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Garden-figure prices leapfrog

Look in Grandma's back yard. You might find a fortune.

The Weller Pottery Co. of Zanesville, Ohio, made a number of different garden ornaments. The pottery, which opened in the 1920s, closed in 1948. The company was well-known for its vases, jardinieres and floral ceramics.

The company's catalogs pictured realistic, life-sized birds, such as a goose, a pelican and a pair of swans, the largest 20 inches high.

Weller also sold a 7-inch squirrel, a 15-inch crow and a 13-inch-long rabbit. They were all molded and colored to appear real when placed in the garden.

Other figures included smaller turtles, ducks, cats, dogs, owls and chickens.

There also was a group of fantasy figures that now sell for thousands of dollars each. Pan with a fife is 16{ inches high. A seated elf that is 14 inches high, an elf on a rock 18 inches high and two small elves on toadstools that are part of a 17-inch-high group all were made to look as real as possible.

Several larger-than-life frogs were made. The most impressive is the spotted green frog playing a banjo. It was made in four sizes up to 12 inches high.

Whether you're in Grandma's back yard or a neighborhood garage sale, look for old ceramic garden figures. The name "Weller" was placed on the bottom of most of its garden wares.

Rattan furniture

Question: I just purchased a rattan living-room set that includes a couch, a two-tiered end table and a lamp. The rattan is smooth. The couch rests on a base of eight bands of rattan. If it is possible, I'd like to know when it was made and by whom.

Answer: It's rare to find a maker's name on rattan from the 1930s or '40s. Paul Frankl first designed a sofa with a nine-band arm and five-band base. It was copied and changed by many manufacturers. It is often referred to as Frankl's design.

Here is a tip to attempt dating rattan: Sofas with 10-band bases were made in the 1930s; nine-band bases in the '40s, and eight-band bases in the '50s.

The going rate

Depression glass candy jar, Flower Garden With Butterflies pattern, cover, amber, 7{ inches: $85.

Tremblant brooch and earrings, black-painted gilt-metal leaves, flowers of rhinestone in shades of aqua, pale green, fuchsia and turquoise, Castlecliff, 1950s: $90.

Gas can from Socony Mobil Oil Co., 1930s: $95.

Lake Copper Co. stock certificate, Michigan, vignette picturing woman on pedestal, men working behind her, signed by William Paine, 1920s: $130.

Red Wing batter pitcher, blue, monk with harp: $250.

Pull-toy, Katzenjammer Kids seesaw, cast iron, N.N. Hill Brass Co., circa 1900, 7{ inches: $575.

Christian Dior black wool two-piece dress, long sleeves, bodice fastening at a slant, black buttons, size 6, circa 1950: $3,450.

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.

China coffepots

Question: I've seen several drip coffeepots made of china in my travels. I think they were made by Hall. They seem fragile to be coffeepots. What do you know about them?

Answer: During World War II many consumer items were rationed because they were needed for the war effort. Aluminum was one of them. The Enterprise Aluminum Co. of Massillon, Ohio, stopped making the aluminum parts of china coffeepots for Hall.

Hall's engineers quickly came up with the idea of an all-china drip coffeepot. The pots have four pieces: the base, lid and dripper and a diffuser, which was placed on the inside.

Unfortunately, the pots couldn't keep coffee warm, and they had a tendency to chip or crack.

Hall made the pots in 1943 and 1944, when aluminum again became available for consumer use.

Complete-pottery coffeepots in good condition are hard to find.

The going rate

American Legion drum, Duplex Manufacturing Co., Pat. 1883-1898, brass label, "Slingerland Radio King," original drumstick, leather strap, 16-inch diameter: $65.

French Provincial trestle table, walnut, rectangular top on cabriole legs, pierced stretcher, 25 by 34{ by 20\ inches: $690.