Q: I received this Hummel Madonna as a gift while in Germany in 1955. Two appraisers have been unable to tell me anything about her. She is ivory with a light brown glaze and the model number is 10/3 with the Full Bee mark.
A: This Flower Madonna was made in several colors, including the light brown you describe. It would sell for about $650 -- twice the price of the white version.
Q: The attached mark is on the bottom of a china pitcher. It is decorated with two male figures and bunches of grapes with leaves. I would like to know who made it, when and where and the value.
A: This mark was used by Charles Meigh, Son & Pankurst in Hanley, England, during the years 1850 and 1851. Your pitcher would probably sell for $325 to $335. "California" is the name of
The first sewing machine was supposedly invented by a Frenchman in about 1830. French tailors feared he would put them out of business, so they attacked his shop.
In America, Elias Howe Jr. obtained the first patent for a sewing machine in this country in 1846. Five years later, Isaac Singer was awarded a patent for his version of a sewing machine.
Howe sued Singer and won, but both of them and dozens of others continued to produce millions of machines. In less than 20 years, about 70 companies produced all varieties of sewing machines. In 1876, there were almost 5 million manufactured.
With the advent of mail-order companies and eventually shopping malls, the market for sewing machines diminished to a fraction of their late-19th century peak.
It should be obvious at this point that most old sewing machines are not very valuable. The standard treadle model made in the late 1800s sells for about $100.
One with a fancy wood cabinet that conceals all of the metal structural parts will sell for three times as much.
Send your questions about antiques with picture(s), a detailed description, a stamped, self-addressed envelope and $1 per item to James G. McCollam, P.O. Box 1087, Notre Dame, Ind. 46556. All questions will be answered; published pictures cannot be returned. Mr. McCollam is a member of the Antique Appraisers Association of America.