Vide poche - French storage dish valued at thousands

Terry Kovel
No, it is not a bowl that was overheated and melted. It is a vide poche, a French dresser storage dish, a vintage form that is no longer popular. It was made by Daum, a famous French glass company that is now called Cristalleries de Nancy.

An auction catalog called this strange dish a vide poche. It's a French term, but the English translation - "trinket box," "pin tray," "empty pocket" or "glove compartment" - wasn't very helpful.

It looks like a lopsided bowl made out of cloudy cameo glass with a bug, spiders and leaves molded on both inside and outside. The thick glass is brown, green and orange. It is 6 inches wide, 5 inches in diameter. The bottom has the signature "Daum Nancy" and a cross.

But we know what, where and why it was made. Do you empty your purse or pockets each night? This is a sophisticated storage dish for money and keys used in about 1900, a sort of storage dish for things needed frequently. Daum is a glassmaker who worked in Nancy, France from 1875. The company used the Cross of Lorraine as a mark. This vide poche was estimated at a New England auction for $4,000 to $6,000. 
Q: We have a pair of pitchers marked "Moss Rose" encircled by a rose and leaves. The initials "R & M" are underneath the mark. What information can you provide?
A: Ridgway & Morley, one of the Staffordshire potteries, used this mark. The company was in business in Shelton, Hanley, England, from 1842 to 1844. It was successor to Ridgway, Morley, Wear & Co., which was at that location from 1836 to 1842. Moss Rose is the pattern name. Pitchers similar to yours sell for about $100, depending on the pattern.
Q: I'm trying to get information regarding an antique desk that was given to me. It has a brass tag on the inside of the desk drawer that reads "Karpen Guaranteed Furniture." The desk is mahogany and has a leather top in need of restoration. 
A: Karpen Guaranteed Furniture is a trademark used by S. Karpen & Bros., a company in business in Chicago from 1880 to 1952. Solomon Karpen started making furniture in 1880. By 1894, eight of his brothers had joined the business. The company made upholstered furniture and was the largest furniture manufacturer in the world at one time. The company was sold in 1952 and merged with International Furniture Co. to become Schnadig Corp. Schnadig used the Karpen name on furniture for several years. Restoring the leather top will add value if it's done correctly.
Q: What can you tell me about a butter scale labeled "Dr. N. Gerber, Original" and "Waage Zur Wasserge Haltsbestimmung?" It also reads "Baujahr 1962" and "Fabr.-Nr. 566."
A: Dr. Niklaus Gerber (1850-1914) was a chemist in Zurich, Switzerland, who invented a method of determining the fat content of milk and milk substances in 1892. His method still is used in many countries throughout the world. The business continued to be run by members of the family until 1962, when Karl Schneider, an employee, took over and the name of the company became K. Schneider & Co. The company was sold in 1993 and the name was changed to Gerber Instruments. It was sold again in 2009 and is still in business making analysis instruments. Butter is made up of fat, moisture and milk solids. The German words on your scale translate to "Balance for determining the water content of butter." The legal minimum amount of fat in butter is 80 percent. "Baujahr 1962" is the year your scale was made. The other number is the serial number. There are people who collect scales. The International Society of Antique Scale Collectors has a website,, with more information about special-use scales.
Q: I have a Planters mug with Mr. Peanut's face and on it. I'm 21 years old and I haven't seen any Planters items since I was five. When was this made and how much is it worth? 
A: Planters Nut and Chocolate Company was started in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1906. Planters offered this "collectible Mr. Peanut mug with Planters peanuts" for $5.99 as a holiday promotion in 2006. It was made in China for Sherwood Brands, a Rockville, Maryland, company that sold candy, plush toys, holiday gift baskets and other promotional items. The Planters company has been bought and sold many times in the past 50 years. The Planters brand is now owned by Kraft Heinz. Mugs like this sell online for less than $15.
Q: How do you tell a reproduction from the original when it comes to a bank? I have a Jonah and the Whale cast iron bank. It reads "Shepard Hardware Co., 1890" on the bottom. 
A: The Jonah and the Whale mechanical bank was made by Shepard Hardware Co. of Buffalo, New York. The patent for the design was issued in 1890. Reproduction banks usually are slightly smaller than the originals. Check any iron that has lost its paint. Old cast iron is darker than new cast iron. If you see any rust, it's new cast iron. Paint on an older bank should show some wear. If the paint on your bank is too bright to be old, it probably is a reproduction. An old, authentic Jonah and the Whale bank sold at auction for $1,650 in 2016. Reproductions sell for $50 to $75.
Tip: A fresh ink stain on wood can be removed by washing with water and then applying lemon juice.
Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.
       * * *


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.
Tile, horse, brown, rider, red tunic, falcon in hand, blue band, flowers, white, Persia, 8 3/4 x 5 1/4 inches, $60.
Lladro, Thai girl kneeling, No. 2069, 17 inches, $150.
Wedgwood chalice, fairyland luster, orange interior, cobalt exterior, gilt, birds, chased base, 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.    $180.
Silver basket, reticulated, pierced swing handle, repousse, garlands, baskets, swags, Germany, 13 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches, $600.
Liverpool, bowl, Herculaneum, American ship, peace, plenty and independence vignettes, 6 3/4 x 13 7/8 inches, $850.
Meissen, group, capture of the Tritons, nymphs, nude, putto, hauling in a net, 12 1/2 x 11 inches, $1,060.
Porcelain teapot, least bittern, painted, white, yellow, rust, black, Annette Corcoran, 1988, 8 3/4 inches, $1,160.
Chair, Bruno Rey, oak frames, stylized flower shapes, 20 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches, pair, $1,590.
Anna pottery, pitcher, frog, tree stump, oak branches, acorns, monkey handle, 1885, 13 5/8 inches, $2,090.
Table lighter, enamel, woman, unicorn, lion, fruit trees, flag, red ground, Asprey & Co., 4 x 3 1/4 inches, $2,125.
There is hidden value in contemporary pottery. You find it at shops and garage sales at low prices, because the marks are unknown. Kovels special report "Kovels' Identification Guide to Contemporary American Pottery 1960s to Present" (available only from Kovel) includes more than 180 marks and 60 featured artists. Each artist's biography includes a mark, a pictured piece, and this year's price.

Learn about Robert Arneson, Jack Eugene Earl, Henry Takemoto and others. Recognize the newest pottery when you see it at a flea market or garage sale. Available only from Kovels for $19.95 plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996, online at; or mail to Kovels, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.