Kovels Antiques and Collecting: Week of Nov. 23, 2015

This 11-inch-long 19th-century French tureen by Jacob Petit is a good likeness of a guinea fowl. The rare piece of porcelain sold for $5,417 in 2015.

This 11-inch-long 19th-century French tureen by Jacob Petit is a good likeness of a guinea fowl. The rare piece of porcelain sold for $5,417 in 2015.


BEACHWOOD, Ohio – No, it’s not a turkey. This tureen is in the form of a guinea fowl. It sometimes is eaten in the United States, but it usually weighs less than four pounds and is much too small to feed the crowd at Thanksgiving dinner.

There are many legends that say wild turkey was part of the menu for the feast at Plymouth Colony in 1621. But written reports say the Wampanoag Indians brought five deer (venison) and the colonists brought wild birds (probably ducks or other water fowl, not turkeys) or shellfish and vegetables including dried corn and squash. Turkey wasn’t a popular part of the colonists’ diet until about 1800. The feast was probably a political meeting between neighbors with about 90 male Indians and 50 male Pilgrims, and no women. They probably did all the cooking.

Turkey for Thanksgiving is an American idea, promoted in the 1860s when Thanksgiving was declared a holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.

Enjoy your modern Thanksgiving dinner, and admire the beautiful African guineahen tureen made in France. It sold for $5,412 at a New Orleans auction. There are places in the U.S. where guinea hen are raised and restaurants that serve the small, expensive birds.

Q: I recently inherited a single-door oak china cabinet in the Mission style. It has side shelves supported by corbels on each side, arched top, and three interior oak shelves and is 58 inches high, 44 1/2 inches wide, and 16 1/2 inches deep. It’s marked “Limbert” on the back and “452.” Can you tell me the age and value?

A: Your china cabinet was made by the Charles P. Limbert Co. Charles Limbert (1854-1923) was a furniture salesman before he started his own company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1894. The company moved to Holland, Michigan, in 1906. It closed in 1944. Mission furniture was popular from the early 1900s to about 1920. The number “452” is the model number. Your china cabinet probably was made about 1910. Depending on condition, it would have been appraised at about $8,000 five years ago but today it’s down to about $5,000.

Q: My husband bought an old steam iron at an estate auction many years ago. It has steam holes along the bottom and a water ball sits in the back with knobs for turning it off and on. “Coleman, made in U.S.” is written on the ball. Is it worth anything?

A: William Coffin Coleman started out selling typewriters and later sold lamps. By 1902 he had established a business in Wichita, Kansas, where he manufactured lamps. By the 1920s, Coleman was making irons, coffee percolators, toasters and waffle irons. The company made more than 30 different models of irons. Before electric irons were made, irons were heated by alcohol, gasoline, kerosene, natural gas and other fuels. The Coleman iron found most often today is the blue Model 4A, a gasoline-powered iron made from 1929 to 1948. The fuel was lit by a match and the flames heated the iron. Coleman is known today primarily for its camping and outdoor recreational equipment and is owned by Jarden Corp. Steam irons are not wanted by many collectors. They sell for less than $50.

Q: I just came into possession of a Parker, Union Mill No. 25 coffee mill that I’m told belonged to my fourth great grandmother. Can you tell me when this model was made?

A: Charles Parker started his company in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1829 and began making coffee mills. He worked in partnership with several others over the years and there were several mergers and acquisitions, as well as changes in company names. Business expanded to include the manufacture of clocks, flatware, furniture, guns, hardware, lamps, match safes, scales, waffle irons and other brass and other iron products. Parker had a foundry called the Union Works beginning in 1844. The Charles Parker Co. was bought by the Union Manufacturing Co. in 1957. Large coffee mills were used in country stores in the 19th century. Smaller mills for home use were first made about 1894 and were popular until the 1930s.

Q: I’d like to know the value of a 1915 album of sepia tones from the Panama Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco. It says “Official Publication” on the cover.

A: The 1915 Exposition was a world’s fair that ran from Feb. 20 to Dec. 4, 1915. It celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the renewal of the city after the devastating 1906 earthquake. Dirt was brought in to fill in part of the San Francisco Bay to create the 635-acre site for the Exposition in an area now known as the Marina district. Souvenir booklets of photographs from the Exposition sell for $20 to $30 online.

Q: We’d like information about an antique washbasin impressed “Furnival” on the bottom. Who is the maker and how old is it?

A: Thomas Furnival & Sons was in business in Cobridge, Staffordshire, England, from 1871 to 1890. The company made earthenware. The impressed name was changed to Furnivals in 1890. Your washbasin was made between 1871 and 1890.

Tip: Never put a cast-iron cooking pan in the dishwasher. Do not soak it for long. Excess water will remove the “seasoning” and food will stick to the pan.

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.

  • Trading card, Yuco Breakfast Food, kids eating, girl in window, $10.
  • Chalkware figure, buck, painted, glancing sideways, round wall mount, 11 1/2 inches, $120.
  • Steuben glass bowl, cranberry cut to clear, free form, wavy rim, triangular legs, c. 1980, 6 1/2 inches, $370.
  • Quilt, applique, pumpkin ground, brown and green flowers, sawtooth border, 1800s, 80 x 87 inches, $385.
  • Trade stimulator, Puritan gum, three-reel, jackpot, 1 cent, coin-operated, countertop, 9 x 10 3/4 inches, $570.
  • Tole, planter, Regency style, red paint, gold accents, lion’s head and ring handles, paw feet, 11 inches, $1,020.
  • Weather vane, Chief Massasoit, standing, holding bow and arrow, full body, molded copper, verdigris patina, arrow base, c. 1950, 45 inches, $1,200.
  • Toy camel, riding, mohair, metal carriage, steering handles, wheels, pull cord, Steiff, c. 1935, 18 x 23 inches, $1,420.
  • Whatnot shelf, Regency, rosewood, four tiers, turned supports, drawer, c. 1800, 52 x 19 inches, $2,000.
  • Candelabrum, three-light, George III, sterling, knop stem, flowers, scrolls, c. 1767, 19 inches, pair, $5,000.

Kovels’ Buyers’ Guide to Modern Ceramics: Mid-Century to Contemporary, modern and mid-century ceramics made since 1950 are among the hottest collectibles today. Our special report, “Kovels’ Buyers’ Guide to Modern Ceramics: Mid-Century to Contemporary” identifies important pottery by American and European makers. The guide includes more than 65 factories and 70 studio artists, each with a mark and dates. The guide features works by major makers, including Claude Conover, Guido Gambone, Lucie Rie, as well as potteries like Gustavsberg, Metlox and Sascha Brastoff, shown in color photos. Find the “sleepers” at house sales and flea markets. Special Report, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, 64 pp. Available only from Kovels for $19.95 plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996, online at Kovels.com; or mail to Kovels, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122. © 2015 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.