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Dad will go mad for stylish antiques

KOVELS: ANTIQUES

Father’s Day is coming in June, so think ahead and try to find a unique gift for your father. Shop at a flea market or antiques shop. Some of today’s movies and TV series have made the “look” of the 1950s and ‘60s popular. Shirts with buttonholes, not buttons, on sleeve cuffs need cufflinks. Most dealers who sell jewelry also sell inexpensive and unusual vintage cufflinks — costume jewelry links more than 50 years old — for $10 to $30. Expensive silver and gold cufflinks with precious stones can sell for $750 to $1,000. The breast pocket handkerchief also has come back. These often are seen at flea markets, carefully folded and stacked, at prices from $2 to $15.

Old toy trains, cars and games are easy to find, and so are bookends, duck decoys and tools. The list is almost endless. Smoking is out of style, but all the collectibles associated with smoking are easy to find. Ashtrays, old lithographed tin boxes that held tobacco, bargain-priced carved Meershaum pipes with amber mouthpieces, advertising signs and cigarette lighters are interesting gifts even if your father doesn’t smoke.


Would your father like this? It’s shaped like a guillotine and works like one when cutting a cigar. It auctioned in November 2011 for $1,464 at Neal Auction Co. in New Orleans. It’s too dangerous to be near children. Would your father like this? It’s shaped like a guillotine and works like one when cutting a cigar. It auctioned in November 2011 for $1,464 at Neal Auction Co. in New Orleans. It’s too dangerous to be near children. The most unusual find this year originally was used by a cigar smoker, but it probably is displayed on a library shelf today, useless but fun. It is a French walnut and ivory cigar cutter shaped like a small guillotine. The 19th-century oddity, called a “Guillotube,” is 17 ¾ inches high and has a working blade. KeepK maf it locked away from children. It’s a macabre reminder of the French Revolution and of the danger of smoking cigars. It sold for $1,464 at a 2011 auction in New Orleans.

Q: I own an Eames lounge chair and ottomano I purchased in the 1970s. I have hadh offers from dealers who want to purchase the set even though the leather on the ottoman is heavily worn. If I have the ottoman re-covered, would I increase the set’s value?

A: The famous Eames lounge chair and ottoman have been in continuous production since 1956. In the United States, the manufacturer since the beginning has been Herman Miller, Inc., of Zeeland, Mich. We suspect that your chair interests dealers because of the plywood frame’s finish. Chairs that have plywood frames with Brazilian rosewood veneer sell for high prices because an embargo on Brazilian rosewood has been in place since 1992. Don’t bother recovering the ottoman.

Q: I have a color woodcut print by Paul Jacoulet called “Joaquina et sa mere.” It is signed and numbered “163.” My mother-in-law wrote on the back that the first print in the series was given to Pope Pius XII. I’m interested in learning the value of this print.

A: Paul Jacoulet (1902-1960) was born in France and spent most of his life in Japan. He made Japanese woodblock prints that were issued in series and sold by subscription. Each series had a distinctive seal, such as a sparrow or butterfly. The complete title of your print is “Joaquina et sa mere au Sermon du Pere Pon.” That roughly translates to “Joaquina and her mother to the sermon of Father Pon,” so perhaps that was why it was given to the Pope. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago sold this print for $620 in 2011.

Q: I have an old Winchester poster advertising hunting rifles. At the bottom of the poster are the words, “Winchester Western, copyright 1908 by Winchester Repeating Arms Co., American Lithograph Co., N.Y.” The poster, 15 5/8 by 20 ½ inches, pictures two black men and a dog running away from a skunk emerging from a hollow log. I paid $45 for it. Is it worth more than that?

A: We don’t know if your poster is a copy of the original or a trimmed original. We do know that the originals were larger, 25 ¼ by 33 ½ inches, and that they were printed with a title along the bottom: “Shoot Them and Avoid Trouble.” It is believed that Winchester recalled many of the posters because of the title’s racist overtones and trimmed the posters (to cut the title off) for redistribution to Winchester dealers. If you had an uncut original in excellent condition, it could sell for more than $3,000. If you have a trimmed original, it might be worth $500. Copies sell for about $35-$40.

Q: In a house we were cleaning out after a death in our family, we found a round collector’s plate that pictures the Madonna and Child. The picture is signed “Jessie Willcox Smith.” What can you tell me about the plate and the artist?

A: Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935) was a famous American illustrator whose work was used extensively in magazines and children’s books. She was born in Philadelphia and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts there before taking classes from Howard Pyle, another well-known illustrator. Collector plates using Smith’s images were first made well after her death. They don’t sell for more than about $20. Check the back of your plate to see if there is a mark that may help you date the plate and identify the company that made it.

Tip: Allergic to dust and dust mites? Put old stuffed animals in a sealed plastic bag, then put the bag in your freezer for 24 hours. The temperature will kill dust mites and their eggs. ¦

— Terry Kovel answers as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, 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 any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Florida Weekly, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.


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