Antiques & Collecting: Collectors flip over antique pot lids

This is not a plate. It is the lid to a ceramic pot that held bear grease, shrimp paste, cold cream, shaving cream, toothpaste, potted meat, beef marrow, salves and many other cosmetics and foods that would have fit into the small, 3- to 4-inch-diameter pots. The pots were used in England and later, in the United States, from about 1840 to 1910. The pot lids were most often decorated with black and white transfer patterns advertising the contents of the pot. Collectors today pay premium prices for lids with multiple colors.

Of course, the matching container bases also are wanted. Prices at a recent auction ranged from $144 for a Jules Hauel Saponaceous Shaving Compound lid to $4,500 for a different brand of shaving compound, Wright’s Gold Medal, with a lid picturing a man shaving. Some pot lids were made with patriotic decorations or ads for a store with no mention of contents. There are about 40 times more English than American pot lid designs, so prices for American examples are higher. A lid with a purple transfer design labeled “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and the name of a Philadelphia perfumer sold for $3,218 in a Glass Works online auction.

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Q. I have a White Rotary sewing machine in a Martha Washington style cabinet. It is an electric model, and I am trying to establish an approximate date of manufacture. I am also wondering if there are any old manuals available.

A. In 1858, at the age of 22, Thomas H. White invented a very small single-thread sewing machine. He obtained a patent, started White Manufacturing Co., in Templeton, Mass., and began making the New England Sewing Machine. It sold for $10. In 1866, he moved the company to Cleveland. The name was changed to White Sewing Machine Co. in 1876 and more improved sewing machines were developed. The popular White Family Rotary model was introduced in the 1890s and was made in updated versions until the 1950s. From the mid-1920s through the 1950s, White was the main supplier of sewing machines to Sears Roebuck & Co.

The company merged with the Norwegian-based Husqvarna Viking in the 1960s. Your machine was made in the 1930s. Machines like yours have sold from $40 to $175, depending on condition.

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Q. I’d like to sell my great-grandfather’s gold pocket watch. Inside it says “Solidarity” over a circle, “Warranted 14K, US assay, 74112” and it’s engraved with my great-grandfather’s initials. The watch has a white face, black Roman numerals and is marked “Illinois.” It’s in the original box from Dorberry Shops in New York City.

A. Solidarity Watch Case Co. was in business in Brooklyn, New York, from 1885 to 1931. Illinois Watch Co. was in business in Springfield, Illinois, from 1867 to 1928. After several changes in ownership, the trademarks are now owned by the Illinois Watch Co. in Quincy, Illinois.

There are people who collect pocket watches. Price depends on condition, rarity, design and material of the case. Watches in nonworking condition sell for much less than those that work. Most pocket watches sell for a few hundred dollars. A local jeweler may be able to estimate price based on the amount of gold in the watch.

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Q. We have a full-sized 1905 Glenwood stove that has nickel-plated trim and trivets. The stove and oven both work. It originally burned coal and wood, but we had it converted to use electricity. We’d like to sell it and wonder what it’s worth.

A. Glenwood stoves were made by the Weir Stove Company in Taunton, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1879 by Charles F. Baker, George E. Wilbur and William E. Walker. The company became the Glenwood Range Company in 1924, after all the founders had died. At one time the company was the largest stove maker in the area.

When gas and electric stoves became popular, the company couldn’t afford to convert its manufacturing to meet the new demand, and business declined. Glenwood’s patterns were transferred to other stove companies, and the factory closed in 1949. A few collectors buy old stoves for historic houses or as a prop in a retail store, restaurant or inn. Old stoves that have been converted to electricity or gas are expensive, and some sell for over $1,000.

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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, 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.

Scale, Parcel Post, Triner Peerless-Allsteel, automatic, metal, green, plate, fan-shaped window, 28 x 25 inches, $49.

Libbey glass vase, colorless, flute & star block pattern, pedestal base, ray-cut foot, marked, 10 inches, $150.

Advertising match safe, J.H. Lesher & Co., Tailors, Trimmings, Chicago, turtle shape, cast iron, embossed shell lid, 5 inches, $207.

Clock, architectural, Skyscraper, Manning-Bowman, chrome, stepped accents, orange Bakelite panels & base, electric, art deco, 17 x 8 inches, $403.

Jewelry, bracelet, bangle, yellow Bakelite, small citrine studs, 18K gold mounts, Mark Davis, 2 1/2 inches, $688.

Doll, Madame Alexander, Cinderella, plastic, Tosca wig, blue taffeta gown, crown with rhinestones, 1955, 8 inches, $920.

Popeye toy, Popeye Unicyclist, tin lithograph, original box with color graphics, Popeye riding & Olive Oyl watching, 6 x 3 inches, $1,152.

Folk Art Gaming Wheel, wood, carved, painted, 3 bands of dice around border, metal tripod base, eagle holds metal indicator, c. 1900, 31 inches, $1,830.

Furniture, bookcase, Renaissance Revival, walnut, arched top, 2 tombstone glass doors, pull out desk over 2 doors with quatrefoil panels, c. 1870, 110 x 56 inches, $3,198.

Newcomb Pottery vase, landscape, tall pine trees, crescent moon, relief carved, blue & green matte glaze, oval, marked, Anna F. Simpson, 6 1/2 x 5 inches, $5,313.

©2020 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.


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