Doing an appraisal program can be a real mind-bender. People bring in such a wide range of different items. I can be looking at an elegant piece of ceramics one minute, then the next person brings in a baseball bat. This seems to be especially true when I have a program at the Teaberry Marketplace on Route 9 in Clermont.
I’m not surprised by this, Teaberry, itself is such an eclectic place, chock full of so many diverse and interesting things. They even have their own on-premise bistro, from which I was just finishing a distractingly delicious sandwich, when there they were – the fancy vase and the baseball bat.
The vase was a stupendous majolica urn featuring colorful, life-size birds. The color on majolica is intensified by its metallic glaze, but the clay is simple earthenware, which is very fragile. While minor chips and flecks are expected on old majolica, this piece had some serious damage. It appraised at about 20 percent of a good condition value of around $1,000.
The baseball bat was a Mike Schmidt game bat, marked on the knob with his initials, “MS” and number “20.” To sell an item like this, you need to have a certificate from an authenticator. A regular Mike Schmidt bat might be $300, but a signed game bat could fetch over $1,000.
A lady’s compact and a military pin continued the eclectic theme of the day. The compact was a Volupte, a company started in 1920 in Elizabeth NJ. Their compacts are prized by collectors, especially neat shapes, like the grand “Pianette” brought in for appraisal. Its value, in its original box, comes to $100-$125. By the way, Volupte was sold in 1957 and went out of business in 1960.
I was bound to be stumped by something this day, and the military pin was a mystery to me. It featured a musket and powder horn, a colonial hat and a sailing ship. Check out the photo with this column and see if you know what it is.
I’ve also been seeing quite a few old Nancy Drew books these days, and someone brought one in to this appraisal session. Nancy was created by Edward Stratemyer (also a native of Elizabeth, NJ) in 1930. He died that same year just 12 days after the first three volumes came out in a boxed set.
The author, Carolyn Keene, is a pseudonym for Mildred Benson, and, later, Stratemyer’s daughter, Harriet. There were 56 Nancy Drews published up through the 1950s. Some first editions can be valuable, especially those with the original dust jackets and the orange silhouette on the blue hardcover. Check out www.nancydrewsleuth.com or www.onlynancydrew.com, along with some of the other helpful collector web sites on line.
While most Nancy Drew reprints are about $5 each, this first edition in this condition is about $16. They are all still fun reads, by the way, no matter what your age.
If you would like to have some things appraised, and have a good time too, the place to be is at the Jessie Creek Winery this Saturday, May 4. Captain Scrap in Woodbine and Captain Scrap’s Attic in Seaville have asked me to do appraisals at the Cinco de Mao party they are hosting with radio station WIBG (Wibbage 94.3). From 6-9 p.m., there will be a pig roast, a buffet, music, antiques for sale, and wine tasting all for only $15, your antique appraisals included. What a deal! It sounds like lots of fun.
The beautiful Jessie Creek Winery is located at 1 North Delsea Drive (Route 47) at the end of Hand Avenue in Court House. For ticket information, call them at 609-536-2092, or call Capt. Scrap’s Attic at 609-861-3800. Hope to see you there, and with your antiques!
Arthur Schwerdt, a certified appraiser, is the author of “The Antique Story Book: Finding the Real Value of Old Things,” and co-owner of The August Farmhouse Antiques on Route 9 in Swainton. Send your comments, questions and appraisal requests to email@example.com.