Antiques & Collecting: Footstools have served function for centuries

Footstools were used to elevate the feet of a person sitting in a chair as long ago as ancient Egypt. The stool was usually rectangular with four small feet. In the following centuries, footstools were made as long rectangles with four or more feet. They were used by all those sitting on a bench in front of the fireplace.

Small stools were kept for use by small, seated children whose feet could not reach the floor. Footstools were often made to match the upholstered furniture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ambitious housewives covered footstools with their needlepoint work.

In 1927, a man named Dimitri Omersa, who made luggage for the Liberty of London store, created a footstool shaped like a pig from leftover leather. He waxed and polished the leather. The store started to sell his footstools, and today there are 39 different Omersa & Company animal footstools sold by Liberty, Abercrombie & Fitch and other expensive stores. The footstools retail for about $3,000.

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Q: I got a little 4-inch creamer from my husband’s uncle. It’s white with a hand-painted design of stylized flowers and leaves and a peasant wearing a hat, yellow-green shirt and blue pants. It’s marked “Henriot Quimper, France” in black under the blue striped handle. Is it worth anything? If it is, I will stop using it to hold pens!

A: Tin-glazed, hand-painted pottery has been made in Quimper, France, since 1685. Three different companies made pottery with similar designs of Breton peasants and flowers in blue, green, yellow and red. The three companies merged in 1968 and used the mark “HB Henriot,” and the artist’s initials or decoration numbers. Quimper was sold to a family in the United States in 1984. After more changes, Jean-Pierre Le Goff became the owner in 2011, and the name was changed to Henriot-Quimper. You could still keep your pens in it since it probably won’t sell for more than $25.

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Q: I accidentally broke a glass baking dish when I used it to bake meatloaf and a green bean casserole. The dish is 12 3/4 inches long, 8 1/2 inches wide and 2 inches deep. It’s marked McKee Glass Co., number 263. Sadly, when I put the green bean mixture in, it broke! Any clue on when the McKee Glass Co. was in business and if they made heavy glass similar to Pyrex glass?

A: The McKee Glass Company started in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, in 1903. It became the McKee Division of the Thatcher Glass Co. in 1951 and was bought out by the Jeannette Corporation in 1961. Jeannette Corporation closed in the early 1980s. McKee’s No. 263 is a divided baking dish, part of the company’s Glasbake baking ware made to go from oven to table. The line was introduced in 1917 to compete with Corning’s Pyrex glass, which was first made in 1915. The mark helps date your dish. Glasbake dishes made after Jeannette bought the company have the letter “J” in front of the number. The dish should not have broken unless the oven heat was too high. It’s best to keep the temperature no higher than 350 degrees. Putting something very cold (frozen green beans?) into the hot dish can also cause it to break.

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Q: I inherited a pocket watch in its original box. It is marked A. Golay-Leresche & Fils. Can you give me the history of the watch?

A: Auguste Golay-Leresche founded the company A. Golay-Leresche in 1829 in Geneva, Switzerland. He died in 1895. His sons Louis and Pierre inherited the business, which was then known as A. Golay-Leresche & Fils. A year later, Edouard Stahl became a partner, renaming the company Golay Fils & Stahl. The watch was probably made about 1896. The price depends on its condition. Is it gold or gold plate? Does it work? A local jeweler can tell you.

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Q: I inherited my father’s antique bottles that he collected and traded in the late 1980s and ’90s. They are mostly whiskeys, sodas, beer, tonics and cures. It’s a very extensive and valuable collection. I’d like it appraised for full or partial sale. I recently sold four boxes of sodas for $5,000. Any help is appreciated.

A: You need an expert to look at your father’s bottle collection. Some of your father’s bottle-collecting friends may be able to give you an idea of value or suggest an appraiser. Remember, you will have to pay for an appraisal. Be sure to tell the appraiser that you want the retail value, not an appraisal for insurance purposes only. Contact the major glass auctions to see if they are interested in selling the collection. They will tell you what they think they can get for the bottles. Ask how the sale will be advertised and what the commission and other charges will be.

TIP: A white ring on a tabletop is in the finish, a black ring is in the wood. It is easier to remove a damaged finish ring than a wood stain.


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.

Mickey Mouse doll, stuffed cloth, four stitched fingers, black jacket with gold fabric bands, red baggy pants, bow tie, yellow stuffed shoes each with a bell, tag, “Gund MFG Co, Swedlin Inc Licensee, 200 5th Ave, N.Y.C. 10,” 29 inches, $95.

Porcelain inkwell, green and white sponge decoration, slanted side with dip hole, pen rest on top, art deco style, matching insert, European, 1880-1920, 2 1/2 inches, $150.

Jewelry, pin, mourning, portrait of a woman, reverse painted glass, engraved oval rose gold leafy frame, compartment with woven hair, Victorian, 2 x 2 inches, $375.

Paper, poster, Billy Joel concert, Moore Theater, Seattle, November 21, 1976, portrait, white on black ground, 22 x 13 3/8 inches, $425.

Stangl dinnerware set, blueberry pattern, blueberry sprig center, yellow border, dinner plates, luncheon plates, bread and butter plates, soup bowls with lug handles, 10-inch dinner plate, 80 pieces, $510.

Furniture, pie safe, cypress, stepped edge crown, two glazed doors, two frieze drawers over two paneled cupboard doors, block feet, Louisiana, c. 1900, 73 x 41 x 17 inches, $625.

Lalique glass figure, Trophee, stylized figure skater in lutz pose, flowing folds, cut and frosted, spread base, etched Lalique on base, 20th century, 12 1/2 x 9 inches, $765.

Lamp, electric, ceramic base, double baluster form, flared cup top, horizontal bands, shades of blue, etched patterned bands, Bitossi, marked Made in Italy, mid-1900s, 23 inches, pair, $940.

Chinese export porcelain vase, copper red glaze, ovoid bottom, elongated neck, flared rim, 20th century, 23 1/2 inches, pair, $1,250.


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