Revival furniture pieces may be hard to distinguish from the real deal

Terry and Kim Kovel
Although it was made in the 20th century, this wine rack brings Regency style into a modern setting.

Furniture revivals have taken place since at least the 19th century and probably earlier. New technology made earlier ornate styles easier and less expensive to make, and therefore more accessible to the average buyer. Some are difficult to distinguish from authentic pieces. If you see the word "style" in a description, it is probably a copy or revival piece, not an authentic piece from the period.

For example, this wine rack is described as "Regency style." It was made in the 20th century, not the Regency period, and it sold for $813 at New Orleans Auction Galleries. The Regency period was from 1811 to 1820 in England, when King George III's son served as Prince Regent. The corresponding American furniture period is American Empire.

Both Regency and Empire were influenced by Classical art of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Mahogany was a favorite wood. This wine rack imitates mahogany with a dark stain on pine wood. Empire furniture features gold ormolu, but Regency furniture is known for its brass decorations. The wine rack has a brass gallery on top and ring handles on the sides, features that can be seen on authentic pieces from the Regency period.

Q: I have an L.C. Smith typewriter, serial number is "1386874B." Are old manual typewriters worth anything?

A: Lyman C. Smith and his brothers made guns before they made typewriters. They started making a few typewriters in their gun shop after 1884. In 1887 they sold the gun business and founded Smith Premier Typewriter Co. in Syracuse, N.Y. It became L.C. Smith & Bros. Typewriter Co. in 1903. The company merged with Corona Typewriter Co. in 1925 to become L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Co. Personal computers replaced typewriters in most homes, schools and offices beginning in the 1980s. Smith-Corona no longer makes typewriters; it now makes thermal labels. The serial number on your typewriter indicates it was made in 1937. Some old typewriters are collectible and sell for a few hundred dollars. A few rare typewriters sell for more than $1,000. Many common old typewriters sell for $20 to $50. 

Q: I bought 12 place settings and all the serving pieces for Johann Haviland's dinnerware in the late 1970s or early '80s. They are white with light blue flowers and silver trim. The back is stamped "Johann Haviland, Bavaria, Germany." I don't have the original boxes, but the dishes have never been used. I'd like to sell them. Can you tell me what they're worth?

A: Johann Haviland started a porcelain factory in Waldershof, Bavaria, in 1907. It became Porcelain Factory Waldershof AG formerly Johann Haviland in 1924. Porcelain Factory Ph. Rosenthal & Co. bought the factory in 1936 and made some dinnerware marked "Johann Haviland." Your dishes are "Blue Garland" pattern, which was first made 1974. The trim is platinum, not silver. It was sold in grocery stores as premiums in the United States in the 1970s and '80s. Dinner plates sell for $10 to $20, serving pieces for more. A covered butter dish sold for $21, a covered vegetable dish for $40, and a coffeepot, sugar and creamer for $50.

TIP: To clean furniture, dip your dusting cloth in ½ cup of vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of olive oil.

Current prices

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.

Inkwell, porcelain, figural, two bears sitting around tree stump, one eating beets from bowl, the other licking a spoon, top comes off stump to expose ink pot, stamped Russian mark, 6 x 5 ½ inches, $60.

Pottery jar, San Ildefonso, black matte, carved designs with inset turquoise, rounded form, Juan Tafoya, 5 ¼ x 5 ¾ inches, $115.

Quilt, pieced, 9 Patch pattern, 16 squares, each with nine yellow diamond patches, blue and yellow sawtooth border, white ground, Pennsylvania, 1910, 72 x 72 inches, $260.

Purse, shoulder, black leather, black velvet flap with beaded flowers, blue, turquoise, pink and beige beads, cloth strap, marked Saint Laurent, 12 x 12 inches, $450.

Daum dish, frog on a lily pad, pate de verre glass, irregular shape with figural frog on rim, green shaded to yellow to gold, marked Daum France, 2 3/8 x 6 x 6 inches, $500.

Poster, travel, Meeting of the Chiefs, Native American man on horseback, rock formations in background, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Co., copyright 1949, 18 x 24 inches, $620.

Jewelry, ring, coral cabochon, round, smooth, surrounded by 14 small turquoise cabochons, diamond spacers, 18K pink gold mount, Retro, size 7, $700.

Furniture, tea table, cherrywood, rectangular top with raised molded edges, shaped skirt, sliding candle sides, cabriole legs, pad feet, label on bottom for Eldred Wheeler, Hingham, Massachusetts, 20th century, 26 ½ x 28 x 18 inches, $935.

Pottery, midcentury platter, white and brown speckled glaze, brown abstract scribble on center, impressed finger marks on sides, raised rim, stamped on bottom of rim, Warren MacKenzie, Minnesota, 2 ¼ x 13 ½ x 12 inches, $1,190.

Stoneware crock, cobalt blue stylized wings and serpent, stamped C.F. Orcutt & Co., Albany, N.Y., straight sides, thick banded rim, ear handles, 2 gallons, 9 inches, $1,710.dern setting.