A good word and a good value Antiques: Moxie was once a product, then a high-risk investment. If you bought a lot of it, a lot of moxie is what you had. Now the memorabilia has the moxie.

July 07, 1996|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

Names often become part of our language, and the words can develop meanings that are far removed from their origins.

The fourth Earl of Sandwich liked taking quick snacks at the gambling table. His name came to mean a kind of food.

Moxie Nerve Food was first served in 1876 in Salem, Mass. By the 1880s it was added to a carbonated soda and offered in drug stores. When Moxie stock was offered for sale to the public, the soda was still a new product, and it was a high-risk investment for the time. Only daring investors bought the stock. It was said that such people had "a lot of moxie," first meaning "a lot of stock," later meaning "a lot of nerve."

People collect the many Moxie advertising items, including paper fans, postcards, signs, bottles, trays and clocks.

One of the most expensive pieces of Moxie memorabilia is the Moxie advertising clock made in the early days of the company. The clock is worth more than $7,500.

Moxie is still being made and is sold in New England.

I saw an old wooden toy in an antiques store. It involved flipping a small clown figure from one wire to the other. The sign said it was made by the Wright brothers of airplane fame. Can you help me?

Orville Wright patented the Flips and Flops toy in 1925, 22 years after he and his brother, Wilbur, made the first airplane flight. Legend has it that Orville first made the toy to entertain his nieces and nephews. Eventually, the toy was manufactured by the Miami Wood Specialty Co. of Dayton, Ohio.

I have been collecting Wade figures for several years. What's the story behind them?

The Wade Group of Potteries started in 1810 near Burslem, England. The potteries merged around the turn of the century to become George Wade & Son Ltd., which made giftware, promotional items and industrial products. The company stopped making giftware from 1965 until the early 1970s. Its figurines include those packaged with Red Rose tea.

The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Unfortunately, the volume of mail makes personal answers impossible. Write to Kovels, The Baltimore Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017. If you wish other information about antiques, include a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope, and the Kovels will send you a listing of helpful books and publications.

Pub Date: 7/07/96

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