Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Collectibles

Chair-Desk Boasts an Inventive Past

ALSO: * Finding buyers; * Flow Blue dishes; * Herby doll

May 09, 1998|RALPH KOVEL TERRY KOVEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Inventive furniture designers of the 19th century created many unusual forms of dual-purpose furniture. One idea that has not lasted is the chair-desk.

When closed, the desk looks like a small round table. Open, it is a half-round chair hinged to a half-round table with drawers.

The "convertible chair" was patented by Stephen Hedges of New York City in 1854. The patent was actually for the hinging method.

In 1911, a magazine article that pictured a convertible chair said it belonged to Aaron Burr. The magazine said it was made small size because Burr was so short. In fact, Burr died in 1836, 18 years before the desk was invented. The story is legend.

About 17 of the desks exist, most in museum collections.

*

Question How do I find buyers for collectibles? I don't live near a large city.

*

Answer Collectors are everywhere. Go to antiques shows and malls in your area. Talk to dealers. Just about anyone who sells antiques buys antiques to resell.

If you sell a collectible to a dealer, you can expect to get less than the true value, because the dealer aims to make a profit.

If you want to try selling the collectibles yourself, try a garage or house sale. Collectors as well as dealers go to such sales.

There are also many places to buy and sell collectibles on the Internet.

There is no easy way to sell collectibles. The harder you work to find the collectors, however, the higher the price you are likely to get.

It often is possible to contact collectors' groups that would be interested in your items. Such groups can be found in antiques newspapers and newsletters, through library research and in telephone directories.

*

Q My set of Flow Blue dishes was inherited. Some pieces are marked with a crown and the word "Shapoo" and the initials "T. & R.B." The saucers are marked "Kirkee," the sugar bowl "Oregon." Do you think some of the dishes are replacements?

*

A Yes. Your dishes are decorated with similar Oriental patterns made by different English makers.

Shapoo was made about 1860 by either Thomas Hughes or T&R Boote of Burslem. Kirkee was made about the same time by John Meir & Son of Tunstall. Oregon was made about 1845 by T.J. and J. Mayer of Burslem.

*

Q What can you tell me about my aunt's cloth doll? It is 11 inches tall, wears only a red cap and jacket and looks like a cartoon character. The tag on his neck says "Herby." I've never heard of Herby. Was he related to Uncle Walt and Skeezix?

*

A No. Uncle Walt and Skeezix are characters in "Gasoline Alley," the famous Frank King comic strip that premiered in the Chicago Tribune in 1918.

Herby was the invention of cartoonist Walter Berndt, who introduced a New York Daily News strip called "Smitty" in 1922. Smitty was an office boy, and Herby was his annoying kid brother. A spinoff strip called "Herby" debuted in 1930.

"Smitty" and "Herby," which were distributed by the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, ran in newspapers until Berndt retired in 1973.

*

Q I have a children's bowl and mug decorated with a picture of Hopalong Cassidy. The china is white and unmarked. Hoppy is wearing a blue cowboy outfit. On the mug, Hoppy is holding a pistol in each hand. On the bowl he's petting his horse's head. Who made the china, and how old is it?

*

A You have two pieces from the three-piece Hopalong Cassidy Chuck Wagon Set, which was made in the early 1950s by the W.S. George Pottery of East Palestine, Ohio.

Hopalong Cassidy was a character in a series of stories written by Clarence E. Mulford beginning in 1905. The first Hoppy movie, starring William Boyd, was released in 1935. Boyd later starred in a Hopalong Cassidy TV series and radio show.

Your cup and bowl are valued at about $65 each.

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.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|