To attract Western travelers to Japan, the Japanese government commissioned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) to design the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Wright’s overall designs for his buildings included nearly every item, including tableware.
Known as the Cabaret pattern, this porcelain dinnerware was designed for the Cabaret dining room at the Imperial Hotel, which opened in 1923. The art deco-inspired circular design was Wright’s interpretation of the champagne bubbles overflowing on cutlery. The strategically placed rouge on the rim of the cup was suggested to conceal the lipstick imprints of women drinking from the coffee cups.
The tableware was originally produced by the Japanese company Noritake with reproductions made by Tiffany. The Imperial Hotel was demolished in 1968, but its entrance and lobby have been preserved and can be visited at Japan’s Meiji-mura, an open-air architectural museum and park.
Q: How do I know how much my Remington sculpture is worth? It is dated 1876.
A: Frederic Remington (1861-1909) was a painter before turning to sculpture in the 1890s. He made 22 sculptures, which were cast at the Roman Bronze Works or the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. If your sculpture does not bear not one of those foundry marks, it’s a reproduction. The number 1876 is not the date. If your sculpture is an original Remington, the number indicates its place in the production sequence. Reproductions were sometimes numbered as are limited editions. Original Remingtons sell for thousands of dollars. Some reproductions sell for several hundred dollars. If you take it to a museum, they should be able to tell you if it’s an original Remington or a good reproduction. An antique dealer who sells bronzes can estimate their value.
Q: Can I treat my grandmother’s dishes and silverware as my everyday pieces and put them in the microwave and dishwasher if I use them at a holiday dinner?
A: If you have a dishwasher that’s less than 10 years old, it’s probably safe to wash most things. Exceptions include vintage table knives with hollow handles, which can be a problem because old ones are sometimes filled with a substance that melts and the blades of the knives loosen or spin. This can also happen to knives made with a stainless steel blade and a different material for the handle. Don’t wash your silver plate with other metal dishes, or you could have a chemical reaction. Dishes with metallic gold (this will sparkle) or metallic silver (heat can turn the trim gray and toxic) trim should not be microwaved. Factory prepared meals should be acceptable; the decoration has been placed under a clear glaze. But the hand painted trim could wash off. Most vintage and antique porcelain is safe. If you are unsure, test a part. It is the heat that causes the problems. Newer dishwashers will clean dishes you haven’t rinsed and save you time, but surface paint that isn’t underglaze will come off with repeated use.
Q: I would like to know the manufacturer and the possible age of a small toy horse. It measures approximately 3 inches long from head to tail and 2½ inches tall. The body is light brown flocked and the mane and tail are cream colored synthetic hair. The horse has black pearl eyes and red reins. The bottom of the horse’s stomach has a label that says “Handwork, Kunstlerschutz, West Germany” around a red triangle with a stylized conjoined “FW” in the middle. What can you tell me?
A: Your mini horse was made by Wagner Handwork Company in Rodental, West Germany. It probably originally had a red saddle and reins. West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) existed from 1949 until German reunification in 1990. The German word “Kunstlerschutz” means “protected artist”, similar to a copyright. Fritz Wagner started the company in the late 1940s. He created over 300 different animals ranging from about 2 inches to about 7¾ inches. The company was run by members of the Wagner family until it closed in 1998. The label you describe was used from 1966 to 1983. The name “Wagner” instead of “Kunstlerschutz” was used on the labels from 1983 to 1990. After 1990, the labels said “Germany” instead of “West Germany”.
Q: I have a large collection of old 33 LPs. Most are over 40 and some are 50 or older. Are they valuable?
A: Vinyl records were popular from the 1950s through the 1980s, losing popularity in the 90s when new formats took over. Listeners have found that the sound quality is better and fuller on vinyl records than on digital releases, so vinyl records have become popular again. Sales have grown over the past 15 years and now exceed the sale of music on other physical formats. The value of your old records depends on the artist’s popularity, rarity, and condition. You can get an idea of their value by taking them to a local store that sells old records. There are also online sites that give record values. Goldmine Magazine has a directory of record stores and other information on its website, www.goldminemag.com.
Point: Do not clean the parts. Collectors want pieces with the patina unchanged.
on the block
Current prices are recorded from antique shows, flea markets, sales and auctions across the United States. Prices vary by location due to local economic conditions.
Belleek dinner bell, yellow loop handle, lobed body, ivory glaze, embossed yellow clusters, scalloped edge, metal ringer, gilt stamp, 7th mark, Ireland, 5 inch, $19.
Bohemian glass vase, green, clover leaf and floret enamel, gold trim, flared lip, round foot, signed “St. Vaast La-Hogue” in script, marked “Importe”, 6½ inches, $72.
Bath, vendor’s sample, cast iron, light green enamel, four-legged, ‘Doulton’ embossed on side, Royal Doulton, 20th century, 6¼ inches long, $163.
Textile, sewing, embroidered, silk, Irish crest, Erin Go Bragh, blue background, openwork border, frame, 29½ by 27½ inches, $192.
Decoy, swan, wooden head and neck, carved, wire canvas body, wooden base, painted, white, black beak, early 20th century, $250.
Barometer, yellow wooden case, glazed, round dial, French text, thermometer in cartouche above, urn and garland finial, foliate base, PF Bollenbach, Barrington, Illinois, circa 1920, 40 by 15 inches, $310.
Game box, opening on checkerboard, backgammon interior, papier-mâché, black lacquer, mother-of-pearl inlay, gilt highlights, storage compartment, ivory, red and white game pieces, four dice cups, Victorian, England, circa 1860, 3¼ by 16¼ by 8¾ inches, $563.
Jewelry, pendant, green and orange enamel, three clovers, hanging from round green cabochon, green clover drop, silver chain, Arts & Crafts, circa 1905, 22 inch chain, 2¾ by 1½ inch pendant, $625.
Advertising clock, “Chrysler MoPar Parts Accessories,” round, yellow center with red trim, Arabic numerals, printed, milky glass, domed glass cover, chrome surround, pressed paper back, electric, 14¾ inches, $756.
Lamp, floor lamp, five lights, figurative, draped woman, holding a flowering branch above her head, flower-shaped lights, green and white beaded lampshades, round base, spelter, foundry mark, France, early 20th century, 49 inches, $2,375.