Children have always liked toys that can move and make noise and look like something from the adult world. Victor Bonnet was a French toymaker working after 1919 who specialized in tin, and later steel, toy trucks, motorcycles, carts, buggies, as well as clowns, birds, women doing housework and musicians playing instruments. His toys were often copied but can be dated by the mark, his company name. The company started as F. Martin in 1878 and changed its name three times, until it was called Victor Bonnet from 1919 to 1937, when the firm closed. A recent auction sold an 8 1/2-inch tin boy-on-a-scooter toy. It was key-wound so it could “scoot,” or roll across the floor. It was made in the 1920s and sold for $1,560.
Q: I have a four-page program and scorecard from an Army vs. Navy Championship Basebal Game on Sept. 28, 1944. It is in wrinkled condition, but the roster lists many famous names — Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg on the Army team, and Johnny Mize, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto and Johnny Vander Meer on the Navy team. Does this have any value?
A: Baseball was the most popular sport in America at the time of World War II and an important part of military athletics. More than 90 percent of Major League Baseball players served, and military baseball games featured some of the game’s great players. They boosted morale for soldiers and helped raise funds for the war effort. In September 1944, Oahu, Hawaii, hosted the “Serviceman’s World Series.” Squads were quickly organized, and while each team had great players, it’s said that on three days’ notice, “Navy put together one of the great baseball teams of all time.” It was the most important military baseball event of the war. Your program from this series might be of interest to collectors of both baseball and military memorabilia. We’ve seen a roster from one of the games offered online for $25.
Q: I’ve been collecting slip-decorated Moriage pieces of different sorts for decades. I recently picked up another tea set. Were the tea sets, mugs, biscuit jars, etc., ever meant for actual use? It seems that some of them would have been, but I’ve been told by other collectors that they were always merely decorative. If they were meant for use and someone wanted to live dangerously, can they be used now?
A: Moriage is a raised decoration applied over the glaze, which was used on some Japanese pottery. Slip-trailed designs were made by brushing on several layers of “slip,” wet clay. Sometimes separate pieces of clay were applied by hand or squeezed from a tube. We don’t know of any reason not to use your Moriage dishes. We haven’t found anything that says the glaze is dangerous, making it unsuitable to use, but the raised decoration breaks easily.
Q: Recently my 95-year-old aunt and I were going through things and came across a souvenir medal from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It’s yellow-gold metal and is 1 3/4 inches wide and 2 3/4 inches long. There is a man’s profile on the front, “Souvenir” at the top, and “Virginia” on the metal banner it hangs from. The back is marked “Mnfd Schwaab S & S Co., Milwaukee.” We were wondering if this is worth anything.
A: The World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893, commemorated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America. Medals like this were made with banners for each state in the Union in 1893. The medal is gilt bronze and was made by Schwaab Stamp & Seal Co. The company was founded in 1881 and became Schwaab Stamp and Seal Company in 1888. It became Schwaab, Inc. in 1973 and is still in business. Your medal sells for $9 to $15.
Q: Several years ago, my grandmother gave me 12 teaspoons with a note saying that they were given to my great-grandmother for a wedding gift. They’re marked “Justis & Armiger.” Five of them have the word “Sterling” upside down under the maker’s name. Do you have an explanation for this, and would it add to the value of the spoons? I’m thinking of selling them, but want to make sure I know their worth first.
A: John C. Justis and James R. Armiger became partners in 1878 and founded Justis & Armiger. The company made both sterling silver flatware and silver-plated flatware. Justis retired in 1892 and the company became James R. Armiger Co. in 1896. The names and the sterling mark were made from separate dies. A workman probably used it upside down, and it has no effect on the price. The word “sterling” shows that it is better-quality silver than “coin” silver. The price would be a little under silver meltdown value. Many jewelers and antiques dealers buy teaspoons for meltdown value and sell them for a little more.
Tip: Scrape your fingernail across the scratch on the glass on your mirror. If it catches, the scratch is too deep to be polished out at home. It requires professional work.
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