Colonial Revival pieces celebrate American history with classic symbols

Stars and stripes, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and, of course, eagles often appear in works from this period.

Eagles are a powerful symbol in American designs from the Great Seal to everyday decorative arts. A carved eagle holds up this table’s faux marble top.

Eagles are a powerful symbol in American designs from the Great Seal to everyday decorative arts. A carved eagle holds up this table’s faux marble top.

Memorial Day is a time to both honor individual memories and reflect on American history. Designers have drawn inspiration from American history for over a hundred years. Copies of styles from the early years of the American republic, or the Federal period, have been popular since the 1870s. This is when the Colonial Revival period began, celebrating the Centennial of the United States.

Designers also celebrate American history by incorporating American symbols into their work. Stars and stripes, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and, of course, eagles often appear in furniture and decorative arts. Eagles are often seen as finials or crests on furniture like Federal mirrors. Sometimes they make up a larger part of a design, like this table with a pedestal base carved into the form of an eagle with outstretched wings. With a faux marble top and no identifying marks, it sold for $163 at a Conestoga auction.

Q: I’m looking for help determining the value of a three-color jasperware teapot. It has white figures on a sage green background. I believe it’s from 1898 because of the markings. It’s impressed “Dudson Brothers Hanley England.” Can you tell me what it’s worth?

A: Members of the Dudson family had a pottery in Hanley, Staffordshire, England, beginning in 1800. The name became Dudson Brothers in 1898. The company made earthenware, jasperware and vitrified stoneware. Dudson Brothers’ jasperware looks similar to Wedgwood’s jasperware but is stronger and was less costly. The company went out of business in 2019. Churchill China bought the rights and continued to make two of Dudson’s most popular lines of dinnerware. They are no longer being made. The value of your teapot depends partly on the size. A 12-ounce pot, 4 ½ inches tall, sold recently for $49.

Q: In an article in Bottom Line, Terry Kovel mentioned that “anything associated with Picasso” is a 2023 Hot Collecting Category. I own Picasso’s “Jeux de Plage” (“Beach Games” cubic painting), an original lithograph from the Picasso Estate Collection. It’s a limited-edition print on Arches paper, one of several created to pay the taxes on Pablo Picasso’s estate. I’m interested in selling it, but I have no idea where to start. Who should I contact?

A: When Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) died without a will, his artwork and other assets were split among his heirs. His granddaughter, Marina, authorized the lithographs of several of the paintings, pastels and drawings she inherited. They were published between 1979 and 1982. The sale of the lithographs didn’t pay the inheritance taxes. In 1979, the French government chose more than 700 original pieces of Picasso’s works in payment of the taxes. They were used to establish the Musee National Picasso-Paris, which opened in 1985. Some of the lithographs authorized by Marina Picasso have sold at auctions for several thousand dollars. You should contact an auction that sells prints to authenticate your print and see if they can sell it.

Q: I have a small collection of cards I collected as a boy during World War II. They have pictures of World War II fighter planes and bombers. The reverse has two circles with insignia or emblems. They might have been premiums in boxes of cereal. Can you give me any information and possible value?

A: If the pictures are just photographs, they are probably trading cards. If they have silhouettes of the shape of the planes, they might be spotter cards, aircraft recognition cards used to identify planes during World War II. The cards had silhouettes of the types of planes used by the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan, as seen from the ground. They were one of the aids used by civilian observers, part of the Army Air Forces Ground Observer Corps, who manned observation posts along the east coast, inland to the Appalachian Mountains, and along the west coast of the United States. Reports of aircraft spotted were sent to the Aircraft Warning Service. Spotter cards were also made as playing cards, which were sold commercially and given to servicemen. Kellogg’s printed “Plane Spotter Cards” on the backs of Pep cereal boxes and included a model plane in the package. Reproductions of the original spotter cards have been made. Spotter playing cards sell for about $10. We haven’t seen any spotter cards with insignia or emblems on the back. Most sell for less than $4-$5 each.

TIP: When repairing furniture, it is best to re-glue before you refinish.

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.

Firefighting, fire mark, raised clasped hands, each with spiral twist cuff, cast iron, square, 1800s, 10 by 10 inches, $90.

Advertising teapot, Lipton Tea, pottery glossy black glaze, white letters, oversized oval form with spigot on lower front, Hall China, 20th century, 12 inches, $115.

Bronze figure, Middle Eastern man, sitting on Persian rug, with hookah, cold painted, Orientalist, Austria, 1800s, 4 ¼ by 7 by 7 inches, $275.

Lantern, carry, Steam Gauge & Lantern Co., No. 0, wire cage inside tapered four-sided frame, round stepped base, wire bail handle, shaped Dietz blue glass globe, circa 1900, 13 ½ inches, $360.

Poster, Moulin Rouge, image of Mistinguett, woman’s face, short red hair, green eyes, long eyelashes, holding rose in her teeth, green letters, black ground, signed, C. Gesmar, printed by H. Chachoin Imp., Paris, 1926, 47 by 31 inches, $480.

Toy, pedal car, Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, orange wiener with Oscar Meyer logo, yellow base, plastic, working horn, original box, 44 inches, $600.

Furniture, center table, Jacobean, walnut, rectangular split board top, frieze drawer, barley twist legs, X-form stretcher, ball feet, 29 by 38 by 24 inches, $710.

Porcelain pitcher, painted scenic landscape in gilt frame, large house by river, sailboats, hills in distance, flower border, other gilt accents, white ground, bulbous, ribbed base, Tucker, Philadelphia, 1800s, 9 ⅜ inches, $860.

Clock, Jaeger LeCoultre, Atmos, Vendome Model, metal portico case, four green marble pillars, white dial with beaded border, Roman numerals, seconds markings, skeleton works, 9 ⅜ inches, $1,045.

Blown glass flask, Stiegel type, amethyst, diagonal swirled ribs, sheared and tooled mouth, 4 ¾ inches, $1,185.

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