Terry and Kim Kovel

This Yellow Coach bus made by Arcade is 13 inches long and in great condition. It sold for $600 at Bertoia Auctions in 2020. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

This Arcade yellow double decker bus was made about 1926

In 1921, Arcade Manufacturing Co. decided to make toys that were copies of real vehicles and everyday items.

 

Scherenschnitte is a special type of German paper cutting art, and old and new examples are both seen at auctions. This modern example sold for just $40. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

G.B. French made this scherenschnitte in the 20th century

The Kovels were surprised French’s paper cutting art was at auction, when artwork from the 1800s is more popular.

 

This wooden cabinet with decorations and the name Sherwin-Williams is easy to date. A salamander is carved on the door suggesting a date before 1905 when the logo was changed. We wonder why a paint company used a salamander and not a chameleon that changed colors. Did the artist draw the wrong creature? (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Sherwin-Williams cabinet features salamander logo circa 1870

The paint company’s famous world globe covered with dripping paint replaced the amphibian in 1905.

 

The Paris porcelain vase pictured is 13 inches high and 7 inches in diameter, large enough to hold a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant. The decoration is very formal and realistic. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Vintage Paris porcelain can be a mystery to some collectors

It’s mysterious because most pieces aren’t marked and sometimes they’re sold as Vieux Paris or Old Paris.

The Paris porcelain vase pictured is 13 inches high and 7 inches in diameter, large enough to hold a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant. The decoration is very formal and realistic. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
The 44-inch-tall antique wicker carriage has an adjustable hood. It auctioned for just $61.50 at a Conestoga Auction Co. sale. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

19th-century baby buggy a nice gift for this year’s first born

The 44-inch-tall antique wicker carriage has an adjustable hood. It auctioned for just $61.50.

The 44-inch-tall antique wicker carriage has an adjustable hood. It auctioned for just $61.50 at a Conestoga Auction Co. sale. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This hardworking Santa in an orange and blue outfit is carrying toys with a donkey not a reindeer. The 8-inch toy was made in Germany. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Most expensive Christmas collectibles? The older ones, of course

A tree from 1832 started the U.S. Christmas decorating custom that has grown into a billion-dollar industry.

This hardworking Santa in an orange and blue outfit is carrying toys with a donkey not a reindeer. The 8-inch toy was made in Germany. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This 11-inch-high antique rainbow spatterware water picture with bands in five different colors sold for more than $5,000 at a Conestoga auction this year. Notice the double G-scroll handle, an added value feature. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Just how old is an antique rainbow spatterware water pitcher?

The collectable was first made in the late 1700s, but most found today dates from about 1800 to 1850.

This 11-inch-high antique rainbow spatterware water picture with bands in five different colors sold for more than $5,000 at a Conestoga auction this year. Notice the double G-scroll handle, an added value feature. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
To deposit a coin in the Bonzo bank, you had to push his tummy. His tongue would come out of his mouth to deposit the coin inside. Many similar banks were made picturing other comic characters. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Mechanical bank of the first famous Bonzo sells for $1,800

The dog decorating the front of the tin bank was a comic cartoon star from the 1920s to the 1940s.

To deposit a coin in the Bonzo bank, you had to push his tummy. His tongue would come out of his mouth to deposit the coin inside. Many similar banks were made picturing other comic characters. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This toy tourist bus was made about 1910 by the Kenton Hardware Co. in Ohio. Not all of the passengers were part of the original toy, but suitable replacements had been found. It is a rare toy, so rare it auctioned for a little over $1,000. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Double-decker toy bus made about 1900 sold for over $1,000

The toys made after 1895 often resembled tourist buses used in a few large cities. It had a motor.

This toy tourist bus was made about 1910 by the Kenton Hardware Co. in Ohio. Not all of the passengers were part of the original toy, but suitable replacements had been found. It is a rare toy, so rare it auctioned for a little over $1,000. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Condition has become the most important feature when determining price. Fame, rarity and history are also considered when setting a price. Sometimes a price is high because there are two determined bidders. This maguey fiber tapestry, "Moon," after Alexander Calder, sold at a Rago auction in 2017 for $4,688. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Limited edition rug in Alexander Calder’s design sells for $16K

“Moon” was one of 14 rugs Calder had made by Guatemala weavers for an earthquake relief fund in 1972.

Condition has become the most important feature when determining price. Fame, rarity and history are also considered when setting a price. Sometimes a price is high because there are two determined bidders. This maguey fiber tapestry, "Moon," after Alexander Calder, sold at a Rago auction in 2017 for $4,688. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
There have been copies of the antique Suffolk pig bottles in other colors of glass. The original bottle is 10 inches long and has a smooth base. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Medicines from the 1800s sold best in pig-shaped bottles

It encouraged sales because there was a belief in the 1880s that pigs bring prosperity and wealth.

There have been copies of the antique Suffolk pig bottles in other colors of glass. The original bottle is 10 inches long and has a smooth base. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This pottery vase by Vally Wieselthier has typical, colorful Wiener Werkstatte decorations. It was made around 1925 in Austria. 

(c) 2020 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

Prominent German artist’s pieces seldom turn up at auction

After moving to the U.S. in 1929, Vally Wieselthier was a big hit in artistic circles. One of her vases recently sold for $1,037.

This pottery vase by Vally Wieselthier has typical, colorful Wiener Werkstatte decorations. It was made around 1925 in Austria. 

(c) 2020 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.
This silver-plated serving piece is called a box but it doesn't look like one. It held English biscuits, but if the sides opened, the cookies inside would fall down. Each of the shell-shaped bowls had a hinged, pierced flap that kept the heat and the biscuits in place when the sides were opened and became flat bowls to serve the cookies. The flaps are often missing when the biscuit box is sold.-

These British ‘biscuit boxes’ are cookie jars by any other name

And fancy silver ones can sell for as much as $256 at antiques auctions.

This silver-plated serving piece is called a box but it doesn't look like one. It held English biscuits, but if the sides opened, the cookies inside would fall down. Each of the shell-shaped bowls had a hinged, pierced flap that kept the heat and the biscuits in place when the sides were opened and became flat bowls to serve the cookies. The flaps are often missing when the biscuit box is sold.-
The pumpkin-head dancers are wearing their original blue felt and cotton sailor outfits. They are 8 1/2 inches tall and in excellent working condition, so a collector paid $1,920. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Halloween dancing couple with pumpkin heads sells for $1,900

The toy from early 1900s is on a wheeled platform, so the pumkin-head dancers go in circles when wound up.

The pumpkin-head dancers are wearing their original blue felt and cotton sailor outfits. They are 8 1/2 inches tall and in excellent working condition, so a collector paid $1,920. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This Worcester Dr. Wall cup and saucer is in the Kakiemon pattern. It's porcelain and was made around 1785. It sold for $160 at a Neal auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

The trick to telling if your dish is antique Worcester porcelain

When you hold the 18th-century plate up to a strong light, the white china appears to be light green.

This Worcester Dr. Wall cup and saucer is in the Kakiemon pattern. It's porcelain and was made around 1785. It sold for $160 at a Neal auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This toy refrigerator can be dated by the square section that held a block of ice, an early type used from the 1840s. It sold at auction in “unplayed with” condition with a pristine box for more than $1,000. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

This toy refrigerator from 1840s has spot for block of ice

A recent auction sold the play icebox with its original pristine box for $1,440. It is 5½ inches tall.

This toy refrigerator can be dated by the square section that held a block of ice, an early type used from the 1840s. It sold at auction in “unplayed with” condition with a pristine box for more than $1,000. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
No, this is not a table. It is four tables made to fit together until they are needed. The clever set sold for about $1,400 at a recent Cottone auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

This strange table is one of modernist Italian designer’s works

It’s actually a nest of four tables, designed by Gianfranco Frattini in the 1960s.

No, this is not a table. It is four tables made to fit together until they are needed. The clever set sold for about $1,400 at a recent Cottone auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Egg cup frame made of sterling silver is over 200 years old

Egg cup frame made of sterling silver is over 200 years old

An English breakfast could be served with very fancy and expensive dishes and silver serving pieces.

Egg cup frame made of sterling silver is over 200 years old
This French window bench was in style the last half of the 18th century. Although it was made to use by a window, it is popular with decorators today as a hall bench or a seat at the end of a bed. This bench sold for about $1,600 at an auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

French window bench in style the last half of the 18th century

This Provincial Louis XVI fruitwood window seat was sold at a New Orleans auction for $1,625.

This French window bench was in style the last half of the 18th century. Although it was made to use by a window, it is popular with decorators today as a hall bench or a seat at the end of a bed. This bench sold for about $1,600 at an auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Tea, an expensive luxury in the 18th century, was kept in a locked box. This tea caddy on a pedestal is 33 inches high by 16 inches wide. It auctioned for almost $3,000. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Impressive tea caddy features inlay picturing Queen Victoria

Tea was a luxury in the 18th century, so special boxes were made for it with a lock and key.

Tea, an expensive luxury in the 18th century, was kept in a locked box. This tea caddy on a pedestal is 33 inches high by 16 inches wide. It auctioned for almost $3,000. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)