Antiques & Collecting: Hail Britannia: Personification of England
Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, but she celebrates her birthday on several different days.
The English monarch’s birthday had been celebrated on the actual date of his or her birth since 1788. But in 1936, after King George V died, the date was changed to the second Monday in June to commemorate his death and to get better weather for the “Trooping the Color,” a British regimental parade. The date was changed again in 1959 to the second Saturday in June. To add to the confusion, some places, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, chose a different day. In 2019, it will be celebrated in Britain on June 8.
A Roman goddess was the inspiration for Britannia, the personification of Britain, by 1797. She always wears a Corinthian helmet, carries a trident or spear and has a lion lying at her feet. This Staffordshire figure of Britannia was made about 1820. It was sold at a Thomaston auction for $586.
* * *
Q. I acquired an antique lamp sculpted by Auguste Moreau in the late 1800s. It’s the figure of a draped woman reaching for a flower and leaves on a round base. The lamp’s metal is dull but it’s in excellent shape. It needs to be rewired. It is signed by Moreau. Is it worth getting it restored? I am a novice collector who just enjoys a unique and interesting item.
A. Auguste Moreau (1834-1917) was a French sculptor, and the son, father and uncle of other Moreau family members, who were also artists. His works usually are made of bronze, with examples in many museums. Moreau is known for his statues of women in the Art Nouveau style and his original work sells for high prices. Spelter copies of Moreau sculptures are worth much less. While your lamp is marked Moreau, it is not an original sculpture, but it could have been cast at the Moreau foundry. It is made of spelter, a zinc alloy that resembles bronze but is lighter and softer. It was used for figurines, candlesticks and lamp bases, like yours, and given a bronze or painted finish. If you like the lamp, have it repaired. Fixed and rewired, your lamp is worth $250 to $400.
* * *
Q. I have a “Cherry Boy” statue, but it doesn’t look like the one on your website. It’s a boy holding cherries above his mouth, but he has blond hair. The bottom of the statue under the tree trunk has “Atlantic Mocd” [looks like] scraped into it, like it was put there when the material was still wet. Can you tell me anything about my statue?
A. The original “Cherry Boy” was a 21-inch figure made of chalkware. The design was copyrighted in 1906 by Boston Plastic Art Co. (in business from about 1900 until the early 1920s). It often was painted with watercolors, but oils were used, too, so the cast sculpture could be painted with different colors. Your statue is much newer, with less detail and a more contemporary style. It was cast by the Atlantic Mold Co., a large supplier of hobby molds that operated from about 1960 until 2001. Atlantic called it the “Cherry Picker.” Other companies still sell some of Atlantic’s old molds. Cherry Boy statues from the early 1900s sell from $40 to $75. Asking price online for your Cherry Picker is about $15, but we haven’t seen any sell.
* * *
Q. My wife’s grandmother was given a cast iron mechanical bank by a neighbor in the late 1800s, and we inherited it after she died. It has a mother bird and two baby birds in a nest. When you put a coin in the mother bird’s mouth and push a lever under her tail, she bends forward, spreads her wings and drops the coin into the nest. It’s marked on the bottom “Pat Jan 29, 1883.” It’s 6 inches high, 7 inches wide and in good condition. What is it worth?
A. This bank was designed and patented by Charles M. Henn and produced by J. & E. Stevens Co. of Cromwell, Connecticut. Early company advertisements list it as an American Eagle bank, but most collectors call it “Eagle and Eaglets.” The base was made in two color variations, light green with yellow and red highlights, and light tan with yellow, red and green highlights. Accurate reproductions have been made. Original banks in good working order, with no missing or broken parts and most of their paint, sell at auction for several hundred dollars. You should contact an auction house that has sales of mechanical banks if you’re interested in selling. Auctions are listed online. Price depends on condition and the amount of original paint. A bank like yours with a tan base sold recently at a Bertoia auction for $780.
* * *
Q. I have an old black and white portrait of a woman done by Federico Andreotti. Unfortunately, it has some water stains I am afraid to touch. Would you know anyplace to contact about cleaning this?
A. Federico Andreotti (1847-1930) was an Italian painter known for his colorful paintings of people in 16th and 17th century settings, done in oil on canvas. Your black and white portrait on paper may be a print or copy of one of his paintings and not of great value. Removing a water stain from paper is difficult. Sites online list some methods you can try, but if the stain covers any part of the portrait, it will probably be impossible to remove the stain without spoiling the picture.
* * *
TIP: Never use your own hairbrush on your doll. Your hair oils will harm the doll’s wig. Dolls should have their own brushes.
* * *
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.
* * *
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.
Mettlach stein, pottery, soldier, students, violin player, outside pub, pewter lid, 1/2 liter, $170.
Child’s highchair, Windsor, 6 spindles, black & red paint, plank seat, splayed bamboo turned legs, 30 x 16 inches, $180.
Bronze dog statue, whippet, ready to run, oval black & orange marble vase, after P.J. Mene, 4 x 5 x 3 inches, $365.
Linen press, chestnut, 2 arched panel doors, shelves, 2 over 3 drawers, wooden knobs, French bun feet, Canada, 1800s, 83 x 51 inches, $430.
Christmas ornament, kugel, cluster of grapes, olive green glass, baroque cap, Germany, 5 1/2 inches, $445.
Sterling silver belt buckle, interwoven bands, enamel decoration, Cymric, Archibald Knox, Liberty & Co., 1903, 2 1/2 inches, $500.
Walking toy, woman pushing pram, tin, painted, clockwork mechanism, Gunthermann, Germany, 8 x 9 inches, $1,140.
Gorham bowl, copper, hammered, applied silver insects, heron & fruit, bulbous, ruffled rim, early 20th century, 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, $1,415.
Shaker sign, “Shaker Store, Plain & Fancy Goods,” wood, stenciled letters, old paint, 13 x 52 inches, $3,480.
Barbie doll, Mo. 1, brunette ponytail, striped swimsuit, original accessories, box, Mattel, $5,750.
* * *
Kovels’ “A Diary: How to Sell, Settle and Profit from a Collector’s Estate” is a step-by-step guide on what to do when settling an estate; from gathering legal papers to dividing antiques among heirs and selling everything else — even the house. It includes how to identify popular collectibles and tips on where and how to sell furniture, jewelry, dishes, figurines, record albums, bikes and even clothes. We explain the advantages of a house sale, auction, selling to a dealer or donating to a charity. Learn about how to handle the special problems of security and theft. Plus, a free current supplement with useful websites, auctions lists and other current information. Available only from Kovels for $19.95 plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996; online at Kovels.com; or write to Kovels, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.