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 (, 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

Don Sarver, left, and Kyle James, right, snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 in Leavenworth, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Avoiding avalanches: How to know and where to go

Follow these tips for researching on-the-ground conditions from comfort of your home or local library.

The parenting journey takes you on an adventurous path at each stage of your child’s development. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Growing up: The ages and stages of raising your children

One minute your child is the baby in your arms, and the next minute, they’ve just landed their first job.

Dr. Paul on struggles with parenthood during the pandemic

It’s esspecially challenging if you have kids with special needs, you’re single or you have lost your job.

Arcos, Spain, where locals “see the backs of the birds as they fly.”
Arcos de la Frontera: Nuns’ cupcakes and donkeys in the bell tower

Rick Steves on connecting with the culture of small-town Spain — and creating treasured memories.

This BritRail pass refund request has gone off the rails

Stephen Wilkes asks his travel agent for a BritRail pass refund. But six months later, there’s no sign of the money.

Book-related events in Snohomish County.
Author events and poetry readings around Snohomish County

The listings include Third Place Books, Everett Public Library and Neverending Bookshop events.

The Camano Wildlife Habitat Project is hosting a “Living With a Green Roof” webinar on March 17 via Zoom. (Getty Images)
Outdoors classes and activities around Snohomish County

The listings include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest updates and REI Lynnwood workshops.

Dave Dodge stands on a speaker while playing his guitar during Nite Wave's show at Tony V's Garage on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
1980s new wave streams when Bothell cover band performs

Hear Bothell’s own Nite Wave rock out at the “Best ’80s Party Ever!” on Feb. 27 via Facebook.

If you're a gardener who just can't wait for spring, winter-blooming pansies will tide you over. (Getty Images)
Do you suffer from the spring condition ‘hortitostrogenitis’?

It’s a made-up word for the feeling you get when it’s not yet March, but you’re itching to get back into the garden.

Most Read