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Iron football toys survive, but their game has been lost

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By Terry Kovel
  • This cast-iron player kicks the football with the help of a lever and a spring. It sold for $547 in 2009.

    Cowles Syndicate Inc.

    This cast-iron player kicks the football with the help of a lever and a spring. It sold for $547 in 2009.

During football season, fans shop for T-shirts, banners, nodding heads, glasses and other souvenirs of the game. Through the years, many football toys also have been made.
A 1930s iron mechanical place-kicker toy actually could kick a tiny football. This toy has been attributed to the Hubley Manufacturing Co. of Lancaster, Pa., but we found the toy’s 1934 U.S. patent (No. 1,954,838). It was granted to Charles Woolsey and Henry Bowman of Minneapolis, who assigned it to the Hinsdale Manufacturing Co. of Chicago.
The invention was a game, not just the place-kicking figure. There was a fiberboard backboard that represented a football field. It had football-shaped holes that were targets for the football kicked by the iron mechanical man.
The kicker could be moved into different positions. The idea was to get the toy man to kick his miniature ball through one of the backboard’s holes for a goal. Few of the backboards have survived, so collectors often think the football player merely kicked the celluloid or tin ball into the air.
Some information about the game is still unknown. Did Hinsdale manufacture it? Or did it sell its rights to Hubley? And is its value changed by knowing it’s part of a game, not a stand-alone toy?

Q: I have a desk with a mark on the back that reads “Sheboygan Novelty Co. Combination Ladies Desk, No 17.” I’d like to know something about this company and the age of the desk.
A: Sheboygan Novelty Co. was founded in 1890 in Sheboygan, Wis., and remained in business until the 1930s. The company made furniture, including bookcases, buffets, cellarettes, china cabinets, dining sets, ladies’ desks and cabinets for music, player-piano rolls and phonographs. Your combination bookcase-desk probably was made in about 1900.
Q: I have a medal with a picture of a turtle carrying a box on its back and the words “Executive Experiment, 1837, Fiscal Agent” on one side. On the other side, there’s a horse or donkey with the words “I follow in the steps of my illustrious predecessor.”Can you tell me who made it and if it has any value?
A: You have a “Hard Times Token,” one of hundreds of different nongovernmental currency tokens made from 1834 until about 1844. In 1836, President Andrew Jackson issued an executive order, the Specie Circular or Coinage Act, requiring payment in gold or silver coins when buying government land.
It was meant to eliminate land speculation, but instead caused inflation, the hoarding of coins and the Panic of 1837. To help sales during that time, tokens that could be used as unofficial currency were made by merchants and other private companies.
The tokens pictured various designs, advertising and political themes. They usually were made of copper and were about the size of the large penny of that era. The Coinage Act went into effect when President Martin Van Buren, Jackson’s successor, was in office.
The words on your token were used by Van Buren in his inaugural address. The animal is a jackass. The turtle on the other side is carrying a safe. Value of your token: less than $25.

Q: I have a pair of vaseline glass candleholders that are 9 inches tall. They are each on a six-sided double stand. They have an off-white cross with a figure of Jesus in gold. Also in gold are the letters “I.N.R.I.” They have been in my family a long time. Someone told me they are more than 100 years old, but I know they were a wedding gift to my parents in 1916. I would appreciate any comment you may have about them.
A: Pressed-glass crucifix candleholders were a popular religious item in the early 1900s, and were made by several different companies in various sizes and colors, including clear glass, milk glass, amber, blue, green, marigold, opal, purple and vaseline glass.
Cambridge Glass Co. offered crucifix candlesticks in its 1903 catalog. McKee Glass Co. also made crucifix candlesticks in the early 1900s. The letters “I.N.R.I” stand for the Latin words that translate to “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.”
A shipment of crucifix candlesticks was found in the wreckage of a steam-powered ocean liner that sank off the coast of Nantucket, Mass., after colliding with another ocean liner in 1909.
An ordinary pressed glass crucifix candlestick sells for $10 to $20. If the gold decoration on your pair is original, they would be worth more.

Q: I have a teepee teapot, probably purchased in the early- to mid-1950s by my parents during a trip to Canada. The spout is an Indian chief with headdress, and the handle is designed as a totem pole. The pot has a moose and leaves on it. The bottom says Cliff, Newport Pottery of England, Greetings from Canada.” Any information about it?
A: Clarice Cliff (1899-1972) was a designer who worked at several English potteries, including Newport Pottery. She’s best known for her brightly colored Art Deco designs. Your Teepee teapot was made for the Canadian souvenir trade.
It was designed in 1939 by Betty Sylvester, an apprentice at the pottery, but it was not produced until 1947. Collectors like novelty teapots, and your teapot is very collectible. “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide” lists the teapot at $450.
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.
• Chrome canister set, Lincoln BeautyWare, flour, sugar, coffee and tea, 1950s, 9 inches, 5 inches and 4 1/2 inches, $20.
• Roosevelt and Garner 1933 presidential inaugural program, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John N. Garner photos on cover, biographies, list of guests, 64 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, $80.
• Kellogg’s advertising paperweight, milk glass, image of child sitting in basket looking at box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, “Oh! Look Who’s Here,” 5 x 3 1/4 x 3/8 inches, $120.
• Minton cabinet plate, underwater scene of sea creature and plants, pale aqua border with gold accents, octagonal, blue mark, c. 1880, 9 inches, $135.
• Lace nightgown, white cotton, wide lace collar, 3 mother-of-pearl buttons, lace cuffs, 1800s, bust 38, length 59 inches, $145.
• Bugs Bunny doll as Davy Crockett, painted plastic face, cotton body, faux-suede jacket and pants, coonskin cap of real rabbit fur, Warner Bros. copyright, 1950s, 18 3/4 inches, $170.
• Bennington Rockingham pitcher, Boar and Stag Hunt, other game animals and birds around body, tree-and-twig handle, brown glaze, 1860s, 10 inches, $225.
• “Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Target Game,” image of Snow White and forest animals on board, seven die-cut cardboard dwarfs with targets, evil stepmother in largest target, American Toy Works, c. 1938, $310.
• Tiffany wine glass, cup with opalescent highlights, long green stem, ribbed iridescent foot within freeform Favrile swirls, signed, c. 1896, 7 1/2 inches, $1,380.
• French brass bed with hammered cameo medallions on head -- and footboards, twisted spindles, footboard curves inward, 1890s, headboard 56 x 54 inches, $3,500.
Story tags » Antiques

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