The legal definition of an antique is that it is at least 100 years old. This means the art deco era is officially reaching antique status. The name “art deco” is believed to come from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) in Paris in 1925, but the style already existed by the time of the exhibition.
World War I is generally considered the end of the art nouveau period and the beginning of art deco. People were moving into smaller homes and wanted inexpensive furniture where form followed function. The new machinery, manufacturing techniques and materials of the time lent themselves to the sleek geometric shapes that define the era.
This cabinet, made in Italy in 1934, shows characteristics of art deco style. It is constructed from smooth, simple shapes in veneers, acrylic and lacquered wood. Decorations are contained within the cabinet’s shape. Instead of ornate carvings, the cabinet has burl veneer, bands and squared spirals of dark wood. The cabinet sold for $2,322 at a Cowan’s auction.
Q: My son was in a book club in the late 1950s-early 1960s. They had the first editions of Dr. Seuss books. The books are in good condition. Are they worth anything?
A: Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote more than 60 children’s books under the name Dr. Seuss. Some of his most famous books were written in the 1950s and ‘60s and continue to be the most popular children’s books in the world. Identifying Suess’s first edition books is a challenge. The publishers did not explicitly print “First Edition” but printed a copyright date. There are experts who can help identify books that may be valuable first editions. Recent high-priced books are “And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” Horton Hears a Who,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” They have recently sold from $300 to $2,400.
Q: I have a collection of Rose in the Snow clear glass articles. What is the best way to sell them?
A: Rose in Snow pressed glass pattern was made by three different glass companies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Campbell, Jones & Co., a company in business from 1865 to 1886, introduced the pattern in 1883 and called it “No. 125.” Later, Bryce Brothers, a company in business from 1882 to 1891, made some pieces in the pattern, which they called “Rose in Snow.” After 1891, the pattern was made by United States Glass Company. The pattern was made in clear glass in both round and square versions. Pieces embossed “In Fond Remembrance” are reproductions and are not worth as much as the original pieces. If you have a large collection, see if an auction that specializes in pressed glass can sell it. You can also sell pieces to a matching service like Replacements.com and others that you can find on Kovels.com under “Popular Apps & Websites to Buy or Sell Collectibles, Household Goods, and more.” The Early American Pressed Glass Society (eapgs.com) has a list of auction houses that specialize in pressed glass, as well as dealers. Recent prices for Rose in Snow include $5 for a goblet, $12 for a bread & butter plate and $16 for a 7 1/4-inch salad plate.
Q: I’d like some information about a small table I bought at a house sale. There’s a metal label that says “Peck & Hills Furniture Co., Mfr’s of Dependable Lines.” What can you tell me about the maker?
A: Peck & Hills Furniture Co. was founded by Charles G. Peck and Jay C. Hills in Chicago in 1896. It was a wholesaler, manufacturer and distributor of furniture and other items. A 1922 catalog listed baby carriages, bicycles, clocks, Hoosier style kitchen cabinets, lamps, pianos, rugs, trunks, washing machines, wheel chairs and furniture for home, church and school. By 1929, the company was the largest furniture distributor in the United States with branches in several cities. It began selling retail in 1932. The company was still in business in 1957, but evidently went out of business soon after that. Some Peck & Hills furniture has sold for $100 to $200 recently.
Q: Our church received an electric mixer for a yard sale. It has a juicer attachment, a metal bowl and several beaters. “Electricmaid” is printed on it. Does it have any value?
A: Your mixer was made by the A.F. Dormeyer Corporation, Chicago, Ill. in the 1930s. Electricmaid Model 3300A was Dormeyer’s first multi-speed mixer designed to rival Sunbeam and Kitchenaid mixers and grinders. It could be used either as a hand mixer or attached to its stand. Mixers included meat grinding and juicer attachments. Kitchen appliances or “kitchen aids” became popular in the 1930s as electricity use spread across the U.S., revolutionizing household chores. A similar mixer recently sold for $85.
TIP: Brown shoe polish is good to cover scuffs and slight damage on furniture.