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A Minton majolica centerpiece was auctioned in May 2013 as an “ice stand.” Minton & Polson was established in 1793 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

The company started making majolica in about 1850. Some of these early pieces, marked “Minton,” inspired majolica made after 1873, when the company often used the mark “Mintons.”

Ice stands were pictured in the company’s 1851 catalog. They were tall pieces meant to be used as spectacular centerpieces on a dining table. Each was a tall pedestal with a vase or dish-shaped piece at the top, a large “stem” and a group of small bowls or plates surrounding the pedestal, sometimes at two levels. The stands held ice or ice shavings and sauces for dessert. But as one expert has said, they were “more ornamental than functional.”

An 1865 Minton ice stand decorated with stag heads, wolves and pine cones sold for $8,610 at a May 2013 Neal Auction Co. in New Orleans.

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Q: For years my family has owned an antique spool bed (the kind with spool-turned head and foot boards). Everyone always called it a “Jenny Lind bed.” Please tell me why.

A: Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was a world-famous opera singer known as the “Swedish Nightingale.” She became a huge celebrity in the United States when she toured here in 1850-52 at the invitation of P.T. Barnum, a master promoter. American advertisers used her to promote everything from hats and gloves to pianos and beds. Lind is said to have slept in a spool-turned bed while on the tour – so furniture makers started calling the popular style a “Jenny Lind bed.” The style still is often advertised that way.

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Q: I have inherited a picture of what looks like an oil painting. There are two buildings in it, one with a “Morton Salt” sign. The picture is signed “H. Hargrove” and has a round seal on the back with a number and the phrase, “Collectors Corner, Inc., Certificate of Authenticity.” Is it worth much?

A: “H. Hargrove” is a name used by painter Nicolo Sturiano. He was born in Italy in 1941 and came to the United States in 1964. He worked as a winemaker at a New York State vineyard while he began painting as a hobby. When his nostalgic American landscapes became popular, he moved to Greenwich Village in New York City. Collectors Corner of Indianapolis sold Hargrove prints in the 1980s through a home party plan. Hargrove is still working and has a studio in Toms River, N.J. Your limited-edition print sells for $25 or less.

Tip

Never wrap your painting in bubble wrap so that the wrap touches the painted surface. In time, the plastic will leave marks.