Hitting a homer is hard for most. On this machine, we all have a chance

This restored 1930s Jennings slot machine — with candy prizes for knocking it out of the park — sold for $3,840 at auction.

Most of us won’t hit a home run on the playing field, but you can score hits and win a roll of candy with this Jennings slot machine. (Morphy Auctions)

Most of us won’t hit a home run on the playing field, but you can score hits and win a roll of candy with this Jennings slot machine. (Morphy Auctions)

“Base Ball: The Nation’s Greatest Amusement.” So says this 1930s Jennings slot machine, and we expect few people would disagree. And in terms of great amusements, games of chance aren’t far behind. The O.D. Jennings Company brought them together for a trade stimulator, or as they call it, “Silent Salesman.” This restored example sold at Morphy Auctions for $3,840. The machine tracks outs, runs and innings, but “hits” are made by spinning a combination of symbols. Play to win a roll of Jennings’ Superior Mints.

Q: We were wondering about an interesting hall tree chair my wife got from her deceased great-uncle in 1983. I took it apart in 2015 to refinish it because someone had painted it a dull black color. To my surprise, I found beautiful tiger oak under that black paint! Could you guys tell us something about it? I found a date on the back of the beveled mirror that reads June 1905.

A: The date plus the tiger oak make it sound like your hall tree chair was made in the Golden Oak period, which lasted from about 1880 to 1930. Despite the name, all kinds of oak finishes were popular; not just golden. Oak was coming into favor with furniture makers. New woodworking machines made it easier to work with and possible to mass produce furniture with pressed, carved and turned decorations. They were simpler versions of Victorian styles, sometimes with features borrowed from older periods, and were available to the middle class through mail-order catalogs and as advertising premiums. Multipurpose furniture was popular; the combination desk-bookcase was invented during this period. Based on recent sales, a hall tree chair like yours is worth about $200 to $300. Tiger oak is a contemporary name for quartersawn oak, which is made by sawing logs lengthwise to highlight the grain pattern.

Q: I have a bottle opener by Utica Club in good shape. Could you tell me its worth?

A: Utica Club started as a soft drink company in Utica, New York. During Prohibition (1920-1933), the company sold “near beers” and malt tonics. When Prohibition ended, they were the first brewery to legally sell alcohol again. Anything related to beer or breweries is worth something to breweriana collectors. Bottle openers sell for a wide range of prices. Simple “church key” types stamped with the brewery’s name can sell for $10 or less. Larger, more elaborate figural bottle openers can be worth hundreds of dollars. A collector’s club or auction house specializing in breweriana, like the National Association of Breweriana Advertising (nababrew.com), Tavern Trove (taverntrove.com) or Morean Auctions (moreanauctions.com) can help you find more information and prices for specific openers.

Q: I have a lovely painting by E. Beisswenger that I got at the Goodwill store. It is bright, peaceful looking and in excellent condition. Any information would be appreciated.

A: Look at your local library for online resources like Artnet, Artbnk or, if the artist is American, the Smithsonian American Art Museum which can help you find information about the artist and the values for their paintings. If there is an art museum in your area, or a college or university with a fine arts department, see if they will authenticate art for the public. Many art museums do this. Some auction galleries also have appraisal days.

Q: I was given a matching clock and a lighter many years ago and cannot find any information about them anywhere. I’d like to find out their worth. The clock mechanism states “G Lux Clock MFG ___ Bury Conn USA.” The lighter piece appears to be brass, and the larger screw has “Evans Fuel” stamped on it.

A: The Lux Clock Manufacturing Company was founded in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1914 and was sold to the Robertshaw-Fulton Controls Company in 1961. The company is well known for its wind-up, animated and novelty clocks. Today, its desk clocks are worth about $50 to $100. Animated clocks usually have higher values. The Evans Case Co. was in business from 1922 to 1960. They made lighters in a variety of styles and materials. Today, their lighters are worth about $40 to $75. They are worth more if they are made of valuable materials like precious metals and gemstones.

TIP: Go green. Refinish and restore old furniture. It saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make a new piece, and it is probably less expensive.

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.

Furniture, easel, Anco, wood, artist’s, attached paint palette, 74 by 28 inches, $50.

Pottery, bowl, Santa Clara, blackware, carved, Avanyu, horizontal ridge, tapered base, signed, Celes Evelyn, 5 inches, $130.

Candlestick, opalescent glass, Foval style, blue top and base to column, blue spiral thread, flared cup, round foot, hand blown, 10½ inches, pair, $160.

Toy, scooter, Teeter Liner, red frame, three spoke wheels, grip handles, bell, embossed footboard, Skudder Ball Bearing Car, 37 by 33 inches, $315.

Poster, exhibition, The Essential Cubism, Braque, Picasso & Their Friends, multicolor Cubist still life, Tate Gallery, frame, 1983, 30 by 20 inches, $510.

Tole, tray, stylized landscape, White House, Potomac River, grazing cattle, parcel gilt, black rim, octagonal, mid-1800s, 20 by 28 inches, $530.

Trunk, Louis Vuitton, travel bag, Keepall 50, brown monogram canvas, vachetta leather, gold tone brass hardware, canvas lining, 1983, 15 by 23 by 9 inches, $640.

Toy, truck, delivery, Motor Express, green, red cab, white lettering, white tires, Hubley, 9 inches, $1,080.

Kitchen, butcher’s table, mesquite, H-stretcher base, Mexico, 20th century, 35 by 60 by 33 inches, $1,180.

Advertising, cabinet, Meyer Bros. Coffee & Spice Co., Pure Ground Spices, stenciled lettering, three narrow drawers over large drawer, porcelain pulls, stenciled flowers, 15½ by 21 inches, $1,765.

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