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Designs that were old are new again

Designers claim to have created new and different styles, but often their newest fashion is just a revival of old ideas. The original Renaissance Gothic designs were first used in the 14th to 17th centuries. The Italians, inspired by the classic designs of ancient Rome and Greece, created the massive, curved furniture.

The style spread to England and France. In the 1850s a modern Renaissance style appeared in England and the United States. The carvings were used on legs, arms and cabinet fronts.

Even more elaborate pieces were made from 1865 to 1875. Massive beds, dressers, dining rooms buffets and sofas were made of heavy wood and decorated with carvings of all types. By the 1890s it was not unusual to see a room that looked as if it had been removed from an early castle. Walls, fireplace and ceilings were made to imitate an earlier look. Claw feet, trestle tables and other old forms reappeared.

Collectors decorated with authentic European antiques or American copies. They wanted the room to look old even if it used new furniture. Revivals continued into the 20th century.

Look carefully at antique-looking furniture. It may not be as old as it looks.

A "Noel' treasure

Question: My small Royal Worcester figurine called "Noel" was given to me by a great aunt. The figurine has a fur-lined coat and she carries a Christmas tree and packages. She is 4{ inches high. On the bottom it says "2905, Modelled by Sybil Williams and Jessamine Bray." How old is the figure?

Answer: Noel was first made by the Royal Worcester Porcelain Works of England in 1931. The figurine was discontinued in 1955.

Remington bronze

Question: Can you tell me about a bronze bust of a man in a large hat? The papers with it say it is called The Sergeant. It was made by Frederic Remington. How old is it?

Answer: The original casting of The Sergeant or A Rough Rider Sergeant was created by Remington, the famous American artist, in 1904. Only about 79 bronze busts were made in the first edition by the Roman Bronze Works of Brooklyn, N.Y. They made the busts from 1906 to 1918. Each bust was slightly different in height, ranging from 10{ to a little over 11 inches high. The originals were signed on the base "Copyright by Frederic Remington" and stamped "Roman Bronze Works, NY" with the number 59 stamped inside the base.

Unfortunately, thousands of recastings and reproductions have been made, and some include the same markings. An original sold for $13,200 in 1984 and is worth far more today.

Staffordshire vase

Question: It is hard to describe my old vase. It looks like a figurine of a man and woman riding a bicycle. Each has an opening in the head that could hold flowers. The bottom is marked "Genuine Staffordshire, Hand Painted, Shorter & Son, England." Any suggestion of age or value?

Answer: The base was made between 1905, the year Shorter & Son started, and 1914. After 1914 the mark would probably have said "Made in England" because of a change in the law. The design might have been inspired by Daisy Bell, a popular English song written in 1892. It was renamed Bicycle Built for Two in the United States.

Mechanical toy

Question: What is the value of a lithographed tin mechanical toy my grandfather got for his birthday in 1920? It is a football player that actually kicks the ball. On the base it says, "Sandy Andy, Reg. in U.S. Patent Office, Gull Back. Patented Dec 16, 1919." The toy is 7| inches high and has most of its original paint.

Answer: The Wolverine Toy Company made your toy. It is a "cross-over" toy. It really interests two different groups of collectors. Toy collectors and sports enthusiasts look for toys like this. Value in excellent condition is over $275.

Current prices

Bessie Pease Gutmann print, Friendly Enemies 215, unframed: $50.

Doll, Cheerful Tearful, Mattel: $16.

Tootsie Roll rocket, paper gameboard, plastic rocket, original mailer, 1962: $26.

Bottle opener, bear, wall mount, cast iron: $65.

Mettlach stein, Elks, Art Nouveau style, inlaid lid, c. 1900, .5 liter: $125.

Silver-plated serving tray, oval, engraved with noble crest, Mappin & Webb, London, 23{-by-16{ in.: $225.

Coca-Cola sign, 1937, woman in riding gear drinking from a bottle, cardboard, 49-by-32 in.: $350.

Mickey Mouse wristwatch, Ingersoll, leather strap with metal silhouettes of Mickey, c. 1940s: $665.

Bible box, oak, dark finish, relief carved front panel, wrought iron lock and hasp, England, 10-by-28-by-18\ in.: $700.

Send questions to: Antiques, Ralph and Terry Kovel, c/o the Times, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column. If you send photographs, include a double-stamped, self-addressed envelope.