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Collecting pedal cars is too costly to be child's play

Published Oct. 9, 2005

Many antique automobiles have become so expensive that some collectors have turned to the smaller toy pedal cars, but now even some of the toy cars sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The bicycle and tricycle of the 1880s were probably the first wheeled toys used by children. Toy automobiles were offered for sale by commercial toy makers by the early 1900s.

One or two children sat in the toy car and pushed the foot pedals to make the car move. The pedal cars reflected the design of the real cars and were made with rumble seats, nickel-plated lamps and trim, tool boxes, rubber tires, horns and other realistic features.

In the 1970s designers began to make futuristic plastic pedal cars. Some toy cars are made with motors.

Copper luster

Question: My copper-colored pitcher is made of a glazed ceramic. Around the center is a yellow area with a black picture on it. Under the picture it says "Cornwallis resigning his Sword at York Town Oct 19th 1781." How old is it?

Answer: You have a copper luster pitcher. Jugs like yours were made in the English Staffordshire district. The pitcher commemorates General Lafayette's visit to the United States in 1824. The black transfer decoration picture was copied from an 1807 engraving that was historically inaccurate. General O'Hara (not Cornwallis) gave his sword to General Lincoln (not Washington). Copper luster with added yellow is especially popular with collectors. A pitcher in good condition is worth over $1,000.

Current prices

Salt and pepper, Apple, Hull: $14.

Oscillating fan, Robbins & Myer, brass blades, 12 in.: $65.

Snowbabies, boy and girl skating, marked "Germany," 2 in.: $105.

Battery-operated jet airplane, TWA Boeing 727, made in Japan, box, 15 in.: $125.

Advertising, figural cardboard, Laurel & Hardy, tip their hats when you pull bottom, in color, 1930, Spanish, 9 in.: $150.

Alice in Wonderland cookie jar, signed Walt Disney Productions: $195.

Pearlware punch pot and cover, blue transfer decorated oriental "Buffalo Pattern," ribbed spout, 10{ in. h.: $715.

Watch pin, diamond, gold and enamel, four-leaf clover, green enamel, round old European-cut diamonds: $1,430.

Music box, Harmonia, 10 metal discs, 16-by-12-by-6 in.: $5,000.

Weather vane, codfish, carved, regilded New England, 19th c., 37 in. 1.: $8,250

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

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. The volume of mail makes most personal answers impossible. If you send photographs, include a double-stamped, self-addressed envelope.