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Navajo blankets are popular

Published Oct. 13, 2005

American Indian pottery, silver, baskets, beadwork and textiles are collected by Americans as well as by many who live in other countries. The rugs and blankets made in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are of special interest. One author writing in 1914 said, "The modern Navajo blanket was almost unknown prior to 1892." It was at that time that the blankets were made to be sold commercially. Many had geometric designs. One very unusual type made in the early 1900s had stylized figures. These Kachina or Yei blankets and rugs showed the divinity or Yei, which many Indians felt it sacrilegious to picture. Eventually this type of design was made by many weavers, and male and female figures were shown. They were dressed in the appropriate costume for a dance or ceremony. The patterns are similar to the sand paintings made at the same time. The Yei blankets are in great demand.

"Fire-King' ware

Question: I am collecting apricot-color dishes with an opaque finish and marked "Oven Fire-King ware." When were they made? Were they sold in retail stores or just used as soap premiums? What pieces were made?

Answer: Fire King dinnerware and Fire King ovenware were made by The Anchor Hocking Co. of Lancaster, Ohio, from the 1930s through 1960s. The opaque colored wares were made in several patterns, including Swirl, Alice, Jane Ray, Square and Turquoise Blue, a plain pattern named for the color.

Swirl was made in blue, white with gold trim, ivory with gold trim and jadite (pale green). It was also made in an apricot shade that was called pink by the company.

Alice, Jane Ray and Square were made in white and shades of blue or green, and some was made in pink. Alice was given away with Mother's Oats, but the dishes were also sold in the stores.

Full dinner sets were made in these patterns. They included plates in various sizes, cups, saucers, creamer and sugar bowls, platters and serving dishes.

Punchinello the clown

Question: My small porcelain figure is marked "Punchinello, W. Ruscoe." Is it very old?

Answer: Punchinello was a clown, and figurines often show the black ruffled collar, pointed hat and clown suit. William Ruscoe made pottery in England from about 1920.

"Poupard' dolls

Question: I have just found a very old doll made of papier mache or cardboard. It has a molded painted head and body, and the body is painted to look as if it is wearing a short blue flowered dress.

Answer: Molded dolls have been made in France since the middle of the 19th century. The earliest dolls had a head with the simplest of bodies, often without arms or legs. By the end of the century, fully formed dolls were made and movable arms and legs appeared. The painted clothing depicted baby bibs, breeches and the dresses of the day.

This type of doll, sometimes called a "poupard" or a "bebe promenette," remained popular in the 20th century. Some are found with the blond curly hair, large hair bow and short straight dresses favored for girls in the 1930s. A few manufacturers have continued making molded-paper dolls. The style of dress may help you date your doll.

Current prices

Heisey lariat dish, clear, 3-footed, 8\ in.: $45.

Cap gun, Kilgore, Kit Carson: $95.

Miniature books, the works of Shakespeare, leather bound, published by Knickerbocker Leather and Novelty Co.: $110.

Kerosene hand lamp, clear glass, with finger grip, flint chimney, pearl top, beaded band encircles tank top and base, 14 in.: $150.

Chase stockinette doll, molded and painted blond hair and features, cotton sateen body, molded and painted limbs, early 20th c., 16 in.: $300.

Coin-operated machine Challenger ABT Shooting Gallery, 1950s: $350.

Rosenthal service plates, cobalt blue border, central floral sprays, raised gold highlights, 10 in. diam., set of 12: $660.

Empire slant-front desk, cherry, bird's-eye maple drawer fronts, tiger maple interior drawers, c. 1830: $1,250.

Cast-iron plant stand, painted white, 6 pierced circular tiered trays, Rococo style, X-form base, Victorian, 39{ x 35} in.: $2,790.

Tall case clock, Jacob Diehl, Bedford, England, mahogany, white tin face, painted and gilt flowers, calendar dial, c. 1790, 89 in.: $5,500.

Prices may vary in different locations because of the conditions of the economy.

Send questions to: Antiques, Ralph and Terry Kovel, c/o The St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, Ohio 44122. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column. The volume of mail makes most personal answers or appraisals impossible. If you send photographs, include a double-stamped, self-addressed envelope.