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DISCOVERIES | COLLECTIBLES

Minor Characters From Comics Are Major Finds

November 07, 1998|RALPH KOVEL and TERRY KOVEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dolls, toys, advertising giveaways and other memorabilia based on characters in comic strips have been made since the introduction of the first comic, "The Yellow Kid," in 1895.

"Little Lulu" first appeared in 1935 as a single-panel cartoon. By 1945 it was a comic published by Dell, and in 1955 it became a syndicated newspaper comic strip.

Lulu was a typical little girl who had exaggerated problems and an overactive imagination. Her friends included Tubby Tom, part of many of her adventures; Iggy; Gloria Darling; Alvin Jones; and Annie Magee. Few can identify any of the characters except Little Lulu and perhaps Tubby Tom. In fact, Little Lulu was featured in a long-running ad campaign for Kleenex that introduced her face to many who never read the strip.

Prices for collectible comic toys are based on supply and demand. Sometimes the doll represents a minor character in the strip and its identity is unknown. Tubby Tom items are worth more than Little Lulu ones because fewer were made.

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Question: My husband inherited some Franciscan Ware dishes. I understand they were made in California by Franciscan monks. The dishes are in three colors: aqua blue, pink and yellow. When were they made and what are they worth?

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Answer: Your Franciscan Ware dishes were not made by monks. They were made by Gladding, McBean and Co. of Glendale.

Gladding, McBean introduced the Franciscan line in 1934. It was named for the Franciscan friars who established missions in California two centuries ago.

The pattern name for your solid-color dishes is El Patio; the pattern was made in 20 colors, produced from 1934 to 1953. Some Franciscan patterns are still made. The line belongs to Wedgwood, and the dishes are produced in England.

For a listing of helpful books and publications, include a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope to 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.

* Kellogg's moving picture book, Kellogg's Funny Jungleland, dated 1932, 8x6 1/2 inches: $55.

* Lladro figure, Oriental girl, No. 4840, 7 1/2 inches: $175.

* Icey the Ice Capades mascot, nodder, 1960s: $190.

* Hancock Motor Oil advertising tin, lists 1948-51 car models, 1 qt.: $350.

* Milk glass dish, deer on fallen tree cover, E. W. Flaccus Co.; Wheeling, W. Va.; 7 inches: $410.

* Rookwood pottery bookends, rooks standing on books, mottled matte-green glaze, Rookwood logo, XXIV, 6 1/2x6 1/2x6 1/2 inches: $865.

* Mocha pitcher, seaweed pattern; blue, pumpkin and brown; circa 1840, 6 inches: $900.

* Empire butler's desk, cherry and curly maple, paws feet, carved pilasters, three drawers, arched pigeonholes, scrolled crest with turned rosettes, 44 1/2x57 inches: $1,950.

* Saturday Evening Girls vase, yellow floral band; cream, green, black outline on blue ground; signed, 5 3/4 inches: $1,840.

* Shirtwaist dress by Adrian, black faille, velvet collar, rhinestone buttons, 1940s, size 10: $2,550.

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