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Finding Painted Cottage Pieces Just Might Be a Stroke of Luck

ALSO: *'Last Supper' plate; * Steiff bears; * California pottery

April 04, 1998|RALPH KOVEL and TERRY KOVEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Among the few bargains in antique furniture are painted cottage pieces from the Victorian era.

Decorating magazines picture Victorian rooms filled with grained mahogany, light-colored maple or reddish cherry furniture. Rarely are painted pieces shown. There are several reasons:

* Painted pieces have not been reproduced, so the supply is limited.

* In the 1950s it was fashionable to buy a painted piece and strip the finish to have a more modern look.

* Painted surfaces are difficult to restore, and many old chests and chairs are worn.

If you like the Eastlake Victorian style, with incised designs and shaped wooden trim, look for the decorated late 19th century "cottage" sets, which include chests, beds, night tables and chairs.

Pine or other inexpensive wood was used. The entire piece was covered with paint, usually several layers. Flowers or scenes were painted on the center of doors, and smaller painted decorations were added as needed. The finished sets were colorful and whimsical.

You can find a fine painted dresser today for less than $1,000, a bed for less than $300.

If you own or buy painted furniture, use it carefully. The paint is a large part of its value. Washing, polishing or waxing might discolor or remove the paint.

*

Question Who made my clear glass "Last Supper" platter? It measures 7 by 11 inches.

*

Answer The original "Last Supper" pressed-glass bread plate was made from 1891 to 1903 by the Model Flint Glass Co. of Findlay, Ohio. The pattern was so popular that it was immediately reproduced by the Indiana Glass Co. of Dunkirk, Ind. Indiana Glass made the plate, with a slightly simplified grape border, from 1903 to 1966.

Starting in the '30s, the L.G. Wright Glass Co. of New Martinsville, W.Va., bought several of the plates from Indiana Glass and resold them.

In 1969, Indiana Glass started making the plate again, but with a frosted border.

*

Q When I was a child, I was given a Steiff bear that stands on four red wooden wheels with detachable wooden rockers. It's 15 inches tall and 25 inches long. One side is torn, and the growl box doesn't work. Should I have my bear repaired?

*

A A Steiff catalog from the 1950s pictures a bear like yours in several sizes.

Older Steiff bears are valuable. Yours is in demand by collectors, many of whom buy Steiff bears in all conditions.

Stitch the tear to avoid further damage.

*

Q At an antiques shop, I bought a figurine of a girl holding a basket that could be used for flowers. The dealer told me it was a "California original." The mark on the bottom says "Yona." Who made it? How old is it? What is it worth?

*

A Yona Ceramics was a California giftware business founded in the early 1940s by Max and Yona Lippin. The Lippins were former employees of Hedi Schoop, who established her California pottery in the late 1930s. The Lippins and Schoop made similar types of pottery.

Your figurine was made in various colors and is worth about $25. Yona Ceramics was in business for about 10 years.

*

Q We bought a metal sign that says "Drink Noxie Cola." We bought it at a flea market and at first thought it said "Moxie." Were there really two drinks with such similar names?

*

A Moxie is a famous soft drink that was first marketed in the 1880s. The company advertised heavily with many gimmicks. Its most famous gimmick was the strange Horsemobile, a car driven by a horse and rider.

The name "Moxie" became so well-known that other companies copied it. There were drinks named Foxie, Toxie, Proxie and Noxie.

"Moxie" was trademarked in 1885, and the company defended it in court.

Noxie-Kola was first sold in Quebec in 1900 and trademarked in Canada in 1906. Americans bought rights to the name and sold the drink in the United States in 1939.

Your sign must have been made in 1939, because the Moxie company immediately sued and the courts ruled the Noxie name could not be used in the United States.

If you'd like a listing of helpful books and publications on antiques, send a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope to the Kovels, Los Angeles Times, King Features Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York, NY 10017.

Current Prices

Prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary because of local economic conditions.

* Black velvet yarmulke, silver threading, 1890s: $125.

* Paden City bunny figurine, ears down, pink, 6 inches: $135.

* Cut-glass ice bucket, Inverted Thumbprint and Button pattern, silvered collar with ram's head handles, 9 inches: $160.

* Dr. Hess Poultry "Pan-A-Ce-A" sign, paper on cardboard, "Hens begin laying promptly when fed," picture of Dr. Hess, hens and eggs, 18 by 24 inches: $300.

* Charlie McCarthy radio, bakelite, cream color, metal figure of Charlie sitting in front, dressed in tuxedo, Majestic, 7 1/2 inches: $330.

* Seder plate, engraved, man carrying child, painted Hebrew words, ceramic, 1880s: $460.

* Dedham spoon, rabbit, dark blue, ladle shape, diminutive stamp, 4 inches: $600.

* Graniteware egg poacher set, World's Fair, Buffalo, N.Y., 1890s, 16 pieces: $700.

* Tiffany & Co. evening bag, petit point, carpet design, deep reds and green ground, 14K gold frame, twisted fringe, signed, 1920s: $2,525.

* L. & J.G. Stickley oak bookshelf, No. 345, four open shelves raised on stiles, arched aprons, about 1910, 45 by 19 by 12 inches: $2,875.

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