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Find treasure in kitchen drawers

Kitchen collectibles are "in."

Almost anything from your grandmother's kitchen is now collectible. Eggbeaters, mixing bowls, food molds, toasters, cookie cutters, even rolling pins, breadboards and knives are in demand. Your mother's Pyrex dishes and aluminum or cast-iron pots are also desired.

Here are a few clues to help you spot the treasures in a kitchen that was stocked more than 40 years ago:

Eggbeaters or other utensils with cast iron, Bakelite, or wooden handles painted green or red are usually old. Iron pots with the name Griswold on the bottom have value. Streamlined chrome examples are often worth more than $100.

Look for mixing bowls of yellowware, Depression glass or brightly colored pottery. Copper molds should be heavy. Tin cookie cutters are best if the backing piece is irregularly shaped.

Don't discard anything until you check with a collector or dealer.

Gift appreciation

Question: I have a plate that is stamped on the back, "Edgerton, E211-1505." The plate is trimmed in gold and has a bouquet of flowers on it. I was told this was a wedding present to my grandparents in the 1890s. Does this plate have any value?

Answer: The Edgerton mark is rare. It was used in 1893 and 1894.

Wilder Pickard and Mae Johnson of Edgerton, Wis., formed the Edgerton Art Studio in 1893. The studio decorated china made by many factories.

In 1895, the company moved to Chicago and was renamed Pickard China. The studio hired artists from the Chicago Art Institute and Europe.

When the founder's son joined the business in 1930, the company began making its own china. Pickard China is still in business.

Early hand-painted pieces are very desirable. A 10-inch plate marked "Edgerton" is worth hundreds of dollars. The price depends on the quality of the decoration.

Buy plastics

Question: When I was small, I collected Plasticville toys from what was then called the 5 & 10 cent store. Each year I chose one or two new buildings for the train village under our Christmas tree. I still have some in their original boxes. The prices marked ranged from 75 cents to $1.89.

Answer: Bachmann Bros. of Philadelphia was founded in 1833. It produced Plasticville buildings and accessories.

The parent company originally made ivory cane handles and combs. The growth in the toy train market turned Bachmann's to plastic picket fences and buildings for train villages.

There was a set of 24 "Plasticville citizens," boxes of street accessories and even seasonal trees. The company ended production in the late 1960s. Prices for Plasticville buildings in good condition range from $2 for the Cape Cod house hit to $45 for an apartment house. The original boxes can add 30 percent to the value of the toys.

A trivial pursuit

Question: I have a game called a "Chiromagica" by McLoughlin Bros. of New York. The game has a holder and several cardboard discs and paper inserts with questions.

Put the disc in the right place and you can learn the right answers to the questions. The game must be old. It asks, "Who is president of the United States?" and the answer is Ulysses S. Grant. Is it valuable?

Answer: Chiromagica was made about 1870. Grant was president from 1869 to 1877. The game sells for about $300 today.

The real thing

Question: What is a Hoosier cabinet? I have a kitchen cupboard that has all sorts of spaces for flour and pots and pans and an enameled counter. A friend insists it is a Hoosier cabinet.

Answer: Hoosier cabinets are freestanding kitchen cabinets with many drawers and special sections for flour, tea, other foodstuffs and kitchen utensils.

The original Hoosier cabinet was made in the late 1800s. The name was a trademark of the Hoosier Co. The cabinet was soon copied, and people began calling all the other versions Hoosiers.

The cabinets usually had a built-in flour bin with a sifter, sugar dispenser, a bread drawer, cutting board and hinged or roll-down doors. The counter was made of golden oak or white enamel. The cabinets were usually natural or painted oak.

Cabinets in good original or refinished condition sell from $400 to $1,000.

Current prices

Annette's Cleaner tin, dated 1930, sample: $15.

Flash Gordon Big Little Book, "The Perils of Mongo," 1940s: $50.

Cracker Jack watch, tin lithograph, 1940s: $85.

Buster Brown game, "Pin the Tie on Buster," signed Outcault: $125.

Coffee set, Coronet pattern, urn, sugar, creamer, Chase chrome: $225.

Royal Rudolstadt tea set, child's, "The Golliwogs," playing, doll-like creatures, teapot, sugar, creamer, cups, saucers, plates, service for six: $240.

Budman salt-and-pepper shaker, original: $275.

Cut glass picture frame, tulips and deeply cut leaves, notching all around edge, 9 by 7 inches: $295.

Hummel figurine, Sister, No. 98, crown mark: $360.

Table, tilt-top, papier-mache, floral painted, Aabalone, oval top, 26 by 21 inches: $665.

Send questions to: Antiques, Ralph and Terry Kovel, c/o the Times, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.