Popular designs that sell well are often reworked by artists in slightly different versions or colors.
Artus Van Briggle is a potter who worked at the Rookwood pottery in Ohio and then at his own pottery in Colorado. Van Briggle designed many vases in the early 1900s that are still being made.
His best-known vase was named "Lorelei." It was first shown in 1898 in Paris. An Art Nouveau-style woman was wrapped around the vase.
Van Briggle moved to Colorado in 1899, and by 1901 he was firing pieces with a matte glaze.
The Lorelei vase was made in 1901 with a light peach glaze. Later versions were made with white, brown, light green, turquoise and other glazes.
The early vases show the folds of the woman's dress wrapped around the vase. In later versions, the folds are less clearly defined.
Van Briggle pottery is almost always marked with symbols and the Van Briggle name. The marks help date the piece.
The value of a Lorelei vase is determined by its age and color. The most common color is the turquoise blue glaze made since the early days of the pottery.
A recent Lorelei vase is worth about $750. A 90-year-old version is worth more than $10,000.
Question: My deceased husband bought a German porcelain figurine years ago. It may have been when he was stationed in Germany after World War II. The figurine is of a young nude woman frolicking with two small brown bears. It is 12 inches tall and 9 inches wide. On the bottom is a circular mark enclosing a lion, the words "Bavaria, Germany," the initials "HS" and some German words including "Kunstabteilung."
Answer: Your figurine was made by the Hutschenreuther Porcelain Co. of Selb, Bavaria, Germany. It probably dates from the 1950s or '60s.
"Kunstabteilung" means "art department." Hutschenreuther was founded in 1857 and is still in business. The company makes fine-quality porcelain dinnerware and figurines.
Hutschenreuther has its own U.S. distributing company, Hutschenreuther Corp. of North Branford, Conn.
Figurines such as yours sell for about $500.
Q: I am trying to find information about a pastel-colored plastic Dream Kitchen my mother gave me in the early 1960s. It included a kitchen table, chairs, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, sink and more than 150 small pieces such as dishes, silverware, pans and boxes of food.
It fit my Barbie dolls perfectly.
A: Your Dream Kitchen was made in 1963 by the Deluxe Reading Corp. It was meant to be used with Mattel's Barbie dolls and other such dolls popular in the 1950s and '60s.
Today, the Dream Kitchen is valued at $175.
Q: My great-aunt had a drugstore in Centerville, Tenn. We kept the advertising displays. Among them is a 12-inch-tall ceramic dispenser shaped like a baseball and painted with baseball stitching. A baseball bat is also painted on the front. On the dispenser are the words "Drink Fan-Taz, 5, Drink of the Fans, A Pennant Winner."
A: You have a soft drink syrup dispenser that dates from the early 1900s.
There were dozens of now-unfamiliar soft-drink brands sold at soda fountains then. Many of the brands lasted only a short time.
A complete Fan-Taz syrup dispenser with metal fittings and porcelain top could sell for as much as $8,000. It would appeal to country-store collectors and sports collectors.
Q: We have come across silver flatware that belonged to our grandmother. It is marked "1877 Niagara Falls Silver Co."
A: Your flatware is silver-plated, not sterling. It was made by Oneida Silversmiths, a company still in business.
Oneida began as a communal living experiment at Oneida Creek, N.Y., in 1848. In 1880, the Oneida Community incorporated and opened a factory in Niagara Falls to make tableware. By 1914, the factory had moved to Sherrill, N.Y.
Your flatware was made between about 1885 and 1914. "1877 Niagara Falls Silver Co." was one of Oneida's trademarks. The "1877" refers to the year Oneida started making tableware.
Q: I have a set of eight aluminum chairs that resemble those I remember seeing in schools and cafeterias. The metal seats have no upholstery, but they are contoured and comfortable. The chairs are labeled "Good Form, The General Fire Proofing Co., Youngstown, Ohio."
A: We have recently seen chairs like yours at antiques shows and flea markets on the East Coast and in the Midwest. They were popular restaurant chairs in the 1960s. The chairs sell today for about $150 each.
The General Fire Proofing Co. is better known for another chair, the "GF 40/4" vinyl and metal stacking chair. The number 40/4 refers to the fact that a stack of 40 chairs stands 4 feet high. The GF 40/4 chair, developed by industrial designer David Rowland, won the 1965 American Interior Design International Award.
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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