Antiques & Collecting: Lincoln remembered, memorialized over years
President Abraham Lincoln has been memorialized in many ways since his death in 1860, but there are things that few people remember today.
1. The president and his wife, Mary Todd, had four sons. Three died young. “Eddie” (Edward Baker) Lincoln, born in 1846, died at 3 years old in 1850. “Willie” (William Wallace) was born in 1850 and died in 1862 at the age of 11. Son Thomas, called “Tad,” was born in 1853 and died at 18 in 1871. But their first-born son, Robert Todd, was born in 1843 and lived until 1926, passing at the age of 82.
2. President Lincoln was the tallest president. He was 6 feet, 4 inches tall.
3. Lincoln’s birthday is Feb. 12, 1809.
4. President Lincoln did not smoke and rarely drank alcohol. He drank water with meals.
Try some of President Lincoln’s favorite foods on President’s Day. One of his favorites were apples. He held an apple with his thumb and forefinger, and ate it from the bottom. Some say he also liked chicken fricassee with biscuits, and most reports say he enjoyed oyster stew. Mary Todd Lincoln used “Miss Leslie’s Complete Cookery” cookbook that is still available at bookstores today.
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Q. My dad inherited two small American flags. One has 46 stars, is 5 1/2 inches by 9 inches and has two brass rings. There is a slight tear on one edge. The other flag had 48 stars and is 6 inches by 4 inches. He’s starting to get rid of some things, and we would like to know possible value.
A. The first official flag of the United States included 13 stars and 13 stripes. The number of stars and stripes were increased to 15 when two more states were added in 1795. The Flag Act of 1818 established the number of stripes at 13, representing the 13 original colonies in 1795, and since then, only the number of stars has increased. The 46-star flag was the official flag from 1908 until 1912, when New Mexico and Arizona became states and the stars increased to 48. The flag was changed twice in 1959, to 49 stars in January when Alaska became a state and to 50 stars in August when Hawaii became a state. The price depends on the size and condition. Your flags in average condition would sell for under $100. The large flags bring higher prices.
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Q. My father had some mysterious bills tucked away. He was a Pearl Harbor veteran, and I wonder if this money is from World War II. The words printed on the front of the bills are “Japansche Regeering Betaalt Aan Toonder.” There are seven “Een Gulden” and four “Half Gulden” bills. They are in pristine condition. Are they worth anything to collectors? How would I go about selling them?
A. These bills were issued during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies. The words on these bills are Dutch and translate as “The Japanese government pays to bearer one guilder” or “half guilder.” After the Dutch surrendered in March 1942, the Japanese closed the banks, confiscated Dutch money and printed their own money in Japan with values in guilders. They were first issued in Gulden (guilders), but the currency was changed to Roepiah in 1944. They are sometimes called Japanese invasion money. The money was worthless after the Japanese surrendered in August 1945. These bills are fairly common today and sell online for only a few dollars.
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Q. Any guides for surviving asbestos contamination for collectors? Collector friends just had a roof collapse and their crowded house is contaminated What can be saved?
A. Homeowner’s insurance usually includes damage to the building and some money for repairs to the contents. Asbestos removal may be covered. The danger is from dust, and a professional firm should be hired for this work. It requires special equipment, protective suits, waste disposal and more. Most cities require a final removal inspection.
Collectors have special problems. All upholstered furniture, textiles, clothing, medicine, food, and more probably must go. Furniture can be reupholstered if the frame is valuable. Ceramics, glass, jewelry, bronzes and other hard-surface items probably can be cleaned but that requires special protective gear and instructions to avoid contact with dust. Dolls, most toys, paintings, photographs, books, and everything paper may be contaminated. Don’t forget the dirt outside that probably is filled with asbestos dust. It should be removed.
The government and other sites online give detailed instructions. Try “Homeowner’s and Renters Guide to Asbestos Cleanup after Disasters” available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Search online for specialized advice from collector clubs, blogs and government agencies. Don’t try to do this alone. The dust is almost invisible and will be stirred up if not properly removed. Store all the “safe” collectibles off-site until you know what to save. You can’t replace memories, but you can find more collectibles
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Tip: Civil War re-enactors have been warned that some old medical instruments could still carry germs or viruses that are infectious. Be very careful when handling any old medical items. They should be carefully disinfected.
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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, The Journal, New Ulm, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.
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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.
Beer bottle, Kuntz Lager, labeled, 1920s, 9 1/4 inches, $85.
Fire extinguisher, brass, red handle, soda & acid, Coulter Copper & Brass Co., Canada, 24 x 7 inches, $155.
Telephone, Northern Electric, oak, rotary dial, handset, 22 x 8 inches, $160.
Blanket chest, oak, rectangular lift top, 4 panels, stylized flowers, geometric borders, 28 x 54 inches, $340.
Doorstop, Hubley, horse, standing, black, cast iron, 1920s, 10 x 3 inches, $285.
Political pinback, Rutherford B. Hayes, William A. Wheeler, busts, gilt border, 1 inch, $335.
Chandelier, 6-light, roses, leaves, wrought metal, continental, c. 1925, 28 x 26 inches, $480.
Terra-cotta pedestal, 4 twist columns, acanthus capitals, 48 x 19 inches, $1,560.
Louis Vuitton trunk, Anglais model, brown, monogram, handle, France, 10 x 31 inches, $4,105.
Clock, tall case, mahogany, seated putti, moon phase, brass dial, chime, Herschede, 98 x 29 inches, $6,000.
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