With its carved giltwood trim and rich velvet upholstery, this sofa would look right at home among the opulent Baroque and extravagant Rococo styles of the 18th century. It was made much more recently, in fact; by Jumbo Collection, a contemporary Italian furniture company that was founded in 1985. It sold for $1,188 at a Hindman auction.
Contemporary Italian furniture may be associated with postmodern, avant-garde trends like Radical Design, Studio Alchimia and Memphis, but older styles are always coming back. Rococo style was revived, like many other past design styles, in the 19th century, and came back into fashion once more in the early 20th century. Today's design may tend toward minimalism; the simple, functional mid-century modern look is popular, but the pendulum always swings back; decorations like elaborate carving, gilded trim and lush fabrics may come back again before we know it.
Q: I was given this medicine cabinet by a dentist many years ago. Any idea on what it would be worth?
A: Medical and dental equipment, including cabinets, are popular with collectors. Value depends on their size, condition, material and unusual features like rotating cases or other movable parts. Your cabinet is by Clark & Roberts, a company that made dental cabinets, exam tables and other medical furniture in the early 20th century. A cabinet by Clark & Roberts sold at auction a few years ago for about $500. More recently, similar cabinets by other or unknown manufacturers have sold for about $200 to $700. Having the label with the maker's name increases the value. Asking prices online can go from about $400 to over $1,000. An auction house or dealer who specializes in medical or dental collectibles may be able to give you a more precise estimate.
Q: A family member told me to send you an email to see if you could help me out with a few dolls I have. They were given to me by older family members when I was very little, and I have carried them with me my whole life. I have not been lucky in finding out much about them or their worth. If there is any information you can kindly pass on, it will be greatly appreciated.
A: It is difficult to determine the value of a porcelain doll without knowing its maker, approximate age, or other identifying details. Many companies in the 1980s and 1990s made collectible porcelain dolls that resembled or were inspired by antique dolls. They are generally not period-accurate and not worth as much as authentic antiques. It's good that you have the packaging and certificate for the "Soft Expressions" doll; they always increase the value. "Soft Expressions" dolls have sold online for anywhere from about $10 to $70. The highest prices tend to go to dolls with the original accessories, packaging and papers. Unfortunately, items made as "collector's editions" rarely turn out to be the investment that people expect them to be. Many people buy them and keep them in mint condition, so the market quickly gets saturated. If the maker is not known, modern and contemporary porcelain dolls, and even some antique ones, tend to sell for low prices, about $10 to $30. A doll hospital, dealer or a collector's club in your area may be able to help you find more information about the other dolls. You can find collectors' clubs and resources in your area with on the United Federation of Doll Clubs website, ufdc.org. Other online resources like Doll Reference (dollreference.com) may also help.
Q: My great-grandmother bought a Weller Flemish Grapevine jardiniere at an estate sale in the 1920s. There are no flaws or chips, and it is signed. I've had it all these years, and I'm getting old. No one in the family seems to want it, and I don't know what to do with it. My present house is small. Any ideas? I also have a slightly smaller Roma that I can actually use here. But the big Flemish Grapevine is just too huge; stored in the basement.
A: Samuel A. Weller started his pottery in 1872 in Ohio. Early pieces were utilitarian, and the company started making art pottery in 1893. They developed hundreds of lines, becoming the world's largest art pottery by 1915. The company closed in 1948. Today, large antique Weller pieces like jardinieres sell for hundreds of dollars. A Weller Flemish jardiniere and pedestal in a different pattern is listed at $427 in Kovels' 2023 Price Guide. A Flemish grapevine jardiniere and pedestal with some flaws sold for $500 at a recent auction. If yours is in flawless condition, it is likely worth more. If you intend to sell your jardiniere, be sure you get your money's worth! We recommend contacting an antique or consignment store or auction in your area, and be sure to check for seller's commissions, buyer's premiums and other fees.
TIP: Don't retouch gold leaf picture frames or other gold trim with anything but real gold leaf.
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.
Table, side, Anglo-Burmese, carved top, turned legs, cross stretcher, late 1800s, 22 by 14 by 14 inches, $70.
Pottery vase, Hopi, globular, red glaze, sgraffito, figure looking up, corn stalk, symbols, signed, Ellsworth Nampeyo, 3 inches, $190.
Wooden model, mathematical, cone, segmented, teacher's, five sections, midcentury, 10 inches, $300.
Peking glass vase, lake scene, green birds and water lilies, blue textured ground, footed, character mark, 10 inches, pair, $350.
Inkstand, silver, two cut glass inkwells, ewer-shaped candlestick, tray with pen rest, repousse leafy scrolls, Henry Wilkinson & Co., 6 by 9 1/2 by 6 inches, $470.
Cash register, National, Model 415, Empire pattern, "Amount Purchased" on crest, panel with hand pointing to price, plated brass, wood base, circa 1908, 24 by 18 1/2 by 15 1/2 inches, $615.
Music sign, trade, Gordon Green, Violinist, Teacher of the Violin, white lettering, black ground, violin at left side, painted, hanging loops, circa 1910, 14 3/4 by 26 inches, $705.
Imari bowl, cobalt blue wave shaped panels, red and white flowers and birds, ormolu mounts, bronze dore, pierced leafy scrolled handles, rim and base, 11 1/2 by 15 inches, $850.
Leather attaché case, green, front flap closure, top handle, horizontal snap lock, brass keys, three interior compartments, Hermes, France, circa 1970, 13 by 16 inches, $1,665.
Table, Mastercraft style, Trilobe, rectangular glass top, two lacquered brass bases, triangular, concave sides, mid-century, 28 by 81 by 48 inches, $3,840.