Treasure Hunt 20/09/03

Dear Donna,
This is a 1920s large paper cutter that I acquired from a school flea market years ago. I have used this for years. The other day my friend said this could be worth something! So even though I don’t want to part with it, I am curious now.
Camille

Dear Camille,
Just want to start off by saying I have one too and use it often. They were made so well that they seem to last forever. Lots have made it through the test of time, which makes the values low; I see them around in the $20 to $100 range, depending on size, condition and age. So it is worth something, but I think more to the people who still use them. Keep using your paper cutter and enjoy.

Treasure Hunt 20/09/03

Dear Donna,
Attached are two photos of a lovely old print (the print part is 6” x 14”) and a closeup of the signature, which I can’t quite read. The frame, I suspect, is original. Any thoughts?
Phil

Dear Phil,
I have to start off by saying that I too tried to figure out the signature but didn’t have any luck either. It’s a tough one! But I think you are right that it’s in the original frame, and it is a pleasant subject. It looks to be around the 1900s, so that is something to start with. The value of a print is affected by whether it is signed, numbered and made by a specific company or attributed to an artist.

I think it is fair to say that content is very important and has to be pleasing for buyers to want to purchase it. I think the frame is important too. Yours appears to be a faux tortoise with a gold wood trim, clean and in good shape. I think even if it is just a mass-produced print the value would be in the $60 range just from appearance, and sometimes that is all we have to base it on.

Treasure Hunt 20/08/27

Dear Donna,
This is a piece of wall art, I think. Can you tell me anything about this? I was told it was possibly used to decorate cakes. Is it worth anything?
Janet

Dear Janet,
OK, you got me! I have never seen a piece like this referred to as a cake decorating piece. The wood and carving have a foreign appearance. I would also say yes it’s for a wall hanging by seeing the hook in back.

I think what you have is a decorative wooden plaque. It’s most likely not too old but still a nice-looking piece. Things don’t always have to be of high value to be enjoyed. I do think the value of yours would be under $25.

Treasure Hunt 20/08/20

Dear Donna,
This table once belonged to my husband’s grandparents. The table has a marble top and looks like Art Deco style. I would appreciate a visual appraisal from my photo.
Tina

Dear Tina,
Very pretty marble top hallway table. It could have been from the 1920s or even earlier. It has a sweet Victorian style metal (iron) base.

The value of it is in the $250 range, but the hard part is to get that price! These days it is tough to fit this style into many modern-style homes. Keep that marble top safe and not cracked or broken or the value would be much less, or expensive to replace.

Treasure Hunt 20/08/13

Dear Donna,

This is a hanging ceramic plaque that belonged to my grandmother and I have always loved looking at it, especially when I was a little girl growing up in Texas. Can you tell me anything about this art? I have been to antique stores and can’t find one as pretty or similar to this one.
Crystal

Dear Crystal,
From your photo, it looks more like earthenware than ceramic. You can almost see the clay from the broken chip. This leads me to think it was a piece of majolica.

Majolica was pottery in Italy, Spain and Mexico. Some of the work is crude and some very detailed. Later stuff from Mexico seems to be less detailed and the glazes not so cleanly done.

It’s tough because not all pieces are marked by the makers. In some cases the piece is signed but the artist is not known. To give a value I think you have to look at the fine detailing and quality of this piece; if it is majolica it would help, but that’s not the total picture. I recommend you have someone look at it in person. For now, I think we are safe to say it is most likely in the $40 range just for the subject and quality of the plaque.

Treasure Hunt 20/08/06

Hi, Donna,
I recently came across this item in a box that belonged to a deceased family member. While he was not a member of any police force, he had a few friends who were. My boyfriend and I cannot agree on what this is. He thinks it is a grave marker and I think it is an automobile badge. Who is right? We believe it is brass. Any idea on its age or what it may be worth? Any info you may be able to give me would be most appreciated.
Sandy

Dear Sandy,
You are right! It is a license plate topper.

License plate toppers were around from the 1930s to 1980s. There were lots of them, too. The value now depends on rarity and condition.

Yours being from a police department makes it a collectible in two areas: one for license plate topper collectors and then for police memorabilia collectors as well. So I think the value would be in the range of $125. Now because it is semi-local being from Massachusetts, I would maybe do more research by checking with the station to see when exactly they used this one, and for how long. And what was the official purpose?

After all the work is done you then might find the value to change. Maybe there were only so many made for the town.

Tell your boyfriend that some grave markers can be very similar, so it was an easy mistake.

Treasure Hunt 20/07/30

Dear Donna,
Can you help with an approximate value on old 1930s to 1940s Christmas cards? I just don’t want to put them in the trash. Could you give me some advice and possibly let me know of someone who would want them?
Cecile

Dear Cecile,
I understand why you wouldn’t want to throw them away. So many have such sweet graphic designs.

Some holiday cards can bring a value for age, designs, content (like antique Valentine’s Day pop-up cards, for example). The ones that are worth the most would be from before the 1900s, so the earlier the better, and condition is very important. People kept cards over the years so they are not as uncommon to find, especially from after the 1900s.

I have seen many cards from the same era as yours. They usually are in a shoe box or small bags for around $20. If the cards were unused it would be a bit more (they are not as common).

No matter what they are worth they are such a fun piece of nostalgia and can be fun for framing, repurposing, etc., so no, they are not trash.

Treasure Hunt 20/07/02

Dear Donna,
My name is Cathy and my daughter found this at an antique store in New Hampshire. She thought I would like it, as I work part time at Macy’s. I looked online and couldn’t find a bottle that looked like this one. It looks handmade, not mass produced, and it isn’t level when on a counter. I’m interested in how old it is and how much it may be worth.
Cathy from ​Hillsboro

Dear Cathy,​​
No matter what the value is of this bottle, the fact that you work there makes it fun to have. Macy’s is an interesting story to do research on. It’s been around since the middle to late 1800s.

Your bottle is a machine-made one that could have just been part of a bad run, so it’s a little misshapen. It could be tough to find the exact one because there were and are so many out there.​​

Having the paper label on is what still gives it charm today. Who doesn’t know Macy’s! And it’s also special to you because you work there now. The value is in the range of $30 for being a piece of advertising and in good condition. I hope this starts a collection for you.

Treasure Hunt 20/07/23

Dear Donna,
I’m trying to figure this watch out; it’s working, but other than that I know nothing. I bought it at a flea market a couple years ago and just recently dug it out of a drawer.
Bev

Dear Bev,
I am chuckling after your explanation of buying it and putting it away. So now it’s like buying it all over again and liking it once more.

What you have is a car clock that looks like a pocket watch. They were in automobiles in the early 1900s. They aren’t seen too often, and they usually don’t work. They were in the dashboards of automobiles and because they were so similar to pocket watches they were stolen frequently.

Yours is an Elgin, but other watch companies made them as well. They usually run in the $75 range when working. I can see why you would like it; it’s a fun piece of automobile history.

Treasure Hunt 20/07/16

Dear Donna,
Can you help me with this item? It looks to be silver, and we were thinking maybe it’s a tie ring. It is too big to be a ring for a finger, and the end is removable.
Susan

Dear Susan,
I have to say this is the first piece of Fernando Mendez Mateo I have come across. After doing some research for you I found the trademarks inside the ring to match his. It is silver, you were right. It is a key ring; that is why the end is removable. Remove the end, slide on the keys and replace for safety.

Fernando Mendez Mateo does very interesting work. Your key ring is just one of his animals, and he has other modern designs too. I found key rings, rings, bracelets, etc. The values were all different depending on the piece and design. I did find a couple keyrings similar to yours, in the range of $100 and up, so a little treasure it is.

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