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The Western Furniture Look Rides Again

ALSO: * A 'sick' decanter; * Steiff monkeys; * Royal candlesticks

March 21, 1998|RALPH KOVEL and TERRY KOVEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Wild West is back in fashion again. Cowboy designs are bringing high prices at antiques sales.

The heavy furniture made of pine or fir that was popular for Wyoming hunting cabins is being collected for houses and apartments in less-rural settings.

The best-known maker of cowboy furniture was Thomas Molesworth of Cody, Wyo., who often carved cowboy figures into the wood or upholstered the chairs with Indian blankets.

Molesworth pieces now are expensive. A dining room table sells for $5,000. A bed sells for $1,700.

There were also less-famous pieces of cowboy furniture made. Look for children's sets made of thick oak planks decorated with pictures of cowboys, horseshoes and rope handles.

The western look was popular from the 1930s to the '70s. It is just being revived.

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Question I did a stupid thing. I half-filled my handblown, clear Mary Gregory decanter with vinegar to keep it steady on a shelf. Now I can't get off the residue that has built up inside. Have I ruined it?

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Answer Your decanter is "sick." The vinegar didn't leave a residue--it damaged the glass surface.

Try swishing cooking oil around inside the decanter. That should at least improve the way light is reflected through the bottle.

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Q I bought a stuffed Steiff monkey with an original cardboard tag. The monkey is made of dark brown mohair and has jointed arms and legs, a swivel head, glass eyes and white whiskers. The Steiff button is no longer in the monkey's left ear, but there's a hole in the ear where the button used to be. The cardboard tag says "Jocko." Can you tell me more?

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A Monkeys were among the first animals Margarete Steiff made when she started her business in the 1880s.

In the mid-1920s, Steiff introduced "Jocko" and other stuffed chimpanzees, most named after famous circus chimps.

Jocko has been made in several sizes, from 7 inches to 31 1/2 inches tall.

The design on the tag tells the age of your chimp. The first Jockos had plain yellow tags. The Steiff bear-face logo was printed at the bottom of the company's tags beginning in 1927. The bear's looks changed in 1950, but the red circle around the edge of the tag stayed the same.

In the early '70s, the logo tag was changed to two half-circles, red below yellow, with the bear logo in the red half.

Steiff is still making Jocko stuffed toys.

Tip: If you buy an old cloth doll, put it in a closed box with an insect strip for 48 hours to be sure there are no insects. Be sure the strip does not touch the doll.

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Q You recently wrote about the "Ace of Diamonds" candlestick sets made in England after 1880. I have a pair of each stick in the set--Ace, King, Queen, Prince and Princess.

However, the style of the first three are different from the last two, and so are the marks on the bottom. My Prince and Princess are marked with the English registry number 385856.

The others have no registry number.

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A More than one company made "Ace of Diamonds" candlesticks. You have parts of two different sets.

The registry number dates your Prince and Princess to 1902.

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Q My 6-by-6-inch off-white vase is decorated with three raised and painted orange-and-black goldfish, bubbles and seaweed. The bottom is marked "Designed by Walt Disney, copyright 1940, Vernon Kilns, 121."

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A The Vernon Kilns pottery operated in Vernon, Calif., from 1931 to 1958. In October 1940, the pottery signed a contract with Walt Disney Productions to make figures of the characters from "Fantasia," "Dumbo" and "The Reluctant Dragon."

During the years of the contract, 1940-41, vases and tableware also were made using the designs from "Fantasia."

Your vase, No. 121, is called the "Goldfish bowl." It was made in honor of the pouting goldfish that perform the underwater Arabian dance in "Fantasia."

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Q I bought a clear glass bottle at a flea market. There is a clear glass bell inside the bottle. Inside the bell there is a white music box topped by a red-dressed ballerina who twirls when "The Blue Danube" plays. The bottom of the glass is marked "Bols Ballerina Bottle, Bottle and Unit made in France, Le Bleu Danube."

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A Your Bols musical liquor bottle was made in the 1970s, when figural liquor bottles were very popular. It is worth about $20.

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 because of local economic conditions.

* Hans figure toy, from "Katzenjammer Kids," by Syroco, copyright 1944, 3 inches: $55.

* Gillinder cameo-type paperweight, cut of Washington, made at 1878 World's Fair, 3 1/4 inches: $55.

* Watkins Remedies calendar, 1918, two boys with fishing poles, Watkins delivery truck, complete pad, 5 1/2 by 11 inches: $110.

* Kaleidoscope dated 1923, Acme: $250.

* Thumbelina cloth doll, painted blue eyes, 1961, Ideal, 14 inches: $425.

* Cut silhouette, full-length figure of man with top hat and cane, signed "M. Socke," 1848, 11 by 7 1/8 inches: $550.

* Georgian silver tongue scraper, acorn ends, circa 1820: $595.

* Pennsylvania German fraktur by Martin Brichelle, pen and in, laid paper, Northumberland County, Jan. 21, 1814, 11 by 10 1/2 inches: $600.

* Queen Anne tavern table, pine and hardwood, turned legs, pinned stretcher and apron, oval on board top, 20 by 25 by 14 inches: $4,500.

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