This folk art whirligig shows President Theodore Roosevelt with his monocle and top hat riding a cycle while holding a red paddle that catches the wind and spins. It sold at auction for hundreds of dollars. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

This folk art whirligig shows President Theodore Roosevelt with his monocle and top hat riding a cycle while holding a red paddle that catches the wind and spins. It sold at auction for hundreds of dollars. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)

Teddy Roosevelt whirligig circa 1901 auctions for nearly $900

The figure of 26th U.S. president is holding a red counterbalance vane that turns the bike with the wind.

Whirligigs were invented centuries ago. They are both toys and tools, indicators of wind direction and the weather. Sources disagree on where the first were made; it was probably in China about 400 B.C. or by Native Americans about 550 B.C. The whirligig must have a spinning part and a base and many were made in fanciful shapes. The oldest known pictures of a whirligig were in tapestries made in medieval times.

There are many names and many shapes of whirligigs. Old sources call them pinwheels, gee-haws, whirlyjigs or whirlys. Vintage examples have waving arms, flags, angels’ wings, a man chopping wood, horses running and much more. They are also popular children’s toys or garden ornaments.

A political whirligig was sold by Garth’s Auctions in Ohio a few years ago. It is a figure of President Theodore Roosevelt with a top hat and monocle riding on a penny farthing cycle. Roosevelt served from 1901 to 1909, so it must have been made after 1901. He is holding a red counterbalance vane that turns the bike with the wind. The handmade whirligig sold at Garth’s for $865.

Q: I believe I have a pair of Apache wedding moccasins. Apache Indians killed my great-grandfather in Bisbee, Arizona, in 1885. He was the deputy sheriff. His gravestone reads, “Killed by Apache Indians.” I’d like to find the appropriate museum or collector that would be interested in them.

A: Indian moccasins can sell for several hundred dollars. Value depends on decoration, rarity and condition. Any information you have about the moccasins and how they were obtained adds provenance. Several museums, including some in Arizona, have collections of Native American items. Search the internet to find them. Those near the area where your great-grandfather lived might be interested in the connection to the local legend. If you want to sell the moccasins, look for an auction house that sells Indian items. They can give you an idea of their value and sell them for you. Be sure to ask what their commission and other charges are.

Q: I have an 1863 card game that is like a geography game, with facts about countries all over the world, but I don’t know its name and the box top is missing. I haven’t been able to find out anything about it. I also have an 1890 game called “Finneybusters,” which I can’t find any information about. If you know anything about these or where I could look, please let me know.

A: The Association for Games & Puzzles International may be able to help you. According to the organization’s website (gamesandpuzzles.org), it is devoted to the collection and preservation of games and puzzles, and it conducts research on games and puzzles and the companies that made them. Members include researchers, historians, authors, game designers and manufacturers, collectors and others interested in games and puzzles. Collectors like board games with cartoonish drawings or that picture current (old) events.

Q: I inherited my father’s old manual Underwood typewriter. I remember him and my mother using this typewriter when I was very little. I’m 75 so it has to be at least 70 years old. The model number is S5547159-14. It’s a little dusty, but otherwise in good condition. What is it worth?

A: The Underwood Typewriter Co. was founded by John T. Underwood in 1895. Headquarters were in New York City. The factory moved to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1901. At one time, it was the world’s largest manufacturer of typewriters. Millions of Underwood typewriters were made. Olivetti bought a controlling interest in Underwood in 1959 and the rest of the company in 1963. The name became Underwood-Olivet. Production of Underwood typewriters stopped in the U.S. in the 1960s, but typewriters with the Underwood name were made in Spain until the 1980s. There has been a resurgence in interest in typewriters. The number on your typewriter indicates it was made shortly after January 1942. In good, usable condition, it’s worth about $100 to $300 depending on condition and appearance.

Tip: Don’t store ceramic dishes or figurines for long periods of time in old newspaper wrappings. The ink can make indelible stains on china.

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.

Basket, gathering, woven, split oak, two flattened arched handles, circa 1885, 11 by 19 inches, $75.

Political, handkerchief, printed, center medallion, George Washington standing next to horse, blue stars around border, two shields, red and white striped ground, frame, 1800s, 24 by 17 inches, $115.

Clothing, coat, fur, raccoon, full length, wrap collar, six brown buttons, cloth lining, label, Brooks Brothers New York, man’s, $140.

Tortoise shell glass, snuff bottle, globular, narrow neck, carved pink coral stopper, Chinese, 2¾ inches, $280.

Fulper pottery centerpiece bowl, Chinese Blue Flambe glaze, blends into matte glaze layer underneath, flared out sides, stamped rectangular mark, four pulled feet, 1909-1916, 4⅜ by 10 inches dia., $575.

Disneyana toy, Disneylandia Turn-Over Tank, images of Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Scrooge McDuck & Minnie Mouse, burglar on bottom, tin lithograph, windup, 4 by 3 inches, $660.

Clock, tall case, Federal, cherry, castle top, four brass urn finials, moon face over white dial behind glass door, eight-day works, Pennsylvania, 1800s, 100 inches, $850.

Kitchen, cake board, walnut, square, carved round design, basket of flowers at center, six garland swags, beaded bands, scalloped rim on design, John Conger, N.Y., 1800s, 9 by 8¾ inches, $900.

Jewelry, pin, bow shape, white gold, black enamel band inset with diamonds, art deco, circa 1915, 2 inches, $1,500.

Coin-operated jukebox, Wurlitzer, Multi-Selector, Model 1100, art deco, chrome, plastic dome, rotating lights, plays 78 RPM records, 57 by 32 inches, $4,920.

Talk to us

More in Life

Red osier dogwood  (Cornus sericea (stolonifera)) berries, leaves and twigs.
Red twig dogwoods — there’s variety of shrub for all seasons

Here are four new varieties of twig dogwoods on the market that provide fall and winter interest.

Josey Wise puts out one of the hundreds of glass pumpkins on a display at the Schack Art Center for the upcoming Schack-toberfest on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. The festival runs from Sept, 23 to Nov. 6. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Glowing gourds light up Schack-toberfest in Everett this fall

You can see more than 1,000 of the glass pumpkins, and even make your own. Plus, check out The Artists’ Garage Sale on Sept. 25.

Plant "Mount Vernon" as a low informal bed border or small hedge, or as a groundcover under trees and large shrubs.(Rick Peterson)
Great Plant Pick: Prunus laurocerasus ‘Mount Vernon,’ dwarf English laurel

Plant “Mount Vernon” as a low informal bed border or small hedge, or as a groundcover under trees and large shrubs.

This rare Louisiana Creole Gros Rouge punkah from the late 18th-early 19th century made of Southern Yellow Pine with mortise-and-tenon construction, 40 1/2 by 35 inches, was estimated to sell for $10,000 to $15,000 at Neal Auctions, but it didn't sell. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Strange antique made from Southern yellow pine is a punkah

It was the “air conditioner” of the early 19th century. A man called a “punkah wallah” pulled a cord to make it swing back and forth like a fan.

Nick Pate examines a cider apple tree at Raising Cane Ranch in Snohomish in 2019. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Nick Pate examines a cider apple tree at Raising Cane Ranch in Snohomish on June 5, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

David Pallett, 77, works out with personal trainer Jim Hart on Aug. 30 at Optimal Sport Gym in Philadelphia. (Jose F. Moreno / The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Experts: Don’t put off exercising until retirement years

It’s never too late to start moving, but science is finding you may not catch up to lifelong exercisers.

If your diarrhea doesn’t resolved itself within a month, then it has turned into persistent or even chronic diarrhea. (Getty Images)
Does persisent diarrhea keep you running to the toilet?

Then it’s time to ask your doctor to test for infections, allergies and autoimmune diseases to find the root cause.

Welcome fall with Quil Ceda Creek Casino’s Asian chicken salad with a vegetable medley. (Quil Ceda Creek Casino)
Taste of Tulalip: Asian chicken salad with vegetable medley

Set the stage for fall with a Quil Ceda Creek Casino favorite featuring a kaleidoscope of colorful ingredients.

The Dmitri Matheny Group, led by horn player Dmitri Matheny, is scheduled to perform Oct. 9 at Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish. (Steve Korn)
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The listings include Sir Mix-a-Lot, ZZ Top and Bands, Brews and Bowling at Evergreen Lanes in Everett.

Most Read