Two types of collectors bid for a porcelain figure of a well-dressed French couple that was sold at a Southern auction in 2016.
A 14-inch-high Asian sorcerer and his companion wearing brightly decorated clothes were “nodders.” The heads moved and looked as if they were nodding “yes” when the figures were moved. Nodders were first made in China in the late 1600s, often showing a smiling, agreeable Buddha.
By Victorian times in England, toys were made with nodding heads, as well as decorative porcelain figures of all kinds that could nod “yes” or “no,” or even have hands playing a piano. Because of the nodders’ entertainment as well as decorative value, they were collected in the 1900s. Many new and fake nodders appeared on the market.
The second group of bidders probably collected porcelains by Jacob Petit’s company, a French firm that made many decorative porcelains from the early 1800s to 1862. The successful bid for the nodder was $562.
Q: Two years ago, I bought an American Federal one-drawer stand that was made in about 1815. The description said the drawer has “rare Vaseline glass pulls that appear to be original.” I had no idea what Vaseline glass was, so I looked up the information on the internet.
I’m concerned that the glass color is due to radiation emission, and I wonder about its safety. One of the pulls has a crack. Does this increase radiation emission? I have grandchildren who visit frequently and have relegated this piece of furniture to a little-used room. I’m considering selling this stand.
A: You can test the knobs on your stand to see if they are Vaseline glass by holding one under a blacklight. Vaseline glass will glow a neon greenish-yellow color because it contains a small amount of uranium dioxide. You don’t have to worry, though, because they are not exposing you or your grandchildren to harmful amounts of radiation.
Even though the knobs may contain very small amounts of uranium, it is less than what you get from the atmosphere and things that occur naturally every day. It is safe to use your stand. Radiation won’t leak out of a crack in the glass.
Q: I have an unused ticket for the 1936 Democratic National Convention that was held in Philadelphia. It was for the Franklin Field Ceremonies held on June 27. It has a picture of Franklin Roosevelt and a picture of the Liberty Bell on it. What is it worth?
A: Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Garner were first elected president and vice president in 1932. They were re-nominated by acclamation at the 1936 Democratic Convention. Roosevelt gave his acceptance speech at Franklin Field on June 27. Unused tickets like yours sell online. Their value is $30-$50.
Q: When my husband was an infant, he was gravely ill for months. During that time, his maternal grandmother made a quilt for him from flour-sack scraps. It’s not “quilted” in the usual sense. The top is attached to a thin layer of muslin-covered cotton batting by being sewn around the scalloped edges. It’s in the “Kaleidoscopic Star,” or “Yellow Star” pattern, and is 64 inches by 72 inches in size. I’d like to sell the quilt to someone who appreciates its place in quilting history. I have no idea of its value.
A: Colorful printed “feed sacks” were used to make quilts and other items in the 1930s and ’40s. Flour, sugar, salt, seed, animal feed and other goods were sold in cotton bags beginning in the 1890s. The tightness of the weave varied from the coarse, low thread-count feed sacks to the more tightly woven sacks for flour, salt and sugar. Manufacturer’s labels were printed in water-soluble ink so they could be scrubbed off.
In the 1920s, textile mills realized that women were using the sacks for their sewing projects and began making the sacks in printed fabrics with removable paper labels. Quilts, linens, clothing and other items were made from the colorful printed sacks over the next two decades. Feed, flour and other products were sold in plastic and paper bags beginning in the late 1940s, though some cloth bags are still made. “Feed sack” quilts can sometimes be found at antiques stores and flea markets. Depending on the design, size and condition, they can sell for a few hundred dollars as folk art.
Q: I have a pale green china pitcher with five graduated lavender stripes circling it. It has a lavender handle and rim. It’s marked on the bottom with a crown over “RK6” in a circle with “handles” on both sides, something like a vase. Underneath that it reads “Made in Czechoslovakia.” I’m guessing it’s 75 to 100 years old because the pitcher belonged to my mother-in-law, and I’m 85 years old. Who made this and how old is it?
A: This mark was used by Rudolf Kampf of Grunlas, Czechoslovakia, between 1918 and 1921. The “6” in the mark actually is the letter “G.” The company was started by Rudolf Dierterl and Rudolf Kampf in 1911. It still is in business and continues to make porcelain items by hand as well as mass-produced porcelain and tableware for restaurants and hotels.
The factory still is in the same town, but the name has changed. Grunlas, Czechoslovakia, became Loucky, Czech Republic, in 1918. They use three different trademarks: “Rudolf Kampf,” “Leander” and “Leander HoReCa.”
Tip: Wear cotton gloves when cleaning any type of metal. Oils in the skin will leave a mark.
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.
Union Porcelain Works soap dish, white, green transfer emblem, oval, rolled rim, marked, c. 1905, 3 1/2 x 5 inches, $25.
Lunch box, penguins on parade, tin lithograph, basket shape pail, upright square handle, red, black and white, c. 1925, 4 x 6 inches, $90.
Store stool, shoe-fitting bench, wood and metal, seat, sloped foot rest, inset metal ruler, stretcher, pad feet, c. 1910, 15 x 24 inches, $140.
Souvenir photograph, Wild men of Borneo, Waino and Plutano, circus sideshow, Barnum &Bailey, c. 1880, 4 x 2 1/2 inches, $185.
Doll, Sleeping beauty, bisque head and arms, pale face, red lips, green eyes, pink-and-black dress and cape, black mohair, c. 1905, $240.
Fischer porcelain soup tureen, Queen Victoria pattern, bulbous, handles, dome lid, disk shaped finial, Hungary, 1960s, 9 x 12 inches, $500.
Chinese wedding dress, silk, embroidered skirt and blouse, gauze sleeves, red and black with multicolor flowers, 1920s, $665.
Plant stand, mahogany, inlaid mother-of-pearl flowerheads, square top, oval panels, carved scrolling vines, Morocco, c. 1880, 41 x 15 inches, $850.
Floor lamp, wood, carved and pierced dragon stand, round base, four claw feet, silk pagoda lantern shade, 1920s, 72 x 16 inches, $2,995.
Jewelry box, marriage coffer, lift lid, solid wood, covered in burnished leather, bronze symbol and stud design, c. 1700, 15 x 10 inches, $3,350.