All American furniture was handmade before the 1800s, and old furniture was saved until it was too battered to use. The United States was a young country, and the first collector of note was an eccentric man in the 1800s who saved furniture and objects made or used in the 1600s and after.
By the late 1700s, the rich were decorating in styles that copied English styles but with pieces made in America. Wealthy collectors bought antiques if they did not have any from the family. By the 1900s, less expensive copies were made by a few companies. The 1940s were the start of the demand for exact copies of museum pieces. Only an expert could notice the difference and recognize modern tool marks. Many homes were decorated in Chippendale or other old styles.
Baker Furniture started in 1903 as Cook, Baker & Co. The name was changed to Baker Furniture Factories Inc. in 1927. It changed owners seven times but still used the Baker name as it does today.
The company made different styles as decorating tastes changed. The earliest lines were Golden Oak and Mission. By 1923, Baker was making reproductions of Duncan Phyfe. Then it added other 18th-century wooden pieces. In 1925, Baker started “The Twentieth Century Shop,” using rosewood and olive burl, eventually using pieces by midcentury designers like Donald Deskey and, in 1951, Danish Modern by Finn Juhl. Baker continued to make reproductions for Colonial Williamsburg and other historic sites labeled with their names. Today some early reproductions sell for about the same price as an average antique piece.
This Biedermeier secretaire a abattant has a “Baker” label. It sold for $1,063 at a Neal auction in 2019.
Q: What is the value in a Lone Ranger plate marked “TLR INC 1938”? It’s white with red decoration and says “Hi-Ho Silver!” above a picture of the Lone Ranger on his rearing horse. Underneath that it says, “The Lone Ranger.” There are no cracks or chips and the diameter is 8 inches.
A: “The Lone Ranger” was on the radio from 1932 to 1954. Your plate was made after the first Lone Ranger movie was produced in 1938. Television shows featuring the Lone Ranger ran from 1949 to 1957. Attempts to bring back the series occurred in 1961 and 2003. There was also an animated series that ran in the late 1960s and the early 1980s. The Lone Ranger appears on many products. Your 1938 plate sells for about $25 to $35.
Q: Our homeowners’ association inherited a large group of Japanese porcelain and plates, bowls, jars, small cups and saucers, framed art and a short screen. The previous resident was a collector and prices attached to these items at an estate sale left us in awe. We sold some at our sale but decided not to donate the rest to a thrift store. I noticed “Imari” written on tags. How can we find someone who has appreciation for this art? We want to find someone to purchase the lot.
A: You probably won’t find someone to take everything unless you pay them a fee. They will sell the best to dealers or at auction and may donate the rest to a thrift store. Imari porcelain was first made in Japan and China in the 17th century. It was copied by porcelain factories in other countries and is still being made. Early Imari was done by talented painters, but later copies are of poorer quality. Some Imari sells at auctions for several hundred dollars or more. The screen, art and other pieces might also sell at auction. Contact an auction house that has sold Imari. You can contact antiques dealers in your area. Expect to get about half of what things sell for since the seller has to make a profit. Donate pieces that don’t sell.
Tip: Never try to play a disc on your music box that was not made for that box. The machine will be damaged and the disc ruined.
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.
Redware jar, manganese glaze, cylindrical, pinched neck, wide flared mouth, stamped “D. Cope” on base, 8½ inches, $83.
Sterling silver sugar tongs, bright cut leaves, monogram, James Kendall, Wilmington, Delaware, 1790-1800, 6 inches, pair, $295.
Mechanical bank, image of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, place a coin on Donald’s tongue, push button, and coin is deposited into bank building, 1940s-50s, 3½ by 6½ inches, $485.
Amphora bowl, stylized rooster, pierced tail, raised comb, burgundy, green and gold, gilt highlights, signed, marked, 6⅜ by 11 inches, $545.
Rolling pin, mahogany roller, turned whale ivory handles, incised red bands, circa 1860, 15½ inches, $660.
Poster, travel, Cuba, Braniff International Airways, stylized man playing bongos, lithograph, 1950s, 26 by 20 inches, $840.
Scrimshaw, page turner, carved heart, hex sign and fouled anchor, wood mount, mythical eye, sailor made, 13¾ inches, $960.
Doorstop, Whistling Jim, boy standing, hands in pockets, barefoot on grassy base, B&H, 16 inches, $1,700.