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Color gives away age of glass objects

(ran HP HS HC)

The color used on a piece of glass or porcelain can help you to date it.

In the 18th century, ceramists favored dark blue, an easy color to produce. The plain blue designs were often enhanced with rose red, gold, apple green or turquoise.

By the 1820s an orange-red was popular.

Violet was stylish about 1900.

In the 1930s the bold, bright colors favored by Fiesta pottery were used. Bright yellow, dark blue, green and orange glazes covered many dinnerwares. Orange, especially popular in Czechoslovak wares, was used in abundance.

By the 1950s a new look in American pottery saw the use of gray and earth tones of green and brown. Russel Wright dishes used mottled versions of those colors.

The 1960s California potters started using different colors. They liked pink, baby blue, light green and other pastel shades. One well-known California potter, Kay Finch, worked in Corona Del Mar from 1935 to 1963. She died a few years ago, and collectors are paying high prices for her pastel-colored figurines of whimsical animals and cartoon people.

Next time you are at a flea market, look for the pastels to find the 1960s California pieces.

A 1915 instrument

Question: My upright piano is marked "Holland Cabinet Grand, No. 22865." Any information as to age and maker?

Answer: The Holland Manufacturing Co. made Holland, Norland and Geo. B. Norris brand pianos between 1913 and 1927. It had factories in Menomonie, Wis., and Minneapolis. The company also had a Chicago address, probably a sales office. The number on your piano dates it to 1915.

Value of a cutter

Question: My bread cutter has a wooden base with an iron cutting blade that swings manually to cut one slice of bread. Does it have any value?

Answer: It appears as though you have a meat slicer, not a bread cutter. In a general store, meat was cut by the single slice.

Customers usually cut their own bread at home with a large knife.

Meat cutters date from 1870 to as recently as 1930. They sell for between $35 and $75.

Trick of the eye

Question: I bought a folding screen painted to look like a bookshelf filled with books. The dealer said it was a Fornasetti. Any information?

Answer: Italian designer Piero Fornasetti decorated furniture, dishes, even venetian blinds in the trompe l'oeil style. Born in Milan in 1913, he designed about 12,000 objects before he died in 1988.

Modernist architect Gio Ponti, also Italian, actually designed the furniture, while Fornasetti embellished it.

Piero's son, Barnaba, is carrying on the business in Milan. An original Fornasetti screen is worth $20,000. New ones are available at some American stores, and they are high-priced as well.

Burnt-wood decorating

Question: My grandmother decorated a chair by burning a design into it around 1900. I've been told that there was a craze for burning designs in wood. Is this true?

Answer: Pyrography was a fad from 1890 to 1915. The process of making a design on wood, leather or cloth using a hot instrument dates back centuries.

The hobby came to America in the mid-1800s. Several companies sold kits that included instructions, designs and a rod to burn the wood.

The Flemish Art Co. of New York was the largest maker of pyrography products. The company's trademark is stamped on the back of its items. Most other makers didn't mark their pieces.

The words "Flemish art" now refer to any of the burnt-wood pieces from the early 1900s.

Snow dome care

Snow domes, those liquid-filled paperweights, should not be stored in the dark, because exposure to light is necessary to keep the liquid clear. Do not store them in direct sunlight, however, because they can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire.

A valuable bird

Question: I have a "Bird in a Gilded Cage" with a mechanical bird that moves its head, tail and beak while it "sings." The bottom of the cage is stamped "Made in France." What's it worth?

Answer: We've seen reproductions of 18th century French music boxes with a bird in a gilded cage. The reproductions sell for $1,650. Originals are worth much more.

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.

Sheet music, They Needed a Songbird in Heaven (So God Took Caruso Away), Mills, New York, 1921, Caruso photo on cover: $20.

Witch hazel barber bottle, original paper label, clear, shaker stopper, 4{ inches: $45.

Turtle pin, covered with clear stones and blue-and-gold metal, signed Peil: $55.

Steve McQueen miniature toy gun, mint on card: $65.

Elvis Answers Back magazine, published by Sound Publishing Corp., 1956, record on front cover, punch-out game: $85.

Oriental rug, bokhara pattern, beige and pale blue on salmon ground, 4 foot 2 by 6 foot 1: $165.

Eastlake Victorian fainting couch, walnut and burl frame, single carving, geometric kilim rug tapestry covering, 72 inches: $360.

Daum Nancy jar, egg-shaped, cameo, olive shading to pale blue, flowers and butterflies, 4 inches: $1,375.

Toy, Naugahyde monster, light plum Naugy, beige around eyes and mouth, plum inside, marked "Naugahyde" on its right arm, 10{ inches: $90.

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.