Admiral best known for barometer he didn't invent
Admiral Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865) is best known to collectors for a barometer he did not invent. But historians know about his accomplishments in the Navy, politics and predicting the weather.
He joined the Navy at the age of 12, was captain of the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his expeditions, was elected to Parliament in 1841, became Governor of New Zealand in 1843, and later began to study meteorology and the weather.
He published an important book about weather, made sure there was a barometer in every port, and made charts that predicted the weather for sailors as the first "weather forecaster," a name he made up.
He improved the design of barometers, but didn't invent the one now named for him. This "Admiral Fitzroy Clock and Barometer" made in about 1900 sold at a Cowan auction last year for $270.
Q: I've owned Imperial Candlewick glassware for almost 70 years! It's been a prized possession in many locations where we made our home as foreign missionaries. It's survived through much use by our family of five children and was used frequently for special events. Now I find it necessary to sell my collection of many pieces. What advice can you give me?
A: Collections of glassware and dinnerware are hard to sell. Candlewick glass sells online on sites like rubylane.com, replacements.com and eBay.com. Shops that sell Candlewick may be interested in buying your pieces. You also can contact the National Imperial Glass Collectors' Society (imperialglass.org). If you decide to sell your glass online or send it to an online shop, you will have to pack it up securely, insure it and send it to them. It's easier to try to sell it locally at a consignment shop, flea market or antiques shop. You also might consider donating it to a charity. Determine its value by checking Candlewick glass that has sold on some of the online sites, and then take the tax deduction.
Q: I found a snow leopard skin in an antique suitcase in my father's attic today. The skin probably is around 100 years old, but is in perfect condition. What should I do with it? What is it worth? Who would want it - a museum or a Russian supermodel?
A: It's too old for the Russian supermodel, but it could sell at an auction. Snow leopard skin rugs sold at auction for $550 to $1,100 plus buyer's premium a couple of years ago. If the skin has dried and is cracking, it will be much less valuable.
Q: I know you should not use boiled linseed oil to polish your wooden furniture, even though that was recommended in my mother's day. It gets hard and crystallizes, and it's hard to remove. But what oil should I use?
A: Some experts say that you shouldn't use any type of oil on finished wood - not even lemon, linseed, tung or oil-based polishes. They often do nothing, because you can't "feed" wood. But the oil can attract dust and create a sticky surface, or worse. A finished piece of furniture should be given a light coat of paste wax about once a year. Rub the wax until there is a shine and no waxy feel. Then, just dust the surface regularly.
Q: I have an old, pretty teapot in perfect condition. It has glossy brown glaze with multicolored raised decoration - lacy lines and dots - and a raised mark on the bottom that reads "Gibsons England." There also is a gold triangular mark with a teapot and a number I can't make out. Do you have any information about its age or value?
A: Gibson & Sudlow was founded in Stoke-on-Trent, England, by Samuel Gibson in 1875. It became Gibson & Sons Ltd. in 1885 and operated in Burslem. The company made earthenware dinner and tea ware, but is best known for beautifully crafted - and usable - teapots. They were exhibited at major exhibitions like the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In about 1910, Gibsons made the largest teapot in the world, said to hold 1,024 cups of tea, as a promotion. During World War II, Gibsons focused exclusively on teapots, mostly made with decorated red or white clay. After the war, the production line was expanded to include breakfast, dinner, tea, coffee and sandwich and kitchen ware. Earthenware teapot production stopped in the mid-1960s, and the company went out of business about 1975. Your teapot was made in about 1928 or 1929 and is decorated in the Lola pattern. Gibsons made millions of "proper British teapots." They sell today for an average of $25.
Q: I have a Puss 'n Boots creamer, which I have had for over 60 years. My cat does not have whiskers. Every other one I have seen has whiskers. Any idea why mine would not have them?
A: Shawnee made Puss 'n Boots creamers in several versions with different decorations, with and without whiskers. Some have decal decorations and gold trim. There also was an undecorated white Puss'n Boots creamer and a gold-colored creamer.
Tip: Use a credit card to scrape hardened candle wax from a table.
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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.
Shelf, display, grain-painted, hourglass elements, scalloped crest, wooden, 25 x 29 inches, $90.
Garniture, Bohemian glass, two urns, white overlay, cut to red, flowers, round box, c. 1875, 3 pieces, $155.
Door Knocker, mask, grotesque, horned head, knocker ring in mouth, 14 x 8 inches, $190
Sewing, spool holder, brass, alternating soldier, woman, children, pedestal, fitted slots, wooden, 12 3/4 inches, $240.
Alligator sprinkler, heart-shaped sprayer, 8 1/2 inches, $330.
Weathervane, steam tractor, wagon, spoked wheels, sheet steel, 18 x 53 inches, $425.
Face Jug, pottery, dark alkaline olive glaze, stone teeth, Lanier Meaders, 8 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches, $810.
Stereo card, Vance's Daguerreotype studio, San Francisco, E & HT Anthony, $840.
Wall pocket, pink urn, scrolling prunus,white reserve, woman and child, in garden, 7 3/4 x 4 inches, $1,500.
Flag, American, 13 stars, arranged into six-pointed star, glazed cotton, 11 1/2 x 8 inches, $2,600.
Handbag collecting has surged in popularity since 2010 when the first large auctions were introduced. Today, purses by brands like Hermes are sold for prices over $100,000. Sales, shows, stores and online retailers are selling used, vintage handbags.
Build your collection while prices of undiscovered brands are low. This report includes Makers information, trademarks, information on fakes, care and 130 color photos for over 75 brands. Plus, you'll receive a free supplement with current prices. "Special Report," 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, 46 pages. It's available only from Kovels for $19.95, plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996, online at Kovels.com; or mail to Kovels, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.