'Sweetheart' jewelry was serviceman's gift Antiques: In the 1940s, soldiers and sailors sent heart-shaped pins, pendants, lockets and bracelets decorated with military emblems to their loved ones at home.

March 09, 1997|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

The 1940s produced thousands of different types of military "sweetheart jewelry" designs. Sailors and soldiers, far from home, wanted to send romantic gifts to the girls and women they left behind. Many types of sweetheart jewelry were made, including pins, pendants, lockets and charm bracelets.

The most common design was a heart, often decorated with a service emblem or eagle in metal or painted enamel. The heart was made of wood, metal or plastic.

Each branch of the service preferred its own emblem, so the pins had wings for the Air Force, an eagle over a globe and anchor for the Marine Corps, an anchor and the initials "USN" for the Navy, or a standing eagle for the Army. Other symbols represented various Army branches.

The pin also might have the word "wife," "sister," "mother" or "sweetheart" included in the design. Most common are the Army pins. Least common are those for the Coast Guard, showing crossed anchors with a shield.

Sweetheart jewelry is still inexpensive and can be found at flea markets and house sales.

I recently inherited a rocking chair that is stamped on the bottom "S. Bent & Bros. Inc." Do you have any information?

S. Bent & Bros. were furniture makers in Gardner, Mass. They worked as early as 1867. By 1880, the company was large enough to provide furniture to Yale University. S. Bent & Bros. Chair Manufacturers are still in business in Gardner.

I bought a wicker stroller at an auction a few years ago. It has a brass plate that says "F.A. Whitney Carriage Co." What can you tell me about it?

Wicker baby carriages became popular in America in the mid-1870s. By the 1880s thousands were being produced by manufacturers such as the F.A. Whitney Carriage Co. in Leominster, Mass. Early carriages are plainer in style than those made in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

By 1910, the popularity of wicker baby carriages began to wane. Prices for Victorian wicker baby carriages range from $100 to $1,000, depending on age, condition and style.

I have a soft plastic doll of the little fellow in the Green Giant commercials. Is it valuable?

Your Little Sprout doll, a 1970s advertising promotion for Green Giant vegetables, is worth $15.

I just bought a serving platter made by Franciscan China. It has pink, blue and green crocuses in the center. Any information?

The name of your pattern is Sierra Crocus. It is called Franciscan Fine China to distinguish it from an earthenware Sierra pattern. Your pattern was introduced in 1950. Dinner plates sell for $39 to $47. A serving platter would be worth $75.

While cleaning out my aunt's belongings, I found a picture of Bing Crosby with the corners cut out. It mentions that Bing is starring in "Here Comes the Groom." Below his picture are the words "Bread for Energy." Can you help me out?

Your aunt saved a label from the end of a loaf of bread.

Starting in the 1930s, many bakeries wrapped their bread in wax paper and sealed one end with a label that pictured a movie star or cartoon character. The bread's brand name was on the other end.

The labels were issued in series, to encourage collectors. Albums, booklets and wall posters were given away at the store where the bread was sold.

With the introduction of television, the 1950s became a prime time for bread end labels. Series included Tom Corbett, Gene Autry, the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Range Rider and Howdy Doody. Mickey Mantle and other sports stars also appeared on bread labels.

Your Bing Crosby label, issued in 1951, sells for $15 to $20.

The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Write to Kovels, The Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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