Terry and Kim Kovel

To most, tiles are utilitarian. To some, they’re a sought-after art form.

Collectors particularly prize tiles made by early 20th century art potteries. This Wheatley piece sold for $216 at auction.

 

Don’t blow a bundle on glass supposedly made by the Henry William Stiegel

Why? Faked signatures, reused molds and imitated styles can make it unclear who actually made any given piece of glass.

 

For some, this cigar lighter’s sinister symbolism is especially striking

Whether it is a sincere or ironic reference to tobacco as poison, this snake-shaped lighter sold for $1,599 at auction.

 

This Japanese clock is designed to account for seasonal shifts in daylight

Days and nights are divided into units called “toki,” similar to hours in a day, except these adjust based on the season.

Over 200 years, the magic lantern transformed into an educational peacock

Regarded as magic in the 1650s, this device was refined into the more scientific sounding sciopticon by the mid-1800s.

What we might call a bar cart began as Victorian England’s tea trolley

Whatever you call it and however you use it, this birch wood cart with white enameled wheels attracted $2,650 at auction.

These pickles mark your spot and serve as memorable advertising for Heinz

Whimsical, attention-grabbing bookmarks like these are both fun and practical. This set of nine sold for $130 at auction.

Foregoing his love of watercolor, this artist became the king of enamels

Kenneth Bates brought the craft out of jewelry houses and into the hands of hobbyists. This piece sold for $1,188 at auction.

You’d be hard pressed to spot a flaw in this amethyst-purple glass vase

This 19th-century, tulip-shaped vase was made with pressed glass and natural gemstone coloring. It sold for $960 at auction.

While snails can symbolize laziness, their shells have long inspired art

Adorned with colorful glass “jewels,” this miniature brass snail’s shell was striking enough to fetch $51 at auction.

Made to last, old furniture is reborn when altered to suit modern tastes

This secretaire cabinet, made around 1830, was refinished in an elaborate East Asian style. It sold for $9,274 at auction.

Stained-glass screens did more than block stray sparks from the fireplace

Fire screens were once made of wood, leather, wicker and papier-mache. Then came the bright idea to use stained glass.

With a clock like this, you’ll never need to buy a new calendar again

This calendar clock, which sold for $5,100 at auction, is said to correct for the days of each month, even in leap years.

Today, most people would probably prefer a decorative glass pear with a gold partridge to a real-life partridge in a pear tree.

Annoying Christmas song inspired exquisite glass figurine

This Steuben Glass Works piece contains a tiny 18k gold partridge in — you guessed it — a pear tree.

Today, most people would probably prefer a decorative glass pear with a gold partridge to a real-life partridge in a pear tree.

Santa’s image has been influenced by history, folklore and advertisements

This country store Santa holds an American flag even though the North Pole is his traditonal home. It sold for $441 at auction.

Famed Della Robbia pottery was made in America — by a native of England

Frederick Hurten Rhead designed Roseville Pottery’s most famous art pottery line, named for an Italian Renaissance sculptor.

This fantastic chair carved from walnut takes the form of an ostrich

“Fantasy furniture,” hundreds of years old, can depict both real and mythical animals. This piece sold for $3,276 at auction.

Early 20th century Puffy lamps don’t need to be on to brighten up a room

With three-dimensional designs painted on the shade, lamps like this don’t need darkness to provide decorative value.

Emile Galle infused furniture with elements of his better-known glass work

This tea table from the pioneer of art nouveau is stylistically similar to his cameo glass. It sold for $2,800 at auction.

This platter is fit for a Thanksgiving feast — even if it was made in England

Though it’s adorned with the all-American turkey, this platter bears the marking of an English pottery company.