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Antiques & Collecting: Paris porcelain

Paris porcelain is often a mystery to collectors. Sometimes it is sold as Vieux Paris or Old Paris. It was made in the 18th or early 19th century. Most pieces are not marked, but the porcelain is very white and the decorations are usually elaborate with many colors and gold trim. It was made by several different Paris potteries.

A 19th-century cylindrical Paris porcelain vase decorated on the front with a painting of Cupid and Psyche sold for $244 at a Neal auction recently. There was standing putto on the back, and the vase had a blue base with gold shaped trim. Other pieces of Paris porcelain at the same auction were appraised at $600 or more.

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Q: I recently found a movie poster from “The Adventures of Robin Hood” while thrifting. It pictures Errol Flynn as Robin Hood and Olivia de Havilland looking on in the background. Printed on the bottom is “Continental Litho Corp. Cleveland O USA 8988.” After looking it up, I found a few just like this sold at auctions for a lot of money. How can I tell if my poster is a valuable original or just a copy?

A: Warner Bros. produced “The Adventures of Robin Hood” in 1938. Continental Litho Corp. made movie lobby posters for Warner Bros. and other companies. Reproductions of this poster have been made in several sizes. The size of the poster and copyright information help authenticate and date movie posters. The standard size, called a “one sheet,” is 27 inches by 41 inches. If your poster is a different size, it’s a reproduction. The value of an original movie poster is determined by the desirability of the title, the graphics and its condition. Some original movie posters sell for very high prices, but reproductions sell for only a few dollars. If you think you have an original, contact an auction that sells movie memorabilia. They can give you an estimate of value or, if it’s valuable, sell it for you.

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Q: We found one of our old family cemeteries in Casey County, Kentucky, and we want to clean several head or foot stones. We want to be able to read the stones and identify our folks to help put our family tree together. Any suggestions on a safe product or procedure?

A: Make sure the stones belong to members of your family before trying to clean them. The first rule in cleaning an old cemetery stone is “do no harm.” Don’t try to clean a stone if it’s unstable, broken or cracked. Don’t use a wire brush or bleach. Use a dry nylon brush to carefully brush away some of the dirt. If more is needed, you can use water to clean the stone, but you may have to bring it with you. A spray bottle filled with water is a convenient way to rinse the stone after you’ve cleaned it. Don’t try to clean the stone if the weather is too hot or too cold. Using cold water on a hot stone can cause cracks to form. If the weather is too cold, water can get into cracks in the stone and cause more damage. There are special products that will clean stains from mold or algae. Check the website www.CemeteryConservators

UnitedStandards.org for more information.

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