American art pottery has been going up in price for the past 15 years.
One of the most popular types is Weller pottery, first made in 1872 in Fultonham, Ohio. The company moved to Zanesville, Ohio, in 1882 and began making art pottery in 1893. The factory closed in 1948.
Some pieces sell today for thousands of dollars, but many pieces made in the 1920s through the '40s still sell for reasonable prices.
Collectors have selected several types of Weller as the "stars" that command high prices. The iridescent glazed Sicardo ware; the early Dickens and Eocean pieces decorated by artists with figures, animals or birds; and pieces made with incised designs sell best. Coppertone (a green and copper glazed ware), garden figures and large jardinieres are also expensive, but molded pieces with raised flowers or branches are still affordable.
Weller is almost always marked with its name, so it is easy to spot at garage sales. Look for a bargain.
"Betty' Coca-Cola sign
Question: While cleaning out a relative's attic, we found an old advertising sign for Coca-Cola. It pictures a lady in a pink dress that's trimmed with white lace.
The name "Betty" is at the bottom of the sign. The words "Drink Coca-Cola" are at the top. It is 32 inches by 41 inches.
How old is it?
Answer: Betty was the image on a Coca-Cola sign issued in 1914. It was a lithographed tin sign made in 14 colors.
More than 10,000 were produced, but today it is rare and expensive. Copies of the sign have been made in recent years.
Question: I have inherited two all-white porcelain figurines that my great-aunt called Parian ware. Can you explain?
Answer: "Parian" refers to a ceramic material that looks somewhat like the white marble mined on the Greek island of Paros. Parian is actually an unglazed, low-fired combination of feldspar and china clay that was first used in England in the 1840s.
By the early 1850s, such well-known firms as Copeland, Minton and Wedgwood were producing Parian figures and giftwares.
Have your figurines appraised by an expert. They could be valuable.
The going rate
Chalkware figure, Nipper the RCA Victor mascot, 1950s, 14 inches, $100.
Bathing suit, Cole of California, royal-blue sequins, strapless, heart-shaped neckline, labeled, about 1940, size 34, $315.
Hermes scarf, silk twill printed with gold crowns and arabesques on a navy-blue ground, red border, 1960s, labeled "Hermes/Paris," $115.
McCoy cookie jar, circus horse, 1962, $195.
Glass candy container, New York Central Railroad, original closure, $300.
Kestner doll, Hilda, No. 1070, bisque head, brown sleep eyes, two teeth, antique baby dress, smocking, diaper, 1914, 16 inches, $1,600.
Send questions to Antiques, Ralph and Terry Kovel, c/o St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.