Story of combination table and chair short on facts

Terry Kovel
This combination desk and chair sold for $1,586 at Neal Auction in New Orleans. It is attributed to Stephen Hedges, who patented the design in 1854.

The 19th century was a time of innovation in wooden furniture. New inventions, such as the jigsaw, and construction methods, such as mass production, opened up previously unheard-of possibilities for architects and designers. 

One such designer was Stephen Hedges of New York, whose patent for a "combined table and chair," filed in April 1854, can be viewed online in Google Patents. His invention appears to be a small round table, but, with half the hinged tabletop folded back, opens into a desk joined to a semicircular chair. One example made of mahogany with leather upholstery and attributed to Hedges sold at Neal Auction in New Orleans for $1,586. 

This style of convertible desk and chair is sometimes known as an "Aaron Burr desk" after the statesman and third vice president of the United States. As often happens when a style is associated with a historical figure, it isn't based on a true story.

An article published in 1911 claimed that not only did Burr own a desk like this, but it had also been designed specifically for him to accommodate his short height. That article apparently did not account for the fact Burr died nearly 20 years before Hedges filed his patent! 

Question: I've noticed that Waterford crystal vases, candlesticks and clocks seem to be selling for very low prices on internet marketplaces. I seem to be getting bargains. I recently bought a small Waterford clock for $25. But why is this happening? 

Anwer:  Waterford crystal was first made in 1783 in the Irish city of Waterford. In 1986, Waterford bought Wedgwood and formed the Waterford Wedgwood Group. It became part of WWRD Holdings in 2009. WWRD was bought by Fiskars in 2015. Waterford and Wedgwood are now brands owned by Fiskars.

What you are witnessing is the normal ebb and flow of collecting. Many items that used to sell for high prices -- like Bakelite jewelry 15 years ago -- are now selling for a lot less. Waterford is at a low ebb. But remember what we say about collecting: You should collect what you love. Don't collect things to predict the future and expect to make money. 

Q: I made an impulse buy at a garage sale of a cute 6-inch plate. It has a 1/2-inch-high rim. The words "Baby's Plate" are on the brownish-orange rim. The interior is pale yellow with five baby ducks running in a green circle. I paid $15. Can you tell me a little about the plate? 

A: You bought a vintage Roseville Pottery Juvenile creamware "Baby's Plate" with five yellow chicks and a rolled rim. Roseville Juvenile creamware was introduced by Roseville Pottery about 1910. The line includes bowls, plates, cups, mugs and pitchers that were decorated with ducks, pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, sunbonnet girls and more.

Roseville Juvenile pieces were often unmarked, but later examples from about 1924 are marked with the "Rv" ink stamp. Juvenile was very popular and was made by the factory for more than 20 years. A set of two rimmed plates like yours, plus a flat plate, sold at an auction for $57 in July 2021.  

Q: We have a set of four white molded fiberglass chairs with swivel pedestal bases and vinyl cushions that screw into the seat. They're marked with a large "B" and "Burke, Inc., Dallas, Texas, 103." What are they worth? 

A: Burke's chairs were inspired by the midcentury modern "Tulip Chair" designed by Eero Saarinen in 1957. Burke's molded chairs were made with  either a round foot on the pedestal base or a star-shaped "propeller" foot. Molded armchairs in the same style were also made. Cushions were available in several colors. Midcentury modern styles are popular. The chairs sell for about $150 to $250. 

Q: My father gave me one of his old toys, a really nice Packard car by Kuramochi. Do you have any history on it?

A: Toy cars and robots were a hallmark of the Japanese tin toy industry. Before World War II, Japanese companies like CK, or Kuramochi Co., were producing large and realistically detailed cars. They were models of American cars such as Graham-Paige, Packard, Buick, Plymouth and Chrysler.

Simple, effective clockwork motors powered these toys and some even had electric lights. They made them in three sizes, from 4 to 12 inches, and they're sought after by collectors today. A prewar Japan Kuramochi police car with its box, 11 inches long, sold in November 2019 at Bertoia Auctions for $1,750.

TIP: Experts say you should keep your wooden furniture clean and dust free. Wax or polish it once a year and don't let it dry out.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer readers' questions sent to the column. Send a letter with one question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two pictures, the object and a closeup of any marks or damage. Be sure your name and return address are included.  is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels Publications. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at


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. 

Doll, Kenner, Strawberry Shortcake, Almond Tea, purple wig, painted face, purple eyes, yellow and purple outfit, yellow petal hat, Marza Panda pet, box, 1982, 7 ¾ x 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches, $45.

Thermometer, advertising, Woolsey marine paint and finish, Cawlux can on top, Best For Topsides, Vinelast can on bottom, Tops For Bottoms, white ground, black lettering, red and blue graphics, 27 inches, $85.

Art glass vase, violet, molded, amber rim and circular foot, labels, Hank Adams, Blenko, 13 ½ x 5 ½ inches, pair, $90.

Sports card, baseball, World Series Batting Foes, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Topps, No. 418, 1958, $235.

Clothing, man's pea coat, suede, napped, light brown, double-breasted, notched lapel, shearling lining, Polo Ralph Lauren, c. 1980, size XL, 45 x 20 ½ inches, $405.

Mirror, vanity, silver plate frame, oval, laurel wreath finial, diamond pattern supports, grapevine feet, marked, Norblin & Co., Warsaw, Poland, c. 1900, 19 x 19 x 5 inches, $510.

Pottery dish, Santa Clara, blackware, carved interior, Avanyu water serpent figure around rim, signed, Severa Tafoya, 8 ¾ inches, $705.

Silver sugar basket, lid, grapevine handle, inverted bell shape, scrolled cutwork panels, scalloped rim, round foot, cast grape clusters, blown cranberry glass liner, marked, Henry Wilkinson & Co., Sheffield, c. 1850, 9 x 6 ¾ inches, $840.

Furniture, desk and chair, N.E. Glasdam Jensen, Danish Modern, teak, teak veneer, black upholstery, lectern style desk, lift lid, slant front, adjustable, square seat on chair, low back, stretcher base, stamped, Vantinge Mobelindustri, Denmark, 47 x 25 ¾ inches, $1,310.

Trunk, Louis Vuitton, suitcase, brown monogram cloth, hard-sided, interior tray, labels, Saks & Company, France, mid-20th century, 19 ½ x 29½ x 8 ½ inches, $1,875.