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Do you have a haunted antique?

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By Terry Kovel
Syndicated Columnist
Published:
  • This 51-inch-high Gothic Revival armchair made in the 19th century seems to belong in a dark castle. It looks like a chair owned by one of our readers...

    Cowles Syndicate Inc.

    This 51-inch-high Gothic Revival armchair made in the 19th century seems to belong in a dark castle. It looks like a chair owned by one of our readers that's supposedly haunted because it "squeaks" in the night. Without a ghost, it's worth about $400 to $600.

We have heard many stories about "haunted antiques" through the years, and we often ask readers to send us their stories.
Clocks seem to be the most likely to be haunted. One reader's mother bought a modern sunburst wall clock in 1952. It stayed on the kitchen wall. In 1982, her father died and in 1992 her mother began dating. Whenever the boyfriend came over, the clock would make a "grunting" noise.
According to the reader, "Mother married and her new husband asked that the clock be thrown out, but I put it in the attic. In 2006, they divorced and I brought the clock into the kitchen. It is quiet now. Mother said she should have listened to the clock."
No one has told us of a dangerous example. Many have suggested that returning the antique to a better condition or a more comfortable place in the house seems to solve the problem.
Do you have a "haunted antique?" Tell us about it at
I bought an old wooden rocking horse for $50 at a garage sale. It's 27 inches tall and the rockers are 32 1/2 inches long. The horse stands on a platform that has four metal wheels and two wooden rockers. It has a leather saddle and a real hair tail. I'm wondering how I should clean it. Should I use furniture polish?
A: Rocking horses with wheels were popular toys at the turn of the century. When a child was young, the toy could be used as a rocking horse. When the child was a little older, the rockers were taken off the horse and the child could "ride" the horse on its wheels.
You can clean your rocking horse with a damp sponge or cloth with a solution of a mild soap and water. Don't let the wood get too wet and don't use furniture polish.

Q: I own an 8-inch Lenci doll dressed in a plain blue dress with a closed bottom. The dress zips open in the back and has a long blue cloth handle. The tag on the doll's back says "Lenci, Torino, Made in Italy." The only decoration is a pink collar and red bow under the doll's blond-haired head. I have seen a lot of Lenci dolls, but wonder if this one was designed as a purse. What is it worth?
A: Lenci di E. Scavini, best-known as a manufacturer of felt dolls, was founded in 1919 in Turin, Italy. By 1927-28, the company had introduced purses among the accessories it started making a few years earlier.
The first purses were dressed more elaborately than yours, so yours was probably made later -- perhaps as late as the 1950s. In the 1950s, Lenci also made small dolls with bag skirts to hold candy, but these had no handle.
If your doll's head is celluloid rather than felt, that's another clue that it's a later Lenci product. Most later Lenci purses sell for $15 to $40. Lenci changed hands during World War II and closed in 2002.

Q: Where can I find glass tops for a stainless-steel percolator coffee pot? I'm desperate to find a replacement top for my coffee pot.
A: You may find replacement glass tops at your local hardware store. You can also order them from Coffee Maker Outlet (800-251-8824), Classic Kitchens and More (717-840-9537), Amazon.com and other sources that you can find online. The glass "knobs" come in different sizes, so be sure to specify the size you need.
Write to Terry Kovel, (The Herald), King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.
© 2011, Cowles Syndicate Inc.


On the block
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.
"The Cook is in the Parlour Cookbook," by Marguerite Gilbert McCarthy, 309 pages, Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1947, $20.
Madame Alexander Maggie Mix-Up doll, dressed as Mona Lisa, green velvet gown with gold braid, long black veil over long brown hair, 1990s, 8 inches, $45.
Prohibition shot glass, image of menacing woman with ax, "Bread Not Booze," loaf of bread says "Vote Dry," c. 1917, 2 1/8 inches, $50.
Lefton butter dish, figural bluebird, big side-glancing eyes, long painted eyelashes, two pink flowers above left eye, pink face, burgundy bow, 1950s, 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, $135.
Lake View spice tin, cinnamon, image of girl in blue 1920s bathing suit standing by lake with sailboat, white ground, red letters, 4 x 2 inches, $175.
Philco cathedral radio, wood case, AM and shortwave bands, four knobs, embossed trademark, 1935, 17 x 12 1/2 inches, $225.
English oak mule chest, hinged, rectangular top, molded edge, three inset panels over two drawers, ogee bracket feet, 1870s, 36 x 55 x 21 inches, $3,440.">collectorsgallery@kovels.com
Story tags » Antiques

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