Although antique dealers tell us that early 1900s oak furniture doesn't sell, average Chippendale pieces are not wanted and fancy French designs of the past are out of style, some average examples and even good copies can be useful and a good investment.

In 1899, Wallace Nutting started photographing, hand-coloring and selling scenes that had a "Colonial" look. He bought and borrowed the furniture and accessories, and sold thousands of the pictures.

Eventually, he started to make and sell accurate copies of his furniture. Today, there are collectors of Wallace Nutting furniture as well as the photographs. In the 1920s, Peter Hunt decided to paint early wooden furniture with the colorful peasant designs he developed. It became popular as a style, and today, Peter Hunt furniture sells for more than the type of furniture he repainted.

Costume jewelry also was made to look like expensive gold and gem-set originals. Nowadays, the best of signed costume jewelry can sell for thousands of dollars.

A Wallace Nutting tavern table made in the early 20th century as a copy of an 18th-century table sold at a Garth's auction for $469.

Uncle Sam collectibles

Q: Anything old that pictures Uncle Sam is wanted for my collection. I have posters, advertising cards, cigar labels, product labels, toys, printed fabrics, dishes with the classic Uncle Sam in a top hat with stars and a stripes shirt, and even a folk-art carved broom handle that looks like a thin Uncle Sam. Friends say it wasn't legal to show him smoking. Are these pictures more valuable?

A: Your friends may be confusing the story with the baseball card that is now very rare because it was an ad for cigarettes, and the player made them stop using his image to promote smoking. There also are limits to the legal use of the president's name or image to promote a product without special permission. But Uncle Sam is a caricature and he is often copied. No one had suggested nicotine was bad for the health when Uncle Sam was first pictured. The creation of Uncle Sam as a symbol representing the United States was created by Thomas Nast during the 1860s after the Civil War, but was soon associated with the Spanish-American War, Cuban independence and thoughts of cigars. He was named for Samuel Wilson, who supplied food to troops during the War of 1812. James Montgomery Flag redesigned Uncle Sam, and gave him the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit. That version became famous with a military recruiting poster in 1916. Cigars do not change the value of an Uncle Sam likeness.

Pompadour cup

Q: I have a cup and saucer marked with a crown over crossed swords and the letters "R" and "C" between the swords. An ampersand is between the sword handles. Below that, it reads "Pompadour." Who made this, and what is it worth?

A: Your cup and saucer were made by Philipp Rosenthal & Co., which started in Selb, Bavaria, in 1891. This mark was used from 1891 to 1904. Several variations of the mark were used later. Pompadour is the name of the shape. Rosenthal bought other companies and eventually had factories in several other German cities.

Write to: The Kovels, c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. The website is

current prices

Prices are from shows nationwide.

Doll, Navajo, stuffed cloth, blue velvet blouse, striped cotton skirt, beaded necklace, woolen black hair, 1950s, 12 inches, $84.

Toy truck, fire pumper, red, silver, white rubber tires, wooden rims, cast iron, Hubley, 1930s, 5 inches, $150.

Chess set, lapis lazuli, white marble, white border, fitted case, Morita Gil, 10 3/4 by 10 3/4 inches, $258.

Lamp, electric, three-light, caramel slag glass, laurel leaves, urn, silver tone base, vines, signed, Miller, 24 by 15 inches, $405.

Medical, prosthetic leg, maple, leather, metal hinges at knee, shoe, brown, about 1900, 31 inches, $282.

Imari, charger, blue-and-white border, birds, flowers, red, white, green center, 1900s, 17 inches, $295.

Game table, George II, mahogany, demilune, gateleg, skirt, quarter mold edge, cabriole legs, 28 by 33 inches, $707.