Question: I have a dessert set marked "Occupied Japan." It is beautiful gilt-edge floral china and consists of eight cups and saucers, seven cake dishes and a cake plate. What information can you provide about it?--A.S.
Answer: The "Occupied Japan" label surfaced shortly after World War II when Japan's economy was in shambles. In an effort to get back on its feet and to acquire badly needed hard currency, Japan's pottery industry produced thousands of products.
According to collectors, these objects continued to be marketed until April, 1952. They had various markings, including "Occupied Japan," "Made in Japan" and "Made in Occupied Japan."
The products ranged from ashtrays to china to dolls and mugs. Prices, according to dealer catalogues, vary widely but have remained fairly reasonable.
For example, in one catalogue we have, cups and saucers were priced at $6 to $10 each; teapots, $20 each and up; wind chimes, in the $30 range; creamers and sugar containers, depending on the decorations, from less than $10 to more than $30; plates, in a variety of shapes and colors, from about $10 to $30 each.
To test whether this collectible is an original or a fake, you can attempt to wash off the "Occupied Japan" label. Originals should have the label under glaze and you shouldn't be able to remove it.
Q: I have an "FDR-Truman" poster in color. It measures almost 2 feet wide and is more than 2 feet long. The red, white and blue poster says: "We Need Them. They Need You." What sort of value does it have?--L.D.
A: That poster, printed for the 1944 Roosevelt-Truman Democratic Party ticket, has been listed for $100 and more in various catalogues. Key to this price, of course, is its condition--no tears, holes, smudges or creases.
Most collectors seem to search for items from older political campaigns--such as your poster--and not just because of the rarity factor.
Collectors say that for one reason or another--television has a lot to do with it--campaigns of decades past reached out to the public with a much greater variety of voter-solicitation items, such as ribbons, pins, cigars and pennants, as well as the ubiquitous political button. Many of these items have become highly sought after by collectors.
To further your knowledge of political collectibles, your local library should have some of the books of Theodore Hake of Pennsylvania, who has written extensively on the subject. Among his works is the Encyclopedia of Political Buttons.
The Howard Lowery Gallery will host an animation art auction at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 4, at the Burbank Hilton Hotel. More than 200 lots, including cels, background paintings, animation drawings and conceptual art from Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," "Fantasia," "Sleeping Beauty" and other Disney and major studio artwork will be auctioned.
The gallery's 44-page color catalogue costs $8. Its address: 3818 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank 91507; telephone (818) 972-9080.