Q: My future mother-in-law has a nifty collection of ruby red glass animals she keeps lined up on the windowsills so they can catch the sunlight. Where can she find the value of her glass menagerie and different animals to add to her collection? Is there a company that specializes in shipping fragile glass? Is there a matching service for Cambridge stemware in the Rosepoint pattern?
A: The definitive book on the subject is "Ruby Glass of the 20th Century," by Naomi L. Over. It's available, with price guide, for $24.45 postpaid in paperback or $32.45 postpaid in hardcover from Antique Publications, Box 553, Marietta, Ohio 45750-0553; phone (800) 533-3433. Ruby and other types of glass are listed for sale in The Daze -- The Nation's Market Place for Glass, China and Pottery, available for $19 a year or $2 a copy from The Daze, Box 57, Otisville, Mich. 48463; phone (313) 631-4593.
A firm that picks ups, packs and ships glass or any other fragile items to any destination (by a special foam-in-place packing process to protect against breakage) is Pro-Pack Inc., 527 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill. 60062; phone (708) 272-0408.
To match colors or patterns of Cambridge, Heisey, Fostoria or Depression glass, write to Nadine Pankow's Glassware Matching Service, 207 S. Oakwood, Willow Springs, Ill. 60480; phone (708) 839-5231.
Q: Can you tell me anything about mechanical gun-shooting toy soldiers and when they were made? Where can I find one?
A: Throughout the years, there have been various toy mechanical soldiers designed to crawl on their stomachs and shoot guns. A "Sharp Shooter" windup soldier marked "Made in Occupied Japan" and trademarked "Alps" dates from 1945 to 1952 and was made during the American occupation of Japan after World War II. It has a value of $50 in the best condition with its original box. One of the newest is a battery-operated, 14-inch GI Joe who crawls realistically on his knees and elbows, twisting his waist; his rifle shoots with light and sound. These are available for $20 each postpaid from Susan Manos, a GI Joe dealer and author, at 13437 Yvonne Drive, Warren, Mich. 48093. Also available from Ms. Manos is the book "Collectible Male Action Figures," by Paris and Susan Manos, for $16.95 postpaid. It includes pictures and prices of GI Joe, Captain Action, Ken dolls and others. For more information, phone Ms. Manos at (313) 777-5568.
Q: My son collects elephants and would like to know if there is an elephant collectors' club he can join. Also, where can I find a detachable handle for an antique toy iron?
A: Write to Richard Massiglia, in care of the National Elephant Collectors Society, Box 7, 89 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, Mass. 02115. Enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for membership information or $1 for a sample copy of the society's newsletter.
A shop that caters to elephant lovers is Elephants, in care of Catherine Bedno, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611; phone (312) 280-8500. To find a handle for your iron, write to the Iron Lady, 501 N. Fifth St., Waelder, Texas 78959-0068; phone (512) 665-7166. Or write to the Midwest Sad Irons Collectors Club, in care of Mel Hansen, 614 S.E. 12th St., Owatonna, Minn. 55060, enclosing $10 for an annual membership and quarterly newsletter.
Q: We recently found among our father's possessions an unusual guitar he purchased around 1918 when he served in the U.S. Navy at San Diego. We've been told by a local guitar shop that the instrument is unique and somewhat valuable. How can we find out more about it and its value?
A: Write to Russ Swanson, who collects vintage guitars and banjos and who is the president of the American Guitar Collectors Association, 533 S. Ahrens Ave., Lombard, Ill. 60148. Enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for a reply.
Q: How can I find out the value of and where can I sell an extensive collection of decorative hammered aluminum items dating from the 1940s and '50s and consisting of more than 300 pieces?
A: Write to The Aluminist, the bimonthly newsletter of the Hammered Aluminum Collectors Club, in care of Dannie Woodard, Weatherford, Texas 76086, enclosing an addressed, stamped envelope for information or $12 for an annual bTC membership, newsletter subscription and yearbook listing collectors of hammered aluminum.
Q: Can you furnish me with the name and address of a china matching service in Princeton, Ill.?
A: Write to Patterns of the Past, 513 Main St., Princeton, Ill. 61356, enclosing a description of the pieces you want and a stamped return envelope for a reply, or phone (815) 875-1944.
Anita Gold can be reached by writing Anita Gold, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore 21278. Selected questions will appear in her column. The volume of mail makes individual replies impossible. When writing sources listed in this column, enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for replies.