THE KOVELS \ Antiques and collecting Old furniture more valuable in child sizes
Children's furniture that looks just like larger adult pieces is getting attention at furniture manufacturers' conventions this year.
Small hide-a-bed sofas and recliner chairs are now available, but the idea is not new.
Small chairs that matched full-size carved Chippendale chairs were made for the wealthy in the 18th century.
Wooden Shaker chairs from the 19th century were made in 0 size for children.
Charles Eames and other 1950s designers made child-size versions of chairs with plywood seats and metal legs or of bent plastic.
There was also "cute" furniture that could almost be considered toys.
Small sofas covered in fabric picturing nursery-rhyme characters, Mickey Mouse or cowboy stars were sold in the 1960s. Even earlier were chairs decorated with ABCs and children playing.
Don't confuse children's furniture with doll furniture -- a doll's chair would be about 12 inches high, and a child's chair about 26 inches high.
Look for all sorts of children's furniture made long ago. It usually sells for more than full-size pieces.
Q. Please help me identify and price my aunt's antique porcelain bowl. She bought it sometime after World War II. The bowl is cream colored with a multicolored wash surrounding the decoration of cream-colored relief figures from Greek mythology. The circular green mark on the bottom encloses a crown with a leafy branch on each side above the words "Altenburg, Saxony," and below the word "Iris."
A. Your aunt's bowl was manufactured by the Roschutz Porcelain Manufactory Unger & amp; Schilde of Roschutz, Thuringia, Germany. The factory was in business from 1881 until 1990, although East Germany nationalized it in 1953. The mark you describe was used from about 1906 to 1953. Iris is the pattern, named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow. The multicolored background wash probably represents the rainbow. Your aunt's bowl, if in excellent condition, might sell for about $75 to $100.
Q. Can you tell me what my Breitling wristwatch is worth? Besides telling time, it has a slide rule around the outside edge and two stopwatches. The face is white with gold hour and minute hands, a red second hand and single gold lines for each hour. Other numbers on the dials or around the edge are red or black. Printed in capital letters on the face are the words "Breitling, Geneve, Chronomat, Swiss Made." The band is leather, and I have the original box.
A. Breitling was founded in Switzerland in 1884 and is still in business. It is well-known for its specialized watches designed for pilots, divers or sports enthusiasts. The Chronomat is probably Breitling's most famous watch. Before the age of flight computers, the watch's slide rule could help a pilot do necessary mathematical computations. The Chronomat was first marketed in 1942, but Breitling has manufactured many different models of the watch since then. Look at the back of your watch to find its reference number. That will be a clue to when it was made. Breitling Chronomats are popular with collectors and can sell for $1,000 or more. But the value of yours depends on its age and condition, and whether it's stainless steel, gold-filled or solid gold.
Q. Could you please tell me the value of a four-piece Pennsylvania Railroad silver tea set? My uncle gave it to me. The bottom of each piece is marked "Reed & amp; Barton, Silver Soldered." There's also a small clover mark, a three-digit number, a volume figure (5 oz. for the creamer, 11/2 pints for the teapot), and the engraved letters "PRR." The railroad's initials are also engraved on the front of each piece.
A. Specially ordered silver sets once dressed up the tables in railroad dining cars. The silver soldered, heavy plated ware was strong enough to withstand the jolts of a train ride. Collectors today especially like pieces that are engraved with the railroad's initials. They also want silver in good condition, without dents or excessive wear. Reed & amp; Barton -- still in business in Taunton, Mass. -- made high-quality silver-plated railroad services. The tiny clover might be the Reed & amp; Barton mark indicating that the set dates from 1935. A complete tea set, in excellent to near-mint condition, could sell for more than $250 because it was used by a railroad.
Q. I am restoring an old car I bought at auction. When I tore out the back seat, I found 40 old union pins. All of them are metal, and most of them are in three colors. They're in excellent condition. Each one identifies a particular union, including the Oil Workers Union International, the United Dairy Workers and the United Auto Workers, and each has a date on the front, ranging from 1937 to 1941. Are these old pins worth anything?
A. Old political pins and pins promoting labor unions and other causes are collectible. In general, a single union pin the age of yours is worth about $5.
A damaged porcelain clock face is difficult to repair. It will lower the price of a clock by 20 percent to 30 percent.
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