Experts can identify antique dishes in many unexpected ways. There are several ways to tell if a dish is pottery or porcelain.
If your dish is chipped porcelain, the chip is shell-shaped. Pottery is opaque; light does shine through a piece of porcelain. Pottery breaks in a line. Porcelain is thinner, lighter and more stain-resistant. If you hold a pottery plate in one hand and a porcelain plate in the other, you will find the porcelain is colder and the pottery is heavier.
If you are examining a teapot, look inside at the holes leading into the spout. An early pot has few holes, as few as three. Later teapots have many more holes. Cups with no handles are usually older than those with handles. The 19th-century cup had handles. Early teacups usually had no handles because the Chinese drank warm, not hot, tea and did not need a handle.
Our favorite tip is an old one. One of the favorite collectibles in the 1950s was early Worcester porcelain made in England in the 18th century. When you hold a Worcester porcelain plate up to a strong light, the white china appears to be light green.
Q: I have a Prizer Oak 519 antique stove, and I would like to know if you have any information about it, such as where and when it was made. I am trying to put a price to it to sell.
A: The Prizer-Painter Stove and Heater Co. was founded in 1880 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The company made coal ranges, water heaters, furnaces and heating stoves. The height of stove-making efficiency and design was the turn of the 20th century. Thousands of stove foundries made “oak” and other types of stoves in many sizes and designs. Many can still be found today.
The industry declined in the 1920s when central heating became more widespread. Prizer continued to manufacture quality cooking ranges under the Prizer label and for other high-end brands. Since 2002, it has been making restaurant-quality ovens, ranges and range hoods for the residential market under the Blue Star brand name. Your Prizer Oak model is a parlor stove, meant to heat the room. In good but not restored condition, it is worth about $200 to $300.
Q: I’d like information about an ivory bracelet, earrings and charm set my uncle brought home to my mother in 1940 from the war. The bracelet has carved flowers linked together by elastic to stretch for your wrist. I’ve taken it a few places, but no one seems to know what it’s worth. Or, they tell me it can’t be sold at all. Help!
A: Laws banning the sale of ivory went into effect in the U.S. in 2016 as part of endangered species legislation to protect elephants, making it difficult to sell ivory legally. Laws about the sale of elephant ivory differ by state. In some states, you can sell ivory within your state if you have specific documentation to prove it was lawfully imported before 1990. Other states prohibit any sales of ivory, old or new. You can find current information on the sale of ivory on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website, fws.gov, and any company selling old ivory jewelry will know the rules.
Q: I would like to correspond with others who collect antique handkerchiefs. In particular, I want to know how to organize and catalog them. I have about 1,000. Do you know of a group of handkerchief collectors, organizations or resources in this field?
A: You can find other collectors by searching for handkerchiefs on the internet. You’ll find people buying and selling handkerchiefs, blogging about handkerchiefs and posting pictures from their collections. Sellers may be able to give you tips on organizing your collections or may be able to connect you to other resources. You can organize your collection by type of design or material, with lace or without, etc. With a collection of that size, it’s a good idea to keep a log or list of the handkerchiefs, who made them, where and when you got them, any history or interesting facts, and the price you paid for them. Include a picture of the handkerchief so it can be identified.
Q: I have a lot of old 45rpm records and am wondering if they have any value.
A: The first 45rpm records were made by RCA and sold in 1949. Sales of 45s dropped in the 1980s after compact discs became available and most companies stopped making them by 1990.
The value of old records depends on the genre, artist, rarity and condition. Many old 45s sell for less than 50 cents, but some sell for $100 or more, and a few for over $1,000. The picture sleeve the record came in can be worth more than the record. Sleeves sell for $10 to a few hundred, and a very rare sleeve sold for almost $18,000 a few years ago. You can contact a local store that sells old records to see what your records are worth or check some of the online sites that buy and sell old records.
Mighty John’s free list of records worth $500 or more at moneymusic.com includes Elton John’s “Lady Samantha” (DJM label, 1969), $500; Ray Agee’s “Hard Lovin’ Woman” (Soultown, 1966), $8,000; and Abraham & the Metronomes’ “Party” (Hot Soul, 1974), $2,500.
Tip: Nuts and bolts on old furniture hardware should be removed carefully. Wrap pliers with masking tape to protect the brass. Old brass is often soft.
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.
Cradle, wood, old blue oyster paint, arched headboard, shaped sides, cutout hearts, American primitive, Pennsylvania, circa 1840, 38 by 17 by 19 inches, $85.
Toy binoculars, Buck Rogers Super Sonic Glasses, plastic, adjustable hinged nose bridge, lenses, neck band, Buck Rogers graphics on box, 7 inches, $110.
Loetz glass vase, iridescent, purple shaded to red to gold, oil spot, pinched body, spiral ribs, folded rim, spread base, circa 1902, 8 by 6 inches, $200.
Phonograph, Edison Standard, oak case, japanned, nickel hardware, black paneled horn, circa 1920, 28 by 13 by 40 inches, $440.
Decoy, Canada Goose, wood, carved, old paint, tack eyes, old weight, Miles Hancock, Chincoteague, Virginia, 1940s, 12 by 21 by 7 inches, $600.
Coffee mill, cherry and pine, cast iron, dovetailed box, drawer, stamped A. Klein, York County, Pennsylvania, circa 1820, $1,065.
Advertising sign, Mobil, red Pegasus logo, two-sided, porcelain, red, white, blue, marked SPS, 1959, 30 by 59 inches, $1,475.
Weather vane, Buffalo, standing, cut sheet metal, gilt patina, wooden stand, 18½ by 26 inches, $2,595.
Posset pot, lid, pottery, blue flowers, leaves and dashes, white ground, spout, two side handles, Bristol Delft, England, circa 1720, 8 ½ by 11½ by 10 inches, $3,300
Coffee table, round beveled glass top, brass base, dolphin family and coral reef, Robert Wyland, circa 1985, 33 by 43 inch diameter, $4,210.