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Antiques & Collecting: Vintage glassware comes in many shapes, sizes

Most of us have a few differently shaped glasses, some to use every day and others for parties. You need a water glass and wine glasses, one for white wine and another for red. Before dinner you need cocktail glasses and rocks glasses for whiskey “on the rocks (ice cubes).”

It is possible to collect vintage glassware in more than a dozen shapes. Cordial glasses are popular because they are small and made by many firms in many colors, often with cut, engraved or painted decorations.

A Rhine wine glass was offered at Woody Auctions last year. It is a rarely used shape with a cupped bowl, a tall stem and a flat round foot. The auction had an example made by Val St. Lambert, a Belgian glass firm that started in 1825 and is still working. The auctioned example was made of blue glass cut to Vaseline glass with a clear stem. It sold for $450.

The company copied many United States glass patterns, including some used by Fry, Libbey, Sandwich, Dorflinger, Bergen and more. It also made vases, punch bowls, biscuit jars, compotes, candlesticks, coasters and many other table items.

Val St. Lambert can be hard to identify. When new, there is a paper label or the company name in a circle or an oval with clipped ends. It also may say “depose,” the French word that refers to a design patent.

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Q. I have a set of Stangl dinnerware that I got from an aunt years ago. It’s the Pink Dogwood pattern. There are dinner plates, salad plates, cups and saucers, and other items. Most have the price tags still on them and haven’t been used. I’d like to sell them.

A. As we’ve said many times before, it’s hard to sell sets of vintage dinnerware. If you find a matching service or online source that will buy it, you have to pack it, insure it and ship it, and it likely won’t sell for very much anyway. It’s easier to try to sell it locally. Take it to a local antiques dealer who sells dishes or to a consignment shop. They may help you set the price and will tell you what percentage you’ll get if it sells. It probably will be a better deal to donate it to a charity shop and take the tax deduction.

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Q. I have a glass Mason jar that’s about 17 1/2 inches tall. I saw jars like this around 1945. I think they put pickles in them. The front of the jar is embossed “Mason’s patent, Nov. 30th, 1858.” There is a star below “Mason’s.” The back of the jar has an eagle with a shield on it and some stars. What can you tell me about this jar and possible worth?

A. John L. Mason was granted a patent on Nov. 30, 1858, for his “new and useful Improvements in the Necks of Bottles, Jars, &c.” that made the containers airtight. The jars were molded with threaded screw-type necks. Mason previously invented screw tops and caps for glass bottles and jars. The jars were especially popular in the 1880s and 1890s before refrigeration, when home canning was the only way to preserve food. Many of the jars have a mold number or letter on the base that identifies the factory that made the jar. Millions of these jars were made, but Mason didn’t become rich from his invention because most of the jars were made after 1879, when his patent expired. Mason’s Patent Nov. 30th jars have been reproduced since the 1970s. Go to bottle shows and talk to the dealers. They often have an appraisal booth.

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Q. My mother used to wait outside theaters to collect photos, which were then signed by the theater stars. They are addressed to her. My father worked for NBC in New York for 39 years. He met many entertainers and began collecting their autographs when I was born. They are addressed to me. I would like to find them a good home where they will be appreciated. Can you help?

A. Rarity, the fame of the person signing, format (what the signature is on) and condition determine the value of an autograph. An autograph from a famous person who didn’t sign many things sells for more than one from an entertainer or sports figure who frequently signed autographs. An autograph on a photo is worth more than one on a piece of paper or in an album, but a picture autographed to someone is usually worth less than one not addressed “to” anyone. You should contact an auction that sells autographs to see if they can sell them.

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Q. I have a mug that says, “Remembrance of the 54th Reunion of the GAR, Chicago, Aug. 20-26, 1900.” It has an American flag and eagle on the front and a five-star badge. Also written on it is “Veteran of the Grand Army of the Republic.” Does this have any value?

A. The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization founded in 1866 for honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the Revenue Cutter Service who served during the Civil War. It established soldiers’ homes and lobbied to get pensions for the veterans. The G.A.R. was the first to promote May 30 as a day to remember those who died “in the late rebellion” by decorating their graves. Both state groups and the national organization held encampments. The last National Encampment was in 1949. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is the legal successor to the G.A.R. Many souvenirs of G.A.R. encampments were made. There are collectors who want G.A.R. memorabilia. Your mug sold for about $200 10 years ago, but very few have been sold recently.

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TIP: If you are in an area with earth tremors or windstorms, or even near a heavily traveled road or train track, you may have pictures that move on the wall. To keep them straight, use two picture hooks next to each other.

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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.

Shawnee planter, flares open, wavy mouth, yellow, 9 1/2 inches, $20.

Hutschenreuther figurine, woman fixing her hair, seated, formal yellow dress, flowers, 10 inches, $90.

Weather vane, locomotive, wooden, steam engine, 1 car, old white paint, 40 x 16 inches, $340.

Ice bucket, silver, scrollwork at mouth and base, slight taper, loop handles, Mexico, 8 inches, $420.

Bronze sculpture, “Reflection 1,” seated nude male, knees bent, arm resting on upright knee, Carol Miller, 19 x 20 inches, $780.

Folding screen, 6 panels, carved relief, gilt highlights, applied hardstone vases and flowers, 75 x 88 inches, $910.

Pie safe, cherry, 2 doors, 4 punch tin panels, interior shelves, dovetailed drawers, shaped skirt, 65 x 58 inches, $1,060.

Meissen clock, winter, spring, fall, allegorical figures, flowers, tripod base, porcelain, 16 1/2 inches, $1,430.

Icon, St. Nil Stoblensky, seated figure, halo, gilt, 3-dimensional carved shadow box, flowers, 13 x 12 inches, $1,560.

Russian lacquer box, illustrated scenes of “The Tale of the Golden Cockerel,” gold highlights, green, wooden, 5 1/2 x 8 inches, $1,690.

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“Flea Market Finds with the Kovels” DVDs — America’s antiques experts take you shopping at everyday and extra-special flea markets. “Flea Market Finds with the Kovels” will make you an expert on almost anything you see at a flea market. You can purchase DVDs of Seasons 1 through 7 (12 episodes each, 84 episodes in total). PLUS, get 2 FREE DVDs with bonus episodes from each season with your order. Available online at Kovels.com for $129.95 plus $4.95 postage; by phone at 800-303-1996; or mail a check to Kovels, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

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