Antiques & Collecting: Dan Johnson designed sleek ‘Gazelle’ furniture

Artist Dan Johnson (1918-1979) designed furniture for many companies with the midcentury modern look. He worked in Rome and California, and designed a number of lines of modern furniture, especially chairs and tables, for Danish and U.S. companies.

Johnson often used thin, patinated metal, iron or aluminum for arms, legs and seats, and added caning or fabric upholstery. All of his designs looked lightweight, but a chair with a bronze or iron frame is heavy and hard to shove into place at a dining-room table. One of his most famous designs was the Gazelle line designed in Rome and then sold in the U.S. He used metal parts patinated “Pompeian Verde,” a green color that was inspired by the excavations at Pompeii.

The pictured Gazelle bronze and cane chair, made in the 1950s, was estimated to be worth $4,000-$6,000 recently. Lines made for other companies were similar, including maple furniture made in 1947, Viscount made in the late 1950s of brass and ivory or nickel and walnut or other combinations, and Satyr made with thin shapely legs. They were made by Arch Industries, Selig and others.

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Q: Are Dionne Quintuplet dolls worth very much? I have five baby dolls marked “Effanbee Baby Tinyette.” They are dressed in their original layette outfits and all are in good condition.

A: The Dionne quintuplets, Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie and Yvonne, were born in Ontario, Canada, on May 28, 1934. They were the first newborn quintuplets to survive. News of their birth spread worldwide. They were made wards of the province of Ontario, Canada, in 1935 and moved to a specially built nursery compound, known as Quintland, where millions of tourists came to watch the girls through one-way glass. Many dolls were made representing the girls as infants and toddlers. The Effanbee Baby Tinyette dolls were not licensed as Dionne Quintuplets dolls, but sets of five are often sold as Dionne Quintuplets. The dolls are worth about $3 each in good condition.

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Q: We were given a 10-inch sterling silver “Revere bowl” as a wedding gift in 1948. It’s in good condition with a liner (which I added). Can you tell me what it’s worth?

A: Revere Silver bowls have been popular wedding gifts for years. The simple shape with slightly flared lip is based on the “Liberty Bowl,” which was made by Paul Revere at his silver shop in Boston in 1768. Revere bowls have been made in silver plate, sterling silver and pewter by many different makers. The value of your bowl depends on the silver content. Solid silver (sterling) is worth at least the price of the silver it contains, the meltdown value. Silver plate is worth less because it contains less silver. A well-known maker adds value. Recent prices for a 10-inch Revere bowl range from $600 to $1,000 for a bowl made by Gorham. Silver plate sells for $50 to $300. Your bowl might sell at an auction or consignment shop.

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Q: My mother bought a Smith-Miller toy truck at an antiques shop in the late 1960s or early ’70s. It says “Marshall Field & Co.” on the side. I’ve seen similar ones online, but the prices are all over the place. Can you give me a good idea of the value?

A: Smith-Miller was founded by Bob Smith and Matt Miller in Los Angeles in 1944. Smith left the company in 1948. Miller sold the company in 1952. The company made 1/16 scale toy trucks. It was unable to compete with cheaper toys in the mid-1950s, so production was shut down in 1954. The company continued to sell old stock and parts. Fred Thompson, who had been restoring Smith-Miller trucks, bought the company, stock, dies and the building in 1979. The company now makes new trucks in numbered limited editions. Your truck is worth about $200 to $300 in very good condition.

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Q: I’d like to know something about a decorative metal plate that is part of an old toilet paper holder. It has two holes where it could be screwed into the wall but is missing the two long rods and roller that would hold the roll of paper. The plate has “Art Brass Co., NY” on one side and “Phone West 7074, H. Rosskamp, 1447 Devisadero St.” on the other. I did a little research and found that the street’s spelling is wrong. Is this something a collector might be interested in?

A: Toilet paper holders were one of the many products made by the Art Brass Co. of New York City. The company made nickel-plated brass bathroom fixtures and accessories in the early 1900s. Its products were sold worldwide. You have an advertising piece made for H. Rosskamp, a plumbing and hardware store in San Francisco. The store was listed in the 1915 “Plumbers Trade Journal.” The spelling of Devisadero was changed to Divisadero in 1909, so the toilet paper roll was made before that year. The old street name might add appeal to collectors. You can find similar toilet paper holders with store names on them for sale online for as much as $150.

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TIP: When hanging pictures, use a smartphone app for a level to be sure the pictures are not crooked.

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Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer reader’s questions sent to the column. Send a letter with one question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two pictures, the object and a closeup of any marks or damage. Be sure your name and return address are included. By sending a question, you give full permission for use in any Kovel product. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We do not guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels Publications. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at


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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.

Glass-Bohemian candy dish, green cut to clear, hand painted pink, yellow and green flowers, gilt scrolls and trim, domed cover with large knob finial, 5 x 3 inches, $60.

Stoneware, jug, whiskey, brown glazed top and handle, stencil label, stamped 3, E.S. Pierce Co., Worcester, Mass., c.1910, 3 gal., 16 inches, $190.

Doorstop, Charleston Dancers, stylized clothing, black suit on man, red and gilt dress on woman, cast iron, painted, Demilune base, art deco style, Hubley, 8 3/4 inches, $310.

Toy, fire wagon, hose reel, yellow, embossed word “Hose” on both sides, seated driver, black suit, crank, cast iron, Kenton, 3 3/4 x 9 x 3 3/4 inches, $420.

Redware, pitcher, mottled brown and green glaze, bulbous, squat, rolled rim, applied S-curved handle, Shenandoah Valley, 5 inches, $730.

Clock, figural, Napoleonic soldier, tricorn hat, blinking eyes, painted cast iron, dial on stomach, Continental model, Bradley & Hubbard, 17 inches, $940.

Jewelry, necklace, three strands of green beads, six large gilt roses, emerald green blown glass clusters, Miriam Haskell, 16 3/4 inches, $1,130.

Furniture, table, dressing, Queen Anne, mahogany, fan carving, one long over three short drawers, cabriole legs, Massachusetts, 1700s, 33 x 29 x 21 inches, $1,415.

Game, Game of the Wild West, board, two spinners with bases, nine cowboys and Indians, instruction booklet, R. Bliss, original box with graphics, 1889, 19 inches, $2,250.

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(Cutline for Jan. 31)

There are matching dining and coffee tables, several types of chairs, and more in the Gazelle group. The various styles of chairs sell for about $5,000 each.

(c) 2021 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.


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