Imaginative, unique antique silver sells well

Farm Forum

Cruet sets, especially those made of sterling silver with attractive glass bottles, have been popular with collectors and those who like to use them at parties. The stand for a set usually is a silver pedestal that supports a revolving tray with holes or holders for three to seven bottles or containers. It has a tall handle so it can be easily passed at the table. The sets held an assortment of condiments used on salads – perhaps oil, vinegars, salt, pepper, and dry or wet mustard. A unique silver cruet set made by Tiffany & Co. was offered for sale by S.J. Shrubsole, a New York shop, at the 2016 Winter Antiques show in New York. The stand was made to look like a circular railroad track with seven railroad cars that rotated around the handle. The engraving simulated wooden siding and had the initials “H, NH, & S, 69.” It most likely stood for New Haven, Hartford & Springfield Railroad. A stamped maker’s mark was stamped on the bottom dating it about 1853. It may have been made for a company executive. The 14 1/2-inch-high piece was priced $37,500.

Q I have a copper shell casing dated 1918-1919 with the name “Verdun” and an eagle standing on a shield with a star on it. The words “Nevers – France” are engraved underneath. I was wondering if you could give me any idea what something like this is worth and if you know of anyone who would be interested in buying it.

A You have a piece of trench art from World War I. Trench art is a form of folk art made by soldiers. Soldiers cut and decorated metal casings from bullets and mortar shells to form useful objects or souvenirs. The Battle of Verdun was the longest battles in the war and raged from February to December 1916. There was a large military population at camps and hospitals in the area around Nevers. Some of those injured at Verdun were taken to hospitals in Nevers. Your copper shell may have been made to commemorate the battle and the time spent in Nevers recovering from wounds sustained there or in a future battle. Or, a soldier stationed at Nevers from 1918 to 1919 might have made this from a shell casing found at Verdun. Trench art is popular and your Verdun casing is worth about $200.

Q Is there significant value for 12 small soup bowls with handles on both sides and matching saucers? They’re marked with the words “Baronet, Made in Bohemia” around a circle with the letters “F & B” in the center. Underneath the mark it reads “Czechoslovakia, Rhapsody.”

A Your soup bowls are cream soups in the Rhapsody pattern. Some sources say Baronet is the maker, while others say it’s a line made by Bohemia Ceramic Works, a company that worked in Neurohlau, Bohemia (now Nova Role, Czech Republic) from 1921 to 1945. The initials “F & B” probably are those of Fisher, Bruce & Co., an importer in Philadelphia that began working under that name in 1890. The value of your cream soup bowls and saucers depends on the pattern. Prices range from $6 to $50 for a cream soup and saucer.

Q I’m looking for some information on a Westmoreland milk glass 8-inch plate that is heart-shaped. It’s hand-painted with the Roses and Bows pattern.

A Westmoreland Glass Co. of Grapeville, Pa., made glass from 1889 to 1984. Roses and Bows, which the company called decoration No. 32, was one of Westmoreland’s most popular hand painted decorations. It was made from the 1950s until 1984, usually with two roses. Roses and Bows with only one rose was made beginning in the 1970s. Some smaller items have roses but no bows. Reproductions have been made. A heart-shaped milk glass plate decorated with Roses and Bows sells for $20-$30.

Q In 1957, I won a contest sponsored by Foster Parents Plan, Seventeen Magazine, and the United Nations Children’s Fund. One of the three judges was Eleanor Roosevelt. I was awarded a trip to Manhattan where I met many famous people, including Dag Hammarskjold and Ed Sullivan, and got their autographs. I kept a diary and saved memorabilia and photographs. My question is this: Are there collectors that would be interested in this type of memorabilia?

A Your diary, photographs and other memorabilia probably would not interest collectors because it has little historic value, but there might be some interest in the autographs. It depends how famous the person is, how rare the autograph is and the condition. Most celebrities signed hundreds or thousands of autographs and those autographs are not valuable. Signatures on important documents or letters are worth more than an autograph by itself. A signature on a handwritten letter is usually worth more than an autograph on a photograph or typed letter. Autographs on a piece of paper or card are worth the least. If you think you have an autograph from an important person who rarely signed autographs, you should contact an auction house or gallery that holds sales of autographs.

Tip: Reverse-painted lamps should never be washed. Just dust them.

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