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For Father's Day gifts, think antiques

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By Terry Kovel
  • Would your father like this? It's shaped like a guillotine and works like one when cutting a cigar. It auctioned in November 2011 for $1,464 at Neal A...

    Cowles Syndicate Inc.

    Would your father like this? It's shaped like a guillotine and works like one when cutting a cigar. It auctioned in November 2011 for $1,464 at Neal Auction Co. in New Orleans. It's too dangerous to be near children.

Father's Day is coming in June, so think ahead and try to find a unusual gift for your father. Shop at a flea market or antiques shop.
Some of today's movies and TV series have made the "look" of the 1950s and '60s popular. Shirts with buttonholes, not buttons, on sleeve cuffs need cufflinks. Most dealers who sell jewelry also sell inexpensive and unusual vintage cufflinks -- costume jewelry links more than 50 years old -- for $10 to $30.
Expensive silver and gold cufflinks with precious stones can sell for $750 to $1,000. The breast pocket handkerchief also has come back. These often are seen at flea markets, carefully folded and stacked, at prices from $2 to $15. Old toy trains, cars and games are easy to find, and so are bookends, duck decoys and tools. The list is almost endless.
Smoking is out of style, but all the collectibles associated with smoking are easy to find. Ashtrays, old lithographed tin boxes that held tobacco, bargain-priced carved Meershaum pipes with amber mouthpieces, advertising signs and cigarette lighters are interesting gifts even if your father doesn't smoke.
The most unusual find this year originally was used by a cigar smoker, but it probably is displayed on a library shelf today, useless but fun. It is a French walnut and ivory cigar cutter shaped like a small guillotine. The 19th-century oddity, called a "Guillotube," is 17 3/4 inches high and has a working blade.
Keep it locked away from children. It's a macabre reminder of the French Revolution and of the danger of smoking cigars. It sold for $1,464 at a 2011 auction in New Orleans.

Q: I own an Eames lounge chair and ottoman I purchased in the 1970s. I have had offers from dealers who want to purchase the set even though the leather on the ottoman is heavily worn. If I have the ottoman recovered, would I increase the set's value?
A: The famous Eames lounge chair and ottoman have been in continuous production since 1956. In the United States, the manufacturer since the beginning has been Herman Miller, Inc., of Zeeland, Mich. We suspect that your chair interests dealers because of the plywood frame's finish. Chairs that have plywood frames with Brazilian rosewood veneer sell for high prices because an embargo on Brazilian rosewood has been in place since 1992. Don't bother recovering the ottoman.

Q: I have a color woodcut print by Paul Jacoulet called "Joaquina et sa mere." It is signed and numbered "163." My mother-in-law wrote on the back that the first print in the series was given to Pope Pius XII. I'm interested in learning the value of this print.
A: Paul Jacoulet (1902-1960) was born in France and spent most of his life in Japan. He made Japanese woodblock prints that were issued in series and sold by subscription. Each series had a distinctive seal, such as a sparrow or butterfly.
The complete title of your print is "Joaquina et sa mere au Sermon du Pere Pon." That roughly translates to "Joaquina and her mother to the sermon of Father Pon," so perhaps that was why it was given to the Pope. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago sold this print for $620 in 2011.

Q: In a house we were cleaning out after a death in our family, we found a round collector's plate that pictures the Madonna and Child. The picture is signed "Jessie Willcox Smith." What can you tell me about the plate and the artist?
A: Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935) was a famous American illustrator whose work was used extensively in magazines and children's books. She was born in Philadelphia and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts there before taking classes from Howard Pyle, another well-known illustrator.
Collector plates using Smith's images were first made well after her death. They don't sell for more than about $20. Check the back of your plate to see if there is a mark that may help you date the plate and identify the company that made it.
Write to Terry Kovel, (The Herald), King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.
© 2012, 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.
Olympic banner, 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, white, purple "L," pink "A," red "8," turquoise "4," 22 x 48 inches, $20.
Mechanical bank, "Old Time Uncle Sam" plastic, place coin in Uncle Sam's hand, push button, coin drops in bag, copyright J.S.N.Y., Hong Kong, 1974, 8 3/4 x 4 1/4 inches, $40.
Stamp holder, celluloid envelope, ad for Parke's coffee on one side, ad for Gold Camel Tea on other, insert for stamps, Meek Co., Coshocton, Ohio, c. 1910, 2 1/4 x 1 3/4 inches, $45.
Boy Scouts booklet, "The Boy Scout Plan," celluloid cover, image of American flag, c. 1915, 3 3/4 x 2 3/4 in., four pages, $60.
Prohibition pennant, felt, "Make Ohio Dry" on 1 side, "Ohio Is Going Dry" on other, black, white letters, orange trim, 1915, 17 inches, $85.
American flag, 46 stars, silk, black pole, 1908, custom-made wooden case, 17 x 12 inches, $125.
Red Wing pottery flower frog, seahorse on coral base, glossy ivory glaze, c. 1942, 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches, $150.
Man's linen suit, white, mother-of-pearl buttons, cuffed pants with button fly, "Tailored by Goodall" label, 1930s, size 30 pants, $295.
Coca-Cola carton topper, image of Eddie Fisher, die-cut cardboard, "On Radio, KRHD-Radio," 1954, 20 x 12 inches, $475.
Serving table, William IV, carved mahogany, backsplash with scroll terminals, stretcher shelf, turned vase-shape supports, turned feet, c. 1840, 36 1/2 x 53 inches, $1,075.
Story tags » Antiques

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