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Savvy collectors round up Western gear

All kinds of Western collectibles are rising in value, including American Indian crafts, baskets, pottery and beadwork; saddles, spurs, cowboy hats, clothing and pictures of cowgirls.

Even Western-inspired furniture, metal wastebaskets with pictures of cowboys, woven bedspreads picturing Indians and lamps with bases shaped like bucking horses are in demand.

Pottery and porcelain decorated with pictures of Indians in tribal dress are especially popular.

Roseville, Rookwood and Weller pottery pieces picturing Indians were made in the early 1900s. The images were taken from some of the famous photographs of the tribes taken at the turn of the century. Such pottery pieces sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars.

The Indian chief in feather headdress was an image that was used not only as a decoration but also as a logo on labels, suggesting strength and exotic products, especially tobacco.

Fore-edge painting

Question: I saw a book in an antiques store that had a scene painted on the edge of the pages. One can only see it when the book is closed. It was expensive, and I was told it is rare.

Answer: You saw an example of a fore-edge painting.

Some books have hidden paintings that can be seen only when the book is opened and its pages are fanned. When the book is closed, a gilt edge appears. Some show a painted scene on the edge only when the book is closed.

Fore-edge paintings date back to the 1500s. Later versions, usually done in Britain, included landscapes, buildings, hunting and sporting scenes and portraits.

Double fore-edge paintings have two scenes _ each shows when the pages are fanned in a different way.

Split fore-edge paintings have two vertical pictures side by side when the book is opened to the middle. There are also panoramas that wrap around the top, side and bottom of the pages.

All of them are rare and expensive.


Question: When were daguerreotypes made? How were they made?

Answer: Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, a French artist and physicist, made his first daguerreotype in 1835. It took two more years to discover how to make a picture that did not fade.

Daguerre produced a photographic image on a piece of silver-coated copper.

The daguerreotype used by the commercial photographer could be confused with ferrotypes, which also were made on thin metal, or ambrotypes, which were made on glass.

You can distinguish the daguerreotype by its mirrorlike surface. The image turns from positive to negative if you turn the picture.

The popularity of the daguerreotype faded as other methods of capturing a photographic image came on the market.

Pressed-back rocking chair

Question: We recently purchased a child-sized rocking chair with a carving of the battleship Maine on the back. What can you tell me about it?

Answer: The "carving" on the back of your chair is a pressed-wood decoration. Pressed-back chairs and rocking chairs were popular starting around the turn of the century.

The Maine was sunk in Havana harbor in 1898, an event that helped precipitate the Spanish-American War.

Many pieces commemorating that era of U.S. history were made, including fabrics, plates and furniture.

Your chair would be worth about $250 to a collector.

The going rate

Wild Bill Hickok and Jingles coloring book, Saalfield, 1953: $45.

Mary Gregory glass goblet, engraved white elk on emerald green ground, 8 inches: $85.

Richfield calendar, 1938, paper and cardboard, green and tan with black, green and white print, truck pictured, 14{ by 10{ inches: $110.

Staffordshire cup plate, Lady of the Lake, blue transfer, circa 1830, 4 inches: $140.

Walking bunny toy, papier-mache, vibrates, key-wound, Germany, 1925, 7 inches: $225.

Sterling silver flatware ladle, American Classic pattern, Shreve, Crump and Low, 7 inches: $240.

Kammer and Reinhardt doll, No. 122, toddler, bisque head, sleep eyes, movable tongue, 1912, 24 inches: $1,550.

Kerosene skater's lamp, the Jewel, brass with cobalt blue lens, 6{ inches: $365.

Swankyswig glass, Bustlin' Betsy, red, 4} inches: $20.

Spongeware bank, bottle shape, blue polka dots on neck, stenciled blue initials J.W.B., 6 inches: $745.

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