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Antique spaniel a good pet or investment



Published: Sat, April 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



You have an old house, antique furnishings and vintage clothes. What about a dog to go with the collections? It could be a live King Charles spaniel or a figurine.

The figurines, called "comforter dogs" or "Staffordshire spaniels," were inspired by the King Charles spaniel, named for King Charles II of England, who had a pet spaniel in the late 1600s.

The potters of Staffordshire made many figurines depicting the breed. Pairs of seated pottery dogs were made to face each other from each end of a fireplace mantel. The dog always had big eyes and an inverted "smile" and wore a collar and chain with a padlock.

The dog figurines date from 1720 to the present, but the most interesting and most collectible were made from 1840 to the 1890s.

Beware of reproductions.

An old dog has a hole about an eighth of an inch in diameter in the base for heat to escape during the manufacturing process. If the hole is larger, sometimes as big as a quarter, you have a 20th-century version.

Later dogs are often marked with the words "Staffordshire" or "Made in England." Old dogs are usually unmarked.

A matched pair of dogs is worth more than two single dogs.

Dogs with rust coats are the most common. All-white dogs are rare, but not as popular with collectors.

Q. My family has owned a wooden armchair for many years. The metal label on the bottom reads "Kuchins, Color Kist, Made in Grand Rapids."

Can you give us some history on the maker?

A. Kuchins Furniture Manufacturing Co. made dinette suites, tables, chairs and cabinets at factories in Grand Rapids, Mich., and St. Louis from 1929 to 1940.

Color Kist was the company's trade name.

Q. I still have an Orphan Annie wristwatch that I received as a Christmas gift in 1943. It has a rectangular face and its original band. I had it cleaned by a jeweler three years ago, and it works. What is it worth today?

A. The New Haven Watch Co. introduced its first comic-character wristwatches in 1933-34. One of the three characters offered was Orphan Annie.

The other two were Dick Tracy and Smitty (who is not remembered as well as the others).

After World War II, New Haven made other models of the Orphan Annie watch.

So, either your watch is a 1930s model or you received a 1940s version for Christmas a few years after 1943.

The 1930s watch face is 25 percent larger than the 1940s face.

Whichever model you have, it's worth more than $800 if it's in excellent or better condition.

Q. I bought a wooden keepsake box at a garage sale. It's decorated all over with wood-burned designs of fruits and leaves.

The burnt mark on the bottom shows two bears holding up a shield that includes the number 688.

Around the shield are the words "Flemish Art Co., New York." What can you tell me?

A. During the first few decades of the 20th century, Flemish Art Co. was the largest producer of pyrography kits in the United States.

The hobby of burning designs onto leather or wood was popular at the time.

Because Flemish Art Co. made so many kits, the hobby became known as "Flemish art."

Items like your box were stamped with designs and sold with the tools needed to burn the pattern. No. 688 was a handkerchief box with designs of fruit, flowers or other decorations.

Today the box would sell for $40 or $60.

Q. I have a pitcher that my aunt bought at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. It's a 16-inch-tall, glass-lined decanter in the shape of a log.

An Indian's head is sculpted and painted on the front between the words "World's Fair 1933" and "Chicago."

Three glass-lined shot glasses fit over branches on the log.

Does it have any value? If so, how do I sell it?

A. We have seen a Chicago World's Fair decanter like yours offered for $150.

Collectors of World's Fair memorabilia will buy anything connected to their favorite fairs.

You might reach more collectors if you offer the decanter through an online auction.

You'll need to take digital photos of the decanter from all angles.

Tip

Don't frame a good print in a clip frame. There should be air space between the paper and the glass.

XThe Kovels answer as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for its use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names and addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, The Vindicator, King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.

& copy; 2005 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.




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