Garden antiques have become one of the most popular areas of collecting. Fountains, fences, small sculptures and large urns to hold flowers are popular.
But in the past 10 years there has been increasing interest in smaller garden antiques. Gardening tools are also being used as garden decorations. Now desirable: Trowels made of a single piece of painted metal in the 1950s; rakes that have handmade teeth and sapling trunks for handles; early 20th-century unpainted metal buckets and sprinklers; baskets made to hold cut flowers; and even sprinklers.
The 1940s Brass nozzles from the 1940s--still usable--sell at collectibles shows for $12 to $20. Sprinklers are the most popular. The wooden 1940s cut-out figure of a boy holding a hose that turns to sprinkle a large section of the lawn sells for $75 to $150. Metal lawn sprinklers shaped like ducks, frogs or other animals can be worth up to $200. The ceramic figural sprinklers made in the 1930s and '40s bring even higher prices. A Weller Pottery coppertone frog sprinkler auctioned in April for $5,500.
Question: I just bought an enamelware coffeepot that the dealer called a "biggin." What is the difference between a coffeepot and a biggin?
Answer: About 1800, a man whose last name was Biggin invented the first coffee percolator and it was named after him. A biggin consists of two cylindrical tin pots. One fits on top of the other. There are two strainers at the bottom of the top section. Finely ground coffee is put in this top section, and another strainer fits over the top. Boiling water is poured through the top section, and the brewed coffee fills the larger bottom pot.
QI have an iron skillet that is marked "Sidney Hollowware, Sidney, O." It looks like a piece made by Griswold Manufacturing Co. Is my skillet valuable?
A Sidney Hollowware was founded in Sidney, Ohio, in 1859 by Phillip Smith. The company made pans and other hollowware. They sold the business to the Wagner Manufacturing Co. in 1897. Your pan is of interest to collectors, but it won't bring as high a price as a comparable Griswold pan.
QDid Bauer Pottery of California ever make figurines? My mother says she bought some small dogs from them.
A Bauer Pottery had an "artline" they introduced in 1938. The pieces were all cast. Candleholders, bowls, vases, flowerpots, planters and other pieces were made for florist shops. The pieces were made with colored matte glazes. The line later included some small figures of animals. The Cal-Art animals were not marked.
Q My mother had some very modern chairs she said were by Finn Juhl. Who did he work for?
A Finn Juhl was a Danish designer who started making furniture with Niels Vodder in 1945 in Denmark. They created many pieces that had Scandinavian designs. From 1949 to 1951 he designed pieces for Baker Furniture in Grand Rapids, Mich. Metal-frame pieces were made for Bovirke in Denmark in 1953. Wooden pieces were made by another Danish maker in the late 1950s. He also designed other decorative pieces.
Q While clearing out my parents' house, I found an old doll. I can't remember ever seeing it before, although it might have belonged to my deceased older sister. The doll is blond and 16 inches tall. She is wearing a red dress with a white heart on the bodice. Inside the heart is the name "Mary." Embroidered on the skirt is a musical staff and the name "Hartline." Can you help identify the doll?
A Your Mary Hartline celebrity character doll was made by the Ideal Toy Co. It should be marked "Ideal" on the doll's back. Hartline was the star of an early 1950s ABC-TV children's show called "Super Circus." Ideal introduced Mary Hartline dolls in 1952. The 16-inch doll originally sold for $11.98. Today, a mint, in-box doll with accessories is valued at $700.
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 are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary because of local economic conditions.
* Golden Galleon jigsaw puzzle, Frederic Grant, 1936, 165 pieces, $15.
* Occupied Japan figurine, clown sitting on pig, marked Ardalt, 5 by 4 1/2 inches, $100.
* Milk glass goblet, Beaded Loop pattern, five inches, set of eight, $160.
* American Stores Company Coffee sign, paper, young lady with thoroughbred, "Pride of the Plantation," oval, 1930s, 11 by 14 inches, $180.
* Vogue Kindergarten Ginny, brown sleep eyes, blond pixie wig, tag, c. 1952, 8 inches, $510.
* Corocraft sterling pin, birds in flight, vermeil, triplet, matching earrings, clear rhinestone accents, circa 1940s, $695.
* Mining stock certificate, Bullfrog Mining Co., Nevada, 1906, 100 shares, green, large bullfrog in center of certificate, $895.
* Windsor bowback side chair, maple and ash, beaded crestrail, bamboo turned spindles, splayed legs, branded "S.J. Tuck, Boston, 1790," $1,095.
* Cast-iron mechanical bank, speaking dog, 1888 Shepard Hardware $1,695.
* Amphora vase, globular form, set with jewels, applied crouching lioness, gilt trim, marked, 11 1/2 inches, $1,840.