Kate Greenaway (1846-1901), an English artist, often is called the creator of picture books.
As a young girl, she drew watercolor pictures of children dressed in old-fashioned clothes in a nearby village. She created a pattern, made the dresses and bonnets, and dressed models to pose for her drawings. The romantic style was immediately successful, and soon she was illustrating cards, calendars, books and almanacs, earning both fame and fortune. She soon started writing the poetry for her books.
The Kate Greenaway look became so popular it was copied in dress patterns, dishes, napkin rings, glassware and, of course, picture books.
Collectors today like the original books and drawings and also collect the look-alikes. The world she created reminds people of the joys of childhood and more innocent times. So it is not surprising that a figural napkin ring sold at a James Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine, in 2015 for $533. It featured two Greenaway-type girls in a tree, and because it was a "double," it had added value.
Q: I have an Avon apple-shaped candleholder that is about 50 years old. It's gold-painted glass. The top half of the apple comes off so you can put a small candle inside the bottom half. It's about 5 inches high and 4 inches wide. Is it worth anything?
A: Avon made this Golden Apple candleholder in 1968 and 1969. Avon started in 1886 as the California Perfume Co. The name Avon was used beginning in 1929. The company has made many figural bottles, jars, figurines, children's toys, jewelry and other items. The Golden Apple candleholder came with a perfumed candle and originally sold for $6. They sell online today for about $5-$15.
Projector and reel
Q: I'd like some information about an Excel projector and Betty Boop movie I have that are more than 75 years old. The movie is on a ¾- by 3-inch reel that plays on an Excel projector. The projector was lit with a G.E. bulb that has the words "Mazda Toy Projection" on the top of the bulb. I'm concerned that if the film or projector breaks, I'll lose both. What are they worth? If these have any value, I don't want my children to throw them out.
A: Several companies made toy projectors and sold them with short movies. Cartoons and comedies were popular in the 1930s and '40s. Excel Home Movies of Toledo, Ohio, advertised a projector and 100-foot reel featuring "Betty Boop," "Popeye," "Our Gang" or other comic character for $3.95 in 1936. The value of your projector and reel today is less than $50.
Q: My husband was a pharmacist and had a collection of old pharmacy tools. It includes an old pill roller, mortar and pestle, scale and weights. He died last year and I'd like to sell them. How can I contact someone who would be interested in them?
A: There are collectors who look for pharmacy and drugstore items. There are also people who collect old scales. They would sell at an advertising sale or auction that includes advertising and pharmacy items. Look for a local dealer who goes to big flea markets and advertising shows. There also are auctions just of medical collectibles. You can find them online.
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 kovels.com.
Prices are from shows nationwide.
Dresser box, hinged lid, George V, neoclassical style, sterling, monogram, 1912, 1 by 4 by 2 inches, $95.
Heisey glass, decanter, orchid, oval, sterling stopper, about 1950, 8 inches, $115.
Sterling silver bowl, flared reticulated border, repoussé turned out rim, footed, about 1890, 10 by 2 1/4 inches, $190.
Advertising door push, Sunbeam Bread, batter whipped, tin lithograph, 1950s, 20 by 9 inches, $300.
Delft pottery, charger, fruit and leaf border, center floral garden, fence, bird, multicolor, 1700s, 13 3/4 inches, $400.
Hitching post, horse head, turned column stem, square base, cast iron, about 1950, 48 inches, $490.
Lalique perfume bottle, d'Orsay Mystere, black glass, lizards, block, lip, stopper, 1912, 3 3/4 inches, $710.
Sled, pine, iron, painted design, winter landscape, pivoting runners, about 1900, 68 inches, $875.
Love seat, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, walnut, upholstery, Widdicomb, 1950s, 33 by 53 inches, $2,375.
Locket, art nouveau, four-frame picture, repeat leaves, 14K gold locket, about 1890, 2 1/2 by 3 inches, $2,530.