Objects from the past always have stories to tell, and this month’s collections bring stories of how transportation, home life and society have changed over the past 150-plus years. While artfully designed gas pump globes, parlor chairs, silver cigarette cases and the first electric lights are exotic relics of the past, mummy jars are a reminder of a more recent time when racial propaganda was commonplace.
Q. This Standard Oil Red Crown gas pump is from a gas station in Globe Minnesota. My father worked for Standard Oil in the 1950s and 1960s, and when that gas station was remodeled, the old globes were discarded and my father saved a couple of them. It has been stored indoors since 1970 and is in excellent condition. It is about 16 inches tall and about 16 inches wide.
KB, Southwest Portland
A. Your gas pump globe was used on Standard Oil’s gasoline pumps from the 1930s through the 1950s. The crown is made of milk glass and the red color indicates regular gasoline. At auction, you can expect to sell for $700-$1,000 for your globe, as it is in excellent condition. A dealer can ask for $1,500 or more in automobile collections. As we could not find another example with the exact same painting scheme, it is likely that a collector would pay a premium for such a variation.
We have a pair of chairs that have been in our family for almost 100 years. They are 45 inches tall with an 18-inch seat width and 13-inch sitting height. They are in excellent condition and we do not believe they have been refurbished or reconditioned.
TC, Lake Oswego
A. Your chairs are from the Victorian period, circa 1860-1880, and are in the Rococo Revival style. They are probably American, though they are English in origin, and the wood is most likely walnut. These types of chairs are usually found in parlors and come in pairs. One of the pair has arms for gentlemen, and the other is a chair like yours without arms to accommodate the voluminous skirts of women of the time. At auction, you can expect an undamaged $400-$600 estimate for the pair. A dealer specializing in antique furniture may ask $1,400-$2,000 if in excellent condition.
Q. This is an early electric lamp my late wife bought from a small shop in Sellwood 20 years ago. It has an attractive globe on four wire-rod supports. It gives a very satisfying light and is attractive both off and on. Can you estimate its age and style period and its rough value?
KP, Southeast Portland
A. Based on your pictures, your lampshade was retailed by the Pairpoint Glass Company of New Bedford, Massachusetts and appears to be dated 1905-1910. The base has been changed to suit this shade and is probably made by another company. At auction, the lamp can sell for $250-$350. If undamaged, dealers may ask $600-$900, or upon inspection the lamp’s provenance can be dated to the same 1905-1910 period.
Q. I got this silver box at an auction years ago. It has a split wooden interior and is inscribed “Colonel EB Nicholls, Sub Sect to L”. It is 2 1/2 inches wide, 6 inches long and 3 1/2 inches deep. Can you tell me something about it?
A. This sterling silver cigarette box was made by Lebkucher & Co. of Newark, New Jersey, which was in business from 1896 to 1909. It was gifted to Colonel Nichols by a military unit. Basic searches did not provide much information about the kernel. At auction, you can see it selling for $200-$300. A dealer specializing in silver may ask $700-$1,000 if in undamaged condition.
The values discussed for the items covered in this column were researched by Portland appraiser Jerry L. Dobesh, ASA, is an accredited senior appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers, specializing in antiques and decorative arts. Their services include providing appraisals for estate tax, charitable giving, insurance scheduling and loss, and equitable distribution needs.
To find an appraiser, contact the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America. Estimates indicated in this Collections column are for general information purposes only and may not be used as a basis for sales, insurance or IRS purposes.
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