Many American Indian tribes almost lost their culture by the 1960s because of 19th- and early 20th-century U.S. government rules.
American Indians could be removed from their land, resettled on reservations and even have their children sent to special boarding schools to be taught a new way of life. The children were punished if they continued to practice their ceremonies or speak their native language.
Children from the Potawatomi tribe went to either a boys’ or girls’ boarding school, where they learned English and a trade.
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act passed in the 1970s led to the end of the boarding schools and the beginning of efforts to bring back the Indian culture.
A recent auction sold a toy Indian cradle decorated with beads and silver buttons, but holding a European porcelain-headed doll. It was made by Millie R. Hall, who lived at a Potawatomi boarding school in 1900, an important historic source for a handmade doll. It sold for $11,070.
Q. I have a rose-colored glass bowl that I believe is called a “banana boat.” I’ve been told the pattern name is Delaware. The bowl is 113/4 inches wide and has a ruffled edge. Could you corroborate my information and help me with a value?
A. Your bowl is indeed a banana boat. The pattern name is “Delaware,” but it was also known as “New Century” or “Four Petal Flower.” The pattern was first made in 1899 by the U.S. Glass Co., a group of 15 glass companies that merged in 1891 and had a headquarters in Pittsburgh. Delaware was made in crystal (colorless), emerald green, custard, milk glass and ruby stain, like yours. Some pieces had gold trim. Other Delaware shapes included a sugar and creamer; various bowls; shakers; celery vase; compote dish; cruet; custard cup; toothpick; berry, table and water sets; dresser boxes; and a pin tray. Early American pressed glass was made between about 1850 and 1910. It fell out of popularity by the 1920s. Prices peaked in the 1990s, when your bowl might have brought more than $200. Today it is worth about $50.
Q. I have an antique Alfred Andresen cast-iron waffle iron that makes heart-shape waffles. The baking surface is divided into five heart-shaped parts that make five waffles at a time. It’s marked “Minneapolis” and “999” on one side, and “981” on the other. What is it worth?
A. Alfred Andresen & Co. was in business in Minneapolis from 1893 to 1913. The company sold products for the home that were made by other companies. Alfred Andresen was granted a patent for his heart-shape “design for a cover for waffle-irons” in 1904. The waffle irons were made for Andresen by Griswold. Alfred Andresen & Co. also imported Swedish spinning wheels, Swedish saws and other items that appealed to the Scandinavian community in the area. Waffle irons are not popular collectibles, but the heart shape and age of your waffle iron might make it worth $100 if it still works.
Q. I need to sell a Stieff square grand piano, serial No. 6153. I’ve been told they are few in number and one was in the White House. An antiques dealer and auctioneer told me that old pianos are referred to as “boat anchors,” meaning they are very hard to sell. The piano is in good shape, but hasn’t been tuned since 2002. Does it have any value as a piano, or for the wood itself? I was told it’s Brazilian rosewood, which is no longer available in the U.S.
A. Charles M. Stieff established his piano company in Baltimore, Md., in 1842. The business was liquidated in 1951. The serial number on your piano indicates it was made about 1880. Stieff pianos were well-made and were often sold by Steinway dealers as a less-expensive line. If you want to sell the piano, contact a local piano dealer who also buys used pianos. But square pianos are hard to sell today, and the dealer may not want it. If you decide to keep the piano, it should be kept in tune and played occasionally. The price is influenced by the location, since it’s expensive to ship a piano.
Q. My Architector Building Set No. 15 was bought from Home & Garden in 1944. It’s in its original wooden box and cost $15 when it was new. All the pieces for building a model brick house are there, but the glue bottle is cracked. Was this a toy or for an architect? What is it worth?
A. This building set was made by Architector Co. of New York and was advertised as a toy for both boys and girls. The complete set includes white and red bricks, wood molding, shingles, glue and building plans. The plans were designed by professional architects. Building sets are popular today and your set, which still has all the pieces and can be used to build a house, is worth about $100.
Q. I’m looking for information on a maker’s mark on a porcelain clock. The initials “GB” are embossed above a plow. There are letters below the plow – the last three letters are “ose” with an accent mark over the “e.” It may be depose. I wondered if it is Spanish.
A. This mark was used by Gustav Bossenroth, a German clockmaker. There is almost no information about him, but he is sometimes listed in Berlin and as working in the early 1900s. The word depose is French and means the design was registered.
Nineteenth-century Indian blankets generally are not restored by museums. They stabilize them, mount them on a backing fabric to keep them from further damage, and hang or frame them. There is some thought that even the dirt may be wanted in original state in the future.
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