Treasure Hunt 21/01/14

Dear Donna,

I have an assortment of these wood block letters in many sizes. I collected them for years and ended up with a large collection. I’m wondering if prices have changed for them and if they are still collected now. Any information would be helpful.


Dear Angie,

I can relate to how things turn into collections easily! Collecting is a fun thing to do.

The print block letters you have served their purpose first in print shops. Now they are rarely used for that. Instead, they tend to be displayed decoratively.

I’m not sure what you paid when you collected them, but today the value on them runs from $2 to $4 each. Larger ones can net more, so if you have a collection of them it could bring a bit of a value in total. They have stayed in the same value range for a while now.

One thing I have learned over the years is to never let children play with them. They were made in a time when using lead was common. The lead is still present even after washing, so keep these away from children.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo

Kiddie Pool 21/01/14

Family fun for the weekend

Planes and iBOTs

Beat three-day-weekend boredom at the museum! Along with their regular exhibits, two local museums are currently offering special events. The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, 669-4820, is hosting a Festival of Planes, a walk-through exhibit that includes aviation-themed toys, models and puzzles, plus vintage aircraft piloted by celebrities like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. According to a press release, the toys span the 20th century, from custom-made cast iron planes to today’s mass-produced Hello Kitty airplane toys. In addition, hundreds of collectible model aircrafts will be displayed on a new Wall of Planes in the museum’s learning center. This weekend, the museum will be open Friday, Jan. 15, and Saturday, Jan. 16, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 17, from 1 to 7 p.m. The exhibit is included with museum admission of $10 per person; $5 for seniors 65+, veterans/active military and students under 13. Members and children under age 5 get in free.

Or head to the SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St., Manchester, 669-0400, to watch a special demonstration of an iBOT. The center is open Saturday, Jan. 16, Sunday, Jan. 17, and Monday, Jan. 18, with sessions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 to 5 p.m. The iBOT wheelchair is SEE’s newest demonstration and shows how technology can help people with limited mobility do things they could never do in any other wheelchair. The demonstration is part of regular museum admission, which is $9 per person for ages 3 and up. Registration is required to reserve a time during one of the sessions; register online or via phone.

Skate sessions

At the Everett Arena in Concord (15 Loudon Road,, public skating hours are Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Admission is $6 for ages 14 and up and $5 for ages 4 to 13; kids 3 and under skate for free. Skate rentals are available for $5. Public skating has been reduced to 50 percent capacity, and masks are required inside the building and while on the ice. Tri-Town Ice Arena (311 W. River Road, Hooksett) is offering public skating sessions for $6, with skate rentals available for $4. Skating times vary and are subject to change; visit for an updated schedule. All skaters and spectators entering the facility are now required to complete a Covid-19 screening online the day of their visit before arriving at the arena. After completing the screening, a QR code that will allow access to the entry system at the front doors will be provided.

Treasure Hunt 21/01/07

Dear Donna,

For years I’ve been meaning to contact you regarding my curiosity about a basket that was found in an old late 18th-century house in Chichester. The basket was found in the mid 1970s and I bought it at a yard sale!

Thank you for any information that you can offer me!


Dear Lil,

Baskets are tough for an appraisal and to know for sure when some of them were made. I think that my suggestion would be to see someone who has a lot of experience with baskets, such as Skinners in Bolton, Mass. You can send them a photo and they should be able to give you more information than I can. I would say it has an Asian look to it, which is another reason why it’s tough!

The form is similar to a funeral basket for flowers. If that is the case then the value would be under $100. As I said, though, my view is based only on my own limited experience. Please let me know if you find out any more information!

Kiddie Pool 21/01/07

Family fun for the weekend

Math discoveries

Have “Phun With Math,” a virtual program from the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Drive, Concord) being presented on Friday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. Phun With Math is the theme for this month’s Super Stellar Friday event. STEM instructor and Discovery Center educator David McDonald will explore fun patterns and numbers in nature, explain what you could do with a rope that circles the Earth at the equator, and show you how to increase your chances of choosing the right door in “Let’s Make a Deal.” This event is free, but registration is required at

Library fun, at home

Many local libraries are closed or have limited hours and services, but they’re still offering plenty of fun for kids and families. The Nashua Public Library (2 Court St., 589-4600, has virtual story times posted on its website, along with monthly interactive virtual activities — January’s is “Case of the Missing Snowman.” The library also offers age-appropriate craft projects on the second Saturday of each month; materials can be picked up curbside.

At the Manchester City Library (405 Pine St., 624-6550, kids can find a new Messy Art project online each Wednesday afternoon. The projects can be done at home with items around the house. The next new project will be posted on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 3 p.m. Also on Wednesdays starting Jan. 13, the library will host “For the Young & Young at Heart – Movement and Songs” via Zoom, starting at 10 a.m. Registration is required for the live, 20-minute program, which encourages all ages to get moving.

And at the Concord Public Library (45 Green St., 225-8670, parents can pick up craft kits for their kids (and, every other week, for themselves). On Monday, Jan. 11, the Fun Coloring Kit will be made available to kids, while supplies last. The library is also hosting Book Bingo, challenging readers of all ages to complete as many squares as possible by Feb. 26. Fill in the squares with the names of books you’ve finished, and every time you get five in a row you’ll earn a raffle ticket. Register online to have the game board emailed to you, or pick it up curbside.

To discover the virtual events and activities that are happening at your local library, visit its website — most town and city libraries have revamped their programming to offer safe, at-home fun for families.

Blast from the past

Robinson decries white supremacy, pays homage to the ’80s in Exo-Hunter

Science fiction, sociopolitical satire and 1980s nostalgia are the basis for Seacoast author Jeremy Robinson’s newest novel Exo-Hunter,released last month.

Exo-Hunter follows a Black Marine known as Dark Horse in 1989 who, after a mission gone wrong, is launched with his team a millennium into the future. In the year 2989, humans have abandoned Earth and expanded colonization throughout the galaxy under the rule of a white supremacist government called The Union. Separated from his team and now the only Black man in The Union, Dark Horse takes control of a space vessel and sets out to find his teammates, disguised as an Exo-Hunter, a space explorer seeking new planets for the Union to colonize.

Robinson said he had been contemplating a “sarcastic, fun, ’80s sci-fi” while also reflecting on the racial tensions felt throughout the country over the last few years.

“I thought I’d kind of just mash all of that together,” he said. “White supremacy … is a serious topic, but I wanted to address it with a sense of humor, similar to how the movie Jojo Rabbit did with Nazi Germany — funny but also moving and revealing.”

The humor in Exo-Hunter comes mostly in the form of sarcasm, Robinson said, with some sci-fi- and ’80s-related jokes thrown in.

“I think sarcasm can be helpful for us now as we look back at 2020 and all the bad stuff,” he said. “It’s a good way to deal with it all.”

The book also provides a comic look at the absurdity of a society without diversity.

“I wanted to kind of poke fun at how weird and strange it would be and how dull life would be,” Robinson said. “I guess the main moral of the story is, a world with diversity is just a better world.”

Readers who lived through the ’80s will get a healthy dose of nostalgia with references to ’80s pop culture, particularly sci-fi movies and new wave music. Additionally, Robinson created a playlist of the referenced songs as a musical companion to the book (available on his website) with hits like “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics and “Heroes” by David Bowie.

“A lot of the story hinges on these songs because they’re applicable to what is happening and are just perfect for the situation,” Robinson said, adding that pausing to listen to the songs as they are mentioned in the book can create a more immersive experience for the reader.

A New York Times and No. 1 Audible bestselling author, Robinson has written and published more than 70 books in a number of genres, including science fiction, action adventure, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, thriller and horror, as well as several comic books. Prior to writing novels he did primarily screenwriting, and he continues to write with the ultimate goal of getting his stories made into movies and TV series, he said. A couple of his books are currently in the process of being adapted for the screen, and a TV series based on one of his books has been in development for the last five years. (He is not yet at liberty to say which books, he said.) As for Exo-Hunter, Robinson said, he is “absolutely” envisioning it as an action-packed movie for the big screen.

“It was written with that intention, as most of my novels are,” he said. “[The production] would be really big and cost a lot of money, so [the book] will have to sell really well first for Hollywood to take the risk, but we’ll see.”

Exo-Hunter by Jeremy Robinson
Exo-Hunter is available now on Amazon and Kindle and locally at Jetpack Comics in Rochester. The audiobook is set for release on Audible and iTunes in February. To learn more about the book, visit, and check out the companion playlist at


Call for Art
• 35TH ANNUAL OMER T. LASSONDE JURIED EXHIBITION The New Hampshire Art Association seeks submissions of artwork from NHAA members and non-members. The theme is “Beyond the Boundaries.” Submit up to three pieces. Open to all artistic media. Deadline is Fri., Feb. 5, by 5 p.m. Submission form available online. Call 431-4230 and visit

• “THE COLORS OF GREY” Theme art show presented by the Seacoast Artist Association. On display now through Jan. 30. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Visit or call 778-8856.
• “A NEW DAY” Exhibit features work by 35 new members of The New Hampshire Art Association. Viewable online, in the front windows at the NHAA’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery (136 State St., Portsmouth) and at the gallery in person by appointment. On display now through Jan. 31. A virtual opening reception will be held on Thurs., Jan. 7, at 6 p.m., on Zoom. Call 431-4230 and visit
• “BRAVE NEW WORLD: RESILIENCE IN THE TIME OF COVID” Outdoor public art display features paintings by 80 students from the Nashua School District that convey a message of hope and resilience amid the challenges of Covid-19. Amherst Elementary School (71 Amherst St., Nashua). On display now through Feb. 14. An opening reception at the exhibit location to celebrate the student and teacher artists will be held on Friday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. Visit
• “THE VIEW THROUGH MY EYES” The New Hampshire Art Association presents works by pastel artist Chris Reid. Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce Gallery, 49 S. Main St., Concord. On display now through March 18. Visit or call 431-4230.

• NASHUA PUBLIC ART AUDIO TOUR Self-guided audio tours of the sculptures and murals in downtown Nashua, offered via the Distrx app, which uses Bluetooth iBeacon technology to automatically display photos and text and provides audio descriptions at each stop on the tour as tourists approach the works of art. Each tour has 10 to 15 stops. Free and accessible on Android and iOS on demand. Available in English and Spanish. Visit


• WHERE DO I BEGIN? New Hampshire Theatre Project’s SoloStage program presents. Fri., Jan. 22, and Sat., Jan. 23, 8 p.m., and Sun., Jan. 24, 2 p.m. Performances held virtually and in-person at 959 Islington St., Portsmouth. In-person show tickets cost $30, and virtual show tickets cost $20. Call 431-6644 or visit

Treasure Hunt 20/12/31

Dear Donna,

This cast iron plaque was mounted on our shed door. We removed it when the shed was replaced and now would like to know a little more about it. It weighs around 10 pounds and is 11 inches wide and 8.5 inches tall. Anything you can tell me will be greatly appreciated.


Dear Ellen,

What was in your shed is a reproduction of a fire marker. This one was representing The United Firemen’s Insurance Co. These markers were used back in the 1800s on homes to show the owners were insured. They were mounted on the exterior of the home in full view.

To find an original one is tough, and there are reproductions out there. There are many ways to tell a reproduction from an authentic one; you can find much of this information online. The interesting point I found was that the originals were never painted in red. Gold was colorized to show up clearly.

With so many reproductions around today, the market for even the older ones is in the range of $20 to $30. For more information, check out the history of fire markers. I found it all very interesting.

Kiddie Pool 20/12/31

Family fun for the weekend

Fun at the museum

The iBOT wheelchair is SEE’s newest demonstration. Photo courtesy of SEE Science Center.

Watch a special demonstration of an iBOT at the SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St., Manchester, 669-0400,, which is open Thursday, Dec. 31, Saturday, Jan. 2, and Sunday, Jan. 3, with sessions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 to 5 p.m. The iBOT wheelchair is SEE’s newest demonstration and shows how technology can help people with limited mobility do things they could never do in any other wheelchair. The demonstration is part of regular museum admission, which is $9 per person for ages 3 and up. Registration is required to reserve a time during one of the sessions; register online or via phone. SEE will be open each weekend in January, as well as on Monday, Jan. 18.

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St., Dover, 742-2002, will be open for a couple more days before winter break ends. Reserve a play session Thursday, Dec. 31, or Saturday, Jan. 2, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. or 1 to 3:30 p.m. either day. The cost is $11 for adults and kids older than 1 and $9 for seniors 65 and older. Reservations are required and can be made on the museum website.

Sweet game

Chunky’s Cinema Pub is hosting a family-friendly Theater Candy Bingo event on Friday, Jan. 1, at 6 p.m. at its Manchester location (707 Huse Road); on Saturday, Jan. 2, at 6 p.m. at its Nashua location (151 Coliseum Ave.), and on Sunday, Jan. 3, at 6 p.m. at its Pelham location (150 Bridge St.). Purchase a ticket online to reserve a spot; for $4.99 you get a ticket and a box of Chunky’s theater candy. Players will turn in their candy to the host to get a bingo card, then play a few rounds to try to win some of that candy as well as other Chunky’s prizes. Visit

Live performance

There’s still time to catch a performance of the holiday classic The Nutcracker at The Music Hall Historic Theater (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth) on Saturday, Jan. 2, at 2 and 6 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 3, at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seating is socially distanced. Tickets cost $50 for adults and $45 for seniors and children. Visit or call 436-2400.

Art adapts

2020 became a year of unexpected innovation for arts organizations

In 2020, we saw art galleries and performance venues closed, shows and festivals canceled and classes and programs suspended. But in the face of the many challenges brought about by Covid-19, the New Hampshire arts community did what it does best: It got creative.

“Many New Hampshire arts organizations and artists are finding creative ways to engage the public during the pandemic, reimagining events and activities in both physical and virtual spaces,” said Ginnie Lupi, director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

Performance venues erected new outdoor stages and spaces to welcome socially distanced audiences; theater companies, musicians and authors accommodated audiences at home through livestreamed and recorded shows and discussions, and educators in the arts carried on with classes and lessons remotely.

Now, as a Covid vaccine brings hope that a return to normalcy is on the horizon, artists and arts organizations are reasoning that the solutions they improvised to get through the pandemic may still have merit in a post-pandemic world.

“We expect many of these changes to become permanent,” Lupi said. “Many organizations are finding that online performances and activities are reaching more diverse and distant audiences.”

Living room theater

The Majestic Theatre in Manchester is one of many local theater companies that installed new video equipment to offer virtual performances.

“The virtual component has been a valuable tool to share our performances with those who are homebound,” artist director and CEO Rob Dionne said. “Now, a virtual component will be a part of most of our shows moving forward.”

Genevieve Aichele, executive director of New Hampshire Theatre Project in Portsmouth, said that purchasing new video, audio and computer equipment and hiring a part-time associate producer for media was an advantageous use of the CARES relief funds it received.

“The board and staff of NHTP views this as an investment for the future,” she said. “NHTP will be continuing to offer programs online for the foreseeable future.”

Though New Hampshire Theatre Project is presenting in-person performances again, it and many other theater companies that are able to do so are now using both formats, giving audiences the flexibility to experience theater in a way that meets their needs and comfort level. Aichele said the virtual option remains the most popular, noting that New Hampshire Theatre Project’s November production of The Adventures of Sleepyhead brought in 36 tickets for the in-person show and 245 tickets for the virtual one.

Matt Cahoon, artistic director of Theatre Kapow in Manchester, said the company’s “significant [investment in] time, energy and money” to offer virtual performances will “define this company for the next decade.”

“I would hate to see us just leave that behind,” he said. “I imagine that some of the technology will come back with us, and that we will find ways to meld together the live and virtual experiences.”

Unexpectedly, Cahoon said, the virtual format has given Theater Kapow the opportunity to enhance the theater experience for audiences by incorporating storytelling elements that aren’t feasible on a live stage. For example, the use of cameras allows him to draw the audience’s attention to small details that they might miss in person.

“The audience’s perspective of the actors was closer than ever,” he said. “It seems impossible to me to go back to a time where we say to audiences, ‘OK, you sit over there in the dark and we will be up here with the lights on us.’”

Art on screen

The visual arts have also found a new place in the virtual realm, with many arts organizations and art galleries shifting to an online format.

Lauren Boss, co-president of the Nashua Area Artists’ Association, said the Association moved its operations online when the months-long closure of its brick-and-mortar art gallery, ArtHub, limited members’ opportunities to sell their art.

“The pandemic forced us to figure out how to make e-commerce work for us,” she said. “This is something that will definitely remain after the masks are gone.”

The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen made a successful transition online after Covid made it impossible for the League to host its annual Craftsmen’s Fair in-person. The nine-day arts and crafts fair held in August at Mount Sunapee Resort typically draws 20,000 paying attendees, provides 80 percent of the League’s yearly operating income and is the largest opportunity for more than 300 local and regional artisans to sell their work; canceling the event altogether, League executive director Miriam Carter said, was simply not an option.

The League held the fair virtually on its website by providing links to the artisans’ online shops as well as a virtual exhibition tour and exclusive video content including craft demonstrations, musical performances and guided try-at-home craft projects for all ages.

While the virtual fair was a success in that artisans were still able to sell their work, it also had some silver linings that extended far beyond the fair itself, Carter said.

“[It] inspired 80 of our craftsmen to create websites or online sales capability for the first time,” she said. “This is a significant and welcome culture shift in a membership that is generally slow to adopt technological innovation … [and gives] craftsmen online tools they need to sustain their business through the Covid era and beyond.”

Carter said the League plans to make virtual elements a permanent feature of the Craftsmen’s Fair moving forward.

Learning from home

During the pandemic, many local arts organizations started offering classes, lessons and educational programs remotely, with students and educators meeting over video conferencing apps like Zoom, and some plan to continue offering remote education as an option indefinitely.

New Hampshire Writers’ Project hosted its annual 603: Writers’ Conference, normally held in Manchester in the spring, remotely in October. The reimagined 603: Writers’ “Sit and Click” Virtual Conference featured most of the same activities as the in-person conference, including panels, classes and a keynote speaker, accessible live on Zoom and through recordings that were available to participants for 90 days following the conference.

“We also have become more creative with our programming,” New Hampshire Writers’ Project board chair Masheri Chappelle said.

Many of New Hampshire Writers’ Project’s regular programs are now offered virtually, which has increased membership and participation, including writers from as far as Utah and Australia.

Peggy Senter, president of Concord Community Music School, said there has always been a number of students who travel from out of state to participate in the school’s programs as well as students who discontinue their education after moving farther from the school. Remote classes and lessons have eliminated that barrier, she said, and have proven to be “a wonderful opportunity for people who live far away and otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate.”

“Going forward, we will most likely offer remote learning to those who would be unable to participate due to distance, illness or adverse weather,” she said.

Additionally, virtual student recitals have given students a chance to share their musical abilities with people who would not be able to attend the recital in person.

CCMS has produced 11 student recitals on YouTube since March, Senter said, the most recent of which featured 40 students.

“Going forward, we will look forward to in-person recitals again, but also having a recorded version is allowing friends and family to access these performances from around the country and the world,” she said.

Supporting the arts

Lupi said that while the creativity exhibited by the New Hampshire arts community to keep the arts alive has been “encouraging” and “speaks to the value of the arts,” local arts organizations aren’t out of the woods yet.

“The pandemic will definitely have an ongoing, long-term impact on New Hampshire’s arts sector,” she said. “Some organizations and businesses may not survive, and those that do will have a long financial and programmatic recovery. … More aid to the sector will definitely be necessary for 2021 and beyond.”

Featured photo: Peter Josephson in Theater Kapow’s virtual production of A Tempest Prayer in November 2020. Photo by Matthew Lomanno.

Treasure Hunt 20/12/24

Dear Donna,
I am wondering if you can give me information and perhaps a value on this stove. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 93, and we inherited it. We used it to cook with for several years and decided it would be safer to replace it. We have been using it as a decorative piece in our old farmhouse, but now we would like to sell it. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Dear Gayle,
Antique gas or wood cooking stoves are really not in my field of appraisals, but I have had experience with them that I can share.

Enamel gas cook stoves like yours have been around for more than 100 years, and it’s not uncommon to still see them around in older homes today, though most have been retired to a basement and are not used any more. But some are and not just for cooking but for heating as well. Your apartment-size stove is sweet because of its size, and it appears to be in good condition. One of the markets for these might be camps around New England. Also, if you do a search online you can find companies that fully restore them and even can convert to electric. The value depends on how you market it, so doing more research could pay off for selling it.

As far as an appraisal value I would say it should be in the $500+ range for insurance purposes. Finding a new home for it at that price might be tough, though. Remember, someone has to put the work in to make sure it is safe again to use. So anywhere from $200 to $500 should be a safe place to start.

Kiddie Pool 20/12/24

Family fun for the weekend

Just plane fun

The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, 669-4820, is hosting a Festival of Planes, a walk-through exhibit that includes aviation-themed toys, models and puzzles, plus vintage aircraft piloted by celebrities like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. According to a press release, the toys span the 20th century, from custom-made cast iron planes to today’s mass-produced Hello Kitty airplane toys. In addition, hundreds of collectible model aircrafts will be displayed on a new Wall of Planes in the museum’s learning center. The museum will be open during the holiday vacation week, on Saturday, Dec. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 27, from 1 to 7 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 28, through Wednesday, Dec. 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum will reopen Saturday, Jan. 2, and throughout January will be open Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 7 p.m. — later hours than normal to allow more families to see the Festival of Planes. The exhibit is included with museum admission of $10 per person; $5 for seniors 65+, veterans/active military and students under 13. Members and children under age 5 get in free.

Christmas Eve at the movies

Catch The Polar Express (G, 2004) Thursday, Dec. 24, at 10 a.m. at Cinemagic theaters (38 Cinemagic Way in Hooksett; 11 Executive Park Drive in Merrimack; 2454 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth; Tickets cost $6.50.

Or watch Elf (PG, 2003), also playing Christmas Eve day, at 2 p.m. at the Flying Monkey (39 Main St., Plymouth, 536-2551, Tickets cost $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students.

Last chance for lights

The Gift of Lights is open now through Jan. 3 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1122 Route 106 North, Loudon). The drive-thru Christmas light park spans 2.5 miles and features 80 holiday scenes and 520 light displays. It’s open Sunday through Thursday from 4:30 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Purchase tickets online or at the gate. The cost is $25 per car. Visit

The Southern New Hampshire Tour of Lights will run through Dec. 27. A list of addresses featuring holiday light displays at homes throughout Amherst, Antrim, Fitzwilliam, Jaffrey, Merrimack, Milford, Peterborough and Rindge is available, so families can plan a driving tour to see as many of the houses as they’d like. Contact any of those towns’ rec departments for the master list of addresses.

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