Kovels

This wooden cabinet with decorations and the name Sherwin-Williams is easy to date. A salamander is carved on the door suggesting a date before 1905 when the logo was changed. We wonder why a paint company used a salamander and not a chameleon that changed colors. Did the artist draw the wrong creature?

Company logos are a quick message to customers that identify a product on a store shelf or in an ad on TV explaining quality or improvements. Very few have been changed but many have been updated for a more modern look.

The clothing, hairdos and changes in the style of the letters have made the Morton’s Salt girl or the Quaker Oats man look like contemporary customers, not an old-fashioned product. The logo showing the Morton’s girl holding an umbrella has been used since 1914 with at least seven changes, so that by her 100th birthday, she had a knee-length yellow dress and short hair instead of braids. Look carefully at old advertising collectibles and examine the changes to help determine age.

Recently a Sherwin-Williams cabinet used to store paintbrushes was sold at a Conestoga auction for $425. The salamander logo, first used in the 1870s, was carved on the door dating the cabinet as an antique. The famous world globe covered with dripping paint logo replaced the amphibian in 1905. It was used until 1974, dropped, then brought back in 1984. It is now sharing space with the company name in fancy letters. Online ads and new ways of selling have led to many vintage logos being updated or removed. Fakes often are made with the new logo, so collectors should check to see when the design was changed.

Q: My grandfather gave me a bowl he found at a rummage sale many years ago. It’s marked “Brentleigh Ware Made in England” on the bottom. It’s 11 1/2 inches long by 5 3/4 inches wide and 4 3/4 inches high. Can you tell me how old it is?

A: Brentleigh Ware is a trade name used by Howard Pottery Co. Ltd. in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. The pottery was in business from 1925 to the mid-1970s. Your large bowl may have been made to hold fresh whole fruit. Brentleigh Ware in not well known, and a large bowl might sell for $20 to $40.

Q: I’d like to know if the Barbie doll I received as a child is worth anything today. Her blond wig has lost a bit of hair at the crown. There is some kind of stain on her arm and on one leg and some damage to her hands. I gave her pierced ears. It’s hard to read the marks on her behind but it looks like “Midi 1952 Barbie 1958 by Mattel Inc.”

A: You are misreading the mark. The first Barbie dolls were made in 1959. You have Midge, a doll Mattel introduced as Barbie’s best friend in 1963. The first Midge dolls were marked “Midge T.M. (c)1962 Barbie (c)1958 by Mattel, Inc.” The word “Patented” was added in 1964. Midge has the same body type as Barbie and can wear the same clothes. Several versions of Midge have been made. Price depends on condition and rarity. The original clothing and box add value. Midge dolls with side-glancing eyes are rare and sell for the highest prices. Your doll with some damage, hair loss and added “pierced ears” is in altered condition so is worth less than $50, even though she is a first edition. A mint Midge might sell for $100 or more.

Q: My mother passed away, and my sister and I have been going through her many antiques that she left us. We’d like to sell a Steuben reeded green iridescent vase we think was made during the Carder era. How can we determine its value?

A: Steuben Glass Works was founded in 1903 by Frederick Carder, an English designer, and Thomas Hawkes. Steuben became part of Corning Glass Works in 1918, and Carder became design director of Corning in 1932. Steuben was sold to Schottenstein Stores Corp. in 2008, and Corning Incorporated bought back the brand in 2011. The Corning Museum of Glass now oversees production and sales of Steuben. Carder developed iridescent Aurene glass in 1904. It was made in gold or blue at first, but from about 1905 to 1910, green Aurene was made. All Steuben iridescent glass is expensive today. An 8-inch vase could sell for more than $1,000.

Q: I have an elderly aunt who traveled to far-off places as a young woman in the 1920s and 1930s. She gave me a brass compote. It’s about 8-inches wide on a short pedestal base with an etched design picturing an Asian woman under the leafy branch of a tree. It has a fancy scalloped rim and a dull finish. She enclosed a note with it that reads, “A brass compote given to me by an old admirer back in the early ‘20s.” Does this piece have any value?

A: Your brass compote with the carved (or chiseled) Asian design has more sentimental than monetary value. You can find others somewhat like it for $5 to $20 at auction when offered as a single item. They are most often found in a mixed lot made up of other unrelated pieces of brass.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer reader’s questions. Email us at collectorsgallery@kovels.com.

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