Advertising and in-store collectibles have historical significance and brand recognition as well as artistic value. A combination of the three fetched such a lamp a $2,700 price at the Morford Antique Advertising Auction.
The lamp was made by Fenton, a well-known art glass company. Its bell-shaped blue shade for Bell Telephone Co. is eye-catching. registration “Local and long distance telephone” marks it as a relic of the past.
There is no longer a need for payphones today as most people carry a phone with them and can get service wherever they go. But even before the era of cell phones, people loved having access to a phone wherever they went. This lamp was probably hung in a hotel lobby to inform visitors that a telephone was available.
Q: My wife has accumulated a collection of items at flea sales. Most are matching cups, saucers and dessert plates in Depression Pink glass. Can you tell me if there is currently interest and value in items like this?
A: Pink was one of the most popular Depression lens colors. Glass was mass-produced, made in many designs, and affordable. Some models are more valuable than others, and like many collectibles, reproductions are plentiful. Your photo shows several patterns. A 54-piece set of Depression pink glass in various designs recently sold for $132.
Q: My grandmother’s Lodge Cast Iron Skillet was one of her most prized possessions. She had very specific rules about how to use it and how to clean it. Is Lodge collectable? Are frying pans and other old kitchen utensils valuable?
A: Lodge Cast Iron has been manufacturing quality cookware and accessories since 1896. They are manufactured at two foundries in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. People love their cast iron skillets and they sell well at flea markets. Skilled makers often carved small, unique figures (“maker’s marks”) in their work to identify themselves. Lodge pans from 1900 to 1910 were called “Blacklock”. The pans can be identified by an outer heat ring, embossed size numbers on the top of the handles, embossed moulder’s lettermarks on the bottom at 6 o’clock, and broken T-shaped handles. Your grandmother had the wisdom to have rules about her cleaning. To maintain and improve the seasoning of the pan, it should be cleaned with a small amount of soap. If necessary, use a scraper for stuck-on food. For stubborn stuck-on food, simmer some water in the pan for three to five minutes, then use the scraper after it has cooled. Antique Lodge cast iron pans have sold at recent auctions and flea markets for $20 to $100, depending on age, size, and condition.
Q: Can you give me information on a beveled mirror with a brass colored frame and stand that has a small image of an old woman sitting in a chair on the back? The image measures 3 3/4 inches high by 2 1/2 inches wide. Below is a tribute to “Mother” written by Baroness von Hutten. I bought the mirror at a garage sale over 30 years ago.
A: The image behind your mirror is known as “Whistler’s mother.” This is a print based on a painting titled “Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1” by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) in 1871. It became known as “Whistler’s Mother” because her mother was the model for the picture. Whistler was born in the United States, educated in France, and lived in London for several years. The original oil painting is in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It has been reproduced many times, with and without the poem.
Q: I’m very interested in plastic and metal lunch boxes from the 1960s and 1970s. I have a Holly Hobbie lunch box with thermos that I carried in elementary school. Are lunch boxes hot collectibles?
A: Collectible lunch boxes bring back childhood memories of favorite TV shows, movies, cartoons, sports teams and musical groups. Holly Hobbie (1944) is an American writer and illustrator whose works sometimes appear on lunch boxes. She is the author of the popular “Toot and Puddle” children’s books and creator of the character that bears her name. In the early 1970s, Hobbie sold artwork of a cat-loving little girl in a rag dress in a giant beanie to American Greetings. This series of illustrations became extremely popular and its originally unnamed character became known as “Holly Hobbie.” Your lunch box, if authentic, is worth around $40.