Statue of half of a lady actually a base for a slot machine

Farm Forum

Mysterious antiques and collectibles often appear in shops and shows. Price is then decided by how unusual the collectible is, how attractive it is and how it can be used. A recent auction offered this statue of half of a lady, from the waist down. The statue is life-size, 31/2 feet tall. The legs are dressed in tights, boots and a cloth skirt. There is a purse that has jewelry and brothel tokens from the Silver Dollar Hotel in Denver. Those who go to casinos probably know that this is an old base for a special type of slot machine. The base-and-slot-machine pair is known as the Prairie Rose Saloon Brothel Lady. She is dressed in 1880s style, but Prairie Rose was a famous cowgirl from the early 1900s, known all over the world. She performed in the Irwin Brothers’ Wild West Show. In 1917, she went out in a blizzard to check on her animals, got lost and died. Her body was found years later. It is not surprising that the Lady was sold at Morphy’s Victorian Casino Antiques auction along with many other gambling collectibles. Price: $3,000.

Q I have my parents’ kitchen table. I’ve used it all my life. Markings under the table and leafs look like “Abraham-Richardson Mfg. Co., Beaver Falls, PA.” I can’t find any information on the company. Can you help?

A Your table was made by Ingram-Richardson Manufacturing Co., not Abraham-Richardson. The company was founded by Louis Ingram and Ernest Richardson in 1901. It made porcelain enameled signs, sinks, refrigerator linings, walls, license plates and other items. The company was sold in 1965 and closed in 1967. Kitchen tables with enameled tops were very popular in the 1930s-’50s. They are still very useful, and sell for about $350-$500 if the enamel is not chipped.

Q I own a tennis racket that belonged to my uncle, who served in the military during World War I and died at age 26. One side of the handle is marked “Greenwood,” and the other side, “A.G. Spalding Bros.” Please tell me what it’s worth.

A Albert Goodwill Spalding (1850-1915) played major league baseball from 1871 to 1878. He and his brother, J. Walker Spalding, founded their sporting goods company in Chicago in 1876. By the mid-1880s, the company’s products included tennis rackets. Spalding introduced its Greenwood model racket in 1905. Antique and vintage wooden rackets are collectible. We have seen the Greenwood model for sale at prices ranging from $90 to $190. Spalding still is in business, but it no longer makes tennis rackets.

Q I have an antique scale made by The Computing Scale Co. of Dayton, Ohio. It has a barrel-shape top with a glass dial. The numbers from 1 to 60 are on the bottom of the dial. There are numbers for pounds and prices in the dial. There is a flat, round glass “tray” that the item can be placed on to weigh it. Can you tell me anything about it?

A Your scale has a history that connects it to IBM. Julius Pitrat of Gallipolis, Ohio, invented the first computing scale in 1885. It figured the price of an item by combining the weight and the price per pound. Edward Canby and Orange Ozias bought the patent and founded The Computing Scale Company in 1891. The company merged with two other companies and was renamed the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in 1911. The name became IBM in 1924. Your scale was made between 1891 and 1911. You may be able to date it by researching the serial number. Your scale with the glass tray is a butcher’s scale.

Q Forty-one years ago, a member of the Martell family of France gave me a Baccarat decanter filled with Martell cognac. It’s still sealed. How can I sell it?

A Martell’s history dates back to 1715, but its Cordon Bleu cognac wasn’t created until 1912. The cognac’s special Baccarat glass decanters appear to date from the early 1970s. A full sealed decanter with its presentation box auctioned for nearly $3,000 in 2013. Without the box, it would sell for less. You should contact an auction house that holds special sales of bottled wine and liquor.

Q I have a Lady Squeezy Beauchamp figural cookie jar, marked “The Last Elegant Bear, Dennis Kyte, Sigma, the Tastesetter” and with a copyright date of MCMLXXXV (1985). The bear is wearing a yellow dress and is holding a fan. Is it of any value?

A Lady Squeezy Beauchamp was one of the bears in the book “The Last Elegant Bear: The Life and Times of Abiner Smoothie,” by Dennis Kyte, which was published in 1983. Your cookie jar is one of a series of cookie jars made by Sigma, a division of Rockville International in Garden City, New York. Sigma is no longer in business. The value of your cookie jar is $100-$300.

Q I bought a “Fiji Mermaid” at auction a few years ago. It looks old and has been handled quite a bit. Please tell me something about it and what it’s worth.

A The original Fiji Mermaid was the feature of a 19th-century P.T. Barnum circus sideshow. It was a mummified concoction combining the top half of a monkey and the bottom half of a fish. Since then, versions made of resin, plastic, clay or some combination of materials have been created for sale around the world. We have seen the “mermaids” offered for sale from $15 to $400.

Tip: Make sure your nightstand, the small table next to the bed that usually holds a lamp and a phone, is large enough. Find a vintage or antique table that is 28 to 31 inches high to use next to the bed. A small desk also will work.

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