This fantastic chair carved from walnut takes the form of an ostrich

“Fantasy furniture,” hundreds of years old, can depict both real and mythical animals. This piece sold for $3,276 at auction.

Have you ever dreamed of sitting on an ostrich’s back? Fantasy furniture like this 19th-century wooden chair can make it come true.

Have you ever dreamed of sitting on an ostrich’s back? Fantasy furniture like this 19th-century wooden chair can make it come true.

“Fantasy furniture” usually refers to postmodern pieces with whimsical shapes and unusual colors made from unexpected materials. Like many furniture styles, it’s older than you might expect.

Furniture has been made in fanciful shapes for hundreds of years; with animals being a favorite element. While the name “fantasy furniture” may imply mythical animals like dragons or griffins — and you can certainly see them in furniture and decorative arts — representations of real-life animals count, too.

Black Forest furniture with elements carved to look like realistic bears are fantasy furniture. So are Italian grotto chairs with backs shaped like enormous scallop shells. And so are pieces made to look like a whole animal, like this 19th-century carved walnut chair that Fontaine’s Auction Gallery described as an “ostrich-form fantasy chair.” It sold for $3,276. Its decorations aren’t limited to its legs or back; it’s complete with an outstretched wing for a back, the head and tail as asymmetrical arms, a feathery body with a folded wing for the seat and bird legs carved into the base.

Q: I recently had my 1956 Gibson guitar authenticated as original with original finish from the Gibson company. It has the original Gibson finish and I was told the wood includes spruce and mahogany. I was curious about its value and also wondered what avenues I could use if I would like to eventually sell. Can you assist me with suggestions?

A: The best way to find the value of a vintage or antique instrument is to take it to a local store that sells used musical instruments. Look up prices and get multiple opinions before you sell! Gibson guitars can be worth a lot of money. We have seen them sell from about $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the model and condition. Gibson does not buy or appraise vintage guitars, but their website, www.gibson.com, has a tool to help you find dealers in your area. They recommend Carter Vintage Guitars (www.cartervintage.com) for appraisals.

Q: I have two German figurines that have a mark of a seven-pointed gold crown on the bottom. Can you tell me who the manufacturer is?

A: We presume your figurines are porcelain. It can be tricky to identify a mark without seeing a picture of it, but we have some ideas. Seven-pointed crown marks are rarely seen in makers’ marks; most crowns we see have three or five points or are closed. Crowns usually appear over a letter or symbol. Karl-Heinz Klette, a porcelain maker founded about 1950 in Bavaria, Germany, used a mark with a seven-pointed crown over a capital “D.” The mark was made in gold from about 1962 to 1990. They made Dresden-style decorated porcelain (“D” for Dresden), including figurines with lacy details. Because you said your marks are gold and the figures are German, we think this is a likely answer. Other porcelain manufacturers used seven-pointed crown marks at some points. The Tirschenreuth porcelain factory, also in Bavaria, used a green seven-pointed crown mark with the letters “PT” inside after 1947. The Triptis factory in Thuringia, Germany, used a blue seven-pointed crown over the word “Orla,” its earlier brand name, from about 1931 to 1945. A porcelain factory in Brussels, Belgium, used a seven-pointed crown over the conjoined letters “CP” in the 1800s. The mark with a crown over a capital “N,” associated with the Capo-di-monte factory in Naples, Italy, sometimes used a seven-pointed crown. However, many other porcelain makers have copied it on “Capodimonte-style” figures.

Q: I have several “Las Vegas Loot” paper money bills with a picture of Vegas Vic from the Hotel Sahara in Las Vegas Nevada with the number 1000 (no dollar sign) in each corner. Also, the disclaimer “THIS NOTE IS NOT LEGAL TENDER FOR ANY PURPOSE.” I also have one from “Market Town Moolla.” Does this type of souvenir have collector value?

A: All types of souvenirs have collector value. It’s just a matter of finding the right collectors. Don’t forget about what one auctioneer calls the “naughty factor”: risque subjects like drugs, sex and, yes, gambling attract collectors’ attention and often sell for higher prices. Your “Las Vegas Loot” bills would interest collectors of Las Vegas memorabilia (check the Casino Collectibles Association, ccgtcc.com); paper ephemera (the Ephemera Society of America, ephemerasociety.org) and advertising (Antique Advertising Association of America, pastimes.org).

TIP: Cover scratches on dark cherry or mahogany furniture by rubbing them with a bit of cotton dipped in iodine. Scratches on lighter woods can be covered by rubbing with a solution of equal parts iodine and alcohol.

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.

Cloisonne, vase, multicolor, blade shaped panels, alternating dragon and phoenix, red dragon panels around shoulder, blue ground, mounted as lamp, stone base, 22 inches, $60.

Planters Peanuts, jar, lid, barrel shape, embossed, Mr. Peanut, etched name on lid, peanut finial, 12 ½ inches, $75.

Jewelry, necklace and earrings, mottled green, gold tone, round spaced beads, oval cabochons, clip-on earrings, marked, Miriam Haskell, necklace 30 ½ inches, $135.

Lamp, sconce two-light, gilt bronze, mirror back, rectangular, pierced frame, urn shape crest, two dolphin supports, scrolled arms, 19th century, 22 by 8 inches, pair, $160.

Pottery-midcentury, vase, lava glaze, cobalt blue, graphite drip, vertical dashes, shoulders, straight collar, marked, W. Germany, 9 ½ inches, $180.

Toy, car, racing, Super Hot Rod, open top driver, red, yellow, light blue, flashing lights, battery operated, friction, box, Marx, 1950s, 11 ½ by 4 by 5 inches, $250.

Sewing, pincushion, Iroquois, figural, bird, multicolor beadwork, early 20th century, 6 ½ by 8 ½ inches, pair, $375.

Furniture, steps, library, Regency, mahogany, leather, five treads, cupboard door, interior shelf, 19th century, 51 by 21 inches, $945.

Daum, vase, art deco, orange to yellow, geometrics, shoulders, flared lip, ring foot, signed, cross of Lorraine, 11 by 8 inches, $1,280.

Furniture, linen press, Federal, mahogany, two parts, pierced scrolled crest, eagle finial, inlaid panel doors, four graduated drawers, bracket feet, later hardware, New York, 90 by 53 ½ by 21 inches, $2,815.

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