Being "green" is not a new idea. Our ancestors recycled and re-used precious pieces of fabrics, broken dishes and glass, iron, tin and more.
Textiles often were woven on a loom at home until the mid-1850s. For most families there was no nearby store with a replacement, and no way to order something to be delivered until Victorian times.
The Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog (started in 1894) was not the first, but it was the most famous, and others followed. Although the catalog offered quilts and pictures, someone, probably a talented housewife, stitched a decorative panel of the silk bands that came on cigars. The bands were pieced together, then fringe was added.
Sample pieces of woolen cloth, sometimes with the paper label still attached, cotton fabric from flour sacks and pieces of old dresses were recycled into larger pieced and patchwork quilts. Because cigar bands are very small, they were not often re-used.
But today's collectors of advertising, cigar-related items and quilts would want this unusual piece. It was made in the mid- to late 19th century. And although it only was a 23-inch square mounted in a 32-inch metal frame, it sold at a March 2015 Brunk auction in Asheville, N.C., for $1,200.
Friar Tuck pitcher
Q: I have a 5½-inch Hummel pitcher in the shape of a monk who happens to have crossed eyes. I believe this is a mistake. I was told that the factory had a recall on them and that only five remained. My family has all five. Can you tell me if these really are a rare find, and how much they are worth?
A: Germany's Goebel Porcelain Factory introduced the popular Friar Tuck series in the early 1950s. Friar Tuck was the roly-poly monk who kept Robin Hood and his Merry Men on the straight and narrow. About 125 everyday table items were made, including sugars and creamers, salt and pepper shakers, condiment sets, toothpick holders, mugs and pitchers. Your pitcher is one of the No. 141 line of four pitchers that were made in graduated sizes from 2½ inches to 8 inches. Older models of the No. 141 pitchers were made, intentionally, with crossed eyes. While they are rarer than pitchers with regular eyes, the rarity is minimal for collectors and they sell for only a few dollars more. Your pitchers are worth about $25 to $30 each. Friar Tuck pieces should not be confused with Hummel figurines, also made by Goebel, because they are not based on drawings by Sister M.I. Hummel even though they have a similar endearing look. Goebel discontinued the Friar Tuck line in 1988.
Q: I have a coffee or teapot, creamer and sugar set that I think is made of pewter. The pieces are marked on the bottom "Jennings Bros., Bridgeport, Co., 1890" and "876." Are they of any significant value?
A: Jennings Bros. Mfg. Co. was founded by Edward, Erwin and Henry Jennings in Bridgeport, Conn., in 1890. The company made metal objects in pewter, silver plate, gold plate, and with brass or bronzed finish. The number "876" probably is a catalog or factory number. When the company closed in 1953, the molds were bought by another company that made cheaper replicas. Value is about $100 to $150.
Q: When my mother married in 1952, two aunts bought her a set of Fiesta dinnerware. It had four place settings, each in a different pastel color. She never used the dishes. They are in the original carton. How much is the set worth?
A: The colorful Fiesta dinnerware was introduced in 1936 by Homer Laughlin China Co. of Newell, W.Va. Original Fiesta colors were blue (cobalt), red, light green, ivory and yellow. Turquoise followed in 1937. After World War II, decorating tastes changed from bright to more subdued colors. In 1951, the company discontinued the original blue, light green and ivory, continued to use turquoise and yellow, and added softer colors, chartreuse, gray, rose and forest green. They are called Fiesta's "fifties colors" and were used until 1959. The Fiesta line was retired in 1972, but Homer Laughlin Co. started making the dishes again in 1986 in new colors, black, white, apricot and cobalt blue. Vintage Fiestaware of the 1930s to '50s is more valuable than pieces made since 1986. There are auctions and websites that specialize in Fiestaware — even a Facebook page — where you can learn more about the age and value of your Fiesta. The carton adds value.
Q: We have a clock-lamp shaped like a camel resting on his knees. It looks like it's made of painted wood. The clock is set into the side of a tent-like structure on the camel's back. A lamp on top of the structure has a shade decorated with a desert scene. There is a sticker on the back that says "Deluxe Art Clock, The Deluxe Clock & Mfg. Co., Inc., Patent Pending, New York." What is the value of this clock?
A: The Deluxe Clock & Mfg. Co. was in New York and was a division of Lux Clock Mfg. Co. of Waterbury, Conn. The Deluxe Clock & Mfg. Co. made several "art clocks." Your camel clock is made of Syroco (molded wood pulp) and was painted in a variety of colors. It was made about 1921. The clock mechanism was by Lux. Some Deluxe art clocks have sold recently for about $50. We haven't seen a combination camel clock and lamp.
Tip: Do not clean a mounted animal that has fur. It could become bald.
Terry and Kim Kovel will answer as many letters from readers as possible through the column only. For return of a photograph, include a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope. Write to: The Kovels, c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. The website is www.kovels.com.
Prices are from shows nationwide.
Carnival glass vase, butterfly and berry, flared rim, ruffled edge, red, 8 1/2 inches, $85.
Stick pin, seahorses flanking facet cut peridot, accent pearl, 14K yellow gold, Victorian, 2 1/4 inches, $130.
Mettlach stein, No. 2005, 1600s tavern scene, four drinkers, signed H.D., 1901, 1/2 liter, $270.
Pluto on unicycle, tin lithograph, clockwork wheel, Disney, Linemar, label, 5 1/2 inches, $355.
Contemporary vase, glazed ceramic, sgraffito design, Menage a Trois, R. Duffey, 1989, 30 by 19 inches, $500.
Trade sign, tennis racquet shape, blue, white paint, 64 3/4 inches, $720.
Silver meat platter, tree-shaped well, Chippendale, footed, Frank Smith Silver Co., 18 inches, $720.
Pembroke table, Sheraton, tiger maple, shaped drop leaves, drawer, 36 inches, $1,080.
Nantucket basket, lightship, round, handles, R. Folger, 13 by 18 inches, $5,400.
Standing broiler, iron, horseshoe shape, curlicues, three legs, marked J. Conway, about 1800, 18 inches, $6,150.