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There's Still Life in Old Magazines

January 08, 2000|RALPH KOVEL and TERRY KOVEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Question: We are cleaning out my father's house. He saved everything. What should we do with old copies of Life magazine? Throw them out?

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Answer: If you have time and patience, sort through the magazines. They are good sellers at shows and sales. Some buyers want the old ads on inside pages. Only the "best" covers, in near-mint condition, sell for high prices.

Among the best are covers picturing sports stars.

The May 1, 1939, issue picturing Joe DiMaggio sells for $150, while the June 25, 1956, issue with Mickey Mantle sells for $100. The most valuable copy of Life, priced at $200, is the April 13, 1962, issue with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton on the cover. The price is high because there is an insert of Topps baseball cards inside.

Life magazines with covers picturing movie stars or members of the Kennedy family are especially collectible. So is the very first issue, dated Nov. 23, 1936. Most issues, however, will sell for $1 to $10 each.

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Q I have a dark wood smoker's stand with a folding top. The open top is half green felt and half wood. There's a shelf below the top that holds two built-in ashtrays with pipe stands, plus a small cabinet behind a green-and-white marbled opaque glass door. A label under the shelf reads "The Lakeside Craft Shops, Sheboygan, Wisconsin."

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A Your smoker's stand doubles as a game table when the top is opened.

The Lakeside Craft Shops worked in Sheboygan from about 1900 to 1920. Its designs were inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement of that period. During the past few years, some of its small furniture pieces have been sold at East Coast auctions. An oak domed cellarette that converts to a bar sold for $400, a magazine stand for $650 and an 11-by-34-inch cabinet for $900.

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Q I inherited some plates from my great aunt. On the back is one word, "Millennium," printed in brown in a rectangle with curlicues. The front is decorated in brown with a picture of a child, lion, cow and wolf. "Peace on Earth" is written above the picture. There is also a large eye (the eye of God) and a Bible open to Isaiah.

How old is this millennium souvenir?

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A You have some prized Staffordshire transfer plates made in the mid-19th century by Ralph Stevenson and Sons in England.

It represents the biblical description in the book of Isaiah that refers to his prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ: "The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."

The year 2000 has brought back many discussions of the biblical interpretation of the millennium.

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.

Current Prices

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

* Mondale & Ferraro political bumper sticker, autographed, 1984, 3 by 12 inches, $45.

* No-Pak 31 ice cream scoop, Pat. No. 1861655, metal with wooden handle, 9 3/4 inches, $75.

* Hawley & Hoops calendar, paperboard, young lady in straw hat holding hay rake, full pad, 1905, 9 by 11 1/2 inches, $110.

* Bradley & Hubbard bookends, lady's head, Art Nouveau design, 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, $110.

* Batt & Rabbet gauge, Stanley Rule & Level Co., No. 92, Pat. Aug. 23, 1892, $150.

* Eisenberg Original compact, gilt metal, square, "Henriette," rhinestone ring in multiple colors, original applicator pad, stamped, 3 inches, $320.

* Hubley Fish Hatchery truck, die-cast, red, silvered bumper and grill, plastic transport tank, net and fish, wiggle rod that creates illusion of being underwater, box, 10 inches, $360.

* Madame Alexander doll, Maggie Mix-Up, skater, hard plastic head, green sleep eyes, watermelon smile, seven-piece bent-knee walker body, 8 inches, $385.

* Gorham sterling silver flower basket, circular foot supports, basket-form rim, handle, ribbon and floral swags, dated 1916, 16 inches, $575.

* Cast-iron garden bench, pierced geometric and foliage scroll design, white paint, "Pat'd. May 17, 1895," 33 by 38 inches, $600.

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