New Orleans Auctions had many unusual serving pieces
Many of us have used an antique egg cup to hold a boiled breakfast egg, but few have ever seen an egg cup frame with six egg cups and spoons made of sterling silver over 200 years ago. New Orleans Auctions had many unusual serving pieces in an auction, and the rare 7-inch-high by 8-inch-wide egg cup frame brought $1,625. It was made in London about 1808 to 1811 according to the hallmark. The silversmiths were Robert & Samuel Hennell. The hexagonal frame has six legs with lion’s paw feet, a canopy with a shell and scroll finial, and receptacles for the six egg cups and spoons. A frame was used for large breakfasts as a centerpiece and usually held soft boiled eggs. A breakfast menu usually included eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom toast, grilled tomatoes, baked beans and tea or coffee.
Q I’m interested in selling a collection of over 200 Vera Neumann scarves. They were made throughout her career, no two are alike, and they’re in very good condition. I’d like to sell them in groups or as a whole collection, not individually. How can I find interested buyers?
A Vera Salaff Neumann (1907-1993) was known for her silk scarves with her signature, “Vera,” on them. She was a fashion illustrator, textile designer and muralist. She and her husband, George, founded Printex in 1946. She designed placemats and other linens. The first silk scarves were made in 1947 after the company bought a supply of army surplus parachute silk. Designs were screen printed, based on Vera’s watercolor paintings. She held the copyright for 8,000 designs. George died in 1962 and Vera sold the business to Manhattan Industries in 1967. She sold her company, Vera Licensing, in 1988. Target bought the rights to reproduce 17 vintage Vera scarves in 2013. Vera scarves are still popular. Check online shops to see what they are selling for. Shops that sell them will also buy them. Expect to get about half what the shop will sell them for. An auction gallery that sells clothing might buy the scarves, but 200 is too many to sell at one time.
Q A dessert set consisting of a serving plate and four dessert bowls and underplates was handed down to me through the family. The dishes are hand-painted with different flowers. The backs are stamped with a star over “RS” surrounded by a garland, and under that, “Germany.” I’m going to divide some things among children and grandchildren and would like to know something about this set, when it was made, and if it has any value other than sentimental.
A This mark was used by Reinhold Schlegelmilch at his factory in Tillowitz, Germany, from 1914 to about 1945. The factory sold both decorated porcelain and undecorated porcelain that was decorated by other factories, shops or home workers. Retail value of your dessert set, about $100.
Q In the 1950s and ‘60s we received Top Value Stamps for buying items at grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores and variety stores. The stamps were then pasted into a “Saver Book.” Stamps came in three sizes: singles, 10s or 50s, and each page of the book held 50 single stamps, five 10s or one 50. Full books could be redeemed for items offered in the Top Value catalogs. Do these stamps have any value today?
A The first trading stamps were issued by a department store in Milwaukee 1891. S&H green stamps were first issued by Sperry & Hutchinson in 1896, and it became the largest trading stamp company. The Top Value Stamp Co., the next largest company, was started in 1956 by Kroger and other food chains. Trading stamp programs were at the peak of popularity in the 1950s and ‘60s, when more than 80% of households saved trading stamps. A full book could be redeemed for about $120 in merchandise. Interest declined in the 1970s. Top Value stopped distributing stamps in 1982. Booklets of stamps, both filled and unfilled, sets of stamps and catalogs of merchandise sell online for low prices today. Stamp books are collectibles, selling for about $3.
Q I bought two Steuben clear glass ashtrays several years ago, probably at a garage sale or thrift shop. They are a freeform or abstract shape. One is 6 1/2 inches in diameter and has two crimped “globs” attached to hold two cigarettes. The other is 4 inches in diameter and has one “glob” to hold one cigarette. I’d like to know their value and any other information possible.
A The Steuben Glassworks was founded in Corning, New York, in 1903. Corning Glass Company bought the factory in 1918 and continued to make glass called Steuben. The factory closed in 2011. The Corning Museum of Glass took over the factory in 2014 and is reproducing some tableware, paperweights and collectibles. Your freeform, handblown ashtrays were designed by George Thompson in 1946. They sell for about $50 to $100.
TIP: To make a grandfather clock run faster, raise the pendulum; to slow it, lower the pendulum.