Remembering before cameras

Wisconsin State Farmer

         In past centuries before the invention of the camera, heroes and celebrities were remembered with figurines, prints and plates, and mugs of glass or ceramics. Coronations, royal weddings, major exhibitions, and historic events were commemorated by souvenirs with depictions of the people or the event. The Royal Doulton Co. made many figurines of attractive imaginary people and animals. The company started making several sizes of small character jugs honoring fictional as well as real people in 1930, and it still makes a few new ones each year. Most sell today for under $100. Thirty limited edition loving cups and jugs (pitchers) about 10 inches high were made from 1930 to 1938 and two that honor Queen Elizabeth, one at her coronation in 1953, the other at her Silver Jubilee in 1977. The pieces designed by Charles Noke, molded with raised figures and decorated in bright colors, are rare. Each has a special mark on the bottom explaining the history of the hero and events pictured. The standard Royal 

       Doulton Co. mark, a lion and crown, also is used. These limited editions were selling for more than $1,000 each until about 10 years ago, when all Doulton prices fell. A commemorative Admiral Lord Nelson loving cup auctioned at Skinner Auctions in Boston in 2015 for $800. Lord Nelson was a naval hero who fought in many naval battles and seemed unstoppable. He lost an arm in one battle, an eye in another, and he was finally killed at the Battle of Trafalgar Bay in 1805. On one side of the loving cup is a picture of the one-armed Admiral in his ship; a sinking ship and lifeboat with sailors is on the other side.


         Q: I'm looking for information on a Wagner Ware aluminum pan No. 3680 with "N" below the number. It's divided into three parts. What is its use and its value?

         A: Wagner Manufacturing Co. was founded by brothers Milton M. and Bernard P. Wagner in Sydney, Ohio, in 1891. In the beginning, the company made cast-iron ware. Aluminum cookware was first made in 1894. Members of the family ran the business until 1953, when it was sold to the Randall Co. of Cincinnati. The pot was divided into three sections, so you could cook three different vegetables at the same time. Its value is $75 to $100.


         Q: I have a child's dresser made of walnut with a scalloped base and three drawers. The sides of the drawers are fastened together with rods or dowels. I've heard of dovetailed drawers but have never seen anything like this. How old do you think the dresser is?

         A: Most furniture was completely handmade until the early 1800s, when newly invented machines were first used to make furniture. But the machinery couldn't make dovetailed joints to join wood, so they still had to be made by hand. In 1867, Charles B. Knapp of Waterloo, Wis., invented a joint-making machine. The Knapp Dovetailing Co. was founded in Northampton, Mass., in 1870. Knapp joints, also called scallop and peg or scallop and dowel joints like the ones in your drawer, were made beginning in 1871. They were out of favor by about 1900 when machinery was invented to make dovetailed joints.


         Q: I have a fitted wooden box, about 17 by 11 by 10 inches in size, which holds six large and six smaller glass medicine bottles. The bottles have gilt decorations and stoppers. The box is lined with red velvet, which is partially decayed. It was brought from Czechoslovakia more than 100 years ago. Is it worth anything other than as a family heirloom?

         A: It is an apothecary or medicine box. In the late 19th century, doctors and apothecaries made house calls and medicines were mixed on location. Originally it probably included dosage spoons. Any old set of 12 bottles from 1880 or earlier is valuable. The gilt decoration on the bottles adds value, but the condition of the velvet lining lessens the value. A medicine chest with labeled bottles, ointment jars and other items recently sold for $240.


         Q: I bought an antique typewriter a number of years ago because I'd never seen anything like it before. I was a secretary for years but had no idea how this machine would ever be useful. Printed on the case is "The Oliver Standard Visible Writer No. 9, Patent Nov. 5th 1912, The Printype Oliver Typewriter." It seems to be in good working order, but it "weighs a ton." I need to downsize and would like to sell it. Does it have any value?

         A: Oliver Typewriter Co. was located in Chicago and was started by Rev. Thomas Oliver, who designed a typewriter to write his sermons on. The first Oliver typewriters were made in 1895. This model has been called "butterfly-style" because of its vertical type bars, but its weight of more than 30 pounds is nothing like a butterfly. The company was bought by the British Oliver Typewriter Co. in 1928 and that company made Oliver typewriters until 1959. The condition dictates the price. A working typewriter in excellent condition can sell for $75 to $200.


         Tip: If you store fabrics in paper, be sure it is acid-free. An acidic paper can discolor a fabric in a year, damage it within three years.


         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, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

       * * *


         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.

         Book and record set, read-along, "The story of Johnny Appleseed," Walt Disney presents, 24 pages, 1960s, 7 1/4 inches, $15.

         Planter's Peanut jar, salted peanuts, 5 cents, Mr. Peanut, etched green glass, lid, peanut finial, 1970s, 12 1/2 inches, $65.

         Royal Worcester figurine, Uncle Sam, standing, hands in belt, hat, multicolor, square base, marked, 1891, 7 x 3 inches, $95

         Telephone, Kellog, candlestick type, switchboard operator, swivel-top receiver, Switchboard and Supply Co., label, 1901, 12 inches, $150.

         Books and poster, anti-war, "teach peace and tolerance to children," Council For War Prevention, 1920s, set of 10, 11 x 14 inches, $230.

         Shipping crate, Walter Baker & Co., Breakfast Cocoa, wood, label, dovetailed, lid, 1900s, 5 x 10 x 11 inches, $305.

         Door, painted wood, turquoise and brown, raised panels, distressed, primitive Mexico, 1950s, 32 x 76 inches, $400.

         Indian, doll cradle, ash and split oak, basketweave, arched headboard and footboard, Oldetown, Maine, c. 1900, 12 x 18 inches, $575.

         Iron dog collar, defensive spikes to protect hunting dogs, metal slats and latches, Germany, 18th century, $1,085.

         Bed, Victorian, walnut, raised carvings, leaves, finials, curved head and foot boards, carved rails and slats, 1880s, 73 x 81 inches, $2,640.


         "Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, 2017," 49th edition, is your most accurate source for current prices. It's available now and includes a special bonus section that tells you how to declutter the Collector's way and make money! If you order directly from the Kovels, you'll receive our FREE Companion eBook with ALL of the book's 25,000 prices - ready for downloading to your eReader. "Kovels" is the best book to own if you buy, sell or collect. The paperback has more than 2,500 color photographs and more than 700 categories of antiques and collectibles. You'll also find hundreds of factory histories. Available for $29.99 plus $4.95 postage. Purchase directly from the Kovels if you want the free eBook Companion and be sure to include your email address. Visit, call 800-303-1996, or write to Price Book, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122. 



Lord Nelson is honored on this Royal Doulton limited-edition loving cup made in 1935. Only 600 were made. This one sold in 2015 for $800. It was accompanied by the original signed certificate which adds value.