Q: Enclosed is a picture of a New Haven clock in a porcelain case. It looks like the kind of blue-and-white jasper ware that Wedgwood made. It chimes on the hour and half-hour. I would appreciate anything you can tell me about its age and value.
A: Clocks like this were made around the turn of the century by New Haven Clock and several other companies. Yours is an exceptionally nice one and would probably sell for about $275 to $300.
Q: The enclosed mark is on the bottom of a porcelain teapot decorated with several red birds sitting on branches. The top and handle are trimmed in gold. Please provide whatever information you can about its vintage, origin and value.
A: Your teapot was made by Pillivuyt & Co. in Paris around the turn of the century. It would probably sell for $75 to $85.
Buying and selling "antique" cameras is a tricky experience. It requires a lot of knowledge and experience to be able to identify and evaluate old photographic devices.
The old box cameras that we remember from our childhoods are worth very little unless we go way back to the turn of the century. The first Kodak box camera made by Eastman in 1888 sells for about $3,000 in good condition. The 1890 version of the same box camera drops down to $300 or $400.
By 1900, Eastman was making folding cameras, and survivors of these early models are only worth about $100. The prima donna of Eastman folding cameras is the Super Kodak Six-20 Special made in 1938; it sells for about $1,000.
There are foreign-made folding cameras of substantial value, like the Super Ikonta BX made in the mid-1950s that sells for about $300. The pre-World War II Super Ikontas bring about $200.
During the mid-1900s, one of the cameras popular with serious photographers was the twin-lens reflex camera. Typical of these is the Rolleiflex Automatic, which brings about $200 in good condition.
One of the great cameras made after World War II was the single-lens reflex Hasselblad 1600F made from 1948 to 1952. One of these in fine condition, complete with case, sells for at least $1,000.
Starting after the first World War, the 35mm format grew in popularity. A good Leica A range finder camera made in the early 1920s commands as much as $10,000. That qualifies it as the most valuable collectible camera. Eastman Kodak's attempt to compete, the Ektar, made in 1941, will barely top $500.
The Compass range finder 35mm camera of 1937 in good condition easily tops $1,000.
Now it's time to hear from Japan with the Nikon S2 of 1955, which is in the $500 range.
It should by now be evident that age is not nearly as important as quality and rarity. Careful scrutiny will reveal that the majority of old cameras are worth less than their original retail price in today's dollars.