Antiques & Collecting: Hunzinger pioneered furniture designs

George Hunzinger (1835-1898) was born in Germany and trained as a cabinetmaker. In 1855, he emigrated to the United States and started making his own style of furniture, chairs and tables made of wood or wire — inspired by pipes, machinery and his 21 patented designs and methods. He invented or improved extension, swivel top and nesting tables; reclining and folding chairs; platform rockers; convertible beds; and a woven seat made of fabric-covered wire.

A woven wire bed was sold recently by Neal Auction Company. It had an adjustable back and curved arms, but most importantly, it still had the original fabric-wrapped metal wire webbing Hunzinger patented in 1879. It sold for $3,125. This new material cut the cost of making a chair, and he sold his novel chairs for the low price of $30. Collectors have no trouble recognizing his work because most of it is stamped with his name and the patent date. He made copies of his furniture in a variety of wood finishes and upholstery materials that were bought by a diverse range of customers. And he had sales offices, agents and catalogs in many countries. Hunzinger furniture was very different from the period designs, and the Neal catalog called the daybed a “Modern Gothic” piece.

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Q. I was given “50 Norman Rockwell Favorites,” a book that includes 50 posters suitable for framing, and a Norman Rockwell plate marked “A Time to Keep.” What would these be worth if I want to sell them together?

A. Norman Rockwell prints and plates aren’t as popular as they once were. Your plate is a “limited edition” made in 1989, when collecting limited edition plates was popular. Your book was first published in paperback in 1977 and was later published with a hardcover. Both items sell online and might appeal to someone who collects Norman Rockwell items. The book sells for $10 to $50 and the plate for less than $10.

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Q. I have a complete set of reproductions of Sandwich glass, bought from Montgomery in the 1970s. They are sunset colored, red and yellow. How much are they worth?

A. The Montgomery Ward Co. commemorated its 100th year in 1972 with special offers in their “Century 2” catalog. Special glassware was listed in the “Star and Scroll” Sandwich pattern. Sixteen items were offered in three colors, “Horizon Blue,” “Lime Green” and “Sunset,” an amberina-like tone of shaded red and gold like yours. It was made by the Indiana Glass Co. and each piece had a tag that read, “Authentic Sandwich Glass.” Although it was advertised that the Montgomery Ward Sandwich glass was recreated from original molds of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Co. (1825 to 1888), it was later confirmed that the line had actually been made from Duncan & Miller Sandwich pattern molds that Indiana Glass had bought in the 1960s. Montgomery Ward’s Sandwich pattern was only offered in 1972, so it’s rare, but it’s not authentic Depression-era glass. Some individual prices we’ve seen: a 4-part relish dish, $40; a 2-part relish dish, $35; 6 footed sherbets, $25; 4 salad plates with cups and saucers, $60; and a covered candy jar, $18.

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Q. We’d like to find the current value of a 19th-century carousel animal by Bayol. It’s a small rabbit and looks to be in near perfect condition. It was given to my partner by his parents and was purchased at an auction over 20 years ago for a tidy sum. We’d like to sell it.

A. Gustave Bayol (1859-1931) was the best-known French carousel maker. He had a carousel factory in Angers, France, in the late 1800s and early 1900s where he made carousels for the city and for private customers. Most of his carousel animals were farmyard animals, including rabbits, pigs, donkeys, cows, cats and horses. Some included heads that nodded or had voice mechanisms. If your Bayol rabbit has all four feet in the air, it’s a jumper. If the front feet are in the air and both back feet are on the platform, it’s a prancer. If all four feet are on the ground, the animal is a stander from the outside row. Carousel figures sell well at auctions. Figures other than horses are the most desirable. Outer ring animals have more elaborate carved decorations than inner ring animals. Figures with unusual features or ornate decoration can sell for about $3,000. American figures sell for more. If your rabbit isn’t highly decorated or isn’t in perfect condition, it would sell for less.

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Q. Do you have any information on trade beads?

A. Beads have been used as a medium of exchange for goods in many cultures for thousands of years. Most trade beads found today are from tribes in Africa or North America. Early Native American Indian tribes made beads out of shells, stones and bones. Christopher Columbus brought glass beads as gifts on his first voyage. Later, European explorers and traders brought glass and ceramic beads to trade for furs and other goods. There are several different kinds of trade beads. There are auctions that specialize in items made or used by Native American Indian tribes and they often sell trade bead jewelry.

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TIP: Look at the hinge on a tilt top table. The wear should show on both the top and the base if it is old.

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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.

Scarf, retro, silk, pink, blue and purple circles, black ground, Bob Mackie, 1960s, 20 x 69 inches, $20.

Soda fountain canister, Carnation malted milk, milk glass, red and green letters, aluminum lid, 8 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches, $85.

Sunderland pitcher, pink luster, transfer decoration including Mason’s Arms, sailors’ verses, England, c. 1810, 9 1/4 inches, $130.

Sampler, needlepoint, cross-stitch, houses, family, horse, carriage, flowers, frame, 1960s, 11 x 13 inches, $150.

Menu board, Hires Root Beer, mug, metal, chalkboard, Crush International, Illinois, 1960s, 28 x 19 inches, $165.

Parlor set, Renaissance Revival, walnut, carved, molded gargoyle inlays, settee, armchair and side chair, velour, attributed to John Jelliff, c. 1875, settee 47 x 65 inches, 3 piece, $650.

Loetz vase, Oceanic pattern, mottled green over clear, large dimples, rippled texture, iridescent highlights, wide mouth, 1905, 5 x 6 inches, $700.

Oyster plate, 5 shell-shape wells, majolica, seaweed pattern, blue, pink, brown, white, impressed Wedgwood, M over 1948, 8 inches, $895.

Toy, Yes-No Fox, wearing glasses, blond mohair, move tail and head goes from side to side and up and down, padded feet, Schuco, c. 1920, 13 inches, $1,280.

Aluminum punch set, Russel Wright, Saturn, cups rest on center rim, lacquered wood ball handles, punch bowl, ladle, 12 cups, stamped, 1930s, 12 x 17 inches, $1,875.

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