Q: Enclosed is the mark on the back of each piece of a seven-piece cake set consisting of one large and six small plates. They are decorated with red and yellow roses and edged in gold. Can you tell me anything about the vintage and value? I am also interested in the identity of the maker.
A: Your cake set was made by C. Tilesch & Co. in Altwasser, Germany, about 1900. It would probably sell for $200 to $225.
Q: Enclosed is a photo of my side-by-side secretary. I would like any information you can provide about when and where it was made and the value. The glass door and mirror are the original ones and the whole thing is in good condition.
A: This asymmetric secretary was probably made in Grand Rapids, Mich., about 1900. Asymmetric means that the right and left sides are different. This would probably sell for $600 to $700.
Q: My father purchased a violin about 90 years ago in Austria. It has the name "Stainer" engraved on the back. Can you tell me anything about how much it is worth?
A: Jacob Stainer made violins over 300 years ago. Experts believe
that any violins bearing his name are copies made in the last 100
A copy in good condition runs about $150. An original would be worth many thousand dollars. Take your violin to a museum where experts can examine it and confirm its vintage.