Smiling leprechaun is one of few St. Patrick’s Day bobble heads

There are many collectors of Christmas and Halloween collectibles, but few celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a collection of figures. This smiling leprechaun nods his head as he learns that he was bought for $59 at a Bertoia auction in New Jersey. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

There are many collectors of Christmas and Halloween collectibles, but few celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a collection of figures. This smiling leprechaun nods his head as he learns that he was bought for $59 at a Bertoia auction in New Jersey. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Bobble heads are popular today as sports collectibles. Most baseball teams offer souvenir bobble-head dolls at some of the games during the year, but today’s dolls are made of slick plastic and usually are wearing fabric uniforms.

Early toy bobble heads were made of painted papier-mache. The head bobs up and down because it is attached to a long-weighted neck that’s suspended in the neck’s hole. It is balanced on a narrow metal rod that swings back and forth, making the head move.

The idea came from 18th-century porcelain figurines that had moving heads and hands. The major German porcelain factories made complicated nodders. One was a group of four women drinking tea while their heads and hands moved. Another was a 20th-century figure of a woman seated in front of a typewriter. Her hands moved up and down as she typed.

This bobble-head figure in a lime-green suit and hat is a 5-inch tall smiling Irish Leprechaun nodder. It was made in Germany of a composition material; his glass eye is winking. He’s a charming fellow, but St. Patrick’s Day collectibles are not as popular as those for Halloween or Christmas, and there were fewer bids. The buyer paid only $59.

Q: Is it true that furniture from the U.S. House of Representatives is sometimes sold at auction? Who owns the chair used by each elected official?

A: For many years, there were few rules about the furniture that belonged to the government in the Congressional buildings, the White House or other federal buildings. It is said that President Lincoln’s wife sold some of the furnishings because she needed money to live on, as there was no pension for the wife of a president.

Now there are pages of instructions about buying and selling official furnishings. Most pieces have to be paid for by the elected official according to a written schedule. We have seen several Victorian chairs from the House of Representatives sold. They were made in 1857 by a famous New York firm, Bembe &Kimbel. They featured three stars carved on the chair crest, and carved oak branches representing longevity and laurel for victory on the arms and legs. In 2008, a chair sold for about $19,000.

Q: Are old Jantzen bathing suits collectible? Sellable?

A: Carl Jantzen and John and Roy Zehntgbauer started the Portland Knitting Co. in 1910 in Oregon to make hosiery and sweaters. So when they were asked to make a knit wool bathing suit for a rowing team, they tried. By 1918 their company was called the Jantzen Knitting Mills, and they were making and licensing bathing suits sold all over the world. They made stylish suits that were nationally advertised, and promoted swimming events. The diving girl logo was created in 1920.

All types of clothing made for sports have become collectible, and many serious fashion collections that started with designer gowns now have a division for sneakers and sports uniforms. A vintage swimsuit could sell for $25 to $50.

Q: My grandmother and grandfather got a Three Face cake stand as a wedding gift back in the late 1800s, and I have it now. My daughter doesn’t seem to want it — just my Lalique! I love the cake stand, but it’s time to be getting rid of things. I want to sell it and wonder what it’s worth.

A: Three Face is a pattern designed by John Ernest Miller for George Duncan &Sons of Pittsburgh in 1875. Some sources say Miller’s wife was the model for the faces. The factory burned down in 1892, and the molds were destroyed. A new factory in Washington, Pennsylvania, opened in 1893. The company became Duncan &Miller Glass Co. in 1900, and became part of the United States Glass Co. in 1955. Duncan &Miller reproduced some Three Face pieces in the early 1920s and again in the early 1950s.

Other companies also made reproductions. The value of a Three Face cake stand depends on which version it is. Many copies were made by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and are marked “MMA.” The original piece fluoresces yellow-green under a black light. It sells for about $300-$400.

Q: When I was little, my dad gave me a 3 1/2-inch high teddy bear he got on a trip to Germany. When a knob on the bottom is turned, the head revolves to show two different faces. One side has a stitched nose and mouth and metal eyes. The other side has googly eyes, a metal nose and a white metal grinning mouth with a red tongue that sticks out. The bear is amber-colored mohair and has movable arms and legs. What can you tell me about it?

A: This little bear was made by Schuco in the 1950s. The company was founded as Schreyer &Co. in 1912 by Heinrich Schreyer. The name was abbreviated to Schuco and used as the company’s trademark beginning in 1921. The little bear is called Janus, after the Roman god with two faces. It sells for $200 to $450, depending on condition.

Tip: Decorated glasses given as promotions at fast-food restaurants often fade in sunlight.

Current prices

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.

Wooden pie crimper, pastry wheel, shaped turned handle with ball finial, “France” etched on handle, 1960s, $15.

Marshmallow tin, “Strawberry Oberon Marshmallows, Loose Wiles Co.,” round with red and gold lithograph, 1930s, 4-inch diameter, $90.

Murano vase, orange creamsicle swirl, free form with in-folding rim, orange, white and clear, Italy, circa 1960, 9 by 9 inches, $145.

Weighing scale, apothocary, cast iron with hand-forged brass container and blue and red paint, Chinese herb store, 15 by 7 inches, $170.

Mountaineering pack, back board, hardwood, rope, webbing and adjustable straps, climbing tools, 1940s, 27 by 15 inches, $265.

Lamp, carved cameo, conch-shell shaped, etched with Mount Vesuvius volcano scene, tiered round wood base, electric, 1970s, 7 inches, $500.

Advertising sign, “Drink Smile,” orange cola beverage, smiling orange, two-sided, bottom flange, vertical mounting, 12 1/2 by 10 inches, $845.

Portrait plate, poet and comedian Moiere, cobalt blue and gilt scalloped border, Sevres, 1853, 11 inches, $1,925.

Carousel decoration, clown head, wood carved and painted, smiling, tall conical hat with pom poms, late 1800s, 13 by 4 inches, $2,300.

Bookcase, oak, Mission-style, open shelves, chamber back, tenon sides, corner section with chain drop door, Stickley, circa 1900, $4,250.

Talk to us

More in Life

Flowering knotweed Persicaria amplexicaulis firetail in the morning light.
Save for one infamous variety, fleece flowers are easy to fall in love with

This long-blooming, easy-to-grow perennial comes in many desirable varieties. But watch out: One is an invasive knotweed.

A view of King Street Station in Seattle, Washington from an Amtrak Cascades train to Portland, Oregon from Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Ride the rails on Amtrak Cascades from Everett to Portland

Make new friends and let Amtrak do the driving on this 5-hour trip past sea, city and forest.

From left, Elora Coble, Carol Richmond, David Hayes, Karli Reinbold, Giovanna Cossalter Walters, Landon Whitbread in a scene from Edmonds Driftwood Players' production of "Murder on the Orient Express." (Dale Sutton / Magic Photography)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Edmonds Driftwood Players opens its 65th season with Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Local musician Alex Johnston, whose newest album "Daylight Fooldream" pairs with short film he made with help from his partner Mikaela Henderson, sits with his morning coffee on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Narrative Coffee in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Folktronica musician shoots 37-minute visual album on iPhone in Everett

Alex Johnston, 31, describes his music as ”if Coldplay and Bon Iver had a love child.”

Some collectibles are found in nature; some imitate them. If it weren’t for the attached figure, this Royal Dux porcelain vase might pass for a real conch shell.
This shell-shaped vase would make a fine souvenir of summer fun

It may not be a real shell, but this art nouveau piece could still evoke fond memories of days at the beach.

Arlington Garden Club celebrating its 90th anniversary

The club has monthly programs for north Snohomish County gardeners and awards scholarships to area students.

Spouses Franchesca and Don Simpson talk about their baby girl’s “chubby cheeks” and “button nose” as Kelly Fox RDMS RVT performs a live-view 3D ultrasound on the expecting mother Saturday, August 26, 2023, at Wonder Baby Ultrasound Studio in Everett, Washington. The Simpsons are expecting their first child in October. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Glamour shots in utero? Everett studio offers HD ultrasound keepsakes

For curious parents, these glimpses are exciting, but not medically endorsed.

An Oxford White grille with red “BRONCO” lettering signifies the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition model. (Ford)
2023 Ford Bronco Sport has two new Heritage Edition models

Design and paint treatments pay homage to the original Bronco introduced in 1966.

Everett comedian Taylor Clark performs stand-up in 2023 at The Triple Door in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mike Bryk)
Comedian Taylor Clark to film first special Friday in Everett

The skateboarding funny-man will record an hour of his stand-up at the Historic Everett Theater.

Most Read