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COLLECTIBLES

Old Cars' Charm Drives Demand

April 25, 1998|RALPH KOVEL and TERRY KOVEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In the early part of this century, road rage was not nearly as serious a problem as it is today. The cars then were slower, the visibility was better and the roads were less crowded. The hazards were usually potholes, ruts and stray cows, not other cars.

The graphic designs on some old game boxes and boards offer glimpses into the motoring manners of the past. They show well-dressed people out for an enjoyable ride.

By the 1920s, games were made that showed race cars on a track.

Early car games are hard to find but worth the search.

Any early car-related item is of value. Collectors pay high prices for pedal cars, metal toy cars, books about motoring, puzzles and even dishes decorated with pictures of old cars.

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Question: I've been hunting for an oak Hoosier cabinet, but I'm confused. I've discovered during my hunt that many types of Hoosiers were made. Can you explain?

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Answer: "Hoosier cabinet" has become a generic term, although it once was a brand name like Scotch tape and Kleenex tissue. The term now describes a free-standing kitchen cabinet made from the turn of the century until the mid-1930s, when built-in kitchen cabinets became more common.

The largest manufacturer of Hoosier cabinets was the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of Albany, Ind. Several other manufacturers also were in Indiana, the "Hoosier State."

Hoosier cabinets usually were made with porcelain work tops, roll doors, built-in flour sifters, tin bread drawers, sugar and spice jars, pullout breadboards and storage cabinets and drawers above and below the counter.

A good Hoosier cabinet sells today for more than $300.

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Q: My aunt left me an 8-inch glass plate decorated with cigar bands picturing 25 U.S. presidents. The bands were glued to the bottom of the plate and show through. Pictures of William Howard Taft and an eagle perched on an American flag are in the center. There is a clear, hard coating that seals the bottom of the plate. A piece of brown velvet covers the coating.

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A: Your plate is an example of a craft called "potichomania," derived from the French words "potiche" ("vase") and "manie" ("craze"). Potichomania is similar to decoupage, and was a popular craft among women in France, England and the United States during the last half of the 19th century.

Today's collectors would pay $30 to $100 for a plate like yours.

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Q: I've been trying to find some information on Dorchester stoneware, made in Dorchester, Mass. We bought some at the factory in the 1940s. At that time, it was owned by a family named Henderson. My pieces are marked "Dorchester Stoneware, CAH," or "N. Ricci."

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A: George Henderson founded the Dorchester Pottery outside Boston in 1895. The pottery made crocks, jugs and other utilitarian wares. Hand-decorated vases, mugs, casseroles, and dinnerware sets were added in the early '40s.

The cobalt blue decorations included pine cones, scrolls, lace and blueberries.

Nando Ricci was a potter at the firm.

The "CAH" mark probably refers to Charles A. Hill, who was Henderson's brother-in-law. Hill was the plant manager and decorator.

The pottery closed in the early 1980s following a fire.

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Q: My old Indian dolls are dressed in authentic-looking leather moccasins, feather headdresses and blankets. On the bottoms it says "Skookum Indian--Bully Good."

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A: Skookum Indian dolls were designed by Mary McAboy about 1913. They were still being made in the 1930s.

The early dolls were handmade, with dried-apple heads. The dolls became so popular a commercial manufacturer started making them, using composition heads.

The dolls had serious faces, with side-glancing eyes. The costumes represented the clothing of a variety of tribes.

"Skookum" is a Siwash Indian word that is roughly equivalent to "bully good."

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.

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Current Prices

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

* "My Sweetheart Went Down With the Ship," sheet music, Titanic on cover, Roger Lewis, 1912: $35.

* Manitoba license plates, 1950, pair: $25.

* Folgers ashtray, tin lithograph, gold base, 1900s, 5 inches: $125.

* Sampler, numbers, alphabet, 12 herbs listed along plants, red stitching, white ground, 1822, 10 by 16 inches: $190.

* Maple sugar mold, heart form, pine, 1830s, 3 inches: $275.

* Metlox Red Rooster canister set, four pieces: $300.

* EffanBee Skippy soldier doll, composition, original khaki uniform, marked "EffanBee, Skippy, P.L. Crosby" on head, 13 inches: $360.

* Queen Anne-style desk on frame, slant front, pigeonholes, three frieze drawers, pad feet, 41 by 34 1/2 inches: $805.

* Venini glass patchwork vase, bottle form, layers of clear, red, blue and green, circa 1960, 8 1/2 inches: $1,035.

* Cast-iron baluster, center shield, pierced foliate, 1894, by Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co., 34 inches: $2,875.

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