Iron doorstops have been very popular collectibles since 1985. They were first made in England, where they were called door porters. The invention of a hinge that let a door close automatically inspired the iron figure that stopped the door from closing.
Soon after, doorstops became popular in the United States. Companies that had been making cast iron toys and other items began designing and making doorstops that resembled people, animals, flowers and other figures. Five companies were the largest suppliers, and each had a name or logo that was usually molded into the flat back. Look for Bradley and Hubbard’s “B & H” mark; Hubley’s paper label with the name across a circle; and Judd Co.’s mark, “CJO.”
In the 1980s, iron doorstops for high prices, and hundreds of copies were made and sold in gift shops, antiques events and auctions. Fakes usually have perfect bright paint; a rough texture to the unpainted iron on the back; modern slotted screws; and, if made in two parts, a seam that is not perfectly smooth.
This 12½-inch antique lobster doorstop was made in the early 20th century. It sold for $1,800 at an Eldred auction in Massachusetts.
Q: I just inherited two Shawnee Pottery cookie jar banks, a Winnie and a Smiley. They are in near perfect condition. The Smiley has one flaw on the hat. Where is the best place to auction or sell these for the best return?
A: Shawnee Pottery Co. was in business in Zanesville, Ohio, from 1937 to 1961. Smiley Pig and Winnie Pig are their most popular lines. Cookie jars, shakers, pitchers and creamers were made. Smiley was designed in 1942 and Winnie Pig in 1945. The cookie jars were made with various painted and decal decorations, including different colored scarves, flowers, shamrocks, apples, flies, butterflies and gold trim. Value depends on the decoration as well as condition. Smiley and Winnie Pig with bank heads were only made with a chocolate (brown) bottom or a butterscotch bottom and a green scarf for Smiley, green hat for Winnie. If the “flaw” on Smiley’s hat is a chip, that lowers the value. You can try an auction that sells Shawnee pottery, or see if a local dealer will take them on consignment. Smiley or Winnie cookie jar banks sell for about $350, but there are many auctions where they were less.
Q: I have a couple of shipping crates with “G.B. Lewis, Watertown, Wisconsin” on them. They’re in good condition. They’re also marked “Certified Cold Storage, Security Storage Co., Washington.” Any information about the time period that these crates were used and their estimated value would be appreciated.
A: G.B. Lewis Co. made the crates for Security Storage Co., a moving company established in Washington, D.C., in 1890. George B. Lewis founded his company in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1863. The company made beehives, beekeeper supplies and shipping crates. At one time it was the largest manufacturer of “beeware” in the world. It began making fiberglass reinforced plastic containers in the 1950s. By the mid-1950s, production of beeware declined and most of the company’s business was the production of containers for industrial use. There were several changes in ownership and organization after 1955. The company was out of business by 2001. Most old crates are not collectible, but they may sell for their use value. Price them at half the price of a new crate.
Q: I would like information on the value of my stained glass lampshade. Inside the brass ceiling fixture, it says “Moran/Hudson, Chicago.” It is approximately 15 inches high and 25 inches wide. I believe it is from the early 1900s.
A: Your lampshade was made by Moran & Hastings (not Hudson) Manufacturing Co. Moran & Hastings started business in 1883 on West Washington St. in Chicago. The firm made lighting fixtures for gas and electricity, as well as andirons, pocketknives, electrical supplies, fire pots, torches, automobile accessories and other articles pertaining to artificial lighting. The company was still working in the 1930s, but little is found after that. We’ve seen a Moran & Hastings patinated metal table lamp with a leaded glass shade picturing irises that sold for $2,000 about 10 years ago. Your ceiling light with its paneled slag glass shade is worth $100 to $200.
Q: I have a boxed Little Hostess Party set that belonged to a distant relative. It is a set of glass children’s cups, saucers and plates in pastel colors. What should I price it at my house sale? How old is it?
A: The sets were made in the 1940s and ’50s by Atlas Glass Co. The heat resistant glass is called Platonite. There were many different sets and colors. The 16-piece set, mint in the box sold for as much as $200 10 years ago, but at a house sale today it might sell at $100. Dark colors like green or maroon sell for a little more.
Tip: Check stored items once a year to be sure there is no deterioration or bugs.
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.
Furniture, jelly cupboard, softwood, two paneled doors over drawer, interior shelves, bracket feet, Pennsylvania, 50 by 50 by 20 inches, $148.
Staffordshire jug, Liverpool transfer, sailor and woman, ship, “What Should Tear Me From the Arms of my Dearest Polly,” 11 inches, $420.
Cane, whale ivory, mushroom form handle, inlaid copper 1877 Liberty coin, faceted stem, figured oak stem, 35¾ inches, $600.
Kitchen dipper, coconut shell bowl, carved and inlaid whalebone and wood handle, heart-shaped mount, circa 1850, 13½ inches, $780.
Sewing swift, whalebone and whale ivory, expandable lattice cage, turned yarn cup, barrel clamp, wood stand, 1800s, 22½ inches, $875.
Daum vase, art deco, gilt, etched bark texture, linear carved rings, leafy berry twigs, 9½ inches, $910.
Scientific instrument, microscope, brass, two eyepieces, japanned iron base, Verick, Paris, fitted case, 1880, $1,246.
Judith Leiber purse, Sleeping Cat, flowers, gold hardware, ball push closure, kidskin base, matching coin purse, signed, 3 by 6 inches, $1,750.
Teddy bear, Steiff, golden mohair, boot button eyes, wood chip stuffing, circa 1904, 16 inches, $2,216.
Fan, electric, ceiling, Art Deco, aluminum, brass, two sets of three tapered blades, circa 1930, 26 by 14 inches, $7,204.