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Antiques & Collecting: The Bonzo bank

This vintage bank is easy to date. It is a type of tin bank that is no longer popular and the dog decorating the front was a comic cartoon star from the 1920s to the 1940s. This is the first famous Bonzo.

A live dog by that name became famous in the movies years later. Bonzo was first pictured in a British comic strip in 1922, but the bank was made in Germany by Saalheimer & Strauss. The company made toys, especially cars and motorcycles, until it was bought in 1936. The toys had an oval mark with two overlapping S letters on top of the word Success. There are two similar versions of the bank; a poem explaining how to deposit money is on the front of one type but not on the other.

Bertoia Auctions sold this mechanical bank for $1,800.

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Q: I bought the Michael Jackson “Thriller” album when it came out. Upon receiving it, I wrapped it in plastic and it has remained that way for all these years. Can you give me a value on it?

A: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album is the bestselling album in the world. Over 104 million copies have been sold since it was released by Epic Records on Nov. 30, 1982. It is not rare and usually sells for under $12 if in good condition. You can take it to a local store that sells used vinyl records to see what the album is selling for. They will give you about half the price since they have to make a profit. Some special pressings are listed for over $100. A framed or autographed album sells for much more.

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Q: I have a Kenner Blythe doll from 1972 with eye color that changes by pulling a cord. How much is this doll worth? Where can I sell it and get my money without going through a lot of hoops?

A: The original Blythe dolls were only made by Kenner for one year. The dolls have large heads and big round eyes that change color when the string is pulled. They weren’t popular with children but became popular with collectors after “This is Blythe,” a book of photographs by Gina Garan, was published in June 2000. New Blythe dolls have been made by two Japanese companies, Takara and Cross World Connections Co. Ltd.

It takes time and effort to sell anything when it is not your regular business. Selling them yourself on Etsy or eBay means you will have to pay for ads, shipping, packing, etc. It is hard work and someone has to “go through the hoops” to get the money.

Ask a friend who collects dolls or talk to local dealers at flea markets or shows to see what dolls like yours sell for and where to sell them. Some of the original Blythe dolls sold for several hundred dollars or more. Blythe dolls sold for high prices about 10 years ago, but prices are much lower today. A mint in the box doll is worth about $300 but played with dolls with no box are less than $250.

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Q: How much is a newspaper from May 7, 1945, the day World War II ended in Europe, worth? I have the “Louisville Times” and the “Courier-Journal” from that date. They are both in good condition. Where can I sell them?

A: Old newspapers from important events that occurred in the 20th century are not usually worth as much as you might think, unless the newspaper has some special connection to the event. News of the end of the war in Europe was published in newspapers around the world, and many people saved copies for posterity. Copies of the newspaper for that date sell for under $10 if the paper has yellowed to $75 if the paper is white and flexible.

TIP: Don’t store fabrics in plastic bags. Use a well-washed white pillowcase. Plastic holds moisture and the fabrics should breathe.

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