Dye company’s vintage advertising is highly prized today

In those days, fabric dyes were big business because most people made their own clothing.

Diamond Dyes is a favorite company of collectors of antique advertising. Its advertisements featured vibrant images, like this cabinet with a scene of children playing.

Diamond Dyes is a favorite company of collectors of antique advertising. Its advertisements featured vibrant images, like this cabinet with a scene of children playing.

Collectors of antique advertising look for vivid colors and eye-catching graphics. And who would have brighter colors than a dye company?

Today, few people buy fabric dyes outside of craft projects, but most families wore homemade clothes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Clothing was made to last, and items were often repaired or remade multiple times before they were retired. People would buy dyes for home use to make their clothing or give a new look to old clothes.

Diamond Dyes, a leading dye company around 1900, is known for its advertising. Diamond Dyes’ trade cards, advertising booklets and store cabinets are especially popular with collectors today. This cabinet with a colorful tin lithographed scene of children playing outdoors sold for $750 by Morford’s Antique Advertising. Watch out for reproductions!

Q: My sister visited England about 20 years ago and brought me home a 4-inch Toby character jug of the head of Henry VIII. I really like it but understand these are very common and not very valuable. Is that true?

A: Character jugs representing literary, legendary and real-life characters were introduced by Royal Doulton in 1934 at the Burslem Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. New ones were added to the line until 2011. They were made in several sizes: large, small, miniature and tiny. They are different from Toby jugs, which date back to the 1770s. Legend says they are inspired by a poem about “Toby Fillpot,” the nickname of a real Yorkshire man who was a legendary drinker. The most common Toby is 9 or 10 inches high. The jug is shaped like a man wearing a tricorn (three-corner) hat, waistcoat, long coat and knee breeches seated in a chair and holding a jug of ale. Royal Doulton began making Toby jugs in 1939. Character jugs are shaped with only the head and shoulders of the character. They are popular collectibles, but, with a few exceptions, not rare or expensive. Each sells for $50 or less.

Q: I found this odd item at my in-law’s house. It looks like a wooden rolling pin but is covered with rows of carved teeth. It also has one flat side. One end of the cylinder has a handle, and the other end has a circle carved about 2-inches deep. Some people think it’s a meat cleaver, but that doesn’t seem right. Can you tell me what it is and solve this mystery?

A: It is a specialty rolling pin designed for flatbreads or crackers. The teeth are designed to make tiny holes or score the dough to allow air flow to prevent the dough from rising. Bakers will use forks, dough dockers (a small, spiked roller) or rolling pins like yours to poke holes in pastry crusts, pizza dough and flatbreads. The carved opening is where a missing handle would have gone. Through our research, we have not found a rolling pin with a flat side. It could have been modified to prevent it from rolling off the work surface.

Q: I bought several chairs from a resale shop. The shop owner said they came from the boardroom of Lockheed Martin. The chair seat and back are one piece of curved wood. The legs are silver metal. They are stackable. The sticker on the bottom says, “Westnofa Furniture made in Norway.” I only paid $15 each for them but was recently told they are valuable. Is this true?

A: Westnofa manufactured furniture that exemplifies mid-century Scandinavian design. The style became popular because of its simplicity and functional design, like the ability to stack the chairs. Your chair was designed by Oivind Iversen and is called the “City Chair.” Mid-century furniture is in demand by decorators and collectors. Chairs like yours have recently sold for $50 to $100 each. However, your friend is correct: If you have a set of six to eight, they can sell for upwards of $200 each.

Q: Several years ago, I bought a metal letter opener that has “International Harvester Company, New Office” on one side of the handle and “February 22, 1929” on the other side. Does it have any value?

A: International Harvester Co. was formed in 1902 when McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. merged with Deering Harvester Co. and three smaller companies. The company made agricultural equipment and commercial trucks. It was the fourth largest industrial company in the United States in the early 1900s. The company ran into financial difficulties later and sold its agricultural division and the name “International Harvester” to Tenneco, owner of J.I. Case, in 1984. The brand name became Case IH. International Harvester’s truck division became part of Navistar International Corp. in 1986. A letter opener like yours sold for $45 at an auction of International Harvester memorabilia a couple of years ago.

TIP: If the photograph album you buy smells like plastic, don’t use it. The fumes will eventually destroy the pictures.

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.

Advertising sign, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Field Testing Station, Western gentleman with big bushy moustache, tan coat, 10-gallon hat, holds bottle on top of keg, tin over cardboard, frame, 23 by 18 inches, $45.

Doll, Lone Ranger, composition, painted, black mask, cloth plaid shirt, yellow plastic chaps and bandanna, 16 inches, $285.

Rookwood pottery vase, golden yellow flowers, green stems, caramel and brown ground, standard glaze, oval, slightly cylindrical rim, Jeanette Swing, 1903, 7¾ by 1¾ inches, $320.

Disneyana, game, Mickey Mouse Tidley Winks, Mickey, Minnie and Pluto characters, each stands over a red cup, cardboard wall with red brick graphics, multicolored plastic discs, Chad Valley, box 10 inches, $400.

Lalique bowl, Nemours, clear, rows of frosted daisies with black enamel centers, etched Lalique France on bottom, 4 by 10 inches, $525.

Garden settee, wrought-iron wire, scrolled back with five arches, five sets of concentric circles form seats, curled arms, twisted and looped legs, 30 by 86 by 18 inches, $720.

Sterling silver creamer, Elizabeth II, cow shape, curled tail, flower garland on back, marked, Nat Leslie, Silver Vaults, London, 1967, 4 ounces, 6 inches, $880.

Pair of porcelain candleholders, elephant form, pink glaze, enameled flowers on blanket, howdah holds candle, Chinese, 19th century, 4 inches, pair, $1,135.

Furniture, etagere, wrought-iron, scrollwork pediment with brass finial, frame with four concave curved posts, curled feet, five graduated glass shelves, 76 by 48 by 24 inches, $1,875.

Toy, yellow taxi, No. 5, lithographed tin, pictures driver and passengers, battery operated, slot for quarter on top, insert coin and cab drives forward and light on top lights up, door on bottom to retrieve coin, box, Ichiko, Japan, 1955, 9 inches, $2,375.

Talk to us

More in Life

Shawn McQuiller of Kool & The Gang performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, on Sunday, May 8, 2022, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Kool & The Gang and Average White Band are coming soon to a casino near you. Queensryche also is due in Arlington.

Preston Brust, left, and Chris Lucas of LOCASH perform during CMA Fest 2022 on Thursday, June 8, 2022, at the Chevy Riverfront Stage in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

The country music duo Locash drops by the Angel of the Winds Casino on Saturday. And there’s the Summer Meltdown festival at its new home near Snohomish all weekend.

‘Poco Orange’ Red Hot Poker. (Terra Nova Nurseries)
Warmer weather means brighter, hotter colors in the garden

Here are seven plants that will bring a blazing pop of color to your outdoor spaces.

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

Antique tools can be interesting collectibles. This gadget, a mechanical rope twister, has a patent date of 1901.
Most people today would not recognize this rope twister

Is it a kitchen gadget — perhaps a fruit or vegetable peeler? Some kind of grinder or chopper? In fact, it’s a mechanical rope twister.

Golden catalpa. (Richie Steffens)
Great Plant Pick: golden catalpa

Bold acid-yellow foliage is the hallmark of this small deciduous tree.

Monarda is a flower that brings bright color to the flower bed in summer, and it has a refreshing fragrance. (Getty Images)
These ‘Bee You’ bee balms are free of pesky mildew

This is a perennial that has many useful qualities, and this is the month to add these new beauties to your garden.

The new Mukilteo Police Department’s traffic Tesla, in Mukilteo, Washington on July 28, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Mukilteo police’s new tricked out Tesla is a real traffic stopper

The black patrol car looks like just another Tesla, until the lights and sirens come on.

Jon Elmgren, president of the Everett Rock Club, talks with two club members while out searching for olivine and other minerals on Saturday, July 22, 2022, along the Nooksack River near Deming, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett rockhounds dig in for shiny, rare, ‘ugly as sin’ treasure

This club has been around for 83 years. They’ll tell you what rocks their world — and how to identify “leaverite.”

Most Read