Kovels Antiques and Collecting: Week of Oct. 5, 2015


This 19th-century Chinese vase is 10 1/2 inches high. It is made to force bulbs to bloom or to hold cut flowers. It sold at James D. Julia Auctioneers in Fairfield, Maine, in 2015 for $474.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio – Tulip mania, a strange financial “bubble” in Holland in the 1630s, made a tulip bulb cost up to 10 times the yearly income of a skilled craftsman, according to some writers. So the flowers became a status symbol, and the very rich or royal bought huge flower containers to grow or show the flowers. Tulip mania ended in 1637, but the flowers remained popular.

A vase that is still called a “tulipiere” has numerous holes or short tubes, which hold a flower or plant. Most sources today think these vases were used for cut flowers, but they originally were used to force tulip, hyacinth or crocus bulbs to grow and bloom in the house. Collectors can find rare early Dutch tulip vases, 19th-century Wedgwood or Staffordshire vases, or Continental and American examples, all with multiple holes or tubes. A few are offered in current gift catalogs.

Now is the time to buy the bulbs that can be forced to bloom in a tulipiere during the spring.

Q: I’m planning a house sale and I need help pricing this table. I bought it from a resale shop 60 years ago. The top is oval, made of very dark wood, and rests on two heavy turned tripods. It has a frieze drawer with a metal tag in it that reads “J.B. Van Sciver Co., Camden, N.J.” Can you help?

A: Joseph Bishop Van Sciver (1861-1943) was 21 years old when he started a small furniture business on in Camden, New Jersey, in 1881. The company quickly expanded to larger facilities, and pieces made at Van Sciver’s plant were delivered by wagon throughout southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. By 1900, more shops, storage facilities and showrooms were added and the company was selling inexpensive, well-made living room, bedroom and dining sets, and more costly reproductions, lamps, clocks, rugs and draperies. Van Sciver was also involved in the Knickerbocker Lime Co., which supplied most of the concrete used to build the Ben Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia banks, the subway and more. J.B. Van Sciver Furniture Co. went out of business in the mid-1980s. Your table is worth about $250.

Q: I would like to sell a cocktail shaker that was a gift from my uncle many years ago, maybe in the 1960s. It’s amber glass, paneled, with a sterling silver rooster and silver bands around the top and the rim of the foot. The shaker top is, I believe, silver over copper and the piece is in good condition. With the shaker top on, the piece is 11 inches high. Do you have any information about it, especially its value?

A: Your cocktail shaker was made by Westmoreland Glass Co. The company started in 1889, when a group from the Specialty Glass Co. of East Liverpool, Ohio, relocated to Grapeville, Pa. The company’s name changed to Westmoreland Specialty Co. and then to Westmoreland Glass Co. in 1921. Your glass shaker is part of the 1707 line, shown in the 1924 and 1926 catalogs, and made into the 1930s. The pattern is informally called “Huxford” by some collectors, but Westmoreland never used a name when referring the pattern; it always used the line number. It was sold with and without additional decoration. The shaker is unusual because it is footed; most 1920s shakers were flat. The 1926 catalog doesn’t specify what metal was used for the top, but it usually was aluminum or chromed or silver-plated metal. And isn’t it odd that a glassmaker would produce a container for “illegal substances” in the middle of Prohibition (1920 through 1933)? Value of your shaker: $75 to $100.

Q: I found my father’s old Polaroid J33 “electric eye” camera in the original box with the directions and a bar of flashbulbs. It looks like new. What is the value of this camera?

A: Edwin H. Land founded the Polaroid Corp. in 1937. The company made ski goggles, 3-D glasses and glasses for the Army and Navy in the 1930s. The first instant film cameras, the Land camera, was introduced in 1948. Polaroid made the J33 Land camera in 1961. It originally sold for $89.50. They sell online for $6 to $15 or $20 today, but they aren’t usable because the camera requires a type of film that hasn’t been made since 1991.

Q: I have a picture titled Monarch of the Glen that was painted by Sir Edwin Landseer in 1851 and engraved for the Hartford Fire Insurance Co. in 1890. It pictures a stag looking off to his right with mountains and a cloudy sky. Does it have any value?

A: Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873) is an English painter best known for paintings of animals. Monarch of the Glen was a painting done for the House of Lords in London, but the painting was sold. The Hartford Fire Insurance Co. began using the stag fording a stream as a logo about 1861. The stag changed over the years and by 1875 the company was using a stag that looked like the one painted by Landseer. In 1890, the John A. Lowell & Co. of Boston was commissioned to make an engraving of the picture. Prints were distributed nationwide as part of the company’s advertising. Your picture sells for about $40 to $50.

Tip: If a screw that holds hardware on an old piece of furniture is loose, you should remove it. Insert a wooden matchstick in the hole, then put the screw back in the hole and tighten the screw.

Need prices for your antiques and collectibles? Find them at Kovels.com, our website for collectors. You can find more than 1,000,000 prices and more than 11,000 color photographs that help you determine the value of your collectibles. Study the prices. Go to the free Price Guide at Kovels.com. The website also lists publications, clubs, appraisers, auction houses, people who sell parts or repair antiques, show lists and more. Kovels.com adds to the information in this column.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Auction Central News, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.


Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

  • Shaving mug, Koken Barber Supply, loop handle, saucer base, Limoges, circa 1915, 4 x 4 inches, $30.
  • Cut glass jar, Hobstar, Diamond & Fan, sterling repousse lid, American Brilliant, 6 3/4 inches, $330.
  • Bank, baseball, Save & Win with Jackie Robinson, dime, register, tin lithograph, 1950, 2 x 5 inches, $405
  • Ivory box, prisoner-of-war made, filigree, multicolor ink decoration, hinged lid, handle, circa 1810, 3 1/4 x 6 inches, $480.
  • Advertising sign, Drink Dr Pepper, Good for Life!, tin lithograph, brick design, circa 1939, 12 x 29 inches, $780.
  • Architectural roof tile, rooster finial, redware, molded, inset glass shards, barrel shape tile, 18 x 15 inches, $825.
  • Silver candelabrum, three-light, sterling, twisted reeded arms, shell bobeches, Sheffield, 1800s, 23 1/4 inches, pair, $1,075.
  • Screen, Louis XV style, fruitwood, carved, flowers, rocaille, three tapestry inset panels, 78 x 75 inches, $1,355.
  • Shearwater pottery, vase, Sea Earth & Sky, cream glaze, rider on horseback, birds, fish, 1970-’80, 5 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches, $3,590.
  • Toy carousel, gondola cars, propeller, wood grain metal base, canopy, figures, circa 1910, 13 inches, $5,250.

New! “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, 2016,” 48th edition, is your most accurate source for current prices. It’s available now and includes a special bonus section special bonus section that tells you how and where to sell if you’re downsizing, settling an estate or selling your antiques. If you order directly from the Kovels, you’ll receive our free Companion eBook with all of the book’s 32,000 prices – ready for downloading to your eReader. The paperback has more than 2,500 color photographs 700 categories of antiques and collectibles. You’ll also find hundreds of factory histories. Available for $27.99 plus $4.95 postage. Purchase directly from the Kovels if you want the free eBook Companion and be sure to include your email address. Visit KovelsOnlineStore.com, call 800-303-1996, or write to Price Book, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

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