Early 20th century farms and households had many unusual devices with identities and purposes that have been lost over time. Look at this device with cogwheels and a crank that sold for $266 at Conestoga Auction Company in Pennsylvania. Is it a kitchen gadget, or maybe a fruit or vegetable peeler? Some sort of grinder or chopper? In fact, it is a mechanical rope winder.
In the early 1900s, farmers were making their own rope. Most people buy it ready-made today. The buyer probably intended to keep this rope tornado as an antique instead of using it as a tool. But someone who is crafty, curious, or very dedicated to “DIY” can buy modern and usable tornadoes or string kits online.
Question: I bought a vase in the shape of a goose at a garage sale 20 years ago for 25 cents. It stands approximately 12 inches tall and the back is open like a vase. It is marked “HB Quimper”. It looks hand painted. What can you tell me about it and what is it worth, if any?
Answer: It’s worth more than 25 cents. Pottery was made by three different factories in Quimper, France, beginning in the late 17th century. Pierre Bousquet founded the first factory in 1708. It became the HB factory (Hubaudière-Bousquet) in 1782, after Antoine de la Hubaudière became its director. HB merged with two other factories in 1968. After several changes of owners, the factory became Henriot-Quimper in 2011. Variations of the HB Quimper brand were used from 1895 to 1984. Your open-bottomed goose vase is a planter. One recently sold for $40, although some sellers are asking for higher prices.
Q: My mother had an original Tiffany Dragonfly lamp in perfect condition. Can you tell me what it might be worth? We have to sell it.
A: Authentic Tiffany lamps can sell for several thousand dollars. Some have sold for over $100,000 and a few for over $1 million. Many counterfeits, reproductions, and “Tiffany-style” lamps sell for less than $100. The Dragonfly lampshade was designed by Clara Driscoll (1861-1944), a woman who worked in the glass cutting department at Tiffany. She won a bronze medal for her design at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Tiffany made the Dragonfly lamp in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Your mother’s lamp should be seen by an expert to determine if it is an authentic Tiffany lamp or just a good “Tiffany style” lamp.
Q: I have an old framed print with three women in period clothing. It is written “La Mode Illustrée” under the numbers. The artist is Heloise Leloir, and it was made in 1870. Can you tell me something about the print and is it valuable?
A: La Mode Illustrée was a successful French fashion magazine in the late 1800s. It was known internationally and was the most popular fashion magazine in the world. Héloïse Leloir was the magazine’s well-known fashion illustrator and painter. Many of his illustrations for the magazine have been turned into collector’s prints, like yours. Leloir also illustrated the famous novels The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Some of his original illustrations are part of the permanent collections of museums. Framed prints similar to yours have recently sold for $12-20.
Q: My grandparents got married in 1908. Four generations of my family lived in the same house. We recently discovered a box of silverware stored in a dry corner of the attic and wrapped in newspaper. After polishing it, we can see that some are marked “Wm Rogers Mfg. Co, Original Rogers” and other “1847 Rogers Bros. What are they worth?
A: There were several silver companies named Rogers in Connecticut and Massachusetts in the 1800s. At least three were called Rogers Brothers and eight were called William Rogers. Some of them joined with other silver makers to form International Silver Co. in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1898. The name “1847 Rogers” was a trademark used from 1862. It continued to be used by International Silver Co. until the 20th century. . Your silver cutlery is silver plated. Money shouldn’t be wrapped up in old newspapers. The ink will react with the metal and may strip the silver plating. Silver cutlery does not sell well. A fork or spoon can sell as part of a set for less than $5.
TIP: Do not use rubber gloves when washing figures with protruding arms and legs. Gloves can snag and cause damage.
Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer reader questions sent to the column. Send a letter with a question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two photos, the item and a close-up of any marks or damage. Make sure your name and return address are included. By submitting a question, you are giving full permission for use in any Kovel product. Names, addresses or e-mail addresses will not be published. We do not guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels’ posts. Write to Kovels, (Farm Forum), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at [email protected]