Candelabra today valued less for utility than decorative ornaments

This candelabrum, featuring a handpainted tree branch adorned with flowers and parrots, sold for $594 at auction.

With its ornate brass and painted porcelain features, this candelabrum’s primary purpose is decoration, not illumination. By the time it was made, improved forms of lighting like oil lamps and electric lights were available.

With its ornate brass and painted porcelain features, this candelabrum’s primary purpose is decoration, not illumination. By the time it was made, improved forms of lighting like oil lamps and electric lights were available.

When new technology is invented, the devices replaced don’t immediately disappear. This candelabrum is marked with “1887.” If that is the year it was made, candles had not been the predominant form of indoor lighting for a long time.

In 1782, Aime Argand patented a lamp that had a hollow wick and burned any fluid oil. New types of oil lamps and fuels to use with them, like whale oil, turpentine, kerosene and even lard, appeared throughout the 19th century.

Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb in 1879. Candles did not fall entirely out of use, of course; candlesticks and candelabra were still made and used as decorations, as they are today. Because they were more decorative than utilitarian, they became larger and more ornate.

The candelabrum pictured here is made of brass, like many early candlesticks. Like many later candlesticks, it features elaborate ornaments: leafy arms, a pierced scrolled base and, most eye-catching of all, a handpainted porcelain tree branch adorned with colorful three-dimensional flowers and two large perching green parrots. Its decorative value brought its price to $594 at a sale by Conestoga Auction Company.

Q: I have a very large set of McKee Clear Rock Crystal dishes I would like to sell. What do you recommend? Do I sell the whole lot as a collection, group the dinner plates together and sell them or sell them individually? Should I use eBay or go to a Depression glass show? Any information would be appreciated.

A: McKee Glass Company started in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, in 1903. Rock Crystal, sometimes called Early American Rock Crystal, was one of its earliest patterns. It was made in clear as part of the Prescut line in 1904 and made in colored glass beginning in 1925. The pattern was discontinued in 1942. Clear Rock Crystal was made the entire time. Large collections can be hard to sell, and you may get more by selling plates and some other pieces in lots, and serving pieces or rarer items individually. Check prices on and “sold” prices on eBay. Go to a Depression glass show to see which pieces dealers sell in lots and which sell individually for higher prices. Remember, dealers also buy Depression glass. They may make you an offer for some pieces or the entire collection, but don’t let them buy just the best pieces and leave you with the rest. Recent prices: an 11 ¼-inch dinner plate, $60; footed cup, $10; water goblet, $25; and a compote, $10-$12.

Q: I have a 1956 Wurlitzer jukebox, Model 1900, that has never been refinished. It has high fidelity, original speakers and plays 200 45RPM records. It’s in good working order. Can you tell me the value?

A: Wurlitzer was founded in 1856 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Rudolph Wurlitzer. He was a recent immigrant from Germany and imported musical instruments from his family’s business. Wurlitzer began making pianos in 1880. The first Wurlitzer jukeboxes were made in 1934. The Wurlitzer Centennial Model 1900 was made in 1955 and 1956 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the company. About 12,500 were made. Wurlitzer sold its jukebox brand to Deutsche Wurlitzer GmbH, a German subsidiary, in 1974 and that company continued to make Wurlitzer jukeboxes until 2013. If you want to sell your jukebox, see if a local store buys and sells them, check websites that sell jukeboxes or contact an auction that specializes in coin-operated machines. A Wurlitzer Model 1900 with 245 records sold for about $4,000 two years ago. However, we have seen a model with 200 records sell for as much as $8,000, so it’s worth your while to do some additional research.

Q: Where can I find a site, book or magazine to find the values of old comic books?

A: Comic book collecting became popular in about 1960. Interest has increased since the release of movies based on characters from Marvel and DC comics and others. Price depends on rarity and condition. The Certified Guaranty Company ( is a comic book grading service. A near perfect copy might be graded a 9.8 or 10. The lowest grade is a .5. There are online and print price guides. The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide by Robert M. Overstreet, published annually, is considered the industry standard. Check local comic book shops to see what comic books like yours are selling for. You can also check “sold” prices on eBay and at auctions. Comic books published between 1938 and 1979 are the most collectible. Those that include the first appearance of a well-known character sell for the highest prices. A 1939 Superman No. 1 comic book sold for $2.6 million last year. A 1962 Amazing Fantasy No. 15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, sold for $3.6 million.

TIP: Worcestershire sauce is a good brass polish.

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.

Kitchen, food mold, horseshoe shape, tin, 1800s, 11 by 2 ½ inches, $65.

Jewelry, bracelet, cuff, clamper, fused gold tone tubes, wrapped in lavender and fuchsia silk cord, marked, William DeLillo, 2 ¼ inches wide, $175.

Bottle, flask, eagle and cornucopia, olive brown glass, sheared and tooled mouth, early 1800s, 6 ⅝ inches, $275.

Pottery, midcentury, charger, three stylized dancing figures, multicolor abstract ground, round, marked, Polia Pillin, 13 inches, $335.

Marble carving, bust of a young girl, curly hair, puffy sleeves on dress, holding flowers, four-sided tapered base, 1800s, 12 ½ inches, $475.

Picture, silhouette, family, mother sitting, baby on lap, father at other end, four young girls lined up in the middle, large window sketched in background, watercolor on paper, signed, Samuel Metford, frame, 10 ½ by 14 ¾ inches, $575.

Quilt, pieced, Friendship, names stitched in script on red, white and blue strips, pieced together to form squares, red, white and blue borders, circa 1900, 90 by 78 inches, $610.

Advertising sign, Hardware, lights up, tin, double sided, tin frame with shaped top, black, gold and red stripe detail, early 1900s, 21 by 40 inches, $750.

Furniture, pie safe, pine, 6 punched tin panels with stars in circles, long drawer, 1800s, 59 by 39 inches, $815.

Toy, train accessory, English market station, domed center, peaked ends, Marklin, Germany, 10 by 10 inches, $1,440.

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