Antiques auction galleries sell more than antiques. Folk art, design, modernism, fashion, fossils and dinosaurs, rocks and minerals, comics, movie memorabilia, political and space all are words that have been used to advertise recent sales.
One unique item, an ejection seat from a Vulcan jet bomber made in England, was offered in a Hermann Historica auction in Munich, Germany, on May 9. The chrome ejection seat, dated July 15, 1974, is 56 inches high by 21 inches wide. The Vulcan, first made in 1952, was used by the Royal Air Force during the Cold War. It could fly at 52,000 feet and carried nuclear arms. This seat with its perforated base, movable arms and high curved back, looks like a chair from the future.
Q: I inherited an old doll from a friend in 1999. She said the doll was about 160 years old. The doll’s underskirt was made of handspun wool made by her grandmother. The doll originally had a wax head, but it was damaged in a house fire and couldn’t be repaired, so it was replaced in 2001. The doll’s body is made of leather and sawdust. How much is it worth?
A: Most dolls made before the early 1900s had bisque or china heads. Wax-head dolls were made in the late 18th and the 19th centuries. Wax was not as breakable as bisque or porcelain and could be easily molded. Later, most dolls were made with composition, vinyl or plastic heads.
Wax can be damaged by light, heat and temperature changes. It is expensive to repair. With the original head and body, it would sell for a high price. Unfortunately, your doll is not worth much because of the replaced head.
Q: I have a Royal Crown Cola cigarette lighter that was made by Kem Inc. of Detroit. It’s 2 1/2 inches high. Is it worth anything?
A: Kem made a Royal Crown Cola cigarette lighter shaped like a bottle in the 1940s or ’50s. It’s chrome-plated and has a replica of the Royal Crown label on it. If in good condition, with the label intact, it usually sells for $20 to $75.
Q: We bought a reed organ at a yard sale several years ago. Above the stops and on the pedals are the words “Palace Organ.” Above the keyboard, it reads “Loring & Blake Organ Co.” and “Worcester, Mass., USA.” Can you give us any information?
A: J.W. Loring and Rufus W. Blake started Loring, Blake & Co. in 1868. The name of the company became Loring & Blake Organ Co. before 1870. The company had locations in Worcester, Mass., and Toledo, Ohio, and was one of the country’s largest producers of reed organs. In 1880 the company exhibited several parlor organs at the Worcester Fair, with prices listed from $40 to $1,200. Old reed organs are hard to sell today.