There are many unfamiliar names for antiques and even vintage collectibles. What is a collectible “dumbwaiter,” a “finger vase” or a “swift”? And what is a “tazza” and how was it used? The tazza originally was a large basin for bathing. But the meaning changed, and by the 17th century — perhaps earlier — it became the name of a piece often used at a dinner party. It is a shallow bowl or platter that is on a stem or footed base. It was used to display or to serve small foods or even for drinking. In other words, it is a dish on a pedestal. The dish was decorated, and the pedestal was an elaborate and shapely piece of metal. Cakebread Auctions sold a tazza that was a celadon, a Chinese export porcelain dish, on a gilt-metal mount with scroll-shaped legs. The tazza sold for $1,615. If you’re wondering, the dumbwaiter is a wooden stand with round trays of graduated sizes held by a center pole. It has been in use since the 1720s. The finger vase is a Dutch Delft vase with five tube-like holders for flowers arranged like the fingers on a hand. And a swift is an adjustable reel for winding yarn made of wood or ivory.
Q: I have a Peanuts music box that was my mother’s. It’s a wood carving of Lucy in a wooden stand with signs that say, “Psychiatric help 5c” and “The doctor is in.” The top revolves while it plays the song “Try to Remember.” The bottom looks like it is stamped “ANR.” Can you tell me what this is worth?
A: The beloved Peanuts comic strip was drawn by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) from 1950 to 2000. It still runs in many newspapers. It started with four characters: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Patty and Shermy. Lucy Van Pelt and her brother, Linus, joined the gang in 1952. A running gag in the strip is Lucy doling out advice in a lemonade stand type “psychiatric help” booth. That inspired your music box. It was made in 1969 by Anri, a company founded in 1912 in Italy. The company made quality hand-carved wood items and still is in operation. The music box movement that plays the song “Try to Remember” was made by Thorens, a Swiss company that started making music box mechanisms in 1883. Countless items featuring the “Peanuts Gang” have been made over the years. Anri also made music boxes with other “Peanuts” characters in the late 1960s and ’70s. These music boxes are no longer being made. Your Lucy music box is worth $175 to $200.
Q: I bought a rectangular glass dish with a lid at a garage sale. The owner said it came in a refrigerator she bought years ago. The sides are ribbed, and there are pictures of corn and other vegetables embossed on the lid. The dish is about 8 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 3 inches deep. What can you tell me about it?
A: Refrigerator dishes are sometimes called “leftover” dishes and were made in glass and pottery by several companies beginning in the 1920s and ’30s. Some were given away with the purchase of a new refrigerator. Your glass dish was made by Federal Glass Company, which was in business in Columbus, Ohio, from 1900 to 1980. Federal made refrigerator dishes in rectangular and square shapes, in different sizes and colors, and with different embossed decorations. Not all Federal glass was marked, and marks on glass can be hard to find. Look for the letter “F” in a shield on the bottom of dishes.
Q: I inherited a frosted-glass figurine of a young girl in a long dress. She’s kneeling on one knee and has a bouquet in one hand and several stalks in the other. It’s 4 inches high and has raised letters on the base that read “Gillinder & Sons” and “Centennial Exhibition.” Can you tell me something about it and its worth?
A: William T. Gillinder (1823-1871) opened his glass factory in Philadelphia in 1861. It became Gillinder & Sons in 1867. Most of the buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1929 and the company was out of business by the early 1930s. Gillinder & Sons was one of several glassmakers exhibiting at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. The company built a small glassmaking factory on the fairgrounds, where they made and sold souvenir glass. Your glass figurine is called “Ruth, The Gleaner.” Value: $100 to $150.
Q: I’d like some information about the maker of a bronze statue of a fox marked “Chemin.” The letter “N” is backward. Does this increase the value?
A: Your bronze fox was made by French sculptor Joseph Victor Chemin (1825-1901). He was known for his animal sculptures. The backward “N” is part of his mark. It isn’t a mistake and does not add value. An 8-inch long bronze animal by Chemin was estimated at $300 in a Midwest auction.
Tip: Custard glass and milk glass can now be repaired by black lightproof methods. Be very careful when buying antiques.
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.
Candlestick, glass, pink dolphin support, gold fleck, blown, round, stepped base, c. 1920, $67.
Fireplace fender, brass, pierced, urns, thistles, leaves, ring pull, 1800s, 9 x 48 inches, $147.
Weather vane, lion standing, copper, directionals, applied verdigris surface, iron base, c. 1940, 43 x 28 inches, $360.
Mirror, Louis XIV, gilt metal repousse, faux tortoiseshell, mask, acanthus, beveled, 45 x 28 inches, $381.
Tea caddy, mahogany, maple veneer, cartouche, mother-of-pearl button, inlaid escutcheon, ball feet, 8 x 15 inches, $405.
Silver plate, epergne, central bowl, trumpet vase, two arms, bowls,James Deakin & Sons, 18 1/2 x 26 1/2 inches, $479.
Bronze urn, flared rim, lion handles, rings, geometric band, Chinese characters, round base, 9 x 14 1/2 inches, $528.
Toy airplane, propeller, silver, radio controlled, U.S. Air Force, gas engine, 8 1/4 x 25 inches, $1,599.
Slot machine, Jennings, Chief, 1 dollar, oak sides, chrome front, bonnet, c. 1940, 27 x 15 inches, $2,460.
Rug, heriz, flowers, leaves, vines, navy field, red medallion, white, blue border, 10 feet 3 inches x 12 feet 9 inches, $2,829.
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