Victorians stole cookies from this silver-on-copper jar

This silver over copper “bisquit jar” is a classic Victorian piece. It uses an older spelling for “biscuit”, an Anglo-British term. In today’s American English, we would call it a cookie jar.

Silver and silver plate were popular in the Victorian era. Almost every type of food had its own specific silver serving dish or utensil.

“Old Sheffield” refers to a special type of silver plate made in Sheffield, England in the 18th century. The silver was rolled by hand in sheets on copper. Most silver plates made in the 19th century are electroplated.

This pot may not be Old Sheffield silver, but it was made in the city of Sheffield. It sold for $270 at a Selkirk auction. Its pelican hallmark identifies it as the work of the firm of Thomas Wilkinson, who received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria in the 1840s.

Q: Historical objects from the Second World War are my passion. I recently found a small khaki box (about 3 or 4 inches long and 2 inches wide) labeled “Old Gillette Razor and Lighter kit from WWII”. Can you tell me about it?

A: It is possible that the discovery of your shaving kit dates back to the First or Second World War. The first safety razor was patented by King Gillette in 1901. It was created as an alternative to the straight razor. Gillette’s invention, which used disposable blades, eliminated the need to sharpen the blade and allowed the user to shave without fear of serious injury. He founded the American Safety Razor Company the same year. One of its products was the American Service Set, introduced by Gillette Safety Razor Co. (as it was then called) during World War I. There were two versions, the khaki set and the metal set. The khaki Gillette set was issued to the soldier. The metal set was available for purchase at $5 and marketed as a gift for a soldier. The metal box came with a handle, a razor head, a pack of blades and a mirror inside the lid. The exterior of the lid was embossed with United States Army and Navy insignia. These are fun military collectibles and are worth around $25.

Q: When I was young, my mother made braided rugs from old woolen coats. I braided the strips of fabric she created from the coats. Two large rugs we made have been in daily use for 85 years and show very little wear. I am now 90 years old. I could sell them and would like to know what they are worth. Do they have resale value?

A: There is a rich history of braided rug making in the United States that began in the American colonies. The craftsmanship is inspired by Native American weaving techniques. The process is the same way the settlers recycled and reused worn-out clothing into rugs, giving them a useful new purpose. Large handmade rugs similar to yours have recently sold for between $65 and $175.

Q: As a child, I was addicted to two things: the story and the Madame Alexander dolls. Every year for my birthday and Christmas, I received a Madame Alexander doll. One that I still have (and love) is the 30cm tall Josephine doll, representing Napoleon’s wife. She has a silver crown and a cream colored satin dress with pink tulips on the bodice. It is still in its original box. Is she worth anything? The price on the box is $15, and I got it in the 1960s.

A: Since 1923, Alexander Doll Co. dolls have been inspired by movie characters, different nationalities, historical figures, cultural trends and the changing role of women. The dolls were produced in themed series, including International Dolls and the 1961 Americana Series. Some classic Madame Alexander dolls, especially those from the 1940s and 1950s, could be worth thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, the Josephine doll you have is only worth between $14 and $40, even with the original box.

Q: Do old records have a value? We have several Edison records with music from various artists. The discs are 10 inches wide, ¼ inch thick and very heavy.

A: Edison Laboratories made records from 1912 to 1929. Records were made of celluloid glued to a base of wood flour and sprayed with condensate, a resin varnish. They weighed 10 ounces and played at a speed of 80 rpm. They could only be played on Edison’s Diamond Disc phonographs. The records were stored vertically in a compartment of the phonograph cabinet. Titles were molded into the discs until 1921, when paper labels were first used. Over 26,000 titles have been published. Most Edison records sell for $3 or less today. A few sell for over $100.

POINT: A “cut” autograph, one that is on a small piece of plain paper, is more appealing to a buyer if it is professionally matted with a photo of the player who signed it.

on the block

Current prices are recorded from antique shows, flea markets, sales and auctions across the United States. Prices vary by location due to local economic conditions.

Dinnerware, Iroquois Casual, bowl, vegetable, divided, recessed handles on sides, yellow, Russel Wright, Steubenville Pottery, 1947-1967, 2¼ by 10¼ inches, $35.

Furniture, table, TH Robsjohn-Gibbings, birch, square, bottom shelf, square legs, 28 x 18 x 18 inches, $125.

Jewelry, charm, diploma, 14k yellow gold, black enamel diploma, red enamel seal, inscribed “6-18-59” on rolled bottom edge, 1959, ⅞ inch, $285.

Porcelain plate set, painted images of fish in water, gold rim, marked Royal Doulton and Tiffany & Co., 9½ inches each, 12 pieces, $410.

Coca-Cola vending machine, Drink Coca-Cola, Serve Yourself, metal, red and white letters, rectangular coin box with top slot, 25 x 30 x 41 inches, $675.

Pair of lamps, copper base, bulb, conical, band, conical shade with copper frame and mica panels, chain link, Mica Lamp Co., 23 by 21 inches, pair, $750.

Sterling silver centerpiece bowl, asymmetrical shape, raised edge, three short tapered legs, Modernist, Mexico, 20th century, 17¾ inches, $880.

Carpet, Qum, ivory field, center medallion, birds, flower bouquets, red madder flower and vine border, 11 feet 5 inches by 7 feet 5 inches, $1,010.

Advertising sign, Borden’s Ice Cream, lithographed tin, embossed, die-cut strawberry ice cream cone, Elsie daisy logo, 1900s, 59 by 35 inches, $1,250.

Galle cameo glass vase, purple irises, cream ground with yellow ground, bulbous, tapered, flared neck, signed Galle, circa 1900, 16 by 6 inches, $2,000.


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