Ornament could be worth $450 to $500

CURIOUS COLLECTOR

September 26, 1993|By Lita Solis-Cohen and Sally Solis-Cohen | Lita Solis-Cohen and Sally Solis-Cohen,Contributing Writers Solis-Cohen Enterprises

Q: How old and valuable is our small ceramic figure of a cow nursing its calf on a base resembling the bank of a stream? Behind the animals is a low vase resembling a hollow tree trunk.

A: Your mantelpiece ornament of a cow and calf in a pastoral setting is called a "spill vase" and likely was made around 1860 to 1870 in the Staffordshire potting region of England. The low vase held "spills," thin strips of wood or twisted paper for lighting candles or anything else requiring a flame. This design, by an unknown maker, was mass produced and generally sold in pairs, according to dealer Melvin Alpren, of West Orange, N.J. Assuming your lone spill vase is in perfect condition and measures about six to seven inches high, it could retail for about $450 to $500, said Mr. Alpren.

Q: How old and valuable is my metal wind-up "Busy Bridge" toy by Louis Marx & Co., of New York? It's 24 inches long, 8 inches high and 3 1/2 inches wide. Three cars and three buses move across the bridge on a cable when the toy is wound.

A: A 1930s lithographed tin Marx Busy Bridge toy like yours, in good working condition, sold for $550 in July's auction of toys from the Spilhaus Collection conducted by Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd., P.O. Box 1001, Carversville, Pa. 18913, (215) 297-5109.

Q: What's the value of my Art Deco-style crystal stemware inherited from my grandmother? There are 12 wine glasses, 12 glasses which I think are parfaits, and 11 water goblets. The rims hTC are decorated with silver-colored bands and blue enamel diamonds; the bowl of each glass is etched with a floral design.

A: Your heirloom crystal probably was made in the late 1920s to 1930s in central Europe, and still can add style to a dining table. If your glasses are in perfect condition, they could retail for about $20 to $25 each, said dealer Barbara Lessig, of Pleasant Valley Antiques, 21000 Georgia Ave., Brookeville, Md. 20833, (301) 924-2293. The "parfaits" really are another size of wine glass.

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