Would you be more interested in buying a jeweler's safe, parlor safe, bedroom safe or brothel safe? In the 19th century, three of the names were used for the same piece of furniture. It was a small, boxlike safe that was secured to an attractive wooden stand usually in the Renaissance Revival style. The safe was most likely iron, painted black with gilt trim. The stand could be a plain, thin pedestal or an elaborate one with added decorative carved pieces.
It is said that the Victorian safe was kept in a guest bedroom at a large estate where guests deposited their expensive jewelry.
Some were used in a library or office to keep papers from burglars or fire. In recent years, the unusual safes were named for brothels. Perhaps they appeared in a movie set of a brothel; perhaps it was just a fanciful name suggested by a seller.
We have seen several safes offered for sale this year. An Egyptian Revival safe by Herring Farral and Sherman of New York, with sphinx heads decorating the legs, 43 inches tall, had a $7,000 estimate. Another safe auctioned recently for $2,938. It was made by Marvin's Safe Co. of New York and Philadelphia. It is higher than most, about 50 inches high and 14 inches wide.
Silver coffee service
We own a three-piece antique silver coffee service that belonged to my mother-in-law. There's a circle with an impressed cameo on the front and back of each piece - coffeepot, creamer and sugar. The mark on the bottom of each piece is "Rogers, Smith & Co." forming the top of a circle, "Conn." on the bottom and "New Haven" in the center of the circle. When was the set made, and what is it worth?
Rogers, Smith & Co. of New Haven, Conn., was organized in 1862 to manufacture silver-plated holloware. The company was sold the very next year to Meriden Britannia Co. of Meriden, Conn., but the New Haven location remained in operation until 1877, and the Rogers, Smith & Co. New Haven mark continued to be used. So your coffee set was manufactured between 1862 and 1877. If the silver plating is in excellent condition, your set would sell for about $500.
My large, flow-blue covered jar is stamped with a crown over the words "Doulton Burslem" within a bumpy circle surrounding a cipher. The word "England" is stamped below the mark. Another handwritten mark looks like "A6803." Can you help me figure out when it was made?
The Doulton Burslem mark on your jar was used by the famous British firm of Doulton & Co. (now Royal Doulton) from about 1886 to 1902, but the word "England" wasn't added to the mark until 1891. So your jar was made between 1891 and 1902. The A6803 mark is a pattern number assigned to a design introduced by Doulton in 1881-82. Many Doulton patterns remained in production for years.
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.
- Insulator, Pyrex No. 453, one-piece, light yellow, $40.
- Brownie camera, No. 2, Eastman Kodak, box, 6 inches, $90.
- Railroad dinnerware celery dish, Milwaukee Road Traveler, Syracuse China, 1947, 9 by 5 inches, $175.
- Vess Soda display sign, figural, heavy chalkware, hanging, with working thermometer on building, soda jerk in front of store waving, 1940s, 16 by 12 inches, $180.
- Fire engine puzzle, heavy cardboard, image of fire-fighting scene, building advertising McLaughlin Toys & Games, complete, wooden box, 1887, $625.
- Steuben blue Aurene tree-trunk vase, iridescent with purple hues, three different size trunks, signed, 6 inches, $710.
Questions of general interest will be answered in the column. Send questions to Antiques, Ralph and Terry Kovel, c/o the St. Petersburg Times, King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.