Oct 14, 2023

This cannon and drum jar recalls an era of patriotic packaging. What is it worth?

An ornate Austrian parlor lamp, a patriotic mustard jar, and an appealing bird carving shared by our readers this month illustrate the wide range of interesting keepsakes and artifacts that add meaning to our lives. A small Steiff bear and an ornately decorated silver butter spreader round out this month's submissions of collectibles.

Your milk glass drum likely dates to circa 1910.Courtesy of the collector

I got this jar from my Mom and Dad many years ago. It is 3 ¾ inches tall and about 4 ½ inches across. I’d like to know more about it. J.L., Gresham.

Your milk glass drum likely dates to circa 1910. Golden Eagle Mustard of Wellsburg, West Virginia, originally sold these containing mustard. Patriotic themes were popular immediately after the Spanish-American War, and other glass jars including battleships were commonly sold. This pattern of covered jar has been attributed to the American companies of Westmoreland, Flaccus, and Eagle Glass, and the French company Vallerysthal Glass. As yours is unmarked, I cannot say with certainty who the maker was. Similar jars at auction have recently sold in the $20-$30 range. A dealer specializing in early 20th-century glass might ask $25-$45 if in excellent undamaged condition.

This Steiff bear likely dates to circa 1970.Courtesy of the collector

My grandmother always had this Steiff teddy bear on her dresser. Can you tell me how old it is, and if it's worth anything? It is 7 inches tall, and the arms, legs, and neck all move. The little tag on her ear says "0201/18″ and "Made in Austria." Thank you, C.M., Estacada.

Your Steiff bear likely dates to circa 1970. Steiff is a German-based company that was originally founded in 1880. Steiff toys have always been popular with children and collectors. Bears of this model have recently sold in the $25-$35 price range at auction. Dealers in collectibles toys are currently asking $60-$90 for this pattern bear in new condition with all tags.

This parlor lamp was made by Brunner & Company of Vienna, Austria, and likely dates to circa 1875.Courtesy of the collector

I received this lamp as a gift from my Viennese family when I stayed with them in 1971. It is 23 inches tall including the chimney. Anything you could tell me about this will be appreciated. S.M., Portland.

Your parlor lamp was made by Brunner & Company of Vienna, Austria, and likely dates to circa 1875. It burned kerosene or oil and is in a Renaissance Revival style. While I can't say with certainty without seeing it in person, the shade could well be from the same time period and original to the lamp. The base is likely brass, with a nickel-plated finish. The "puffy" mold-blown shade is well decorated, and originals are sought after by collectors. At an auction, you might see an estimate of $300 to $500 for this type of lamp. If all original and in excellent condition, a dealer might ask $600-$900, or perhaps even a bit more, for a 19th-century lamp of this type.

This bird carving is signed "L. Earhart" on the base.Courtesy of the collector

Here is a carved woodpecker bird figure that my dad got for me in Montana 50 years ago. It is signed "L. Earhart" on the base. It's 10 inches in height. Can you tell me what it might be worth? J.L., Portland.

Your bird appears to be a Yellow Shafted Flicker and is likely painted wood with perhaps nails for its legs and cut lead for the feet. I could find no other carvings by L. Earhart offered or sold, or any record of his work as an artist. However, it's an appealing carving. At an auction, you might see an estimate of $40-$60 for such a carving. A dealer in American decorative artworks might ask $200-$300 for such an artwork in excellent condition.

While it could surely work as a letter opener, your piece is a butter spreader,Courtesy of the collector

I bought this sterling silver letter opener at an antique shop recently. I would like to know how old it is, and what it might be worth. It is 7 ½ inches long and ornately decorated. D.T., Lincoln City.

While it could surely work as a letter opener, your piece is a master butter spreader from a table flatware service. It was made by Bailey, Banks & Biddle of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This partnership was formed in 1878 and is still in business today. The bright-cut decoration on your spreader likely dates it to circa 1885-1890. At an auction, you might see an estimate of $30-$50 for this type of spreader. A dealer in antique silver might ask $100-$150 for such a piece, in excellent condition.

The values discussed for items featured in this column were researched by Portland appraiser Jerry L. Dobesh, ASA, an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers, with a specialty designation in Antiques & Decorative Arts. His services include providing appraisals for estate tax, charitable contribution, insurance scheduling and loss, and equitable distribution needs.

To find an appraiser, contact the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America. Estimates suggested in this Collectibles column are for general information purposes only and cannot be used as a basis for sale, insurance, or IRS purposes.

To have items considered for inclusion in future columns, please send us your high-quality images, preferably at least 300 dpi, 1Mb in size and in jpeg format. Photos must show each object in its entirety and must be clearly focused and well lighted to show detail. If there are any maker's marks, please include an image of those. Include measurements and information about the condition of the piece.

Send to:

[email protected]

or to:

Today's Collectibles/Homes & Gardens

The Oregonian 1500 SW First Ave., Suite 400

Portland, OR 97201

Please include your name and town, along with contact information; phone number or email address. Contact information will not be published. The Oregonian will retain usage rights of the photographs for its print, marketing and online media.

If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation.