Despite their name, Wiener dogs did not originate in Vienna

Terry Kovel
"Wiener" dogs may not come from Vienna, but this gold-colored letter opener did. It was made by Werkstatte Hagenauer and sold for $813 at a Rago auction.

It's a Wiener dog from a Wiener workshop! Vienna, Austria, or "Wien" in German, was a major European cultural center. The Weiner Werkstatte may be the most famous Viennese workshop of the 20th century, but it was not the only one. 

This dachshund-shaped letter opener sold for $813 at a Rago auction. It was made by Werkstatte Hagenauer, which was founded in Vienna by goldsmith Charles Hagenauer in 1898. Like many studios, it was a family business. Hagenauer's sons became influential art deco designers. The workshop closed in the 1980s. Now there is a museum and shop on its former premises. 

Despite their name, Wiener dogs did not originate in Vienna, but in Germany. Officially called dachshunds, the breed has plenty of nicknames based on its long, thin, sausage-like shape.  

Question: My then-11-year-old daughter loved the Disney movie "Frozen" when it came out in November 2013. That Christmas, we bought her 16-inch plush dolls of the two main characters, Elsa and Anna. We ended up getting her all the main characters, including the hard-to-find Sven the Reindeer. They cost $20 each. Are they worth more than we paid? 

Answer: The movie phenomenon "Frozen" was based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Snow Queen." Queen Elsa with "freezing" magic and her fearless sister, Anna, learned how to appreciate their unique talents with the help of a snowman named Olaf. 

Disney has a history of creating toys related to their successful characters. When Mickey Mouse became popular in the early 1930s, Walt and Roy Disney wanted to meet the demand for consumer products. The first merchandise contract was signed in February 1930, granting Geo. Borgfeldt & Co. the responsibility to manage the licensing of Disney products to manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad. Some early Mickey dolls are worth thousands, depending on condition. Your "Frozen" plush dolls are worth about what you paid for them.  

Q: I have a necklace made of clear faceted beads that I was told were crystal. Does this mean they are cut glass or rock crystal?  

A: "Crystal" can be used for both rock crystal and cut glass. Some makers and collectors use the term for any colorless clear glass. To add to the confusion, both rock crystal and glass beads are found in antique and vintage jewelry. 

Rock crystal is a clear, colorless quartz stone fashionable in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some 19th-century cut glass was made to resemble rock crystal until about 1860, when colored glass became popular. "Paste" stones, or glass stones that imitate precious gems, were invented around 1730 and have been used in costume jewelry since then. Glass jewelry was especially popular in the early 1900s. From about 1918 to the 1930s, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) exported glass beads, faceted glass stones and finished jewelry all over the world. The necklaces are often marked "Czechoslovakia" on the clasp. 

To tell whether your beads are stone or glass, hold them in your hand. Glass feels about room temperature and will grow warmer as you hold it. Stone is colder to the touch and takes longer to warm up. Natural rock crystal is more valuable than cut glass.

Q: I have a copy of the April 23, 1945, issue of Life magazine in good condition. It's the original issue that came out after Franklin Roosevelt's sudden death on April 12, 1945. The cover has a portrait of the succeeding president, Harry Truman, but there is extensive coverage of FDR's death, his funeral and people's reactions. What's the value of an historic issue like this? 

A: It is truly a historic issue, and many people realized this at the time and saved their copies. Consequently, it's not so rare as to be worth an extraordinary amount of money. Copies in good condition sell for $20 to $50.

Q: I'm an avid antique lover and read your column weekly. I have an antique dental cabinet. The milk glass on the work area was broken when we bought it. Where can I find milk glass that measures 11 3/4 by 30 1/2 inches and is 1/4 inch thick? 

A: You'll need professional restoration for your cabinet. Most repair specialists will have milk glass and will be able to restore your piece.

TIP: Your diamond or precious-stone jewelry -- antique or modern -- should be reappraised every other year for insurance value.

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. 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. 

Wooden sleigh, arched head and foot boards, shaped sides, marked Hutton & Co., 15 x 30 inches, $65. 

Cut glass vanity jar, diamond cutting, goldtone ormolu bands, round, hinged lid, 1800s, 2 ½ inches, $110.

Toy M-4 Combat Tank, tin, decals, bump and go action, rotary cannon tower, spinning light, battery operated, box, 12 inches, $275. 

Barometer, banjo form, wood case, yellow glaze, thermometer in neck, P.F. Bollenbach, Barrington, Ill., c. 1920, 40 x 15 inches, $315. 

Silver American dish, swan form, cut glass liner, marked, Theodore B. Starr, N.Y., c. 1920s, 3 x 5 inches, $410. 

Furniture, pair of chairs, Louis XV style, walnut, shaped back, closed arms, oyster color upholstery, loose seat cushions, 34 x 28 inches, $550. 

Lamp, electric, arts & crafts, patinated copper, four-sided stem, flared out toward bottom, shade with copper frame and four yellow textured slag glass panels, ball and chain pull, 14 inches, $690. 

Garden bench, wrought iron, old white paint, palmette crest over five-panel openwork back, alternating leaves and blossoms, scrolled arms, pierced gothic lattice seat, branch legs, Victorian, 37 x 34 inches, $835. 

Jewelry, pin, scarecrow, hanging on post, textured 18K gold, enamel stripes and spots, diamonds, movable hat, 1970s, 2 ½ inches, $1,090. 

Flag, United States, woven cotton, 36 hand sewn stars, 1865, 71 x 116 inches, $1,560.