Our collectibles today reveal so much about how times and tastes have changed for most people in the United States. Around a hundred years ago, our big mahogany buffet would have been the dining room centerpiece used to display the vermeil serving pieces and blue glass dishes, flanked by commemorative plates on the wall and delicate little stacking tables in the next room.
Q. I have a set of three stacking tables that belonged to my great grandmother. I don’t know how old they are, but I remember seeing them in her apartment in the early 1940s. There are no markings on them to help identify the manufacture. The smallest one is 13.5 inches long, 12 inches wide and 20 inches high. The middle one is 17 inches long, 13.5 inches wide and 21 inches high. The largest one is 22 inches long, 15 inches wide and 22 inches high. All three table have a glass insert tabletop. As you can see from the pictures, the paint is coming off from the table legs in some areas as well as some places on the tabletops.
C.P., Southwest Portland
A. Based on your description and photos, your tables are in the French Provincial style, and likely date to the 1940s. These are popular currently, and at auction you might see them sell for $300-$500 as a set. At retail, a similar set of tables is currently offered for $850.
Vermeil serving utensils
Q. Wondering if you might be able to tell me anything about these utensils. They were given to my great grandfather, as a farewell gift from metalworkers he supervised in Sheffield, England. This would have been sometime around 1910. My grandmother led me to believe they are one of a kind, i.e. not something the factory produced regularly. She also led me to believe they are gold-plated. They are 9 inches long. The fork is 3 inches wide at the tines and the spoon is 4 inches wide at the bowl.
A. Your spoon and fork are a salad serving set in the Dresden pattern, by the Whiting Manufacturing Co. of North Attleboro, Massachusetts. The company was purchased by Gorham in 1926 and moved to Providence, Rhode Island. The utensils are gold vermeil, which is gold plating over sterling silver. Vermeil is usually 2.5 microns thick and is much more durable than standard gold plating, which is just .5 microns thick. This pattern was introduced in 1896 and your set likely dates to circa 1900. At auction you might see an estimate of $200-$300 for the pair. Dealers specializing in fine antique sterling ask $500 and more for sets of this type in excellent condition.
Q. I have a set of these from 1911 through 1935. They are 7½ inches in diameter. Are they worth anything?
M.M., Southeast Portland
A. Your plates are by Bing & Grøndahl Porcelain of Denmark and were issued from 1911 through 1935 at Easter time. Bing & Grøndahl was founded in Copenhagen in 1853 and became famous for its Christmas plates, first issued in 1895, and later for its Easter plates. In 1987 the company merged with the Royal Porcelain Factory to become Royal Copenhagen. Different years of the Easter plates are more collectible than others, with 1935 being the most sought after. You might expect an auction sale of $100-$150 for a 1935 plate, with retail dealers currently asking $300-$400 for that year. Plates from the early 1920s are selling in the $20-$30 price range at auctions, and dealers specializing in such porcelains are pricing these years at $30-$50.
Q. We picked this up at a garage sale for $75. It measures 75 inches high, 25 inches deep and 60 inches across.
L.K., Southeast Portland
A. Your Queen Anne Revival style buffet appears to be of mahogany and likely dates to the first quarter of the 20th century. The applied decoration is of bell flowers. At auction, you might see an estimate of perhaps $150-$250. A dealer specializing in vintage furniture might give this a retail price tag of $300-$400 if it were in excellent condition.
Tiffin satin glass
Q. This set of blue glass dishes has been passed down through my family for three generations. There are no makers marks. Any information would be appreciated. I’m not even sure how each piece was intended to be used.
D.D., Northwest Portland
A. Your set of candy/nut dish, fruit compote, serving bowl and tray for appetizers likely dates to the 1920s, and was most probably made by the United States Glass Company at its factory in Tiffin, Ohio. The factory began in 1889 and went through several ownership and name changes before it closed in 1980. This is the Royal Blue shade in a finish called satin, which was a popular line at Tiffin. The flowers are hand-applied enamel. At auction, you might see a sale of $60-$90 for the set. A dealer in American pressed glass might ask $150-$180 if the set is in undamaged, excellent condition.
About Today’s Collectibles
The values discussed for items featured in this column were researched by Portland appraiser Jerry l. Dobesh, ASA, an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers, with a specialty designation in Antiques & Decorative Arts. His services include providing appraisals for estate tax, charitable contribution, insurance scheduling and loss, and equitable distribution needs.
To find an appraiser, contact the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America. Estimates suggested in this Collectibles column are for general information purposes only and cannot be used as a basis for sale, insurance, or IRS purposes.
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