You can’t afford a Rolls, but you might be able to buy a figurine
Fancy a bit of luxury? This “Spirit of Ecstasy” figurine reproduces the hood ornament of Rolls-Royce cars.
In 1909, car enthusiast John Douglas-Scott-Montagu commissioned sculptor Charles Sykes to create a mascot for his Rolls-Royce. Sykes made a sculpture of a woman bent at the waist, leaning forward so that her dress flutters behind her like wings. The model was Eleanor Thornton, Montagu’s secretary and, secretly, lover.
In 1911, Sykes’ sculpture became Rolls-Royce’s official hood ornament. “Spirit of Ecstasy” is its official name, but it is also known as “Flying Lady” or “Silver Lady”. The hood ornament was originally silver, but has since been made in other silver metals like chrome or stainless steel.
This brass version is a reproduction. It sold for $210 at Morphy Auctions – a very low price compared to an actual Rolls-Royce car.
Q: I have an old oil lamp that I keep as decoration, but I wonder how to use it in case I lose electricity during a thunderstorm. Is it safe? Or will it damage the antique or create a fire hazard?
A: If you want to use an old oil lamp, make sure it is clean and that none of its parts are missing or damaged. Choose your fuel carefully; each type of oil lamp is designed for a specific type of fuel. What is sold as “lamp oil” is purified kerosene, so it is safe for kerosene lamps. You can find commercial lamp oils with added colorings or fragrances, but we don’t recommend them. They can damage your lamp or leave stains. Keep the lamp and its fuel out of the reach of children or pets. Use a wick long enough to keep the flame from reaching the oil. Treat the lamp like a lighted candle or any other open flame. Do not use it in an area where you have detected gas. Use it in a well-ventilated room and keep it on a firm surface where it won’t be bumped or knocked over.
There are several clubs for antique lamp collectors and businesses that repair and restore oil lamps or sell spare parts. Many are listed in the Kovels.com business directory. They often have detailed instructions and safety precautions for using oil lamps.
Q: I have a letter signed by Paul Franke and Dr. Reinhold Heidecke, the founders of the company that produced the Rollei and Rolleiflex cameras. He congratulates the buyer of the TLR camera. The letter is in German and has no date. Can you tell me when this letter could have been written? I don’t want to sell it but I’m curious if it has any value.
A: The Rollei optical instrument company was founded in 1920 by Paul Franke and Dr. Reinhold Heidecke in Braunschweig, Germany. The camera had two separate lenses: one for the view and one for taking the picture. Their Rolleiflex TLR (twin lens reflex) camera was sold in 1929. Paul Franke died in 1950. The letter should have been written between 1929 and 1950. Letters signed by famous people are collectible and valuable. The letter might be of interest to camera collectors and camera historians if it is an authentic letter and not an advertising piece. An authentic letter would probably have a date. You may need to take it to an autograph expert to determine the value.
Q: My grandmother loved the Precious Moments figurines. She gave me the Precious Moments figurine of a bride called “Someday My Love” when I got married 20 years ago. Is it worth anything?
A: Precious moments, like Beanie Babies, were very popular and people collected them assuming they would increase in value. Most did not. Artist and illustrator Samuel Butcher began drawing pictures of stylized, cute children in the 1970s. He and a friend started a business to make and sell greeting cards and posters featuring his artwork ‘Precious Moments». In 1978, Enesco Corp. has developed a range of Precious Moments porcelain figurines. Demand was high. Sales kept growing, too many different figurines were made, and the market collapsed. Many buyers still like them, but they are selling at very low prices. Your “Someday My Love” figurine was made in 1988. It sells for between 14 and 25 dollars.
Q: I have a whole set of blue Currier & Ives platters, platters, bowls and serving pieces. I am now drawn to Currier & Ives pink sets. What can you tell me about them?
A: During the 1950s, Royal China’s Currier & Ives model was offered as a premium in A&P and Winn-Dixie stores. They can now be found in virtually all shopping malls and thrift stores. Their prices are starting to climb, so buying a complete set becomes expensive – at least $10 a dish, and the same for bowls and serving pieces. Currier & Ives pieces were produced until the closure of the Royal China Company in 1986. Most Currier & Ives sets are blue, as you mentioned. In addition to the rarer pink, you can also find green and brown-on-white sets. The rarest colors are more expensive.
POINT: Do not store vintage fabrics in unheated attics or basements or in areas that may become hot. The best storage is between 65 and 75 degrees.
on the block
Current prices are recorded from antique shows, flea markets, sales and auctions across the United States. Prices vary by location due to local economic conditions.
Toy, puppet, penguin, gray beak and feet, wears red jacket, black and white checkered shirt, poseable, Dee Segula, 20th century, 9 by 5½ inches, $60.
Silver, bonbonniere, Arts and Crafts, hinged handle, pierced, four angled scrollwork around edge, hand-hammered, R. Wallace & Sons, 19th century, 5 inches, diameter, $75.
Limoges porcelain bowl, white flowers, gold rim, short neck, shoulders, 8½ by 12 inches, $190.
Lamp, oil, chinoiserie, opaque glass, white, double calabash shape, painted leafy and fruiting branches, mounted as a table lamp, 22 by 6 inches, the pair, $255.
Brass, wall sculpture, musical notation, treble clef, curved staff, black metal, modernist, signed, circa Jere, 1988, 24 by 60 inches, $280.
Cabinet, desk, neoclassical, Hollywood Regency, oak, black lacquer, cream leather writing surface, three of two drawers, knee hole, tapered legs, Baker Furniture Co., 29 x 46 x 23 inches, $310.
Advertisement, display, Crayola Crayons, box, open, rounded top, eight crayons inside, yellow and green exterior, painted, wood, 78 by 42 inches, $510.
Hutschenreuther figurine, tiger, front paw extended, head up, tail down, porcelain, 10½ by 22½ inches, $810.
Book, An Historical Atlas, Edward Quin, 21 maps, fold-out, aquatints, engraved, hand-coloured, RB Seeley & W. Burnside, London, 1836, $1,170.
Blanket, wearing, Navajo, female, red field, seven stripes of black and yellow waves, red and white triangular border, 1900s, 80 by 51 inches, $3,445.
(c) 2022 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.