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Strange antiques and collectibles with mysterious shapes and unknown purposes are sometimes part of


Published: Sun, February 26, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.

Strange antiques and collectibles with mysterious shapes and unknown purposes are sometimes part of a larger piece.

Mysterious wooden wheels with wooden spokes and about a 45-inch diameter were popular in the 1950s. They were hung on a wall as a decoration or put flat in a flower bed.

Each section between the spokes was planted with a different herb or flower. The wheels were copied in giftware catalogs but were never identified as part of a “walking” spinning wheel used to spin woolen yarn.

A curved “bowl” shaped like part of the border of a circle is sometimes sold at an antique shop. The bowl usually is made by important porcelain companies, and it seems to be a bargain. It is part of a set of four crescent-shaped bowls and one round bowl that fit together to make a circle. It held foods such as olives, pickles and sauces or several types of vegetables in the curved bowls with sauce in the round center bowl.

Most sets were made with the five bowls and a lid for the center piece. Once a piece broke, the set couldn’t be used. But the pieces still were attractive when used alone.

A set made by Coalport porcelain in the Imari pattern sold in 2016 for $923. Single curved bowls can be found for $50 to $75. A covered center bowl might be $100.

Q. I have miniature blue Wedgwood pieces made in Occupied Japan, two ashtrays and a vase. What are they worth?

A. Wedgwood was not made in Occupied Japan. Your pieces were made between 1945 and 1952, the years when Japan was occupied by United States troops. There are collectors of “OJ” pieces. The small pieces are worth about $10 to $15.

Q. Can you give me some information about Cushman furniture?

A. Henry Theodore Cushman (1844-1922) started a factory in North Bennington, Vt., in the early 1870s and made corks and erasers. By 1880, he had a mail-order business selling stationers’ supplies and specialties. He made wooden roller skates, which were sold through his mail-order business. He held patents for a combined ruler and pencil case and for improvements to rubber erasers, stocking darners and whips. Cushman began making furniture in 1886 and was operating as H.T. Cushman Co. by 1889. Mission, Colonial and modern furniture were made. Early furniture was made in oak, maple or mahogany. Yellow birch was used exclusively beginning in the 1950s. In 1964 the company was sold to General Industries, which sold it to Green Mountain Furniture Co. in 1971. Green Mountain Furniture went out of business in 1980.

Q. I have a red plastic Woody Woodpecker toy about 5 inches tall with a wobble head and a harmonica on the back. When blown across, it imitates his laugh. This was purchased in 1949 or 1950. I haven’t been able to find any information on this. Would you have any idea what this is worth?

A. The first Woody Woodpecker cartoon ran in movie theaters in 1941. According to one of our readers, this Woody Woodpecker harmonica toy was sold at movie theaters in the ’40s. The Woody Woodpecker harmonica and a Woody Woodpecker kazoo toy were premiums offered for 25 cents and proof of purchase from one of Kellogg’s cereals. Kellogg was a sponsor of the “The Woody Woodpecker Show,” originally on TV in 1957 and 1958. Reruns of the original shows ran for several years after that. New episodes were made in the early 1970s, and reruns of those shows have been on TV since then. The value of your toy is under $20.

Q. I have a Sarah Coventry necklace that I was told is 85 to 90 years old. It’s about 16 to 18 inches long and has graduated glass beads strung on fine copper wire and a copper ring and clasp. I was told it was Waterford crystal. I’d like to know how old it is and what it’s worth.

A. It’s newer than you think. Sarah Coventry was founded in 1949. Jewelry was designed by freelance designers and made by other companies. It was sold through home parties. The company went bankrupt in 1981 and was sold several times after that. Sarah Coventry jewelry is no longer being made, but is sold online. Waterford is the name of a company known for its glass, but some people use the name for other clear glass. The value of your necklace is about $50 retail.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, The Vindicator, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

2017 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.


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