Recycling is not new. Attractive boxes that held products like cigars were often reused to hold jewelry or sewing equipment. What the hooded figures on this box represent is unknown, but the box sold for $875 to be used in a 21st-century way.

Recycling is not new. Attractive boxes that held products like cigars were often reused to hold jewelry or sewing equipment. What the hooded figures on this box represent is unknown, but the box sold for $875 to be used in a 21st-century way.

Decorative matched sets once were a home decor mainstay

Boxes for cigarettes, cigars and their accoutrements were especially common. Today, they can sell for upwards of $800.

Homes of the early 1900s in the United States had many matched sets of decorative pieces.

There was a coffee and tea service with creamer, sugar bowl and tray. There was usually a desk set with a pen, blotter ends, inkwell, pen holder, letter opener, stamp box and more. And, of course, there was a smoking set that had a box for cigars, cigar cutter, sometimes a cigar holder, humidor, lighter, ashtray, a cigarette holder and a special cigarette case to carry.

When viewed alone, the parts are often hard to identify. A recent auction by Rago sold a pottery box with a lid and corners that featured hooded figures. The size suggests it was originally made to hold cigars. Cigars were sold in standard size wooden boxes starting in 1865. A decorative box often held them on a desk or table. This box is marked Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, an important maker of New Jersey clay tiles from 1907 to 1949. It sold for $875.

Q. I was just given an enameled dish that is 12 inches in diameter. It pictures a church spire and buildings in a very modern style, with the buildings very square. On the back is a gold paper label that says “Dekor Zagreb.” Below that is a rectangular paper label that looks like “Ruckin.” It has a hanger attached to the back, probably when it was made, so it can be hung. What can you tell me about it?

A. Your bowl was made in Zagreb, formerly Yugoslavia, now Croatia, where enamel plates, candlesticks, tiles and other wares are a major business. The rectangular label reads, “Rucni rad,” meaning “handcraft.” Dekor was a government-operated company in the early 1950s in Zagreb where artists could obtain space to work. It was later privatized, then went out of business. There was an art school in Zagreb that taught enameling. Hundreds of the plates are offered online, some enamel on copper, others on steel. Copper plates are the earliest; steel has been used since the 1960s. Many have a slightly rolled edge, which might indicate the metal is a standard size and shape used for other things, like pot lids (with a handle attached by screws). Most plates are inexpensive, $20 to $30, but a few are being sold for $100 or more. It depends on the artist. Enamel plates are still being made and exported to many countries.

Q. I’d like to know the maker of a silver baby’s cup I bought at a house sale. It’s marked on the bottom with a star with the letter “G” in the middle of it.

A. The star with “G” mark was used by A.T. Gunner Mfg. Co., a company in Attleboro, Massachusetts, that made sterling silver hollowware and flatware. The company was founded by Albert T. Gunner in 1920 and closed in 1975.

Q. I have a set of Mickey and Minnie Mouse cowboy salt and pepper shakers marked “Disney, Made in China.” They’re both wearing cowboy hats. The pepper shaker is Mickey standing next to a cactus, playing the guitar. The saltshaker is Minnie sitting on a barrel, listening to him play. What are they worth?

A. Walt Disney and his brother, Roy, started the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in Hollywood in 1923. Walt came up with the idea of a little mouse cartoon character in 1928. Mickey and Minnie Mouse debuted in the short film “Steamboat Willie,” which premiered on Nov. 18, 1928. These salt and pepper shakers aren’t very old and sell for $9 to $20 for the pair.

Q. My wife recently purchased a box of records that contained a couple of the one-sided, brown Berliner Gramophone records featuring the Haydn Quartet. I’m unable to find any market price for this type of record. Can you advise me if there is a market for these recordings?

A. The Haydn Quartet was one of the most popular singing groups in the early 1900s and had several top hits. It was originally called the Edison Quartet and started recording for Edison Records in 1896. They changed their name to the Haydn Quartet when they began recording for other companies. In 1894, the Berliner Gramophone became the first company to make disc records instead of cylinder recordings. The Haydn Quartet made at least 35 recordings for the company beginning in 1897. The recordings are on 7-inch single-sided shellac records. Berliner stopped making records in 1900. The group changed the spelling of its name to “Hayden” in 1910 and disbanded in 1914. Some Berliner recordings of the Haydn Quartet have been reissued on long-playing records. Contact a local shop that sells vintage records. Ask if they know a place that buys and sells these old recordings. They are rare, hard to find and wanted by only a small group of collectors.

Tip: Rub tartar-control toothpaste on your scratched snow dome paperweights. It will remove the smaller scratches.

— Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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.

Shelley cup and saucer, yellow polka dots, trim, handle, white ground, 5¾ inches, $105.

Royal Bayreuth wall pocket, woman bending over, holding hay, chickens, blue sky, yellow field, 8½ inches, $120.

Moser goblet, blown amethyst over clear glass, birds, trees, intaglio cut, 7¼ inches, $175.

Mettlach vase, Romanesque woman, cherubs, hand mirror, lion masks, berries, leaves, teal, cameo, porcelain, 4 ½ inches, $275.

Tea caddy, rolled paper, heart-shaped mica escutcheon, English, 1800s, 5½ x 8 inches, $350.

Bohne shaving mug, figural snowy owl, matching figural snowy owl shaving brush, porcelain, $560.

Loetz vase, green waves, blue swirls, pinched sides, silver overlay, flowers, 7 x 4 inches, $1,410.

Dumbwaiter, George II, mahogany, 3-tier, hinged drop leaves, dished tops, 3 urn standard, tripod splayed feet, 48 x 23 inches, $2,125.

North Dakota School of Mines jar, yellow prickly pear cactus, red ground, disc finial, black trim, Julia Mattson, 9¾ x 7 inches, $5,000.

Star Wars action figure, sand people, Tusken raider, blister card, Kenner, 1977, 3¾ inches, $11,395.

Talk to us

More in Life

The “Fluffy” arborvitae has the ability to light up a Northwest landscape with its golden needles. (Proven Winners)
Gold tones of ‘Fluffy’ conifers make the landscape sparkle

It’s a new variety of Thuja plicata, native to the Pacific coast, known as western arborvitae.

Blue leadwort is a low-growing perennial that acts as a colorful groundcover for the garden. (Getty Images)
A few perennial gems to help brighten up the fall garden

He can’t help but find new treasures to plant each time he visits the nursery. Here are four he added recently.

Leo Kenney’s “Seed Crystal” in gouche from 1966 is on display at the Edmonds museum through Jan. 10.
Cascadia reopens with works by 3 Northwest master artists

Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds is celebrating its fifth anniversary with several new exhibitions.

Kenny Chesney’s summer tour is scheduled to come to CenturyLink Field in Seattle on July 17, 2021. (Associated Press)
Take heart, music fans: The shows will return, virus permitting

Here are the major shows scheduled — or, in most cases, rescheduled — over the next 365 days in the Seattle-Everett-Tacoma metro area.

The wages of sin are bloody in this Southern Gothic yarn

“The Devil All the Time” follows venal, murderous characters in the hollers of southern Ohio.

The double-flowered autumn crocus has large lavender-pink blooms that resemble waterlilies. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Colchicum ‘Waterlily,’ double-flowered autumn crocus

This bulb features large double lavender-pink blooms that resemble waterlilies in the fall.

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.

vov]p-elov-]o=ove
Pioneering Whidbey Island distillery marks 10th year in business

Whidbey Island Distillery has grown from 12 barrels to 35, and built an innovative computer-controlled still.

Amy Alvarez-Wampfler, co-winemaker at Abeja in Walla Walla, Wash., was in charge of 10,000 barrels of Chardonnay during her time at Columbia Crest. (Photo courtesy of Abeja)
This month, raise a toast to region’s Hispanic winemakers

From fields to tasting rooms, they play a vitally important role in the Northwest wine industry.

Most Read