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Kovels: 200-year-old egg-cup frame fetches $1,625 at auction
Kovels Antiques

Kovels: 200-year-old egg-cup frame fetches $1,625 at auction

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Egg cup rack

An English breakfast could be served with very fancy and expensive dishes and silver serving pieces. And there were many servants to dish out the food to each guest. A large egg cup rack is not often seen. This one sold at auction for slightly more than the high estimate of $1,500.

Many of us have used an antique egg cup to hold a boiled breakfast egg, but few have ever seen an egg-cup frame with six egg cups and spoons made of sterling silver over 200 years ago. New Orleans Auctions had many unusual serving pieces in an auction, and the rare 7-inch-high by 8-inch-wide egg-cup frame brought $1,625. It was made in London about 1808 to 1811 according to the hallmark. The silversmiths were Robert & Samuel Hennell. The hexagonal frame has six legs with lion's paw feet, a canopy with a shell and scroll finial, and receptacles for the six egg cups and spoons. A frame was used for large breakfasts as a centerpiece and usually held soft boiled eggs. A breakfast menu usually included eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom toast, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, and tea or coffee.

Q: I'm interested in selling a collection of over 200 Vera Neumann scarves. They were made throughout her career, no two are alike, and they're in very good condition. I'd like to sell them in groups or as a whole collection, not individually. How can I find interested buyers?

Answer: Vera Salaff Neumann (1907-1993) was known for her silk scarves with her signature, "Vera," on them. She was a fashion illustrator, textile designer and muralist. She and her husband, George, founded Printex in 1946. She designed placemats and other linens. The first silk scarves were made in 1947 after the company bought a supply of army surplus parachute silk. Designs were screen printed, based on Vera's watercolor paintings. She held the copyright for 8,000 designs. George died in 1962 and Vera sold the business to Manhattan Industries in 1967. She sold her company, Vera Licensing, in 1988. Target bought the rights to reproduce 17 vintage Vera scarves in 2013. Vera scarves are still popular. Check online shops to see what they are selling for. Shops that sell them will also buy them. Expect to get about half what the shop will sell them for. An auction gallery that sells clothing might buy the scarves, but 200 is too many to sell at one time.

Q: A dessert set consisting of a serving plate and four dessert bowls and underplates was handed down to me through the family. The dishes are hand-painted with different flowers. The backs are stamped with a star over "RS" surrounded by a garland, and under that, "Germany." I'm going to divide some things among children and grandchildren and would like to know something about this set, when it was made, and if it has any value other than sentimental.

Answer: This mark was used by Reinhold Schlegelmilch at his factory in Tillowitz, Germany, from 1914 to about 1945. The factory sold both decorated porcelain and undecorated porcelain that was decorated by other factories, shops or home workers. Retail value of your dessert set, about $100.

Q: In the 1950s and '60s we received Top Value Stamps for buying items at grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores and variety stores. The stamps were then pasted into a "Saver Book." Stamps came in three sizes: singles, 10s or 50s, and each page of the book held 50 single stamps, five 10s or one 50. Full books could be redeemed for items offered in the Top Value catalogs. Do these stamps have any value today?

Answer: The first trading stamps were issued by a department store in Milwaukee 1891. S&H green stamps were first issued by Sperry & Hutchinson in 1896, and it became the largest trading stamp company. The Top Value Stamp Co., the next largest company, was started in 1956 by Kroger and other food chains. Trading stamp programs were at the peak of popularity in the 1950s and '60s, when more than 80% of households saved trading stamps. A full book could be redeemed for about $120 in merchandise. Interest declined in the 1970s. Top Value stopped distributing stamps in 1982. Booklets of stamps, both filled and unfilled, sets of stamps and catalogs of merchandise sell online for low prices today. Stamp books are collectibles, selling for about $3.

Q: I bought two Steuben clear glass ashtrays several years ago, probably at a garage sale or thrift shop. They are a freeform or abstract shape. One is 6 1/2 inches in diameter and has two crimped "globs" attached to hold two cigarettes. The other is 4 inches in diameter and has one "glob" to hold one cigarette. I'd like to know their value and any other information possible.

Answer: The Steuben Glassworks was founded in Corning, New York, in 1903. Corning Glass Company bought the factory in 1918 and continued to make glass called Steuben. The factory closed in 2011. The Corning Museum of Glass took over the factory in 2014 and is reproducing some tableware, paperweights and collectibles. Your freeform, handblown ashtrays were designed by George Thompson in 1946. They sell for about $50 to $100.

Current Prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

  • 200Brass, mailbox, raised lion's head, envelope style hinged lid, shaped wire bundle holder on bottom, England, 14½ inches, $70.
  • Royal Doulton vase, landscape, cows in field with daisies, flambe glaze, swollen cylinder form, rolled rim, 8½ inches, $175.
  • Redware pottery pie plate, wavy yellow slip line decoration, 1800s, 11 inches, $225.
  • Sterling silver sauce boat & undertray, pattern No. E281, C-scroll handle, marked, Whiting, 20th century, 4½ inches, tray 6 inches, $315.
  • Iron, boot scraper, semicircular, scrolled ends, inclined granite base, early 19th century, 9¾ x 8 x 9 inches, $440.
  • Furniture, mirror, Federal, painted decoration on frame, reverse painted glass tablet, courting scene, blue flower, c.1800, 12½ x 7 inches, $750.
  • Necklace, fleurettes, small etched glass flowers, elongated barrels, silk cord, Rene Lalique, France, 20 inches, $850.
  • Daum cameo glass rose bowl, mottled green, enameled forest scene, folded in rim, signed Daum Nancy with the Cross of Lorraine, c.1920, 3 inches, $1,250.
  • Toy, astronaut, red suit, clear helmet, holds tool with both hands, tin lithograph, battery-operated, Daiya, Japan, box, 11½ x 5½ x 6¼inches, $1,720.
  • Purse, evening bag, black fabric, silk lining, metal frame, enamel, coral closure, Art Deco style, attributed to Cartier, early 20th century, 7¼ x 7 inches, $2,005.

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, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, Fla. 32803.

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