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Shows, auctions are a learning experience

Part of the fun of collecting and going to shows and auctions is how often you see something that is a mystery. It’s a learning experience.

We took our children to shows as soon as they knew how to behave. Don’t touch, hands behind your back, ask if you want to see something. We checked with the dealer before taking them into a booth and explained they knew how to behave and if there should be an accident, of course we would pay for any damage.

Each had a collection — small heart charms or tin spice boxes. We showed them the jewelry and named the colors of the stones, then the name of the stones, and by kindergarten, they were experts. They helped us buy things for the country store by asking the dealer the price of a sign or a box that they liked. Big, colorful signs with old-fashioned pictures were the favorites, so this paint ad published with this column was one they liked. The tin sign is 27 inches tall and is unusual because it has a row of wooden color sample blocks at the bottom. The old car and the “quaint” porch picture also had appeal. But although we agreed it would look great at our house, the final bid was $3,186, and they learned you don’t always get what you want at an auction.

Sometimes the bidding goes past our limit because someone else wants it more.

Q. Is an embossed metal Cracker Jack button stud worth anything? It has Sailor Jack, little dog Bingo and “Me for Crackerjack” on the front. It’s about 1-inch high and 3/4-inch wide.

A. Frederick Rueckheim began selling popcorn in 1871. He and his brother, Louis, sold a mixture of popcorn, peanuts and molasses at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Louis copyrighted the recipe and the slogan, “The more you eat, the more you want,” in 1896. Coupons for prizes were added to the boxes in 1910. Sales increased dramatically after small prizes for children were included in the boxes beginning in 1912. Frederick’s grandson was the model for Sailor Jack, which was first used in advertisements in 1916. The first boxes with Sailor Jack were produced in 1918. Cracker Jack prizes are collectible, especially the old metal ones. Prizes were eliminated in 2016 and replaced by a game that can be played by scanning a URL code. A button stud like yours sold recently for $56. Cracker Jack is now part of Frito Lay.

Q. I inherited a purple carnival glass Good Luck pattern dish from my grandparents. My grandfather got it at a local fair. I know these dishes were won by coins being thrown in a game at a booth at the fair. What is it worth?

A. The Good Luck bowl is a piece of Northwood glass made by one of the glassmaking companies owned by Harry C. Northwood. The pattern includes horseshoes and other lucky symbols. He founded the Northwood Glass Co. in Martins Ferry in 1887 and moved to Ellwood City, Pa., in 1892. When the company closed in 1896, he opened the Northwood Co. in Indiana, Pa. It became part of the National Glass Co. consortium in 1899, but Harry continued to make glass. He founded the H. Northwood Co. in Wheeling in 1901 and worked with his brother Carl. They made carnival glass, like your bowl, plus custard, goofus and stretch glass and more in many different colors. A 9-inch blue-purple bowl with a pressed pattern is worth about $150.

Q. What is the value of a metal figure called “The Appeal to the Great Spirit” by Cyrus Dallin? It shows an Indian chief, arms out wide to the side, sitting astride his horse. The horse is 8 3/4-inches long. The base is marked “C.E. Dallin 1913.” The figure is in perfect condition except for the rein, which has to be reattached to the horse.

A. “The Appeal to the Great Spirit” is the last of four sculptures by Cyrus Dallin (1861-1944) in a series called The Epic of the Indian, made between 1890 and 1909. The figure represents a Sioux chief praying to the Great Spirit after surrendering to the U.S. Army. The life-size bronze sculpture is in front of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The sculpture was made in three smaller sizes in the early 1900s. Gorham Foundry in Providence, R.I., made the figures in at least two sizes. If your figure was made at the Gorham Foundry, it will be marked “Gorham Co. Founders QXC” and may also have a number. It’s impossible to tell the value from a picture. You should take the figure to a museum or to a knowledgeable antiques dealer to see if they can determine if it is an original. The original figures sell at auction for about $5,000-$7,000. Unauthorized reproductions have been made and sell online for $50-$60.

TIP: Keep a collection of photographs in an interior room of the house. Avoid the basement, garage and attic.

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.

– Bank, mother bird and 2 fledglings, redware, tooled details, slab base, 1800s, 4 1/2 x 6 inches, $83.

– Box, lock, softwood, feather grain painted, pegged construction, wallpaper lining, 1800s, 6 x 15 x 10 inches, $118.

– Kitchen, kettle, copper, arched swing handle, goose neck spout, crimped seams, domed lid, J. Getz, Lancaster, Pa., c. 1830, 11 inches, $148.

– Redware, bean pot, sgrafitto flowers, ribbed strap handle, Pennsylvania, 1800s, 5 x 8 inches, $384.

– Durand glass, vase, blue purple iridescent, bulbous base, tapered neck, flared rim, signed 1920s, 5 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches, $470.

– Furniture, corner cupboard, white paint, 2 sections, arched glazed door over 2 raised panel doors, bracket feet, 86 x 47 inches, $472.

– Toy, phonograph with horn, fairy tale graphics, key wind, spring motor, Keimola, Germany, 1920s, 7 x 3 inches, $575

– Silver bowl, Art Deco, hammered, footed, Reed & Barton, 1929, 5 7/8 x 9 1/2 inches, $855.

– Currier & Ives, Winter In The Country, Old Grist Mill, hand colored, 1864, 22 x 29 3/4 inches, $992.

– Barometer, banjo form, mahogany, broken arch pediment, brass trim, rosettes, pineapple, thermometer, Thos. Jordan, Chesham, 54 inches, $2,640.

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