Getting Wedged In

How do you keep a heavy door from slamming shut? That was a problem to be solved by the mid-18th century when huge brass hinges held the doors. It was solved with wedges, heavy rocks or doorstops of many sizes and shapes. Cast-iron figural door stops were made in the early 1900s but did not became popular until the 1910s, when many United States companies began making figural examples. One of the most interesting is called “Huckleberry Finn,” a figure of a farm boy in blue overalls and a yellow shirt carrying a fishing pole and bait bucket. It’s 12 3/8 inches high and has a wedge back. The doorstop is marked Littco and was made by the Littlestown Hardware & Foundry Company that started in 1916. They made doorstops, bookends, hammers and fireplace accessories until 1940 and the war. After the war, the company started making cast aluminum products. In the 1990s, they stopped iron casting. One of their most famous doorstops, Halloween Girl, a costumed girl with a pumpkin in excellent condition, sold for $ 29,500 in 2016. “Huckleberry Finn” is an important book written in 1884 by Mark Twain. It was the first “bookstore” book written in vernacular English, and it included swear words and descriptions of good and bad parts of life at the time. An excellent example of the Huckleberry Finn doorstop with almost perfect paint sold for $325 in 2016 at an important Bertoia auction of just doorstops.

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Q: My daughter was given two Norman Rockwell collector plates 25 or 30 years ago and never displayed them. One plate is titled “Balcony Seat” and the other is “Quiet Reflections.” They still are in the original boxes. What are they worth?

A: Collector plates made in “limited editions” were popular in the 1970s and ’80s. Some collectors specialized in Norman Rockwell plates, and tried to get all the plates in the series. Interest began to wane in the 1990s, and collector plates don’t sell well today. Most Norman Rockwell collector plates sell for less than $25 in spite of the fact that Rockwell original paintings now sell for up to a million dollars.

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Q: I found an old Orange Crush bottle that’s made of ribbed clear glass. It says “pat D July 20, 1920” on the front and “Crockery City Farms Ice Prod.” on the bottom. It’s in excellent condition other than a little dirty. Is it worth anything?

A: Orange Crush was developed by Neil C. Ward, a chemist in Los Angeles, in 1915. He and Clayton J. Howel incorporated the Orange Crush Bottling Company in 1916, and the name of the drink later became Ward’s Orange Crush. The Crockery City Brewing Company opened in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1900. During Prohibition, the company bottled soft drinks and near beer. The company name was changed to the name on your bottle “Crockery City Ice and Products Co.” Orange Crush bottles with this patent date were made in several sizes. A 6-ounce Orange Crush bottle “pat D July 20, 1920” is worth about $6 to $8.

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Q: I own an older Lalique vase, 9 1/2 tall, with four pairs of frosted parrots perched on arched branches, signed “R. LALIQUE, N:905” on the base. Please advise me of the value of the vase.

A: You have Lalique’s “Ceylon” vase with four pairs of parakeets or lovebirds. Ceylon was first made in about 1924. The vase could sell for a few thousand dollars if in perfect condition. It should be seen by an expert to determine the value. Talk to an expert at a shop or auction gallery.

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Q: I’d like information about a plate that has a flower-like symbol on the front with the words “Imperatricis auspiciis” around a picture of a person wearing a crown. The plate is marked on the back “Cauldon Ware, Trade mark William Whiteley, universal provider, Westbourne Grove London W, Cauldon England.” What does this symbol represent?

A: The flower-like symbol is the emblem of the Order of the Indian Empire, an order of chivalry honoring officials who served in India. It was founded in 1878 by Queen Victoria. The medals we’ve seen have her portrait in the center of the emblem. The Latin words “Imperatricis auspiciis” mean “Under the auspices of the Empress.” In 1887, the name of the order was changed to The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire. After India became independent in 1947, no further appointments to the order were made. The last knight died in 2010. Cauldon Ware is a trademark used beginning about 1890 by Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co., a Staffordshire pottery that worked at Cauldon Place. William Whiteley (1831-1907) opened a retail shop on Westbourne Grove in 1863. He called himself “The Universal Provider” because he sold just about everything. On Jan. 24, 1907, Whiteley was shot dead at his shop by Horace Raynor, who said he was Whiteley’s illegitimate son.

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Tip: Use a Depression glass or plastic knife to cut lettuce. The lettuce won’t turn brown.

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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.

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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.

Nodder, policeman, writing summons, gray uniform, head and body both nod, 9 inches, $90.

Inkstand, porcelain, figural winged leopard feet, gilt wings, turquoise highlights, France, 1900s, 11 1/2 inches, $140.

Decanter, opaline glass, red round reserve, roman profile, round foot, France, 1900s, 11 1/2 inches, pair, $150.

Halloween, Jack-in-the-box, pumpkin man, turnip nose, bug eyes, plaid paper litho wood box, 7 inches, $350.

Lunch box, Hogan’s Heros, dome top, barracks, barbershop scene, yellow, gray, 1966, $410.

Magnifying glass, mother-of-pearl, rectangular, case, velvet lined, 5 1/4 inches, $690.

Mirror, cast resin, gilt, double dolphin shape, convex, Carver’s Guild, 40 x 23 inches, $945.

Doorstop, wine merchant, green jacket, red pants, red and yellow bottles, cast iron, 1920, 10 inches, $2,830.

Carousel rounding board, eagle, flag, flowers, rope, ruffles, yellow ground, carved, 11 x 39 inches, $4,000.

Jug, Owl, white, black, blue spotted breast, Madoura, Pablo Picasso, 10 1/2 x 7 inches, $12,000.

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There is hidden value in contemporary pottery. You find it at shops and garage sales at low prices, because the marks are unknown. Kovels special report “Kovels’ Identification Guide to Contemporary American Pottery 1960s to Present” (available only from Kovel) includes more than 180 marks and 60 featured artists. Each artist’s biography includes a mark, a pictured piece, and this year’s price. Learn about Robert Arneson, Jack Eugene Earl, Henry Takemoto and others. Recognize the newest pottery when you see it at a flea market or garage sale. Available only from Kovels for $19.95 plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996, online at Kovels.com; or mail to Kovels, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.