Antiques & Collecting: Settee-cradle an odd antique bench
At first, the long rocking settee with a strange fence protecting half the seat seems odd. Why place a fence on an elaborately decorated settee that looks as if it belongs in a living room? The settee is a furniture form that dates to the 1810s. It seems to be a lengthened Windsor or Hitchcock chair, all wood with spindles, curved arms and stretchers. Some look as if the rockers had been added. But paintings and ads explain the use and furniture historians call it a “settee-cradle.” The baby’s caretaker or nurse sat on the bench with the baby lying on a pillow on the seat, safe because the rails kept the infant from rolling off. It was decorated to be seen in an important place in the house, probably near the fireplace to keep warm in the winter. Some of the pieces had a long fence that left little room for the adult caretaker. A rocking settee-bench with a faux maple paint decoration and a plank seat sold at a Neal Auction recently for $976. Some of the benches have brought close to $2,000.
Q: I read your column and I am interested in selling my antique Lafayette fruit jar. Your website lists it as worth $4,950. Do you purchase items? If not, do you know a good resource to list this item for sale?
A: We checked the picture you sent, then our “Kovels Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2018” book, the Kovels’ online price guide, our many newspaper articles, etc., and finally found the price you quoted. In 2014, we wrote about an aqua Lafayette fruit jar sold at a Norman Heckler bottle auction for $4,950. However, prices have changed. You made a very common error. “Almost” is not good enough when pricing some things, especially bottles. Color is important, and so is the wording, size, and its top. Clear jars are common; colors are rare. Lafayette quarts are worth far less than the rare pints. There are about 14 versions of Lafayette bottles listed in the fruit jar bottle guides, and each has its own price range. There are also several types of tops. Your bottle is a clear quart. The $4,950 bottle is an aqua pint. Clear quarts retail for $100 to $250. Try going to bottle shows or bottle auctions in person or view them online to see values. Talk to some collectors. And remember, an auction charges
the seller a fee, often as much as 25 percent, and you have other costs like shipping and packing the bottle and taxes. We identify the source of the pictures in our price book and anything else we write and list the addresses of major auction houses at the end of our price book.
Q: I am trying to find a price for a Weller Mammy syrup jar. It was priced at $595 in 1998. How do I find out what it is worth today?
A: Weller Pottery was founded in Fultonham, Ohio, in 1872 and moved to Zanesville, Ohio, in 1882. The pottery closed in 1948. The Mammy line was made for Aunt Jemima Mills, the makers of Aunt Jemima pancake flour, in the 1930s. A complete set of the Mammy line includes a teapot, sugar with cover, creamer, syrup pitcher, batter bowl and cookie jar. The Mammy character was first used as a trademark by the R.T. Davis Milling Co. in 1893. In 1913, the company was renamed Aunt Jemima Mills. Quaker Oats Co. bought the brand in 1926, and registered the trademark in 1937. Aunt Jemima’s image has changed over the years, and a modern woman is now pictured on the packaging. The stereotypical Mammy character on these pieces is no longer popular, and prices for the syrup pitcher have dropped to about $50 to $100.
Q: What is Russel Wright’s Oceana?
A: Russel Wright (1904-1976) was an American designer of domestic and industrial wares. He designed dinnerware in modern shapes, glassware, furniture, radios, interiors, and other items in ceramics, glass, wood, aluminum and other metals. Almost everything he designed is marked with his signature as part of the mark. Oceana is a line of woodenware in freeform shapes with ocean themes designed by Wright and made by Klise Manufacturing Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, beginning about 1935. The line was not very popular, and production stopped in 1940. Wright designed a later line made by Klise in the 1950s. Pieces sell for high prices today. An olivewood Oceana bowl, 33 by 20 by 10 inches, sold for over $2,000.
Q: We have the first two albums recorded by the Beatles in excellent condition. What is their value and how would we go about selling them?
A: These albums sell at auctions for over $1,000. Their value depends on rarity and condition. The first Beatles album released in the United States was “Introducing the Beatles,” by Vee-Jay Records on Jan. 10, 1964. Capitol Records released its first Beatles album, “Meet The Beatles,” on Jan. 20, 1964. It released “The Beatles’ Second Album” on April 10, 1964. “Introducing the Beatles” was made with three different backs. The backs of the first covers were blank because the album was rushed into production to get it out before anyone else. Later back covers had ads or titles in columns. Recent prices for the album range from $1,250 to $5,250. The highest price was for a very rare “column back” stereo version of the album in original Sears sleeve, sold for $52,500. “The Beatles’ Second Album” sold for $2,000-$5,750. “Meet the Beatles” sold for $275 last year.
Tip: Fray Check, a product found in sewing supply shops, is useful for repairing tears in cardboard signs.
Take advantage of a free listing for your group to announce events or to find antique shows, national meetings and other events. Go to the Calendar at Kovels.com to find, publicize and plan your antiquing trips.
Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., 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.
Pairpoint, bowl, ruby glass, flaring rim, 5 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches, $70.
Alabaster, urn, grapes and vine carved handle, wavy grooved body, square plinth, 17 1/2 x 6 inches, $120.
Shaker, seed box, hanging, poplar, Gary, hinged slant lid, three-section interior, 5 x 26 3/4 inches, $240.
Furniture, chair, side, shaker, maple, dark brown, 3 slats, club shaped cut-outs, rush seat, c. 1850, 41 x 16 inches, $480.
Bronze, sculpture, Atlas, kneeling, supports moss-covered globe, on shoulders, 1900s, 30 x 17 inches, $935.
Map, Americas, mermen, warriors, multicolor, Jan Jansson, 1641, 20 1/8 x 23 7/8 inches, $3,120.
Music box, singing bird, blue enamel, flowers, iridescent feathers, moving beak, Reuge, 2 x 4 3/4 in. 3,250.
Arequipa, vase, squeezebag decoration, heart shaped leaves, brown, cream, Frederick Rhead, 3 1/2 x 3 inches, $5,630.
Galle, perfume bottle, glass, enamel, goddess of destiny, 6 inches, $5,700.
Faience, jar, lid, tree peonies, red, white, leaves, yellow ground, John Bennet, 1882, 15 1/2 x 12 inches, $7,500.
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