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Step Right Up, Folks, for Carnival Glass

November 05, 1987|RONALD L. SOBLE | Times Staff Writer

Question: When was the heyday for carnival glass?--C.I.

Answer: Collectors say 1905 appears to be the year that production started for what has become a very desirable collectible. Such glass displayed rainbow-like colors and was widely manufactured throughout the United States for more than two decades.

Tastes changed, however, and toward the end of this production period manufacturers began to unload their inventory to fairs and carnivals--hence, the name carnival glass.

Prices of this type of glass have soared over the years, with carnival glass items selling for three and, sometimes, four figures.

Q: I've been able to purchase an old cooking stove that appears to date back to the mid-19th Century. Since it has an oven, is this one way to date it?--A.H.

A: Stoves containing ovens appear to have first been manufactured in the early 19th Century.

The first gas cooking stoves appeared during the mid-19th Century; electric stoves didn't appear on the American scene until the mid-1890s.

Collectors look for stoves that work and have artistic merit. Values range to $1,000 and more.

Date of manufacture is not necessarily the key to value. Workmanship and materials count. A Franklin stove manufactured in the 1830s might have a resale value of a few hundred dollars. But an ornate Imperial Clarion range manufactured around the turn of the 20th Century could bring a sale in excess of $1,500.

Q: You've written from time to time about sword collecting. I have an offshoot collectible: bayonets. Specifically, I have some unusual bayonets in my collection, including the sawtooth edge variety. How far back could they date?--B.F.

A: Sawtooth bayonets go back at least 100 years. Some even surfaced as late as World War II.

Their early history here and abroad indicates that they were not only issued for close-in fighting but that they also had a pragmatic value--allowing soldiers to cut wood and to saw through wire and posts.

Q: In buying and selling records, does the record's original protective sleeve add to the value? --E.C.

A: The paper sleeve is normally white and has no writing on it. Therefore, most record dealers and collectors say it has no value.

Such related items as record covers, however, have great value and enhance the collectible price of the record. For example, collectors want to read a record jacket's liner notes, which provide some historical data on an artist and the tunes that were recorded.

In fact, one collector told us he paid several dollars just for a record jacket--minus a 78-rpm record--just to have the jacket's front illustration and rear liner notes on the early history of jazz in this country.


Jeffrey Davidson of Woodland Hills has an unusual collectible: chopsticks. He'd like to hear from other collectors in an effort to expand his collection. He writes:

"These are not the standard wood or plastic ones which you get in a Chinese restaurant. They range from standard ivory to hand-carved ivory; a variety of exotic woods including walnut, teak, kokabola and purple heart; brass, copper, iron and silver; jade, cloisonne, bone, walrus tooth, mother of pearl and tortoise shell, and chopsticks with knives as worn by the Mongols centuries ago in sheaths made of brass-trimmed shark skin and ivory with tortoise shell. Several of the chopsticks are antiques."

His telephone number: (818) 716-0991.

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