THE KOVELS \ Antiques and collecting Frogs: a valuable garden decoration
Dancing frogs might be an unusual idea for a garden ornament, but it was just one of many eye-catching garden pieces made by the Weller Pottery in the 1930s.
The Ohio art pottery made all sorts of vases, mugs, figurines and jardini & egrave;res.
Garden figures included ducks, gnomes, a banjo-playing frog, children, squirrels, turtles and even fish fountains.
Many, like the dancing frogs, were covered with a blotchy green glaze called Coppertone.
Collectors like both the large ornaments and the Coppertone pieces that featured frogs, waterlilies or turtles. There is even a Coppertone frog sprinkler.
Prices for the smaller pieces can be $200 or more. Large pieces sell for more than $1,000.
Q. In August 1963, my employer, the chairman of the Democratic Party in my county, gave me a miniature California license plate embossed "JFK 464." It was to be one of the political items promoting John Kennedy's re-election campaign in 1964. It was never used, of course, because Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963. The license plate is 4 inches long by 21/4 inches high. It's black with gold letters, just like California plates of that time. I have never seen another Kennedy collectible like mine. What is it worth?
A. Yours is not the only miniature California JFK license plate in existence. There are a few in the hands of collectors. The plate doesn't sell for much more than a few dollars, but it's an interesting collectible. Don't throw it away.
Q. I'm in my 80s and have a clear, pressed-glass pitcher that was a wedding gift to my grandmother. It's decorated, front and back, with a squirrel framed by tree limbs. Can you identify the maker and tell me the pitcher's value?
A. You have a piece of rare pressed glass in the pattern known as "Squirrel in Bower." Some reference books say that the maker and date of production are unknown. Others say the pattern was manufactured in the 1870s by Portland Glass Works of Portland, Maine. No matter who made your pitcher, it's at least 125 years old and could sell for about $1,500 if it's in excellent condition.
Q. About 35 years ago, my husband was stationed in London. While we were there, we bought an old oak roll-top desk in wonderful condition. The word "Cutler" is stamped on the front. We have been told that the desk was made by the Cutler Desk Co. of Buffalo, N.Y. Can you tell us more?
A. Abner Cutler started a cabinet-making business in Buffalo in 1829. By the middle of the 19th century, he had been granted seven patents covering various features of his company's most popular piece of furniture -- the roll-top desk. This doesn't mean that Cutler invented the roll-top desk, but he did make several design improvements. Cutler's company manufactured roll-top desks for decades. Yours would have to be seen in person to determine its age and value. Most c. 1900 oak roll-top desks in excellent condition sell for $1,500 to $4,000.
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