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Antiques & Collecting: Toy’s value rises with art theft connection

A tin toy and its original illustrated box made in 1911 sold recently at a Bertoia toy auction in New Jersey for $12,000. The price was more than twice the low estimate.

The clockwork toy is a boy riding a horse while carrying a copy of the now famous painting of Mona Lisa. Why was the 1507 painting by Leonardo da Vinci shown in a 20th-century toy? The Mona Lisa painting was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in August 1911. Three men cut the painting out of its frame and case, hid it in a blanket and left the city on a train. No one noticed for 28 hours.

The newspaper publicity about the theft made the painting famous, and the empty space in the museum became a popular spot to visit. The painting was hidden for over two years, then the thieves tried to sell it to an art dealer who reported it to the police. The thieves were caught and eventually sent to prison. The painting is now in its own viewing area at the Louvre and is its most popular work of art.

The auction mentioned the interesting history of the toy because the box said it was the “L’Intrepide Jockey” (Brave Jockey).

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Q. I have an oval pressed glass platter that has been passed down in my family. It has a scalloped pattern on the edge and handles on the ends. In the center is a bust of George Washington with the words “First in War, First in Peace, First in the hearts of his countrymen” surrounding the figure. I was told at one time that it was a valuable collector’s item. What is it worth?

A. This is a bread plate made by Gillinder & Sons to commemorate America’s centennial in 1876. The company set up a factory on the grounds of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where it made and sold glass novelties. The words on the plate are from the eulogy written by Henry Lee after Washington died in 1799. The U.S. Congress commissioned Lee, a major general in the Continental Army and governor of Virginia, to write the eulogy, which was read in Congress. Lee was a friend of Washington’s and the father of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Gillinder started making molded and cut flint glass in 1861. Pressed glass was made beginning in 1863. The company moved to Port Jervis, New York, in 1912. The business continued under various names and owners, and it is now called Gillinder Glass. The company has made new pieces from old molds. Other companies have also made reproductions of pressed glass patterns. Plates like this sell for $20-$25.

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Q. I have a set of dishes I’d like to know more about. The mark on the back has a banner that says “Homestead” over a twig with acorns on it. Below that it says, “Flo Blue, Reg. U.S. Pat. Off., England.” How old are the dishes?

A. Flow blue ceramics, with cobalt blue designs printed on a white body, were made in England and other countries from about 1830 to 1900, but the dishes weren’t marked “Flow Blue.” That’s a modern term used to describe the flowy or blurred design. A flow blue pattern called Homestead was made by J. & G. Meakin, a pottery in Hanley, England, that started in 1859. Pieces are marked with the pattern name and a crown over a circle, the words “Hanley, England” inside the circle and “J. & G. Meakin” below it. Meakin became part of the Wedgwood Group in 1970 and production ended by 2000. Reproductions and fakes of antique flow blue patterns have been made. Homestead pattern dishes marked “Flo Blue, Reg. U.S. Pat. Off., England” are not the old historic pattern by Meakin. The “Flo Blu” trademark was registered in 1975 by Fred & Dottie’s Antiques in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. It was used on sets of dinnerware and other items. The company sold antiques and reproductions wholesale and went out of business in 2014.

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Q. Do you know anything about a Captain’s type wood chair with the name “Nichols & Stov, Co. Gardner, Mass” on the bottom?

A. Some of the letters are worn away. The manufacturer’s name is Nichols & Stone, a company that started as Nichols Brothers Chair Manufactory in Westminster, Massachusetts, in 1857. It moved to Gardner about 1900 and the company name became Nichols & Stone in 1907. The company specialized in making Boston rockers and Windsor chairs. In 1968, production expanded to include cabinets, dining room tables and occasional furniture. New styles and finishes were added by 1980. Nichols & Stone became a division of L. & J.G. Stickley of Manlius, New York, in 2008.

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Q. I have a vast record collection dating back to the early 1900s, mostly 33 1/3 and 78. They are still in their original album covers. I need to sell them. How can I find a collector or broker to assist me?

A. The first vinyl 78 records were made in 1901, and the first 33 1/3 records were produced in 1948. Vinyl records are popular again, new ones are being made and there are collectors who want old records by well-known artists. Collectors usually specialize in one type of music, like blues, country, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll or soul, or look for records by certain artists. The Beatles and Elvis are the most popular. Price depends on the popularity of the musician, rarity of the album and condition. Some albums are collected for their cover art. Stores that sell used records also buy them. Some used bookstores also have a section of old records. You or a family member can use the internet to check prices on the albums before selling them. It takes time to research each album, but you don’t want to sell an old album for $1 and discover later it’s worth much more.

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TIP: Leather books and humans like the same humidity.

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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

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.

Stellmacher vase, cherubs, putti capturing goat, reticulated rim, swags, cream, brown borders, 15 x 5 1/2 inches, $60.

Menorah, silver, crescents supporting candle cups, 7 x 8 1/2 inches, $220.

Umbrella stand, 13 stag horn antlers set around carved wooden base, metal liner, 33 x 16 inches, $290.

Teapot on stand, silver, impressed chintz pattern, flowers, lobed, heart shapes, blossom finial, Christofle, France, 16 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches, $390.

Zsolnay vase, stick neck, gilt outlined flowers, crane, mottled brown ground, 10 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches, $450.

Daum pate de verre vase, Bacchus face, grapes, aquamarine to amethyst, 14 x 8 inches, $770.

Lladro group, antique car, trunk, driver, family, child holds flowers, jumping dog, wood base, 13 x 22 inches, $830.

Steuben sculpture, 14k gold mouse sitting on glass cheese block, 4 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches, $1,540.

Chippendale sideboard, walnut, molded edge top, 2 drawers, pierced corner brackets, 37 x 10 inches, $10,580.

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The Kovels have navigated flea markets for decades. Learn from the best. “Kovels Flea Market Strategies: How to Shop, Buy and Bargain the 21st Century Way” by Terry and Kim Kovel tells you how to negotiate your way to a bargain, what to wear, what to bring along and when to show up. Also, find tips on spotting fakes, advice about paying for your purchases, shipping suggestions and a list of the latest smartphone apps to help you shop, share and ship! Full-color, saddle-stitched booklet, 17 pages. 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches. Available only from Kovels for $7.95 plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996; online at Kovels.com; or mail payment to Kovels, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

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