Not to be confused with spongeware, this mug is spattered with color

This example of spatterware is unique for its design and rainbow of colors, which is why it sold for $1,062 at auction.

This mug features more colors than most spatterware pottery. That adds to its appeal — and its value. (Conestoga Auction Company Division of Hess Auction Group)

This mug features more colors than most spatterware pottery. That adds to its appeal — and its value. (Conestoga Auction Company Division of Hess Auction Group)

Spatterware and spongeware pottery are often grouped together, with the names used interchangeably. While they look similar, with color applied in patches of tiny dots instead of brush strokes, they are different techniques. As the names suggest, spatterware was made by spattering paint with a brush or stick or by blowing it through a tube, and spongeware features paint dabbed onto the pottery with a sponge or cloth. Spongeware is often considered a less expensive, easier-to-make version of spatterware. Spatterware and spongeware were made in England in the late 1700s, and in Scotland by the 1800s. The most famous pieces were made in Staffordshire in the early 1800s and exported to America. Collectors look for bright colors and designs reminiscent of folk art. Some popular designs have a picture — often a flower, house or animal — in the center of a plate and a spattered or sponged border. Others are entirely spattered or sponged in stripes or concentric circles. Multicolored spatterware is often called “rainbow,” even if it has only two colors. With five colors in slightly slanted vertical lines, this mug lives up to the name. It sold at Conestoga Auction Company, a division of Hess Auction Group, for $1,062. Its unusual design and multitude of colors make it a rare design and very appealing to buyers, even with minor damage like a chip along the edge.

Q: I would like to sell my Beacon Hill flame mahogany breakfront/secretary cabinet, but I know it is a limited market. I have found a similar one that sold for $5,000, or at least was listed for that. This piece is in great condition and even has its keys and curved glass intact.

A: You are right to question the $5,000 sale you found; it is probably an asking price. Large Beacon Hill furniture pieces have sold for about $750 to $1,500 at recent auctions. Very large furniture pieces can be hard to sell, but good condition and an intact label always increase the value. Beacon Hill furniture was created by the Kaplan Furniture Company, which started in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1905. Legend says that cabinetmaker Isaac Kaplan was asked by a resident of Beacon Hill, a historic neighborhood in Boston, to make a copy of an antique Sheraton chest for a wedding gift. Kaplan turned out to have a talent for imitating American Federal furniture and designed the Beacon Hill collection, which was sold by Kaplan and other furniture dealers. We recommend contacting an auction house in your area or checking local antiques or consignment stores to see if they sell similar furniture.

Q: I have a small painted opal glass box. Can you tell me anything about it?

A: Glass boxes like yours are often called dresser boxes, trinket boxes, powder jars, vanity jars and other names. As their names suggest, they were kept on dressing tables to store small items like jewelry, trinkets, hairpins or cosmetics. They usually had gilt metal fittings; some, like yours, had feet to match. They commonly were used in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. This was the age of art glass. Glassmaking factories in Europe and North America experimented with new colors, finishes and decoration methods. Opalescent, or opal, glass, which has a bluish-white or off-white color and slightly iridescent finish, was made by adding a heat-reactive chemical to the glass while it was molded, then reheating it. Hand-painted designs, usually flowers, outdoor scenes or figures in old-fashioned dress were favored decorations on finished glass pieces. So were raised enamel patterns. Boxes like yours tend to sell for between $50 and $100. Check the base for a mark; they are usually worth more if you can identify a maker.

Q: Can you assess an item just by looking at a submitted picture?

A: We do not provide appraisals, and it is difficult to determine the value of an item from a picture alone. The item’s condition and material are important factors in its value and are not always obvious from a picture. To get an accurate estimate of the value, an expert would have to see the item in person. What we can do is provide information and suggest resources. Check your items for makers’ marks and look them up on Kovels.com or look for reference books at your library. Visit local antique shops, look for similar items and talk to the dealers. Check the directories on Kovels.com and AntiqueTrader.com for clubs that collect items like yours; they often have resources to help with identification and evaluation.

TIP: Cups are best stored by hanging them on cup hooks. Stacking cups inside each other can cause chipping.

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. Castor jar, pickle, pressed glass, Daisy & Button, silver plate frame, lid, tongs, Victorian, 11 by 4 inches, $55.

Basket, tray, Northwest Coast Salish, round, coiled, four spokes, alternating brown and black, shallow rim, side handles, 10 inches, $80.

Doorstop, cottage, white, black roof, red chimney, rose arch over door, white fence, green grass, painted, cast iron, marked, Sarah W. Symonds, Salem, Mass., 4½ by 7½ inches, $185.

Clock, garniture set, Japy Freres, ormolu, marble, urn finial, side handles, two candelabra, five-light, urn-shaped base, square plinth, clock, 24 inches, $275

Furniture, table, card, Federal, mahogany, pine, hinged rotating top, rounded corners, turned pedestal, rectangular block base, four legs, brass casters, circa 1825, 29 by 36 by 18 inches, $415.

Thermometer, Double Cola, Delicious In Any Weather!, dark blue lettering, red and blue graphics, thermometer to side, metal, working, 22 by 17½ inches, $450.

Rookwood, vase, brown to green, matte glaze, carved leaves, swollen shoulders, Sally Coyne, 1905, 9 inches, $475.

Bank, building, yellow, green roof, brick chimney, Savings Bank, hand painted, tin, 5½ inches, $510.

Rug, Bessarabian, needlework, four rows of stylized flowers, brown tones, cream ground, sawtooth border, Romania, 8 feet, 9 inches by 6 feet 2 inches, $650.

Jukebox, Wurlitzer, Model 2400, red banner, Hi-Fi Stereo, 200 selections, triangular number and letter keys, plays 45s, lift top, 1960s, 51 by 33 by 28 inches, $1,355.

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