When we reach the autumnal equinox, summer is officially over. That doesn't mean you have to put sunshine and vacation fun entirely out of your mind, though. Isn't that what mementos and souvenirs are for?
Take this shell-shaped porcelain vase, which sold for $2,460 at Morphy Auctions. Even though it's not a real shell, it can evoke beach trips and the serenity that comes with them. It was made by Royal Dux, the collectors nickname for Duxer Porzellanmanufaktur, founded in Dux, Bohemia (now Duchov, Czechia), in 1860. This porcelain factory is best known for its art nouveau pieces with natural elements and human figures.
Art nouveau images of people are often stylized and suggest mythological or allegorical characters; the young woman perched on the edge of the shell vase is probably meant to be a sea nymph. After all, there's a little magic and mystery in the beauty of nature and its ability to inspire.
Q: My mother-in-law collected stamps all over the world as well as the United States. She passed away at 98 in 2005. She has been collecting for a long time and probably had over 1,000. The stamps were in a flood. I have not looked at them all, but some seem to be OK, other than the glue is gone, of course. They are not perfect, but in good condition. I am assuming that without the glue, they are worthless? I just wanted your opinion. There is one that I thought would be worth something even without the glue. It was a stamp with a buffalo on it. I've never seen that.
A: Stamps without glue (gum) on the back can be worth something. Twentieth-century stamps are worth more with the glue intact but can still sell without the glue. However, 19th-century stamps and stamps from certain countries are often preferred without the glue. Older glues can crack, discolor or otherwise damage the stamp over time. The U.S. Post Office has issued stamps with buffalo multiple times; a 30-cent stamp issued from 1923 to 1931 may be the most famous. Your stamps may still have value. Stamp collecting is a highly specialized field, so the best way to find the value of a stamp is with the help of an expert dealer or appraiser. Look for one in your area. The American Philatelic Society (www.stamps.org) can help you find resources.
Q: I inherited my dad's straight razor collection. I have 450 razors and would like to know the best way to sell them. I tried local antiques dealers here in Canada, but it would take too long for them to be sold. Any ideas or suggestions on what to do with them? I also have 100 hair receivers.
A: Straight razors have been made for a few hundred years. They lost popularity after safety razors were introduced in 1903, but some are still being made. Hundreds of manufacturers in many different countries have made straight razors. The maker as well as the design and material of the handle help determine value. Collectors want old razors in good condition. The original box adds value. Search on Google or on a site like Liveauctioneers.com to find razor auctions. If you decide to have an auction to sell the collection, be sure to find out what the seller's commission, buyer's premium and any other charges will be.
Q: I have several place settings and serving pieces (platter, bowls, gravy boat, etc.). They are Hermann Ohme dinnerware in the OHM2 pattern. Would there be any value to the entire group, and would collectors be interested in them?
A: Hermann Ohme founded his porcelain factory in Silesia, Germany (now Walbrzych, Poland). Production began in 1882. Ohme's son took over the factory in 1921, and it closed in 1930 during the Great Depression. The company is known for two types of porcelain: clear glaze, which was made for European and American markets, and Old Ivory, which has a hand-painted ivory background and is decorated with colorful decals.
Usually, the best way to sell a set of dishes is to sell them to a local antiques store or retail shop; selling locally helps avoid the trouble (and costs) of packing and shipping them. Or you could sell them to a matching service where people buy replacements for broken or missing dishes. A 65-piece set of Hermann Ohme porcelain in the "Elysee" pattern recently sold for $125 at auction. The Society for Old Ivory and Ohme Porcelains (www.soiop.org) may be able to help you find more information or potential buyers.
TIP: Either Coca-Cola or Tang can be used to remove stains from porcelain.
Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer readers' questions sent to the column. Send a letter with one question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two pictures, the object and a closeup of any marks or damage. Be sure your name and return address are included. By sending a question, you give full permission for use in any Kovel product. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We do not guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels Publications. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at collectorsgallerykovels.com.
Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.
Toy boat, submarine, Barracuda, atomic, clear top, interior compartments, rotating propellers, on/off switch on top, battery operated, box, Remco, 4 1/2 by 38 by 6 inches, $30.
Map, chart, Antarctic Polar Circle, "With the Countries Adjoining, According to the New Hypothesis of M. Buache, From the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Paris," Gentleman's Magazine, England, 1763, 8 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches, $50.
Coverlet, jacquard, three colors, red and green stripes, star medallions in leafy wreaths, signed, C. Fehr Emaus, 1840, 96 by 62 inches, $90.
Cobalt blue glass, compote, shallow bowl, baluster stem, clear knop with bubbles, round foot, polished pontil mark, 7 by 8 inches, $100.
Store bin, Coffee, red paint, slant lid, glass panel, yellow lettering, 19 by 13 by 6 1/2 inches, $120.
Royal Copenhagen figurine, Amager Boy, kneeling, holding garland, traditional Danish costume, Carl Martin Hansen, early 20th century, 6 inches, $320.
Box, traveling, lap desk, artist's, lift top, interior compartments, front drawer, scrolling brass inlay, recessed carrying handles, 19th century, 6 1/2 by 5 1/2 by 12 1/2 inches, $385.
Scientific instrument, telescope, Etablissement Vion, France, single draw, brass, oak tripod stand, 57 inches, $585.
Pottery, contemporary, vase, feelie, apple green drip glaze, round, short neck and foot, signed, Rose Cabat, 3 inches, $1,090.
Barber chair, art deco, hydraulic, leather upholstery, head rest, oak base, foot rest, lion arm supports, four paw feet, brass covered, Theo. A. Kochs Co., early 20th century, 46 by 30 by 42 inches, $3,840.