Toys are fun to use, but they also are learning tools. What child wouldn't want a toy tractor that looked exactly like the big one used on the farm? Cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and other toys can be dated by looking up the history of the adult version.
A toy Fordson tractor sold at a Bertoia Auction in 2014 for $185. It is marked with the name of the maker, Arcade.
Ford made tractors and trucks with the brand name Fordson from 1917 to 1964. Arcade Manufacturing Co. worked from 1902, but the first farm toy it made was the Fordson Tractor in 1922. There were different versions of the tractor, one with W&K tires, and one with steel wheels.
But watch out. Many reproductions have been made.
Q: I found a Florence Ceramics Delores figurine in my mother's attic. It's a woman in a rose-colored dress, with a bonnet, shawl and gloves. It's 8 inches high. What is it worth?
A: Florence Ward began making figurines in her garage in Pasadena, Calif., before establishing the Florence Ceramics Co. in the 1940s. She designed all the figurines and other giftware items made by the company.
The Delores figurine was made in several different colors, including moss green, pink, teal and yellow. Your figurine's rose-colored dress probably is what is called "pink." Delores in a yellow dress is rarer than the others. There has been a big drop in the price of figurines like this, and they are worth only $21 to $50 today. Rarities sell for $100 to $250.
Q: I have a set of yellowish Depression glass dishes and wonder how to research them. I have provided a rubbing of a dish to show the design. What is their value?
A: Your dishes are "Madrid" pattern, and the color is called "amber," not "yellow." Madrid was made by the Federal Glass Co. of Columbus, Ohio, from 1932 to 1939. Madrid was made in green, amber and crystal (clear). Blue ("Madonna" blue) and pink pieces were made for a limited time. Beware of reproductions. In 1976, Federal reworked the molds and made amber sets called "Recollection." There is a small "76" worked into that pattern. Recollection was made in crystal in 1982.
Later, blue, crystal and pink pieces were reproduced by Indiana Glass Co., which removed the date from the molds, creating identification problems between old Madrid and newer Recollection. Collectors aren't as interested in Depression glass as they were in the 1970s, but Madrid is a popular pattern. Current prices for some amber Madrid pieces: dinner plate, $50; luncheon plate, $10; platter, $18; cup and saucer, $15; flat salt and pepper shaker set, $50; and pitcher, $35.
Q: I have a toy castle that was my uncle's in the 1920s. It's made of wood and metal, and it's raised on a "mountain" that resembles rocks with a trap door. It has four other pieces — a tower, two different buildings and a 6-inch wall — with painted brickwork, doors and windows. The base is wood, 11 by 14 inches, and has a hinged storage space for pieces. Any information about the maker and value?
A: Christian Hausser and his sons, Otto and Max, founded a toy company in Ludwigsburg, Germany, in 1904. The company is best-known for miniature toy soldiers from many wars, medieval knights, villains, cowboys, Indians, civilian characters, and farm and Noah's Ark animals.
The firm's Elastolin figures, made from sawdust and glue and then hand-painted, were made until the 1950s. The company also made imaginatively designed military and civilian vehicles and fortresses. Early models, from the late 1920s or early '30s, are generic. Pieces are wood covered by lithographed paper. The rocky base is composition, another type of sawdust-and-glue mixture. From the 1950s until production stopped in 1983, they made hard-plastic figures, castles and forts.
You are missing a few pieces: the entrance arch that connects to the footbridge, a "keep" and another building. A more complete model sold in 2013 for $350, but collectors love toy soldier sets and may pay about $125 to $150 for yours.
Q: I have a hand-painted plate marked with a crown above a circle with an eagle inside. The name of the company is written around the circle. It looks like it might be Carrolton or Carrinton Pottery Co. Can you identify the maker?
A: Yes. The mark you describe is one of several used by Carrolltown Pottery Co., founded in Carrollton, Ohio, in 1903. It joined seven other potteries to form the American Chinaware Corp. in 1929. After the merger ended in 1931, Carrolltown Pottery continued to operate on its own until at least 1936.
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 from shows nationwide:
Coca-Cola calendar, Norman Rockwell, boy at well, bucket, June page, 1932, 12 by 20 1/2 inches, $60.
Bottle, demijohn, olive color, applied upper rim, two parts, pontil scar, 19th century, 20 inches, $150.
Strutting Sam, black man dancing, tin lithograph toy, battery-operated, box, 11 by 3 3/4 inches, $240.
Yellowware pitcher, four incised blue bands, England, about 1850, 11 inches, $420.
Indian vest, quills, pictorial, Indians on horseback, trade cloth background, 1920-30, extra-large, $1,870.