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Details loom large for Steiff bear hunters

Details loom large for Steiff bear hunters

German dressmaker Margarete Steiff made her first bear in 1884.

July 20, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Smart Collector: China sets don' sell easily

Smart Collector: China sets don' sell easily

Learn how your china stacks up to the competition for bigger payoff.

July 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Thrift-store rug looks like a real treasure

Tip: Items expressly made to be collectible will never have significant value 

June 29, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Family lore may or may not be true, but dates don't lie

Family lore may or may not be true, but dates don't lie

Also, a very old toy train set sells for big money.

June 22, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Vanished Ohio Valley potteries produced many popular lines of china and glass

Q: My dad gave me these seven plates and I just keep them boxed. Can you tell me anything about them?

June 15, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Dating pressed glass can take some serious detective work

Q: This candy dish has always been in my family. It was a gift to my great-grandmother and has been handed down for generations. At the top is written in white, “My wife 1909.” I cannot determine origin and history. Can you tell me anything about it?

June 08, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Value on souvenirs varies widely

Value on souvenirs varies widely

Q: What can you tell me about these plates that I found at a thrift shop? Are they worth anything?

June 01, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
The Smart Collector: Savonarola chair is worth a few hundred bucks

The Smart Collector: Savonarola chair is worth a few hundred bucks

Q: This chair from Pennsylvania is over 100 years old. My 86-year-old friend would like to know about it. It belonged to her husband’s grandmother.

May 25, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Smart Collector: Platter wasn't saved from Civil War, but it's a neat story

Q: What can you tell us about this platter? The family story is that it was found hidden in the wall of a Baltimore hotel that was under demolition, and that it was put there to save it during the Civil War. My grandfather got it between 1920-1935.

May 18, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Condition is writ large for vintage writing instruments

Condition is writ large for vintage writing instruments

Q: What can you tell me about this beautiful pen? Engraved on its point is “Aikin Lambert No. 5.”

May 11, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
The smart collector: Like any other collectible, vintage silver has no set value

The smart collector: Like any other collectible, vintage silver has no set value

Q: We have an 80-piece set of Wallace Sterling flatware in the Grande Baroque pattern, bought in 1957. We found the quality of the set is superior to pieces sold today. What is the value of our set?

May 04, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Vintage advertising sends a powerful message of nostalgia

Vintage advertising sends a powerful message of nostalgia

Q: I’m intrigued by your column, where I’ve learned that items around the house may be more valuable than we thought. This box has been in the family for more than 60 years. Any info?

April 27, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Best known for his stunning ceramic birds, Boehm had an intriguing sideline

Q: What is current value on my two limited-edition phrenology pieces by Boehm?

April 20, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Clues point the way for the savvy antiques detective

Q: While cleaning out a storage room, I found these two lamps. Both are dirty; they were sitting in there for years. One of the icicles is missing and another has the tip broken off. Do the lamps have any value?

April 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

'Created collectibles' do have value for interested buyers

Q: How do I find value of my complete set of “100 Great Events of the 20th Century?” There are 100 coins plus their display box.

April 06, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Consult an expert to verify painting's supposed 'California connection'

Q: I inherited this painting. It’s not signed, but it’s been in my family since the 1920s. The only thing I know about it is that it may have a California connection. Can you ID the artist and its value?

March 30, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
There’s good news and bad news on chairs, so fixing value can be iffy

There’s good news and bad news on chairs, so fixing value can be iffy

Q: I was given these two chairs and I know nothing about them. One has a small brass plate on the seat underside, reading “Pittsburgh.” Any info?

March 23, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Vintage shoes in pairs have the most traction with buyers

Vintage shoes in pairs have the most traction with buyers

Q: Dealing with my mother-in-law’s estate, I found one antique ladies shoe, a child’s shoe, and two hooks. People tell me these are museum pieces. Any info on history and value? Who would be interested in having them?

March 16, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
When recording info on your treasures, make sure you have the facts straight

When recording info on your treasures, make sure you have the facts straight

Q: I recently inherited a squash blossom set from the 1920s. I don’t know a thing about it, but I want to sell. Who would buy it?

March 09, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Decorative value is still value

Decorative value is still value

Sent along with the query were several images of what appears to be a fancy ceramic liquor decanter with a decorative stopper. The bulbous jug has a small raised spout plus handle. The mug is a column with a handle. Both pieces are painted with a design of corncobs, kernels intact, on a dark…

March 02, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Smart Collector: Incomplete tea sets can still have significant value

Smart Collector: Incomplete tea sets can still have significant value

Q: Attached are images of pieces from two tea sets. One set, a wedding gift in the early 1930s, is Asian. Another is gold-plated from Italy and was a gift around the 1960s. Do either have any value other than sentimental?

February 23, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Quality, overall appeal peg value of carved elephant tusks

Quality, overall appeal peg value of carved elephant tusks

Q: What can you tell me about a treasure I’ve had for a while? It’s a carved elephant tusk about 26 inches long. It was made for Kate Smith.

February 16, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Vintage tea service has value beyond its silver content

Vintage tea service has value beyond its silver content

QUESTION: What is the value of our silver service? It came from an estate sale in New York City. You can see that the service came from Vietnam. We think it’s heavy silver plate, not sterling. How can we sell it?

February 09, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Documentation is pure gold when pricing valuable items

Documentation is pure gold when pricing valuable items

Q: I inherited pottery that’s part of a valuable collection. It has been in storage for years; it is too valuable to keep and I don’t want to display it in my home. How can I sell? Will selling be a problem, as the pieces were part of a collection?

February 02, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Early Moser art glass is most prized today

Early Moser art glass is most prized today

Q: I inherited this vase from my mother but know nothing about it. Here are images, including the Japanese signature on the bottom. Info?

January 26, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Items supposedly tied to death of James Dean need verification

Items supposedly tied to death of James Dean need verification

Q: I have the stretcher used to pick up the body of James Dean. I’m good friends with the director of the funeral home that did the job. I also have the tools used to prepare Dean for burial. Kind of morbid, but do these items have any value?

January 19, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Research essential to gauge the market for artwork

Research essential to gauge the market for artwork

Q: We have two large museum-mounted ink etchings by Jose Miguel Pardo of Spain. In the late 1980s, he was the most sought after surrealist artist; his paintings sold for tens of thousands of dollars. I have little knowledge of the art market. How can I sell them?

January 12, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Details can make the difference for savvy collectors

Details can make the difference for savvy collectors

Q: We received these Chinese silver spoons from an antique dealer as a wedding gift years ago. We were told that they are 19th century, from the Shen Xing dynasty. What is their value today?

January 05, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Smart collector: Past sales are best way to gauge artwork's value

Smart collector: Past sales are best way to gauge artwork's value

Q: My grandfather bought this work by Charles Pont some time ago. It was signed by the artist in 1933 and is still in its original frame. How do I determine present value and how can I sell it? I understand that Depression art is hot now. Is that actually true?

December 29, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Wedgwood marks peg age, and often, value

Wedgwood marks peg age, and often, value

Q: Any info on value for this Wedgwood basalt tea set left to me by a relative? If it is valuable, I want to sell.

December 22, 2013 12:00 am
Vintage vases were chic, but value now depends on how and where you sell

Vintage vases were chic, but value now depends on how and where you sell

Q: These vases have been in the family for years, but I know nothing about them. Any info on their origin and age?

December 08, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Sometimes value is impossible to pin down precisely

Sometimes value is impossible to pin down precisely

Q: Can you tell me about these two Yoshitoku dolls my grandparents bought for us around 1982?

November 24, 2013 12:00 am
Pink Depression-era glass especially popular with collectors

Pink Depression-era glass especially popular with collectors

Q: My 82-year-old aunt has had these pink glass pieces for years. Any info on history and values? Are they collectibles?

November 17, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Campaign token may be rare, but condition  trumps all

Campaign token may be rare, but condition trumps all

Q: I recently came across this commemorative coin for the presidential election of 1864. The image of George McClellan is on one side; his running mate, George Pendleton, is on the other. Value? Is value more significant now that the anniversary of the election is approaching?

November 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Seek out an expert to pin down value on Italian paperweight

Seek out an expert to pin down value on Italian paperweight

Q: We think the date on our paperweight is really great. Can you tell us anything about it?

October 27, 2013 12:00 am
The Smart Collector

The Smart Collector

Q: My husband found this while relic hunting. Can you ID it? It was found near Civil War, Revolutionary War and similar items.

October 20, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Smart Collector: Mechanical doll could be worth $800

Smart Collector: Mechanical doll could be worth $800

Q: What is today’s value on my doll? She’s in good shape; there are no chips on her bisque head and there has been very little restoration. She has only a petticoat, but I have old material that could be used for clothing.

October 13, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Scrimshaw fakes abound, so beware if in the market

Scrimshaw fakes abound, so beware if in the market

Q: I want to find out how much a walrus tusk scrimshawed by (name omitted) is worth. The tusk is 19 inches long.

October 06, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Vintage door stops widely reproduced and faked

Vintage door stops widely reproduced and faked

Q: How can I tell if a cast-iron doorstop is old/antique or not? Some of the ones I own have a number and say “Hubley.” Some are painted and some are a little rusty. How do I determine value?

September 29, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Souvenirs from Century of Progress fair still highly collectible

Souvenirs from Century of Progress fair still highly collectible

Q: Any info on my gas coin? It’s marked “Johnson Gasolene” and “Century of Progress, Chicago, IL.”

September 22, 2013 12:00 am
Refinishing could boost price for handsome 'hat box dresser'

Refinishing could boost price for handsome 'hat box dresser'

Q: Attached is the image of an old dresser that’s been in our family for a long time. My husband has not let me refinish it because it might have some value. It still has original drawer pulls and roller feet. I’ve refinished pieces before and really enjoy doing this. Your opinion?

September 10, 2013 12:00 am
Unopened vintage cigarette tins in excellent condition will bring a pretty penny

Unopened vintage cigarette tins in excellent condition will bring a pretty penny

Q: I’ve done Internet searches but cannot find any info on my two unopened cans of Chesterfield cigarettes from the 1950s.

September 01, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Original Tiffany Studios items are rare, costly

Q: Several years ago, a friend gave me a lamp base marked on the underside, “Tiffany Studios New York, 629.” Written in black are, “F616 TTW” and the letter “M” in a circle.

August 25, 2013 12:00 am
The market is hot for fine smoking collectibles

The market is hot for fine smoking collectibles

Q: We’ve tried researching our antique cigar cutter online but cannot find any information. When you push down on a lever, a match flips up.

August 18, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
The smart collector: Portrait miniatures big in 18th, early 19th centuries

The smart collector: Portrait miniatures big in 18th, early 19th centuries

Q: Any info on my paintings signed Faleinell? Each is about 2 by 3 inches plus the frame. I'd like to know something about the artist, when they were painted, and value.

August 11, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
The smart collector: Select an auction house with eye to marketing, fees

The smart collector: Select an auction house with eye to marketing, fees

Q: My late father's estate includes 64 pieces of George Nakashima furniture. We have original correspondence between George N. and my father concerning the creation of one item.

August 04, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
The smart collector: 'Vermeer' works aren't even good fakes

The smart collector: 'Vermeer' works aren't even good fakes

Q: Are these paintings by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) of any value?

July 28, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
The smart collector: If it's old, it's not necessarily valuable

The smart collector: If it's old, it's not necessarily valuable

Q: Any info on my vase marked, "Made in Japan"? It seems to be clay and is 11 1/2 inches tall. Note that the surface is not smooth.

June 30, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
The smart collector: Folding bed has value as a curiosity, but no collector market really exists

The smart collector: Folding bed has value as a curiosity, but no collector market really exists

Q: My mother bought this folding bed in the 1970s. It's marked "Bednet," but I can't find any info online. Is it a Murphy bed?

June 16, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
The smart collector: Lamp collectors covet fine pieces from the golden age of cut glass

The smart collector: Lamp collectors covet fine pieces from the golden age of cut glass

Q: Any info on this antique lamp I bought at an estate sale? There was no information furnished with it. I thought it was pretty. It's 27 inches tall, not including the chimney.

May 26, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

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