Mickey and Minnie Mouse and their cartoon friends have been popular since the first cartoon was shown in 1928.
Walt Disney licensed the rights to use the image to hundreds of products, and collectors often specialize in one type of product like toys, dinnerware or textiles.
During the 1930s, Paragon China in England made a dinnerware set and a baby feeding set that featured Mickey and Minnie playing the piano, riding Horace Horsecollar and other scenes. They were marked “Paragon China.” Another later series was marked “Royal Paragon China, Mickey Mouse Series, copyright & registered.” Paragon still makes Mickey Mouse dishes, but the mice have the more recent shorter nose and larger eyes.
A Paragon octagonal plate with a picture of Minnie playing the piano while Mickey dances was part of a sale of more than 20 pieces of the dinnerware and 13 sets.
Q: I’m 75 years old and have a fireplace screen from my grandmother’s house. It is 28 inches high, shaped like a fan and folds up. I would love to know its value.
A: When real fires were burning in fireplaces, screens were used to control the heat and keep sparks and burning embers at bay. By the late 18th century, fire screens were available in wood, leather, wicker and papier-mache with silk, tapestry or embroidery. They were portable and often adjustable. By the 19th century, fire screens tended to be light with decorative panels.
The French “peacock”-style fan, like yours, was popular from the 1820s through the Victorian era. Made of bronze and brass, the intricate pierced filigree “feathers” could fold together and lock closed. The center supports often have decorations like medallions with cameos of mythological figures, a scrolling acanthus or a dragon handle. Early peacock fans can sell for a few thousand dollars. Peacock screens of similar design but made in the 20th century are lighter in weight and worth less. Mid-century reproductions can be found for $50 to $100. Your screen was made in the early 1900s and is valued at about $700 to $900.
Q: I have a set of nativity figures that came with a certificate of authenticity that reads “Original Lepi Woodcarvings.” It says they are made of maplewood, and carved and painted at Ortisei in Val Gardena, Italy “following an original design of Rupert Reindl, our famous master sculptor.” I have the box they came in. I’d like to know something about the maker.
A: Ortisei is an Italian town in Val Gardena (Garden Valley). Woodcarvers have worked in this area since the 1600s. At first, they made practical items for the home and farm. Eventually, the town became a center of decorative woodcarving, especially nativity sets and other figures. Lepi is a woodcarving workshop founded by Leo Prinoth in 1920. The company still is in business, and it makes wooden figures based on designs by Rupert Reindl (1908-1990) and other well-known woodcarvers. Christmas woodcarvings sell for half or less than the original price.
Q: I bought a pair of canvas high top sneakers designed by Peter Max in about 1970. They were made by the Randolph Rubber Co. of Garden Grove, California. Later, at a gallery, Peter Max signed the sneakers. I had worn them about a dozen times. I gave them to a young family member who is now in his 30s. What is a reasonable amount to offer to buy the sneakers back from that family member?
A: Peter Max (born 1937) created a style of art that is synonymous with the groovy 1960s. His brightly colored cosmic pop art designs appeared on everything from paintings and posters to household items and clothing. In the late 1960s, Randolph Rubber Co. of Garden Grove, California, made high-top and low tennis shoes/sneakers with Peter Max designs.
Asking prices for Peter Max sneakers have been as high as $1,500 a pair, but at auction, selling prices range from $345 to over $800. Prices depend on whether the sneakers were in new or worn condition, and whether they were sold in their original box. The higher prices were for sneakers in new condition in their original box. An autograph would add to their value.
Q: I have about 100 old baseball coins from the 1960s. Some are plastic and some are metal. They came in Junket Brand and Salada Tea packages. I have the players Mickey Mantle, Don Drysdale, Yogi Berra, Carl Yastrzemski, Roberto Clemente and others. I also have about 20 football coins. Can you give me any information about them?
A: Coins featuring Major League Baseball players were free premiums. The 1962 set featured 221 Major League Baseball players on 265 plastic rimmed coins of six colors that held photo inserts. The 1963 “All-Star Baseball” set consisted of 63 metal coins. The American League players had blue rims; the National League players had red rims. These coins are very popular baseball collectibles. Their condition is graded like baseball cards.
In shops that specialize in baseball cards, they sell from about $5 to over $110 each, depending on condition and popularity of the player. At auction, sets of the 1962 coins have sold for $2,000 to $3,000. A single Mickey Mantle coin has ranged from $120 to over $300. To evaluate yours, contact a dealer who specializes in sports memorabilia.
Tip: Folding fans should be stored closed.
Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. Write to Kovels, The Daily Herald, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.
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.
Bank safety deposit box, double combination dial, ornate molding, Keyless Lock Co., 5 3⁄4 inches, $90.
Royal Copenhagen, vase, trumpet, fluted, flowers, blue, 10 1⁄2 inches, pair, circa 1910, $125.
Disney toy, Pinocchio, red overalls, hat, blue bow, tin lithograph, windup, 8 1⁄2 inches, $180.
Table, glass top, five alternating height central supports, lucite, 29 by 8 1⁄2 inches, $185.
Toy, Flash Gordon, rocket fighter ship, red, yellow wings, clockwork, Marx, 12 inches, $300.
Bing & Grondahl, bowl, oval, shallow, raised circular foot, Hennin Koppel, 5 by 18 inches, $375.
Weathervane, artist palette, brush through the thumbhole, gilt, repousse, circa 1950, 13 by 17 inches, $785.
Cloisonne, vase, birds, maple branches, cherry blossoms, chrysanthemums, black, Japan, 10 inches, $1,210.
KPM, plaque, couple, classical robes, doorway, urn, 7 by 5 inches, $1,270.
Globe, terrestrial, walnut stand, stretcher compass, 44 by 23 inches, $2,120.