During the late 18th century, the very rich made a long trip to Europe to admire the architecture and art of Europe, including the ruins of past civilizations.
The town of Pompeii was a major attraction. It had been covered with ash and lava in 78 A.D. and forgotten until 1748, when it blocked some construction. Historians have been studying the remains, and the art and culture, since then.
The city was a summer home for wealthy Romans, and the eruption covered and saved the furnishings under the rock. Information about furniture and paintings inspired copies in the 18th century. A brazier that was used to heat a Roman bath in the city and a similar one in a brothel were copied and sold in the late 1800s.
The popular bronze brazier had a pieced rim and a three-part foot with men with paw feet holding the fire pit on their heads. These copies were made with a green patina. One sold at a Cakebread auction in New Orleans for $500. It is 10 inches high and almost 6 inches in diameter.
Q: I have a bar pin that pictures two clenched hands doing a “fist bump.” The pin is gold-colored metal and has a figural mallet, ax and something that looks like a block on the top. The hands, with shirt cuffs and part of the jackets showing, are on a white enamel piece attached to the metal. What does it represent?
A: The log, ax, mallet and wedge are symbols used by two fraternal organizations: the Modern Woodmen of America and WoodmenLife (Woodmen of the World). Joseph Cullen Root founded the Modern Woodmen of America in 1883 in Lyons, Iowa. He resigned after disagreements with other officers in 1880 and moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he founded Woodmen of the World. Both organizations are still in existence and provide life insurance and other benefits to members. The fist bump has been found on other unmarked pins that date from the late 1800s or early 1900s.
Q: I have three Kentucky Derby mint julep cups signed by Thomas Wilson and dated 1985. I know that they sell for $250 new. What can I ask for these cups? They are in mint condition.
A: Thomas Wilson was a metalsmith and jeweler who made bookmarks, keychains, letter openers and jewelry. According to Wilson Artworks, the first julep cup was made for a friend to be given at the Hardscuffle Steeplechase in 1978. After that, cups were made for corporate customers, colleges, schools, sporting associations, weddings and QVC TV. The cups are made of copper and plated with silver. Wilson developed a method of using machines for part of the process. Since Wilson’s death in 2009, his wife has carried on the business. The company still makes julep, tippler and jigger cups in both silver and copper. Value of your cups: less than $50 each.
Q: I have a Campbell’s Kid girl doll dressed as a chef in a pink dress with a white apron and hat. She is 6 inches tall and still in the unopened Campbell’s Soup can with a see-through side. How much is she worth today?
A: The Campbell Soup Co. was founded by Joseph A. Campbell, a fruit merchant, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer, in Camden, New Jersey, in 1869. Illustrator Grace Drayton created the chubby-faced Campbell Kids in 1904. The first dolls were made in 1910, by the E.I Horsman Co. The composition dolls were sold by mail order through Montgomery Ward and Sears as well as in local stores. In 1928, the licensing rights went to the American Character Doll Co. The dolls were dressed in chef’s clothing, like in the advertisements. The Kids weren’t used in advertising much from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s, but they were brought back in 1954 to celebrate their 50th birthday, and new dolls were made. Your doll is from the 1998 “Junior Series,” a commemorative set of four dolls, each packaged individually in a tin can with a removable sticker, so they can could be used as a bank. Asking prices online are up to $25 for one in original packaging, but without the can they sell for about $5 to $8.
Q: I have a small, round bowl with flowers on the inside and outside marked “Jlmenau” and “Made in German Democratic Republic.” The date 1777 is in the banner. What can you tell me about it?
A: The words “German Democratic Republic” help date your bowl. That is the proper name for East Germany, which existed from 1949 to 1990. The mark also includes the name of the maker, “Graf von Henneberg.” The pottery started in Ilmenau, Thuringia, Germany, in 1777 and operated under various names over the years. It became Graf von Henneberg in 1938. The factory was nationalized after World War II and became VEB Porcelainwork Graf von Henneberg. In 1973 it became VEB Henneberg Porcelain. This mark was used from 1973 to 1977. The company went out of business in 2002. Your bowl is worth about $10-$15.
Tip: Never use an antique stove before it has been restored and inspected by a qualified stove dealer or repair service. A damaged stove may explode or burn and cause serious injury. Or it might give off deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
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.
Rocker, shaker, shawl, woven tape seat, mushroom caps, No. 7, 40 by 31 by 26 inches, $105.
Hermes scarf, silk, jacquard, horse, circles, multicolor, black, Michel-Duchene, 1987, 35 by 35 inches, $375.
Brass, tray, inlay, scrolls, central medallion, Maitland Smith, 31 inches, $410.
Garden bench, Greek Medallion, birds, branch arms, iron, 72½ inches, $510.
Chinese export, tray, lotus leaf, vines, scalloped, red, green, pink, 1740, 10½ inches, $705.
Clock, cuckoo, Black Forest, birds, branches, corn cob, bone hands, 1895, 26 by 17 inches, $1,090.
Lantern, hanging, six-light, copper, six panels, glass, 50 by 32 inches, $1,185.
Slot machine, Mills, QT firebird, gumball side vendor, blue, yellow highlights, 19 by 13 inches, $1,330.
Carousel horse, Prancer, black and white, red saddle, Philadelphia Toboggan Co., 1906, 42 by 50 inches, $2,055.
Jade, censer, nephrite, phoenix, interlocking rings, 1900s, 10 inches, $8,960.