Surprisingly, some old irons are collectibles

  • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 10:13pm
  • Life

The old iron your great-grandmother used to iron her clothes would not seem to be of much use or value today, but there are many collectors who want irons and other laundry-related collectibles.

Prices are determined by age, condition, maker, rarity and appeal.

A collector in Alabama found an iron about 10 years ago that looked like a locomotive with a handle. She bought it for about $35. The 10-pound, 8-1/2-inch-long iron has most of its original black paint and gold trim. It was heated with burning alcohol.

Research showed that the iron, marked with 1888 and 1889 patent dates and the name “E.B. Crosby,” was known; at least two other examples exist. The figural steam locomotive iron was auctioned at the annual convention of the pressing iron and trivet collectors of america. It brought $15,000. The new owner is taking it to Romania to put in a museum.

Q: I have a sugar and creamer marked “Lotus Ware.” They also have the letters “KTK” in a circle with a crown on top. Who made them? When?

A: Lotus Ware was made by Knowles, Taylor &Knowles Co. of East Liverpool, Ohio, from 1890 to 1900. The Belleeklike porcelain was sometimes decorated outside the factory. Lotus Ware sugar and creamer sets sell for $100 or more, depending on the quality of the decoration.

Q: Since 1964, I have had an old teacher’s desk and armless swivel chair that were removed from my grammar school before it was torn down. The desk is nondescript and unmarked, but the chair has a metal piece on the back that says “Heywood-Wakefield.” What can you tell me about the chair?

A: Heywood-Wakefield Co. was formed in 1921. Its immediate corporate predecessor was Heywood Brothers &Wakefield. So your chair doesn’t date earlier than the 1920s. Both Heywood-Wakefield and its predecessor manufactured school furniture, including children’s and teachers’ desks and chairs, starting in 1897. The earliest furniture was wooden. Later pieces were castiron, steel or (in the 1950s) plastic.

Q: I have an April-June 1934 copy of a newspaper called the American Illustrated News. It’s filled solely with stories and photos about Hitler, applauding his leadership and reconstructive work in the “new Germany.” I haven’t been able to dig up any information about this newspaper. Any ideas?

A: We found some articles about the American Illustrated News in the archives of the New York Times. The issue you have may be the only one that ever made it to print. The 64-page broadsheet was dedicated to promoting Hitler and the achievements of the Nazi party to English-speaking readers in London and New York.

But Carl Bergmann of Berlin, the editor of the newspaper, is quoted as saying he regards the newspaper “as a tourist promotion and not as a political venture.” He said that 50,000 copies were printed and that American readers would be charged 80 cents for a copy, which was expensive at the time.

Correction: The skeleton rocking chair pictured with our Halloween column was correctly identified in the picture caption as a 20th-century copy of a 19th-century Russian chair. But the article confused the pictured chair with the original Russian chair that auctioned at Christie’s in 1992. The auction price Christie’s listed for the chair was $154,000.

Write to Terry Kovel, (The Herald), King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

&Copy; 2010, Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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.

Stoneware pot, Harley’s English jam, dancing golliwog, Seedless Bramble label, c. 1920, 5 1/4 inches, $225.

Jim Dandy Cleanser powder can, character wearing black top hat and bow tie, red coat, holding can, image of trademark, metal top and bottom, dated 1911, 7 x 3 inches, $385.

Schwinn Apple Krate Sting-Ray bicycle, red with white lettering, 1970, 56 x 42 inches, $450.

Cloth doll, boy, stitched fingers, sepia features with blue accents, woolen two-piece suit, one leather shoe, c. 1880, 12 inches, $695.

Stoneware churn, brushed cobalt floral swag, applied lunette handles, Beaver County, Pa., mid-1800s, 14 1/2 inches, $765.

Applique quilt, Rose of Sharon pattern, solid and print dress fabric, Pennsylvania, 1875, 92 square inches, $880.

Sandwich glass pomade jar, figural bear, milk glass, c. 1860, 5 1/4 inches, $1,250.

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