Antiques & Collecting: Many footstool styles through history
Antiques & Collecting
Footstools, also called footrests, are not a new idea, but there are many different types, shapes and sizes. The most popular style today is the small, short, four-legged rectangular stool, often padded and upholstered, which is placed in front of a chair. The footstool raises the legs of the person in the chair to help blood circulation and add comfort. A child might want to use a footstool because his or her feet do not hit the floor. Early footstools also were used in ancient Egypt as a ladder to reach chairs on high platforms. Each century had a new shape for the footstool. During the 18th century, there were long and low footstools to put in front of the fireplace to be used by the family. Small round footstools upholstered with fabric or needlepoint to match the sofa were popular with short women in Victorian times. There also were many chairs that came with footstools that looked like extensions of the seat, or even some that could be pulled from under the seat where it was stored. Modern designers liked seats made long enough to form a lounge chair with space for raised feet. And by the 1980s, there were long seating pieces that had hidden pullout pieces as footrests. Vladimir Kagan (1927-2016), a talented designer, made a famous chair in the 1950s that had a sloping back, arms and a retractable foot rest that was partially hidden. One of Kagan’s walnut adjustable lounge chairs, 39 x 27 x 40 inches with a retractable foot rest, was sold by Rago auctions for $6,875. It was manufactured by Kagan-Dreyfuss.
Q: I used to save beer coasters from bars. They’ve been in a box for years. Most are made of cardboard or thick paperboard. Are they worth anything?
A: Cardboard beer coasters were first made in Germany, a country known for its beer, in the 1880s. Beer coasters are also called beer mats, and the collecting hobby is called “tegestology,” from the Latin word for mat. Collectors specialize in coasters advertising brands or picturing interesting subjects. There is a website, beercoast.com, where members keep an inventory of their collections and trade with other collectors. Most beer coasters sell online for 50 cents to less than $5. A few sell for more.
Q: I have a silver cake stand marked “R. Wallace 0500-15 Silver Soldered 9 in Hotel Astor 2-49.” What do these markings mean?
A: R. Wallace & Sons Mfg. Co. was in business in Wallingford, Connecticut, from 1871 to 1956, when the name was changed to Wallace Silversmiths. It made nickel silver flatware and other silver plate. “Silver soldered” is a strange way to indicate it is silver plate. The solder used is silver and other metals. Your cake plate was made for the Hotel Astor, in Times Square in New York City sometime between 1904 to 1967. The some of the numbers may be the style or line number. The other numbers, 2-49 might be the date. Your silver cake stand and other items probably were sold when the hotel closed, or a visitor may have “liberated” it at a party.
Q: My husband and I went to an estate sale and bought a box of movie items. The owner had no interest in what her parents had collected and we paid $5 for the entire box. When we came home, we discovered a dozen or more envelopes from Warner Bros Pictures filled with promotional items for upcoming movies, “Tightrope,” “City Heat,” “Pale Rider” and many other 1980s movies. Each package contains 8 1/2 by 11 inch black and white photos of the stars, bios, a synopsis of the movie, and the credits. They are in pristine shape. What are they worth?
A: What a great buy! Press kits like yours, photographs, posters and all types of movie memorabilia are collected. Press kits meant for the media include photos and biographies of the stars, as well as details about the film. There are auctions that specialize in movie memorabilia. If sold at the right sale, the items should be worth enough to make it worthwhile to search online to find an auction that specializes in movie items.
Q: We’ve come across a very old reel of measuring tape. It’s cloth and bound by a leather case. The brass windup clasp is rusted shut but is stamped “Universal Trademark” and “66 Feet.” I can’t find this or anything that resembles it after searching online. Can you help me identify this measuring tape?
A: “Universal” brand tape measures were made by Lufkin, a company founded by Edward Taylor Lufkin in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1869. The E.T. Lufkin Board and Log Rule Manufacturing Company originally made measuring tools for the logging industry. After several name changes and moves, it was bought by Cooper Industries in 1967 and has been part of the Apex Tool Group since 2010. The value of your tape measure is about $30-$50.
Tip: If you buy an old iron pan that is very dirty, spray it with oven cleaner and put it in a sealed plastic bag for a few days. Then, clean it with a brass bristle brush. Rinse, then season the pan again.
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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.
Quilt, patchwork, crazy caterpillar, flowers, handmade, silk, velvet, cotton, 63 x 76 inches, $70.
Bell, sleigh, 24 brass bells, incised, leather strap, 100 inches, $110.
Gaudy Dutch, plate, dove, green, yellow leaves, 8 3/8 inches, $110.
Store display, “keys while you watch,” motorized, four panels, Graham Mfg. Co., 32 inches, $150.
Console Table, steel, zig zags, cookie cutter shape, signed Cockrell 84, 32 x 36 inches, $260.
Popeye, pencil sharpener, no one will miss the point, yellow, green, tin lithograph, 1929, 2 3/4 inches, $315.
Kitchen, butter paddle, maple, shield-shaped bowl, carved dog head, heart, cross, 10 1/2 inches, $540.
Alligator, folk art, wood, carved, red glass eyes, nail teeth, articulated jaw, c. 1900, 21 x 5 inches, $610.
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