An attractive box can help sell a product

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Since the 19th century, candy containers have been made to attract buyers. Figural glass bottles were first made in the shape of the Liberty Bell in 1876. Papier-mache animals with removable heads and hollow stomachs, and lithographed tin boxes, pails and even figural tins were used later. All of these are collected today and some sell for hundreds of dollars. Canco is the name found on a series of lithographed tin pails that held candy by Lovell & Covell, a candy company in Fulton, Mass. The pails are decorated with nursery-rhyme figures. The Queen of Hearts, Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and Peter Cottontail are the easiest to find in the series. In excellent condition, they retail for over $100. The Canco mark was used from 1910 to 1921 by the American Can Company, a 1901 firm. If vintage candy containers are not modern enough to be of interest, consider the most popular candy container collected now, the container and dispenser for Pez. The first ones were made in 1949 and thousands of different heads have been used on other Pez dispensers.

Q I have an old kerosene lamp, only used when we had power outages, and not used for a long time. The oil burner needs to be removed to fill with the kerosene. The kerosene seems to have jelled and the burner can’t be easily unscrewed. The glass bowl seems to have a brown stain inside. Any recommendations for solvent or cleaner to safely dissolve the jell and clean the interior?

A Kerosene will leave a waxy residue if left too long in a lamp that isn’t used frequently. You can use gasoline to dissolve the “jelled” deposit, but first you have to be able to unscrew the burner. Try wiping the part where it connects to the font with a rag dipped in gasoline. Then fill the lamp with gasoline and leave it overnight. In the morning, swirl the gasoline around and empty it (Don’t pour it down the sink drain. Put it in a closed container and take it to a place that does oil changes. They can dispose of it safely.) Make sure the lamp is dry before refilling it with kerosene. You may be able to clean the bowl by filling it with very hot water.

Q Articles about men’s latest styles say cufflinks are back. The shirt sleeves have button holes and there are a few cufflinks sold in the stores. How many years ago are the cufflinks back from? How old are the oldest. Any tips on buying some? I have an inexpensive pair shaped like tiny automobiles. They are marked “F & S.”

A Cufflinks were invented about 1700. The first ones were made like two “buttons” joined by a short link chain. A button went into the button hole on each side of the cuff. By the 1800s, men were wearing plain, dark clothes so only a small, plain cufflink was acceptable. But by the 1840s and the Industrial Revolution, inexpensive cufflinks were machine-made and used by the average man, not just the rich. Cufflink designs followed the styles from Victorian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Mid-Century modern periods. Your cufflinks were made by Fenwick and Sailors, a Hollywood company that started after World War II. They made many silver figural cufflinks, including some like small Coca-Cola bottles or TWA planes to be given as ads. They went out of business in the 1970s, as cufflinks slowly lost popularity until the early 2000s. Costume jewelry and curvy links are very inexpensive, often selling for about $10. Gold and silver links made by famous jewelers can cost over $1,000.

Q My Ivorex plaque inscribed is “Poets corner, Westminster Abbey, Dicken’s Grove.” It’s 7 by 9 inches. What is it worth?

A Ivorex plaques were made by the Arthur B. Osborne Co. in Faversham, Kent, England. The company was in business from 1899 to 1965. The plaques were made of a material he called “sterine wax.” Plaster of Paris was poured into clay molds to make three-dimensional pictures, which were hand-painted and dipped in wax to finish them. W.H. Bossons Ltd. bought the company in 1971 and made plaques from 1980 to 1996, when that company closed. They are not popular with collectors in the U.S., but some sell in England. Prices, $10-$50.

Q I have my first Barbie, from about 1959. She has red hair in a ponytail and is wearing a black-and-white striped swimsuit. I got Ken with fuzzy hair, Midge, Allen, Skipper, and Skooter as they were produced, and also have the pink sports car and other things. Is it worth the trouble to try to sell them?

A The first Barbie doll came out in 1959. The doll was designed by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, Inc., and came with blond or brunette hair. The doll was named Barbie after her daughter. Ken was introduced in 1961 and was named after her son. Barbie No. 1 has upside-down V-shaped eyebrows and holes in the bottom of her feet, which fit into a special stand. Barbie No. 5 was the first Barbie with a red or auburn ponytail (a color Mattel calls Titian). It was introduced in 1961. Barbie dolls, her friends, clothes, and accessories sell at auctions, shows, flea markets and online for prices ranging from $10 or less to several hundred dollars. Barbie No. 1 sold at auction last year for over $4,000.

Tip: Handle gemstone jewelry carefully. Opals crack easily, and soaking them in water to prevent cracking my do more harm than good. Some stones, like pink beryl, will fade if left in bright sun for a long time.

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