Mysterious antiques and collectibles often appear in shops and shows. Price is then decided by how unusual the collectible is, how attractive it is and how it can be used.
A recent auction offered this statue of half of a lady, from the waist down. The statue is life-size, 3 ½ feet tall. The legs are dressed in tights, boots and a cloth skirt. There is a purse that has jewelry and brothel tokens from the Silver Dollar Hotel in Denver.
Those who go to casinos might know that this is an old base for a special type of slot machine. The base-and-slot-machine pair is known as the Prairie Rose Saloon Brothel Lady. She is dressed in 1880s style, but Prairie Rose was a famous cowgirl from the early 1900s, known all over the world. She performed in the Irwin Brothers' Wild West Show. In 1917, she went out in a blizzard to check on her animals, got lost and died. Her body was found years later.
The Lady was sold at Morphy's Victorian Casino Antiques auction along with many other gambling collectibles. Price: $3,000.
Enamel kitchen table
Q: I have my parents' kitchen table. I've used it all my life. Markings under the table and leafs look like "Abraham-Richardson Mfg. Co., Beaver Falls, PA." I can't find any information on the company. Can you help?
A: Your table was made by Ingram-Richardson Manufacturing Co., not Abraham-Richardson. The company was founded by Louis Ingram and Ernest Richardson in 1901. It made porcelain enameled signs, sinks, refrigerator linings, walls, license plates and other items. The company was sold in 1965 and closed in 1967. Kitchen tables with enameled tops were very popular in the 1930s-'50s. They are still very useful, and sell for about $350 to $500 if the enamel is not chipped.
Q: I own a tennis racket that belonged to my uncle, who served in the military during World War I and died at age 26. One side of the handle is marked "Greenwood," and the other side, "A.G. Spalding Bros." Please tell me what it's worth.
A: Albert Goodwill Spalding (1850-1915) played major league baseball from 1871 to 1878. He and his brother, J. Walker Spalding, founded their sporting goods company in Chicago in 1876. By the mid-1880s, the company's products included tennis rackets. Spalding introduced its Greenwood model racket in 1905. Antique and vintage wooden rackets are collectible. We have seen the Greenwood model for sale at prices ranging from $90 to $190. Spalding still is in business, but it no longer makes tennis rackets.
Q: I have an antique scale made by the Computing Scale Co. of Dayton, Ohio. It has a barrel-shaped top with a glass dial. The numbers from 1 to 60 are on the bottom of the dial. There are numbers for pounds and prices in the dial. There is a flat, round glass tray that the item can be placed on to weigh it. Can you tell me anything about it?
A: Your scale has a history that connects it to IBM. Julius Pitrat of Gallipolis, Ohio, invented the first computing scale in 1885. It figured the price of an item by combining the weight and the price per pound. Edward Canby and Orange Ozias bought the patent and founded the Computing Scale Co. in 1891. The company merged with two other companies and was renamed the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. in 1911. The name became IBM in 1924. Your scale was made between 1891 and 1911. You may be able to date it by researching the serial number. Your scale with the glass tray is a butcher's scale.
Martell cognac decanter
Q: Forty-one years ago, a member of the Martell family of France gave me a Baccarat decanter filled with Martell cognac. It's still sealed. How can I sell it?
A: Martell's history dates back to 1715, but its Cordon Bleu cognac wasn't created until 1912. The cognac's special Baccarat glass decanters appear to date from the early 1970s. A full sealed decanter with its presentation box auctioned for nearly $3,000 in 2013. Without the box, it would sell for less. You should contact an auction house that holds special sales of bottled wine and liquor.
Figural cookie jar
Q: I have a Lady Squeezy Beauchamp figural cookie jar, marked "The Last Elegant Bear, Dennis Kyte, Sigma, the Tastesetter" and with a copyright date of MCMLXXXV (1985). The bear is wearing a yellow dress and is holding a fan. Is it of any value?
A: Lady Squeezy Beauchamp was one of the bears in the book "The Last Elegant Bear: The Life and Times of Abiner Smoothie," by Dennis Kyte, which was published in 1983. Your cookie jar is one of a series of cookie jars made by Sigma, a division of Rockville International in Garden City, New York. Sigma is no longer in business. The value of your cookie jar is $100 to $300.
Q: I bought a "Fiji Mermaid" at auction a few years ago. It looks old and has been handled quite a bit. Please tell me something about it and what it's worth.
A: The original Fiji Mermaid was the feature of a 19th-century P.T. Barnum circus sideshow. It was a mummified concoction combining the top half of a monkey and the bottom half of a fish. Since then, versions made of resin, plastic, clay or some combination of materials have been created for sale around the world. We have seen the "mermaids" offered for sale from $15 to $400.
Q: I have a bronze sculpture of a chubby Greek god sitting on a donkey. The god has a wreath on his head and is carrying an animal pelt. It was acquired by one of my relatives, who said he was the first Allied officer to enter Hitler's quarters at Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. It came from Hitler's long desk in front of the large window overlooking the front of the building. The sculpture is 10 ½ inches high and is mounted on marble. What is it worth?
A: Hitler's quarters were bombed by the British and burned by retreating SS troops before Allied troops entered. If you can prove the bronze sculpture came from Hitler's desk, it will be of interest to collectors. Without provenance — a letter from the officer who found the sculpture or some other proof of Hitler's ownership — the value is the same as for any other unsigned bronze sculpture.
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.
Holt-Howard mustard jar, yellow flat head, annoyed face, spoon, about 1958, 4 1/2 by 4 inches, $60.
Peking glass vase, blue, fruit, flowers, branches, carved, Chinese, 11 inches, $120.
Blushing Frankenstein toy, tin lithograph, vinyl, cloth, battery-operated, Mod Monster, Japan, 1960s, 13 inches, $180.
Thermometer, Whistle orange soda, "Any Time, Any Weather, Thirsty? Just Whistle," boy, bottle, chalkware, 1950s, 12 inches, $300.
Sewing tape measure, winking devil's head, porcelain, orange, early 1900s, 1 3/4 inches, $330.
Neoclassical chair, mahogany, tablet crest, conforming slat, scrolled supports, saber legs, about 1810, $360.
Movie poster, "My Fair Lady," Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Warner Bros., 1964, 39 by 55 inches, $375.
Porcelain tureen, underplate, Meissen style, painted, flowers, couples, applied flower handles, 6 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches, $485.
Silver creamer, beaded rim, square base, Christian Wiltberger, Philadelphia, about 1795, 7 1/2 inches, $1,440.
Northwood Glass vase, swirled blue, yellow, white pulled feathers, folded, scalloped rim, 3 by 4 inches, $2,240.