The smart collector: Mug has 3 hound-shaped handles

2013-06-02T00:00:00Z The smart collector: Mug has 3 hound-shaped handlesDanielle Arnet Tribune Media Services Arizona Daily Star
June 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Q: I was given this three-handled cider jug by friends in England long ago. I was told that it's very old. There are no marks, but I think it's unique because it is flawless. Any info?

A: Seen in a photo sent, this is indeed an item with three handles. On closer inspection, the handles are hounds with heads at the top near the lip. Condition is not what makes it unique, though, of course, condition counts. The handles make the difference. Hound three-handle mugs are a collector plus.

Technically, this is not a jug. In the world of old barroom or kitchen antiques, a jug is a small pitcher. Very old versions were stoneware. Smart collectors know that in England, what we call a mug is often a "jug." And "cider" is an alcoholic beverage made from fruit.

To be precise, call this a three-handled earthenware drinking pot with hound handles. The type originated in England and was common in the 17th century. They have been excavated at the sites of early colonies in the U.S.

Potteries, including Doulton and Wedgwood, made versions, some with hound handles. Unmarked generic cups such as the reader's are often impossible to date, but they are old. How old is an expert's call. I can't think of any exact repros.

In 2003, an identical mug sold in an Ohio auction for today's equivalent of $133.60. Bottoms up!

Q: Over the years, I've accumulated a lot of paintings, art engravings, vases, rare newspapers and a sculpture or two. They're not Van Gogh grade and I'm not computer savvy, but they may be valuable someday. Who can help me catalog and sell these items?

A: Considering circumstances, I suggest you enlist a tech-savvy family member or friend interested in helping. If he's high-energy, so much the better. Best of all, he might work for free, or for their pick of the goods.

It's not possible to know what may be valuable someday. Experts have educated and informed ideas, but exact foreknowledge is impossible.

The key here is to deal with today's reality. Let your helper dig online and at the library for current and recent prices on the items you have. Assign someone realistic; "paintings" might be art prints and some items may, unfortunately, be worthless.

Q: This is a Bugs Bunny clock that was my son's. He's an adult now. When you set the alarm, it would say something like, "Eh, wake up, doc." The clock does not work. Can you help me find a new motor to fix it? Is it worth anything?

A: The character clock seen in a photo is a licensed Bugs Bunny Talking Alarm made around 1974 by Janex. When we looked, there were 19 working and nonworking ones posted on eBay.

Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny collectors hunt for the clock, but enough working versions in good condition are available that buyers are choosy.

Recent completed sales on eBay range from $4 for a damaged, nonworking version good only for parts, to about $20 for those with broken alarms. Working clocks with functional alarms brought around $46. One in unscratched, great condition sold for $65.98.

Finding a new motor for a specialized product that old will be impossible. That's why collectors hoard parts.

Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send email to smartcollector@comcast.net or write to Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Please include an address in your query. Photos will not be returned.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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