect it would have on civilization. Bell was born in 1847 and long before he perfected the telephone he developed an interest in speech, elocution, and voices. His belief that it was possible to transmit language at a distance led to extensive experiments spanning several decades using wires and electricity to carry sound.

Bell’s preoccupation with speech influenced his decision to teach deaf students, including Helen Keller. During this interval he devised new techniques to assist the deaf in comprehending and articulating words. His wife was deaf and although he had great compassion for those he considered “defective,” he also held views that were controversial but common at the time regarding limiting the propagation of those afflicted with “differences.”

While living in Canada he became intrigued with the language used on the Six Nations Reservation in Onondaga. Bell studied the Mohawk dialect and translated its unwritten vocabulary into Visible Speech symbols.

By 1876 the Bell Telephone Company was formed. Over the years there were many improvements and styles of phone designed, each one more popular than the last. In the early 20th century a memorable development in communication occurred: the candlestick, a table-top phone. Before this model, every phone needed its own battery system, included in a wood box attached to the phone. The batteries needed to be cranked to provide electricity for activation. When a central power system was developed it eliminated the need for the individual batteries and the smaller candlestick telephone became the must-have home accessory.

As it is with all change there were some folks who had reservations about this step into the future. The ability to instantly communicate thoughts was considered dangerous because intemperate words might be uttered. Telephone safety concerns included the spread of disease on mouthpieces. Catering to this germ driven health panic, manufacturers devised portable screw in mouthpieces to replace the bacteria laden publicly used speaker. Gauze phone covers were produced that were easy for people to carry and supposedly filtered out offensive contaminants. An inventive person came up with a dangerous idea for an item that produced a jolt of electricity to purify the surface of a phone, thus zapping all nasty bugs—and probably any human within range.

Truth in advertising has always been a hazy concept, as some of these postcards will show. The first card presents a beautiful, smiling woman in a frothy low cut frock dreamily speaking on her candlestick phone. In the companion real photo card an average couple sits with a treasured phone between them; neither of these two look particularly dreamy.

It has only been a century or so between Bell’s experiments and your cell phone. As time passed the telephone changed again and again until today, for better or worse, almost everyone who can talk is attached to a cell phone. Statistics advise that at least 75 percent of all Americans own cell phones, and this number falls far behind usage in other countries. Today’s devices do a lot more than permit t`lking at a distance; they offer music, games, Internet service, GPS and cameras. Transmission towers bloom on hilltops (sometimes vaguely disguised as a scraggly fir tree or flag pole), which is a far cry from Bell’s electric wire. Some people still fear health hazards from the wireless frequencies and excessive dependence on this new tool.

One of the cell phone’s most lasting legacies may be in the landfill. Candlestick phones can often be found in antique shops. Cell phones may not get the chance to become antiques. More 130 million of them are thrown away every year, adding to the thousands of tons of electronic garbage polluting the earth.

Bell lived until 1922, long enough to see his name become a household word. Recognized as great thinker, he had an interest and inventions in aeronautics, the creation of principles in metal detecting and air conditioning, solar heat, protecting the environment and conservation of national resources. He is also credited with the common use of the word “hello.”

Today the candlestick phone is a sought-after antique, with collector clubs and Web sites devoted to the study and preservation of this intriguing piece of Alexander Graham Bell’s history.

Postcards were sent for nearly every holiday, and often the subject of the early cards was using a candlestick phone.

Technology may have changed but human nature has not – listening in on a party line was an early form of hacking. A party line was a system where two or more families shared the same phone line, similar to having an extension in each home in the neighborhood. The ring for each house was different but anyone could pick up the phone and hear what was being discussed by other users. In 1912 a newspaper article sported headlines regarding the situation:

“RESIDENTS ABUSE ‘PHONE PRIVILEGE.’ Party Line Patrons Have Trouble When Neighbors Form the Practice of Listening!” “We are all of the opinion that the telephone has proved to be a blessing in many ways. But we often think that the evil use of it more than offsets any good it can do. What kind of an example is it to our children to see a family member listen in on a neighbors’ conversation, stealing their privacy! It is dishonesty!”

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Exquisite Needlework of Appenzell Embroidery
by Lynda Kolski (01/05/09).

Some of the finest white-on-white hand embroidery comes from a small town at the foot of the Alps in northeast Switzerland. Named for the town where it originated, Appenzell embroidery has been produced since the late 1700s.

These towels are nice examples of Appenzell embroidery, although because they are only floral without any figures, they are not as highly desired.
Through the 18th and 19th century, this exquisite needlework was done by hand by thousands of women working at home. The industry flourished during the early 1900s, when some of the best work was produced. Today, there are only a few embroiderers who continue to do this fine, time-consuming needlework. Strolling down the main street of Appenzell today, by the many early homes, you can look up at the rows of windows that provided bright daylight for the upstairs workshops and imagine the women bent over their embroidery hoops creating beautiful heirloom pieces.

Buratto work fills the center of the flower.
Appenzell is usually done on a fine Irish linen fabric with linen embroidery thread. The background consists of Buratto work, which is a grid or net type of needlework. True Appenzell embroidery will have lots of tiny five-petal flowers. The embroidery consists of a very fine satin-stitch embroidery and delicate seed stitches that are so tiny and exquisite, it’s hard to imagine it was done by hand. In fact, often women doing the embroidery worked under a magnifying glass. The satin stitching is used as a filer for various parts of the embroidery from full figures to the smallest flourish, or as a fine scallop along the border. Although Appenzell is considered whitework, often pieces will have a soft gray, silver or light blue shadow, which accents the fine stitching. In addition, the borders often are highlighted by a row or two of fine hemstitching.

Notice the tiny seed stitches in the bottom center of this towel.
Figures are commonly found in Appenzell embroidery, ranging from Victorian couples in all their finery to hunt scenes, or, less commonly, battle scenes. Sometimes children are depicted, or just a man or woman’s head. Pieces with figures are more desirable than, for example, a piece with just an urn of flowers, which is another common theme.
Appenzell embroidery is becoming harder and harder to find. It is also difficult to accurately identify a piece of true Appenzell, since similar types of work were done in other parts of Europe, particularly during the early 20th century. The most accurate way to verify a piece as true Appenzell is if it still carries the original label or tag. Since most labels were removed, however, it’s rare to find a piece with the label still attached. Most textile experts refer to pieces as Appenzell-style or Appenzell-type if the origin cannot be documented.

Delicate, five-pedal flowers are characteristic of Appenzell embroidery.
Lynda Kolski is a Worthologist who specializes in early linens and textiles.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hey buddy, got a light?
by Alan M. Petrillo_
A Dunhill 1950s Standard Unique Table Model, silver plated and engine turned with an engraved name on the base. All photos courtesy of International Vintage Lighter Exchange.
At one time, when smoking cigarettes was much more popular than today, nearly every other person carried either matches or a cigarette lighter.

While there are a lot fewer smokers today than in years past, vintage cigarette lighters still are attracting attention, but now as collectibles.
Rich Weinstein, owner of the International Vintage Lighter Exchange in Hendersonville, N.C., (, says that cigarette lighters have been collected for more than 60 years, often because people simply liked them.

A very rare Ronson 1930s Kingcase with Watch, done in Tortoise Enamel and Dureum Plate.

“Smoking was so popular back then that it was a necessity to have lighters, whether they were carried in your pocket or placed on tables in your home,” Weinstein said. “What seemed to have sparked the interest in collecting came after the advent of butane lighters, which changed the look and functionality of fire-making devices. When something seems to be going out, people become nostalgic for the ones they remember and start searching for ‘vintage lighters.’”

Weinstein noted that with lighters, as with most mechanical devices, one can follow the changes over time that they went through, how the advances in technology affected them and “marvel at the ingenuity of the people who designed them.”

Yvonne Saldate-Auld, owner of the Atlanta Antique Gallery in Chamblee, Ga., (, considers reminiscence as playing a large part in collecting vintage lighters.

“Like many other collectibles, vintage lighters are popular because they remind people of a bygone age,” Saldate-Auld said. “In addition, people admire the craftsmanship of older lighters, and when the lighters are made in the shape of animals, airplanes and other objects, they have a broad crossover appeal with other collectors.”

Weinstein believes that Zippo lighters have attracted the most attention from collectors.

“There are thousands of Zippo collectors worldwide and Zippo has its own club that helps promote the collecting of their lighters,” he said. “Second in popularity is Ronson, a lighter with an extremely long history dating from the early 1900s through the 1980s. There are many collectors who specialize only in Ronson lighters.”

Weinstein said that one of the greatest achievements in Ronson collecting was the publication of a book written by one of the foremost Ronson collectors, Urban Cummings.

“His 1993 book, ‘Ronson — The World’s Greatest Lighter,’ spans Ronson from 1913 to 1966, and these were the most prolific years for Ronson,” Weinstein pointed out. “The book helped collectors all over the world understand and enjoy the history of Ronson.”

The third most popular lighter among collectors, Weinstein said, is made by Alfred Dunhill of London. Best known for their art in lighter manufacturing, Dunhill catered to the elite as well as the regular smoker.

For the elite, Dunhill produced thousands of lighters with artistically-crafted enameling by some of the great craftsmen of their time, many of which were adorned with watches and made of precious metals. For those interested in Dunhill, the book, “The Dunhill Petrol Lighter, A Unique Story” by Luciano Bottoni, has more than 500 color photos and plenty of information on Dunhill lighters.

Mathew McLoughlin, a cigarette lighter collector and dealer associated with Saldate-Auld’s Atlanta Antique Gallery, said that cigarette lighters can run the gamut from simple flint and spark wheel mechanisms to the piezo ignition system lighter.

“Lighters with advertising slogans are very sought after by collectors,” McLoughlin said. “Companies used cigarette lighters to promote other products and gave lighters away as promotional items. Collectors are always keen to acquire these lighters to complete their collections.”

Another popular style with collectors, he pointed out, is the novelty lighter. Such lighters come in many shapes, some whimsical, such as toys or animals, and some even emit flashing lights.

“It’s interesting to note that several states have banned the sale of new novelty lighters since they appeal to children and pose a potential hazard,” McLoughlin said. “This will likely make vintage novelty lighters more sought after.”

McLoughlin noted that after the Second World War ended, the sale of lighters was led by the Japanese lighter industry.

“Between 1945 and 1952, all lighters produced in Japan were marked ‘Made in Occupied Japan,’” he said. “Today, these lighters, like the trench art and early Zippos, are regarded as relics of an era in recent history and are highly prized by collectors.”

Weinstein of International Vintage Lighter Exchange believes that fine collectible cigarette lighters are becoming harder to find.

“Each time one is bought, it reduces the availability,” he said. “Since there is a finite amount of these, scarcity is inevitable. It’s much harder to find a great, old lighter these days than it was 20 or 30 years ago.”

However, he’s sold some rare and exotic lighters in recent times, including a Dunhill enameled lighter with attached cigarette case that sported an enameled scene of Napoleon and Josephine that went for more than $15,000.

Another of his more memorable lighters sold was an extremely rare Dunhill table lighter with attached cigarette box in sterling silver called the Dunhill Pagoda that sold for $6,500. Also, Weinstein sold a rare Ronson lighter hidden in a walking stick for $3,500.

“But remember,” he pointed out, “most lighters will sell in the $20 to $100 range, so this hobby is available to many.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

Transferware china: Blue Willow is just the beginning
May 06, 2009
by Mark A. RoederSummary

Detail of transferware pattern. All photos submitted by Mark Roeder.

Transferware china is among the most beautiful china ever produced. It’s highly collectible and often highly valuable, but affordable pieces can still be found. Just what is transferware? Transferware is any pottery with decorative elements applied by transferring a pattern from a copper plate to paper and then to the pottery itself. Transfer prints are found on china, ironstone, and porcelain. There are tens of thousands of transferware patterns, but one of the most recognizable and most common is Blue Willow.

While blue is the color most commonly associated with transferware, it was produced in other colors. Some of these include red, pink, purple, cranberry, brown, black, green, yellow, gray and various shades and combinations of these colors.

While highly collectible today, transferware was originally a cheap alternative to expensive imported pieces from China. It first appeared in the late 18th century, but became extremely popular in the 1820s and 1830s. Transferware has been made continuously since that time. Most of the transferware found today was produced in the last 50 years, but earlier pieces are out there. The earliest transferware I’ve located dates to the 1820s or 1830s. This isn’t surprising as earlier transferware was produced in much smaller quantities. As a general rule of thumb, the earlier the piece, the higher the price, but this doesn’t always hold true. Condition plays a large role, of course. I purchased a damaged, unmarked, transferware cup dating from the 1830s at a local auction for $8. The price was low because the cup had a couple of old chips and a crack. I purchased it for the beautiful transferware pattern in lavender. The cup had no handle, which is typical of early cups.

Like many, my first introduction to transferware was Blue Willow. The pattern is the most widely recognized and probably the most common as well. I was attracted to its deep blue color and attractive pattern. While many pieces of Blue Willow were out of my price range, others were far more affordable. I own some vintage pieces from as early as 1910, but most of my collection is of far more recent vintage. The beauty of Blue Willow is that old and new can be easily mixed. I actually use a set of this transferware china as my everyday dishes. I purchased an eight place setting of newer Blue Willow at an auction for only $50! That’s far cheaper than most new sets.

The Blue Willow pattern tells its own story. There is more than one variation of this tale, but each tends to flow along the same lines. As the tale goes, long ago, a Chinese Mandarin, lived in a wonderful pagoda under an apple tree on the right side of the bridge seen in the pattern. He was the father of a beautiful girl, who was the promised bride of an old but wealthy merchant. The girl, however, fell in love with her father’s clerk. The lovers eloped across the sea to the cottage on the island. Her father pursued and caught the lovers and was about to have them killed when the gods transformed them into a pair of turtle doves, seen at the top of the design.

The Blue Willow story is a nice tale, but it has no real basis in fact. The pattern was not created to tell the story. Rather, the story was told after the pattern was designed. The tale isn’t Chinese either. According to different sources, it is either British or American in origin. The tale is no more than a 19th century merchandising scheme. Blue Willow itself didn’t even originate in China. It was created in England. An estimated 90 percent of older Blue Willow was made in the Staffordshire county of England, but it was also produced in other areas of Great Britain. The British Isles do not have a monopoly on Blue Willow. A great many pieces produced after 1930 were made in Japan and various other parts of the world.

Blue Willow is only the beginning, however. Over the years I’ve purchased pieces from several of the tens of thousands of patterns available. There are some real buys out there, especially if one doesn’t mind a bit of damage. At a local auction, I picked up two 19th century soup bowls in the Asiatic Pheasants pattern. Both bowls were cracked, but still useable and I got the pair for only $2! I use these as cereal bowls on an almost daily basis. Using such damaged pieces allows me to actually use antique china without the cost or worry of breakage that comes with undamaged pieces. If they were in excellent condition, my bowls would cost upwards of $40 each.

Dating transferware can be difficult. Many of the early pieces are unsigned. Many patterns made in Great Britain between 1842 and 1883, however, were registered with the Patent Office in London. The registration marks on the reverse of these pieces can be dated. British transferware made between 1890 and 1920 usually has “England” printed on the back. After 1920, the mark became “Made In England,” I’ve noted that older transferware often has richer and more plentiful color than later pieces. Manufacturers of more recent pieces tend to skimp on the amount and quality of color. This varies greatly with the manufacturer, of course, but it is another clue to age.

Values for transferware vary greatly. Early or rare pieces can run into the thousands of dollars. Price tags in the hundreds are not uncommon, but there is a great variety of transferware available in the under $100 price range. Common pieces of recent vintage, such as plates, can be quite affordable. I’ve often sold such pieces myself at flea markets for $10 or less and I regularly spot similar examples for under $25.

Transferware can be found anywhere other antiques and collectibles are located. One good source is the household auction. Very early or rare pieces don’t usually turn up at such sales, but this is a good source for more common pieces. They can sometimes be purchased in partial sets for very reasonable prices. I’ve spotted a few good buys on eBay, too, and as usual, eBay offers quite a selection. Keep in mind the cost of shipping and insurance if buying on eBay, however, as they can significantly added to the cost. Don’t expect to find great bargains, as they are definitely the exception and not the rule. Don’t let price tags in the low hundreds scare you off, though. While much transferware is quite costly, there are a great many affordable pieces out there.

Transferware is some of the most beautiful china available. Single plates and serving pieces are great for display. Partial sets are attractive on plate racks and in china cabinets. Don’t forget to make use of your transferware pieces, too! Damaged examples, common items, and pieces of recent vintage are all wonderful for everyday use.

Whether you collect a china cabinet full of transferware or just a few pieces, you’ll find it a beautiful, nostalgic, and useful collectible that will bring you pleasure for years to come.

If you haven’t collected transferware before, give it a try. I guarantee it will add to your collecting enjoyment.

Mark A. Roeder is the author of two nationally syndicated columns on antiques, Successful Antiques Collecting and Spotlight on Antiques & Collectibles. His expertise comes not only from researching antiques, but from collecting, buying, and selling them for more than three decades.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marghab Linens—The Finest Embroidery Ever Made
by Lynda Kolski (04/23/09).

Yellow and white Margandie and linen placemat and napkin in the Iris design.
Close-up of the Iris napkin showing the intricate detail Marghab Linens are known for.
Imagine a tablecloth of the finest Irish linen, embroidered with the best French embroidery floss in a design of exquisite colors and flowing lines. Not a stitch out of place or less than perfect; a design so intricate that it consists of more than 85,000 tiny stitches. Only one company ever produced such magnificent work—Marghab Linens.

Started in 1937 by Emile and Vera Way Marghab on the island of Madeira—a Portuguese archipelago in the mid Atlantic Ocean—Marghab produced the finest hand-embroidered linens in the world. The company produced nearly 300 designs, many of which had several variations. Until the company closed in 1980, Marghab reigned as the finest of the Madeira embroidery houses. Several competitors, such as Imperial and Jabara, also produced fine linens in Madeira, but they were always second to Marghab. To date, no other linen house has been able to match Marghab’s exquisite workmanship.

A native of South Dakota, Vera was the driving force behind the quality and design of Marghab linens. Her insistence on the most perfect embroidery and the finest materials was unparalleled. Every piece was inspected bdfore being sold. She was known to have rejected an embroidered piece that took months to create if just a few stitches were missing or not to her very high standards.

A tablecloth with matching napkins in the Hibiscus pattern. Some tablecloths had 100,000 stiches.
A close-up of the Hibiscus pattern. Photos do not do justice to this exquisite needlework.

At the height of their business, Marghab employed nearly 90 people in its Madeira facility. However, the majority of the embroidery was done by hundreds of highly skilled women throughout Madeira’s countryside. Then, needlecraft was a skill passed down through the generations from mother to daughter. Only the most skilled embroiderers worked for Marghab. These ladies usually worked outside in the island sunlight. Few wore glasses, and almost none used any kind of magnifying glass to do their needlework.

The embroiderers were paid by the stitch. Some of the tablecloths contained nearly 100,000 stitches. Many of the designs took months to complete, and some of the more intricate took as long as a year.

Marghab used only the finest fabrics and threads. Many of the linens were woven in Ireland specifically for Marghab. Emile and Vera made frequent trips to Ireland to supervise and ensure the quality of their linen. Marghab is also known for its own trademarked organdy fabric, called Margandie. The organdy available on the market at the time was not up to Vera’s standards, so she partnered with Swiss weavers and developed Margandie, made from Egyptian cotton. To ensure the perfect colors for their embroidery thread, Marghab had thread dyed specifically for them in England and France.

A set of Dancer cocktail napkins, which came in several colors.
Two fingertip towels in the Water Leaf pattern.
In keeping with the high standards of quality that Vera demanded for her linens, she allowed them to be sold only in chosen stores. Vera personally inspected each store to ensure it met her standards. Fifty-four stores in the U.S. were granted the right to sell Marghab linens. These salons had to agree to very strict guidelines set forth by Vera. For example, Marghab linens could never be displayed with other linens and were never to be put on sale.

Marghab linens were not signed. When new, they had a paper label pinned to them. Although you can occasionally come across a piece with the original Marghab tag still pinned to it, or still in the original Marghab box, it is unusual and a real find. The best way to identify a piece of Marghab linen is to become familiar with the designs. While some patterns have been copied, such as Rose Tree, Jacaranda Tree, Knight and Ponto Grego, there are often small details that give them away as a copy.

The book, “Perfection, Never Less – The Vera Way Marghab Story,” by D.J. Cline, is the only published reference available on Marghab linens. Unfortunately, a great deal of the book is spent on Vera’s personal life, and not on the making of Marghab linens. It has some nice full-color photos of about 30 of the Marghab designs, so it is a fairly limited resource.

Jacaranda Tree placemat and runner, one of Marghab’s more popular patterns.
A Marghab Linen cocktail napkin with the Calla Lilly design.
The largest and most complete collection of Marghab linens is in the Marghab Gallery at the South Dakota Art Museum. Vera was instrumental in organizing this gallery, which opened in 1970. In 1995, Vera died at the age of 95, and left her personal collection of Marghab linens to the South Dakota Art Museum. Its web site has photos of a few of the patterns on exhibit there. There are also a few pieces of Marghab in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Another good resource for Marghab designs is the WorthPoint website. Go to Research Your Items and under the Price Guides, do a search for Marghab linens. Susanin’s Auctions held a sale of Marghab linens for the South Dakota Art Museum in 2005, and most of the items sold are shown here with a description and photo. This is one of the most reliable resources, since these descriptions were provided by the South Dakota Art Museum, the pre-eminent authority on Marghab. If you are a registered member of WorthPoint, you will also be able to see the prices realized for each item.

Because of their limited numbers and the high quality of workmanship, Marghab linens command high prices. If you are buying them online, be sure to deal with a knowledgeable and reputable dealer. I have seen a number of embroidered linens described as Marghab that were not. I have also come across embroidered linens described as “Marghab-style.” There was only one Marghab—a piece either is Marghab or it isn’t. Once you have seen firsthand some of the exceptional embroidery done by Marghab, you will understand why it stands alone as the finest embroidery in the world.

Lynda Kolski is a Worthologist who specializes in vintage textiles.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bold, Vibrant Vintage Wilendur Tablecloths and Kitchen Linens
by Lynda Kolski (03/26/09).
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Wilendur’s popular dogwood pattern came with several different colored backgrounds, including dark green and white. The Begonia pattern is typical of the bright colors found on Wilendur tablecloths. This one still bears the original tag.
An early Wilendur paper tag, which, if still attached, adds value to the piece.
Wilendur tablecloths can still be occasionally found with its matching napkins.

Some of the most popular items in collectible linens today are the brightly colored printed tablecloths of the 1930s-1960s. These vintage table linens take us back to a simpler time, often evoking fond memories. Perhaps the best-known of printed table linens is the Wilendur brand produced by the Weil and Durrse Company from 1938-1984.

Weil and Durrse actually produced several lines of table linens, but Wilendur is the most popular and most sought-after. The company first began manufacturing table linens in 1924 with its “Pride of Flanders” table linens, made of fine European linen, primarily from Belgium. When importing products from Europe became difficult during the run-up to World War II, the company shifted to a heavy cotton or sailcloth fabric, and in 1938 introduced Wilendur tablecloths.

When most people think of vintage tablecloths, the heavy, durable cotton fabric for which Wilendur and other early brands are known is what comes to mind. Decades later, however, Wilendur tablecloths were actually made from a variety of fabrics, including lighter cotton, synthetic blends, terrycloth and even plastic.

There are hundreds of Wilendur designs, but the name is closely associated with the classic repeating patterns of 14-inch- and 16-inch-squares of design. This is sometimes referred to as the “array design” or “three-across.” Typically, there were three squares of the same design repeated across the tablecloth. The number of rows depended on the length of the cloth. Wilendur also made traditional border patterns, in which the design formed a border around the cloth or a solid color bordered the design.

Wilendur’s American Beauty pattern was one of several rose patterns offered. After 1958, Weil and Durrse added an e to the end of the Wilendur name. Royal Rose was yet another example of the popular Wilendur rose pattern. An early Wilendur fabric tag. Not all Wilendur tablecloths had fabric tags.

Few of the Wilendur designs were patented, so they were often copied by other companies. Sometimes Wilendur linens had a cloth label attached, but not always. It’s not unusual to find a classic Wilendur “American Beauty” rose pattern on a tablecloth bearing the label from another company. Wilendur patterns were often used on other brands made by Weil and Durrse, such as Setting Pretty, America’s Pride and Oppa Tunity. Although design can be one clue to identifying the maker of a tablecloth, because so many designs were copied, it is not a definitive identifier.

Wilendur tablecloths are commonly found in smaller sizes, such as 54-inches square or 54 inches by 72 inches. Like other printed cloths of the time period, they were meant to be used on the kitchen table, which seated four to six people. I often have customers looking for larger sizes to accommodate farm tables or today’s larger tables. However, during the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, kitchen tables were much smaller. It’s difficult to find a vintage printed tablecloth longer than 72 inches. There are some reproductions made from vintage designs that are sized for today’s larger tables. A vintage tablecloth can work on a larger table, however. Often people will lay the tablecloth at an angle, allowing the wood corners of the table to show. Another way is to cover the table with a larger solid color cloth and drape the vintage cloth over top of it.

This Wilendur Aster tablecloth has the original tag and has never been used, but has significant storage soiling. Wilendur did a number of fruit prints, including this handprinted strawberry design. The tag on a Wilendur handprinted strawberry print design. This is an early Wilendur paper tag that was used only on towels.

Besides tablecloths, Weil and Durrse also produced placemats, napkins, runners, towels and aprons in matching patterns for their Wilendur tablecloths. Luncheon sets or tea sets, consisting of a small (usually about 34- or 35-inch-square) tablecloth and four napkins, were also available. The company also sold its fabric from bolts. Housewives could buy any length of fabric and make tablecloths, napkins, placemats, towels or curtains. The bolt fabric was either 44- or 54-inches wide with two selvage sides. All the lady of the house had to do was hem the two ends.

Wilendur tablecloths always had two selvage and two hemmed sides. This provides an easy way to spot Wilendur reproductions, as most are hemmed on all four sides. Also, reproductions are usually 60-inches square; a size that Wilendur never manufactured.

Although Wilendur is known for its vibrant and colorful floral designs, it also had patterns with fruit and vegetables, Christmas, southwestern motifs, stripes and solids, home décor, and barnyard themes. A number of classic Wilendur patterns came in several different colors. For instance “Dogwood,” a 1950s pattern, came in at least eight different color backgrounds that showcased a white and gray flower. While several of the colors—such as pink, green and red—are readily available, finding the Dogwood pattern with the black background is difficult. There were a number of rose patterns, which also were available in several colors. Roses were very popular, so this design was used widely among many of the tablecloth manufacturers. Wilendur’s “American Beauty” came out in the 1940s and was one of their best-selling designs. Red rose patterns are still abundantly available.

The back of the Wilendur label declares the company’s commitment to quality. A Wilendur yellow rose towel with an early paper label still attached. This southwest design is another example of the vibrant colors used by Wilendur. Towels manufactured by Wilendur will sometimes have a sewn-in tag. In 1958, Wilendur added an “e” to the end of its name on all its labels. Finding a tablecloth with Wilendure on the tag will date the cloth to 1958 or later.

There are many variables that affect the price of Wilendur tablecloths—condition, design, color, size and fabric are the most important. Unused tablecloths that still have their original paper tags attached command a higher price, even with minor storage soiling, which many will have. Certain designs or patterns, such as Wilendur’s 1950s lobster and clam pattern—which is hard to find and still very popular—will bring higher prices. Prices can range from $30 to $150 or higher for a pristine, unused, hard-to-find pattern. Towels generally sell for $10-25.

The bold, vibrant colors of Wilendur tablecloths and kitchen linens are still quite popular today. And thanks to the exceptional quality of the fabric used, there are many cloths still available in good condition despite the fact that they are anywhere from 30-70 years old.

Lynda Kolski is a Worthologist who specializes in vintage textiles.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Common Sense Antiques: Cleaning wood furniture
March 24, 2009
by Fred Taylor

Well, you bought it, got it home, lubed the drawers, leveled the doors and it looks great doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? Maybe it needs something to brighten it up. Maybe it needs refinishing – and maybe it doesn’t. Before you spend a whole lot of money to get a piece refinished, try some good old fashioned elbow grease and common sense with a little bit of information and guidance.

First, you must determine if the existing finish is sound. Does it show signs of water damage, such as white rings or shadows on the tops and legs? Does it show excessive exposure to direct sun such as flaking, peeling and discoloration or bare spots? Is the finish crazed or alligatored? If the answer is yes to any of the above, pass on the rest of this article and call someone you trust to discuss a new finish. If the finish appears sound but just dull stay tuned.

The first step is to clean the piece. Be sure to remove all hardware such as drawer pulls. You don’t want water and cleaner to puddle up around them.

Remove mildew with a solution of one capful of bleach in a quart of warm water. Wipe off the mildew and dry the piece with a clean cloth. Clean the piece with soap. Murphy’s Oil Soap is a great cleaner. Just follow the directions on the package and go to it. Use water to rinse the soap but DO NOT let it sit on the furniture and be sure to dry the piece when you are done. Don’t let it “air dry.” Be advised that Murphy’s Oil Soap and other organic cleaners such as Flaxsoap from Sherwin-Williams are just that – cleaners. They will remove dust, dirt and general grime and grunge but not years of abuse from oil based furniture polishes. This “greasy kid stuff” must be removed with a more powerful cleaner such as mineral spirits, also known as paint thinner.

Yes, paint thinner. The chemistry is totally different from the finish and mineral spirits will not hurt any solvent based finish such as lacquer, which is the finish on almost all factory finished furniture since 1900, provided that the finish is sound as described above. The exception to this is oil finished Scandinavian furniture, which requires a whole different maintenance routine.

If the finish is sound and if it is solvent based, clean with spirits and a soft cloth such as a T-shirt or diaper (cloth only) until the rag comes up clean. When you are done, the results should look like a total disaster. The piece should look dull, dirtier than when you started, and streaky. This is the residue of the spirits so don’t worry. Buff it with a dry cloth after letting the spirits dry for 30 minutes. This should improve the appearance slightly but don’t overdo it.

Now that you have cleaned dirt and oil from the finish, it’s time to shine it up. Use a little Jubilee Kitchen Wax, the white cream, on a damp, clean cloth. Apply it as if you are waxing your car, except don’t work so hard and don’t let the wax dry. Follow immediately with a dry soft cloth and buff the Jubilee to a mellow sheen. Severe cases may require two coats of Jubilee and sometimes it doesn’t work at all but it’s worth the effort to find out. If it does provide a benefit, don’t overdo it! A piece should only be waxed once or twice a year and left alone after that. Dry dusting with a soft cloth adds to the “patina” of an older piece after years of loving care. Lots of good furniture is ruined every year by “overlove.”

Send your comments, questions and pictures to Fred Taylor, PO Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423 or e-mail

Visit Fred’s website at His book How to be a Furniture Detective is available for $18.95 plus $3 S&H. Send check or money order for $21.95 to the address above.

Fred and Gail Taylor’s DVD, Identification of Older & Antique Furniture ($17 + $3 S&H) and a bound compilation of the first 60 columns of “Common Sense Antiques by Fred Taylor” ($25 + $3 S&H) are also available at the same address.

For more information call 800-387-6377, fax 352-563-2916, or e-mail

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Valuable Items That Slip Through the Cracks
by Robert Timmons (03/17/09).

When it’s time to liquidate a family estate what are the first things we think of as having value. The dinning room is our first thought for its silverware, crystal and that special dinner ware that you only saw on holidays. Then we hurry into the bedroom and locate the jewelry boxes. After that it’s the furniture, lamps and perhaps those favorite paintings, or pottery.

Traditionally the values have always been highest in these areas and often the other items are over looked. I’m talking about the stuff you find in the back of the chest of drawers, in the closets, on the tables, shelves and throughout the kitchen. Pocket knives, lighters, buttons, old postcards, kitchen gadgets, the old appliances, shop tools, linens, toys, books, record albums, medicine bottles, luggage, costume jewelry, clothing apparel, photo-albums, holiday decorations.

The list is unending because these items are not as important as the fine silver, china or the heirloom desk, but they were part of our everyday fabric of life. You might be surprised to find that all those miscellaneous items can have collectively quite a value.

Here are just a few examples of items that are often overlooked for value:
Pocket Knives:

This is a nice vintage double blade pocket knife marked "IMPERIAL PROV. RI U.S.A." on the 2.2" long blade, with a crown above the mark, the other blades are 1.25" long.

This is a nice vintage double blade pocket knife marked "IMPERIAL PROV. RI U.S.A." on the 2.2" long blade, with a crown above the mark, the other blades are 1.25" long.

The gold washed exterior of this vintage pen knife is elaborately engraved with fanciful scroll and floral work. The smaller of its two blades is marked "Keene New York M.I. Germany."

The gold washed exterior of this vintage pen knife is elaborately engraved with fanciful scroll and floral work. The smaller of its two blades is marked "Keene New York M.I. Germany."

To see this to see this Imperial knifeon, click here. To see this Keen knife, click here;

Some of the old collectible pocket knives were made by companies like Case, Keen, Buck and Kabar and should not be overlooked. These little knives may be stuck back in a drawer or in old storage box. These are just a few of the collectible makers of pocket knives, which can bring in a tidy little sum: a Keen knife with two blades, the longer of which at 3.5 inches, can bring $45.00; A vintage Buck #301 with three blades, $30; An old Case XX pocket knife with two blades (2.25″), $40.

Not too many people smoke anymore, but the cigarette lighters are very collectible; especially when they are from a well known company or famous designer. Everyone knows Playboy and its classic black-and-white “Bunny” design. The Ronson pocket-style Bunny lighter from the 1950’s is priced from $14 to $18. Ronson makes a slim, classic-style pocket lighter that many companies have used to promote their products, from Coca Cola to power tools. These lighters can sell for $5 to $25.
Pocket Lighters:

Zippo United Fruit Co SS Talamanca Ship Lighter.

This lighter is in very good condition, with only minimal scratching. This item comes with it's original box, which is in good condition also. The box does have some wear, including very slight soiling and edge wear, and a tear in the paper as you can see from our photos. This item is marked Patent # 2032695, indicating that it dates pre-1950s.

Zippo United Fruit Co SS Talamanca Ship Lighter. This lighter is in very good condition, with only minimal scratching. This item comes with it's original box, which is in good condition also. The box does have some wear, including very slight soiling and edge wear, and a tear in the paper.

A Vintage 1959 USS Independence (CVA 62) Town & Country Zippo Lighter. Zippo is Used with wear. Basically, common wear for a lightly used Zippo.

A Vintage 1959 USS Independence (CVA 62) Town & Country Zippo Lighter. Zippo is Used with wear. Basically, common wear for a lightly used Zippo.

To see this Zippo/SS Talamanca lighter on, click here; to see this USS Independence lighter, click here.

Zippo also made commercial lighters for advertisements and they, like the Ronson, have various collectible prices in today’s market. A simple but classic Zippo Army Lighter can sell for 32.50, and more if the lighter has military emblems or regimens on the outside design. We had at our not too long ago an original Zippo issued from the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. We sold it for $55 retail, and it went out so fast that it may have been worth a quite a bit more.
Costume Jewery:

Silvertone music theme cufflink set with a G clef and musical notes motif.

Silvertone music theme cufflink set with a G clef and musical notes motif.

This vintage cuff link and tie pin set is made by Swank with June birthstone.

This vintage cuff link and tie pin set is made by Swank with June birthstone.

To see these musical cuff links on, click here; to see this Swank/June birthstone set, click here.

One of the other areas of value is in the old jewelry box, after you clean out the good stuff—the diamond rings, gold and silver watches and so forth. What is left is the costume jewelry, cuff links and tie tacks. Basic assortments of costume jewelry made of different metal, glass or plastics can go for $65 to $125, depending on the age and styles. Sometimes even higher amounts for special pieces with designer names like Eisenberg, Weiss, Hobe and Miriam Haskel, just to name a few. A nice 2′-inch brooch by Weiss with imitation pearls sells for $15 to $20. A collection of rhinestone jewelry by Weiss and Kramer can sell for $60 and higher. A nice Hobe brooch, $17.50. A rhinestone ring, signed Hobe, for 27.50. A Eisenberg Ice brooch for $52.50. A Swank sliver with blue stones, cufflinks and tie bar could be valued from $5 to $7.50. On average, the cuff link sets can sell for $2 to $10, depending on the style and age.

These are just a few of the things that slip through the cracks. In most houses, if we go into the kitchen or the garage, we would find a small fortune. We tend to keep the old coffee pots, gadgets and small appliances. There are rows of price guides in bookstores today to help place current values of just about everything ever made for the consumer markets, from decades and decades back. Before you haul all those boxes off to the trash, do a little research. You may find that you have enough value there to take that Caribbean cruise.

Robert Timmons is a general Worthologist.