Pop-up books trace their lineage to 1760s

  • By Ralph and Terry Kovel Antiques & Collectibles
  • Wednesday, October 31, 2007 4:18pm
  • Life

We just saw a modern pop-up book meant as a plaything for adults. When you opened the pages, something unexpected would pop up, often something with moving parts. The idea is not new. The first movable books were made in the 1200s, but these were moving discs. By the 1760s, pop-ups were invented.

The first publisher of American pop-up books was McLoughlin Brothers in the 1880s, which soon also made other pop-up toys. Instead of a book filled with pages, the toy had two boards, each a little thicker than book covers. They were hinged to open at right angles. When opened, a group of cut-out “pages” popped up to make a multilayer scene. Collectors pay high prices for pop-ups. An 1893 pop-up picture toy showing the Columbian World’s Fair sold at a Heritage Galleries auction in Dallas for $717.

I’m puzzled by my two arrowback Windsor side chairs marked “Stickley, Fayetteville, Syracuse.” I thought Stickley furniture was in the Mission style. What could the chairs be worth?

Your chairs were not made by the famous Gustav Stickley, but by his brothers, Leopold and John George Stickley. The pair started a furniture business in Fayetteville (near Syracuse), N.Y., in 1902. The business became L. &J.G. Stickley Co. when it incorporated two years later. The brothers’ company made furniture in the Mission and Prairie styles until about 1916, when it started shifting to Colonial Revival furniture. Your chairs might be among the Shaker-style chairs L. &J.G. Stickley made in 1917, or they might date from a later decade. If the chairs are in excellent condition and were made before World War II, the pair could be worth more than $1,000.

I own a three-piece tea set by Buffalo Pottery marked “Deldare, Village Life in Ye Olden Days.” The set is in mint condition. I would like to know the value.

The Buffalo Pottery was established by the famous Larkin Soap Co. in Buffalo, N.Y. The company began making pottery to give away as premiums in 1903. Deldare Ware, first made in 1908, has hand-painted transfer designs on a khaki-colored background (Deldare) or a green-colored background (Emerald Deldare). Emerald Deldare is more expensive than Deldare. All Deldare Ware is scarce today. “Ye Olden Days,” which shows scenes in an English village, was made in 1908-‘09 and again from 1923-‘25. A Deldare tea set sold recently for about $300.

I collect 20th-century umbrellas. Any hints about what I should be looking for?

Parasols and umbrellas have been used for centuries. About 1900, the umbrella was an important accessory carried by fashionable women to protect them from the sun. The umbrella changed in shape and size to go with dress fashions. About 1910 to 1920, umbrellas were usually long and slim and made with black silk. The umbrella gradually grew smaller and retractable, and by 1930 a closed umbrella could be just 20 inches long. It is hard to believe that before 1930 women did not wear raincoats. The short umbrella was introduced along with the modern raincoat. In the 1940s, long handles were back in style, but the stubby umbrella was easier to carry and it quickly made a return. Today’s umbrellas can be any size or shape and often have fabric covers with messages, unusual patterns or pictures. Many have figural handles, like dog’s heads. Bakelite and Lucite handles were popular in the 1940s-’60s. Wood, bamboo and even ceramics also are used. A collectible umbrella should be in good condition with no breaks or tears. It should open and close with no problems. It is nice if there is a manufacturer’s name or an unusual fabric. It’s expensive and almost impossible to have the umbrella fabric replaced, because so few firms will take on the job.

I bought a stoneware fruit jar that’s unusual because it has a screw-on metal lid. The outside is beige with brown around the top and holds 1 quart. The mark on the bottom reads, “Macomb Pottery Co., Pat. Jan. 24, 1899, Macomb, Ill.” I’d like to know more about the jar.

Your jar is well-known among collectors of old fruit jars. Macomb Pottery Co. was incorporated in 1880. In 1906 the plant was taken over by the Western Stoneware Co. So your jar was made between 1899, the patent date, and 1906. Macomb made nine different stoneware canning jars, most of them with screw tops. Your style of jar was made in three sizes: half-pint, quart and half-gallon. The two larger sizes are more common and sell for $40 to $50 each.

Write to Kovels, The Herald, King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.

&Copy; 2007 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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.

Halloween postcard, black cat on jack-o’-lantern, 1909, unused, 3-1/2x 5-1/2 inches, $75.

Heisey glass candlestick, Warwick pattern, cobalt blue, $120.

Halloween costume, “Land of the Lost,” 1975, box, Ben Cooper, size medium, $135.

Brownie Tobacco soft pack, full, sealed, image of Brownie sitting on fence smoking, E.O. Eshelby Tobacco Co., 1890 Revenue stamp on back, 4 oz., $155.

Eric the Bat stuffed animal, by Steiff, original tag and button in ear, beige with black wings, $315.

Halloween train set, four tracks, tunnel, trains with scenes of dragons, goblins, witches, screaming people and sleeping train operator, windup, U.S. Zone Germany, 1950s, $855.

Mechanical bank, Thing from “The Addams Family,” battery-operated, Poynter Products, 1964, 5 inches, $1,210.

Quilt, pieced and appliqued cotton, “Burgoyne Surrounded,” commemorating American Revolutionary War battle of Saratoga, Oct. 17, 1777, 69×69 inches, $1,535.

William and Mary tavern table, pine and maple, drawer, mid-1700s, 25x39x26 inches, $2,585.

Mochaware mug, white and rust with black and white earthworm and cat’s-eye pattern, 1850s, 5-3/4 inches, $5,580.

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