Antique shoppers must learn the vocabulary of collectibles to read catalogs, make online searches or understand words with double meanings like commode (dresser) and commode (toilet.) You also need to know that Wedgwood and Wedgewood are two unrelated, different companies. What is the difference between a match strike, match safe, match case and match holder? They all were made in the 19th century to hold wooden matches. A match strike is a small vase kept on a table. It holds matches with the heads up. There is a rough surface used to strike the match and get a flame. A match safe or case is a rectangular box about the length of the wooden match. The box has a hinged cover that snaps shut to avoid letting the matches be accidentally lit. The first wooden matches were not the safety matches used today. The match safe was often made of sterling silver with elaborate raised decoration. It was carried in a suit pocket or purse and used to light a cigar or cigarette. The match holder usually was used in the kitchen. It was kept on a shelf or hung on the wall. An advertisement was sometimes on the front; it held a bunch of wooden matches used to light the stove. Don’t be surprised if you find that the match names are misused. Many people call them all “match holders.” This small 2-by-3 5/8-by-2-inch miniature pool table is a match holder for a table. It is made of brass, felt and ivory. The lid slides open, and there is a striking surface on the side. Its unique shape led to a price of $834 at a Wm Morford Antiques auction in New York.
Q: I have a Rudolph, New York pianola with serial number 63034. It was reconditioned 25 years ago into a piano and no longer works as a pianola. It’s in good condition and has been tuned regularly. What year was it made and what might it be worth?
A: Pianolas, or player pianos, were popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. The instrument works by pumping the foot pedals to operate bellows that make the keys play without being touched. The music is on a punched paper roll inserted in the upper part of the piano. Thousands of music rolls were made, and new ones are still made for people who own player pianos. After phonograph records became popular, player pianos became less popular. The Rudolph Piano Co. was founded in New York in 1903. The serial number indicates that your pianola was made in 1925. Old pianos are hard to sell. Your piano might have some interest to a collector if it still operated as a player piano, but will have little value as is.
Q: I have a Winterling Bavaria dinnerware set and can’t find the pattern anywhere to see what it’s worth. I have 22 saucers, 11 dinner plates and some other things. Can you tell me what it’s worth?
A: Porzellanfabrik Gebruder Winterling (Brothers Winterling Porcelain Factory) was in business in Roslau, Bavaria under various names beginning in 1906. Winterling went bankrupt in 2000. The company made over a thousand different patterns. Most weren’t named. You have an odd number of saucers and plates, not a complete set. Partial sets are hard to sell. You can get an estimate of value by seeing what similar Winterling Bavaria prices sell for online.
Q: I have a Dick Tracy knife my mother got in 1946. It glows in the dark and has pictures of Dick Tracy and B.O. Plenty, a Crime Stopper Whistle, and Clue Detector magnifying glass. The blade is marked “Camco, USA.” What is it worth?
A: The Dick Tracy comic strip started in 1931. He was also featured in movies, a 1940s radio series and a 1950s television series. This knife was made by Camillus Cutlery Company, a company in business in Camillus, New York, from 1876 to 2007. It was made with red or blue lettering. Another version was made picturing Dick Tracy and Junior Tracy. The knife originally sold for 98 cents, but today it sells for $18 to $70 depending on its condition.
Q: I bought a uranium jadeite shank button with overlay pressed brass buck. It’s slightly larger than a half dollar and glows beautifully. I bought if from a seller in the Czech Republic who said it was rare. I was surprised how inexpensive it was for the quality. I know it was made before World War II but have no other information. Can you tell me anything else about it?
A: Uranium glass was first made in the 1830s. The bright yellow-green color, also called vaseline glass, is produced by adding a small amount of uranium to melted glass. The glass glows if put under an ultraviolet light. Old uranium glass may be as much as 25 percent uranium, but newer glass contains about only 2 percent uranium. Some uranium was mined in what is now the Czech Republic. Production stopped during World War II, when uranium was needed for the war effort. When production resumed after the war, depleted uranium was used.
Tip: Ultrasonic cleaners for jewelry are now sold for home use. Be careful — the vibrations can damage stones. Never use them with pearls, opals, lapis or peridot. Be very careful with costume jewelry, too, as “stones” could be real or glass, or even plastic.
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